Suggestions From All Around – Snarky Puppy, The Lone Bellow and Polaris Rose

To get 2015 off on the right foot, some great suggestions have floated in from friends and other bloggers.  But before we get started, happy to say that two of the artists we featured when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees were announced made it through (see the post)!

First up is Snarky Puppy.  Thanks, Ben!  This Brooklyn based group of jazz fusion musicians, a self described “quasi-collective”, migrated from the University of North Texas .  Their website lists a dozen members, but the video below makes you wonder if that number grows on some tracks.  The video for “What About Me?” is from the live performance set-up they used to record their latest CD “We Like It Here”.  If you find the beginning of the guitar solo at 3:00 a bit ethereal for your tastes, hang in there till things pick up at about 3:45.  And if you want to hear one of the other guitarists strut his stuff, check out “Jambone”.

Meanwhile, on another street in Brooklyn we find the alt-country trio The Lone Bellow.  Thanks Dennis and Maureen! They are about to release their second album, “Then Came the Morning”, and will  apparently be on Jimmy Kimmel tomorrow night to play “Cold As It Is” from that album.  Hear that track before everybody else, and also try out the album’s title track. No shortage of great backing musicians in the Big Apple!

Last but not least is the duo Polaris Rose from Los Angeles.  They were mentioned on the excellent blog “The Delete Bin”.  Thanks, Rob!  No matter how cold a winter you’re dealing with, these harmonies and lush guitar tones will make you feel like you’re in the California warmth of the videos.  “Perfect View” is from their new album “Telescopes”, and “Chartreuse” is from their debut EP “The Moon & Its Secrets”.


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Some New Alt Country from Old 97’s, and Speaking of Alt Country, Cracker is Still Kickin’

Rolling Stone gave a rare 4-star review to “Most Messed Up” by Old 97’s.   The band formed in Dallas in 1993 (so you figure out the meaning of “Old 97’s”) and are fronted by singer, guitarist and songwriter Rhett Miller.  Their first record was released in 1994, and their latest just came out last week.

Listen to “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” from “Most Messed Up”, and then try out “Question” from their 2001 album “Satellite Rides”.  The older track was featured on an episode of the TV series “Scrubs”, a show noted for integrating a lot of music, new and old.

Whenever alternative country is mentioned, we can’t help but think of our all time favorite, Cracker. The band was formed in 1991 by David Lowery and Johnny Hickman shortly after Lowery’s former band, Camper Van Beethoven, broke up.

Cracker hit it big with the song “Low” from their second album “Kerosene Hat”. Many of the band’s songs show a great sense of humor, like Old 97’s, none of them more than “Mr. Wrong” from their eponymous first album.

Cracker is still touring, and sometimes Lowery reunites Camper Van Beethoven for a double bill.

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