Song du Jour

Aoife O’Donovan’s Red & White & Blue & Gold

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Aoife O'Donovan

Aoife O’Donovan

The limpid sound of Aoife (pronounced EEF-ah) O’Donovan’s first featured song from her album Fossils evokes thoughts of late summer afternoons at the lake. There is a decided sense of place to her blend of Irish folk-inspired songs – of New England or the Adirondacks. Some may recall that O’Donovan penned the song “Lay My Burden Down” from Alison Krauss’ Paper Airplanes release – her version is less melancholy and dark.

“Fossils and fables, both of which are beautiful images to me, are things of old, but they continue to be relevant. Some of these tunes on the album are older than others, yet they’re still relevant songs that I love to sing. They’re old folk songs that I grew up singing,” she says.

By |July 22nd, 2013|Music, Song du Jour|0 Comments

Retro Soul From Clairy Browne and The Bangin’ Rackettes

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What would you get if you take a former Australian school teacher, combine a touch of Irma Thomas and some old school R&B, and finish with some big-haired backup singers and a growling baritone sax? You might get Melbourne’s breakout band Clairy Browne and The Bangin’ Rackettes. Their new album “Baby Caught The Bus” is a total kick in the pants and may become the backdrop music for the summer or 2013.

Browne and her bandmates take an authentic love for the rhythm and blues of the 50’s and 60’s and combine it with sassy lyrics and post millenium vibe to create music that is at once a throwback and completely of the current day. You may recall a Heinecken Beer commercial from late last summer that featured Browne and her band looking like Amy Winehouse back from the beyond. The song “Love Letter” features overdriven vocals that will make you remember how your old car radio would distort when you really turned the volume a little too loud.

Browne’s father was in a band in South Africa while she was a kid and her love of the soul singers and doo wop bands comes through loud and clear in the new album. There are echoes of Etta James and Martha Reeves (and of Winehouse, save the self-destructive craziness), but this is not a reverential theme project – it has a sensibility that is firmly rooted in the here and now.

By |June 3rd, 2013|Music, Song du Jour|0 Comments

Patty Griffin’s New American Kid

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One of America’s finest singer/songwriters released her first album of mostly original songs in almost 6 years today – and the wait has been worth listeners’ patience. Patty Griffin’s American Kid should occupy a prominent place on most “best of 2013” lists. Griffin has been engaged in a variety of interesting projects over the past few years, including the gospel collaborations of her 2010 release Downtown Church as well as touring and recording with her beau Robert Plant (yes, that Robert Plant) in the Band of Joy. She began writing the songs that would become the new record in 2009 as she was dealing with the impending death of her father. The sound is stripped-down, free of the technical gloss and pitch correction that renders recorded performances so perfect and so antiseptic. This is closer to a live performance with a rawness and immediacy that fits with Griffin’s ruminations on a life winding down and the heartbreak of losing both a parent and the stories and memories that would be lost with his passing.

The death of Griffin’s father has inspired a collection of songs that are united in themes of souls parting and meeting again, reflections on life’s passing moments – imaginings of her father’s childhood in “Irish Boy”, the wedding of her grandparents in “Get Ready Marie”, and the grief of letting someone go in “Gonna Miss You When You’re Gone”. “Ohio” is a haunting fantasy of the meeting of runaway slaves featuring Griffin and Plant’s voices floating and soaring through the ether. The emotional center of the album is “Highway Song” as the promise “I will wait for your return…” becomes both a prayer and a promise for souls reuniting in some other place.

By |May 7th, 2013|Music, Song du Jour|0 Comments

Farewell George Jones

George Jones dies at 81

Country music legend George Jones

Country music legend George Jones

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“She Thinks I Still Care”

George Jones, one of the greatest country music singers of the last 40 years, died today in Nashville. His music was infused with hard-living and turmoil that matched his personal battles with alcohol and drug addiction. He could sing it all – honky tonk, beer soaked ballads of heartbreak and redemption, rockabilly and “countrypolitan” (think strings and cocktail piano songs). His life was a roller coaster of addiction and recovery – from drugs, booze, and women. His marriage (one of four) to Tammy Wynette was Nashville’s version of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton – with all of the drama and ridiculousness of a country tearjerker. Still, no one gave a more raw and human voice to the struggles of success, failure and recovery than George Jones. Rest in peace.

I’ve always been country and I always will be country…

 

By |April 26th, 2013|Music, Song du Jour|0 Comments

Song du Jour – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

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We the Common – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

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I’m not sure why, but I love this tune. Alt/Freak/Pop songstress Thao Nguyen and her band, The Get Down Stay Down (what surely must be the best name for a band). Seems perfect for a spring day.

By |April 25th, 2013|Music, Song du Jour|0 Comments