I found this sweet commercial from the BBC featuring Elvis and his backing band. Well, of course these musicans never played together. But, it makes for one heck of a commercial! If you were to make a commercial like this, who would be in the band?
David Jacobs-Strain is only 22 years old. Look at his baby faced picture and wonder, “what does he know about the blues?” Then listen to some of his music and all that trepidation will dissipate. As a professional musician since before graduating high school, Jacobs-Strain has been making a name for himself in the blues. He already has an impressive number of recordings and has toured extensively. By drawing from a catalog of traditional blues songs as well as creating his own, David Jacobs-Strain understands the feel, sound, and style of the early blues greats. Check out his latest album Ocean Or A Teardrop including this mp3 stream of the title track. When I saw David Jacobs-Strain perform last summer, the woman next to me gasped “wow, that kid is crazy good!” I’d have to agree.
I get a lot of emails from people telling me to check out specific artists (which I always explore *hint* *hint*). One such email was about an artist named Dan Reeder and I am forever grateful for this tip.
Reeder, like other great song-smiths has that je ne sais quoi. Describing what makes one singer-songwriter great and another feel like he or she is going through the motions is not easily articulated. Authentic, unpretentious, and uninhibited are some of the qualities of his music. It reminds me of Woody Guthrie, John Prine, and early Americana music by the likes of Doc Watson and The Carter Family, but regardless it feels unique, though it draws on musical tradition.
In addition to the usual playing of instruments and writing of songs, Reeder makes his own instruments such as this guitar and even harmonizes with himself. Reeder’s newest album, entitled Sweetheart, feels more polished than his album Dan Reeder (Self Titled). Though I prefer the guitar mastery on the new album to the minimalism on the first, the lyrics in the first album are superior (and they are sometimes hilarious). It would be tough to choose one album over the other; they feel like a perfect set. I’d recommend both albums highly.
Here is a free mp3 of one of my favorite songs on the new album entitled I drink Beer. Additionally, here is a video of Reeder’s song Waiting for My Cappuccino. Though it may seem like it is only a sound clip, the video actually includes the entire song.
A note of caution: though this music is folk/alt-country/blues, there are “colorful” lyrics that are very much not politically correct. A parental advisory label appears on both of his albums.
Opening bands have always had it rough. Who wants to hear the opening band? Not me! (Well, that is usually). When I went to see Bob Dylan at a recent concert, Junior Brown was the opening act. He was great. A mix between Buddy Holly’s rockabilly and Johnny Cash‘s country roots. He plays an instrument he invented which combines a 6-string guitar on one neck and a steel guitar on the other (he calls it a “guit-steel”). This is no gimmick. Brown moves so seamlessly between the different parts of his instrument to create his unique sound.
Here are some videos worth checking out:
If these videos whet your appetite, pick up a copy of Junior Brown’s Greatest HIts for more great music.
I enjoy when people say “How come Lost Melodies hasn’t featured ____.” This song is one of those recommendations. I had never heard the song “Aloha Friday,” not being from Hawaii. But apparently, this is quite a popular tune to hear on Friday on the radio. Here’s the Hook for your listening pleasure. I’m sure you’ll be humming it all afternoon. Aloha!
One of my favorite Dylan albums is Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. I recently came across out takes from these sessions, which I had to share! Also, I have had a couple of friendly arguments with friends about Dylan. Here are the two questions and my take on it, feel free to let me know what you think.
1. Is Dylan “folk”? My answer is no. He draws on his folk roots. But has long abandoned the genre of being strictly a folk artist. You could even go as far as saying that that Dylan is rock artist; you are not being sacrilegious. My friends seem to think that Dylan is a folk artist. Thoughts?
2. Is Bob Dylan Hippie music? Again, my answer is no. There may be some Hippies who enjoy Dylan’s music, but Dylan can’t be considered Hippie music as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Phish etc. could. Again, thoughts?