Saturday, October 4, 2008

Blog Names: Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands

Elliott Smith: Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands

[live bootleg; more Elliott Smith here]

I wasn't going to post this one after a kerfluffle last week involving an Elliott Smith song I posted here. But the above cover is audience-recorded, perfectly legal, originally released on I know, because I picked it up from a blog of the same name -- and when Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands posts a song, it's safe to assume that it's perfectly legit.

More than anything, Chad of Everbody Cares, Everybody Understands offers authenticity and a sense of humility along with well-chosen tracks. He only posts legally acquired songs, and was up front and apologetic about his need to bring in some tasteful-as-possible ads to the site last year; his writing is honest and earnest, like the songs of namesake Elliott Smith, and he prefers music that is the same, regardless of genre, whether that means older cuts from Smith, Lou Reed or Dionne Warwick or newer work from Nickel Creek, Okkervil River and Bon Iver. People Playing Songs I Love, a series which collects multiple amateur youtube covers of the same song, gives me hope for the human race; he's just started a series on old scratchy vinyl transfers from the 1920s and 1930s which promises to be great. Even his well-chosen site quote, from fellow truthsayer and bared soul Kurt Vonnegut, speaks to art as a practice that grows the soul.

Good music, creative ideas, and an exceptional attitude speak for themselves. But I'm also choosing to write about Everybody Cares this week because, like Craig and The Duke, Chad has been one of my greatest influences and mentors as a blogger, modeling cool, offering support and advice, and leaving the occasional comment to remind me he's reading. It is an honor to know he cares, and an honor to recommend him to others.

Blog Names: Spread The Good Word!

Tennessee Ernie Ford: Cry Of The Wild Goose [purchase]

Garnet Mimms: As Long As I Have You [purchase]

If pressed to name the coolest music blog on the net, I think I'd say Spread The Good Word! The place just has a really great vibe (think Creature From The Black Lagoon and Wanda Jackson and exclamation points). Plus, the music is incredible. Featuring the very best in forgotten and semi-forgotten soul, rock, and country from the 1950’s and 1960’s, STGW! is a pure joy.

The author, Rev. Tom Frost, is a musician himself. I’d post some of his stuff here, but my copy is DRM’d from i-tunes, so that’s a no go. He does a nice cover of I Saw The Light. You should check out his personal website in addition to his great blog.

[Note: This week we are supposed to be posting songs that inspired the blog’s name. I don’t think a song inspired the name of this blog (but I could be wrong). So I just posted a couple of wonderful tunes that represent the kind of thing Reverend Frost regularly features. I just couldn't leave STGW! out of the blog love that's going on with this theme. I'll take the heat from the boss if necessary.]

Blog Names: For The Sake Of The Song

Townes Van Zandt: For The Sake Of The Song


One of my favorite music blogs, For The Sake Of The Song, has been on hiatus of late. Based on the last post before its departure, it should be back soon. A September return was promised, so I've got my fingers crossed.

If it's not already on your radar, make sure you make FTSOTS a regular stop when it comes back. FTSOTS primarily highlights music from the last century. What makes it so great, I think, is the wide range of featured genres, from blues to country to punk (always represented by excellent songs), and the intelligent writing. I've learned a lot there. And it's fun too.

Come back soon For The Sake Of The Song...

By the way, I should point out that the namesake song from Mr. Townes Van Zandt is solid. Really one of the greats. It comes from Townes' self-titled third album released in 1969, which is probably the best place to start with Townes Van Zandt if you are so inclined.

Blog Names: Nine Bullets

Drive-By Truckers - Nine Bullets


This must be the internet equivalent of being the last kid picked at tee ball but none the less here I am writing about my own damned blog. I kept hoping someone else might write about it but either nobody over here likes or they don't know from which song the name came. I don't give a shit either way...alls I know is I never pass on a chance to pimp my web site... takes it's name from the song Nine Bullets by The Drive-By Truckers. It was on their 1999 release, Pizza Deliverance. Nine Bullets was recorded on a drunken Sunday afternoon in Patterson's Athens, Ga. living room. As a nifty piece of trivia you can hear Patterson's dogs fighting in the background of Mrs. Dubose.

