Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Morning Music Shuffle - It's Up to You Mix

Well, well, well... with just a couple of days left to vote, we have a dead heat between The Great American Novel and And the Giraffe. This one will truly go down to the wire.  Exciting...

We have pretty cool shuffle today, so let's jump to it...

Daddy from the album, For a Second Time with I Went to Heaven in a Dream Last Night. "God said everything's gonna be all right."  Daddy is Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack and friends. Great song.


Next, we have Oh My Sweet Carolina from Ryan Adams' debut solo album, Heartbreaker. Emmylou Harris sings on this track, which is a sentence I always like to write.


Finally, Never Mind the Bollocks...  What's a Friday morning without a little Sex Pistols.  New York was playing as I reached the building this morning.  Ready to jump to it.




Thursday, September 27, 2012

Americana Music Fest Part V - Friday Night

So, when Friday night rolled around, I was running on about two hours sleep and a day at work - plus a 5 hour energy drink I got for free at Live on the Green.  So, to maximize my musical enjoyment and minimize my frustrations, I decided to stick to one venue.  I picked the Cannery Ballroom. The Cannery holds many great musical memories from back in the day.  Most of the shows I saw back in the late 80s were upstairs, but I know of a few shows which were downstairs.

Anyway, I arrived just in time to catch the last song of Shelly Colvin's 8:00p.m. set, and I heard just enough to wish I had been there the whole time.  The song was beautiful. Shelly is a Huntsville, Alabama native currently living in East Nashville where all the cool people live (Blogger's Note: I don't live in East Nashville, so the last statement is obviously false).  She is a genuine, harmonica toting, folk singer.  

Up Next was Amanda Shires.  Amanda Shires is a Texas born singer/fiddle player, who also currently resides in Nashville.  The first thing I noticed was a familiar looking guitar tech.  Yep, that was Jason Isbell or as he was introduced later when he came on stage a few songs into the set, the future Mr. Jason Shires.  Amanda Shire's music is Americana/Alt-Country friendly with strong Indie Rock street cred.  Ah hell, it's just damn good music.  She was backed by a cracking band featuring Rod Picott and supplemented by Jason Isbell on a number of songs.

Next on the bill was Houston native and recent Nashville resident Robert Ellis.  I wasn't all that familiar with his music, but I really enjoyed it.  It did a new song, Houston, as a goodbye to his hometown, and it reminded me, favorably to Steve Earle's haunting Goodbye Guitar Town.  The set ran the gamut from slow sad country to all out rockers.  Bonus points in my book for having the lovely  and amazing Caitlin Rose out for a song.  I was a bit further from the stage for this set, so sorry for the quality of the pictures.

The headliner of the evening was the legendary John Hiatt, making a rare Nashville appearance. Hiatt is one of those larger than life/down to earth performers.  He took the stage and powered through an amazing set that included some songs from his (what was then) forthcoming  (out on September 25th) album Mystic Pinball and a slew of songs from across his storied career, including that one that Bonnie Raitt covered and the one Eric Clapton and B.B. King did.  He also, at the request of a loud member of the audience) did the classic Memphis in the Meantime.  I've been a huge John Hiatt fan for a lot of years, and this was just an incredibly fun show.  



Thursday Morning Music Shuffle - Downtown Mix

Wow! There is beauty in sadness and rising life in the midst of decline.  It's a great big amazing world if you can see past all the b.s. clouding your vision.  Life is hard but it's only life, and everything is temporary, everyone is temporary.  

Exciting things happening here at Ear to the Ground, which I will be bringing to you soon.  In the meantime, we have an excellent shuffle to start off this possibility filled day....

Bob Dylan is 71 years old and he's just released his 35th studio album, Tempest, his first since his 2009 Christmas in the Heart album, and it may be the best album he's made in a number of years. Tempest debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 Chart. Today, we have Long and Wasted Years.

Next we have some new music from one of our current Featured Artists and Band on the Month nominees. Florida trio Grounded have just released some new music in the form of a released called Sinlong Plethora.  Josh, of fellow Featured Artist - And the Giraffe mastered this collection.  Today we present, Fermentation a whisper to a scream type punk/metal ballad.  I don't know if that description does the track justice, but it's a good song.

Get Sinlong Plethora - Here

Next we have music from a Canadian duo called Vulture Kult. They've just released their second album called Don't Let Rock N' Roll Ruin Your Life and we have the lead off song from that album, Electric Medication a psychedelic sonic assault with some classic rock riffs - the band's tag line is Rock rebooted for the 21st Century.  A bold statement, but the band seems to back it up.  It reminds me a little bit of the best of The Cult without some of the hippy excesses of that band (I loved The Cult - so don't send hate mail).  I believe Vulture Kult draws from the same musical stream as Ian Astbury's old band did and does their own thing with it.

And finally, we have some long awaited NEW MUSIC from Tom Tom Club. Chris and Tina and company are back with their ode to the music that made New York City great.  Downtown Rockers from the EP of the same name-drops all of those great NYC bands from old CBGB days. 



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle - Simultaneous Mix

ICYMI - Go check out the new Video from the Cosmonauts - our post about it is here:

Also, with just days to go, you can still vote for the Ear to the Ground Band of the Month.  Go HERE to vote. Remember you can vote as often as you want.  Right now, And the Giraffe are leading, but it is still wide open.  So vote now!

To the shuffle:

First up, we have a band we featured back in May when they released their stunning album The Ghost of John Henry. They are back with a new song called Just to Win the Fight  which features Vance Kotrla on 12 and 6 String Guitar, Banjo, Bass and Vocals.  Check it out!

Next up, we have Nashville based Americana recording artist, Derek Hoke, with a song from his most recent record, Waiting All NightLonely Street is the kind of Country song that breaks and warms your heart at the same time.  I can't speak for anyone else, but I know I've walked that Lonely Street many a time.


Next we have Land of a Thousand Words which was the second single of Scissor Sisters' second album Ta-Dah.  The song is a twangy ballad reminiscent of early Elton John (who collaborated on the album if not this song).  


We close out this shuffle with the song, Hollowpoint Blues  from the album Shovels and Rope by Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent who record under the Shovels and Rope name. They hail from South Carolina and blue a ragged style of honky tonk music that is all their own.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

VIDEO PREMIERE: Cosmonauts "Cold Harbor" plus Free MP3

A little over a month ago, we posted Cold Harbor, a brand new song from Glen Falls, New York band Cosmonauts along with an interview we did with Bill Hunsinger.  You can check out that interview here.

The band has been teasing the video for the song for a while.  Here's what Bill had to say about it back back in August:

EttG:  What can you tell you about making the video?
C: That it was a lot of hard work! We filmed all of it, by ourselves, over the course of twenty hours, with multiple locations, tons of extras, and two fantastic actors (including our own guitarist James White). There's a particularly gruesome scene at the end, and I think it makes for a powerful ending.

Here's the sneak


You've been warned now go watch:  I've seen it, and it's really, really good video.  To celebrate, the band is releasing a free download of the song for a limited time only - like get it now!  Here's the info:

UPDATE: Here's the Video:

Cosmonauts Official Music Video for "Cold Harbor" ©2012 CosmonautsMusic
Directed by Bill Hunsinger
Director of Photography: Garrett Bean


Download the band's latest EP, "The Demise of Daniel Raincourt" for FREE:

For more info visit

COSMONAUTS "Cold Harbor"
I learned my lonely lesson at sixteen:
"The world is full of girls I'll never touch."
the devil is living inside my head,
And these thoughts won't ever stop.

You learned your
pathetic lesson at seventeen:
"The world is full
Of girls you need to fuck."

She wanted to be left alone,
But you crawled inside her womb.
Just give her some line,
Like "the stars shine only for you."
Some girls just grow up lonely.
You know how to dress yourself
Like a man in your coward body.

Dispose of the body that you tore and used.
Her pregnancy's a burden,
but not for you.
Filling the hills with mounting cries,
Only for the one time you need her.
The warm strain of her breath
In your ear.
Oh, time is running out...
Just give her a sound,

She needs to hear you now.
As you pour yourself a drink,
You know how to dress yourself
Like a man in your cowards body.
She wanted to be left alone,

but you crawled into her room.
Just give her some line,
Like "the stars shine only for you."
Some boys just grow up lonely.
Oh you know how to dress yourself
Like a man in your cowards body.

Heavenly greens and blues
Float around your room.
I'm running out of time
To take what's unholy mine.
I'm burning, burning for you.

Hellish whites and reds
Keep poring out of your head.
Oh, god, please sympathize
With your child, full of sin,
Before you bury me, banish me.

Crawl into her womb,
(you feel me, you feel me close)
Caress the warm bloody edge.
Leech her nutrients
(cold hands that sever the bones)
While a hanger rips open your head.
Oh, bleed for me, bleed for me dear.

Fluorescent blurry stars
(you feel me, you feel me close)
Float inside of her eyes.
Nurses push clear fluids
(cold hands that sever the bones)
Into a washed out skin.
You're dying and dead to me.
Dying and dead to me.


Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle - Lingerer Mix

We go stumbling forward into our week. Unsure of our direction and our destination, but ever mindful of the composition of the surface of the road we walk upon.  

MP3 player is now fully reloaded, and we are ready to shuffle  through some of the songs most recently added.

We start out with a cover of an iconic song from the 1980s.  August Featured Artist, The Holograms - featuring our friend Galen Wade - are back with a post-modern version of  the Talking Heads classic, Burning Down the House .

Next up, we have a song by the band Superdrag, the Knoxville, Tennessee based Alternative band.  Superdrag front man John Davis was recently a guest at the Big Star tribute show during the Americana music festival.  This one goes back to 1995 and the band's first full length album The Fabulous 8-Track Sound of Superdrag. The song is called Sugar.

Next up we have a song from the most recent album by first wave punk pioneers, The Mekons, who are celebrating their 35th year as a band this year.  The band's 2011 album is called Ancient and Modern and the song today, Geeshie, has a old-timey feel to it.

Finally, we have Canadian Corb Lund from his recent album Cabin Fever with a song co-written by Jason Boland of the Stragglers and Texas singer-songwriter Hayes Carll, and performed by Lund and Carll. Bible on the Dash off the album Cabin Fever, is a great example of the Country side of Americana music. 




Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Morning Music Shuffle - Paisley Dragon Mix

Good morning!  It's a beautiful day here in Music City USA. Working on an amazing mix of songs to add to the playlist tonight - hopefully.  We still have lots to talk about - still two nights of Americana Fest to write about - hopefully I'll finish before next year's fest.  We have a generous offer for an interview that we need to get our stuff together and do.

Tomorrow night we are taking part in the World Premier of the new video from Cosmonauts. We brought you the premier of the song, Cold Harbor along with an interview with the band.  Now, the video is ready - we got a sneak peek and it's amazing, but does contain some graphic and disturbing images... but if you're up for that, tune in tomorrow.

Our friend's The Dead Exs have a new album out called, Relovolution. We already brought you the title track. The album is a nice complement to the band's debut Resurrection - offering a filthy and beautiful blend of rocking blues.  Visit the band's website for more info.  Right now, the band is tearing up the Lonestar State and playing some dates with the great Ray Wylie Hubbard.


We shuffles up our Revolving Random playlist and came up with this mix today:

First up, we have a song from the 1984 self-titled debut by Red Hot Chili Peppers.  True Men Don't Kill Coyotes is a funky, bit of post-punk L.A. rock music. Did you know that Guitarist Hillel Slovak did not appear on this record due to contractual obligations to the band What is This?  

So... Who's Next? Exactly.  Okay  I'll stop.  Next, we have Baba O'Riley, the classic song from the classic 1971 Who's Next album by The Who.

Next we have a 1990s cover of an early 80s song.  The Muffs' version of Kim Wilde's first single, Kids in America, was originally released on the soundtrack to the 1995 film Clueless, and was later released on the band's album Hamburger


Finally, we close out with a classic Nashville rock track.  This one comes from the self-titled major label debut by a band called Royal Court of China. The band included members of popular Nashville thrash band The Enemy.  The record included hard rocking songs and more Southern Gothic folk stuff.  The band split after this record with members taking the RCC name further into a Hard Rock direction on the follow up album Geared and Primed, and other members forming The Shakers who followed that Southern Gothic strain to it's conclusion with a album called Songs from Beneath the Lake. Today, we have the instrumental track, Townsend, TN, which shows off that gothic folk side of the band.


Couldn't find a video for Townsend, TN so here's a different RCC song.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Americana Music Fest - Part IV - Thursday Night

So, I talked about struggling my way from the front of the stage of the Delta Spirit show at Live on the Green, and unfortunately not being about to stay around to see Jakob Dylan and his band The Wallflowers close out that evening, but I had my Americana wristband and a full schedule planned. 

