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Posts tagged ‘Elton John’

It’s the story not the song, that makes the music move along: Chewing the fat with Elton & Leon


There was a point in my life, a much more innocent time as they say, when the word gay only meant happy to me. I had no idea about gay at all. Of course I am talking about gay as in same-sex, hated by right-wing closet dwellers, gay. Who knew?

Now mind you, I am all for gay, straight, black, white, coke, pepsi…whatever works for you. My rule is: be a good person, enjoy your life and listen to good music. Like I said, way back when younger, I was gay all the time and didn’t think twice. 

I do remember starting to notice a few things as as I got older. I remember that I loved the show, “Soap“. Billy Crystal was a gay character on that show (first ever on TV?)…hmm. Then I started to hear things about people? Just how did Rod Stewart get all of that in his stomachI always thought Queen was just the name of the group? That’s not the kind of duet I imagined Mick Jagger and David Bowie doing…?

And then there was Elton. 

I’m not sure what year Elton came out of the closet, but I am guessing it was somewhere around 1973. That year Elton released his double LP, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road“. I was only one year old then. I didn’t get around to listening to it until the mid 1980’s.

I wasn’t a student of rock and roll’s folks and lore back then. I wasn’t even sure that a song could be about something let alone have some secret, “Paul is Dead” message hidden in the grooves.  Throughout the entire summer of ’84, I screamed the refrain from Bruce’s “Born in the U.S.A.” at every BBQ, county fair and baseball field there was in New Hampshire. I had no idea it had to do with the hardships of soldiers returning home from Vietnam. Who knew?

I remember the first couple times I listened to this Elton album. Musically it was jarring; it was all over the map. The long spacey intro to “Love Lies Bleeding” then right into “Candle in the Wind” then up and down on the roller coaster again with “Bennie and The Jets” into the title track. Whew. Yeah, all over the place. 

The song that really tripped me up was, “All the Young Girls Love Alice”. I gravitated to it because of it’s raunchy, throw-away 70’s guitar riff. The song was just strutting along with that sorta pounding piano and bopping base and then…it all just stopped. There was only Elton’s voice sing this tale about an innocent young girl named Alice. OK, great…but I wanted to hear the guitar. Where did it go?

Wait, what did he say? 

All the young girls love Alice
Tender young Alice, they’d say
Come over to see me
Come over to please me
Alice, it’s my turn today.

At the time I thought, “hmmm…that didn’t sound like Alice was so innocent after all”. “Can this stuff really be talked about in songs?” “Is he really talking about a strung-out, sixteen year old lesbian prostitute that died in the London subway?” 

Yes he was. Hot damn.

That album…I was listening to it on vinyl…had lyrics in the gatefold of the cover. I read all about Alice there. I read about all the characters in that album there. It was eye opening. No shit…there is more to the song than meets the ear!

It was then that I started to actually listen to the lyrics of songs all the songs I then loved and those I would soon devour. 

That was it. I graduated. Once you cross that line from listener of to lover of music, you look go looking for those stories embedded in the songs. Then you seek out other music heads and you talk endlessly over bottomless drinks about those stories. 

As far as I am concerned…and so long as it isn’t Don Henley, Mike Love or Eddie Van Halen…hearing these stories from the artists themselves is the next best thing to being there when the songs were recorded. 

Apple has a little marketing gimmick they call the “Celebrity Playlist Podcast“. I posted about this just about a year ago. It is a simple, but effective idea. The artist(s) pick songs…theirs or by other artists…and tell stories about why they like them or how they were effected by them. Some of the celebs aren’t great in this setting, but others are gems. The ones I wrote about were from Mick Fleetwood and Jeff Beck. Fleetwood’s was excellent and Beck’s just a notch below. 

There was one posted just a couple weeks ago that featured Elton John and Leon Russell. As we all know (HYPE!), they released a album together this year. Elton and Leon get together to ping-pong song selections from their lists and swap stories about why the tunes matter to them. The combined list is a who’s who of legends and couple current billboard bobble-heads.
Elton is the Champion Saint of up and comers. He practically shepherded Ryan Adams on to the scene and then played foil to both GaGa and Eminem on national TV. GaGa and Eminem grace Elton’s list. Leon stays true to his roots and admittedly is “stuck int he past”. Good for you, Leon.

