Category Archives: Live Music

A Little Musical VD Help!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of the dear, sweet, gentle readers, I hope this post finds you with the one you love or at least someone you like a little. In honor of the beloved and mass marketed one day year love fest, I’m dropping a Mixed Tape Monday Special Edition VD List.

Click on the link below!

VD Mixed Tape

So, if you are one of those procrastinating types, take this list, hop on iTunes and download these fine tunes; run to your local grocery store, sift through the remaining sappy, mass produced cards and while you’re there pick up some not so fresh roses or other flowers conveniently available for this special day. To top it all off, grab a box of heart shaped chocolates and make your reservations at your local Applebee’s or Macaroni Grill, show that special someone how much you really care.

Great music awaits!


2011 DFW Concert Calendar: Music You Should Go Listen To!

Hello sweet blog readers. I had some trouble formating this list and grew impatient and frustrated so I just PDF’ed it. CLick below for the actual content.

2011 DFW Concert list2


Super Bowl Musical Hype

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about Super Bowl hype.  Fear not Steelers Nation, we will be back!  Not the hype of the game, or the rivalries that pit storied franchise against each, but the musical hype that surrounds the game.  With such a high profile venue, I mean come on, it is the Super Bowl, and the expectations are high.  In some years, the game is a distant second or third to the music and commercials.  Love the Darth Vader commercial and the finger licking Dorrito dude! 

The Half Time Show has become a separate entity within the game.  In recent years, we have had a range of talent that skewered towards the top of the musical stratosphere with such notables as Paul McCartney, Prince, The Rolling Stones,U2, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, and last year, The Who.   

Historically, the half time performance was a college marching band and maybe a single special musical guest who sang a song.  This all changed in 1993 when Michael Jackson, in all his uniqueness, turned the half time performance into the Half Time Show.  Since 1993 some of the performances have included the following artists:

  • Clint Black
  • The Judds
  • Travis Tritt
  • Teddy Pendergrass
  • Tony Bennett
  • Dianna Ross
  • Boyz II Men
  • Mary J Blige
  • U2
  • Shania Twain
  • Janet Jackson (I’m pretty sure we all remember that one)
  • Paul McCartney
  • Prince
  • Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Phil Collins
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Aerosmith
  • N Sync
  • Britney Spears
  • Nelly
  • Miami Sound Machine
  • No Doubt
  • Sting
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Kid Rock
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  • The Who
 

Perusing this fine list, you can see that there have been some hit and miss performances.  Some of the performances such as The Boss, U2, and Tom Petty were deserving of a solo show that covered a few of their big hits and maybe a mash up medley or two.  Other lesser known or listened to artists shared the bill with other spares. 

Last night, I was decidedly underwhelmed at the prospect of The Black Eyed Peas taking the stage for even the briefest of moments.  So, much to my surprise, they sucked so much more than my lowest of expectations.  While I try, albeit not very hard, to appreciate their take on music and their apparent enthusiasm for a good time, I just think everyone would have had a better time if their music and their performance did not suck quite so much.  I realize that their brand of music is hard to recreate live.  I would imagine it is excruciatingly difficult when the entire band consists of talentless hacks that look like they should be in another remake of Lost in Space and your lead singer is vocally challenged. 

A quick side note: As if Axl Rose does not have enough anger issues, Slash, what they hell were you thinking?  I suggest you shave your head, lose the hat and go in to hiding.  Your playing guitar while Fergie brayed out what I think were the lyrics to Sweet Child O Mine makes you complicit and just as guilty in the crime that was The Half Time Show.  Clean living has clearly altered your ability to make good musical decisions.  Someone get that man a fifth of Jack, some black tar heroin, any G n R groupies that might be left, and a new agent.

Oh, and I think Usher was on the stage as well.  Well, I think his musical relevancy at this point is the fact that he is partly responsible for exposing the entire world to Beiber Fever. With that being said, he is definitely deserving of the front row on the Hell Express.

