Sunday, December 03, 2006

Unknown singer records album of songs by unknown songwriters

Not the best business plan for an album. That's the reason albums shouldn't have business plans.

Slaid Cleaves is an Austin songwriter with solid sales, some regional praise, and one of the best songs ('Broke Down') exported from Texas in last decade. His latest album, entitled Unsung, features covers of lesser known artists. The results, listen for yourself. I think, wow. Provided in italics are Cleaves words about each performer.

"Flowered Dresses" (written by Karen Poston)
"Here's yet another poignant picture of loss and longing from the pen of Karen Poston. In the studio, I kept choking up on the line about 'hugging my knees, holding my breath.' "

"Call It Sleep" (written by Chris Montgomery)
"Chris had a band in Austin with his girlfriend, Karen Poston, called Aunt Beanie's First Prize Beets. Right about the time they were breaking up (both band and couple) he played this for me and a few friends backstage after a poorly attended gig of mine at Jovita's in South Austin. We all knew he had just written his best song."

"Fairest of Them All" (written by Ana Egge)
"I first heard Ana when she was playing open mics and I was doing sound. Still in her teens, she was making a big impression on people all over town. I was intrigued but not quite convinced until I heard this one. It's one of those great songs, cinematic and mysterious, where you find yourself asking -- wait a minute. What just happened there? " (Two things to listen for: a great use of the word 'bitch'; Mary Gauthier singing backup.)


To prove my point, here's a link to Slaid Cleaves' "Broke Down." If you can't download this, raise a middle finger to iTunes and then seek it out on the Web.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

And to think, people are still giving Alanis hell about the misuse of ironic.

Below are lyrics pulled from The Who's new track, Mirror Door.

Howlin' Wolf and Ol' Link Wray, Dave Van Ronk and Doris Day,
Bobby Darin and Brownie McGee, Elvis, Buddy, and Eddie C.
Music makes me, makes me strong, Strong vibrations make me long,
Long for a place where I belong, You will find me in this song.

Notice anything wrong with the above list of now-dead-and-gone performers? One's still in the buffet line. Doris Day, at 82, is alive and smiling in Carmel, CA. When Pete Townshend was informed of this in a recent issue of Q magazine, he responded, "I was convinced she was dead."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Were you at the Fillmore in January of '69 when Zeppelin did that 13-minute version of 'Dazed and Confused?'

Thanks to Concert Vault, lying in response to that question just got a hell of a lot easier.

This site catalogs, and streams free of charge, Bill Graham Presents concerts from 1965 to the late '80s (The Band to Big Country) at venues like Fillmore East and Winterland.

Best part: the sound quality is amazing.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

He is what he is

Willie Nelson's rumored statement about his recent marijuana bust: "It's a good thing I had a bag of marijuana instead of a bag of spinach. I'd be dead by now."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bastards of Young

I don't like MASHUPS.

I thought Danger Mouse's Grey Album - mashing Jay-Z's Black Album with the Beatles' self-titled album (also known as the White Album) - was interesting.

But next time someone pushes a mashup on me, I'm going to simply push play on an entire album from Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

"I Saw" No.-Something & No.-Something Else

SAT: A rotund Larry Hagman walking alone on the Third Street Promenade. Considering I thought he was dead, he looked great.

SUN: Just out of the water, Brandon Boyd of Incubus riding a beach cruiser on the bike path in Venice. He was in jeans, no shirt, carrying a surf board. To give perspective, Brandon looked better than Larry.

Talkin' revolution

There's a place off 1-40 in Amarillo called the Big Texan Steak Ranch. They serve a 72-ounce steak and if you can eat it in an hour, it's free. Since 1962, tens of thousands have attempted. Only 8,000 or so have cleaned their plate.

With So Much More, songwriter Brett Dennen has ordered a meal usually reserved for the likes of Bob Dylan, Bob Marley and Van Morrison. I'm impressed. Though, it appears he's only managed to get through half of it, just like Ben Harper, John Mayer and David Gray.

You tell me:

"Ain't No Reason"

"I Asked When"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It took talking animals to get to this. I would've preferred one, maybe two, solo records.

" ... when you first leave a group, you figure I'll go out on my own or get another group. Then five or 10 years pass, and you realize you're damn lucky if you get one really good band in your life." - Paul Westerberg, quoted in the LA Times.

Fans of Antony and the Johnsons should check out ...

... the music video for Chris Garneau’s 'Relief.'


Those asking, who's Antony and the Johnsons? Here's a must-have with Lou Reed, entitled 'Fistful of Love.'

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why isn't anyone writing great protest songs?

Write something, then define what it means. As opposed to, think about what it should mean and then write it.

James McMurtry's heart is in the right place, just not sure this song gets there.

BTW: McMurtry's one of my favorites in this realm, on the heels of Steve Earle. Bob Dylan, in recent years, is one of my biggest disappointments, on the heels on me.

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