Tag Archives: Big Sur

Music you should have listened to last month but can now watch!

Greetings music fans,

Today I will highlight the artists from last month and give my selection for their best album and song. 

This may seem like a copout blog, and it kind of is.  But, with good reason, we became foster parents to three endearing and for the moment, little puppies on Saturday, and they necessitate and deserve more attention than you!  Just kidding, you too deserve some attention, but this is as good as it gets today.  However, I did pull video for each song selected.  That should count for something!

Last month’s featured artists, in no particular order:

Artist Best Album Best Song
The Avett Brothers I and Love and You Ten Thousand Wordswww.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt6k8htvc9k
Bruce Robison Wrapped My Brother & Mewww.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3q8ShBkqBI
Counting Crows August and Everything After Anna Beginswww.youtube.com/watch?v=1tY9SNFAK2I
Doyle Bramhall II Jelly Cream So You Want It to Rainwww.youtube.com/watch?v=N52cpz6NJ_4
Drive By Truckers Brighter Than Creations Dark Gravity’s Gonewww.youtube.com/watch?v=BHnbiiPoMSU
G. Love & Special Sauce Philadelphonic Rainbowwww.youtube.com/watch?v=5glVe3BmjmM
James McMurtry Childish Things We Can’t Make It Herewww.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbWRfBZY-ng
Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard One Fast Move or I’m Gone Big Surwww.youtube.com/watch?v=NNIWA5esH4o
The Jayhawks Smile Bluewww.youtube.com/watch?v=GUVVGQjWFg4
Josh Ritter The Animal Years Wingswww.youtube.com/watch?v=X3OiUUEzwwI
Mason Jennings Boneclouds Fighter Girlwww.youtube.com/watch?v=ABfK9zajLdo
My Morning Jacket Z One Big Holidaywww.youtube.com/watch?v=_0Q9iAcPjzc
One Day as a Lion One Day as a Lion Wild Internationalwww.youtube.com/watch?v=6mKtt7F0rPU
Reckless Kelly Under the Table and Above the Sun Let’s Just Fallwww.youtube.com/watch?v=mW5uP8aYZsk
Robert Earl Keen Walking Distance Shades of Graywww.youtube.com/watch?v=eEgY93WECEc
Ryan Adams Gold Wonderwall (Cover)www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6xX6ZE16PI
Silversun Pickups Swoon There’s No Secrets This Yearwww.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbz-SqEd7JQ
Them Crooked Vultures Them Crooked Vultures Scumbag Blueswww.youtube.com/watch?v=2M53SxSLHYk
The White Stripes Icky Thump Seven Nation Armywww.youtube.com/watch?v=xi8KdTk0u0g
Wilco Being There Sunken Treasureswww.youtube.com/watch?v=j_GQWm35Ndo

 

Great music waits!


You should be listening to Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard!

Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service) teamed up to write and record an album for the documentary “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s “Big Sur”.  While originally set to record a few songs, the process and collaboration was so fruitful that it turned into a full length album which is named after the movie.

With Kerouac’s connection to jazz, both Farrar and Gibbard seem to be an odd choice to write and represent the spirit of Jack.  However, given the tragic nature of the book and Kerouac’s immersion into the depths of alcoholism and debilitating depression, Farrar with his naturally dour vocal styling and proclivity to writing deep emotionally damaged lyrics was a competent selection, while Gibbard seemed an awkward fit with his more melodic voice and previous synth heavy work with The Postal Service. 

Any trepidation I had concerning the pairing was quickly assuaged as Gibbard vocals leapt off the first track “California Zephyr”.  I was amazed at how natural he sounded reciting the words of Farrar who wrote eleven of the twelve songs on the album.  Gibbard wrote the title track “One Fast Move or I’m Gone”. 

Given the inspiration for the album it is no surprise that musically, the album is steeped in Americana with acoustic, electric, & steel guitar, lap & pedal steel, harmonica, piano, and percussions.  A majority of the lyrics were taken from Kerouac’s 1962 novel “Big Sur” and Jack gets writing credit on all of the songs except Gibbard’s lyrical contribution on the title track.

The irony of this project is that as dark and damaged as Kerouac was; the album is hopeful with a vulnerable beauty etched in the music and lyrics.

Check out Jay Farrar & Ben and Ben Gibbard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXfUSmdGa6E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNIWA5esH4o&feature=related

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Mason Jennings!

Mason Jennings is a folksy, poppy, singer/songwriter who has the prose of a poet, the political bend of a protester, and the heart of a musician.  He is renowned for his straightforward yet appealing melodies, intimate lyrics, and distinct vocal styling.  These attributes are just a few of the many reasons that have earned him a sizeable fan base which allowed him to sell over 30,000 copies of his first two albums without the benefit of any major label PR.

Jennings produced his self-titled debut album in 1997 on an analog four-track in the basement of a rented home, completing all of the instrumentation himself.  The album is raw yet familiar with an intimate sound due in large part to the above mentioned recording process.

His sophomore album Birds Flying Away is a lyrically darker departure from his debut with the focus on the sociopolitical aspects of the time.  Century Springs finds him a little more upbeat and really showcases his songwriting talent.  Use Your Voice is an intimate display of songwriting and warm folk sensibility with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and the occasional harmonica. 

His most recent release Blood of Man is Jennings first venture into the electric territory and like his debut, this album finds Jennings playing all the instruments. 

Mason Jennings Discography:

  • Mason Jennings
  • Birds Flying Away
  • Living In the Moment (EP)
  • Century Springs
  • Use Your Voice
  • Bone Clouds
  • If You Ever Need a Reason (EP)
  • In The Ever
  • How Deep is the River
  • Blood of Man
  • Independent (EP)

Top 5 Mason Jennings Songs (In no particular order)

  1. Be Here Now (Bone Clouds)
  2. Fighter Girl (In the Ever)
  3. The Light (Part 2) (Use Your Voice)
  4. Big Sur (Mason Jennings)
  5. Lonely Road (Blood of Man)

Jennings sang two Bob Dylan songs for the soundtrack of the movie “I’m Not There” He covered “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and “Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

Jennings is currently signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records label and has released his last two albums on Brushfire.

Check out Mason Jennings at www.masonjennings.com.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DTiJHnF8tY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE8nJjogJZc

Mason Jennings’s music is available at iTunes, stores, and www.masonjennings.com

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.

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Great music awaits!