Tag Archives: Blues

Your Go-To Song -The Panoply of Music

11 May

It’s odd how much the consumption of music has changed since I started this blog back in 2009. As a garden variety audiophile, my goal back in the day was to amass the grandest collection of music possible – a collection that would rival the music gods. One August, I used tip money from my job as a camp counselor to buy a vast assortment of CDs from obscure 60s bands, and, when they arrived, I spent days burning these CDs onto my computer, so I could rip the Mp3s and add them to my growing collection. To think the youth of 2020 will not have that joy!

Little did I know, Apple was the god I was trying to emulate, and my quest would be stomped on by this omnipotent Zeus-like musical giant! Now, I diligently pay my monthly subscription to Apple Music, and have access to the Great Library of Alexandria of tunes. But, as they say, I still have the memories (and the Mp3 files stashed away on some external hard-drive). As I was driving around the other day – a necessary escape from the house during this quarantine – I got to thinking about how even now with this vast assortment of music, I have cherry-picked my slowly growing “go-to” songs that encompass my aptly titled “Favorites” list. This curated playlist is an eclectic mix, each song representative of the point in my life when I first heard the song/band. It’s a personal musical journey. And, within this list of personal favorites are several songs that I would label my “go-to” jams – songs that I’ll listen to no matter the mood I am in or company I am among.

I’ll share one of these gems with you.

Find me a better first line of a song than “Red and white, blue suede shoes, I’m Uncle Sam, how do you do?” The song is just a straight mover – it’s as anthemic as you will find with The Dead, and it’s tough not to sing along with its culturally interesting lyric. It’s a masterclass in Dead lore and a tune that just latches onto you and creates a vision of the U.S. that you can’t shake!

What are your go-to songs?

Legends In Their Own Minds By The Sundogs Channels The Feeling of 90s Summers

15 Jun

Legends In Their Own Minds by The Sundogs upon first listening brings up to surface the feeling of summers of the 90s. With the light guitar, both acoustic and electric setting up the instrumental structure on songs within the album, its clear that their sound is set to a certain mood paired up in the collection of songs. Although this is just their second album, it sounds like an evolved sound that has spanned over many years. Johnny is a song that sets the scene quite well and alludes to the talented writing of The Sundogs from beginning to end. Lyrics such as “you have seriously been misled, what got you so bent, got a fire in your belly” all are thematic of strong visual storytelling. Closing your eyes and jamming out with your air guitar will allow you to channel all the feels of The Sundogs wherever you are. Touching on the sounds of jazz, blues, and power guitar solos, the duo of Stan Snow and Jed Moffitt unite for musical force to be reckoned with in the name of rock.

For more listening:

Willy & The Planks Play Juke Joint Blues With Spunk & Hypnotic Blues

1 Oct

With their newest album, entitled Willy & The Planks, the overall sound of this band is nothing short of Mississippi and Tennessee influenced bluesy sound. The musical talents of Willy Gibbs on the guitar, Mark Noble on the bass, and Chris Gibbs on the drums, reflect the genuine love of music and affinity for the craft of blues music all in one. The song lyrics of the track below describe the novelty in the south and the environment, feel good feelings, and overall nostalgia wrapped around the music itself.  If listening to the track is not enough, viewing the music video for this track will have you feeling in a whole different blues world and takes you along the fun feeling fueled journey.

For more listening:

Dan Auerbach is the King of a One Horse Town

20 Jun

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There is something quite old about Dan Auerbach’s second solo studio album Waiting on a Song (June 2017), and I like it. Auerbach, who is the guitarist and vocalist for The Black Keys, has not released a solo album since Keep it Hid (2009), and this new release is certainly different – more modern in its year and more oldies in its sound. It comes as no surprise that Easy Eye Sound (Auerbach’s new record label) holds the catchy slogan “Good Sound Comes Back Around.” Auerbach, though, is able to toe the line between copying the sound he wants to pay tribute to and creating new variations on that sound. So, yes, while Waiting on a Song would have fit the record players of long-haired 1970s-era teens, it still holds a uniquely modern spin that attracts listeners of all ages.

On a track-by-track sample of the album, George Harrison pops into mind, especially with “Shine on Me,” a lively guitar-driven ditty that was one of George Harrison’s staples during his post-Beatles solo career.

The song is carried by its rhythm, jaunty percussion matched with fragmented guitar strumming. Auerbach’s lyric matches the rhythm, persistent with its mention of smiling and shining. It’s almost a bit mawkish, but thankfully there is a brief riff that brings the song back to Earth. It’s a ditty of the finest variety and while I know many Auerbach/Black Keys fans are accustomed to a dirtier blues sound, this deviation is welcome, as it credits a time when music balanced fun and talent.

“King of a One Horse Town” is a bit more traditional Black Keys, but it takes the sooty blues and replaces it with a distorted spaghetti western. The song fits the soundtrack theme with its ethereal echoes and orchestral melodies. The way the twang is balanced by the string motif is masterful, and Auerbach’s vocals fit the piece neatly. It’s another original testament to songs from back in the day.

 

Bhi Bhiman has both Rhythm and Reason

21 May

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Back in April of 2012 I came across a magical cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” done by a Sri Lankan-American folk-rock singer/songwriter named Bhi Bhiman. To say I was hooked is an understatement. Bhiman’s powerful vocals blew me away, and I spread the word about Bhiman to whoever was listening. It is now 3 years later – somehow; gosh, time moves by quickly – and Bhiman just released his new album Rhythm & Reason, which is a continued testament to how amazingly talented he is. Thus, on the heels of this release, I will make an impassioned plea to many wonderful people who read this blog consistently. Spread the word of Bhi Bhiman. Simply put, more people need to know about this voice.

Bhiman released a self-titled album to much critical fan-fare in 2012, and it featured several tracks that accentuated his deep croon and acoustic stylings. His new album is similar in its intentions: blow you away with well-written folk rock tunes that are sung with ardor and boldness. The tracks move gracefully, blues-tinged and melody-soaked; each featuring Bhiman’s unique stylings. One such song is “Moving to Brussels,” which, while itself is a classic Bhiman track, was recently provided with a humorous video with a cameo from Key & Peele star Keegan-Michael Key.

Key plays a good J.K. Simmons impression with his volatile music lesson for Bhiman. The “Whiplash”-inspired video is hilarious. It does speak for itself, so I will let it do so … play the video now! It doesn’t hurt that “Moving to Brussels” is an energetic folk hit that moves with an infectious effervescence that draws you in. Key doesn’t hurt.

And, if you need some more Bhiman convincing, here is my favorite track by the musician. It is called “Crime of Passion” and while it is not from the new album it is still worth a listen, or two, or three!

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