October was an excellent month for new album releases, the pick of the bunch being Bad As Me by Tom Waits. Unfortunately this isn’t on Spotify as yet, so the playlist only includes the second single, ‘Back In The Crowd’ – probably the weakest track on the record. Anyway, you should all be buying it, as it is an absolute belter of an album. Another record notable by it’s absence from Spotify is the new Richmond Fontaine release, The High Country. I’ve been listening to it a lot, a fine example of storytelling via music.
The new Ryan Adams record Ashes & Fire is also a fine return to form, in the vein of the excellent Heartbreaker album, his debut from 2000. Ryan appeared on one of the BBC Four Songwriters Circle shows with Neil Finn from Crowded House – a nice reminder (as if I needed one) of how good a lyricist he is too. I was particularly pleased to see Paul Brady on another episode of said show, an extremely under-rated musician.
As is almost always the way, I eventually got into the new Wilco record, The Whole Love. These always take a few listens to sink in, they’re not noticeable for their immediacy. But great songs and outstanding musicianship yet again.
The playlist is completed by a couple of funk tracks by Gil Scott-Heron and Rick James, one of my favourite songs by the late great Bert Jansch, some Judie Tzuke (who I’ve been listening to a fair bit since hearing her on the John Martyn tribute record), and The Tragically Hip – a band I never tire of.
The playlist is here.
- Nobody Wants To – Crowded House
- The Exact Feeling – The Tragically Hip
- Lucky Now – Ryan Adams
- Black Moon – Wilco
- Living For The Corporation – Paul Brady
- Stay With Me Till Dawn – Judie Tzuke
- Back In The Crowd – Tom Waits
- Waiting For The Axe To Fall – Gil Scott-Heron
- Mary Jane – Rick James
- Born Alone – Wilco
- The Black Swan – Bert Jansch
- Kindness – Ryan Adams
- Freak Turbulence – The Tragically Hip
I’ve been unable to think of a word to describe the sort of music I’ve been listening to recently. It’s been more laid-back, less rocky and with little of the country/blues roots that I normally have on the go. I stumbled across live releases by Lloyd Cole and Counting Crows, both of which are excellent. The latter is a live version of their debut record, August And Everything After, one of my favourite records. This month’s new find was the Boston-based bluegrass band, Crooked Still, whose 2010 release, Some Strange Country includes a nice version of The Rolling Stones’ ‘You Got The Silver’. I’ve been re-listening to the back catalogue of The Blue Nile, totally in love with Paul Buchanan’s vocals right now.
I still can’t get enough of John Martyn. A tribute record to the big man, Johnny Boy Would Love This, was released this year, and there are some absolute crackers on it (even the inclusion of Phil Collins isn’t enough to put me off!), but the best by far is the version of ‘Hurt In Your Heart’ by Judie Tzuke. A very tough song to cover, but she really nails it here.
My own band Fake Gods are now on Spotify, so have cheekily added one of our tracks to the set too.
The Spotify playlist is over here, enjoy!
- Perfect Skin – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
- Prospect Street – The Big Dish
- Because Of Toledo – The Blue Nile
- Sentimental Man – The Blue Nile
- Couldn’t Love You More – John Martyn
- Hurt In Your Heart – Judie Tzuke
- Anna – Brendan Campbell
- You Got The Silver – Crooked Still
- Turning Away – Crooked Still
- Wanderlust – Love & Money
- Rain King/Thunder Road – Counting Crows
- What’s The Frequency Kenneth? – REM
- On A Sea Of Fleur-De-Lis – Fake Gods
It’s the start of a new month, so here is my playlist for August. I didn’t listen to as much music as I usually do last month, I was catching up and trying out a lot of podcasts, which is what I listen to when I’m commuting. My big musical find was the last record from Phosphorescent, a band that’s been on the periphery of my musical radar for a while. I stumbled across their 2010 release, Here’s To Taking It Easy, and was grabbed immediately by it. It’s a fairly upbeat record for an alt-country style band, and it has plenty of pedal steel guitar to keep me happy.
