Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Playlist Pulse: Grooves.....

Time for another Playlist Pulse. This time from the one titled grooves. These are simply those songs that make you tap you boots, drum on the desk, or just bob a head. Whether it's the plunk of a banjo, the beat of a tom, or the groove initiated by a plugged in guitar, it's hard not to move to these songs:

1. mp3: The Be Good Tanyas - Rain & Snow
buy Blue Horse (2001)

a traditional folk song made famous by The Dead

2. mp3: Rodney Crowell - The Obscenity Prayer
buy The Outsider (2005)

3. mp3: Bob Dylan - Baby, Let Me Follow You Down
buy Bob Dylan (1962)

4. mp3: Ray Wylie Hubbard - Roll and I Tumble
buy Deirium Tremolos (2005)
From the same album as the song that inspired this blog. RWH might as well have invented the groove - most of his songs make this list.

5. mp3: Todd Snider - The Highland Street Incident
buy The Devil You Know (2006)
Todd got mugged behind a bar one night. He tried many times to write a song about it, but couldn't get it right until he thought to tell it from the muggers point of view.


p.s. - i got all the links fixed up.
if you see something crossed out,
that mean the link is expired - too slow

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The End of the Depression....

Got my final issue of No Depression magazine in the mail the other day. After 13 twang-filled years, the leading publication in the Alt-Country music scene is ceasing production. The simple reason for the stoppage is revenue. With the growing popularity of music information on the web (with blogs like this, and sites like Pitchfork and Stereogum), and the more specialized genre of No Depression - as opposed to mags like Rolling Stone - the demand for printed music commentary just isn't there anymore. The good news, however, is that the company will continue with their website. They have a complete update and overhaul planned in order to make the shift to the digital world of publication. No Depression will continue, in print, with a semi-annual 'bookazine'. Focusing on longer, more in-depth pieces, the bookazine will contain material that can't simply be transitioned into web content.

i was a fairly new subscriber, but i managed to make a couple purchases of back-issue bundles on eBay - a steal compared to what, i'm sure, old issues are going for these days. So now i've got another stockpile of music relics to show my grandkids, one day.

The farewell issue (with Buddy Miller on the cover) has a great mix of articles and stories with both new views and sentimental memories of the alt-country world. An aritcle that is perfectly fitting for this issue is a story on the Old 97's - a band that has weathered the storm of the music industry (for just as long as the magazine), only to come out of the ashes still very alive. The band will release their 7th studio album, Blame It On Gravity, on May 13th.
Another great article is a nostalgic look back at Whiskeytown's first major release, Strangers Almanac. The landmark album for one of the leading bands at the birth of the alt-country scene recently saw a re-release as a deluxe edition packed with bonus tracks.
Other articles up my alley are stories on Hayes Carll and James McMurtry. Get you a copy while you still can.

Some fitting songs:

mp3: Uncle Tupelo - No Depression
buy No Depression (1990)
mp3: The Carter Family - Give Me Roses While I Live
buy The Carter Family 1927-1934
mp3: Son Volt - Windfall
buy Trace (1995)
mp3: Whiskeytown - Somebody Remembers The Rose (acoustic)
buy Strangers Almanac - Deluxe Edition (2008)
mp3: Ryan Adams & Caitlin Cary - The Battle
buy No Depression: What it Sounds Like, Vol. 2 (2006)

Other News:
i've recently switched file hosting services, due to numerous problems with bandwidth. My new one should have enough - i get 9 gigs per day, so even if i do run out, it'll reset the following day. Keep that in mind in you ever run into that nasty little error message.....

i'm still going through and updating file links throughout my blog. i've got the first page done, and i should have the rest fixed sometime this week.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cover/Uncovered: Mike McClure.....

i keep putting off that Artist Spotlight i've been planning for Mike McClure, but to get some more of his music out to you guys, i'll highlight a couple of covers he regularly does. Both are covers of legendary artists and show both ends of the spectrum of Mike's style.

i consider Mike one the best songwriters around today. This may come as a surprise to some of you, only because you've never heard of him. But i've known about his poetic way with words since about '98 - back with The Great Divide. I didn't realize the genious in him until his first solo effort, Twelve Pieces, came out in '02. People who are great songwriters (and often know they are) normally have a hard time doing cover songs - if they do, they choose very wisely. That's exactly the case here with Mike. From the multitude of McClure bootlegs i've come across, i know he's a huge fan of Van Morrison. He finally put a cover of a Van song on an album with Into The Mystic on Camelot Falling:

