Celebrating with visual art and music
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Time for some fun – and a new song from Randy Newman…
Once upon a time thought The Rolling Stones were one of the great rock’n’roll bands – who also occasionally sang the blues. In between those early years and now there was not a lot of great music from the Stones – loads of concerts and a mix of music – some good and some ok. Would they ever make great music again?
Released February 2017. Rating 4/5 – highly recommended.
I think the reviewer has it about right for this new album by Neil Young – Peace Trail. Click on the image for the review inThe Guardian.
One very nice recording just out by Suzanne Vega.
Click on image for a story about Leon Russell 1942-2016
Here’s a fun story about two musicians and how they made this album. They hopped on the train and then jumped off at stops along the way to record a song – while making sure they were back on board as the train left. And yes – the music is good stuff. Definitely worth a listen if you are a follower of Billy Bragg and Joe Henry. Click here for more on the album.
Yes, there’s a new album out by our man, Leonard Cohen.
A collaboration between the writer George Monbiot and musician Ewan McLennan seeking to use music and word to open up the issue of loneliness and bring people together.
Here’s an album for the many Van Morrison fans. They will love it.
A new song from Nick Cave – one you may need to stop and listen to especially when you realise when he wrote it – just after his son had died. Continue reading Nick Cave
Join two wonderful voices, join two approaches to making music and two lives that have crossed over several times, and you have two marvellous talents – and the result – a great album. Many of the songs are original – and some are covers. It’s all good stuff.
Recommended: Rating 8/10
The first thing to say is that tis is a great collection.
It is a new collection made by Tracy. The title – Greatest Hits – does not quite sit easily with this selection.
If you like Neil Young’s music, then this album must make its way into your collection. This is Neil Young at his best and doing so as a Blues musician.
The music is from live recordings from 1987 – 1988 and is more or less based around his studio album, This Note’s For You .
Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings (2015)
It is the done thing for musicians to cover other musicians songs and to do new arrangements of those songs rather than just attempting to mimic them.
I have reviewed Caro Emerald’s music before. It is great! I recently came across some acoustic versions of previous songs that had been released but may now be hard to find. Luckily I found a copy and there are several of the songs online.
Here’s an album by a great jazz blues singer who continually crosses over genres in her many albums. This being a year of celebration of Billie Haliday (her 100th Birthday), Cassandra Wilson has taken a selection of Billie’s songs and covered her music not by doing an imitation, but by making the songs her own.
This music may not be joyful enough for everyone, but if you like a touch of Americana with blues, rock and folk along the lines of a great singer/songwriter, then this could be for you.
John Mayall was making his form of blues in the sixties, in the seventies – and now in the 21st Century he is still pumping it out. How cool is that! Back in the seventies no-one could have imagined that we would be listening to the same guy in 2014 as he turned eighty.
I am sure there are plenty of people who are not taken with much of Dylan’s later music. It has been very much a mixed affair. I am sure that there will be plenty of people who will not get this new album by Dylan. The songs and Dylan’s treatment of them do not fit easily with any category.
Bryan Ferry’s album, Avonmore, concentrates on the failure of love. Obviously something to do with his most recent marriage and divorce. The music links directly back to former albums such as Boys and Girls (1985) and Bête Noir (1987) as well as Roxy Music’s Avalon (1982).
The production is pure Bryan Ferry. His music continues. What’s age got to do with it? He’s 70 years young and still making music. Good stuff.
This was my first album by Joan Osborne despite her longish career. This album is for those who love to hear blues and rhythm & blues music being revisited by a talented singer. This is not about simply duplicating the former versions. Rather Joan Osborne and her musicians have delivered some great music through their own soul interpretations.
Caitlin Canty sings Neil Young’s Unknown Legend
I noticed a rave review online for a singer I had not noticed before, Caitlin Canty. After some further research and listening to the online samples, I dutifully downloaded her music to hear the whole album.
All was going OK, but I was not that enthusiastic on the first listen. No worry, this often happens. I was about to put aside for the night – when I came upon the second last track.
