Friday Morning Music Shuffle – Begin and End with Blues Mix

I’ve been thinking a lot about genres in music.  Overall, I think they are dumb.  That’s just my opinion, and I do understand that it can be important for a band trying to get into a venue or festival or to get played on this or that station to have a clearly defined genre label.   When I need to use a genre label, I try to defer to the band’s own description.

Don’t even get me started on sub genres and sub sub genres, and all the pseudo genres that some clever music journalist invented.  I hope that artists will just continue to make great music and only after the fact and only when necessary worry at all about picking a genre or genre to categorize their sound.  Because that is really all genre labels are really is a way to put everything in a neat little pile.

It always annoys me when people say I hate _____ (fill in the blank with a genre label).  When I hear that, I always think to myself, and what do you mean by ______.  And usually there is some specific type of music that they don’t like, and they are arbitrarily eliminating a whole bunch of really good music from ever entering their consciousness. It doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m kind of weird like that.

Here at Ear to the Ground, we don’t set any restrictions or limits on the music we feature, and really we go out of our way to add a variety of different genres and types of music to our playlists.

Today’s mix begins and ends with the Blues (or at least some variation of that clear yet still indistinct genre label.)


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“The Devil You Know” by Tommy Castro and the Painkillers from Alligator Records:21stCentury Blues and Roots/The Devil You Know
I like the term “Roots” when it comes to music. To me “Roots music” is not a genre, but rather it labels the music as pure and natural (or at least more so than most music).  The influences may be mixed and varied, but the pure essence is still present.  The Devil You Know is a Blues songs and it rocks.  Tommy Castro is a California based guitarist who has been active since the 80s, and who released his latest album this year on the Alligator Records label. This isn’t throw-back music, but it definitely has a solid foundation in the basics of all American music.


“Let the Records Play” by Pearl Jam from Lightning Bolt

There is a definite Blues influence in this Stone Gossard penned song from Pearl Jam’s 10th studio album.  With came my way via my friend Ronnie B’s annual mix CDs.

“Coast to Coast” by Waxahatchee from Cerulean Salt

Singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield records folk inspired indie music under the name Waxahatchee which comes from the name of a creek in Alabama. She is based in Brooklyn, and her 2013 album Cerulean Salt has garnered quite a bit of attention. Cerulean is a color which is rooted in the color blue.  So maybe  that makes Waxahatchee blues based music….


“Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold” by the Lone Bellow from The Lone Bellow
Another Brooklyn-based band that has been getting a lot of attention from people whose tastes in music I admire is The Lone Bellow. They make great music which spans several different musical genres.  They played the Americana Festival in Nashville in 2013, so maybe they are an Americana band, but you don’t even want me to start in on the idea that Americana is a “genre” of music.


“Back Door Man” by Tomas Doncker Band from Moanin’ at Midnight: The Howlin’ Wolf Project

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It is pretty unambiguous that Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon were Bluesmen. So this song penned by Dixon and originally performed by Howlin’ Wolf is pretty unambiguously a blues song. And believe me when I say, Tomas Doncker and his band do not make any attempt to dilute or disguise the blues. It would be a pretty fruitless and unappetizing exercise to try.  But what Tomas Doncker does on this song and indeed on the whole Moanin’ at Midnight album is to infuse this timeless and well established music with his own unique vision of Global Soul music – which is really not a genre either, but rather an attitude and a feeling swirling around not only his own music, but on all of the music put out by his label True Groove.


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Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – Once Bitten, Once Bitten Mix

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Time moves on.  We walk unaided into the abyss. Sail our ships closer to the sun. Life become a series of movements, of stanzas. We stand alone and yet never truly alone…

We have some cool tunes to refresh, reinvigorate and renew your damaged innocence. Or something… we have cool tunes…


“A Little Bit Longer” by Grass Root Kids (a nifty song by this awesome new band from Nashville)

“Red Light Love” by Those Darlins (Awesome song and check out the cool video in the playlist below.  Nashville – Those Darlins will be playing at Eastside Hootenanny this Saturday and this will the first and only opportunity to hear some new songs from the next Those Darlins album which is due out in the Fall.)

“Peace and Quiet” by Waxahatchee (love this song. The band is from Illinois.)

“Waters of Babylon” by Valued Customer (first of two from our friends Patrick J. Power and Ugggy).

“Big Blue Wave” (Alternative Mix) by Hey Ocean! (Hey Ocean! are a Pop/Indie band from Vancouver, BC).

“The Drinking Song” by Valued Customer (Yes! Just Yes! and Very Yes!)

“Nine Lives to Rigel Five” by Game Theory (More Game Theory with a Star Trek reference – I am a equal opportunity geek)


  •  “Big White Wall” by Drive He Said from Multitudes (2012)

The last song on the debut album by Maxim Ludwig’s new band.  I love this song.  Fits well in a mix that includes Red Light Love and Big Blue Wave.

  • “All I Want is Everything” by Game Theory from Distortion of Glory – (originally on Blaze of Glory (1981))

“I push away but still I cling. All I want from her is everything.”

  • “It’s Alright” by Great Divide from Great Divide (2013)

Man oh man, this is a great song.  It’s got a cool as f**k soul vibe.  Great Divide are from Chicago this is from their self-titled sophomore record.

  • “Mystic Mind” by Those Darlins from Screws Get Loose (2011)

Did I happen to mention Those Darlins are from Nashville?  Did I happen to mention, I love this band?  Did I happen to mention that I’m impressed?