Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 - Some Great Songs

Here a little mix for y'all of some of my favorite songs from the past year.  There were tons of great songs but these stand out for me for one reason or another.  Most are some kind of alt-country/Americana/whatever the hell it's called now.  All are really good. 

1.  Jackson, Don't You Worry - Two Cow Garage
2.  Down In The Bowery - Alejandro Escovedo
3.  The Weary Kind - Ryan Bingham
4.  Interstate - Randy Rogers Band
5.  Lonely Is A Town - Glossary
6.  Bring It On - The Gaslight Anthem
7.  Tragedy - Peter Wolf & Shelby Lynne
8.  Circles Around Me - Sam Bush
9.  Messenger - Joe Pug
10.  I Was A Photograph - Kasey Anderson
11.  Trippin' On Down - The Brothers Comatose
12.  The Cave - Mumford & Sons
13.  Where Rainbows Never Die - The SteelDrivers
14.  Forty Watt Moon - Mat D.

As always, if you like what you hear please support the artist.  Buy some music or merch, see a show, do something in return for all of the great music these talented artists make.  You can download the mix here.

Enjoy the rest of the Holiday Season and be safe.

Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 - The Year In Concerts

I made it to 30 shows this year which is less than usual in recent years.  I think it might be even less this year.  I love music, especially good live music, but it is getting tougher and tougher to get out during the week.  I am feeling the years my friends and getting up for work is harder to do when you get home from a show after midnight.  That said it will be hard to say no too often and the quality of live music is exceptional in the NYC area (I am out on the 'burbs of Long Island but only a train ride away).  Local venues also increasingly get shows I like with the Boulton Center a favorite venue (about 250 seats).  I also am looking forward to a summer of festivals.

So here goes a recap of 2010 shows I made it to.

Cheap Trick - Irving Plaza
I just don't get their appeal.  I think I was the only one there who was bored out of their mind.  This was payback for dragging a friend to see Railroad Earth.

Eric Clapton & Jeff Beck - MSG
I ended up somewhat disappointed by this one.  The pieces were better than the whole.  Jeff Beck is brilliant but not always easy to listen to.  Eric Clapton is an all time fave. Together their styles just did not quite mesh.

Railroad Earth - Boulton Center (Also in October)
My favorite band on the jam scene.  Great musician who make the most joyful sounds.  Took the wife and she loved it.

Pat Green - Terminal 5
Great show at the shittiest venue in NYC.  Texas Independence day celebration with the "biggest" act to come out of the red dirt scene.  Tons of fun and a long night of music.

Sam Bush - BB King's
My first time seeing Sam.  Sam was my starting point in my journey into bluegrass.  What a great show and easily one of the years highlights.  I hope to see him at a couple of festivals this summer.

Lucero - Music Hall of Willaimsburg
I love Lucero, but live (at least on this night) Ben Nichols was too sloppy.  I left a bit bummed out although they do redeem themselves live later on in the year.

Pat Travers - BB King's (also in December)
PT is one of my favorites from back in the day.  Loud, ballsy, unapologetic rock & roll.

moe. - Theater at Westbury
Great show but a crappy crowd.  I love many of the "jam bands" but the crowd is growing increasingly annoying.  I know you are all hippy-fucking-dippy but I don't have any free tickets, I don't want to buy your nitrous balloons and no I am not enjoying you trying to sit my seat when I go to get a beer.  Buy a ticket, pay attention to those around you and act like a civilized human being.  Oh yeah, take a shower sometimes the patchouli isn't covering anything up.

Hot Tuna & Steve Earle - Theater at Westbury
I only got to stay for Steve Earle.  Crappy week with a death in the family.  I should have stayed home.

Tommy Emmanuel - BB King's
This one was for my son.  He is an amazing player.  Not the best songwriter but he can play the guitar.

Widespread Panic - Radio City Music Hall
See moe. above only worse.

Rush - Jones Beach
For me this is strictly nostalgia.  I loved Rush in high school.  Now it can be a bit much.  I went to take my son but he is moving away from this kind of music so it will in all probability be my last time.

Willie Nelson & Levon Helm - Radio City Music Hall
An American institution and a music legend.  Enough said.

Gov't Mule - Theater at Westbury
I think I've seen them too many times.  I think a break is required.

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Jones Beach
Just sad.