This album from Marianne Faithfull sees her return to a style close to that of her 1979 album, Broke English – which remains a great piece of music. I recommend this music. Those who have followed her music will really enjoy this album.
Eric Clapton & Friends – The Breeze: An Appreciation of J J Cale (2014)
I am going to keep this short. I have for a long time liked the music of J J Cale. I also happen to like much of , but not all, the music of Eric Clapton. I am aware of many collaborations between J J Cale and Eric Clapton. They are, were, a natural mix and between them we have some great music to enjoy.
One song, True Lies, is obviously based on some of her own relationship experiences. However her lyrics point the finger at people any of us have been unlucky to have known.
If you have read my former post on Mary Gauthier (click here,) you know that I very much like her two former albums. This album is hard blues country by a very talented singer songwriter about love gone wrong. Through the eight songs, Mary lets us in on the thoughts and reactions she worked through as she dealt with the end of a relationship. It hurts.
There’s a new Steve Earle Album due in February 2015.
If you haven’t already – have a good listen. It will be worth it. As usual, he has stuck mostly to his usual style being somewhere out there between okie folk, blues, roots music and a bit of americana. All good stuff.
Love Filling Station (2009) & A Reasonable Amount of Trouble (2014)
This was a shame as he was indeed a very gentle and quiet personality with an eye on the world.
This group of talented Canadians has been making fantastic music for a couple of decades. I cannot remember how many times I have sat back, often with my headphones on, and allowed their music to take me away from all the troubles hanging around. These days life is much more peaceful and the music is even better.
It is great to see established singer/ songwriters being relaxed in his approach to music so that he brings together an album of new and original songs.
Something to enjoy . A new video online by Natalie Merchant. The track Lulu is from Natalie Merchant’s 2014 album.
Sometimes you buy an album then life gets in the way and you do not get to the chance to really get into the music. This has happened several times to me with the music of Beth Orton. It was a case of bad timing.
I have had albums by Beth for a decade or more but it was only very recently, last week in fact, that I was able to dedicate serious time to sit and listen to her albums. I am recommending her music and would love to see a stage performance. Just dreaming!
Linton Kwensi Johnson, Paris Live, 2004
The world would be a better place if we treated everyone kindly, be open about things, and listened to more music!
Linton Kwensi Johnson, more time, from Paris Live, 2004
We have been bombarded recently with a lot of neo-conservative rubbish about how everyone needs to work longer hours and stay in work for more years. There’s so much indoctrination being put about how people need to do more and expect less. I disagree.
Dear Leonard has a new album out 23 September 2014. The title is ‘Popular Problems‘. When questioned about the tone of the new songs, Leonard responded that the world seemed to be confronting all forms of crisis right now. However he added with a smile that he is ‘closet optimistic’.
I wandered into this exhibition with some doubts given the title. I have long been sceptical of the direct link that some artists and authors make between music and the visual arts. This is not to say that some visual artists may be influenced by some music or rhythms.
Neil Young has published an online song asking the question about ‘who is gonna to stand up and save the earth?’. The song contains comments about the damage being done to the earth and that we need to take on the big corporations. click here for the song
Geraint Watkin’s albums have been few and they have not commanded a lot of attention. I suspect this is because of the idiosyncratic mix of music styles.
This 2014 album by Geraint Watkins has dominated the car stereo for quite a while now. It is fun to hear the music close up. This album is recommended if you like this sort of mix.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) definitely needs to ensure that its profile as a broadcaster identifies with the many communities within Australian society. It has recently moved on this by using a slightly revised version of a very popular song by the band, Hunters & Collectors. I have a problem with this choice.
Yes Folks, maybe some of you thought that Leonard Cohen’s 2012 album, Old Ideas, may have been the last album from this genius. Not so. L Cohen has announced that there is another to be released just after his 80th birthday this year, 2014.
