Within a genre of music you're going to encounter, sameness. As a big fan of rock 'n' roll back in the 60's and 70's there were always the imitators. This continues today as many young artists fall into the stereotypical pattern of sameness all trying to relight that spark of familiar hits by previous artists.
In listening to modern streaming genre playlists with titles like, "Fresh Folk," "Emerging Americana," and "All New Indie," I find that they just seem to perpetuate homogenous grouping of young artists and their niche songs. I'm totally showing my age here, but how many solo droning self-indulgent "smelly cat" artists can there be on a new songs streaming playlist? This past week I kept saying to myself, where have all the bands gone?
In any event, it's getting to be a bit of a grind, as I don't have the time I did a few years ago to do a deep dive hunt for rock 'n' roll and Americana and put a monthly 50+ playlist together. So I'm going to just roll with it. If it takes me two or three months to put a worthy new playlist together with a little musical diversity, then that's where I'm at with my taste in music in 2023.
There are so many young talented artists I have discovered for myself in the past eight years and shared with my dedicated little group of Monday Monday listeners that I will alway keep this #NewMusicMonday series going. So even though I'm basically saying that the new gems are further distanced from each other these days, it's probably the same feeling I had back in the late 1970's too.
Enjoy my friends. There's people like (header above left to right) Andrew Bird, Bonny Light Horseman, Joy Oladokun, The Lemon Twigs, Caitlin Rose, and (below them) the Milk Carton Kids out there making great new music.
Looks like I need to play a little catch up with #NewMusicMonday as it last appeared on Monday Monday Music back in October, 2022.
I've been thinking about David Crosby's passing and his exceptional gift for singing harmony. I finish the playlist with his 2021 cover of Joni Mitchell's, For Free with Sarah Jarosz.
I then started stumbling across fairly new songs with harmony typically featuring a guest singer. Speaking of featured guests, it must be a new rule to have Phoebe Bridgers as a featured artist on your new song. She must be the new Michael McDonald of guest appearances on songs for the 2020's. However, I must say, Brandi Carlile is probably a close contender for the featured singer title too as she's seems to be everywhere.
It's so hard to find rock 'n' roll bands these days that bring something new with my classic jingle-jangle taste. I've been playing new Sloan songs over the past several months and decided to feature the October, 2022 release of their 13th album, Steady here. It's all right there in the title.
Enjoy the playlist my friends. If you're new to Monday Monday Music playlists, they're different than what you'll find in the sameness of the streaming services in their genre playlists like Indie and Folk.
Madison Cunningham doesn't dominate the playlist this week, but I'm already getting geared up for her next album release, Revealer on September, 9th. I have been following Madison for a couple of years now. In January, 2021 she released on YouTube a home recording of the song, Life According To Raechel that knocked the running socks off friend Paul Hobbs and I when it came out. She has now recorded the song for the new album and it's the first song of the playlist, and I hope it hits you like it did us. I finish off the playlist with Madison's recent appearance of NPR's Tiny Desk Concert with four songs from Revealer.
Tedeschi Trucks Band finished their 24 song epic, I am The Moon this month, with Part III The Fall, and Part IV Farewell. I have included songs from these last two parts and just love how Susan and Derek feature all their band members, a real musical family that harks back to the Leon Russell and Delaney and Bonnie ensembles. You feel the spirit of this band and the love all the members have for one another. The late 60's and early 70's rock 'n' roll DNA lives on with this band with so many new original songs.
Speaking of that DNA, Marcus King is not related to Mountain's Leslie West, but the physical stature coupled with his kickass rock guitar chops reminds me of albums made from vinyl back in the sweet spot time period. King's new album, Young Blood with its southern blues vibe and rock guitar licks provide a nice mix throughout as my more subtle Americana tunes selection tend to dominate this week.
The Watkins Family Hour Vol. II are a big part of the Americana tunes featured in the playlist. Siblings Sara and Sean continue to make great music together since their early days starting with Nickel Creek. The album is sprinkled with guest artists including Madison Cunningham.
Hopefully, a little something for everyone as so many great young musicians make new music or cover the greats with the time honored tradition of mixing something old and something new.
This past week I began the rather easy and fun task of listening, shifting, and sorting new music that was released this month, or songs I have missed in the past couple of months.
The Mosaic browser
Recently on CNN, I watched the decades series, "The Nineties: The Information Age." I watched it in real time, and ironically was just so annoyed at having to watch the commercials.
Most of my teaching career was spent as a educational technology resource teacher and so the time beginning in September of 1993 when the Internet began with the Mosaic browser, then Netscape, then Microsoft Explorer, were exciting times. The pioneer days.
The evolution of Internet music with music piracy servers like Napster in 1999, then legit online music stores like Apple iTunes, and now online subscription music streaming services, actually rekindled my interest in music. After years of being a working stiff in the 80's and 90's, I rediscovered my passion for rock 'n' roll and folk through the shear ease of access, online.
