On February 22, 1899, in one hour after dinner, American publisher and writer Elbert Hubbard wrote a 1500-word essay titled “A Message to Garcia.”
I always get a little nervous when a band had produced album after album of great songs. How can they keep it fresh and not lose their edge? I'm relieved that Visqueen has stayed on track with Message to Garcia. The hard driving, hard rockin' sound I've come to expect is present throughout the entire album. What's added is more complex and diverse use of other instruments besides the usual rock staples. It all works, amazingly, beautifully. Rachel Flotard could sing the phone book at make it rock. The pedal steel on Beautiful Amnesia was unexpected, but perfect. The Capitol almost has a motown mood. Forgive Me beautifully illustrates Flotard's amazing range, pitch, and strength. Ditto on Jimmy Vs. James, which also has a great rock arrangement complete with moog organ. So Long is an incredible ballad. This album is terrific!
As a Marine Major attending the Army's Command and General Staff College, I mentioned this title to my Army colleagues in a phrase that I've heard asked to many a subordinate officer over the years. The rhetorical question is more of a reminder than a query and I've had it posed to me as 2nd Lt in the simple phrase: 'Message to Garcia, Lieutenant?'. I was surprised to find that out of my class of 18 Army, Air Force, and Navy Officers, only a couple of them had heard of Elbert Hubbard's 'A Message to Garcia'. The basic tenets of initiative, self reliance, and commanders intent are set forth in this essay and it is required reading for brand new Marine Lieutenants in the Basic School and OCS (at least when I went through). I still read this from time to time to remind myself of its lessons. I also discuss it with my subordinate Officers on their initial counseling sessions. I would highly recommend this to all junior officers in the military as well as those recent business school graduates embarking upon a career in the corporate world. The lessons of ¿A Message to Garcia¿ apply across all services and occupations.
Why has “A Message to Garcia” been reprinted over and over again? Often, huge quantities were ordered to distribute to others. Heads of corporations, military units, government agencies, etc., have distributed the booklets in hopes that they would motivate the readers to emulate the character of Lieutenant Rowan. And for over a century millions of readers have purchased, read, enjoyed and been inspired by “A Message to Garcia.”
Been a Visqueen fan for many years now, loved their first album King Me to death, and adored Sunset on Dateland. I have been anxiously awaiting this new album, and it was worth the wait. I think "Message to Garcia" is their most solid and complete so far, simply awesome from track 1 to 11. Rachel is an amazing songwriter, her lyrics are always smart and fresh, and you know the music comes from the heart; the album is dedicated to her recently passed father, and the feeling and emotion really comes through on this album. The tunes themselves are mostly upbeat and catchy rock tunes that, like most Visqueen songs, get stuck in your head like glue (e.g. Fight for Love, Forgive Me), but even the slow and mellow songs (So Long) keep you interested. Ben plays solid drums as usual, and the added guitar flair of one of the newer members of the band Tom Cummings, makes the sound even more full. Plus, many tracks have additional guest players, including vocals of Neko Case on several tracks, that really make every song rich and complex, a bit different from the original more raw 3 piece sound on the previous albums, but in a good way. Also, if you ever get a chance to see these guys live, do it. I have seen tons of their shows, and every single one has been a blast, Rachel is funny as hell, and they are all just cool honest people with no attitude who love to rock, very refreshing. You will love this band!!!