Monthly Archives: January 2010

You should be listening to Jason Isbell!

Jason Isbell is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Alabama who was an integral part of the Drive-By Truckers for 6 years and three albums.  He was with the Truckers from 2001 -2007 and released his first solo album “Sirens of the Ditch” in 2007.  Since his debut release, Jason formed a band comprised of Matt Pence of Centro-Matic and some other Alabama musicians.  The band is dubbed “The 400 Unit” which is a reference to the psyche ward of an Alabama hospital.  Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit released a self title album in 2009. 

For fans of Drive-By Truckers, rest assured Isbell’s distinguishing voice is there, his gift to write significant lyrics remains, and his commanding guitar playing is just as unmistakable. His solo album and his work with the new band is not a dramatic musical departure for Isbell. Yet the albums are slight exodus from the Truckers musically, as the songs are shorter, more compressed with a touch of old school pop.

Lyrically, the albums are more wide-ranging topically than his work with the Truckers and less narrative stories with a more casual approach, the subject matter is less southern and more diverse.

Jason Isbell Discography

  • Sirens of the Ditch
  • Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Top 5 Jason Isbell Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1.  The Devil Is My Running Mate (Sirens of the Ditch)
  2. Cigarettes and Wine (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit)
  3. Chicago Promenade (Sirens of the Ditch)
  4. In a Razor Town (Sirens of the Ditch)
  5. Dress Blues (Sirens of the Ditch)

Check out Jason Isbell at www.jasonisbell.com and let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clqH-notmZE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnCG9aekWho&feature=related

Jason Isbell’s music is available on iTunes, record stores, and www.jasonisbell.com.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Wade Bowen!

Wade Bowen is a Waco, Texas born singer/songwriter who has become a staple of the Texas music scene.  He self released his debut album “Try Not To Listen” in 2002.  Early on, he was tearing up the road playing over 250 shows per year.  In 2006, he released “Live at the Blue Light” and his studio follow up “Lost Hotel” both of which helped him expand his audience outside of Texas.  In 2008, Bowen released “If We Ever Make It Home” and in 2009 he recorded his 2nd live album at the famous Fort Worth, Texas honky tonk Billy Bob’s Texas.  It is scheduled to be released in early 2010.

He has collaborated with Pat Green, Randy Rogers, Cody Canada (Cross Canadian Ragweed), Radney Foster, and Ray Wylie Hubbard. 

What’s appealing about Bowen’s voice, is the emotive tenor that’s just smoke filled and raspy enough to convey the world-weariness and hard living of traditional country music. He approaches his songs with restraint and reflection.  Bowen writes with zeal and passionate assurance about the issues that color life. He achieves this with depth of thought and plain emotion that connects with his fans.

Wade Bowen Discography

  • Try Not To Listen
  • Live At the Blue Light
  • Lost Hotel
  • If We Ever Make it Home

Top 5 Wade Bowen Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song): 

  1. Broken Reflection (Troubadour’s Prayer) (Lost Hotel)
  2. Man Out of Myself (Try Not To Listen)
  3. Daddy and the Devil (If We Ever Make It Home)
  4. Perfect Silence (Lost Hotel)
  5. From Bad To Good (If We Ever Make It Home)

Check out Wade Bowen at www.wadebowen.com and let me know what you think.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwlXHumrGHk

Wade Bowen’s music is available on iTunes and record stores.

Great music awaits!


25 albums you should own!

Over time, there have many great musical artists and from each artist comes an assortment of songs that become an album. In theory the sum of an album should be equal or greater than its parts (songs).  If only this were true.  Today, with streaming audio, and the ability to buy/download single songs, the allure and importance of the album has waned.  Artists might release several EP’s before they release a full length album. 

Growing up, I had to roll the dice and hope that each album I saved for would be as good as the song I heard on the radio.  Sadly, that was not always the case.  Domo arigato Mr. Roboto!

However, some artists do indeed get it right and below is a list of 25 albums you might not know but you should own.  This collection does not include live albums or greatest hits. 

Also, I do not include any type of review for the below artists/albums.  This is in an effort to allow you to form you own opinion, keep the blog reading to an acceptable time, and selfishly save me time writing the blog itself. 

