Top Ranking Songs of March 2013

Courtney JohnBlack Cinderella [FiWi Music 2013]

Bruce Robison & Kelly WillisCheater’s Game [Premium Records 2013]

ChronixxSmile Jamaica [Silly Walks Discotheque 2013]

Various ArtistsThe Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver [ATO Records 2013]

PhosphorescentMuchacho [Dead Oceans 2013]

David Bowie The Next Day [Columbia 2013]

Fortunate Youth It’s All A Jam [Fortunate Youth 2013]

John Heinrichs Rooftop Sessions [GanJah Records]

Justin TimberlakeThe 20/20 Experience [RCA Records 2013]

RhyeWoman [Innovative Leisure 2013]

DawesStories Don’t End [HUB Records 2013]

Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsPush the Sky Way [Bad Seed 2013]

MishkaOcean is my Potion [Mailboar Records 2013]

Courtney JohnSoul of a Man [FiWi Music 2013]

Eric ClaptonOld Sock [Bushbranch 2013]

Youth LagoonWondrous Bughouse [Fat Possum 2013]

Charles BradleyVictim of Love [Daptone 2013]

Top Ranking Songs of March 2013

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2011 – Saturday

On Saturday, I started the day with the cosmic cowboys vibes of Phosphorescent. I especially liked the song “Nothing Was Stolen (Love Me Foolishly)” off their album Here’s To Taking It Easy. Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performed songs from this new solo release Alexander. As Alexander the hippy guru brings folksy grooves like the opener “Awake My Body.”

Alison Kraus with the voice of an angel and bluegrass band from heaven performed a sweet set of classics. The band Union Station includes the fantastic pickers Jerry Douglas and Dan Tyminski.  Tyminski sang the crowd please “I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow,” the hit track from the Cohen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Alison Krauss and Union Station’s set list also included my favorites “When You Say Nothing At All,” “The Lucky One,” and “Let Me Touch You for Awhile.”

From the soft bluegrass of Alison Kraus to the ear crushing dubstep of Skrillex was a nice juxtaposition. Skrillex’s wobbling sounds and remixes included samples from Damian Marley and Major Lazer. This was the youngest and most energetic crowd I have seen in a long time. It reminded me of the grunge rock shows of the 1990s in an odd way. Skrillex has a punky feel in a in your face type of way. The music literally fucks with your brain. The crowd responded with gusto to the hit single “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites.” 

Cee-Lo followed Skrillex with a poppy soul set that included the summer banger and middle finger to the world jam “Fuck You.” He also performed the Gnarlz Barkley smash hit “Crazy.” The real musicianship though was under the tent where the Del McCoury Band joined forces with the Preservation Jazz Hall Band playing songs like “I’ll Fly Away” and “Jambalaya from their album American Legacies.

The evening concluded with a magnificent set by the king of Motown Stevie Wonder. “Superstition,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” “Sir Duke,” “For Once In My Life” and “My Cherie Amour” were all on the set list.  The funky politicized jam “Living For The City” rocked the park while the reggaefied funk of Master Blaster (Jammin’) brought people to their feet. My favorite song of the day was Stevie’s high powered “Higher Ground.”

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2011 – Saturday

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2010 – DAY THREE

Sunday at the Austin City Limits Music Festival was the best day of music I have experienced in a long time. We started the day with a brilliant set from Ruby Jane. The fifteen-year-old fiddle virtuoso played originals and well-picked covers, including a beautiful version of the Townes Van Zandtsong “Be Here to Love Me.” I especially like Ruby Jane’s “Feels Like Home.” Ruby Jane has an old time feel, but modern sensibilities. For example she put a new twist on the Django Reinhardt tune “Minor Swing.”  She played several originals like “Beautiful You, Happy Me,” “The Fall,” and “Stick Around” and concluded her set with a rocking “Greasy World.”

During the day, I caught sets from Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and Portugal The Man. I liked these bands, but it was Robert Earl Keenwho made me feel at home in Zilker Park. A standard bearer for the ACL festival, Keen played a nice mix of new tunes and classics. The classics included: “I’m Comin’ Home,” “Gringo Honeymoon,” and “Dreadful Selfish Crime.” Robert Earl Keen served up a chill version of “Feelin’ Good Again,” as well as a fantastic version of the Grateful Dead staple “I Know You Rider.” And of course the set was capped by a jamming version of “The Road Goes on Forever.”

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros brought the festival to life. With the feeling of a revival this band of wonderful musicians commenced to make everyone dance and sing along. They opened with a nice “40 Day Dream.” I am especially a big fan of the song “Home,” which was a big hit with the crowd. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were a highlight for me. They also played the tunes “Janglin” andCome In Please” from the new album Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. The charismatic Alex Ebert leads the band while Jade Castrinos brings a powerful vocal punch to the mix. In fact, I hope to see more of Jade on future releases.

After the Zeros I headed over for The Flaming Lips. The psychadelic warrior Wayne Cohen puts on a hell of a show, playing the classic tracks “Do You Realize??” andShe Don’t Use Jelly.” Norah Jones also played a sweet set of new and old tunes. I especially like the new tracks “Chasing Pirates” and “It’s Gonna Be” from the new album The Fall. She played a beautiful version of Johnny Cashs “Cry Cry Cry.” The night fell as Jones sung “Come Away With Me,” “Creepin’ In,” and “Sunrise.” And she closed with the Texan anthem “Lonestar.”