Heart - PC Richards Theater
Freebies for a radio show.  5 acoustic songs.  Not half bad.

Jerry Jeff Walker - BB King's
Jerry Jeff solo and acoustic.  The Texas Troubadour was his usual self telling stories and singing his classics.

Gaslight Anthem - Radio City Music Hall
My favorite new band rocked it big time.  Long time fans were disappointed with the show.  If this was them a bit off then on must be a site to see (and hear).  These guys deserve to be huge.

The Subdudes - BB King's
I came late to the party with the Subdudes.  This is my second time seeing them and one of the best concerts of 2010.  I heard they are going on indefinite hiatus again which is a sad thing to hear.

Roger Waters - Nassau Coliseum & MSG
I felt obligated to go.  It was a HUGE show but not a concert in the traditional sense.  Also, the Wall is just not that good a record.

Nick Lowe - City Winery
I was hoping for more since he was touring with the full band.  I'm just not that big a fan of his output since the late 70's.  It didn't suck.

Social Distortion - Roseland Ballroom
Punk legends were a bit too polished in my opinion.  Openers Frank Turner and Lucero were both excellent on this night.

Richard Shindell - Boulton Center
My first time seeing him with a full band.  Great set from one of my favorites.  You should really check him out if you are a fan of modern folk.

Ian Anderson - Theater at Westbury
A friend won tickets.  It was...different.  I like old Jethro Tull as much as the next guy my age but most of the show was his solo material which is not so strong.  We did get all of side 1 of Thick as a Brick though.

Levon Helm - Beacon Theater
The voice is gone but you NEED to see him and the band while you can. A great night of music featuring some stellar musicians.

Chris Smither - Boulton Center
Just Chris and his guitar telling stories and singing songs.   A nice night of music.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - Best Buy Theater
We'll see.  The show is Thursday night.

So all in all a good year in live music.  I hope the great shows continue in 2011.

Infamous Stringdusters

From the folks over at Music Fog, here's the Infamous Stringdusters and Magic #9.  Warms you up on a cold friggin' mornin'!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours this holiday season!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 - A Great Year for Music

I was talking to one of my friends down at Looney Tunes the other day and I was saying what a good year it was for music, maybe not the popular hit crap, but music in general.  John went so far as to say that the past few years have made the past decade one of the best ever.  Being an Oldrockr from back in the day I don't know if I can go that far, but these past years have seen some great music being released, predominantly by independent labels and artists.

I love putting together these year end lists.  Like any true music geek I am constantly arranging lists in my mind.  Those characters in Hi Fidelity are just composites of all of us and our idiosyncrasies.  We organize and we make lists.  So here goes my year end Best of 2010 list.  These are in no particular order but all have become staples on the turntable or in my iPod.  Sorry record labels I don't even want CD's anymore.  So for better or worse  here we go....

Joe Pug - Messenger
A great album of modern folk by one of the up and coming young singer songwriters.  He reminds me a bit of Bob Dylan in the vocal department but there are worse comparisons that one can make. I've been playing this quite often lately   Not So Sure, The Sharpest Crown and Bury Me Far (From My Uniform) are several standouts among many.

Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
Young English guys pick up assorted Americana instruments and make a great big wonderful sound. The album sounds so familiar and at the same time fresh and exciting.  Little Lion Man may be the "hit" but the rest of the album, especially Caves, is just as good.  Banjos, mandolins, and acoustic guitars haven't sounded this good in years.

The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
The older I get the more bored I am by the Rock & Roll that is being released.  These boys from Jersey have made a classic.  A great album to crank up in the car from start to finish.  I hear the Springsteen influences (a good thing) but this is so much more.  I can't recommend it enough.  

Mat D. - Plank Road Drag
The internet has become the place for me to find new music.  I saw a video of Mat D singing Forty Watt Moon (one of favorite songs of the year) on another blog and immediately tracked down this album.  I think it was $1.88 on Aimie Street (I miss this site) and I would easily pay 10 times that.  A great, great record.

The SteelDrivers - Reckless
This is not only the best bluegrass release of 2010, it might be the best album of the year.  You can check my review out here.

The Fox Hunt - Long Way To Go
The Infamous Stringdusters - Things That Fly
Modern bluegrass has stretched the genre far beyond the traditional sounds.  This may piss off the traditionalists but it works so well for me.  I hope to see both of these acts at Grey Fox in July!

