Late Nights Can Leave You Sleepy Eyed
If you hadn't noticed before - or read between the lines - we are essentially a group of music lovers just nerding out about music.
For us, the topic of music comes up constantly and is the main focus of nearly every conversation. The topic even permeates an ongoing group text message via iPhone. Somebody mentions some band or link and the conversation continues from there sometimes well into the night.
Tonight, Jeff sent a link that he heard about on the Postcard message board, a small corner of the internet that started in the early '90s as place for Uncle Tupelo fans to talk about their favorite band and the successive off-shoots - Son Volt and Wilco. The link was for a video posted below about the recording sessions of the 1995 Buffalo Tom record, Sleepy Eyed, at Dreamland Studios - a converted nineteenth-century church in Woodstock, New York.
This piqued my interest because Sleepy Eyed is my favorite Buffalo Tom record, and therefore I had to check it out post-haste. Diving in further, the video link led to Jeff and I sharing our top Buffalo Tom records, and continuing the conversation. (Mine are the aforementioned Sleepy Eyed, then Let Me Come Over, followed by Big Red Letter Day, their Self-Titled album, and their comeback record Three Easy Pieces rounding out the top five.) As you can see this can snowball. Tonight it did just that because as I write this it's nearly 2:30 a.m. and for two hours I've scoured YouTube, chatted, read others wax nostalgic, listened to Sleepy Eyed in its entirety via headphones a couple of times and now started to write.
After being learning about a little influential trio from Belleville, IL in the early '90s, Uncle Tupelo, it wasn't much of a leap to dig another powerful trio from Boston - Buffalo Tom. When the "alternative" music world blew up in the wake of the release of Nirvana's Nevermind, bands that had been on the radar of only college DJs and the cool kids suddenly became fodder for the mainstream.
The single "Sodajerk" from their 1993 album, Big Red Letter Day, brought me to the band originally. With radio play and an appearance in a television commercial for Nike, the album brought a larger notoriety to the small outfit. Others took notice and the band made a cameo as themselves on an episode of the ABC series "My So-Called Life" playing their broken-hearted lover's ballad, "Late at Night," while Jordan ignores Angela at the band's live show.
Subsequently, I caught the tours for both Big Red Letter Day and Sleepy Eyed when the band rolled through St. Louis and Mississippi Nights in 1993 and 1995 respectively and those concerts are still near the top of my personal list of favorite all time shows.
However, it was Sleepy Eyed - bulging at the seams with the excess of 14 songs the '90s CD era afforded - that stuck out as Buffalo Tom's most cohesive record and the one that I can listen to beginning to end effortlessly. Whether it was mostly live performances the band committed to tape or the ghosts that haunted that church graveyard paved over with a parking lot, the record continues to breathe life into me every time I put it on.
Sometimes, I wish other things in my life affected me as much as music does, but not much else gives me as much pure pleasure in this life and for that I am thankful.
Now, time to get some rest. My hunch is I'll need something stronger than usual after I wake up in the morning.
"Open up your sleepy eyes /cut off all your family ties / ain't it hard when you realize you're young." - Buffalo Tom "When You Discover"
Buffalo Tom - The Making of "Sleepy Eyed" (1995)
Buffalo Tom - "Summer" (Official Video, 1995)
Buffalo Tom - "Summer" (Live on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, 1995)
Buffalo Tom - "Clobbered" (Live on MTV 120 Minutes, 1995)
Buffalo Tom - "Tangerine" (Live on MTV 120 Minutes, 1995)
Bill Janovitz - "Crueler" (Acoustic at home, 2010)
Bill Janovitz and guest - "Kitchen Door" (Acoustic at home, 2010)