As for the site. Well, I feel a little stupid for making this post at all so I'm not gonna spend too much time on the site it self. I write about a little bit of everything but I do tend to focus on one man bands and punk-blues bands a lot. Some country, a little rock and occasionally a little hiphop. My writing quality is average on its best days and drunken ramblings on most but it's my little corner of the internets and I love it.

Come pay me a visit. Maybe you'll find something you like.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blog Names: Time Has Told Me

Nick Drake: Time Has Told Me


Time has told me
Youre a rare rare find
A troubled cure
For a troubled mind.

Time Has Told Me is from the dark side of the blogging world; they post entire albums, a wonderful mix of semi-traditional Euro and British folk, more experimental folk from around the globe, and the occasional live recording from the early days of Ron Sexsmith and other folk rock artists from this side of the pond. Their namesake is a raggedly majestic 1969 Nick Drake folktune; the first verse, in italics above, is perhaps the quintessential collectors touchstone.

Though many of the songs on Time Has Told Me are wonderful collectors items, rare, out-of-print or unavailable, and many artists featured are true obscurities, every once in a while they get a takedown request. In their favor, Time Has Told Me admin Lizardson is honest, and practices full disclosure, even going so far as to publish such notices in the blog itself. But it's worth the reminder: here at Star Maker Machine, we include purchase links for all songs we post for a reason; we support and promote the artist's right to profit off their music, and do not condone wholesale peer to peer sharing of music when it undermines that right.

Blog Names: A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz

Scott Miller: I Made A Mess Of This Town


As a folk blogger, I pay close attention to good blogs with a regional focus and a tendency towards any music remotely resembling folk. After all, by its very definition, folk music is rooted deeply in its community, and most of the better communities (such as the mid-New England valley region that I call home) have more than enough going on to keep any blogger busy. As such, it becomes nigh impossible for any one folkwatcher to keep tabs on the total spectrum of emerging sound without learning to depend on a few stalwart trendspotters and authenticators from as full a spectrum of local folk hotspots as possible.

Which was why I was so happy to find A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz. Star Maker regular Nelson has only been blogging for a few months now, but in that time, he's been a powerful influence on my own renewed interest in the Kentucky and Tennessee music scene, and in the curious cross-section of americana, indiefolk, country, and southern rock and roll which seems to both radiate out from and coalesce in the region.

Nelson really does know what he's talking about: he's a DJ on a local listener-supported Americana station down there, and he actually went to high school with two of my favorite new americana musical phenomena, old-timey newcomer Brett Ratliff and my own personal vote for best new singer-songwriter of the year, Steeldrivers lead singer Chris Stapleton. And the song from which his namesake lyric comes, a twangy alt-rocking ditty by local boy Scott Miller, speaks volumes about his local focus.

The combination of astute ears, local knowledge, and the access that radio station DJ-ing gives him to a breadth of new music has produced a series of entries which are as well-written as they are celebratory. His recent series on the Americana Music Awards was thorough and wise, a powerful introduction to both the breadth of modern americana as a genre, and the kind of awards show and stamp of approval that I am thrilled to find out about. Other recent favorites have included this week's wonderful post about meeting Charlie Louvin and the Old 97s, and one of his great "Top Five" posts about the work of Alejandro Escovedo.

In the end, A Fifty Cent Lighter is a perfect way to track a vital part of the modern music scene, a solid mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar, perfect for someone like me, who is just starting to trend towards the country side of americana, and needs a good local guide. Twice in as many months I have sat down to write a blog entry about a brand-new, previously unblogged musician or band only to find that Nelson got there first, and said it better than I was hoping to. If that isn't both validating and the highest praise, I don't know what is.

