David Gray – Mutineers

Mutineers by David Gray

I love David Gray. Listening to him talk about his new album and the title track, Mutineers, solidifies the deep thought and the feeling that goes into his songwriting.

It’s amazing to hear about how a song starts as one thing, 95% gets scrapped, the 5% that is kept turns into an entire song and this little melody that is discovered in the process becomes the foundation and theme of the entire song.

Unfortunately, David won’t be in Minnesota anytime soon, but you can catch him in Chicago on August 18 if you’re in the mood for a road trip!

Watch the video below and share your thoughts:

You know the way it is
These thoughts are mutineers
Trying to shake the monkey off my back
So beat the island drum
And steady as she come
And all the stores are closing for the lack
To drink the damn place dry
Only plan of attack

And Babe
Sure feels good
Sure feels good
This moving close
This moving close
Sure feels good babe

And Hey
What could they know
What could they know
Bout what we have
Yeah what we have
What could they know Babe?

The early warning signs
All lit up in my mind
It’s true you know
Some things weren’t meant to be
Until your secret’s out
It’s your worst enemy

Time is ours to burn
Is ours to burn
We got that glide
That freewheel glide
It’s ours to burn babe

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

The Low Anthem

The Low Anthem

The Low Anthem is a trio (now duo) from Providence, Rhode Island consisting of Ben Miller (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, drum kit, pump organ, trumpet, E flat horn, and rack harp), Jeffrey Prystowsky (bass, drum kit, vocals, pump organ, and acoustic guitar) and Jocie Adams (clarinet, vocals, pump organ, drum kit, electric guitar, and bass.) Jocie Adams has since moved on to pursue a solo career, but the music I’m highlighting here features her.

The band shared on their site they are working on a new album, but I’m not sure of a release date.

The first I heard of The Low Anthem was their collaboration with The Chieftains latest album, Voice of Ages. I have been delving into their previous releases (latest was 2010) and I am beginning to see how they fit into my favorite type of music (Americana, Folk, etc.)

Sometimes their sound reminds me of early Bob Dylan on songs like Apothecary Love. Other times Ben Miller’s vocals remind me of Glen Hansard; like on School Days Are Over – their song with The Chieftains (below.) Enjoy!

Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle

Laura Marling

Laura Marling is an English folk songwriter from Eversley, Hampshire. Her new album, Once I Was An Eagle, starts right in with a dynamic, captivating sound in the song, Take The Night Off.

The new album features sounds and styles that seem to traverse many genres and cultures. The use of what I believe to be a sitar, classical guitar patterns, hand drums and Marling’s purposeful dissonance in certain melodies give songs a Far East feel. Within the same song, Marling creates sounds that are reminiscent of country western, jazz or even 90’s rock.

Marling’s strong, sure voice and melancholy lyrics and melodies give the impression of a person well beyond her years. There are times when Marling’s voice reminds me of Patti Griffin or Brandi Carlile, but she definitely has her own, unique voice. A male counterpart in some aspects might be Jose Gonzalez, but I would consider Marling’s music more versatile.

I’ve highlighted the first track, Take The Night Off, below, but I recommend listening to the whole album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy8HrHO7aH0

The Last Bison at 7th St Entry (Opener: Marah in the Mainsail)

The Last Bison

I found out from my friend, Alec, that his band, Marah in the Mainsail, will be opening for The Last Bison at 7th St Entry (First Ave) tomorrow night (4/8/2013). I’ve seen Marah in the Mainsail live and I definitely recommend checking them out. After listening through The Last Bison’s debut album, Inheritance, a few times, I’m confident it will be an amazing show.

The Last Bison comes out of Chesapeake, Virginia. Not only this, but it would seem from their persona that they come out of 18th or 19th century Virginia. The band has been compared to Fleet Foxes, The Decemberists and Mumford & Sons – to name a few – but they’ve done a fantastic job of developing a sound that’s not only unique, but polished, complex and moving. With elements of folk, classical, and other genres, the band classifies themselves as “mountain-top chamber”. I would say their ability to blend rootsy Appalachian folk and orchestra music make this classification well-deserved. Another interesting fact is that front-man, Ben Hardesty, started the band with his father, sister and other friends from home; giving the band an organic sound and chemistry that comes through in their music.

I found an artist out of Austin, Texas a year or two ago on NoiseTrade named Austin Basham, and there are elements of his music that remind me of The Last Bison. I recommend checking him out as well.

This video gives a great bio about The Last Bison:

You can check out the info for the show at 7th St Entry and buy tickets here: http://first-avenue.com/event/2013/04/thelastbison

Check out the music video for the band’s song, Switzerland:

 

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.

The Pines – Be There In Bells

I don’t know what it is about March that attracts me to the kind of music I’ve been sharing lately. I think it is the grayness. Everything in March is gray – the white snow has turned to a gray slush, the sky is constantly cloudy, the trees haven’t budded yet and they are just plain weary of winter, even my chickens’ eggs have been grayer than usual. It’s just plain dreary out and dreary weather apparently makes me want to listen to grainy, subdued local indie folk. (Of course, it could also just be that I like this kind of music, but I’ll continue to blame it on the weather.) However, while dreary weather might be conducive to listening to Minneapolis based band The Pines, it in no way describes their music. With course, echoey, sometimes Dylan-esque, vocals reminiscent of a creaking forests, regional lyrics like “All the sorrow and the cold north wind”, and a panoply of muted instrumentals that accompany the singers like a slow drizzle, one could only describe The Pines’ music as … ah, dreary. But I mean that in the best possible way. After all, who doesn’t love a Minnesota March? (Or is that only me?)

