Reverb Raccoon

Saturday’s Radio – Song for Sophie

“Song for Sophie,” by Saturday’s Radio, is a warm blast of folk and rock, a mass of voices and guitars that invoke a one-more-vocal-track-here aesthetic in which Harmony Is Good and melodies and choruses are carried along by the instrumental tracks rather than suffocated like a bug under a sofa cushion.

“Song for Sophie” kicks off with sharp snare shots, joined by multiple guitars and a soft organ gently roiling the submerged waves. A surfy murky guitar solo bridges into the final verse and wraps up the conclusion. The collective star of the show is the vocal assemblage, bringing life to a melody that, while basic, will be pleasantly stuck in your head for the remainder of the evening.

As a Certified Music Journalist, I am obligated to inject at least one Obscure Reference into each post. If I don’t, the union will send a spindly-legged hipster wearing cargo shorts and Vans to my house to rip that coveted Music Press card from the hatband of my Fedora. He may not look like much, but he’s royally ticked about having his Fortnite marathon interrupted. So my Obscure Reference for today: “Song for Sophie” summons the spirit of the Traveling Wilburys’ “End of the Line,” as sung by Elvis Costello and produced by Richard Perry. It’s difficult to place a finger on the exact trigger of the Deja Vu, but it’s something about the melody and the way the words extend beyond the chord changes.

Saturday’s Radio self-describes as “Rob Christensen’s ongoing folk rock (& stuff) project.” Rob is based in Margo, Virginia, which is a half-day’s march west from Spotsylvania Courthouse. “Song for Sophie” was “written, performed, recorded, and produced” by Rob. He recorded his first album in 1994, so this isn’t Rob’s first rodeo (obviously).

“Song for Sophie” is available on Ghosts, a 10-song album released last year, and on a 4-song maxi-single which appeared in March. The maxi-single includes our Song of the Day, plus acoustic and instrumental variants. The instrumental version kicks ass. I was absent-mindedly listening to it while cyber-stalking Rob Christensen – looking for interesting things to write about him, you know – and caught myself whacking my right foot against that sheet of plastic that people place beneath their desk chairs so that the wheels roll instead of becoming mired in the piles of the carpet. And I only say that to support my claim of writing this at an actual desk and not in a Taco Bell parking lot after midnight as has been alleged. Among the interesting things that I learned about Rob Christensen: he has been a contributor to Tape Op, a magazine dedicated to music production. So it’s a safe bet that Rob knows something about recording, which explains why “Song for Sophie” sounds a strake above the typical DIY track.

You can support deserving independent musicians like Saturday’s Radio (aka Rob Christensen) by visiting his Bandcamp page, listening to the songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. And be sure to follow Saturday’s Radio on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and on saturdaysradio.com.

Reverb Raccoon

Saturday’s Radio – All That Shines

Saturday's Radio - All That Shines cover

Summer percolates just beyond the horizon. It may not seem as such if you are in Minnesota buried beneath four feet of snow. But here in Houston, where the Earth is flat and the sky meets the sand at an indiscernible meridian hidden in the haze, we alternate between Summer and our current season of Early Fall. The ash trees have sprouted anew, the buds crowding amongst last year’s leaves that never fell and are still green on the branches.

I look forward to the effects of Global Warming – I mean Climate Change, since both warmer and colder temperatures are laid at the metallic feet of the internal combustion engine – which will grant us the Endless Summer of our fantasies. I plan to spend the ensuing years combing the beach for Co-Cola bottles that I will redeem at Pop’s Grocery for three cents apiece. I’ll use the profits to buy packs of Topps baseball cards, not because I need another Pete Richert card (at one time I had five) but because I really like the bubble gum.

Saturday’s Radio celebrates the impending Summer with ‘All That Shines,’ a glorious warm weather mess that seems about to blow apart at the buttons like the blouse of that girl who works at the Dairy Queen across the road from the record store. The track features Beach Boys harmonies, Eagles woo-hoos, Velvet Underground guitars, and an unhinged Phil Spector wall of sound. TL;DR: ‘All That Shines’ is a 1968 mist green Impala full of fun.

Saturday’s Radio is Rob Christensen of Margo, Virginia. ‘All That Shines’ first appeared in 2017 as a Maxi Single (five tracks including acoustic, instrumental, wordless, and mono versions), and was later included on the ten-track album Ghosts. We previously featured ‘Song for Sophie,’ another outstanding track from Ghosts. The album was entirely written, performed, and produced by Rob. He describes Saturday’s Radio as an ‘ongoing indie folk / power pop music project… influenced by the likes of REM, Tom Petty, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Wilco’ as well as by ‘Neil Young, the Replacements, Bob Mould, Pixies, Joni Mitchell, the Beach Boys, Jason Isabell, the Who, the Kinks, Elliott Smith, and so many more.’ Besides Ghosts, there are five additional Saturday’s Radio albums available on Bandcamp.

You can support deserving independent musicians like Saturday’s Radio by visiting his Bandcamp page, listening to the songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. And be sure to follow Saturday’s Radio on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and on saturdaysradio.com.

Bonus Track: ‘Best Man,’ a beautiful folky poppy tune from the 2013 album Roses for Sharon. Enjoy!