Songs of Autumn
The seasons are changing, you can feel it in the nights, and smell it during the evening, the “Sonoma Aroma” that is a mix of the traditional manure spreading, the fermentation of the grapes, and the latest Sonoma crop to be harvested, no, that’s isn’t skunks your smelling, it’s cannabis.
The second equinox of the year, which happened on September 22 this year, signifies the crossing of the sun across the celestial equator, and many festivals occur around the world in celebration. The “Harvest Moon” makes an appearance as well soon after the sun sets, enabling the bright moonlight to help farmers finish their harvest.
Many songs and folklore exist around the changing of the season, around the world and in many religions, so we’ve decided to come up with eight of our picks to, well, harvest by.
8) November – Tom Waits: Tom Waits has one of those voices that is unique in every way, sultry, salty, whiskey toned; there’s really no one like him. Born in Pomona, Ca. on Pearl Harbor Day, 1949, Waits is now a Sonoma County resident, and even has a room named after him at the famed Prairie Sun recording studios in Cotati. Waits released this song in 1993 on “The Black Rider” album, that was partially recorded at Prairie Sun. The song is short, with a haunted vibe of a female howling throughout the track. “November has tied me, to an old dead tree, get word to April, to rescue me.” Yikes.
7) September Song – Frank Sinatra: An American pop standard song composed by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson and debuted by Walter Huston in the musical “Knickerbocker Holiday” in 1938, and has since been recorded by just about every crooner since then, including Bing Crosby, Pat Boone, Mel Torme and more, along with pop artists Lou Reed and Jeff Lynne among others. Sinatra liked it so much he recorded it three times, in 1946, 1962 and 1965.
6) September – Earth, Wind and Fire: “Do you remember, the 21st night of September? Love was changing the mind of pretenders, while chasing the clouds away.” Earth Wind and Fire sure does, as the song hit number one on the Billboard top 100 in 1978. The record label liked it so much, they re-recorded it and changed the title to “December” and the date to the “25th”, with the rest of the words and music unchanged. Recorded many times since, and not much by American artists, but worldwide, the song is still a staple of dance bands to this day.
5) Seasons of Wither – Aerosmith: Released in ’74, the song was one of the first rock power ballads that set the stage for the rock and metal eras to follow. Aerosmith’s career started off slow, big on the East Coast, but slow to make it out to the west. We recall first hearing of the act when a friend who had moved here from Boston raved about them, so we had no choice but to listen, as that’s all she played. Perseverance is hardly the word to describe the band, but after 47 years of touring, performing, fighting, breaking up and enduring countless musical genre changes around them, the band consists of the same five members that started the band back in Boston. Just another band out of Boston? You could say that.
4) Harvest Time – Luke Bryant: Released in 2011, the song has just about every country music cliché in its lyrics and represents the “New Country” sound that has taken over the genre in recent years. The official video could be a John Deere advertisement, with visions of tractors, grain silos and trucks a-plenty. “It’s harvest time in this little town, time to bring it on in, pay the loans down, fill the diesel tank up, and make another round, there’s a big red moon coming up in the sky.” The only thing missing is the dog.
3) Indian Summer – Poco: The title track of the ’77 album, was the last before Timothy B. Schmidt left to replace Randy Meisner in the Eagles, who he also replaced in Poco years earlier. The song has a decidedly Eagles vibe and you can hear what Schmidt added to the Eagles when he arrived. “There’s a full moon in the sky, it’s got a hold on me, I’m hypnotized. Like your love it’s getting stronger, please keep my heart a little longer.” Perfect.
