On a gorgeous SXSW night in 2010, Glossary was performing an outdoor set during the Ninebullets.net showcase. As the crowded, tree-covered patio's patrons settled in for the set, the band finished a somewhat down-tempo, almost somber tune. While the name of the tune escapes my memory, the words of Glossary frontman Joey Kneiser that followed the song surely haven't. "That was a Big Star song. We just learned that Alex Chilton passed away tonight and that was for him."
The rest of the weekend would see many musical tributes to the influential and revered Big Star lead singer, but it was that first announcement and its absolute feel of sorrow that sticks in my memory.
Such worship of the Memphis legend isn't a surprise, especially given Glossary's home base of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In fact, it's that territorial element that helped foster such pride for Big Star's work in the heart of the band. "For any musician or music fan that grew up in Tennessee, there was no greater or more mythic of a rock band," Kneiser recently told us. "I grew up feeling like the South produced a band as good as The Beatles, and they came from just a couple hours down the road."
Given all of this, logic, art and emotion all make a rare, sensible intersection on the band's latest full-length album, the recently released Long Live All of Us. Boasting a hearty soulfulness that could only come from Stax-style horns and the band's ability to meld those into genuinely American rock, Glossary has seemingly topped their excellent Feral Fire album from last year.
Glossary will be playing the Doublewide on Sunday night, and it was all too easy to come up with a subject for an All Time Top Five in this case. After the jump, Kneiser gives us his All Time Top Five Big Star Songs.
"Thirteen" - "Thirteen" is one of my favorite songs of all time. It takes the innocence of youth and adds the mythology and romanticism of rock and roll. It captures a time when the world is small and simple, when the love of a pretty girl and your favorite band were all you needed to survive.
"The Ballad Of El Goodo" - I could hear this song a million times. Even in all of its numerous cover versions, I could never skip it. It also has one of my favorite Alex Chilton lyrics: "Guns they wait to be stuck by."
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"When My Baby's Beside Me" - You couldn't stop the groove of this song with a freight train. Hand claps! Multiple tambos!
"Feel" - "Feel" sounds like it could have been on Abbey Road. It's got those big Beatles harmony vocals. The horns in the bridge remind you real quickly, though, that you're in Memphis and not across the pond.
"Don't Lie To Me" - Loud guitars, gang vocals and a threatening message to an unfaithful lover? I think that's as close as you get to the definition of rock and roll.