Tag Archives: James McMurtry

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 Reckless Kelly!

Reckless Kelly is the rocking alt/country Austin based band via Bend, Oregon, where they originally formed, but moved to Texas as quick as they could.  The band was organized and helmed by Braun brothers, Cody and Willy.  Their father happened to have a western swing band, Muzzie and the Boys, where the boys cut their early musical chops. 

Reckless Kelly’s debut “Millican” was released in 1998 and the title is a reference to Millican Oregon.  The album has one of my favorite songs “Drink Your Whiskey Down”.  In 2000 they released two albums “Acoustic: Live at Stubbs”, a great Austin barbeque joint, and “The Day”.  The live album features covers of Bob Dylan (Subterranean Homesick Blues), AC/DC (You Shook Me All Night Long), and Led Zeppelin (Whole Lotta Love).

In 2003 they switched labels and released “Under the Table and Above the Sun” on Sugar Hill Records who have had such high profile artist as Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtry, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Townes Van Zandt to name a few. They followed up with 2005’s “Wicked Twisted Road” which had three singles “These Tears’, “Stick Around”, and “Baby’s Got a Whole Lot More” that broke the Top 10 on the Texas Music Chart.  In 2006 the live CD/DVD “Reckless Kelly Was Here” was released

In 2008 they again switched labels (Yup Roc Records) and released “Bulletproof” which the band taking umbrage with the current sociopolitical landscape.  The single “Ragged as the Road” peaked at #1 on the Texas Music Chart. 

Reckless Kelly Discography:

  • Millican
  • Acoustic: Live at Stubbs
  • The Day
  • Under the Table and Above the Sun
  • Wicked Twisted Road
  • Reckless Kelly Was Here
  • Best of the Sugar Hill Years
  • Bulletproof
  • Somewhere In Time

Top 5 Reckless Kelly Songs: (in no particular order)

  1. Let’s Just Fall (Under the table and Above the Sun)
  2. Drink Your Whiskey Down (Millican)
  3. Baby’s Got a Whole Lot More (Wicked Twisted Road)
  4. May Peace Find You Tonight (Under the table and Above the Sun)
  5. American Blood (Bulletproof)

Their music is typical alt/country with guitars (acoustic, electric, & occasional steel), bass, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, and drums.  They have a surprising pop sensibility with catchy hooks and well crafted songs.  It is their ability to take tired themes (love, loss, redemption, etc…) and rejuvenate them with a fresh sound that is a combination of their musical prowess and the gruff, weathered vocal styling of Willy Braun.  They are known for their straight forward musical approach, the connectivity and energy of their live shows, and the fierce loyalty of their fans

Check out Reckless Kelly at www.recklesskelly.com

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko2BRa5o_84

Great music awaits!


25 more albums you should own!

Greetings music lovers,

Today’s blog is about 25 albums you should own and has the following parameters:

  •  Album must have been recorded/released prior to 1990
  • No duplication of artist
  • No live albums or greatest hits (kind of an all encompassing copout to include either)
  • Listing of my favorite track from said album (This is not so much a parameter but a mere bonus for your reading pleasure)

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

Artist Album Song
U2 The Joshua Tree (1987) With or Without You
Bob Dylan Oh Mercy (1989) Most of the Time
Bruce Springsteen Nebraska (1982) Nebraska
Paul Simon Graceland (1986) You Can Call Me Al
James McMurtry Too Long in the Wasteland (1989) Angeline
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Hard Promises (1981) The Waiting
Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987) Mr. Brownstone
The Eagles Hotel California (1976) The Last Resort
Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here (1975) Have a Cigar
Robert Earl Keen No Kinda Dancer (1984) Rolling By
Eric Clapton Journeyman (1989) Running On Faith
The Who Quadrophenia (1973) Love Reign O’er Me
Elton John Madman Across the Water (1971) Tiny Dancer
Metallica And Justice For All (1988) Dyers Eve
R.E.M Document (1987) It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
The Pixies Surfer Rosa (1988) Where Is My Mind
John Mellencamp Scarecrow (1985) Minutes To Memories
The Band Music from the Big Pink (1968) The Weight
Van Morrison Moondance (1970) And It Stoned Me
Lynyrd Skynyrd Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin- Nerd (1973) Simple Man
Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique (1989) Shake Your Rump
The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 (1988) Congratulations
Warren Zevon Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School (1980) Play It All Night Long
Townes Van Zandt Townes Van Zandt (1969) Lungs
The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed (1969) Gimme Shelter
Jackson Brown The Pretender (1976) The Pretender

 So, there you have it, another list of musical bliss.  Take your time, check them out and let me know what you think.

 Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Robert Earl Keen!

Robert Earl Keen is a Texas born singer/songwriter who has built a cult following of both fans and musicians alike.  He is a better writer than singer but that is not meant to damn with faint praise.  After all, he was journalism major in college.  Many of the musicians from in and around Texas credit Keen with being the grandfather of the Texas music scene.

In 1984 Keen self financed the release of his debut album No Kind of Dancer features The Front Porch Song, which he wrote in college with Lyle Lovett. In 1986 he made the trek to Nashville but was unable to score a recording deal.  In 1989, Keen released his national debut West Textures contains his now signature song, The Road Goes On Forever.  With the release of 1993’s A Bigger Piece of Sky, Keen gained a larger fan base and some critical acclaim which in large part can be attributed to his rigorous touring schedule of almost 200 dates per year that he kept up in the 90’s.

Keen’s music is bathed in humor, the hills and landscape of Texas as well as the cast of characters he has met along the way.  His 1994 album Gringo Honeymoon has Keen covering the great Steve Earle’s Tom Ames’ Prayer.  His 1997 release Picnic features the duet Then Came Lo Mein with Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins as well as his cover of James McMurtry’s Levelland

Robert Earl Keen Discography:

  • No Kind of Dancer
  • The Live Album
  • West Textures
  • A Bigger Piece of Sky
  • Gringo Honeymoon
  • No. 2 Live Diner
  • Picnic
  • Walking Distance
  • Gravitational Forces
  • Farm Fresh Onions
  • The Party Never Ends
  • Live from Austin
  • What I Really Mean
  • Live at the Ryman
  • Best
  • Marfa After Dark
  • The Rose Hotel

Top Five Robert Earl Keen Songs:

  1. Mariano (West Textures)
  2. Lynnville Train (Gringo Honeymoon)
  3. Rolling By (No Kind of Dancer)
  4. Shades of Grey (Picnic)
  5. Road to No Return/Carolina, New Life in Old Mexico, Still Without You (Walking Distance)  This is actually a trilogy(Tracks 7-9) of songs and perhaps the finest work he has ever done

Keen began an annual music fest, Texas Uprising that showcased local talent and took place in a variety of locations around Texas.  I believe that this, in addition to his great music, is why so many of the bands that have been lumped in the Texas music scene feel such reverence for Keen and his music. 

Check out Robert Earl Keen at www.robertearlkeen.com

Robert Earl Keen’s music is available at iTunes, record stores, and www.robertearlkeen.com.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to James McMurtry!

James McMurtry is a Texas, born in Fort Worth, singer/songwriter who just happens to be the son of acclaimed novelist Larry McMurtry.  James is backed by his long time rhythm section “The Heartless Bastards”.  Through a serious of fortuitous events, James released his debut album “Too Long in the Wasteland” in 1989.  What might the fortuitous events have been, you ask?  Well, here they are:

  1. John Mellencamp staring in a film based on a script by Larry McMurtry.
  2. James was conveniently able to give Mellencamp a demo tape
  3. Mellencamp served as co-producer on McMurtry’s debut album.
  4. McMurtry appeared on the soundtrack of the film “Falling from Grace” as part of the group “Buzzin Cousins” which included John Mellencamp, John Prine, and Dwight Yoakam.  The song, “Sweet Suzanne” is a long time favorite of mine.

McMurty’s music has always been fairly well received critically and with the release of his 2005 album “Childish Things” he won song of the year (We Can’t Make It Here) and album of the year at the Americana Awards in Nashville Tennessee.  He has gained a loyal fan base through his touring and accessibility.  He currently resides in Austin, Texas and when home, he has a standing midnight set at the Continental Club each Wednesday. 

