Tag Archives: The Dave Matthews Band

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!


You should listening to The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady is the Brooklyn based bar band that formed in 2003.  Their musical styling is more narrative and conceptual than most current bands.  Lyrically intense, crunchy, riffing guitars paired with cigarette and whiskey vocals are the calling cards of The Hold Steady.

Their debut album, Almost Killed Me, was released in 2004 and was the shot across the bow that made the critics musical pants go crazy.  In 2005 they released their sophomore album Separation Sunday.  The Hold Steady made the cover of the Village Voice and began to draw comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Husker-Du. 

The Hold Steady Discography:

  • Almost Killed Me (2004)
  • The Virgin Digital Session EP (2005)
  • Separation Sunday (2005)
  • Boys and Girls in America (2006)
  • Live At Lollapalooza (2006)
  • Stuck Between Stations EP (2007)
  • Live at Fingerprints (2007)
  • Stay Positive (2008)
  • A Positive Rage (Live 2009)
  • Heaven Is Whenever (2010)

2006 saw the release of Boys and Girls in America and more critical success as they were named Band of the Year by Blender and Rolling Stone ranked the album #8 on their Best albums of 2006.

The band has been fortunate to open and tour with a diverse line up of bands such as The Dave Matthews Band, The Rolling Stones, King of Leon, Counting Crows, and Drive-By Truckers.  The band released Stay Positive in 2008 which saw a slight departure from their previous efforts and had some guest appearances by J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Ben Nichols (Lucero), Emilyn Brodsky and Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices).

Top 5 The Hold Steady Songs:

  1. Stuck Between Stations (Boys and Girls In America)
  2. Lord, I’m Discouraged (Stay Positive)
  3. Sequestered in Memphis (Stay Positive)
  4. The Swish (Almost Killed Me)
  5. Stevie Nix (Separation Sunday)

This past Tuesday saw the release of Heaven is Whenever which is their fifth studio album.  I’ve only had it a few days and have been impressed with what I have heard thus far.

Check out The Hold Steady at www.theholdstedy.com.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfrPQUSzVHY

www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3GXOcy2mcs&feature=related

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Animal Liberation Orchestra!

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

They grew into a nine-piece band featuring a brass section and dubbed themselves The Animal Liberation Orchestra and the Free Range Horns, they began receiving considerable attention in the Santa Barbara area with their exciting live shows.  Eventually, Zach, Dan and Steve returned to their hometown and stripped the band back down to a quartet by reuniting with drummer David Brogan (with whom they played with in college) and the ultimate version of Animal Liberation Orchestra was finalized.  They are a huge hit on the jam band circuit and have drawn comparisons to everyone from Phish and The Grateful Dead to The String Cheese Incident.

Their debut album “Fly Between Falls” was originally released in 2004 and rereleased when ALO signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2006 and in 2007 they released the album “Roses and Clovers”.  Their latest album “Man of the World” is set for release in February 2010.

Zach Gill went to college with Jack Johnson and has been touring with Jack and playing piano in his band, while Steve and Dan have toured with Brett Dennen.  ALO has toured with The Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson before headlining shows in late 2006.

I saw them a few years back when Jack Johnson came through Dallas.  The show was at the Nokia Theater and was pretty awesome.  Zach has a really great voice and is amazing on the keyboards.

ALO Discography

  • Time Expander (EP)
  • Fly Between Falls
  • Roses and Clovers

Top 5 ALO according to Butler (Albums listed on right):

  1. Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song) (Fly Between Falls)
  2. Girl I Wanna Lay You Down (Fly Between Falls)
  3. Monday (Roses and Clovers)
  4. Valentine’s Day (Time Expander)
  5. Barbeque (Fly Between Falls)

Check out ALO and let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqKSf8bt1eM

 ALO music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.alomusic.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!


Live albums you should be listening to!

The live album is always a risky proposition.  In years past, it was the other give up album (hello Greatest Hits) that was done to fulfill the contract with the record company.  Not to say that there have not been great live albums but there have been some less than stellar albums that have not quite stood the test of time (“Frampton Comes Alive” anyone?). 

 I think, as music has progressed, the live album was a great way for bands to better connect with their audience.  Some bands have earned the reputation as a great “Live” band and the live album was just an obvious avenue for them.  Artists like Phish and The Dave Matthews Band have more live albums in their discography than studio albums.  In 2000 Pearl Jam, in an attempt provide their fans with a better quality and affordable live recording, recorded all of their concerts. 