Cover: Mike McClure Band - Into The Mystic

Mike (and band) stay very true to Van The Man's version with this cover - from the acoustic intro, to the unmistakable bassline, and even the heartfelt vocals when the chorus builds. A perfect example of if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Uncovered: Van Morrison - Into The Mystic <------ copyright issues...
buy Moondance (1970)


Most of the tracks i've posted from Mike show his singer-songwriter side, but if you have ever caught a concert of his, you know that's not all there is. Mike is a dork for 80's rock and when he plays live, he lets that kid in him that always dreamed of being in a hair-metal band come out - extended solos and amped up guitars. Mike was the frontman as well as lead guitarist for The Great Divide. When he first formed The Mike McClure Band in '03, he employed the help of lead-guitarist Rodney Pyeatt (former member of Selena's band). This bootleg is from a show when Pyeatt was still with the band, but Mike eventually felt the need to rip up solo's on his own again. The Mike McClure Band is currently a 3-piece (Mike, bassist Tom Skinner, and Eric Hansen on drums).

Cover: Mike McClure Band - Rockin' In The Free World (live)
A staple of his live (full band) shows, Mike gives Rockin' In The Free World a little twist both musically and by throwing in some slightly altered lines of his own.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ryan Adams: Gold....

"Had myself a lover who was finer than GOLD,
but I've broken up and busted up since."

If you're new here, be sure to check out
volumes 1 and 2 of my extra-large Ryan Adams

1. Whiskeytown
2. Heartbreaker

or, just click here for all of them on one page.

With Heartbreaker blowing the door open - critically, not commercially - for Ryan's solo career, he was able to step out of the Alt-country world he had been living in since Whiskeytown and make the rockin' blues record he had been wanting to.

In 2001, emerging record label, Lost Highway, picked up on the genius that was Heartbreaker, and signed Ryan. Their first order of business was to pluck Whiskeytown's Pneumonia off the shelf it had been collecting dust on due to legal troubles with other labels. They released it in March of '01.

So, Ryan put together 16 stellar tracks that literally span from coast to coast. Gold begins with New York, New York, and song that, in the wake of 9/11, became Ryan's biggest hit to date. The video received considerable airplay on MTV in the weeks following the disaster. Other obvious standouts include Answering Bell (with vocal help from Adam Duritz of Counting Crows), The Rescue Blues, Touch Feel & Lose, and When The Stars Go Blue. To the surprise of many, Tim McGraw covered Stars Go Blue recently (i don't feel the need to look up anything on McGraw). At a live show, after playing the song, Ryan said "that's right, i wrote that song. i got a pool made out of unicorn bones because of that fucking song." My favorite obscure track off the album is Gonna Make You Love Me More - one of many that evoke The Stones - check it out. Like every other Ryan Adams album (with the exception of Rock N Roll) the disc closes with his signature melancholy piano ballad. Goodnight Hollywood Blvd brings an amazing record full circle - geographically and stylistically.

Gold brought Ryan into the Rock/Pop spotlight (that he soon after shot out and hid from) with 2 Grammy Nominations: Best Rock Album and Best Male Rock Vocal for New York, New York.

Notable Liner Note Shout Outs:
Elton John - you sweet sweet man
Mexico for being Mexico
Mike Fuckin Daly
Rhett Miller and the 97's
Keith Richards
Converse and cowboy boots
the Harlem Globetrotters
Anne Frank
MEG WHITE - for saving Rock 'n' Roll
Alanis Morrisette (4 times)
and Winona Ryder..... damn girl

But the fun doesn't stop there, folks. As usual, Ryan rounded up a disc of B-sides for Gold. i've said before, i don't want to post any album cuts from Ryan, as i think you should you do yourself a favor and buy them. But for your listening pleasure, here is side D from the album:

1. mp3: Rosalie Come and Go
2. mp3: The Fools We Are As Men
3. mp3: Sweet Black Magic
4. mp3: The Bar Is a Beautiful Place
5. mp3: Cannonball Days

The bonus disc contains a little bit of everything: timeless rockers, contemplative ballads, and even a hint of bluegrass.

In addition to the B-sides, i've gotten my hands on a couple tracks that came with the New York, New York single released in November of 2001.

mp3: Mara Lisa
mp3: From You To Me

Buy Gold here (iTunes) or here (Amazon).
Get in on Vinyl here, and get the Bonus Tracks.
----> Continue on to the next Post....

----> View the Ryan Adams Spotlight on one page...

