Tag Archives: Pearl Jam

My Top 40 at 40!

Recently, and by recently I mean yesterday February 2nd, which just happens to be my day of birth, a buddy of mine threw down the musical gauntlet.  I have briefly and succinctly paraphrased the challenge below:

Top 40 Artists of your life. Not simply a list of 40, but a ranking from 40 to 1. You have to do it. It must be done. It’s your personal Hall of Fame. This is your preference, your jukebox, regardless of genre or generation. This isn’t educational or time relevant. It’s YOUR Top 40 of all time.

This did indeed get the blood rushing and made my musical pants go a little crazy.  I started to brainstorm a list (and by brainstorm I mean immediately sat down and pounded out 40 names, clarified his initial challenge, perused my list again, and started typing the first sentence you read. 

The initial list was not a difficult as I thought.  The ranking of 1-40 took a little bit of time as did my annotations (those are in my tiny, little head) as to why the band/musician made the list.  The list that lies before you is organic in nature and I believe it to be fairly finite to the time that it was written.  The list is not to be likened to a doctoral thesis, packed with statistics that verify the respective placement, resourced with renowned critical fawning, or any type of research other than my ears and their time on earth. 

Be mindful of the fact that there are only 40 spots on this list.  I can tell you that there are probably some glaring omissions on this list.  Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Waylon, Willie, and the boys, did not make the list as well as a litany of other great, well deserving artists.  This list is completely subjective and the omission of anyone is not meant to be a form of disparagement.  It is quite simply a list of bands/musicians that I have loved over the years and also value their contributions to the musical world. 

The final piece of the musical puzzle for this list was really a late night revelation.  I realize it has only been a moment or two since you began reading this but I actually have been running the various scenarios of greatness in my head all night.  And then it hit me, the true measure of an artist’s greatness is my personal commitment to that particular artist. 

  •  How much of myself have I invested in the artists? 
  • What percentage of their catalog do I own? 
  • Would I take the time to see them live if the following were aligned:
    • They are still alive
    • They band is still together
    • The venue was geographically conducive to seeing them live
    • The cost of the ticket did not require me selling my 1st born child.  Although at 15 years of age and being really good at being 15 I would be willing to barter for a really good show right now.

Oddly enough, this revelation did not greatly alter my original list, there were a few additions and subtractions of artists and then the harrowing process of ranking them, with reason, was underway. 

No musicians were harmed in this list.  Of course, egos might be slightly bruised if they ever happen to stumble upon this little read blog and realize their spot on or omission to the list.

So, I give to you my Top 40 at 40!

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Bruce Springsteen
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Led Zeppelin
  6. The Who
  7. Pink Floyd
  8. Tom Petty
  9. The Eagles
  10. Eric Clapton
  11. Elton John
  12. Jimi Hendrix
  13. The Doors
  14. U2
  15. Metallica
  16. Pearl Jam
  17. Van Morrison
  18. Billy Joel
  19. R.E.M.
  20. Rush
  21. Lynryd Skynyrd
  22. Simon & Garfunkel
  23. John Mellencamp
  24. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  25. Prince
  26. Nirvana
  27. Uncle Tupelo
  28. Eminem
  29. Nine Inch Nails
  30. Beck
  31. The Dave Matthews Band
  32. Rage Against the Machine
  33. Robert Earl Keen
  34. N.W.A
  35. The Black Crowes
  36. The Beastie Boys
  37. The White Stripes
  38. Ryan Adams
  39. Ben Harper
  40. Joe Purdy

 

Great music awaits!


2011 Sneak Peak of Music You Should Be Listening To!

Another year has come and gone and we are in the early stages of a new year.  Out with the old and in with the new!  Today, I give you a sneak peak at some of the highly anticipated releases of 2011.  So sit back and let your music pants go crazy as you peruse this fine list of music to come.

My Morning Jacket

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

Let the love and reverb flow as Jim James and gang do their thing.  Producing the set themselves the band used a converted gym as their recording space.  The Louisville, Kentucky, rockers are keeping it real on their sixth record.  I’m going out on a limb and stating that this album will be one of the best albums of 2011.

Beastie Boys

‘Hot Sauce Committee Part 2’ (Unscheduled 2011)

Now that Adam Yauch is on the road to recovery from throat cancer, the New York trio will release their first album in four years. I for one am glad to see the boys back in the studio mixing and mingling their distinctive sound. 

Drive-By Truckers

Go-Go Boots (February 15)

The boys are back and I could not be happier.  Cooley and Hood continue their southern styled rock with their topical lyrics and swagger.  Expect plenty of guitars, stories steeped in deep southern experiences and the vocal contrast of Cooley’s drawl and Hoods howl.

 R.E.M.

