New Music for Old People: Joe Bonamassa, Chet Atkins, Lady Gaga, Leonard Cohen and Younger People

By , Columnist

Duwayne Burnside

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.

Oct242014 by Willow on Grooveshark

1. "Bad Bad Pain" — Duwayne Burnside (3:43)

Son of blues legend R.L. Burnside, the former youngster has been at it for awhile. Here, in a live setting, he unfurls his comfort as a born blues-slinger with comparative ease. The live audience on board here is buying it; no reason why you shouldn’t. You’re just missing the visual — that’s why they invented YouTube.

2. "Conqueror" — Estelle (3:27)

A U.K. resident by way of Senegal, Africa, I guess that makes her a Sene gal in reality. She has Grammys in her pocket and collabs with John Legend. I like THIS one.

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3. "Budapest" — George Ezra (2:48)

Here’s a British singer-songwriter in his early 20s who raised himself on Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. His first album, Wanted On Voyage, came out in June, after two previous EPs. He struck gold in Italy with this quirky track where he changes accents between the verses and choruses. This kinda grows on you. I enjoy the simplicity of this in concept AND delivery.

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"This is my bedroom. When I go on the road I feel right at home!"

4. "Slow" — Leonard Cohen (2:14)

Ah, Lennie’s back and he’s taking his damned time with this one, a paean to unhurriedness. His voice has marinated over the years into a basso profundo that easily identifies him in an instant. I wonder if he didn’t pontificate over Brook Benton’s bottom range in the '60s as a future role model. This is a typical Leonard lyric, never wasting a word. I hope I am this together in ten years when I hopefully can navigate 80 years of age as gracefully as this.

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"Well, looky here! I'm in NEW MUSIC BY OLD PEOPLE — exactly where I should be!"

5. "Bang Bang" — Lady Gaga (3:25)

First she teams up admirably with Tony Bennett. Now she inexplicably covers Atco-label-period Cher in a bizarre arrangement. I make no judgement calls here — I just present it to you and wait to see your posted comments.

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"The tour with Tony Bennett is doing well. People have someone to listen to and someone to look at. It's a kinda mixed media thing ... like my last tour."

6. "Low Key" — Tweedy (2:52)

The Wilco wizard takes time out to make an album with "my-son-the-drummer." This track stands out to me and I quite enjoy it as I roll my fingers on the tabletop waiting for Jeff to birth the next Wilco product. Meanwhile... are you weedy for Tweedy?

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7. "Tweedlee Dee" — Chet Atkins (2:06)

I’ve dug waaay back to the '50s for this rarely heard instrumental cover of the top ten hit by LaVern Baker or Georgia Gibbs, depending on what side of town you lived on. Chet masterfully navigates this bluesy tune and fingerpicks his way to the frivolity this fun deserves, The original version had one of my favorite untranslatable lyrical couplets from my early life: "Hunkies hunkies, pieces bite / I’m gone see my baby tonight." Desperately, when I had the chance, I asked LaVern Baker what that meant. She said she didn’t know and that I should ask the songwriter. He was already deceased, so I still go through this life wondering.

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8. "Troubled Man" — John Mellencamp (3:07)

This stuck out to me in a time when I scratch my head whilst Mellencamping — it kinda follows the Dylan direction in a good way if that’s the route John wishes to tread. Time will tell...

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"DYLAN?? I think I look more like Johnny 'Cougar' Cash in his hay-days..."

9. "It Was Always You" — Maroon 5 (2:49)

Nowadaze, marooned in his spinning TV chair, Adam returns to form from whence he came. I like this track. It’s well done in every area and enjoyable to listen to.

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"So when we play live, if I push a button, my chair swings all the way around knocking these four guys offstage and I perform my upcoming SOLO album... IF I push the button, that is. So there's a lot of drama onstage this tour."

10. "Oh Beautiful" — Joe Bonamassa (3:30)

Joe quietly moved through the ranks over the years (I can’t complain as he covered TWO of my compositions in his ascent). In his current collection, Different Shades of Blue, he spins off this Zep tribute (more Page than Plant) in a fine yet comparatively truncated version. I say bravo — but I still think he usually looks more like a computer geek than Page or Plant did, but finally here he appears a bit more uptown. No matter. He can fill arenas I can’t even sneak into. Onwards and upwards — see ya next week.

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