Monday, June 30, 2008

Damien Rice Part 1:
A little bit of your song in my ear

I'm singling out Damien Rice in a two-part post that will ramble a bit and offer you some highlights as to why he's among my favorite of favorites (is that possible?). I'll admit it, my mom introduced me to Damien Rice back in college and I immediately sat down with "Cannonball" over and over and learned the picking and lyrics on guitar. Now I'm not embarrassed that my mom introduced me to a favorite artist - she surrounded me with Simon and Garfunkel and Bob Dylan while growing up. The thing is, after the access to music I constantly had in college and up until now, I should be the one introducing music to her...especially someone in the singer-songwriter vein such as Rice. Anywhoo...

Damien Rice grew up in Dublin, Ireland and founded his first band Juniper, who later regrouped as the now famous Bell XI. After splitting from the group, Rice headed to Italy and across Europe to busk on the streets while writing and acquiring band mates that, apart from ex-gal Lisa Hannigan and percussionist Tom Osander, still record and tour with him today.

Rice's first claim to fame came with his hit "Cannonball," that never reached huge success in the U.S., though it has been featured on several shows and earned significant plays on radio stations of all levels from its U.S. release in 2004 up until today. Hell, it only reached #32 on the UK charts when it was originally released in 2002 featuring a mix of drums that you'll rarely hear these days. Aside from the stats surrounding it or the numerous B-sides and rarity albums it has appeared on, "Cannonball" has a part in my life for several reasons that I won't dive in here. I will say that the arrangement and honesty in his lyrics, coupled with the passionately pleading voice Damien belts and his purposeful guitar picking, allows me to call him a troubadour and favorite among favorites. In addition, Rice produced, mixed and wrote "Cannonball," which is available off of O from Vector Recordings.

Damien Rice - Cannonball (album version)

After seeing hundreds of shows each year, there are few that truly stand out. But, seeing Damien Rice abandon the mic while I was perched 10 feet away in the front row while he offered up a naked version of "Cannonball" is a concert moment that sits at the very top. Here is the moment as captured by a great friend

I will say that my favorite song by Damien Rice is "Grey Room." Those who are fans of Rice know that most songs are honest and beautiful, but surrounded in a fog of depression. As he explained, it is "a song about writing songs that are always down...It was ironic because I was just down about the fact that I was writing songs that are down so I wrote a down song." No introduction other than the one he provided. I'll let you take from it what you will with the lyrics posted below. Should you want this song in higher quality, you can find it on his 2006 album 9 from Warner Bros. Records.

Damien Rice - Grey Room

Damien Rice
Grey Room

Well I've been here before
Sat on the floor in a grey grey room
Where I stay in all day
I don't eat, but I play with this grey grey food

Desolate, if someone is prayin' then I might break out,
Desolate, even if I scream I can't scream that loud

I'm all alone again
Crawling back home again
Stuck by the phone again

Well I've been here before
Sat on a floor in a grey grey mood
Where I stay up all night
And all that I write is a grey grey tune

So pray for me child, just for a while
That I might break out yeah
Pray for me child
Even a smile would do for now

'Cause I'm all alone again
Crawling back home again
Stuck by the phone again

Have I still got you to be my open door
Have I still got you to be my sandy shore
Have I still got you to cross my bridge in this storm
Have I still got you to keep me warm

If I squeeze my grape and I drink my wine
Coz if I squeeze my grape and I drink my wine
Oh coz nothing is lost, it's just frozen in frost,
And it's opening time, there's no-one in line

But I've still got me to be your open door,
I've still got me to be your sandy shore
I've still got me to cross your bridge in this storm
And I've still got me to keep you warm

Warmer than warm, yeah...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Blind Melon is back and not really "Tumblin' Down"

There's no Bee Girl dancing with outcasts among a beautiful field or the late Shannon Hoon spiraling with his shaded glasses. After officially disbanding in 1999, Blind Melon is back with a new lead singer, a new album and...they sound as good as ever.

