Tag Archives: The Black Crowes

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!


Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals is the smoking hot Vermont band led by musical wunderkind and band namesake Grace Potter.  She is a multi instrumentalist/vocalist with some serious skills.  She plays both electric and acoustic guitar, Hammond B3 organ, Fender Rhodes piano, and Wurlitzer electrical piano.  Did I also mention that she sings?  Her expressive, genre changing voice is the hook that drags you into the music.

The band was loosely formed in 2002 when Potter was spotted by, soon to be band mate, Matthew Burr as she was singing folk songs in a student hot spot on the St. Lawrence University campus.  In 2005 the band received two nominations at the Boston Music Awards and independently released “Nothing But the Water”.  The band eventually signed with Hollywood Records and the album was rereleased in 2006 and received two more nominations from the Boston Music Awards.

Their second album “This Is Somewhere” was released in 2007 and they toured with Gov’t Mule.  The same year they made TV appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  In addition to those appearances, their song “Apologies” made the rounds on several shows such as:

  • All My Children
  • One Tree Hill
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • ER
     

2008 found them touring with The Black Crowes and Dave Matthews and they played a full set at the Mile High Music Festival.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Discography:

  • Nothing But the Water
  • Live Oh Five
  • This Is Somewhere
  • Live In Skowhegan
  • Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
  • Live at the Fillmore

The 2010 release of their self titled album finds Grace and Co. melding the myriad parts of their band; the raw live vibe, the sultry, bluesy vocal prowess of Grace, the deft musical abilities of the band, and the classic rock sound.  While they have spent many years wowing the crowds on the live circuit and have toured with some of the jammiest of bands, this album and the TV spots are the bridge to a broader audience. 

Check out Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at www.gracepotter.com

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vy1OoBAL-E

www.youtube.com/watch?v=paeNnR33i5Q

Great music awaits!


2010 Year In Review: Music You Should Have Been Listening To!

Well, 2010 was quite the year!  Everyone got a little older but ladies, you don’t look it!  In spite of continued political divide, the yet to rebound economy, and little oil spill in the Gulf, 2010 was a pretty great year in music.  Not for the industry as a whole (canceled tours, decline in both digital and CD sales, etc…), but in terms of the output from various artists it was a pretty fine year.  Hell, the Beatles finally capitulated to the masses and released their catalog on iTunes!  Back the Brinks truck up boys, we are cashing in!

Here is my annual review of what I thought, and thereby, was good in the world of music in 2010.  If it did not make the list, it means I did not get a chance to listen to it, or it sucked.  It is entirely possible that some music got by me this year.  It is more likely that the music I did not listen to was not listenable and therefore sucked.

In all seriousness, this is a compilation of 50 albums that were released in 2010 that got a lot of play in the many places where I listen to music.  All of these albums I own and were in heavy rotation throughout the year.  These are by no means the only albums released or that I purchased in 2010 but the ones I found myself digging a little more than some of the others.

The albums listed below are in no particular order of greatness but are all great in their own unique musical way!  See, look at that, I’m being mindful of the feelings of the artists that will never read this blog and perpetuating the “everyone is a winner”, feel good schlock that has helped raise and create a whole generation of entitled whiners and, I digress.

So sit back and peruse the gentle musing of what made my musical pants go crazy this year.