Collapse Into Now (March 8 ) 

Rumor has it that the 12-tracks are some of their strongest rock songs in years. It also finds front man Michael Stipe rocking old school R.E.M machine gun like phrases with the frantic cadence of classic tunes like “It’s The End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”. The boys have teamed with producer Garrett “Jacknife” Lee (U2, Weezer,) and laid down the tracks for their 15th album in locations within the contiguous 48 states and Europe. And as is the latest craze, the album has guest vocals from none other than Mr. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame.

Kanye West & Jay-Z

Watch the Throne (Unscheduled 2011)

In keeping with the bigger than life style of hip/hop royalty these two juggernauts the laid down tracks all over the world, including the South of France and Australia. Their first single “H.A.M.,” hit the airwaves this month.  Even before he released, his 2010 masterpiece, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye was already working on this collaboration with Jay-Z, The record was initially set as an EP but morphed into a full-length album.

 The Kills

Blood Pressures (April 5)

 For the duo’s fourth studio album, both Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart wrote separately, more out of necessity brought on by Mosshart’s involvement with Jack White’s musical love child The Dead Weather.  In other Weather news, Jack Lawrence’s band The Greenhornes also recently released an album!  Incidentally, Lawrence is also in White’s other musical venture The Raconteurs.  Allow another side note: Jack White is musical genius!

U2

Songs of Ascent (Unscheduled 2011)

The veteran rockers are busy working on three albums, (talk about over achieving), and the first to arrive will be their collaboration with super producer Danger Mouse. So, how does the Broadway production of Spiderman fit into the mix?  Danger Mouse has been on fire as of late.  He contributed production value to the Black Keys major breakthrough Attack & Release and last year he teamed up with The Shins front man James Mercer and gave us Broken Bells

Foo Fighters

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

After the side project of Them Crooked Vultures, I am looking forward to this little rock’n’roll revival for the Foo Fighters’ first disc in five years. There are 11 songs on the album and the word on the street is that from start to finish, there’s not one ballad.  This album finds Dave Grohl reuniting with Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic and Butch Vig, who produced 1991’s Nevermind.

Lady Gaga

Born This Way (May 23)

Some might believe this to be the most anticipated pop record of the year. As for Lady Gaga, she won’t let you forget it. For months, she’s been teasing bits of info via the time suck of Twitter and at her shows about the 2011 release. The wait is almost up: Gaga will drop album’s first single, “Born This Way,” on February 13.

Fleet Foxes

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

Washington State’s hirsute folk style band was close to wrapping the follow-up to their self-titled debut last fall. Ever the perfectionist, Robin Pecknold scrapped much of the material to “return to the cave,” as he called it, and start over. The record has since been mastered and is prepped for release. No new territory explored on the follow up; Folksy, sweetly layered vocals and harmonies that call to mind the early harmonious groups such as The Eagles and Crosby Stills, and Nash and sometimes Young!

Radiohead

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

Their first album since 2007’s In Rainbows with the record, which will be produced by Nigel Godrich. Still, a rep for the band confirms a new record is due out sometime this year.

Jane’s Addiction

 (Unscheduled 2011)

With the abrupt departure of, Perry and crew went way out on a limb and hired TV on the Radio guru/producer-instrumentalist Dave Sitek to handle the bass lines and possibly contribute ideas as well as a cool infusion of new life for their new LP, tentatively titled The Great Escape Artist

 Red Hot Chili Peppers

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

With the loss of guitarist John Frusciante, The Peppers have recruited touring guitarist Josh Klinghoffer for their latest LP.   Some of the disc will include songs that were written by Flea on piano, as well as material inspired by Afro-beat music from Lagos, Nigeria.  

Wilco

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

After splitting from their longtime home Nonesuch last year Jeff Tweedy and the Wilco boys will release their latest effort on their own label. The band has been quiet about details of the new album but there has been confirmation, by a band rep, that the album is due out sometime in 2011.

Lil Wayne

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

Since his release from the joint Weezy has been on lockdown in his Miami studio working on Tha Carter IV, his sequel to 2008’s Tha Carter III. Its first single, “6 Foot 7 Foot,” featuring Cory Gunz, was released on last month. The word is that Wayne, who started working on the album before his state sanctioned vacation, started over and will use rhymes from his time spent reflecting in the pokey.  How many funny jail references can you work in one paragraph?

Outkast

Currently Untitled (Unscheduled 2011)

It’s been four years since the Atlanta duo dropped and we quickly forgot Idelwild, but there has been confirmation that they’re working on their long overdue follow-up, which is expected this year. Both Andre 3000 and Big Boi have been busy working on solo projects.  Boi dropped his solo release (Sir Lucious Left Foot:  in 2010 with much hype and was on several year best of lists, including mine.  Dre’s efforts have yet to come to fruition but might also appear in 2011.

