Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – Great and Powerful So and So Mix

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Here we are!  The final regularly scheduled shuffle of 2015. (I’m not ruling out a shuffle tomorrow but no promises).  But first, we have one final bit of business to wrap up the debut edition of the “Earie” Awards.  Remember: The “Earies” it sounds strange, but it’s not really.  The final award is the Golden “Earie” Award (aka the E2TG Artist of the Year). 

Since we have a bunch of new readers, I thought I would indulge in a brief history of the award.

I began writing the blog in May 2011. That year, I named a “Band of the Week” every week.  As the end of the year approached, I thought it would be fun to have a Readers Poll to select a “Band of the Year”.  So, I created an on-line poll that included all of the Bands of the Week.  Being new to on-line polls, the poll was wide open meaning you could vote as many times as you wanted.  The polling was spirited and fun with several artists really getting into it.  At the end of the poll, The Mobbs (a UK band) flooded the ballot box and were named Band of the Year.  Howard Rabach’s band Ubiquity Machine finished second and Don Ryan from New Jersey finished third.

Because the poll was so much fun (and brought a lot of page views to the blog), for 2012 I decided to have a Band of the Month poll – which I did.  At the end of 2012, all of the Bands of the Month plus some “Wildcards” competed for Band of Year.  The now defunct but totally awesome Skeletons in the Piano from upstate New York were the second Band of the Year.

By 2013, I had kind of grown tired of the polls. It seemed like some artists were more into it than others plus I kind of decided it was a distraction from what was really important – being the music.  When 2013 year end came up, to me there was one obvious choice for Band of the Year.  The End Men, of Brooklyn, remain to this day the most tagged artist on #E2TG. Beyond that they are really wonderful people.  They had a big 2013 and (as I expected) they had an even bigger 2014. 

In 2014, once again the choice was obvious.  Darrin Bradbury emerged from a Wal-Mart parking lot and began to conquer Nashville. He dominated Ear to the Ground – at one point I think there was at least one DB song in the shuffle everyday for almost a month.  In 2014, I probably saw Darrin play life on average 2 or 3 times a week.   Also, as expected, in the year that followed (2015), he continued to excel and made me very proud to have him as my Artist of the Year (I had to rename it because he wasn’t a band).

Which brings us to the 2015:

The choice this year became pretty clear to me early in the year.  my anticipation of Jon Latham’s debut album was so high.  But, anticipation does not equal awards.  Real Bad News managed to exceed my very high expectations. My review can be read HERE.  And the album alone is almost enough to make Jon a lock for Artist of the Year.  But, there were several great albums released in the past 12 months.  But wait, there is more!  Jon is one of the kindest people I know. Some people may say that has nothing to do with music, but I would disagree.  Grant it, there is long list of really amazing artists who happened to be assholes, however, in the case of Jon Latham, his kindness comes through in just about every song.  Beyond that, Jon’s knowledge and interest in a wide variety of music is almost encyclopedic.  Again, at least in the case of Jon Latham, that depth of knowledge is, I think, crucial to his craft as a songwriter. 

As 2015 rolled along, people began to take notice of Jon Latham.  The Sin City vs. Guitar Town Eastside Throwdown was a turning point.  Jon Latham backed Aaron Lee Tasjan in one of the most electrifying sets I have seen all year.  Playing acoustic guitar and singing bgv, people took notice.  Since then, Jon has opened shows for Aaron Lee and for the legendary Malcolm Holcombe.  Real Bad News has garnered international acclaim and made some best of 2015.

You have one more chance to see the 2015 Artist of the Year in 2015. Jon will once again be joining the incredible Aaron Lee Tasjan in an opening slot for Christ Knight at the Exit/In on New Year’s Eve.   On Monday, you can catch 2014 Artist of the Year Darrin Bradbury as he kicks of his residency at The Basement East.  2015 Artist of the Year Jon Latham is on the bill for that night.  I, for one, am excited!

Basically, those who get it, will understand right away why Jon Latham is my Artist of the Year.  If you don’t get it, check out the video playlist below and you probably will.  Some of Jon’s best moments (plus if you look closely in one video  you will see the jean shorts clad leg of 2014 winner Darrin Bradbury).  A couple of bonus clips that I came across: one is a clip I had heard about but not seen, Jon doing a song that does not often make it to his playlist these days.  The touching and tender, “Put It in Your Butt” plus so that we didn’t end on that note, a rare clip of the Latham Family Band doing a Dawes cover.

