Showing posts with label #NewMusicMonday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #NewMusicMonday. Show all posts

Monday, December 27, 2021

My Favorite Songs of 2021

A Year Of #NewMusicMondays
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 and Turn, 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): 
  1. 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

  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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!
  5. 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. 
  6. 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!
  7. 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. 
  8. Guided By Voices (Dayton OH), Earth Man Blues
    This album simply rocks! The riffs on this thing takes me back to the day.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!
  14. Bleachers (New York, NY), Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night
  15. Kings of Leon (Nashville, TN), When You See Yourself
  16. 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.
  17. Dylan LeBlanc (Shreveport, LA), Pastimes
    An EP of some of the best covers I've ever heard. 
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Allison Russell (Canada), Outside Child
  22. The Killers (Las Vegas, NV), Pressure Machine
  23. Death Cab For Cutie (Bellingham, WA),  The Georgia E.P.
  24. The Fratellis (Scotland), Half Drunk Under A Full Moon
  25. David Crosby (Santa Ynez, CA), For Free
  26. The Black Keys (Akron, OH), Delta Kream
  27. Flyte (England), This Is Really Going to Hurt
  28. Real Estate (Brooklyn, NY), Half a Human
  29. Hearty Har (Los Angeles, CA), Radio Astro
  30. Toad The Wet Sprocket, (Santa Barbara, CA), Starting Now
  31. Kings Of Convenience, (Norway), Peace or Love
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!

Monday, November 29, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • November, 2021

 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.

Acoustic Hymns Vol 1 (Amazon)
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.

Natural History (Amazon)
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. 

Happy Festivus... for the Rest of Us!

Monday, October 25, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • October, 2021

Every ripple on the ocean
Every leaf on every tree
Every sand dune in the desert
Every power we never see
There is a deeper wave than this
Swelling in the world
There is a deeper wave than this
Listen to me girl

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 
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.

Monday, September 27, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • September, 2021

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

Enjoy the playlist my friends!

Albums Featured This Month (w/at least 3 songs)

  1. Dori FreemanTen Thousand Roses
  2. Billy StringsRenewal
  3. Mac McCaughanThe Sound of Yourself
  4. Third Eye BlindOur Bande Apart
  5. Adia VictoriaA Southern Gothic
  6. J.P. Saxe Dangerous Levels of Introspection
  7. Lindsey BuckinghamLindsey Buckingham
  8. Heartless BastardsA Beautiful Life
Featured Artists this Month Include:
  • Jason Isbell
  • Natalie Hemby
  • Sting 
  • Darlingside
  • Pat Metheny
  • Ric Robertson
  • Tommy Emmanuel & Richard Smith
  • Amanda Ventura
  • King Princess
  • Ronnie Wood
  • Eddie Vedder
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Alexis Taylor
  • Ringo Starr
  • Aoife O'Donovan
  • Old Sea Brigade
  • Nathaniel Rateliff


Monday, August 30, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • August, 2021

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.' 

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. 

However, this past year the Mandolin Orange duo of Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin changed their name to, 'Watchhouse.'

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)
  • Marisa Anderson & William Tyler
  • John Batiste
  • Big Red Machine
  • Jade Bird
  • Bleachers
  • Lindsay Buckingham
  • Coldplay
  • Rodney Crowell
  • Dawes
  • Brett Dennen
  • Tommy Emmanuel & Richard Smith
  • Oliver Hazard
  • Natalie Hemby
  • Scott Hirsch
  • Chistone "Kingfish" Ingram
  • Durand Jones & The Indicators
  • Josiah and the Bonnevilles
  • The Killers
  • John Mayer
  • James McMurty
  • Robert Plant & Allison Krauss
  • Kathleen Regan
  • Maggie Rose
  • Sturgill Simpson
  • Toad The Wet Sprocket
  • Watchhouse 

Monday, July 26, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • July, 2021

I've paddled upstream where the river ran
I've touched 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

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!

Monday, June 28, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • June, 2021

Did you notice this past year during the pandemic that many musicians were recording their favorite covers at home and posting them on social media? 

The playlist this week has the usual number of covers, but I found two new albums entirely made of covers that I think are worth a listen. First, is Dylan LeBlanc's "pastimes" an EP of six cover songs. Second, is Lowland Hum's So Low, an entire cover of Peter Gabriel's 1986 masterpiece, So.