I have already posted a review of Carmel’s music. Click here. As I said earlier Carmel McCourt’s music is to be enjoyed, and to be enjoyed often. It was a nice surprise to see three new tracks uploaded for purchase. Click here. Not sure why they are called ‘lost recordings’.
I had previously posted about the extraordinary goings-on whereby we were seeing a rise in the number of vinyl albums being bought. Good heavens! It continues to this day with an amazing increase in the numbers being bought. The trouble is the supply to meet the demands.
Brandy Clark is one of those singer songwriters who has worked with others, written songs for other artists, but has only now (in 2013) taken on launching her own album of songs.
I start my comments by saying that 12 Stories is recommended.
If you already know John Hiatt’s work, this is the 22nd Album, then I can recommend you add this album to your collection. It is that good. If you are unfamiliar with any or most of his albums, than start right here. It is that good.
Puss N Boots have released an album (due out today) titled No Fools, No Fun.
Puss n Boots are the band formed by three successful musicians, Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper, and Norah Jones. The three perform individually under their own names and as support musicians to many others. They are busy people.
There’s not much more to say about Eliot Fisk & Paco Peña than as stated online: Eliot Fisk looks like the happiest man on the planet. Watch that face as he plays guitar. Between performing music by J.S. Bach and partnering with the world’s best flamenco guitarist, Paco Peña, Fisk can barely control his joy.
Paul Costigan, 7 July 2014
It was in a Newcastle (NSW) cinema that I first experienced the power of Joe Cocker’s voice and his music. It was 1971 and they were showing Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Somehow the advertising may have confused some, as not long after the movie started several older people departed. Those that stayed were rocked out of our heads!
Here’s the title track from John Hiatt’s new album
Click here for more information
Paul Costigan, 5th July 2014
Seeing a CD put out by Leon Russell throws up a host of memories. I remember the first time I saw him perform and heard that voice. That was back with the release of the film, Joe Cocker and Mad Dogs and Englishmen. (there’s a review of Joe Cocker to follow soon)
In between there have been countless albums, several of which have found their way to my collections.
Aaron Neville’s voice is the real thing. He is now over 70 years old and he sounds fantastic. Having several of his CDs in my collection, it was with heightened interest that I approached this one given the publicity that he was revisiting songs from his own childhood.
If you are interested in some fantastic new versions of doo-wop music, then this album will bring you hours of pleasure.
Giving Up Everything
From the new Album – Natalie Merchant (2014)
I am still listening to Natalia Merchant’s new album (released May 2014). While doing so, I have come by this video release of one of the tracks – Giving Up Everything.
a conversation with Natalie Merchant
about her new album, titled Natalie Merchant (2014)
Still to listen at length to this whole album, but already convinced this one is very good.
These two albums were released in the early 1960s and they still hold up; they sound great.
The release of these albums was a landmark at the time as it saw this successful singer-songwriter cross over from his usual rhythm and blues and gospel singing to interpret classic country & western music.
This labour of love is a live tribute album to Ray Charles. The album is of a 2009 performance by Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis, and Norah Jones.
I have reviewed a similar collaboration by Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis that was previously released – Two Men With The Blues (Live) 2008 – for my comments on that album – click here.
I am not sure when I became interested in Americana music. Some people think Americana is another part of American country music. Not for me. It sits somewhere between country, rock and at times a there’s a little of the blues and ever now and then throw in a folk ingredient.
This is roughly where I put these two albums by Mary Gauthier. She has since put out three others and is due any week now to release another.
Over the years there has been a massive increase in the recognition of women musicians. It would therefore be a natural expectations that important music magazines would reflect this achievement. Then again, why such optimism?
I have posted this for no other reason than to remind anyone of the talent of Nick Cave.
Paul Costigan, 2 May 2014
Neil likes to do things just the way he wants to. Having followed his music now for many decades, I am not surprised by this latest little piece. Neil in a box!
To help her nail her first gig, musician Billy Bragg went along to share his tips for success.
