A Good Read, a Good Listen, and a Good Drink: Nate Burrell


It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.

Inaugurating the series is photographer Nate Burrell. An Ohio boy who now makes his home in St. Louis, Nate takes primo shots of exceptional musicians, sometimes as they work the stage and sometimes away from the stage, in more relaxed moments. Regular readers will have seen some of his shots of mr. Gnome and JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, as well as his personal favorites of 2010, graciously shared on this site. Nate has his own site, Before the Blink, featuring some of his beautiful work.

And he’s just a hell of a guy. Take it away, Nate…


Good Read:
The Tao of Wu (by RZA) — a really solid read that has a unique way of telling a story page after page that is some parts philosophy, other parts autobiography, with a healthy dose of street knowledge, interpretations of clarity, and tales of everyday life from an extremely talented and insightful man who has certainly walked both sides of the line.


Good Listen:
I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die (various artists from the 1959-1960 Southern Journey Field Recordings by Alan Lomax) — Alan Lomax, who is one of the most important preservationists of American Music, turns in an absolute gem on this 15 song LP. With an extremely raw sense of capturing the soul, love, pain, and yearning from the instruments and voices of folks ranging from Pentecostal choirs to farm hands to prison groups, this album also includes the first known recordings of Fred McDowell, and also documents the first time that field songs were recorded in stereo. The quality is superb, the music is honest, and the feel of the record is timeless. Just a wonderful listen from start to finish.



Good Drink:
you can’t really go wrong with a nice and simple Whiskey & Ginger poured with a heavy hand into a rocks glass with a few ice cubes; I mean…it’s good in the summer and even tastier in the winter, so it’s got to be okay, right?


Photo credit: Corey Woodruff

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