Tag Archives: Ryan Adams

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!

Advertisements

2010 Year In Review Part Deaux: Texas Music You Should Be Listening To!

As the saying goes, there must be something in the water!  There is something about the Texas music scene that defies typical musical conventions.  This, of course, comes as no surprise to the millions of Texas music fans.  The variety of music that hails from the great state is as expansive as the West Texas plains.  While Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital” of the world, there are plenty of fertile musical breeding grounds in Texas. 

 Today, I will WOW you with some of the musical greatness that came from or had ties to Texas in 2010. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, it is just a few of the albums that I have had in heavy rotation over the course of the last year. 

Artist Album Observations
Old 97’s The Grand Theatre Vol. 1 Dallas band gets back to their roots and write good music without trying to be anything more than they are.  After 17 years it is good to see them comfortable in their own skin.
Spoon Transference Not as much of gloss and a lot more rock is what make this album great.  Not shying away from the darker textures, Spoon creates a less poppy album and the laxity of Transference is the strength of the album.
Reckless Kelly Somewhere In Time A fine album of cover songs to their one time mentor Pinto Bennett. 
Roky Erickson & Okkervil River True Love Cast Out All Evil Concise production shapes the sorrow of the Austin icon Roky Erickson’s life and ultimately the optimism of his return.
Court Yard Hounds Court Yard Hounds 2/3 of the Dixie Chicks show that sometimes less is more.  Jakob Dylan adds his dusky dulcet tone for a quick duet.
Alejandro Escovedo Street Songs of Love The fierceness of the guitar and the bombastic instrumentation belie the emotional elements of the lyrics. 
Arcade Fire The Suburbs Currently Canadian, Butler boys do hail from the sterile Houston suburb known as the Woodlands.  This is a great album and also made my 2010 Year in review. 
Ryan Bingham Junky Star Former rodeo star hits the big time with Golden Globe and Oscar win and a current Grammy Nomination for his work on the “Crazy Heart’ soundtrack.  His 3rd album is no fluke either.  His whisky and cigarette vocals are the perfect vehicle for his forlorn tales. 
Randy Rogers Band Burning the Day One of the hardest working bands in the state.  Over 200 dates over the past years.  Still time to record and release their 5th album.
Norah Jones …Featuring Norah Jones The list of collaborators is what makes this album genius.  You have the rap community represented with Talib Kweli Q Tip, and Outkast, the rock genre is fortified by Foo Fighters, and Ryan Adams is a genre chameleon so several are covered with his efforts.  Also, Willie Nelson adds his own brand of greatness.
Walt Wilkins Agave A true Texas troubadour.  No one does it better then Walt.  The words of a poet delivered honey sweet with a calm, familiar feel.  Need to see him live if you ever have the chance.
Tommy Alverson Texas One More Time With a twinkle in his eye, and a beer in his hand, Tommy makes music that makes you feel fine.  When Tommy sings, it feels like a warm summer night and for that moment you are carefree.  Highly recommend you see him live, you won’t regret it.
Six Market Boulevard Running On Seven I caught these boys live one Sunday afternoon at a local barbeque joint.  Nice, strong debut album.
Mike Ryan The First One Great voice, laid back attitude, and interacts with his fans.  Ballsy covers of Lenny Kravitz and Conway Twitty.  Need to see him live to fully appreciate his brand of greatness.
Bruce Robison From the Top Amazing songwriting that has made many country artists famous.  This album finds him paired with Rodney Crowell and it is an effort steeped in simplicity.  When you write as well as Bruce, you don’t need to add a lot of fluff.

 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!


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!


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 Ryan Adams!

Ryan Adams is the brilliant yet mercurial singer songwriter who broke on to the music scene in the early 90’s with the alt/country group Whiskeytown. The oft troubled singer has carved out a prolific and somewhat unpredictable solo career that has seen both critical and commercial success. 

