Dear Readers

April 20, 2009

I have to level with you, wonderful readers of this blog, and confess to you: I am tired.

Since the site’s inception two years ago, I have transferred, cleaned-up, written about and researched 113 individual 78s from my collection, week after week with only an occasional interruption. There have been 5 guest posts from collector friends. I am not trying to toot my own horn here – this has been something I excitedly look forward to every week! But, like many other bloggers before me, I find myself suffering burnout, the onset of which began well over a year ago. The constraints of my day job, grad school classes at night, and attempting to lead a diverse and active life while juggling the myriad of side projects I am involved with have taken their toll. I can no longer keep up this pace!

So, as you may have guessed, I will have to decrease the amount of posts on Excavated Shellac to 1 or 2 a month. That way, I will still be able to deliver a piece of music as well as writing/research that means something to me, and hopefully to you too. I feel I’ve earned it with the regularity, uniqueness, and quality of what I’ve provided so far, but I do feel guilt. That said, it has never been my intention to upload my entire collection – just a small snapshot, or a gallery. It is, after all, free for the asking, and there’s only so far I can go with this aesthetic – I feel a little like a parent whose child got straight A’s in college and now needs to move out of the house.

There is more to this, however. Quite happily, I have become involved as a curator with WFMU’s Free Music Archive project, which has been in the works for some time. I am working with the folks there to restore my old tracks that have been taken down, as well as all the text and images for each post. An announcement about this will be forthcoming – much sooner rather than later. Over time, I will upload all of Excavated Shellac’s content onto the WFMU servers where the tracks will each have their own page, and where they will remain in perpetuity as an Excavated Shellac product (for lack of a better word) – at which point the Excavated Shellac site will more or less become duplicative. It could be that Excavated Shellac will discontinue, and I will continue to post only with WFMU – I haven’t decided, as there’s time yet.

But, let’s not get maudlin – I’m not going anywhere yet and already have a bunch of posts that are in the works, and while the WFMU project might sound strange to those not familiar to it (more here), I think it represents a real step in bringing a diverse collection of music to people, for free. You might even see a familiar name or two involved (Ian Nagoski, David Seubert).

So, this is a new step – moving onward and upward. I just wanted to be honest with you, as many of you out there have been with the site since the beginning – something I can’t tell you how much I appreciate. And if you are concerned when to check the blog for future posts here, I recommend subscribing to the RSS.

Meanwhile, let’s listen to something fun…

26 Responses to “Dear Readers”

  1. reto muller said

    jon, thank you for all this great bloggin’ you’ve done so far! it’s ALWAYS a big pleasure no matter how frequent you write! good luck to all your projects – greetings from switzerland

  2. Jim said

    I really appreciate your efforts. You blog is an island of pure quality in a sea of mediocrity. Glad to hear you are not giving up.
    Of course there is always WFMU if Excavated Shellac stops. Keep up the good work.

  3. Thank you for all your work so far,
    take a rest!

  4. gracenotes said

    Well, it’s certainly straight As from me, and I’ll be looking forward to your posts, whatever the frequency. A track like today’s will always be worth waiting for, rocking gently somewhere on that line that represents a tipping point between ancient and modern. Lovely – great label, too. I’m also relishing the prospect of being able to access the ‘lost’ tracks via WFMU – I’ve long regretted not finding Excavated Shellac sooner than I did, so it would be wonderful to be able to catch up. Very best wishes and thanks again.

  5. JW said

    Thanks everyone – not to worry, I am not giving up just yet! I already have posts in the works, in fact…and guest posts too! So, we will persevere.

  6. Haji Maji said

    You’ll finally have to work on that blog you always fantasized about:
    “The complete Vernon Dalhart”….then again, do they let you have computer access in the sanatarium???

  7. JW said

    Aaaaaaaah!

  8. I can definitely understand. That’s one of the reasons I started pestering other folks to do guest post over at Radiodiffusion Internasionaal.

    I tend do my posts in groups. I’ll do four or five of them at once, then not even think about the site for a month. It’s helped me keep somewhat sane.

    Well, sane is a subjective term…

    Congratulations on the WFMU hook up.

  9. JW said

    I don’t know how you do it, Stuart! But you do, and we are all the better for it.

    I wish I could do 4 or 5 at once, but I tend to agonize over them – mainly over miniscule details with cleanup or finding some shred of research. My nature, I guess. I know there’s at least a handful of tracks I spent over 10 hours each cleaning up. No, really. But, if it’s worth doing….

  10. How do I do it?

    1. Unlike my ramblings that barely pass as coherent, your writing is consistently amazing and well researched.

    2. You source material is much more harder to find.

    3. I have a job that I often have to find something to do to look busy… That’s where I get most of my “work” done!

  11. JW said

    Man, you gotta hang on to that job ūüėČ All of your listeners agree on that!! (And thanks for the kind words.)

  12. Eric said

    Jon,

    Definitely do set a sustainable pace for yourself! I’m certain that you know the joy that each and every one of your restored shellac treasures brings to a far-flung (if somewhat out of the mainstream) community. The anticipation of each new posting must be palpable. So please, whether weekly or monthly … or just whenever you can …

    Thanks!

  13. libraryguy said

    Just to add another voice to the thanks. The project is excellent and you’ve done it so well, whatever rest you need is well deserved. Take care!

  14. Ian Nagoski said

    Dear Mr. Ward,
    You rule endlessly. Slow and steady (and slow) wins the race. A blessing on your head.
    Ian

  15. Patrick said

    All I can do is echo what everyone else has said. You do an amazing job, and the only shame is that it isn’t paid! Best Patrick

  16. Joe said

    Another echo, then. I love this blog–it’s one of the few music blogs I consistently learn something from, and it does indeed have unique offerings. A sustainable pace is your right, and I’ll be happy to learn & listen at the pace you establish, whatever it may be.

  17. JW said

    Thanks Patrick and Joe – I appreciate the good words!

  18. JW said

    And Ian! Blessings accepted – thank you!

  19. Will Hancock said

    Jon,
    Man- after all the great music that you’ve made available, most of which I NEVER WOULD HAVE HEARD otherwise, I (and I think no one else,) can’t possibly complain about you starting to think of other things.The WMFU project sounds great. endless thanks and gratitude!

  20. JW said

    Thanks, Will —

  21. Chris said

    Jon,

    Endless thanks again for opening up the archives to us all. It’s been an ongoing education and your efforts are always greatly appreciated. WFMU will be all the richer for your efforts there.
    Whaddaya say to someone who starts a new venture like this? Break a record (leg)? Jeez NO! Ahhhhhhh!!!

  22. Paul said

    Well, many many thanks for all of the extraordinarily detailed research and undoubtedly very time-consuming audio work. You’ve provided a real treasure chest here, and I’ve heard many things I would *never* otherwise have heard because of your work, for which I am most grateful.

    I hope you don’t feel at all guilty – you’ve done a great service to the music you love and have shared your passion thoughtfully and generously. I’ll eagerly consume whatever you have time to post, and I hope you get to enjoy some well-deserved leisure time.

  23. chardman said

    Nothing to feel guilty about, JW! Your posts and shares have been nothing short of fascinating.
    One or two posts a month are still most welcome.

  24. JW said

    Thank you Chris, Paul, and chardman!

  25. milton.parker said

    the blog that burns twice as brightly burns half as long, thanks for the remarkable quality control exercised here

  26. Wendell III said

    Jon, this is one of my absolute favorite websites on the internet. I can’t thank you enough for all the hard work that you’ve put into this through the years. In whatever incarnation you decide to continue this, I will be there!

    Thanks again!
    -W

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