Dr. Dre

Detox (Unscheduled 2011)

Though there’s no official release date, and appears that this release might be Hip Hops version of “Chinese Democracy” but given Dre’s musical genius and many collaborations it just might be worth the wait. 

Here is a cursory view of what is expected in 2011.

 Monthly Breakdown of Releases

January 11

  • Cage the Elephant, ‘Thank You, Happy Birthday’
  • Cake, ‘Showroom of Compassion’
  • Edie Brickell, ‘Edie Brickell

January 18

  • Decemberists, ‘The King is Dead’
  • Gregg Allman, ‘Low Country Blues’
  • James Blunt, ‘Some Kind of Trouble’
  • Social Distortion, ‘Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes’

January 25

  • Amos Lee, ‘Mission Bell’
  • Cold War Kids, ‘Mine is Yours’
  • Corinne Bailey Rae, ‘Love
  • Deerhoof, ‘Deerhoof vs. Evil’
  • Iron & Wine, ‘Kiss Each Other Clean’
  • Talib Kweli, ‘Gutter Rainbows’
  • Wanda Jackson, ‘The Party Ain’t Over’

February 1

  • The Go! Team, ‘Rolling Blackouts’
  • Matisyahu, ‘Live at Stubb’s Vol II

February 8

  • …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, ‘Tao of the Dead’
  • Alison Krauss, TBA

February 15

  • Bright Eyes, ‘The People’s Key’
  • The Dears, ‘Degeneration Street’
  • Drive-By Truckers, ‘Go-Go Boots’
  • Mogwai, ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’
  • PJ Harvey, ‘Let England Shake’

February 22

  • Harry Connick Jr., ‘Harry Connick Jr. in Concert on Broadway’
  • INXS, ‘Original Sin’
  • Jeff Beck, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Party: Honoring Les Paul’
  • John Waite, ‘Rough & Tumble’
  • The Low Anthem, ‘Smart Flesh’

March 1

  • Blessed Union of Souls, ‘The Mission Field’
  • Dropkick Murphys, ‘Going out of Style’
  • John Popper & the Duskray Troubadours, ‘John Popper & the Duskray Troubadours’
  • Lucinda Williams, ‘Blessed

March 8

  • Avril Lavigne, ‘Good Bye Lullaby’
  • Lupe Fiasco, ‘Lasers
  • R.E.M., ‘Collapse Into Now’
  • Sara Evans, ‘Stronger

March 15

  • Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi, ‘Rome’
  • Green Day, ‘Awesome as F**k’
  • New York Dolls, ‘Dancing Backward in High Heels’

March 22

  • Edwyn Collins, ‘Losing Sleep’
  • Pitbull, ‘Planet Pit’
  • Raphael Saadiq, ‘Stone Rollin’
  • Ray Davies, ‘See My Friends’

March 29

  • Mountain Goats, ‘All Eternals Deck’
  • Peter Bjorn and John, TBA

April 12

  • Paul Simon, ‘So Beautiful or So What’

April 26

  • Dirty Vegas, ‘Electric Love’

 2011 Releases With No Date Etched In Granite:

  • Aerosmith, TBA
  • Andre 3000, TBA
  • Fiona Apple, TBA
  • Busta Rhymes, ‘The Chemo’
  • Chingy, ‘1st Quarter’
  • Coldplay, TBA
  • Common, ‘The Believer’
  • Death Cab for Cutie, TBA
  • Eve, ‘Lip Lock’
  • Wyclef Jean, ‘If I Were President: My Haitian Experience’
  • Nickelback, TBA
  • Britney Spears, TBA
  • Justin Timberlake, TBA
  • Ting Tings, TBA

The Sweet Spot!

As I’ve gotten older, I find myself with more time to listen to music than when I was younger.  Part of this is due to the advent of portable music players, the evolution of digital files, and the technology that allows music to be played on computers.  The stability of a job provides the disposable income for concerts, an excessive catalog of music, and multiple playing options. 

The afore mentioned job also allows me time to listen to music.  When I am in my office, music is constantly playing.  The sanctuary of my truck is also a musical haven. The drive to work, the drive home, and the many miles that I drive weekly all afford another level of listening.  This is also the opportunity that I have to expose my children to music that is in fact played with instruments and songs written by genuine artists.

When I was younger and finding my musical way, I would delve into an album or artist and listen with relentless pursuit.  I would listen to songs, albums, and said artist almost exclusively until the next sonic epiphany.  These neurotic bouts of musical exclusivity could last days, weeks, or even months.  Looking back, it seems that the level of musical monogamy did indeed lend itself to my lifelong love affair with music.  As fleeting as some of those love fests might have been, they allowed a wide range of music to enter my live and much like all past loves, left a mark. 