Blog Names: Locust Street

The Black Crowes: Locust Street


For this writer, the main job of a music blogger is to contextualize the music. This can be accomplished by setting the stage with a theme, attaching personal experiences to a song or explaining its history. Very few bloggers do all three, Locust St does all that and more.

In 2005, while making the transition from UseNet to the Blogosphere, I came across Locust St and was blown away. It wasn't the first music blog I'd seen, but it was the first to contextualize the music on a professorial level with prose equal to the art of the songs discussed. Chris doesn't just write about music, he frames it with art, literature and movies from the day the songs were composed. One gets a chance to bathe themselves in the atmosphere they were written in. I'm not aware of any music blogger that has the knowledge of Jazz Chris possesses and his understanding of music from the Acoustic Era is unparalleled. This heady package inspired me to turn my online activities towards music - I can safely state it's the main reason why I'm blogging about it today.

Now, this is kind of backwards - the theme states songs that inspired blogs. In this case, I'm going to suspend disbelief and take Chris on his word that his blog inspired The Black Crowes' Chris Robinson to write Locust Street. If you're a regular reader, you'll know that's not a big jump to make.

Quite simply, Locust St is the gold standard to judge all serious music blogs against. That's a pretty bold statement, but then again, it's a pretty amazing blog. If you've never been to Locust St, there's no better time than right now to visit.

Blog Names: The Adios Lounge

Thelonious Monster: Adios Lounge


Joining up with the Star Maker Machine brought more happy surprises than I could count. I was exposed to many bloggers I'd hadn't come across before, every one of them brought something unique to the table. Perhaps the biggest surprise was The Adios Lounge, which for reasons I can't explain hadn't shown up on my radar before.

The Adios Lounge gets into the nuts and bolts of tunes, not only as a music lover, but from a players standpoint as well, like how a drummer subtly slows the beat after a sax player joins in on the chorus. That kind of writing gets my attention because the author knows what they're talking about, Lance certainly does. Musically, I'm not sure of where he's been or what he's done, but you don't get that sort of knowledge by just watching from the sidelines.

The blog's name comes from a Thelonious Monster tune from their 1992 Beautiful Mess album, a duet between group leader Bob Forrest and Tom Waits. If there was ever a nonconformist musician, it's Bob Forrest. If there was ever a blog that doesn't conform to the usual flotsam and jetsam that seems to be the standard for the Blogosphere, it's The Adios Lounge. It's now one of my regular reads and it should be yours as well.

Blog Names: No Depression

I’m proud to bring you a feature on the newest music blog on the scene – one that conveniently has 13 years of experience. No Depression Magazine ceased publication in April of this year and this week unveiled its re-vamped website – which by many standards can be considered a music blog.

No Depression was the foremost authority on all things alternative country since 1994, bringing you stories on artists from Son Volt to Buddy Miller and everyone in between. Although the magazine’s readership remained strong, the simple answer for their demise was falling revenue. With the growing popularity of music information on the web (with blogs like this one, and sites such as Pitchfork and Stereogum) and the more specialized genre of No Depression – as opposed to mags like Rolling Stone – the demand for printed music commentary just doesn't exist anymore. I only became a subscriber in the last couple years, but I cherish each and every issue I’ve received. And intuitively, I purchased a few bundles of back-issues just months before the news of their calling it quits. I’m sure the going-rate for those issues are much higher these days.

The good news for us alt-country fans is that the magazine’s contributors have decided to continue the legacy in an un-printed form. The new website features news, reviews, and columns, as well as archives from the magazine. I haven’t had the time to explore the site completely, but can’t be more exited that the entity still exists in some form.

No Depression was the title of a Carter Family tune penned some 80 years ago by those most affected in this country’s lowest of lows – so far. The song may see a rise is relevance in the coming months. But the song inspires hope and a spiritual longing for better times in the afterlife. Here’s to the digital afterlife of No Depression.

The Carter Family: No Depression


Uncle Tupelo paid homage to the first family of country music in the title of their 1990 debut album.

