Tag Archives: Bob Harris

Something More Than Free – Jason Isbell

Something More Than Free by Jason Isbell is the latest addition to my ever expanding record collection and it’s by far my favorite album of the year by far.

Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first came across Jason Isbell on Bob Harris’s show on BBC Radio 2, when he played Alabama Pines from his Here We Rest album. A few weeks later, on 30 April 2012, I caught him playing a short, but brilliant, acoustic set at the London Palladium supporting Ryan Adams. I remember him doing a superb version of Alabama Pines and I’m sure there was a Drive By Truckers song in there too.

When I spent three months in Columbus Georgia, during the summer of 2013, it was a few months after the release of his Southeastern album. After hearing a couple of songs on the local radio station I purchased the album and it’s been a staple on my playlist ever since. I was lucky enough to catch him last year in Atlanta, at the Shaky Knees festival, where he played a few songs off Southeastern. A highlight of that set was a duet with Candi Stanton, when they performed Candi Stanton’s Heart on a String.

Jason Isbell - Southeastern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must admit to wondering whether Something More Than Free would match up to Southeastern, which is an acknowledged classic. But having listened to it a few times, it more than matches it. It’s definitely less personal than Southeastern and is definitely more upbeat. As a Brit who has only spent a few months in the South, his songs, based on characters and situations from the South, shouldn’t mean a lot to me, but that’s the strength of Jason Isbell’s songwriting, his songs resonate with me.

I mentioned earlier that I’d seen Jason Isbell perform with Ryan Adams, well I can offer no bigger compliment than say that I rate Something More Than Free on a par with Gold by Ryan Adams, that was released over ten years ago and is an album I constantly play.

Ryan_Adams - Gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just to finish, how about some Alabama Pines

 

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American Originals at Cincinnati Music Hall

Okay, I have to confess, I’m just a tad excited. Yesterday I got tickets for the Sunday afternoon performance of American Originals at Cincinnati Music Hall.

American Originals

 

So why so excited? I hear you say

Well, how about this for a line-up:

Rosanne Cash – One of my favorite artists, who’s album The River and the Thread was one of my top ten albums of 2014. I briefly saw her on stage at the end of the Americana Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium  in September 2013 and have been wanting to see her ever since.

 

Americana Awards 2013

Dom Flemons – Formerly with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who I saw when he was still a member, at the City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds, England in October 2012.  I also saw Dom Flemons late last year when he compered Pokey Lafarge‘s Central Time Tour, which was one of my top ten gigs of last year.

Pokey Lafarge Central Time poster

Over The Rhine – I’ve not yet seen Over The Rhine, but I understand they’re a Cincinnati institution, so it’ll be cool to catch one of my new home town bands.

Aoife O’Donovan – I’ve heard her a few times on Bob Harris‘s Radio 2 show and I’ve been wanting to see her live for quite a while now.

The other two acts on the bill are the Comet Bluegrass Allstars and Joe Henry. I’ve not heard of either of these, so a bit of research is required.

All these acts are going to be performing with the world-famous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

The show will be based around the songs of Stephen Foster, who reputedly was America’s first great songwriter. Being a Brit, who’s only been living in the States for just over a year, and in Cincinnati for four months, I’m not fully au fait with Stephen Foster, but being a music fan, I’m obviously aware of the Great American Songbook. I’m also aware of the black face minstrel tradition for which Stephen Foster is known for, as during my childhood back in the UK, there used to be a light entertainment program, on the BBC, called the Black and White Minstrel Show. The show was very popular and ran for 20 year and won a Golden Rose at Montreux for Best Light Entertainment program. However, after numerous complaints it finally was pulled in 1978.

This show introduced me to many of Stephen Foster‘s songs, including Oh Susanna!,Camptown Races,Swanee River & My Old Kentucky Home amongst others. So whilst the manner used, on the Black and White Minstrel Show, of showcasing the songs was abhorrent, it did contribute greatly to my love of music, and Americana in particular.

