November 26, 2015
November 19, 2015
Adele – 25 (2015)
Attempting a follow up to the most successful album of all time is hugely courageous, and the masterfully organized release of 25 (due tomorrow) is an erstwhile effort. It’s good, not great; a solid 7. Here’s why:
Adele has no equal when she comes to us naked in pain, and it would be wastefully desensitizing to listen to all those full-on singles from 21 at one sitting, like an opera of nothing but arias. 25 has but the one ‘big single’, Hello, and lacks its aria – that one unexpected moment that leaves us, and her, breathless and wondering what just happened. No Chasing Pavements from 19 or Someone Like You from 21 to bind singer and listener in a defining moment.
To her credit, Adele wanted to broaden her oeuvre, “to be quite acoustic and piano-led” and not make a big production. But that isn’t what emerged from the studio. She mostly starts with intimate intention but checks off into radio-friendly comfort zones that compromise the original phrasing.
Barna Howard wakes up late in a lonely place and writes about his big mistakes. It’s quite a feeling
November 13, 2015
Barna Howard – Quite A Feelin’ (2015)
Fans of Jerry Jeff Walker’s Mr. Bojangles and road-weary Lightfoot will find a lot to like in Portland-via-Illinois Barna Howard’s second album.
With echoes of those great 70’s Jimmy Webb characters resigned to a need to move on that we all share, literally or figuratively, Howard writes without cliche or hyperbole.
He has an ear for a phrase and is a superb picker. Good time to get started collecting what promises to be a big back catalogue.
November 2, 2015
Chris Stapleton – Traveller (2015)
Rodney Crowell and Graham Greene have both voiced a dirty secret of writers: To write what you want, you’ve got to write what you need to pay the bills. Chris Stapleton stuck his boot in the Nashville door penning safe radio hits for Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney et al and earned his performing stripes in a bluegrass band and later in a southern rock outfit.
The real Chris Stapleton is more subversive, it emerges via his first solo album. The bluesy grooves and (blue-eyed) soul voice hint at the pioneering country of Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds and his writing the harsh introspection of Waylon Jennings.
Charles and Waylon have no equals. But Nashville could do with more of their kind than the people Stapleton was writing for.
We have come to accept mass shootings as routine in America. Mark Erelli is so livid he wrote a song about it
October 29, 2015
The Case Of The Boiling Frog
Allow me tell you about an experiment with a frog. Scientists placed a live frog in a large container of water. Then they put the container on a stove. Next, they slowly turned up the gas flame. The water heated so slowly that the frog didn’t notice until it was too late to jump out of the water that was nearing the boiling point. The frog could have escaped from the container had it not adapted to the hotter water. – E. Allan Campbell, DeVry University
.This darkness growing so familiar;I can’t recall what came before.
.You can learn to live with anything/When it happens by degrees.I’ve seen talking heads shout back and forth/across a great divide.Against a map of red and blue/Points of view so cut and dried.When you look into the mirror/What kind of country do you see?.Where you can learn to live with anything.When it happens by degrees..
October 28, 2015
Adele released the first single from her new album 25 this week, and it didn’t even take the full week for Hello, a power ballad about calling up an old boyfriend, to become the fastest selling single of 2015. No surprise from the queen of blue-eyed soul, who’s previous album 21 dominated pop music for two years.
Will we become as obsessed with Hello as we were for Rolling In The Deep (We could have had it allllllllll) and Someone Like You? Probably…I didn’t even need operator assistance to add it to my list of favourite songs about a telephone call.
October 14, 2015
Game 5 #MLB ALDS #Jays vs #Rangers
Modern Lovers – Roadrunner (Revere)
Eurythmics – Here Comes @BringerofRain Again (Donaldson)
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Double E Trouble (Encarnacion)
Tom Morello – Saint Colabello or Deep Purple – Smoak On The Water (Colabello/Smoak)
Darrell Scott – It’s Tulowoski That Eases The Pain (Tulowiski)
Anni Piper – The Dream Catcher (Martin)
Kinks – (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman (Pillar)
Chuck Brown – It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Don’t Have The Go Go Swing) (Goins)
Belinda Carlisle – Marcus Is An Ace On Earth (Stroman)
Baseball Project – The Closer (Osuna)