Its funny to hear just how different these two beings are. Leon swings low and Elton is high over the top. The fact that these two can be juxtaposed in the studio and still come out making one killer sound is what it’s all about…the music. 

If you are a fan of songs and stories you should check this out. It’ll have you feeling gay…

Download it here or listen to it to it below. 

Listen on Posterous

Kill the Body, the Head Will Die: Long Live the (new) Liner Notes

The death rattle has been shaking for the album for sometime now. Personally I am not losing faith, but there are a great many marketers, bands, labels and sales charts that are ready to bang the last nail into it’s coffin. 

Sadly, the more people that think like this, the faster the album rusts. I don’t believe this hype. Yes, the album was a static product at one point, but no longer should it be a static concept. Don’t kill it…change it. 


If you don’t know me by now…I am a fan of the long player, the long form album concept. I like to listen to the sum of parts as much, if not much more than the parts themselves. I also enjoy reading through the material that comes with (came with) the physical medium. I’m a vinyl nut, so that vinyl, gate fold, physical experience is important to me. 

When the cassette tape was the talk of the town, they (the labels) tried to cram all of that content onto an accordion’esque fold out insert that barely fit inside the plastic case it shared with the cassette.  That entire collection of artwork, lyrics, liner notes, song credits, band thank you’s experience, shit the bed when it went to cassettes. Who really wanted to squint and read all of that fine print and spend thirty minutes staring into album art the size of a cigarette pack? No one did. 

When the CD came out it was a bit better (larger), but not by much. If anything the experience went from shit to meh. Yeah, you could see the album art  and you didn’t have to squint so hard to see the liner notes, but still…this was bed-shitting material. 

That part…the added info…of the album experience rusted a long time ago. Look at the digital situation we have today. A majority of the albums that you can get via iTunes, emusic or Amazon still don’t come with ANY liner note type info at all. Talk about obsolete…bands aren’t even demanding this be part of the delivery of their music/album. 

Yes, some digital album downloads come with PDF versions of the liner note and added info…but this sucks as an execution. I love all the added info, but I just don’t like this style of delivering it…the flat, lifeless PDF/print out.

iTunes is trying to help get some of that old timey feel back with the iTunes LP. This execution is ok, not great, but ok. In time, when/if it becomes a standard, it will improve. I actually thought they did a good job with the recent Bruce Springsteen jumbo re-release of The Promise: Darkness on the Edge of Town. The physical copy came with CDs, DVDs and a replica of Bruce’s notebook he kept during the making of the album. The iTunes LP came with all of the above (sans physical format), including a page turning digital representation of the notebook. OK…credit for trying. 

As I look at what my fave rave bands and artists are doing to promote album releases, I am starting to see what I considered to be the new liner notes. They aren’t physical, they aren’t something you can touch, print or hold. They aren’t being compromised into a “we can say we did it”, micro-format. They aren’t even tangible per se, but they are offering that same rich, insightful commentary that artists once delivered in their album liner notes. 

The new liner notes are the promo videos. 

Video is a such an effective medium for delivering messages. If you are an industry insider, serious music head or causal music fan, video has become part of your music listening (viewing) experience. In 2010, bands, marketers, labels and fans have been leveraging video more than ever before. I enjoy video not for the actual music video, but for the insight gained from interviews, mini-documentaries and behind the scenes goings-on. 

I am not only an album fan, I am a story fan, too. The story is king; it is context; it is the folks and lore found in the songs; it pulls the whole experience together for me. I want to know the why and how behind the album and each song on it. This is why I love these promo videos. If you think about it, these videos are an extension of the liner notes. You are getting that same basic level of info (who played on/produced the songs), plus insights (into the songs), PLUS context (stories about the songs).

The great part about the story telling is that, most often, the artist is telling the story. I find this very compelling (when done well). I want to hear why they wrote a song, what it was about, that the drummer played in a stairwell…and why/who came up with the particular riff, etc. 