New Digs: The Rosewood Thieves....

Like i've said before, i can't possibly listen to every piece of music i come across out there in the blog world, so first impressions are important. If i like what someone says about a band or an artist, i'll give a track or two a listen - and if it doesn't make an impact on me right then, i'll move along. It's a brutal process that sometimes allows good music to slip through.

Now, i can't remember if i ever gave the band that makes up my new digs this week a listen in the past, but if i did, i really must've missed something. Setting The Woods on Fire, a great blog that usually features classic country music, wrote up a little something on The Rosewood Thieves a couple days ago, and posted this song:

mp3: The Rosewood Thieves - She Don't Mind The Rain

i don't know if i was just in the right mood when i heard it, but i dug it. It sounds like 60's pop (with the organ, tambourines, and harmonies), but somehow still fits into the style of music i like. So, this band passed the first impression test, and i looked 'em on The Hype....

Wtf. How had these guys' music not hit my ears before? The blogs that have mentioned The Rosewood Thieves are almost all blogs that i consistently check out:

Bag of Songs: Hot New Music from the Rosewood Thieves (4.18.08)
Songs: Illinois: The Rosewood Thieves (11.19.07)
Bag of Songs: New Music: The Rosewood Thieves (10.2.07)
I Am Fuel...: The Rosewood Thieves: Folk Music in the Back Room (7.29.07)
I Am Fuel...: I'm Likin' The Rosewood Thieves (8.18.06 - way back before i even knew what a music blog was...)

Most of them give Dr. Mooney and his 115th Dream credit for turning them on to the band. He's a huge advocate of The Thieves and has posted several things about them in the past. Also, with an eye-catching, Dylan-referent title and good suggestions, The Doctor might just be the next blog added to my list of favorites.

You can read all about the band at the above links, but basically they are a 5 piece out of New York that mixes jangly retro-rock with progressive folk. They released an EP in each of the last 2 years, and will release their first full-length album, Rise & Shine, sometime this summer (the above song is the first single from it). As of now, they say it will only be available at their shows, but lets hope for at least a digital release.

more from The Rosewood Thieves:

From The Decker House [EP] (2006)

mp3: Lonesome Road
This tune starts with quiet vocals and guitar picking before breaking open with a kick ass guitar solo - and later, one from the chick on the piano. The EP was recorded in the pictured house with help from Bob Dorough and Mike Daly (former member of Whiskeytown).

Lonesome [EP] (2007)

mp3: Murder Ballad in G Minor
The band recorded this EP in a basement studio while snowed-in in the Pocono Mountains. It was an unplanned session that created some great folky sounds.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Playlist Pulse.........

Today's Pulse comes from my playlist entitled: hipster-indie-folk

Ok, so as you'll see, i'm great at coming up with playlist names - they're usually pretty broad descriptions of the type of music that resides in them. But each playlist has a special purpose - if i like a song, i'll find a playlist that fits it. Hipster-Indie-Folk is home to this new batch of music i've gotten into since finding the music blog world. Some folky, some indie-rockish, all good.

  1. mp3: Okkervil River - Westfall
    buy Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See (2002)
    A powerful song that gradually builds intensity throughout. F
    rom Okkervil's 2nd full length album.

  2. mp3: The Avett Brothers - Colorshow
    buy Four Theives Gone (2006)
    From the Avett's 2006 effort that shows more of their slightly screamo style. Wild.

  3. mp3: Iron & Wine - Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
    buy The Shepherd's Dog (2007)
    Sam Beam has that airy voice that, when coupled with a repetitive little acoustic riff, can be very calming. I used a lot of the songs on his previous albums to fall asleep to. With The Shepherd's Dog, however, he beefed up his sound with some extra instruments and bigger grooves. This won't put me to sleep.

  4. mp3: Mark Ronson - Most Likely You Go Your Way (I'll Go Mine)
    buy Mark Ronson's Dylan Remix (2007)

    British Producer and remix-master, Mark Ronson, finally got Bob Dylan to agree to let him rework a Dylan tune. Putting the hipster in this playlist is this groovy,-horn splattered tune.

  5. mp3: The Kooks - All That She Wants
    buy Radio 1 - Established 1967 (2007)
    This compliation disc features some top artists from the UK doing interesting covers (check out Amy Winehouse's Cupid). Here we have The Kooks covering Ace of Base - and admit-it-or-not, you ALL know this song.

