A little Fireball pick me up

Sometimes it takes a little extra to get going. Maybe a couple more hits of the snooze button or a pot of coffee instead of a cup. Today, I decided to put on a bright and catchy song. Let’s see. How about some samba, Eurodance, pop rap?

You know I can’t turn down an offer to boogie oogie oogie, jiggle, wiggle and dance like the roof on fire! Okay Friday, I’m ready.

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Artist / Musician: Pitbull
Song: Fireball
Album: Globalization
Genre: Hip hop, house, pop
From: Miami
Website: pitbullmusic.com

The Record Co. Morphine Power Trio Explosion

I don’t know much about The Record Company. Except, I like their debut single “Off The Ground”.

It reminds me of a cross between rock trios Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (here’s Talk About The Blues) and Morphine (my favorite You Look Like Rain). P.S. Did you know? Morphine’s front man played a single-string bass guitar of his own creation with a slide.

It will be interesting to see if The Record Company can stay off the ground when they record a second album. It’s going to be a tough climb up the power trio mountain of music history.

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Band: The Record Company
Song: Off The Ground
Album: Give It Back To You
Genre: Blues Rock Trio
From: Los Angeles
Website: therecordcompany.net

Band: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Genre: Blues Rock Trio
From: New York City
Website: thejonspencerbluesexplosion.com

Band: Morphine
Genre: Experimental Rock Trio
From: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Status: disbanded
Read: Life After Death: The Legacy of Mark Sandman and Morphine

New Music: The Avett Brothers – Ain’t No Man

I once saw the Avett Brothers perform live in Dallas and it was lots of fun. Friends turned me on to the concert and the concert turned me on to the band. I’m always interested in new music and recently, I heard a new Avett Brothers song on the radio “Ain’t No Man”. Soon they are releasing their ninth album since 2013. (Just a second, let me do the math…ok, I’m bad at math – but that sounds like a lot of albums recorded per year to me.)

With this new song, it appears they are branching out from folk and moving closer to roots rock. I love anything with either, or both 1) killer rhythm 2) lots of low end and was immediately attracted to this song for the rhythm. It’s a fun song and it might just brighten your day like it did mine. Enjoy.

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Artist / Musician / Band: The Avett Brothers
Song: Ain’t No Man
Album: True Sadness
Genre: folk rock
From: Mount Pleasant, North Carolina
Website: theavettbrothers.com

Samba: Oh, How Lovely

I attended a Ken Gaines songwriting workshop “How To Get Out Of Your Beautiful Rut” hosted by the Nashville Songwriters Association International. It was fantastic, as always. I’m not going to brief you on what Ken taught. You will have to sign up to take one of his workshops to find out.

However, groove was part of the discussion. And Corcovado came into my mind from one of the exercises of the workshop. It reminded me how much I used to love to play samba as an upright bassist. Probably, I’ll listen to this song 25 times before finishing this post. Here it is for your listening pleasure.

But wait! There’s more.

I also attended “Master Class with Ken Gaines: The Molecular Structure of Melody” hosted by Visionary Heights. Motif was part of that discussion. One definition of motif is: the smallest bit of a musical idea recognizable through repetition. What’s the first thing that came to my mind? One Note Samba.

Spoiler alert: my next song may be influenced by — you guessed it, Samba!

DIY: Nikki Lane

Lately, I’ve been listening regularly to “The Steve Earle Show: Hardcore Troubadour Radio” on Sirius XM. He dedicated one of his recent episodes to The Outlaw Country Cruise and all songs were by the artists on that cruise. One of the tracks “You Can’t Talk to Me Like That” was by Nikki Lane.

I had previously heard of Nikki through her song “Right Time” which is very catchy. You may already know, her second album All or Nothin’ was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Wikipedia says she met Dan at a flea market and that he allowed her to record the album at his studio, Easy Eye Sound Studio, for free.

However, what really grabbed me is this sentence: “…she broke up with a country musician, who left her to record an album in Alabama; this experience inspired her to begin writing country music songs.” What? How ironic! As you know, I’m a fan of DIY and it seems Nikki is too.

Of all Nikki’s videos, this is my very favorite. And, it’s not because of the lyrics. It’s because of the performance. Nikki can really sing live and it sounds like her records. Plus, this band is great! They really do the song justice. (Side note: Love the pedal steel – soo good.)

Nikki Lane “Man Up” live at the Artist Co-Op in Nashville, Tennessee (2014).

– More Info –

Artist / Musician / Band: Nikki Lane
Song: Man Up
Album: All or Nothin’
Genre: Outlaw Country
From: Greenville, South Carolina
Website: nikkilane.com, YouTube
Her fashion clothing store: High Class Hillbilly Facebook page, High Class Hillbilly website
Interview: Free People blog

Song No. 4: Solitude No. 1

An étude in music is a study or musical composition exploring a particular technical problem. Because the études/songs are grouped together, their song titles usually contain numbers. Example: Etude in C minor op.10 no.12.

This song is not an étude, but to me it is a study. The song explores the mood and emotion of solitude. I may want to write a series of songs to study mood and feelings. In case I decide to revisit solitude as a subject another time, the song is titled No. 1.

The album cover for my single song "Solitude No. 1" - Jodi Jenkins– More Info –

Artist / Musician: Jodi Jenkins
Song: Solitude No. 1
Album: Recorded as a single
All Rights Reserved. Copyright January 2016
SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/jodijenkins/
Playlist of My Songs: soundcloud.com/jodijenkins/sets/mysongs

Song: We’ve Got to Hold On

Tammy Wynette and George Jones singing togetherIf you’ve ever been through some trying times with someone you immediately know what’s behind this song. The beauty is, you know that without it being literally spelled out.

