Thursday, January 28, 2016

2015 Nashville Scene Poll Results & Ballot

Once again  I was glad to have been a voter in the Nashville Scene's end of year Country music Poll.
There are no links to individual ballots.  But at the link below, scroll to the end of the page and you will see my name listed as a voter.

2015 Nashville Scene Country Music Poll

And here was my ballot:

1. Chris Stapleton - Traveller
2. Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material
3. Rhiannon Giddens - Tomorrow Is My Turn
4. Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free
5. Eric Church - Mr. Misunderstood
6. Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen - Hold My Beer Vol. 1
7. John Moreland - High On Tulsa Heat
8. Dwight Yoakam - Second Hand Heart
9. Ashley Monroe - Blade
10. Mavericks - Mono

1. Girl Crush - Little Big Town
2. Tennessee Whiskey - Chris Stapleton
3.  Burning House - Cam
4.  Crash and Burn - Thomas Rhett
5.  24 Frames - Jason Isbell
6.  Take Your Time - Sam Hunt
7.  Standards - Randy Roges & Wade Bowen
8.  One Hell Of An Amen - Brantley Gilbert
9.  Strip It Down - Luke Bryan
10. Family Is Family -- Kacey Musgraves

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Playlist for 1/26

Shovels & Rope - Busted Jukebox Vol.1
Them - Complete Them
Beale Street Saturday Night - various  (reissue)
Natalie Cole - Inseperable/Thankful/Unpredictable/Natalie
Halsey - Badlands

Saturday, January 23, 2016

What I Watch (Winter TV Update)

What do I watch?
Winter 2016 update.
Listed in random order.

Walking Dead
Fear The Walking Dead
Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
Little Couple
Game of Thrones
Saturday Night Live
Downton Abbey
Orange Is The New Black
House of Cards
House of Lies
Broad City
New Girl
The Voice
So You Think You Can Dance
American Pickers
Silicon Valley
Hell on Wheels
Real Time with Bill Maher
Moone Boy
Wrong Mans
Ray Donovan
Masters of Sex
30 for 30
Inside Amy Schumer
Silicon Valley
Sleepy Hollow
Grace and Frankie
Deutschland 83
Man In The High Castle
Independent Lens
Dan Rather Big Interview
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
Ripper Street
Orphan Black
Mindy Project
Red Sails
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
60 Minutes Sports on Showtime
Jessica Jones
The Fall  (UK)
Please Like Me
Alpha House
Mozart In The Jungle
Black Mirror
Marco Polo
Ubreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Flesh and Bone
Later with Jools Holland
Live from Daryl's House
Bridge  (Sweden)
Hinterland  (UK)
River   (UK)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Playlist for 1/21

Merle Haggard - Out Among The Stars
Merle Haggard - 5:01 Blues
Merle Haggard - Back to the Barrooms
John Seabrook - Song Machine  (book)
Nena - Oldschool
Titus Andronicus - Most Lamentable Tragedy

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

RIP Glenn Frey (Top 20 Glenn Frey Songs)

If you're an Eagles hater, than this post is not for you.  The Eagles were one of the biggest, if not the most popular American band of the 70's.  But they were never critical favorites.  Both Don Henley and Glenn Frey have been taken apart by critics over the decades.  But their music has endured with fans since their beginnings in the early 70's.
All the critical hate never reached me.  I always loved them.  And really could care less that were perceived as "arrogant", "smug", "egotistical", Rock Stars.  I just loved the music.

Glenn Frey sang on and co-wrote many of the Eagles' best known songs.  After the group broke up, he had more solo hits.  Admittedly, his solo career wasn't as fruitful as Don Henley's, but I've grown to like many of them.

Have to admit this about his solo stuff.  I saw the Eagles in Salinas, California,  the summer of 2005. When it came time to play Frey's solo hits ("Heat Is On", "Smuggler's Blues", don't think he did "You Belong To The City"), some in the crowd headed to the restrooms or to the beer line.  Anyway, I mention this because it will be interesting to see if his post-Eagles years get any kind of reassessment.

Below are my Top 20 Eagles/solo songs that Frey either sang lead on, or with Henley.  Feel free to email any suggestions.

1.  Take It Easy
2.  Heartache Tonight
3.  New Kid In Town
4.  Already Gone
5.  Tequila Sunrise
6.  Peaceful, Easy Feeling
7.  Lyin' Eyes
8   After The Thrill Is Gone
9   The One You Love (solo)
10.  James Dean
11. Heat Is On  (solo)
12. You Belong To The City  (solo)
13. Doolin-Dalton
14. Part Of Me, Part Of You   (solo)
15. Smuggler's Blues  (solo)
16. True Love  (solo)
17. I Found Somebody  (solo)
18. Sexy Girl  (solo)
19.  How Long
20.  Ol' 55


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Playlist for 1/16

Mike + Ruthy Band - Bright As You Can
Sam Lee & Friends - Fade In Time
Kamasi Washington - Epic
Kehlani - You Should Be Here
Gloria Ann Taylor - Love Is A Hurtin' Thing
Ork Records - Various
Have Moicy 2 - Various

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015 Village Voice Pazz & Jop Ballot

As I've been doing since the late 90's, I voted again in the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Critic's Poll.  The link to my 2015 ballot is below, and from there you can check out the rest of the poll.