 So, here is a list of great live albums.  This is by no means a list of the greatest live albums, but merely an installment of great live albums.

Metallica S&M 

This album features Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony.  Such a brilliant merging of two seemingly polar opposites sounds and styles.  The set list takes a bit from each of the early works as well as their late 90’s work.  Definitely worth adding to your collection.

Tom Petty Live Anthology

This album is a compilation of thirty years of live concerts.  Petty is timeless and the music is amazing.  Radio staples such as “Refugee”, “American Girl”, and “Free Falling” are comfortably arranged around deeper cuts like “Louisiana Rain”, “Angel Dream (No.2)”, and “”Straight Into Darkness”.  The covers on this four disc set are a real treat including The Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” and Fleetwood Mac’s ”Oh Well”. 

The Dave Matthews Band The Central Park Concert

This is a three disc set that is a typical Dave Matthews jam session with the usual song suspects in the lineup and has a great cover of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” with Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers & Govt. Mule) and Dave sharing the vocals.  It is not overly produced or reworked so you get more of the raw concert sound and vibe. 

 Ben Harper Live from Mars

If you are going to own one Ben Harper album, this is the one.  This two disc set is a great cross section of his work as well as covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” and The Verve “The Drugs Don’t Work”.

Counting Crows Across A Wire Live in New York

This two disc set is actually two separate concerts.  Disc one is an acoustic set while disc two cranks up a bit electrically.  The set list is comprised of songs from their first two albums “August and Everything After” and “Recovering the Satellites”. 

Undone: A Musical Tribute to Robert Earl Keen

This two disc live album has great covers of Keen’s music by the likes of:  Walt Wilkins, Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers, Reckless Kelly, Chris Knight, Cody Canada (Cross Canadian Ragweed), and Max Stallings.  Robert also appears on the last few song son disc two. 

Alice in Chains Unplugged

This album captured the essence and greatness of the late, great Layne Staley.  All acoustic (hence the unplugged) set that include “Would”, “Angry Chair”, and ‘The Killer is Me”.  This was one of the final performances of the original band. 

Chris & Rich Robinson (The Black Crowes) Brothers of a Feather

This two man acoustic set is the brothers and their guitars at their greatest.  The album is a variety of cuts from their shows at the Roxy Theater.  It features songs from The Black Crowes and a few cover tunes.  My favorite tracks are “Thorn in My Pride” and “My Heart is Killing Me”. 

Rage Against the Machine Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium

Great album recorded during their last two shows in September 2000.  The intensity of the album lasts al sixteen tracks.  Standout tracks on the album are “No Shelter”, “Bulls On Parade”, “Bomb Track”, and “Killing In the Name of”. 

Pearl Jam Live (any of the band produced live albums)

In an effort to better connect with the fans and provide quality and affordable live recordings Pearl Jam recorded a series of concerts in the early 00’s.  Sets often included “Crazy Mary”, “State of Love and Trust”, covers of Neil Young’s “Rockin in the Free World”, Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”, The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”.  So, take your pick as any of the live series is a treasure.

Dispatch All Points Bulletin

This two disc set is the final farewell concert that was held in Boston that had over 100,000 fans in attendance.  It is the subject of the DVD “Last Dispatch.  This album has an early version of the State Radio song “Riddle In Londontown” and a fan sing along to the Dispatch tune “The General”.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live in New York City

Amazing two disc set that at the time of release has two new and unreleased songs “Land of Hopes and Dreams” and “American Skin (41 Shots)”.  Both stellar songs but in my opinion, “Youngstown” is the gem of this album. 

Paul Simon’s Concert In the Park

This live recording was done in New York’s famous Central Park on August 15th 1991. The album opens with one of my all time favorite Simon songs “The Obvious Child”.  He also covers the Simon and Garfunkel period with “The Boxer”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and closes the set with “The Sounds of Silence”.  This concert also featured many of the South American and African musicians that played on “Rhythm of the Saints” and “Graceland” respectively.

Rush Different Stages

It is a three disc set that covers several of their concerts in 1994 and 1997.  Disc three is a concert in London from 1978.  They cover quite a bit of their catalog but the one glaring omission is “Mystic Rhythms

 Bob Dylan The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration

This tribute concert was a star studded event with performances from: John Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson, Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, Eddie Vedder, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, George Harrison, The Band, and Roger McGuinn to name just a few!  While all of the performances were amazing, Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready’s cover of “Masters of War” was the highlight of the show. 

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!