I dropped in to the The Drop last night. The Drop is a new, and quite interesting, program at the Grammy Museum. It’s sorta like a musician’s version of Inside the Actors’ Studio or Spectacle minus Costello. Each session has a museum official talking to a musician who has a new album coming out. In the previous week, Nanci Griffith, Rhett Miller and Mandy Moore all dropped in for an evening of talk and music.
Tonight it was Marshall Crenshaw, with the host being the museum’s executive director Robert Santelli, who also happened to have gotten to know Crenshaw “back in the day” when he was a journalist and Crenshaw was the talk of the New York rock scene. Tonight’s conversation, however, focused on his new disc, Jaggedland (429 Records).
A sly conversationalist, Crenshaw did drop fascinating tidbits about his creative process. Like how hearing Rosemary Clooney’s rendition of “Mood Indigo” served as an inspiration for the song “Sunday Blues.” Or how, when collaborating with songwriter Kelly Ryan on “Passing Through,” he eliminated her references to urban life and told her to write about what she saw outside her window in Ireland. He had some cool anecdotes about growing up outside of Detroit, watching Buddy Holly on Ed Sullivan and praising the mostly forgotten ‘50s rock n roller Jack Scott.
Besides the tunes mentioned above, Crenshaw also played other songs from his new disc, which served to whet my appetite for hearing the real thing. After an audience Q&A session, Santelli requested Crenshaw close with the evening with an oldie – “Someday, Someway.” Crenshaw earlier had alluded to early career snafus and how there are some songs that he doesn’t play anymore because hold bitter memories. Happily, the sublime “Someday, Someway” isn’t one of them.