I find it more satisfying to post things about music, so instead of more liquor recipes and car porn, I’m going to tell you about some of my favorite songs. Hopefully you’ll check them out if you’re unfamiliar…
Big Country – “In a Big Country”
I honestly have no memory of hearing this song before hearing Moe. perform it at numerous festivals. I loved how it’s bright guitar sounds and guarded optimism complimented the sun and mud and rain at outdoor venues, so it stuck with me, and always evokes those memories. It also features one of my all-time favorite lines:
“I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,
but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime”
Pretty darn close to my own outlook on life, which is why I ultimately love this song.
Dream Academy – “Life in a Northern Town”
This is another song that I love because of a specific images it reminds me of, mainly of one of my favorite meteorological phenomenons: sunshine through the clouds during an afternoon shower. Although far from life in a Northern town, this song to me is memories of playing in backyard mud puddles with my brothers as children. Funny how art can mean things to people that were so different from how they were intended.
Enough of 80s one-hit wonders
My Morning Jacket – “Hopefully/Bermuda Highway”
Two of the best songs by one of the best bands of the last decade. Appearing back-to-back on their 2001 masterpiece At Dawn, these simple, quite gems compliment each other so much that they’re like two sides of the same coin. Clearly addressed to the same person, Jim James’ otherworldy voice communicates longing, hope and sexual desire so well that lyrics are almost unnecessary. This band has had a big impact on me in recent years – as a friend of mine so eloquently stated: “I got laid a lot more because of MMJ”
Time for another tearjerker…
Gillian Welch – “Annabelle”
The song that contains the words I’ve requested to be inscribed on my tombstone, Gillian’s heartbreaking story of poverty and the loss of a child is one of the most memorable and poignant songs of its kind ever written. I’d like to name a daughter after the song if I’m ever blessed with one, but I’ll probably end up getting vetoed…
Radiohead – “True Love Waits”
The definitive love song from our generation’s greatest band. What makes it so special is how different it is from everything else they’ve done. Memories…
Charlie Robison – “Photograph”
Pretty sentimental, but it really speaks to exactly how I feel about my family…
Bob Dylan – “The Times They are A-Changin’”
Maybe the best song ever written – take it away Bob…
The Knife – “Heartbeats”
Probably didn’t expect to see this one here. Jose Gonzalez does a great acoustic reworking.
CSNY – “Southern Cross”
My favorite classic rock song, nothing reminds me more of how much I miss the ocean. Also released right around the time I was born.
Bright Eyes – “First Day of My Life”
The song that will be played at my wedding, also one of my favorite music videos. The lyrical genius of Conor Oberst in a rare tender moment…
I liked writing this, so I may make this a recurring topic for future posts. Hope y’all enjoyed…
For JBID’s first restaurant review, I have chosen a new, off-the-beaten path choice rather than a landmark or personal fav. Having heard a minor buzz on the internets the last few weeks – and fighting a week’s worth of diet hunger – I decided to try Atlanta’s new Heirloom BBQ Market, located right outside the Perimeter towards Smyrna. Before I even arrived, I realized something this joint has working against it: it’s a bitch to find. Situated on an oddly-sloped access road off I-285, I passed by it not once but twice before I realized it was in the same building as a raggedy beer-and-cigarettes convenience store. Upon entering the tiny parking lot, however, there was little doubt what I was in for…
From the looks of the unpretentious exterior, one would think they were entering one of the thousands of hometown-crowd ‘cue shacks that dot the southeast like the aforementioned convenience stores, and offer about as much variety. That is, if one hasn’t already heard about what makes this particular shack not only unique in Atlanta, but in the country and possibly the world.
You see, Heirloom BBQ is a shockingly fresh concept in the barbecue sphere: a combination (fusion, even) of Asian and American styles, neatly packaged in lovingly familiar trappings. When you enter it’s one shoebox-sized dining room, you immediately notice the familiar sites: a chalkboard with the day’s specials, big jugs of lemonade and tea, and a middle-aged black woman with a diamond smile at the counter like you were just transported to South Texas. It’s not long, however, before you start to notice what’s different about this joint: for starters, mason jars filled with kimchi and bright-red Korean barbecue sauce gaze at you from beneath the menu counter. Next, you notice the mostly Asian cooking staff, possibly joined by former Korean pop star and current co-head chef Jiyeon Lee. Jiyeon’s influence is patent on the menu and daily specials: sweet Korean BBQ short ribs, a spicy pulled pork sandwich topped with Kimchi, and tempura fried sweet potatoes. I was sold before I got in line.
Tennessean chef Cody Taylor (right, obviously) brings the American half of this BBQ chimera with unpredictable flair. Tennessee, like Georgia, lacks a barbecue tradition that is wholly its own, which made Taylor a fan of all forms of barbecuing growing up. Lucky us. Furthering Heirloom’s inclusive charm, Texas beef briskets smokes sits alongside mustard-basted Carolina pork on Taylor’s hearty smokers, and can be savored next to a smoked sampler of boudin and andouille sausage straight from the Mississippi Delta. The ‘cue from the good ‘ole USA shines just as bright next to its exotic cousins…
As excited as I was at this point, I had no inkling what I was in store for…
Although I was tempted to go for the short ribs (which I quickly learned were sold out), I ordered what I usually order when trying a new ‘cue shack: pulled pork and/or chopped brisket. I believe these are the currency of good barbecue, the measuring stick by which establishments are measured. Saying this, Heirloom’s may be the best I’ve ever had. Granted, this is not traditional BBQ – the beef and pork are treated with a hint of soy which creates a electric flavor – so I can’t really compare it to the traditional greats. The first thing I noticed was how tender the brisket was – a fork slid right through it.