One of my fave rave bands of these times is The Drive-By Truckers. For their last album they went deep into the video promo groove. They put out a series of webisodes for each song on the album (I wrote about it here). Each of their webisodes had a band member walking the talk. This was better than handwritten liner notes. We got emotion and reaction along with the information. The effect, on me, was that I was much more attentive to the songs while listening to them as well as more connected with their stories. 

The DBTs have a new album coming out on February 15th: Go-Go Boots. Once again they are breaking out the old video camera, but this time they are taking a slightly different, more personal approach. They have already posted their first video of the series. In it, Patterson Hood tells the what, why and how how they will go about creating videos for the album launch. He is not so much marketing as he is being transparent about how they want to connect with fans and tell the story of the album. I think it is brilliant and I am looking forward to it. 
The DBTs aren’t the only ones to pull videos out of their bags of tricks. Gregg Allman has a new album out in January. He and his team have put together a “making of” video to start the promotion for the launch. I have to believe that if the album just went out with a truncated booklet of notes or a PDF download, you wouldn’t get a fraction of what Gregg gives in these eight minutes of video. The guy never speaks or gives interviews. Here you get more Gregg, more context, more storytelling from this grizzled bear than you have in the promo of his last half a dozen Allman and solo albums combined (I love the shot of him walking on the bridge with the poodle close behind). 

I put a couple more here for reference as well. Elton John waxes on and on about his collaboration with Leon Russell. Even producers get in the act. Daniel Lanois gives a (slightly self-serving) eighteen minute, song by song rundown of the tracks on Neil’s “Le Noise”.

Kill the body, the head will die“. Context is king. Liner notes, album credits, thank you’s, song credits…these are all essential pieces of the sum total presentation of The Album. They are the body. The music is the head. These pieces need to be considered oxygen to breathe life into the so-called dead album. If these videos are in fact a new version of the liner notes, I am looking forward to how far people can push this concept. Long live the album.  

We are human beings. We like to feel connected…by emotion…context. That’s what stories do, they connect us by emotions to objects, ideas and other human beings. The more intrigued we are and the more effected we are, will impact how much more connected we are to the story. That video/audio experience can nail this to the wall when done right. 

Here are four video-liner notes that I consider “done right”. Enjoy. 

The Drive-By Truckers – “Go-Go Boots”

Gregg Allman – “Low Country Boots”

Neil Young – “Le Noise” (Daniel Lanois doing a trac k by track interview)


Leon Russell & Elton John – “The Union”



The Rock & Roll Three-Way: Old Motel Rooms, Beer Runs & Cotton Fields

I’ve never been to Texarkana, TX, but i hear it’s nice. Well, that’s not true. I haven’t heard it was nice, but I have heard a few things, though.

Texarkana must brew up some of the best suds on Earth, for one. Seriously. Why the hell else would Bandit and Cledus risk life, limb and a lifetime’s worth of speeding violations to get locked into a “hot pursuit” just to race there for a case or two of the stuff?  

I also hear that Texarkana is only a mile or so from Louisiana’s lush fields of cotton. Actually, it is pretty dang close to Arkansas, too. I guess that makes sense; the three parts of it’s names honors all three of the states it is in or borders (Tex-Arkan-Na). Who says our forefathers weren’t crafty?

Seems as though Texarkana has an old motel room that can cure a goddamn lonely love better than some old plane ride. Apparently, if that room is taken, doubling down on a couple shots of hooch will do just nicely. 

It sounds like Texarkana is a special place, eh?  Well, whether or not it truly is, it was special enough to be name dropped in three damn good ditties. Shit, being the N.H. Yankee that I am, I had never even heard of Texarkana until I heard it in a song or two or…get ready for it…THREE! Yes, folks, good old Texarkana, TX is the subject of this instalment of The Rock & Roll Three-Way

I was on a shuffle-a-thon on iTunes one day when I heard Texarkana mentioned three times in three different songs. Was it a sign? Did I have some kind of freakish M.Night Shyamalan connection to Texarkana?  Was Texarkana calling out to me?!? Should I up and go to Texarkana to find out why it beckons!?!

