In one of the more bizarre turns in music history it seems the thing for aging rock stars to do is host their own radio show. Steven Van Zandt has one, as does Alice Cooper. You can find Bob Dylan on XM radio, Tom Petty too. Roger McGuinn runs his own MP3 blog talking about old folk music, amongst other things. I suppose in some ways it makes sense, these guys live and breathe music. They've made their own, of course, but they are steeped in the history of rock and roll (well I don't know how steeped Mr. Cooper is, but his radio show is actually kind of fun) so why shouldn't they spend their twilight years spinning the tunes they love and blathering about it for all the world to hear?
I know I'd rather listen to Bob Dylan tie together the most random of songs via some obscure theme or Little Stevie wax poetic about the great garage bands of his day than hear some obnoxious local dude talk over the same handful of tracks that gets played on every classic rock station in the country.
Until just today I didn't actually know Tom Petty had a show. But he does, and it runs every Thursday on XM's Deep Tracks channel. He calls the show "Buried Treasure" and seems to spend songs that mean something personal to him that don't regularly see the light of day on the radio. Just looking at the track list on this 30 song compilation from his show finds all sorts of interesting folks like Wanda Jackson, Otis Rush, Elmore James, and Howlin' Wolf to folks I've never heard of like Lowell Fulson, Huey Piano Smith and Little Eva, but that only makes me more interested.
What better way to learn your musical history than to listen to the songs your favorite artists dig? That's why Tom Petty's Peculiar Picks is my Pick of the Week. I can't wait to dig in.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Woodstock Sessions, Vol. 2 - Medeski Martin & Wood + Nels Cline: Right after Jerry Garcia died and the Grateful Dead broke up there was this scrambling across the scene to find a replacement band for the Dead. Phish was the obvious front runner, but lots of heads (including myself) never quite warmed up to them. Medeski Martin + Wood opened for Phish a lot in those days and I kept hearing their name bantered about, but honestly I never really gave them a chance. No reason for that other than I was still waste deep in Dead bootlegs to really care who else might be out there. I've heard bits and pieces of their music since then, and dug it, but have yet to immerse myself in anything they've done.
Nels Cline is known as the ridiculously talented guitarist for Wilco but he's got his own side projects in which he makes music to far out for even Jeff Tweedy and co. Again I've never really listened to that stuff all that much. Combine these two groups and I'm fascinated by what they can produce.
Vaudeville Etiquette - Debutantes & Dealers: Seattle-based folk band release their debut LP via producer Barrett Martin's (Screaming Trees, Mad Season, Tuatara) Sunyatta label. Our "fearless leader" Josh Hathaway is all over this record. Check out his review and this performance of the band performing on Seattle TV.
Peter Rowan's Twang an' Groove Vol. 1 - Peter Rowan: Rowan is a legend in the realm of bluegrass and new grass. Now he's formed a different sort of band that's being labeled as the sound where rhythm an blues meets reggae at an all day bluegrass picking' party. That's good enough to make me interested.
The Both - Aimee Mann and Ted Leo: Don't know Mr. Leo, but I like Mann all right.
Beauty Is - Ray Price: The late velvety voice sent himself off with one final album that features duets with Martina McBride and Vince Gill.