Heirloom boasts four unique sauces, and I went straight for the sweet and tangy “KB” variety, which complimented the pulled pork like magic, despite hailing from opposite sides of the globe. The tempura-fried sweet potato slices with soy sauce were one of the most interesting things I’ve ever tried, and almost stole the show from the meat. The only part of my meal that wasn’t eye-poppingly spectacular was the baked beans, which, honestly, what can you do to make baked beans interesting?
Before I was finished, I was already dreaming about future visits. The Texas Trinity (brisket, ribs and sausage), Louisiana sampler and Korean short ribs were dancing in my head. When I pushed away from the table, Jiyeon must have seen the look on my face, because she quickly asked, “how was it?”
“I could hug you,” I replied.
“You’re the second person today to say that!” She beamed, like a mother watching her child take its first steps.
If you live anywhere near Atlanta, you owe it to yourself to try this jewel of restaurant. You will be truly grateful you did…
I love jeans: they’re comfortable, versatile, long-lasting and uniquely American. Although I’ve succumbed to my fair share of trends over the years (distressed-as-hell stovepipes in the ’90s, overpriced Sevens and Citizens last decade), the one constant is that jeans remain a staple in my “freedom uniform” (what I wear when I’m not at work), almost to the point of being a second skin. I love how jeans evolve–part of the joy of owning jeans that aren’t pre-distrested is how how they eventually become something uniquely yours through the natural wear and tear process. Wallet marks, creases, rips and stains are much more interesting than those gaudy holes and cheap, tattered fabrics woven by machines in a Nicaraguan sweatshop. It’s also just so much fun to see them go from this:
While I’m saving up for some premium denim – I’ve narrowed my search down to Imogene + Willie or Raleigh Denim, both hand-made by husband wife teams in the South – I’m currently wearing in some J.Crew for Levis 501s and a pair of Gap selvedge Authentic fits.
Imogene + Willie straight fit – $350 well spent
Raleigh Denim – a little more affordable but not quite as unique
The caveat with jeans is that you need to put a little thought into what you wear with them to avoid looking like a TAJ – Typical American Jackass. You know the type: saggy, ill-fitting jeans, cheap square-toed shoes or Crocs and some insipid message-T like “Federal Booty Inspector.” Don’t be that guy. While not as worse as the TEHD (Typical Ed Hardy Douche), this look telegraphs that you are immature, uncaring and oblivious. I’m not saying you should always look like you work at Sid Mashburn, just that you should at least dress like grown ass man when you leave the house.
Don’t do it
How to avoid this is 1. don’t wear stupid shit like this 2. wear jeans that fit (not saggy, not too long with minimal break) and 3. pay attention to what you wear with them. Almost any shirt is fine (as long as it doesn’t have golden dragon raping a lion on it), but class it up with a trim corduroy blazer or a Barbour jacket in the winter.
Pro Tip – size down one size from your normal jacket size
Now that you’ve got that down, let’s move on to shoes. This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of guys make really bad shoes choices with their jeans. First off, think about what you’re doing and where you’re going. If it’s wet out, Bean boots are de rigur. If you’re going to be walking a lot, classic boat shoes (not those ugly sneaker-style boat shoes) or loafers are in order. I almost never wear tennis shoes with jeans, but if you must, stick with New Balances or something similarly low-pro. Trainers are for the gym and running shoes are for running, both activities in which you do not wear jeans. If you’re wearing jeans with a nicer getup, such as a blazer and dress shirt, I cannot think of a better option than wingtips, or brogues as they call them across the pond.
These babies almost single-handedly distinguish a man as stylish gentleman, and are perfect year-round. Allen Edmonds and Alden makes beautiful wingtips that will last a lifetime, but the $300+ price tag is often prohibitive. Instead, look on eBay (or eBay.uk) and find a gently used pair and make them new again: polish them up, resole them, or have them completely reconditioned. You will get an amazing pair of shoes for a fraction of the cost.
Belts with jeans can also be tricky, but the right belt can pull together your entire kit. First rule is that belts do NOT have to match your shoes, but do pair dark with dark and light with light. Second, never wear dress belts with jeans. Third, good jeans belts can be expensive, but they, like good jeans themselves, are worth it if you wear them enough. My absolute favorites are made by a company called Cause and Effect, which is really just one mountain man up in Tennessee who cuts and tans the leather himself – no two belts are alike.
Handmade leather goods are truly amazing
Like good jeans, these unique belts evolve over time into a true work of art – totally worth the $125-$150 price tag.
So there you have it: how to construct your Freedom Uni without looking like a TAJ. If they handed this guide out with high school diplomas, American men wouldn’t get such a bad rap…