Brad Meador
  
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Sep 20

Ray LaMontagne: NYC’s Killing Me

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This song speaks to me:

New York City’s Killing Me

That is all.

Feb 16

Three things…

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First, come to the show at the Velo Rouge on Saturday!

Second, a couple of streaming albums to listen to:

Third, February is Write an Album Month.  I am less ambitious, shooting for 2010 to be write a song year.  At the pace I’ve been going, it feels like my deadline is a little tight.

Jun 18

Clem Snide and Eilen Jewell

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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 01

Townes

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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.

May 29

Jenny Lewis and the Sadies at the Fillmore

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Just went to see one of the better concerts I’ve been to in a long time.  I am a huge fan of Jenny Lewis’ Rabbit Fur Coat – another one of those albums that captured my attention for several months. I’m less familiar with Acid Tongue, but based on tonight’s performance I’m going to have to give it another chance.

imageWhy so impressed?  Jenny Lewis is right in my wheelhouse – guitar driven pop\rock music with the slightest hint of twang and strong vocals.  She really knows how to use her voice, switching between a belted groove to a whispered growl with ease and her phrasing has you hanging on every word.  The band was superb.  I was especially impressed with Farmer Dave Scher, who appears to be the master of all instruments that are cool.  For the most part he played a lap steel guitar (which I hope to be my next instrument purchase) but he also broke out a strat, an electric autoharp (the Omnichord), keyboards, some kind of device with a tube that he stuck in his mouth and background vocals.  Impressive.

Here are some songs from Rabbit Fur Coat.  Go buy it now:

Run Devil Run
The Big Guns
Handle With Care

imageThe Sadies opened.  I’ve seen them before (backing Neko Case) and am a fan.  Dallas and Travis Good are both excellent guitar players and put on a great show.  Mostly though, I hope that one day I find myself in a social situation where it is acceptable to wear a western suit like the ones they sport at their gigs.

Apr 12

All my hard work has paid off!

Filed under: albums, recordings | Back to: Homepage

Last year I set up digital distribution for downtime via CDBaby.net.  Now the album is available on iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon and other fine digital music retailers.  Yesterday I got my first check – for $12.67.  At this rate, in two more years I’ll pay off the setup fee and watch the profits pour in!

imageIf you have the time, play the songs on Rhapsody and send a few extra pennies my way.  Thanks!

The Nicest Guy She’d Meet
I Can’t Feel Love
I Don’t Know
Micheline
Grumble
Come Again
The Bitter Guy
Cryin’ Dyin’ Blues
Magic
Marie’s Song
New York’s Just a Dream
Not Anymore
November
Micheline Reprise

Apr 08

Edgar Meyer

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image A quick, unusual recommendation for this blog.  On Saturday I walked downtown.  A little overwhelmed by the Union Square crowds and needing a break, I jumped into the Borders Books, grabbed a cup of coffee and found a quiet chair to sit in.  At that moment they started playing Edgar Meyer’s Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites – Performed on Double Bass.  I own this one and recognized it straight away.  For whatever reason, it was exactly the right music at exactly the right time to soothe whatever was ailing me and I sat and listened to the whole thing.  This recording particularly appeals to me because there are so few good bass recordings out there:

Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008 – Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008/I. Prélude (Instrumental)
Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008 – Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008/II. Allemande (Instrumental)
Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008 – Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008/III. Courante (Instrumental)

Net net, I’ve been listening all week. 

I first heard about Meyer when the Rice string bass majors were talking about his work on a Lyle Lovett album and I had the pleasure of seeing him a couple of years ago at the Herbst.  Genius.

And yes, this inspired me to dust off the bass and see how badly my skills have deteriorated (not too bad, thankfully!).  Maybe some bass work will make it on the next album…

Mar 20

Eleni Mandell @ Cafe du Nord

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I went to see Eleni Mandell at Cafe du Nord last night.  I was turned on to her stuff from the songs:Illinois blog, a place where I seem to be finding more and more great music.  I have been loving her albums enough to give them as gifts to my family, so I was really looking forward to the show.

She opened with My Twin, which is one of my favorites.  The band was incredibly good and it was particularly fascinating to see how she translated her studio work to a live performance.  All in all a good time, though I was disappointed with the length of the show – less than an hour overall.  Maybe this had to do with the fact that attendance was pretty light, but that’s not all that good of an excuse IMO.

Eleni just released Artificial Fire, which I like more and more, but if you’re going to buy one Eleni Mandell album, I’d buy Miracle of Five or Afternoon first.  Here are some samples:

image Miracle of Five

Moonglow, Lamp Low
Girls

image Afternoon

American Boy
Afternoon

Country for True Lovers is great as well.  Give her a listen and we’ll all go to the show next time she’s in town.

Mar 12

*sigh* I ♥ Middle Cyclone

Filed under: albums | Back to: Homepage

clip_image002I’m a little embarrassed to write how much I love Neko Case’s new album.  I mean, I was obviously pre-destined to like it.  So I realize that my credibility is strained here.

But Middle Cyclone is really really good.

It feels like a natural extension of Fox Confessor, but she returns to some more traditional song forms (Chorus!  Hooks!) and adds a couple of covers to boot.  And then there’s that voice*swoon*

But what I really like about it is the humor in the whole thing.  I generally focus on music and melody long before lyrics (and MC has a glorious helping of both).  But after several dozen listens, I can’t help but chuckle at a lovesick Tornado that “carved your name across three counties” or prison girls that have “traded more for cigarettes than I’ve managed to express.”  And the single People Got a Lotta Nerve about misguided surprise when wild animals turn deadly is either eerily prophetic or in pretty poor taste depending on your opinion of current events.

And you read the interviews and Neko says that no, there’s no hidden meaning.  The song really is about what would happen if a tornado fell in love with a person and smashed everything standing for 65 miles wide. And the chorus “I’m a man man man, man man man eater” really is just about a killer whale.  If you close your eyes, you can almost see the smirk…

So good.

She’s playing on June 9th at the Warfield.  This one’s sure to sell out, so buy your tickets soon.  See you there.

Feb 24

Show Saturday, Feb. 28 with Erston Pearcy

Filed under: albums, gigs | Back to: Homepage

A quick reminder, I’ve got a gig this Saturday, February 28th with Erston Pearcy:

Saturday, February 28 from 7:00 – 9:30 PM
Bazaar Café

http://www.bazaarcafe.com/
5927 California Street, between 21st & 22nd Avenues
San Francisco, CA 94121

image I haven’t played the Bazaar in a while and I’m really looking forward to Saturday.  Erston is an fantastic songwriter and always puts on a good show.  Check out some of his tunes:

Someone
More of You
’56 Chevrolet

Good stuff.  Pick up his excellent EP at Saturday’s performance for a “very reasonable price.” 

See you guys there!