A Monday Monday Music™ blog post now averages between 150-200 hits during its first week of publication. During that first week, the playlist that accompanies the post gets about 1/3 of the hits than the post itself. I realized early on in the world of blog writing that the author has about 3 minutes tops to convey their message. So, when it comes to listening to a playlist of 25+ songs, most just ignore it altogether.
I say this as I'm just so thankful that you're actually here reading this at this moment. If you never listen to my playlists, I would just suggest, pick one song to listen to as most songs are also typically no more than 3 minutes too. (Although, most of the songs I usually pick for the playlist are 4+ minutes. This week there are several songs in the 7-10 minute category like the old days of rock 'n' roll.)
In any event, do like most of my playlist listeners do, and just do the famous 'digital skip' until you land on something that catches your ear. I will guarantee there's at least one song here worth listening to that you've never heard before, and most likely will never ever hear on the radio.
Enjoy my friends. Skip, skip, skip to my Paul McCartney.
As Americans, we have a long history of progressively adding things to make our lives better 💪. Whether it be civil liberties, creating new genres of music, social security, medical breakthroughs, inventing new technologies, or even a city getting a new sports franchise team.
We Americans don't like things being taken away from us. Whether it be our civil liberties, prohibition, nazis trying to take over the world, an insurrection, or even a professional sports team moving away from your city (I've had two, mother... 😖).
Every month, I write a blog and make a playlist about fifty years ago in music, so that puts me currently in 1972.
In 1972, the Supreme court debated Roe v. Wade and on January 22, 1973 voted 7-2 to give women the fundamental right to have the option to have an abortion.
On June 23, 1972, Title IX also became Federal law giving women the right to equally participate in educational sports that received federal funding.
Both Roe v. Wade and Title IX created new opportunities for women and I will go so far as to say, saved lives.
A human life is very limited without two essential things: opportunity and choice.
I'm writing this on Friday, June 24, 2022 just as the Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade and almost 50 years of protecting women. This backward decision has taken away an attained right affecting opportunity and choice for women with the rippling effect to all American families (including men).
I have two daughters, two step-daughters, and four granddaughters, all born after Roe v. Wade and Title IX. Let me just say as a father speaking with my collective daughters in mind, that they will not endure or suffer the religious zealot fools kindly in taking away a woman's fundamental right to an abortion. They refuse, or will refuse the idiot's premise that to make America great (white) again, America must go backwards in time.
Best album title of the year
So the white religious crazies have successfully played the political long game on abortion. You can disagree or even hate their motives and methods, but you have to acknowledge and respect their tenacity to tirelessly fight for what they believe in.
With right-wing-nuts like Clarence (and Ginni) Thomas leading the charge, who say the Supreme Court “should reconsider” its past rulings to now take away Americans rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage, you have to marvel at their privileged power position in action. If 63% of Americans who support Roe v. Wade have seen it fall, why wouldn't evangelicals keep their clown car rolling with the pedal to the floor?
I wonder, will my inept majority Democratic Party ever get off its ass to simply vote in the midterms? What's the midterms?
Ok, enough for now. In times like this it's probably best to just take my shaking hands off the keyboard and sit back and listen to the playlist I made this past week. I will leave with my new favorite album title of the year including a couple of songs featured in the playlist this week.
Summer's here and Jack Johnson grabbed my attention with his new album, Meet The Moonlight. He's the tonic I need right now including the new song called, Calm Down. I think I'll take Jack's advice.
Pop music. I'm mostly underwhelmed by most pop artists and bands today, and then Harry Styles came along a few years back. He's so good, and getting better. So good in fact, that I keep listening to his new album, Harry's House like I used to listen to new albums. I think it's simply fantastic! Harry's a terrific person who's really lifting people up with this new album and it's perfectly timed to counter the hate in our increasingly 'cruel country.' Go Harry!
Last Friday, my daughter Shawna stopped by to help me take my car in for some service. While my car was in the shop, we drove together to get some breakfast at our favorite, DZ Akins. In her car, she starts to play Harry's House and asks me if I have heard any of the new songs?
She then tells me how Harry Styles is part of a group of artists with a special invite to Joni Mitchell's house (pre-Covid) to play, sing and just jam together. Harry's House is in fact a Joni Mitchell song (not on Harry's new album) but on her 1975 album, The Hissing of Summer Lawns (still part of my vinyl collection). I'm sure as polite as Harry is he probably asked for permission first, as Joni tweeted her approval when the album was announced in March. Oh Harry, the friends you keep.
In my opinion, I think Harry Styles is going to be the artist of his generation as his greatness has only just begun.
I was also pleased to discover that this was a great release month for new rock 'n' roll and Americana with a little something for everybody. I'll let my usual album focused playlist speak for itself this month.
