Tag Archives: The Postal Service

You should be listening to Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard!

Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service) teamed up to write and record an album for the documentary “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s “Big Sur”.  While originally set to record a few songs, the process and collaboration was so fruitful that it turned into a full length album which is named after the movie.

With Kerouac’s connection to jazz, both Farrar and Gibbard seem to be an odd choice to write and represent the spirit of Jack.  However, given the tragic nature of the book and Kerouac’s immersion into the depths of alcoholism and debilitating depression, Farrar with his naturally dour vocal styling and proclivity to writing deep emotionally damaged lyrics was a competent selection, while Gibbard seemed an awkward fit with his more melodic voice and previous synth heavy work with The Postal Service. 

Any trepidation I had concerning the pairing was quickly assuaged as Gibbard vocals leapt off the first track “California Zephyr”.  I was amazed at how natural he sounded reciting the words of Farrar who wrote eleven of the twelve songs on the album.  Gibbard wrote the title track “One Fast Move or I’m Gone”. 

Given the inspiration for the album it is no surprise that musically, the album is steeped in Americana with acoustic, electric, & steel guitar, lap & pedal steel, harmonica, piano, and percussions.  A majority of the lyrics were taken from Kerouac’s 1962 novel “Big Sur” and Jack gets writing credit on all of the songs except Gibbard’s lyrical contribution on the title track.

The irony of this project is that as dark and damaged as Kerouac was; the album is hopeful with a vulnerable beauty etched in the music and lyrics.

Check out Jay Farrar & Ben and Ben Gibbard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXfUSmdGa6E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNIWA5esH4o&feature=related

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Iron & Wine!

Iron & Wine is the moniker that the whispering Sam Beam uses when recording.  The name came from a nutritional supplement called “Beef Iron & Wine” that he stumbled upon while working on a film.  Prior to being a musician, Beam was a professor of film and cinematography at Miami University and Miami International University of Art & Design.

Beam’s debut “The Creek Drank the Cradle” was released in 2002 which is also the same year he covered The Postal Service’s then unreleased song “Such Great Heights”.  His version made it on to the soundtrack for the movie “Garden State” with Zack Braff and Natalie Portman. 

You may have also heard Iron & Wine on a smattering of television shows, including: “Grey’s Anatomy”, “House MD”, and “The L Word”.  He also had a song on the soundtrack of “Twilight”.

The Creek Crank the Cradle” is sparsely adorned and relies heavily on rich harmonies.  While his sophomore effort “Our Endless Numbered Days” adds harmony vocals and slide guitar to the mix.  His ethereal whisper wraps around the beautiful and brilliant lyrics ever so gently that you don’t immediately recognize the ache in the words.  Musically, things get kicked up a notch with the release of his EP “Woman King” and on his third full length album “The Sheppard’s Dog”.  More instrumentation is used as are vocal harmonies.  Compared to his early work, “The Sheppard’s Dog” sounds almost festive and the vibe tends to weaken the natural beauty of his lyrics. 

Iron & Wine Discography

  • The Creek Drank the Cradle
  • Our Endless Numbered Days
  • The Sheppard’s Dog
  • Around the Well
  • In the Reins (EP)
  • The Sea and the Rhythm (EP)
  • Woman King (EP) 

Top 5 Iron & Wine Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1. The Sea and the Rhythm (The Sea and the Rhythm EP)
  2. Naked As We Came (Our Endless Numbered Days)
  3. An Angry Blade (The Creek Drank the Cradle)
  4. Lovesong of the Buzzard (The Sheppard’s Dog)
  5. Gray Stables (Woman King)

Check out Iron & Wine and let me know what you think.  http://vodpod.com/watch/111302-iron-and-wine-naked-as-we-came-live

Iron & Wine’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.ironandwine.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!


Under the Covers: Cover songs you should be listening to

Some songs are so great that everyone wants to sing them and add their own unique style.  Some do it to pay homage to an artist, others feel a certain connection to the song and/or artist, and yet others are just looking to be the next American Idol.

The cover tune is the metaphorical equivalent of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Anyone can do it but not everyone does it right.   To make it right, PB&J requires lightly toasted bread, an abundance of peanut butter on both slices of the bread, and a generous slathering of jelly.  I’m a grape or raspberry fan myself. 

So, let’s get under the covers:

  • “Masters of War”                       Pearl Jam
    • Original Artist                   Bob Dylan
  • “War Pigs”                                  Faith No More
    • Original Artist                   Black Sabbath
  • “Hurt”                                          Johnny Cash
    • Original Artist                   Nine Inch Nails
  • “Hard to Handle”                        The Black Crowes
    • Original Artist                   Ottis Redding
  • “Chimes of Freedom”                 Bruce Springsteen
    • Original Artist                   Bob Dylan
  • “Cortez the Killer”                      The Dave Matthews Band
    • Original Artist                   Neil Young
  • “Billie Jean”                                 Chris Cornell
    • Original Artist                   Michael Jackson
  • “Paradise”                                   Pat Green
    • Original Artist                   John Prine
  • “Hard Sun”                                 Eddie Vedder
    • Original Artist                   Indio
  • “Play it All Night Long”             Drive-By Truckers
    • Original Artist                   Warren Zevon
  • “Climbing up the Walls”            Erin Ivey
    • Original Artist                   Radiohead
  • “Rocket Man”                             My Morning Jacket
    • Original Artist                   Elton John
  • “Such Great Heights”                 Iron & Wine
    • Original Artist                   The Postal Service
  • “Hallelujah”                                 Jeff Buckley
    • Original Artist                   Leonard Cohe
  • “Little Wing”                               Stevie Ray Vaughan
    • Original Artist                   Jimi Hendrix
  • “Lungs”                                       Lyle Lovett
    • Original Artist                   Townes Van Zandt
  • “Breadfan”                                  Metallica
    • Original Artist                   Budgie
  • “Badfish”                                     Jack Johnson
    • Original Artist                   Sublime
  • “Hey Ya”                                     Obadiah Parker
    • Original Artist                   Outkast
  • Love Reign O’er Me                   Pearl Jam
    • Original Artist                   The Who
  • “The Ghost of Tom Joad”          Rage Against the Machine
    • Original Artist                   Bruce Springsteen
  • “Levelland”                                 Robert Earl Keen
    • Original Artist                   James McMurtry
  • I’ve Got to Know                         Son Volt
    • Original Artist                   Woody Guthrie
  • “Signs”                                         Tesla
    • Original Artist                   “Five Man Electrical Band
  • “Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters”   Pat Green
    • Original Artist                   Walt Wilkins

So, now that I have lit the candle of thought of great cover songs; let me know some of your favorites.

Great music awaits!