April 2015 Archives

LP Review: The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings

New vinyl box set commemorates the 40th anniversary of the pairing of these two musical giants.
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Forty years ago, two giants of American music collided when Tony Bennett and the late virtuoso jazz pianist Bill Evans decided to make music together. Remarkably, the pair didn't even have a song list in mind when they got together, Rather, Bennett would call out a number and Evans would approve or disapprove and they'd work out arrangements from there. The results were an embarrassment of riches. 1975's The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album and its follow-up, Together Again, showcase two masters of their craft on top of their games. Bennett is in strong voice throughout and is matched note for

DeepSoul: Barbara Lynn - "You'll Lose A Good Thing"

The singer and lead guitarist kicks off DeepSoul's salute to pioneering female artists in R&B.
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This week's DeepSoul begins a three-column series on pioneering women in R&B, figures who deserve more attention for their roles in early soul and rock. Kicking off this salute to influential female artists is Barbara Lynn, whose 1962 hit "You'll Lose A Good Thing" introduced the public to a new kind of female artist: one who writes her own material and plays lead guitar. Born in Texas in 1942, Lynn first learned piano before falling under the spell of Elvis Presley, according to AllMusic. Switching to guitar, she formed her first band in junior high, Bobbie Lynn and the Idols.

Listful Thinking: Top 5 Weezer Songs

In which our hero slices five gems from the career of the mighty, mighty Weezer!
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We travel to the wonderful world of Weezer for our latest edition of Listful Thinking. Condensing nine albums and two decades of music into a Top 5 was no easy task. I'm still wrestling with my choices and confess this list could look different if I revisited it next week or I might actually come back with the same five. So here they are, today's Top 5 Weezer songs: "My Name Is Jonas" - One of the finest power pop compositions of the '90s. I love the fleeting acoustic noodling that is pummeled by a fuzzed riff that later becomes

Living With Ghosts - Traveling Alone

In which our hero considers the prospect of living alone...
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It's a Jason Isbell day on Hathaway's iPod as I lament getting shut out of his four-night run at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. I'm disappointed but am wondering if it's just as well. I cannot be held responsible for the possible epic come part likely to happen should he choose to play "Songs That She Sang In The Shower." That's the power of a life's soundtrack, dear readers. The only songs worth remembering are the ones that tell your story, describe your hopes and dreams, or take you revive those most important moments of your life. Jason's Southeastern record stands

Listful Thinking: Top 5 Toad The Wet Sprocket Songs

In which our hero selects his Top 5 Toad The Wet Sprocket songs...
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I've been pleased by the response to my Listful Thinking series by friends and readers. I've gotten more comments on these than many other pieces I've written and I'm getting suggestions on bands and themes to consider for future editions, such as Toad The Wet Sprocket. Ahh, Toad, we do go back a long time and have traveled many, many miles. We traveled many miles in the city of Atlanta to see one of your reunion shows. Oh, Atlanta is not far from Huntsville but we spent untold hours lost trying to find the venue and again trying to find

DeepSoul Special Edition: Percy Sledge - "When A Man Loves A Woman"

The Southern soul legend's recent death invites reflection on his achievements and vast influence, all encapsulated in one famous song.
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The soul world lost another luminary on April 14 when Percy Sledge, the singer behind the classic ballad "When A Man Loves A Woman," passed away in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His no-holds-barred singing style graced 1960s singles such as "Take Time to Know Her," "Warm and Tender Love," and "It Tears Me Up." Yet his legacy was sealed in 1966 when he released "When A Man Loves A Woman," a massive hit that topped the R&B and pop charts for several weeks. Born in Leighton, Alabama in 1940, Sledge grew up honing his singing skills. During his early twenties he

DeepSoul: Larry Williams - "Slow Down"

This late 1950s R&B singer wrote some of rock's earliest--and still stellar--singles.
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Larry Williams may not be a household name, but he is responsible for some of rock and roll's earliest--and still relevant--hits. "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," "Bonie Maronie," and "Short Fat Fannie" all came from the pen of the raucous singer and pianist. Released between 1957-1959, his singles attracted the attention of British Invasion artists the Who, the Shadows, the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and most famously the Beatles. John Lennon, an avowed Williams fan, imitated his shouting on covers of "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" and "Slow Down," effectively reintroducing the artist to American audiences in the mid-1960s. "Slow Down," a Little Richard-meets-Fats

Listful Thinking: Top 5 Morphine Songs

The best from a unique band whose run ended prematurely...
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u·nique: yo͞oˈnēk/ adjective 1. being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else. A puppy is kicked every time someone modifies the word "unique." It's a binary state, like pregnancy (not that I have much experience). You either are or you aren't. Morphine is and it's only one of the many reasons I cherish this band. There are many ways a band could hope to achieve the noirish, nocturnal, narcotic sound that is Morphine but I've never heard a band take this approach. Who forms a rock band and says, "Yeah, we're not going to have any guitars"? Mark

Living With Ghosts: When Your Number Isn't Up...

...in which our hero wonders if he's outlived his usefulness and ponders what to do about it...
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...When the sun is finally going down And you're overdue to follow But you're still above the ground... I have to start this out with the first time I heard this song. Mark Lanegan has spent more time at the top of my Favorite Aritsts list than just about anyone. He's one of my favorite vocalists and over the years but I didn't hear him the first time I listened to "When Your Number Isn't Up" but rather superimposed the timeless voice of Johnny Cash. It's such a shame to me Cash didn't live long enough to take a

Dillon Hodges Unveils New Project firekid, First Single "Magic Mountain"

Dillon Hodges takes his music in a bold new direction...
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We should forgive longtime Dillon Hodges listeners if it takes them a moment to adjust to the departure that is his latest musical brainchild, firekid. He establishes himself as an emerging singer/songwriter with Rumspringa, having already proven himself one of the elite flat pick guitarists of his generation, and immediately reinvents himself. You have to give him points for boldness and with the first single from the forthcoming record "Magic Mountain," you have to give him points for knowing exactly what the hell he was doing. It's likely others have tried it but it's not obvious for a roots-oriented

Blu-ray review: Daryl Hall and John Oates - Live in Dublin

Pop duo makes its first-ever trip to Dublin.
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Hall & Oates have been called the most successful duo of the rock era by Billboard magazine. With a career spanning more than 40 years, seven platinum albums and six number one singles, it's easy to see why. Their success has enabled them to play many places but, until 2014, they had never played Dublin, Ireland. That changed on July 15, 2014, when the duo performed at the Olympia Theatre. The performance was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray Daryl Hall and John Oates - Live in Dublin. While this review is for the Blu-ray, the DVD edition also includes

Listful Thinking: Top 5 Guster Songs

In which our hero revisits a major Fanboy crush and agonizes over his Top 5 Guster songs...
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I had a Fanboy obsession with Guster with the release of their 2006 LP Ganging Up On The Sun. For at least a year, I listened obsessively to them and championed their cause with various internet outlets of my writing past (some of my best and some of my most embarrassing output). I don't have the same religious fervor I did in 2006 but they remain a consistent part of my musical diet and vital part of my life's soundtrack. Gusterhhoids will have their pitchforks and torches out when they notice I have nothing from Lost & Gone Forever on