Listen to my Banjo

So I download a helluva lot of music from MP3 Blogland. So much so that sometimes I don’t actually hear the tunes until months later when I’m kickin’ back listening to my mp3 collection on shuffle. It was recently that I came across a tune by The Woes that was posted on Bars & Guitars back in the spring. The tune is “Blackbird” and it features a banjo, an accordion, harmonica, bass, and gravelly voiced singer Osei Essed. The banjo and the chord changes reminded me of another tune by Philly’s Marah: a song called “Phantom Eyes”, from their amazing late 90’s debut, ‘Let’s Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on Tonight’.

So I put ’em together for your listening pleasure. Compare, contrast and comment. Look ma, I’m podcasting! Sort of… I guess…

I call it… Black Phantom! (mp3)

00:00 – 04:06 :: The Woes“Blackbird” – from a 7 song EP entitles ‘Coalmine’ – apprarently not to be found for sale, but check out their My Space site, where they have a few additional tunes you can stream.
04:07 – 06:35 :: Marah “Phantom Eyes” – from ‘Let’s Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on Tonight’ [Buy]

Todd’s Train Song

One of tunes I heard during Bruce’s pre-show music prompted me to call home from the show and leave some of the lyrics on the answering machine (yeah, I’m a geek). I didn’t figure out what it was though until I saw the list.

Todd Snider‘s the name. I’m ashamed to say I only own one of Todd’s CD’s, 1996’s ‘Step RightUp’, but that’s about to change after I’m done with this post. I wasn’t aware of Todd’s personal troubles, but he’s had one helluva fight with drug addiction which led him to a suicide attempt. Todd has been putting out his brand of Nashville country-folk-rock for over a decade now.

So here’s that mystery tune that caught my ear. Gotta love those train songs…

Todd Snider: Play a Train Song (mp3)

Matt’s Chrome Heart

I absolutely have to throw a little more Matthew Ryan out there for those fans of the gravelly voiced genre. This song’ll rip you apart, brother (or sister). Matt’s gotta heart made of chrome, and he ain’t about to rest until you damn sure know it:

Well in case you didn’t know I’ve got a heart made of chrome
It’s been bent ’til it was twisted
And in case you didn’t know I’ve got a heart made of chrome
It’s been burned, but it’s still willing to try
And shine – – full lyrics here

Matthew Ryan: Chrome (mp3)

Buy May Day

Fun with Fred

So here’s another Canadian treasure that still manages to fly under the radar down here in the States. The name’s Fred Eaglesmith, and he was born into a large family on a southern Ontario farm. His debut album was released way back in 1980. Great roots / country/ folk rockin’ going on here. It’s this tune that caught my attention a couple years back. Still waiting for the man to make it down to Arizona…

Fred Eaglesmith: Gettin’ to Me (mp3)

Buy Fred’s music.

This Holy Mess

“It’s hardly morning
It’s early January
There’s always something
That’s coming or gone

Out in the dark light
I go walking
Into the quiet
Of this holy mess”

So I’m a sucker for the gritty raw singer songwriter types. Springsteen, Earle, Prine, Tweedy, and this fella, Matthew Ryan. My favorite of his CD’s, ‘May Day’, was left in a rental car at the Burbank Airport, along with about 30 others. I hope the rental car agent or car washer is at least listening to some of the CD’s. Yep, another one of my shining moments. DOH! There goes a case of CD’s! See ya!

Anyhow, take a listen to “Me & My Lover”. What I love about ol’ Matt is when he kicks it up a notch into the next octave at the 2:21 mark in the song. It’s effortless and so powerful. And the chord changes are great. This tune starts mellow, kicks into gear, and goes back down the hill toward the end. It’s a nice sweet ride with a hint of bitterness: “cause most things are meaningless, the more you get to know them”.

For those who like the artists I mention above, you’ll like Matthew Ryan. ‘May Day’ is a great introduction…

Matthew Ryan – Me and My Lover
(mp3) – 2000, ‘East Autumn Grin’ – {Amazon}