Monday, April 21, 2008

i was gonna write this post on time, but.....

i meant to get this posted yesterday (sunday), but i'm still awake, so it's still Arpil 20th to me.
No further explanation is needed. Enjoy some tunes....

first, to set the mood:
mp3: Foghat - Slow Ride ~ from Fool For The City (1975)
i know it's a little cliché, but it just feels right....
mp3: The Black Crowes - Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye ~ from The Southern Harmony... (1992)
mp3: The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter ~ from Let It Bleed (1969)
mp3: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cold Roses (live) ~ from The Loft Sessions (2005)
mp3: Bob Marley - Stir It Up
the mix:
mp3: Cross Canadian Ragweed - Mother Freedom Song (live)
mp3: Mike McClure - Put In Bay (acoustic)
mp3: Reckless Kelly - Wiggles & Ritalin ~ from Reckless Kelly Was Here (2006)
mp3: Brandon Jenkins - Gideon's Bible (live)
mp3: Band of Horses - Weed Party ~ from Everything All The Time (2006)
mp3: Old 97's - Smokers ~ from Drag It Up (2004)
mp3: Guy Clark - Worry Be Gone ~ from Workbench Songs (2006)

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Digs......

i generally don't buy albums off iTunes/eMusic because i like to spend the few extra bucks and have a hard copy in my hands. i sort of look at it as an investment - one day, i'll get to show my grandkids what CD's were like (i've got a decent Vinyl collection goin' on, too). But the two albums that my New Digs come from this week were both downloaded. One (Tonight At The Arizona) because you can't find it at stores, and the other (Hot Trottin') because i got impatient.

mp3: Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights - Gypsy Woman
mp3: Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights - She's From The Other Side
About a year ago, i caught this band opening up for (so far unmentioned on this blog) Stoney LaRue here in College Station. The pure Rock & Roll energy that Jonathan and his band perform with caught me by surprise (at a country concert, mind you). I always enjoy when you can hear the artist putting everything they have into their vocals and their performance, and trust me, the live show is even more high-energy than these Rockin' Blues tracks.

buy Hot Trottin' [iTunes] [Amazon]. If you're into instant gratification, i downloaded mine at PayPlay.fm.


Due to a misplaced online order, i didn't recieve my newest Felice Brothers album when i was supposed to. To tide me over during the wait, i downloaded Tonight At The Arizona - the band's first full length release. These guys are the real deal - and this record proves it - captivating acoutic melodies wind around behind honest stories of suicide, runs-in with the law, and unplanned pregnancies. It was difficult to narrow this down to 3 songs, so do yourself a favor and get the whole thing.

mp3: The Felice Brothers - Ballad Of Lou The Welterweight
a song about a dirty old man that only takes women from behind. seriously.
mp3: The Felice Brothers - Your Belly In My Arms
mp3: The Felice Brothers - T For Texas
at first, this song seemed a little corny - but now i can't stop singing along....

buy Tonight At The Arizona [iTunes] [Amazon]. i got mine from eMusic (25 free downloads)


Also - Got an extra special surprise the other day when i pick up Konk from The Kooks - it comes with Rak - a whole other disc (9 tracks) that were recorded at Rak Studios in England. i'm gonna listen all weekend and get back to you with my prognosis.......

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

They're Only Words.....

After getting This Mornin'.... added to The Hype MachineThe Hype Machine a few weeks ago, my hits have been soaring - from about 50 a day to over 200! i'm glad i'm getting some readers, but i've still only got about 5 comments total. i wanna hear from you.

Tell me i suck
Tell me i'm great
Suggest some music
Ask about some music
Ask me why i don't capitalize my i's......... something.

i can track quite a lot of information on my visitors - mainly referrals - how you found me. While most people link up through Elbo.ws or Hype, there's some other interesting stuff.

Found this today:
check out #3 under the large picture of Al Green. Pretty cool.

But quite a few visits show up with no referral at all. This means some of you out there have This Mornin'.... bookmarked and visit often. Let me know what is you like about the site. i've got quite a large music library, so if you wanna get you hands on a certain piece of music, let me know. i know most people just show up, download a track, and leave without cuddling - i do it too. But if something here makes you stop and read, for any reason, don't be afraid to leave a comment.
here's some music.......... greedy bastards.

mp3: Mike McClure Band - Don't You Say Anything
~buy EverythingUpsideDown (2004) - Amazing Album

mp3: Guy Clark - Shut Up and Talk To Me
~buy Dublin Blues (1995) - Masterpiece

mp3: Ryan Adams - Words
~buy Elizabethtown Soundtrack, Vol. 2 (2005)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mailbox Music: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb.....


