Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Luke Doucet

"I know, he's everywhere right now right? Check out number 4. It's the song Jeff Tweedy never wrote." That's what my co-worker said and unlike my co-worker, I don't know every Wilco song nor was I there for the commencement and fall of Uncle Tupelo. I couldn't have put it any clearer, but i get it and I fully believe him.

Luke Doucet And White Falcon - Cleveland

I'm not sure why I feel like I've heard his name every hour on the hour over the past two weeks. Maybe it's a familiar name. Born in Nova Scotia, Luke Doucet got his first guitar when he was 13 years old. The term "travelin' man in a blues band" seems to be thrown around like a mystical story reserved for those that only made it far enough to open a bar in the middle of nowhere. But with Doucet, it's a dead ringer. He traveled solo across Canada, from distant city to city on Greyhound, before he was ten. By 15, he was in his father's blues band and after graduating high school, the young Doucet found a stage playing in Sarah McLachlan's band. Doucet now has five solo albums, all from Toronto's Six Shooter Records. His most recent album (and where you'll find "Track number 4" aka. "Cleveland") is from 2008's Blood's Too Rich; and although it is still a solo Doucet project, he pays homage to his circa 1955 Gretsch White Falcon guitar by crediting the artist as "Luke Doucet and White Falcon."

Luke Doucet - Blood's Too Rich

Monday, June 29, 2009

Now...I'm At eTown

It's not my longest drought, but I've been neglecting the blog for a bit. Several of my avid readers knew of my position in the music industry at the radio consulting firm that also had many fingers in the online and retail realm of music delivery. I'm happy to say that after 4 years of growing with them and knee deep in the muck and glamour that is the music industry, I was offered the New Media/Audience Development position at eTown. I still get to ride my bike to work. Only now, I get to ride toward the downtown part of Boulder, past the stunning Flatirons, alongside the river and sit in an office that is literally a stones throw from hiking trails and deer crossings.

I'm not going to shy away from self promotion when I do know it's a great company promoting a great cause. I'm still supervising music licensing projects and producing soundtracks when I have time. At eTown, I still get to see the most fascinating emerging artists in juxtaposition to legendary icons. In addition, we hope that with the format of the show and the projected growth on our horizon, eTown will not only be a prime outlet to watch and learn about musicians, but a place where social issues and intelligent conversation can surface to a greater public.

Who's perfomed at eTown? Several thousand musicians, including some of these names: Ray LaMontagne, Keb' Mo', Gregory Alan Isakov, Steve Earle, Josh Ritter, Sam Bush, J.J. Cale, James Taylor, Devotchka, Alexi Murdoch, David Gray, Nickel Creek, Ben Harper, T-Bone Burnette, Ted Hawkins, Michael Franti, Mavis Staples, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Guster, Marc Cohn, Odetta........

A new site is in the works which will serve as a blueprint to more stuff to come. In the meantime, here is eTown.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Low Anthem

What comes out of Providence, Rhode Island other than a Farrelly brothers flick? Comprising of a NASA technician, a jazz bassist-slash-"baseball scholar" and a painter, The Low Anthem has had a breakout year already performing South By, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza and Newport - ALL IN 2009. The band initially met at Brown University and is now on tour across the globe with stints with Dave Matthews, The Fleet Foxes, Langhorne Slim, Joe Pug, M. Ward...and the list goes on.

The Low Anthem just released their album,Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, from Nonesuch/Bella Union on June 8th. I'll admit I haven't gone through the entire album, but the four I've been running on repeat have my spine chilling. The three members of The Low Anthem construct balanced harmonies with the backing of their their 30+ instruments played between the trio. Here's a taste...

The Low Anthem - Charlie Darwin

Friday, June 12, 2009

It Might Get Loud

My friend Patrick provided the tip on the new movie, It Might Get Loud, set to hit theaters on August 14th.

As told from the press kit:
It Might Get Loud isn’t like any other rock’n roll documentary. Filmed through the eyes of three virtuosos from three different generations, audiences get up close and personal, discovering how a furniture upholsterer from Detroit, a studio musician and painter from London and a seventeen–year–old Dublin schoolboy, each used the electric guitar to develop their unique sound and rise to the pantheon of superstar. Rare discussions are provoked as we travel with Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White to influential locations of their pasts. Born from the experience is intimate access to the creative genesis of each legend, such as Link Wray’s “Rumble’s” searing impression upon Jimmy Page, who surprises audiences with an impromptu air guitar performance. But that’s only the beginning.

While each guitarist describes his own musical rebellion, a rock’n roll summit is being arranged. Set on an empty soundstage, the musicians come together, crank up the amps and play. They also share their influences, swap stories, and teach each other songs. During the summit Page’s double–neck guitar, The Edge’s array of effects pedals and White’s new mic, custom built into his guitar, go live. The musical journey is joined by visual grandeur too. We see the stone halls of Headley Grange where “Stairway to Heaven” was composed, visit a haunting Tennessee farmhouse where Jack White writes a song on–camera, and eavesdrop inside the dimly lit Dublin studio where The Edge lays down initial guitar tracks for U2’s forthcoming single. The images, like the stories, will linger in the mind long after the reverb fades.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Willem Maker's Mark

Wanna know how to piss off a person who has access to new tunes across the board and listens to new music every single day? Give him another 600 songs he hasn't heard that are right up his alley. First, because I blame myself for not knowing WHY I didn't know about the artist and second, because...well...it's overwhelming. I can't post on all the tunes my separated-at-birth-music-twin Jeremy Kay gives me. Hell, I have been working for over a month now to get through the initial barrage of tunes he dumped in my lap. Here is an average song he gave me...which says a lot to his taste AND because this artist is ANYTHING but.
Willem Maker. Sounds scruffy right? Like he came straight from a southern porch scene? You're probably right. Willem Maker comes to us from the hills of Turkey Heaven Mountain (I'm not making this up), in Cleburn County on the east side of Alabama. Joining such staple porch-bred powerhouses like AA Bondy, Junior Kimbrough, Andrew Bird, Townes Van Zandt and the Black Keys, Willem Maker appropriately finds himself part of the Fat Possum Records line-up.

