Tag Archives: Ben Harper

My Top 40 at 40!

Recently, and by recently I mean yesterday February 2nd, which just happens to be my day of birth, a buddy of mine threw down the musical gauntlet.  I have briefly and succinctly paraphrased the challenge below:

Top 40 Artists of your life. Not simply a list of 40, but a ranking from 40 to 1. You have to do it. It must be done. It’s your personal Hall of Fame. This is your preference, your jukebox, regardless of genre or generation. This isn’t educational or time relevant. It’s YOUR Top 40 of all time.

This did indeed get the blood rushing and made my musical pants go a little crazy.  I started to brainstorm a list (and by brainstorm I mean immediately sat down and pounded out 40 names, clarified his initial challenge, perused my list again, and started typing the first sentence you read. 

The initial list was not a difficult as I thought.  The ranking of 1-40 took a little bit of time as did my annotations (those are in my tiny, little head) as to why the band/musician made the list.  The list that lies before you is organic in nature and I believe it to be fairly finite to the time that it was written.  The list is not to be likened to a doctoral thesis, packed with statistics that verify the respective placement, resourced with renowned critical fawning, or any type of research other than my ears and their time on earth. 

Be mindful of the fact that there are only 40 spots on this list.  I can tell you that there are probably some glaring omissions on this list.  Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Waylon, Willie, and the boys, did not make the list as well as a litany of other great, well deserving artists.  This list is completely subjective and the omission of anyone is not meant to be a form of disparagement.  It is quite simply a list of bands/musicians that I have loved over the years and also value their contributions to the musical world. 

The final piece of the musical puzzle for this list was really a late night revelation.  I realize it has only been a moment or two since you began reading this but I actually have been running the various scenarios of greatness in my head all night.  And then it hit me, the true measure of an artist’s greatness is my personal commitment to that particular artist. 

  •  How much of myself have I invested in the artists? 
  • What percentage of their catalog do I own? 
  • Would I take the time to see them live if the following were aligned:
    • They are still alive
    • They band is still together
    • The venue was geographically conducive to seeing them live
    • The cost of the ticket did not require me selling my 1st born child.  Although at 15 years of age and being really good at being 15 I would be willing to barter for a really good show right now.

Oddly enough, this revelation did not greatly alter my original list, there were a few additions and subtractions of artists and then the harrowing process of ranking them, with reason, was underway. 

No musicians were harmed in this list.  Of course, egos might be slightly bruised if they ever happen to stumble upon this little read blog and realize their spot on or omission to the list.

So, I give to you my Top 40 at 40!

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Bruce Springsteen
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Led Zeppelin
  6. The Who
  7. Pink Floyd
  8. Tom Petty
  9. The Eagles
  10. Eric Clapton
  11. Elton John
  12. Jimi Hendrix
  13. The Doors
  14. U2
  15. Metallica
  16. Pearl Jam
  17. Van Morrison
  18. Billy Joel
  19. R.E.M.
  20. Rush
  21. Lynryd Skynyrd
  22. Simon & Garfunkel
  23. John Mellencamp
  24. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  25. Prince
  26. Nirvana
  27. Uncle Tupelo
  28. Eminem
  29. Nine Inch Nails
  30. Beck
  31. The Dave Matthews Band
  32. Rage Against the Machine
  33. Robert Earl Keen
  34. N.W.A
  35. The Black Crowes
  36. The Beastie Boys
  37. The White Stripes
  38. Ryan Adams
  39. Ben Harper
  40. Joe Purdy

 

Great music awaits!


A Bloggers Musical Look at 40!

Well, my dear, sweet, gentle blog readers, today is a milestone day for me.  Or, so I’m told.  Yep, it is my 40th birthday.  Feel free to comment on how old I am or must feel.  Candle jokes are always funny, and yes, I am actually typing this attired in black and with one foot in the grave.

