Probably one of the more disappointing experiences a cinephile can have is readily realizing that a movie that’s supposed to be taking place in a specific locale was in fact shot somewhere else (think Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx — I didn’t know there were mountains by the Grand Concourse.) It’s even more egregious when the entire plot centers around somewhere specific like Long Island.
Before Hollywood became ground zero for the movie industry, Queens was among one of the country’s major film production centers. So it’s no surprise that Long Island would provide locations ready to shoot at whether it was legendary silent film icon D.W. Griffith setting up shop in Valley Stream to shoot 1911’s The Stuff Heroes Are Made Of or Paul Robeson swimming ashore to Jones Beach from a steamship as the title character in 1933’s The Emperor Jones.
Recent film shoots have taken place in Old Brookville (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Old Westbury (the forthcoming Hard Sell), while Oheka Castle, the Hamptons and the recently-minted Grumman Studios in Bethpage have been the site of increased location shooting.
Sexy and Steely Dan are generally two words that tend to be mutually exclusive of each other. That is unless you’re chatting with soul man Mayer Hawthorne, whose latest album Where Does This Door Go, finds him incorporating that as part of his mission statement third full-length album. It is part of a vibe he manages to incorporate through these 14 songs that found him going from doing all knob twisting in the studio to working with a cadre of producers. Being as Hawthorne usually plays most of the instruments on his recordings, it was a strategy he wound up being well pleased by.
“It definitely took a lot of pressure off of me, made my job a lot easier and allowed me to take a step back from the production and really allowed me to focus on the songwriting,” he shared from a tour stop in Portland, Ore. “When you’re producing everything yourself, which I did on the first two records, sometimes you’re just so wrapped up in getting the greatest snare sound in the world that you forget about the song, which is of course the most important thing. Working with guys like Pharrell Williams, Jack Splash, Greg Wells and all these other legendary dudes definitely allows me to focus on the songs.”
Boozing it up as a musician is one of those rites of passage that creative types are supposed to partake in and for Jason Isbell, it’s one of those duties he was more than willing to execute throughout a career dating back to his time in y’alternative southern rockers The Drive-By Truckers. That is until future wife Amanda Shires took him up on one of his many offers to go to rehab. It’s a choice he embraced back in January 2012 and it has already yielded musical fruit in the form of the dozen songs that make up last year’s Southeastern. The Alabama native’s fourth solo album has struck quite a chord thanks to Isbell’s rich, character-driven mini-sagas embraced by predominantly acoustic arrangements. It’s deservedly wound up on numerous Best of 2013 lists and many are saying this may be his best solo outing to date. And while the idea of making music without knocking a few back might have been cause for concern, Isbell was pleased with how abstaining from alcohol affected his first post-rehab recording.
Before we get into it, I want to point out that this is a Kanye-free zone. How the incessant bloviating clatter that makes up Yeezus has caused critics to fall all over themselves to declare it the best musical release of 2013 makes it clear that my fellow scribes once again tend to show off their sheeple-like tendencies. I’m no better for giving this egomaniacal blowhard more coverage just by virtue of my disdain for what he represents in his continuous lowering of the bar of what’s considered creative talent.
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