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Show #054: Jethro Easyfields

By: Darrin Snider (darrin at indyintune dot com)
Friday, September 11, 2009 7:00:00 PM

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Sometimes, despite being entrenched in various attempts further and promote the medium to the layman, I really regret the relative youth and instant accessibility of podcasting.  There just isn't the history or massive, undiscovered, forgotten areas to explore the way there is with something as all-encompassing as music.  Case in point, last night I had drinks with two of the big innovators in podcasting, Scott Sigler and Matt F-in Wallace.  They are terribly nice, accessible guys who post a Twitter that they're coming into town, and instantly 30 people show up at a bar to chat and toss back a few (everyone else looked at us like we were a traveling leper colony).  While we were there, we discussed all of the various things we've done over the years and where you can go to download them.  Suddenly, it dawned on me:  This digital age isn't all it's cracked up to be sometimes.  I mean, I'm never going to have the joy of trawling through garage sale boxes looking for old mono pressings of Accident Hash (to say nothing of the infamous "Barber Cover" depicting CC Chapman covered in hair taking scissors to a Barbie Doll's golden locks).  I'll not be making a pilgrimage to Binghampton, New York, interviewing convenience store clerks and school teachers, looking for that minute piece of previously-uncovered trivia that will allow me to completely change my approach to podcasting and hopefully write the definitive Encyclopedia of Schwagcast some day.  There will never be a six-disc official anthology release of all of those old alternate takes of Mothpod episodes that I've had on a scratchy Belgian bootleg vinyl since '79.  My grandchildren will never stand in line to pay $299 for the "Ultimate Boxed Set" of 256-bit remasters of Evil Genius Chronicles because Dave Slusher's cough at 14:58 of Episode #72 "has a much richer tonal quality" than it does on the old 128-bit versions I grew up with.  Our sphere is pretty much 100% out there. Our heroes are a bit less-legendary; our history, a bit shorter; our genre-altering revelations, a bit fewer and further between -- and it's probably going to stay that way.  

This is probably why I think my guest on this episode is totally cool.

When talking to musicians around Indianapolis, one hears a lot of stories -- you might even say legends -- about Jethro Easyfields.  He's been a staple of the local scene for decades, and when he's not actively playing around town, he can invariably be found in New Orleans, Phoenix, or elsewhere, looking to expand his own musical vocabulary and bring that experience back and add it to the collected pool of talent here in his home state.   That vocabulary, by the way, now easily slips back and forth between rockabilly, blues, folk, rock, country, Americana and several other genres. 

His latest CD, Elixir, is a combination of new tunes and old favorites performed in his living room by an assortment of his "collected" friends (called "The Arrowheads").  This isn't a basement tape from a bunch of DIY kids, though (and, no, I have nothing against that scene; I've even featured it on this show more than once).  These are quality session and live players you know from top acts around town and elsewhere, getting back to the basics, but still keeping it professional.  Scott Kern's production work is masterfully done, but at the same time intentionally unalloyed and organic, with most songs being done in just a couple of takes.  As such, Elixir showcases Easyfield's natural abilities, energy, and diversity in both performance and songwriting -- a fitting representation of an artist who once made his living playing street corners for change.  

Links referenced in the show:               

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Show #053: Smoke Ring
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Show #055: Lost Kauze


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