sharing music to listen to.
...when Apple Music served up 'Big Iron'... I was hooked.
Whether browsing and discovering, hearing and shazaming, radio scanning or being suggested new music to listen to; it doesn't have to be current or popular it doesn't even need to be new, just good music - regardless of genre. With that in mind, Marty Robbins 'Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs' is awesome.
I was completely unfamiliar with Marty Robbins when Apple Music served up 'Big Iron'. I'm not sure if it was the guitar and rhythm, Marty's crooning cowboy voice or the story within the song, but I was hooked. I've since listened to the entire album more times than you heard Gangnam Style in 2012. I've shared songs with friends and family and even made someone grin ear-to-ear when they walked in and heard it playing... "Is that Marty Robbins?!" Taking them to a memory of riding shotgun with their father, cruising dirt roads in an old Chevy. While quite the opposite of new music I believe it's very much worth sharing, and listening to.
So, here I am recommending to you reader, an album that's nearing 60 years old as new music to listen to. Whether you're just getting ready to hit the trail or you're already on it, 'Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs' is pure midwestern Americana at it's best.
'Big Iron' is a great song, a hit song - #18 on the Country Music charts in 1960 to be precise, but for me 'The Master's Call' is where it's at.
Songs of the Maine woods from the Mallett Brothers Band.
Fun fact, I went to school with these guys. I've actually been listening to music from members of the Mallett family since I was single digits old. I can recall my dad pulling out a David Mallett cassette from a mega tape-tote going back to the mid 80s. Listening to the Mallett family's music has become somewhat of a tradition for our family. I keep a copy of 'Inches & Miles, 1977-1980' downloaded on my phone. When my children get antsy during a long car ride 'Garden Song' has a near instant pacifying effect. A feeling that is sustained as the album proceeds into one of my favorite songs 'Arthur'.
The Mallett Brothers Band is fronted by David Mallett's two sons. They were a year or so behind me in high school. Now, years later I look forward to catching a live performance whenever they're in town. The Mallett Brothers pick, pluck and strum their own path through what I guess would be most closely classified as country music. All I can say about their sound is that barn-party rock had a roll in the hay with the family muse of folky Americana. Personally, I think they're just having a fucking good time. With no boundaries or expectations creativity flows free. The most recent evidence to that point is 2017's 'Falling of the Pine'. This album is heirloom rock, literally, with many of the songs coming from an old book of logging music they stumbled upon in their family library. Songs and hymns from the lumberman who forested the wild woods of Maine of the 1900's.
During the summer of 2017 I played the hell out of 'Black Rose' by Volbeat. A band that has really exploded over the past few years - and not to be that guy - but I told you to check out Volbeat back in 2007. Two minutes into 'The Human Instrument' I knew I'd be keeping an eye out for every future album release. But, I digress. Fast forward a decade - I'm burning down the highway belting out the lyrics to "Black Rose" and reaching for the volume knob at "...she's on a hunt cookin' cookin' cookin' misery!..." Having had many commutes worth of practice, this had become my favorite part. A few verses from a featured guest singer. "Who is Danko Jones?" I needed to hear more. A quick search turned up several albums. I took the latest release 'Wild Cat' for a test drive. It has since maintained a place in my library. Right from the start with 'I Gotta Rock' you're off on a raw bar-rock bender. This album is feel-good in the way that hesitantly paying a $10 cover at the door and finding out the band is decent feels good. After reading a few other reviews it sounds like this is the upper crust of their typical sound. So, if you like what you hear you may want to try another album or two.
Rock and roll purists looking for new music to listen to will enjoy 'Wild Cat'. The standout track for me is 'Do This Every Night'.
Bonus! Volbeat - 'Black Rose'
Intrigued by the album art and a song title, completely unfamiliar with the artist Brian Fallon, I was seriously impressed by 'Sleepwalkers'.
My first reaction "I hope this isn't Jimmy Fallon's brother or something..." My second reaction was to turn it up. That was 30 seconds in to 'My Name is the Night (Color Me Black)' - the first track I played. I quickly found the full album and played it from the beginning. After the first few beats of 'If Your Prayers Don't Get to Heaven' I knew I'd struck music-to-listen-to gold. After some light Wikipeding I learned 'Sleepwalkers' is Brian's second solo studio album. The first was 'Painkillers' in 2016. If his voice sounds familiar that's because Brian Fallon is also the lead singer for The Gaslight Anthem. 'Sleepwalkers' is an upbeat blend of modern rock, bluesy Americana and soul. Two standout tracks for me are 'Etta James' (a live performance from this past month below) and 'My Name is the Night (Color Me Black)' (audio-only below).
Everyone goes crazy for 'Crazy', but 'Going On' is my personal favorite Gnarls Barkley song, from my favorite Gnarls Barkley album 'The Odd Couple' the follow up to 'St. Elsewhere', their only two studio albums.
Mind = Blown 🤯
I don't really know how to describe this... it's like techo-viking robots from the future meet an army of 80's cyborgs and they have a dance party to determine supremacy of the world. If you're a child of the 80's, sick of your current rotation or took in Stranger Things, seasons 1 and 2, in one 5-Hour Energy fueled viewing... then this album is for you.
Growing up in my family, whenever we went anywhere in the car, we were accompanied by an enormous zipper-suitcase of cassette tapes.
This satchel, and fabulous testament to 80's-life tech that would barely meet today's airline carry-on requirements, was in many ways an early catalyst for my appreciation of music. Occasionally, I'll reference my parent's contribution to some musical influence in my life. This is one of those times, and a short story about a music-loving parent's ingenuity.
About the time we were growing out of Raffi and Rick Charette my siblings and I were becoming more interested in listening to our parents music. It didn't take long until we all had our favorite songs from artists like Jim Croce, The Grassroots, Meat Loaf, The Beatles, Elton John, Bob Seger and the list goes on and on. We were listening to a lot of music, and long before any of us could read well enough to identify albums - which created a problem. Album art helped, but not enough. I recall a conversation, which absolutely resembled an Abbott and Costello bit, around "how many mustaches?!" And, my mother made it clear how it was unsafe for her to try to pick the tape we wanted while driving. In what I'm sure was an effort to pacify three children more than a passion for music discovery, my dear old mom color coded every cassette. She did this using snips of colored electrical tape in varying sequences. Unobtrusively located on the lower spine so that the color code faced outward while the cassette was in the megacase. It looked like a diagram of naval flags, but it worked.
So, when 6 year old me wanted to hear 'Tightrope' by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band all I had to do was hand over the cassette with the red-green-black on the back... then wait and listen to the album - from whatever point it started out at - until that sweet 80's synth sound started.
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.