Two Bands of Brothers – Punch and Barr

Over a year ago we wrote about the then recent doings of Nickel Creek alums including mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile. Around the time Nickel Creek disbanded in 2006, Thile formed a new group called How to Grow a Band, since renamed The Tension Mountain Boys, since renamed Punch Brothers. Their fourth album “The Phosphorescent Blues” was just released – thanks for the reminder Eric!

The album contains the eclectic mix of styles that fans of the band and of Thile have come to expect. Give a listen to the first single released from the new album, “I Blew It Off”, with its pop vocal harmonies. Then dip back to “Movement and Location” from their prior album “Who’e Feeling Young Now”.

The Barr Brothers released their sophomore effort “Sleeping Operator” last October. Brothers Andrew and Brad Barr originally played together in The Slip, a Boston-based band that performed together through 2011, but have put most of their recent effort into the Montreal-based The Barr Brothers. Here’s a live performance of “Even The Darkness Has Arms” from that album.

“Even Rats” from The Slip’s 2006 album “Eisenhower” was one of the songs adapted for the video game “Guitar Hero”. Listen to a bit of the original, then watch a young guitar hero go at it back in the day!

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New Music Courtesy of The Delete Bin

Found a new blog to follow, The Delete Bin, by Rob Jones of Vancouver, Canada.  A few weeks back he put together 16 recommendations to add to an autumn playlist, and here are a few favorites.

The Last Internationale is a trio fronted by singer/bassist/guitarist Delila Paz. They play a mix of hard rocking numbers and acoustic folk tunes in a classic rock vein. Lots of politically conscious titles and lyrics in their repertoire like “Killing Fields” and “Workers of the World Unite”, and they’re not afraid to tackle Trayvon Martin in a style reminiscent of Dylan’s “Hurricane”. Not much of a surprise they caught the ear of Tom Morello who signed on as their executive producer. Here’s the first track from their debut album “We Will Reign”, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Indian Blood”. And on the new album Delila pulls off a nice cover of the classic “Baby It’s You”.

The Wind and The Wave is an Austin, Texas folk duo Patricia Lynn and Dwight Baker. Their first album “From The Wreckage” is available now.  Spend some time with this promo video that introduces the band and features some live performance clips.

If you like late 70’s / early 80’s pop and want to be the first kid on your block to check out videos that have barely dozens of YouTube views, check out Ransom and the Subset. Their debut album “No Time to Lose” is just out this month. Here are two tracks from the new release, “Anna” and “Million Out of Me”. Pure fun.

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John Hiatt – Master Songwriter Spins Out His 22nd Studio Album

John Hiatt released his new album, “Terms of My Surrender”, in July.   While not a household name, Hiatt has a loyal following among fans and musicians alike.  His songs have been covered on stage or in the studio by artists ranging from Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, to Willie Nelson and Rosanne Cash, to Bonnie Raitt and Keith Urban.  In his own albums and on stage, Hiatt has played alongside fellow singer-songwriters Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, and Lyle Lovett and with a host of great musicians.

The opening track of the new album “Long Time Comin'” is the song Hiatt is performing most in his TV and radio promotional gigs, but also check out the last track “Come Back Home”.

Hiatt’s most successful string of albums were recorded for A&M and then Capitol between 1987 and 1998. The first of those albums, “Bring the Family”, includes the song “Have a Little Faith in Me”. It’s one of Hiatt’s most covered songs, and his version has showed up in the soundtracks of a number of movies. Here is John performing the song at the time it was released.

1995’s “Walk On” included the song “Cry Love”. Here’s a live unplugged performance backed by a couple of great session musicians, Davey Faragher on bass and David Immergluck on mandolin.

Before you leave give a listen to “Memphis in the Meantime”, also from “Bring the Family”. That’s Ry Cooder’s slide guitar giving the track a completely unique sound.

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Jackson Browne: Tribute and Reissue

“Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne” was released in April.  The two disk set features a dazzling array of artists including the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Keb’ Mo’ and Bruce Springsteen.  But honestly, doing Jackson Browne songs anywhere near as well as Jackson Browne is tough even for these titans.  So, covers of lesser known songs are among the most enjoyable.  Two tracks from Browne’s fourth album “The Pretender” get that treatment: Sara and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek covering “Your Bright Baby Blues”, and Springsteen accompanied by his wife, Patti Scialfa, covering “Linda Paloma”.

Just last week a 40th Anniversary Reissue of Browne’s third album “Late for the Sky” was released.  We featured the title track from that album in an earlier post, so here’s “The Late Show” which provides the “early model Chevrolet” lyric that ties to the album’s cover art.  The song has all the ingredients: deep lyrics, pure Jackson Browne voice, beautiful vocal harmonies and David Lindley steel guitar, found in so much of Browne’s work.

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Sean Lennon, Charlotte Kemp Muhl and The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger

Sean Lennon, youngest son of John, together with Sean’s collaborator and long-time girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, are about to release their third full-length album “Midnight Sun” later this month.  Their work together is put out as The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (GOASTT), and the first track released from the new album is “Moth to the Flame”.  The video has a strange and elaborate story line, and it might be best to close your eyes to really hear the music which is equally as elaborate (the song kicks in about 2:00 into the video).

Kemp Muhl began a modeling career as a teenager, and she is possessed of a beautiful singing voice that meshes perfectly with Sean’s and of the ability to make simple, tasteful contributions on a wide range of instruments. These live studio performances of “Jardin de Luxumbourg” and “Lavender Road” show off the pair’s vocals, subtle backing instrumentation, and cerebral lyrics. Try taking your eyes off Kemp Muhl – Sean can’t.

Both Lennon and Kemp Muhl have other projects. One of Lennon’s is Mystical Weapons, where he teamed up with drummer Greg Saunier of Deerhoof for an album of psychedelic instrumental tunes in 2013. The video for “Colony Collapse Disorder” has all the right visuals – especially to accompany the retro guitar riffs that come in at about 2:00. Kemp Muhl and childhood friend Eden Rice combined their ethereal vocals on the album “Black Hole Lace” in 2012.

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