Here's 99 songs for your music week. Enjoy my friends!

Monday, May 31, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • May, 2021

Curating new music playlists is no slapdash exercise in doing the search, shift, and sort from 'New Releases' across the Internet to find worthy new songs and covers. I follow my Rock 'n' Roll, Folk, Americana, Country, Indie, Blues, Soul, and Alt Rock ears to give you an eclectic playlist different from streaming service generated playlists*.

In most streaming services, algorithm-created or hand-made playlists are collected into a current narrow genre format. From a pure listening perspective, I can't take the same-same type of songs all in a single playlist for one sitting. I guess it's the same reason I gave up on commercial AM-FM format stations years ago. 

So if you feel the same way, let's get this #NewMusicMonday started for your week ahead and mix things up with this new100 song playlist! There's even some new releases from a few folks who've been around the block a couple times, or are smiling down from the stars above.

*Note- I do 'steal' songs from many different sources on the Internet to make my playlists. In turn, I would be honored if someone stole from this playlist to add to their mix.

Monday, April 26, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • April, 2021

I wrote this post right after the guilty verdicts came in for the Derek Chauvin trial in the murder of George Floyd. During the past couple of weeks, there have been marches in Minneapolis and Chicago for recent police shootings, including a thirteen year old boy. 

My current thoughts are a general feeling of relief, and that these marches and protests will continue, peacefully. I believe that the Black Lives Matter protests in the streets for the past several years actually helped create a positive result in the Minneapolis courtroom last Tuesday.

New police shootings of unarmed people of color seem to happen every week. The black body count continues. The difference now is video- from phones, security cameras, and police body cameras. This is why the purpose of shining a light by the Black Lives Matter movement is not going away. 

The Black Lives Matter movement is a continuation and renewal of the civil rights movement started in the early 1960's. It's actually a wonderfully simple branding that harkens back to the, "I Am A Man" posters carried by the black Memphis sanitation workers in their 1968 strike, and at protests shortly after Dr. Martin Luther King’s death.

As a sixty-six year old white man, the Black Lives Matter movement has given me a better understanding of what black people deal with everyday in America. 

The Black Lives Matter movement simply presents the fact that white lives have always mattered in a dominant Anglo-American society, but with particular favor compared to people of color in our criminal justice system. 

Of all the things for and against the slogan, "Black Lives Matter," I believe Michael Che has said it best way back in his 2016 Netflix special.


In the Chauvin trial, one realizes that justice itself is something much systemically larger than a singular guilty verdict of a police officer methodically killing a black man in the street. But, I'm hopeful that this may be 'the catalyst event' in our history to begin the process for the transformation of law enforcement in our country. The blue wall of silence was not a factor during this particular trial, and I'm encouraged by the testimony of the many law enforcement individuals called to the stand. The factor that made this guilty verdict possible was in large part due to the brave citizens who stood witness, and most importantly video-taped what the Minneapolis Police Department initially reported as a "medical incident." 

Darnella Frazier (Center)

My thoughts are with the eyewitnesses who also testified at the trial. I can't get out of my head seventeen year old Darnella Frazier who recorded the entire killing on video, as she was crying on the witness stand,

"When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles," Frazier said. She said she has stayed up some nights "apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life." But, she said, "it’s not what I should have done. It’s what he (Chauvin) should have done." (USA Today)

Darnella, the whole world watched your video, you're a hero.

We don't need to "Defund the Police," a stupid liberal branding that in fact does not help solve the larger problem of systemic racism in the criminal justice system. 

We have to move forward with national strategic planning to completely 'transform' NOT 'reform' law enforcement as it currently exists. To me, policing reform initiatives are like buying retread tires where new tire tread is molded onto an existing tire, for an old car. Criminal justice transformation is entirely different, it's like designing and building a new car not dependent on dinosaurs.

The planning and implementation required for such a transformation will in fact need MORE funding to help structure an entirely new criminal justice system. A new justice system that systemically performs at least to the low bar expectation that the lives of all people of color 'just matter' in interactions with the police. This verdict is not justice, it is rare. Hopefully it's the beginning, that spark in time for a new standard of accountability in law enforcement.


In my search for new music this month, I found an Allison Russell song on Spotify who will be releasing her debut solo album, Outside Child in May.