Originally I was going to post The Pines’ song All The While because it seems to be more well known, but then I thought, “That is no reason to play a song” so I decided to pick out my favorite – Be There In Bells. It is fairly representative of the other music I’ve explored from this band and should remind you of Wake Owl and Great Lake Swimmers. However, it is by no means a mirror of those bands and is further proof that Minnesota puts out great music.

If you want to see them live, they will be at the Hopkins Center for the Arts on March 26th, First Ave. on April 18th with Trampled by Turtles (ought to be a great show), and at the Mid West Music Festival in Winona April 19th – so plenty of chances to check them out.

Be There In Bells

Late at night, watching the satellites
North Carolina and the rolling hills

Orion, draws back the arrow
Aiming at the heart of a scarecrow

Cloud to cloud, hour to hour
Dust to dust, flower to flower
I close my eyes, so I might dream
Won’t you meet me,
When the Sun stands still?
And I will, be there in bells

I thought I was in love once, I don’t know
I was over dressed and scared to be alone

The pain is there, for to protect
If it didn’t hurt then we’d all bleed to death

Black to black, reel to reel,
Heart to heart, shield to shield
I close my eyes, so I might dream
Won’t you meet me,
When the Sun stands still?
And I will, be there in bells

The Great Spirit rose over ol’ St. Paul
You are forever forgiven and all

I fell asleep and woke up in the sky
There was a light so bright, I could see through my skin
All the sorrow and the cold north wind
I had to go through
I had to find you

Dollar to dollar, broke to broke,
Ash to ash, smoke to smoke
I close my eyes, so I might dream
Won’t you meet me,
When the Sun stands still?
And I will, be there in bells
I will be there in bells

Pickering Pick – Standing Stone

Sam Pickering Pick

Originally from England, Sam Pickering Pick now lives in Sacramento, California.

It’s difficult to find much information on him (And where a name like Sam Pickering Pick comes from) but this mystery can often make an artist that much more appealing. There is a great interview with him on The Mad Mackerel.

This track has a melancholy feel (which I always love) and sounds as if he’s alone in a big empty room with a piano. His tone and range on this song remind me a little of Tracy Chapman. You might be wondering, “Isn’t Tracy Chapman a woman?” The answer is yes. But compare Fast Car to Standing Stone (or any of the songs on Tropic) and tell me you don’t hear the similarities. I recommend checking out all Pickering Pick’s music at his website: http://pickeringpick.com/

As always, we’d love to hear from you – so share your thoughts below!

Wake Owl – Gold

Alright readers, it’s been awhile, but I am back and excited to introduce you to Wake Owl, Vancouver’s most recent gift to the music world. Vaguely reminiscent of Great Lake Swimmers (another great Canadian band you need to check out), but more melodic, their songs are the musical incarnations of birch trees and large bodies of fresh water (if that isn’t a good review, I don’t know what is). If after listening, you feel an overwhelming desire to pick up and move to the Northwoods, don’t blame me and remember that this is a normal reaction. Once again, dear readers, I have failed you when it comes to the possibility of seeing this band live. They played at the 7th Street Entry ten days ago and I missed it and you probably missed it (if you didn’t let me know how it was) and their return to Minneapolis, the city of great music, is yet unscheduled. Next time I promise to introduce you to a band that you will actually have the opportunity to see.

However, thanks to the miracle of audio and video recording, you don’t have to see them live to hear their music! You don’t even need to rely the the good taste of a radio station (because you’d be waiting forever on that). You can sit right where you are, on your bear skin rug next to that raging fire on your hearth with a bottle of home brewed mead, flip open your laptop or smartphone and be inundated with the wilderness music of Wake Owl (unless you in Appalachia, because I swear they don’t even have 3G their, but then if you are in Appalachia you probably don’t need me to bring you great music.) So, here is Gold (as in the color of your honey mead), a track off Wake Owl’s recently released debut EP Wild Country (Jan 29, 2013). It is a little bit more mellow than the other four tracks they have released, but this way it will only add to the reverie caused by the gently falling snow outside your hunting cabin in the forest. Enjoy and let us know what you think.

Lyrics:

So, didn’t you find love or salvation in what they do,
a heart is built of gold, they fairies they are too, its in the hands you hold,
how long can we ignore, we build a little more, and then we break our truth

oooooo

I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
I said I’d taken it all in to make the good life,
I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
let’s grab the heart of the world and turn into the light

But I cannot turn around, the angels hear me now, go where i’m bound,
you smile like you know the new world has been found

oooooo

I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
I said I’d taken it all in to make the good life,
I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
let’s grab the heart of the world and turn into the light
I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
let’s grab the heart of the world and turn into the light

Southwire – Live on The Current

Southwire, from Duluth, MN consists of Jerree Small, Ben Larson, Matt Mobley and Sean Elmquist. They performed three songs live on The Current’s Local Show the other day and The Current describes them well when they say the band has a “gorgeous blend of folk and heavy atmospherics.” If I had to categorize it I would say it’s folk with some old soul mixed in.

Jerree Small’s voice reminds me a little of Feist, especially on Gone Astray  and the band produces a soothing, ambient sound throughout all their music. If you listen to the live recording you’ll also hear them talk about their church and that Charlie Parr is also a part of it.

You can listen to the entire live session here.

If you like what you hear, Southwire will be performing at 7th Street Entry on Friday, April 19.