I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, but I like to think that I grew up in Indiana. College and graduate school and the years after: that's when you do your real growing. I never long for Ohio: never think of it as home; but every once in a while, I think Bloomington could pull me back. I spent a lot of active time on the streets of Bloomington. I rode a lot of miles on my bike, and ran a lot of miles on my feet, and walked my dog all over that town. I remember the first time I saw "Elephant Micah" advertised on the marquee at The Bishop--a small music venue on South Walnut Street. I thought it was a funny name: my name. But I never managed to get to a show. I saw the name several more times, and even planned to go when Elephant Micah was on tour with Magnolia Electric Company, but our worlds never did collide, exactly. Nevertheless, I feel like I've been a fan from afar for several years. And just now, I was blown away with the single, Pearl Bryan. Songs like this sound like southern Indiana: narrative songs. Long, slow songs that ache. Murder ballads. Joseph O'Connell is Elephant Micah, and he has a beautifully simple voice. The story he tells is true: about a woman from Indiana who was killed--decapitated--and the men who hanged for the crime. They were the last men hanged in Newport, Kentucky. The sadness here is real: it echoes and echoes until there's a small sense of calm.
Mumford & Sons' new album "Wilder Mind" is really solid. If you think these guys only have one song, this album might change your mind. They're like the author we all want to be: instantly recognizable, but always doing something slightly new. (Actually, the author I want to be just plays the drums really well, so they're that, too). I feel like this band is sentimental for a lot of people. They make me think of Indiana. They make me think of one of my best friends who loved this band and left us way too early--that guy lived his life with the windows all the way down. "The Wolf" is great. "Monster" is great. "Hot Gates" is great. There are new beats here: I wish these guys were still playing small venues.