"teach me your alphabet so i can break your code"

In My Mailbox Today -- A Buzz, A Buzz from North Carolina's Bombadil.
The coolest part == it doesn't come out until April 29th!

These guys contacted me about a week ago, asking if i would be interested in an advance copy of their first full-length release. Uhh, i guess i'll take a free CD.......
Bombadil has recently been signed to Ramseur Records (The Avett Brothers, The Everybodyfields) - whom, upon the aquistion of this new record, i've decided is the best emerging record label in the country. They sign unique, energetic, and super-talented acts from around their home base of NC.

i decided not to download any Bombadil tracks off The Hype, nor did i stream anything from their MySpace - i wanted to hear the album with no preconceptions at all - all i knew about 'em was the description given to me via their e-mail:

"We are proud of our folk roots, but we also like to incorporate elements of everything from bolivian folk tunes to psychedelic rock.We've been described recently as 'A long-lost Elephant 6 band who spent the last 10 years listening to mid-60s Dylan.'"

Popped the CD in on my way to school this morning, and what i heard was like a surprising, but well-needed water balloon to the face. It broke me out of the monotony that is this semester, and put me in an energized, good mood. This fearless, inventive four-piece band from Durham, NC employs a gaggle of instruments including: guitar, piano, mando, banjo, organ, xylophone, trumpet, flute, and some pretty interesting percussion. The vocals wander throughout the members of the band and are, at times, as spontaneous as the music. But somehow, through all the chaos, you come away with some pleasing indie-folk tunes. The opener is the calmest effort on the disc - a simple, but engaging little piano song:

mp3: Bombadil - Trip Out West

Bombadil's utter disregard for conventional song structure causes them to exude a certain type of confidence and bravery that seems to be a running theme in everything Ramseur puts out:

mp3: Bombadil - Rosetta Stone

Just for fun, and to feed my wandering mind, i Googled Bombadil, and found out that Tom Bombadil was a character in The Lord of the Rings (book, not movie). i am, by no means, a sci-fi fan, but apparently he was some sort of hobbit:

"Tom Bombadil is a spry fellow, with a quick, playful wit. He has a jolly, carefree attitude, and very little seems to concern him"

Whether or not the guys in Bombadil knew that, the description of Tom is equally a perfect depiction of their musical style.

mp3: Bombadil - Cavaliers Har Hur

pick up A Buzz, A Buzz on April 29th...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Playlist Pulse.........

Today i'm introducing a new recurring post topic: Playlist Pulse. It's an easy way to get a few songs up on a post and won't take me long to write. i'll simply pick a playlist i've made in iTunes, hit shuffle, and post the first 5 songs that show up. If i feel the need for elaboration, i might occasionally say a few things about some of the songs.

i try to give every song i really enjoy a good listen and decide if it fits into one of my many playlist categories. The playlist i chose to pull from first is my 'Bluesy' collection. These aren't all necessarily blues songs - they just have that guitar driven/minor chord/down & out feel:

  1. mp3: The Black Crowes - Walk Believer Walk ~ buy Warpaint (2008)
  2. mp3: The Black Keys - Lies ~ buy Attack & Release (2008)
  3. mp3: Willie Nelson - Rainy Day Blues ~ buy Songbird (2006)
    If you consider yourself a fan of Willie Nelson and/or Ryan Adams, you should own this album. Almost entirely a 'covers' album produced by Ryan Adams, Songbird shows Willie's versatility and ability to make any song his own. With The Cardinals as Willie's backing band, the album takes on that grungy electric feel, but somehow still retains the charm of Mr. Nelson.
  4. mp3: James Gang (Joe Walsh) - Funk No. 49 ~ buy Rides Again (1970)
  5. mp3: Sam Cooke - Steal Away ~ buy Gosepl In My Soul (1977)


On a related note - check out my sidebar ------------------->
for diect links to other recurring post topics (New Digs, Cover/Uncovered, Artist Spotlight)

Friday, April 11, 2008

New Digs......

My New Digs for this week are some of the first stand-outs from a few of the albums i've picked up recently. The initial surge from the flood of Spring releases has hit, and i would have until about May to catch up, but Konk comes out next Tuesday - and that's a big one.