Despite the smash hit "No Rain," many don't realize that Blind Melon released OTHER albums and singles that sparked interest not only on the charts, but in the public eye as well. However, the video that accompanied the #1 single off of the Blind Melon's self-titled album did catapult the band's popularity and certify their album platinum (for those not fully in tune with the RIAA certs, it means they sold over 1,000,000 units). And don't worry, I wouldn't dare mention the cult-classic video featuring "Bee Girl"** and lead singer, Shannon Hoon, without offering a proper viewing.

The band went on tour with Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, and Lenny Kravitz in support of their first album but was cut short due to Hoon's drug addiction. Just a short while later, during the tour to promote their following album, Hoon was found dead in New Orleans of cocaine overdose, leaving behind a 13 week-old daughter.

In September of 2006, Blind Melon announced that they would reunite with a new lead singer, Travis Warren. His voice is clearly unique, though you can hear freakishly close similarities to Hoon's style that defined Blind Melon in the 90's. For My Friends, from Adrenaline Records, was actually released in April of this year, but is now gaining the support and steam to push Blind Melon back into public ears. They're currently touring and promoting their new single, "Tumblin' Down". Enjoy!

Blind Melon - Tumblin' Down

**Wait! The Mountain Tempo can't mention "Bee Girl" without a sufficient update. After being booed off stage and eventually finding her dancing place in the "No Rain" video, the 25 year-old Heather DeLoach, now lives the relaxing life with of a college graduate and actor. According to her imdb profile, she did appear in Reno 911, ER and Balls of Fury.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tally Ho, Tally Hall

Nope, the images you see above weren't just for a photo shoot; they wear their signifying ties at every performance and in almost every video.
Tally Hall hail from Ann Arbor, MI, taking their name from a nearby indoor shopping center that no longer exists. Although most members of Tally Hall grew up together, the band officially formed at the University of Michigan in 2002 when a few members were in the same film production group together. They still produce handfuls of videos and short movies which have helped them gain a lot of publicity apart from their music talent.

I highly suggest you check out the video, as I was shocked to find out that Tally Hall's singer, Joe Hawley, conjured up and directed this catchy video:

The band initially released Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum (named after the remaining arcade where the Tally Hall shopping center used to be) back in 2005, but was re-released in 2008 after the band was signed to Atlantic Records. In just a short career, the band has already been featured on MTV's You Hear It First, the Late Late Show and had a song on the O.C. Soundtrack. If you catch a show, don't be surprised to watch the band segue from a freestyle rap into an odd cover of a one-hit-wonder. Their silly stage antics can be compared to Guster...but, they never cease to amaze me with their composed showmanship, tight production and songs that roller coaster through lyrics, riffs, tempos, and attitude.

Tally Hall - Good Day

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Greats paying homage to the Greats

Recently, it seems there's been a small, but noticable surge of modern artists expanding their music beyond current borders by expanding or integrating their genre into others. Whether it be acquiring an extra musician, covering a difficult piece or playing with an entire orchestra, The Mountain Tempo is here to fill you in, if just a bit.

Case 1: Josh Ritter - According to his website, Ritter has an upcoming concert at the Symphony Hall in Boston with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, featuring a special reading from Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. In addition, NPR recently aired a performance of Josh Ritter with violin virtuoso, Hilary Hahn, the 28 year-old Grammy winning artist who graduated with a bachelor's in music at the age of 19. Given Ritter's soothing voice and his reputation of this generations best songwriter, it should be no surprise that adding in a violinist who's already performed with orchestras across the globe just might make your skin tingle.

Josh Ritter and Hilary Hahn - Girl In The War (Live at the Met Museum)

Case 2: Chris Thile
Yes, Chris Thile has also shared some performances with Hilary Hahn. But, Thile also released a Live: Duets, available on Sugarhill Records, with Mike Marshall where they re-made a version of Bach's "Dm Gigue."

Chris Thile and Mike Marshall - J.S. Bach: The Goldberg Variations, Var. No. 1

And if you want to see if he really can pick that fast...