I would be remiss if I did not discuss the National Anthem debacle with Christina Aguilera.  I can only imagine the pressure of singing that song in front a hundred thousand live people and also being viewed by millions.  I give her a partial pass on the words.  However, I do not give her a pass on the bluesy, sultry, diva type delivery that she tricked up last night.  I’m just spit balling here but I bet the words would be a little easier to remember if you just sang them straight!  We all know it is a difficult song to sing and we have seen it screwed up countless times by far less talented people.  We all know you have an amazing voice with great range.  We also know that by your quickly released statement, you have a great management team.  Here is a hint fellas, big, theatrical award show let the pipes blow, nationally televised, time honored traditional song, stick to the damn script!

As for the game, I’m more than a little disappointed in the outcome.  I’m a huge Steelers fan and really held on until the last fatal mistake of the game.  Hats off to The Pack and their fans, they did the Super Bowl proud.  This is more than I can say for the music.

Great music hopefully awaits!


Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals is the smoking hot Vermont band led by musical wunderkind and band namesake Grace Potter.  She is a multi instrumentalist/vocalist with some serious skills.  She plays both electric and acoustic guitar, Hammond B3 organ, Fender Rhodes piano, and Wurlitzer electrical piano.  Did I also mention that she sings?  Her expressive, genre changing voice is the hook that drags you into the music.

The band was loosely formed in 2002 when Potter was spotted by, soon to be band mate, Matthew Burr as she was singing folk songs in a student hot spot on the St. Lawrence University campus.  In 2005 the band received two nominations at the Boston Music Awards and independently released “Nothing But the Water”.  The band eventually signed with Hollywood Records and the album was rereleased in 2006 and received two more nominations from the Boston Music Awards.

Their second album “This Is Somewhere” was released in 2007 and they toured with Gov’t Mule.  The same year they made TV appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  In addition to those appearances, their song “Apologies” made the rounds on several shows such as:

  • All My Children
  • One Tree Hill
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • ER
     

2008 found them touring with The Black Crowes and Dave Matthews and they played a full set at the Mile High Music Festival.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Discography:

  • Nothing But the Water
  • Live Oh Five
  • This Is Somewhere
  • Live In Skowhegan
  • Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
  • Live at the Fillmore

The 2010 release of their self titled album finds Grace and Co. melding the myriad parts of their band; the raw live vibe, the sultry, bluesy vocal prowess of Grace, the deft musical abilities of the band, and the classic rock sound.  While they have spent many years wowing the crowds on the live circuit and have toured with some of the jammiest of bands, this album and the TV spots are the bridge to a broader audience. 

Check out Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at www.gracepotter.com

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vy1OoBAL-E

www.youtube.com/watch?v=paeNnR33i5Q

Great music awaits!


2010 Year In Review Part Deaux: Texas Music You Should Be Listening To!

As the saying goes, there must be something in the water!  There is something about the Texas music scene that defies typical musical conventions.  This, of course, comes as no surprise to the millions of Texas music fans.  The variety of music that hails from the great state is as expansive as the West Texas plains.  While Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital” of the world, there are plenty of fertile musical breeding grounds in Texas. 

 Today, I will WOW you with some of the musical greatness that came from or had ties to Texas in 2010. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, it is just a few of the albums that I have had in heavy rotation over the course of the last year. 