Not one to shy away from politics, he upped his game on his albums “Childish Things” and “Just Us Kids” with the direct and scathing attack of then President George W. Bush in the songs “We Can’t Make it Here” and “Cheney’s Toy” respectively. 

James McMurty Discography

  • Too Long in the Wasteland
  • Candyland
  • Where’d  You Hide the Body
  • It Had to Happen
  • Walk Between the Raindrops
  • Saint Mary of the Woods
  • Live in Aught-Three
  • Childish Things
  • Best of the Sugar Hill Years
  • Just Us Kids
  • Live In Europe

Top Five James McMurtry Songs

  1. We Can’t Make It Here (Childish Things)
  2. Levelland (Where’d You Hide the Body)
  3. Cheney’s Toy (Just Us Kids)
  4. Where’d You Hide the Body (Where’d You Hide the Body)
  5. Sweet Suzanne (Falling From Grace Soundtrack)

Check out James McMurtry and let me know what you think.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbWRfBZY-ng

James McMurtry’s music is available at iTunes, record stores, and www.jamesmcmurtry.com

Great music awaits!


Under the Covers: Cover songs you should be listening to

Some songs are so great that everyone wants to sing them and add their own unique style.  Some do it to pay homage to an artist, others feel a certain connection to the song and/or artist, and yet others are just looking to be the next American Idol.

The cover tune is the metaphorical equivalent of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Anyone can do it but not everyone does it right.   To make it right, PB&J requires lightly toasted bread, an abundance of peanut butter on both slices of the bread, and a generous slathering of jelly.  I’m a grape or raspberry fan myself. 

So, let’s get under the covers:

  • “Masters of War”                       Pearl Jam
    • Original Artist                   Bob Dylan
  • “War Pigs”                                  Faith No More
    • Original Artist                   Black Sabbath
  • “Hurt”                                          Johnny Cash
    • Original Artist                   Nine Inch Nails
  • “Hard to Handle”                        The Black Crowes
    • Original Artist                   Ottis Redding
  • “Chimes of Freedom”                 Bruce Springsteen
    • Original Artist                   Bob Dylan
  • “Cortez the Killer”                      The Dave Matthews Band
    • Original Artist                   Neil Young
  • “Billie Jean”                                 Chris Cornell
    • Original Artist                   Michael Jackson
  • “Paradise”                                   Pat Green
    • Original Artist                   John Prine
  • “Hard Sun”                                 Eddie Vedder
    • Original Artist                   Indio
  • “Play it All Night Long”             Drive-By Truckers
    • Original Artist                   Warren Zevon
  • “Climbing up the Walls”            Erin Ivey
    • Original Artist                   Radiohead
  • “Rocket Man”                             My Morning Jacket
    • Original Artist                   Elton John
  • “Such Great Heights”                 Iron & Wine
    • Original Artist                   The Postal Service
  • “Hallelujah”                                 Jeff Buckley
    • Original Artist                   Leonard Cohe
  • “Little Wing”                               Stevie Ray Vaughan
    • Original Artist                   Jimi Hendrix
  • “Lungs”                                       Lyle Lovett
    • Original Artist                   Townes Van Zandt
  • “Breadfan”                                  Metallica
    • Original Artist                   Budgie
  • “Badfish”                                     Jack Johnson
    • Original Artist                   Sublime
  • “Hey Ya”                                     Obadiah Parker
    • Original Artist                   Outkast
  • Love Reign O’er Me                   Pearl Jam
    • Original Artist                   The Who
  • “The Ghost of Tom Joad”          Rage Against the Machine
    • Original Artist                   Bruce Springsteen
  • “Levelland”                                 Robert Earl Keen
    • Original Artist                   James McMurtry
  • I’ve Got to Know                         Son Volt
    • Original Artist                   Woody Guthrie
  • “Signs”                                         Tesla
    • Original Artist                   “Five Man Electrical Band
  • “Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters”   Pat Green
    • Original Artist                   Walt Wilkins

So, now that I have lit the candle of thought of great cover songs; let me know some of your favorites.

Great music awaits!