Live and Loose!
MJ Lenderman And the Wind
“Loneliness is simple / not much else is,” MJ Lenderman sings with his band, The Wind, on his latest live album of songs, called Live and Loose! He has pretty lo-fi roots, but any musician that’s gonna make a splash has gotta get out there and tour, sometimes, it seems. And this raucous and heartfelt, 15 song outing, where they certainly let loose, takes from his whole catalog, but mostly his latest 2022 album, Boat Songs, which has a similar edgy feel to, and will certainly get more people out to see him and his band perform live.
The album is not a start to finish show, but tracks selected and arranged in a satisfying order, from his song about how Jordan picked Nike over Adidas, to the 1959 country ballad, “Long Black Veil.” The guitars, by Jon Samuels, and the pedal steel, by Xandy Chelmis, make it both ear assaulting and ear assuaging. It’s an hour long, about the time of a show in a bar, and FEELS live, with the raw takes and the sometimes minute long instrumental jams.
But as always, Lenderman’s songwriting steals the show. Whether it’s songs about wanting to be a “Catholic Priest,” so that girls don’t break his heart anymore and he gets rent free, furnished accommodations, or it’s songs about how his dad met “Dan Marino” in Harris Teeter, there is a charm and a humor and a humanity to much of his music. He rhymes words like “Disney World” with “dizzy girl” and he puts the finger on the pulse of certain feelings, like loss or annoyance (“How many more bug bites / and subtle misfortunes / can I withstand tonight?”).
We’re lucky to be out seeing live music after a couple of years inside. And this album will fuel the fire, not only to get out to a Lenderman show, when he comes to town, but just to go see live music, in general. It may one day become a classic, and captures live shows in a bit of a rawer and realer way than a lot of live recordings that you get these days. It’s a good introduction to his music, if you haven’t heard him before. And I’m sure it’s a real treat for the already initiated. Check out his record and catch him in a city near you, sometime in the near future.
Order Live and Loose by MJ Lenderman And The Wind HERE
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