Noir at the Bar Oxford 2

Noir at the Bar Oxford 2 is going down at Proud Larry’s on Wednesday, 5/6 at 9 pm. Such a killer lineup. Gonna be fun. If you live within ten hours of Oxford, you have no goddamn excuse not to be here for it.


Also, check out the new Broken River Books site. You can order Gravesend and Death Don’t Have No Mercy and other Broken River/Ladybox/King Shot titles directly from here.


Ideas for Reading Tonight

Oxford pals: I’m reading at Off Square Books at 5 tonight. Still trying to figure things out.

Ideas for reading:
1) wear “lucky” shoes
2) read a Michael Madsen poem to start
3) show them all my inventions
4) use the phrase “boner pies” at least five times
5) make a “connection” with other people who are dead inside
6) bring a small bag of garbage and go through it on stage
7) pretend my book is really heavy
8) lift everything around me that is kind of heavy
9) try to hide gas by making siren noises
10) get “whacked” on coffee
11) touch tongues with old guy in front row
12) talk about total loss of faith in God


Death in the World

I’m reading tomorrow at Off Square Books in Oxford. Signing starts at 5, reading at 5:30. I won’t go long and then we can head to the bar and get hammered flat as elephant shit. Folks who aren’t in Oxford: You can also get Death Don’t Have No Mercy¬†online via Square Books.

Thanks to Lori Jakiela for inviting me to read at the Pitt-Greensburg Writers Festival and to Lori and Dave Newman for setting up the East End Book Exchange event. I had the best damn time. Hung out with and met some great folks and was honored as hell to read with Stewart O’Nan, Lori, Dave, and Bob Pajich. I’m sure folks had a swell time at AWP, but I was really glad to be in Pittsburgh with new pals.

Also, Record Store Day is Saturday. We’ve got a lot of great stuff going on at The End of All Music (where I work part-time). Don’t miss it.


Upcoming Readings

Really excited to be reading at the Pitt-Greensburg Writers Festival with Stewart O’Nan on Thursday and at the East End Book Exchange with Dave Newman, Lori Jakiela, and Bob Pajich on Saturday. Thanks to Lori for inviting me. Rege Behe interviewed me for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in advance of the events. Thanks, Rege.

I’m reading in Oxford at Off Square Books on Wednesday, April 15 at 5PM. To hell with Tax Day! Come hear me read about rotten people on the ropes. I won’t go long! 10-15 minutes tops! And then we can go get drunk!

Also, Noir at the Bar 2 is happening in Oxford on Wednesday, May 6th. 9PM at Proud Larry’s. Mary Miller! Lisa Howorth! Melissa Ginsburg! Chris Offutt! Tom Franklin! Ace Atkins! Jack Pendarvis! Derrick Harriell! Tyler Keith! Jedidiah Ayres! Jimmy Cajoleas! Me!


Lost Days

Been writing about the Holiday Cocktail Lounge for a long time. First a failed novel when I was 21 and then a bunch of short stories that never went anywhere. I wrote a long essay a few years ago and junked it because it was all over the place. When I found out the Holiday had reopened under new ownership a few weeks ago, I went back to the essay, cut about ten thousand words, and wrote a bunch of new stuff. Here it is at Medium.

Also, a lost conversation I had with one of my favorite bands, Water Liars, is up at No Depression.



Bad Luck City

Here’s a Death Don’t Have No Mercy playlist I made for the Book Notes Series on Largehearted Boy. Always one of my favorite things to check out and to do. I started making notes for my Gravesend playlist the day I started the book. No shit. Same thing with the novel I recently finished. This collection was a little different because I wrote these stories over eight years and there were a wide range of musical influences and phases of listening.¬† I also mention a bunch of songs specifically, especially in the earlier stories, so it was impossible to get to everything. Instead, I aimed for some balance between songs that impacted the creation of the stories, songs that appear in the stories, and songs that match the tone of what I’m trying to do. My great hope in making a playlist is that folks will find something they’ve never heard before and go buy records; I really hope I can be responsible for someone picking up Tyler Keith’s Alias Kid Twist or the latest Jim Mize.


Meet Me Where We Survive


Hard to believe Jason Molina’s gone two years. No artist matters more to me. Here’s an essay I wrote the week he died.

A lot of people ask me where to start with Molina. Can’t really go wrong, but I usually point folks to the North Star Blues Session, a live set from a radio show in Belgium. It’s Molina at his rawest and most haunting.

Andrew Bryant, who put out one of my favorite records of the year, This is the Life, wrote a tribute to Molina over at Common Folk Music. Damn beautiful piece of writing.

And I just read about this book over on the Magnolia Electric Co. site and ordered it right away: Meet Me Where We Survive: Jason Molina Interviews, 1998-2002. Always good to have Molina’s words. Can’t wait for this to come in the mail. (There’s also info on a new tribute record called Through the Static and Distance.)

Last thing: Another favorite record of the year is Jake Xerxes Fussell’s s/t debut from Paradise of Bachelors. Here’s a profile I wrote of Jake over at No Depression: “The Dave Van Ronk of SEC Country.”

Hammer down, pals.


Terminal Hotel

I took this picture of the Terminal Hotel building in Coney Island in the spring of 2010. It was an actual hotel until the 1970s. Growing up, I was always in love with the signs and the boarded-up windows that remained (the upper floors were abandoned and the first floor was occupied by a series of restaurants). There was a bad fire in the building a few months ago, and it was demolished. The last story in my new book, “Here Come the Bells,” takes place at some mythical version of the Terminal (and takes its title from a Lou Reed song). I always looked at the place with wonder. I could go there and a whole story would just show up in my mind. That’s what I did with “Here Come the Bells.” I’m sad the building’s gone. I really loved it.