Tag Archives: Dallas

You should be listening to G. Love & Special Sauce!

G. Love & Special Sauce is the Philadelphia based trio that fuse classic R&B, with bouncy, messy blues, and pure Philly soul.  While the music is easy on the ears and frisky enough to make your body move, it is hard to categorize.  With hints of hip hop, funk, rock, retro-soul, patches of folk, the occasional trippy psychedelic, and some Rasta shout outs, G. Love’s music is immersed in the laid back; life is a party, let’s get to know each other better kind of way.   While musically, he is like a mad scientist, more often than not, the experiments work.  Over the years, he has crafted a distinct sound for his band.

G. Love (whose Christian name is Garret Dutton) is the vocalist, harmonica player, guitarist, and face of the band.  Currently, Jeffrey Clemens is on drums, Timo Shanko plays bass, and Mark Boyce tickles the ivory.  A road weary veteran of the festivals and small venues, G. Love has built a solid reputation and impressive fan base with his live performances. 

G. Love, Jack Johnson, and Donavon Frankenreiter released a live EP that was cleverly named “Some Live Songs EP”.  Tracks 1-5 were recorded on pro surfer Kelly Slater’s radio show.  Jack, G. Love, and Donavon have all appeared each other’s records and at one time were all on Jack’s Brushfire Records label. 

G. Love & Special Sauce Discography (this list includes G. Love’s solo ventures)

  • G. Love and Special Sauce
  • Coast to Coast Motel
  • Yeah, It’s That Easy
  • Philadelphonic
  • Electric Mile
  • The Hustle
  • Best of G. Love and Special Sauce
  • Lemonade
  • Super Hero Brother

Top 5 G. Love & Special Sauce Songs

  1. Rodeo Clowns (Philadelphonic)
  2. Let The Music Play (Lemonade)
  3. Willow Tree (Yeah, It’s That Easy)
  4. Free At Last (Electric Mile)
  5. Baby Got Sauce (G. Love and Special Sauce)

 I’ve actually been fortunate enough to see him several times over the last several years.  I caught a free concert in the early 00’s in Dallas, I also saw him when he was touring with Jack Johnson in 2004, and have seen him two or three times at Austin City Limits Music Festival. 

Check out G. Love & Special Sauce at www.philadelphonic.com.

G. Love & Special Sauce’s music is available at iTunes, record stores, and www.philadelphonic.com.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Doyle Bramhall II !

Doyle Bramhall II is a Dallas, Texas born guitarist, singer/songwriter who just happens to be the son of, wait for it…… Doyle Bramhall, friend of the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan.  While in his late teens, Doyle Bramhall II toured as the second guitarist with Jimmie Vaughan and his band The Fabulous Thunderbirds. I thought my high school job was cool and I only I worked at the local video store.

In1992, he and fellow Texan, Charlie Sexton, co-founded the rock band Arc Angels. Doyle and Charlie completed the lineup with the former rhythm section from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s backing band, Double Trouble (Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon).  Although they have only recorded one album, the band was well received critically and had several radio hits.  Their second album is due sometime in 2010

In 1996, he released his self titled debut solo album which featured Wendy and Lisa who formerly worked with the artist formerly known as Prince.  Bramhall wanted to establish himself beyond a guitarist and the album did not do well commercially but by critics gave it some praise.  His second album Jellycream was released in 1999.  It was met with low sales and led to his label, RCA, to stop funds for his new musical project.  Bramhall eventually asked to be let out of his contract. 

Shortly thereafter, he caught the ear of Eric Clapton and worked on Clapton’s 2001 album Reptile.  It was around this time that Bramhall formed his new band Smokestack which, ironically, opened for Clapton on his 2001 tour and by 2004 he was Clapton’s second guitarist.  Bramhall also played guitar with Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd greatness, on his In the Flesh tour.

Doyle Bramhall II Discography:

  • Doyle Bramhall II
  • Jellycream
  • Welcome

Top five Doyle Bramhall II Songs:

  1. Ain’t Goin’ Down Slow (Doyle Bramhall II)
  2. Marry You (Jellycream)
  3. Green Light Girl (Welcome)
  4. So You Want It To Rain (Welcome)
  5. I’m the One (Jellycream)

What sets the music apart, is the diversity of Bramhall’s talent; songwriting, passionate, soulful vocals, and virtuoso guitar playing.  His sound is taut, unyielding and haunting.  Clearly influenced by the guitar greats of the past but individualized enough to claim a sound all his own.