One added bonus of going on Sunday is that I get to see Hickory Robot again, as they’re providing the pre-concert entertainment. I saw them at the CincyGroove Music Festival last year, where they were excellent, so it will be good to see them again.

Another reason for the excitement is that this will be my first visit to the Cincinnati Music Hall. I’ve been in Cincinnati for four months and have been waiting for the right concert before making my first visit, and the American Originals fits the bill perfectly!

 

 

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TW3 – Week 3

Tempus Fugit – Time Flies. That’s me showing off my CSE Latin! We’re now three weeks into 2015, so time for another review of my week in music, TW3 – Week 3

Firstly, we’ll take a trip down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. A colleague of my wife’s hails from New Orleans and went back home to New Orleans. On returning to work, he brought Tara, my wife, and her colleagues, a “King of Carnival King Cake Package” from Haydels Bakery, which apparently is one of the top bakeries in New Orleans. Anyway, as well as containing a delicious King Cake and loads of other carnival goodies, there was also a Mardi Gras 2015 CD, featuring a band called Bag of Donuts! And it’s pretty damned good too!

On Saturday I downloaded a sampler from Mishara Music, which was excellent. You can find out more about it in my earlier post here.

My favorite track on the Mishara Music sampler was There’s a Rumor by The August Empire. So on Monday I downloaded their album Before the Hereafter and to say I like it would be an understatement. I love it! From start to finish there’s not a bad track on the album.  I’m so glad I took the plunge and bought this album. I must have listened to it seven or eight times already and I’m finding something new every time. The August Empire consist of Liz Constantine & Dante Marchi. Apparently the album was released back in August 2013, how did I miss it!?

The August Empire - Before the Hereafter

 

 

 

 

 

There are loads of great performances on the album, but their version of Pink Floyd‘s classic Comfortably Numb is superb. This is a cover that’s as good as, if not better than the original. Yes, it’s that good!

 

 

I’ve tweeted about this album a couple of times now and on both occasions, The August Empire and Liz Constantine, have re tweeted and favorited my tweet, which is cool. Even cooler was Liz Constantine replying to one of the tweets!

I still need to find out if the Trevor Rabin mentioned on their website is THE Trevor Rabin. So if you read this Liz Constantine, please let me know!

And sticking with Twitter, Ken Yates, another artist on the Mishara Music label also followed me. I also got a follower from Stone Mountain, Georgia, Kelley Swindall, who’s well worth a listen. Check this video out, and see what you think

Moving away from the States to Europe, in particular, Germany, I got an Alternative Progressive Rock band, Fire on Dawson following me on twitter. I’ve not listened to all their music on Soundcloud yet, but I did like this track:

While we’re talking Prog Rock, I forgot to mention last week, that Yes, one of the original Prog Rock bands, are now following me on twitter. How cool is that?

Revelry Magazine is my most recent follower, this is a weekly music and entertainment magazine, based in Lexington, Kentucky. I don’t think I’m too far away from Lexington, so hopefully I’ll find out about any decent gigs and festivals in Kentucky.

One more new Twitter follower I’ve got to mention is my wife’s cousin Tobie, who, with her husband Jerome, bought us the book, “All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Beatles Release“, as a Wedding present. That’s what I call a wicked Wedding present!

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Talking of our wedding, we compiled a CD of tracks by our favorite acts who we’d seen live since we started courting. One of the tracks was by Ellen and the Escapades, and earlier this week, I came across this video of them performing their version of Fleetwood Mac‘s Dreams. It was done as part of Bob Harris‘s Under the Apple Tree Sessions. Check this out, it’s a brilliant version of a classic song…

 

Finally, I’ve got to show you this trailer from one of my favorite bands, Lord Huron.  Watch this, and I defy you not to be a least a little bit curious!