Twenty Five albums you should own! (In no particular order):

Artist Album
Alexi Murdoch Time Without Consequences
Animal Liberation Orchestra Fly Between Falls
Arcade Fire Funeral
Ben Harper Welcome to the Cruel World
The Black Keys Attack and Release
Citizen Cope   The Clarence Greenwood Recordings
Chris Whitley Living with the Law
The Dead Weather Horehound
Drive-By Truckers Brighter Than Creation’s Dark
Elliott Smith From a Basement on the Hill
Sonic Youth Daydream Nation
Jason Isbell Sirens of the Ditch
Jeffrey Foucault Stripping Cane
John Butler Trio Sunrise Over Sea
Joseph Arthur Come To Where I’m From
My Morning Jacket The Tennessee Fire
A Perfect Circle Mer De Noms
The Raconteurs Broken Boy Soldiers
Slaid Cleaves Broke Down
Tom Petty She’s the One
The Tragically Hip Fully Completely
Joe Purdy Only Four Seasons
Son Volt Trace
Neko Case Middle Cyclone
Iron & Wine Our Endless Numbered Days

 Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Patterson Hood!

Patterson Hood is the son of David Hood, bass player of the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and one of the leaders/singers/songwriters of Drive-By Truckers.  He has released two solo albums that are more intimate than his work with the band.  While still relying heavily on the exploration of southern history and its roots, his solo albums seem to be a bit more personal and deal more with emotions and the people surrounding them.

His solo debut “Killers and Stars” was recorded in Hood’s kitchen in 2001 and was not initially intended to be released.  A few copies were produced and sold at shows and it gained momentum and was finally officially released in 2004.  On “Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)”, Hood teams up with his father on the “Back of the Bible” one of the standout tracks from the album. 

His solo albums tend to be a little darker than his work with Drive-By Truckers.  His debut was more acoustic while his sophomore effort was a little more electric.  Hood’s voice, which ranges between a whiskey soaked, pack a day growl, southern drawl spoken word, or a surprisingly sweet innocent rasp, provides texture to the lyrics.

Patterson Hood Discography

  • Killers and Stars
  • Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)

Top 5 Patterson Hood Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1. Uncle Disney (Killers and Stars)
  2. Pride of the Yankees (Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)
  3. Back of a Bible (Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)
  4. The Assassin (Killers and Stars)
  5. Walking Around Sense (Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)

Check out Patterson Hood and let me know what you think.

Patterson Hood’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.drivebytruckers.com.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Alexi Murdoch!

Alexi Murdoch is a singer/songwriter who self published his 2003 EP “Four Songs” which ironically, had four songs on it.  “Four Songs” became the number one selling record in the history of indie online music store CD Baby (A great place to find awesome music).  In 2006 he released his debut album “Time Without Consequence”.  In 2009, in a rare display of accessibility, he toured the Unite States.  It certainly appears that Mr. Murdoch is pacing his musical output.

 Like other indie artists, Alexi Murdoch’s music has found its way on the silver screen and into the homes of millions due to the miracle of the World Wide Web and television.  You might have heard his songs on Dawson’s Creek, The O.C., House M.D., Prison Break, Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, Everwood, and Without A Trace.  Not a bad list for a dude with one album.  His song “Orange Sky” was featured in the move Garden State but did not make the soundtrack.

Alexi Murdoch’s delicate songwriting, folk/pop sensibility, and hushed, intimate vocals have endured him to his fans and have the music labels clamoring to sign him.  His reluctance to sign with any label does not appear to be hurting his ability to make a living as a musician.  He has performed at SXSW and the Sundance Film Festival.

Alexi Murdoch Discography

  •  Four Songs (EP)
  • Time Without Consequence

Top 5 Alexi Murdoch Songs according to Butler (Albums listed on right):

  1. Breathe (Time Without Consequence)
  2. It’s Only Fear (Four Songs)
  3. Wait (Time Without Consequence)
  4. All My Days (Time Without Consequence)
  5. Orange Sky (Time Without Consequence)

 Check out Alexi Murdoch and let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgsT-klFnXY&feature=related 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4-BCagHSz0&feature=related

Alexi Murdoch’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.aleximurdoch.com .

 Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Arc Angels!

Arc Angels are the phenomenal but short lived blues/rock band that formed in Austin, Texas in the early 90’s.  The band was a virtual who’s who of the Texas music scene and was comprised of two home grown guitar talents Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton as well as drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon both of whom played in the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band Double Trouble.  The ARC in the band name is a reference to the Austin Rehearsal Complex where the band members first got together and jammed prior to releasing their self titled debut album.

