Friday, June 16, 2006

New Music

There is no doubt that the shorter the move, the more painful it is. But, the move is pretty much complete and I am totally disorganized (okay those of you who know me are saying, “How can you tell”?). So… Here is all of the music I’ve been promising. It is playing as I finish writing all of this (There is so much I just couldn’t write about everyone). So check it out. It will be playing daily over the next week. Thanks for listening to The Promise.

Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome – The Seeger Sessions (2006)
Even though I am a big Springsteen fan, I was truly surprised by this CD. I expected to listen to it a couple of times and then move on, knowing that Bruce created a fine compilation of Pete Seeger songs. But this CD really grabbed me. I love the power of the big (really big) band. I love the sloppiness yet proficiency of this series of first or nearly first takes. The joy and enthusiasm just overwhelms you. This CD will continue to get heavy play on my CD player for some time to come. Having said all of this, I must add this thought… I wonder if Bruce is second guessing himself right now. With powerful political CDs by Neil Young and T-Bone Burnett (not to mention the new Elvis Costello), is Bruce wondering if he should have made this a more political CD. To do a Pete Seeger tribute and avoid the more political songs is the only negative aspect of this CD. In any other year, it wouldn’t have matter.

T Bone Burnett – The True False Identity (2006)
It has been way too long a time since T Bone released a CD; but it is well worth the wait. This is one powerful CD. With almost no hints of his early country days, this CD is empowered by driving rhythms and mostly talk singing. It is an attack on our current state of affairs; from our imposter president (“cowboy with no cattle, warrior with no war, they don’t make imposters like John Wayne anymore”) to the spiritual mess that is being hoisted upon us (“on the seventh day God created evolution”). But it isn’t all politics. On what must be his answer to Sam Phillips latest CD and tour, “I’m Going on a Long Journey Never to Return”, T-Bone takes a few swipes at his ex, but also seems to share responsibility for the breakup of their marriage. This is a must have CD. It challenges you to think: Think about this different style of music, today’s political climate and even your spiritual self.

Neil Young – Living with War (2006)
If you haven’t heard about this album, it is because the powers that be want to keep the status quo and do not really want to risk life as we know it by playing something as politically aggressive as this powerful piece of work. This is a full frontal attack on the president, politics in general and the war in Iraq in particular. This is Neil at his sloppiest best; full of grungy guitars and huge choruses. If you didn’t know where Neil stands on the subjects of the day, there will be no doubt after listening to this potent weapon. Hopefully someday this CD will be very dated. But for now, it is a torch for those who oppose the war and current administration.

Gomez – How We Operate (2006)
These are some of the most imaginative and innovative musicians on the scene today. Their music is intelligent and fun, powerful and accessible. For those of you who are fans, it is more great stuff from a band that really kicks ass in concert.

The Watson Twins – Southern Manners (2006)
This 8 song CD is like a dreamscape, softly floating out of your speakers. It isn’t really alt-country and the gospel tag that was added to them during the Jenny Lewis tour doesn’t really describe them either. Imagine two Natalie Merchants singing in harmony. Well, that doesn’t really describe them either. So maybe you should just check them out yourself. After the intensity of T-Bone and Neil’s CD, this is a welcome diversion.

Alejandro Escovedo – The Boxing Mirror (2006)
Since getting ill (hepatitis c) a few years back we weren’t sure if there would be another CD from Austin’s favorite songwriter, let alone a challenging one. But you knew that this would be a special CD when John Cale was signed on to produce.

Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris – All the Roadrunning (2006)
It was only a matter of time before Mark moved completely into the country/alt-country arena. And if you’re going to have a partner in crime, it might as well be one of the great country singers of all time. Who knew that Mark’s deep haunting vocals would work so well with Emmylou’s sweet twang? But it does. This seems to be more of a Knopfler CD, with Emmylou singing harmonies and taking lead vocals on some of the songs. It works very nicely though as it extends Mark’s trip through the south.

Jon Dee Graham – Full (2006)
Rhett Miller – The Believer (2006)
Ben Harper – Both Sides of the Gun (2006)
Calexico – Garden Ruin (2006)
Drive-By Truckers – A Blessing and A Curse (2006)
Matthow Sweet and Susanna Hoffs – Under The Covers Vol. 1 (2006)

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Music Hall Link - Alejandro Escovedo listen