A nice surprise awaited me this morning on Rdio (and Spotify) when I was greeted with ‘Tambourine’ – a brand new release from great Canadian songwriter Fred Eaglesmith.
“Drunk Girl” is easily my early favorite – and what a surprise, it’s a ballad! Sorry, always a sucker for one. Funny name for a ballad, I know. But the gist of it is that Fred’s had his heart right ripped out of his chest by a lost lover, and tonight – dammit all – he’s looking for a drunk girl to come “sail away” with him – to “weave on down Revelation Hill, down to the old mill street”. I picture a man sitting at the far corner of a dimly lit tavern bar. He’s a couple of whiskeys in, a slight sad smile on his face, as he resigns himself to his fate for the night. You know that smile, the one Bruce Springsteen nails about 2 minutes into his “One Step Up” video.
Reverb-drenched guitar chord strikes and arpeggios, Fred’s unmistakeable vocals, all delivered in an early rock n’ roll era sweetness.
Deer Tick world premiered their video for their new tune “The Rock” late last month, but it took me a while to get around to properly viewing/listening. I heard a handful of new tunes from their forthcoming album Negativity back in March when they played two full sets at the local McDowell Mountain Music Festival, and I’m excited for what’s in store, especially since it’s produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos (also a part of Diamond Rugs with DT’s John McCauley). Negativity releases September 24th on Partisan Records.
Here’s “The Rock”, another quality DT tune that starts out slow and introspective, but soon unleashes a rock-fueled barrage of guitars,keys, John’s raspy vocals and horns (thanks Steve Berlin!). Now, stare into John’s eyes for a few minutes…
Last summer, thanks to the passing of Arizona’s anti-immigration bill SB1070, many artists made the decision to boycott the state. One of my very favorite bands, Los Lobos, was one of those who decided to say no to Arizona. They were scheduled to perform June 10th, 2010 at the Talking Stick Resort & Casino (located just east of Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community), but cancelled the gig about a week before, releasing the following statement:
“We support the boycott of Arizona. The new law will inevitably lead to unfair racial profiling and possible abuse of people who just happen to look Latino. As a result, in good conscience, we could not see ourselves performing in Arizona. We regret the inconvenience this may have caused the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, Casino Arizona, Talking Stick Resort and our fans, but we feel strongly that it is the right thing to do.”
Not much has changed since last summer, although the most controversial portion of the bill (requiring law enforcement to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest) is currently tied up in federal courts. But lo and behold, I discovered this morning that there is a Los Lobos gig scheduled for Cinco de Mayo (um, that’s May 5th, gringos), once again at the Talking Stick Resort.
So as a rabid Los Lobos fan, I’m thrilled that they’ve decided to return to Arizona. But why the change of heart? I’m fixin’ to find out.
Could it be because the Salt River Pima – Maricopa reservation is considered Indian territory, not technically part of Arizona? Or did they realize that maybe the most effective way to show their disdain for the law is to come to Arizona and speak out directly? I’m interested to find out. But regardless, my thirst for live Lobos will soon be quenched…
It was just a matter if time before I got around to Hayes Carll. After all, I’m a long time fan of artists cut from the same cloth: Steve Earle, John Prine and Todd Snider in particular. Hayes sounds a lot like Snider, very similar singing voices – and as far as his sense of humor goes, Snider and Prine are blood brothers of Carll (don’t get confused on “Bottle In My Hand” though, that is indeed Mr. Snider joining along).
As a Rdio subscriber, I’m always jumping on the new releases every Tuesday. Today, Hayes Carll’s latest, KMAG YOYO (& other American stories), hit the real and virtual shelves. It was SiriusXM Outlaw Country that played me “The Lovin’ Cup” today, and I headed right over to Rdio to check out the whole album.
The title of the album may be familiar to our military, but silly old civilian me, I had to Google it. It’s an Army acronym for “Kiss My Ass Guys, You’re On Your Own”.
“The Lovin’ Cup” is right up my twang-lovin’ alley – an up tempo, roadhouse shit-kicker of a song…
“I’m sittin’ cross-legged in the heartache tree knowin’ damn well you ain’t a-thinkin’ bout me…”
Add Chuck Prophet to the “I Should Have Listened To By Now” List. I know very little about this man. I just know that I’ve heard his name over the years, and heard his music here and there. Given that the words “singer/songwriter” and “roots” are often associated with his name, you’d think I’d have explored his music by now.
But I haven’t.
Luckily, Sirius-XM’s The Loft – my most frequently listened to station of late (after Howard) – has been pushing some great new music my way. Today, after devouring the #4 Chile Relleno / cheese enchilada combo at Los Favoritos, I was on my way back to work when I heard this cool little nugget of coolness from Prophet.
It’s the closing song of his latest album, Let Freedom Ring!, and it resonated with me in a Tom Petty / Greg Brown sort of way. Cool tune.
Not long ago, I unearthed an old cassette of Robbie Robertson‘s Storyville album. I’m trying to figure out my thought process during the LP/cassette/early CD years. Specifically, why I ever chose to buy cassettes – the least reliable and most easily damaged format possible. Well, I know why, actually. It was the car cassette player. Tunes in the car were mandatory – and the cassette was the only way to listen to your tunes on the road.
So I’d walk out of the record store every time with either an LP and a blank tape (later a CD and a blank tape), or the officially released cassette. Storyville was released in 1991, and I opted for the cassette only.
Paying homage to the Storyville section of New Orleans, the album features a who’s who of the Louisiana sound: a handful of Nevilles, the Rebirth Brass Band, George Porter, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Big Chief Bo Dollis… and a bunch of Robertson’s friends also make appearances: fellow Band members Rick Danko and Garth Hudson, Ginger Baker, Bruce Hornsby, Neil Young, Mike Mills, David Baerwald, and on and on and on….
