Monday Morning Music Shuffle – The Pills Ain’t Working Mix

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I am back after an extended time away…  When I last posted, storms were on the horizon for Nashville and that appears to be the case today six days later. In fact, as I look out the window, the rain has started.

This is always an odd week.  Christmas is over, New Years Eve is still a few days away. There is a sense of winding down of the old year and anticipation of what is to come.  In my office, there are many people out this week.  The overall pace of life seems just a wee bit slower.  But, here at E2TG, we keep pushing to the end.  We have more “Earies” to hand out and more shuffles to be shared.

The “Connections” Award. 

The premise:  Although, I don’t always explicitly state it, one of the central themes of Ear to the Ground has always been the thread of connectivity that runs throughout all music.  The Shuffle (which to me is more than random) can often serve to highlight those connections. When songs that seem to be incongruous are placed together, they can often serve to reveal previously unseen connections. These connections come in all different forms and can be difficult to explain.  Long time readers may recall a post I made a few years ago when I shuffled together the then new records by Imperial Rooster and Black Jake and the Carnies.  These two bands came from different regions of the U.S. and were not even aware of each others existence but I found connections.

The Award:  So for this award, I thought about artists/bands who have come into my consciousness who have no visible connection but who speak to me in very similar ways despite their obvious differences.

1.  Tim Lee 3/Bark – A long time favorite of #E2TG, I first encountered TL3 via Couch by Couchwest.  They are based in Knoxville and have roots in Jackson, MS. As I have gotten to know Tim and Susan Lee, I have discovered their deep connection to much of the music I listened to growing up.  To illustrate, I found out not too long ago, that Tim Lee produced or co-produced Will and the Bushmen’s Gawk album which has been a favorite of mine for a long, long time.  In 2015, Tim and Susan celebrated their vinyl anniversary (33 1/3 years) with the release of a new Tim Lee 3 album (331/3) and the very first EP from Bark.  I was lucky enough to see both configurations live in 2015.  The music of both bands manages to sound both fresh and familiar to me.

2. Susan James – A couple of years ago, I got the opportunity to hear and write about Susan’s then new album, Driving Toward the Sun.  Susan is based in Southern California. At the time, I saw where D.J. Bonebrake of X (one of my all-time favorite bands) had acted as emcee for a CD release show for an earlier album.   In 2015, Susan James released Sea Glass which marked a departure from the Americana feel of her previous two releases.  Sea Glass is a wonderful example of California pop music.  Several times on the album, the Paisley Underground sound is evoked very effectively.  It is an album I want to hear over and over. 

Just to put too fine a point on my premise, Tim and Susan Lee have some very deep and personal connections to the original Paisley Underground scene of the 1980s which is evoked so well on Susan James latest album.

On to the shuffle:  I am going to be shuffling from the “Featured  Music” playlist for the three days I am at work this week.  Trying to get through some of 2015’s featured music to clear some room for the many new releases expected in early 2016.

“Taste the Ceiling” by Wilco

So, I think I read somewhere that Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy did not know that there was a new Star Wars movie imminent  when naming the band’s latest album.  The album, which was initially offered as a free download, made many top ten lists for 2015.  I enjoyed the album as I have much of Wilco’s long and extensive catalog.

“More and More” by Bob Margolin

Another track from the new album by Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin. The album is called My Road.  This is real deal blues music folks!

“Love to a Ghost” by Brandy Zdan

Nashville singer-songwriter Brandy Zdan recently released her self-titled debut solo album.  She was previously a member of the duo Twilight Hotel and the band The Trishas.  I was pleased to find a sampler from her new album on Noisetrade.  Check it out and if you dig – pick up the whole album at the usual spots.

“Pinyin” (Instrumental Version) by Batkhi Dahn

We may be done featuring the Batkhi Dahn Chritmas EP, but we still have several more songs in our playlist.  This is the instrumental version of the latest single. 

“Call Out Mellobird” by The Jackals

Another track from People, the latest album from Edinburgh band The Jackals.

“In the End” by Ilana J

Another listen to the highly listenable debut EP, Free Fallin’ from the Ground Up.  Ilana J is from Birmingham (not Alabama).

“Little Meghan Kelly” by Fendrick and Peck

Fendrick and Peck are a hard travelling, neo-traditionalist folk duo currently residing in Nashville.  They released Lucky Penny this year, and it is one of my favorites of the year.

“Pills” by Carl Anderson

Speaking of favorites, we close out this shuffle with another track from Risk of Loss – which is definitely among my top ten albums of 2015  (if I made such a list).  Carl Anderson is another Nashville artist having moved here from Charlottesville, VA.

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Thursday Morning Music Shuffle – Close Your Eyes, Breathe Slow and We’ll Begin Mix

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“Close your eyes, breathe slow, and we’ll begin…”  – from “The Pan Within” written by Mike Scott and recorded by his band, The Waterboys from their album This is the Sea.

Last night I took the Blackstone Bus to Music City Roots at the Factory in Franklin.  I think the bus is one of this town’s best kept secrets.  Every Wednesday, the bus departs from The 5 Spot in East Nashville makes a stop at Soulshine Pizza in Midtown and then makes its way down I65 to Franklin. 

Reasons it is such a cool, awesome deal:  1. The ride is free.  You pay your (usually $10) Roots ticket, select the Blackstone Bus option. 2. They serve samples of different varieties of Blackstone Beer (the longest currently operating local brewery). 3 You get some free hors d’oeuvres courtesy of Monnells.  4. There is usually awesome live music on the bus and 5. You don’t have to drive.

