Now that I’m found I miss being lost

Clem_Snide_-_End_of_Love

From Clem Snide’s 2005 album End of Love comes this great tune, “Jews For Jesus Blues.” It’s coming up on Christmas 2015 and this would seem to coincide in some way with the holiday, but that’s not my intention. It’s simply a great tune: witty lyrics from Eef Barzelay, and a beautifull arranged country/folk tune that I can’t stop coming back to again and again.

Take it, Clem Snide…

And Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Festivus for the rest of us!

Check out the album End of Love on Spotify and Amazon.

Katie Queen of Tennessee

The song is sweet, catchy, and mesmerizing. It got me right from the moment I saw this video on Palladia. I’d never heard of the Apache Relay. They’re from Nashville, and they took their name from a scene in the 1995 movie Heavyweights (co-written and co-produced by Judd Apatow – he’s everywhere).

The video is a good match for the song – random, unexpected, and pretty damn delightful…

The Apache Relay (Amazon)

Required Viewing: Fred Eaglesmith

I experienced my first Fred Eaglesmith show Wednesday night as Fred’s ‘Traveling Steam Show” rolled through Arizona.

How to even begin? The great music, the between-song monologues that are a show unto itself, the kickass backing band (including the talented and quite lovely Tif Ginn). My face hurt from laughing so hard, and I am still riding a high from that great night of music.

Fred and the band are inside their vintage tour buses rolling into Texas now as I write this, with a good number of dates left on this tour (up through the midwest and into Canada).

I can’t put the experience into words and do  it justice.  A good start is this full show from the 2007 at the Paradiso in Amsterdam:

Folks, if Fred Eaglesmith and his Traveling Steam Show stops through your town, drop what you’re doing and GO.

Delta Spirit on Austin City Limits / “Vivian”

dsposter
Poster by Justin Helton

Austin City Limits is amazing week in and week out as it is, but when one of my favorites hits the stage for the 30 minute showcase, it always seems to capture something special that gives me a brand new appreciation for the music and the artists I admire (one previous example: John Prine’s 2006 appearance when he introduced me to Blaze Foley’s “Clay Pigeons.”

This weekend’s premier episode with Delta Spirit and Bob Mould brought that same type of moment for me when Matt Vasquez (of Delta Spirit) introduced and sang the song “Vivian.” Matt wrote the song about his grandparents Vivian and Jerry. It’s written from Jerry’s perspective after he’s passed away. He’s up in Heaven and plaintively lamenting the loneliness of it without Vivian. With each chorus, he’s moving closer and closer to her. He moves from “above the clouds” to “below the clouds” to “above your house” and finally, to “beside your bed.” It’s such a moving and heartfelt declaration of love – “not separate even in death.”

I’ve heard and enjoyed the song many times on DS’s History From Below, but seeing it introduced and performed this way, with Matt’s parents in the ACL audience, in the town that he grew up.. well, it hits me in that sensitive sweet spot (where music so often does).

Some moments propel me to this chair & keyboard to share with like-minded music-loving folks. This is one of those moments.

ACL is streaming the full episode right now. The intro of “Vivian” starts at 39:00 (and it goes without saying you should watch the entire episode). Here’s the studio version, followed by the ACL episode.

Delta SpiritVivian (mp3) – from History From Below

Watch Bob Mould / Delta Spirit on PBS. See more from Austin City Limits.

Recap: Band of Horses at the Marquee Theater in Tempe

It was starting to feel like Band of Horses may never actually make it back to Phoenix. Last year, they were scheduled to open for Kings of Leon at Ashley Home Store Pavilion, but that got axed. Then this year, they were scheduled to play downtown Tempe as part of the second installment of the Railroad Revival Tour with Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, and actor/musician John C. Reilly, but that fell apart a few weeks prior to the October 26th date.

Luckily, Band of Horses wasted no time and promptly booked gigs in the cancelled tour towns, including an October 26th stop at the Marquee Theater in Tempe. For fans like me, it was a big win, now getting a full headlining gig versus an abbreviated festival-like set.

And so deliver they did, playing a roughly two hour set for (what had to be) a sold out crowd – the set list drawing from all four studio albums. In fact, at the end of the night, only four songs showed up from their latest release, Mirage Rock.

Some friends and I got to spend about fifteen minutes chatting with lead singer Ben Bridwell after the show, and he talked about the fun they’re having with these last minute headlining dates. They’re giving themselves the freedom to relax, have some fun, and play outside of the box a little.

It showed with the 23-song set list that included a couple of rarely seen covers: keyboardist/guitarist Ryan Monroe took to the organ for “Ain’t No Good To Cry,” a late 60’s tune by Hour Glass – the L.A. band that Gregg and Duane Allman were a part of before forming the Allman Brothers Band. How’s that for obscure? (Thanks to Ryan Monroe for the Twitter reply confirming the song name). The other cover was the encore finale, an old deep soul track called “Am I A Good Man?”, originally by a group called Them Two. They’ve pulled that one out quite a bit in the past.