Due to creative differences, egos, and issues with Bramhall’s substance abuse, the members of the band went their separate ways in late 1993.  Both Sexton and Bramhall went on to release several solo albums as well as touring with rock royalty.  Bramhall toured with Eric Clapton and Roger Waters while Sexton toured with Bob Dylan.  They have also backed artists such as John Mayer, Buddy Guy, and Kenny Wayne Sheppard. 

Since 2002, Arc Angels have occasionally reunited for a rare live performance one of which was headlining Austin City Limits Music Festival.  In early 2009, members of Arc Angels, except Tommy Shannon, made reunion announcements, prepared a DVD from concert footage taken in 2005, and have begun working on their sophomore album.

The second coming of their new music and live tour will be at Austin’s annual South by Southwest Music Festival in March 2009. Following that, they will open for Eric Clapton on his European tour in May, and then embark on their own U.S. tour this summer.

 Key tracks from Arc Angels:

  • Too Many Ways to Fall
  • Living In a Dream
  • See What Tomorrow Brings
  • Sent By Angels

 Check out the Arc Angels and let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPWdLpnKknc&feature=related 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iA4o7-vVfg&feature=related

Arc Angel’s music is available on iTunes, record stores, and www.arcangelsmusic.com.

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Animal Liberation Orchestra!

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) is the hippie, trippy, California band that brings the good time vibe to everything they play.  The band was formed by high school buddies Zach Gill, Steve Adams, and Dan Lebowitz.  They all share vocal responsibilities and play a variety of instruments. 

They grew into a nine-piece band featuring a brass section and dubbed themselves The Animal Liberation Orchestra and the Free Range Horns, they began receiving considerable attention in the Santa Barbara area with their exciting live shows.  Eventually, Zach, Dan and Steve returned to their hometown and stripped the band back down to a quartet by reuniting with drummer David Brogan (with whom they played with in college) and the ultimate version of Animal Liberation Orchestra was finalized.  They are a huge hit on the jam band circuit and have drawn comparisons to everyone from Phish and The Grateful Dead to The String Cheese Incident.

Their debut album “Fly Between Falls” was originally released in 2004 and rereleased when ALO signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2006 and in 2007 they released the album “Roses and Clovers”.  Their latest album “Man of the World” is set for release in February 2010.

Zach Gill went to college with Jack Johnson and has been touring with Jack and playing piano in his band, while Steve and Dan have toured with Brett Dennen.  ALO has toured with The Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson before headlining shows in late 2006.

I saw them a few years back when Jack Johnson came through Dallas.  The show was at the Nokia Theater and was pretty awesome.  Zach has a really great voice and is amazing on the keyboards.

ALO Discography

  • Time Expander (EP)
  • Fly Between Falls
  • Roses and Clovers

Top 5 ALO according to Butler (Albums listed on right):

  1. Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song) (Fly Between Falls)
  2. Girl I Wanna Lay You Down (Fly Between Falls)
  3. Monday (Roses and Clovers)
  4. Valentine’s Day (Time Expander)
  5. Barbeque (Fly Between Falls)

Check out ALO and let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqKSf8bt1eM

 ALO music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.alomusic.com

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Spoon!

Spoon is an indie rock band that hails from the great city of Austin, Texas.  Formed and co founded by Brit Daniels and Jim Eno in 1993.  Early musical comparisons to The Pixies and Sonic Youth quickly subsided as they began to define their own sound, a blend of sophisticated, guitar driven pop/post-punk that rocks.

Spoon’s career can be likened to that of a slow boil.  They have seven full length albums and an equal number of EP’s and received critical recognition for their work but have received little radio play along the way.  This might, in part, be related to the label issues that plagued them in the early years.  The irony of this is that there music has found it way on a smattering of television shows that include the following: The Simpsons Veronica Mars, Bones, The O.C., Scrubs, and How I Met Your Mother.  Spoon also appears in the movies 17 Again, Cloverfield, and I Love You Man.

Their music is inventive and ambitious yet accessible. Their albums are consistently tight, usually containing ten or twelve well crafted tracks and clocking in around the forty minute mark. 