Artist Album Observations
Old 97’s The Grand Theatre Vol. 1 Dallas band gets back to their roots and write good music without trying to be anything more than they are.  After 17 years it is good to see them comfortable in their own skin.
Spoon Transference Not as much of gloss and a lot more rock is what make this album great.  Not shying away from the darker textures, Spoon creates a less poppy album and the laxity of Transference is the strength of the album.
Reckless Kelly Somewhere In Time A fine album of cover songs to their one time mentor Pinto Bennett. 
Roky Erickson & Okkervil River True Love Cast Out All Evil Concise production shapes the sorrow of the Austin icon Roky Erickson’s life and ultimately the optimism of his return.
Court Yard Hounds Court Yard Hounds 2/3 of the Dixie Chicks show that sometimes less is more.  Jakob Dylan adds his dusky dulcet tone for a quick duet.
Alejandro Escovedo Street Songs of Love The fierceness of the guitar and the bombastic instrumentation belie the emotional elements of the lyrics. 
Arcade Fire The Suburbs Currently Canadian, Butler boys do hail from the sterile Houston suburb known as the Woodlands.  This is a great album and also made my 2010 Year in review. 
Ryan Bingham Junky Star Former rodeo star hits the big time with Golden Globe and Oscar win and a current Grammy Nomination for his work on the “Crazy Heart’ soundtrack.  His 3rd album is no fluke either.  His whisky and cigarette vocals are the perfect vehicle for his forlorn tales. 
Randy Rogers Band Burning the Day One of the hardest working bands in the state.  Over 200 dates over the past years.  Still time to record and release their 5th album.
Norah Jones …Featuring Norah Jones The list of collaborators is what makes this album genius.  You have the rap community represented with Talib Kweli Q Tip, and Outkast, the rock genre is fortified by Foo Fighters, and Ryan Adams is a genre chameleon so several are covered with his efforts.  Also, Willie Nelson adds his own brand of greatness.
Walt Wilkins Agave A true Texas troubadour.  No one does it better then Walt.  The words of a poet delivered honey sweet with a calm, familiar feel.  Need to see him live if you ever have the chance.
Tommy Alverson Texas One More Time With a twinkle in his eye, and a beer in his hand, Tommy makes music that makes you feel fine.  When Tommy sings, it feels like a warm summer night and for that moment you are carefree.  Highly recommend you see him live, you won’t regret it.
Six Market Boulevard Running On Seven I caught these boys live one Sunday afternoon at a local barbeque joint.  Nice, strong debut album.
Mike Ryan The First One Great voice, laid back attitude, and interacts with his fans.  Ballsy covers of Lenny Kravitz and Conway Twitty.  Need to see him live to fully appreciate his brand of greatness.
Bruce Robison From the Top Amazing songwriting that has made many country artists famous.  This album finds him paired with Rodney Crowell and it is an effort steeped in simplicity.  When you write as well as Bruce, you don’t need to add a lot of fluff.

 Great music awaits!


2010 Year In Review: Music You Should Have Been Listening To!

Well, 2010 was quite the year!  Everyone got a little older but ladies, you don’t look it!  In spite of continued political divide, the yet to rebound economy, and little oil spill in the Gulf, 2010 was a pretty great year in music.  Not for the industry as a whole (canceled tours, decline in both digital and CD sales, etc…), but in terms of the output from various artists it was a pretty fine year.  Hell, the Beatles finally capitulated to the masses and released their catalog on iTunes!  Back the Brinks truck up boys, we are cashing in!

Here is my annual review of what I thought, and thereby, was good in the world of music in 2010.  If it did not make the list, it means I did not get a chance to listen to it, or it sucked.  It is entirely possible that some music got by me this year.  It is more likely that the music I did not listen to was not listenable and therefore sucked.

In all seriousness, this is a compilation of 50 albums that were released in 2010 that got a lot of play in the many places where I listen to music.  All of these albums I own and were in heavy rotation throughout the year.  These are by no means the only albums released or that I purchased in 2010 but the ones I found myself digging a little more than some of the others.

The albums listed below are in no particular order of greatness but are all great in their own unique musical way!  See, look at that, I’m being mindful of the feelings of the artists that will never read this blog and perpetuating the “everyone is a winner”, feel good schlock that has helped raise and create a whole generation of entitled whiners and, I digress.

So sit back and peruse the gentle musing of what made my musical pants go crazy this year.

