Monday, March 30, 2009

Excuses are like...

It's been a few days, I know. I know. Why? Well do you want rational or excuses? Ok, it's 11:11 and this is what I can come up with...

Excuse #1: No NEW music has really caught my ear this week. Ok, The Decemberists did come out with a new one...and Gomez too (see below for them). I know music comes out daily. In fact, it was generalized that over 28,000 albums were released in 2008...over 75 a day. That being said, not all are good. Those that are good are either not my style, slip under my radar or are not worthy of a Mountain Tempo post. Arrogant? Maybe. Blind? Maybe.

Excuse #2: This is a part-time fun thingie. Aside from my full-time position in the music biz, my endeavors as a Music Supervisor for films, and avid outdoors enthusiast; posting on here may stay in the bullpen until the 9th inning on busy weeks.

Excuse #3: _________________________.

Nonetheless, here are some interesting sites and a few songs from the yesteryears that have been on repeat for some odd reason. Sappy? Heartbroken? Sentimental? Am I in one of those Ryan Adams-y (circa 2002) phases? Random? Enjoy-

Song 1: Opie Gone Bad - Angel
Site 1: Music Trivia here

Song 2: John Butler Trio - Losing You
Site 2: Best Craigslist ad...ever

Song 3: Eagle Eye Cherry - Worried Eyes
Site 3:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

whiskey + raucous + hootenanny = Felice Brothers

With the weather changing outside and spring beginning, it seems I accidentally turned this week into a porch-music themed week. Sara Watkins with her folkerized bluegrass, William Elliot Whitmore with some dusty howling and a backyard stomp by the Local Natives. The Mountain Tempo has posted on the upstate country bumpkins from the Catskill mountains before, but the brothers Felice (+2) are back again.

From family barbeque's to NY Subway busking to a full-throttle tour and even a slot at last year's Bonnaroo, The Felice Brothers have left their stomp print rather quickly. And you'll see why if you watch the video above. They're infectious, they're ragged and rugged and beyond that - they're a fucking kick-in-the-pants. Their new album full of dirty-bar tunes, scorched ballads and Octoberfest chants that would bring in any straggler. Yet another reference to Twain, The Felice Brothers have titled their new album Yonder Is The Clock (Team Love Records) and it'll be available on April 7th. But, if you're antsy, you can order it here.

Here is my favorite from the upcoming album and luckily, it's the only one that seems to have been released! You'll get their notorious old-tyme gun slinging feeling about 2:15 in... The Felice Brothers - Penn Station

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who put William Elliot Whitmore on my iPod?

I hand-pick every song that accompanies my bike ride. The other day, I was biking up Flagstaff Mountain and on came this hypnotic, howling hymn

William Elliot Whitmore - Old Devils

A building tempo with unrested sawdust filled vocals, giving a sense of urgency and anxiety. I re-played it about 5 times before I had to let my iPod go to the next song. I have NO CLUE how it got onto my iPod or into my music library. Did I get it from a music sampler? A blog post? A friend? Bueller?

Nonetheless, William Elliot Whitmore is a dead lock in my musical alley. Similar to Ray Lamontagne, Dylan, Joe Pug, Flynn...Whitmore possesses the burnt voice that simply conveys the truth with some americana attitude and some nice southern strumming. Music fit for a dusty bar accompanied with a pipe and a scotch on the rocks. Whitmore's debut album, Animals In The Dark, from Anti Records is available now. And it seems I'm 2/2 folks (see yesterday's post). This album is complete. No other way to say it - it's a complete album. Organ, church chants, banjo, stomping, guitar, soul and gospel transformed into americana-alt rock. I strongly suggest you get this album now.

