I was really excited when I saw Counting Crows are releasing a live CD/DVD/Blu-ray containing a complete performance of their landmark debut August And Everything After, an album that dates back to an important time for me and one that continues to be an important part of my musical universe.
No revisionist history here, though. When Counting Crows hit the scene in 1993, I didn't get it. Not quite. I was transitioning out of the fun, silly hair metal into the aggressive, primal grunge scene. Counting Crows didn't fit that landscape for me and I wasn't sure what to make of vocalist Adam Duritz's voice or his lyrics. I liked things about "Mr. Jones" and "Round Here" but there was something impenetrable about those songs. It would be a few years later before I finally "got" it.
Recovering The Satellites and "A Long December" were my entry points for Counting Crows in '97 or '98 while in college and I spent a lot of time talking to a couple friends who had jumped on the bandwagon with August. After a lot of discussion with them, I picked up both records and began trying to absorb what was there. I was older, my musical universe had broadened, and I was ready. These were the right records at the right time for me.
I can't tell you what they're all about, every song on these records. I can try and tell you what they evoke for and awaken within me.
I love every song on August but for me, "Round Here" is where it's at. There is so much happening. It is an incredible narrative and there are so many vivid details and you see the world through different points of view. They've recorded great songs and made great records since but "Round Here" is one of those things you don't ever best, no matter what comes later. It's kind of like Tom Petty and "American Girls" on his debut (not to be confused by the excellent CC song by the same title). Petty obviously made great records and songs after his debut, but can you ever really top something like that? I'm not sure you do.
I'm so ready for that live set to drop in (when else?) August!