At times, I revert back to the halcyon days of my formative years and roll the windows down and embarrass my kids with a litany of musical gems while singing and doing the obligatory air guitar or drums.  While my musical tastes have expanded, I still have a passion for the music of my youth.  The bombastic guitars and drums of Metallica always make my musical pants go crazy.  The southern drawl of Tom Petty makes me smile and remember old friends and good times.  Springsteen is still “The Boss” and makes me appreciate the importance of lyrics. 

As I discover new music, I do not seem to be searching for an exact musical type whereas before, I would strictly be looking for alternative music, heavy metal, or some other genre specific music that I heard on some commercial driven radio station.  I’ve come to appreciate the country landscape to some degree and am a huge fan of the burgeoning Texas music scene.  I actively pursue the independent artists and do not subject myself to the pandering of FM pop stations.  By the time the artists I like make it to the radio, I am on to the next thing. 

While each generation has their musical sins, looking back, I feel like I was in the sweet spot of music.  Old enough to appreciate the contributions of Dylan, Hendrix, and others of their ilk, young enough to have grown up with Tom Petty, Springsteen, Journey, Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac, and all the other great artists, and fortunate enough to be part of the musical revolution that brought Pearl Jam, The Beastie Boys, Nirvana, and a myriad of other artist who changed the musical landscape of my generation.

The classic rock of yesterday is now ancient and the music of my childhood is now played on the oldies station.  While it makes me feel a little older, I do not begrudge the process.  I am just glad that I was part of it.

 Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Temple of the Dog!

One of the albums that are in rotation this week is Temple of the Dog.  I’ve owned the album for close to twenty years and I never seem to grow tired of it.  I realize part of that is the nostalgia for the time in which the album was released, part of it is the musical energy and excitement that was breaking out in the Seattle music scene, and part of it is that it is just a really great album.

So, with that in mind, you should be listening to Temple of the Dog!

Temple of the Dog is the grunge super group that is only a super group because of what the members of the group became later in their career.  In reality, Temple of the Dog is a fortuitous union of friends who are paying tribute to their dead friend. 

Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose in 1990 and was widely revered in the Seattle area for his work as the lead singer of Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone.  Andrew was friends with Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and band mates with Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard.  Chris Cornell began writing a few songs as a tribute to his friend and enlisted the help of Wood’s former band mates to help with the recording of the songs. 

As the recording processed continued, the band line up was filled out with the addition of drummer Matt Cameron (Sound Garden & Pearl Jam) and guitarist Mike McCready (Pearl Jam).  The addition of Eddie Vedder was a bit of a fluke as he just happened to be in town to audition to be the lead singer in a band called Mookie Blaylock which later became Pearl Jam.

Temple of the Dog was recorded in 15 days and produced by the band.  The album was released in April of 1991 and the name is a reference to a line in a Mother Love Bone song called “Man of Golden Words”.

The album received decent reviews and sold around 70,000 copies upon release.  As Soundgarden and Pearl Jam exploded on the musical scene, the album received new life and the single “Hunger Strike” was released and a music video was put in heavy rotation.  The album ended up selling over a million copies and was among the top selling 100 albums in 1992.

The album has a less frenetic pace than some of the earlier material that either band recorded and at times is a bit more harmonious.  “Hunger Strike” is a phenomenal duet between Cornell and Vedder and “Wooden Jesus” is one of my favorite songs from the album. 

In the nearly 20 years since its release, there have only been a handful of appearances by Temple of the Dog.  Cornell has played some of the material while on tour with Audioslave as well as his solo tours.  As recently as 2009, he joined Pearl Jam on stage and sang “Hunger Strike” which sparked rumor and speculation of a 20th anniversary reunion tour. 

Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 5/18/10

Today’s installment of Tune in Tuesday features six random albums. 

Whiskeytown

Pneumonia

Whiskeytown is the springboard band for the genius of Ryan Adams.  A short lived group that only released three, albeit stellar, albums Whiskeytown helped herald the Alt/country scene.

Pneumonia is a phenomenal album that can be listened to from start to finish. 

Key tracks: Jacksonville Skyline, Sit & Listen to the Rain, Don’t Wanna Know Why

Until When We Are All Ghosts

William Fitzsimmons

William Fitzsimmons is the whispering hirsute folk singer that channels demons into lush, ethereal songs about love, loss, life, etc…  His music is mostly guitar and vocals with the occasional piano.  Soft, sparse, and not quite radio friendly) no poppy hooks or bombastic bass beats) his music is well worth checking out.

Key Tracks: Passion Play, Find It In Me, Forsake All Others

The Wind

Warren Zevon

This is the last album by the late, great Warren Zevon and was released two weeks prior to his death.  There is also a great documentary regarding the creation of this album and last days of Warren.  Keep Me in Your Heart is the closing song and it is amazing as is the eerie cover of Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.  There is a Who’s Who of rock and roll royalty that appear on this album:  Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Tom Petty, T-Bone Burnett, Jackson Browne, Dwight Yoakam, Joe Walsh, John Waite, Timothy B Schmidt, and Ry Cooder.