So, as far as my music is concerned, that was the week that was! TW3 Week 3

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TW3 Week 1

TW3 Week 1TW3? What’s that all about? TW3 = That Was The Week That Was, the title of a 1960’s satirical TV programme. I thought I’d use it to summarize, on a weekly basis, what I’d been up to on the music front.

So, we’re now a week into 2015, what have I been up to?

Well, I’ve downloaded a couple of albums and ordered a boxed set of cds as well.

My first download of 2015 was by Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo. It’s a live album recorded at Swindon Arts Centre in November 2011.

Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo - Live at Swindon Arts Centre

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a big fan of Emily Barker. I’ve seen her perform live a couple of times, firstly in September 2013 at the Americana Music Festival, as part of the BBC Introducing Showcase, at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville and then again the following month at St John the Evangelist Church in Oxford. Both gigs were excellent, so it was great to be able to get a live album from Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo. I’d thoroughly recommend this album, I’ve embedded it below,

I’ve also copied a post I did on my old website reviewing the two Emily Barker gigs I saw, you can see it here

I got my second download from Noisetrade, it was an introductory sample of songs from River Whyless, a band I saw last year in Asheville, North Carolina supporting the Treetop Flyers.

I really enjoyed their set when I saw them live, and this is a great introduction to their music. Once again, I’ve embedded the album

 

As for the boxed set of CDs I’ve ordered, these are by Brand XPhil Collins‘ jazz rock fusion band from 1975  to 1982. The boxed set is called Nuclear Burn and contains their first five albums. Once  I get this, I’ll provide more details

Brand X - Nuclear Burn

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s what I’ve been up to on the music front this week….

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Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo – From Nashville to Oxford

Since I’ve moved to Georgia from the UK, one of the few habits I’ve retained has been my weekly listen to the Bob Harris Sunday show on BBC Radio 2, courtesy of the BBC iPlayer. It was while listening to last Sunday’s show (April 27th 2014) that I heard him play Aretha Franklin‘s Do Right Woman performed by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo.

Hearing this brought back memories of them performing a brilliant version of this at St John the Evangelist Church in Oxford, back in October 2013.  This was the closing number to what had been an excellent evening’s entertainment. The evening hadn’t started too well as I’d got drenched walking to the church (walking to the church, now there’s a sentence I didn’t expect to be writing on my blog!). My mood was soon brightened by the support act Chris T-T, who if I recall sang a couple of songs about Winnie the Pooh. Anyone who sings about Winnie the Pooh is alright with me!

As to Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, the acoustics in the church, enhanced the songs they performed, with occasional lightening flashes through the stained glass windows adding to the atmosphere. They played a few songs from their latest album Dear River, the highlights for me being the title track, which they opened with, and Letters. They also performed a couple of soundtracks, my favorite being the theme from Wallander,Nostalgia

For an the encore, Chris T-T, took the Frank Turner role, in Fields of June
and a damn fine job he did too! The evening finished with the aforementioned Do Right Woman, and Emily Barker more than did justice to this classic.

I was lucky enough to meet Emily and the members of the Red Clay Halo after the gig, and they kindly signed a copy of the setlist!

Emily Barker - Setlist 22 Oct.2013

So I’ve mentioned Oxford, where does Nashville fit in? Well during the previous month, I was lucky enough to attend the Americana Music Festival, with my then fiance, and now wife, Tara. During the festival, the BBC hosted a BBC Introducing Stage at the Hard Rock Cafe, and one of the acts was Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo. With all due respect to the other two acts who performed that evening, Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, were by far and away the best act.

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And here’s a YouTube video of Disappear from that very set

However, as good as they were, the highlight of the evening was getting to meet the compere for the evening,Whispering” Bob Harris himself. It was on his show that I first heard Emily Barker, and she is the latest of so many artists that I’ve been introduced to as a result of listening to Bob Harris‘s radio shows. For more years than I care to remember I’ve been listening to his shows and to meet him in person was great, and what was even better was that he was such a nice person, taking time out at the end of the evening to pose for photographs and sign autographs.

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