Tag Archives: M. Ward

Joe Pug: Musical Gem of 2010

Joe Pug is a singer/songwriter who originally hails from Maryland but began his unique musical career in Chicago.  He has toured at length since 2008, has opened for Steve Earle, M. Ward, and Josh Ritter and has also played the New Port Folk Festival and Lollapalooza.  Nothing in the short career of Joe Pug has followed the normal trajectory of a musician. 

His path to music was not as direct as other artists; he began playing guitar in grade school and formed a band in the 6th grade.   Firmly believing the mark of a band was original writing, he began writing songs. This was coupled with early ambitions of being a playwright. He left home and attended the University of North Carolina for several years and abruptly left to continue his pursuit of music.  His ideas for a play ultimately were flushed out in his first EP “Nation of Heat”.  The songs were surreptitiously recorded in a Chicago studio with the aid of a friend who permitted him late night access to the cancelled studio sessions of other musicians.

His first headlining show in Chicago’s hallowed venue, Schuba’s Tavern, was sold out which further established the praise that was surrounding the EP “Nation of Heat” and the artist. 

Early on, he struck upon the idea of giving his music to his fans free of charge.  In his mind, his fans already dig him and they have friends who would likely dig him too.  They just needed the chance to hear him.  The offer is posted on his web site www.joepugmusic.com. To date, he has sent out over 15,000 copies of his poignant tunes to all 50 states and 14 countries.  He covers all of the cost associated with this magnanimous offer. 

Joe Pug Discography:

  • Nation of Heat (EP)
  • In the Meantime (EP)
  • The Messenger

In 2010 he released his full length debut “The Messenger” which consists of ten tracks of guitar driven tunes with the occasional backing of harmonica.  This is one of those albums that can be enjoyed from start to finish and leaves you wanting more.  His modest approach allows you to breath in the beauty of his lyrics and the connectivity of his voice.

His amazingly beautiful lyrics are wrapped in poetry and grace that confound the listener and belie his age.  Oh, and did I mention that Joe is in his early twenties?  How does someone so young find the muse of years and experiences he has not lived?  Is it possible to have lived the wearied tales of love and loss, the eternal quest of belonging, and channel the emotional depth of the musical greats before him like Dylan and Guthrie at such a young age? 

I don’t know the answer to the questions asked but if you listen to him for any length, you too will hear the detailed stories being told.  You too will be struck by how well they connect.  You too will become a fan of Joe Pug.  More importantly, you have nothing to lose by trying.  Joe has taken out the roadblocks to becoming a fan.  He is giving you the window of opportunity, at his cost, to listen, learn, and love his music.

Check out Joe Pug at www.joepugmusic.com

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

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0hArN7ngtk&feature=related

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!


You should be listening to Lucinda Williams!

Lucinda William’s is everyone’s collaborating darling who released her first album Ramblin’ in 1978.  In her thirty plus years in the music business, she has released nine studio albums.  Some might consider her a bit methodical or even a perfectionist based on the span of years between album releases.  She started out in the country genre that was occasionally tinged with the blues. 

She is a genre shifting chanteuse who has been nominated for ten Grammys in the following musical categories: 

  • Americana
  • Rock
  • Country
  • Folk
  • Pop

Williams received early critical recognition and the respect of her musical peers, but it took considerably longer for her to raise public awareness.  This was due, in large part, to her renowned fastidiousness and the sporadic release of her albums.  The pendulum swung with the release of her 1998 album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.  She has received three Grammy’s.

Lucinda Williams Discography:

  • Ramblin’
  • Happy Woman Blues
  • Lucinda Williams
  • Sweet Old World
  • Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  • Essence
  • World Without Tears
  • West
  • Little Honey

Williams is a prolific songwriter whose music has been covered by Tom Petty, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Emmylou Harris. In addition to covering her songs, many artist have saught her out to record with them.  She has an unbelievable list of guest appearances.  Below are just a few of the over sixty artists that Williams has collaborated or guest appeared on their album. 

Willie Nelson Steve Earle Elvis Costello
North Mississippi All Stars Flogging Molly M. Ward
Graham Parker John Prine Ray Wylie Hubbard

Top five Lucinda Williams Songs:

  1. Are You Alright (West)
  2. Right In Time (Car Wheels on a Gravel Road)
  3. Real Love (Little Honey)
  4. Get Right with God (Essence)
  5. Still I Long for Your Kiss (Car Wheels on a Gravel Road)

Check out Lucinda Williams at www.lucindawilliams.com

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oPgZoXZ1Z0

www.youtube.com/watch?v=10rdtk6Vixw&feature=related

www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiKk9PCcTgY

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to 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.

Their debut album was released in 2009 but the group began back in 2004 while in various stages of touring with their respective band or as a solo artist.  Due to the various schedules and the artist’s main projects, it took almost five years to wrap up the album. 

The album contains fifteen songs and each member contributes to the writing, the music, and most importantly, the vocals.  James, Oberst, and Ward each take the lead on five tracks but move effortlessly around each other on the other tracks.  The fact that all the members played everything themselves really adds to the cohesion of the group. 