Key Tracks: Keep Me In Your Heart, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Disorder in the House,

Temple of the Dog

Temple of the Dog

This is the early grunge version of a super group and was spawned by the death of Andrew Wood (Mother Love Bone).  Members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden collaborate in this tribute to friend and fellow musician.  Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder have never sounded better than on Hunger Strike.  Such a contrast in vocal styles but a rocking duet none the less. 

Key Tracks: Hunger Strike, Wooden Jesus, Four Walled World, say Hello 2 Heaven

Us Against the Crown

State Radio

This is the debut for the Boston based trio that is fronted by former Dispatch member Chad Urmston.  State Radio is steeped in sociopolitical rhetoric and reggae vibrations.  I’m a huge fan of the band and have seen them live several times.  This is my favorite album that they have released. 

Key Tracks: Camilo, Riddle In London Town, People To People, Mr. Larkin, Right Me Up

Roadhouse Sun

Ryan Bingham

This is Bingham’s second album on Lost Highway and has not been hurt by his sudden popularity due to the release of the movie Crazy Heart.  He has a raspy, whiskey soaked voice that seems road weary despite his relative young age.  The fact that he does not follow the current crop of pop country is refreshing. 

Key Tracks: Day Is Done, Country Roads, Wishing Well, Snake Eyes

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to The Black Keys!

The Black Keys are the amazing bluesy, rocking dynamic duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney.  They formed in 2001 in Akron, Ohio and have been compared to another bluesy power duo known by the name The White Stripes.

Their debut album, The Big Come Up, was released on 2002 and followed up with Thickfreakness in 2003.  2004 saw the release of Rubber Factory.

Much like other artist of today, The Black Keys music has gained commercial recognition from T.V. shows, commercial advertising, and the silver screen. 

 T.V. Shows:

  • The O.C.
  • Big Love
  • Rescue Me
  • Dexter
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • One Tree Hill
  • Gossip Girl
  • Entourage
  • Friday Night Lights

 Advertisements:

  • Sony Ericsson
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • American Express

Movies:

  • Cloverfield
  • School of Rock
  • Zombie Land
  • Black Snake Moan
  • RocknRolla

Their fourth album, Magic Potion, was released in 2006 along with the EP Chulahoma.  In 2007 they released the Danger Mouse produced Attack & Release.  This was the first album that they released that was produced in an actual studio.

The Black Keys Discography:

  • The Big Come Up
  • Thickfreakness
  • The Moan (EP)
  • Rubber factory
  • Magic Potion
  • Chulahoma (EP)
  • Attack & Release
  • Brothers (Set to release May 2010)

The boys have toured with bands such as Pearl Jam, Beck, and Radiohead.  In addition to both critical and commercial success, they have quite a few fans that are in the business.  Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Josh Homme (Them Crooked Vultures & Queens of the Stone Age), Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), and Kirk Hammett (Metallica) have all gone on record extolling the greatness of The Black Keys.

Top 5 The Black Keys Songs:

  1. Oceans& Streams (Attack & Release)
  2. Set You Free (Thickfreakness)
  3. Girl Is On My Mind (Rubber Factory)
  4. I Got Mine (Attack & Release)
  5. Strange Times (Attack & Release)

Musically, there is a raw, emotional connectivity that is heavily influenced by the blues.  The amazing thing about the group is how much sound they can produce between the two of them. 

Check out The Black Keys at www.theblackkeys.com.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHeF2lFO3IQ

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nWJ-e9pLSs&feature=related

 Great music awaits!


2010 Music Festivals (a partial list)!

Spring has sprung and the concert season is nigh upon us!  SXSW kicked of the festivals and the summer concert series is just weeks away.  Here is a list of the music fests that will draw a litany of artists and hordes of people.  This list highlights the main( in my humbly superior opinion) music festivals that take place in the continental U.S.  Most festivals are three days long and I’ve highlighted some of the featured (great) artists.