About #4 – the scheduled music performer was under the weather, but because Nashville – it turned out that The Worry Dolls were on board.  The Worry Dolls are recent transplants from London. I had seen them at a showcase during Americana, and they graced us with some songs on the bus.  I nice treat to be sure.

This weeks Music City Roots was pretty eclectic.  Host Jim Lauderdale opened the show with a song from his new album – which I now really want to check out.  A bluegrass band from Italy played one song.  I really dug them a bunch – they are called La Terza Classe.  The Orphan Brigade played next, they are a really interesting group of experienced players with a pretty fascinating story. They completed their current album in Kentucky at what is called the Most Haunted House in America. I really liked their music which is kind of moody roots music – I guess.  LynnMarie was next with her polka band.  They won me over by opening their set with a cover of The Who’s “Squeezebox” and a song written about LynnMarie’s son who has Down’s Syndrome. The latter song really spoke to me.

Amy Black was up next – backed by some of the players who joined her when I saw her CD Release show at The Bluebird Café and supplemented by a horn section and noted Nashville bassist Hags Haggerty.  They sounded fantastic.

Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen played the final set of the night and did what they do best – bringing the authentically original take on psychedelic North Mississippi blues music. And for those who read yesterday’s post – no, the MCR stage could not contain Ted Drozdowski.  Drozdowski is a phenomenal guitar player and his band provide some amazing support. 

The closing Music City Jam featured a pretty awesome version of a song Muddy Waters recorded called “Rollin’ and Tumblin'”.  It was amazing to hear the different takes from everyone on stage.

On to the shuffle:

“The Pan Within” by The Waterboys

Celtic spirituality and soaring, “Big Music”… another track from This is the Sea – which was The Waterboys third album – released in 1985 (30 years ago). 

“Enough” by The Regrets

The first of three songs in the shuffle by bands associated with Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen.  A pretty “in your face” kind of punk song – hint: guys, you do not want to mess with this woman!  This is on the latest Mama Coco’s sampler.  I had to do some pretty heavy duty research, but I managed to find a video made by some of the members of The Regrets.

“Bullets and Arrows” by The Colored Parade

Andrew Atkins has performed in several different combination covering a pretty wide spectrum of styles and genres with one thing in common – well-written song with a hooky melodhy.

“Paper Planes” by Ilana J


Another from Free Falling from the Ground Up.  Illana J plays really infectious and original pop music.  She has a new single called “Angel” which is being sold to benefit research to find a cure for Angelman Syndrome.

“The Witches Song” by Longshot Nelson and the Disjoints

Off the latest Feel Bad for You mixtape – comes this seasonally appropriate song from a band who seems to have a bunch of songs which are appropriate for this time of year.  They play Scottish folk music, and this was my first listen, and I want to hear more.  

“Fuck Ben’s Party” by The Dregs

Another from the latest Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen sampler.  We’ve featured music by The Dregs before and probably will again.  The band includes bassist Sam Braverman who we first heard with his band Logan X.  

“Nevermind” by James Roquemore

Another listen to James Roquemore’s debut release, The First. You may recall that I saw James open Pat Kinsley’s album release show at the Basement. Great songs, great voice.

“Atlas” by Man Named Pearl

Another track from Quietus Make – the new album by Jesse Turits and his first under this new moniker also our third Mama Coco’s associated band in today’s shuffle. This album has rapidly become a current favorite of mine.

“Will Carry On” by Elephant Revival

We close out the day with an awesome song – another from Sands of Now – the new live CD/DVD by the Colorado experimental folk/Americana band.


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Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle – White Light Had It Mix

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Exciting day yesterday as the #E2TG Facebook Page barreled over 400 Likes on our way to 500!  Welcome all the new “likers”.  To get in on the party, click the clink above and give us a “Like”.

Let’s get  to today’s shuffle….

“White Light/White Heat” by The Velvet Underground

The repetition, the distortion, the power… The Velvet Underground were so far out in front that most people still haven’t caught up.  The title track from the band’s second album – the last with John Cale.

“Smoke” by Ilana J

Ilana J is a pop songwriter from Britain. Her current album Freefalling from the Ground Up was released last month.  This song is light, airy, and extremely catchy.

“Genie Versus Genie” by Clouseaux

When I attended the surf rock show featuring Crazy Aces and The Mystery Men, I picked up an instrumental rock zine that included a compilation CD.  From that record, comes a groovy track by this band from Houston.  I don’t know much about the band, but I really dig this tune.

“Hurricane Wind” by Carl Anderson

Another from Carl Anderson’s awesome record, Risk of Loss.  Coming to the Nashville scene by way of Charlottesville, VA, Anderson has found his place among the incredible wellspring of talent bubbling up out of East Nashville of late.  Risk of Loss remains in my heretofore hypothetical best of list for 2015.

“girl” by valued customer

The final song on Byugecup (The Huge Cup B-Sides). The song clocks in at over 9 minutes and manages to encompass much of what it is that makes Valued Customer so awesome.  I kind of said a whole bunch the last post I made about VC, so I will just end this post by saying: Valued Customer is good – really good.

“Cuckoo Song” by Townes Van Zandt

A while back, I grabbed a download of a Townes Van Zandt performance 1973 recorded at a coffee shop in Minneapolis…

“Marquee Man” by Pony Boy

Pony Boy was an L.A. singer/songwriter when Ear to the Ground first caught up with her about three years ago.  She has since moved to Nashillve and she just released her latest albun, Blue Gold on Cosmic Thug Records. The album was produced by the superduo of Adam Landry and Justin Collins. 


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