Headed out overnight for another New Year’s ski trip. Destination: Beaver Creek – my absolute favorite place to ski. Looks like my Top 50 Songs of 2009 will have to wait ’til 2010…. wow that’s strange to type.
If I find some time during the trip, I’ll begin another set of Download Code Contests. I’ve got 3 album downloads available from my Top 10 this year: JTE’s Midnight at the Movies, Deer Tick’s Born On Flag Day, and Conor Oberst’s Outer South. Be sure to check back for those.
For now, here are some songs to fit the mood:
Reckless Kelly – Snowfall
Fleet Foxes – Blue Ridge Mountains
Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings – Snowin’ On Raton (live)
White Antelope (Robin Pecknold) – Wild Mountain Thyme
Headed to Waterloo Records in a few to catch an in-store performance from Dave Rawlings & Co. I’ve seen a fewvideos of similar shows and therefore am just as excited about the in-store as I am the full concert following. The Parish Room on 6th St will host the Dave Rawlings Machine and opener Sarah Jarosz. It’s a great music venue where I’ve previously caught my favorite Old Crow Medicine Show performance. And with 3/5 of OCMS plus the addition of the ever-impressive Gillian & Dave combo, it’s sure to not disappoint. Details/Photos to follow.
Here’s a lively, OCMS-dominated track off A Friend of a Friend: Dave Rawlings Machine – It’s Too Easy buy it – it’s great.
I mentioned the other day that the long-awaited Gillian Welch follow-up to 2003’s Soul Journey is finally coming, albeit in the form of The Dave Rawlings Machine. Now that we have full details including track list, release date, album art, and pre-order, I thought I outta give this release its own post.A Friend of a Friend is the first solo album from Dave Rawlings, although he has collaborated (and played alongside) Gillian Welch throughout her career. In addition, the duo has been instrumental in helping a couple of my favorite artists get their recording feet on the ground. Dave pays homage to these friends on his album, due out November 17th on Acony Records, by re-recording songs co-written with Ryan Adams (‘To Be Young’) and Old Crow Medicine Show (‘I Hear Them All‘).
Those co-writes, along with five other original songs make up with bulk of the album, with an interesting cover medley of Conor Oberst’s ‘Method Acting’ and Neil Young’s ‘Cortez The Killer’ thrown in the mix. I’m most looking forward to the lead-track ‘Ruby’ and ‘Sweet Tooth,’ both of which I vividly remember from The Big Surprise Tour. As expected, Gillian lends her siren vocals throughout the album, and Old Crow Medicine Show will help fill out arrangements. 1. Ruby 2. To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High) 3. I Hear Them All
4. Method Acting/Cortez The Killer
5. Sweet Tooth *
6. How’s About You
7. It’s Too Easy
8. Monkey And The Engineer 9. Bells of Harlem
Checkin’ in from the hotel in Nashville before I head down to the banks of the Cumberland to enjoy night 1 of my Big Surprise Tour double-feature. I feel like I’ve already been on vacation for a week, but have yet to experience the real reason for the trip. We’ve been in Music City for 3 nights now – checked out Lower Broadway, the uber-tourist, live music strip in downtown Nashville, as well as some other, less-cheesy areas of the city. We caught an amazing show from The Low Anthem in a quaint, little brick joint known as The Basement. I will put up a full review of the show complete with photos when I get the time.
The venue couldn’t be more in the heart of Nashville. Riverfront Park is a grass lawn overlooking a stage/barge docked in the Cumberland River. The area backs up to the corner of First St and Broadway. The backstage area not only consists of the river and various bridges, but the Titans’ LP Field also serves as a scenic backdrop.
The bands are no-doubt in full stride by this point in the tour, having had numerous stops from New Hampshire on down to Tennessese, and the last stop tomorrow night in Knoxville promises to be a blowout of a finale. Full reviews/photos to follow.
The Felice Brothers – The Big Surprise buy Yonder Is The Clock (2009)
That song steps a little out of my normal genre realm, but how can you not love it? As I searched my library for ‘Tennessee,’ it was the first result. Immediately, I was taken back to raiding my sister’s CD collection when I tired of my own crappy, country cassettes.
“A game of HORSESHOES!”
Tomorrow (in spite of being warned that Tennessee sucks in the summer), I head east to catch two instances of the Big Surprise Tour. If you don’t know, it’s pretty much the best folk lineup in this young century. Old Crow Medicine Show headlines an August-long set of dates with help from The Felice Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, and the spectacular duo of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. Yeah.