We got a song premiere too, “A Little Biblical” from Mirage Rock, a tune they had never performed live.

But by and large, the band delivered lots of familiar Band of Horses favorites:

  • The night opener, “The First Song,” with Ben sitting down with this pedal steel.
  • “Marry Song,” with Ryan and Ben synched up perfectly with that gorgeous harmony.
  • “No One’s Gonna Love You,” a night highlight, with only Tyler Ramsey on guitar and Ben on vocals – a very intimate few minutes and clearly a crowd favorite.
  • Another slow burning highlight: “Detlef Schrempf,” where Ben came down to the crowd to share the mic during the chorus, letting crowd members sing “My eyes can’t look at you any other way…”- and by the way, I asked Ben after the show if former NBA star Detlef Schrempf knows there’s a song named after him. The answer is yes – Detlef and Ben keep still keep in touch, and try to hang out when Ben stops through Seattle.
  • “The Funeral” was the regular set closer, and since Ben’s amp blew out during the prior tune, it didn’t feature the familiar guitar riff from his Les Paul Standard. Instead, Ryan worked the riff on the organ. They may have stumbled on something there… very cool to see an oft-played tune done in a different style.

Just an amazing night overall – for the super fans like me on down. And to be able to chat it up with Ben after the show was the icing on the cake – such a genuinely nice guy.

Back in October 2008, on the morning after their Austin City Limits Festival set, I saw Ben in the Austin airport, so I went up and said hi. When I mentioned that encounter last night, unbelievably to me, he remembered meeting me on that bleary-eyed morning. So naturally, I asked him to reenact the photo we took in the airport. Kudos to Ben for removing his ball cap to style his hair a la 2008…

2012

2008

Ben promised the crowd that it wouldn’t take so long for the band to make it back to the Phoenix area. From what I can find, the last time they were in Phoenix was a June 2006 stop at the Rhythm Room. That is a long time.

Here’s hopin’ and beggin’ and prayin’ they stop through again soon. Special band. Special night.

Band of Horses Web Site

Band of Horses on Amazon

Set List

Marquee Theater
Tempe, AZ
Oct 26, 2012

The First Song
Laredo
Great Salt Lake
Islands on the Coast
NW Apartment
Electric Music
Ain’t No Good To Cry (Hour Glass cover)
Blue Beard
Cigarettes Wedding Bands
On My Way Back Home
Marry Song
Everything’s Gonna Be Undone
Older
Knock Knock
A Little Biblical
No One’s Gonna Love You
Is There a Ghost
Weed Party
Ode to LRC
The Funeral

~ Encore ~
The General Specific
Detlef Schrempf
Am I A Good Man? (Them Two cover)

** Thanks to Nicole LaRochelle for some of the photos above.

Recap: Deer Tick at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix

The great thing about Deer Tick live is the no frills, no bullshit, “it’s only rock n’ roll” attitude. Lead singer/guitarist John McCauley is the embodiment of it all. He’s clearly in it for the music, and doesn’t much care about self-image or putting on those rock band front man airs. But that’s not to say he doesn’t have a good time and doesn’t embrace some of the – um – rock star lifestyle.

Shuffling on stage last night with three bottles of Coors and the red plastic cup that was never too far from his grasp, John and the band rocked the face off the Crescent Ballroom last night – growling, spitting, and, yes, snot-rocketing his way through a 90 minute, 19-song set full of new tunes from their brand new album Divine Providence, along with some older tunes spanning their first three albums (most from their debut, War Elephant) and a couple of well-placed covers.

They opened with the great Divine Providence album opener, “The Bump,” which serves as a great introduction to the band: “We’re full grown men! / But we act like kids! / We’ll face the music / Next time we roll in“; and the ultimate intro to John: “I got a name / They Call Me The Bump / One night with me / Is gonna mess you up … I’m a drunken devil! / I’m not the king of cool!

And off they went. The set featured 9 songs from the new album, including two sung by guitarist Ian O’Neil (the hard charging “Walking Out The Door” and the southern rock ballad-feel of “Now It’s Your Turn”) and one by drummer Dennis Ryan, “Clowning Around” (Dennis wrote the song about John Wayne Gacy). The first released single from the record, “Miss K”, is good-time rock at its finest, and really pumped the crowd.

John and the band are loose and relaxed between songs, noodling around like they’re in rehearsal. It’s fun to see. Between songs, we were treated to the theme from Law & Order, AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”, and my favorite, drummer Dennis Ryan singing a verse of Santana & Rob Thomas’ “Smooth” – but sung as Tom Waits. Classic.

Deer Tick played five tunes off of War Elephant, including another highlight of the night, a slowed down “Ashamed” with a killer sax solo from Rob Crowell. Just as cool was the song they chose next, a raucous cover of the Replacements’ “Bastards of Young.”

Speaking of covers, the band also showed off their alter ego Deervana, with a spot on version of Nirvana’s “On a Plain.”

