“Maybe it’s been too long since rock ‘n’ roll turned you on. So pardon me, just let it set you free.” - Pardon Me
I’ve been traveling for work quite a bit lately. The bad news with that is that I don’t really buy new music – but the good news is I listen to stuff that I’ve neglected in the previous months. This week, I fell in love again with Jonathan Tyler and The Northern Lights. Their most recent album, Pardon Me,released a few months back and it fits in perfectly with what I’ve been listening to this year. I’ve featured a few bands with that dirty, southern rock sound (Dirty Guvs, J Roddy, HoneyChild) and JT&TNL hold their own with any of those guys. The Dallas-based band opens the disc with the album’s title track, and it serves as an ample introduction to the remainder of the album – the appetizer that could be eaten on its own, only to be followed by another dish, and another, and another. There are tracks on this album that are so good that many bands would have coasted by, knowing they have some sure-fire singles. You’ll find no fillers on this album. Not a single song that shouldn’t be there which is rather refreshing in the iTunes age. Some ballads are thrown in, almost to give Tyler some time to breathe, but I don’t think he needs it as he seems most comfortable when he lets loose. Don’t be surprised if you start hearing these guys on the radio soon, they’re marketable, they’re fresh and most importantly, they’re good. Pardon Me will most definitely be on the 2010 top 25 list.
“It’s the right time tonight, to put all my fears aside and keep them at distance for good. ‘Cause the one on my right, is here for a reason tonight” The Right Time
I make lists when it comes to music. Lists of my favorite songs, favorite voices, favorite lyrics. You get the point. Steven Fiore always makes the list. Doesn’t matter the topic, Fiore’s name is going to be on the list somewhere. Sometimes he records with a band and sometimes he’s all alone, but he’s always great. It’s difficult to write my favorite sad song (“You Can Always Come Home“) and my favorite song about a cat (“Oliver“) but Fiore pulls both off with alarming sincerity. Fiore’s spent considerable time in South Carolina and Massachusetts – and this shines through in what seems to be an autobiographical tale called “Boston.” The Carolinas have a great little music scene brewing, with the likes of Sequoyah Prep School, Austin Crane, The Apache Relay and Beta Radio (among many, many others) and Fiore has a sound that fits right in. He’s worked with Howie Day, Jason Castro and Jay Clifford in the past, and if he keeps this up, someday soon we’ll be talking about some new artist who has been lucky enough to work with Steven. He’s that good.
I love NPR. Love it. The one thing I need from them though, is more tiny desk concerts. If you’re unfamiliar, the fine folks at NPR have bands come in and literally perform at the desk of All Songs Considered host, Bob Boilen. They are always amazing – amazing may not even justify what these performances are in fact. The performances are stripped down and intimate with a level of vulnerability you just don’t get anywhere else. Some shows are available for audio download straight from the site, and all of them can be viewed from the site. My personal favorites are Tallest Man on Earth, Eef Barzelay and Lost in the Trees – but the real gem here is The Avett Brothers‘ visit to Boilen’s desk. Here’s a sample, and if this doesn’t leave you wanting more, I don’t know what else I can give you.
” It’s only Monday and I’m already laughing. Which is strange cause on Sunday you had me crying” I Don’t Want to Waste Your Time
I love collaborative efforts. So many times, these are called “super” groups and most times, they don’t live up to that moniker. Fistful of Mercy however, does. One of my favorite artists (Ben Harper), the man behind one of my favorite lyrics ever, (Joseph Arthur – just listen to the opening lines of Honey and the Moon) and the son of George, my favorite Beatle (Dhani Harrison) make up Fistful of Mercy and each brings the perfect pieces of himself to the trio. Though all three have very different sounds, the harmonies somehow fit perfectly, and you could easily mistake this for a CD three decades its senior. As I Call You Down maintains a sort of beachy/surfer/vacation soundtrack vibe for the most part, but there’s a foot-stomper included in Father’s Son. My only complaint is simply that at 9 songs, I wanted more – and I can only hope that we get another album in the near future.
“Trade beauty queens for evergreens. Trade sun and smog for snow and sleet. Trade prettiness for stability. Trade what you want for what you need. You need lullabies with father’s eyes. You need friends who know your middle name. You need more of love and less of pain. You need change. “ E.S.T. I know, [...]
“If you don’t love music, almost next to family, if you don’t love it enough to want it regardless of what it does to you, don’t get into it." - Dave Brubeck
"Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best." -Frank Zappa
“To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.” - Aaron Copeland
This blog is like a Japanese restaurant in the mall. These songs are much like the bourbon chicken on a toothpick. You take a sample and if you like it, you buy - but it's not cool to just fill up on bourbon chicken for free my friend. So, if you like the music, support the artist. Buy a CD, buy a shirt or better yet, go see them live.
Any artist or representative of an artist can contact me at email@example.com if you'd like me to take a song off the site.
Also, recommendations and tips are always appreciated via email.