I often do six-packs of established artists or new music. But then I have all these songs I know of or hear where I just want to feature that one song. Or let’s just say I have a potpourri of songs I like, wanted to post, and didn’t exactly know what to do with. Or songs I couldn’t squeeze into other posts but loved. Hence, the random five (which may occasionally be six).
First up, a true New Englander, Ray La Montagne. (Pictured on top of post.) Ray was born in Nashua, NH, (not all that far away from yours truly), made his way to Utah for a while and moved to Lewiston, Maine after high school.
According to Wikipedia: “LaMontagne was inspired to quit his job and begin a career as a singer-songwriter after waking up one morning to the radio on his alarm clock playing the Stephen Stills’ song “Treetop Flyer.” (I wake up to songs all the time and the only thing I’m ever inspired to do is go pee – ME)
LaMontagne began performing in 1999 while maintaining a part-time job as a tutor. In the summer of 1999, he recorded ten songs for a demo album that was sent to various local music venues including Maine’s Oddfellow Theater.”
To date, he’s released eight studio albums and if you haven’t heard him in all this time it’s because he’s the kinda guy FM radio doesn’t much play and used to play all the time. You can be forgiven if you think his song “Three More Days” from Till the Sun Turns Black sounds like Joe Cocker:
You likely all know Joe Bonamassa. I’m sure I haven’t written about him enough if at all. He is one of the kings of blues guitar who, by his own admission, learned more from the British blues guys than he did from their black “ancestors.”
“You know, my heroes were the English guys – Paul Kossoff, Peter Green, Eric Clapton,” he advises. “There’s a certain sophistication to their approach to the blues that I really like, more so than the American blues that I was listening to. B.B. King’s a big influence – he’s probably my biggest traditional influence.
I love Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and T-Bone Walker, and stuff like that, but I couldn’t sit down. I was always forcing myself to listen to whole records by them, where I’d rather listen to Humble Pie do “I’m Ready” than Muddy Waters, you know? I think, the English interpretation of the blues just hit me a lot better, you know?”
Here he is cranking away on “Last Kiss.”
“Nickel Creek is an American Americana music group consisting of Chris Thile (mandolin), and siblings Sara Watkins (fiddle), and Sean Watkins (guitar). Formed in 1989 in Southern California, they released six albums between 1993 and 2006. The band broke out in 2000 with a platinum-selling self-titled album produced by Alison Krauss, earning a number of Grammy and CMA nominations.”
Wikipedia lists their genres as progressive bluegrass, acoustic pop, country, folk, rock. I’ve been meaning to post this tune, “Smoothie Song,” for a while. This is the kind of music you listen to when you go to some outdoor summer music festival and you’re hanging in the sun, layin’ on the lawn:
Quick history on Maria Muldaur – She was born Maria Grazia Rosa Domenica D’Amato (so, a nice Jewish girl) in Greenwich Village. She began her career in the early 1960s as Maria D’Amato, performing with John Sebastian, David Grisman, and Stefan Grossman as a member of the Even Dozen Jug Band.
During this time, she was part of the Greenwich Village scene that included Bob Dylan, married fellow Jug Band member Geoff Muldaur, and after the Kweskin Jug band broke up, the two of them produced two albums. She began her solo career when their marriage ended in 1972 but retained her married name.
You might recall Muldaur’s one and only Top 40 hit, “Midnight at the Oasis,” with its oh-so-naughty implications:
But you won’t need no harem, honey
When I’m by your side
And you won’t need no camel, no no
When I take you for a ride
(Is it hot in here or is it me?)
Anyway, if you like good gospel, you gotta hear Muldaur and Bonnie Raitt singing (and Bonnie playing) on “It’s a Blessing.”
I didn’t know much about Wilko Johnson till a few years back till I did a Dr. Feelgood tune. They were a pub-rock band and he was their guitarist. He was (is) more of a fingerstyle player which helped him create a “highly percussive guitar sound.” Of him, Paul Weller has said, “Wilko may not be as famous as some other guitarists, but he’s right up there. And there are a lot of people who’ll say the same. I can hear Wilko in lots of places. It’s some legacy.”
Here’s his (my) belated tribute to 4/20 day, “Marijuana.”