Allison Russell is a new find for me and so I began to search her on the Internet. In that discovery, I found her moving spoken word essay, Dream of America published on YouTube (10/30/2020) just before the Presidential election. As I listened to Ms. Russell talk about her life experiences, I found it an important piece that continues to help my awareness of race and culture, and where we need to be as a people, for the people. 

I would suggest that if you don't have the time right now to view this video, that you come back to view it later as it will be well worth you time.


My usual moaning in new music searches for rock 'n' roll and Americana genres of music is that there is just sooooo much music coming out every month. Actually, a nice problem to have in a world full of real problems, don't you think?

I look at lots of different 'New Releases' reviews and playlists from many of the music streaming services or major (and even minor) online music publications out there. 

So why check out my little music publication every Monday? 

My answer, I generally curate a new playlist every week. I do this from artists' EP's or albums over just 'singles' releases. It doesn't mean I don't do singles, I include them in almost every playlist I make. It's just a marked contrast with the commercial music streaming playlists today that are typically put together with a mix of singles only. 

As a distinction from the pack, my YouTube playlists are most often a mix of  2-5 songs from an album or live video recording with individual artist singles mixed throughout. My hope is that you'll come away with at least one familiar or new artist that causes you to further seek out their songs or albums. 

With that said, here's 68 songs, most you've probably have never heard before. Believe me, I'm often just a couple of weeks or even days ahead of you on that one, but in channeling my inner Stephen Colbert I'll say, "A curated mix of my taste in music, found in album, sifted and separated by song, and carefully sorted, that is my segment... A Playlist." 

Enjoy my friends, stay well and mask-up!

Monday, March 29, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • March, 2021

March has been a Neil Young month of sorts. Neil has so much unreleased material that he is just now getting around to share with the public- Neil Young Archives Vol. II: 1972-1976, and Young Shakespeare (1971). If you're a fan, it's new music (or a new release) to our old ears.

Right now, I'm on a Neil Young biographies jag. Good friend Ken Forman sent me Neil's 2012 autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace: Hippie Dream that was perfect timing with his new batch of releases that I have mixed in this month's playlists. Thanks Ken!

Friend Mark Hunter and I are getting together next week for some takeout sushi and beers. After not seeing each other for many months due to the pandemic, he's going to bring along the 2003 Neil Young biography Shaky for me to borrow, and I'm going to do the same as he has never read Waging Heavy Peace. I love how I'm reading these backwards in time. 

Neil's a very special musician to several generations now. If you're into my blog and playlists, you know I always manage a way to stick his tunes in my playlists. So enjoy some of his new old stuff that I have selected and mixed right in with all the younger musician's new songs. I'm thinking, Neil would probably like that last sentence.

This week, all the work is in the playlist (80 songs), or my new spin on an old proverbThe proof of the playlist is in the listening. 

That's all I got. 

Enjoy my friends, stay healthy and mask-up. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • January, 2021

Two Days In January 

January 6th - A Day of Desecration 
A day, I as an American citizen would never have thought possible. Almost three weeks ago, a mob incited by President Trump, descended upon our U.S. Capital and created a violent insurrection against our constitution by trying to stop the legislative process to certify our 2020 Presidential election.  

Back in October 2019, I created the American flag graphic above to go with a blog I wrote, Save The Country, 50 Years Later and the #WrongSideOfHistory. In that blog I used the 1968 song, Save The Country by Laura Nyro to frame my personal opinion where I stated, "After listening to 'Save The Country' 50 years later, I couldn't help but link the lyrics with our current political times under one Donald Trump as history's loop-tape back to the civil rights movement and the policies and behavior of the Nixon administration. These lyrics are as relevant today as when Laura Nyro wrote them in 1968 expressing her fortitude with the continual efforts to preserve our democratic principles and the dreams they are built on."
Come on, people, come on, children
Come on down to the glory river
Gonna wash you up and wash you down
Gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down

One year later in October 2020, I wrote another blog, The Senate A Silent Majority, and the #WrongSideOfHistory, where I updated the graphic by adding the 'electoral 2020' to go along with the featured song of that blog by Paul Hobbs, The Senate A Silent Majority. In taking inspiration from Paul's song I wrote, The present Senate majority (fifty-three) Republican senators have simply been, SILENT. Silent to act as Trump almost provoked a war with North Korea. Silent to act on any meaningful legislation like rebuilding our nation's infrastructure. Silent to act by watching immigrant children locked in cages at the southern border. Silent to act on the President's attempt to use a foreign power to influence our election. Silent to act on a world-wide pandemic with over 8 million U.S. cases and over 220,000 American deaths (so far). I could go on...