Tom Lane's 2015 Pazz & Jop Ballot

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie (RIP + My Top 20 Bowie Songs)

You're going to see and hear the word chameleon used a lot when people talk about David Bowie.  That's the word I used on my Facebook post when I heard about his death.  But that's not what made me a Bowie fan.  I just liked his music.  His different guises certainly affected what type of music he played:  Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Thin White Duke all beget glam, Philly Soul and just good old Rock and Roll.
After 1983's Let's Dance, an album that Bowie himself wanted to be a smash, he seemed to lose interest in making anything remotely daring.  Suddenly his songs sounded tired, which never happened before.  At this point, I began to tune him out.  I still listened to whatever he released, but never went back to them.  In 2013, after 10 years without any new music, he finally reemerged.  Next Day wasn't the big splash I was hoping for, but there were moments that made me hope he had more in him.  Two days before he died, he released another, Blackstar,  At first listen, it sounded better than Next Day.  Still, my own memories of Bowie's greatest musical moments date before the mid-80s.
These Top 20 Bowie songs bare that out.  Maybe I've underestimated his work from the 90's. I'm sure his death will bring up some lost gems from this era.   Oh, and did I mention he was born on the same day, January 8th, as Elvis Presley?

1.  Space Oddity
2.  Golden Years
3.  Rebel Rebel
4.  Under Pressure w/Queen
5.  Heroes
6.  Modern Love
7.  Suffragette City
8.  Changes
9. Ziggy Stardust
10. Life On Mars
11. Let's Dance
12. Fame
13. Fashion
14. Jean Genie
15. Young Americans
16. Starman
17. Man Who Sold The World
18. All The Young Dudes
19. Ashes To Ashes
20. Moonage Daydream

As far as albums are concerned, you can't go wrong with these:
Man Who Sold The World
Hunky Dory
Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
Aladdin Sane
Young Americans
Station To Station
Scary Monsters
Let's Dance
Singles 1969-1993   (1993)
Best of  (2002)

Also:  Five Years (2013)  (Film Documentary)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Playlist for 1/10

Grimes - Art Angels
Torres - Sprinter
Masters Apprentice - Fully Qualified
Flight Reaction - s/t
Cam - Untamed
Hop Along - Painted Shut
Jazmine Sullivan - Reality Show

Friday, January 08, 2016

Elvis Presley Post-Army Spotify Playlist

It's amazing that RCA has put out a bunch of Elvis Presley compilations, but never a concise overview of his Post Army Years.  Why is this important?  Because one of the biggest lies about Elvis is that he did nothing that came close to his 54-58 pre-Army material.

I'll agree with that statement when it comes to his Sun material.  But then, nobody has ever matched Elvis' Sun years.

Most of the argument in favor of the dropoff focuses around all those mostly mediocre movies that Elvis pumped out from 60-69.  There's some good stuff found on those soundtracks, but mostly fluff.  My argument against using those against him has to do with the fact that the songs were part of a movie, and that they were made to fit into certain scenes.  But I'm never going to tell you that the soundtracks enhance my own favorable views of his post-60 material.

Anyway, get rid of the soundtracks, and you're left with some great material.. The albums Elvis Is Back (60), Elvis TV Special (68) and From Elvis In Memphis (69) are fabulous.  Elvis Country (70) is also great.  His 3 Gospel albums from this era feature some of his most impassioned singing.  And his 1971 Christmas album belongs on your turntable every holiday season.  Oh, and if you haven't listened to his sit-down shows from the '68 Comeback, then you are missing the best singing he's ever done  (along with "If I Can Dream").

What you do get from Elvis in his post-Army years is a move away from Rock and Roll to more Country, Pop, Gospel songs.  By the 70's these genres dominate his studio albums. As do covers.   But when he was given the right material he still could Rock with anyone:  "Burning Love" (72), "Promised Land"  (74).  Too bad there's not more like this from the 70's.  Yet, I always tell people he still knocked out great singles up until the end:  "Hurt" (76), "Moody Blue" and "Way Down" (77).

So, if you're a Spotify user, give Elvis's post-Army music a listen.

Elvis-Post Army Years


Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Top 20 American Idol Contestants

American Idol comes to an end in 2016.  Like an athlete that has hung on to long, it should have ended years earlier.  So, expect the nostalgia machine to kick in to high gear as the show nears its end date.  Below I've listed my Top 20 AI contestants.  I'm able to do this because I've watched every season.  Through good and bad, somehow I've managed to hang in there.  American Idol is certainly a divicive topic among music fans, artists, critics, etc.  Bur I always approached it as purely entertainment,  not as a platform for finding the next Rock Hall of Famer.

1.  Kelly Clarkson - The first Idol winner.  She's managed to put together a solid recording career peppered with at least one classic single "Since U Been Gone", some other great songs and a few solid albums.

