Category Archives: GUEST EDITOR

From The Desk Of Allison Moorer: “The People Speak”

When she was younger, Allison Moorer used to believe that she wanted an intellectual existence, a life of the mind. But now, at 42, she sighs, “What I’ve realized that I have is a life of the hands—I’m always just making something, or I’m writing or drawing something, because it makes me feel connected; it makes me feel real. It’s the same way with music—I just want to make it.” Hence, her latest ambitious set, Down To Believing, which documents her recent split from her husband, Steve Earle, and even the motherly guilt she felt when their son John Henry, now four, was diagnosed with autism two years ago. Moorer will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.

PeopleSpeak

Moorer: Howard Zinn’s A People’s History Of The United States should be required reading for anyone applying for a driver’s license in this country. Everyone who gets behind the wheel needs to know how to make a left turn correctly, yes, but it would almost certainly improve our collective consciousness if we could all be more educated in how the roads we travel on really got there in the first place. It’s as important a book on U.S. history as has ever been written and, in fact, more important than most as it reveals a lot about what really went down from the point of view of women, workers, minorities and poor people. The People Speak is a documentary film that brings to life the accounts from that groundbreaking volume and combines them with its companion piece, Voices Of A People’s History of The United States (edited by Zinn and Anthony Arnove). Zinn narrated the film as well as co-directed and co-produced it with Arnove, and it contains beautiful, spellbinding performances from an impressive cast that turned up to make this true labor of love.

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From The Desk Of Allison Moorer: Music In The Morning

When she was younger, Allison Moorer used to believe that she wanted an intellectual existence, a life of the mind. But now, at 42, she sighs, “What I’ve realized that I have is a life of the hands—I’m always just making something, or I’m writing or drawing something, because it makes me feel connected; it makes me feel real. It’s the same way with music—I just want to make it.” Hence, her latest ambitious set, Down To Believing, which documents her recent split from her husband, Steve Earle, and even the motherly guilt she felt when their son John Henry, now four, was diagnosed with autism two years ago. Moorer will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.

MorningMusic

Moorer: “But if there were no music, then I would not get through.” The first thing I do after I drag myself out of bed in the mornings, usually at 6 a.m. (I have a four-year-old son to get to school), is put the kettle onto boil. I’m old school, no Keurig for me. I’m a French press kind of gal. And it just so happens that I’m a music and not a television gal. I don’t want any morning news in this house unless something’s blown up or blowing through. There are the random mornings when I don’t want to hear anything, but most mornings I do, and as quickly as possible. Sometimes I know exactly what feeling I want to float through our two-bedroom apartment up in the sky, and I put the appropriate record on straight away, but some days I peruse the collection on my iPod, looking for just the right thing, just the right notes and words to set the tone I’d like for my day, or at least my morning. It helps me ease in; it supports me, and brings me to life.

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From The Desk Of Allison Moorer: “Astral Weeks” By Van Morrison

When she was younger, Allison Moorer used to believe that she wanted an intellectual existence, a life of the mind. But now, at 42, she sighs, “What I’ve realized that I have is a life of the hands—I’m always just making something, or I’m writing or drawing something, because it makes me feel connected; it makes me feel real. It’s the same way with music—I just want to make it.” Hence, her latest ambitious set, Down To Believing, which documents her recent split from her husband, Steve Earle, and even the motherly guilt she felt when their son John Henry, now four, was diagnosed with autism two years ago. Moorer will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.

VanMorrison

Moorer: This seminal album took 30 years to sell 500,000 copies. That’s an average of 16-some-odd thousand records per year. And what album could mean more to so many? So many of the heart-broken, anyway. Recorded in 1968 with a cast of jazz musicians in New York City, nothing has sounded more organic, more intentional or more romantic and longing to me. I could listen to “Cypress Avenue,” all day, and some days, I have. “Rainbow ribbons in her hair,” indeed. Van Morrison’s vocal prowess is largely acknowledged, but his lyrical ability, and his vision and commitment to carrying it out is what is impressive to me. Astral Weeks sounds like one song, and only the best albums do that. To create a timeless environment on tape is an accomplishment that I cannot express my appreciation of with words. I only know that when no other record will do, this one always will.