But first, something more important from the editorial desk- My fellow 90% of Americans, enough. It is time to vote out all the politicians who don't support background checks on all gun sales. These same NRA funded politicians continue to support the insanity of letting the general public continue to buy assault weapons with high-capacity bullet magazines. I think the NRA's issue of Democrats taking away people's guns for hunting animals has never been the issue at all. But now more than ever, Americans face the much larger crisis of people hunting people with AR-15 style rifles (60 Minutes) as their mass weapon of choice in our schools, churches and public gathering places. It's way past time to throw these assholes out of office and their semi-automatic thoughts and prayers. Enough. If you didn't watch 60 Minutes last night, I recommend you click on the link above.
Now Harry Styles brought me to Everytown for Gun Safety where he has just donated 1 million dollars to this leading non-profit organization. I can't match that but Mike Bloomberg is tripling Harry's donation and yours too if you make a donation by May 31st. I just donated $25 so thank you Mr. Bloomberg for tripling that!
I'm a folk and Rock 'n' album guy. In reviewing albums released in March and April of this year I found six worthy of note from a songwriting perspective. For me, it's hard to find an album these days where I like most of the songs. You know that Bonnie Raitt is going to deliver, and of course she does as she writes or covers songs with style and grace, not to mention she can still make you shed a tear. Listen to the songs, Just Like That and Down The Hall, and you'll know what I'm talking about.
Colin Hay is my personal find of 2022. I really never paid attention to him as I wasn't a big Men At Work fan. Colin has been busy over the years touring, playing in Ringo's All Star Band, and putting out some fine albums the last several years. The guy speaks right to me and I enjoy everything he records on YouTube, a real gem, you should check him out.
Of the six albums, I've only seen Mike Campbell live with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and also a few years back in Fleetwood Mac. External Combustion is a really good rock 'n' roll album and Campbell is a very good front man for his band, The Dirty Knobs. How does one go on after losing their lifetime musical collaborator? Well nobody's going to replace Tom, and Mike is just being Mike Campbell, a fantastic guitar player, and not a bad lead singer too. The Heartbreaker spirit lives on and thank the gods we still have rock 'n' rollers like Mike Campbell making music.
I also just discovered Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices this past year. The Band was formed in 1983 and is just another great rock 'n' roll band to come out of the mid-west (Ohio). He writes and plays nice little guitar riffs and I ended up including song after song from Crystal Nuns Cathedral to the playlist.
If you're looking for introspective folk, you'll find it all over the streaming services with most of it just sounding the same. If I hear one more droning indie female or male voice... skip. Well, Christian Lee Hudson is for me an exception. Produced by Phoebe Bridgers who is also a cut above, lets Hudson's songwriting carry the day. I'm thinking Joni Mitchell probably likes Christian Lee Hudson.
And lastly, Jeremy Ivey. Invisible Pictures is his third solo album and a guy you want to succeed as an emerging Americana star. I was feeling for him after trying to look him up on Wikipedia. He didn't have a Wikipedia page as it cross referenced him to his wife, the now very famous Margo Price. He probably gets that a lot, as just being "the husband" of Margo Price. Anyway, I love most everything both of them do together and separately, and this is a couple you just want to root for to counter the stereotypical Nashville country pop tripe.
A little bit of folk a little bit of rock 'n' roll. A hand-made curated playlist like no other...
Let's start with some new folk music from a duo that has just released their second album, One Day by The Cactus Blossoms. Often artists and bands get tagged with, "they sound like..." as I'm sure The Cactus Blossoms are sick of hearing that they sound like... The Everly Brothers. First off nobody will ever sound like the Everly Brothers who are forever in the rarified air of music heaven. It's really a bit unfair as the Cactus Blossoms have actually many influences that probably even date back further than Duane Eddy, who also comes to mind. Anyway give these guys a listen as you'll appreciate them for all their influences to make their own Americana music in the 21st century.
One of my best sources for finding new folk/bluegrass/Americana music (or whatever genre label you want to stick here) is the online publication, The Bluegrass Situation. I came across Janis Ian's latest and she says her last studio album at age 70, Better Times Will Come. Most of us were introduced to Janis Ian through her huge hit in 1975, At Seventeen. Well Janis has actually made 25 albums and like so many others I have come to appreciate her work in a second round in my 60's. The songwriting on Better Times Will Come is outstanding, as I just kept adding songs to the playlist this week.
Hey for all you rock 'n' rollers out there, we actually have some new tunes by some classic people who made a big splash back in the 80's and 90's: Tears For Fears, Spoon, Johnny Marr (from The Smiths), and Eddie Vedder doing a solo album (from Pearl Jam). It's hard to find one worthy new rock 'n' roll album released in a month, much less four for this month. Enjoy my friends!
Note- Starting this week my YouTube playlists will come in two formats -
Below is the playlist in its usual embedded format in the blog.