Artist Album My Annotations
The Black Keys Brother This album and all of their other albums rock.  This band consists of 2 white dudes from Ohio who sound like a symphony of veteran bluesman that caught wind of some funk.  Pure greatness!
Arcade Fire The Suburbs Nice way to come back from a 3 year break!  This album and this band is what is right with music today. Sprawling music, musicians that actually play instruments, and have something meaningful to say!
Jamey Johnson The Guitar Songs Jamey tried the clean cut “new” country way and realized that it was not going to work for him.  So, he followed the Johnny Cash 101 course and gave in to vice and temptation, grew a crazy beard and wrote about his life.  This double disc is pretty aggressive for this relative newcomer but he pulls it off and we are better for it.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Mojo Great new disc from the Heartbreakers and another great album from start –finish for Tommy Boy.  After 30 years I am amazed that he can still bring it like he does.  Petty has a way of always taking me back to the halcyon days of high school.  Props to the folks from 75115!
Drive-By Truckers The Big To-Do I love DBT and this album is no exception.  While Jason Isbell is missed, they are able to carry one and make some damn fine music.  The stories that they create are usually good for a laugh or two until you realize that most of them come from real life events. 
Fistful of Mercy Fistful of Mercy The musical triumvirate of Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur, and Dhani Harrison.  Great harmonies and acoustic instrumentation. 
Bruce Springsteen The Promise This 2 disc set is the lost tracks to the Darkness on the Edge of Town session.  That period was pretty prolific for the Boss and it is funny how 30+ years later the music is still relevant.  Hats off to you Bruce and the E Street Boys.
Eminem Recovery Dropped off the face of musical earth and did a death spiral and realized that he had more music to make.  While not as aggressive and misogynistic as his earlier work, Recovery shows that he still has skills.
The Dead Weather Sea of Cowards Jack White is pure greatness and this sophomore effort from one of his many side projects does not disappoint. 
The National High Violet Not exactly a “pick me up” kind of band but the drama and melancholy is balanced by the somber vocals and tight instrumentation. 
Band of Horses Infinite Arms Indie music darlings come back with a full group for their third album.  Their sound is familiar but they do explore some new lyrical territory. 
Neil Young Le Noise Neil Young and his eclectic ways paired + Daniel Lanois production expertise = genius. 
Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown These guys make consistently good music.  It is unfortunate that their previous release was embraced by the masses and oversaturated the airwaves.
 Kid Rock Born Free Say what you will about the Kid, but when he stays close to the classic rock of our youth, he makes entertaining music.
Joe Purdy 4th of July The best indie act out there today.  Releases all of his material on his own with no major label support, gets little or no radio play, and tours in places that hold 200-300 people.  He is amazing. 
Joe Purdy This American See above
The Gaslight Anthem American Slang New Jersey band channeling the musical spirit of Springsteen with a little punk rock spin.  Further proof that good things come from the Garden State!
Spoon Transference Spoon continues to make moody not quite pop music.  This is their 7th album and is a great showcase of their formidable musical chops.
Gorillaz Plastic Beach Cartoon characters that get the likes of DeLa Soul, Snoop Dogg, and Lou Reed to guest on their album.  What more can I say?
MGMT Congratulations The sophomore album from the trippy, somewhat psychedelic duo.  As good as their stellar debut and clearly shows that these boys have some skills.
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Despite the petulant attitude, knack for opening mouth and inserting foot, Kanye knows how to mix and mingle the tracks, samples and artists.   Not sure I like liking him but hard to ignore.
Robert Plant Band of Joy Golden Rock god pays go pre-Zeppelin days and does some pretty sweet covers of American music such as Townes Van Zandt, Low, and Los Lobos.
John Mellencamp No Better Than This This live mono recording of his latest was done in various parts of the country such as a Georgia church, San Antonio hotel room, and a Memphis recording studio.  Mr. Happy Go Lucky strikes again!