Uncle Tupelo: No Depression


Blog Names: Planet Claire

The B-52s: Planet Claire (live and goofy)
The Foo Fighters: Planet Claire


Though it's not a music bog, per se... And though the title of the blog is only coincidental in being a fanTAStic B-52 number, there are myriad reasons for my submission of Planet Claire for your perusal...

Our gang appreciates a nice turn of lyric, right? (A loaded question - I know we do!) Then y'all should oughta check out Claire's Tim Easton lyrics part of the site. Such a devoted fan, she has - for our, and future generations' eludiation - transcribed the guy's catalog.

Read it.

Then go investigate futher: Tim Easton official site

And then get back to Planet Claire to dig the wild, rare sounds she's stashed inside her junk drawer... Stuff l(i)ke: rare Replacements, Uncle Tupelo, and even a peek at some animated Bloom County cartoon...

If you wanna know what's a salving for your over-loaded brain-wreck, I just told ya!

Then, get back to Claire's main site for an on-going, ever-growing collection of quotes from some popular (and some not-so-popular) television shows. She's a devoted type, bringing you the quotes you want to read.

I hate to say you want to.

But you will want to.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Blog Names: So This Is What The Volume Knob's For

The Mountain Goats: Dance Music


I'm in the living room watching the watergate hearings
while my step father yells at my mother.
launches a glass across the room, straight at her head
and I dash upstairs to take cover
lean in close to my little record player on the floor
so this is what the volume knob's for

It's no secret that, in trying to provide a diversity of viewpoints and a consistency of care for good old country, rock, and folk, our broad and eclectic tastes here in the Star Maker collaborative transcend the true spectrum of the bloggiverse. The popular crowd at blog aggregator Hype Machine says it all: once you clear the deck of the dance remixes, the vast remainder of the blogs out there focus on either the sort of top forty buzzness that once would have passed for college alt-radio fare on one hand, and predominantly lo-fi, slightly dorky indie music on the other.

I'm not much for remixes, and top forty doesn't need our promotion. But I do harbor a not-so-secret love for decent lo-fi indiefolk of a particular authenticity, and the best indie blog I know in the latter camp is another collaborative, kept by five female music journalists from opposite ends of the earth who manage to walk a consistently tight balance between well-written indie buzz and unapologetic gushing about their favorite artists.

The authors of So This Is What The Volume Knob's For share a love for Andrew Bird, Neutral Milk Hotel, Sufjan Stevens, and the Mountain Goats; it's a pretty narrowly defined sound, when you get down to it, though it's an especially fertile ground these days, by no means limited to those four bands, and through the work of June, Julie, Megan, Jess, and Lizzie, I've learned to love this little corner of the indie world. The lovely ladies of VK treat press releases and rumor, new releases and industry news with an equal amount of aplomb, and they've got great sources, often coming forward with information before it hits the rest of the blogosphere; their wonderful voices -- ranging from terse to practically academic, but with a common thread of snarkiness and gleeful wisdom -- make it fun to read about, too.

Volume Knob is named after a wonderfully light Mountain Goats tune which, under its Charlie Brown bounce, turns out to be a seriously sick paean to the power of great music to provide a safe haven from the totally F-ed up world; the song manages to speak to both the strong emotions which the blog authors manage to capture so effectively and the desperate need for such emotion which these ladies take as a given. If only they were wrong, about either, we wouldn't need the music so damn much. But as long as we do, I'm grateful for Volume Knob for bringing it on.

Blog Names: When You Awake

The Band: When You Awake

Only discovered this site a month ago but I had been missing out. When You Awake blogs straight up city country, and they're damn proud of it. Jody consistently delivers with great mixtapes, my favorite in the "Goes Twang" variety (Dylan Goes Twang, The Band Goes Twang). Posts range from classic country youtube clips to indie rock updates to celebrations of country hipster style. One for your bookmarks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blog Names: Big Rock Candy Mountain

The Beat Farmers: Big Rock Candy Mountain [purchase]

Billy Bragg: Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards [purchase]

Moe Bandy: Barstool Mountain [purchase]

If you’ve got a blacklist, I want to be on it.