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From The Desk Of Allison Moorer: “The Accidental Masterpiece: On The Art Of Life And Vice Versa” By Michael Kimmelman

When she was younger, Allison Moorer used to believe that she wanted an intellectual existence, a life of the mind. But now, at 42, she sighs, “What I’ve realized that I have is a life of the hands—I’m always just making something, or I’m writing or drawing something, because it makes me feel connected; it makes me feel real. It’s the same way with music—I just want to make it.” Hence, her latest ambitious set, Down To Believing, which documents her recent split from her husband, Steve Earle, and even the motherly guilt she felt when their son John Henry, now four, was diagnosed with autism two years ago. Moorer will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.

Kimmelman

Moorer: I stumbled upon this book, a New York Times bestseller, in the gift shop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City one afternoon last summer. It’s a brilliantly, thoughtfully woven collection of ruminations and examinations on artists and the pursuit of the artistic life, and Michael Kimmelman expounds on just what it is to live creatively. Running the gamut from Marcel Duchamp’s signed urinal to Ray Johnson’s life, stunts and ultimate suicide inspired-ly based on numerology, to Michael Heizer’s commitment to isolation for physical space to complete City, and Matthew Barney’s film work in the Salt Flats in Utah, the book is an astounding and revelatory look at what art is and what the artist is, no matter the form. Inspiring, humbling, and great.

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Allison Moorer: Blunt Force Honesty

AllisonMoorer

Allison Moorer uses creative compulsions to come to terms with divorce

When she was younger, alt-country warbler Allison Moorer used to believe that she wanted an intellectual existence, a life of the mind. But now, at 42, she sighs, “What I’ve realized that I have is a life of the hands—I’m always just making something, or I’m writing or drawing something, because it makes me feel connected; it makes me feel real. It’s the same way with music—I just want to make it.” Hence, the singer’s latest ambitious set, Down To Believing, which documents her recent split from her husband, Steve Earle, and—on the bluesy apology “Mama Let The Wolf In”—even the motherly guilt she felt when their son John Henry, now four, was diagnosed with autism two years ago. “It’s pretty brutal,” she assesses of the autobiographical disc.

Which is why the singer—who, along with her singer/songwriter sister Shelby Lynne, suffered their parents’ murder/suicide as kids back in ’86—has been finding peace of mind in an unusual artsy-craftsy outlet lately: Along with Rosanne Cash and several other well-heeled ladies, she’s part of an actual sewing circle that the women all jokingly refer to as the Stitch-and-Bitch. They try to meet every couple of weeks at one of their New York apartments, with tasty snacks on hand, and the latest patterns from noted seamstress Natalie Chanin’s DIY company, Alabama Chanin. “We only get two or three hours, and we’ll do it on a weekday afternoon,” says Moorer. “But we will sit and sew and talk about our lives, and have sisterhood and friendship. It’s one of my favorite things in my life.”

For Moorer, the tradition first started in Scotland four years ago, when she bumped into Cash backstage at a Celtic festival. “Rosanne and I were only acquainted, not really friends at that point,” she says. “But I was wearing an Alabama Chanin outfit that I had made, so Rosanne asked me, ‘Are you wearing an actual Alabama Chanin?’ And I said, ‘Yeah! Natalie’s my friend, and I make her kits.’ So, we made a plan to get together and sew not too long after that.” The kits stress one thing—everything must be hand-stitched, with no sewing machine involved. “It’s all organic, quite a beautiful process, and I think it keeps us all grounded,” she says.

Every last note of Down To Believing was constructed the same way—painstakingly, lovingly, with an eye for the smallest detail. It opens with the deceptively chiming “Like It Used To Be,” which mourns her relationship’s passing with a growling chorus of “Don’t wanna say goodbye, but it’ll set me free/It ain’t ever gonna be like it used to be.” Inclement weather is also used to signal encroaching trouble (tempestuous, guitar-squall ballad “Thunderstorm Hurricane,” and a cover of CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?”), as is plain puzzlement (“Tear Me Apart,” “If I Were Stronger”). But ultimately, Moorer settles on forgiveness, cleaning every last trace of her ex out of their residence with celebratory stomper “I’m Doing Fine.” “I think this is the most free record I’ve ever made,” she says. “I just didn’t give a damn about where it landed, who liked it—I just made it. And I had no dude hanging over my shoulder, telling me what to do. And I think that shows.”

