Liberal Grace Listening Lounge

Wednesday, January 31, 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.

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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. 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 is Back!

T Bone Burnett, that is. And he actually hasn't been gone at all and even earned a Grammy for "O' Brother Where Art Thou?" and has produced a huge number of albums.

But he hasn't cut a record of his own in almost fifteen years. Starting with Alpha Band and then solo, Burnett made some brilliant music but most of that is languishing on vinyl or eight-track tapes.

(Click to see T Bone Burnett's collection at Amazon.)

Until now! T Bone has two new releases.

Why are we fans still faithful after all these years?

  • T Bone Burnett is an American original.
  • He's southern but also progressive.
  • He's rooted in folk but creates new music.
  • He's Christian but not church music.
  • He's pop but goes for timeless.
  • He's down-to-earth but a poet at heart
  • Clerks at used record stores always treat you better if you say you're looking for a T Bone Burnett album.

  • Burnett is a musicians' musician. Your favorite musician is probably listening to T Bone Burnett right now. Doesn't that make you curious?

    If, like nearly everybody, you missed this terrific musician in his earlier years, you can catch it on his retrospective, "Twenty Twenty."

    Since T Bone Burnett was ahead of his time with progressive folk, most of this music sounds newly-cut.

    His second album is The True False Identity is a collection of new work. I'm getting it for Father's Day but thanks Amazon's pre-view service, I'm listening to it on-line now. (Don't tell my wife. This is like sneaking a peek at Christmas presents.)

    If you are new to T Bone Burnett, then I recommend you start with Twenty Twenty.

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    (The Dual Disk has a video of T Bone Burnett on the other side.)

    Sunday, May 21, 2006

    Michelle Shocked - Deep Natural

    There are only a small handful of musicians from whom I buy all their CDs, without even listening to them first.

    One of those is Michelle Shocked, a rockin' folk singer with a progressive conscience. When I got Deep Natural from, I was surprised that she is now a Christian. She isn't a "Christian Musician" but a musician who had a genuine Christian experience. I was also delighted to discover that her conversion to Christianity wasn't also a conversion away from progressive social conscience. If anything, her new religious sensibility creates a more credible framework to her prophetic voice.

    I think my favorite on this CD is her reworking of Amazing Grace called, That's So Amazing. Amazing Grace must has been covered by thousands of singers over the years but, almost always, it's predictably standard... but not with Michelle Shocked. This version is completely original. I love that!

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