Review : Jay Farrar - One Fast Move or I'm Gone
PitchforkBig Sur was Jack Kerouac's post-fame novel. On the Road had turned him into one of the voices of his generation, and the demands of sudden celebrity were too much for him. Living in New York, he drank heavily and got jumped outside a bar, so he moved to San Francisco, where he continued to drink heavily. Finally he decided to sober up and remove himself from the society that wanted increasingly larger pieces of him, so he trekked out to Lawrence Ferlinghetti's cabin in the wilds of Big Sur, where he dried out in seclusion and tried to right himself. He also wrote a thinly veiled fictional account of his experiences-- about the big demons, like addiction and messing with his friend's mistress, but also about the simple pleasures of washing dishes and meeting donkeys in Bixby Canyon-- called Big Sur, which only furthered his celebrity.
Kerouac's sojourn to Big Sur is the subject of a new documentary by Curt Worden and a new album by Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard, both of which are titled One Fast Move or I'm Gone. The doc is a fawning appreciation of one of the most romanticized writers of the 20th century, and it never lets the actual man obscure the accepted myth of troubled genius. Farrar actually appears in the movie, performing "San Francisco" while seated on the floor of a hotel room next to an unmade bed, and the scene plays like his version of rock-and-roll fantasy camp. Even so, he and Gibbard approach the album less as a soundtrack than as a kind of Mermaid Avenue project, constructing songs from snippets of Kerouac's prose and setting them to languid acoustic arrangements....full text
Nprctober 13, 2009 - They'd never met until they discovered their mutual admiration for writer Jack Kerouac. Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie were both at a San Francisco recording session in 2007, working on music for a Jim Sampas documentary about Jack Kerouac. After completing that project, Farrar and Gibbard decided to work on some music based on words by Kerouac. They would choose Big Sur, Kerouac's 1962 novel, and write 12 songs. Together, they comprise One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur, available here in its entirety for the week leading up to its Oct. 20 release.
The bulk of the songwriting took place during a five-day burst by Farrar. Though Farrar has a library of Kerouac books, he'd never read Big Sur — a novel about an alcoholic who retreats to a cabin in Big Sur to dry out, only to find that he drinks because he has to.
After hearing the demos Farrar had written, Sampas looked for others to work on the musical project. Gibbard heard what Farrar was doing — taking Kerouac's words and putting them to song — and found himself more involved. Over the course of the next year or so, he'd contribute his voice to nearly half the songs on One Fast Move....full text
SpinThe Son Volt and Death Cab for Cutie frontmen (respectively) go spare on this tribute to Jack Kerouac's 1962 novel Big Sur, wedding text from the chronicle of a writer's alcoholic breakdown to simple melodies and instrumentation. Gibbard, who already wrote a terrific song inspired by Kerouac on Death Cab's Narrow Stairs, delivers a fey yin to Farrar's more downcast baritone twang, which means his contributions -- including the best of this bunch, "Willamine" -- feel lighter, even when the words aren't. A dark lark, but worth a listen....full text
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