Over the past few years I’ve come across a few artists that have taken places among my favorites. So this week I’m checking out what’s new with Lake Street Dive, Snarky Puppy and Chris Thile.
In an amazing convergence, Chris Thile performed with Snarky Puppy at a recent live show. Chris jumps in to play jazz mandolin at about 2:30. You’ll hear Snarky Puppy’s band leader Michael League say, “We got six minutes, Chris Thile you got four-and-a-half!”. Suitable homage from one supremely talented musician to another.
Chris also dropped by the Steven Colbert show where he played his Punch Brothers song “My Oh My” with Jon Batiste & Stay Human. You don’t often get to see Stay Human play a full song, so check out their work including Batiste’s fantastic piano accompaniment. You’ll see why Thile exclaims “This band!”.
Lake Street Dive’s members seem to have taken time over the winter for some side projects. Listen to Rachel Price tap into her jazz roots with a 1930’s Gershwin Brothers tune, in a duet with Brooklyn-based guitarist/singer Vilray.
And LSD’s base player, song writer, backing singer and all around super talented Bridget Kearney put out her own album “Won’t Let You Down” a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the video from “Wash Up”.
Elton John’s new album “Wonderful Crazy Night” will be released February 5th. It’s Sir Elton’s 32nd studio album (or 33rd depending on what internet page you believe). Long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin is still writing lyrics, and uber-producer T Bone Burnett is back after helping out on John’s 2013 album, “The Diving Board”. Here’s “Looking Up”, one of a few live-studio performance videos made for the new release.
On February 18th Lake Street Dive will release “Side Pony”, their first release with new label, Nonesuch Records. Nonesuch is a great label, being home to acts as diverse as The Black Keys, Wilco, Ry Cooder, Pat Metheny, and Emmylou Harris. Hopefully it will mean a new level of exposure for LSD. Unlike Elton’s new album, no cool videos have yet dropped for “Side Pony”, but the band previewed the track “Close to Me” at last year’s Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco.
While I wasn’t planning a Glenn Frey tribute this week, I tripped across this Lake Street Dive cover of “Take It To The Limit”. Written by Frey, together with Don Henley and Randy Meisner, it was the only Eagles single on which Meisner sang lead. Here’s the song with Rachel Price singing lead.
Some famous female vocalists have new music out, and a great new singer has arrived on the scene.
Rosanne Cash, eldest daughter of Johnny and superstar in her own right, released “The River and the Thread” in January. The album has received its share of good reviews, and the first track is “A Feather’s Not a Bird”. The album’s producer is Rosanne’s husband John Leventhal, who also co-wrote all the songs and plays lead guitar on this performance. If you like the video below, check out this studio performance of “The Long Way Home” with John backing Rosanne on acoustic guitar.
Perhaps the best Rock & Roll frontwoman ever is Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. Almost 35 years after “Brass in Pocket” launched the band’s career, Chrissie is about to release her first solo album. “Stockholm” is due out in June, and the first single “Dark Sunglasses” has been released. Unfortunately, the video shows us no Chrissie, just a bunch of folks wearing – you guessed it. If you want to see Chrissie front the Pretenders in their heyday, 30 years ago, check out the other video too. The video quality isn’t great, but don’t you wish you’d been there?
Back in October we wrote about Lake Street Dive covering a Jackson Five tune. The band is now out with a new full-length LP “Bad Self Portraits” that is fresh and absolutely delightful from start to finish. The band’s lead singer, Rachel Price, has a great voice and a unique style that propels the band’s range of jazz, soul and R&B tunes. Here is the title track from the new album, and “You Go Down Smooth”.
Lake Street Dive recently covered the Jackson Five’s debut major label single “I Want You Back”. The J5 released it in 1969, and it went to the top of the singles chart in January 1970. Lake Street Dive has been getting buzz from an eclectic set of directions including reviews in the Wall Street Journal, an appearance on Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” and sets at SXSW. Fronted by jazz singer Rachael Price, their sound is as eclectic as their buzz.
Enjoy the laid back Lake Street Dive cover and the historic original.
Of course, Lake Street Dive isn’t the first band to cover this song. Here are some other great renditions from KT Tunstall (showing that she can use the live loop), and Graham Parker knocking it out old-style with The Rumour in 1979.