The title of singer-songwriter, and leader of the indie rock band that bears his name, Joe Pernice's new novel invokes a sentiment commonly expressed by runners. Having not read the book yet, I'm not certain what exactly the author means by it, but I'm sure it won't be long until I find out. I had the opportunity to hear Pernice read a couple passages from It Feels So Good When I Stop last night when his recent book/music tour brought him to the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square.
It was an evening filled with vulgarity as Boston natives the Walsh Brothers opened with their tasteless but humorous comedy act. Then, Joe read a couple of f-bomb laden passages from his Hornsby-esque novel about an aimless 25-year old who abandons his wife after only a few days of marriage and retreats to his native Massachusetts.
The story, of course, includes numerous musical references, prompting Pernice's decision to record cover versions of ten of the songs mentioned in the book and release them as a soundtrack. Last night's show also included two brief sets of music, the first consisting of a handful of songs from said soundtrack, with Joe's own material comprising the second.
Pernice was noticeably much more comfortable playing music than he was reading his written material, but he still delivered on both accounts. Somewhat surprisingly, I was mildly disappointed that he didn't play more of the newer material, as normally—and I know I'm not alone here—I tend to prefer to hear more of the stuff I'm familiar with. Highlights for me were Dream Syndicate's "Tell Me When It's Over" and the Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham penned "I'm Your Puppet." I did really want to hear his version of Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got to Memphis," though.
Following the show, as he signed my copy of his book, I had the opportunity to briefly reminisce with Joe about the Wilco show in suburban Albany, 13 years ago, when I first discovered his old band, the Scud Mountain Boys. He made my evening when he asked if we'd ever met—which we hadn't until last night—but I suppose that maybe I looked familiar from the dozens of small club shows of his I've been to.
The brief taste of the novel that last night's show gave me has me excited to dive into it, something that I'll be doing on my upcoming trip to Portland, Oregon. I'm sure I'll also find the time to review a couple of brew pubs while I'm at it.
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