Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Greatest Live Album You've Never Heard Of

I'm sure most of you know who The John Butler Trio is, and I'm sure you enjoy them. If neither of those statements apply to you, then I want you to continue reading this, purchase this album, and kindly reconsider your previous stance against this band. For those of you that enjoy John Butler, I applaud you and I'm willing to bet that after listening to this album, you'll love them that much more. 

Red Rocks Amphitheater, located in Morrison, Colorado, plays host to some of the most outrageous concerts in the United States. Visually striking, the theater sits between, as you guessed it, two big, red rocks. John Butler and his boys had the pleasure of playing and recording a live album there in June of 2010 (the album was released this past July however). When all said and done, the group managed to produce one of the best live albums I have ever laid ears on... 

John Butler is a quirky, yet bad-ass Aussie with overgrown fingernails, a nappy beard, and some epic dreads. The coolest part about this guy, however, is his outrageous ability to produce amazing guitar ballads. You might be able to guess where I'm going with this - "Live At Red Rocks: The John Butler Trio" features jam after jam that show off Butler's iconic talent. If he's not extending a song with an impromptu solo, he devotes a whole segment to nothing but a guitar and a kick-drum. Take Ocean for example - hands down the most expressive, creative, and spontaneous guitar ballads I have ever heard

Individually, they're great. Together, the musicians that make up The John Butler Trio are phenomenal. Showcased by this album, they're music is diverse, creative, and genuine. Every song has a meaning, every note has a reason. The album features 22 tracks spread out over two discs and two hours. Some tracks acoustic, some electric, but either way, this is a great collection of musical talent. Purchase the album here or below, and then sit back and enjoy my friends, because this is the best live album you've never heard of...

Artist Spotlight: Will Overman

It’s always a good feeling to “know” a musical artist you enjoy listening to, it’s another thing to have been able to see that artist grow into the musician he or she is now. For me, that guy is named Will Overman. Will is a senior at Cape Henry up in Virginia Beach who I have been working with during the summer for over 5 years. Will has a great love and passion for music and plays for the simple enjoyment of it. I wanted to share his music with as many people as possible and was fortunate enough to ask Will about his up-and-coming music career and plans for the future:    

Beat Dropping: I can remember always hearing you playing the guitar and mandolin, but only this past summer heard the first song you’ve written…how long have you been writing songs? 
Will: I've been writing for about three years but most of it hasn't been very good. I'm just now starting to really get comfortable with my songwriting. 

BD: Who are your biggest musical influences? 
W: I have a ton of musical influences. Thanks to my parents I've been listening to great music ever since I can remember. But my go to band would have to be The Avett Brothers. I feel like most people have a band they grew up with, and for me that's been the Avetts. I've been listening to them since they were small, seen them in small venues, met them and really grown to respect them and connect to their lyrics. 

BD: If you had to choose between the guitar and mandolin, what would you pick? 
W: I would pick the guitar, just because it's a better instrument for soloing. And as amazing as the mandolin is, it doesn't suffice when playing rhythm. It's made for lead, and unfortunately I'm not that good, so I don't sound that great when it's just me playing. 

BD: What is Indian Summer? 
W: Indian Summer was the name my friend and I decided on when we played a gig. 

BD: What are your immediate music career goals (1-3 years) 
W: My immediate goals consist of: getting more and more gigs, recording more, and once I go to college I'd like to establish a much larger band, (ie. more instruments, harmonies.) 

BD: Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? 
W: In ten years, I honestly have no clue. I would love to make music my profession. So if that is the case then I'll just see where it takes me. I love music. I love connecting to people through they lyrics I write, so if I can do that for a living, fine by me. But it's something I really enjoy, so I'll do my best to keep that way. 

Here are two tracks Will recently recorded, and we look forward to hearing more and more. Enjoy these in the meantime, and keep a look out for Will whose future sure looks bright. 


Covering Your Wednesday: Florence + The Machine

This woman easily has one of the deadliest voices in the music industry, past and present. If Florence's voice was a physical object, it would be a bundle of silk dipped in dark chocolate. I mean, she can belt it and makes anything sound pretty damn sweet. Take Drake for example. One of the most frequently remixed and covered artists of our time (whether or not it's done successfully is another story), Drake poses no challenge for Florence and her vocal chords. She tackles Take Care with ease and makes it sound like it should be her song instead of Drake's. With his wide set eyes and broad smile, Drake has probably admitted the same. 

Take Care - Florence + The Machine

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Studying: Germany Germany

I'm a firm believer that the voice and meaning of a song are far more important than the actual notes being played. Sometimes, however, there's nothing better, or more relaxing, than an instrumental. Tommy touched on this last week, and I'm gonna add on. Drew Harris, the mastermind behind Germany Germany, has a knack for creating ambient music that is perfect for studying. Despite the absence of vocals, Germany Germany's songs showcase emotion in a different light. Personally, when I hear the below song, Rain, I picture Maverick and Goose walking to their jet through the smoke, onward towards a laid back, arial ass kicking. But that's just me, listen below and take it how you will... 

Rain - Germany Germany

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ronald Jenkees

Ronald Jenkees is a self-taught musical genius who has made himself famous to listeners across the world. He became popular through his viral YouTube videos, and has since released two independent albums, all despite the fact that he is still unable to read music and simply plays by ear. Jenkees was exposed to the piano at the age of 4, and from there has produced music with it unlike anyone before him. He is one of the rare musicians nowadays who merely "makes music because it is fun" as he says.   Here are a couple of my personal favorites, but be sure to check out his website, Facebook, and YouTube for more. We want this guy to get as much publicity and encouragement to start touring, which could make him the next big thing; and he also simply deserves it. Enjoy.