On January 14th, Elvis Costello released his 32nd studio album, The Boy Named If. Costello, born Declan Patrick MacManus, (August 25, 1954) is 67 years old and was part of the 'New Wave' genre that began in the late 1970's and into the 80's. As I was putting together the playlist this month, I came across new singles (for upcoming albums) from fellow 80's music stars, the Tears For Fears duo, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith (both 60 years old), and Colin Hay (68) who was the band leader of Men At Work.
Now when I reached 60 years old and had retired from my teaching career, I received a letter from the AARP welcoming me to the club. F*** that! I had no interest in retirement other than getting a monthly check while not driving to a school parking lot five days a week. Around my 65th birthday, it dawned on me that I had in fact entered the same club called, "senior citizen" as my mother, who still is 20 years older than me!
So, 1980's rock 'n' rollers who forty years ago were the 'new wave' are now probably seen by young people in their 20's as the same gray group of rock 'n' rollers who created music in the 1960's. Oh well, I guess that's the circle of things.
From the gray side of both sides now, music has always had young stars not only following their heroes who were 10-20 years older, but with their talent, equally shared the big stage at the same time. I just love the mix of younger artists like Madison Cunningham and older artists like Colin Hay releasing records and streams in the 21st century. Who knows, maybe someday they'll do a song together.
The gray haired musicians, no matter their age, are an inspiration to us all, to keep creating, to keep making stuff. It doesn't matter if you create something in your garage, on your dining room table, at a computer, or in a studio... never stop.
In looking for new music releases every month, I always come across singles or albums that passed me by the first time around. So as a bonus this month, I'm going to include Colin Hay's entire 2021 album, I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself. I just found this album last week and love Colin's voice and his versions of these classic covers. His new album, Now And The Evermore is coming out in March and I won't miss that one. Rock on Colin Hay!
Last Year, I began a monthly feature called #NewMusicMonday. This post is a culmination of 12 months of searching, sifting, and sorting new music every month across the Internet. YouTube Playlists have a built-in limitation of 200 songs when embedded into a web page like Monday Monday Music™. This 200 song limit can be a blessing and curse. I basically had to revisit over a 1000 handpicked songs and whittle that down to 200 of my favorite favs, including any new songs from December.
Last week, I did the same for my Fifty Years of Music series with the same process for songs from 1971. That was a much easier task for the many songs that were already part of my rock 'n' roll DNA. Here, this was a bit more work of current listening. In 2021, there are fewer great rock 'n' roll songs being written and recorded, but at the same time the 'Americana genre' continues to evolve often blending Rock 'n' Roll, Folk, Indie, Bluegrass, Country, and Blues.
Genre bending and blending is basically what music has been, is, and will be. For me, I'm a 'folkie' at heart... with a rock 'n' roll soul.
Rickenbacker 360 Fireglo
That bent leads to what some (me included) would call, 'jingle-jangle' rock 'n' roll with the blending of acoustic and electric guitars. I'm going to start with The Beatles as my personal reference point in time, and John's early use of his black Rickenbacker 6 string electric guitar, and then in 1964, adding George's use of his Rickenbacker 360 Fireglo twelve string electric guitar shown here.
In 1965, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds quickly follows George's lead and uses his Rickenbacker 360 'Mapleglow' 12 string on all their hit songs, including Mr. Tamborine Man andTurn, Turn, Turn.
This tradition continues through the years most notably with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, The Bangles, and The Jayhawks to name a few.
By jingle-jangle, I'm basically identifying the signature sound of bands with typically two guitar players playing off each other in complement rhythm and riff of each other, like The Beatles' George and John, or The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards and Brian Jones (and later Ronnie Wood). These bands do not have an identified lead guitar god à la Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page to drive that rock sound. I love that sound too, but it often comes at limiting a song's lyrics with a melody and vocal harmonies to produce a more balanced sound. That last sentence, kind of defines the root elements of folk and I guess my bent to artists and bands and that sound.
In 2021, I found both older and newer artists and bands all over the world that satisfy my folk and rock 'n' roll DNA with their new music releases. Here are the artists, bands and albums that grabbed me this year (in somewhat of a slipshod rated order):
Joy Oladokun (Nashville, TN), in defense of my own happiness Joy Oladokun gets the top slot in that she taps into the heart of our times of 2020-2021. I found her lyrics compelling matched with a pure rich voice to carry her message, and one worth listening to.
I've paddled upstream where the river ran
I've turned sticks and stones to an olive branch
I've made a full house from a shitty hand
Yet, here I am, still gotta be bigger than the bigger man
– Bigger Man, by Joy Oladokun and Maren Morris
The War On Drugs (Philadelphia, PA), I Don't Live Here Anymore I said a couple of posts ago that Adam Granduciel the leader of The War On Drugs had me when he pulls out his Rickenbacker 330 Fireglo to go with this outstanding 2021 rock 'n' roll album.
Madison Cunningham (Los Angeles, CA) Madison Cunningham did not release an album in 2021, but she and many other artists took to Youtube and social media to record a plethora of songs on the Internet. In 2020-2021, the f*%#ing pandemic may have stopped live music in its tracks, but recorded music actually found a way to reach us (even in lock-down) and saved many souls. I found Madison on Youtube in 2021, and words can not express how I love this young singer-songwriter's work.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (Denver Colorado), The Future I'll be honest, Nathaniel Rateliff at first pass was interesting, liked him some, but was not a fan. The Future album changed all that. I just love his new songs to go with the passion and the horn section!
Watchhouse (formally known as Mandolin Orange) (Chapel Hill, NC), Watchhouse The name Mandolin Orange has always been one of my favorite band names ever. So why change your band brand after a decade of hard work to get exposure as a folk duo? Anyway, the new album is fantastic, so well crafted and a complete standout in the Americana pack.
Teenage Fanclub (Scotland), Endless Arcade These guys have been around since 1989, who knew? I'm a slow learner and still catching up to all the great UK jingle-jangle bands out there. Endless Arcade is endless fun!
Lord Huron (Los Angeles, CA), Long Lost If you're a fan of David Lynch's Twin Peaks music, you'll be right at home in the Red Room.
Guided By Voices (Dayton OH), Earth Man Blues This album simply rocks! The riffs on this thing takes me back to the day.
Dori Freeman, (Galax, VA), Ten Thousand Roses This woman simply stands out with her songs. I hope she will get her due down the road as she is miles ahead of many young artists with much bigger names and smaller songs.
Crowded House (Australia), Dreamers Are Waiting I love Crowded House, I love this album and part of the 80's-90's bands revival of 2021.
Big Red Machine (Ohio, Wisconsin), How Long Do You Think It's Going To Last? An Indie Folk supergroup? With Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon at the helm, and with drop-in's like Taylor Swift, this album is a standout.
Shannon Lay (Los Angeles, CA), Geist I had never heard of Shannon Lay until I heard a song from Geist on a streaming service. Then, that gets me interested and I listen to the whole album, and I'm picking songs right and left for the monthly playlist and then, songs left and right for this final playlist. Yeah, I like Shannon Lay a lot.
Gary Louris (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Jump For Joy Gary Louris is the founding member of one of my favorite bands, The Jayhawks. Of course I'm going to love this solo album of folk and jingle-jangle rock 'n' roll!
Bleachers (New York, NY), Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night
Jackson Browne (Los Angeles, CA) Downhill From Everywhere Jackson is simply one of the best still at the top of his game. I'm enjoying his ongoing collaboration with Val McCallum on electric guitar and vocals.
Dylan LeBlanc (Shreveport, LA), Pastimes An EP of some of the best covers I've ever heard.
Elise LeGrow (Canada), Grateful Great soulful sound and nobody's heard of her? Grateful is so much better than Adele's 30, but that's just my little opinion.
The Wallflowers (Los Angeles, CA), Exit Wounds Not bad for a band who haven't played together in nine years. The very wonderful Shelby Lynne provides backup vocals on several tracks.
Natalie Hemby (Nashville, TN) Pens and Needles One of Nashville's best songwriter to the stars, gets to shine here on her second solo album.
Okay, I'm going to stop here at 31, I got to get to the finish line.
Now before I send you to this great 2021 playlist below, I have to give myself a little squeak of the wheel and pat on the ol' back.
In January, I made a promise to myself (and Paul Hobbs) that I would write a Monday Monday Music every Monday for the entire 2021 year. Well boys and girls it's week 52 and this is my 52nd post for 2021! Heck, I could have done it with 48 in 2019, and 50 in 2020 if I had been paying attention and kept my eye on the ball. But now that I've done it, I have decided to pull the plug on the blog, and learn how to play piano...
Just kidding. I hope I didn't make Paul's heart skip a beat. Yes, I'll be back next Monday, January 3 to start a new year of music posts. I actually do want to learn to play piano and work on my house a bit, so I'll just take it a week at a time, and a transition to...
Thank you dear followers for reading my post every week and making the time to dive into the playlist, most weeks. There's a lot of great music being made every day and remember pilgrims, Music Saves!
Now for starting the playlist this week the first video I picked back in January was Katy Perry's, Firework for Joe Biden's Presidential Inauguration. Her performance made me cry tears of happiness for the fact that the orange fat fascist was actually NOT the President anymore. I follow that with Joy Oladokun's, i see america, and then complete my little trilogy of American life with Harry Styles', Treat People With Kindness. After that, the songs in the playlist are in a random order and are not ranked, including a bunch of songs not mentioned in the albums listing.
Enjoy these 200 songs my friends, and Happy New Year!
November is usually a big album release month to cash in on the holiday season notwithstanding the mega Taylor Swift and Adele albums released this month. (Hey I even included an Adele song in the playlist this week.)
