Brad Meador
  
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Jun 30

Spring Concerts – How’d I Do?

Filed under: live music | Back to: Homepage

In March I posted a list of upcoming concerts.  I missed Rupa, Cory and Clem but added Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Justin Townes Earle, Steve Earle, Jenny Lewis and the Sadies, a second Neko Case show and Gary Louris \ Mark Olson.  Great music all around!  The highlights:

  • Ralph Stanley is 82 years old and a bluegrass legend.  He walked out on stage with a big bandage over his forehead from an early morning fall, but he still put on a great show.  It reminded me of the music we saw at the Mountain View folk festival when I was a kid.
  • Justin Townes Earle’s show was polished – he obviously picked up some great experience touring with his dad.  I like the latest album, too.
  • I still think the Fleet Foxes’ encore was one of the coolest I have seen.
  • Neko Case can do no wrong with me, but I definitely think the experience on the floor of the Warfield is superior to the balcony.
  • I almost skipped Junior Brown show and that would have been a big mistake.  Don’t let the hat fool you, he’s a spectacular blues guitarist.
  • I really hope that Gary Louris and Mark Olson continue to make music together.
  • The Patty Griffin show was actually Patty, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller trading mostly acoustic songs.  Highly emotional concert at the Mountain Winery – I love this stuff!

I don’t have many shows planned for the summer, but I’m very excited about the Old 97’s Family Show at the Fillmore in July.  More on that later…

Jun 18

Clem Snide and Eilen Jewell

Filed under: albums | Back to: Homepage

I’ve been listening to a lot of music to gain inspiration for my new project.  Two albums that have held my ear the last couple of months…

image Clem Snide – Hungry Bird

I had never really listened to Clem Snide, but when NPR posted With All My Heart from Hungry Bird I had to take a closer look.  I love the sparse arrangement of this heartbreakingly beautiful song.  The rest of the album is equally good.  Turn up the volume when you listen to Me No.

image Eilen Jewell – Sea of Tears

I read about Eilen Jewell on songs:illinois, a blog where I’m finding more and more of my music lately.  This album has got balls.  I love love love the rockabilly\surf electric guitar all over these songs.  Every so often Eilen will belt out a guttural growl that just kills me.  Check out Sea of Tears and her cover of Shakin’ All Over.  It’s really fun to listen to this music.

More to come soon…

Jun 12

The Perfect Songs: Question by Rhett Miller

Filed under: live music, songwriting | Back to: Homepage

Donny sent me a link to this American Songwriter contest.  Here’s what I entered:

Rhett Miller has written one of the perfect songs – Question (from the Old 97’s Satellite Rides).  Without using words like marriage, propose or ring, Rhett paints a moment when a man asks that question "you say yes to once in your life."  It’s beautiful and intimate and makes the heart soar.  And all in under two and a half minutes!

I’ve played Question at a half dozen weddings and it never fails to impress. 

The Old 97s are playing at the Fillmore next month.  It looks like Rhett and Murry will be opening with some of their solo stuff before the band comes out.  See you guys there.

Jun 01

Townes

Filed under: albums | Back to: Homepage

I’m a native Texan and a Texas music fanatic.  I go see Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle and Willie Nelson and the Old 97s every time they come to town.  I have a subscription to Texas Music Magazine.  And when I stop to tune my guitar during a set, I quote Guy Clark by introducing him as the greatest living Texas songwriter because Townes Van Zandt is dead.  (“You spend half your life tuning your guitar and the other half playing out of tune.”)

To the uninitiated, Townes is the guy that wrote Pancho and Lefty.  To the Texas music community, Townes is the stuff of Texas music legend.  He reportedly dreamt an entire song, teaching himself the chords and lyrics in his sleep.  He’s been covered by Willie & Merle, Lyle Lovett, Cowboy Junkies, Norah Jones, Allison Kraus and Robert Plant and countless others.

But I never really got Townes Van Zandt.  I figured out why this week.

A lot of folks hear the lyrics first.  I always hear the performance first.  I can listen to a song 100 times before I ever really listen to the lyrics.  If the melody and the groove don’t grab me, I’m unlikely to listen again.  I’ve listened to Townes’ albums and even saw him play once in Houston, but his performances didn’t draw me in enough to get to the heart of the songs.

image All that changed with the release of Steve Earle’s Townes.  Steve’s performance brings outs the best in Townes’ songs.  I’ve heard Townes’ recordings of Brand New Companion several times before, but it took Steve’s rendition to make me hear the beauty in it.  The same can be said for every song on the album (Lungs, Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold, etc.).  Highly recommended. 

And when you’re done devouring Earle’s album, go watch the documentary Be Here To Love Me – a heartbreaking tale of artistry and addiction.

Now I’m going to dust off all of my Townes albums and give them another spin.