Northern Exposure: Son of Dave

Have a Break. Have a Son Of Dave.Son of Dave is Benjamin Darvill whom you may or may not recognize as part of Crash Test Dummies. As he so succinctly puts it, he has spent the last few years bringing “the Blues kicking and howling into the 21st Century” and if this recording is any measure I’d say he’s been quite successful. Darvill is a modern day troubadour with an impressive range and razor-sharp wit. While he begs comparison to Tom Waits, his delivery as a one-man band – stomping, looping and fighting his way through the record’s eleven tracks – sets him far apart.

The leadoff track “Old Times Were Good Times” is nothing short of funky and sets the tone for the next nine cuts. Must-listen tracks like “Lover Not a Fighter”, “Hellhound” and a cover of the WAR classic “Low Rider” all make this one record not to miss.

Son of Dave – Old Times Were Good Times (MP3)

Buy 03: Amazon | iTunes

Son of Dave Links: Official Site | on | on MySpace

Conor Oberst’s Sausalito

With his new album, Conor Oberst is right back to the rootsy vibe he had going with Bright Eyes’ great album ‘I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning‘. Conor recorded the album in Tepoztlán, Mexico (a town outside of Mexico City).

It’s this tune that suits my taste like hand to glove. It restores my faith in the man after watching his – umm – sub par job of sitting in with the Boss on “Thunder Road” early this year. All is forgiven.

we should move to Sausalito
living’s easy on a house boat
let the ocean rock us back and forth to sleep

in the morning with the sunrise
look in the water see the blue sky
as if heaven has been laid there at our feet

Conor Oberst – Sausalito (mp3)

Buy Conor’s brand new self-titled album: Conor Oberst

Oberst Linkage: Official Site | MySpace

Be Here to Love Me – A Film about Townes Van Zandt

It’s through my old friend Mark that I discovered the music of Townes Van Zandt a dozen years ago, and through Steve Earle that I’ve learned more about Townes the man. I don’t think I’ve seen a Steve show where he doesn’t take 5 minutes to tell you about his close friend and mentor.

‘Be Here to Love Me’ is a 100 minute film about the life of Townes Van Zandt. Thanks to Snag Films, you can watch the entire film online for free. Thanks to Heather at Fuel/Friends for making me aware…

Ickmusic’s Friday Five: August 29, 2008

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Shuffle.

Well we’ve reached the end of “The Theme Days of Summer” and for this weeks playlist I thought it only appropriate that we send off the summer with an ode to endless summer nights and the changes coming as some head back to school, some back to work, and all of us close the book on the summer of ’08.

Match ANY of the following conditions

NAME contains End
NAME contains Summer
NAME contains Back
NAME contains Change
NAME contains School
NAME contains Work

As Pete pointed out last week’s mood was rather dark so this week I’m looking to brighten the mood and get everyone ready for the weekend (though I’m steering clear of the puppies, unicorns, sunshine, and fairies). The friends of the five have come through all summer sharing everything from show-tunes, jazz, folk, blues, funk to metal and everything in between. I hope everyone has enjoyed the playlists as much as I’ve enjoyed thinking them up and sharing, next week we’re going back to the general shuffle.

For those who have not joined in the Five, here’s how it works: … I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five with some words (much more this week than last) for each track.

Then it’s your turn! You can play along with the themed playlist or just share the first five of your shuffle, either way the fun is in playing musical voyeur for the day.

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Ne-Yo – Make it Work (from Because of You)

While I don’t particularly care for much of the current crop of R&B artists I make an exception when it comes to Ne-Yo. This track was prominently featured in this past year’s season of So You Think You Can Dance which just further endears the track to me.

2. Black Sabbath – Changes (from We Sold Our Soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll)

Originally from 1972’s Black Sabbath, Vol. 4, this was the first Sabbath tune to feature the Piano as its primary instrument. I’ve always liked this tune for how un-Sabbath it was and it was clearly a precursor to Ozzy‘s penchant for balladry.

3. Prince – Sex in the Summer (from Emancipation)

If there is a truly underappreciated record in Prince‘s discography then I’d suggest 1996’s Emancipation is it. While time has proven unkind to some of the records tracks (“My Computer”, “Emale”) others stand as brilliant testaments to the time in which it was released. This track is quite bittersweet in that a recording of Prince & Mayte’s child’s (which died shortly after birth) heartbeat is featured as part of the percussion.

