Saturday, August 10, 2013

3 Chords & the Truth: Penny Park

Of Omaha indie artists of a certain age, Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame is the angst-filled young troubadour who escaped the shackles of the central Plains to become the toast of music lovers of a certain conceit.

He is the next Next Dylan. It was on the cover of the Rolling Stone or something.

Matt Whipkey -- of Anonymous American and Whipkey Three note locally -- still works his day job teaching guitar at Dietze Music. Playing gigs, recording albums and releasing them himself, he does on his own time.

And dime.

"Working Class Hero is something to be."

But here's the thing: Oberst, the next Next Dylan, might -- just might -- someday write a song as damned good as "Sunshine" if one day he gets over himself. Or gets a hold of himself -- one or the other.
She wants the sunshine, summer 1989,
Oh, not the half life, a second husband's second wife

"SUNSHINE" is the last song on Whipkey's new double-album, a pink-and-turquoise vinyl masterpiece, Penny Park: Omaha, NE: Summer 1989. And we're featuring that and "Waterslide" -- the Alpha and the Omega of Penny Park -- on 3 Chords & the Truth this week.

Penny Park is the mysterious beauty every 17-year-old lusted after (and was intimidated by). The story, and the LP, begins in the summer of 1989 at Omaha's historic Peony Park amid the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Galaxy, the Royal Grove and the massive swimming pool.

The story ends years later, with a drunken Penny crying in her car in the supermarket parking lot where Peony Park once stood. Life has been no thrill ride, and Cass Street at 78th has become just another boulevard of broken dreams.
She was the sunshine,
She was the sun
NOT MANY songs move me to the point of tears. This is one. We all have regrets, and none of us get out of this world unscathed.

Sometimes, though, a good record can help. Listen to this week's Big Show, and then go buy a double shot of memories, emotion and perspective. The 17-year-old within will be glad you did.

And did I mention you should listen to 3 Chords & the Truth? I did? Good. My memory's not what it was 35 years ago . . . or what it was in 1989, either.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

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