It’s been a great year (for new music anyway). And this has been a fun blog to run.
But the year is winding down and so is this blog. I’ve decided to spend my time in other areas in 2018. Thanks to all of you who’ve read and listened. I really appreciate it.
I’ll leave you with my top 10 favorite albums from the year that was.
10. Zephaniah O’Hora – This Highway
9. Daniel Romano – Modern Pressure
8. JD McPherson – Undivided Heart & Soul
7. Parker McCollom – Probably Wrong
6. Son Volt – Notes of Blue
5. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. (I know this album makes no sense with the others on this list, but it’s really good.)
4. Willie Nelson – God’s Problem Child
3. John Moreland – Big Bad Luv
2. Marth Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives– Way Out West
1. Grandaddy – Last Place
The music of the 80s gets a bad rap. Sure there were some albums with production that sounds dated today. But there were also a lot of great songs and albums, especially in the first half of the decade.
One of my favorite things about 80s music was that it could be both serious and uplifting. Sure, there were songs that were pure fluff—I’m looking at you Relax. Honestly, I like a lot of those songs. But the songs that stuck with me most were those with more serious political and emotional themes—delivered in classic and upbeat 80s style.
These days, I find myself going back to my favorites from the 80s quite often. Here are 10 of those songs.
1. Road to Nowhere – The Talking Heads
2. The Magnificent Seven – The Clash
3. Freedom of Choice – Devo
4. Woman’s World – Squeeze
5. Watch Your Step – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
6. Tomorrow’s Just Another Day – Madness
7. 21st Century Man – Electric Light Orchestra
8. Town Called Malice – The Jam
9. Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think) – The Specials
10. Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
It’s the season of gratitude—and boy do we need it.
With all that fills our news feeds each day, we’ll all benefit from taking a day (or a few days) to feel thankful for all that is good in our lives.
I hope you have much to be grateful for, wherever you are.
1. You’re Welcome – The Beach Boys
2. I Thank You – Sam & Dave
3. Thanksgiving Theme – Vince Guaraldi Trio
4. Blessings – Chance the Rapper
5. Sentimental Journey – Fats Domino
6. All My Life – Electric Light Orchestra
7. I’ll Be Home – Harry Nilsson
8. Thank You Too! – My Morning Jacket
9. Sentimental Journey – Doris Day, Les Brown & His Orchestra
10. One Of These Days – Neil Young
The changing of the seasons from winter to spring and summer to autumn always throws me for a bit of a loop. Do any of you experience this? Trouble sleeping, weird dreams and a bit of ennui.
I find jazz helps. I probably buy and listen to more jazz during these two season changes than any other time of the year.
The other day I purchased the fantastic 2016 Tom Harrell album Something Gold, Something Blue. If you like jazz, and especially if you like trumpet, you should give this album a listen. The trumpet playing by Harrell and Ambrose Akimusire is incredible. This is exactly the music to get me through the changing of the seasons.
Unfortunately, Something Gold, Something Blue isn’t on Spotify, so it doesn’t make this week’s playlist. But another Tom Harrell track does, along with a number of other new and old classics.
I hope you enjoy.
1. Night Rider – Count Basie and Oscar Peterson
2. Autumn Leaves – Cannonball Adderley
3. The Cool One – The Jazztet
4. Génerique – Miles Davis
5. Funky Mama – Lou Donaldson
6. Little Girl – Tom Harrell
7. Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me – Duke Ellington and Ray Brown
8. Hoe Down – Oliver Nelson
9. Charms Of The Night Sky – Dave Douglas
10. Autumn Leaves – Bill Evans
I’m not one of those grown-ups who dress in a costume for Halloween. But I will dress up my stereo with an appropriate playlist of spooky songs to serenade the kids who come to my door looking for candy.
Here’s what you’ll hear this year if you come knocking on my door in Portland.
(If you really want to spook people who come to your house, I recommend putting on some theramin.)
1. Bad Moon Rising – Credence Clearwater Revival
2. Skeleton In The Closet – Louis Armstrong
3. I Put A Spell On You – Screaming Jay Hawkins
4. Roboflafin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood – Don Hinson And The Rigamorticians
5. I Was A Teenage Werewolf – The Cramps
6. Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon
7. The Ghost Of Smokey Joe – Cab Calloway
8. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) David Bowie
9. Be True To Your Ghoul – The Ghouls
10. The Boogie Man – Todd Rollins And His Orchestra
11. Nightmare – Artie Shaw
12. Thriller – Michael Jackson
13. Monster Mash – Don Hinson And The Rigamorticians
Wildfires, hurricanes, mass shootings, threats of nuclear war, constant unpleasantness in our government: It’s an understatement to say that sometimes it feels like times are pretty tough.
I was thinking about all this the other day and remembered a song my grandpa used to sing: “Yesterday’s gone Dear Jesus. Tomorrow may never be mine. Teach me today, show me the way, one day at a time.”
Taking things one day at a time feels like a pretty good approach right now. Here’s that same song and some other great gospel numbers to help kick off what I hope is a relaxing weekend for you.
(If you need even more gospel, check out our Easter weekend playlist.)
1. Thank God He Came – Arthur Alelxlander
2. Hallelujah Anyhow – Sonny Treadway
3. Walking In Jerusalem (Just Like John) – Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
4. Jesus, Don’t Give Up On Me – Charlie Pride
5. I Saw The Light – Hank Willilams
6. There Is A Fountain – Willie Nelson
7. Just A Closer Walk With Thee – Grant Green
8. Satan’s Gotta Get Along Without Me – Buck Owens
9. It Won’t Be Long – Flatt and Scruggs
10. One Day At A Time – Wanda Jackson
This week was my wedding anniversary, so I’ve got love songs on my mind.
There’s nothing quite like a good love song. When the right combination of lyrics, music and performance come together it can be incredibly moving.
For me, a good love song can be many things: sincere, schmaltzy, funny, up tempo, even instrumental. If it speaks to you, it speaks to you, right?
This week’s songs aren’t necessarily all pieces that would make someone’s ultimate romance Valentine’s Day playlist, but they’re songs that I think evoke a feeling of love in the listener—romantic or otherwise.
1. The Book Of Love – The Magnetic Fields
2. I Say A Little Prayer For You – Aretha Franklin
3. I Only Have Eyes For You – Kevin Morby
4. Baby, You’re My Kind – Blossom Dearie
5. This I Dig Of You – Hank Mobley
6. Make You Feel My Love – Bob Dylan
7. The Weather – Built To Spill
8. La-La Means I Love You – The Delfonics
9. Come Along With Me – Arthur Alexander
10. As Long As The Grass Shall Grow – Johnny Cash