In honor of our new Internet overlords, here is my favorite FCC protest song.
Category: Five-Star Fridays/Music
The great Tom Waits was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week. I’d submit that his first three albums rank among the best first three releases of any artist in popular music.
Here’s “Martha” from Closing Time. If it catches you in the right mood, this song will make you weep.
Jeff Tweedy and the great Mavis Staples perform “You Are Not Alone,” off Staples’ new Tweedy-produced album.
“Promise,” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
“Acid Tongue,” by Jenny Lewis.
I’ll post a fuller appreciation of my favorite soul singer later this afternoon. In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful rendition of “Valley of Tears” with Gillian Welch. And huge thanks to the great Joe Henry for resurrecting Burke’s career back in 2000. Had Henry not produced Don’t Give Up on Me, performances like the one below would probably never have happened.
Let’s go with “Sinnerman,” by the late, great Nina Simone.
Richard Ashcroft’s “C’mon People.”
My college buddy Charlie Ransford’s band The 1900s has a new album coming out in the fall. Here’s a great Pointer Sisters cover they did for Playboy’s website.
The Black Crowes are playing here in Nashville Sunday night. Here’s “Descending,” one of their best, lesser-known songs.
I know it sounds odd, but trust me on this one: Eef Barzelay of Clem Snide and his ukulele cover Journey’s “Faithfully.”
There’s also whistling.
“Fake Empire,” by The National.
I saw this trio live Monday. It’s sort of a Nashville singer-songwriter supergroup.
The band is Elle Macho. The song is called “Bombs.”
The Allman Brothers’ “Soulshine.”
Better than moonshine, and damn sure better than rain.
I saw the best concert I’ve ever attended last night. I’ve plugged Josh Ritter on this site a number of times. His album The Animal Years is in my all-time top ten. (Hear him invoke Paul Simon or Bob Dylan).
But last night was the first time I ‘ve seen him live. It’s always refreshing to see a musician who enjoys himself and doesn’t pull the angsty, ennui-filled rock star routine. Ritter writes his share of pensive, contemplative songs. But on stage, he grins like a boy who’s just seen his first naked woman. He showers his audience with gratitude. It’s damned charming. Last night he invited his opening act (Tift Merritt, who in a just world would be a star) onstage to join him in what I think was a six-song encore. I lost count. The guy clearly loves what he does, and it’s infectious.
He’s also an amazing musician, singer, and songwriter backed by a talented band, who also were clearly having a good time (including a bassist with a rockin’ Rollie Fingers handlebar ‘stache). Last night Ritter covered John Prine, Talking Heads (sort of), and “Moon River.” I suppose it helped my enjoyment of his show that between songs he bantered about SWAT teams, heirloom tomatoes, and dogs.
Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom and Mercy Lounge are great venues, too. As the name suggests, the building is a converted cannery. Lots of exposed brick and warehouse chic. It’s also right next to the train tracks, which hammers home the retro-industrial vibe. Trains roll by in the middle of performances. The crowds cheer.
Anyway, if Ritter plays in your town soon, go see him. Here’s “The Temptation of Adam”.
I was looking for a video of Deep Purple’s “Hush” and stumbled onto what might be the coolest thing ever uploaded to YouTube.
Possibly the coolest thing ever uploaded to the Internet.
And I had no idea the Playboy After Dark series is available on DVD.
Let’s go with the Kinks’ “Living on a Thin Line” this week.
Via my colleague Jesse Walker, here’s a fascinating interview with Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, in which Berlin calls Paul Simon a prick, and accusing him of stealing a song from the band.
In other Los Lobos news, the band announced last month that they’re cancelling gigs in Arizona in protest of the state’s immigration law. Which makes some sense, given that most of the band’s parents came to America illegally.
I did an interview with Louie Perez for Reason a few years ago that delved into the immigration issue. So much to like about these guys. Since we didn’t do a Five-Star Fridays this week, here’s the intense song Perez wrote loosely based on his parents’ journey to America: “Road to Gila Bend.”
Here’s “Folk Bloodbath,” Josh Ritter’s beautiful tribute to the murder ballad. It’s off his new album, which carries the Agitator.com seal of approval.
The Kinks. “Better Things.”
I saw Mose Allison at the Birchmere last night. I wasn’t familiar with Allison until I heard that the great Joe Henry produced Allison’s latest CD. A few months ago, I was then chatting with IJ’s Scott Bullock, a big jazz guy. Bullock raved about him. So I saw him last night. The man is 82 now, and still a damned hurricane on the piano.
Here’s “Your Mind Is on Vacation.” I need to remember the line, “If you must keep talking, please at least try to make it rhyme.” Geek rock fans will probably like this one, too.
I realize I’m going to sound about twice my age when I write this, but this performance is far sexier than 90 percent of the scantily-clad booty-shaking crap on MTV. (When MTV is actually playing music, I mean.) Not that I’m opposed to scantily-clad booty-shaking.
Just saying. There’s something to be said for the understated.
“Long Hard Times To Come,” By T.O.N.E.-Z and Rench. Bluegrass meets hip-hop. Really.
This is also the theme song from the terrific new FX series Justified. If you liked Deadwood, you should give the show a try. Timothy Oliphant is great, though he basically plays Seth Bullock transported to modern-day Kentucky, employed as a U.S. Marshall.
Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door,” from the Grosse Pointe Blank soundtrack. IMHO, one of the few examples where the remake is better than the original.