So, between the live-broadcast Josh Groban show I saw yesterday evening, the live show I saw last night at Road 34 with Echo Chamber and Post Paradsie, the cooking party I enjoyed today with a friend who has moved back to town, and the live chat Colm Keegan hosted this afternoon, this list is a bit late. But, before I head back to Road 34 tonight, this post will indeed be done and posted. So, here it is… The List:
1. “Brave”- Josh Groban (All That Echoes): After months of his taunting us with photos of the studio, his many talented studio musicians, and of course his adorable dog, Josh Groban will be releasing his newest album on February 5, 2013. His first single from this album, “Brave”, is out on spotify and radio stations, and is available for purchase wherever mp3s are sold. Josh released this song early online after finding out about the shootings at Newton, but it took a little while longer to land itself on spotify, and it is not a Christmas song, so it had to wait till 2013 to hop into a ravenmount 20-song playlist. Josh does uplifting songs and encouraging songs very well, perhaps because, despite his huge fame and intimidating celebrity status, he manages to still come across as an ordinary nice guy who honestly cares about people. Sure, this single might also happen to make him a tidy profit, but Josh gives us the sense that the money, however nice, was not the point of his making this song. I may never meet him, but I can still imagine I kind-of know Josh the way I know my friends, and so long as he can keep up this sort of image, I’m sure he’ll continue to be successful selling his unique brand of great music.
2. “A Life I Once Had”- Pale Blue Jak (Faces) : After the weeks of holiday music which somewhat cleansed my system, I have to say this is my favorite of the solo albums the Celtic Thunder singers have done so far. I love Keith’s album, too, but putting aside all the dramas and promotional efforts of last year, just listening to the music, I always go back to Neil Byrne’s Pale Blue Jak album, “Faces”. I’m curious as to whether it is just this album I like best, or whether I just in general like Pale Blue Jak best, but as yet there is no word from Mr. Byrne as to when we might hear a second Pale Blue Jak album. Maybe he’ll get inspired to write more songs for such an album while he’s simmering in Australia this month.
3. “Wondering”- Gary Barlow (Twelve Months, Eleven Days) : One artist Colm Keegan and Emmet Cahill were excited to see during their time off this winter was Gary Barlow. They didn’t say, but I hope they got a chance to meet this fellow, if they hadn’t met him before, because a few years down the road I could see Colm and Emmet performing very similar set-lists at their own shows, in front of their own screaming throngs of young women. They were among the only men in the crowd, of course, and having never actually listened to Gary Barlow’s music I was quite puzzled as to why two men who I respect would be attending a concert geared towards teenage girls.
Now, having listened to all the songs on Barlow’s albums that are on spotify, I understand. Practically all of the songs Gary Barlow sings are within the vocal ranges of Colm and Emmet, and Mr. Barlow has a good, well-trained voice that is along the lines of what Colm and Emmet have been developing. Just as a I enjoy Katherine Jenkins’ music because I like singing along with her songs, I’d imagine Gary Barlow is someone whose songs Colm and Emmet enjoy singing.
Imagine- the songs Gary Barlow sings, rendered as solos and duets, with various Irish traditional songs mixed in, performed by those two oh-so-sexy Irish lads of Celtic Comet, their massive audience packed full of ecstatic women, screaming and waving their Celtic Comet banners in hopes that Emmet might smile at them or even wink, or that Colm would flash those pretty blue eyes in their direction. They could even bring Gary Barlow on as a guest for a few songs. I’m not sure the world is ready for such a show, but I’d love to see it.
4. “Across the Sea”- The Wailin’ Jennys (Bright Morning Stars) : More fantastic music from the Wailin’ Jannys, from their most recent album. Those who’ve read my blog in the past know I find it really annoying when bands’ websites are not updated, and this band’s website still opens with a blurb about an album release on i-tunes coming soon in November 2011 (ghrrr) but at least further down the page there are updates from last month, so yes this band is still active, and apparently they plan to be touring this year. Needless to say, if they do a show here, I’ll be there, with my camera if possible. This song is one I would love to hear Celtic Thunder cover, not because the Wailin’ Jennys do it at all badly- this track is gorgeous- but because knowing what luscious harmonies Celtic Thunder can create with their 6 voices, I want to hear what these already rich lines sound like rendered in their voices. Really, I wish Damian were still with Celtic Thunder too (7 voices? oh my!) because I could easily imagine what the bass line would be in such an arrangement of this song.
