The Family Crest
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.
1. "Breaks/I'll Be Your Man" — The Black Keys w/ Al (6:50)
When the Black Keys' first album, The Big Come Up, came out I went berserk over it. It was my favorite album at the time. Sooo, when I saw they were gonna play in Boston, I wrote them and asked if I could sit in, and that I knew all the songs on their album. We met at soundcheck and they picked the two songs noted above. They called me up after two songs comparatively early in their set, which was fine with me. Even though they were a duo, they were the loudest band I had ever played with onstage! It was great fun for me and I hope they had a good time. In between soundcheck and the show, I had to find a drugstore where I could buy earplugs or I wouldn’t be hear today. My assistant at the time, Paul Cirincione, recorded the show on his makeshift ‘record shows’ gear. Oh, by the way this was in 2003!
2. "Hey Mama" — Big Wreck (3:19)
I probably like this album (Ghosts) now as much as I liked the Black Keys CD in 2003. This is my favorite track and I have included FOUR tracks from this album altogether in the column in five weeks. That may be a record for me. This one uses a few Led Zep elements borrowed graciously and tastefully. These guys are good even if you don’t care for this genre, and if you do, then you already know that, don'cha?
"Hey, Al — no one is allowed in our rehearsal room — PLEASE!"
3. "Just the Same" — The Alternate Routes (3:56)
This is from their album Lately which actually wasn't released lately, but rather in 2010. This is a good song and it’s well-produced as well. I like stuff like this. Plus, they’re from Bridgeport, Connecticut where I went to college for a year waaay before they were born.
"I don't see any sign of Kooper — open the door and let's rehearse!"
4. "Light Outside" — Wakey!Wakey! (2:39)
This is the brainchild of a Michael Grubbs who is based in Brooklyn. Grubbs also plays a character named “Grubbs” on the cable show One Tree Hill where the band's music is featured. I need a deal like that. Nobody else in the band is ever mentioned anywhere; not even the ‘band's’ website. I don’t need a deal like THAT. At least Ed Sheeran and Zach Deputy, who go out under their own names, play solo. In all Grubbs fairness, this is a great track and Michael understands how to write and perform catchy pop songs with strong piano licks.
"One guy? Fewer people to share the goodies with, ya know "
5. "Sorrows" — Melanie Penn (3:44)
This can be so melancholy and yet soothing at the same time. If that is a skill, then Melanie here can call it one of hers. If the rest of the material can come up to the melodiousness of this one...watch out world!
6. "Quiet" — Jason Mraz (3:28)
Jason is rapidly becoming the James Taylor of the post-millennium. If only Tristan Prettyman could’ve survived their engagement, maybe she could’ve been Carly. But here we are now and the major ‘yes’ in his life is his current album called Yes. This is my favorite selection and I particularly enjoy his singing in the first chorus. He has already won a plethora of awards all over the world and doesn’t really need to be in this column, but that’s how much I like this track which will probably not be a single. Enjoy.
7. "Wish Me Luck" — Chuck Prophet (3:14)
When it comes to attitude in a vocal, Chuck is right up there near the top of my list. It helps that he composes the songs and that they are his readings of life out there in this wacky time period. With each album he gets a little better in all his efforts, so this is now my fave Prophet track. So if you haven’t already, make Chuck another Prophet in your life and then there’ll be a profit for his wife (actually she’s a great singer and keyboardist!).
8. "Blush (Only You)" — Plumb (2:50)
This has been a favorite since I first downloaded it in 2006. This is a female singer who lives just outside Nashville named Tiffany Lee. She had a band called Plumb, but she went solo after their first album, retaining the moniker. Unbeknownst to me she released her newest album (the fifth one) two years ago, so I’m just digesting that one now. This one’s from her second solo album called Chaotic Resolve. I love records like this because they sound so original and they are well-made and the material is great. Wish it was a shirt!
I don't know if this is her or the Official Plumb Doll.
9. "The Edge of Heaven" — Marc Broussard (3:15)
Saw him years ago on a Sunday morning TV news show in a ten-minute piece about how talented he was and his dad backed him up on guitar. Then he covered one of my songs and I went to meet him backstage when I lived in Gnashville. Then a few years ago, we bounced some talk around about me producing him and we had dinner when he played in Boston, but nothing happened. So here’s a brand new album titled A Life Worth Living and I really like this track. He’s a great singer and songwriter and a nice guy. This is pretty darn good.
10. "Beneath the Brine" — The Family Crest (3:59)
In the coveted final position is a band/track that rendered me speechless. At first I saw them on video playing live on NPR and that caused me to buy their album. The front person in TFC is Liam McCormick and he has an amazing vocal range that he doesn’t dangle in front of you very often like, say, Freddie Mercury did. So when he hits his high range it seems miraculous because you had no idea it was coming AND he doesn’t flaunt it in every song. He has many, many more weapons in his arsenal: the songs are uniquely composed, the arrangements are a cross between pure classical music, Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb. I would hate to see this band go unnoticed. Here is an additional video as well. I can’t wait to see them live! I’m a big fan already...
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