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July 29, 2011

Note Books - Jeremy Benson of The Roadside Graves

The Note Books series features musicians discussing their literary side. Previous contributors have included John Darnielle, John Vanderslice, Mark Olson, Mac McCaughan, and others.

Jeremy Benson is the guitarist for The Roadside Graves.

The Roadside Graves' latest album, We Can Take Care Of Ourselves, was released last week.

In his own words, here is the Note Books entry from The Roadside Graves' Jeremy Benson:

I've written numerous things for blogs and websites over the years to promote our albums, but something about this one made me more nervous than usual, I had to have a few glasses of Bulleit bourbon to get started. Then I gave up and tried writing it on a few cups of coffee in the morning. Finished it somewhere in-between.

I tend to read multiple books at once, and they have to be different kinds of books. I need multiple voices swirling around in my head with everything else. If I just have one writer's voice in there, sometimes he takes over. This happened to me with Henry Miller and my hair started falling out. I also like to throw the occasional gossip rag into the mix sometimes. I need to know about celebrity legs. I keep a book for the bathroom too, multiple books actually, to meet the unpredictability of what happens in there- right now it's Keith Richards' autobiography and Fritjof Capra's The Web of Life, which is about ecology. There's also a copy of William S Burroughs' Last Words: The Final Journals in there, just in case things take a turn for the worse.

Some other books I'm reading or recently read:

Nonfiction: Michele Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. It's the most damning critique of the War on Drugs that I've come across. Brutal and lucid.

Fiction: Cormac McCarthy's Suttree. It's like Huckleberry Finn meets Charles Bukowski. Life of a degenerate who lives in a shack by the river.

Short stories: "Short Cuts" by Raymond Carver. Movie's really good too and helpful in bored tour van games of 'six degrees of separation'.

Poetry: Shel Silverstein, all the time. What keeps me young.

Comics: I need to get into this but I'm not sure how. John and Rich from Roadside Graves are obsessed, and I generally try to like anything my friends like.

Throwaway: I read an interview with Tom Waits where he recommended a book of short stories by Breece D'J'Pancake. So I bought it, read some….wasn't into it at all, but that dude has the coolest name ever. Looks good on the shelf.

Spirituality/New Age/Self-help: Thich Nhat Hanh is my guy here. I particularly recommend The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching.

Essays: Reluctantly reading Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman. I'd always avoided his books because I didn't like the titles, but anyone who writes and thinks extensively about time travel and Billy Joel is ok by me.

The Roadside Graves links and free and legal mp3s:

Jeremy Benson's solo artist page
The Roadside Graves' Tumblr
The Roadside Graves' MySpace page

The Roadside Graves: 2010-08-28, New York [mp3]
The Roadside Graves: Daytrotter session (January 2010) [mp3]
The Roadside Graves: Daytrotter session (May 2011) [mp3]
The Roadside Graves: "Double Feature" [mp3] from We Can Take Care of Ourselves
The Roadside Graves: "Far and Wide" [mp3] from My Son's Home
The Roadside Graves: HearYa session [mp3]
The Roadside Graves: Lagniappe session [mp3]
The Roadside Graves: "Liv Tyler" [mp3] from You Won’t Be Happy With Me
The Roadside Graves: "Love Me More" [mp3] from We Can Take Care of Ourselves

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Note Books submissions (musicians discuss literature)

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (highlights of the week's comics & graphic novel releases)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (highlights of the week's book releases)
musician/author interviews
Soundtracked (directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists

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