5. “Waterveil”- Old School Freight Train (Old School Freight Train ): This is a ‘new-grass’, or experimental bluegrass, or maybe pop/bluegrass crossover band, with a sound that reminds me of some of the bands that play around Fort Collins. Old School Freight Train,according to their facebook page, is from Virginia. Bits of this song also remind me of Nickle Creek, especially the mandolin lines. It would be amazing to be able to play mandolin or fiddle like these folks.
6. “Rain”- Martin Stephenson And The Dainties (Boat to Bolivia) : In middle school we had a unit in our English class about ‘picture poems’, and this song would be a great example of a musical picture poem. I love the line about the cat, and at least while listening to this song, I really miss the steady drizzling rain we had in Seattle in the winter. At the time it may have been cold and soggy, not exactly the stuff of beautiful poetry. Still, this track captures for me some of the magic of the wet season in the Pacific Northwest, with their banana slugs, ferns and mosses everywhere, and those bigleaf maples that block so much of the rain that when you walk under them in a rainstorm only the misty drizzle that scatters off the leaves ever actually touches you. (Time for a vacation back to Seattle, I think.)
7. “Fuilles-O – demo ”- Simon & Garfunkel(The Columbia Studio Recordings (1964-1970)) : This interesting song is in a French dialect, which is why I can almost understand it, but it is in Haitian, thus the Caribbean sound. It is a song about chewing ganga leaves to cure one’s grief. When all else fails, the juice of this leaf will sooth away the tears and cure one’s frozen heart. Considering that marijuana has been legalized here (though not at the federal level, so it is still only quasi-legal), I wonder if this song might turn up in a few local live sets over the next few years.
8. “Little Song”- Sarah Jarosz (Bluegrass Ballads): Sarah Jarosz is one of those singers who became successful while still quite young. A few years ago, Sarah participated in a really cool collaborative project called the Transatlantic Sessions, and I first came across her music on youtube, through the videos from those sessions. So, while I haven’t absorbed her music into my universe entirely, I’ve known about her for a while now. She’s currently in Glasgow, so any of my readers in or near there might like to check out her shows January 24th-26th. She’ll also be playing at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival here in Colorado in June, a festival I really have to see about attending this year.
9. “Boondocks”- Little Big Town ( The Road to Here) : When this song first came out, I was still resistant to embracing my newfound fondness for country music. Little Big Town is a true gateway drug for people who think country sucks, because they remind a lot of people, including me, of Fleetwood Mac. They even cover (very successfully) Fleetwood Mac songs. They are on tour now, and no, there are no dates posted for Colorado. They do have one random date in London mid-March, but otherwise they will be crisscrossing the US from now through October.
10. “It’s Not Easy Being Green”- Cibelle (Las Venus Resort Palace Hotel) : You’ll note that Celtic Thunder only appears in this list once, and that the singer on that song is not one of the principal singers, but rather one of the ladies who joined Celtic Thunder on stage for Storm. But, the discerning Thunderhead would see a common thread throughout a bit more of this list. The last time most Thunderheads would probably have heard this song would be when Damian McGinty sang it on Glee in that hilarious caricature-ridden episode that introduced Rory Flannigan to the world. (That image of Damian as a kid pretending to be a leprechaun will probably always pop up whenever I think of him, perhaps for the rest of our lives.) The track I’ve included here is by Cibelle, a Brazilian singer who now lives in London, and her style is quite a bit different from Damian’s. In this song, Cibelle reminds me of Katie Glassman, though in general Cibelle’s genre is ‘tropical punk’ or some flavor of electronica.
11. “Harry’s Game”- Celtic Thunder, Dierdre Shannon (Storm) : Dierdre Shannon has performed with Anuna, Celtic Woman, the Celtic Tenors, and of course, with Celtic Thunder for their theatrical project Storm. She also sang as a part of Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance” show. Her rendition of “Harry’s Game” for Storm is one of the best I’ve heard. She has two albums out so far, both worth checking out. She also apparently has a naturalist streak, at least judging from her facebook page. I had no idea Ireland had native sundew plants (pretty carnivorous plants that consume small bugs)- now I really want to move to Ireland.
12. “Show Me the Way”- Styx (Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology): A bit of my childhood. I love this song because it’s not just a nice uplifting song- it tells a great (and potentially sacrilegious) sci-fi story. It’s a whole Andre Norton novel packed into a few minutes of music. I won’t spoil the punchline for those who have yet to hear this musical gem, but that gathering of angels that turns up near the end of the story is a bit more interesting….
