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Noche de reyes

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Justin Townes

J.R.

Steve Earle.

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Justin Townes Earle murió el 20 de agosto de 2020. Tenía 38 años, ocho discos en los que sonaba rock, blues y country, y una hija, Etta, que ha cumplido tres años. El abuelo de Etta, Steve Earle, rinde homenaje a su hijo grabando un álbum con algunas de las mejores canciones que escribió: “Harlem River Blues”, “Far Away In Another Town”, “Champagne Corolla”… A los diez temas de Justin Townes, el gran Steve añade una canción propia escrita durante el duelo. El resultado es emocionante, por supuesto, pero también intenso, apasionado, sincero y hasta luminoso. El disco que el cantautor de Virginia hubiese querido no tener que grabar nunca. Todo el beneficio obtenidos por la venta del disco servirán para asegurar el futuro de Etta.

Escribe Steve Earle:

“Justin Townes Earle left this world a little over a mile from where he came in, having seen more of it than most folks in his thirty-eight years before his all too short arc brought him right back to where he started from; Nashville, Tennessee. 

The evening Justin was born, in what was then called Baptist Hospital, his mother, Carol, exhausted after 36 hours in labor fell immediately into a deep sleep and I was left staring into the eyes of my first-born son. After a while, a kindly nurse asked if I would like to carry him to the nursery myself. I don’t know how I ever negotiated the walk down the hall without tripping over my own two feet. I couldn’t take my eyes off him and he looked right back at me, hardly blinking, as if to say, “I know you.” After a bit of a gentle tug-of-war at the nursery door I reluctantly relinquished custody to the nurse. 

My arms had never felt so empty.

Suddenly it occurred to me that I hadn’t spoken to any of my family back in Texas since I’d phoned early the day before to let them know that Carol was in labor and we were headed for the hospital.

I beelined for the payphones in the waiting room and was relieved to find a quarter in my pocket (not a given at that point in my career). I dropped it in the slot and dialed my parents’ number in Houston. My Dad answered and immediately upon hearing his voice, I burst into tears and apologized for every shitty thing I’d ever said or done to him, which was a litany. 

Carol and I split up when Justin was 3 and he shuttled between our households, sometimes voluntarily sometimes not, until he left home. That event occurred pretty organically when he accompanied me on a teaching sabbatical to the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. 

Justin was playing by that time, having gone from post-mortem Nirvana fan to acoustic blues practitioner by way of Kurt Cobain’s WHERE DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT. He’d only been interested in electric guitar until seeing Cobain hunched over the big Martin acoustic on MTV Unplugged so I pointed him towards the original recorded version in my record collection. Leadbelly was next to Lightnin’ Hopkins and Lightnin’ next to Mance Lipscomb and next thing I knew he was playing stuff I’d been trying to sort out for years. The original idea of Justin going to Chicago (besides just keeping an eye on him) was that he would take a few classes at the Old Town School, but within a few weeks he was TEACHING fingerstyle guitar. By the time I completed my eight-week course and returned home Justin had turned 18 and elected to remain behind.

He was back in Nashville six months later and, musically, things began to develop rapidly. A jug band, a rock band, a short stint as a Duke, but, lo and behold he’d begun to come up with songs of his own and they were really fucking good. He would release 8 full length albums and an EP over 13 years during which our paths crossed infrequently, usually on the road. Ironically, we both sat out the last summer of his life in Tennessee, grounded by pandemic, unable to escape to the only place either one of us ever felt at home.

The Highway. 

We spoke often those last few months, saw each other a handful of times and I talked to him the night he died. I am grateful for that.

This record is called J.T. because he was never called anything else until he was nearly grown. 

Well, when he was little, I called him Cowboy. 

For better or worse, right or wrong, I loved Justin Townes Earle more than anything else on this earth. That being said, I made this record, like every other record I’ve ever made… for me. It was the only way I knew to say goodbye.

See you when I get there, Cowboy,

Dad”.

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Un tiempo más salvaje

Un tiempo más salvaje.

Apuntes desde los confines de los hielos y los siglos.

Autor: William E. Glassey.

Editorial: Errata Naturae.

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La llamada nature writing tiene que mancharse las manos. Suya es la obligación de ir más allá de la sensibilidad poética, la descripción melancólica o la belleza salvaje. Debe comprometerse, implicarse, luchar. Está obligada a denunciar, a exigir, a pelear por aquello que ama. Eso es exactamente lo que hace Wlliam E. Glassey, geólogo y doctor por la universidad de Washington, en un libro que es el perfecto ejemplo de literatura con conciencia social, con responsabilidad científica, con sentido del deber y la obligación. Un hermoso homenaje a la Tierra y su evolución, una mirada singular y personal a las incertidumbres del planeta. A su remota historia, a los que tal vez sean sus últimos territorios por explorar.

“De este modo sabemos que la vida es una fuerza imparable, que está en constante evolución, que vio nacer la conciencia a partir de polvo de estrellas y tiempo. Esa revelación conlleva una enorme carga de sentido, pero al mismo tiempo sabemos que, desde una perspectiva cósmica, somos un acontecimiento trivial. Una gota de un río de entropía que lleva manando casi catorce mil millones de años. Nos fascina la historia que les suponemos a las estrellas, pero somos incapaces de trazar su auténtico curso. Recorremos un territorio y otra en las rocas tratando de aislar pasados, anhelando la chispa de ese hallazgo que merezca ser atesorado”.

El autor escribe sobre la columna vertebral del planeta, sus cadenas montañosas, sus fosas marinas, con la precisión, seriedad y erudición de un científico… y con la emoción y pasión de un poeta. Embarcado en una expedición a Groenlandia, en busca de una cordillera más alta que el Himalaya, Wlliam E. Glassey se sumerge en un mundo desconocido y traza nuevas líneas en el mapa de la Tierra. Habla del pasado, y lo hace con emotividad y belleza, pero sin perder de vista las referencias no ya al presente, sino al futuro del planeta que nos acoge. Ecología y literatura, información y poesía. La verdadera aventura, mirar atrás para comprender el presente e imaginar el futuro, en los duros tiempos que nos ha tocado vivir.

“La ciencia es un tipo de excavación. Investigar consiste en revelar estratos imprevistos del pasado, historias de una riqueza superior a cuanto podamos imaginar…

Dejamos atrás una existencia que miraba sólo hacia las mareas, las formas de la nubes y la amistad. Lo que define al nuevo mundo es su separación del flujo natural que marca la evolución de los territorios y la vida, un lugar de límites y fronteras. Incluso las duras planicies de asfalto resultan perturbadoras: se ha borrado de forma intencionada todo rastro de esa superficie irregular que brinda mil maneras de sentir la Tierra”.

CONFERENCIA DEL DR. WILLIAM E. GLASSLEY: WILDERNES AND THE ´GEOGRAPHY OF HOPE`.

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A Fucking New Year…

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