All posts by mikeandpaulsmusicblog

Welcome back to life(live)

Last night I came back to live. After more than 15 months I went and saw live music. I took my daughter to a small local venue and saw The Wild Feathers. It helps that they are one of my favorite bands that I’ve come across in the last few years. It also helps that they are really fabulous live. I didn’t know this until I saw them last night. I was lucky enough that they happen to pop up on my feed for a local venue that tends to book acts that are not big commercial draws but appeal to a select audience. Despite the social distancing protocols in place and the weird seating arrangement, I managed to have an absolutely fantastic time. Of course having my daughter Hanna with me made it better. The music was fantastic. The americana/southern rock ethos of this band was on full display. They effortlessly move between beautiful harmonies, ballads and jammy songs with fantastic instrumentation. If I had to put a label on them (which I hate ) I would say they fall somewhere between a classic southern rock band and vintage Eagles. Three vocalists all equally adapt and distinctive with fantastic musicianship.The intimate setting allowed for great interaction with the audience. Of course after the show the members of the band were in the lobby of the venue and we got to talk, chat and interact. They handle their own merch. The drummer talked with us about hairstyles. Sidenote*my daughter Hanna is really cool and has great hair. We talked to Joel, bassist and co- lead vocalist about the difficulty with being on the shelf for a year and the challenges of traveling and touring in a post Covid world. Everyone in the audience seem to be like prisoners out of prison released after an unjust sentence. (Forgive me if I’m waxing too poetic.)

I’m not sure I totally realized until last night how much I really missed going to a live show. Of course I’ve continued my ever expanding search of music over the last year. I’ve watched numerous live streams of artists that I like. But nothing replaces the pure adrenaline ,energy and emotion that you feel when people get on the stage in front of you and play because they love it and can’t imagine doing anything else. These guys are doing what they want to do because it feeds their soul. They’re obviously not rich but they’re really damn good at what they do and they made a couple hundred people really happy last night.

keep it up guys. (I’m breathing better now)

Best albums of 2020 (imho)

I’ve been doing a top ten albums list for almost 10 years. About 3 years ago my buddy Paul and I started this music blog. We went gangbusters the first year and as these things occasionally do, it lost a little steam over the past 2 years. Paul has posted a few articles but this may be the only one from me since my ten best of 2019. Nevertheless, I felt I owed it to my loyal small handful of followers to get this past years list up. So here goes….

2020 was an interesting year in music. Artists were left without that creative outlet that touring provides, so many improvised. Live streaming performances and stripped down, acoustic music with lo fi production became a thing., even from bands and artists we think of as big loud arena ready performers.Some went to the vault and recorded alternative versions of previously releases. The Bouncing Souls released Volume II , acoustic versions of some of their great rockers. I loved this album.

My number 10 album is by BillJe Armstrong/ Green Day. Really just a fun project of power pop covers including Hanna”s fave “That thing you do ” from the movie sound track> Here’s one i had on regular rotation.

10 Green Day “NO FUN MONDAYS”

9. The Beths. “JUMP ROPE GAZERS”

I like finding new music and owe this find to Paul. Not sure if he recommended this band but he has been a fan of female led bands and opened my eyes to what I was missing. Great range in this band.

8.Drive-by Truckers. “THE NEW OK”

Easy to get fooled into thinking these guys are just a southern rock band. They definitely have that southern twang thing going but they have a bit of punk and a socially progressive message. This song was inspired by the BLM protests this past year especially in Portland.

7.Chris Stapleton “STARTING OVER”

This artist has been around country music more than 10 years as a songwriter. He’s now put out a few excellent albums. This one is no exception and this song cold might be the best single song I heard this past year. AMAZING voice!!

6.Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “ REUNIONS”

His winning streak continues. whether solo or withe the fantastic 400 unit, Jason Isbell puts outfantastiic music. This song released early in 2020 was like a prediction for the rest of the year.


These sisters had a hit a few years back and Iv’e always like their cool LA vibe but this album kicked it up a notch . This song is great but the whole album is worth a few hundred listens


These guys have become regular occupants of my top 10. They just keep surprising me


This band seems to be permanently stuck somewhere between 1985 and 1992(and I mean that in good way). loved this album from top to bottom.

2. The Menzingers “ FROM EXILE”

After seeing them open for Frank Turner a few years ago, I’ve been a big fan of this local PA band. best played LOUD

1.Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band “LETTER TO YOU”

Well, duh…..

Bruce had been pretty quiet for a few years until his very different introspective “Western Stars” last year. I thought that was great and it was my chill out album of summer 2019. I was beginning to wonder if Bruce was settling into his rock star emeritus phase. Then came this…which i think is the best thin he’s done since The Rising. He draws on his whole body of work without sounding like he’s recycling. Quirky characters like from his early work appear in “If I were the Priest”. “Janey Needs a Shooter” would be at home on “Darkness”

The chorus fo this son starts with a defiant “I’M ALIVE…” which was the perfect message at the end of 2020.

Song of the Day 5/7/20 Frank Turner “Glorious You”

I decided to build a playlist the name of which is TBT. I’m considering anything from pandemic playlist to Purge the ‘rona

any song will do. Old, new, hits, obscure b sides, novelty songs. As long as it makes you feel good during dark days. Here’s my first offer. Great song just happen to hit me at the right time about 3 miles into my run this morningOn a beautiful 50° morning here in Macungie PA