2.  Carrie Underwood - Winner of Season 4.  Similar career to Clarkson's.  A Country superstar, she's also crosses over to the Pop charts. Dabbled in acting in 2013, playing lead role in a live TV adaptation of Sound of Music.  May end up having a longer stay on the charts because Country fans are more loyal than Pop ones.

3.  Jennifer Hudson - Everyone knows the story.  Finished in 7th place during season three. But her career didn't suffer from an early exit.  Has become more known for her acting roles than her recording career. Won an Academy Award for her role in Dreamgirls.  Even though her albums haven't been as successful as they could be, her powerful voice has made her a presence at many functions and music shows.

4.  Adam Lambert - Season eight runner-up.  Like Hudson, a big vocalist.  Lambert's records haven't been big hits, but it's his tours with the remaining members of Queen that have kept his profile high over the years.

5.  Chris Daughtry - Fourth place in season five.  Daughtry has managed to be the only breakout Rock singer to have many hits on the Pop charts.

6.  Fantasia Barrino - The Season 3 winner has had mixed recording success, but I see her name on the Urban AC charts quite often.  And she's appeared on Broadway.

7,  Jordin Sparks - Season 6 winner had early success on the charts, but her career has been quiet recently.  One of the best Idol vocalists.

8.  Ruben Studdard - The Sesaon 2 winner has also had a choppy musical life.  And like Fantasia, I see his name on the Urban AC charts.  His big-hearted presence means he'll always have a loyal following.

9.  Clay Aiken -   And the Season 2 runner-up.  Aiken is actually more famous than Studdard, and had the bigger record sales,  Gets extra points for running as a Democrat for the House in North Carolina in 2014  (he lost).

10.  Katharine McPhee - Season 5 runner-up.  Not much recording success, but has a nice acting career going.

11,  Kellie Pickler - Finished 6th in season 5.  Has had some Country hits, and won Dancing With The Stars in 2013.

12.  Ellliott Yamin - Here's a name you don't hear anymore.  One of my Idol faves.  Third in season 5.  Actually had some success after Idol, but hasn't been heard from in recent years.

13.  Phillip Phillips - The season 11 winner is remembered for sticking to his image throughout that year.  Had a couple of hits after Idol.

14.  Melinda Doolittle - Finished third in Season 6.  Well-liked singer who should have had a bigger post-Idol career.

15.  Bo Bice - Season 4 runner-up.  Bice brought a Southern Rock vibe to Idol that was unique at the time.  Records for his own label, and tours with Blood, Sweat & Tears.

16.  Constantine Maroulis - Fourth place in Season 6.  Remembered for his big productions during that season.  No hits, but has had Broadway success.

17.  Crystal Bowersox - Season 9 runner-up.  Has made some good albums and is working on Broadway related projects.

18.  Michael Johns - Finished eight in Season 7.  This Australian was one of Idol's well-liked singers, which is why his early elimination was one of the show's big shockers.  Johns died in 2014 at age 35.

19.  David Cook -  Winner of Season 7,  Cook had early post-Idol hits.    Not much success recently, even though he released an album in 2015.

20. Kris Allen - The ultimate Idol nice guy winner (season 8).  Who didn't like Kris Allen?  Mixed post-Idol success, but still puts out records.

Suggestions, comments, etc.

Top 20 Tom Petty Songs

Latest poll actually occurred last month.  Rank the Top 20 Tom Petty songs.   And Top 5 albums.
My #1 song was an easy choice.  And it came from my #1 album.

1.  Refugee
2.  Waiting
3.  Breakdown
4.  You Got Lucky
5.  Listen To Her Heart
6.  American Girl
7.  Free Fallin'
8.  Stop Draggin' My Heart Around  (w/Stevie Nicks)
9.  Don't Do Me Like That
10. Don't Come Around Here No More
11. I Need To Know
12. Here Comes My Girl
13. Mary Jane's Last Dance
14. Woman In Love
15. I Won't Back Down
16. Into The Great Wide Open
17. Jammin' Me
18. Runnin' Down A Dream
19. Rebels
20. Last Night (w/Traveling Wilburys)

1.  Damn The Torpedoes
2.  Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
3.  Full Moon Fever
4.  Hard Promises
5.  Southern Accents

Monday, January 04, 2016

Playlist for 1/4

Bruce Springsteen - River Outtakes
Motorhead - Bad Magic/Orgasmatron/Overkill
Oscar Brown Jr.  - Sin & Soul
Dinah Washington - What A Diff'rence A Day Makes
Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap - Silver Lining
Delfonics - La La Means I Love You
Babyface - Return of the Tender Lover
Kip Moore -Wild Ones

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Blue-Eyed Soul Spotify Playlist

My latest Spotify playlist is on Blue-Eyed Soul.  A genre that I've always loved, even though nobody has ever put together a decent compilation.  So, my own playlist covers many of the big names and some that only had a few moments.  

Check it out if you're on Spotify:

Ultimate Blue-Eyed Soul Playlist

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