From The Desk Of Luna: Black Fret

With their first new music since 2004’s Rendezvous, the master Lou Reed disciples in Luna return to one of their strengths: covers. A Sentimental Education finds the quartet—Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips, Sean Eden and Lee Wall—tackling mostly obscurities by the likes of Yes, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Mercury Rev and Fleetwood Mac. Simultaneously released companion piece A Place Of Greater Safety EP is all-original, however, though the six songs are instrumentals. Luna will be guest editing all week.

Wall: Original Luna bassist Justin Harwood once asked me, “Why does the classical music world get most of the government grant funding in the U.S.? It’s just groups of musicians that play cover songs from 200 years ago. What about other types of music? What about rock music?”

Good question. I say that as someone who spent a few years in the classical-music world. While I always just wanted to be a rock drummer, I studied orchestral percussion early on and played in the local symphony. But I too had wondered why that genre of music was favored over others in this way.

I remember a band that opened for Luna in Stockholm telling me they received a grant from the Swedish government for their group. They used that money to turn their garage into a rehearsal space and buy some recording equipment. I wished we had that in the U.S. There may be exceptions, but for the most part, this disparity in grant funding still exists.

Enter Black Fret, an organization in Austin, Texas, built on the principle that musicians that play “other” types of music are worthy of public grant support. Through their patrons, they provide grants for local musicians, helping to keep the Austin music scene thriving. Black Fret is a worthy cause.