Case 3: Trace Bundy - I couldn't talk about paying homage to classical greats and leave Trace Bundy out of the mix. A Boulder local, Bundy has floored audiences with his ability to work the guitar as a whole beyond what most deemed possible. Trace often fills the neck of his guitar with multiple capos, each with cut slots in them, to allow certain strings to run past the capo. In addition, Bundy picks and slaps the guitar and strings with both hands simutaneously, giving the effect of mulitple guitars and percussion instruments playing all at once. Most don't believe it possible until seeing him live or visiting YouTube. Anywhoo, I bring Trace Bundy into this conversation becuase of his adaptation of Pachelbel's Canon. Immediately after I saw him perform this live, I knew he'd be the one to play my wedding while everyone filtered in. Now I only need a wedding...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rose Hill Drive, the new Zeppelin. Dare I say?

Rose Hill Drive may be the best band to ever come out of Boulder, CO. I'm not blind to Big Head Todd & The Monsters, The String Cheese Incident or the likes of Leftover Salmon, The Wood Brothers, or The Samples. When I sneak a track of theirs onto any party mix, I usually have friends inquiring about the artist immediately. I tell them they're a young band from Boulder that has been invited to play with The Who, Aerosmith, Van Halen, The Black Crowes, Wilco, Queens of the Stone Age and have performed at Bonnaroo, Red Rocks, and Austin City Limits. And when friends try to understand why they haven't heard of Rose Hill Drive yet, I then mention that most of this happened before they graduated high school or released their first album.

When hearing any song by Rose Hill Drive, it's easy to see why they've garnered comparisons to Cream and Led Zeppelin. In fact, Rose Hill Drive's guitarist, Daniel Sproul had been tutored by Van Halen, Warren Haynes and Otis Taylor before he was old enough to drink. Polishing off the rest of the band is older brother, Jake Sproul, on Bass and soaring vocals with their childhood friend, Nate Barnes, on drums.

Rose Hill Drive's Moon Is The New Earth, is available today on Megaforce Records. Last year, they were on Rolling Stone's "10 Artists To Watch" and this month they find themselves on Yahoo! Music's Who's Next? Their CD Release Party will be held at their old stomping grounds, The Fox Theater, this evening in Boulder - and I'll be there!
Here are two songs from their previous album and from the looks of it, their new sophomore album will not disappoint.
Rose Hill Drive - Brain Novocaine
Rose Hill Drive - Cool Cody

Rose Hill Drive
MySpace || Website || label

Monday, June 23, 2008

Girl Talk is only 27 and 4 albums in

So, I may be the only blog out there that posts on Ritter, Dylan, traditional bluegrass, followed by this...

Girl Talk is the stage name of 27 year-old Pittsburgh DJ, Gregg Gillis, who has just released his fourth album, Feed The Animals on Illegal Art. It's not breaking news that Girl Talk released another album...hell, I'm probably the 754th blog this week to touch upon this album because of the marketing behind it and the quality of songs within it. But, I have been stuck on his My space site for the past few days, treating his songs as a music trivia game. Girl Talk often samples dozens of songs in only one track from artists such as Procol Harum, Kanye West, ACDC, Beastie Boys, Jay Z, Hendrix, Avril, Rob Zombie, Yael Naim, Missy Elliot, The Police and on and on and on... (Obtaining licensing for each sample must have been a nightmare) How many can you name?

Girl Talk - Play Your Part (Pt. 1)

Girl Talk - Still Here

Not only will these songs liven up any summer party you're having, but you can also start a great competition among your friends across the genres represented in each song. And, as mentioned above, Girl Talk has made it a priority to get this album into your hands with ease. Similar to Radiohead's marketing campaign that irked many a record label, Girl Talk is willing to offer his album for download at your price on his label's site, Illegal Art.