I like to think that I have made my musical feelings abundantly clear over the last year or so in this blog.  Songs are snapshots along our continuum that allow us to recall special times, people, and places. Music shades us in many ways, some so beautifully moving that we are overcome by emotion, others etched in our fabric like a familiar scent that recalls the halcyon days of our youth, while others are just simply attached to a moment in time.

In my forty years, I have lived and experienced more life than I probably deserve.  I know I certainly lived more than my parents deserved.  Through it all, music is the one constant that I have turned to regardless of the situation.  Adolescent love, loss, birth of children, marriage, divorce, and death, and yes, much living in between, music has been my salvation. Music resonates within me at many different levels. The basic premise behind music is notes, keys, chords, rhythm, etc….   It is analogous to food in the fact that there is music for all occasions.

So today, is my musical look at 40!  Below are 40 songs that have colored me indelibly. I will offer no explanation as to why these songs resonate with me nor will I debate their worthiness of inclusion.  After all it is my birthday, my blog and my computer at which I type. 

Below is this Bloggers Musical look at 40:

Song

Artist
  • Blinded By the Light *note* Cause Mama that’s where the fun is!
Bruce Springsteen
  • Everybody Hurts
R.E.M.
  • Simple Man
Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Tiny Dancer
Elton John
  • With or Without You
U2
  • Louisiana Rain
Tom Petty
  • Dyer’s Eve
Metallica
  • Touch From Your Lust
Ben Harper
  • Fire Lake
Bob Segar
  • Masters of War
Bob Dylan
  • See What Tomorrow Brings
Arc Angels
  • There Is So Much More
Brett Dennen
  • Mystic Rhythms
Rush
  • Jimi Thing
The Dave Matthews Band
  • It’s In the Way That You Use It
Eric Clapton
  • Rearview Mirror
Pearl Jam
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine
Guns N’ Roses
  • The Sea and the Rhythm
Iron & Wine
  • Waiting for the Sun
The Jayhawks
  • Little Wing
Jimi Hendrix
  • Highwayman
The Highwaymen
  • Gimme Shelter
The Rolling Stones
  • Chloe Dance/Crown of Thorns
Mother Love Bone
  • When You Come Back Down
Nickel Creek
  • I’m Trying To Find It
Pat Green
  • Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd
  • Slip Sliding Away
Paul Simon
  • Sideways
Citizen Cope
  • Wheel In The Sky
Journey
  • Sign O’ The Times
Prince
  • What a Crying Shame
The Mavericks
  • Sweet Caroline
Neil Diamond
  • Minutes To Memories
John Mellencamp
  • Band on the Run
Paul McCartney
  • Killing In the Name
Rage Against the Machine
  • Shades of Gray
Robert Earl Keen
  • Life Without You
Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Plush
Stone Temple Pilots
  • Badfish
Sublime
  • Into the Mystic
Van Morrison

When I hear any of these songs, I vividly remember the moments, feelings, situations, and the friends I shared the moments with.  I contend that these artists and their songs do or will stand the test of time and are just as relevant today as they were in the past or will be in the future.  At least for me!

So there you go, me sharing a little of my birthday with you.  Enjoy and come over later for some cake and ice cream.

Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday: Freedom or Free

Welcome to another installment of Mixed Tape Monday and Happy Holidays to all of you celebrating our independence on this nationally recognized holiday.  I hope this blog finds most, if not all, of you away from your offices and with friends and loved ones or at least people you kind of like. 

So, my topic for today is, apropos with the feelings of many celebrating this past weekend and today, Freedom or Free!

Song:              Freedom

Artist:              Amos Lee

Album:            Supply and Demand

Song:              Freedom’s Road

Artist:              John Mellencamp

Album:            Freedom’s Road

Song:              Free Coffee

Artist:              Ben Folds

Album:            Way Too Normal

Song:              Freedom Fighter

Artist:              Big Head Todd & the Monsters

Album:            Riviera

Song:              O Freedom

Artist:              Billy Bragg

Album:            Mr. Love & Justice

Song:              Freedom Hangs Like Heaven

Artist:              Iron & Wine

Album:            Woman King

Song:              Set Your Free

Artist:              The Black Keys

Album:            Thickfreakness

Song:              I Shall Be Free

Artist:              Bob Dylan

Album:            The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan

Song:              The Running Free

Artist:              Coheed & Cambria

Album:            Good Apollo I’m Burning Vol. 2 No World for Tomorrow

Song:              One Road for Freedom

Artist:              Ben Harper

Album:            Fight For Your Mind

Song:              Rockin’ In the Free World

Artist:              Neil Young

Album:            Freedom

Song:              Free To Decide

Artist:              The Cranberries

Album:            To the Faithful Departed

Song:              Free

Artist:              Donavon Frankenreiter

Album:            Donavon Frankenreiter

Song:              Chimes of Freedom

Artist:              Bruce Springsteen (this is a cover of a Dylan song)

Album:            Songs & Artists that Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11

Song:              Free Radicals

Artist:              The Flaming Lips

Album:            At War with the Mystics

Song:              Free At Last

Artist:              G Love & Special Sauce

Album:            The Electric Mile

Song:              Free To Run

Artist:              Gomez

Album:            Bring It On

Song:              Feel Free

Artist:              Jay Farrar

Album:            Sebastopol

Song:              Freedom Time

Artist:              Lauren Hill

Album:            MTV Unplugged 2.0

Song:              Free Me

Artist:              Foo Fighters

Album:            In Your Honor

Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday:Home

Well, dear, sweet, gentle reader, I apologize for my absence the last couple of days.  I was on vacation and did not have much time to write.  Before you go getting all jealous, I was not at some exotic locale sipping fruity beverages with crazy names and umbrellas impeding my drinking ability; nor was I finding myself in some serene, remote, mountainous setting. 

I was, in fact, at home dealing with the issues of owning a home and in my case, a ninety five year old home.  Yes, the home is indeed older than I.  It is also a lovely home that needed a little repair.  I use the term “little” loosely as I had to replace the upstairs AC and the hot water heater.  And, to be fair, I did not have to do it myself but I did have to avail myself to the schedule of the valiant workers who brought tidings of cool air and hot water. 

I’d like to give a gratuitous plug and a big shout out to Aire Serve Heating and Air Conditioning of Fort Worth and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing for their solid work and expertise.

With all of that being said, today’s Mixed Tape Monday theme is Home!

Enjoy and welcome back to the time waste that is my bog!

Song:              Sweet Home Alabama (I’m sure you all saw that one coming)

Artist:             Lynyrd Skynyrd

Album:           Second Helping

Song:              Home

Artist:             Alexi Murdoch

Album:           Time Without Consequence

Song:              On My Way Back Home

Artist:             Band of Horses

Album:           Infinite Arms

Song:              Taking Your Home

Artist:             Don Henley

Album:           Inside Job

Song:              My Father’s House

Artist:             Bruce Springsteen

Album:           Nebraska

Song:              Home

Artist:             Foo Fighters

Album:           Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

Song:              What Is Home

Artist:             The Black Crowes

Album:           Before the Frost…

Song:              Heading Home

Artist:             Donavon Frankenreiter

Album:           Donavon Frankenreiter

Song:              Long Way Home From Anywhere

Artist:             Bruce Robison

Album:           Long Way Home From Anywhere

Song:              House of Valparaiso

Artist:             Calexico

Album:           Carried To Dust

Song:              Goin Home

Artist:             Dan Auerbach

Album:           Keep It Hid

Song:              Give a Man a Home

Artist:             Ben Harper

Album:           Fight For Your Mind

Song:              Home

Artist:             Eli Young Band

Album:           Jet Black and Jealous

Song:              This House Is a Circus

Artist:             Arctic Monkeys

Album:           Favourite Worst Nightmare

Song:              Quiet Houses

Artist:             Fleet Foxes

Album:           Fleet Foxes

Song:              My Lady’s House

Artist:             Iron & Wine

Album:           Woman King (EP)