Stay Crunchy - Ronald Jenkees

Super-Fun - Ronald Jenkees

Disorganized Fun- Ronald Jenkees 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Covering Your Wednesday: Courtney Welbon

Courtney Welbon has managed to make William Shakespeare seem like no big deal. Just 18 years old, Courtney found herself with the daunting task of having to memorize Shakespeare's famous "To Be, or Not To Be" soliloquy for her AP English class. Completely rattled, she turned toward what she knows best: music. One of the most creative covers I have ever heard, Courtney's version of the famous monologue has stopped me in my tracks, compelling me to listen to it on repeat. Although the warm sounds of the ukele and her sweet voice oppose the true, intended tone of the monologue, Courtney makes it work really, really well. Somehow Shakespeare just got a little less horrifying. Enjoy 

To Be or Not To Be - Courtney Welbon

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Studying: Andrew Duhon

Bring on another daily feature. I've had a couple of weeks back to back where my Monday nights have been swamped with mindless busy work - papers upon papers, tests after tests. Consequently, I've found myself listening to a lot of music that can be perfectly categorized as study music. So, in honor of my friends who sit staring at chemical compounds and endless mock financial reports without headphones, I'm committing my Mondays to helping you out. Every Monday will feature a different song that will hopefully raise that next test grade a point or two. If nothing else, I'll just be posting more good music. Sounds like a plan to me.

First up: Andrew Duhon. The man has an awesome voice and knows how to use it. His song I Miss My Home is a soft melody that showcases his vocal chords and basically warms whoever listens. I've found myself playing this track a lot whenever working and I think it's by no coincidence. We definitely have something here, listen for yourself... 

I Miss My Home - Andrew Duhon

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Hackensaw Boys

The Hackensaw Boys is a band that seems to keep on changing. David Sickmen and Tom “Peepaw” Peloso, who soon brought in two more talented musicians, Robbie St. Ours and Rob Bullington, started it in 1999 based out of Charlottesville, VA. This bluegrass quartet began strong with a great sound and only improved. Now, out of the current seven-man-band, only Rob remains. And through 12 years of playing, much has obviously changed, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These guys are still pickin’ and grinnin’ just as much, if not more, then they were in the beginning, bringing the reckless, foot stomping sound that has become popular to all ages. Here are three songs that, in my opinion, help show the Hackensaw Boys’ journey through the years. You can follow them on their website or facebook page. Enjoy.

Blending Your Thursdays: Vico Ono

Mashups are usually slammed together, forced, and overly complicated. I hate most of them; they tend to ruin music. Vico Ono is keeping me somewhat faithful, however, with his recent drop, Bonfire Under the Bridge. Sewing, streaming, and succesfully sticking Childish Gambino's new hit, Bonfire, with a little Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vico Ono should be the paragon for mashups. If a mashup sounds like a mashup, it sucks. If a mashup sounds like an original, just new song on the block, then you truly have something special. Vico Ono, made apparent by Bonfire Under the Bridge, understands this. Hopefully you will too after listening below...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Covering Your Wednesdays: Grace Potter

I posted a song by Grace Potter a couple of months ago and meant to include this amazing cover of hers with it, so here it is; but in order to appreciate the cover to its fullest, I think you have to see it for yourself. Here is a clip of Grace Potter covering Bob Dylan’s “Cortez the Killer” with fellow musicians Joe Satriani, Steve Kimock, Reed Mathis, Willy Waldman, and Stephen Perkins at the Jammy’s in 2006. By mixing soul, grunge, and some amazing trumpet playing, this has become the best cover of this song that I’ve ever heard. Enjoy.

Cortez The Killer - Grace Potter & Friends

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

TV On The Radio

I hadn't heard of these guys until about an hour ago after being directed to a music blog featuring them. TV On The Radio is a four man group that I'm having trouble labeling with a genre title. They've got an electronic appeal, they can groove, and the lead vocal is pretty damn soulful. Electrooveful? It's a work in progress. They recently came out with a new album titled "Nine Types of Light" and have me hooked with their song Will Do. This is all very new to me; I don't know much music that's like this, but I'm definitely digging it. See what you think, and if you like it, thank Mary Frances for giving me the heads up 

Will Do - TV On The Radio

Gravy and the Biscuits

What do you get when you combine three college kids, Clay Matthew's hair, and some serious vocal and lyrical capability? Gravy and the Biscuits, a band that has formed out of friends, all of which could have separate, successful music careers. You have a kid who can belt it as if John Mayer and Ray Lamontagne had a love-child, another that can spit some of the most laid-back, original raps I have enjoyed in a while, and lastly a drum player who can guide any song with ease. These guys attend Belmont University, record all of their songs in their dorm room, and are loving every minute of it. As they should; their new EP, "Soul Food," which debuted a few days ago and can be downloaded below, is near perfect if you're a fan of the rock/rap duo. Even if you're not, you've gotta love the love-child's voice... 

Watch out for these kids, they're going places. Enjoy it or get lost

Soul Food EP Download via GMAD 

That Sunset - Gravy and the Biscuits

Butter - Gravy and the Biscuits 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Can't Get Enough Of It

A mean electric guitar, a funky saxophone, and a groovy voice - three components that make The Tedeschi Trucks Band my new favorite, easy-listening band. These guys can flat out jam out. I've been listening to their album, "Revelator," all night and have not a negative comment to make. Every instrument has their solos and Susan Tedeschi's voice is as soulful as possible. If you don't know who that lady is, you have been a victim of severe musical deprivation. As far as voices go in the music business, this woman is a vocal sex icon. Combine that with a couple ridiculous sax solos and you have me drooling. Buy this album now and regain some musical muscle mass you have been lacking...

Come See About Me - Tedeschi Trucks Band

Bound For Glory - Tedeschi Trucks Band