Girl Talk's remaining tour schedule of live shows has him visiting my neighborhood in just a few weeks. However, beware: according to Wikipedia, Gregg Gillis is an exhibitionist as he is/was notorious for stripping down in mid set. Hmmm...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Punch Brothers

The Punch Brothers may be the quintessential group of all-stars in any given genre of music right now. Now, don't take me too literal just yet, but it's hard to think of another group currently performing that has the amount of experience and talent in each specific instrument as the Punch Brothers. Fronted by Nickel Creek's 26 year-old mandolin prodigy, Chris Thile, the Punch Brothers seems to be the most famous unknown group, even in the bluegrass world. Why? maybe because they're all young (especially in the realm of bluegrass) and have kept considerably low profiles when in contrast to the legends they compose and affiliate with every day.

Aside from Thile, the group consists of Noam Pikelny (collaborated and performed with John Cowan, Tony Trischka, Yonder Mountain, Leftover Salmon...) on banjo, Chris Eldridge (founding member of The Infamous Stringdusters and often performs with his father's group, Seldom Scene) on guitar, Gabe Witcher (who's performed with numerous legends and has appeared on soundtracks such as Toy Story and Brokeback Mountain) on violin, and Greg Garrison (Leftover Salmon, shall I keep going?) on bass.

Punch Brothers - Sometimes

Intricate, symphony-like organization in bluegrass is rare and The Punch Brothers take this to a higher level yet. Their album, Punch, released by Nonesuch Records, includes lightning-quick picking intertwined with Thile's 4-song, 40+ minute movement, that carries the listener through styles across the genres.

Here's a taste of the talent and speed that come with a punch:

Or how about...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nil Lara

Aside from Paul Simon's Graceland, I'd have to say that Nil Lara's self titled album has been on my Top 5 since it's debut in 1996 from Metro Blue Records. I initially saw him open up for Rusted Root at the Paramount Theater in Denver the year his album was released and I bought it, fingers crossed, that the album might be half as great as his performance. Since then, his songs have been placed on too many mix CDs to count (tapes back then) and I've seen dozens and dozens of my friends scour and ransack music stores in search of the album.

What has Nil Lara been up to since that sterling album in 1996 aside from having one of his songs featured in the Scrubs tv soundtrack? Coincidentally, my wonderful friend at I Am Fuel, You Are Friends recently found out that he is still performing quite often in the Miami area, which made me excited that he still may be releasing new songs. According to his blog, Nil Lara is also headed up to New York City for those lucky enough to catch a performance. I wrote him the other day and he provided me with this absolutely gorgeous song that has been playing on my speakers non-stop. Supposedly, I'll be receiving a few more Nil Lara albums in the next week...again, fingers crossed.

Nil Lara - Amor En Ti

Although Nil Lara has released a small handful of albums since 1991, you can still find his self titled release on amazon and hear more of his "newer" songs at his MySpace pages here and here. Although I would have LOVED to post his entire album on here to share his talent, my favorite will have to do until you can track down your own copy. I promise it will be well worth your time.

Nil Lara - Crawl

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ted Hawkins - My baby, she tastes like good gravy

I have to thank my brother for introducing me to the rooted, scratchy, honest, and soul-revealing singer that is Ted Hawkins. I was finishing up high school and Ben brought home an album he'd heard in college from a man I'd never heard of before. "Bodie, you HAVE to play this album during a dinner date..."

It's easy to hear that Ted Hawkins has gone through a lot in life when hearing just a few simple lines with his sandy and unpolished voice. He was an ornery man with a past full of trouble, spending much of his youth and earlier days in correctional institutions from crimes ranging from theft to heroin addiction. Although he managed to release a few albums through this time, he continually went back to prison when not on the streets.

As the story supposedly goes, Ted spent his later years playing to jaw-dropped crowds on Venice Beach as the sandy, hot breeze molded his sandpaper voice. A rep from nearby Geffen Records gave him yet another chance after hearing the numerous original songs Hawkins was serenading the awed beach audiences with. In 1994, after years of struggle and run-ins with the law, Hawkins finally caught the attention of the American music scene after releasing his breakthrough album, The Next Hundred Years, on Geffen Records. Only months after his successful album was released, Ted Hawkins died from a stroke at the age of 58.

