The Avett Brothers – Bring Your Love To Me

The Avett Brothers (From left to right) Scott Avett, Joe Kwon, Bob Crawford, Seth Avett

Once again, The Avett Brothers do not fail to impress. The new album, Magpie and the Dandelion, is full of their classic sound, yet new melodies, harmonies, beats and ideas are prevalent throughout.

I’ve especially been enjoying Bring Your Love To Me. Seth Avett’s smooth, yet raw vocals will give you tingles. Especially the falsetto. The first verse was very relevant for me being that I’m a new dad:

Bring your love to me
I will hold it like a newborn child
One of my own blood
And I might just even sing a song
to keep it calm

The simple, yet unique guitar and banjo parts, accented by the piano, bass and cello will stir your heart. The drums entering at the end of the third verse have the same effect along with the rise in Seth’s vocals. Then comes the walk-up in the tag on the end of the chorus, instruments harmonizing with the vocals and one other, falling in unison. Love it.

I think this quote from the band’s website really sums up their style and why they have such a loyal fan base:

“The songs are honest: just chords with real voices singing real melodies. But, the heart and the energy with which they are sung, is really why people are talking, and why so many sing along.”
– See more at: http://www.theavettbrothers.com/band/#sthash.rzPXaUAp.dpuf

Listen to Bring Your Love To Me on Spotify and check out the whole album!

Bring your love to me
I will hold it like a newborn child
One of my own blood
And I might just even sing a song
to keep it calm

If you’re wondering, am I capable
God knows I am
And if it’s meant to be
I will go alone, God knows I can
Just not as well, and besides what kind of fun is there
to be had with no one else?

And I can only stand here still
And I can only hope you will
keep me in focus long enough to tell
I’m trying to help (that’s all)

Bring your love to me
I will hold it like a dandelion
One I want to save, one I want to keep
from the breeze that follows me and no one else

I can only stand here still
And I can only hope you will
keep me in focus long enough to tell
I’m trying to help

Web of Sunsets – Fool’s Melodies

This local band is considered psychedelic folk or acid country; which I wasn’t even aware existed until today. The genre completely clicks when you hear their debut single Fool’s Melodies.

The band is made up of Sara Bischoff, Chris Rose and Sarah Nienaber. I’m going to keep it short today and let the music do the talking. Enjoy!

Frankie Lee – Ophelia

Frankie Lee

Local Minneapolis artist, Frankie Lee, will be performing tonight at The Ice House if you’re looking for a good show!

I heard Lee’s song Country recently on The Current and his simple, Americana Folk style caught my attention immediately. His album Middle West came out today and I feel this quote from his site provides a window into the record:

“YOU’RE INVITED TO RIDE ALONG THROUGH MIDDLE WEST ON A DREAM 
BED OF FOLK AND AMERICANA SOUNDS .  I FOUND THESE SONGS ON 
THE ROAD GOIN WEST TO CALIFORNIA.  WHEN I CAME BACK TO MINNESOTA
I MET A BUNCH OF CHARACTERS WHO HELPED ME PUT DOWN WHAT I’D 
BEEN HEARING IN MY HEAD.

WE RECORDED THESE SONGS LIVE (LOOKING AT EACH OTHER) IN A WAREHOUSE
 WITH A BUNCH OF REALLY WARM SWEATERS ON.  IT ONLY TOOK 2 NIGHTS 
TO MAKE AND 1 YEAR TO PUT IT OUT.  THE PEOPLE ARE RIGHT…
THE INTERNET IS GONNA SAVE MUSIC. HALLELUJAH!”

There isn’t much information about Frankie that I could find, but hopefully we’ll be hearing more about him now that his album has been released. At times, he reminds me of Ryan Adams, sometimes My Morning Jacket/Jim James, and at other times Bob Dylan.

The song below was recorded with the Real-Phonic Band and portrays a little bit bluesier side of Lee’s music.

For a very traditional country sound, you can also check out another local band, The Cactus Blossoms, at this show. Their music is reminiscent of Hank Williams and other patriarchs of the country and honky tonk genres. Especially the brothers’ honeyed harmonies, the twangy lap steel, lively fiddle and two beat rhythm.

Ryan Bingham – Weary Kind

Ryan Bingham

Alright readers, this time I’m coming through for you. I am actually featuring an artist before he performs in Minneapolis. Ryan Bingham is a little bit rock and more than a little bit country. Although he routinely ranks higher on the country music charts than he does on rock or indie charts, a voice like worn sandpaper (seriously, you just want him to clear his throat, but you know that would spoil everything) and an eclectic repertoire has helped him elude being pigeonholed in any single genre of music. In 2010, Bingham won Grammy, an Oscar, and a Golden Globe for his work on the Crazy Heart soundtrack, but he is not afraid to shake up his established style. His newest record Tomorrowland takes a fairly dramatic shift from the country to the rock & roll side of the music spectrum. I’m going to be honest and say it is not his best album and, like Bob Dylan when he decided to switch from acoustic folk to electric rock, I am comfortable saying that Ryan Bingham will likely lose fans over this transition, but I think he’ll come through it and continue to develop his musical style.

In order to show this music shift, I am going to post two videos. The first is The Weary Kind, his biggest hit and the reason behind his Academy Award and Artist of the Year Grammy. I think it is representative of much of his older music and his country roots with maybe a little more singer/songwriter feel to it than some of his other stuff. The second is Heart of Rhythm off of his newest album from last fall. I’m sure you’ll hear the difference, so I don’t feel a need to explain it further. I’m sure you can guess which Bingham I prefer, but I want to know what you, valued readers, think. Especially if this is your first time hearing him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwwkqABItLA

Catch Ryan Bingham live at First Ave. on March 17th.