This month was a good month for me finding new music that lead me back to discover older recorded material by artists and bands. If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that the majority of my writing is inspired by my younger days in the 1960's and 70's, and not as much from the 80's and 90's. Now even though this is a #NewMusicMonday, you'll find that I've found newly recorded songs that were originally recorded in the 80's or 90's, or new songs that have an affinity and influence from those past two decades... or some new/old blues, and if you can believe it, some new Deep Purple from the way way back of my youth.
I'm going to start with the 90's band, The Verve that took me back to something older. Richard Ashcroft just released Acoustic Hymns Vol 1 this month which is much more than just the former Verve's lead singer and songwriter's greatest hits album. I think every track has been carefully re-crafted to breath fresh life into each one of his songs. I included all of these songs in the playlist this week and think you will enjoy the new arrangements.
Acoustic Hymns Vol 1 also reminded me of another great album that was done in the same vein, J.D. Souther's, Natural History, a wonderful album of his reworked greatest hits as a songwriter.
What makes me bring these two albums together is their acoustic flavor with songs stripped down to enhance the songwriters lyrics with their fantastic singing voices. I highly recommend both.
The next band, The War On Drugs has a mixture of rock 'n' roll influences, but I guess their name says it all being emblematic of the Nancy Reagan 80's and her infamous and ridiculous, "Just say no to drugs" campaign. The band's leader, Adam Granduciel was born in 1979 so he obviously grew up through that 80's D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) period at school and probably even had to wear the t-shirt to a D.A.R.E. program in the school auditorium hosted by a local sports hero. Need I digress more... The band's new album, I Don't Live Here Anymore, is simply fabulous and the songs have grown on me the past several weeks. I have included all the songs from the album in the playlist this week, but Adam had me when he pulls out the Rickenbacker 330 Fireglo for his live version of Change and is the song to lead off this mix.
Rufus Wainwright's new album just came out November 26th and in waiting for that release I actually got listening to his back catalog last week and came across his 2020 release of Unfollow The Rules that totally passed under my radar last year. So, I have included several songs from that album that are at least new to me.
Here's the new albums I'm featuring in the playlist this week including a few famous names from the 80's and 90's.
I Don't Live Here Anymore, The War On Drugs
Acoustic Hymns Vol 1, Richard Ashcroft
Bright Lights, Susanna Hoffs
Raise The Roof, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
The Bridge, Sting
The Future, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Heavy Load of Blues, Gov't Mule
Queens of the Summer Hotel, Aimee Mann
Grateful, Elise LeGrow
Turning To Crime, Deep Purple
Rufus Wainwright and Amsterdam Sinfonietta Live, Rufus Wainwright and Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Unfollow The Rules, Rufus Wainwright (2020)
And now a shameless plug. Please tune in next week for my seventh annual Christmas Mix 2021. I've been collecting traditional and non-traditional songs all year that fit into both hot and cold climates zones not to mention rock 'n' roll and Americana music zones as well.
Writing about new music releases every month is my most difficult task at Monday Monday Music™. It's like wading out into rough surf with my 1970's Boogie board. I'll call the "rough surf"– the waves of new pop music constantly coming in through my social media apps like a wind blown day at Mission Beach. I do make the attempt to listen, but it's often like strapping my Boogie board to my ankle, putting on my fins and swimming under a series of choppy waves before I get out to calmer waters to waves with a little more form. As Sting said, "Love is the seventh wave."
In thinking about the Boogie board metaphor, I thought about the idea of taking a picture of my 1975 (baby blue) Morey Boogie board along with my brand new Morey Boogie Board that I recently purchased at Costco. That thought quickly faded as I'm currently in Seattle during this post and not at home in San Diego to snap that picture.
Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board, is photographed on Capistrano Beach holding a newer model (left) and (right) his original 1971 Boogie Board.(Photo source- NPR/ Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
So I started searching for Boogie board pictures on the Internet when I saw the NPR news headline, Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board, dies at 86.Tom Morey (August 15, 1935 – October 14, 2021), was a very creative person. He started out a professional jazz drummer, then moved to California and got a math degree at USC. He then became an engineer at Douglas Aircraft specializing in composite materials. In 1964 he quit Douglas Aircraft, moved to Ventura, CA and started several surfing related companies. Using his knowledge of composite materials and love of surfing, he developed several technological innovations that have heavily influenced modern surfing equipment design (Wikipedia).
