will phalenSo yes, instead of listening to U2’s new free download, we’ve been listening to these fine CD’s (Shelled out cold hard cash for the tangible thing!) played on a really excellent, high-end, stereo system… all highly recommended…

1. Sun Kil Moon – “Benji” – extraordinary…made me cry and laugh… powerful art and a nylon string guitar – I think it’s probably one of the greatest records I’ve ever heard. Really!

2. Mavis Staples – “One True Vine” – produced by Jeff Tweedy… beautiful, soulful… hushed, just great!

3. Chrissie Hynde – “Stockholm” – thanks to Terry Flamm for the recommendation! Neil Young sits in on a song with his great Les Paul guitar!

4. Jim James – “Regions of Light and Sound of God” – so good, weird, and cool, love the saxophone!

5. Jenny Lewis – “The Voyager” – Ryan Adams and Beck contribute… the record builds and the title track is my favorite song of the moment!

6.  Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – “100 Days, 100 Nights” – killer soul, great voice, great band!

7. Will Phalen – “The Dirt, the Air and the Grass”  – beautifully realized. Will does it all, love that Rickenbacker guitar… he’s a really cool guy too… and excellent band! Ringing guitars and haunting lyrics.

8. Nate Currin – “You and I Are Ghosts”  – A great singer-songwriter, writes extraordinary songs, excellent production… I close my eyes and am reminded of the best of Ryan Adams… but Nate has his own voice… on a national tour in a motorhome… we were on a bill with him at Uncommon Ground.  He just knocked us out…a cool guy too.

9. Parquet Courts – “Sunbathing Animal” – Noisy, funny, raucous. You just know these guys love Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, and Television and Dylan too.  Two voices, classic garage band vibe.  But these guys are super-smart and articulate… funny, did I say funny? Love it.

10. The Handsome Family – “Singing Bones” – It was “True Detective” that compelled us to buy this one.  The title song of the great HBO series is “Far from Any Road.”  Beautiful and haunting. Brett Sparks owns the low tones. Gothic Country? Rennie Sparks writes beautiful lyrics… love this record! Dark. In a good way.

11. The Beatles – “Please Please Me,” – OK it was “Tune In” that made me purchase a copy of the Beatles first record.  Recorded in about 16 hours. The Beatles are raw and exuberant. There are some great originals but it’s the cover songs that really knocked me out this time.  I think I overlooked this one for years, thinking it was their later work that was the best. This is the Beatles as a really tight, joyous, raucous r&r band. All the elements of their later success are here. Fresh!

12. Fairport Convention – “Liege & Lief” and “What We Did On Our Holidays” – lots of people who have come out to see our band whitewolfsonicprincess have compared us to Fairport Convention. Which is just the greatest compliment! I went back to these early records. They are just amazing. Sandy Denny’s voice is one of the great instruments, and Richard Thompson is an extraordinary guitarist.  We do some originals using non-standard tunings, with some Celtic, Gypsy type vibe, and I think it’s these tunes that conjure up the Fairport Convention mojo.  So glad I traveled back to discover and enjoy these early discs… totally inspiring!

Jammer

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 8.43.32 AMWe were lucky be on a bill with Christina Trulio and Nate Currin last night at Uncommon Ground. Everything clicked! Nick, Uncommon Ground’s sound-tech did a superb job, and the audience was attentive and supportive. It was just the perfect line-up, the perfect vibe. Christina and Nate are two very inspiring singer-songwriters. They are working in a great tradition steeped in well-constructed songs delivered with beauty, heart and soul. Christina was backed by a excellent band, Nate was all alone with his Gibson acoustic guitar.

We really felt part of a greater thing last night, welcomed by fellow musicians and by an enthusiastic audience that seemed to really listen. It’s a rare, good thing. Nate is in the midst of an on-going National tour, he’s living in a motor-home taking his music to towns all over the States. Pretty amazing. Nate is a great story-teller too, and he kept the audience engaged with his between song banter. The music from these two songwriters was just first-class.

We were the openers, continuing our never-ending Chicago tour, and we did our best in a stripped down mode, just guitar, percussion and vocals for us. It was a little bit intimidating to hear some of our songs in such a stark setting, but it all seemed to go over well, and the vocals really stood out, it was gratifying to hear afterwards that the lyrics really came across. We sold some CDs, made new friends. Got warms words of encouragement from some really cool people. Nothing better! – Jammer