Otis Gibbs - Joe Hill's Ashes
For the second year in a row Otis Gibbs lands on my year end best of list.  Think Billy Bragg if he came from the midwest.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - I Learned The Hard Way
Real soul music that sounds just like it should.  A fine update for a genre that doesn't often fire me up.  This one does.

Randy Rogers Band - Burning the Day
The best country music isn't coming out of Nashville folks.  Texas is a might fine place to start looking for some quality country and the Randy Rogers Band delivers the goods once again.

Peter Wolf - Midnight Souvenirs
If this was only a 45 with the excellent Tragedy (featuring Shelby Lynne) it would be on this list.  Lucky for you and me it is so much more than that.  An excellent album by an oft overlooked talent.

Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone
Working with alt-country pioneer and Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples makes on of the best recordings of her career.  A unique voice and true talent.

Black Country Communion - Black Country Communion
All the excess of the 70's hard rock scene which in this case is a good thing.  Killer guitars, pounding drums and some great vocals.  I hate me for liking it but I can't help myself.

Kid Rock - Born Free
Kid Rock finally ditches his old persona and releases his inner Bob Seger.  Pure 70's retro good time music.  I love it.  Hipsters need not apply.  As for me I'll be playing this one all summer long...

Bruce Springsteen - The Promise
Bruce released the right album in 1978.  Darkness on the Edge of Town is his best work.  Period.  That said most artists would kill to release this much good music in the career.  And these are leftovers!  Buy the box set, it's worth it.

Best release of new versions of old songs:  The Black Crowes - Croweology
Best Concert: Sam Bush (BB Kings) and The Subdudes (BB Kings) a tie!
Best Box Set:  Bruce Springsteen - The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story
Best Reissue:  The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street

Here's to a Happy and Healthy 2011 that brings us all more great music!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Robin Trower - The Playful Heart

Robin Trower just keeps playing killer guitar.  This one features his road band on some more slow blues with a little introspection.  That and did I mention guitar!  Robin has lost nothing over the years.  In fact he plays with even more taste than ever.  Check him and the band out on tour and give a listen to some recent versions of his classics below.  You want a guitar hero, let me tell you kiddies Robin Trower is a certified monster...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Ain't Taylor Swift's Country

I am so sick of the shit comin' out of Nashville.  We need more real country music and less little girls singing about their fucking boyfriends.  It's supposed to be about the Honky Tonks not the mall folks.  Here's some real country music from some very un-CMT artists.

Hellbound Glory - Scumbag Country

Hank III - Country Heroes

Whitey Morgan & the 78's - Hard Scratch Pride

John Lennon - Thirty Years Gone

It's hard to believe it's been 30 years.  I was a freshman in college out in California when it happened.  I remember I was driving home in my car listening to the radio when I heard the news.  Just total shock.  Such a waste.  It's a tribute to the man that the music still matters all these years later to so many people.  Without John popular music would not be the same today.  Rest in peace.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Still More Free Music

There is so much great music being made today.  In fact 2010 has been a great year for music as has been the last few.  I was worried that as I got older the music would stop appealing to me.  Well the mainstream has but great music is thriving on the indie scene...and many bands are giving it away!  So if you like what you hear, go see the band if they make it to your area.

Arliss Nancy - Truckstop Roses
Somewhere between punk rock and alt-country but it definitely rocks hard.

Brett Detar - Bird in the Tangle
Some very nice singer-songwriter sounds here with some mournful pedal steel.  For fans of Americana and alt-country.

Free Music Alert - Joe Pug ep

I am a big fan of his most recent "Messenger".  If you sign up for the email list you get a free download of his "In the Meantime" ep.  Good stuff...check it out.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Feeling a Bit Irish

Kinda have that Irish feeling going today. It must be the rain...or the beer.

The Jayhawks Reunite

The classic Jayhawks lineup that produced Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass will be playing some club dates to promote the re-issues of these two classics in January.  New York and Chicago will each get two nights...the first will be Hollywood Town Hall and the second Tomorrow the Green Grass played in their entirety along with fan favorites.

I hate Webster Hall.  Probably more than Terminal 5 which is an atrocious venue.  I'm still going to the 1st night.  Hollywood Town Hall is one of my all time favorites.  The mix of alt-country and pop sensibilities is just so...perfect.  Both records are great, but this one wins out for me.  I personally can't wait.