William Elliot Whitmore - Mutiny

Three decades old and 6 albums deep, William Elliot Whitmore emerges from a horse farm in Iowa on the banks of the mighty Mississippi. Whitmore came from a family of musicians; his mom played the accordion, his father played guitar and his grandfather plucked the banjo. After losing both of his parents in a short period, Whitmore dealt with his grief through songwriting and either fair or unfair, he has drawn many comparisons to traditional alt. country folk like that associated with the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. To get some more on Whitmore, head over to a great interview by Dan Bullock's on

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sara Watkins brings the artillery

Finally. A fresh album. No offense Music Industry, but the stacks of new albums that keep growing at our office is sure lacking a stand-out. Finally, one comes across that I know main stream radio will not acknowledge, and rightly so (no offense). On the other hand, I've listened to it twice already and can see NPR and folk/bluegrass programs salivating over this. Sara Watkins, one-third of the Grammy-winning, bluegrass-bending group Nickel Creek, is set to release a solo album from Nonesuch Records.

You hear me say "solo album" and you think it's a one person feature. Sara brought her A-game into the studios during the recording process. First off, let's add some Zeppelin with John Paul Jones backing her on nearly every track AND producing the album. And for those of you that keep tabs on country, bluegrass, americana and folk, some of these fellow pickers that also appear on her album will ring a loud bell: Chris Thile, David Rawlings, Sean Watkins, Greg Leisz, Benmont Tench, Rayna Gellert, Gillian Welch, Tim O'Brien, Mark Schatz, Chris Eldridge, Ronnie McCoury, Aoife O' that enough. Sara's self-titled album is set come out on in the beginning of April and is avail for pre-order now here. Not only will hear some glimpses of Nickel Creek bluegrass, but Sara continues to explore the talents of those around her with new spins of traditional songs, a few covers (Waits, John Hartford, Jimmie Rodgers, Norman Blake) and handful of songs penned by her and her ex Creek crew. As I said, this album is laced with talent and you'll hear intricate layering's of multiple instruments fused into a symphonic setting that never loses control. It's relaxing, complicated, composed, and topped off with Sara's bow and feathery voice. Not a bad way to start your Tuesday off. The only problem is choosing which song to post as no two are even remotely identical or indicative of the entire album. Ho-hum...

Sara Wakins - Where Will You Be

Sara Wakins - Freiderick

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jubiliation, she loves me again

First, off - not gonna lie. Credit where credit is due. I stole this video from another fantastic music blog, I Guess I'm Floating...go say hi to 'em after you're done here each day.

Secondly, those who know me know Paul Simon is my favorite artist. Hand's down. After the rough go, this was a great pep-me-up by the Local Natives. A nice backyard video tribute to Simon and his blonde afro cohort.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We Brave Bee Stings and All

It's been a tough week at the Mountain Tempo, but it could always be worse right! Here I am living in the coolest town in the U.S. with mountains to climb, roads to bike and hills to ski in my backyard and I leave my readers without a new post offering for several days now. It could be worse. A lot worse. It's March, 70 outside and SXSW is happening in Austin right now with the hoards of fans getting their socks knocked off by the 2009 emergers. One could just be Thao with the Get Down Stay Down.

Now calling San Francisco their home base, Thao and Co. have 6 shows this week in Austin and are hoping to lasso a few more followers as this year seems to be the one that can offer the stage lights. Picking up the guitar at age 12, Thao Nguyen began practicing and composing her tunes mostly at her mother's laundromat in Virginia. After getting some inspiration from the Lilith Fair and then meeting drummer Willis Thompson while at William & Mary college, things began to take form. Thao has opened for Rilo Kiley and now is honing in on the Austin mass at SXSW and soon the road with the Hotel Cafe Tour. Thao recently released her third album, We Brave Bee Stings and All, courtesy of Kill Rock Stars. And, they are supplying a great single that you can download here: Thao - Bag of Hammers

Monday, March 16, 2009

Um, new Stevie Nicks? Yes please.

Seems like the new cool thing huh? Lily Allen covering the Clash (scroll down), Old School Freight Train and Blondie (scroll down), Peter Gabriel paying homage to Vampire Weekend (and again, scroll down). It's getting bigger now - Stevie Nicks covering Dave Matthews.