There is incredible emotion in the song, especially in the opening.

Yet, so delicately delivered. No yelling or crying even though you know that’s what was likely going on.

For me, the lesson in this song is to keep it simple. When I am trying to write songs, it’s hard to get away from compiling an essay relating the message. Remember Jodi, no need to outline bullet points for the listener. ha.

Tammy Wynette and George Jones with daughterOn another note, there are a several key changes in this song and it works brilliantly in a couple ways: 1) it is representative of the ups and downs of a relationship; 2) it keeps the song fresh musically for the duration; and 3) it serves a functional purpose to combine female and male vocals, which normally have very different ranges and keys. (There, I was able to fit bullet points in after all.)

This song is very powerful and so well done I could listen to it over and over.

– More Info –

Artist / Musician / Band: Tammy Wynette and George Jones
Album / Song: We’re Gonna Hold On 
Genre: Country
From: George Jones (Saratoga, Texas), Tammy Wynette (Tremont, Mississippi)

Concert: Billy Gibbons and the BFGs

Houston native Billy Gibbons played a concert recently promoting his new Cuban-influenced record. Of course, I had to go. Without having seen ZZ Top, I figured this concert was the next best thing. If you are unfamiliar with the music of ZZ Top, here’s what Rolling Stone says. Evidently, Billy Gibbons is no stranger to performing a concert. According to Rolling Stone, “The Worldwide Texas Tour” was one of the largest-grossing road trips in rock at the time.

I promised you I’d talk about the concert, but others have done a great job of concert and album reviews (see links at the bottom) – so I’ll talk about the music and influences.

First, Billy Gibbons mentions learning rhythm from Tito Puente, in person, at a young age. That figures! I’ve always thought Gibbons has great rhythm. Of course, as a bass player I’m biased towards the rhythm section. But, any musician whose music makes me want to dance is a winner. And, there aren’t an over abundance today that can do that via a live concert. Here’s Tito Puente – Five Beat Mambo. And, what’s the first thing you notice? A whole stage lined with percussion! What?!

So, at the BFG concert there were two stacks, two organs, two females on two drum kits, one percussionist, one low rider bicycle, and Billy Gibbons – a whole stage of rhythm and percussion. (well, except for the bicycle)

The BFGs also did a Slim Harpo tune, Got Love If You Want It. Here’s Slim Harpo’s version. Billy has a tendency to learn from the best: Slim Harpo, Tito Puente, Jimmy Reed, Sam and Dave. (Here’s ZZ Top’s cover of Sam and Dave’s Thank you. Speaking of ZZ Top songs. I really like Just Got Paid for the extended solo section that starts about 1:25. So good!)

I admire the way Gibbons combines both the past and present and takes that into the future. As you heard, he’s not afraid to experiment. Also, I think one of his greatest assets is his showmanship. He is truly an entertainer and puts on a great concert!

Professional Concert Reviews:

First Impressions: Right About You

Here is my newest song to write and record. I think it’s the most fun of the three. It’s the most rock and roll. The song is about first impressions that give off red flags. Sometimes your first impression is right. This song is about, in hindsight, realizing you should have gone with your instinct instead of rationalizations.

Each song, while more fun than the last, has also been harder to make than the last. Perhaps that’s because as I gain more experience in the process of songwriting, recording, mixing, and mastering, I become more critical. What’s the quote? The more you learn, the more you realize how much you don’t know. I’m not afraid though, I’m looking forward to becoming even better yet at creating more original music.

The album cover for my single song "Right About You" - Jodi Jenkins– More Info –

Artist / Musician: Jodi Jenkins
Song: Right About You
Album: Recorded as a single
All Rights Reserved. Copyright November 2015
SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/jodijenkins/
Playlist of My Songs: soundcloud.com/jodijenkins/sets/mysongs

Music: Serious Boredom with Patrick Carney

Tonight I heard the October version of “Serious Boredom with Patrick Carney” on Sirius XM. It was my first introduction to the show. But, according to Nashville Scene it has been airing for about three years. Maybe tonight the mood was right, but I loved the whole show! Some great music was played including a finale of the Latin Playboys.

It’s been a long time since I heard the Latin Playboys and it brought back some wonderful memories. In Austin at La Zona Rosa, I once saw the Latin Playboys live and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Their songs have such texture and variety. Each is incredibly unique. I wish they would have played all night long. Here is one of my favorites Manifold di Amour. However, each of their albums is an adventure. I highly recommend having a listen or two, or more.

Bassist Mike WattThis reminds me of another great show at La Zona Rosa, Mike Watt. He opened up for another band (I forget which one now). No one was there to see Mike Watt. The place was packed and the entire crowd was waiting on the headliner and talking loudly and paying no attention to this opening band that came on stage.

What was great about that show you ask? Amazingly, in about three songs the entire crowd was silent and spellbound. Mike Watt was performing with such energy it seemed he’d spontaneously combust at any second – every second – of each song until the end. It was incredible. I’ll never forget it. Not many bands can demand that kind of attention.

Immediately I went home to find out more about this bass player. The album I found: fIREHOSE Live Totem Pole EP. But, there’s lots you can find.

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Musicians / Band: Latin Playboys – David Hidalgo, Louie Pérez, Mitchell Froom, Tchad Blake
Album: Dose
Genre: According to Wikipedia, critic Richie Unterberger described their music as “a twisted and avant-garde take on roots music. Latin Playboys draw from blues, border music, experimental studio trickery, and cinematic sound textures.”
From: Los Angeles

Musician: Mike Watt, bass and vocals
Bands: The Minutemen, Firehose and solo career
Genre: Punk
From: Virginia
Website: mikewatt.com