New Music for Old People: D'Angelo, Punch Brothers, Etana, The Lone Bellow and More

By , Columnist

Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Kanye West

This column is like the title says — its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the '60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don't miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD'VE been!

Below is a jukebox containing all the songs I picked this week. After you read about them below, go back and listen to whatever you like by just clicking on that title in the jukebox, or stream the whole playlist by clicking on the "play" icon at the top. It's free and it's the entire song. We're not selling anything. We're just in the business of hopefully making your days better by listening to great music.

We apologize to our readers/listeners who are trying to enjoy the playlists via mobile devices like iPhones/iPads and are finding that they can't; these are, unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control. At present, Grooveshark is not compatible with those operating systems, and in order to stream the playlist, you will need to use a PC or Mac.

Feb132015 by Lisa67 on Grooveshark

1. "Life's Adventure" — Tim Myers (1:52)

Again, I listened, I liked. THEN I did the research and this guy is a dropout from OneRepublic. For us old folks, that's a step better than still being in that band. Nonetheless, I feel this is a great column-starter, so here we go.

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2. "Trigger" — Etana (3:10)

Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1983, she made an attempt in America to enhance her singing career, but was offended by what she had to record and wear onstage. She turned her back on all of that and returned to Kingston, where she became a staunch Rastafarian. She secured a local recording contract and became one of the top reggae singers in her native country. She has released many albums since then and performed at various reggae festivals all over the globe. This is one of my favorite tracks by her and I admit that the first time I heard it, I thought a guy was singing. Now YOU know better from the jump...

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3. "Betray My Heart" — D’Angelo (2:45)

It’s been 15 years since his amazing first album, Voodoo. I don’t know what took him so long, but I can only imagine. The point is ... he’s back with a new album called Black Messiah and this has much of the spirit and guts and musicality of the first album but is in no way a carbon copy.

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4. "FourFiveSeconds" — Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney (2:53)

Well, one has to at least give this a listen with this line-up. And all three are credited as writers — they should have videotaped that writing session! This is pretty damned good. I hear McCartney playing rhythm guitar and bass. There’s also an organ in the middle bit and great backup vocals. No drums and not a drop of hip-hop. Everyone does what they do best and, if anything, it’s under-produced, but I think it’s perfect. The Foo Fighters should cover this!

5. "One More Day" — Lucinda Williams (3:26)

Her new double album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, has many gems on it. The more I dig in, the more treasures are revealed. Here is yet another great song, from Disc 2, performed with the sound and soul of Memphis all over it. It’s still legally Tennessee, however, for this Nashville resident.

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6. "Tough Kid" — Honeycut (2:42)

This is a San Francisco band formed in 2003 and this track is from their first album The Day I Turned to Glass (2006). There was a good second album in 2012 and we’ll hear more from them in future columns.

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7. "Forgotten" — Punch Brothers (2:51)

If it is possible, they keep getting better and better and they have triumphantly eschewed ANY sort of boundaries on their latest album. While thinking men and women will enjoy the lyrics, most musicians will listen hard and still scratch their heads in wonder. This is one of my faces from their new album, The Phosphorescent Blues, and Chris Thile is the Lennon-McCartney of this wonderful band. I have the start of a bald spot from too much scratching my head in wonder.

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8. "More Than It Seems" — Citizen Cope (2:56)

Clarance Greenwood was born in Memphis, raised in Washington, DC, and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. He took on his stage name somewhere around 1983. His songs have been recorded by Carlos Santana, Richie Havens, Sheryl Crow, Brett Dennen, and Corey Taylor. His song “Hands of the Saints” was performed by Eric Clapton at his Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2010 with Cope accompanying EC. This is a representative track of what he does.

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9. "Valentine's Day" (unreleased) — Al Kooper (3:23)

After all, Saturday is this annual awkward ancestor and this is the first year I haven't done a concept column about it. This wonderful Steve Earle composition says it better than most. This was a demo down in the basement where I played everything — I reacted to hearing the song for the first time and got into it. With luck, this will be on my four-CD 2016 (?) box set Unreleased. I DID get to play it for the author when he interviewed me on his radio show a few years ago. I hope he liked it.

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10. "Watch Over Us" — The Lone Bellow (3:14)

I saw a live version of this first on YouTube recently. It sent me in search of the studio recording. This is a serious trio of singers, Zach Williams, Kanene Pipkin and Brian Elmquist. The guys play guitars and Kanene plays mandolin. Their self-titled second album came out a few weeks ago to rave reviews and is influenced by The Band and '60s folk and country music. Don’t miss them on their current tour. This is a meticulously performed track from album two that shows off what I’m talking about and deserves the coveted closing spot on this week's collection.

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