4. John Mayer – Waiting on the World to Change (from 2008-08-23:  New England Dodge Music Center, Hartford, CT, USA)

The second encore tune performed when I saw John Mayer last Saturday evening (read the full review here). He plays this one pretty straight and true to the recorded version. I’ve included it here just because I dig it so damned much.

John Mayer – Waiting on the World to Change (MP3)

5. Boyz II Men – End of the Road (from Legacy – The Greatest Hits Collection)

This one definitely resonates with that “back to school” sound (even though this particular track was released after my School Daze) and feels like a perfect end cap to the “The Theme Days of Summer”.

So what’s taking you home early on this holiday weekend?

Northern Exposure: The Great Outdoors

Now with 50% more Great Outdoors!The Great Outdoors returns with the second EP in their season-themed series. Standing in stark contrast to Spring, Summer takes an almost darker turn in celebrating the long hot days of it’s namesake. The rollicking jangle of “Summer in the City” with it’s swagger and grit gives way to the beautifully stark crescendo of “Give Everything”. “Last Day of Our Vacation” captures the sentiment perfectly with its dragging melancholy tempo and lazy delivery. “Maybe Time Will Tell” recalls a bit of Springsteen in it’s recollection of days past and what the future holds. Personally, I can’t wait to see what Autumn holds.

You can download “Summer in the City” below and the rest of the EP is freely available at the bands Official Site. There’s also a link below for the traditionalists who like physical media.

The Great Outdoors – Summer in the City (MP3)

Buy Summer: CDBaby

The Great Outdoors Links: Official Site | on | on MySpace

Review: John Mayer Live at New England Dodge Center

Mayer leaves the paparazzi behind and delivers a heartfelt set to his hometown crowd.

What Would You Do For A John Mayer?“Here are the delays and cancellations of your problems…” promised an earnest John Mayer Saturday night, and for the two hours he occupied the stage, he delivered just that. He quietly walked onstage and kicked straight into his Continuum heavy set with a humble determination that shined though every note. And while his crowd may have proved quite lame (seriously, who sits for an entire show and texts for three quarters of it?) he delivered a solid and energetic show that will stick with me for quite some time.

Mayer kicked off the set with the mid-tempo burner “Belief” into the soulful “Vultures”. A quick guitar change later (seriously, the guy rolls with an obscene amount of gear) brought the first cover of the evening in the form of Robert Johnson/Cream‘s classic “Crossroads” which had a decidedly funky twist to it. This was also the first opportunity that he took to let his guitar playing take the center stage. And say what you want about his pop-leanings and celebrity persona, Mayer knows how to throw down and can hang with the best of them.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am tonight. There’s nothing like coming back home to play a show” was his first spoken words to the crowd (at about 20 minutes into the show, no less) and it was clear that he was feeling the love and enjoying playing for family, friends and fans alike. The pairing of “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)” and “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” lead my wife to the observation that he really does put the “Bad Boyfriend Material” warning out there.

The acoustic portion of the set featured a heartfelt dedication to his parents (who were in attendance) and the second and third covers of the evening in the form of Tom Petty‘s “Free Falling” followed by an absolutely sick 12-bar blues based take on Duffy‘s “Mercy”. Why it is that despite having a fairly decent amount of his own material he chooses to play covers is beyond me, but the crowd certainly ate it up.

From here Mayer sailed through a pair of early hits lamenting “you can only really play one place where you’re singing “I wanna run through the halls of my high school” and you guys know where that high school is”, leading up to the set closer “Gravity”. This was actually the second time that I got to hear this performed (the first being with the John Mayer Trio) and it still carries the power that it did then (and you can hear for yourself at the end of this post). The encore (which was chosen by the fans via his website) wrapped with his current single “Say” at which point my wife and I decided to trek back to the car.

If you’ve not experienced John Mayer live I can heartily recommend checking him out when he swings through town.