Congratulations Jon!  Terry Rickards take note: 2013 Band of the Year, The End Men played the 2014 Post-Americana all-day marathon show at The Basement, 2014 Artist of the Year, Darrin Bradbury, played the 2015 Post-Americana all-day marathon show at The Basement East.  I’m just sayin’  American Fest will be here before we know it.

Now the last shuffle of the year…. a short commute and walk, and some longish songs means only 5 songs in the shuffle

“Forgive All His Sins” by Jean Synodinos

Jean Synodinos is an Austin-based singer-songwriter. This is our first listen.  The song is very moving. Her album is called Love and Blood.  Expect to hear more of this one as 2016 gears up.

“45” by Silverbird

Another track from Pureland, the debut album by this New York City based rock band.

“Pound of Grain” by Tymon Dogg

A vegan anthem from the one-time Clash/Joe Strummer collaborator Tymon Dogg from his album Made of Light. 

“Dorothy” by Jon Latham

The shuffle gods do right, and throw a Jon Latham song into this final shuffle of the year.  “Dorothy” is one of the first songs I heard Jon sing.

“Mistreated” by Delta Deep

Given the spirit of #E2TG, it seems appropriate to close out the year with a band that I am hearing for the first time.  Delta Deep is a band that features Phil Collen of Def Leppard and a real deal Delta blues singer named Debbi Blackwell-Cook plus Stone Temple Pilot bassist Robert DeLeo.  I’ll be honest, I was not the biggest Def Leppard fan (although some of their songs were pretty damned catchy).  But this!  This is really cool.  Blistering blues based rock back by an authentic blues voice.  From what I have read, I believe Joe Elliot even appears on this track.  I really like this.  Expect more as 2016 rolls on. This song is a Deep Purple cover by the way.

VIDEO PLAYLIST

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Monday Morning Music Shuffle – Just Like My Mama Said Mix

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To be sure, I see a bunch of great live music here in Nashville, and I probably miss at least as many if not more than I get to see.

Last night was one of those great shows that I did get to see, and it was a show that made me really happy that I live in Nashville. It was the Aaron Lee Tasjan Release Show for In the Blazes at The Basement (the original one) last night.  Zach Schmidt opened the show back by Adam Kurtz on pedal steel.  Zach Schmidt looks like a Country music star should look, and he has the songs and voice to back up the look. He is the real deal, and he easily kick the ass of any one of those “bro-country” posers, but he is probably too nice a guy to do that.

Aaron Lee Tasjan is a one of a kind artist, and he seems destined to as hugely famous as he deserves to be.  Seeing him live under any circumstances and in any configuration (band or solo) is always a must-see event.  When he assembles the kind of band he did last night, the show is one for the ages.  Backed by drummer Aaron Shafer-Haiss, legendary bassist Keith Christopher, the always amazing Brian Wright and Jon Latham on guitars, and on two songs backed by vocal powerhouses Sally Jaye and Sarah Potenza – Tasjan’s incredible songs were delivered with precision and power.

In short, the night was a demonstration of what I love about this city.  Great songwriters, talented players, mutual admiration, and incredible music.  The Basement was packed out and everywhere I looked were awesome songwriters and players taking it in.

In the Blazes is hands down one of the best records of the year, and you should definitely check it out.

We have a shuffle to put out….

“Hannah” by Darrin Bradbury

A live recording of a rareish Darrin Bradbury song.   From a live record called Tur-Lyfe: A Live Recording of Unfortunate Events.  I think I’ve only heard him do this one live once or maybe twice which makes it rare in my book.

“Revelator” by The Boy From the Crowd

We first heard UK rockers The Boy From the Crowd a while back.  They have just released a new EP called Where the Bees Come to Die.  And our first taste of that is a song, we’ve heard before.  It’s a damn good song, so I’m not complaining. 

“Straight to Hell” by Hard Working Americans

I was fortunate enough to see Kevn Kinney live here in Nashville on a number of occasions over the past summer.  He did this song of his several times and every time it was incredible.   Here is a cover of the song by the supergroup Hard Working Americans.

