Cover/Uncovered…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, cover/uncovered | Posted on 03-02-2008

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i’m glad that, since digital music came of existence in the 90’s with Napster, Kazaa, and the likes, i began compiling a library of tunes, many of them bootlegs, and have hung on to them. i never knew exactly what i would use them for, and this may not even be the ultimate destination for them, but my music folder is coming in handy right now.

So, i’m still on this Matt Powell kick, and last night, while perusing through his folder, i came across a live recorording of a song i wanna share with you:

Romeo & Juliet (Dire Straits)
Like most of the songs i’ll feature on Cover/Uncovered i first heard the cover of this tune, and did a little exploring to hear the original cut – hence the ‘uncovered’. Dire Straits was band that was created about a decade too late. In the 80’s, while punk and electronic music reigned, Dire Straits was making what could be described as classic rock – with a folk tinge to it. Frontman Mark Knopfler, according to wiki, told bar owners to turn down amps, so the listeners could converse while they played, which kinda makes this recording of Matt Powell’s cover of Mark’s sweet take on an infamous couple just perfect.

mp3: Matt Powell – Romeo & Juliet (live)
At times you hear the partons and waitresses better than you hear Matt, whether Matt knew it or not, that’s how Mark wanted his songs to be heard. Plus, all that commotion kinda adds to the feel of the acoustic, groovy, bongo-filled song.

mp3: Dire Straits – Romeo & Juliet ~ from Making Movies (1980)

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Water In The Fuel (Fred Eaglesmith)
Fred Eaglesmith might be known as the guy with nothin’ but train/trucker/tractor songs, but when you can do them as well as he does, then go for it. i highlighted a Kasey Chambers cover last intallment, and here again, it’s her taste in music that she covers that surprises me. Don’t get me wrong, she can write a song herself, and i’ll get to that artist spotlight for her soon.
mp3: Kasey Chambers – Water In The Fuel ~ from The Captain (Bonus Disc) (2000)
mp3: Fred Eaglesmith – Water In The Fuel ~ from Lipstick, Lies & Gasoline (1997)

**sidetrack**
here’s another Kasey Chambers cover of Fred Eaglesmith – i was gonna do this song as the Cover/Uncovered, but couldn’t find a studio version from Fred. Enjoy.

mp3: Kasey Chambers – Freight Train ~ from The Captain (Bonus Disc) (2000)

Common Sound……

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 03-01-2008

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Haven’t gotten anything posted in a while, but that doesn’t mean i’ve been lazy (ok, i’m always lazy). The last few days i’ve been sorta revamping my page:

  • i added the little blue player button – which seems to help with download times.
  • i put an embedded stream player on the side bar that plays 50 of my most recent songs.
  • i signed up with SiteMeter, so now i can see all the details of people’s visits, including: location (i’ve had readers from all across the country and even Germany, Sweden, Austria, Pakistan, Australia, and The Philippines), time spent on the page, out clicks (the last page someone veiwed – which helps to track which songs people are downloading most), and referrals. These show that most people are finding ‘This Mornin….’ from Elbo.ws, which is cool.

i don’t have any new tracks to post – at least none that are post-worthy – so i guess i’ll just find a common theme within some songs:

Scott Avett

The Banjo

An arcadian instrument formed from an mixture of traditional African instruments by American Slaves, the banjo evolved into the focal instrument in traditional country/bluegrass music. That’s all changing. The banjo is no longer reserved for only country music. Bands that are more on the rock side of the spectrum are employing this highly versatile tool to bring out sounds that, otherwise, would have not have been possible. Sometimes it’s just the resonating plunk in the background to top off a song (like in the Band of Horses tune below), and sometimes the banjo drives the song (like in the Avett Brothers, OCMS, and Abigail Washburn below), but however it’s used, the instrument brings out a different, kinda warm feel.

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here’s a selection of tunes that use the banjo in non-traditional ways:

mp3: The Avett Brothers – Pretty Girl from Chile ~ from Emotionalism (2007)

mp3: Band of Horses – Window Blues ~ from Cease To Begin (2007)

mp3: Ryan Adams – Bartering Lines ~ from Heartbreaker (2000)

mp3: Abigail Washburn – Coffee’s Cold ~ from Song of the Traveling Daughter (2005)

mp3: Old Crow Medicine Show – Don’t Ride That Horse ~ from Big Iron World (2006)

mp3: Matt Powell – Dragonfly ~ from Dragonfly (2002)


**Sidetrack**

to accompany my first Matt Powell reference, here is a song of his that has always hit me hard. i don’t know the exact reason, but it’s a powerful track.

mp3: Matt Powell – The Smell of Her Hair

Commercial Appeal….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 01-31-2008

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Radio Sucks!
But you already now that, that’s why you’re here.

