if i fall in love with you, it always will be worth it

05Dec09
It’s been one of those days where I feel like, if Nashville was a person, I’d be in love with him. The sun is out, it’s cold enough to see my breath in the air, and getting my Christmas shopping done feels like fun. Bookman/Bookwoman was toasty warm and I found a leather-bound, Oxford University Press edition of Keats’s collected works printed in 1915 and had a fabulous conversation with the man working the register about it. We chatted about Bright Star and how the best part of the movie was the end credits, when Ben Whishaw read “Ode to a Nightingale” to the accompaniment of a 19th century pipe organ. Grimey’s was bursting with the regular hipsters, waiting around for Tori Sparks’s free show to start. I found the perfect gift for my dad and talked about Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s newest name change with the clerk.

For how quintessentially Nashville today has been, the soundtrack to my afternoon is a little incongruous. Rather than doing my Christmas shopping to the tune of someone like Nashville native, Will Hoge, I did my shopping to the snap, crackle, and pop sound of The Minor Leagues.

The Minor Leagues, or TML as they’re known by their fans and friends, not only come from my hometown, but their founding members also happen to be one of my best friends and one of my former colleagues. My journalistic integrity is shot to hell by that sentence alone, but suffice it to say that The Minor Leagues know how to take pop-punk and turn it into something that is not only tolerable, but is in fact immensely enjoyable.

Patrick and Ben first put TML together in 2001 and, after a revolving door of 56 other band members, have just put out their fifth album, This Story Is Old, I Know, But It Goes On. If putting out five albums in eight years doesn’t give The Minor Leagues enough credibility in your book, how about a slot at last summer’s MidPoint Music Festival, a feature and photo shoot for Cincinnati’s CityBeat magazine, and more airplay on WOXY than Thom Yorke?

This Story Is Old… is a nearly perfect soundtrack to the messiness of being a twenty-something. Whether that’s because it was written by twenty-somethings or because it was written by twenty-somethings who also record their music in the bedroom of my best friend’s house, I don’t know. This record is so…normal. And it’s one-hundred percent relatable because of that.

Ben Walpole’s voice is like bubble gum gone hard, and flavored more like PBR than candy. His song writing is pretty epic, too, which is hilarious to me because it seems nearly impossible to reconcile the Ben Walpole I know with the Ben Walpole who comes through in these eleven songs. There are some absolute gems on this album. “Good Boys” is a fun bop that will always remind me of the last time I saw The Minor Leagues play at Southgate House. “Projections of a Person” is an incredibly practical, and therefore all the more sweet, love story. But “A Chance Encounter (In Cincinnati Tonight)” might be the album’s standout track. Possibly because staying “up late in Cincinnati” is one of my favorite pasttimes.

This Story Is Old… incorporates all kinds of nontraditional sounds. The liner notes not only list the five main members of the band, there’s also a “Featuring” list highlighting trumpets and violas, in addition to a “With” list of various handclappers (including Amber and Katrina), laughers, whistlers, and even a cameo vocal performance by Katrina and Patrick’s cat, Evgeny Meowlkins.

All told, This Story Is Old, I Know, But It Goes On is a happy-go-lucky, pop record that is infinitely listenable. It not only makes me proud to call Cincinnati my hometown, it also makes me proud of my extremely talented friends. I might be biased, but The Minor Leagues ought to be playing in the major leagues.

You can check TML out on Last.fm and download a few tracks for free. This Story Is Old… is also available for purchase from Data Was Lost.

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3 Responses to “if i fall in love with you, it always will be worth it”

  1. 1 katrina

    This is a lovely write up and I’m glad you had a great day shopping. I want to visit that bookstore next time I make it to Nashville!!

  2. 2 Mom

    Now I REALLY want to go to see The Minor Leagues! Great write-up Whit!

  3. I have been meaning to check out the various Facebook hints for a while, shall do so now!


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