Spoon Discography 

Albums EP
  • Telephono
  • A Series of Sneaks
  • Girls Can Tell
  • Kill the Moonlight
  • Gimme Fiction
  • Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  • Transference

 

  • The Nefarious (EP)
  • Soft Effects (EP)
  • 30 Gallon Tank (EP)
  • Love Ways (EP)
  • Get Nice! (EP)
  • Don’t You Evah (EP)
  • Got Nuffin (EP)

 

Top 5 Spoon Songs according to Butler (Albums listed on right):

  1. I Turn My Camera On (Gimme Fiction)
  2. The Way We Get By (Kill the Moonlight)
  3. Don’t Make Me a Target (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  4. All the Negatives Have Been Destroyed (Telephono)
  5. The Underdog (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga)

Check out Spoon and let me know what you think.

Spoon’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.spoontheband.com.

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Son Volt!

Son Volt is the band that Jay Farrar formed upon the demise of Uncle Tupelo in 1994.  While their debut “Trace” was met with critical acclaim, as where the follow ups “Straightaways” and “Wide Swing Tremolo”, Son Volt was not as commercially successful as some of the bands that were emerging on the music scene in the late 90’s. 

While often lumped in the Alt/Country genre due to his early work with Uncle Tupelo, Farrar expanded the sound of Son Volt in to a more traditional Americana type sound.  Son Volt’s use of steel and acoustic guitars, pianos, organs, and Farrar’s lonesome vocals conjure up visions of America of long ago. The stylized texture provides an organic feel to their music and further distances them from the Alt/Country scene.  This is really evident on their latest release “American Central Dust”.

Early rumors and speculation that surrounded Son Volt’s demise were unfounded despite the solo albums and tours of Jay Farrar from 2001 – 2003.  In 2005, a retrospective was released and shortly thereafter, Farrar recruited some new band members and released “Okemah and the Melody Riot” in 2006.  As it stands today, Jay Farrar is the only original member of Son Volt. 

In 2009, Farrar team up with Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and recorded the album “One Fast Move Or I’m Gone” Music from Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur.

Son Volt Discography

  • Trace
  • Straightaways
  • Wide Swing Tremolo
  • A Retrospective 1995-2000
  • Okemah and the Melody Riot
  • The Search
  • American Central Dust

Top 5 Son Volt Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1. Methamphetamine (The Search)
  2. Windfall (Trace)
  3. World Waits For You (Okemah and the Melody Riot)
  4. Circadian Rhythms (The Search)
  5. Back Into Your World (Straightaways)

Check out Son Volt and let me know what you think.

Son Volt’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.sonvolt.net.

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!


The High School Years:A Shout Out to the Class of 89 (75115)

We all have a favorite song or songs, one that we will sit in the car and listen to completion even when we are running late, one that we hear and can’t help but smile.  Songs are snapshots along our continuum that allow us to recall special times, people, and places.

This list is a remembrance of my high school years (85-89) and a shout out to the 75115.   Not all of these songs were released during those years, but were the soundtrack to my life at that time.  And no, Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young” despite being the class theme and I’m told prom song, did not make the list.  Sorry to both Rod and the class of 89 from 75115.

Twenty years later, when I hear any of these songs, I fondly remember the times and the friends I shared the moments with.  I contend that these artists and their songs stand the test of time and are just as relevant today as they were many years ago.

I realize that 25 songs is a relatively short list to sum up the high school years and while there are no duplicate artists on the list, these artist and songs shaded and formed a critical time in my life and it is a safe bet the album from which the song came, was and is currently in heavy rotation in my car, home, IPod, and office.

Below are the top 25 songs that harken back the halcyon days of my youth:

Simple Man                       Lynyrd Skynyrd

It’s The End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)     R.E.M.

Louisiana Rain                  Tom Petty

Seven Bridges Road         The Eagles

Tiny Dancer                        Elton John

Dream On                             Aerosmith

 Shooting Star                    Bad Company

Jungle Love                        Steve Miller Band

 The Weight                         The Band

Fire Lake                              Bob Seger

My Hometown                  Bruce Springsteen

Drive                                    The Cars

I Believe In You              Don Williams

It’s In the Way That You Use It                  Eric Clapton

Sweet Child O’ Mine          Guns ‘N’ Roses

The Pretender                    Jackson Brown

Jackie Brown                       John Mellencamp

Dyers Eve                             Metallica

Rockin’ In the Free World                Neil Young

With Or Without You         U2

Gimme Shelter                     The Rolling Stones

Mystic Rhythms                  Rush

Don’t You Forget About Me            Simple Minds

Copperhead Road                Steve Earle

Congratulations                    Traveling Wilburys

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great Music Awaits!