New Music for Old People: Mavis Staples, Narada Michael Walden, Reeve Carney, Katey Sagal and More

By , Columnist

Reeve Carney

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.

TMR0927 by Lisa on Grooveshark

1. "Eyes On the Prize" — Mavis Staples (3:42)

A live album was a great idea for Mavis in 2008 with her masterpiece Hope at The Hideout with an enraptured audience live in her Chicago homeland. While her family slowly marches heavenward, she is always able to compensate; and when the high notes are now sometimes unreachable in the skies, she just makes the low ones as remarkably rendered down to earth while at just past age 70. If you just heard the intro to this, you might think it was Bo Diddley channeled through Pop Staples, because that’s exactly what is. Mavis has always been a beacon of inspiration to me and here’s just the tip of the iceberg why...


Mavis and The Family Staple at Wattstax, 1972

2. "Blew Up the House" — Jonny Lang (3:53)

For someone born in 1981 (January 29), he has accomplished about as much as possible and still looks wet behind the ears. Happily married with four kids (one of whom is named Remix), he has been on the road just about ten years with opening stints for The Rolling Stones, BB King, Buddy Guy, Aerosmith, and two Eric Clapton Crossroads Festivals. Nominated for various Grammys, he won the first one in 2006 for his album Turn Around. This is a great example of what he can do from his latest album, Fight for My Soul. In blues circles, he’s already a household word and he’s not even 35, and looks more like 21. WOW!


3. "Forty Days" — Narada Michael Walden (3:56)

Narada once came up to me at a trade show and introduced himself and we found we were mutual fans. I then saw him a few months later backstage at a Jeff Beck show, where he was pounding the skins for Beckola. A few months ago, he called through a friend as he was speaking in Boston, and post-speak he came over to the house and we stayed up all night listening to music (what else?). His career is the opposite of mine; he has more gold awards than Fort Knox for writing and producing, but he remains calm, collected, and spiritual. I like that. This is from his latest album, Thunder 2013, and though it shows a wee bit of the Jeff Beck influence it remains eminently tasteful. The guitarist is Narada’s latest discovery, Matthew Charles Huelitt.

Narada's Armada copy.jpeg

Narada is trapped in Kooper's Kavern (July, 2013)

4. "Song Up in Her Head" — Sarah Jarosz (2:21)

This is very well played, sung, written, and produced. Oh, did I mention Sarah was 17 when it was released in 2009? She makes Jonny Lang look like Grampa ... hahaha. Seriously, this is a noticeable talent that you and I will hopefully watch carefully so as not to miss anything, and she's already releasing tracks worth keeping. Al puts his stamp of approval on Sarah.


5. "Only You" — Del McCoury Band (3:34)

An inspired choice — recording an early Platters original from the mid-'50s and turning it into a bluegrass blue plate special. If you didn’t know The Platters record, you would swear it was a classic bluegrass staple, but Del is not stoic in his choices for additions to his repertoire. That’s just one of the reasons he commands a place in Bluegrass Royalty. He is a mere five years older than me but still recording great albums; something I KNOW I won’t be doing in five years as I have already shut the door on that part of my career. All the more reason I listen in wonderment to this.


6. "Nine Pound Hammer" — Mark Selby (3:02)

He’s played on sessions with Wynonna Judd, Kenny Rogers and Jimmy Hall, co-wrote hits with Kenny Wayne Shepherd (for Dixie Chicks), put out solo albums all over the world and still gets a great Fender tone on his solos as evidenced here. I like a buncha tracks from his various solo albums. Here’s the second one in this column so far.


7. "Bird On the Wire" — Katey Sagal (2:44)

I knew Katy earlier in her life when she was a waitress and upcoming singer at The Club Lingerie in Hollywood. Then she got Married With Children and became a wee bit wealthy, well known and successful. From the sound of this track from the Sons of Anarchy TV show, her voice has gotten REALLY good and somebody should take that girl into the studio and do it up right all over a new album. She really sounds great now.


8. "Colored Lights" — Willy Porter (3:03)

I found Willy on iTunes many years ago and used to go see him play live when he’d pass through Boston. We got along pretty well but never got the chance to do something together. I’m STILL a fan, Willy, I just don’t get outta the house much any more, dude. Nice organ playing on this track. You got it covered.


9. "Deliver Me" — Krista Detor (3:33)

There are at least seven Krista albums. This is from 2010, and an album called Chocolate Paper Suites. It just rang my bell, mostly for the way she wove simplicity openly and complexity in a more hidden fashion. I owe her a more comprehensive study and I think there’s a new album out and I’ll start with that one. Y’all can start right here.


10. "Tomorrow's Another Day" — Carney (3:31)

This blew my head off. After a coupla listens I thought this gal was an amazing singer. Then I listened to the words and realized this is a GUY! Steve Tyler can now go quietly into retirement 'cause Reeve Carney can cover his space in the world. And not one scarf on a mike stand! In some ways he’s had a bit of luck — he landed the lead role in the Spider-Man Broadway show and was championed by the original director. His contract just ended and he’s got a lead in an upcoming Showtime series called Penny Dreadful. He’s also cast as Jeff Buckley in a soon to be made bio film by Jake Scott. Whew! That oughta hold him for a while. But his local band with his brother Zane on guitar (who is a great soloist) and sister Paris on background vocals is pretty damn good. Here’s their version of “Dream On,” if ya know wot I mean ... also there is a half-hour video of their band live at a bar in Hollywood where you can get a good look as well as a good listen. Oh — I left out that his great uncle is the legendary Art Carney.

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