No. The only magic being weaved that day was the digital wizardry of Steve Job’s best developers. My love hate relationship with the shuffle runs deep. I’m an album man. The shuffle and the album don’t mix (ok, bad pun, I know). That being said, without the shuffle pulling out three disperate songs I would never been triangulated right smack dab on 33.4337, -94.0437.

Mind you, this incident happened about five years ago. Since then, I have been chomping at the bit just waiting for some random stranger, in a random bar, to ask the random question: “Name three songs that have Texarkana in them”.

(Cue the shit-eating grin straight into the camera) 

Oh, what a moment that would have been. Alas, it did not happen. Instead, I decided to turn that chance happening into a choice offering of three great songs that all give a hearty shout-out to Texarkana, TX.

East Bound and Down – Jerry Reed 

“Them boys is thirsty in Atlanta and there’s beer in Texarkana and we’ll bring it back no matter what it takes”.

Jerry Reed was a rascal, wasn’t he. Yeah…”rascal” is the right way to describe the guitar pickin’ southern boy. If you are not familiar with his work and his place in “good ol’boy” country music, you should. One of my fave rave Jerry Reed songs is a bit of a signature tune for him, “Guitar Man“. Shit, Elvis liked that one well enough to cover it himself. 

Aside from being a geetar man, Jerry was also an actor…limited range, maybe, but not everyone gets to play an iconic role. Jerry co-starred as “Cledus” in Smokey and the Bandit. He also wrote the hit theme song for it, “East Bound and Down”. You could say that Texarkana had a bit of a starring role in the film, too. I recommend his best of, “When You’re Hot…

A lot of people think Waylon Jennings wrote and performed this. Nope. He did the theme for “The Dukes of Hazzard“. 

Cotton Fields – CCR

“It was down in Louisiana, just about a mile from Texarkana, in those old cotton fields back home”.

Huddie Ledbetter (“Leadbelly”) wrote this song. He plays a pretty inspired version himself. Actually, lots of people have covered this classic: Johnny Cash, Charlie Pride, The Beach Boys and, as posted below, CCR. I like the CCR version. It has a foot stomping, dosey-do, moonshine passin’ feel to it.  In fact, I thought it was their song until I saw a documentary on the Beach Boys. In the docco, Al Jardinde was talking about how he brought this Ledbelly song to the rest of the “Boys” to try out (Hey Al, trying to gain cred with the music community by playing some black guy’s song was sooo Pat Boone of you). 

If you are feeling a bit adventurous, have a listen to Elton John’s version. It is a Frankenstein’s monster of parts CCR version, Beach Boys version and an overplayed xmas carol. I bet you two bails of cotton that Bernie taupin is kicking himself for not writing this one. 

Goddamn Lonely Love – The Drive-By Truckers

“You can come to me by plane, but that wouldn’t be the same as that old motel room in Texarkana was”.

This song is on one of my fave rave albums of the 00’s by one of my fave rave bands of the 00’s, The Drive-By Truckers. It was written and sung by then band member, Jason Isbell. He’s since moved on to slay ’em with his own outfit the 400 Unit (now that link was crafty, if I do say so myself). 

It was shame when he left the DBTs. They have done very well with the two albums since he left the band, but he was the secret ingredient while he was there. Check out the bow-down albums he contributed heavily to: The Dirty South and Decoration Day

(I’m going to see the Jason Isbell-less DBTs here in London on Sunday night)

So there you have it: The Rock & Roll Three-Way, Texarkana style: 1 > Jerry Reed, “East Bound and Down”  2 >> CCR, “Cotton Fields”  3 >>> The Drive-By Truckers, “Goddman Lonely Love”. 

Because you couldn’t be there: Thank you for the Friday Night Sounds & Turn-Ons…

Back in the late 90’s I moved to Boston. I was a bachelor. I was a damn good bachelor, too. I lived alone in cool little apartment right near Fenway Park. It was a three room’er: hang-out space, kitchen and bedroom. The bedroom was in a “secret room” hidden by the two sliding mirrored doors that looked like a wall.