On Earle’s new effort Terraplane Blues, there’s a telling track called “Better Off Alone,” wherein he drawls, “Though I taught you everything you know/I learned a thing or two myself/And so I’m gonna miss you when you’re gone/I’m better off alone.” Given that Moorer was Wife Number Seven for the artist, are these lyrics a bit of blame-shouldering? She pauses. “Well, he’s never said that to me,” she says. “But you know, here’s the thing—I really don’t have anything but good to say about Steve. And he didn’t teach me everything, but he did teach me a lot, and in fact, I taught him some things, too. And we have a beautiful son that we work very hard to take care of together, so that’s our ground zero. So, I don’t regret our relationship. I really don’t. And as far as his wives go? Hey—I do hold the record. We were together for seven years!”

—Tom Lanham

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From The Desk Of Bob Schneider: Bob Schneider

Fourteen years removed from his major-label debut, Bob Schneider is still struggling to be heard. Does he care? You be the judge. Schneider will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

BobSchneider

Schneider: About a year ago (I think, it’s hard to tell now-a-days how much time has passed), one of my bandmates told me that Scarlet Johansen was in Austin and that he knew what hotel she was staying at. And it was a Monday night where there’s not much to do, so I told him to call the hotel and tell them that we were putting her on the guest list for our show that night and to come by. She never showed up, and why would she? She’s probably not heard of me, and even if she had, she probably doesn’t know anything about what I do. I’m sure that that’s the way most people are when it comes to me. They don’t know, or the little that they know, doesn’t make me show up in their “I care about what that guy is doing” box. So, here’s a playlist of songs that I put together that might get you onboard with what I do if you aren’t that familiar with my work.

Playlist and videos after the jump.

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From The Desk Of Bob Schneider: “Lonesome Dove” By Larry McMurtry

Fourteen years removed from his major-label debut, Bob Schneider is still struggling to be heard. Does he care? You be the judge. Schneider will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

Lonesome Dove

Schneider: A short time ago, my drummer bought me a copy of Lonesome Dove and put it on my bunk on the bus. I have seen the mini-series, and I must admit, it’s probably my favorite made-for-television movie ever, but the thought of reading a Western was not something I was very excited about, so for about six months, it just sat there. Conrad kept asking me if I’d started the book, and maybe just to be nice, I decided to crack it one day, and basically from the first page through the rest of the book and the three subsequent books in the series, I was rocketed into a world unlike any I’d ever encountered before. The western frontier. It is my by far the most fun I’ve ever had reading anything. The characters in these books are mind-bogglingly huge. I was almost on the brink of tears when I finally finished it. I didn’t want it to end.

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From The Desk Of Bob Schneider- “To Kill A Mockingbird” By Harper Lee

Fourteen years removed from his major-label debut, Bob Schneider is still struggling to be heard. Does he care? You be the judge. Schneider will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

TKAM

Schneider: I’m sure most people have to read To Kill A Mockingbird in high school at some point, but I never did, and it was one of those that just slipped through the cracks, I guess. I never read it, and when I’d see it at a bookstore, I never thought to buy it because it looked antiquated and like a total sleeper, but for some reason or another, I picked up a copy of it recently and read it and was totally bowled over by how fantastic the book was. It’s as fresh as if it had been written this year. One of the great reading experiences of my life. Highly recommended.

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From The Desk Of Bob Schneider: Salt Lick BBQ In Austin, Texas

Fourteen years removed from his major-label debut, Bob Schneider is still struggling to be heard. Does he care? You be the judge. Schneider will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

BBQ

Schneider: Texas BBQ is some of the best in the world, and Austin and the surrounding areas are no exception to that. There are a handful of places here in town that beat most BBQ, but my favorite of the bunch, both for how good the food is and how totally Texas the atmosphere is, is The Salt Lick. My recommendation is the pork ribs and turkey, but it’s all good. The sides are the best, and the cobbler and pecan pie is no joke.

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From The Desk Of Bob Schneider: Tombo Pocket Bass Harmonica

Fourteen years removed from his major-label debut, Bob Schneider is still struggling to be heard. Does he care? You be the judge. Schneider will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

Pocket Bass

Schneider: Ever since I was a kid, I was thoroughly mesmerized by the Sanford And Son theme song. I didn’t find out until years later that the instrument that was responsible for the sound coming out of my TV was a bass harmonica. I was super bummed out though when I found out that those instruments start at more than a grand and can go up to two or three grand. Anyway, when I found out that Tombo started making one that was less than $200, I immediately ordered one and have been loving it ever since.

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