His solo debut “Heartbreaker” was released in 2000 with critical praise but lacked commercial clout.  In 2001, he released “Gold” but was reluctant to work the media circuit to promote the album but eventually capitulated to the powers that be and made a video for his single “New York, New York” which eerily and fortuitously for him featured Adams playing with the city skyline behind him.  The video was filmed four days prior to the 9/11 attacks and was put into heavy rotation on both MTV and VH1 which helped Adams find an audience with mainstream, commercial America.

Following the success of “Gold” Adams released “Demolition” with the similar results; critical attention but low volume sales.  He then went on to produce Jesse Malin’s debut the aptly titled “The Fine Art of Self Destruction”.  During 2002-03 Adams worked on the album “Love is Hell” which he eventually had to release as Pt. 1 & 2 EP’s due to his labels (Lost Highway) insistence that the album as a whole was not commercially viable.  He went back and made another album “Rock N Roll” which was released in Nov. 2003 along with “Love is Hell Pt. 1” with Pt.2 following in December.  Much to the surprise of Lost Highway “Love is Hell Pt. 1 & Pt. 2” were well received and in 2004 released it as intended, a complete album.  This album features the cover of the Oasis classic “Wonderwall” which Adam’s earned a Grammy nomination for his rendition of the song.

In 2005 Adams brought together “The Cardinals” and released two albums “Jacksonville Nights” and “Cold Roses”.  Rachel Yamagata covers backing vocals on several songs from “Cold Roses” while Nora Jones lends her dusky, dulcet tone to one song from “Jacksonville Nights”.  In 2006 he produced Willie Nelson’s album “Songbird” and Adams and The Cardinals performed as Nelson’s backing band. 

Currently, in true unpredictable Adam’s form, he has quit The Cardinals, become disillusioned with the musical world, is releasing some books, and spurring rumors of a Whiskeytown reunion.  He also married singer/actress Mandy Moore.

Ryan Adams Discography:

  • Heartbreaker
  • Gold
  • Demolition
  • Rock N Roll
  • Love Is Hell
  • Cold Roses
  • Jacksonville Nights
  • 29
  • Easy Tiger
  • Follow the Lights
  • Cardinology

Top 5 Ryan Adams Songs:

  1. Wonderwall (Love Is Hell)
  2. Two (Easy Tiger)
  3. My Love for You Is Real (Follow the Lights)
  4. New York, New York (Gold)
  5. Cold Roses (Cold Roses)

 Ryan Adam’s music is available on iTunes and record stores.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Whiskeytown!

Whiskeytown is an Alt/Country band that was formed and fronted by mercurial singer/songwriter Ryan Adams in 1994.  Whiskeytown was one of the most influential and successful bands that helped define the Alt/Country sound of the 90’s along with Uncle Tupelo, The Jayhawks, and The Old 97’s.  Much like the aforementioned artists, Whiskeytown gradually expanded its sound beyond the confines of Alt/Country.

Their full length debut “Faithless Street” was released in 1996 and earned considerable recognition and praise from the Alt/Country press.  By the time they released their sophomore effort”Stanger’s Almanac” in 1997, they had a new rhythm section.  In 1999, they completed their third and final album “Pneumonia” but due to label mergers it was not released until 2001.  By this time, Adam’s had released his solo album “Heartbreaker” and was receiving critical acclaim which sent him further down the solo path. 

Whiskeytown, much like their contemporary, Uncle Tupelo, had a short lived career as a band due to the volatility of lead singer Ryan Adams.  In five short years, they put out three albums with a revolving door of musicians.  Only Ryan Adams and violinist Cary Caitlin appear on all three Whiskeytown albums.

Whiskeytown Discography

  • Faithless Street
  • Stanger’s Almanac
  • Pneumonia

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

  1. 16 Days (Faithless Street)
  2. Jacksonville Skyline (Pneumonia)
  3. Inn Town (Stranger’s Almanac)
  4. Don’t Wanna Know Why (Pneumonia)
  5. House on the Hill (Stranger’s Almanac) 

Since the early demise of Whiskeytown, there have been consistent rumors of a reunion, the most recent, and coming from Ryan Adams himself, in 2009. 

Check out Whiskeytown and let me know what you think.

Whiskeytown’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.whiskeytownpneumonia.com.

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!