Check out Doyle Bramhall and let me know what you think www.doylebramhall2nd.com.

Doyle Bramhall’s music is available at iTunes, record stores and www.doylebramhall2nd.com.

Great music awaits!


iTunes might be the anti-Christ!

iTunes might be the anti-Christ to the music industry. Now, before I get too far into this blog, let me go on record and say, I have drank the Kool-Aid from the crimson stained iTunes cup and I am a fan of all the flavors. I just don’t always feel good about it!   

 While it seems to be a natural progression of the evolution in the turbulent union of the music industry and technology, it dilutes the bond between artist and fan as the fan has the ability to purchase single song selections.  The flip side to the artist is that in this technology heavy day and age, the need for a label or some form of representation is not as important as it was in years past.   It also requires the artist to have a smaller arsenal of material for release. 

Growing up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I had five or six CD local independent shops I would hit on a weekly basis to peruse the used racks and see what I would find.  Several shops had the five CD’s for $20 rack and it felt like Christmas.  The anticipation of what I might find and the pure bliss of driving home with new tunes was complete euphoria.  It was an all day venture that I looked forward to and continued well into my 30’s.  Now, all but two are out of business. 

So cloaked in the mask of a user friendly interface and accessibility, the digital download has insidiously wrapped itself around the neck of the local music retailer and squeezed the life out of many.  Gone are the days of wooden racks and the providential score of a hard to find CD.    Now it is point, click and wait impatiently as it streams over the miracle of the World Wide Web.

I’m an old school music guy who likes to read the liner notes, see what musicians played on the album, who, if not the artist, wrote the songs, etc….  However, I do find myself pouring through iTunes looking for new music that is similar to artist that I like.  The Genius function is well, genius.  It follows the same musical logic of Pandora and finds music that is similar in cadence, vocal range, and instrumentation of artist you currently have.  So, at times it seems like iTunes is your friend, always willing to help out and scour the musical countryside to find you new music and then charge you $1.29 to download a song. 

I’m not sure how to end this blog and I fully realize that by purging myself of this, was really just a way of mitigating the crushing guilt of the duality of my musical proclivities.  Salvation is not likely.

Great music awaits on iTunes and some local retailers near you!


You should be listening to Ben Harper!

Whether Ben Harper is playing with the “Innocent Criminals”, “The Blind Boys of Alabama”, or “The Relentless Seven”, he is making some pretty amazing music.  His style is as varied as his influences: Funk, Soul, Blues, Gospel,Reggae, Rock, and R&B, it all comes out in his music.  He is renowned for his ability on the slide guitar.

 Ben had a cult following in the decade of the 90’s and started to gain some commercial success in 2000 with the single “Steal My Kisses” from his album “Burn to Shine”.  His expressive voice and varied musical styles offer his fans a kaleidoscope of ear candy.  Another example of this is his stunning 2004 collaboration with the Blind Boys of Alabama “There Will Be Light”.   With each album it seems that he further embraces his influences such as Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and of course, Jimi Hendrix, while continuing to explore and expand his own.

 To really appreciate Ben Harper, you must see him live.  I have had this privilege on three separate occasions and in three different phases of his career.  The first time I saw him was four or five years ago at Austin City Limits Music Festival.  He was energetic and engaging and had the entire crowd of thousands completely enthralled.  The next occasion was on his “Lifeline” tour with his backing band ‘The Innocent Criminals” at the Majestic Theater in Dallas.  The tour was billed as acoustic and intimate and it was indeed both of those things.  The fans were seated for the entire show and captivated by the music.  The most recent concert was the 2008 Austin City Music Festival.  He was touring with his new band “The Relentless Seven”.  His hour long set was tight and focused on his new material from “White Lies for Dark Times”.  He was in fine form and his new band sounded great.