During this current month of January, that number of U.S. deaths is now over 420,000, not to mention Trump's impeachment for a second time in the House. Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate begins in February, and down the road, a (911-type) independent commission to investigate the entire insurrection, including the possible direct involvement by members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Now why I'm bringing up my American flag-Save The Country graphic again is due to the indelible video embedded in my brain forever of a particular Trump supporter beating a police officer with an American flag and pole. Now let that horrible irony really sink in because our waving flag is the definitive American symbol of our democracy.  For folks who talk about 'Patriotism' and 'Law and Order,' that specific act of terrorism toward that police officer within the totality of all the mob violence on January 6th, is the literal epitome of hypocrisy, and an haunting image I can't shake right now.

As an American, I have long destained the right's hijacking of the flag starting with it being 'Nixon's flag' and printed on everything from the 'mandatory' politician's lapel pin to patriotic underwear. The American flag represents ALL Americans, it flies over all of us.
I got fury in my soul, fury's gonna take me to the glory goal
In my mind I can't study war no more
Save the people
Save the children
Save the country now

January 20th - A Day of Democracy 
Exactly two weeks after January 6th, President Joseph Biden is sworn in as our 46th President of the United States. The Capital is returned to its glory and the splendor of the ceremonies both day and night brings an exhausted feeling of relief to a weary nation. I have no illusions that we are anywhere out of the woods of lies fueling rage, but a new sense of calm has come over me. Only in America.

On January 20th, two songs lifted my spirits and are bookends for the playlist this week. One, Lady Gaga opens the inauguration by singing the Star Spangled Banner that started a very emotional day for me. Second, Katy Perry closes the celebration by singing her 2010 hit Firework set to a fireworks display over Washington DC that was a four-year rainbow exhale for our nation. I cried.

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

On January 6th, I started this #NewMusicMonday January playlist to escape from the shear horror of what happened on this infamous day in history. The new music I have discovered this month has provided a great comfort from the daily news and video that has come to light from that terrible day. 

Today, I'm hoping to retire my 'Save The Country' graphic from the blog forever. I'm feeling very positive for the days ahead in keeping the dream and riding the dove. 

Enjoy the new music and covers this week my friends, stay well and mask-up.

Come on, people, sons and mothers
Keep the dream of the two young brothers
Gotta take that dream and ride that dove
We can build the dream with love, I know
We can build the dream with love
We could build the dream with love, I know
We could build the dream with love

Monday, December 28, 2020

My Favorite Songs of 2020

A Year Of #NewMusicMondays  

This year I began a monthly feature called #NewMusicMonday. In this edition, I've handpicked all the new music I was able to listen to this year and eventually determine my 'favorites.' For December, I've included my favs for this month in the year-long grouping.

I begin this post with my 20 favorite albums of 2020 from which My Favorite Songs of 2020 playlist draws heavily from these albums. These albums are organized left to right from 1-20 but after the top 5, it's pretty loose as most regular readers here know I usually avoid 'The Best of' label. I just wanted to recognize all these great albums released this year that cover the main genres of my personal tastes in: Rock 'n' Roll, Americana, R&B, Pop, and even some (real) Country made it this year. 

Note- The following 'album links' are Amazon music options for purchase.

Now my #1 album for 2020 needs a little explaining. Wildflowers was released in 1994 by Tom Petty although you can easily call it Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers because his band is all over the record. So long story short- Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and his producer, Rick Rubin spent two years making what was intended to be a double album of twenty five songs. Lenny Waronker, the President of Warner Bros. Records "suggested that it was too long." In the corporate world, CEO's don't suggest and it was made into a single album with 15 songs. Petty's family and bandmates arranged a 2020 re-release of the album that includes the deleted [10] songs, demos, and live tracks entitled Wildflowers & All The Rest. The super deluxe edition of the box set included a fifth disc of alternate versions of the Wildflowers tracks (Wikipedia). 