The night wrapped just after midnight, with the party anthem off the new album, “Let’s All Go To The Bar.” They were on for a full 90 minutes, but it still seemed short, and there wasn’t even enough time for an encore (I’m guessing the Crescent Ballroom curfew is 12 midnight). Everyone was ready for more, but it wasn’t to be. Instead, I made my way out back and chatted with the band for a few minutes (along with my smuggled can o’ Four Peaks Hop Knot IPA – shh).

me & john mccauley

To me, there’s nothing as invigorating as a solid, genuine, live rock n’ roll show. Deer Tick are as real as they come – an unaffected group of guys who clearly love playing music together and insist on having a great time doing it. It’s all for the love of the music – and luckily, those of us in the crowd get to come along for the ride.

Deer Tick Set List
October 28, 2011
Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix

The Bump
Easy
Baltimore Blues No. 1
Main Street
Chevy Express
Walkin’ out the Door
Ashamed
Bastards of Young (Replacements cover)
Clownin Around
Funny Word
Choir of Angels
These Old Shoes
Now It’s Your Turn
Miss K.
On a Plain (Nirvana cover)
Not So Dense
Mange
Let’s All Go To The Bar

Triple D Playlist (more Deer Tick, Dawes and Delta Spirit)

To make sure I leave no stone unturned in my music geekitude, I’m now a premium subscriber to both Spotify and Rdio. You’d think I’d have all the bases covered for any song or album I’d like to hear, and for the most part, that’s true. There are still some holes though. Spotify, surprisingly, has no Delta Spirit and none of the three Deer Tick full lenghts. So I turned to Rdio to craft a special “Triple D Attack” playlist.

This playlist features Dawes, Delta Spirit, Deer Tick, with a healthy smattering of Middle Brother songs. Let’s just say I’m knee deep in a Triple D phase.

Song numero uno on the playlist below is “Dirty Dishes”, a song that is so beautiful and tortured and perfect that I just can’t stop listening – and it’s been months.

In Dawes news, many of you have probably heard about the recently announced tour with Blitzen Trapper. If you’re here with me in Arizona, they’ll be stopping in at the newest music venue in town, the Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix. It’s a much needed mid-size venue that hopefully will attract a lot of talent. Dawes & Blitzen Trapper will be there Monday, October 10th. My ticket is secured, and I can’t wait.

Delta Spirit just helped kick off the opening day of Lollapalooza on Friday. The good folks at the Audio Perv already have the webcast up (all tunes I saw live last week in Newport).

So here’s the Rdio playlist. Always worth the 7 day free trial to check it out…

Delta Spirit

Hi, it’s me, man of few words of late. Seems I’ve been soaking in the music and not spitting it back out in written form. You know, it feels like the right thing about now.

But I do need to steer you toward a great record, and that is Delta Spirit‘s History From Below. I listened to it for the first time today, and it instantly grabbed hold. Song numero uno, “9/11”, hit me from the start.

Do check out this song, and this album. Looking forward to seeing them by the water at the Newport Folk Festival this summer…

New Steve Earle Song: “Waitin’ On The Sky”/ new album out April 26th

Crazy to think that it’s been almost four years since a new Steve Earle album. Can’t blame him really – the man’s a workaholic: poet, author, activist, actor, and then – oh yeah – that songwriting/music gig.

Steve’s been busy writing his first novel, I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, and recording his new album of the same name. He mentioned in Rolling Stone recently that it’s “probably the countriest record I’ve done in a long time.”

Earlier today, Steve’s label, New West Records, came up with this cool offer for a free MP3 from the new record, and a PDF excerpt from his new novel. All you have to do is have a Facebook account and click to accept it.

The new tune sounds great – fresh and familiar at the same time. It’s that unmistakeable Steve Earle vibe. Take a listen, then head over to download it.

By the way, another amazing album cover from Chicago artist Tony Fitzpatrick, who’s created every Steve Earle album cover since 1996’s I Feel Alright (he also did the cover for Yellow Moon by the Neville Brothers). His art makes me want to pick up all of these albums on vinyl. Beautiful work.

Steve Earle – “Waitin’ On The Sky”
[audio:earle-sky.mp3]

PRE-ORDER: I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive (the album, out April 26) | I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive (the novel, out May 12)

DOWNLOAD: The MP3 of “Waitin’ On The Sky” and an excerpt from Steve’s new novel here.

Red House Painters

Red House Painters

Red House Painters. I think I listened to their latest album, Songs for a Blue Guitar, only once before tonight – and didn’t give it a good listen at that.

Some cool tracks on this one…

A Neil Young-inspired 11 minute thrasher here with “Silly Little Love Songs”…

A Cars cover! “All Mixed Up”! Completely revamped…

And the song that pushed me again toward the album after hearing on Sirius XM’s The Loft – the title track. I thought I was hearing a slowed down, acoustic version of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”, but it was this…