If that wasn’t creepy enough for potential female guests…I lived in the basement. It was called a “Garden Level” apartment; a fancy name for “cheaper rent because you barely get sunlight in here and you are close to the trash room”. Nonetheless, it was my own pad and it was cool. I wish I had a few pics, but I was in a “no evidence” mode back then. 


I had a good crew of friends that were a phone call away from going out to strike sparks at any moment. I had a good job and a good income. I had the means and the motor to run the streets all weekend long. I wasn’t reckless, but I was certainly restless. That being said, footing the solo Boston rent bill was tough on the wallet at times. 

When I did go out, my engine revved high and fuel got burned. Fuel is expensive. When the tank started to run dry, I had to make the decision to go out only one night a weekend to save a bit of cash; most often that was a Saturday night. Friday night was my night to stay in.  

Why Friday?  Well, we’re going to have to defer to old T-Bone Walker to answer that one:  “The eagle flies on Friday. Saturday I go out to play” (“Stormy Monday“). I distinctly remember hearing the lyric and agreeing with the man. “Saturday I go out to play”…damn straight T-bone. Damn Straight. 

I didn’t mind staying in on Fridays. In fact, I looked forward to it. Friday was the night I would stay at home and listen to music. I didn’t own a TV then and didn’t care to. All I needed was the music. Friday night was for music: reading about it or listening to it…or both, if I so pleased. TVs?! I didn’t need no stinkin’ TVs!

On Fridays after work I would stop by the local package store and purchase provisions: a twelve pack of ales, a refresher pint of Wild Turkey (if needed) and a couple cans of beer nuts. I would hurry on back to my pad and hunker down for a night of sounds and solitude.

I loved those nights. I learned so much about music and was able to dig deep into my collection. Back then there was no iTunes or streaming; primitive tools only.  I had great ONKYO receiver, a decent set of Bose and the “shuffle” of it’s time, a six CD changer. A six CD changer: I don’t even own a CD player anymore. I’d get the vibe on just right: top up a tumbler of WT with plenty of ice, dim the lights, flame up some candles, slip on the cans and push play. 

I loved it, but like all good things my Friday sound and solitude nights ended. Why? I had to see about a girl (check it out at 2:22). Once I met my (future) wife my desire to stay in on a Friday night…let alone stay away from her for one night…left me. I still had no money, but I was hooked on her. In fact, in order to take her out…this still pains me…I sold chunks of my CD collection. I can still remember the gut-punch feeling when I sold my “Stax-Volt Complete Singles” collection (nine CDs of raw soul!). Aw, Hell…it was worth it in the end. 

Fast forward just about eleven years later to this past Friday night. I had just returned to London from a work trip to my old bachelor stomping grounds: Boston. My wife and I decided we wanted to stay at home, make some dinner and have a cocktail or two. Just like that, the old music muscle memory kicked in: a perfect Friday night to get the old vibe going again and listen to some tunes. 

We got the mood just right and then I hit play. We had  a hankering for a country-tinged listening session. I plucked songs from my collection: some of our old fave raves and some new sounds to turn my wife on to. We sang and smiled and drank and danced while the box played on. Hot damn… 

While we were having our fun, I thought of the artists. Did they have any idea how much we were enjoying their music at that moment? Did they understand how they were connecting with us…how indelible they had become to us?  Did they think that no one gave a shit about music…their music…anymore?  The answer was No to all of the above. 

I often think about if I were to run into my music heroes…what the hell would I say? There is only one thing to say: thanks. Thanks for all the sounds, turn-ons and being the soundtrack to so many of my life experiences. Whew, that’s a heavy trip to lay on someone, eh? It’s true though, right?. 

Because they all couldn’t be there when we had their sounds on, I wanted to say thanks. Thanks for making your music and sharing it with us. There are people out there who are listening to your tunes…over and over and over again…and loving it. Just like my wife and I last Friday night. 

