I recently had my mind blown when learning that The Mountain Goats would be performing in Montreal (on the very day I learned it in fact). I then saw the most amazing show of my life. An artist deeply in love with every single chord and word emmanating from his mind. Songs about people you’d never want to meet or be, people you already love.
There’s a kind of stigma that exists around man+guitar acts, I guess it’s a combination of all the cheezy folk stuff out of the sixties and the mildly-retarded emo stuff that hit MTV recently. It’s like you have to be pretentious to think that you don’t need backup or something, maybe there’s some of that here, but there’s also a crushing humility. When he thanks the crowd, he means it, when he tells a story, it’s for the story’s sake, not his own.
Further, they have the good sense to make recordings of their live performances sharable, and thus available at Archive.org. The Village Tavern recording is particularly good and fun, and could easily be said to include “the hits” (it’s available free and in all kinds of formats at that link, banter included).
life is too short to let it go to waste like this,
but i never tasted jam before that tastes like this.
and life is too short to refrain from eating jam out of the jar.
-The Mountain Goats, Jam Eater Blues