Category - music

Psssst… wanna hear some music?

Dana Cooper with Lyle Lovett in KC and St. Louis

Over the weekend of August 1, Ann and I were privileged to accompany our friend and client Dana Cooper as he opened two shows for his old friend Lyle Lovett in Kansas City and St. Louis Missouri. During both of his shows, Lyle brought Dana back out on the stage to join him a duet of Dana’s song Needless to Say (from Dana’s 1992 CD Stone by Stone).

Click the photo below to open a window with a slide show compilation of photos from both nights; Click the “play” button in the lower right of to start the slide show and play Dana’s recording of Needless to Say.

Dana Cooper joins Lyle Lovett for "Needless to Say" - Kansas City, Aug 1, 2010

Click the photo above to open the slide show window; click the player button in the lower right corner to start the slide show and music (Needless to Say, from Dana Cooper’s 1992 CD “Stone by Stone.”

Word Spreads Quickly…

…when the music is really good….

Last week, Rosanne Drucker finished setting up her website using the “SiteBuilder” feature of ReverbNation (which is a plugin-partnership with Bandzoogle).  From the site, Rosanne offers streaming audio and downloads of her new “Virtual EP” Doin’ Hard Time.

That was like Thursday.  Today (Monday), she’s got her first review of the “virtual release,” in a glowing blog-post by Nelson Gullett, who works as a DJ at WDVX , a listener supported Americana radio station in Knoxville, TN and reports on his musical encounters with his “Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz” blog.  After describing his serendipitous encounter with Rosanne at a club (“…In Nashville… what are the odds?…”), Nelson writes:

The EP contains seven original tracks co-produced by Rosanne and Mike Loudermilk (John D. Loudermilk’s son), and blends several Americana styles to mostly paint pictures of heartbreak and love gone sour. Three of the four songs on the sampler Rosanne gave me dealt with such topics. The title track makes solid use of Bailey and Ickes to tell a heavily bluegrass flavored tale of a heart trapped behind bars, and “This is Sunday” is a piano ballad that counts the days until a lost lover’s return (he’s not coming). Even the optimistically titled and musically upbeat rockabilly bluegrass tune (featuring Rocker) “Mr. Dream Come True” is about a race horse and not an actual Mr. Right. I’m guessing by the “Aww shoot” thrown in at the end of each chorus that the horse doesn’t even finish in the money.

There’s some validation in this review for Rosanne, who has been working on this project for many months and is suddenly getting positive feedback just as it begins to see the light of day.

This review puts Rosanne in some pretty good company.  Elsewhere on the page… Ellis Paul, Anne McCue, and somebody named Emmylou-somebody.

We all gotta start somewhere…

Now Playing on the Celestial Jukebox: David Wilcox

David Wilcox is one of those worthy singer/songwriters and guitarists who has been on the periphery of my musical vision for like 15 years (I mean, you can only stare at so many flames at one time, right?).  I first heard of him when I made a visit to a songs.com client in Asheville, NC back in 1995.  But a week or so ago I found myself listening to an episode of the CDBaby DIY Musician's Pocast (episode #20 — good luck finding it on the website…) with David's manager, Tom Simonson.  Long story short, one thing led to another, I've exchanged a few e-mails with Mr. Simonson, and this morning found myself listening to the tunes on David Wilcox's site at ReverbNation. Straight out of the box, I was knocked out by the first track, "Dream Again." It's a wonderful song, full of lush, sonorous guitar licks (is that a baritone guitar?).  And more importantly, it's a compelling reminder that, despite our fractious and frightening times, there is more to America than going shopping.  

Click the widget to hear the songs.


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Now Playing on the Celestial Jukebox: Sam & Ruby

First, listen to the profile by Craig Havighurst from Nashville’s NPR station, WPLN:

Duos from Nashville have usually been siblings channeling the close harmonies of the Everly Brothers or the romance of classic George Jones/Tammy Wynette country duets. But in today’s eclectic Music City, one of the most exciting and buzzed about duos is Sam & Ruby, who draw their strength from just how different each is from the other. WPLN’s Craig Havighurst has this profile:

Click here:  (audio speaker audio feature) to listen to Craig’s report.

Then listen to San & Ruby’s album, “The Here And The Now,” in its entirety and for the first time for free, via Lala.com:


Now Playing on the Celestial Jukebox: from “The National Parks” — Al Petteway

AlPetteway You know that rolling, bending, percussive, open-tuned guitar solo that you keep hearing over and over again throughout the Ken Burns PBS series, “The National Parks”?