Broken Bells Broken Bells James Mercer (The Shins) and super producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley) team up for an awesome debut album.  Hopefully they will find time to make more music.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Beat the Devil’s Tattoo Cool, scary band name with cool scary album name.  I’ve been a fan for years and like how they have evolved.
Marc Cohn Listening Booth:1970 Great covers of 70’s song.  Nice to see him back in the booth.
Josh Ritter So Runs The World Away Quite the word smith.  Sparse musical compositions are the foundation for the subterranean concepts of the album.
Flobots Survival Story Rock-Rap with the instrumentation of a viola!  Politically charged lyrics with deft delivery and did I mention the viola? 
The Rescues Let Loose The Horses Four part harmonies that flawlessly flow throughout the album.  Lingering, soothing lyrics that are both exploratory and meaningful.  Great debut album.
Jack Johnson To The Sea Feel good music in the laid back Jack Johnson style.  Not breaking new ground which is not necessarily a bad thing. 
Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise 4th studio album for the whiskey soaked and smoky voiced troubadour and this time he is backed by a true, professional band.  This album, like all the rest is best when his dulcet tone has room to breathe.
Mumford & Sons Sigh No More Further proof that harmonies were all the rage in 2010.  This London quartet’s debut album is closer to folk than just about anything on this list.  Not sure how the English captured Americana but more power to them.
The New Pornographers Together The large Canadian bands 5th album is a nice blend of vocals and instrumentation.  Will Sheff of Okervil River, Zach Condon of Beirut, and some Dap Kings (the horn players) all make appearances on the album.
The Black Crowes Croweology The Crowes version of “Best of” with 2 discs worth of tracks.  Nice acoustic versions of their catalog.  This is the last release before their next breakup/hiatus.  Damn sibling rivalries!
LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening The 3rd and reportedly final album from the dance/rock kings. 
Of Montreal False Priests An eclectic blend of funk, synth, and sing along chorus.  Lyrically odd at times, the songs seem to be better crafted then some of their other work.
Sleigh Bells Treats Drums, guitars, and a little hip hop are hard to beat.  This band is not easy to define but certainly fun.
Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Song of Chico Dusty One half of the rap duo OutKast, Big Boi shows his considerable skills on his solo album.  Solo album is a loose term considering that T.I., Gucci Mane, George Clinton, Jamie Foxx, B.o.B, and Too Short are just a few of the folks that appear on the album.
The Hold Steady Heaven Is Whenever Not as commercially known as some of the other bands on this list but just as good, if not better than some.  Think heartland rock with Brooklyn attitude.
Eels Tomorrow Morning The 2nd of their albums to be released in 2010, this one is a little more upbeat.  The addition of keyboards and strings is a nice touch.  It seems that E might have just a glimmer of happiness in his life.
Weezer Hurley With co-writers like Ryan Adams, Mac Davis, and Linda Perry, this album twists and turns in many musical directions.  All of them good!
Vampire Weekend Contra Sophomore album for the Paul Simon channeling group is not a drastic departure from their first.  The formula works. 
Ozomatli Fire Away As diverse as band as there is, these LA boys mix in the rap, Spanish horns, and a bit of Ska to completely blow you away. 
Street Sweeper Social Club The Ghetto Blaster EP Tom Morello of Rage fame and Boot Riley release this angry, politically driven EP.  Not so angry that they can’t cover LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out and MIA’s Paper Planes. 
The Avett Brothers Live Volume 3 This album was recorded in 2009 shortly after the major label debut.  It covers several great tracks from their previous indie label albums.  This is a band best served live.  Might make my Top 10 Live Album List.
Joe Pug The Messenger Great acoustic folk music.  Lyrically sound and great from start to finish.  He is one of the great finds of 2010 for me.
Jakob Dylan Woman + Country The still Wallflowerless Dylan’s 2nd solo album is as solid as anything he has ever done.  Neko Case also appears on the album.
Matt Costa Mobile Chateau Jack Johnson’s protégé’s third release is a mixed bag of upbeat tempos and California pop with a helping of soulful piano and surprising depth.
Elton John and Leon Russell The Union Clash of the aging titans!  Hard to believe that after 40 years of divergent paths, these two make an album that leaves you wondering why it did not happen sooner.
Reckless Kelly Somewhere In Time This album is a 12 track homage to the band’s early mentor and Americana singer/songwriter Pinto Bennett.