Artist Album My Annotations
The Black Keys Brother This album and all of their other albums rock.  This band consists of 2 white dudes from Ohio who sound like a symphony of veteran bluesman that caught wind of some funk.  Pure greatness!
Arcade Fire The Suburbs Nice way to come back from a 3 year break!  This album and this band is what is right with music today. Sprawling music, musicians that actually play instruments, and have something meaningful to say!
Jamey Johnson The Guitar Songs Jamey tried the clean cut “new” country way and realized that it was not going to work for him.  So, he followed the Johnny Cash 101 course and gave in to vice and temptation, grew a crazy beard and wrote about his life.  This double disc is pretty aggressive for this relative newcomer but he pulls it off and we are better for it.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Mojo Great new disc from the Heartbreakers and another great album from start –finish for Tommy Boy.  After 30 years I am amazed that he can still bring it like he does.  Petty has a way of always taking me back to the halcyon days of high school.  Props to the folks from 75115!
Drive-By Truckers The Big To-Do I love DBT and this album is no exception.  While Jason Isbell is missed, they are able to carry one and make some damn fine music.  The stories that they create are usually good for a laugh or two until you realize that most of them come from real life events. 
Fistful of Mercy Fistful of Mercy The musical triumvirate of Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur, and Dhani Harrison.  Great harmonies and acoustic instrumentation. 
Bruce Springsteen The Promise This 2 disc set is the lost tracks to the Darkness on the Edge of Town session.  That period was pretty prolific for the Boss and it is funny how 30+ years later the music is still relevant.  Hats off to you Bruce and the E Street Boys.
Eminem Recovery Dropped off the face of musical earth and did a death spiral and realized that he had more music to make.  While not as aggressive and misogynistic as his earlier work, Recovery shows that he still has skills.
The Dead Weather Sea of Cowards Jack White is pure greatness and this sophomore effort from one of his many side projects does not disappoint. 
The National High Violet Not exactly a “pick me up” kind of band but the drama and melancholy is balanced by the somber vocals and tight instrumentation. 
Band of Horses Infinite Arms Indie music darlings come back with a full group for their third album.  Their sound is familiar but they do explore some new lyrical territory. 
Neil Young Le Noise Neil Young and his eclectic ways paired + Daniel Lanois production expertise = genius. 
Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown These guys make consistently good music.  It is unfortunate that their previous release was embraced by the masses and oversaturated the airwaves.
 Kid Rock Born Free Say what you will about the Kid, but when he stays close to the classic rock of our youth, he makes entertaining music.
Joe Purdy 4th of July The best indie act out there today.  Releases all of his material on his own with no major label support, gets little or no radio play, and tours in places that hold 200-300 people.  He is amazing. 
Joe Purdy This American See above
The Gaslight Anthem American Slang New Jersey band channeling the musical spirit of Springsteen with a little punk rock spin.  Further proof that good things come from the Garden State!
Spoon Transference Spoon continues to make moody not quite pop music.  This is their 7th album and is a great showcase of their formidable musical chops.
Gorillaz Plastic Beach Cartoon characters that get the likes of DeLa Soul, Snoop Dogg, and Lou Reed to guest on their album.  What more can I say?
MGMT Congratulations The sophomore album from the trippy, somewhat psychedelic duo.  As good as their stellar debut and clearly shows that these boys have some skills.
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Despite the petulant attitude, knack for opening mouth and inserting foot, Kanye knows how to mix and mingle the tracks, samples and artists.   Not sure I like liking him but hard to ignore.
Robert Plant Band of Joy Golden Rock god pays go pre-Zeppelin days and does some pretty sweet covers of American music such as Townes Van Zandt, Low, and Los Lobos.
John Mellencamp No Better Than This This live mono recording of his latest was done in various parts of the country such as a Georgia church, San Antonio hotel room, and a Memphis recording studio.  Mr. Happy Go Lucky strikes again!
Broken Bells Broken Bells James Mercer (The Shins) and super producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley) team up for an awesome debut album.  Hopefully they will find time to make more music.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Beat the Devil’s Tattoo Cool, scary band name with cool scary album name.  I’ve been a fan for years and like how they have evolved.
Marc Cohn Listening Booth:1970 Great covers of 70’s song.  Nice to see him back in the booth.
Josh Ritter So Runs The World Away Quite the word smith.  Sparse musical compositions are the foundation for the subterranean concepts of the album.
Flobots Survival Story Rock-Rap with the instrumentation of a viola!  Politically charged lyrics with deft delivery and did I mention the viola? 
The Rescues Let Loose The Horses Four part harmonies that flawlessly flow throughout the album.  Lingering, soothing lyrics that are both exploratory and meaningful.  Great debut album.