The Kooks' Inside In/Inside Out was a huge debut album (it was #2 on my best of 2007 post). i don't even look at record sales, but judging simply from the buzz, if you will, it garnered for those skinny Brits, they're doin' alright. This hype will carry on for Konk, but i'm excited to see what the've done with it. Having another killer album may very well solidify their names..... somewhere. And i'm not trying to insinuate and sort of Second Coming or anything, but i definately hear some of whatever it was The Stones had (have - whatever) in their guitars and hook writing. And i'm rooting for 'em. i always wanna be in the presence of greatness - everybody wanted to see Davidson make it to the final four, but i wanted to see 4 #1's, so i was rooting for Kansas - record-breakers, never before's, and especially beginings of legends. Buy it Tuesday...


These New Digs are mostly upbeat, since it generally takes a little longer (hearing the lyrics) to pick out great slow songs:

mp3: The Black Keys - Psychotic Girl ~ from Attack & Release
mp3: The Black Keys - Same Old Thing ~ from Attack & Release
The groove initiated by the banjo in Psychotic Girl is what pulled me into that tune. And the flute in Psychotic Girl is a throwback that hints on The Marshall Tucker Band.

mp3: The Felice Brothers - Greatest Show On Earth ~ from The Felice Brothers
This song effortlessly wanders between a slow-rolling ballad and a raucus barroom jam complete with old-time piano and trumpet. They carry on the same attitude with this one:
mp3: The Felice Brothers - Love Me Tenderly ~ from The Felice Brothers

mp3: Hayes Carll - Don't Let Me Fall ~ from Trouble In Mind

mp3: Hayes Carll - Willing To Love Again ~ from Trouble In Mind
Hayes can sometimes drift a little too far on the Honky-Tonk side for my taste, so i tend to perfer the slower ones like these (and Long Way Home posted here).

i also just got a copy of Loaded from The Wood Brothers, but i've got something else planned for that one....


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mailbox Music....

For the first time my blog writing has paid off in a tangible form - other than the simple satisfaction i get out of completing a post and feeling like i've accomplished something. This payoff is as good as free money, maybe better: Free Music.


i mentioned the other day how an artist out of Brooklyn contacted me and wanted to send me some of her music to see if i liked it. Well, her name is Sharon Van Etten, and i do like it. Sharon hand makes each cd and she definitely puts some effort into them. With mine, i got a personalized note from Sharon, the cd (with a handmade label), and a very rustic-looking insert with song lyrics that looked to be printed off a typewriter. Pretty cool.

My first impression was that Sharon sounded like a contemporary Joan Baez - Folk music with simple instrumentation that allows haunting vocals to carry the song. Maybe simple instrumentation isn't the right choice of words. It is just her and a guitar, but by no means is it simple guitar work. With each listen, i feel transported to some damp, dark basement coffee house in The Village in the 60's. i wish i had half the confidence that Sharon does - to put yourself out there uncovered and unaided. That's the biggest problem with commercial music these days. No one knows what anyone really sounds like. Well i now know what Sharon Van Etten sounds like.

The bad news is that, although i dig what she's doing, and she may very well make a name for herself in circles of people that enjoy real music, there just isn't a market for this kind of style today. And that's a shame. i feel like we're making progress getting the music out to the general public, and then i go out a have a conversation with someone about what music they like. i'm consistently disgusted by, not people's tastes, but people's musical ignorance. i overheard a friend of mine saying that there is absolutely no good new music out there today. Of course you would think that if you only listen to the radio or watch MTV. Jesus, just give me like a 6 hr road trip with you and my toolbox of CD's and i'll change your mind, i promise.

Sorry. i had to let that out - but heres Sharon Van Etten:

mp3: Sharon Van Etten - Damn Right
mp3: Sharon Van Etten - It's Not Like
mp3: Sharon Van Etten - For You

If you like what you hear, be sure to let me know. Or better yet, let Sharon know by way of her page or MySpace.

If you're in the NYC area, check out Sharon in April and tell her i sent you.....
April 10 - Galapagos w/ Darren Weiss and She Keeps Bees - Brooklyn, NY
April 11 -
Silent Barn w/ Nickyboy, Gatling Gun, Psycho Thriller, & DJ Nikolai - Brooklyn, NY
April 14 -
Union Hall w/ Marla Hansen (from Sufjan Stevens/Jens Lekman) and Cat Martino - Brooklyn, NY
April 15 -
The Cake Shop w/ Naked Hearts, Hologram, and Werewolves - NY, NY
April 21 -
Monkeytown w/ Forest Fire and Shilpa Ray (of Beat the Devil) - Brooklyn, NY
April 25 -
Parkside Lounge w/ Johanna and the Dusty Floor - Brooklyn, NY
April 26 -
Collision Machine - Brooklyn, NY
April 29 -
Pianos w/ Jae and Jessica Larrabee (of She Keeps Bees) - NY, NY


My second piece of free music came from the PR rep of the South Austin Jug Band. She said she saw my post about the band's newest album Strange Invitation and would like to send me a copy so i could review it. This is really cool, cause not only do i get free music, but this means that bands (or at least their people) realize the emerging importance of the Music Blog. They obviously think that the attention generated from people reading this will outweigh the $15 or so bucks they gave up by sending me a copy.