The showcase is said to feature all acts “shar[ing] the stage, taking part in each other’s songs, resurrecting old standards, and playing newly written collaborative material as they go.” Ketch Secor says of the lineup: “If there is a ‘scene’ around the music we play, these artists make up the better part of it.” I couldn’t agree more.
We’re making a road-trip out of it, taking our time getting there, and spending a few days in Nashville before catching the last two dates of the tour in Music City and Knoxville.
Gillian Welch & David Rawlings ft. OCMS – Odds n’ Ends
Gillian Welch &David Rawlings – I Want To Sing That Rock and Roll (live) buy Time (The Revelator) (2001)
Old Crow Medicine Show – Fall On My Knees (live) buy OCMS Live (2003)
The Felice Brothers – Hey, Hey Revolver (live)
Justin Townes Earle – Chitlin’ Cooking Time In Cheatham County (live)
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Cover/Uncovered. I came across one of the following tunes earlier today and quickly realized this song should’ve been one of the first examined for this feature post.
Songwriting credits are a somewhat debated topic when it comes to The Band. I remember reading once that Robbie Robertson had the biggest part in constructing this one, but I like to think Levon and the rest of the gang did their fair share. The tune takes place in the town of Nazareth (in Pennsylvania) – the home of the Martin Guitar Company – and features a cast of interesting characters encountered around town.Robertson says of the song:
In “The Weight” it was this very simple thing. Someone says, “Listen, would you do me this favour? When you get there will you say ‘hello’ to somebody or will you give somebody this or will you pick up one of these for me? Oh? You’re going to Nazareth, that’s where the Martin guitar factory is. Do me a favour when you’re there.” This is what it’s all about. So the guy goes and one thing leads to another and it’s like “Holy Shit, what’s this turned into? I’ve only come here to say ‘hello’ for somebody and I’ve got myself in this incredible predicament.”
Live, ‘The Weight’ is absolutely epic. The ever-growing number of verses, multi-part harmonies, and irresistible crowd interaction combine to make the tune a live staple. And not only for The Band. Just check out the Wiki page to see an immense list of folks that have been known to include the The Weight in their sets. The song was a nightly standard at most of the ‘Texas Music/Red Dirt’ shows I attended throughout high school and college, nearly matching the encore-worthy popularity of Cross Canadian Ragweed’s Boys From Oklahoma.
Cover: Cody Canada, et al – The Weight Cody (of Cross Canadian Ragweed) is joined in an acoustic set by Mike McClure, Stoney LaRue, Jason Boland, and the then just sprouting Ryan Bingham. McClure adds a little comedy when he botches his verse, only to improvise a freestyle rhyme. The performance is highlighted by Stoney’s chilling vocals.
The following song (and video) is one I’ve been studying up on lately, as in less than two weeks, I will head East to Tennessee to catch two performances of The Big Surprise Tour – Old Crow Medicine Show, The Felice Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, all joined on stage by Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. You couldn’t ask for a better folk lineup in today’s music world (well maybe if you added The Avetts in there). But more on this later – I plan on doing some kind of pre-road trip post regarding the shows.
Cover: Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, OCMS – The Weight I love that these guys take the song back to its roots, slowing it down and revealing the true beauty in the melody. These six folks can make any song sound like it was born out of bluegrass, but it really shines here.
As good as Stoney sounds when he says “and he caught me in the fog” or Willie does when he belts “if you take Jack, my dog,” neither gives me the feeling I get when Levon Helm begins The Band’s version.
Uncovered: The Band – The Weight purchase Music From Big Pink (1968) Uncovered: The Band – The Weight(live at The Palladium, 1976)
———————————- More C/U at This Mornin’ I Am Born Again:
FYI – Head over to SPIN’s website to stream one of the tracks from the forthcoming Felice Brothers’ Yonder Is The Clock.
‘Penn Station’ out-energizes anything from last year’s album and has the feel of the final track on Tonight at the Arizona – a raucous live version of ‘Take This Hammer.’
