I took this photo when I attended Bonnaroo for the first time. My sister took me after my high school graduation. I was 18 years old and didn’t have a care in the world. This guy couldn’t have been much older then me and must have been tripping for the entire day. At his point he was praying for rain. Eventually the skies opened up and the festival became a sloppy mud pit.
Emmylou Harris famously got her big break singing back-up for Gram Parsons and she talks about that on the show today, as well as how she got — and handled — the news of his 1973 death from an overdose in Joshua Tree.
A number of years ago the poet Eileen Myles bought a Parsons album at Amoeba Records in LA and fell in love with the music she heard on it. A couple years later, she wrote this great piece for Coldfront Magazine about that album and her Johnny-come-lately love for the guy and the stuff he made.
I had a friend in high school also named Eileen and she was always several steps ahead of me in terms of music. She loved music and was also obsessed with cute boys and Gram Parsons was one and I remember her talking about him in the late 60s I guess when he was still alive. His name has simply bobbed around in my memory for about 38 years till I was walking through Amoeba one aimless spring afternoon. It was one of those special CDs the staff picks. I picked up Gram Parsons, finally: who is this guy, and agreed with Eileen like it was yesterday yes he is very cute. Gram Parsons in the accompanying CD pamphlet is sitting in ruffled shirts looking gorgeous and dizzy and drunk. There’s all goofing around pictures in there like he’s one of your friends. Really more fond than the standard butch presentation of rock and roll. He’s a little brother. Who fathered a lot.
The article also has some fantastic clips embedded, for what it’s worth.
This weekend I was lucky enough to attend Newport Folk Festival. It was easily the best music experience I’ve had in years! I didn’t enjoy any particular band, “the most.” Every single band was incredible. Every band played with such enthusiasm and sincerity. The crowed was gracious and funny and sweet. Here is a photo I took when Charles Bradley left the stage before his set was over to hug fans.