While his sound is definitely within the broad Americana set, his folk-blues voice makes him sound much older than he is, which is in his mid thirties. At times he sounds something like an old style preacher with a husky tone. Most of his songs centre around the American landscape, farming, life and death and all things in between.
something from a musician who has stuck to his principles of speaking out on social and political topics – and has fun as well. Have a listen – about 20 minutes
Paul Costigan, 5 April 2014
Creating some headlines, especially in the UK, is this folk rock, pop band of players. The music is mainly written by the band with the lead singer being the singer songwriter. The band has been around for a few years now and the lead singer, originally from the US, moved to London in the 1990s.
The Crossroads Guitar Festival series was made in 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013. I have just finished watching the 2013 version and yes it is more of the same as with previous concerts. All good stuff. Eric Clapton has arranged these as a charity for a drug treatment centre in Antigua.
Eric Clapton has invited his colleagues to perform songs and each usually does a song or two – with Eric making the occasional appearances.
Two Men With The Blues (Live) 2008
Then add an individually styled country singer, who has stayed outside the mainstream country music, and has produced a huge number of records often with different approaches and different bands.
It was while researching the actor, Juliet Stevenson, that I was led to the music of a band in which her stepson was a player. Sam Lee is a collector of folk songs and then publishes and performs them through a wonderful use of instruments and song.
Suzanne Vega: Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles. 2014
If you are one of the many who enjoyed Suzanne Vega’s words and music, then I can almost guarantee that you will love this new album. This new album is Suzanne Vega at her best.
Her humour is there as is her wonderful grasp of story telling and wisdom of dealing with some of the big life issues – although she has layered some of this with a little folklore approach.
Ian Moss: two acoustic albums: Six Strings and Let’s Get Together
Looking back into my collection and listening to music that has been neglected over the last decade, I have focused on the music of Ian Moss and two acoustic albums. Six Strings (2005) & Let’s Get Together (2007)
There’s a lot of other music by Ian Moss and his music was a key to the success of Cold Chisel. The other musician that I have followed post Cold Chisel is Don Walker; more about him some other time.
All good Australian music!
Follow Up to previous post on this subject – Click here
Click here for my original post.
The nut jobs launched themselves online to go on about how English is the language for America. Well that’s what they say. The same groups are anti everything else; gay marriage, equal right, migration – the lists goes on.
Digging back into my collection and listening to music that has been neglected over the last decade, this time the focus is on the music of Peter Green Splinter Group.
The history of Peter Green as a musician is best described as mixed. You are talking about one the best British blues guitarists with connections to John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac, and much more.
Joe Henry – Civilians (2007)
This is an exercise of revisiting some music that was bought at the time (being 2007) but only in recent days have I had the time to give it a serious listen, or two.
Joe Henry has been making music for a long time and is also well established as a producer of other musician’s albums.
His music changed in slightly about 10 years ago; as a singer songwriter he settled into a comfortable mix of styles. It remains hard to define.
Of course I go back to the days of Peter, Paul and Mary and their concerts. In fact somewhere deep in the cupboard, there’s a vinyl album or two of Peter, Paul and Mary. Maybe a little worn out but just playable.
I had not followed Peter Seeger’s career that closely, until I watched the movie in 2008 , Pete Seeger: The Power of Song (2007). I then noticed that he was still out there and I observed that he appeared on the news occasionally taking a stand with others. He was still taking risks.
Watching that movie made me think again about being true to your beliefs. And that occasionally we have to take a stand on issues and sometimes there are consequences.
from the Guardian: 14 January 2014
Neil Young has entered into a war of words with Canada’s Conservative government, accusing officials of “killing” First Nations through their exploitation of the Alberta tar sands. The Toronto-born singer has exchanged verbal volleys with the office of prime minister Stephen Harper, who replied that “even … rock stars” rely on oil.
Neil Young sings a song with the line: singing a song won’t change the world! I do not necessarily agree as sometimes the song will add public and high-profile voice to issues. But that could be what he meant.
