Jack Endino
A view of Deep River. Krist Novoselic's column on music and politics runs every Tuesday on Reverb. Check back on Friday when he


Connecting the Dots: From Devendra Banhart to Bert Jansch to Jimmy Page

Jack Endino
A view of Deep River. Krist Novoselic's column on music and politics runs every Tuesday on Reverb. Check back on Friday when he writes about what he's been listening to.
I live in the hills of southwest Washington state. I love it out here, but it does require some sacrifices. Like, if you're out of something, it's best to do without at the moment than travel the distance to get it. This situation also affects my musical collaborations. When I was in Flipper, I would fly my Cessna down the coast to the Bay Area and stay a few days to practice with Steve, Ted, and Bruce. These fellows would, in turn, come up here and stay. But that ended, and I haven't had any collaborations since then. (Now I hear there's a drummer three valleys to the east--I need to check this out!) Anyway, as far as making music goes, I've been flying solo, so to speak, playing a lot of acoustic guitar here in my living room.

I've been delving into finger-picking, and it's been very satisfying. I'm used to listening to bass lines on the records I spin here in the house. But my ears are tuning into the stylings of acoustic players, and I want to share some of my favorites--and the great connections artists share regardless of the decades between the recordings.

Devendra Banhart: Listening to an artist like Devendra Banhart helps me appreciate the here and now. His work is a nice blend of heavy and whimsical. And it's great to see the thread of compelling guitar playing reach into the 21st century. Banhart's strings spool back to to someone who's influenced a lot of players.

Bert Jansch: Jansch started releasing music in the mid-'60s as part of the UK's progressive folk scene. Banhart appears on Jansch's 2006 work, The Black Swan, adding the vocals to the traditional tune "Katie Cruel." Banhart is a prominent freak-folkie, and the freaky backing vocals work very nicely! I first heard Jansch's recording of "Black Mountain Side," and thought it sounded like Led Zeppelin! But it's the other way around.

Jimmy Page: Page covers "Black Mountain Side" on Zep's first album. Page's solo acoustic piece is heavy on the Jansch feel, and it's great how it runs into that opening riff of the proto-punk "Communication Breakdown." Rock and folk united!

Here's where it all comes together. Devendra has this song called "Poughkeepsie" from the Rejoicing In The Hands. The song is dark folk/rock that's amped and haunting. It reminds me of a couple songs off Zeppelin III and IV - "Friends" and "Four Sticks. The unusual guitar tuning of "Friends" adds dissonance, enough to conjure some mysterious place.

As far as my describing music goes, perhaps I'm packing my bags for the misty mountain! This music is the soundtrack for the murky sloughs I dwell in. I'm just picking and grinning and watching the outcome of the UK elections. (Check out the Buck Owens guitar on that last link!)


The New Yorker's Hendrick Hertzberg on Proportional Representation (PR). Hertzberg is a longtime supporter of PR. This is a link to his blog where he writes about the UK election system relative to the situation in the US. There's a link to the chapter in his book Politics: Observations & Arguments; 1966-2004 Hertzberg is on the board of FairVote, a group that I currently Chair.

Sarah Lyall in New York Times writes about UK activists, mostly Liberal Democrats, demanding PR of House of Commons elections. Lyall writes another column about Single Transferable Vote - a voting reform that I have written about in my Seattle Weekly Columns.

#takeitback Twitter campaign for Proportional Representation in UK

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