13. “Runaway Train”- Soul Asylum (Black Gold: The Best of Soul Asylum ): Sorry, yeah, this one’s a bit gloomy and depressing, but it is a great song, and the music video was great, back when I still religiously watched MTV music video shows. I guess people still do music videos, and not just for youtube- in any case, I’m sure this one is on youtube if you were too young when this song came out, or if you just missed it.
14. “Molasses”- Bearfoot (Follow Me) : This song is from Bearfoot’s 2006 album, and they have improved since then apparently- I’ve only listened through this one album so far, and I really like what these guys sounded like back in 2006. They remind me of the Wailin’ Jennys and the Dixie Chicks on this track, and on a few others, though on a few songs they seem to take after Nickle Creek instead. Bearfoot is a bluegrass band originally out of Alaska, though they have put in appearances, of course, in Colorado. In fact, they will be playing at Avogadro’s Number on January 31st, so hopefully I’ll have a new photo album of this band at the end of this month.
15. “The Lobster Quadrille”- Franz Ferdinand (Almost Alice Deluxe ): 🙂 Yes, this is the ‘Lobster Quadrille’, from Alice in Wonderland, the whole song, from the soundtrack for one of the recent films of this classic story. So, if you’ve read the book a few times, you probably already know the words and can sing along right from the start.
16. “Memory”- Post Paradise (The New Normal) : I saw these guys last night, and they were of course fantastic. This band has their own stage lights which wreak havoc with many photographers’ work, but which I absolutely loved. I suppose it depends on what sort of photos you want, but that was by far the most fun I’ve had taking show photos since the Fights/ Fierce Bad Rabbit/ Whitewater Ramble show this past fall. The centerpiece of many of their songs is their lovely cellist, Amy, who knows just how to torture a cello to get all sorts of cool noises from it. She and her cello look particularly dramatic in the band’s lightshow, of course.
17. “Love Came Down”- Brooks Williams (Skiffle-Bop ) : I never can recall this fellow’s name for some reason, but I always get his songs stuck in my head. This is the sort of tune that draws people to the dance floor, with a catchy tune, addictive toe-tapping rhythm and great lyrics that talk about meeting and enjoying new love. Brooks Williams seems not to play in colorado terribly often, but I could imagine he would fit right in as a warm summer evening’s entertainment at the Old Town Square stage. If he hasn’t played this venue yet, it might be dangerous though, as he might fit in so well that he might not want to leave Fort Collins.
18. “Single Drop of Honey”- Abigail Washburn (Song of the Traveling Daughter) : This song reminds me a little of Jill Siberry’s “False Fly” song, which I still love. The album this song comes from is Abigail’s first album, from 2005, so her many adventures since then have had their influence on her music. Abigail Washburn actually attended Colorado College, so while she is not quite a Colorado native, we can claim some influence at least, but this interesting singer has since spent quite a while in China, which is why there are a few songs in Mandarin Chinese on her album.
19. “Show Me the Way”- Jon Bon Jovi, Mighty Sam McClain (Give Us Your Poor) : Same title as the STYX song, but a completely different song in a different genre. This one is a blues/Southern Gospel song. I could imagine bands like Mama Lenny & the Remedy, Bad Brad & the Fat Cats, or the Lindsey O’Brien Band covering this one, while bands like Better Than Bacon or Shel might enjoy covering the STYX song. This is also the second time Mighty Sam McClain has appeared on these lists. He was also the fellow singing alongside the lovely Persian songstress Mahsa Vahdat for the song, and album, ‘A Deeper Tone of Longing’, which I listed a few months ago.
The Album- “Part of a national fund- and awareness-raising campaign, this terrific CD contains songs mostly about the plight of the homeless. With the exception of two songs, the tracks are all-new and previously unreleased. Give US Your Poor artfully teams celebrity artists with homeless or previosly indigent musicians.”
20. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”- Aled Jones (Forever) : Having given up on real romance in favor of falling in love with two celebrity Irish singers who will almost certainly never love me back, I always like these love songs that don’t require reciprocity. Every fan can probably relate to this song, recalling when they first knew their beloved celebrities existed, and how those celebrities have become so interestingly irreplaceable.In our modern society we are all so distant and well-protected from each other that some days it seems that the only people we are really able to know and love are those we may never meet, and certainly those who need never be trusted to return our love. It’s a sad sad world, I know. Still, it’s a beautiful song, and Aled Jones sings it so nicely.