I’ve been a fan of my good friend Kelly Hogan’s singing a long, long time so when she invited me to make some paintings as her band, the Flat Five, recorded their record, I jumped at the chance. 

The kind of harmony singing the Flat Five traffic in is not normally my cup of tea but for some mysterious reason when they do it, I listen. They’ve even gotten me to appreciate the songs of groups like the Beach Boys, though I usually like their covers better than the originals. 

I’ve heard some of this stuff in the past and been completely unmoved. In others’ hands these songs can come off as easy or sentimental but somehow these five voices make the feelings real. How one person can sing the same thing as another and come out with completely opposite reactions in a listener is one of the great magical mysteries of music. 

Their record, which was just released and you should buy multiple copies of, is a collection of songs by Chris Ligon. Chris is the older brother of Scott, who plays keyboards and guitar in the band. It was a great honor to be a fly on the wall as these amazing musicians did their thing. 

—A reedited and slightly expanded version of the thriftstore Rembrandt story I shared with you a couple months back has been published by the Chicago Reader, And a review of Melanie Finn’s vivid ghost story of a novel, The Gloaming, is up at Vol.1 Brooklyn.