Ted Hawkins - Groovy Little Things
Ted Hawkins - Strange Conversation

Some songs are filled with life lessons, others are covers of classic staples and some pay homage to the styles of his idols, Professor Longhair and Sam Cooke. My favorites tend to be simple stories and converations he molds into a song.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Max Fischer goes Coconut Records

"Maybe I'm spending too much of my time starting up clubs and putting on plays. I should probably be trying harder to score chicks." - Max Fischer

Do you remember the rebellious Max Fisher and his plethora of hit plays at Rushmore Academy? Another Wes Anderson classic and one of my favorite movies featuring Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Luke Wilson, Mr. Little Jeans and more. Owen Wilson in this film, but he did co-write it with Anderson. The soundtracks that Anderson compiles always seem to impress even the savviest music guru. And now, it seems he may have another amazing album to sort through...this time with close connections.

So what has Jason Schwartzman been up to since the success of Rushmore, his previous band Phantom Planet, I Heart Huckabees, Shopgirl, and scoring with Natalie Portman (at least on screen) in The Darjeeling Limited? Don't forget, he did play Ringo Starr in the Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. I've been reading up on his new endeavor for the past year and finally received a few songs. It's easy to hear that Schwartzman has once again found success apart from his acting career.

Coconut Records, Schwartzman's musical project, released a wonderfully composed 12-track album titled Nighttiming a bit back on Young Baby Records.

Coconut Records - Nighttiming

"I was punched in the face. What's your excuse?" - Max Fischer

750 years of history: Scarborough Fair to Josh Ritter

Isn’t it sometimes odd how small the world is with all of our small networks and connections? I did a bit of research about some of my favorite artists and found a unique family tree that roots in England circa 1253 and connects my favorite artist (Paul Simon) with Bob Dylan, Sam Bush, Johnny Cash and Josh Ritter. I’m sure it would keep branching if I did more research but I’ll give you a concise timeline below and how I was excited to know that my favorite artist directly influenced one of my new favorites, Josh Ritter.

Ready? Here we go, in reverse chronological order:

One of my favorite artists of the past few years is Josh Ritter, a young singer-songwriter who has been dubbed by many (consultants, me, Rolling Stone writers, critics, bloggers across the web, fellow artists…) as the best songwriter of “our” generation. During a recent interview, he said he picked up the guitar and birthed a career the moment he heard Johnny Cash join Bob Dylan (another favorite of mine) in the re-recording of “Girl From The North Country”/”Girl Of The North Country” off of Dylan’s 1969 album, Nashville Skyline. I could go on and on about this song and the history it has in terms of contributors, writers, changes of verses, and Dylan’s multiple versions…but let’s not open another can of worms.

As a side note, let’s involve bluegrass now. Sam Bush, a staple in the bluegrass world, became popular with a cover of Dylan and Cash’s version of this song. I know Sam Bush has a barrage of songs, but it’s hard to deny this song brought him extra record sales and more fans.

When researching Dylan’s song that inspired Ritter, I came across the name of Martin Carthy, a British musician, who I knew had connections to Paul Simon’s emergence. I found out that Dylan’s lyrics and melody in “Girl From The North County” were inspired by Martin Carthy’s arrangement of “Scarborough Fair.” In fact, Dylan sings a direct line from Carthy’s version with “remember me to the one who lives there; she once was a true love of mine.” Two years after Dylan’s lines made vinyl, Martin Carthy met Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel in London to teach them his arrangement of the now-popular “Scarborough Fair.”

Remember, this song was not penned by Simon and Garfunkel OR Martin Carthy…it was only arranged by one and made popular by the duo (trio). “Scarborough Fair” is a traditional English ballad dating from 1253 when King Henry III granted the village/resort of Scarborough to hold a “fair” each summer, allowing tradesmen from multiple countries to market and trade goods of all sorts in a common location. Now, if my mom did her research, she’d come to find out that “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” actually have deeper meanings and may not have painted them in our kitchen.

750 years after King Henry III initiated Scarborough’s Fair, Josh Ritter sang “Bone of Song” on his 2003 Hello Starling album, from Signature Sounds Records. When Ritter sings this song live, he often dedicates it to Johnny Cash.