The rest of the track names definitely keep things interesting – especially #7 ‘Katie Dear.’ I haven’t known The Felice Brothers to do too many traditional songs, but if they were going to try one out, this tune (aka Silver Dagger) takes the cake. Here are some previous versions of the song: Old Crow Medicine Show – The Silver Dagger from Eutaw (2001) The Cheiftains with Gillian & Dave – Katie Dear from Down the Old Plank Road (2002) Joan Baez – The Silver Dagger(live) from Bowery Songs (2005)
Still no pre-order links available yet, but I will keep you posted. And as I said, the album will also be pressed on vinyl with a release date set for April 7th. Check out more early ‘09 releases.
i’ve been flipping back and forth from tonight’s CMA Awards, and i swear it’s the funniest thing on TV…. well, it would be if weren’t dead serious. It’s like a dogshow in that the only people that really care about it are the ones there on the stage. But the sad thing is, these idiots are put there by real people, who really like this music, really buy it… really sing along. They make it a lucrative business. Why else do you think Jessica Simpson and Hootie jumped on the bandwagon? The artists know exactly what they’re doing. They’ve found a loophole in the system. Those few that write their own music simply cater to the ignorant ‘middle America’, writing simple songs that will undoubtedly get played played at every barbecue, high school party, and rural wedding across the country. It’s shameless exploitation.
How can so many stupid fucking Americans actually buy this crap? What kind of shallow person has their musical desires fulfilled by each and every “i love America” spewed out from the prettiest faces money can buy and records labels can hand pick off a reality show.
“Oooh he said he’s from the county…. SO AM I. I love this guy!” “She drives a pickup. My grandpa has one of those. I’m gonna buy her record now.” “Look, he wears a baseball cap with the edges perfectly frayed like mine. He’s cool. So am I”
It’s no wonder most people laugh when at you when you say you like country music. What chance do we have to be taken seriously when this is the face of it.
Kid Rock is on now, singing a thoughtless regurgitation of one of the most overplayed songs in history. And everybody loves it – mindless people that listen (and enjoy) whatever the local radio station puts on the airwaves. i haven’t had my radio on FM for about 5 years now, so i don’t know the songs, much less most of the acts, on my TV tonight. Half of ‘em can’t even sing. They just hop around the stage under a spotlight, waving their arms around cause they don’t possess the talent to play a guitar – while the real musicians are hidden behind them in the dark.
Some ‘award show’. The same 5 people present and receive all the trophies. The same songs are nominated in categories like ‘Best Single’ and ‘Best Song’ – what’s the fucking difference? It’s just another chance for these chumps to selfishly show their perfectly made up faces to the world, and pat themselves on the back for creating musical genocide.
At least the chicks are hot. That’s all this show has going for it. That and George Strait.
If you’re here, you most likely feel the same way, so i’m preachin’ to the choir. But i just had to get this off my chest.
Here is some REAL COUNTRY MUSIC: The Everybodyfields – Be Miner Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell – Please Break My Heart The Felice Brothers – Whiskey In My Whiskey Gillian Welch – Look At Miss Ohio Hayes Carll – Long Way Home
i swear, sometimes i really need a simple Austin fix.
Made my obligatory trip to Waterloo without much of anything in mind. i knew i wanted to pick up some vinyls – hoping for some Townes, but ended up getting an eclectic mix from the bargain section later on at Backspin Records. (btw, check out ThinkIndie.com for some record stores near you that are down with good music)
I had been on a kick for chick folk music, so i picked up something from Patty Griffin and Gillian Welch.
Possibly one the most underrated artists anywhere near the folk scene today, Gillian Welch (always with help from David Rawlings) can take you back to depression-era times with the first note she hits. The overwhelming spiritual quality of her music helps to offset her tragic lyrics.
After falling into The Jayhawks a while back, i’ve been lookin‘ a little deeper into Gary Louris. I picked up his first solo release that came out earlier this year, as well as Golden Smog’s comeback (?) album – Another Fine Day. If you don’t know – they were/are an on-again, off-again group of musicians formed from the ashes of a few pretty namely bands (learn). Gary Louris most often played the front-man, with none other than Jeff Tweedy stepping in occasionally. Other spots were filled out with dudes from The Replacements and Soul Asylum.
These two tracks show their all-over-the-map sound.
I started this blog first and foremost for the music. I found myself spending a lot of time reading music blogs - but there were so many of my favorite artists that weren't getting enough (or any) attention. So, my solution: start my own blog so I could talk about the artists and topics that I wanted to read about. There is no formal structure to this blog - I simply write about music that makes a certain impact on me. So if you dig the folk/americana/indie scene and want to learn about some artists that don't get the recognition they deserve, keep checkin' back to see what I have to say. Don't be afraid to leave a comment and tell me what you think. Cheers.
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