Festival Date Partial Line Up
Coachellawww.coachella.com Apr. 16-18
  • Jay Z
  • Them Crooked Vultures
  • Gorillaz
  • Pavement
  • Thom Yorke
  • MGMT
New Orleans Jazzwww.nojazzfest.com Apr. 23-25
  • Lionel Richie
  • Simon & Garfunkel
  • Black Crowes
  • My Morning Jacket
  • Jonny Lang
  • Darius Rucker
New Orleans Jazz Week 2www.nojazzfest.com Apr. 29-May 2
  • Pearl Jam
  • Aretha Franklin
  • B.B. King
  • Van Morrison
  • The Dead Weather
  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Summer Campwww.summercampfestival.com May 28-30
  • Gov’t Mule
  • Avett Brothers
  • ALO
  • Yonder Mountain String Band
  • Umphrey’s McGee
Sasquatchwww.sasquatchfestival.com May 29-31
  • Band of Horses
  • Vampire Weekend
  • The National
  • Public Enemy
  • She & Him
  • Massive Attack
Wakarusawww.wakarusa.com June 3-6
  • The Black Keys
  • Slightly Stoopid
  • Widespread Panic
  • John Butler Trio
  • Blues Traveler
  • State Radio
Bonnaroowww.bonnaroo.com June 10-13
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • Kings of Leon
  • Jay Z
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Nora Jones
  • The Flaming Lips
Lollapaloozawww.lollapalooza.com Aug. 6-8 Not yet released but always a stellar lineup
Austin City Limitswww.aclfestival.com Oct. 8-10 Not yet released but always a stellar lineup

 The cool thing about the festivals is that if one takes place geographically close to you, you might catch some really good shows on both sides of the festival dates.

If you have attended any of the above or one not listed, let me know what was great about it and who you saw.

As mentioned in previous blogs I am a ACL acolyte and would strongly recommend that if you have the time and disposable income, you need to check itout.

Great music awaits!


Concerts

We hear a song, purchase/download some music; it raises our awareness of the band and then we become a fan.  The concert is the culmination of our musical inclinations.  It is the holy grail of the musical experience.  At least, in our mind, it is. 

The concert is the musical equivalent of craps (the game of chance, not Jack in the Box 2 for $1 greasy tacos passing through your bowels)

Some nights go like this:

You purchase your ticket with the expectation that it will be musical bliss and a night to remember.  You get there, fight the crowd, listen to the mediocre, at best, opening act, and wait impatiently for the headlining show.   After what seems like an eternity, out stumbles the drunk/high lead singer, forgets the words to your favorite song, becomes enraged at the crowds displeasure and walks of the stage giving you the double fisted one finger salute. 

While other nights go like this:

You show up at some little dive barbeque joint and begin to think the show has been canceled because there are only four cars in the parking lot.  You go in, order some food and a beer, take you pick of the abundantly available tables and notice two chairs on the stage and a couple of guitars.  You take a seat, sip your bear and out strolls the singer and his buddy and the play for several hours, come sit down and thank you for coming to the show and take your request and play it before the night is over.

I’ve regaled you with some stories of concerts from my past and touted the greatness of Austin City Limits Music Festival but today, I’m going to chronologically list the concerts, to the best of my recollection, I’ve attended over the years.

Year Band
1983 Quiet Riot
Interesting Facts
7th grade, first concert to attend and broke my ankle that afternoon after being chased by a large classmate who took off his belt and began swinging it at me.  I left the hospital on crutches and planned on going to concert while my mother drove along beside me screaming at me to get in the car.  Being 12 and disabled, mom won and I missed the concert.  I did, however, get the t shirt as a consolation prize from my buddy who I gave the ticket to.
1985 Def Leppard
Interesting Facts
My first official concert that I actually got to attend.  Reunion Arena in Dallas, TX.  Oddly enough, I do not remember much about the concert other than it kicked much 14 year old musical butt.
1985-1989 Tom Petty

Stevie Nicks

Elton John

Don Henley

White Snake

Tesla

The Cult

Metallica

Interesting Facts
This period was the high school years and while there are funny stories, time has blurred the lines a bit.

  • One concert I went to with a group of girls and as soon as we got to Starplex Amphitheater, they all had to go to the rest room.  So, they opened the passenger door and all took turns squatting in the parking lot under the shroud of secrecy that was the afore mentioned door.  Don’t worry ladies; your identity is safe with me.
  • Another concert had some of the above mentioned girls and on the way home we got lost and drove around through an amazing fog which we likened to the moors, a Sherlock Holmes reference at the time, and eventually made it home.  Some of attendees were really upset with the turn of events.
  • White Snake concert we bought tickets from scalpers and got totally ripped off but thought we were so cool because we were seeing White Snake.
  • Metallica was an amazing show and the first time I had seen mosh pits and thoroughly enjoyed the frantic pace of the music.  Some fans really enjoyed the show and started lighting the lawn on fire and once security came out, the fire just seemed to move to another location.