John Mayer
New England Dodge Center, Hartford, CT
August 23, 2008

Set List:

I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)
Dreaming With a Broken Heart
Stop This Train
Free Falling
No Such Thing
Why Georgia
Find Another You
Stitched Up
Bigger Than My Body

In Repair
Waiting on the World to Change

Bonus Download!
John MayerGravity (MP3)
[audio:17 Gravity.mp3]

Download the whole show here (

Buy Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles: Amazon | iTunes

Links: Official Site | on | on MySpace

What Laura Says CD Release Party

It take a lot to get my arse out on a weekday night, and Wednesday night I will do just that and head down to the Rhythm Room in Phoenix for What Laura Says‘ CD release party. I’ve been playing the hell out of their label debut, Thinks and Feels, for the last couple of weeks. These guys are the real deal folks…. killer harmonies, a retro feel, an indie folk vibe – just really refreshing.

If you’re in the Phoenix area, join me down at the Rhythm Room.

Here’s one of the tunes from their new CD…

What Laura Says – July 23 (mp3)

Check out some more tunes on their MySpace page.

I’ll have a lot more on these guys soon.

Thinks and Feels was released last week. Check it out…

Review: Huey Lewis & The News Live at Seaside Summer Concert Series

The Heart of Rock & Roll is still beating in Coney Island.“New York, New York, is everything they say and no place that I’d rather be”, with these words Huey Lewis & The News kicked off the final show of the 30th Seaside Summer Concert Series at Asser Levy/Seaside Park in Coney Island. The band wasted little time in bringing their West Coast flavor of blue-eyed soul to Brighton Beach.

The first highlight for me came early in the set when I finally got to see the band perform “If This Is It”. I’ve seen Huey and the boys no less than 4 times in the last 4 years and this tune has eluded me each time. Stef Burns (Y&T, Alice Cooper, Shelia E.) absolutely ruled the evening on the musical front letting loose solo after solo.  Next up was “The Power of Love” followed by the new tune “Pineapple Express” from the movie of the same name (check out Popdose for Jason Hare’s take on Soundtrack “Title” Songs). Personally I dig the tune, even if it is just “Hip to be Square” with different lyrics.

For the A Cappella portion of the show the band followed the concert staple “It’s Alright” with “Under the Boardwalk” which had the entire crowd on its feet and singing along.  The next highlight for me was the rarity “Walking On a Thin Line” which I last saw performed with Chris Berman (yes, that Chris Berman) on guest vocals.

For the encore the band rolled out it’s ‘other’ soundtrack hit “Back in Time” followed by a slower mellower version of “Do You Believe in Love”. The night ended with “Workin’ for a Livin'” and a dedication to “Brooklyn’s Finest”.

I also have to mention the opener Paul Thorn whom I will write about at great length in a coming post, but for now echo Huey’s sentiment that “there ain’t nothing not to like about Paul Thorn.”

Huey Lewis & The News
Asser Levy Park, Coney Island, NY
August 21, 2008

Set List:

The Heart of Rock & Roll
My Other Woman
I Want a New Drug >
Small World
If This Is It
The Power of Love
Pineapple Express
Jacobs Ladder
It’s Alright
Under the Boardwalk
Walking On a Thin Line
Heart and Soul
But It’s Alright
We’re Not Here for a Long Time

Back in Time
Do You Believe in Love
Workin’ for a Livin’

Bonus Video!

Links: Official Site | on | on MySpace

Live Boss: Magic in Charleston

(Photo courtesy of Backstreets)

Bruce’s Magic tour rolls on with ferocity. With every show, Bruce and the band seem to get looser, honoring requests from the audience with more frequency (if you’re in the pit, bring a sign, odds are he’ll play it!), and honoring Phantom Danny Federici’s memory by going back to their roots with an infusion of (even more) joy, energy, and longer shows.

A couple of Saturdays ago, the train rolled into Charleston, South Carolina. The audience got treated to an opener of “Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)”, and a closer of “Twist & Shout”. In between was a spirited set of tunes, including “Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart”, “No Surrender”, “Spirit in the Night”, “Growin’ Up”, “Two Hearts”, and “Out in the Street”.

I meant to send this only on to a friend, but when the goosebumps hit during “Double Shot”, I knew I couldn’t keep this to myself.

Bruce Springsteen
August 16, 2008
North Charleston Coliseum
Charleston, SC

Intro > banter
Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love)
Radio Nowhere
Out In The Street
Two Hearts
Intro to…
Spirit in the Night
Intro to…
Light of Day
Growin’ Up
Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart
No Surrender
Atlantic City
Because the Night
She’s The One
Livin’ In The Future
Mary’s Place
Hungry Heart
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
Encore applause

Streets of Fire
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
American Land
Encore applause
Twist and Shout
Applause / outro