Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The SteelDrivers - Reckless

I wrote about this album back a few weeks.  I wanted to really digest it before I talked about it in any detail.  I really loved their debut from 2008 and it was something that got me more interested in bluegrass.  This wasn't old school by any stretch of the imagination.  I was really bummed out to learn that vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Chris Stapleton was leaving the band but was thrilled to find out that he is on the new album so the original lineup is in tact for one more record.  Good thing for all of us as this is a tremendous record.  Sorry that I am acting like a fan boy but I love this one.

As good as their debut was, Reckless is even better.  The soul that you hear coming out of the speakers is so instantly attention grabbing that you can't help but turn it up.  These 5 fine musicians and singers are just clicking on all cylinders on this release from the first track to the last. 

On "Where Rainbows Never Die" an old man reflects on what was as he nears the end of his life...

I'm and old man now, I can't do nothin'
Young folks don't pay me no mind
But in my day I sure was something
Before I felt the heavy hands of time

I may be an Oldrockr and this is just starting to hit home for me as I approach my 50's but you gotta hear the song. 

Where Rainbows Never Die

Check out The Price which rages against the lack of justice in 2010...

Mercy ain't got no justice
Justice got a rag tied round her eyes
Oughta be tears rollin' down her face
At the blind tryin' to lead the blind
Rich man rolls the dice
Poor man pays the price

The Price

This album has one standout after another.  Bluegrass for all of us.  I wish the band luck with their new singer and I hope Chris Stapleton releases a solo record down the line.  Just a great, great release.  Check out a few more tracks and then go buy the damn thing!

Angel of the Night

Dirt Road Gypsies - Jump on the Wagon

I like country music.  Pretty much all types from Nashville to Texas to Bakersfield.  What I don't like is this recent saturation of pop music that pretends to be country.  Sorry Idol losers, you ain't cuttin' it.  Taylor Swift?  Time to go back to class.  Rascal Flatts?  Hair gel and spiky hair are so out.  Time to make some real country music. 

The Dirt Road Gypsies out of Dallas, Texas have made themselves a good 'ol country record.  If I lived down there with y'all I be out in some Honky Tonk looking to hear these guys live.  This record is as good as anything I've heard lately out of Nashville.  Just check out the first single with Deryl Dodd "I'm So Out Of Style".  Boots are gonna be out on the dance floor for this one folks.  Good time country music that goes down smooth.  Makes me want a Shiner Bock (which I can't get in NY)!

There's a bunch of cuts that are great.  Some rockers, some slow ones, even a little bit of King George sound.  This is good stuff my friends so turn off CMT and grab this one along with a beer.  Even better, dance your significant other once around the house.  Good times for sure.

Crazy's All They Got

I'm So Out Of Style

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sam Bush

Sam Bush has been playing the hell out of the mandolin for over 30 years, first as a member of New Grass Revival and then as a solo artist.  Sam was my introduction to Bluegrass after discovering how great this stuff is I haven't turned back.  What I have for you is a collection of 4 high quality soundboards.  All of these were originally on bt.etree.org at some point (a great place to get shows by artists that are taper friendly.
The mp3's are tagged with song titles, etc. 

1996-07-06  High Sierra
2002-01-19  Knoxville, TN
2005-08-13  Targhee
2008-09-12  South Carolina

Time to get on that 'ol bluegrass train...

Gov't Mule - Irving Plaza 1998

I've decided to re-up a lot of my old live shows that I had posted on a previous incarnation of this blog.  Sort of share the love type of thing.  The first is the best show I ever say Gov't Mule play.  This one was way back in 1998 and it is an absolute killer!  As much as I like them, there hasn't been a really good ass-kicking since Woody passed.  Always good, never the same.  Anyway, here is a really great audience recording.  Check it out here.

Set: Rocking Horse > Temporary Saint > Thorazine Shuffle, No Need To Suffer, Larger Than Life > She Said, She Said > Tomorrow Never Knows jam, Wandering Child, Kind Of Bird, Towering Fool > Pygmy Twylyte > Blind Man In The Dark > Drums > Blind Man In The Dark, Mule
Encore: Born Under A Bad Sign *, Pass The Peas **, Lively Up Yourself **, Maggot Brain **+> Cortez The Killer **
Setlist Notes: * Danny Louis on keyboards; ** Bernie Worrell on keyboards; + 1st time played

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Medicine Bluff

Medicine Bluff is a trio out of Oklahoma playing what can best be described as an updated take on Southern Rock.  They may be part of the current Red Dirt Scene, but this music is firmly grounded in that 70's big guitar south of the Mason-Dixon line sound.  I hear a bit of Blackfoot and even some Molly Hatchet sound in here.  It is most definitely rock music with touch of country all mixed up into a very listenable sound.  Like those hard charging guitar solos?  Check this one out.  In particular I really liked the opening and closing tracks "In My Arms Again" and "Outlaw".  "200 Miles" is another great track with some very tasty guitar.