 

1989-1992 Travis Tritt

Shenandoah

Various country acts at Billy Bobs

Interesting Facts
Some of my buddies were really in to country music and I would often tag along because I had nothing else to do and wanted to make some new female acquaintances. The Shenandoah concert was particularly memorable, not because the concert was good, in fact, I never actually saw them.  I got kicked out of the bar because I was 18 and using a fake ID to buy beer.  My buddies, of course, stayed and watched the show.  The crushing event of the night was that the girl I took to the show also stayed inside and I sat alone in the back of my friend’s truck for several hours.  The night was not a total loss, because I drank all of the beer in the cooler while sitting in the parking lot of Billy Bob’s.
1993-1995 Lots of local acts in the musical mecca of Denton, TX

Rush

Interesting Facts
The Rush show stands out for two reasons:To procure the tickets for this concert, my buddy and I left Denton very, very early on a Saturday morning after a very, very, late Friday night to go to Lewisville Mall to get tickets.  We arrived way too early and drove to Braums and got a double order of biscuits and gravy.  While this might not read as funny as it was, we were way hung over and those biscuits and gravy were the magic elixir that restored our health. Night of the concert we pick up our dates, have dinner and head to Dallas.  There is mild drinking, as colleges kids are known to do, and before you know it, we are on the floor of Reunion Arena basking in the glory of Rush.  On the way home there is some conversation of the concert and the girl that I took begins to nod off a bit and then suddenly hurls into and on the door.  We stop and ask if she is ok and she looks at us as if nothing happened and denies what is clearly on her chin, clothes, seat, floor, and of course door.  We get home she gets out like nothing happened.
1995-2005 The Dave Matthews BandMetallica

Linkin Park

Beastie Boys

Pat Green

Willie Nelson

Jack Johnson

Bob Dylan

Bruce Springsteen

Beck

G. Love & Special Sauce

Merle Haggard

Tori Amos

Korn

Chevelle

Robert Earl Keen

Interesting Facts
All pretty good shows and some artist like Dave Matthews and Pat Green I’ve seen multiple times.  The one stand out concert story is this:A group of folks went to see Willie Nelson at Lone Star Park which is an outdoor horse track.  His stage was set back a bit and there were risers and bleachers that elevated the fans to better see the stage.  I am walking up, wearing loose cargo shorts and minding my own business, when I feel something moving up my leg and heading north central.  I look down and there is an older woman with her hand up my shorts grabbing my junk.  I jump up and swat at her as if she is some form of annoying insect and she looks up, smiles with what teeth she has left and says “Oh, excuse me” as if she had accidently bumped into me as were passing on a sidewalk.  She then turned and walked away as if nothing had happened.
2006-Present Pearl JamBen Harper

Foo Fighters

Tom Petty

Beck

G. Love & Special Sauce

Wilco

Son Volt

Drive-By Truckers

State Radio

Brett Dennen

Bruce Springsteen

B-52’s

Robert Plant & Allison Krause

Joe Purdy

Cross Canadian Ragweed

The Killers

The Tragically Hip

The Eli Young Band

Pete Yorn

Bob Schneider

James McMurtry

Kris Kristofferson

Merle Haggard

Damien RiceDonovan Frankenreiter

Arcade Fire

The Shins

Okkervil River

Mason Jennings

The Black Keys

Ray LaMontagne

Queens of the Stone Age

Bob Dylan

Willie Nelson

Van Morrison

The Toadies

The Killers

John Mayer

Steve Earle

Bjork

Iron & Wine

Walt Wilkins

The Dead Weather

The Raconteurs

Lucinda Williams

Erin Ivey

Amos Lee

Interesting Facts
The majority of these artists have been seen at the Austin City Limits Music Festival which is an annual pilgrimage for me.  Some artist I have seen both at ACL and their own headlining tour.

So, there you have it, a little stroll down concert memory lane.  Let me know about some of your favorite or at least memorable concert experiences and who is a must see when they roll through town.

Great music awaits!


50 Artists you should be listening to and own at least one album!

Ok, I thought yesterday’s blog was fun and elicited some reaction from you, the sweet , gentle reader  and a few David Cassidy fans( ITILY ladies and possibly gentlemen) and also caused a bit of a stir on facebook as well.  So, let’s go and reverse the whip.

I will attempt to continue to WOW you with my vast musical knowledge and then silently judge you if you are not impressed with my musical prowess.  Just kidding, I would never judge you or your poor musical taste. 

I do think that there are some artists that transcend genres and have universal appeal.  Others have a loyal following and then have that one album that regales the masses and they are beloved for generations.  Some of us grew up on music and we think it is greatness based solely on the nostalgia for the time and place in which we first heard it.  And then there are music purist who likes a band /artist because they respect the lineage and the impact that they had on music.

I tend to be a bit of all of the above.  There are some artists that I like because there is some form of connectivity that I really can’t explain, while others are truly a moment in time that has endeared me to an artist, and then there is the whole musical heritage piece.  I am intrigued by the evolution of music and the artists that find themselves compelled to play.  As mentioned previously in a blog, I have no musical talent.  I do not play and instrument, I do not sing close to well, and I’ve never had aspirations to do either.  I simply love to listen to music. 

As much as I have a propensity to scorn/judge, in my humble opinion, awful music, I really respect the fact that those dreadful musicians had the nerve to attempt to play, at some point get signed, and were able to release an album or at the very least a single.  When it comes down to it, I don’t judge the horrific musicians as mercilessly as I judge the faction who listens and procures the music.