Song:              Charlemagne’s Home Town

Artist:             James McMurtry

Album:           Childish Things

Song:              House of Stone

Artist:             Mudcrutch

Album:           Mudcrutch

Song:              Life In a Glass House

Artist:             Radiohead

Album:           Amnesiac

Song:              I’m Coming Home

Artist:             Robert Earl Keen

Album:           Gringo Honeymoon

Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday: People’s Names

Welcome to another installment of Mixed Tape Monday, where I will WOW you with my wonderful compilation of music:

 Today’s topic is People’s Names:

 Song:              Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters

Artist:              Walt Wilkins

Album:            Fire, Honey, & Angels

 Song:              Sherry Darling

Artist:              Bruce Springsteen

Album:            The River

 Song:              Melissa

Artist:              The Allman Brothers Band

Album:            Eat a Peach

 Song:              Jolene

Artist:              Ray LaMontagne

Album:            Trouble

 Song:              Suzie Blue

Artist:              Ben Harper

Album:            Burn to Shine

Song:              Oh, Josephine

Artist:              The Black Crowes

Album:            War Paint

 Song:              Capn Kirk

Artist:              Bob Schneider

Album:            I’m Good Now

 Song:              For Emma

Artist:              Bon Iver

Album:            For Emma, Forever Aga

 Song:              Mr. Larkin

Artist:              State Radio

Album:            Us Against the Crown

 Song:              Meanwhile, Rick James

Artist:              Cake

Album:            Comfort Eagle

 Song:              Suite Judy Blue Eyes

Artists:             Crosby, Stills, & Nash

Album:            Crosby, Stills, & Nash

 Song:              Amie

Artist:              Damien Rice

Album:            O

 Song:              Elias

Artist:              Dispatch

Album:            Silent Steeples

 Song:              Carl Perkin’s Cadillac

Artist:              Drive-By Truckers

Album:            The Dirty South

 Song:              Johnson’s Love

Artist:              Dwight Yoakam

Album:            Hillbilly Deluxe

 Song:              Amelia

Artist:              Erin Ivey

Album:            Sweet Little EP

 Song:              Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down

Artist:              Interpol

Album:            Turn On the Bright Lights

 Song:              Kathleen

Artist:              Josh Ritter

Album:            Hello Starling

 Song:              Slow Down Jo

Artist:              Monsters of Folk

Album:            Monsters of Folk

 Song:              Oh Maria

Artist:              Mudcrutch

Album:            Mudcrutch

 Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 5/11

Today’s installment of Tune in Tuesday features six random albums. 

Monsters of Folk

Monsters of Folk

Monsters of Folk are the latest “Super Group” to hit the music scene.  Comprised of Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), M. Ward, and Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes).  These boys bring back the sweet harmonies of classic bands like The Eagles and Crosby, Stills, & Nash and evoke the not so distant memory of The Traveling Wilburys.

The music is a mixed bag of rock, folk, and as mentioned before, sweet harmony, and lush melodies.  The lead track on the album “Dear God (Sincerely MOF)” is a trippy little number that is gently bathed in R&B and is based around a sample of the 1970 gospel song “Is There Any Love” by Trevor Dandy.

Key tracks: His Master’s Voice, Temazcal, Losin Yo Head.

Joy

Phish

This is the newest ad fourteenth studio album form the Vermont Jam band.  It is also the album that brought the band back from a four year hiatus and reunited them with produce Steve Lillywhite.  The album is aptly titled as the songs all seem to have a happy, joyful quality to them.  If you have a fan or former fan, check it out and get reacquainted with the boys from Phish.