So…many, many thanks to Friday Night’s Honor Roll: Elton John, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Jamey Johnson, Waylon Jennings, Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, Rolling Stones, Emmy Lou, Gram Parsons, Lucinda Williams, Dawes, Ryan Adams, Ray Lamontagne, CCR and last, but certainly least, Ms. Mavis Staples. 

Hey if you really want to connect with your fans and you are in the neighborhood on a Friday night, stop on by. The door is always open, the drinks are always strong and the music is always shit-hot


 (click the pic to see the tracks)


Again, I thank you…



Talking Old Soldiers…(Neil and Crosby strike an “old” pose)


When I saw this pic, I thought of the Bettye Lavette cover of the Elton John song, “Talking Old Soldiers”. Bettye sings the shit out of this song. She sings the shit out of every song she sings. She sticks her soul-finger into emotion’s open wound and wiggles it around until emotions got nothing left in the tank to give. She’s no steeler though…she’s a natural born sender.

I included Elton’s version here as well. I figured you need to hear how his floor gets mopped up…even though he does it justice it…Bettye wears the Blue Ribbon. 

This pic also reminded me of a Neil and Willie tune. You’ll be tappin’ a toe and slappin’ a knee before you can say, “Trans”.

Fucking Neil…

The Klieg Light Club: When great artists go from “true to form” to “true to formula”

Recently I posted about keeping it simple in 2010. Let’s chalk this one up as a sequel to that post. This time it’s about keeping it real in 2010. 


Have you seen the movie Precious?  

Yes? [collective exhaling, wide-eyed looks and shaking of the heads]

No?  Well then, you must see this movie. It is a harrowing story about the human will and the extreme, extremely extreme, challenges it can endure. The movie has been much talked about in the media and on blogs. In a flick filled with shocking moments, one of the most shocking is the performance of Mariah Carey.

Everyone knows who Mariah Carey is, right?  Yes, of course we do. She is known as a self-indulgent, high-maintenance, look-at-me, glamour-puss.  In Precious she played a run-of-the-mill social worker.  For the role, Carey stripped off her Diva persona and played the ugly duckling. In her own words:

“I had to lose all vanity,” Carey said. “I had to change my demeanor, my inside, layers of who I am, to become that woman.”

Oh my, Mariah. Oh, my.  Where to start…?  Let’s start with the “layers of who I am” part of that statement. How crazy is this shit?  She really believes she has these “layers”.  Is this a bad case of the stardom flu or is she serious. My guess is that she thinks she is serious. My guess is that she thinks that people don’t understand that she is a real person underneath it all. My guess is that she thinks that moonbeams and winged unicorns shoot from her ass every-time she farts.

The ironic thing here is that Mariah thinks that she is acting in this movie when, in actuality, it may be her most real performance yet. As I sat in the theatre watching this, I thought to myself, “damn, she seems normal…why doesn’t she come off this way all the time”?  Forget the no make-up haggard appearance, it was her likability that got me. Why does she chose (yes, choose) to come off so damn self-important and narcissistic in the press?  

She is caught in the crossfire of the klieg lights. She was a earnest singer with pipes that dominated the charts.  Now she is a indulgent Diva with performances that overwhelm the gossip rags.  Just like so many artists, be they actors or musicians, Mariah lost her essence. 

How many others has this happened to? Countless. Here is one that comes to mind:

Rod Stewart: Wow. Rod used to be a rocker.  He had swagger. He had rough edges. He had the last laugh. Now he is a laughingstock. Has there ever been a career that has experienced such a downward spiral. Seriously. He started out with Long John Baldry, fronted the Jeff Beck Group (brilliantly), led the almighty Faces, absolutely nailed five out of his first six solo albums (Smiler being the lone dud), and then… what the fuck happened? He became a star, that’s what happened. Klieg lights…everywhere.

After “A Night on the Town” he started to fall apart. All of his rough edges became polished and glossy and he fell into the glits and glam of the ’70’s slipstream. He went pop chart and disco with “Footloose & Fancy Free” and “Blondes Have More Fun”.  He became fodder for urban legends involving blow-jobs and stomach pumping.  He limped into the ’80’s with infrequent blips on the charts with songs hearkening back to days of yore. He rekindled old flames with live albums of old hits. And now…now he sells albums of covers songs to baby boomers, who, like Rod, think that almost is good enough. Yuck. 