So, below is a listing of artists/bands that you should be listening to and would be in any reputable music collection.  

  • Ryan Adams
  • The Band
  • The Beastie Boys
  • The Beatles
  • Beck
  • The Black Crowes
  • Jimmy Buffet (with love to Gwendolyn)
  • Johnny Cash
  • Eric Clapton
  • Credence Clearwater Revival
  • Drive-By Truckers
  • Bob Dylan
  • The Eagles
  • Steve Earle
  • Foo Fighters
  • Pat Green
  • Merle Haggard
  • Ben Harper
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Robert Earl Keen
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • John Mellencamp
  • Metallica
  • Willie Nelson
  • Nirvana
  • Pearl Jam
  • Tom Petty
  • Pink Floyd
  • The Pixies
  • Joe Purdy
  • Radiohead
  • R.E.M
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Rush
  • Paul Simon
  • Sonic Youth
  • Sound Garden
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • James Taylor
  • Traveling Wilburys
  • U2
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Wilco
  • Whiskeytown
  • The Who
  • Neil Young
  • ZZ Top

I just listed the artist and not the album or albums that you should be listening to and really own by said artist.  Also, I stopped at 50 and that took a considerable amount of restraint.

This is fundamentally meant to light the candle of thought and get you to think about your 50 artists.  If you only had 50 artists that you could listen to, who would they be?  Think of yourself as Tom Hanks in Cast Away and instead of Wilson the volleyball, you have an iPod with 50 artists and their entire catalog. 

So take some time, peruse the list and let me know who you would have added or deleted from the list or send me you complete list.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Jack Johnson!

Jack Johnson is the easy, breezy, heir apparent to the acoustic strumming of today’s folksy surf/beach music.  In addition to being a singer/songwriter/musician, Johnson is also a film maker and former professional surfer.

Johnson splashed (notice the subtle water reference) on to the musical scene by way of surfing when he and G. Love became acquainted.  G. Love recorded Johnson’s song “Rodeo Clowns” on his 1999 release Philadelphonic.  Johnson sang and played on the track and it was the first single from the album. In 2000, he co-directed and composed the soundtrack for the surf film Thicker Than Water.  The soundtrack, coincidentally, contains four of Johnson’s songs.

With the release of his 2001 debut album Brushfire Fairytales Johnson was able to get Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and Ben Harper (with his beautiful lap guitar skills) to appear on the album.  In 2002 Johnson starred in and directed the surf film The September Session.  Johnson has two songs on the soundtrack, one of which is a cover of Jimmy Buffet’s “A Pirate Looks at 40”.

His sophomore release, On and On, continues the mellow vibe of his previous album and does not deviate much on his third album In Between Dreams. His third album brings Zach Gill (Animal Liberation Orchestra) in to the musical mix and is the beginning of a series of fruitful collaborations with the multi talented Mr. Gill. 

Jack Johnson Discography:

  • Brushfire Fairytales
  • On And On
  • In Between Dreams
  • Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George
  • Sleep Through the Static
  • En Concert

The 2006 soundtrack Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George is a menagerie of musical talent that includes Ben Harper, G. Love, Matt Costa, and Zach Gill.    Johnson riskily yet skillfully covers The White Stripes “We Are Going To Be Friends”.  The soundtrack made #1 on the billboard chart and has sold over three million copies. 

Top 5 Jack Johnson Songs:

  1. Breakdown (In Between Dreams)
  2. Gone (On And On)
  3. Cookie Jar (On And On)
  4. Upside Down (Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George)
  5. Flake (Brushfire Fairytales)

In 2008 Johnson released his fourth album Sleep Through the Static which has electric guitars and keyboards playing a more prominent musical role than on previous albums. Lyrically, Johnson seems more mature and at times, a bit dark.  Not in a Nine Inch Nails kind of dark, mind you, but a slight departure from the relatively sunny nature of his previous efforts.

A world tour followed the release of Sleep Through the Static and from that tour, came the live album En Concert.  This album captures various performances throughout the tour and has a duet with Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and a performance with Ben Harper.

Johnson’s music is easy to digest and does not require a lot of attention.  You can get lost in the vibe of each album or song.  He has a capable voice, good musical sense and surrounds himself with great talent. 

I’ve seen him several times in concert and his live shows are just as laid back as his albums.  He is typically in bare feet or flip flops, jeans, and t shirt.  His guitar slung over his shoulder while he strums.  Jack tends to be a stationary performer and allows his music to fill the room instead of his personality or presence. 

Check out Jack Johnson at www.jackjohnsonmusic.com

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UbT3U-fQt4

www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZRvtr2g3z0&feature=related

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jIca_LpXSM&feature=related

Great music awaits!