The issues that people need to take a stand on are endless. People do need to speak up and not be silenced for fear of speaking out. I have witnessed so many people in this category of being silent when it would have been timely, and maybe risky, to express a point of view publicly or in support of others. Continue reading Natalie Merchant
The album covers were things that many of us used to enjoy a lot. The covers were something we would read, admire the graphics and then prop them up so that we could look at them while the vinyl was being played. It was a visual experience.
Mind you there were many crap album covers that made you wonder, What were they thinking? Then there were those tapes in those plastic cassette cases in the eighties. The rectangular boxes just did not measure up aesthetically.
An Update: Review of concert in NY
Neil Young Stuns With a Spellbinding Carnegie Hall Show of a marathon set featuring a wealth of Seventies classics
Early last year (2013) I was blown away (literally) by the very loud concert by Neil Young and Crazy Horse. At the concert, and apparently some others around the world, many in the audience expressed some desire for Neil to play more of his older materials. And Neil Young just loves people from the audience who tell him what he should do!
Some I noticed departed half way through the concert. They had obviously not been listening to his later materials and had ignored the sign that said Neil Young and Crazy Horse. The Crazy Horse ingredient always means loud rock and grunge music.
Rosanne Cash, The List 2009
Rosanne Cash is about release a new album in mid January 2014.The album is titled The River and the Thread.
This news sent me back to play some of her other work, including two favourites, Black Cadillac (2006) and the more recent The List (2009). (she has not released an album since then)
In Rosanne’s on words: “When I was 18, I was on the road with my dad (Johnny Cash). One day, we were sitting in the tour bus, talking about songs, and he mentioned a song, and I said, “I don’t know that one.” He mentioned another one, and I said, “I don’t know that one, either.” Then he started to get alarmed, so he spent the rest of the day making a list on a legal pad, and at the top he put “100 Essential Country Songs.”
Marking the death of Phil Everly
With the death of one of the Everly Brothers, we are reminded of how influential they were. The list of who claims to have been influenced by them starts with the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and much of the early west coast sound, including the Birds and the Eagles.
Neil Young: CD At The Cellar Door
Here’s another live set from Neil Young’s archive. There’s been a few of late and as before the critical response has been fairly positive. This one is a selection of live recording of Neil by himself over several nights in late 1970. At first I was not so sure but I have warmed to it with a few adjustments. Having heard so many of the songs in different versions, when I am listening to this stripped down early version, I suspect that my listening is layered with memories of the other versions.
Warning: I have been a fan of Neil’s music from early 1971.
Carmel came to prominence in the late 1980s with significant album successes. The band lasted well into the early 1990s and then broke up around the turn of the century.
The news is that the early music of Carmel is still very enjoyable, it is fun. Some of it remains fantastic. Play it loud.
Nick Cave Live from KCRW
Just when I thought I had all my own Christmas purchases sorted, along comes another.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have announced the release of the new album – ‘Live from KCRW’.
The live album features a stripped-down line-up performing classic Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds material alongside four songs from their recent album ‘Push The Sky Away’.
WARNING: If you a strict monarchist, please do not read any further. You are advised to please leave this page as quickly as possible.
Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor, 2011
The Shocking Miss Emerald, 2013
Then let me introduce you to Carlo Emerald and two CDs that you should consider adding to your music library.
If it was possible for me to wear out a CD, or the digital version of same, then Caro’s 2011 Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor is one of these. Whenever I playing this CD, it spins on the player for days – or more.
This music will cheer you up! and make you dance.
Music of Patty Griffin
Over the last decade I have dipped in and out of the music of Patty Griffin. Americana and some country music and several in between are some of the many lines of my music interest. In this case I do like the concept of Americana meets Led Zepplin!
Yes Robert is Patty’s partner. Here’s a couple from her current album, American Kid. Robert appears on several of the songs.
and there’s more..
Review: Music on you tube
Check this out. This guy is unbelievable. What will you be doing at 78?
here’s a link to a few more items of music
We will have to play a few of his albums this week.
Thoughts go to Laurie Anderson. Another strong voice on so many things.