Some artists carry stories in their songs, energy in each movement and worlds in their voices. It’s the type of thing you can’t really learn; it’s a natural talent for acuity and the ability to embody more than just the surface tensions of life’s parade. Grunge crooner and bonafide rock star Chris Cornell is the perfect example. The line between mimesis and the real life represented in Cornell’s music evaporate; you find yourself smack dab in the middle of whatever he is singing about.
I have been a Soundgarden fan forever and can remember the veils parting listening to “Black Hole Sun” and the claustrophobic yet warm and comforting “4th of July” from their Superunknown album on a bus ride in ninth grade, staring out a rainy window and having my own William Blake visions. Some people can’t write longform non-fiction because it takes forever and multiplying thoughts travel faster than they can make it onto a page or screen. If you take, for example, the acoustic song “Seasons” from the ’90s alt-rock staple Singles soundtrack, you don’t need things to be overly verbose like a hyper-descriptive Stephen King novel that could’ve been 300 pages shorter.
The vibrancy and weight of experience lives in Cornell’s music and fills in the blanks for you.
Cornell is making a stop in Kingston at UPAC on Nov. 13. This is the first time U.S. fans will hear acoustic arrangements of songs from 2012’s critically-acclaimed King Animal, Soundgarden’s first new studio album in over 16 years. I’m also hoping he will dip into the Audioslave songbook and do a much better version of “I Am the Highway” than I sang drunk at Snapper’s once. Seeing Chris solo is worth every penny and he often throws cool curveballs, like when he covered “I Will Always Love You” after Whitney Houston passed. Hey, she was the ruling chart diva around the time the aforementioned Singles soundtrack crawled from the murk and introduced most people to Alice In Chains, Mudhoney and Soundgarden.
Autumn tone of the soul
Acacia Marie Fusco is a striking, waify and slightly intimidating (but actually easygoing) natural-born poetess who kind of floats around between the Hudson Valley and Brooklyn doing awesome things all the time.
“The Hudson Valley, especially our own little Woodstock/Kingston/Saugerties/West Hurley bubble, is one of the largest sources of inspiration of any. I mean, how lucky am I/we to have grown up here?” Acacia emphatically asks me. “It’s like no other place in the world and also fondly known around the world. I just have to say that I’m from Woodstock in any state or country I’ve been to and someone knows someone’s mother or cousin or they used to live up there and it’s always greatly admired. The beauty of the Catskills has moved me to tears many times.
“Maybe it has something to do with being an October baby, but the whole autumn tone is in my soul,” Acacia continues. “I couldn’t live without it and if there was no fall season, something would surely feel like it was missing. It’s an assuring feeling when this time of year comes around. It legitimizes the way it feels inside my head.”
Whether collaborating with someone like Garrett Klahn of Texas Is The Reason fame or slinging her own songs — of which she is currently composing a full new set — Fusco keeps it cool and dreamy.