Much like their song King Kong, American Revival is straddling the Twin Cities with one giant left foot in Minneapolis and one giant right foot in St Paul. Since writing about them last November, I have truly enjoyed following this local band as they begin to play bigger venues around town. It has been far too long since I’ve had some home town boys to geek out over and these guys have been exceeding my expectations with each gig I see.
Here is a video from a stellar show last December at the Fine Line Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis. It’s very illustrative of their energy, professionalism, and amazing sound.
I stumble across this show quite frequently in my travels through iTunes, and I was reminded again of it this morning while picking around on my acoustic guitar. I was toying around with the beautiful guitar parts of the Dire Straits tune “Why Worry”, and decided to punch it up in iTunes so I could play along. Up came this live version by the Notting Hillbillies – a relatively short-lived group from the early 1990’s made up of Mark Knopfler, Steve Phillips, Brendan Croker, and Guy Fletcher.
I posted this show back in 2006, and thought I’d bring it back for those who want to hear a laid back, tight-knit group of friends playing some great music. The Dire Straits covers are especially great – particularly the Calypso version of “So Far Away”.
THE NOTTING HILLBILLIES
Swan Hunter Shipyard
July 6th, 1993
2. Calling Elvis
3. So Far Away (Calypso version)
4. Your Own Sweet Way
5. Run Me Down
6. Why Worry
7. Railroad Worksong
8. Feel Like Going Home
9. Setting Me Up
If you caught the end of Letterman on Monday night, you caught Ryan Bingham‘s “The Weary Kind” – a Golden Globe nominated tune from Crazy Heart (a movie which by all accounts is fantastic). The song was written by Ryan and T-Bone Burnett.
I’m still waiting for the opportunity to catch Ryan live. Until that day, performances like this hit the spot. Make sure to watch the funny exchange between Dave and Ryan afterward.
In 1973, John Fogerty released his solo debut album, The Blue Ridge Rangers – a collection of country, rock and gospel covers- every instrument and every vocal part belonging to John.
On September 1st, John’s back with a whole new collection of favorite tunes, with The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again. Once again, the record is produced and arranged by Fogerty, but this time around, he brings some friends into the studio to help out with the playing and singing. Among them, Timothy B. Schmidt and Don Henley on Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party”, and one Bruce Springsteen on the Everly Brothers classic “When Will I Be Loved”.
The Boss is a long time fan of Fogerty’s, and it’s great to hear the two of them together, covering such a great tune…
Some days are better than others. And when I find myself with my patience thinning (way too frequently as I get older, it seems), I always think of the chorus of this John Prine song…
You can gaze out the window get mad and get madder,
throw your hands in the air, say “What does it matter?”
but it don’t do no good to get angry,
so help me I know
The sage advice of John Prine. What good does it really do to raise your voice? To pound your fist? To yell an expletive that your neighbors can probably hear from the street? With reality slapping you in the face every day – bills, a family to support, short tempered kids (where’d they get THAT from?), stupid drivers – well, it’s hard not to lose your cool.
And when I feel it coming on, I always try to take myself to this John Prine song..
For a heart stained in anger grows weak and grows bitter.
You become your own prisoner as you watch yourself sit there
wrapped up in a trap of your very own
chain of sorrow.
Stop. Take a deep breath. Put everything into perspective. And don’t sweat the small stuff.
Stay cool, peeps.
John Prine – Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow) [mp3]
From Bruised Orange
Take a look at this 1980 Soundstage special, with John driving around his hometown in Illinois, telling the story behind the song…
Former Mavericks frontman Raul Malo will be releasing his first album of original material in eight years on March 3rd. Lucky One was recorded over the last couple of years at Raul’s Nashville home. Co-producing several of the tracks is Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin.
Here’s a free & clear mp3, courtesy of Fantasy Records, Raul’s new label. Seriously, I could listen to Raul Malo sing the phone book…
Where are the Old 97’s? I know they have some tour dates scheduled, but we haven’t seen any new studio stuff since 2004, when they released their debut on New West Records, Drag It Up. The formerly Dallas-based band has released some gems over the years, my favorite still being 1997’s Too Far to Care. Fusing country, punk, rockabilly, and later on more of a pop oriented sound, the Old 97’s really shine on the stage. These guys put on an amazing live show. An energetic and spastic live show. A late 90’s Old 97’s show at Nita’s Hideaway in Tempe is one of my live music highlights.
The guys are apparently still together, though I need to figure out if a new album is in the works. They left Texas a while ago. I believe lead singer Rhett Miller still lives in NYC (Rhett lived right near ground zero with his girlfriend on 9/11/2001), and bassist and singer Murray Hammond lives in L.A.
Though they have an arsenal of barnstorming, shit-kicking songs that will knock your pants off and have you hopping around like Hee Haw’s Grandpa Jones, I especially enjoy the slowed down Old 97’s. Here are a couple of great down-tempo Old 97’s tunes…
This would make a great St. Patrick’s day post, but it’s only September, and I’m way too impatient to sit on this show for too long. The date is St. Patty’s Day 1996. The location is Dublin, Ireland. Joe Ely and Bruce Springsteen both find themselves overseas on their latest tours (Joe for Letter to Laredo, Bruce for The Ghost of Tom Joad).
It was the last night of Joe’s tour, playing in front of a raucous Dublin crowd. And lo and behold, who’s in the house but his friend Bruce, who comes on stage to join Joe for a handful of the last few songs of the evening. I’d call this a pretty decent way to celebrate a St. Patty’s Day…
By the way, I’m curious, does any Bruce / Ely aficionado out there know how far back Springsteen and Ely go, where / how they met, etc.?
March 17, 1996
w/ special guest Bruce Springsteen
Gallo Del Cielo Ranches & Rivers Spanish Love Scene Rode Goes On Forever Boxcars Saint Valentine I Saw It In You Run Preciosa (fades out) Bluebird Letter To Laredo Gangster Of Love (Sung by lead guitarist Jesse Taylor, RIP 1950-2006) Me & Billy The Kid Road Hog BBQ & Foam All Just To Get To You * Oh Boy * Settle For Love * 1000 Miles From Home My Eyes Got Lucky Fingernails Medley * Blowin’ Down The Road *
Bruce and the band have been pulling out some good ones on the final few shows of the tour. Here’s the Seeger Sessions take on one of my favorites from ‘Devils & Dust’, a great tune called “Long Time Comin”. This one stays pretty true to its original version, more so than any of Bruce’s other material that have been given the Seeger Sessions makeover. It’s a nice country rock feel to it with the slide guitar and the full band.
More to come!
Bruce Springsteen & the Seeger Sessions Band: Long Time Comin’ (mp3) – live in Detroit, Michigan, June 16, 2006