DOC: Earthquakes, Interviews, and Indio. My Most Favorite Albums Pt. 2


Songs and albums are special to us because the music is so good, but there are memories attached to each one. Albums really are photo albums, but in the brain. We can recall where we were, what we were experiencing, and who we were with when we put the needle on the vinyl or the cassette in the Walkman. In this series, I am going to share some of my all-time favorite albums because of the music, but also because of the memories that come with them.

It was 1989 and I was in college at UT Martin in Tennessee pursuing my degree in Broadcast Communications. I was also working with the PBS television station that was on campus and I was given an assignment that had me traveling to Nashville, Tennessee to interview some folks at the State Capitol about the predicted earthquake that was supposed to devastate everything from Missouri to the ocean. A man named Iben Browning had made a prediction a year earlier that there was a 50% chance of a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault line. This, of course, had everyone on edge. The fault line is pretty much along the Mississippi River from New Madrid all the down to Memphis.

So, I had to go to Nashville to get these interviews and find out what the State government thought about the threat and what their plans were as we were heading to the predicted day (December 3, 1990). On the drive there, I selected a radio station for my journey. Back in the day, there weren't too many great selections from Martin, Tennessee to Jackson. But it was on that stretch I heard a song that blew me away. It had this great acoustic guitar riff with strong rhythmic drumming to pace the song. It was so different from anything on the radio at that time. The radio personality told me after the song that it was "Hard Sun" by a band called, Indio. Although I was alone in the car, I still said out loud, "I've got to get that album."

After I wrapped up the interview, I packed my gear and hoofed it quickly to my car. I had to find a record store nearby to find that album. It was a long drive home and I really wanted to enjoy the ride. I did find it (on cassette!) and threw it in the tape deck. I fell in love with it! It remains today my most favorite album, in its entirety.

Big Harvest is the name of the album. It's the only album from Indio. Gordon Peterson, who was Indio, did not make any more albums after this one. There were some notable contributions on the album including David Rhodes (guitarist for Peter Gabriel) and Joni Mitchell on backing vocals. Prior to 2007, this album was selling for close to $400 on ebay due to it being out of print. A Canadian CD reissue company has since reprinted.

You may recall the song "Hard Sun." About 12-years ago, Eddie Vedder covered it for the movie, Into The Wild. It was good, but not as good as the original...in my opinion.