The Basement was my first stop for a performance by the always wonderful Angel Snow.  We first wrote about Angel way back toward the beginning of this little music blog experiment.  She is a Nashville singer-songwriter with a heavenly voice, and a gift for writing really great songs.  She wrote a couple of songs that Alison Krauss recorded on her Paper Airplanes record.  Angel's songwriting partner and frequent collaborator is Viktor Krauss - Alison's brother.  Viktor was not at this show, as he was across town playing at with the great Jerry Douglas. This information would prove to be foreshadowing in a way.  The hard lesson learned is that one cannot be everywhere at once during the Americana Fest.  But more on that later.  Angel has a new album due out in early October with a return engagement at The Basement with Marc Scibilia and Matraca Berg for the CD release show.  She did a few songs off the new album and some our favorites like Coals and Water and Fortune Teller.  Even though Mr. Krauss was not present, her  band sounded great and her voice was as amazing live as it is on record.

I left The Basement with the intent to head to The Station Inn to catch Mary Gauthier and to see Richard Thompson.  My lesson learned is that if you are wanting to see Richard Thompson at The Station Inn - unless you have better connections than I do, you better show up early.  So, yeah, I reached The Station Inn to find a line outside and the likelihood of enough people leaving before Richard Thompson played not so good.  So, I punted and decided to head over to The Rutledge lest I be shut out from the Big Star tribute show.  

Now, grant it I was bummed about missing Richard Thompson and Mary Gauthier, but you know what, the real lesson learned from the evening was, when it comes to the Americana Fest, you just have to pick your venues and stick it out, and know that though you may miss some amazing shows, you are also going to see and hear some equally but different amazing music.

The theme for the evening at The Rutledge - a decent sized club on 4th Avenue, which unless I'm mistaken is where one of Nashville's first modern era Coffee Houses, Blue Sky Court was located - was Memphis music.  Around 11:00, the Bo-Keys took the stage.  They were introduced as a modern take on the classic Memphis sound.  Lead by bassist Scott Bomar, The Bo-Keys opened with a couple of really boss instrumental songs which sounded amazing.  Then, they brought up their featured vocalist Percy Wiggins, who dressed to the nines had the look of a legendary soul singer, and that is exactly what he is.  This was truly classic Memphis Soul-stew sound with a face forward and anchored solidly in the present time.  

The band includes the sole surviving member of The Bar-Kays who were killed in the crash that took the life of  the great Otis Redding, the drummer was part of the Hi Rhythm Section which played on many of the classic Stax recordings.  Other members of the band included guys who had played with Al Green, Rufus Thomas and Bobby "Blue" Bland.  I have to say, I'm not an expert when it comes to this part of the Memphis sound, though, like you I've definitely heard it, but I do know great music when I hear it, and The Bo-Keys make great music.  

For me, the highlight of the night - heck, of the festival, of my life as a music fan, was the closing set of the night.  I had been talking about the All-Star tribute to the music of Big Star ever since I heard about it.  All I knew going in was that the show was going to feature Chris Stamey of The Dbs, Mike Mills of R.E.M. and original Big Star member Jody Stephens plus...  Hell even without the ... that was good enough for me, and the mind reeled as to who the ... could be...

As it turned out, the ... did not disappoint:  Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs), John Davis (Superdrag), Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, Clockhammer), Bill Lloyd (Foster and Lloyd, solo), Byron House (Band of Joy etc., etc., etc.), Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars) and several young North Carolina-based musicians including Skylar Gudask and Brett Harris and I'm probably missing some amazing people... 

So, what I can tell you is that a Big Star tribute with that cast would have been amazing no matter what.  Even if it had been sloppy and hastily thrown together, it would have been legendary.  But... honestly, the reason this show was so amazing to me, was not the stellar band and guests, it was the music.  Big Star, I honestly don't know how to adequately write about how important a band they were.  How much of the music I grew up listening to and enjoying owes a huge debt to this Memphis band.  The late Alex Chilton, Chris Bell and Andy Hummel along with Jody Stephens to me, redefined what this music  (progressive, avant-garde, alternative, whatever) could be.  

So this show and what made it so amazing for me.  This band which at times included a full string section (which sounded amazing) brought the songs to life in a way I never could have anticipated.  I can't even begin to give you a blow by blow, song by song account, but here are some highlights:

Mike Mills vocals on September Gurls

Bill Lloyd on In the Street
Skylar Gudask on Thirteen
The whole crowd on Thank You, Friends
and so much more...
great moments like Luther Dickinson whose father, the late Jim Dickinson produced Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers album talking about hearing some of the songs in a rough version when he was just a kid.

So, yeah, I was completely blown away, and all sense left me which I think is what Big Star's music is supposed to do.  I left the club exhilarated and exhausted and flying on a musical high.... and this was just my first night of the Americana Music Festival....