That Billy Bragg lyric is the well-chosen subtitle to one of my favorite blogs: Big Rock Candy Mountain.

What I love about BRCM, apart from impeccable music selections, is its irreverent sense of fun. More often than just about any other blog, BRCM finds its way to that magical intersection between appreciation for alcoholic beverages and great old music. This makes it both a model and an inspiration for me.

I also love the frequent themed mixes, like this one about trains, for instance.

BRCM’s sister site, Barstool Mountain covers the same territory with a greater emphasis on the booze. Check out the Top 100 Drinking Songs

Blog Names: Goodnight and Go

Imogen Heap: Goodnight and Go


It may not be one of the bigger names in the music blog world, but Goodnight and Go is one of my must reads. It gives me two things I love best, discovering new artists, and lots of female-fronted rock.

Proprietor Maggie keeps it simple. She only seems to blog about music she herself loves, and considering I respect her taste and find it to often overlap my own, this makes for lots of fantastic musical discoveries. Unfortunately, at the moment she is dealing with some legal issues as far as file hosting goes, but hopefully before long she will get things ironed out and we can get back to enjoying her music recommendations.

Blog Names: She'll Grow Back

The Sads: She'll Grow Back


I found She'll Grow Back back in May when a serendipitous search for a post on Randy Newman covers unearthed a "Multiple Monday" feature on Simon Smith and his Amazing Dancing Bear, a coverlover's dream post which came sandwiched between a huge post on songs about insanity, a new Gnarls Barkley single, a nod to Nick Cave, and a few paragraphs about some band called Smog. Since then I've kept it in the feedreader; tonight, sifting through blog names and also-rans, I headed back over, and I suddenly remembered why I grabbed the address in the first place.

She'll Grow Back aims low. Its tagline is "Another music blog? Yes. But it's MY music blog". Surely pseudonymous author Mark H. Besotted claims no authority other than being "a longtime music fan and MP3 blog leech who's decided to give something back." The template is a blogger default. Though the blog is only a few months old, it has already begun suffering for sporadic posting. But for what it is, it's solid, and the archives here do include a few rarer pieces I've enjoyed hearing for the first time. The content is good - terse, verging on thin; the music is all over the map, though it clusters around a particular set of bands and vocalists most known for their graveled voices and authentic rock and folk sensibilities.

If that were all she wrote, She'll Grow Back would be a decent occasional, living on the feed, skimmed when you remember it for that rare post that made it all worthwhile. But what makes She'll Grown Back most noteworthy is Mark's attempt to eventually catalog every damn cover of seminal American folksong Stagger Lee by posting a different version of the song every week until he runs out, a task which Mark estimates will take several years. So far, his Stagger Lee Saturdays have ranged all over the map, from multiple oldtime countryfolk field recordings of the pre-war era to versions by Wilson Pickett, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Belmonts, Dave Van Ronk, Jeff Lang, Dylan and Dr. John; each post manages to place the version in full context in just a few perfect sentences, and the vast variation is wonderful.

The rest may be hit or miss for my tastes, but then, most people seem to like Nick Cave more than I do. And that theme song from Prague-based indie band The Sads is a pretty rockin' grunge/punk number, when it comes down to it; wish I could find a purchase link. Here's hoping She'll Grow Back comes back with a vengance; the world needs more fans who start mp3 blogs just to give something back.

Blog Names: Aquarium Drunkard

Wilco: I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

"I am an American aquarium drinker..."

There's a reason you'll find Aquarium Drunkard at the top of pretty much any list of links in the mp3 blogosphere. Since 2005, "the blog's contents change as The Drunkard's interests do" and The Drunkard, aka Satisfied '75, has nary missed a beat with a proper swarm of hip readers. Keeping us informed daily with interviews, reviews, and news, AD is my favorite of the "big blogs." I tune in for the New Orleans flavor and gritty Americana tunes, as well as the occasional taste of garage or funk. If I listened to new music it would probably be all the same stuff you can find here.

