Monday, May 13, 2013

Music Mix for My Brother

Every year for my brother’s birthday I put together a mix of music that I have found over the past year that I’m appreciating for one reason or the other.  

Today’s that day – happy birthday, bro.  Hope you enjoy the mix.

Driving Toward the Daylight – Joe Bonamassa.  Joe is playing the best power blues out of anyone out there right now.  He cranks out a massive amount of work, with some of it excellent, and some just OK.  This one is hit out of the park.  Great night driving song.

Bridge Burning – Foo Fighters.  Are the Foos the last rock band standing?  Not quite, but it is close.  This is an awesome workout song, and a great one to tee up before a big hill climb on the bike.  BTW, this song is so much better when played live and the weak backing vocals on the chorus are gone.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, SteveWinwood, Dhani Harrison, Prince.  This is taken from a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert about ten years back.  Most of the song is a very strong cover of the Beatles classic made famous by Eric Clapton’s incredible guitar work.  The real treat is the final guitar solo by Prince – about three minutes of a shredding solo.  There is no questioning Price’s musicianship, and after this performance, there should be no questioning his guitar work either.  Wow.

Call it Stormy Monday – Albert King & Stevie RayVaughn.  A classic song from two classic artists.  Stormy Monday has become a blues standard – I have five different covers of it in my iTunes library, but none of them approach the guitar work shown on this song.  It is really fun to hear the interplay between the two artists.  That would have been a hell of a show to see.

Bob Mould – Star Machine.  The Minneapolis native shows that he’s still relevant as a song writer and as a guitarist.  While his sound may hot have changed a ton since his days in Husker Du, he still has the chops to hold his own on alternative radio after all of these years.

That Wasn’t Me – Brandi Carlile.  Beautiful blue-eyed soul.  I saw her sing this live last year – just her and a piano – and you could have heard a pin drop.  It generated a very well deserved standing ovation.  She’s coming back into town this year, and I hope she does it again.  Her smoky voice just does not get old to me.

A Living Prayer - Allison Krauss & Union Station.  I actually bumped across this song via a YouTube video of an appearance on Leno.  For my money, Allison Krauss has the most pretty and pitch perfect voice out there right now.  I think that’s why she’s in such high demand for other artists.  She just sounds like an angel.

Heinrich Maneuver – Interpol.  Yeah, this one might be a little obvious.  However, I just think it is everything that I love about alternative music: guitar heavy and lyrics that can be interpreted a number of different ways.  While this is older, it has been on heavy rotation for me lately.

If Walls Could Talk – Ry Cooder.  Classic Cooder guitar work, and some spectacular background vocal work.  Cooder has been an under-appreciated ax man for nearly 30 years now.  I’ll give you that his vocals aren't sweet, but as he’s aged it makes is more forgiving.

This Ship Goes Down Deep – Black Lab.  There is so much about this song that reminds me about late ‘70s or early ‘80s rock.  I could definitely hear Eddie Money, Tom Petty, or Boston doing this song.  Maybe that’s the reason why I enjoy it so much.  It is a nice departure from a lot of the lo-fi stuff that is being put out there right now.

Gone Baby Gone – Boz Scaggs.  This guy still has the soul.  His voice has mellowed some with age, but goodness the man can still sing.  And as for still being able to hit those high notes, well just give it a listen and be prepared to be blown away.

Lucky That Way – Joe Walsh.  This is EXACTLY the song that you would expect Joe Walsh to write at this point in his life.  It is almost a cliché.  There are a lot of reasons why this guy is so well loved, and making a song like this is just one of those reasons.

Let It Be (Naked) – The Beatles.  Let it Be is my second favorite Beatles song of all time.  I have no idea how many times I've listened to it in my life, and I still get goosebumps (as I have now, listening to the song and writing this).  McCartney was never happy with how the Let It Be album came out – he felt Phil Spector and his famous “Wall of Sound” covered too much of the work up.  Hence, Paul recently went back and remixed the album without all of the Spector touches.  You’ll note that he also used an alternate vocal at the end, as well as an alternate Harrison guitar solo.  It makes for a fun rediscovery, and one that still delivers goose bumps despite all these many years and listens.

You’re Early – 2:54.  This is representative of a lot of the music that I’m into now.  It is darker, brooding, layered, and pressing.  There are a lot of bands I have in rotation that are putting this kind of stuff out (The XX, recent Bush, Katie Tucker and the Sons of Sweden)  and this song by 2:54 reflects it all very well.

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Holy Roller.  Quirky band, but I really love her voice and approach, especially when combined with the talented backing band. 

Seven Cities of Gold – Rush.  In honor of their recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it seems only appropriate to take one from their most recent album Clockwork Angles.  The album is a slight return to Rush’s roots, and their musicianship is still on full display for all to see.  Rock royalty; still as relevant today as they were in the 70’s.

This is What Makes Us Girls – Lana Del Ray.  I can’t put my finger on why, but holy smokes, I LOVE Lana Del Ray.  The people in her songs are not living anything close to a perfect life, and the imagery she’s able to invoke is really something.  I have no idea if she’ll be able to have a career of longevity or not, but I’m really liking what she’s doing right now.

Big Love – Lindsey Buckingham.  Rolling Stone named Buckingham the 100th best guitarist in rock.  Listen to this song and tell me if you think they’re right.  He did this song when he toured here last year, and it is still etched firmly in my memory.  My jaw is still open.

At Transformation – The Tragically Hip.  I continue to be a huge fan of the Hip, and they continue to fail to disappoint.  They're still cranking out relevant and damn good music, despite their length in the tooth.  Canada's finest export

Blues Man - B.B. King.  Dude is 87.  I've seen him live probably five times - the first time was when I was a freshman in college thirty years ago.  I'm seeing him again on June 1.  Incredible.  I love this song as his voice and his guitar work belie his age, and given the lyrics of the song, it comes together so well.

Lake Harriet - Carrie Rodriguez.  Every time I hear this song I get homesick.  Cute little toe tapper.

Neverending Math Equation - Sun Kil Moon.  I'm really liking this band a lot.  There are tones of Son Volt, Strand of Oaks, and Bon Iver, 

Metric - The Void.  Hate their politics.  Really enjoy their music.

Cat Power - 3, 6, 9.  Like the Hip, she's been at it forever, and is still cranking out some really enjoyable music.

That's it.  Hope you have a happy birthday.  I miss you and hope to see you soon.


  1. Hey YDP. Just a heads up. There is a band from Denmark I have been listening to as of late that is really making some monster waves over here. Their name is Volbeat and I have to say they rock harder and heavier than anything I've heard. Heavy, melodic, country/50s rock/ rockabilly/ metal all rolled into one. Check them out on ITunes. I'm quite sure you might find them exciting. Enjoy. Keep up the great work.

  2. Oh and by the way, great list. Very eclectic. Really enjoy seeing Bob Mould on there. Most people have forgotten his contributions to the original alt rock scene.


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