Liberal Grace

Thursday, May 24, 2007

ListeningLounge: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood by Neko Case

Often inscrutable lyrics but with a siren voice

These days I've been listening rather obsessively to Neko Case's "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood."

I just can't get enough of her voice! I love her lyrics, too, although she really makes you work to understand her songs. This album is actually a little bit better than "Blacklisted" which I reviewed here before.

I'm not fond of most country music -- it's just too predictable and cloying. But I love what they call "Alt Country" which drops most of the (often fake) twang but keeps the story telling. As far as I'm concerned, Neco Case is the darling of Alt Country.

Or get it from e-Music for $.33 cents a song! (First 25 songs free!)


Sunday, March 11, 2007

John Doe: "Forever Hasn't Happened Yet"

John Doe has successfully moved from punk to a sound that feels new but appeals to my middle age sensibilities.

I went to a lot of concerts back in the 70s and 80s -- including some of the biggest name acts -- but a real stand-out was "X".

I saw X most because their poster was cool but I was instantly won over by their energy and charisma -- somehow embodied by a mysterious band member named "John Doe." I remember saying to my friends, "Most punkers pose like psychos but that John Doe might be for real!"

If he was a real psycho back then, I think he's worked it out because his solo works show no signs of it

Instead, Doe gives us a satisfying mix of a good voice, vivid lyrics and melody.

I'm approaching fifty fast and I feel ridiculous listening to either old punk or modern hip hop. I also don't want to spend my senior years listening to worn-out Billy Joel or Elton John songs on the oldies station.

John Doe's music meets that perfect need of mine for a older sensibility for song-writing but without sounding old.

The album I've been listening to for the last three weeks is "Forever Hasn't Happened Yet".

The haunting song "Twin Brother" has all the good qualities of country-music story telling songs but without a second of country music cloying. I find "Twin Brother" a tremendously powerful little vignette about the hard knocks of being a child and how that echoes into adulthood. I've heard it a dozen times and will gladly hear it again!

Buy from Amazon:

Buy with an eMusic subscription: John Doe

(First 25 songs are free. Plain MP3s. No restrictions. Cheaper than iTunes!)


Monday, January 29, 2007

"Blacklisted" by Neko Case

I have a weak spot for atmospheric, longing music.

These days I'm listening to Neko Case's "Blacklisted" and it hits me right in the weak spot.

She fits into that large group of "country influenced singer-songwriters". She has a lovely voice (as do many in that category) but distinguishes herself by not being too perky or cute -- don't think Shania Twain think Dusty Springfield in funk after a bender.

I might be the only one, but I keep being reminded of Dusty Springfield as I listen to Neko Case. Partly it is because of the pure high sad wail in their voice but mostly because I get the same mental image of the singer -- a sweet but sad woman who has story to tell.

I should mention that I have no idea what most of Case's songs are about! Here lyrics are highly poetical but mostly evocative for me. After a number of listening, the songs are starting to give-up a narrative but mostly it's just mental images -- sad, beautiful, sweet but mostly just glimpses of stories.

Buy from Amazon:

Buy from eMusic:

Neko Case


Saturday, September 30, 2006

CC Adcock - Lafayette Marquis

Bo Diddley, Stevie Ray Vaughan and George Thorogood fell into a swamp... out crawled CC Adcock.

These days I'm listening to CC Adcock's Lafayette Marquis. CC Adcock's been getting a litte buzz lately. I picked up Lafayette Marquis and I'm hooked.

He seems like a guy who's honed his sound in a lot of juke joints and knows how to get a bunch of horny drunks to take notice.

He's old school enough to let out some great guitar breaks but he's modern enough to use drum loops. (But don't think sticky techno or tiresome hip hop ... think earthy and dirty.)

He certainly has his own sound, worthy of BB King or Dr John but he's not a slave to it. His guitar work makes me miss Stevie Ray Vaughn but unlike most good guitarists, Adcock doesn't think every song has to be guitar-driven. Some one-instrument heavy bands start to blur by the end of a CD but not Lafayette Marquis.

I've listened Lafayette Marquis at least a dozen times and I'm sure I'll listen to it many more. Ten years from now I'll probably dig it out and listen again. It's not often I find a CD like that.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Jack Johnson - Curious George Soundtrack

I just finished seeing the Curious George, one of the best children's movies I've seen in a long time.

It has a very traditional sensibility, in a very good way. It's one nod to modernity is the soundtrack by Jack Johnson

As a parent, I am always looking for music that my child will enjoy but won't bore me to tears. Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies for the Film Curious George does a whole lot more than that! It is quality, gentle folk music with a clean modern sound.

So, if you already like Jack Johnson and you're looking for music to share with your kids, this CD hits that perfect sweet-spot.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

T Bone Burnett - Twenty Twenty and True False Identity

I am so excited about the release of two new T-Bone Burnett albums... we fans have had to wait fourteen years for this!

The first is a retrospective Twenty Twenty.

The other album is The True False Identity is a collection of new work.

Please visit Liberal Grace Listening Lounge to read a full review.

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