Mixed Tape Monday:Home

Well, dear, sweet, gentle reader, I apologize for my absence the last couple of days.  I was on vacation and did not have much time to write.  Before you go getting all jealous, I was not at some exotic locale sipping fruity beverages with crazy names and umbrellas impeding my drinking ability; nor was I finding myself in some serene, remote, mountainous setting. 

I was, in fact, at home dealing with the issues of owning a home and in my case, a ninety five year old home.  Yes, the home is indeed older than I.  It is also a lovely home that needed a little repair.  I use the term “little” loosely as I had to replace the upstairs AC and the hot water heater.  And, to be fair, I did not have to do it myself but I did have to avail myself to the schedule of the valiant workers who brought tidings of cool air and hot water. 

I’d like to give a gratuitous plug and a big shout out to Aire Serve Heating and Air Conditioning of Fort Worth and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing for their solid work and expertise.

With all of that being said, today’s Mixed Tape Monday theme is Home!

Enjoy and welcome back to the time waste that is my bog!

Song:              Sweet Home Alabama (I’m sure you all saw that one coming)

Artist:             Lynyrd Skynyrd

Album:           Second Helping

Song:              Home

Artist:             Alexi Murdoch

Album:           Time Without Consequence

Song:              On My Way Back Home

Artist:             Band of Horses

Album:           Infinite Arms

Song:              Taking Your Home

Artist:             Don Henley

Album:           Inside Job

Song:              My Father’s House

Artist:             Bruce Springsteen

Album:           Nebraska

Song:              Home

Artist:             Foo Fighters

Album:           Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

Song:              What Is Home

Artist:             The Black Crowes

Album:           Before the Frost…

Song:              Heading Home

Artist:             Donavon Frankenreiter

Album:           Donavon Frankenreiter

Song:              Long Way Home From Anywhere

Artist:             Bruce Robison

Album:           Long Way Home From Anywhere

Song:              House of Valparaiso

Artist:             Calexico

Album:           Carried To Dust

Song:              Goin Home

Artist:             Dan Auerbach

Album:           Keep It Hid

Song:              Give a Man a Home

Artist:             Ben Harper

Album:           Fight For Your Mind

Song:              Home

Artist:             Eli Young Band

Album:           Jet Black and Jealous

Song:              This House Is a Circus

Artist:             Arctic Monkeys

Album:           Favourite Worst Nightmare

Song:              Quiet Houses

Artist:             Fleet Foxes

Album:           Fleet Foxes

Song:              My Lady’s House

Artist:             Iron & Wine

Album:           Woman King (EP)

Song:              Charlemagne’s Home Town

Artist:             James McMurtry

Album:           Childish Things

Song:              House of Stone

Artist:             Mudcrutch

Album:           Mudcrutch

Song:              Life In a Glass House

Artist:             Radiohead

Album:           Amnesiac

Song:              I’m Coming Home

Artist:             Robert Earl Keen

Album:           Gringo Honeymoon

Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday: People’s Names

Welcome to another installment of Mixed Tape Monday, where I will WOW you with my wonderful compilation of music:

 Today’s topic is People’s Names:

 Song:              Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters

Artist:              Walt Wilkins

Album:            Fire, Honey, & Angels

 Song:              Sherry Darling

Artist:              Bruce Springsteen

Album:            The River

 Song:              Melissa

Artist:              The Allman Brothers Band

Album:            Eat a Peach

 Song:              Jolene

Artist:              Ray LaMontagne

Album:            Trouble

 Song:              Suzie Blue

Artist:              Ben Harper

Album:            Burn to Shine

Song:              Oh, Josephine

Artist:              The Black Crowes

Album:            War Paint

 Song:              Capn Kirk

Artist:              Bob Schneider

Album:            I’m Good Now

 Song:              For Emma

Artist:              Bon Iver

Album:            For Emma, Forever Aga

 Song:              Mr. Larkin

Artist:              State Radio

Album:            Us Against the Crown

 Song:              Meanwhile, Rick James

Artist:              Cake

Album:            Comfort Eagle

 Song:              Suite Judy Blue Eyes

Artists:             Crosby, Stills, & Nash

Album:            Crosby, Stills, & Nash

 Song:              Amie

Artist:              Damien Rice

Album:            O

 Song:              Elias

Artist:              Dispatch

Album:            Silent Steeples

 Song:              Carl Perkin’s Cadillac

Artist:              Drive-By Truckers

Album:            The Dirty South

 Song:              Johnson’s Love

Artist:              Dwight Yoakam

Album:            Hillbilly Deluxe

 Song:              Amelia

Artist:              Erin Ivey

Album:            Sweet Little EP

 Song:              Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down

Artist:              Interpol

Album:            Turn On the Bright Lights

 Song:              Kathleen

Artist:              Josh Ritter

Album:            Hello Starling

 Song:              Slow Down Jo

Artist:              Monsters of Folk

Album:            Monsters of Folk

 Song:              Oh Maria

Artist:              Mudcrutch

Album:            Mudcrutch

 Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday:Colors

Welcome to another installment of Mixed Tape Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend and remembered to call, visit, or at least think about your dear old mom. 

