Friday, August 10, 2007

The Music That I Like

(originally posted 06-02-06)

Everybody wants to recommend music to everybody else. It’s a primal instinct, I guess.

I’ll grant you, I’m somewhat stuck in the ’80’s, as far as country music is concerned. But that’s not a bad thing. Think about the so-called “country music” that’s being played on the radio now. On second thought, don’t think about it. It’s too horrific to think about.

The ’80’s were a prime time for country. We had people like: George Strait, Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam, Randy Travis; people like that whom no one has ever heard of. Let’s see: Who do we have now? Milque-toast Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, some other generic interchangeable singers. Sad.

But the tide is getting ready to turn. It’s usually a 20-year cycle. It’s about time for times to change.

In the meantime, while we’re watching the clock and tearing off pages on our calendars, I’ll recommend some GOOD music. Some is new, some isn’t. All are available on or wherever you choose to purchase your music.

So, here are six:

The Seeger Sessions - Bruce Springsteen: Any time an artist does something that you wouldn’t expect them to do, that is a revelation. Bruce went into the studio with an all-newly assembled band and recorded traditional folk songs. But don’t be deceived. These songs were recorded with attitude. Driving drumbeats, horns. Listen to “Mary, Don’t You Weep”. You’ll be hooked.

Timeless - Martina McBride: Who knew? I thought she just specialized in overwrought pop-country songs. This woman has GREAT taste in music! She’s redone some classic, and dare I say, “timeless” country songs. And she stayed true to the original recordings! Check out “Rose Garden”. Ah, memories.

Highway 101’s Greatest Hits
: Okay, I like my country upfront and not timid. This band didn’t hold back. Paulette Carlson is a Minnesota native! These guys were HUGE in their time, and their songs stand up today. And talk about good taste! They recorded songs written by the likes of Rodney Crowell and Roger Miller. How cool is that? These folks had taste. I recommend “Cry Cry Cry” and “Somewhere Tonight”.

The Essential Foster & Lloyd
: “Crazy Over You” is a song that will always make my top 20 of the best country songs of all time. Like Highway 101, these guys put it all out there. Driving guitars. That “hillbilly-rock” sort of thing. Love them.

Speaking of hillbilly rock, the man himself, Marty Stuart: Country Music is the title of this CD. Oh, what talent. He plays everything - mandolin, guitar; he surrounds himself with the best players any musician could pray for. He has impeccable taste in music. He is one of my musical heroes. You will NOT be disappointed by this CD. Choice cut: “Sundown In Nashville”.

Dwight Yoakam: The MAN. His latest CD, Blame The Vain. I want to write songs like Dwight writes. Alas, it’s only something to aspire to, at this point. On this CD, he’s without his former right-hand man and producer, Pete Anderson, but he still made a helluva of an album. I’m partial to “Intentional Heartache”, but it’s very, very tough to pick the best song.

So, as you can see, I’m somewhat passionate about GOOD music. If you hate country music, you’ll hate these recommendations. If you hate folk music, you may not like Bruce Springsteen’s CD - but you should give it a chance anyway. You might well be surprised.

This music is not “synthesized”. If you like that kind of stuff, okay. If you like real music played by real musicians, give these CD’s a shot.

I never know how to end these blogs, so I’ll just say goodnight.

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