Mimi Parker, Bj Burton, Alan Sparhawk discussed on Sound Opinions

Sound Opinions


Night we can get where we're going if I could just make it stop all right, we're back. Greg, that was what you said on the radio was very, very moving. A couple of further points, I think, worth making. You know, Lowe was arguably at a high point in its career. In the last 6, 7 years. You know, ones and 6s in 2015, double negative 2018, hey, what? 2021. Here's a band after decades with a firmly established audience and people thinking they knew that man inside and out that was tossing up its sound in radical waves. That's a brave thing to do. It absolutely is. I think part of it was collaborating with BJ Burton, you know, who's worked with Bon Iver. I think the one of the things that I always liked about Alan sparhawk and Mimi Parker was their willingness to push themselves beyond their comfort zone. We obviously have a successful sound. People like it. Especially after the Christmas EP, they were a brand, you know? But they went beyond that, man. When people heard ones and 6s they were going like, what the hell, you know? They were kind of, they were kind of messing with people a little bit, but it's great. You know, keeping in the cotton Wheelhouse and I'll say that as radical or reinvention as wilco made with Yankee hotel foxtrot, loaded that three, four times in his career. It was kind of that stuff. Just when you think you know a band you realize, I don't really. They kept having this bottomless well of inspiration and ideas that they wanted to explore and did it wonderfully. I mean, double negative and hey, more extreme examples of that kind of stuff. I mean, just radical mixes of the quiet beauty with noise and static and these textures that were really shook you up. Music, concrete, or almost beef heart, route rock noise. I should not pay for more than one it would fall you had someone I could have had found all of what I'd give it all right, two other things I think I want to get from you with your deep knowledge of low. You know, we had them on the show several times. And we would discuss the importance of faith to them. Because they were both Mormon, correct? There were Mormon couple, faith was a big part of the like, but they were never preachy about it. Oh, no, no. I always thought they were wrestling with it. What faith means, how to live a life according to that faith. A moral life and regardless of the particulars of your belief there was a sense of spirituality that was, I think, welcoming to people of any faith. Yeah, absolutely. And the one thing I got out of that whole situation, because I think Alan had difficulties, you know, in terms of just having stability, you know, mentally, et cetera. Mimi was The Rock. She was kind of like the one who kind of held things together. The family, him, you know, the music. She was always going to be there. She was that foundation. And I don't mean this in a sexist way whatsoever, but the number of social media posts where she was described as mom to the scene. Mom to the scene in Minnesota, mom to the indie scene in general. In the very best sense of that. Nurturing. In the sense of somebody like mavis Staples, like you meet her and you feel comfortable around her right away. She wasn't a rockstar. She wasn't like, she was this famous person, but at the same time, just, you know, normal in the sense of she could be your next door neighbor. And you would be comfortable with her at any situation. The other thing I wanted to ask you about to expand on is the Christmas EP. You know, Marty Leonard's longtime Chicago radio personality on W XRT. We did the show there for 7 years before we moved to public radio about half a century ago. Marty had posted, I'll just quote him from Facebook. I remember the appearance when sound opinions was on XRT, and they played the stunning version of long way around the sea. Christmas chills, Mimi was really special. Lowe had come in and the EP had just come out, I think, right? Right. And they played that live long way around the sea. So tell people we are heading into the holiday season. Remind people about that Christmas record and about that performance, what you remember. I just remember it was magic. Well, I just remember when that EP came out, I don't think it was considered like a big deal by the band. It was just kind of like, well, you know, we're people of faith. A Christmas album can be such a cliche. But there's so many bad ones. Yeah, there's so many bad ones. But this was clearly beyond that. It was a mix of traditional stuff and originals. And to me, it just instantly became the one Christmas record I could listen to anytime. When it wasn't Christmas, she goes, it was just so beautiful. I mean, and Mimi really came to the forefront on that record. That was, I really associate that record with her voice. More than anything, you know? But it's such a beautiful, beautiful record, timeless songs, and that song, long way around the sea. That's just stuns me. You know, it's about the Magi taking the long trip around to see the savior, right? So that they wouldn't get caught and they wouldn't get arrested. So, I mean, it tells a biblical tale, but it makes it incredibly relatable. This is what happened. That's what they were. They were human. Humane and human. Well, I think they had an incredible ability to capture and evoke a time and place that is also timeless, ironically. You never been to Duluth, have you? No, I haven't actually. I've been to delusion. My roommate was there. I lived in Minneapolis twice. For two years each time, I don't know if there's a colder place on the face of this earth. It's at the very northern tip of Minnesota. Where you walk outside, your nose hair freezes, and your ears ring it is so cold, 20 below zero. And you feel like you're walking on the surface of the moon. Everything crinkles under you, you know? And it's like, I listen to low and I hear that. And never more so than on that crisp is EP. I don't know. Christmas cold, dark. The one star shining. I mean, that is a low got that. Yeah. Well, those harmonies will get you through anything. It did for them. A fitting tribute, I hope, Greg, to Mimi Parker, dead at the age of 55. I really feel for Allen and their family. There's a wonderful shot on Facebook. You mentioned revolving cast of bass players. Every one of those 5 or 6 bass players showed up and there was like a family picture. Yeah, yeah. And they were all wonderful people too. They contributed a lot to the music. I think it was more a case of, you're not talking about celebrity level touring here. We're talking about 30 years, they've been doing this stuff. Especially when they were touring with their family with kids. That is it.

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