Key Tracks: Time Turns Elastic, Backwards Down the Number Line, Twenty Years Later

En Concert

Jack Johnson

This album is a great cross section of all of Jack’s work and has guest appearances by Eddie Vedder and Paula Fuga.  It also showcases the harmonizing backing vocals of Zach Gil (Animal Liberation Orchestra), who has toured with Johnson in the past but only recently became a permanent fixture on the tour. 

The special addition has a DVD that captures various stages of his 2008 tour.  The DVD has more guest appearances by the likes of Ben Harper, Eddie Vedder, Mason Jennings, Matt Costa, G. Love & Special Sauce.

Key Tracks: Constellations (w/ Eddie Vedder), Gone, Flake, and Times Like These

White Lies for Dark Times

Ben Harper & the Relentless 7

The Relentless 7 is Ben’s latest incarnation of a band and is a bit heavier than the Innocent Criminals.  The album is solid from start to finish and is not a dramatic departure from any of Ben’s other work.  He still blazes on the slide guitar and is the focal vocal point of the band. 

Key Tracks: Faithfully Remain, Skin Thin, Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart), Shimmer and Shine.

Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away

Slaid Cleaves

Slaid Cleaves is pure musical greatness and genius.  This Austin based singer and songwriter is a thoughtfully introspective writer who catches the subtle nuances of life in this crazy world.  He sings of love, lost, hope, faith, and the lack there of.  Not afraid to raise a political edge with his music but never appearing to be preachy or on a soapbox.  If you have not heard of him, he is well worth checking out. 

Key Tracks: Beautiful Thing, Cry, Dreams, Hard to Believe

Natural Forces

Lyle Lovett

Natural Forces is the latest album from Texas’s own Grammy winner Lyle Lovett.  There is just something about the calm confidence in which Lyle sings his songs.  This album is typical Lovett, good song selection, well crafted, and a slight sense of humor. 

 Key Tracks: Pantry, Farmer Brown/Chicken Reel, Don’t You Think I Feel It Too

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: Live Albums

Today’s installment of Tune in Tuesday features six live albums.  The live album is always a risky proposition but when it is good, it is oh, so good.

So, let me regale you with the melodious sounds of live music.

Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl

Van Morrison

This was an amazing studio album and only gets better with the live element.  Van is in fine form vocally and the musicians are incredible.  If you are fan of Van the Man, than you need to check this out.  If you are not a fan you need to get checked out. 

Live From Mars

Ben Harper

If you are going to own one Ben Harper album, this is the one.  A great cross section of his material, a high energy set, and a few incredible cover tunes (Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, and the Verve’s “The Drugs Don’t Work”).  All of this jam packed into a double CD with 25 tracks.

Brothers of a Feather

Chris & Rich Robinson

The brotherly duo behind the greatness of the Black Crowes perform as dueling guitarists while showcasing songs from their respective solo careers as well as songs from the Crowes catalog.  Stand out tracks on this album are “Thorn In My Pride”, “My Heart’s Been Killing Me”, and “Someday Past Sunset”.

Undone: A Musical Tribute to Robert Earl Keen

Various Artists

Wade Bowen, Reckless Kelly, Cody Canada, Walt Wilkins, Chris Knight, Randy Rogers, Roger Creagar, Max Stallings, Cory Morrow, Jason Boland, and Robert Earl himself appear on this album.  If you have any understanding or appreciation for the greatness of Robert Earl Keen, then this album is for you.  Not a bad set on the whole album. 

MTV Unplugged

Alice In Chains

This album never gets old and the songs never get bad.  This was, in my opinion, one of, if not, the best MTV unplugged shows.  Layne’s vocals are just as tortured and haunting as the first time I listened to this album.  Stand out tracks “Would”, “Angry Chair ”,“ Nutshell” and every other song on the album.

Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium

Rage Against the Machine

This is the last thing that was done before the breakup of the band in 2000 and the release was delayed three years due to the breakup and subsequent formation of Audioslave.  The performance is energetic and embodies all that was great about this band.  The mix and sound quality is not the greatest but still well worth the listen.  This performance  was also available as a DVD.

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!