By Cait Brennan
It’s hard to believe that Marshall Crenshaw’s tuneful, songs have been with us for three decades, but amazingly, 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of his acclaimed, self-titled 1982 debut. Three decades, five presidents, and thirteen albums later, he’s still going strong, not only with his own music, but his radio show, a book, film music, and vital compilation work as well. (It’s not an overstatement to say that the Crenshaw-helmed Hillbilly Music . . . Thank God!, a 24-track compilation of rockabilly and country sides by artists from Buck Owens to Rose Maddox to Hank Thompson to the Louvin Brothers, saved my soul and the souls of every living, breathing human being who heard it. It’s not too late for you, brother, get yourself a copy.)
Writing and performing new music is still where his heart’s at, though, and like so many artists in the still-evolving, post-record-industry-Armageddon landscape, Crenshaw turned to Kickstarter to fund a new way of getting his songs to his fans. After blowing past his goal with a cool $33,000, Crenshaw is launching a subscription EP series, enabling him to get new music to his fans in a cool way. Over the next two years, Crenshaw will release six exclusive three-song 10-inch, 45-rpm vinyl EPs, along with a download card for digital versions of the tracks.
The opener, which debuts November 23, features the brand-new Crenshaw tune “I Don’t See You Laughing Now,” combining Crenshaw’s relentless knack for melody with a withering character portrait of somebody who clearly had it coming. “It must be hell to realize you fell for your own lies,” sings Crenshaw, dismantling his subject line by line and rubbing it in with some gorgeous harmonies and the fine playing of Andy York on guitar and the brilliant Graham Maby on bass.
Track two features Crenshaw and alt-country sensations the Bottle Rockets on a live alted-up version of the Crenshaw gem “There She Goes Again,” originally on Crenshaw’s 1982 album.
A weird and wonderful cover of The Move’s post-apocalyptic 1971 classic “No Time” rounds out the set. Recorded with Glen Burtnik (who starred as Paul McCartney in Beatlemania opposite Crenshaw’s John Lennon), “No Time” is worth the price of admission all on its own, with its rich layered harmonies, gorgeous psych-pop production, and fine mastering by engineer Greg Calbi.
“I’ve always put a great deal of care into the albums I’ve made,” Crenshaw said in a press release. “But as a listener, I’ve always been a singles guy and an individual-tracks guy. I’m looking forward to creating a steady output of music in small batches, rather than being stuck in a cave for months and stockpiling a whole bunch of music and dumping it out all at once. Now, when I finish something, I get to put it out, instead of having to wait until I’ve got 12 more.”
“I Don’t See You Laughing Now” is available November 23 from marshallcrenshaw.com. Please note: the website has been down due to issues resulting from Hurricane Sandy, so keep checking back.