So in this age of crappy, mainstream radio and low record sales, artists are finding new ways to get their music out to the people. Only a select few of us have the privilege of knowing about the world of music blogs (judging from my number of page hits, i’ve got about 3 loyal readers out of those select few).
Many of these relatively smaller artists are using TV commercial spots as a gateway. Here are some of my favorite songs used in recent commercials:

mp3: Pete Droge – Going Whichever Way The Wind Blows
Used in a Toyota Sequoia commercial that shows a family going camping and looking at the stars from the back of their SUV. Pete’s smooth acoustic song is a perfect fit.

mp3: Yael Naim – New Soul
The people behind Apple’s advertising department are geniuses. Especially in the music department. Like i said ealier, that’s how i came across Feist. They almost always use relatively unknown artists and super-catchy songs – but that’s the point of a commercial, right? (remember those first iPod commercials with the dancing silhouettes…) For their newest over-priced device/fashion accessory, they used a happy little tune from Yael Naim. I really dig the melody and the trumpet/trombone/tuba/whatever it is.


mp3: Joe Purdy – Can’t Get It Right Today
Joe Purdy’s Can’t Get it Right Today plays over a Kia Spectra ad where people keep forgetting which side of the car the gas tank is on – due to rarely having to fill up. Not Bad…

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**sidetrack**
Joe Purdy first hit my ears while i was watching LOST. Wash Away is a beachy song that plays in the credits of one of the first episodes of the show. Cool little optimistic song; plus its got a ukelele.
Also, i’m pretty pumped cuz LOST returns in T-minus 30 minutes…

mp3: Joe Purdy – Wash Away
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mp3: Band of Horses – The Funeral
A pretty cool commercial for the Ford Edge. Some kids drivin’ around while The Funeral is playin’, and one of ‘em gets a little lost in the moment. The song is off of Band of Horses’ debut album, and is sort of a cosmic-sounding tune that breaks wide open after a peaceful intro.

the horses are also mentioned in a Sync ad for Ford – “play artist: band of horses”

mp3: Ryan Adams – Gonna Make You Love Me
Even my boy Ryan is gettin in on the commercial action.

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**sidetrack**

Ryan’s also had quite a few songs featured in movies/tv shows. I had the glorious privilege of watching Must Love Dogs with my (almost entirely female) family over Christmas. i was utterly bored until the credits started rolling and i heard this gem from Cold Roses:

mp3: Ryan Adams – Dance All Night

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One more thing (on a related note)……..
If you watch Friday Night Lights on ABC, keep an eye, er… uh, ear out for The Avett Brothers’ song If It’s The Beaches on tomorrow’s (Friday Night, of course) show.

Artist Spotlight: Slaid Cleaves

Posted by Payton | Posted in album review, artist spotlight, texas music | Posted on 01-22-2008

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As i mentioned in a previous post, i use the Hype Machine (http://www.hypem.com/) to find, and listen to, a lot of music. It’s an amazing site, but you can’t find everything on there. It seems that a few a my favorite artists cannot be found in the blog world. But now that i have my own blog, i can change all that. And maybe in the process – turn some people on to some great musicians they may not know about.

First order of business……….

Slaid Cleaves

Slaid Cleaves. Grew up in Maine. Lives in Texas. Writes songs. Makes records. Travels around. Tries to be good. (courtesey slaidcleaves.com)

Maybe it’s beacause he’s not heavy into the MySpace thing (until a few days ago, he hadn’t updated his page since his early ‘06 album release), maybe it’s because he isn’t the most prolific guy around (only 7 albums in 18 years, and nothing in the works), or maybe it’s because he doesn’t tour like a madman (although he does cross the pond occasionally), but whatever the reason no one is blogging about Slaid Cleaves is beyond me. This guy is, in my opinion, the best troubadour in the folk scene alive today.
He is a singer, a songwriter, a guitar player, but you only need one word to describe Slaid best:
Storyteller.

He tells sorrowful stories of love gone wrong, depression era depictions of a dying towns, mythic adventures of Canadian Lumberjacks, and action-packed laments from the perspective of an aging horse jockey. Oh, and he can Yodel like a sonofabitch.

But i’m not here to give artist bio’s, so i’ll just give you a chronologic song sampling, highlighting some of those captivating stories….

don’t be a jackass – go here and buy these straight from Slaid himself. Or iTunes, if that’s your thing. But all songs are right-click, save as.

mp3: Smitten ~ from The Promise (1990)
This is one of only two songs i have from this out-of-print album. It’s obviously early Slaid, but it still has that true singer-songwriter feel.

mp3: Tell Me ~ from Life’s Other Side (1992)

Another album i can’t seem to get may hands on, but this heartfelt song will keep me trying.
mp3: No Angel Knows ~ from No Angel Knows (1997)

Here, we find Slaid Cleaves coming into that sound of his i love so much. Some sorta mix between bluegrass and blues thats sounds like an old jug band sittin in a swamp somewhere. Complete with fiddle and a thumpin’ stand-up bass.

mp3: Lydia ~ from Broke Down (2000)

Broke Down was released not long before i came across Mr. Cleaves, and has become his career-making album. Although this isn’t Slaid’s song (Karen Poston wrote it – check her out) it shook me to the core the first time i heard it and still does. He delivers a despairing tune of a woman twice-scarred by coal mine tragedy.

mp3: Below ~ from Wishbones (2004)

My favorite album of his, Wishbones shows Slaid in his best storytelling effort. It took me a while to narrow it down to just one song to show off these amazing accounts, but Below is a story of a small town doomed to be flooded when the dam is built. BUY THIS RECORD!
**sidetrack**
a similar story and a great song here about the Tennessee Valley Authority:
mp3: The Everybodyfields – T.V.A. [MySpace] [iTunes]

mp3: Fairest of Them All ~ from Unsung (2006)

Unsung is one of the coolest concept albums i’ve heard. It’s a covers album, but not of overdone, well-known covers. Instead, Slaid carefully picked songs from his peers (some virtually unknown) that perfectly fit his style. Just from listening, you would never know these weren’t his songs. Fairest of Them All is a song by Ana Egge.

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Ok, so i couldn’t help myself. Here are a couple more good stories from Wishbones.

mp3: Quick as Dreams

mp3: New Year’s Day