Sunday, May 2, 2010


So, as promised, I'm posting my "40 Reasons To Get Exicted About Music," in response to Rolling Stone magazine's recent cover story. It turns out that I agree with half of theirs.  Here, then, are twenty of my reasons to be excited.

Bob Dylan. Not including his recent Christmas album, he has released four classic albums in a row: 1997's Time Out Of Mind, 2001's "Love & Theft," 2006's Modern Times and last year's Together Through Life, which was my favorite album of 2009. Plus, his concerts are getting good again. It's just inspiring how great he is, as he approaches the big seven-oh. Plus, he's been allowing Sony Legacy to put out great releases from his vault.

Speaking of approaching the big seven-oh, there's also the legend, Solomon Burke.Two weeks ago, I talked about Solomon's latest album, Nothing's Impossible, on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on SIRIUS XM OutQ, and people loved it. The man still makes incredible albums, and has been doing so since his 2002 record, Don't Give Up On Me.

The Underground Garage. Anyone who reads No Expiration, anyone who listens to me on OutQ, or anyone who talks to me about music ever, knows my love for the Underground Garage, which I write about often. As someone who has not been interested in music radio for decades, the Underground Garage got me back into it. You can hear new and old music, famous bands, obscure bands, brand new bands that haven't gotten to the pop culture radar yet, well know songs, rare tracks, and it doesn't discriminate by race or sex. In fact, I don't think you'll hear more female fronted bands, or all girl groups, anywhere else. The Underground Garage, in fact, introduced me to one of my favorite bands, The Cocktail Slippers. Other bands it turned me on to: The Boss Martians, The Hawaii Mud Bombers, The Jessica Fletchers, The Woggles, The Chesterfield Kings, The Charms, The Contrast, The Grip Weeds, and more. These are some of the best bands you haven't heard of. I hear tons of great new music on this channel all the time.

I need to mention The Cocktail Slippers again. Their last album, Saint Valentine's Day Massacre was one of my favorite albums of last year. I can't wait to hear what they will do next.

Everyone knows that Little Steven Van Zandt runs The Underground Garage, but he is also the force behind Outlaw Country, a truly awesome channel, that combines every generation of country music, with a sort of rock and roll spirit. It seems pretty crazy that there aren't radio stations that play Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams in high rotation. Luckily, Outlaw Country does. They've also introduced me to some great artists, including Reckless Kelly, (DJ) Elizabeth Cook and one of my favorite bands, The Drive-By Truckers.

The Drive-By Truckers deserve their own entry! Their new album, The Big To-Do, is my favorite album of 2010 so far. They've been doing their thing for over a decade now, and I'm glad that people are starting to notice.

Speaking of the Truckers, they played on Bettye Lavette's last album, The Scene Of The Crime. What an inspiring story this lady has. She's been working for decades, almost having breaks a few times over the years, and finally in the mid-00's, Anti- Records (owned by Epitaph, they have also put out records by Tom Waits, Solomon Burke and Joe Henry) gave her a deal, and now the world is starting to get to know her. Better late than never: what a voice. She is a great song interpreter.

Another great singer/song interpreter with an inspiring story is Miss Sharon Jones. She started getting her first break in her 50s! Her new album I Learned The Hard Way is really great. She loves old-school sounds so much, it's like the last few decades haven't happened, but her songs are great, so it's cool (the same could be said of Jack White).

And yet another great singer/interpreter with a great story is former Band drummer/singer/mandolin player Levon Helm. A couple of years ago, Levon was on the brink of bankruptcy, foreclosure and was staring down cancer. Today, he is healthy, does really popular concerts at his home (which wasn't foreclosed), tours, and has made two great albums.

The Stooges. One of the best bands of all time. They are finally getting the credit they deserve. And they are touring. They will destroy bands one third of their age.

Robert Plant. For years, his ambition seems to outreach what he was capable of as a solo artist. Then he let go of a bit of control, worked with Alison Krauss (and, it must be said, producer T-Bone Burnett)and put out a true classic with Raising Sand. Now he's working on a solo album (he doesn't rule out another album with Alison though) but he's sticking in the Americana vein: he's got Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin in his touring band, and Buddy is producing his next album.

Bruce Springsteen. Although I didn't love his latest album, Working On A Dream, I thought that Magic was a classic. I think Bruce still has classics in him. His latest tour was maybe his best yet. The E Street Band is one of the best combos in the world. And Bruce can still turn around and so something great with his other group, The (Seeger) Sessions Band or as a solo acoustic artist.

Talib Kweli. I think he is one of the best MCs around, I like his solo music, I like what he does with Hi-Tek in Reflection Eternal, and I hope that he and Mos Def do another Black Star album that lives up to the first one. Honestly, I don't care if Jay-Z retires, I hope Kweli makes music for a long time.

Two more reasons together: Aimee Mann and Ben Harper. Two of the best songwwriters in the world. They are always honest, make no concessions to anyone, and keep putting out great albums. Actually, I'll add Steve Earle to that.

Jack White: I write about him often, and it is a running joke on Larry Flick's show that I keep coming up with ways to play his music on the show (Larry isn't a Jack White fan). For all three of his bands, and for his great label, Third Man Records. Jack was my "Artist of the '00s."

Kanye West: he is a commerical hip-hop artist whose music I sometimes like and he keeps things interesting!

Roger Waters taking The Wall on tour. I wasn't old enough to go to concerts when Pink Floyd toured for The Wall!

Green Day: because they can rock Broadway, do a guitar hero game, tour stadiums and still do club shows as Foxboro Hot Tubs.

Those are my reasons: here are the Rolling Stone reasons that I was down with: U2's tour, LCD Soundsystem, concerts sound better than ever today, Them Crooked Vultures, Chuck Berry still performing, concert tickets are sometimes under $50 (I have to look for more sales like that!), T.I. is out of jail, M.I.A., "cloud based music," Tom Morello still fights the power, great tribute bands (I'm kind of iffy on this, I don't really see too many tribute bands, although I kind of want to check out The Fab Faux), Keith Richards is writing an autobiography, Mike Campbell rocks out on the new Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers album, The Gaslight Anthem (cool young punk rock band), The Roots, country newcomer Jamey Johnson, vinyl sales tripled since 2006, R-Bone Burnett's productions and artist vaults with lots of great stuff in them (Dylan, Springsteen, Young).

No comments: