Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Idaho: Land of Enchanted Potatoes


I couldn't be more stoked about the fact that you have actually produced musicians, and musical acts, both born and formed within your borders. Seriously, Alaska, Idaho could teach you a thing or two...

Admittedly, there's not MANY, but of the three I found, I actually listen to two of them regularly, and I'm adding the other to my long, long list of stuff to purchase. Kudos Idaho, you don't have to worry about being traded for a foreign land...

However, before we move on to the music, we owe Idaho a little attention, after all, they bring us potatoes, and they keep Montana from poking at Washington...

What's Wikipedia have to say about Idaho? Well I'll tell you...

- Idaho borders all sorts of stuff... To be specific, six states and one Canadian Provence. These are Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, and British Columbia.

- Once Alberta completes their plan to storm and conquer the BC town of Yahk, then they'll have another border partner to the great white north.

- If BC comes asking, you didn't hear about Alberta's plan from me...

- Hopefully they are prepared for the roof-goats...

- Excavations in Idaho caves have produced evidence that humans have been inhabiting Idaho for over fourteen thousand years.

- Larry King has confirmed it.

- There are disputes about the origin of Idaho's name, but many people think it was just made up by an eccentric lobbyist. This further strengthens my call for the state of Whoosl'efoos.

- The population of Idaho is 96% Caucasian, explaining they're preponderance for voting Republican.

- Idaho has three counties with over 100,000 residents, but millions upon millions of potatoes.

- By comparison Whoosl'efoos (AKA California) has sixty-seven CITIES with populations over 100,000, eleven of which are larger than Idaho's largest county, home of the capital city of Boise.

- MY city would be the 2nd most populated COUNTY in Idaho

- FYI, Idaho's pretty lightly populated... If you were wondering...

- The city of Moscow, Idaho is the home of the University of Idaho, and the birthplace of our solo artist selection.

The Selections:

Solo Artist: Josh Ritter

If your not familiar with Josh Ritter, you should be. The son of two Idahoan neuroscientists, Ritter was destined for great things scholastically, until he was distracted by the siren song of the Johnny Cash & Bob Dylan collaboration 'Girl from the North Country'.

He promptly began writing music, releasing home-made records, and eventually found himself on The Late Show with David Letterman. While there, he sang the song 'To the Dogs or Whoever' from his 2007 album The Historical Conquest of Josh Ritter. I heard this song, purchased the album, have since purchased 2006's The Animal Years and must say he's the best non-Canadian performer I have ever discovered from watching late night television. So good in fact I was actually surprised to find out he WASN'T Canadian.

Josh Ritter is actually the reason for this list. I figured if Idaho can produce an artist with this level of talent, than ANY state can...

Screw you, Alaska...

Here's Josh giving the very performance of which I speak...

Band: Paul Revere & The Raiders

Kicks, like Idahoans, just keep getting harder to find, and while the lead singer and most recognizable face of PR&tR was vocalist Mark Lindsay, Paul Revere Dick, the band's 'official' founder and namesake was born in Idaho, which is where the band officially formed and began playing as The Downbeats, changing their name on the eve of recording their first single Beatnik Sticks.

Unfortunately for Revere, Lindsay, and the others that formed The raiders, they were recording hard edged garage rock in an era where studios and labels wanted farcical comedy acts to record syrupy sweet bubble-gum rock tunes. As a result, PR&tR got typecast as a pop-rock band, appearing routinely on Dick Clark produced music shows, acting out silly skits between rock numbers, complete with Revolutionary War outfits and powdered wigs. The shtick made the band some money, but it inevitably lead to their parting of ways.

Not until after they had released a track that Rolling Stone magazine stuck on their top 500 rock tracks of all time list, 1966's Kicks an anti-drug recording originally written for The Animals allegedly about the drug use of Gerry Goffin, a songwriter best known for working with, and at one time being married to fellow Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Carole King.

In their later years, PR&tR scored another hit, this time as just The Raiders (and realistically, just as Mark Lindsay) with Indian Reservation, often known as 'Cherokee People'. This was the last hurrah for the group, with it's few remaining members parting ways not long after. Mark Lindsay still works in music, having scored films, and written jingles for commercials and DJing a late night music show in Portland, OR.

Here's Paul Revere & The Raiders performing Kicks

And just The Raiders with Indian Reservation

Honorable Mention: Built to Spill

I know very little about Boise indie rock band Built to Spill, but I feel like I should.

They're fro0m the 90's, the perform indie rock, they have performed at both Lallapalooza, and more recently at SXSW, and have cited Camper Van Beethoven nee Cracker and Dinosaur Jr. as influences. They are officially getting added to the 'stuff I need to buy' list.

The Wiki tells me they have released 2 indie albums and 4 Warner Brothers albums since 1993, the most recent coming in 2006. They are still together touring and recording and I'm sure I've heard them on a KEXP podcast as they've played in Seattle, and anything indie that's played in Seattle ends up on KEXP.

Here's Built to Spill playing what I assume is one of their more popular songs, Car complete with footage of old cars, put together by a talented youtube patron with limitless time on their hands.

Next up, the Land of Lincoln, home of the Windy City, and baseball's most lovable losers. Illinois, here I come!

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