“Kevin, crazy idea.”
I wasn’t expecting that text from Jason Woodbury, let alone opening up this site to write something here for the first time in (gulp, checks notes) EIGHT years.
It’s not surprising Jason reached out, asking if I wanted to check under the hood and rev this thing up to premiere a song off his upcoming album “Something Happening/Always Happening” (due out Sept. 9 on Fort Lowell Records). He’s already had wonderful — and well-deserved — praise for the project heaped his way in Pop Matters, MTV News and in this great Phoenix New Times feature. Not sure if you read the part about me not updating this site in eight (8) years, but there’s not a lot of visibility I could offer here. The music blog hype machine dried up long ago.
And yet, that was sort of the point for Jason. It’s just the kind of selfless and kindhearted people he and his wife, Becky, are. This was less about promotion and more about connection, a “fun way to honor SMS and the ‘blog era,'” as Jason put it.
Jason was a regular contributor here back in the heyday, and it was pretty obvious then (as it is now) his taste and talent are unimpeachable. No surprise he’s been such a longtime stalwart — writer of words, host of podcasts — over at the legendary Aquarium Drunkard, among many of the hats he’s worn.
It was, perhaps, kismet that Jason reached out this week. I recently began a massive undertaking of re-ripping my CD collection (I’ve made it all the way through “E”!), which sent me on a nostalgic trip — about music and this site, which I’ve often thought of reviving, a topic I’ve subjected Jason to countless times. And he’s always offered a positive word of encouragement.
He’s been such a champion over the years for so many others, it’s nice to be able to return the favor, however small. In the same way Jason has worked tirelessly to cultivate our scene, he’s similarly developed such a unique vibe on this solo debut, a meditative montage of low-key psych — sounds lovingly warped and reformed in the way only someone who has spent a lifetime in the desert can synthesize.
The premiere here, “Always Happening,” is the album closer, a 10-minute trip built on a short loop from Link Cromwell’s “Crazy Like a Fox.”
“For much of my debut record, I kept the songs really short, as I was very uninterested in overstaying my welcome,” Jason said. “But ‘Always Happening’ is a song where Michael Krassner rightly suggested we let it drift outward. He added these celestial electric guitar leads and synths and recruited Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsev to play violin. I get lost in it each time I listen to it, still.
“I emailed Lenny Kaye to ask for his blessing. I didn’t hear back for a while, and I let a lot of self-doubt eat at me regarding the situation. Then I got over myself and thought of all the unread emails in my inbox. I sent a follow-up note and Lenny responded back almost right away with a really kind missive. “It is amazing the lifeline of ‘Crazy Like A Fox’…and I’m surely happy to hear it utilized in such a consciousness expanding manner…Sounds like my kind of trance and dance.” Blessed by Lenny. You can hardly even believe it.”
“Something Happening/Always Happening” is out on Sept. 9. Pre-order the album here.
Thanks to Jason for the music and the opportunity … perhaps there won’t be eight years between posts again.