This one really brought back another time for me.  It may be too country for rock fans and too rock for country fans, but for those who grew up back in the day it sure as hell can fire you up.  I think I need a beer and another listen.  Cranking Les Paul's anyone?

In My Arms Again


Friday, September 24, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Neil Young - Le Noise

A new Neil Young, produced by Daniel Lanois, drops Sept. 28th.  A new Neil Young is always an iffy proposition.  I love Neil Young, but with a few exceptions (Freedom, Harvest Moon), I really don't love any record he's made since Rust Never Sleeps.  I keep buying them and I keep on ending up disappointed.  He's earned the right to be eclectic but more often than not his records come off as poorly thought out.  Some great tracks, sure, but great albums have been a bit scarce of late.

That said, I do like the new album Le Noise.  It's a solo record in the truest sense but it sure ain't acoustic.  If you're looking for Harvest part 3 move on.  In fact this is closer to the rawest sounding Crazy Horse that you can remember.  The part you need to get over is that it is just him, no band.

So is this any good, actually yes it is.  In some spots it is very good.  There's nothing gimmicky here, just Neil and the songs.  I think that actually pays off most of the time.  Sign of Love, Walk With Me and Angry World are early standouts for me and the whole album is a good listen.  What I miss is the band.  These songs are pretty high quality-wise and I can't help but think how this would all be as a Crazy Horse record.  Oh well, I should be happy for what we have.  Neil Young fans need to grab this one.

Daniel Lanois discusses the making of Le Noise

Angry World

Love and War

Sign of Love

Neil Young's Le Noise comes out September 28th.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Buddy Guy - Stone Crazy!

I was reading through the latest Classic Rock the other day and in an article about the 50 best blues rock albums I saw 2 that I was not familiar with .  One was Stone Crazy! and the other was Freddie King's Burglar (more on that one at a later date).  Like many others of my generations I migrated to blues from rock.  My first serious exposure to Buddy Guy was Damn Right I Got the Blues way back in 1991.  I was hooked.  I have grabbed most of what I could find from his later day releases back through the Vanguard and Chess recordings.  Stone Crazy! is one I missed.  Let me tell you folks this is one not to miss.

Stone Crazy! (1981) is Buddy Guy all jacked up to 10.  The tracks are long, all but one over 5 minutes, and filled with his incredible guitar.  I think after playing it a bunch that it is one of his strongest collections.  If you don't dig the fiery Buddy then stay away.  The whole album has a very live feel to it and the performances are just incredible.  I Smell a Rat, You Been Gone Too Long, and Outskirts of Town are standouts, but there isn't a weak track in the bunch.  Check it out, it will be worth the effort...

I Smell A Rat

Friday, September 10, 2010

Saturday Night Jazz

I'm kind of in a jazz frame of mind this evening and I was trolling the net for some tasty treats.  Check these out.

Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, and Paco De Lucia

Return To Forever - Romantic Warrior

Larry Carlton & Tak Matsumoto - Jazzy Bullets

John Coltrane - My Favorite Things

Miles & Coltrane - So What

Sonny Rollins - St. Thomas

John McLaughlin - Maharina

Enjoy the evening!

Stream the Robert Plant Album

Black Country Communion - The Great Divide

I am very much looking forward to this...

Frankie Miller - The Rock

I was reading some posts the other day on Burning Wood and came across Sal's post about artist's missed. I had never heard of Frankie Miller but the tracks he provided sure did get my attention. I heard some Delbert McClinton and a little CCR. I have since gotten my hands on a few of his older albums. I highly recommend both The Rock and Full House, both of which are available for download on Amazon. I don't know how I missed out on him all these years as did all of my "music friends". He made some truly great music in the early to mid 1970's. Check some of it out.

Here's Frankie Miller and Rory Gallagher

Poor Man's Poison

Poor Man's Poison are a group of musical friends from California.  They play acoustic music on traditional bluegrass instruments but this is far from traditional sounding.  You get all kinds of influences from folk to reggae in their style.  Think of perhaps Jack Johnson having grown up in Appalachia instead of Hawaii.  I mean this in a really good way.  There is a sweet, laid-back vibe to this record.  Tight harmonies and great playing infuse the songs with such a good feeling.

