LxListening: Country-ish

marlboro man

I don’t have quite enough time to give the new Jason Isbell album, Southeastern, proper thrift.  So instead I’m gonna just throw out a few country-ish songs I’ve been listening to a lot lately.  These range from rock/country hybrids to pretty pure country fare.  I have been listening to a lot of this stuff lately, and I can’t exactly tell you why.  Maybe its summer.  Maybe its my mood.  Or maybe there’s no reason at all.  Enjoy, and feel free to recommend some of your favorite country tunes.
Continue reading “LxListening: Country-ish”

The Avett Brothers Show Review

The Avett Brothers with Justin Townes Earle

September 28th, 2012

Charter One Pavilion

Chicago, IL

The Avett Brothers and Justin Townes Earle live show review

A handful of friends including fellow LxLer Todd came into town for the weekend, and what better way to start the weekend than catching two quality folk acts under the city lights on Lake Michigan. It was my first trip to Charter One Pavilion, the make-shift venue thrown up in the summer on Northerly Island, the attached peninsula on the lake front where Adler Planetarium lies, and it was a great one. This was quite a venue for a folk legacy like Justin Townes Earle and a folk band in Avett Brothers that has only grown more confident and comfortable on stage in the recent years.
Continue reading “The Avett Brothers Show Review”

LxListening: Music from Treme

treme wallpaper

To be honest with you, I wasn’t completely sold on the first season of Treme, David Simon’s follow-up creation to his smash hit The Wire.  The acting and shooting was pristine, but the pace moved at such a crawl it was hard to become engrossed in so many characters whose story-lines were going nowhere quickly.  The real star of the show was the city itself and the musical scene captured by Simon and his crew.  While watching an expose on the styles and history of the music of Louisiana is interesting in and of itself, it simply wasn’t cutting it as a compelling dramatic tent-pole on HBO.

So, when I finally got around to starting season two, I was not at all excited.  It was kind of like watching one of those Academy Award nominees that you know is going to be worth watching, but is a little hard to pump yourself up for.  Surprisingly, by the end of the first few episodes of season two, I found myself hopelessly caught up in the characters Simon set up throughout season one.  The musical backdrop is still there in full force, the stories of each character take center stage, giving the show a more human feel.  With all this drama, the music of the show snuck up on me and I am now simply obsessed with everything roots, blues, folk, jazz, and hip-hop that New Orleans and Louisiana have made a mark on.

I bring to you today five of my choice favorites I’ve discovered throughout season two of Treme.
Continue reading “LxListening: Music from Treme”

Top Ten Thursday: Best Covers Albums

cover album art for william hung inspiration

After the painful experience of reviewing Neil Young’s new cover album, Americana, we decided to go back to some of our old favorites, and create a list of the top ten cover albums.  It was surprisingly difficult to find a comprehensive list of cover albums that have even been released, so I am certain we are missing a couple of classics, but also was very happy with strength of the list we came up with.  Another couple items of note is that the album needed to be 75% covers to be considered and a lot of 1950’s and 60’s albums were not considered.  A lot of early Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. albums were comprised mostly of covers because that’s just the way the music business was run back then.  Somebody would have a minor hit, then ten artists would cover it to bandwagon and try to copy its success. 

So what makes a great cover album?  There are a lot of opinions on that, but we firmly believe it is not enough to simply mimic already great songs.  What we like to see is an artist keep the feeling of the original but substantially change the arrangement.  Also great is when an artist manages to rescue a song from obscurity and make it completely their own.  There is not absolute formula to a great cover song or album, but as with most of our list the following selections hit us the hardest.  On to the list.

10. David Bowie – Pin Ups

album cover art for david bowie pin ups

Bowie’s lat album with The Spiders from Mars was a tribute album to some of his favorite tracks from the 60’s.  Pin Ups contains classic songs from The Who, a lesser known track from Pink Floyd’s most underrated era, a Kinks track for the ages, and some lesser-known bands that I probably would have never been turned onto otherwise such as The Pretty Things and The Easy Beats.  All of these things fused with the Bowie twist means it is a sure-fire instant eargasm.

Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Best Covers Albums”