The Good (the very good)

The Bad

The Ugly

I feel dirty after that last video. I need to go play “Gasoline Alley” front to back right now to restore my faith in the gravel-throated goodness that once was Rod Stewart. 

Who else belongs in the Klieg Lights Club?
  • Elton John (the earliest stuff was so damn earnest)
  • Robbie Robertson (stop with the Indian albums and the movie producing and put out the classic you know you have in you..please!)
  • Stephen Stills (so much talent + so much meandering = coulda, shoulda, woulda)
  • Mick Jagger (solo stuff specifically)
  • Aerosmith (Dude looks like a train-wreck…)
  • Gregg Allman (he lost his way when he lost Duane…Allman and Woman?  Check out that link…WTF is that album cover all about!?! Come on?! That never would have happened it Duane was still alive).
On the flip-side, there are those who have stayed true to the course.  A sampling of the many that are in the Real Deal Club
  • John Fogerty
  • Tom Petty
  • Levon Helm
  • Bruce Springsteen 
  • Tom Waits
  • Roger McGuinn
  • Keith Richards (solo albums and guest-star appearances seal the deal)
  • Neil Young (They King of Them All Y’All…in fact, he may deserve his own club)
What do you think about those lists. Agree?  You have any additions to either one? 

Autumn Audio: flannel shirts, leaves changing and songs for dirt roads

(scenes of New Hampshire in the Fall)

If you’re a little bit of country and have never visited a website called “When You Awake”, you ain’t worth your salt.

Jody, who runs the site, says that When You Awake is an “ode to country life, celebrating everything from classic country and rock to the the current indie folk and roots scenes. The daily blog features music news, mixtapes, ticket giveaways, style finds and much more”.  She does a great job curating all kinds of great tunes that go twang into mixtapes for you to download.  I know I’ve burned my share of bandwidth on her site.

There is a lot there to read and hear, so make sure you have time on hand when you have a gander.

In a recent post, she put together a list of “Seven Songs Shaping our Fall“.  The brief for this exercise: include songs that you are really enjoying now, that are shaping your life…genre be damned. Follow the link I provided for you to see what she came up with.  

In a subsequent post Jody posted Fall song lists from “friends and trusted bloggers”. She also suggests that we readers add out own lists in the comments.  It is always great to see people respond to requests/posts like this. I enjoy seeing what everyone has their ears to and what new songs/artists I can get turned on to. 

Of course this is a two-way street; I couldn’t help but add my own list. A few others added their seven songs, too. Check the list updates here.  You’ll find mine in the comment section.  I’m also adding it here, with my comments from the post, as well as with a Tune Tag playlist attached.

p.s. my “little bit of country” comment in the first line of this post was a tongue-in-cheek nod to two towering Champions of Contrived Cultural Cheesey-ness.  I can’t believe I am even linking to this (there goes my street cred). Warning: this may make you puke in your mouth.

My Comments from When You Awake:

Great idea for a list. I am from New Hampshire but I have been off living in Sydney Australia and now in London. I miss the fall. Just looking at that picture takes me back to the N.H. fall with short, bitter days and long, warm nights of carousing by a jukebox with friends.

Here are my seven (this list wears a flannel shirt and should only be listened to on a roadtrip, preferably on a dirt road):

1. The Mountain – Levon Helm (Dirt Farmer)
Pullin’ Up the Tracks – Dave Gleason (Midnight California)
Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show (O.C.M.S.)
Can’t You See – The Marshall Tucker Band (Marshall Tucker Band)
Long May You Run – Neil (Decade)
Hickory Wind – GP (Sacred Hearts & Fallen Angels)
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road – Lucinda (Car Wheels on a Gravel Road)

(Cameron Crowe would be upset at me for not having an Elton John song on a roadtrip mix tape: Country Comfort – Elton John (Tumbleweed Connection)