Today’s topic is Colors:

Song:              Orange Sky

Artist:              Alexi Murdoch

Album:            Time Without Consequence

Song:              Back In Black

Artist:              AC/DC

Album:            Back In Black

Song:              Blue Sky

Artist:              The Allman Brothers Band

Album:            Eat A Peach

Song:              Black Tambourine

Artist:              Beck

Album:            Guero

Song:              Brown Eyed Blues

Artist:              Ben Harper

Album:            Diamonds On the Inside

Song:              Gary Indiana Blues

Artist:              Big Head Todd & the Monsters

Album:            Riviera

Song:              Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye

Artist:              The Black Crowes

Album:            The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

Song:              Big Blue Sea

Artist:              Bob Schneider

Album:            Songs Sung and Played on Guitar at the Same Time

Song:              Black Cowboys

Artist:              Bruce Springsteen

Album:            Devils & Dust

Song:              Red Dust

Artist:              Calexico & Iron & Wine

Album:            In the Reins

Song:              YellowBlues

Artists:             Charlie Robison

Album:            Beautiful Day

Song:              Soldier Blue

Artist:              The Cult

Album:            Sonic Temple

Song:              Green Light Girl

Artist:              Doyle Bramhall II & Smokestack

Album:            Welcome

Song:              The Deepest Blues Are Black

Artist:              Foo Fighters

Album:            In Your Honor

Song:              Whitewash

Artist:              Gin Blossoms

Album:            Congratulations…I’m Sorry

Song:              Mr. Brownstone

Artist:              Guns ’N’ Roses

Album:            Appetite for Destruction

Song:              Dress Blues

Artist:              Jason Isbell

Album:            Sirens of the Ditch

Song:              Yellow

Artist:              Coldplay

Album:            Parachutes

Song:              Far Away Blues

Artist:              Joe Purdy

Album:            Julie Blue

Song:              Pink House

Artist:              John Mellencamp

Album:            Uh Huh

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!


Tune in Tuesday:5/4/10

With willing ears, and weary eyes, I willingly welcome you to today’s wonderful installment of Tune in Tuesday features six wonderfully random albums. 

Yes, that is a lot of W words and well, who wouldn’t want to be wowed by the power of the words which Webster’s willingly writes in their wholesome and widely read who’s who of words.

Thickfreakness

The Black Keys

Two white dudes from Akron, Ohio should not sound this damn good playing grungy, bluesy, inspired garage rock. Or in this case, basement rock where this album was actually recorded.   But, alas, they do and we are better for it.  If you are not a fan of The Black Keys, immediately stop reading and check out their music. 

Songlines

The Derek Trucks Band

He is a child prodigy, nephew of Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks, touring partner of Eric Clapton, Grammy Award winner, and barely over 30.  Yeah, we should hate him but he is so good that you can’t help but love his work. 

Recycled Recipes EP

Donovan Frankenreiter

This six song EP of covers is a great showcase of Donovan’s smooth vocals.  The song selection is superb, with such gems as, “Wonder Where the Lions AreTheologians”, and “Fortunate Son”, to name a few.

Sunrise Over Sea

John Butler Trio

This little known Australian band is pretty impressive and debut at number 1 in his native home.  He has got kind of a jammy feel to his playing with stand out tracks such as “Peaches & Cream”, “What You Want”, and “Seeing Angles.

Before the Frost/Until the Freeze

The Black Crowes

The latest album from this old school Georgia rock band.  Recorded in the legendary Levon Helm’s Woodstock barn studio, this 2 disc album (one disc, one digital download) is packed with rootsy, rocking, classic Crowes as well as a few slow tempo country tinged tunes.

Corinne Bailey Rae

Corinne Bailey Rae

This is the deftly produce debut album of the silky smooth yet funkily refined Corinne Bailey Rae.  Her voice is comfortable and inviting and the music is perfect accompaniment but never over the top or running interference to mask the vocals. 

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!