Blog Names: Songs:Illinois

Songs:Ohia - I've Been Riding With The Ghost


When I first started blogging Dodge from My Old Kentucky Blog and Craig from Songs:Illinois were the first two bloggers to really give me the time of day/post a link back to my site etc. I've always sort of felt that ninebullets and songs:illinois are kind of distant cousins in the blogger world.

A lot of Craig's posts are obscure even to me but they are generally (unless he's off on a freak folk tangent) well chosen and about compelling artists. Instead of trying to tell you what s:i is all about I'll let Craig himself tell you:

Songs:Illinois is committed to writing about music that is under-appreciated and unique. I've found that the music I write about shares a couple of traits. And they are: lyrical integrity, musically diverse, and written/performed by compelling characters.

Now, how does songs:illinois fit into this theme? Well songs:illinois is an extrapolation of the Jason Molina's (Magnolia Electric Co.) project Songs:Ohia of which Craig is a fan.

Over the years Craig has had a love/hate relationship with mp3 bloggers in general, even having started another blog at one point (I can not recall the name) to point out poor posting habits/trends in the mp3 blogosphere (i even got mentioned on there once).

While Craig can come off as salty sometimes there is no doubt he has turned songs:illinois into the flagship blog for this whole folk/country/whatever scene and I'd be a liar if I didn't say I was a little jealous.

Blog Names: The Late Greats

Wilco: The Late Greats


The Late Greats was one the first blogs that garnered a bookmark upon my discovery of this wing of the web. The Duke of Straw does the writing, and while his words are often brief, the qualities of the songs speak for themselves. As the Wilco song the blog is named for might suggest, The Late Greats often features tunes you won’t hear on the radio - or anywhere else in the blogosphere for that matter. He’s single-handedly turned me on to large a number of artists that I wouldn’t know about otherwise.

Some of my favorite aspects of The Late Greats are the recurring post topics. Wayback Wednesdays, Compare/Contrast, and Homonyms are some of the templates The Duke regularly injects great music into. Well put together mixes, features on Canadian/Australian artists, and Guilty Pleasures (hot female crooners) are some of the other posts that keep me coming back. But one of the most unique and useful idea The Duke has come up with is Digging Through the Live Music Archive (So You Don’t Have To), which is exactly what it sounds like. Taking a few queues from this music-blog veteran - The Late Greats has been posting since early ’06 – I have some similar recurring post themes over at my place.

What sets The Late Greats even further apart from other music blogs are the occasional original compositions mixed in with the tunes. The Duke and his wife Coconut are part-time musicians. Some of their work can be found here.

Currently, The Late Greats is in the midst of a Mix Week. They’re pulling older mixes from the archives to bring you an unprecedented amount of musical goodness. It’s blogs like this one that got me started and continue to remind me what community music sharing is all about.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blog Names: Armagideon Time

The Clash: Armagideon Time


With giant respect given towards all the fine blog writers here at SMM, if I only had one blog to ever read again for the rest of my times, it'd be Armagideon Time.

Named after a Clash dub tune, Bitter Andrew's blog is the best thing I've run across on the interwebs. Period.

The guy writes intelligently. He is a saviour of felines. He has an accommodating partner. He is politically righteous. He is swept up in comics (and shares stuff with his readers). He has wide range-ing, eclectic, and wonderful tastes for music. In short... I admire all things about his web real-estate, and am thankful I stumbled across it in the first place.

You all ought put Armagideon Time. in your radar. Seriously.

Blog Names: This Mornin' I Am Born Again

Slaid Cleaves: This Mornin' I Was Born Again


Like Paul and Brendan, Payton is one of us; in fact, he may be the youngest contributor to Star Maker Machine, having just completed college this past year. But you'd never know he was born years after the release of some of his favorite music if he didn't tell you right up front in the sidebar of This Mornin' I Am Born Again. The writing over at This Mornin' is wise, masterful and crisp with observation; Payton knows how to listen to music, and he has a rare ability to tell us concisely what works and what doesn't.