Jack Johnson To The Sea Feel good music in the laid back Jack Johnson style.  Not breaking new ground which is not necessarily a bad thing. 
Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise 4th studio album for the whiskey soaked and smoky voiced troubadour and this time he is backed by a true, professional band.  This album, like all the rest is best when his dulcet tone has room to breathe.
Mumford & Sons Sigh No More Further proof that harmonies were all the rage in 2010.  This London quartet’s debut album is closer to folk than just about anything on this list.  Not sure how the English captured Americana but more power to them.
The New Pornographers Together The large Canadian bands 5th album is a nice blend of vocals and instrumentation.  Will Sheff of Okervil River, Zach Condon of Beirut, and some Dap Kings (the horn players) all make appearances on the album.
The Black Crowes Croweology The Crowes version of “Best of” with 2 discs worth of tracks.  Nice acoustic versions of their catalog.  This is the last release before their next breakup/hiatus.  Damn sibling rivalries!
LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening The 3rd and reportedly final album from the dance/rock kings. 
Of Montreal False Priests An eclectic blend of funk, synth, and sing along chorus.  Lyrically odd at times, the songs seem to be better crafted then some of their other work.
Sleigh Bells Treats Drums, guitars, and a little hip hop are hard to beat.  This band is not easy to define but certainly fun.
Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Song of Chico Dusty One half of the rap duo OutKast, Big Boi shows his considerable skills on his solo album.  Solo album is a loose term considering that T.I., Gucci Mane, George Clinton, Jamie Foxx, B.o.B, and Too Short are just a few of the folks that appear on the album.
The Hold Steady Heaven Is Whenever Not as commercially known as some of the other bands on this list but just as good, if not better than some.  Think heartland rock with Brooklyn attitude.
Eels Tomorrow Morning The 2nd of their albums to be released in 2010, this one is a little more upbeat.  The addition of keyboards and strings is a nice touch.  It seems that E might have just a glimmer of happiness in his life.
Weezer Hurley With co-writers like Ryan Adams, Mac Davis, and Linda Perry, this album twists and turns in many musical directions.  All of them good!
Vampire Weekend Contra Sophomore album for the Paul Simon channeling group is not a drastic departure from their first.  The formula works. 
Ozomatli Fire Away As diverse as band as there is, these LA boys mix in the rap, Spanish horns, and a bit of Ska to completely blow you away. 
Street Sweeper Social Club The Ghetto Blaster EP Tom Morello of Rage fame and Boot Riley release this angry, politically driven EP.  Not so angry that they can’t cover LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out and MIA’s Paper Planes. 
The Avett Brothers Live Volume 3 This album was recorded in 2009 shortly after the major label debut.  It covers several great tracks from their previous indie label albums.  This is a band best served live.  Might make my Top 10 Live Album List.
Joe Pug The Messenger Great acoustic folk music.  Lyrically sound and great from start to finish.  He is one of the great finds of 2010 for me.
Jakob Dylan Woman + Country The still Wallflowerless Dylan’s 2nd solo album is as solid as anything he has ever done.  Neko Case also appears on the album.
Matt Costa Mobile Chateau Jack Johnson’s protégé’s third release is a mixed bag of upbeat tempos and California pop with a helping of soulful piano and surprising depth.
Elton John and Leon Russell The Union Clash of the aging titans!  Hard to believe that after 40 years of divergent paths, these two make an album that leaves you wondering why it did not happen sooner.
Reckless Kelly Somewhere In Time This album is a 12 track homage to the band’s early mentor and Americana singer/songwriter Pinto Bennett.

Fistful of Mercy

This is the first blog I have done about a band who has not released any music to date.

Fistful of Mercy is the latest band to get the super group moniker attached to them.  This is, often a dubious title as the sum is never equal to the parts.   Fistful of Mercy is comprised of Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur, and Dhani Harrison.  Their album, As I Call You Down, is scheduled to be released in October. 

Just for the record, this group makes my music pants a little crazy.  I’m a huge fan of both Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur.  Dhani Harrison might have a little genius in him as he is the progeny of the late, great, George Harrison. 

While they all have distinctive vocal styling, the comparison to harmonious groups of yesteryears such as Crosby, Stills, & Nash, and The Eagles might be thrown around as there becomes an increased awareness of Fistful of Mercy.

Recently they played eight songs at an invitation only event in Los Angeles hosted by radio station KCRW.  The set was decidedly acoustic with guitars and violin being the instrument of choice.  At one point, Harrison ventured to the piano while Harper and Arthur continued on guitar.

In addition to the KCRW show, the band has recently played a few shows and benefits.

Here are a few clips of the band.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkfIlV7Nur8

This clip is from “Voices for Justice” rally and features Eddie Vedder

www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBTFm7JVtGI

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuRb_K0LbTA

 Great music awaits!