Tag Archives: Jay Farrar

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!


Tune In Tuesday: 6/22/10

Welcome back to another installment of Tune In Tuesday.  Today’s six albums are pretty diverse in regards to musical genre and over all style but have the commonality of not sucking at all. 

Mojo

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

This is Mr. Petty’s first studio album in eight and is well worth the wait.  The tunes are refreshingly reflective of the bands thirty plus years in the business. The songs have an air of fun and a cohesive quality that have always been a trademark of the Heartbreakers.  Heavy on the sweet southern rock sound, the songs have a classic vibe that sounds fresh yet familiar.  Petty’s voice is in fine form with the light, nasally, southern drawl, Campbell’s guitar playing is as tight as ever, and Trench’s ability to tickle the ivory brings it all together.  The album reminds you why Petty is so great and why he can take eight years off and come back just as relevant to the music scene.

Key Tracks: Running Man’s Bible, Something Good Coming, Takin’ My Time

American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem

This is the third album for the New Jersey band and a pretty dramatic departure for the heartland punk rockers.  It seems that the urgency and tension of the first two albums has dissipated and allowed them to grow as a band.  Obviously influenced by Springsteen, American Slang is a more mature sound for the band and allows them to better connect to their audience as well as bring new folks into the fold.  Don’t get me wrong, the band still rocks and a few songs have the speed and antagonism of their previous two albums.

Key Tracks: Bring It On, American Slang, Orphans

Fly Between Falls

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO)

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) is the hippie, trippy, California band that brings the good time vibe to everything they play.  The band was formed by high school buddies Zach Gill, Steve Adams, Dan Lebowitz.  They all share vocal responsibilities and play a variety of instruments. 

Their debut album “Fly Between Falls” was originally released in 2004 and rereleased when ALO signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2006.

This album is just plain fun.  Each song is up tempo and quirky yet sucks you in a little deeper each time you listen. 

Key Tracks:  Girl I Wanna Lay You Down, Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song), Barbeque

I and Love and You

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers are the folksy, rocking, alt/country with a tinge of bluegrass band from North Carolina.  With such a diverse pedigree, is it any wonder the Rick Rubin took notice, signed them to his label, and produced their major label debut “I and Love and You”?

The album is sonically rich with harmonies provided by Scott and Seth.  The melodies are tight and the musical arrangement has a certain level of complication but not in an overly dramatic fashion.

Key Tracks:  Ten Thousand Words, Kick Drum Heart, January Wedding

One Fast Move Or I’m Gone

Jay Farrar & 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”

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. 

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.

Key Tracks: California Zephyr, One Fast Move or I’m Gone, Big Sur, San Francisco

One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion is the musical collaboration and eponymous debut EP of acid tongue, fire and brimstone, anti politico Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine) and drummer Jon Theodore (Mars Volta). 

The overall vibe on the EP is not an exodus sonically or lyrically for either musician.  The lyrics are politically and emotionally charged, the music is in your face antagonistic, and the overall delivery is the equivalent of a sledgehammer.  Bombastic drums and hypnotic keyboards bolster the fiery vocal release of de la Rocha.  The album has urgency to it in both the spirit of the music and the delivery of the lyrics. 

While the five songs seem to play quickly, what the album lacks in length, it more than makes up for with the strength of each song.  It also brings the realization the potency of de la Rocha’s delivery and the void that has existed musically since the disbanding of Rage Against the Machine.

Key Tracks: All 5 Songs!

 Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Jay Farrar!

Jay Farrar is the incredibly gifted singer/songwriter/musician who has been part of the creative process for two influential bands (Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt).  He has also had a nice solo career and most recently ventured out with Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) on the soundtrack for “One Fast Move or I’m Gone”. 

Musically he is just as adept in the sparse folksy acoustic of Americana music or the powerful roar of rock and roll.  In addition to the guitar, Farrar also knows his way around the harmonica. 

Jay Farrar Discography:

  • Sebastopol (2001)
  • ThirdShiftGrottoSlack (EP 2002)
  • Terroir Blues (2003)
  • Live EP (2004)
  • Stone, Steel, & Bright Lights (2004)

Upon the demise of Uncle Tupelo, Farrar formed Son Volt and released three albums before going on a six year hiatus.  Upon return in 2005, Farrar was the only original member of Son Volt and the newly designed band released an additional four albums. 

In 2006 Farrar and Anders Parker created Gob Iron and released one album while he was in the process of recording another Son Volt album. 

Farrar’s distinctive vocals are the glue that holds all of his music together.  While he has respectable writing and musical skills, it is his voice that puts the energy and emotion into the songs.   At times, it is low and deeply emotive, conveying the world weary troubadour.  Others times, it is painfully hidden behind the weirdly tuned guitar.