The Eagles opened their set with the full on harmonies from “Seven Bridges Road.” As the band sang “there are stars in the Southern skies,” the crowd erupted. From there we went on a wild ride through the Eagles catalog from “How Long” to “Take It To The Limit.” A trumpet solo introduced “Hotel California.” Quite frankly, I have been waiting a lifetime to hear “Hotel California” performed live.

Yet the night continued to get better, especially after achieving that “Peaceful Easy Feeling”  followed by a pleasant stroll through “I Can’t Tell You Why.” It was a solid start with mega-hits like “Witchy Woman” and “Lyin’ Eyes.” After a spacey almost psychadelic “Long Road Out Of Eden” the band transitioned into some past solo material. First the Eagles covered the James Gang hit “Walk Away.” And, “It seems to me” that the Eagles rock! Next they played the Don Henley solo hit from the 1980s “The Boys Of Summer.”

The cover material was followed by the hard-hitting social message laden tune “In The City.” In fact, I had never realized the political overtones in the Eagles material. The choreographed video and light show added emphasis to the social message in the song. “In The City” was followed by the classic track “The Long Run.” My favorite moment came when the band broke into the Joe Walsh tune “Life’s Been Good.” Before Spinal Tap poked fun at the rock star lifestyle, Joe Walsh had done it in this expose of excess and partying. After this, I was curious how the band would finale considering the amazing songs that had already been played.

But sure enough, the Eagles pleased with a hard hitting Don Henley song “Dirty Laundry.” The wonderful sound combined with the impressive video footage created a multimedia extravaganza during this song. Again an interesting political message emerged from the song. The band then returned to The James Gang and their hit “Funk #49.” To close the set the Eagles wrapped up with the pounding drums of “Heartache Tonight” and the rip-roaring guitars of “Life In The Fast Lane.” For an encore, the band brought the audience to its feet with “Take It Easy” and closed with a Texan favorite “Desperado.”

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2010 – DAY THREE

ACL Preview – Austin City Limits Music Festival

The Fall (Amazon Exclusive)

After reviewing the lineup for the Austin City Limits Music Festival I am ready for an interesting three days of music. I must admit I am an Eagles fan. And I am hoping for the hits “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Take It Easy,” and “Hotel California.” The Eagles reached supergroup status long ago in Texas and obtained Rock and Hall Fame glory in 1998. In fact the entire album Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 was on constant rotation in our house. An evening with “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Already Gone” would be commonplace.

Hotel California

Don Henley and Joe Walsh by themselves should be future Rock and Roll hall fame inductees. And I am hoping for some solo gems like “Life’s Been Good,” “Rocky Mountain Way,” or even “The Boys Of Summer” and “The End Of The Innocence.” From southern rock  classics like “Seven Bridges Road” to soft rock standards “Desperado,” “One Of These Nights,” “The Best Of My Love,” and “Take It To The Limit” the Eagles have been an integral part of my life since early childhood. So I’ll have to disagree with The Dude on this one. The Eagles are worthy! And I am looking forward to “Witchy Woman” and another “Tequila Sunrise.”

Come Away With Me

Norah Jones should be a great show. Her newest album The Fall included the electrified “Chasing Pirates.” And her lush vocals on “Come Away With Me” and “Don’t Know Why” are now legendary. Jones is a talented pianist and her music will be a perfect fit for Austin. In this same easy-going musical vein, I am excited about seeing the talented singer Amos Lee perform sweet tunes like “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight.”

The Resistance

The Muse versus M.I.A. problem causes a little consternation for me. I am a sucker for dancehall, electronica, and Public Enemystyle beats with female emcees. So M.I.A. and her funky fresh posse are certain to bring chaos to Austin, Texas. At her last appearance at ACL, M.I.A. unleashed mayhem. The new album Maya offers some tasty singles to drop, including the feature track “Xxxo.”  And the crowd pleasers “Paper Planes” and “Galang” are always slamming. Yet I’m going to try and catch the end of MUSE because this science fiction infused rock band brings a wicked light show to accompany their monster jams. Take a listen to “Starlight,” “Uprising,” or “Knights Of Cydonia” for a taste of their sound.

Maya (Deluxe Version) [Explicit]

The Monsters Of Folk are my must-see band for the festival. The band includes M.Ward, Yim Yames aka Jim James from My Morning Jacket, and Conor Oberst and Mike Moogis from Bright Eyes. This modern-day supergroup has a country hippy sound reminiscent of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. For example, check out the beautifully crafted “The Right Place.” And they have a couple of haunting stunners like the super hit “Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.).” The Monsters Of Folk will have you tapping your toes and singing along to songs like “Say Please.”

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

I am also excited about seeing Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The National, Mayer Hawthorne, Vampire Weekend, and Broken Bells featuring Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse and James Mercer of The Shins. Plus the great thing about ACL is a lineup full of Texas-based musical artists like Robert Earl Keen, Spoon, and Asleep at the Wheel. And finally, on a reggae note California stoners Slightly Stoopid and the American reggae band Rebelution add some good vibes to the lineup.

Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975

One Of These Nights

Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)

Broken Bells

ACL Preview – Austin City Limits Music Festival

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

I’ve been digging Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, especially the song “Home.” I really like Jade Castrinos’s voice. It is very unique and filled with soul. Another thing I like about this band is that they are a wonderful live act. They have an organic sound that harkens back to the sixties. I have an image of them in my mind as a group of wandering gipsy hippies, playing music because they love music.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros