It’s been a little while since I’ve highlighted the Rolling Stones.
It’s been a little while since I’ve highlighted the Rolling Stones.
Going back to my high school days for this one – just popped into my head yesterday which of course makes it a great entry for today. I remember hearing this on the radio back in 1979 and immediately loving the simple guitar riff that underlies the rest of the song. I always thought this was a Rainbow song (although admittedly its the only song by them I know) but the Internet tells me that it was originally done by Russ Ballard in 1976 and subsequently covered by a number of bands before and after Rainbow’s version.
Playing some music on a Friday night, the new year just a couple days old. Here’s a great song from one of my favorite artists, Frank Turner, with a great message for a new year.
We can always get better, each day, every day, if only just a little bit – keep moving forward.
(and the song kicks butt as well!)
A few days ago I posted my top 10 favorite songs of 2019. These were taken from a longer playlist – basically whenever I heard a song I liked, I added it to a Spotify playlist for future follow up. The list got to 250+ songs, almost 16 hours of listening pleasure if you are so inclined. Enjoy!
So I’m a day late with my list. It’s been that kind of year. We’ve been a bit absent from the blogosphere but make no mistake, I’ve been listening and these are some of the albums that made up my 2019 soundtrack.
10. Revivalists. “Oh No” actually a 2018 album but this song was released in 2019. Just a great tune which only gets better live.
9. Strumbellas “ Running Scared” this band had a minor hit with “ Spirits” which was one heavy rotation in the OConnor house a couple years ago. This album by this Canadian group has a nice strummy good vibe feel.
8. Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real “Turn off the News and Build a Garden”
Every year I manage to find an album that becomes my sittin’ on the beach album. This one by Willie Nelson’s son was it for this year. It checks all the boxes for me and the theme definitely resonates with me these days
7. Frank Turner “No Man’s Land” Frank went in a different direction with this one. An album dedicated solely to under appreciated musical or historical women that he wrote and performed with a female producer and an all female band. He paired the album with a series of podcasts highlighting the subject of each song. Worth a listen. This song got played at 11 in my car.
6 Vampire Weekend “Harmony Hall’
Ive not really been able to totally appreciate this band but this album just clicked for me.
5. Black Keys “Lets Rock” After being away for a while on side projects, these guys came back with a simple mission. The album title says it all.
4. little Steven and the Disciples of Soul “Summer of Sorcery “ Steve has come back the last couple of years to bring us a master class in music. This latest album does it again with rock , R and B with a touch of soul.
3. The Menzingers. Quickly becoming one of my favorite bands. Love the hooks, love the music .
2. Bruce Springsteen “Western Stars” I wasn’t sure what to expect when this album was coming out. I was actually afraid this might be the first Bruce album that I might not like that much. Boy was I wrong. This album from a 70 year old man spoke to me. It’s not trying to be music for kids. It’s mature, thoughtful and really spoke to me. It was my driving with the dog on a Sunday morning or sitting on the deck on Friday night album all summer long.
1. Dave Hause “Kick” A couple of years ago, the song “We Could be Kings” got my attention, and then Dave Hause (rhymes with paws) opened for Frank Turner and ever since, I’ve been hooked. This album has one great song after another. Definitely influenced by 1980s rock with a touch of punk. Absolutely got the most play of any album I listened to this year.
So here we are again at the end of another year. While I have not been very active in the blogosphere this year, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been listening to music and taking notes! So, just under the wire, here are my favorites of 2019.
10. Vampire Weekend – This Life
The type of song that can make you feel like the suns shining and the bird are singing, even if you’re in the middle of a cold foggy rainstorm.
9. Nilufer Yanya – In Your Head
Heard this song on a new music playlist and it grabbed me from the first riff. Can’t really tell what’s going on in her head, but the song kicks ass.
8. Bruce Springsteen – Stones
It took me a while to warm up to Bruce’s latest release, Western Stars, as it was so different from what I would have expected. But its filled with gorgeous melodies and grand arrangements, and as we have come to expect from Bruce, brilliant characters. This was one of my favorites from it.
7. Amanda Palmer – The Ride
A perfect song for a Sunday morning – a tour de force performance that tells you everything you need to know about this ride called life. Favorite lyric:
Everyone’s trying to stay on the side where the water’s just boiling more slowly
Frogs in a pot, well that’s one thing I’ve got
At least some of the frogs in here know me
6. Better Oblivion Community Center – Dylan Thomas
This out of the blue paring between Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers is the perfect example of a collaboration that you hope isn’t just a one off.
5. Leonard Cohen – Happens to the Heart
I didn’t get into Leonard Cohen til towards the end of his life. After his death, went back and listened to his catalog and wished I had paid more attention earlier. This posthumous release is one last gift from this master songwriter.
4. The Beths – You Wouldn’t Like Me
I raved about this song back in Feburary, and the feeling never faded. A great song from a great album which hits one of my wheelhouses – guitar power pop with a female singer. And for some reason, the Southern Hemisphere (in this case New Zealand) seems to have more than its fair share.
3. Martha – Love Keeps Kicking
One of my favorite guitar riffs of the year from England’s punk pop masters Martha. And the video is a hoot to boot!
2. Alex Lahey – Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
You know what I said a bit earlier about guitar pop, female singer, and the Southern Hemisphere? Exhibit B from Australia. I could put this song on an extended replay loop and not get tired of it.
1. Little Steven – Superfly Terraplane
It was a great year for one of my favorite artists. Springsteen’s extended break from E St. Bnd projects has allowed many of the band members the opportunity to pursue their own projects, and Little Steven has taken full advantage. Releasing his first album of all new material in decades, he also toured extensively with the Disciples of Soul and continued to kill it live – definitely one of my concert highlights this year.
If I was king of the universe, this song would be a massive #1 hit worldwide. Alas, I’m not but its still my song of the year.
Wishing everyone worldwide a Happy New Year! Looking forward to more great music discovery in 2020!
Merry Christmas everyone! Hope all of you who celebrate are having a wonderful day with family and friends. Here’s another of my favorite Christmas songs (although you may not hear it played too often on your local 24 hour wall to wall Christmas music radio station).
I discovered this Dylan cover last year and decided it would be my new Christmas Eve blog tradition. Things have been very busy personally this past fall and so the blog has been on somewhat of a hiatus but we are hoping to change that in the new year.
I just just love this video with the party going on and Dylan popping up in a white wig and hat (what’s that about?) or Santa hat, ending up with Santa on the porch.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy holidays to everyone!
Paul is vacationing in Germany! Yesterday we spent the day in Cologne – a really beautiful city, including the stunning cathedral. And yes we climbed the 500 step spiral staircase to the top!
When we were leaving this group of young people set up in the public square in front of the cathedral in the rain to busk. As you can see from video this wasn’t just one or two on guitar or horn but a group of 10 – full horn section with percussion. I have no idea who they were or what they were playing but I thought it was pretty cool to hear.
Great article on NPR Music on Green River and also what made CCR such a phenomenal band reposted below.