But This Mornin' is one of my favorite reads for more than just the writing. Payton demonstrates a mature breadth of knowledge and interest which tends towards the alt-country intersection of country, rock, and folk; it's an especially rich place to write from and about these days, and Payton is one of the best in the mix right now.

And what taste! Payton a big fan of both relative newcomer Mike McClure and increasingly old-hand Ryan Adams, having expended several long "artist spotlight" posts celebrating the various evolutionary stages of each artist exhaustively; in addition to a wonderful recent trend towards cross-comparison of covers and originals, recently mentioned and featured artists range from John Prine, Hank Williams and Jonathan Edwards to more modern alt-slash-retro-countryfolk such as Old Crow Medicine Show, the Fleet Foxes and the Everybodyfields.

The mix of new alt- and indiefolk and older work (some of it from long before Payton was born) is an unusual combination for a blogger, but by celebrating them all in turn without apology, Peyton makes it all seem a natural part of the same music collection; in doing so, he not only validates my own tastes exquisitely, he manages to ground those newer artists effectively in genre and style and history, thus helping promote their work as an important part of the evolution of modern music.

Payton is, in fact, one of those rare bloggers that pushes me to stay at the top of my game, lest I lose out to the exuberance of youth. If we weren't friends of the blogger sort, I'd have to hate him for making what we do look so easy, and for making me feel so old. Thanks, Payton, for keeping me in the game, for so often sending me back to my own stacks, and for constantly validating my own taste.

This Mornin' I Am Born Again is named after one of my favorite Slaid Cleaves songs, which was built from a set of lyrics originally written by Woody Guthrie; the namesake song is especially apt, in that it speaks to the perfect lineage of old and new which Payton manages so effortlessly and well. The screenshot above is from Payton's own namesake post, an early feature on the song itself which also includes a wonderful version of the song by Ray Wylie Hubbard.

Blog Names: Hickory Wind

The Byrds: Hickory Wind


Hickory Wind is probably the first music blog that I ever came across and started reading regularly. I was on a serious Son Volt kick at the time and stumbled across a couple of posts about The Glorious Church of Jay Farrar. The posts made me laugh so I bookmarked the site and kept going back. That was over three years ago, and I still check the site almost every day.

Hickory Wind is a music blog... not an mp3 blog. That means you won't find any actual music on the site. What you will find is a team of devoted music fans who are very passionate about spreading the word on their favorite Alt-Country and Americana artists.

Check it out sometime.

Blog Names: Art Decade

David Bowie: Art Decade


"Specializing in music of the 'Long Seventies'" Emmett, Mike, Big B, and Sheridan Dupre X hold it down at Art Decade. This page comes across like some kind of inside only/mystery and I like that. I try to spin their tunes once a week for something I'd never know about but always dripping seventies and hot. Oft times contributor, ib, eventually landed his poetic entries on his own page, SibLINGSHOT. Anyways, they keep it short and so will I.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Blog Names: Setting The Woods On Fire

Hank Williams: Settin' The Woods On Fire

Comb your hair and paint and powder
You act proud and I'll act prouder
You sing loud and I'll sing louder
Tonight we're settin' the woods on fire!

If you like the song, you'll love the blog. There is no better man than Hank Williams to represent the blogosphere's foremost classic country pit stop. Though we all know the man behind the blog is everybody's favorite Motor City Cowboy, Paul, it often feels like good ole Hank himself is blogging away over at STWOF. This is a blog from a world where country music is so real and true that it means something more than a buck; the site has soul.

I was lucky enough to be on Paul's blogroll from the very first post and I have watched stwof grow from humble beginnings to a heavily trafficked landmark for country lovers. Every time Paul makes a mix, or asks a question, commenters come out in droves and turn it into a proper discussion site. It's not just classic country either, as Paul will often post on non-country favorites like The Beach Boys or 80s bands like X.