But it wasn't until Morey left Southern California that he created the first Boogie board [with the name inspired for his love of jazz]. In 1971, Morey was living in Hawaii when he cut a large piece of polyethylene foam in half. He then worked to shape the foam with an iron after putting pages of the Honolulu Advertiser on top. By the time he was done Morey had a short board with a mostly rectangular body and a rounded nose. It weighed around three pounds — a fraction of what traditional surfboards weighed at the time. (NPR)
In the late 60's I started body surfing on the central coast of California. I then graduated to bodyboarding around 1971 as my friend Steve Spencer who surfed started shaping and making a few surfboards for fun. He gave me a small fiberglass board that was paddle board size he had made from some left over surfboard foam. I then took my dad's black and yellow Churchill Swim Fins from the garage, and they became mine. (I had no idea at the time that Churchill Fins would be the preferred standard for bodyboarders for many years.) I loved bodyboarding! It was like being a dolphin with the sensation of my body being right in the wave. For no particular reason, I was never interested in standing and surfing. Maybe I wasn't into the surfer scene, but I did like the 1960's style VW bus.
In 1975, I moved to San Diego to go to school at SDSU, and after hearing about this new type of soft bodyboard called the Morey Boogie® board, I purchased a new Morey 132 B.E. for $50 at a surf shop in Pacific Beach. (When you don't have any money, you remember the price.) Needless to say, I had endless summers and wetsuit winters of fun Boogie boarding over the years, and I still have my original baby blue board and leash used by my kids when they were children at the beach and snow, and now my grandchildren at the pool and beach. Thank you Tom Morey!
Now back to my metaphor...
So I can still ride the waves with my folk and rock 'n' roll, but the ocean of music has changed. Change is a good thing and I'm not here to put down any current pop stars or genre of music, yelling like some 'locals only' surfer to, "get off my wave!"
The cool thing about new music being released today is that folk and rock 'n' roll are still very much alive, although you do have to search a little deeper from the radio dial and bygone days of the record store. And that's why I'm here– finding you new and old tunes out in a crowded digital sea. It's that now I've moved my boogie down about 50 yards and years from the bump beat crowd to the the smaller jingle-jangle waves of my youth.
Hope you enjoy the new tunes, covers, and live performances I have ridden this month. In #NewMusicMonday and Fifty Years of Music, I include songs remastered from artists such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor who have done a fantastic job to preserve their legacy through their new vault releases of archived audio and video.
I've also included three songs from Mark Hunter, my old college roommate, once Boogie boarder, and longtime surfer. Back in the day we spent a lot of time in the waves together. Long may you surf the break by La Jolla, and create music with your acoustic six-string Mr. Hunter!
And to Tom Morey, may you boogie in eternal peace with your music and love of play in the ocean.
This Monday finds me with few words and a 60 song playlist that features several artists new to me.
When I stumbled onto Dori Freeman's new album Ten Thousand Roses, I started to go through my normal routine of sampling an album. I usually glide across several sections of a song daring the artist that is new to me to stop my incessant 'skip clicking' and slap me to attention. I love it when my search mode mentality stops and my active music listening mode starts. Is there gold here?
Dori certainly got my attention in that she has a wonderful voice to go with her straight forward songwriting. What makes a person gravitate to a singer-songwriter artist over another? Of course you have your personal taste even within a genre like Americana, but there's a magic to finding someone that sings and speaks to you. It's rare when I feature all or almost all the songs from a new album, it just doesn't happen that often. I've included all ten songs from Ten Thousand Roses across the playlist this week. I'll now be going to listen to her other three albums.
I've been tempted to rebrand my Monday Monday Music™ name several times since I started this blog in 2015. Did I write myself into a corner by having to publish every Monday or on a Monday? Should I have used my own name to brand myself? But, I always come back to sticking with Monday Monday Music as it's taken me this far with a dedicated reader and playlist listening base.
Now when it comes to bands, a name change after some success can be a risky venture. I know this happens, but I'm only coming up with one example from the past. I remember 'The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band' going through a short phase of calling themselves, 'The Dirt Band.' I think they quickly went back to their OG name once they realized the nitty gritty of the situation.
Naming of the most famous band-
By January 1959, Lennon's Quarry Bank friends had left the group, and he began his studies at the Liverpool College of Art. The three guitarists, billing themselves as 'Johnny and the Moondogs,' were playing rock and roll whenever they could find a drummer. Lennon's art school friend Stuart Sutcliffe, who had just sold one of his paintings and was persuaded to purchase a bass guitar with the proceeds, joined in January 1960. He suggested changing the band's name to 'Beatals,' as a tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. They used this name until May, when they became the 'Silver Beetles,' before undertaking a brief tour of Scotland as the backing group for pop singer and fellow Liverpudlian Johnny Gentle. By early July, they had refashioned themselves as the 'Silver Beatles,' and by the middle of August simply 'The Beatles.' (Wikipedia)
Now The Beatles, did all this name swapping before they really had any real name recognition. Personally, (and please Beatle fans don't burn me at the stake here) but I've never liked the name, 'beat' pun and all. Anyway, The Beatles did start getting name recognition in 1960, stuck with the name, and the rest is history as they say.
That brings me to one of my new favorite bands of the past several years and featured in the new music playlist this week, Mandolin Orange. The name 'Mandolin Orange' is pure Americana genius and one of my favorite band names in memory.
