Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Album of the Year

All that music in the air, Happy people everywhere, Make it hard to sing the blues until Mardi Gras is through... Steve Earle - After Mardi Gras

2013 was not a strong year in music releases.  Although there were some fine albums, definitely some extra base hits, but no home runs.  Steve Earle's The Low Highway was his best album probably since 2002's SidetracksJim James released an excellent solo record in Regions of Light and Sound of God

My favorite and best album of the year was Jason Isbell's Southeastern; a collection of sobering stories and songs that in some ways were hard to listen to all together.  The best songs from the album were Stockholm, Songs That She Sang in the Shower, Traveling Alone and Super 8.

2014 is looking to be a rebound year with early albums expected from Bruce Springsteen and Broken Bells.  Also U2 is planning to release their first since 2009 and to make it even more exciting, they have been working with Danger MouseOld 97's have been working on a new album.  Wilco, My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys and The Decemberists are due for new music (I hope).  

2013: Concert of the Year

It's the end of the century and I can't think of anything but you, all, all, I, need,  I got you,  I got you, babe... Wilco - I Got You (At the End of the Century)

The concert of the year was the Americanarama Tour at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I got to see Wilco & Richard Thompson for the first time, as well as My Morning Jacket for the second time and Bob Dylan for the sixth time.

The high point was Wilco; they played songs from throughout their career from I Got You (At the End of the Century), Hummingbird to It Dawned On MeRichard Thompson joined Jeff Tweedy and company for the Fairpoint Convention Song Sloth and Wilco's great California Stars.  They joined My Morning Jacket on their set to play George Harrison's Isn't It a Pity

My Morning Jacket's set was high octane with the crescendo of Wordless Chorus, Victory Dance and Gideon.  Front man, Jim James was very animated and entertaining.

Bob Dylan closed the night with a typical Dylan show, highlighted by Charlie Sexton's great guitar work.  Enigmatic as ever.

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: Best Release of Older Music

Last time I Saw Marie she was waving goodbye with hurry-home-drops on her cheek that trickled from her eye: Marie is only 6 years old so information please try to put me through to her in Memphis Tennessee...  Chuck Berry - Memphis Tennessee

The Beatles second volume of music recorded at the BBC was a rich blessing of 2013.  The release included 63 tracks, none of which overlaps with The Beatles' first BBC release.  The 2 discs included 37 previously unreleased performances, 7 cover songs not on original Beatle albums; 23 previously unreleased recordings of in-studio conversation between the band's members and their BBC radio hosts including 4 short interviews with each Beatle.

John Lennon singing Chuck Berry's Memphis Tennessee is the highlight of the set.  Another is the in-studio recording of I Feel Fine with numerous false starts.  Like the first BBC release the witty banter captures The Beatle's humor and charisma.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: No. 1 Cover Song of the Year

Tonight there's fallen angels and they're waiting for us down in the street; Tonight there's calling strangers, hear them crying in defeat. Let them go, Let them go, Let them go, Do their dances of the dead... Bruce Springsteen - Drive All Night

Glen Hansard, an Irish singer and a member of the folk duo called The Swell Season released an EP with the title cover of the great Bruce Springsteen ballad Drive All Night.  This great cover includes the nephew of Clarence Clemons and current E Street member Jake Clemons, as well as Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.  Springsteen is a tough cover, but Hansard does the song justice.  I also love how he plays homage to John Hiatt's Feels Like Rain towards the end of the song; awesome...

No. 1 Cover Song of 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013: No. 1 Song of the Year

Lock me up tight in these shackles I wear, 
Tied up the keys in the folds of your hair and the difference with me is I used to not care; 
Stockholm let me go home... Jason Isbell - Stockholm

The No. 1 song of 2013 comes from the best album of 2013, Southeastern by former Drive-By Trucker, Jason Isbell.  The song is about a man that feels trapped in a relationship in Stockholm, Sweden; great lyrics and song...

No. 1 Song of 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013: No. 2 Song of the Year

Travelin’ now on the low highway, windows down listenin';  wheels turnin round on the asphalt sayin' every sound is a prophecy... Steve Earle - The Low Highway 

The No. 2 song of 2013 is the title track from Steve Earle's The Low Highway.  A Woody Guthrie type song about the current landscape of America...

No. 2 Song of 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013: No. 3 Song of the Year

Here I am in the 21st century;  I have to say it ain't as cool as I hoped it would be;  No man on the moon, nobody on Mars... Steve Earle - 21st Century Blues

The No. 3 song of 2013 comes from Steve Earle's latest and return to form The Low Highway.  A song decrying the times that we live in...

No. 3 Song of 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013: No. 4 Song of the Year

And the songs that she sang in the shower all ring in my ear like Wish You Were Here,  How I wish you were here... Jason Isbell - Songs That She Sang in the Shower

The No. 4 song of 2013 comes from Southeastern by the former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell.  The singer longs for his girl and haunted by her memories...

No. 4 Song of 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013: No. 5 Song of the Year

I use the state of the art Technology;  Suppose to make for better living... Jim James - State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)

The No. 5 song of 2013 comes from Regions of Light and Sound of God, the debut solo album by My Morning Jacket's Jim James.  The lead-off song seems to be about society relying on technology too much...

No. 5 Song of 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Amazed Faces

Maybe I'm amazed at the way you help me sing my song... (Paul McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed)

Macca wrote this song for his wife Linda during the troubling end of the Beatles era.  Recorded in February 1970 in EMI's studios at Abbey Road, Paul played all the instruments.  One of Paul's best solo songs, but not released as a single until 1977.

The Ronnie Wood/Rod Stewart led Faces covered the song in 1971 on their album Long Playing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wilco Channels the Ghost of Neil Young

I thought it was cute for you to kiss my purple black eye... Wilco - At Least That's What You Said

After Wilco received widespread acclaim for 2002's groundbreaking Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the band followed it up in 2004 with the very underrated A Ghost is Born.  More eclectic and experimental than it's predecessor, but similar in musical approach, the album ranks with their best and earning them the 2005 Grammy for Best Alternative Rock Album.

The opening track, At Least That's What You Said, is a powerfully emotional song.  It appears to be about a couple struggling to save their relationship.  It starts with almost a whisper as Jeff Tweedy sings "When I sat down on the bed next to you, you started to cry".  After the first verse, the Neil Youngish guitar solo kicks in and the song just explodes.

Wilco is on tour right now playing with My Morning Jacket and Bob Dylan in the Americanarama Festival Tour.  They are playing at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH this weekend.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Got Toons If You Want Them

I can’t help it if I fall in love with you again, I’m calling just to let you know it dawned on me... Wilco - Dawned On Me

I saw this Wilco video on Youtube and it reminded me that their are some great connections between rock music and cartoons.  Starting with The Beatles Cartoon through some great toon guests on The Simpsons.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

How Can I Be Sure?

How can I be sure in a world that's constantly changin'?... The Rascals - How Can I Be Sure

This question is more truer today that any time in my life, but this is a music blog. I love this cover by Shelby Lynne of the great Rascals tune.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hey Hey Hey... Ho Hey

I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart... The Lumineers - Ho Hey

I'm a little late to this party, but I really love this song.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Please Please Me

Please please me, like I please you... The Beatles - Please Please Me

Today is the 50 year anniverary of the release of The Beatles classic debut album Please Please Me.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Arthur and Victoria

Though I am poor, I am free; When I grow I shall fight for this land I shall die; Let her sun never set; Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, 'toria... The Kinks - Victoria

I have been listening to The Kink's Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire alot lately and really getting into the underated Kinks early rock opera.  Here is the great lead off track:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Earle Rides the Low Highway in April

I ask you questions, tell you lies, criticize and sympathize; Be careful what you wish for friend because I've been to hell and now I'm back again... Steve Earle - I Feel Alright

Steve Earle will be releasing The Low Highway on April 16. Get an early preview of the song Calico County here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Day the Music Died

February made me shiver with every paper I'd deliver; bad news on the doorstep - I couldn't take one more step; I can't remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride; Something touched me deep inside the day the music died... Don McLean - American Pie

Buddy Holly was one of the fathers of rock and roll music.  He was major influence on the Beatles, who came up with their name as a tribute to the Crickets.  Also don't forget another great British band The Hollies.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hold On To 2012

Come on Brittany, you got to come on up!; You got to hold on... Alabama Shakes - Hold On

One of the fine new bands from 2012. Sounds old but yet sounds new at the same time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012's Best Albums

Down in the waves she screams again; Roar at the door; My mind can’t take much more... The Black Keys - Gold On the Ceiling
 Here is the list:

1. The Black Keys - El Camino - Actually released in late 2011, but I have included it in my best of 2012. The Black Keys continue their emergence as a great rock band. El Camino began where 2010's Brothers left off with imaginitive, guitar driven bluesy rock. The leadoff single Lonely Boy is my song of the year. The album is strong throughout, but highlights include Lonely Boy, Gold on the Ceiling, Sister, Dead and Gone, Little Black Submarine....
2. The Shins - Port of Morrow - After some detours with Broken Bells, etc... James Mercer regroups The Shins and release their first album since 2007's Wincing the Night Away. Port of Morrow's is a more straight ahead pop album, but still managed to mantain their signature quirky sound. A couple of ballads really made this album: It's Only Life and For a Fool are a couple of the Shins best.

3. Jack White - Blunderbuss - Jack White's solo debut lived up to it's expectations. The album featured the same edgy music that White has been playing for years. Sixteen Saltines is classic Jack White, with a hint of The Who; Love Interuption, Freedom at 21 and I'm Shakin' were also highlights.

4. Mumford and Sons - Babel
5 Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
6. Dwight Yoakam - 3 Pears
7. The dB's - Falling Off the Sky
8. The Avett Brothers - The Carpenter
9. The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten
10. Alejandro Escovedo - Big Station

Monday, January 7, 2013

2012's Best Songs

Well I'm so above you and it's plain to see but I came to love you anyway... The Black Keys - Lonley Boy

Here is my list of favorite songs of 2012: 

1. The Black Keys - Lonely Boy
2. The Black Keys - Gold on the Ceiling
3. Mumford and Sons - I Will Wait
4. The Shins - It's Only Life
5. The Black Keys - Dead and Gone
6. The Black Keys - Sister
7. Jack White - Sixteen Salteens
8. The Shins - Taken For a Fool
9. The Black Keys - Little Black Submarine
10. Bruce Springsteen - Rocky Ground

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Day

I want to be with you, be with you night and day;  Nothing changes on New Year's Day... U2 - New Years Day

Happy New Years Day - One of my favorite of many U2 songs.