Lately, STWOF has been famous for its series of 'Originals' posts sharing original versions of songs covered on classics like Sweetheart of the Rodeo or Elvis Costello's Almost Blue. Before that it was an excellent series on the Jangly 80s bands inspired by the Byrds' 12-string sound. Make sure and subscribe so you're around for whatever Paul comes up with next!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Blog Names: Boogie Woogie Flu

Huey Smith And The Clowns: Rocking Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu (Part 1)

Huey Smith And The Clowns: Rocking Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu (Part 2 - instrumental)


It takes a special breed to be a record collector - no matter how many choice sides they've successfully hunted down, there's always the few elusive ones that keeps it a never-ending quest. Ted Barron, the proprietor of Boogie Woogie Flu, calls it degenerate record collectors disease - the only cure is music. Ted posts rips from his amazing collection of out-of-print rarities, finished products as the artists originally conceived them.

It's extremely apropos the blog's named after Huey 'Piano' Smith's Rocking Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu - Huey’s band was a finishing school for New Orleans musicians, about as core as it gets. Boogie Woogie Flu is your one-stop shop for all things roots oriented, you get to hear music history unfold before your very ears.

When he's not blogging, Ted's a successful Photographer, he did the artwork for Steve Earle and Laura Cantrell's latest releases. His work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, Guitar Player, People, Elle and The Village Voice.

The two sound files come courtesy of Fluville - Rocking Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu was originally an instrumental, Huey Smith decided to record it again, but with lyrics. This version landed at #5 on the R&B charts.

If Boogie Woogie Flu isn't already in your newsreader, it should be. If you dig roots Rock and Jazz as much as I do, you'll make Fluville a regular stop in your web travels.

Blog Names: The Rising Storm

The Rising Storm: Bright Lit Blue Skies


At the top of my favorite music blog list is The Rising Storm. Being a man of few words, I’m hesitant to take on a subject like TRS, because it would require more than a few words to describe how wonderful the blog is. But here goes: The best thing about TRS is that Brendan and Jason really know their stuff. If you are interested in country rock, sixties garage, or psychedelic rock, TRS is the place to be. They find the good stuff you probably never heard of and write eloquently about it. Every few days they help give a little bit of new life to great "lost" music from another era. No small feat. Check it out. They also produce a fabulous podcast.

For starters, you can read about the band "The Rising Storm" at the blog The Rising Storm. (That’s where I found this track.)

Blog Names: Star Maker Machine
The Music Biz: Free Man in Paris

Joni Mitchell: Free Man In Paris


Our music industry theme this past week explored what many believe is a dying model, one which is quickly being overturned by a more socialized, peer-to-peer model of music promotion and support -- that same model which justifies our own existence as a music blog, and which we perpetuate each time we proclaim our love for a song or songwriter in text, or provide a link to purchase an album.

As a counterpart to our exploration of the music industry, then, this week offers an opportunity for each of us to pay tribute to some of our favorite blogging peers by sharing songs which other bloggers have chosen as namesakes.

As we transition from one theme to another, I thought it would be a good chance to post our own namesake song -- one of very few songs out there to provide a sympathetic view of the lot of the record label executive.

According to Joni, Free Man in Paris was written on-the-spot while on a 1973 trip to Paris with her ex-housemate, entertainment mogul and then-president of her label David Geffen. Many of the song lyrics were direct quotes from Geffen himself.

Reportedly, Geffen begged her to take the song off the record, uncomfortable being portrayed as someone who only felt free far away from his desk, unfettered from his stateside life dealing in "dreamers and telephone screamers". And, to be fair, it's hard not to feel sympathetic for a guy working the starmaker machinery out of a love for music, who ends up finding that regardless of noble motives, working in the industry really means having to deal with people with suspicious motives claiming to be his friend, constantly "calling him up for favors".

That the song remained on Court and Spark despite Geffen's concern, of course, says much about how little power over the music itself even the highest executive holds. In the end, it is truly the system, more than any one person, which perpetuates the world of tension which holds artists and their representatives in chains.

Meanwhile, we aim to free it, one song at a time.