You can read the link article above for their name change and maturation as artists, and it all makes perfect sense, it's their band, period.
Personally, as a fan I'm not digging it so much. Honestly when I first heard the name, I thought of teenage slasher movies like, I Know What You Did Last Summer, or The Hills Have Eyes. I'll just forget my images of Jamie Lee Curtis, Neve Campbell, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, sorry.
Watchhouse with their self-titled new album, Watchhouse is a very good album from a very good band. If you're into acoustic guitar, mandolin and harmony look no further than Watchhouse (tagged for awhile as, "formally Mandolin Orange"). I think I'm now cured of my blog name change game I play in my head.
Featured Artists And Bands On This New Music Playlist (A-Z)
Yet, here I am, still gotta be bigger than the bigger man
The Bigger Man, Joy Oladokum
When I start putting together my now end of the month feature #NewMusicMonday, I'm searching and listening for songs that grab me.
When I came across Joy Oladokum's new album, in defense of my own happiness I just kind of instinctively knew from the title that there was going to be some masterful songwriting coming from this young woman.
So, I started listening and kept adding songs to the playlist this week.
Seems that everyone wants to compare Joy with Tracy Chapman. Let's just let Joy be Joy Oladokun, she's charting her own path.
Out of contact out of zone
Off the backbeat off the bone
Away from the wolf pack on your own now
Dance together or dance alone
There's trouble outside and trouble in
Show some hustle show some skin
Whatever was has already been now
Let this new day do its thing
Maybe Your Heart's Not In It No More, Jakob Dylan
The Wallflowers with band leader Jakob Dylan haven't made an album in nearly ten years, but it's been well worth the wait as Exit Wounds is a very good album.
I think Jakob Dylan has a great singing voice that seems to be getting better with age. The first track, Maybe Your Heart’s Not in It No More is a great rock 'n' roll song with the added benefit of Shelby Lynne providing backup vocals on this and several other tracks.
The Wallflowers are a good example of what makes Americana rock 'n' roll and Rock 'n' Roll Americana.
Do you think of the ocean as yours?
Because you need the ocean to breathe
Every second breath you take
Is coming from the sea
We don't really know
Because we don't really see
Do you think of the ocean as yours?
Do you think about it at all?
Downhill From Everywhere, Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne, a conscious voice for a couple of generations now, still striving, still asking the essential questions.
The complete album has just landed this past Friday and I'm still absorbing all the songs now included in this playlist. Jackson is such an inspiration, still writing and performing with his ageless voice, still at the top of his game, one of the greats that just keeps going and going. I will say, after all these years, he's finally got a little age in his face to go with the wisdom that he has expressed in song since his journeys up down the U.S. 101.
The song Downhill From Everywhere has a great Rolling Stones riff-like feel and I'm loving it! Just like Jackson to turn an environmental bummer into a catchy beat. I would guess Val McCallum his lead guitar player would have something to do with that too!
Random thought- Why haven't Bonnie Raitt and Clyde (real first name of) Jackson Browne made an album together? You know it would be fantastic, and you already know the name of the album, Bonnie & Clyde.
Real Estate is a band from New Jersey since 2009 and I would have guessed they were from across the pond. I really like their easy Indie rock sound that makes me gravitate to them like U.K bands Flyte, Teenage Fanclub, and The Fratellis that I have featured this year in #NewMusicMonday posts.
Half a Human is a good summertime EP and worth a listen.
I stepped across the dreaded green line
When the self-inflicted wounds are slowly healed
I couldn't find the forest, couldn't see the trees
I had to find my way by touch and feel
Boxes, David Crosby
David Crosby's cover of Joni Mitchell's For Free is brilliant. Like several of the songs on this album, Crosby has wisely collaborated with top shelf musicians like Sarah Jarosz on For Free, Michael McDonald on River Rise, and Donald Fagan on Rodriguez For A Night.
I personally think he should have done the whole album this way cowriting or performing with distinguished artists like Sheryl Crow did on Threads (2019). But unlike Crow, It feels to me that David's still got something to prove whether it be his ability to sell as a solo artist, or just to show people he's still got the goods.
His acidic comments over the years have caused such a rift between former band mates Stills, Nash, and Young that they now want nothing to do with him. Personally, I wish these guys the best in patching up their collective wounds and hope they can have a friendship together with David in the future. Listen to the song Boxes, as he openly acknowledges his responsibility and reflection on the subject.
Now professionally, these four guys need to stay divorced from each other, forever. All four are actually doing great collaborating with other people musically, and the comments I read about fans wanting them back together is just too much, that wooden ship sailed long ago...
However, the YouTube comments about David's voice and new songs are spot on. David Crosby's singing voice came down from the gods, and the gods have not taken away that gift. I saw him in concert several years ago and was amazed by the clarity and quality that voice has endured and continues today as he successfully delivers on this very good album.
Enjoy my friends, lots of little gems in the playlist this week!