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.

Mike Mogis, who stands in the vocal shadows but plays a myriad of instruments including; pedal steel, mandolin, Wurlitzer keyboard, and bongos deserves credit for holding everything together.

Key tracks are: 

  • Dear God (Sincerely MOF)
  • His Master’s Voice
  • Temazcal
  • Losin Yo Head
  • Map of the World

Check out Monsters of Folk and let me know what you think.

Monsters of Folk music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.monstersoffolk.com.

G

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Great music awaits!


Music you should have been listening to in 2009

Greetings music fans,

 As we eagerly anticipate ringing in the New Year and 2009 comes to a close, I thought it would be entertaining to do a little musical year in review.  Here is smattering of albums that were released in 2009 that you should be listening to.  The list is compiled alphabetically by artist.  This, of course, is for my own personal benefit and helps calm my little OCD head.

 Arctic Monkeys “Humbug” 

Third album for the band with several tracks produced by Joshua Homme of (Queens of the Stone Age), (Eagles of Death Metal) and (Them Crooked Vultures)

Dan Auerbach “Keep it Hid”

Dan is half of the genius behind (The Black Keys)

The Avett Brothers “I and Love and You”

Major label debut produced by Rick Rubin

The Black Crowes “Before the Frost and Until the Freeze”

Two disc set (“Until the Freeze” only available as download) that was recorded in Levon Helm’s (The Band)Woodstock Studio.

The Dead Weather “Horehound”

Yet another reason Jack White is musical greatness

Drive-By Truckers “The Fine Print”

A collection of oddities and rarities that includes a cover of Tom Petty’s “Rebels”

Steve Earl “Townes”

In homage to the late, great Townes Van Zandt, it is an amazing collection of songs, with “Lungs” being my favorite track.

Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard “One Fast Move Or I’m Gone”

Music from Jack Kerouac’s “Big Sur”. These songs were recorded over a five day span with minimal revisions.

Grizzly Bear “Vectatimest”

A diverse collection of songs that will take a few times to appreciate.

Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 “White Lies for Dark Times”

Ben ventures beyond his Innocent Criminals and adds some Texas folks to the band.  Another solid Ben Harper venture.

Patterson Hood “Murdering Oscar (and other love songs)”

Hood, of (Drive-By Truckers), releases his 2nd solo disc.  Check out “Pride of the Yankees”

Iron and Wine “Around the Well

Two disc set of previously unreleased materials and cool covers.

Jay-Z “The Blueprint 3”

Come on, it is Jay-Z.  What is not great about this?  If you are into Jay-Z, check out his unplugged album with (The Roots) as his backing band.  Pure greatness.

Dave Matthews Band “Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King”

First album since the death of founding member Leroi Moore.  I’m a huge DMB fan and make no apologies for it. 

M Ward “Hold Time

2009 was a busy and fruitful musical year for Mr. Ward. 

Monsters of Folk (Self titled)

Well, you have Jim James (My Morning Jacket) Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and M. Ward.  How could you go wrong?  They brought back the multi part harmony that is reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, & Nash and The Eagles.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band “Outer South”

This dude has been recording since he was 13.  Dropped the “Bright Eyes” moniker but still exploring and expanding the boundaries of music.

Pearl Jam “Back Spacer”

Great follow up album to their 2006 self titled album.  I saw them live at the 2009 Austin City Limits Music Festival.  Two plus hours of amazing music played with such fervor and with guest appearance by Ben Harper and Perry Farrell. 

Tom Petty “The Live Anthology”

This four disc set is a must have for any Petty fan.  This set spans 30 years of concerts and is absolutely amazing.

Phish “Joy”

Great to see the boys back together and playing nice.

Silversun Pickups “Swoon”

Second full length release that is a gradual departure from “Canvas”

Son Volt “American Central Dust”

From the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar created Son Volt.  Not a disappointing album in the collection.

Sonic Youth “The Eternal”

After all these years, still making relevant music and inspiring others to do so as well.

Bruce Springsteen “Working on a Dream”

The Boss has been rather prolific in the 00’s.  This was a great way to round out the year and decade.  Saw him in Charlotte NC in 2008.  Amazing!

State Radio “Let It Go”

This is the third full length disc from Chad Stokes formerly of (Dispatch) and company.  A great live band if you ever have the opportunity.

Street Sweeper Social Club (Self titled)

Tom Morello  (Rage Against the Machine), (Audioslave) and (The Nightwatchman) and Boots Riley (The Coup) come together and create revolutionary party jams.

Them Crooked Vultures (Self titled)

Dave Grohl (Nirvana) and (Foo Fighters), Joshua Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and (Eagles of Death Metal), and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin).  Need I say more?

U2 “No Line On the Horizon

Getting back to the greatness of The Joshua Tree.  Bono and Co. show why they continue to be in the running for world’s greatest rock band.

Wilco (Self titled)

From the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy created Wilco.  Not a disappointing album in the collection.  Funny how that worked out for both he & Jay.

Pete Yorn “Back & Fourth

I’ve always been a Pete fan but have found a new appreciation for him in the last few years.

Great music awaits!