You can hear their influences throughout the album, proudly worn on their sleeves.  Walkin' owes more than a small debt to Bob Marley, go figure that reggae-bluegrass works and works well.  The lead track At The Winds Will is a standout that pretty much sums up the many talents of this band:  good songs with great harmonies played extremely well.  Slow Down is another track I really liked.  The advice of the band to stop and smell the roses is driven home by a tune that just gets you to downshift a little and catch your breath.  Greedy Man switches things up and is an indictment of our less than charitable sides.  The only miss for me was Christmas Beers which must come off great live but sees to me to be a bit of a throw away.

As the summer ends and we all head back to work or school you would do yourself a solid if you grab this one.  I have a feeling I will be playing it quite a bit.  You can grab this one here.  I suggest that you do.

At The Winds Will

Slow Down

Greedy Man

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Rubber Knife Gang - Drivin' On

I've recently been added to the ReviewShine roster of bloggers and I had no idea what to expect.  ReviewShine connects artists and bloggers so that the music can get from point A to point B with as little effort as possible for all involved.  It works great and I have already had several titles submitted for me to review.  What I didn't expect was how good the music would be.  I am an NY guy with a love of all things Americana:  country, roots, bluegrass...it all goes down so smooth for me.  I am thinking that this is going to be a very interesting ride with ReviewShine.  I will try to write about as many records as I can but I want to make sure each gets its fair share of listens.  So here I go with the first one to catch my ear.

The Rubber Knife Gang is a bluegrass outfit out of southwestern Ohio.  Their second effort, Drivin' On, is an upbeat little affair that has put a smile on my face all day.  "Little Affair" isn't really a great description.  This album has all the feel of a comfortable day out on the porch, kicking back with an ice-cold beverage.  It's all kinds of good. 

Henry Becker (guitar), John Oaks (upright bass and banjo) and Todd Wilson (mandolin) have put together a great example of what modern bluegrass can be.  I have to let you know that I am no purist.  I come to bluegrass via Jerry Garcia and David Grisman and my hippy loving roots.  I have been slowly expanding over the years and I absolutely love groups like the Infamous Stringdusters, the SteelDrivers, Greensky Bluegrass and so many others.  Time to now add the Rubber Knife Gang to the list.  I really do like this album quite a bit.

The album kicks off with the very upbeat title track.  Great pickin' by Henry and Todd with the guitar and mandolin playing off each other and some great harmony vocals.  "She's My Only One" starts off with some nice banjo courtesy of John.  Travelin' Prayer sounded so familiar but I couldn't quite put my finger on where I heard it before...Billy Joel!?!  A surprise and another really good track.  Some bluegrass, some rootsy acoustic numbers, influenced by many but beholden to no one "sound". 

The Rubber Knife Gang has it's heart in bluegrass but the approach firmly rooted in the contemporary Americana sound.  If you like any of the artists I mentioned or if you just like some fine picking check out The Rubber Knife Gang...you won't be disappointed.

Drivin' On

Monday, September 6, 2010

Joe Bonamassa - Unplugged at Looney Tunes

I may not be the original Joe Bonamassa fan, but I do go way back.  I was working at Looney Tunes back a long ways and I remember getting "A New Day Yesterday" as a promo long before it was released.  I saw Joe open for Indigenous at the old Wetlands in NYC when nobody showed up early for the opener.  I am a fan.  In fact blues rock is my thing (among other "things") and has been for as long as I can remember.  Blues Rock - never in style and never out of style!

What I have here for you guys is a live acoustic set recorded at Looney Tunes back in what I remember to be 2001.  This was released as a freebie from CIMS as a value added piece for one of his later cd's.  The sound is pretty darn good and the performance is great.  Joe was late getting there and had to rush out for a show that night (which was great) opening for Johnny Winter.  Excellent day of music.

I haven't worked at Looney Tunes in years but this will always be one of my favorite in-stores.  I posted a moe acoustic performance a while back and I have a stellar Warren Haynes coming soon.

Joe Bonamassa
Unplugged at Looney Tunes

So, It's Like That
Miss You, Hate You
Cradle Rock
Waiting For Me

You can download the show here.