Top Five Jay Farrar Songs:

  1. No Rolling Back (Terroir Blues)
  2. Damn Shame (Sebastopol)
  3. California (Terroir Blues)
  4. Feel Free (Sebastopol)
  5. Station to Station (ThirdShiftGrottoSlack)

Check out Jay Farrar at www.jayfarrar.net

www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9UNSyisYG8

www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9N4fDkSLUE&feature=related

Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday: States

Greetings blog readers!  Have you missed me?  I’ve been away for a few days and am back in time for Mixed Tape Monday.  Due to recent travels, today’s topic is States. 

Note:

I tried to stay away from the low hanging fruit such as Sweet Home Alabama, Nebraska, and Hotel California, etc…

Song:              Oklahoma Girl

Artist:             Eli Young Band

Album:           Level

Song:              Georgia, Georgia

Artist:             Elliott Smith

Album:           New Moon

Song:              California Justice

Artist:             Five For Fighting

Album:           Two Lights

Song:              Texas Skies

Artist:             The Freddy Jones Band

Album:           The Freddy Jones Band

Song:              Sodom, South Georgia

Artist:             Iron & Wine

Album:           Our Endless Numbered Days

Song:              Dressed Up Like Nebraska

Artist:             Josh Rouse

Album:           Dressed Up Like Nebraska

Song:              The Stars In Alabama

Artist:             Jamey Johnson

Album:           That Lonesome Song

Song:              California

Artist:             Jay Farrar

Album:           Terrior Blues

Song:              Crossing Mississippi

Artist:             Jeffrey Foucault

Album:           Miles from the Lightning

Song:              Coast of Carolina

Artist:             Jimmy Buffet (with love to Gwendolyn)

Album:           License to Chill

Song:              You Can Tell Georgia

Artist:             Joe Purdy

Album:           You Can Tell Georgia

Song:              Idaho

Artist:             Josh Ritter

Album:           The Animal Years

Song:              Arizona

Artist:             Kings of Leon

Album:           Because the Times

Song:              Carolina Drama

Artist:             The Raconteurs

Album:           Consolers of the Lonely

Song:              Tennessee Square

Artist:             Whiskeytown

Album:           Faithless Street

Song:              Nashville to Kentucky

Artist:             My Morning Jacket

Album:           The Tennessee Fire

Song:              Leaving New York

Artist:             R.E.M.

Album:           Around the Sun

Song:              Songs About Texas

Artist:             Pat Green

Album:           George’s Bar

Song:              Tennessee Sucks

Artist:             Ryan Adams

Album:           Demolition

Song:              Long Way From Georgia

Artist:             Ryan Bingham

Album:           Mescalito

 Read, review, and responds.

Great music awaits!


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 Wilco!

And from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy and Wilco rose like a phoenix!  Created in 1994 after the demise of the oft contentious Uncle Tupelo, the original line up of Wilco consisted of the entire band of Uncle Tupelo minus Jay Farrar.  Wilco was named after the voice procedure idiom “wilco” meaning “Will Comply” which Tweedy found to be an ironic choice for a rock band.

With their debut album A.M., released in 1995, Wilco was still well-established in the Alt/Country sound, however, their musical evolution has found them experimenting with alternative rock and pop.  The band considered the album a failure due to the modest reception by critics and fans alike and the fact that Jay Farrar’s new band Son Volt had released their debut album Trace and it fared better both critically and commercially. 

Being There was the overly ambitious (19 songs) sophomore effort that was released as a double album but sold for a single album price.  This was accomplished by Tweedy agreeing to give the label (Reprise) Wilco’s share of album royalties.  It is estimated that the band lost more than half a million dollars.  The album was a hit with critics and reached 73 on the Billboard album chart. 

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was released in 2001, after much turmoil and confusion, and eventual dismissal from their previous label. It became their best selling album and to date has sold almost 600,000 copies.  In addition to the commercial success, critics raved and Billboard ranked it 13 on its charts and Rolling Stone Magazine listed as one of the 50 best albums of the decade.  With the follow up release of A Ghost is Born Wilco received a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album and became the bands first top ten album. 

Wilco discography:

  • A.M.
  • Being There
  • Summerteeth
  • Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
  • A Ghost is Born
  • Kicking Television (Live in Chicago)
  • Sky Blue Sky
  • Wilco (The Album)

Top 5 Wilco Songs:

  1. Either Way (Sky Blue Sky)
  2. Box Full of Letters (A.M.)
  3. Sunken Treasure (Being There)
  4. Jesus, Etc. (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)
  5. Theologians (A Ghost is Born)

Wilco, in the face of their career long major label affiliation, is seen more as an indie band and have been categorized as alt/country, alternative rock, pop, and roots-rock.  Critics have even referred to them as an Americanized adaptation of Radiohead; this is in large part to the diversity of their sound and catalog.  The diversity has certainly been enabled by the rotating members of the band.  Since their inception, Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt are the only original members. 

Whatever the comparison or classification, they simple truth is that Wilco is a great band that has maintained their integrity while staying relevant.  As fickle as critics and consumes are, this band has persevered and in many ways influenced countless bands along the way.

Check out Wilco at www.wilcoweb.com.

Wilco’s music is available at iTunes, record stores, and www.wilcoweb.com.

Great music awaits!