Sunday, April 15, 2007

This Much I Do Know: Michael Penn Makes Pretty Damn Good Music

April is Michael Penn Appreciation Month. Didn't know that, eh? It's true! Michael has two releases due this Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on both of them.

First up is Palms & Runes, Tarot & Tea: A Michael Penn Collection. If you don't have any of MP's music, this would be a great primer for you to become acquainted with music from his first four releases. If you already a Penn fan, you'll want this disc, too, which features some alternative versions of songs along with previously unreleased material. Michael's fifth CD, Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947 is also being re-released on Tuesday, remastered, and with a bonus disc of live music. Can't beat that with a stick, eh?

All of this comes just as the talented Mr. Penn sets out on a tour, with a number of East Coast and Midwestern stops. (FYI, DC/Baltimore peeps: he'll be playing Iota in Arlington on April 24th and Rams Head Annapolis on April 26th, and I highly, highly recommend grabbing a ticket!)

My regular 4.5 readers here know just how much I dig the music of Michael Penn. There are few singer-songwriters out there that really grab me and swing me around with their words and music - MP is one of those rare creatures. This weekend, I've been listening to all his stuff, just jumping around, track to track, on iTunes. Can't find a song I don't enjoy in the whole mix.

In two weeks, I get to hear Michael play in concert again, and I'm so excited, you'd think I was a ten-year-old at Christmas. Not only will I get to hear some outstanding music in the company of my bud the Sasquatch, I'll get to see friends I've only met once before. That was, as a matter of fact, almost two years ago exactly - April 22, 2005 - just a short time after I started this blog and got the chop (hahaha) from Job X for the Axe Incident. That evening is chronicled in a post I wrote called "Philadelphia Story." For the amusement of my friends I'll see at this gig, here's how I described them at that point in time:

We were seated next to two folks from the PennList - a married couple who seemed very cool and whose posts I enjoy reading. (I was glad to meet someone else who'd witnessed Elvis Costello's "Spinning Songbook" tour!) I think they were pretty darn pleased with the vantage point, too. Right behind us was the extremely nice guy who runs the PennList and does a lot of work on Michael's behalf. He was the best-dressed man in the room and it was really great to finally put a face to the name and the Internet "voice."

We really didn't know each other beyond the Penn List at that point. Our conversations were limited to things like, "Nice camera!" and "I just won a free iTunes download with my diet Pepsi cap!" and "Uh, are you Spencer?" Can't believe it's been two years. Amazing. It really will be great to see them again.

It's funny. I've met most of my friends because of a shared interest in a particular musician. Some via the Thomas Dolby connection. Some via the Michael Penn connection. Man, I owe these guys a lot. Even more reason to buy Michael's new stuff this week.

You should go buy them, too. You won't be disappointed. While I can't guarantee you'll meet cool new friends as a result of the purchase, you never know, eh?


Merujo said...

I'm giving one of my pregnant friends extra credit for the fetus who has no choice but to part of my readership. :)

Chuck said...

OK, now I want to know about the Ax Incident.

I almost got fired from my last job...but it turned out well, because when I gave my notice they paid me my last two weeks salary without me having to work them. I just wrote about it on my blog if you're interested.

Cyn said...

Wow -- I get another mention in your most excellent blog! Do you sense some excitement here? Do you? Do you? (And it's not just that I've been chugging all morning from a 2-liter bottle of Coke Zero.) New Michael Penn CDs and an upcoming show might have something to do with it...

However, now that you know us (the married couple from Philadelphia, for the uninitiated) better, you realize that we only seemed cool. It's an illusion we have to work on constantly to maintain. Well, maybe my spouse is actually cool. I'll just cop to being goofy, hopefully in a semi-endearing way.