The knee-jerk reactions to the English riots of a few weeks ago upset me somewhat, with the right-wing rhetoric being spouted over the likes of Facebook and Twitter at odds with my leftie stance. So I found solace in the intelligent and inspiring songs of Billy Bragg and Dick Gaughan. Waiting For The Leap Forwards and Whatever Happened felt particularly apt at the time.
Talking of Billy Bragg, I was recommended Frank Turner by a friend, who is similar in style to Mr Bragg but without the political edge. I was pleasantly surprised, one to keep an eye on.
Over the course of the month I dipped heavily into the back catalogue of James Yorkston, went through my yearly Deacon Blue obsession, re-found The ‘59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem and saw this superb video for the James Grant song My Father’s Coat. But the most exciting news of the month? A new Tom Waits record to be released in October! Yay! And a single out now, Bad As Me. Quality as always, following on nicely from the Brawlers section of his Orphans release. Bring it on!
Get the Spotify playlist here.
- It’s Hard To Be Humble – Phosphorescent
- Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards – Billy Bragg
- Whatever Happened – Dick Gaughan
- Peggy Sang The Blues – Frank Turner
- I Don’t Care If There’s Cursing – Phosphorescent
- Woozy With Cider – James Yorkston
- A Different Kind Of Love Song – Dick Gaughan
- The Patient Ferris Wheel – The Gaslight Anthem
- Just As The Tide Was Flowing – James Yorkston
- Help Save The Youth Of America – Billy Bragg
- Bad As Me – Tom Waits
- Raintown – Deacon Blue
- My Father’s Coat – James Grant
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to share my musical tastes. Now I’m a Premium Spotify user, doing so is even easier by using shared playlists. I’m going to start doing monthly playlists, to both share with friends and to remind myself of what I’ve been listening to over the year.
So to start with, here are my tunes for July. Some new(ish) stuff from Bon Iver, Jason Isbell, Kasey Chambers and Oh Susanna, mixed with some older tracks by Richmond Fontaine and Black Sabbath. And a track from the posthumous release from John Martyn. Thirteen tracks of goodness!
Woody’s Tunes – July 2011
I’ve got a few invites for Spotify if anyone is looking for one…leave a comment or @ me on Twitter (@grapefruitmoon) if you’d like one.
A wee snippet of video I took at their recent gig at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh. Sounds dodgy as the iPhone mic couldn’t deal with the level of noise next to the speakers! I couldn’t deal with it either…was partially deaf for 3 days after…
Had to share this video of DBT at Austin City Limits. Saw them for the fourth time in Glasgow last week, and despite not being at their best (partly due to a rather subdued crowd), they’re still one of the most exciting live bands out there right now. They played a couple of tracks from their upcoming record, Go-Go Boots, due to be released in February 2011. If the previews are anything to go by, it’s going to be another belter.
A month or so ago I bought Grace And Danger by John Martyn. It’s an album that had been on my radar for many a year, and I’d never gotten round to picking it up. Partially the blame for this is on Phil Collins (I can blame him for a lot of things) – he plays on the record, but I thought he also produced it, which would have rendered it un-listenable…check out August by Eric Clapton for evidence of this.
Anyway, Grace And Danger is a stunningly emotional record, written in 1980 at the time of Martyn’s break up with his then-wife, Beverley. Known as one of the classic break-up records, it can at times be a tough listen, and is truly quite heartbreaking. Here is a live performance of Hurt In Your Heart, for me the definitive track on the record. I’ve watched this quite a few times, but sometimes struggle to get through it in one sitting, the raw sadness in his voice is like watching a man grieve. The guitar solo at the end is despairing, charged and yet still beautiful.
I had the immense pleasure of seeing Robert Cray again last night, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. It was, as usual, a cracking gig, with impassioned guitar solos, sweet soulful vocals and a great band. Jim Pugh on keyboards was on top form and it was particularly pleasing to see original band member Richard Cousins back on the bass. Here is some YouTube goodness from the man himself…