Strange Invitation definitely has a mellow-er feel than previous work from band. While they retain a sort of bluegrass feel (James plays a resonator guitar, Brian and Dennis trade off on both fiddle and mandolin), the breathy, comforting vocals from James Hyland make you wanna sit back and enjoy - rather than dance a jig. For the record's purposes, they added stand up bass and drums.

To prepare for the new album, the three guys left the comforting confines of Austin and put themselves up in NYC at the famed Chelsea Hotel. They were seeking a new kind of inspiration and an escape from the Bluegrass stigma they held in Texas.

"New York's such a great place, because if you're stale,
you just go outside. You can find inspiration anywhere
in that city. If you can't, you just cut your head off." -

mp3: Avenue of The Americas

SAJB's influences, at least for this record, are all over the map. From the understandable Todd Snider to surprises like Nine Inch Nails, Stevie Wonder, and Beck. The only cover on the album is Beck's Jack Ass. I would never have guessed that with the amazing mandolin/fiddle combo on the tune:
mp3: Jack Ass

So where is the South Austin Jug Band headed from here? It all depends on how far from their traditional sound they want to go, and from where they draw their next batch of inspiration. The description the band most readily accepts is 'Progressive Acoustic', and i think it fits well.
mp3: Come To Me

Buy Strange Invitation here, or find out more from their site or MySpace.


Send me a line if you want to be part of the next installment of Mailbox Music.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Artist Spotlight: Kasey Chambers

Sigh.......... Kasey Chambers. What can i say? i think i fell in love even before i saw a picture of her. That somewhat squeaky, almost childlike, but damn sexy voice pulled me in. So i was pretty excited to find out that 1) she was gorgeous enough to match her voice and 2) she can write/make some amazing alt-country music. Just as a fair warning, this post will contain more pictures than most simply because i like to look at her.

This Australian chart-topper has conquered the land down under (every one of her albums has gone at least platinum there), and in the right circles over here, she's just as well-respected. Kasey grew up in a musical family. Her mom (or should i say 'Mum') and dad were both musicians. Shortly after her birth, the family (including older brother Nash) set out every summer for the remote Nullarbor plains of South Australia to live off the land and fox hunt. There her parents instilled the deep country roots that still ring in her music today by playing songs around the campfire.

mp3: Kasey Chambers - Nullarbor Song ~ from Barricades & Brickwalls (2002)

At the age of 9, Kasey and family moved back to civilization and formed the Dead Ringer Band. Naturally, Kasey took the role as lead singer. The family band put out 4 albums and recieved considerable success in Australia before Kasey took off on her solo career.

mp3: Dead Ringer Band - Sweetest Gift ~ from Red Desert Sky(1993)

In 1999, Kasey Chambers released her first solo album, The Captain, on Asylum Records. She took along Nash to produce and her father, Bill, who played lead guitar. The Captain won the ARIA (Australia's equivalent of the Grammy) for Best Country Album. Kasey also took down the award for Best Female Artist.

mp3: Cry Like A Baby
mp3: Last Hard Bible

Her second effort, Barricades and Brickwalls, won Kasey the same 2 awards as her previous album as well as the one for Album of the Year for 2001. The album shows Kasey coming into her own as a solo artist and writing sole-bearing songs such as Not Pretty Enough and A Million Tears. These rockin', almost spiteful songs from the album are some of my favorites:

mp3: Barricades & Brickwalls
mp3: Crossfire

Wayward Angel, Kasey's 3rd album released in 2004, went Platinum in Australia in the first week after its release. i normally don't like to post an artist's most popluar, overplayed song, but the vocals on Pony simply make me weak in the knees:

mp3: Pony
mp3: Bluebird

Carnival came out in 2006 and met the same success as her previous work. She didn't take down as many awards, simply beacause it was not listed as Country on the charts. Carnival definately has a different, more mature feel. Kasey now has two kids and the album has a lot of motherly inspiration.

mp3: Sign On The Door
mp3: Hard Road (with help from fellow Aussie Bernard Fanning)

Kasey Chambers continues to evolve with each album, while remaining to keep just enough of what makes her unique. With each effort, she blissfully combines emotional ballads, high energy rockers, and plunky bluegrass tunes. Kasey was one of the first artists that helped me to realize that good music can come from the most unexpected places.