The track is called “Sligo Creek,” and it’s played by noted finger-style guitarist Al Petteway, who has recorded many of my very favorite acoustic instrumental albums with his wife, Amy White.

Click “play” on the player below to listen to the album “Caledon Wood” in its entirety, for free, via Lala.com.  Sligo Creek is the second track on the album.

Now Playing on the Celestial Jukebox: Bonnie Bishop

Bonniebishop After the Americana Conference last month, I sat down with the showcase listing and Lala.com and started listening to the performers (someday I’ll explain why I hate the word “acts”) whose performances I’d missed.

One of the first performers I discovered was Bonnie Bishop, out of Austin.  The tune that sunk the harpoon is the second cut from this album, “Lucky Ones.”  With Bonnie’s throaty, softly growling vocals and a unique take on the vagaries of love, here’s the sort of song you will likely never hear on the radio that makes you — well, me, anyway — so grateful to have access through this channel I’m calling the Celestial Jukebox.

I listened to “Lucky Ones” about a half dozen times, and decided this morning I need to spring (right, the whole buck…) for the entire album.  And the rest of the record is just as strong as Lucky Ones.  But I’m going to hold out until Bonnie plays a show here in Nashville later this month before I spring to the actual CD, and maybe get Bonnie to sign it for me.

Photo of Bonnie Bishop by jbwutx via flickr.com

Now Playing on the Celestial Jukebox: Owl City

Owlcity I’ve heard some of this record before.  Electronica is not ordinarily my thing, but this is pretty infectious. If the first track doesn’t grab you, skip down to “Fireflies” and then come back for more.

This comes with a nod to digital music denizen Bob Lefsetz, who writes of the single “Fireflies:”

Where does the magic start?

Sure, there’s an ethereal intro, but it’s not riveting.

Then there’s that hooky groove, with the big bass beat, without sounding like what’s on Top Forty radio, which is only groove, sans melody. This guy with a thin voice is singing up and down the scale, this is not a Timbaland production.

Then there are the strings! Brian Wilson knew the power of strings, they’re not anathema to pop music, they’re not inherently schmaltzy, they add meaning, and texture.

Then the processed vocals when the song breaks down, kind of like Steve Marriott in “Itchycoo Park”, if Steve Marriott was a wimp.

Then, when the verse begins again, there’s more in the track. The calliope-like sound brings in joy, those strings add counterpoint. The line about the disco ball warms you up, then the whole track comes alive, like a denizen finally awaking from a slumber.

Then, back into that verse groove. You may tire of counting sheep, but now you’re fully enraptured, you’ve left the planet, you’re in music wonderland.

“I’d like to make myself believe”

That this track will be inspirational, that it will cause the business to do a 180, that melody will return, that music will eclipse marketing, that a whole row of infectious tracks will come driving down the pike.

Doubtful.

But this guy did cut this wholly alone, in his basement. He didn’t go on “American Idol”, didn’t need Kara DioGuardi to polish it into oblivion. All he needed was tools, to follow his muse.

I’d like to make myself believe that music this good doesn’t need a major label to break through. That just putting it up online is enough to get you started. That appears to be the Owl City story, then again, who knows where truth lies.

But the truth is “Fireflies” is a fucking great track. The best on the Owl City album, but not the only good one.

Admittedly, some of the music on this album is an acquired taste, especially for an acoustic-oriented fogie like yours truly. But, lLike the music or not, there is no denying that Owl City is a story that could not have happened in any era other than the one we’re now entering, Music 3.0.

Now Playing on the Celestial Jukebox: Landon Pigg

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I've been taking a keen interest this week in the pioneering music marketing efforts of Nettwerks, the management firm spearheaded by Terry McBrideLandon Pigg is one of Nettwerk's clients.  Listen to his new album, The Boy Who Never free and in its entirely from the playlist on the right (cloud source: Lala.com)

More on McBride and his approach to the paradigm shift in a future post (as soon as I can find a work-around for a script-loaded web page that refuses to play nicely with my browsers).

And, please, Landon, if you're reading this, ask your webmaster to turn off the auto-play audio feature on your website.  I'm already listening to your music, I don't need to be listening to it from two simultaneous sources.  Remember, it's about choice.  MY choice.  Love the record, btw.  Happy to tell folks about it.

The Best of AmericanaFest Playlist

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OK, I've figured out how I can create and embed a playlist of the music I heard — and heard about — while attending the Americana Music Conference in Nashville last week. The list now appears to the right of this post, and visitors to this site should be able to listen to the tracks in their entirety "first time for free."  I'll be adding to the list in the days ahead, so just update your browser and the revised list should appear. Lemme know if you run into any problems…