Here's the audio for the first Black Country Communion CD from Joe, Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinean

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ryan Bingham - Junky Star

The new release from Ryan Bingham, "Junky Star" came out this past Tuesday.  I've played it a couple of times and damn if it don't sound like Ryan Bingham.  His voice sounds so much more road worn than his age.  I mean that in a really good way.

A few years back he released the excellent Mescalito which featured the track "Southside of Heaven" which is a killer and had me hooked from the get go.

Last year Ryan wrote and performed the Oscar winning song "The Weary Kind". I had originally lumped him in with a bunch of other alt-country, Texas type artists but his work on the soundtrack for Crazy Heart signaled much more depth. I began to think he might be in it for the long haul

Now comes Junky Star. I may need to really play it a few more times but initial thoughts are most definitely positive. The record has a nice, comfortable acoustic sound, but the lyrics bite. Depression is a great example of how far he has come as a songwriter. This tackles some tough territory and his raspy vocals sound like they carry the dirt straight out of the dust bowl.

Hallelujah is an ominous murder ballad from the point of view of the victim. This is not breezy pop music folks. Death and pain make more than a few appearance on the album.

Ryan Bingham continues to grow and refine his songwriting. He keeps getting better and has one of the most emotional (to me) vocals out there. Check our Junky Stary, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Chris Robinson Speaks the Truth

From Nightwatcher's House of Rock...

Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson had harsh words for Taylor Swift in an interview with Nylon Guys magazine.

Robinson, said of Swift's music: "I find it embarrassing that adults are like, 'Taylor Swift is very talented.' She's not. She might be cute, but she's horrible," he told the magazine.

He then ranted about packaged artists.

'They have stylists who dress them, they make records with producers who play a chord into the computer and it all comes out the same...When you have computers doing it all for you...there's no individuality. Singing isn't always about being on key; it's about emotionality.'

The Black Crowes brand new double album 'Croweology' was released August 3rd via Megaforce Records.

I agree...

Chris Robinson speaks the truth.  I wish more people would listen.  Taylor Swift is emblamatic of the problems that exist with the music industry.  Cute is not sufficient.  I scratch my head and wonder how adults can think this crap is good.  Little girls singing for little girls.  She's no different than Justin Bieber or the Jonas Brothers.  I have friends who claim to be grown-ups who like this shit.  For the life of me I can't figure it out.

Here's some real music from the Black Crowes. Real music played by real musicians.  No Autotune here folks.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cuff the Duke - Way Down Here

Cuff the Duke, out of Toronto, are a band that brings back that sound of Laurel Canyon back in the 70's but with an indie update.  Sure they are influenced by the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Tom Petty and others but they bring an updated sensibility that makes the music very much of the here and now.

The opening track, You Were Right, definitely brings to mind After the Gold Rush era Neil Young.  It's all delicate acoustic guitars and harmonies.  Rocking Chair sets that nice little vibe with a little pedal steel weaving its way through the melody.  Like the Morning is not all that different from anything the National has recorded. 

You play this one a few times and it grows on you.  It's a shame that bands like this don't get more attention.  We could use a lot more of this and a whole lot less of what is being dished out by the major labels.  Good stuff.  You can download it at Amazon.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

OK, The Allman Brothers Band

Ok, the Allman Brothers Band.... from Brett Underhill on Vimeo.

This is pretty cool.  I love the Brothers and wish Gregg all the best as he recovers, but with the exception of the 40th anniversary Beacon shows I think they have gotten "tired".  It might be time to pack in in with the live shows.  The current state of the live shows does nothing however to diminish the talent and influence that they have had over all these year..

Heart - Acoustic Set in TriBeCa

Heart stopped by the PC Richard Theater in TriBeCa last night to promote their new CD Red Velvet Car. Actually Ann & Nancy Wilson did along with their guitar player. Jim Kerr, morning man on Q104.3, hosted a brief Q&A and then they did a short 6 song acoustic set.

Dog & Butterfly
Hey You
Crazy on You
Dreamboat Annie

I'm not a big fan, casual yes huge fan no, but I do have to say it was an enjoyable although brief set. Ann Wilson still belts it out even with some throat issues bothering her. Nancy is still, well Nancy. If you've seen them before you know. There are still not that many female guitar players out there who are front & center and while she is not "great" she is more than capable. The crowd ate it up as the 200 in attendance were truly the devoted. I myself was a +1.

The PC Richard Theater is more like a studio that Clearchannel uses to record things for their outlets including iheartradio.com that features streams and audio. Check out a bit from last night here.