It’s definitely an album to be ingested as a whole, since it sets an atmosphere and takes you on a journey through some great stories and characters. One of my favorites is this tune…
Robbie Robertson – Day of Reckoning (Burnin’ for You) [mp3] – from Storyville
We’ve spent all this time building up our digital music libraries, so why not tinker around with them a bit and have some fun? Last week I explored tunes that clocked in at 2:28. This week, I take it to the streets.
The exercise this week is to locate your street songs. I’m not talkin’ lanes, avenues, roads, courts, and the like. Nuh-uh. I’m talkin’ Streets.
What’s more, I’m looking for songs that are simply names of Streets. “Oak Street”, “Main Street”, “This Street”, “That Street”. So that leaves out a lot of quality tunes obviously (“Positively 4th Street”, “Incident on 57th Street”, to name a couple). I’m interested to see what other “Street” gems are out there. So use the Search area of your favorite media player, look for some “___ Street” songs, and drop some into the comments.
Me? I came up with 17 streets. Here are four of my tops…
Christian St. (mp3) – Marah | An ode to their hometown of Philadelphia, this is on Marah’s 2nd album, Kids in Philly. It’s my favorite Marah album – just bristling with life. I spent the better part of the year 2000 with this record.
Great Jones Street– Luna | Never owned any other Luna albums other than Bewitched, but this song is a soft stunner. They had me at Great.
Cherry Street – JJ Cale | From JJ’s latest, Roll On (a concept album about deodorant. Just kidding.).
Alphabet Street – Prince
Boogie Street – Leonard Cohen
Dominick St. – Steve Earle
Grafton Street – Nancy Griffith
Grey Street – Dave Matthews Band
Highway One Zero Street – Joe Strummer
Lonely Street – Bap Kennedy
Love Street – World Party
Meadowlake Street – Ryan Adams
Rain Street – The Pogues
Shakedown Street – Grateful Dead
Shouting Street – Joe Strummer
South Street – The Orlons
Jim Heath and his power psychobilly trio Reverend Horton Heat are like the damn Energizer bunnies of rock & roll – they keep on a goin’. It wouldn’t surprise if they’re out on the road 300 days out of the year. And this has been going on for 20 years… I’ve seen ’em many times, and it’s always an experience.
The Rev’s 11th studio album, Laughin’ and Cryin’ with the Reverend Horton Heat was released just a few weeks ago, along with its unsettling cover (especially for you coulrophobics out there… yeah, had to look it up). The new record is stocked full of the types of tunes and lyrics that endear him to his cult following. Songs about drinkin’ and cigarettes, Vegas, using his growing belly as a beer holder…even an ode to Arizona’s Saguaro cactus.
With Jimbo slapping hard on his stand-up bass, and the Rev pickin’ mean on his Gretsch, the album gives us high dosages of rockabilly, punk, and the ever-present humor. A case in point found in this tune, featuring the standout line: “His dirty feet might dangle like it’s [??] / But it’s not a grocery basket if there’s booze inside”. Kudos to whoever can nail those missing lyrics there…
Reverend Horton Heat – Please Don’t Take the Baby to the Liquor Store (mp3)
“Sea of Heartbreak” is one of those classics you recognize when you hear it, you enjoy it, but you really know nothing about the history or origin of the song. Well, that’s my experience anyway. After hearing Rosanne Cash‘s new version, with Bruce Springsteen on harmonies, and listening about 5-6 times in a row, it was time to hit All Music and get to the bottom of it.
The song was written by Hal David and David Hampton. Far as can tell, it was originally recorded by Don Gibson in 1961. Rosanne’s old man Johnny covered the song on his 1996 Rick Rubin-produced album Unchained, an album that features Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers as the session band.
It’s the first single from Rosanne’s forthcoming album The List, due out October 6th. The story goes that Johnny gave Rosanne a list of 100 essential country songs when she was 18 years old. Juuust a few years later, she’s taken a handful and made The List.
I think Rosanne’s voice is flawless. Love it. And add the Boss to the mix? Sheesh. Fuhgetaboutit.
I think I’ll listen to it 5-6 more times…
This Labor Day weekend, the temperature here in the Arizona desert finally dropped below 100 degrees for two straight days. Some rain, lots of clouds, and best of all, a chance to venture out to the back patio for one of my favorite pastimes: listening to my oodles of music on Shuffle. It seems I discover something new each time. If you’re constantly gathering music from all sources – ripped CD’s, ripped vinyl, eMusic, iTunes, the Amazon MP3 Store, etc – there’s little chance you listen to everything in your music collection. Especially more than once or twice.
Therefore, it’s important to me to spend a lot of time with the iTunes on Shuffle, and let it flow. Yesterday morning, as I wrapped up the yard work, and relaxed on the patio chair with a bottle of water, the tunes did flow: “Black Man’s Cry” (Fela Kuti & Ginger Baker), “Gypsy Woman” (Bruce’s version), “Don’t Go Away Mad” (Little Village)…
Then a soft acoustic tune came on – a rocking chair on a rural country porch kind of tune. I didn’t recognize it. And those are exactly the moments I look for: hearing something great in my collection, and having no idea who it is or where it came from. Turns out it was the Avett Brothers, and the song was the final track on their last full length album Emotionalism – “Hand-Me-Down Tune”.
Take a listen…
The Avett Brothers – “Hand-Me-Down Tune” (mp3) – from Emotionalism
September is a big month for the North Carolina-based Avett Brothers. Their latest full length, I and Love and You will come out on September 29th. During the month, starting Tuesday, they’ll release 13 video pieces on their web site – combining live footage, fan and band interviews – each of them dedicated to a a song on the new album.
Pre-order I and Love and You by clicking on the cover…