Sure Fleetwood Mac just kicked off another tour on March 1st, but now it's Ms. Nicks' return to the solo spotlight if not for a few minutes. She is gearing to launch a "Live In Chicago" DVD and "The Soundstage Sessions" on March 31st from Reprise Records full of her classics and the Crash cover.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Oh Yeah"

You know the song and unbeknownst to you, you can probably lip-synch the entire thing too. So why haven't you heard of the band Yello? Easy there Cowboy...I'm not blaming. Hell, I never knew who sang it until today and it's those two guys above, Deiter and Boris. I'm not making those names up either. You're probably thinking it's the "Macarena" too, huh? I would not do that to you. It's "Oh Yeah" by Yello. They Swiss electronica duo really only had the one hit, and that only peaked at #51 back in 1987. Why do you know it so well? Not Another teen Movie, Soul Plan, K9, SNL, Nip/Tuck, Gran Turismo, The Simpsons, Twix, and Oh Yeah...Ferris Bueller's Day Off - they've all used it.

"1961 Ferrari 250 GT California.
Less than a hundred were made.
My father spent three years restoring this car.
It is his love, it is his passion..."
"It is his fault he didn't lock the garage."

So, the song I know you know you know is actually by Yello and now when it comes up again in some obscure subway situation or the next AT&T commercial, you can at least say you know a smidgen about the song.

Yello - Oh Yeah

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bluegrass & Blondie. Welcome Old School Freight Train

I've been listening to them for a bit and have always loved their strict adherence to keeping the old school bluegrass base while sneaking in some light swing, pop or lyrics to infiltrate younger generations. But now, Old School Freight Train's bent bluegrass is resurfacing a new take on Deborah Harry's 1979 hit, "Heart of Glass." Did you know that Blondie's 1979 hit "Heart of Glass" was actually recorded in 1975 as "Once I Had A Love" with a bluesy-reggae beat? It got it's disco transformation in 1978 just before the video for "Heart of Glass" was filmed in the notorious Studio 54 in NY. And knowing is half the battle. *Now last time I used the term "bluegrass," I was uppercut by a reader who had his or her strong opinions on what bluegrass is defined as. So, I'll say it here...I consider this group a damn great example of what redefined bluegrass is. Talk amongst yourselves.

Old School Freight Train - Heart of Glass

Now, onto the younger bluegrassers. Six years in the making and hailing out of Charlottesville, VA, Old School Freight Train are pushing the newgrass styles while paying homage to their predecessors like Bela Fleck and the dawg music of Grisman. Though their previous albums are full of flourishing instrumentals and pickin' solos, the gem off their new album may be the Blondie cover. Covers are not rare for the Virginians as they've been asked before to cover the likes of Coldplay and Mayer for the Pickin' On Bluegrass series. They are on tour now, sharing some dates with the Squirrel Nut Zippers (yes, Andrew Bird's ol' crew). Their new album Six Years (11:12 Records/Sony/Red) is available on March 17th.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm back and after a week of bounding and bouncing in the Teton-Bridger forrests, I'm sore and ready to sit down for some more tunes. The 8 hour drive wasn't as bad as you'd think especially when you're noticing the vast plains of Wyoming errupting into the jagged young ranges that make the Teton range so notorious with a great soundtrack backing me up. So what was I listening to during the drive? Joe Pug, Josh Ritter, Vampire Weekend, lots of Frightened Rabbit, Bon Iver on repeat, Sam Cooke, Raphael Saadiq and Justin Townes Earle. And let me not forget the multiple times I played Johnny Flynn.

I've recently been on this Americana, old-tyme music kick. The music that perfectly accompanies a relaxing porch afternoon or a warm spring day in the backwoods of Yellowstone and Teton-Bridger. Dusting off albums with Cooke, Dylan, Van Zandt, Nelson as well as the barrage of young gunslingers like Joe Pug, Justin Townes Earle and Johnny Flynn (all of whom I've previously posted on in case you need to dig up the Mountain Tempo archives). Ironically, La Blogotheque greeted me with a session of Mr. Flynn mid-week during a needed snowfall. There I lay in the nook of a loft on the hillside watching the fog lay over the Tetons with Flynn strolling "The Box" through a bodega Take Away Session. Give it about two minutes to warm up and you'll see a great Flynn session.