Tom T. Hall – America the Ugly

Tom T. Hall

Tom T. Hall’s fans dubbed him “The Storyteller” and you can see why when you listen to his songs. Originally from Kentucky, Hall doesn’t have to try to produce an authentic, old-fashioned Southern sound through his music.

I heard Hall’s song Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine on The Current‘s United States of Americana and loved it. The song immediately reminded me of the classic 60’s and 70’s country from artists like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

At first glance, America the Ugly sounds like a funny title for a song. If you read the lyrics below and take time to digest what Hall is saying, it really hits home. I had a hard time finding when this song was released, but it was featured on his 1995 album, Storyteller, Poet, Philosopher and seems just as relevant today as whenever he may have written it. I would be particularly interested in finding out about his reference to “the enemy” and if he’s referring to the devil. Either way, the theme I took from the song is that if those of us who have the means took care of the poor and hurting this country would look much different. All the lyrics aside, the song has some great country guitar and a nice, laid back melody.

There was a man came to see the USA from a foreign land
To photograph the progress of dear old Uncle Sam
He got off the boat in New York went down to the Bowery
I know what the man went to photograph and to see
There were hopeless hungry living dead
Winos who sell their souls for a bottle of a cheapest red
That’s the picture that he wanted
And that’s what he got they say America the ugly today

He went to the Appalachians and he saw what we all have seen
Where people live on bread and soup fat back and pinto beans
He saw the hungry children and he photographed the ragged clothes
I guess we’re gonna try to tell him that it ain’t so
There were good men standin’ around with nothing to do
Pregnant young women who didn’t even have a pair of shoes
The man got his pictures and what are we going to say America the ugly today

Then he went to the medicare centers and he saw the old people there
It seems that the young generation just didn’t want ’em in their hair
He saw the poor man workin’ it out while the mighty rich lives high
And my friend that brings a gleam to the enemy’s eyes
There were some folks had plenty and some had none at all
The enemy knows when a heart gets hard the country is bound to fall
If we get heads and hearts together we won’t have to hear them say
America the ugly today America the ugly today

Johnny Cash and June Carter – It Ain’t Me Babe

Johnny and June

 

Casey and I are going to try to institute some daily themes to help give this blog a bit more structure. One of these is Throwback Thursday where we take you back in music history to some of the familiar songs and artists our parents (or grandparents) loved and maybe we’ll pull out some gems from the past that are less familiar though equally enjoyable (or at the very least influential).

As I was thinking about who to cover for our inaugural Throwback Thursday, I happened to stumble across an old Johnny and June record at work and I honestly couldn’t have thought of any duo more fitting than these two. Johnny Cash is easily one of the most recognizable names in country music and his distinctive voice and classic style harkened back to the roots of old country (or as I call it “good country”) even when much of the new country was going pop.

June Carter’s forebears were old country. The Carter Family was the first family of country music and, along with musicians like Jimmie Rodgers, helped define country as a genre in the 1920’s and 30’s different from earlier hillbilly or Old-Time music (and yes, there was a time when a genre of music called “hillbilly music” was the hip thing to listen to). Although never as musically successful as the original Carter’s, having been steeped in old country and folk from infancy, she became the perfect counterpart to Johnny.

The song I picked was actually written and released by Bob Dylan in 1964, but Johnny Cash liked it so much that he and June covered it just a year later and released it on the album Orange Blossom Special. Personally, I think their version is far superior to Dylan’s. I understand that the lyrics are a little odd considering all I just said about Johnny and June’s chemistry, but keep it mind it was written by the angsty Dylan about an old girlfriend.

“It Ain’t Me Babe” by Johnny Cash and June Carter

{Lyrics}
Go away from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’s never weak but always strong
To protect you and defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door

But it ain’t me babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Go lightly from the ledge, babe
Go lightly on the ground
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’ll only let you down
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’ll promise never to part
Someone to close his eyes to you
Someone to close his heart
Someone to die for you and more

You say you’re lookin’ for someone
To pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
And to come each time you call
And will love you for your life
And nothin’ more

As always, let us know what you thing of this music or any comments in general. 

Return of the Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris

I have my sister to thank for introducing me to Gram Parsons, and therefore, his various projects like The Flying Burrito Brothers, The International Submarine Band and his time with The Byrds.

This song with Emmylou Harris is definitely one of my favorites. Their honeyed harmonies and the guitar, fiddle, lap steel (or pedal steel)  and piano parts give the song that perfect country sound.

Won’t you scratch my itch sweet Annie Rich
And welcome me back to town
Come out on your porch or I’ll step into your parlor
And I’ll show you how it all went down

Out with the truckers and the kickers and the cowboy angels
And a good saloon in every single town

Oh, and I remember something you once told me
And I’ll be damned if it did not come true
Twenty thousand roads i went down, down, down
And they all lead me straight back home to you

’cause I headed west to grow up with the country
Across those prairies with the waves of grain
And I saw my devil,
And I saw my deep blue sea
And I thought about a calico bonnet from
Cheyenne to Tennessee

We flew straight across that river bridge,
Last night a half past two
The switchman wave his lantern goodbye
And so long as we went rolling through
Billboards and truckstops pass by the grievous angel
And now i know just what i have to do

And the man on the radio won’t leave me alone
He wants to take my money for something
That I’ve never been shown

The news I could bring I met up with the king
On his head an amphetamine crown
He talked about unbuckling that old bible belt
And lighted out for some desert town

Out with the truckers and the kickers and the cowboy angels
And a good saloon in every single town

Oh, but I remembered something you once told me
And I’ll be damned if it did not come true
Twenty thousand roads I went down, down, down
And they all lead me straight back home to you

Twenty thousand roads I went down, down, down
And they all lead me straight back home to you