Josh Ritter - Bone of Song

If you like Josh Ritter or this song, I’m just guessing you’ll like Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and probably others like Ray Lamontagne, Amos Lee, The Frames, Glen Hansard, Conor Oberst, Griffin House and the lighter side of The Boss (Bruce Springsteen). Want more references?…listen to this song and research: Osiris, Kathleen Mavourneen, Magnificat…

The Background -
Alexi and Eastmountainsouth

I remember hearing KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic for my first time back in 2003 when searching one of my favorite artists, Alexi Murdoch. As the show's host announced that Kat Maslich and Peter Adams would be singing backup for Alexi's studio performance, I was blown away at again, how it seemed that all of my favorite artists were friends with eachother. Kat and Pete were members of Eastmountainsouth and have unfortunately decided to follow different paths since. They did produce one hit that had significant radio play ("You Dance") and many of their catchy and heart-felt songs landed on numerous television shows.

Alexi Murdoch (with Eastmountainsouth) - Light Shine

Alexi debuted a song during his 2002 KCRW performance that may not have an official name and is not on any of his albums to date. I have heard through rumors amongst fans that it may be called "Light Shine." I have seen him perform a handful of times and each time Alexi belts this simple ballad out, it takes on a slightly different meaning to me, although he made it clear that it has nothing to do with religion. What are your thoughts?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weezer - rounding up pop culture

Weezer continues their rule over all music videos with a new release for their upcoming Pork and Beans single off of their new self-title "Red Album.". This time, no dogs, no Happy Days, no High Hefner or Spike Jonze...they round up and incorporate the last few years of Internet YouTube "stars." Did we really need to give Tay Zonday or Gary Brolsma another second of fame? How many can you name/remember? And yes, that is the real Gary of the Numa Numa and the real Tay Zonday featured in the video. Don’t know those names? You may not get a kick out of it then…Nonetheless, Weezer continues their string of famous and cult-followed music videos.

Embedding has been disabled for the video, but you can happily watch it here: Weezer - Pork and Beans

If you want the scoop on the video and the making of it, check out:

Vampire Weekend - It's Paul Simon for the Young Folk

I had a busy week a bit ago with a few trips to the Fox Theater, an outing to Red Rocks to see Death Cab, Modest Mouse and Rapid Eye Movement (although REM acted more like lethargic blinks of rigomortis settling in) and a surprise visit on the street with a former member of Sonia Dada (remember them?). I’ve been hard at work this week finishing up the initial soundtrack line-up for a movie I’m supervising and of course completing my regular routine at my work place. It seems that 2-3 times a day I hear the same song from one of my two co-workers’ desks as they listen to numerous indie and pop streams that we produce. Each time the song comes on I start drumming my fingers on the desk and singing “Hey hey hey hey” without even thinking about it.

Vampire Weekend - A-Punk

Vampire Weekend is a young band from the New York area and has been seeing a ton of press lately. I first received their scrambled and un-mastered album almost a year ago and I immediately took a liking to it although I had no clue what the songs were titled as they coded them in satirical titles to keep anyone from releasing it publicly. I heard influences of Paul Simon (Graceland, Songs of the Capeman), Talking Heads, and then some full-on indie rock that New York City seems to produce so much of. Their self-titled debut album was recently released on XL Recordings and has been selling off the shelves at my local independent music store.

They’re young, so I guessed they must have dropped out of school a bit back to already be involved in such a composed group. All Vampire Weekend members actually met at Columbia University and self-produced their first self-titled album (released off of XL Recordings) AFTER graduation. They got their name from a film they produced that “told the story of a boy named Walcott charged by an elder to dispatch a vampiric horde in Cape Cod and escape…” - Wiki article (so we know it’s true) Weird? Yes. But, when you see the song titles from their first album, you’ll see “Wolcott,” “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and a well-penned song about the arguable use of a comma when writing – “Oxford Comma.” This isn’t too far off from their roots – they were in a band called L’Homme Run, specializing in comedic-rap. They were my first pick “to break” in 2008 in our yearly album guesses here at work and they haven’t let me down yet. Their schedule is full of festivals of all sizes and they recently have been making the SNL, magazine, blog and Late Show circuit.

