Home / The Friday Morning Listen: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raising Sand

The Friday Morning Listen: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raising Sand

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For some time now, I've had this little ritual. On Friday mornings I attach special significance to the first CD that I play. Don't know why. It seems like a mini-commentary (in my head) on how things are going for me. Maybe it's that I'm psyched to be at the end of a good week..the end of a bad one..or the start of a (hopefully) good weekend. This has never been completely clear to me. So a while back I started posting these selections on my website as "The Friday Morning Listen".

I wrote those words on March 21, 2003. It was only my 28th post to Blogcritics. Five years later, and I'm still here. Five years of Fridays, yakkin' about that first record of the weekend. Honestly, I didn't think it would go on for so long. But there have been some changes that I just could not have foreseen. Most of those changes have come from inside of me.

See, it's like this. I never really started this blogging thing with any intention of becoming a writer. Truth be told, I was never very good at it. College, high school, grade school…any assignment that involved putting together more than a paragraph and I'd get that face like the kids in the movie A Christmas Story. Their teacher wants them to write "a theme" and…"ewwwweeeee!" That was me.

That was me. I try not to make that face anymore.

I guess it was those twenty-something years post-college, ingesting book after magazine article after Internet post — somehow, that activity made the right brain parts click into place. Even though I had some things to say about music, it wasn't like I came out of the gate an instant Lester Bangs. No, it all felt a little weird and it was hard to shake off the timidity.

And then…somebody would refer to me as a "writer." It was embarrassing. Me? C'mon, you're kidding me, right? It took several more years to grow into it. One day though, it felt just about as comfortable (and necessary!) as breathing and eating. I began to think that maybe I'd wasted a couple of decades as my true calling had finally made itself known.

All of these internal changes transpired during the lifetime of this weekly column. Initial entries were very sparse and sometimes even a little cryptic. I began to realize that music informed many more areas of my life and started to open up more, writing about work, relationships, and a host of other topics. It really took on a life of its own. Five years! How did that happen?

My pre-writing self could never have imagined writing at all, never mind contributing to Blogcritics, fashioning relationships with publicists, sifting through review material, being asked to write for jazz.com…none of it.

So what does the future hold? Lot's of things. This column isn't going away any time soon, and maybe there will be a Friday Morning Listen, The Book. We'll see.

In any event, I sincerely hope you've enjoyed the reading, because I've had a blast with the writing.

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About Mark Saleski

  • Eric Gagne

    Saleski! You old so and so. This was in its early stages when we met in the record store. Talking about Brotzmann’s “Machine Gun” and Jackio-O Motherfucker. And of course, the English incident. Kudos man. I always read it.

  • “…I have no idea what kind of a writer I am, except that I do know that I’m good and lots of people read whatever it is I do, and I like it that way.” (Lester Bangs, 1980)

    “…Somebody would refer to me as a “writer.” It was embarrassing. Me? C’mon, you’re kidding me, right? It took several more years to grow into it. One day though, it felt just about as comfortable (and necessary!) as breathing and eating.” (Mark Saleski, 2008)

    Dude, you are channeling!

    Congrats on the journey thus far, Saleski… may you keep it going like a porn star in their prime!

  • Happy five Mark. I look forward to reading your column every Friday morning. It always makes for an interesting, funny and insightful read. What would M.Sahm and I do without your support…? And thanks for the “cue angelic choir”. 😉

  • “maybe there will be a Friday Morning Listen, The Book.”

    Interesting idea.

    btw, I don’t mind one-off projects by Plant if they sound this good. It was one of the best albums of 2007, much better than “Magic.”

  • Well done, Saleski. I know I haven’t read all five years worth but I’ve certainly hit my share of them. I love the idea of reading a collection of them bound together in book form.

  • thanks everybody. really.

  • Five years? Wow. That’s amazing, and I think I’ve read just about every one of them, too. Always a good read. One of BC’s best features, for sure.

  • Happy Five! Stunning to think of the variety in which you’ve fashioned these things: Ani DiFranco was your first, and now here’s Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. And in between has been…well, everything in between.

  • Hmmm…Lester Dean? Nice pseudonym…


  • “Dean Saleski”….has a nice ring to it, even though I know he’d rather be called “Lester” ;&)

  • Just to add to what I hastily wrote last night (I really WAS wondering what you thought of the Plant/Krauss cuz Ive kinda been on the fence about picking it up):

    I didn’t come to BC because of fml (I had my own reasons having to do with reawakening my own inner-writer, which thankfully appear to have suceeded). But I have grown to look forward to reading fml each week just like the others here. I’ve also come to really apreciate the partnership we’ve forged (along with TJ) on the Tuesday New Album Releases. Hell, I’ve come to count on it actually.

    As the unofficial “dean” of BC writers, you are the gold standard here. Just don’t let it go to your head okay?

    So I’m raising my glass to ya Mark. Heres to many more years. Even if you do like the Grateful Dead….


  • The FML‘s are what first attracted me to this site and eventually led me to sign up as a…dare I say…writer for it. There’s no telling how many others have become regular readers to this sweet spot on the internet as a result of your Friday a.m. ruminations. Congrats and keep ‘um coming!

    As for Plant/Krauss, I hadn’t listened to it for a while and then I heard that tv spot you mentioned just the other day. More surprisingly, “Please Read The Letter” was being played at a Wendy’s I stopped at for lunch in Temple, TX yesterday. Still one of the best releases of last year.

  • i think this album is terrific. that song “Killing The Blues” just slays me, even if they did already sell it for use in a tee vee ad.

    and of course, i picked it because it’s another musical outcome that i wouldn’t have imagined would have happened.

  • JC Mosquito

    Krauss/Plant is a fine album, marred only by the spectre of Robert Plant having to choose between touring with AK or the reformed Zeppelin. It’s hard to listen to, knowing it might just be another one-off Plant project, like the Honeydrippers, or unLeded or Clarksdale (yes, that’s a two-off, but you get the drift).

  • Mat Brewster

    Woo hoo! Happy anniversary (or whatever you say for these things.)

    Truly you’re one of my very favorite blogcritics (or any critic, or any music writer for that matter) and I always look forward to Friday just to read the column.

  • Happy 5th Mark. And heres to another 5 (at the very least).

    So how did you like the Plant/Krauss record anyway? Just wonderin…