New Music for Old People: Plumb, Steve Earle, Fink, James Morrison and More

By , Columnist

James Morrison

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.

TMR0629 by Lisa on Grooveshark

1. "Grave" — 30 db (3:52)

If you miss the original Allmans and Marshall Tucker, this band may reach you; instrumentally (but not vocally) they are reviewing the remains of Allman and Tucker. A combo made out of members of Yonder Mountain String Band, Umphrey's McGee, North Mississippi Allstars, and even more, their debut album is recent and is called One Man Show. It do have that vintage sound.

2. "Do What You Wanna Do" — Hall & Oates (3:55)

I don’t think this was ever a single, so maybe you missed it. It’s in my H&O top ten so I thought I’d share it with everyone. It’s from the G.E. Smith era.

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3. "I'm a Maker" (acoustic version) — Fink (4:09)

I love this. A UK ex-dub DJ picks up the guitar, puts a trio together six years ago, and has four albums out. They tour all over the world consistently and have acquired many fans. Fin Greenall, born in Brighton, is the actual culprit. This track has great blues-based guitar playing and a lyric that cracks me up: “I’m a maker baby... I’m a maker.” He means a LOVEmaker, but I kinda tend towards he’s a TROUBLEmaker. This is some catchy stuff, and a solo performance, by the way. Wardrobe by Edge?

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4. "Caroline" — Rhett Miller (2:49)

Born in 1970, lead singer of the Old 97’s, and the force behind at least four solo albums, he tries to take his stance here. To my ears it seems like a battle between Rhett and guitarist-bassist-producer Jon Brion, with Brion winning the joust easily. Overdubbing a pantheon of guitars, he submerges Miller albeit in a sea of six-string skullduggery. Brion survives at song's end, but the song doesn’t. BUT thassa lotta guitars to listen to, fortunately played by the same person. Great sounding, happily; at the expense of the song, sadly.

5. "I Thought You Should Know" — Steve Earle (3:00)

As a lyricist, Earle has always impressed. Here he starts off with a verse extolling the virtues of a woman he has lured to his bed. In the chorus he immediately sings, “But if you’re thinkin' about breakin' my heart / You might as well just pick up your little black dress and go." Now to me, that is economy of purpose. It says a lot in two lines. I know what he means about that little black dress. This is three minutes of extreme talent to enjoy, as always from that Duke of Earle.

6. "In Lines" — Language Room (3:00)

Two Los Angeles refugees find refuge in Austin, Texas and put their dream quartet together. They were the first Austin aggregation to successfully implement Kickstarter in its early days. This is a rockin’ track sounding NOTHING like most Austin music but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s just say nobody else in Austin sounds like this. A rockin’ little record.

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7. "Find Me a Place" — Jupiter One (2:58)

Small world. Here’s a band that started in Austin and relocated to Brooklyn, fer cryin’ out loud! They can be a commercial-sounding indie band or unleash their hidden personality and make music used in a variety of video games on sale. Now that’s a handyman’s mentality and will keep the frozen dinners in the oven in indie-land.They also break up and back other artists and groups on the road. I respect this tremendously at a time when making a living playing music may seem like a foolish thing to do. This sounds early Bee Gees-inspired and has great chord progressions. Keep up the good work, lads and lassies! By the way, they’re named after the spaceship employed in the '50’s sci-fi comedy Lost in Space, and employed they seem to be...

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8. "Blush (Only You)" — Plumb (2:34)

Inspired by Suzanne Vega’s song “My Favorite Plum,” this ‘band’ is actually just a moniker for Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, a talented solo singer/songwriter who was able to keep the band name and use it as a solo device. She also skirted genres, making the dance charts as well as the contemporary Christian charts (no mean feat). Let’s also mention that her tracks have been used in over six films and over six TV shows as well. Her songs have been covered by others and she married her manager and lives just outside Gnashville with their THREE children. This woman has zero time to spare. This track was from the beginning of her career and I always enjoy hearing her voice. However, in the photo below, I think she may be over-accessorizing for housework and the three kids might be giving her a headache of sorts...

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9. "The Way to Your Heart" — Soulsister

Hard to believe from the sound that this duo are male, white, and Belgian! This track was a hit in 1989 and made it midway in the US Billboard charts. Kind of a Hall & Oates sounding record that oozed commerciality. They carried on til 1995, then went their separate ways. By 2011, they reunited and are currently touring and recording in Belgium. Kind of a Belch band...

10. "The Last Goodbye" — James Morrison (3:12)

I saved this for last as a part of my dramatic persona. However, if I was James I would shorten my last name to Morris and avoid the Doors doodah, but hey — that’s his name. But I was first; Alice Cooper was second.This is an excellent singer and an excellent song all smooshed up in an excellent production. A perfect way to close.

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Legendary musician (Bob Dylan, Blues Project, Super Session, Blood Sweat & Tears), producer (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nils Lofgren, The Tubes) and author (Backstage Passes & Backstabbing Bastards), Al is happy to join the staff of The Morton Report in an effort to help his fellow listeners stay in tune!

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