2) Cold November Rain – Guns and Roses: One of the most ambitious undertakings from the most popular rock act of its time, the “Use your Illusion I and II” albums released in ’91 and subsequent tour essentially marked the beginning of the end of the band as known, disbanding after the tour in ’93. Lawsuits, drug use, personnel changes and bad decisions by just about all involved doomed the act, but not before they recorded their most epic album since the band’s debut in ’87. “Cold November Rain” was the longest song to ever enter the Billboard top 10 singles chart, topping out at number 3. Yes, even longer than Freebird. The video alone had a budget of over $1 Million and plays like a short movie. Whether or not we had just stopped watching MTV by then or they had stopped playing videos, we first saw the video only five years ago or so. If you have not seen it, check it out on Youtube. “Nothin’ lasts forever, and we both know hearts can change, and it’s hard to hold a candle, in the cold November rain.”
1) Harvest Moon – Neil Young: You had to know this one would be on the list somewhere, and having been a fan of Neil Young basically since the first time we heard ‘Old Man,” it lands number 1 for us. Much like Waits above, there are many that will say Young’s voice matches the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard, but we beg to differ. Released in ’92, it was the 20th studio album released by Young and was also the title track of the album. The album reunited many of the performers from the ’72 release “Harvest,” including Nicolette Larson. “Because I’m still in love with you, I want to see you dance again, because I’m still in love with you, on this harvest moon.” We heard you singing those words.
On a personal note, and we likely could have included a number of his songs in this list, the world lost an American music icon this week with the passing of Tom Petty. In our mind, easily one of the top three songwriters of this generation. Our thoughts go out to all that loved him and his music, which to many, became the soundtrack of their lives.
Set List – The Rudown
B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille, 400 First St. E. Sonoma, 938-7110
Tonight, Oct. 6: DJ Willie. 9 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 7: DJ Tamayo. 9 p.m.
B. R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Hwy. Glen Ellen, 800-330-4064
Sunday, Oct. 8: Bray. 2 p.m.
Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, Oct. 6: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.
Glen Ellen Fair, Arnold Dr. Glen Ellen
Sunday, Oct. 8: Ten Foot Tone. 1 p.m. The Illegitimate AC/DC. 2:30 p.m. the Jami Jamison Band. 4 p.m. Plus on the second stage: Radar, the Trips, RockCats.
Gundlach Bundschu Winery, 2000 Denmark St. Sonoma, 938-5277
Sunday, Oct. 8: Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions. 7 p.m.
HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Tonight, Oct. 6: Charley Paul 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 7: Vardo. 1 p.m. Alec Lytle and Them Ryders. 8 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 8: Garrin Benfield. 1 p.m.
The Laugh Cellar, 5755 Mountain Hawk Dr., Santa Rosa, 843-3824
Sunday, Oct. 8: Full Circle. 12 p.m.
Murphy’s Irish Pub, 464 First St. E. Sonoma, 935-0660.
Tonight, Oct. 6: Jeff Falconer. 9 p.m.
Muscardini Cellars, 9380 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, 933-9305
Saturday, Oct. 7: “Simmer Down Saturday” with the Jami Jamison Band. 6 p.m.
Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Tonight, Oct. 6: Ryan Tatarian and Matt Silva. 6:30 p.m.
The Reel Fish House and Grill, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Saturday, Oct. 7: Benyaro. 8:30 p.m.
Sonoma Plaza, 1 Broadway, Sonoma
Saturday, Oct. 7: Oktoberfest with Loosely Covered, the Mayra Project, the Cannon School of Music. 2 p.m.
Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, Oct. 6: Bruce Gordon and Jodi Stevens. 6:30 p.m. the New Copasetics. 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 7: Full Circle 5 p.m. Scarlett Letters. 8 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 8: King Daddy Murr and the Prince of Thieves. 5 p.m. Acoustic Blues Jam. 8:30 p.m.
Sonoma Valley Regional Library, 755 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 996-5217
Saturday, Oct. 7: Daniel Bennett Group. 2 p.m.
The Starling Bar, 19380 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma, 996-3055
Tonight, Oct. 6: “John Arntz’s Epic Birthday Party” with the Mesopotamian, Sonoma Sound Syndicate, the Mark Larson Band and the Alternatives 9 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 8: John Paul Hodge. 9 p.m.
If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it. firstname.lastname@example.org