You won’t see Paul Simon dancing with Chevy Chase and you won’t see the 80s style of Talking Heads and Byrne’s spastic movements . You will see one of my favorite videos** of the year with their lead singer, Ezra, coming up to the front to sing to you, and only you

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Mountain Tempo #1 - Delta Spirit

Ok, it’s the first post and this one may be a bit long as I want to include a brief introduction so you all are on the same (ish) page. Speaking of…

Introduction: At times I may preface too much (example #1, right now), at times I may not say as much as you want, at times I may ramble on (example #2, right there) and sometimes I may just be reiterating what you already know. But, I hope to introduce you to a song you may have overlooked, unveil a new song you may learn to love, or maybe shed light on a song you may have not liked at an earlier time. That being said, if any of you can ever introduce me to song information or meaning for ANY song penned or written by the Police, Sting or Steely Dan, a generous reward and gasp will be offered.

I was pondering what I should do for my very first post this morning while at coffee before work. I immediately thought of my concert experiences in the past decade from when I used to arrive well before the opening act and never leave until the house lights came on. Now, it almost seems rare that I see the entire opening act and stay until the encore concludes. Why? I can certainly tell you that I am not jaded by the politics or general scene within the music industry. Each day I learn or discover a fascinating aspect within my line of work which enthralls me to continue having fun and work hard. I think it comes down to hearing similar music day in and day out. In addition, after having seen numerous artists multiple times, you can definitely notice the nights they are sick, off kilter or unhappy with the crowd. In addition, after seeing hundreds of concerts, it’s natural to start picking apart talents and peripheral influences (no, not drugs) such as basic practice, lighting, production, song-writing, etc. A performers attitude and energy show and whether you can blame them or not is a topic for another discussion. Sure you paid to see their show…but when it comes down to it, it is THEIR show, their set list and how you respond will dictate their longevity as a performer.

I was sent to see Matt Costa at the Fox Theater just a bit ago. I timed the evening to show up after one of the “lesser known” openers were finished so I could enjoy the main opener who I had heard about through multiple blogs (Everest) and then Matt Costa. Immediately after entering, the sound blew me away and I knew I made the right decision by arriving late. I came to find out that the schedule of the two opening bands were swapped due to travel problems and I was actually being blown away by the band I had aimed to miss. I’m an asshole.

The previous night, I was one of very few to leave early from one of the most beautiful and sought after venues in the country after not fully enjoying the show. Rogue Wave was fantastic but Death Cab for Cutie (a band that I follow fairly close, enjoy numerous tunes and also sold around 8,000 tickets for their Red Rocks debut) didn’t make a great impression on me. Then, last night, along comes Delta Spirit (I thought they had to be from Boulder, Arcata, or Athens with a name like that), an unheard of band that I dismissed, who ended up completely mesmerizing me for the next half hour. I don’t really enjoy when bloggers try to do a play-by-play of a concert…so I’ll just tell you that their attitude, showmanship, precision and sound were very well constructed, loud and overall, fun. I wasn’t outside watching the sunset over Denver, listening to a high-profile band in the most beautiful amphitheater in the U.S with 8,000 other stagnant spectators. I was in a cramped venue staring at an Americana, funky, foot-stomping band with 500 other participants clapping, waving their drinks, and dancing along. Did I leave their performance early? No, I waited until Matt Costa was halfway through his set.

Delta Spirit, a band from California that recently re-released their album, Ode To Sunshine, through Rounder Records (Yes, the label that supports bluegrass and released Alison Krauss and Plant’s hit album). It was their last song of the evening before relinquishing the stage to Matt Costa.

This is similar to what I saw:

(wait till 1:15 in).

Delta Spirit - People, Turn Around

If you like this song, you’ll probably love: The Felice Brothers, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Cold War Kids, Wolf Parade, and Bright Eyes.