Ben Harper Discography

  • Welcome to the Cruel World
  • Fight for Your Mind
  • The Will To Live
  • Burn To Shine
  • Diamonds on the Inside
  • Live From Mars
  • There Will Be Light
  • Both Sides of the Gun
  • Lifeline
  • Live at the Twist & Shout
  • White Lies for Dark Times

 Top 5 Ben Harper Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1. Amen Omen (Diamonds on the Inside)
  2. Having Wings (Lifeline)
  3. I’ll Rise (Welcome to the Cruel World)
  4. Excuse Me Mr. (Fight for Your Mind)
  5. Better Way (Both Sides of the Gun)

 If you have never listened to Ben Harper, then I highly recommend “Live From Mars” as your introductory sampling. It is a great selection of his music and some covers songs from artists such as Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, and The Verve.

 Give Ben Harper some love and let me know what you think.

 Ben Harper’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.benharper.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 the Drive-By Truckers

The music of the Drive-By Truckers is a pounding mix of southern rock and alt/country.  From a musical perspective, they are one of the few current bands that have and utilize three guitarists.  They also generously share the writing and vocal responsibility between Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, bassist Shonna Tucker, and from about 2002-2007 (former) guitarist Jason Isbell. All four have pretty distinct sonic styles and really make the music interesting. 

The Drive-By Truckers were co-founded by Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley in the musical Mecca of Athens, Georgia in 1996. 

Deeply rooted in their southern heritage and more than a little influenced by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Drive-By Trucker’s embrace and at times enhance the myths of the South.  They unabashedly sing about all of the things that are a caricature of the southern lifestyle.  They do this with insightful and intelligent lyrics, moving harmonies, the occasional pedal steel and lots of guitars.

 Drive-By Truckers  Discography

  • Gangstabilly
  • Pizza Deliverance
  • Southern Rock Opera
  • Decoration Day
  • The Dirty South
  • A Blessing and a Curse
  • Brighter Than Creation’s Dark
  • The Fine Print (A Collection of Oddities and Rarities 2003-2008)

 Top 5 Drive-By Truckers Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1.  Nine Bullets (Pizza Deliverance)
  2. Shut Up and Get on the Plane (Southern Rock Opera)
  3. Carl Perkin’s Cadillac (The Dirty South)
  4. The Great Car Dealer War (The Fine Print)
  5. The Righteous Path (Brighter Than Creation’s Dark)

A great live band, I saw them recently in Dallas at the House of Blues and several years ago in Austin at Austin City Limits Music Festival.  Both shows were fantastic. 

Give the Drive-By Truckers a spin and let me know what you think.

 Drive-By Truckers music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.drivebytruckers.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 Donavon Frankenreiter

Donavon Frankenreiter can sing, surf, and sell sandals (Sanuk Donny Sidewalks).  Donavon is truly living a sweet and charmed life.  His first album, self titled, was released in 2004 on his buddy Jack Johnson’s “Brushfire Records” label.  He has collaborated with Ben Harper, G Love, Grant Lee Phillips, and Jack Johnson.  Did I mention that he surfs?  Professionally!  Yep, Donavon is a pro surfer (sponsored by Billabong) who has traveled the world in search of the elusive perfect wave. 

 His sound is laid back and mellow.  There is more than a hint of the 70’s sound in his music.  Most songs are built around an acoustic guitar, light percussions, and low key charm. He brings a little more electricity and energy to “Move By Yourself” but not a dramatic departure from his cool breeze ways. 

 I’ve seen Donovan on two occasions.  The first was a few years ago when he opened for Ben Harper.  The show was at the Majestic Theater in Dallas and the perfect venue for Donavon’s acoustic set.  The next time I saw him was at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.  This was another great venue for Donavon’s style of music.  This show was a little more electric and included some backup singers. 

Donavon Frankenreiter Discography

  • Donavon Frankenreiter
  • Move By Yourself
  • Pass It Around
  • Recycled Recipes (EP)
  • The Abbey Road Sessions (Live)

 Top 5 Donavon Frankenreiter Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1. Wondering Where the Lions Are (Recycled Recipes EP)
  2. Butterfly (Donavon Frankenreiter)
  3. Move By Yourself (Move By Yourself)
  4. Free (Donavon Frankenreiter)
  5. Pass It Around (Pass It Around)

Check out Donavon Frankenreiter and let me know what you think.

Donavon Frankenreiter’s music is available on iTunes, in record stores and on www.donavonf.com.

  Great music awaits!