Click the album covers to buy all of Kasey's albums on LoneStarMusic.com


Kasey Chambers and husband Shane Nicholson have recently finished work on their first collaboration album, Rattlin' Bones. The album is the first of Kasey's to be released (April 19th) independently - on Liberation. Their site says the it's a return to the duo's Roots Country background and from the songs you can stream on Kasey's MySpace, it sounds just like what This Mornin' I Am Born Again is all about.

Pre-order Rattlin' Bones here or on iTunes for a bonus track and booklet.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New(s) Digs......

i know it's only Tuesday, and i'm supposed to be workin' on my online class. But i got a fever, and the only perscription is....... New Digs.
But seriously folks, i've gotten my hands on a bunch of new tunes the last couple of weeks. Enough to do a installment today and Friday, and still have some left over.

After 5 long years, i'm finally getting my Aggie Ring on Friday, so we'll see how much time i have for that second post.

So i got that goin' for me......
but i'm in a good mood for a few more reasons:

Ordered my Cap & Gown for Graduation today - just another step on my journey to no more school.

Today, i ran by what they call a 'record store' here in College Station. It doesn't quite qualify, but they did have The Black Keys' Attack & Release, and suprisingly Justin Townes Earle's The Good Life. Couldn't find Loaded from The Wood Brothers, but i plan on being in Austin sometime soon, so i'll head over to Waterloo. i haven't gotten a chance to really hear 'em both yet, but first impressions:

  • Attack & Release is just what i thought it would be - The Black Keys with their edges sanded down (thanks to Danger Mouse). They did surprise me with a toned down, more acoustic opening track (at least the beginning). i dig it.
  • After just one quick listen through The Good Life, i think JTE may have had me fooled with the early released tracks. i can't tell if it's necessarily a good thing yet, but all the other tracks have a very traditional, even swing country sound to it, while everything else of his i heard had a more contemporary Americana feel. i'll get back to you on this one.

- by the way, check TBK's site and play their laser game

i was contacted by an independent artist out of Brooklyn that said she checked out This Mornin'... and thought i might like her music. She's gonna send me a cd, and i'll tell you all about her then.

i found some cool new artists and some really cool stuff from some of my favorite artists after doing some 'research' today.

But Big News - i got 'This Mornin'... added to The Hype Machine
check me out here.

onward to the MUSIC:
mp3: Deer Tick - Little White Lies ~ from Daytrotter Session (2008)
mp3: Deer Tick - The Ghost ~ from Daytrotter Session (2008)
Daytrotter.com is a indie music promoting website that does something really cool. Instead of simply reviewing artists/albums, they get the bands to stop by their studio and record a four-song set. They encourage reworked songs from albums and unreleased stuff. And they release 3 of these sessions each week.
"These songs are them as they are on that particular day, on that particular tour – dirty and alive."

mp3: Sondre Lerche - My Hands are Shaking ~ from Dan in Real Life Soundtrack (2008)
i saw this movie the other day - it's pretty good. It makes you think about life - sorta in the same way Garden State does, although not on as deep a level. Througout the movie, i kept noticing the music. Not just songs, but some interesting instrumental accompaniments that follow the flow of the film. Turns out Sondre Lerche , a Norwegien singer/songwriter, wrote the entire soundtrack for the movie. This song was the one that made me look into the soundtrack.

mp3: Matt The Electrician - Got Your Back ~ from Never Alone [EP]
Austin musician, Matt Sever, gave Songs:Illinois an exclusive track from his upcoming album. I really like this tune - i'll have to check out some of his previous 4 albums worth of material.

mp3: These United States - The Business ~ from A Picture of the Three of Us...(2008)
i've been seeing this band's name pop up a lot lately, but i decided to check 'em out when i saw that they will be playing a show with Deer Tick on Arpil 7th in RI. Turns out that These Unted States is doing a 33-day US tour in which they play with a different local band in each city. Pretty cool if you ask me.

These United States also has a Daytrotter Session, as well as This Mornin'... favorite Okkervil River. Check 'em out.

enjoy responsibly.......... or not.