Willem Maker stepped out of the acoustic performances and bedroom demos with his rookie release in 2007. Maker now offers some more southern comfort with his 12-track New Moon Hand. Mr. JK sent me the lead-track yesterday brimming with whiskey scratched vocals, an honest tune of resonating slide guitar and the feeling that took me away from my desk and plopped me on a wooden slat porch overlooking a dirty river. When the song finished, I looked back at my computer. That sucked. Thanks JK.

Willem Maker - Black Beach Boogie

If this suits your fancy, scroll down on the blog as this song is a bull's eye in my library. Or, check out Joe Pug, William Elliot Whitmore, Lucero, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band or Stoll Vaughan.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sometimes It's Not About The Music

There are lot of heavy hearts in Boulder this week. The international climbing community and several families and friends got rocked this week when it was announced that Boulder's own, Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson lost their lives in an avalanche in the deeply remote region of southwest China while attempting to be the first to climb the 22,368-foot Mount Edgar (pictured above). It was so remote and such a feat, that the mountain has not only been unclimbed, but has never even been approached. We may soon find out if someone in this trip was able to reach the summit. Regardless, I have expressed my condolences and thoughts on the matter to the specific people within this situation. To me, this blog is not going to serve as my emotional outlet that accompanies losing friends and business associates. What is it about then? I won't get started. But, here are pictures of Jonny, Wade and Micah.

The video excerpt below, produced by Wade Johnson, was a project in which I served as music supervisor and briefly captures Johnny Copp and Micah Dash in their backyard playground. Ironically, they briefly talk about confronting death in their daily endeavors. They lived to explore and frolicked in the most breathtaking and remote regions on earth. They died doing what they loved most...playing in their larger-than-life jungle gym.

Excerpt from The Sharp End courtesy of Renan Ozturk

To donate to the ongoing search and recovery of their bodies, or learn more about the situation and the lives of these marvelous gentlemen, please don't hesitate to visit the links below.

The Adventure Film Festival/search and donation headquarters
Jonny Copp's personal website
Jonny Copp's bio via patagonia.com
Letter from the parents of Wade Johnson
Sender Films
Micah Dash's bio courtesy of Mountain Hardware
Micah Dash's blog

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kings Of Leon ARE the cool guys that don't look at explosions

My favorite song off of Only By The Night now has an accompanying video. Just a few years ago the Followill brothers were constricted by a well-received debut album that lacked the pop-glam to further their exposure beyond the indie-alt basement scene. Add in another album, multiple festival appearances, some Saturday Night Live and Late Show appearances, an MTV Video Awards performance, and backing by RCA...and well, some damn nice rock vocals and catchy tunes with a likeable face...and Kings of Leon are still making waves. This time with "Notion," the third single off of KOL's most recent album.

Yesterday, the KOL online premier of "Notion" became available on their Myspace page. Nothing to write home about, but it'll satisfy any KOL fan...or female under the age of 40.

Fire? Check. Bad ass "I don't give a shit" attitude? Check. Smoldering light bulb in worn-down warehouse? You bettcha. Singing into a brick wall and hawking a lugie on the stage floor (1:26 in). All systems go. Ok, ok...I still love the song and hell, I can't talk too bad about the video...Caleb is telling me the entire time: "don't knock it, don't knock it..." But wait! There's more!

Is it ironic timing that this fire and explosion-filled video premiered the day after Andy Samberg's penultimate tribute to the cool guys that don't look at explosions? I think not. The KOL crew are indeed the epitome of cool cats. Here's Samberg's statement:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Miley Vs. The Boss

I could've posted on the new Wilco release or even the Buckley CD/DVD release of his live cuts. Nope, I'm not because that's not chapping my ass right now.

Hear me out. I GET MTV's demographic. I know the MTV Video Awards are mostly silly, viral and really don't count for much. I get that I was probably one of the few television viewers that was over the age of 25 but hey, I'm an Andy Samberg fan. So given it was just the measly MTV Movie Awards full of bare-assed angels flying around and mumbling award recipients, why am I cranky?

Because even in the hoo-hah land of MTV and their Clash and Ramones t-shirt wearing fans, how or lord, how was Miley Cyrus' song voted above Bruce Springsteen's?

Folks, I don't have the answer and never will. OK, I'm not really cranky as I know the reality of it all...but I do wonder if Bruce even knew he was up for an award against Paramore or Miley. But for shits and giggles, let's take a look at how MTV explained the two songs so we can at least offer Miley some credit for the deep seriousness of her song, "The Climb" which I'm guessing, she didn't even write.

MTV says:
Miley Cyrus "The Climb"
Miley's ballad is all about staying optimistic in the face of tough decisions, like choosing between regular life and your secret pop star alter-ego.

Bruce Springsteen "The Wrestler"
This eponymous song is based on the real life lost-and-found friendship between The Boss and 'Wrestler'-lead Mickey Rourke.

Must be tough to choose between a regular life of a millionaire on a ranch and being a pop-star millionaire with a ranch to fall back on. Hey - that should be a song!