“So I’m Told” by J.R. Wyatt

I can’t believe this song is still in my playlist.  I picked up J.R. Wyatt’s solo record, The Empty Room Sessions, when I saw him live – I want to say almost a year ago????  This is one of my favorite songs on that record. 

“Joliet Bound” by Memphis Minnie

I’m not even sure how many times Memphis Minnie’s name has come up for me in the last several months.  Born Lizzie Douglas, she was an incredibly prolific songwriter and singer who made a name for herself in a field and time dominated by male performers. When I saw the Heritage Blues Orchestra last month, they did a version of this song which prompted me to seek out the original.

“Beautiful Monster” by The Train Set

We have another track from Never California by the resurgent 80s UK band, The Train Set. I continue to be grateful for a second chance to “discover” his band.

“Three Poisons” by Jet Black Factory

It seems fitting and proper to follow up a song by a 80s UK band that I missed the first time around with a song by a Nashville band that I have been fan of for almost 30 years.  Jet Black Factory were dark and brooding and there was nothing even remotely “country” about them.  This one comes to me by way of an incredible compilation of early Nashville Rock Music called, Return to Elliston Square 1979-1989.  The compilation includes some of the great music of that era.

“Spanish Harlem” by David Schnaufer

We have another instrumental cover from the late mountain dulcimer master. The song was first recorded by Ben E. King (written by Leiber, Stoller. and Phil Spector) and later famously covered by Aretha Franklin.

“Seventeen” by Silverbird

And we close out the shuffle with our second listen from the new album, Pureland, by New York band, Silverbird.  Digging the original sound of this music.

VIDEO PLAYLIST

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Featured Friday Music Shuffle – Laser Moonbeams Mix

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So, last night was week 4 out of 5 of the Campfire Propaganda residency at The 5 Spot.  Megan Palmer and Brian Wright were away, but great performances by guests Russell Thompson and Emma Berkey plus  Darrin Bradbury, Nellie Clay, and Tim Easton.  Love this town.  Next week, Nellie Clay will be having her album release show – same time and place. 

“Rise” (Radio Edit) by The Christians

We start things off with a brand new single from a British soul/pop band who had a string of hit songs in the late 80s and early 90s.  The band have a new album called We.  This single “Rise” can be had on iTunes with proceeds going to Syrian Refugee relief. 

“Nothing Ever Lasts That  Long” by The British IBM

We stay on the other side of the Atlantic with a song from a young Cambridge band who have a great indie/pop sound that I really dig.  Catchy songs. I dig.

“The Frame” by Jon Latham

Last week at this time, Jon Latham was launching his new album Real Bad News.  If you have not done so, go get you a copy.  “The Frame” delivers a heart-breaking sad song with a side of well-written photography metaphors.

“Sea Glass” by Susan James

The title track from Susan James’ latest album.  Definitely one of my favorites of 2015.

“Hymn (Highland Version)” by Tom Schreck

Tom Schreck has just released an EP called The Added Glory which serves as a companion piece to his two full-length albums, Outsider (2009) and Save Your Glory (2014).  Here we have a stripped-down version of one of Schreck’s signature songs.  A fully orchestrated version of the song appeared on Save Your Glory.  This version features Tom Schreck on vocals, pennywhistle, and keyboard.  I got to hear him do this song this past Monday at The Building – just him and his pennywhistle. Sublime. Get the EP at the usual on-line sources or come out to The Building this coming Monday and hear Tom and pick up a CD.

“Have Mercy Baby” by Eight O’Five Jive

Award-winning Nashville jump and jivers, Eight O’Five Jive are back in the shuffle – shaking things up with their swinging sounds.

 

“Sky” by Silverbird

Silverbird just recently released their full-length debut, called Pureland. Founder Tim Barr previously was part of Lana Del Rey’s band.  Silverbird has a wonderfully textured and rich sound.

“Lost at Sea” by Brian Carpenter and the Confessions

Philadelphia band Brian Carpenter and the Confessions released their album, The Far End of the World was released at the beginning of this month.  Cited influences include filmmakers David Lynch, Wim Wenders, and Cormac McCarthy, and I can get behind that.

VIDEO PLAYLIST

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