So most of the 10 missing songs are found in this year's playlist as Tom Petty is one of my (and probably yours too) all-time favorite singer-songwriters. It's hard to believe these 10 songs sat on the shelf for a quarter-century as they make an album most people could only dream of making. But Tom always had plenty of songs, and so we get some old new Tom Petty this year!

#1 Wildflowers & All The Rest (Amazon options)

My #2 album is World on the Ground by Sarah Jarosz. I think I have most of her ten songs from the album scattered about on the playlist. Sarah has all the tools- composition, voice, guitar, banjo and mandolin player, and is one of the most compelling singer-songwriters in music today. Sarah Jarosz is the real deal and in my opinion had the #1 album this year overlooked by the siloed format music business and critique. I guess Taylor Swift can dip her toes into folk-pop with her 2020 release of Folklore this year complete with the album jacket cover of Taylor in the woods. Well, the suits are playing it on pop radio and if that translates into 'whatever it takes' to maybe get people like Sarah Jarosz some airplay...

My #3 album is XOXO by The Jayhawks. Again I believe I have most of their songs on the playlist as this band has steadily emerged to be my newest favorite band. The Jayhawks are hard to pigeonhole as either Alternative Country, Country Rock, Folk Rock, or Americana, and so it just doesn't matter. This group is heartland rock 'n' roll who run a very democratic ship as far as bands go, and hopefully that will keep them together for years to come. This band is also often overlooked due to the narrow-minded music genre format structure. C'mon suits, can't you even play one new rock 'n' roll song on the classic rock radio dial?

My #4 album is McCartney III by Paul McCartney. This album was just released last week and featured in my blog from last week as well. From my perspective, what's not to like as most of the songs makes the playlist as an encore here this week. The playlist includes new material from both Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney, the two greatest singer-songwriters of all-time. What a gift for their fans in 2020!

My #5 album is See Here, I Have Built You A Mansion by Josh Ritter. This EP of eight songs is simply outstanding and introduced me to the music of Josh Ritter, as now I'm a big fan and think you will enjoy this singer-songwriter.

I was talking to my friend Ron Zieman on the phone about the playlist I did a couple of weeks ago, 50 Years of Music • My Favorite Songs of 1970. We both just couldn't get over how many great songs came out on one album back in the day.  Here, what all my top 5 albums above have in common is just like the old days, these individual records are all packed with great songs and well worth your 2020 music dollar. 

6. Imploding The Mirage, The Killers
7. Beginners, Christian Lee Hudson
8. Expectations, Katie Pruitt
9. Rough and Rowdy Ways, Bob Dylan
11.  Rise Above, Tomar & The FCs
12. Starting Over, Chris Stapleton
13. Ever-Roving Eye, James Elkington
15. Reunions, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
16. Pick Me Off The Floor, Nora Jones
17. Saint Cloud, Waxahatchee
18. Fish Pond Fish, Darlingside
19. Desolation Sounds, Ayla Brook & The Soundmen
20. Songs For The General Public, The Lemon Twigs

My Favorite Songs of 2020
playlist this week stands at 183 songs strong that has been a labor of love putting together this past year. These songs helped pull me through a tough tough 2020 and are not in a rated order other than that the top 20 or so are loosely put at the top of the list. I will mention my #1 favorite song of 2020, I Don't Mind by Sturgill Simpson. This song just caught me off guard the first time I was going through Sturgill's Bluegrass versions of his songs on the album, Cuttin' Grass, Vol. 1: The Butcher Shoppe Sessions. I think it's one of the best Country songs I've ever heard, and wish more artists could right that Country-pop music tilt back towards a more Bluegrass tradition. To tag-along on that last sentence, I've also included a song on the Playlist by Chris Stapleton, called Nashville, TN that speaks directly to 'Music City.'

Anyway, I guess that's why we have now have the Americana genre to thank for filling the 'roots' void as a new generation of artists will take us through the next century with new songs not often heard on AM/FM radio formats or on TV. I miss the old variety TV shows in the 60's and 70's where an older Hollywood star in a tuxedo would introduce a new band of young long-hairs to lip-sync their current hit song with their electric guitars not plugged in to their amps.

I guess we can be thankful for the Internet to be our current source for listening to NEW Rock 'n' Roll and Americana music that I'm happy to share with you here on Monday Monday Music.

Stay well, mask-up, and Happy New Year my friends!