2015 May

The Book of Love by Gavin James

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People say you can’t describe love but this song comes pretty close. The vocals are soulful and James displays amazing range. It is slow and meaningful conveying endless emotion. He sings all about what love means and what the person he loves means to him. His sound is equally if not more amazing live and the entire live album is stunning. It’s the type of song that makes your heart swell and brings tears to your eyes but at the same time you can’t help but smile. The video tells the story of a little boy discovering what love is and trying to understand it.

Wussy

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Wussy formed back in 2001 in Cincinnati, OH.  Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker, guitarists, vocalists and lead songwriters for the band formed after Cleaver asked Walker to perform with him at an awards show because his stage fright was hampering him from performing alone.  The band released their 6th album “Attica!” last year, and have received a lot of favorable press that centers around “one of the last fine rock bands that you’ll find in the U.S.”.  Why did they name their band Wussy?  The answer from Cleaver was “because it looks cool on t-shirts”.  The band is rounded out by John Erhardt on pedal steel, Mark Messerly on bass and Joe Klug on drums.  It’s good earnest songwriting and you can hear how the band takes pride in their craft.  Many songs on the album are worth listening to, but here’s the first two tracks from “Attica!”.


 

Teenage Wasteland by Wussy

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Teenage Wasteland features nice vocals from Walker, sung with just the right amount of inflection and emotion.  The clip from YouTube is not unfortunately not pristine, but you can still get the gist. 

Jealous Sun by The Horrors

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“Jealous Sun” is a little more trippy than “So Now You Know”, featuring some swirling keyboards that provide some interesting atmosphere throughout the track.  Again, you have a steady beat and prominent bass that helps keep the song moving along through the hazy atmosphere the rest of the instruments are creating.


 

So Now You Know by The Horrors

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“So Now You Know” features very leisurely verses that morph into more bombastic choruses.  It’s the type of track that could have definitely earned more radio play.  The track also has some nice musical interludes, highlighting the gauzy guitar sound the band uses quite often, along with some prominent bass.
 

 

The Horrors

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The-Horrors
The Horrors released their 4th album “Luminous” midway through last year, and I’ve been meaning to include them in this email ever since.  The band formed in 2005 in London, released singles and an E.P. over the next few years until their debut album “Strange House” came out in ’07.  The band was more punk back then, but then morphed into a more experimental goth, shoegaze sound when they released “Primary Colours” in ’09.  Geoff Barrows from Portishead co-produced the album which explains some of the change in sound.   The album was extremely well-received in the U.K., even getting named Album of the Year by NME.  The band self-produced their 3rd album “Skying” which continue to draw on atmosphere and showed some commonalities with My Bloody Valentine and the Psychedelic Furs.  You can still hear these elements on their latest release, which reminds me a lot of some of the UK alternative bands from the ‘80s.  The band is all about atmosphere, and better listened to under the album format rather than singles.  This may explain why the band hasn’t experienced success in the U.S. like they have in the U.K.  However, I’ve selected probably the two most accessible songs that could work as singles on the radio that hopefully you’ll enjoy.
 

Desire by Jessie Ware

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“Desire” closes out the album and has some of the more interesting production on the album, right from the start.  There’s very stark and heavy percussion, with a lot of other electronic noise swirling around but still a lot of space for Ware’s vocals to stand out.  The beat is so slow that the song basically floats along rather than moving behind any kind of beat.

Champagne Kisses by Jessie Ware

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Champagne Kisses has some flashier production than some of the other tracks, and also features a falsetto by Ware that isn’t heard very often.  The bass is a little heavier on this track as well, and it has a bigger “poppy” chorus that sticks in your mind.  However, there are still many subtle touches throughout which allows it to integrate well with the other tracks on the album. 


 

B-B King dies at 89

Posted by | Industry News | 4 Comments

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B-B King dies at 89, read more below.

King took the Beale Street Blues Boy, or BB for short, as a disc jockey for radio station WDIA-AM Memphis.

King was born on September 16, 1925, on a cotton plantation between Indianola and what is now Itta Bena, Mississippi. He sang with church choirs as a child and learned basic guitar chords from his uncle, a preacher. In his youth, he played on street corners for dimes, saying he earned more in one night singing on the corner than he did in one week working in the cotton field.

Riley B. King, the legendary guitarist known as B.B. King, whose velvety voice and economical, expressive style brought blues from the margins to the mainstream, died Thursday night.

Even with a long list of honors to his name– a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, a Presidential Medal of Freedom– he maintained a relentless touring schedule well into his 80s.

Throughout his career, King evolved with the times to incorporate contemporary trends and influences without straying from his Delta blues roots. Whether he was sharing the stage with U2 on “When Loves Comes to Town”– a scene memorialized in the 1988 concert film “Rattle and Hum”– or playing in the East Room of the White House with Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and others, King’s single-string guitar notes trilled with an unmistakable vibrato from his hollow-bodied Gibson affectionately known as Lucille.
Slowing down
King finally started showing signs of his age last year after decades of living with Type II diabetes.

King’s enduring legacy came from his refusal to slow down even after cementing his status as an American music icon.

His ascent continued in 1949 with his first recordings, “Miss Martha King/Take a Swing with Me” and “How Do You Feel When Your Baby Packs Up and Goes/I’ve Got the Blues.” His first hit record “Three O’Clock Blues” was released in 1951 and stayed on the top of the charts for four months.

Musicians mourn the loss of B.B. King

Beale Street Blues Boy
He enlisted in the Army during World War II but was released because he drove a tractor, an essential homefront occupation.

As “King’s Spot” grew in popularity on WDIA, King shortened “Beale Street Blues Boy” to “Blues Boy King” and eventually B.B. King.

His daughter, Patty King, said he died in Las Vegas, where he announced two weeks ago that he was in home hospice care after suffering from dehydration.

His life was the subject of the documentary “B.B. King: The Life of Riley” and the inspiration for the the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, which opened in Mississippi in 2008.

A shaky show in St. Louis prompted his reps to issue an apology for “a performance that did not match Mr. King’s usual standard of excellence.” He fell ill in October after a show at Chicago’s House of Blues due to dehydration and exhaustion, prompting a rare cancellation of the remainder of his tour.

In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, Tennessee, home to a thriving music scene that supported aspiring black performers. He stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who schooled King further in the art of the blues.

King of the blues
B.B. King, the Beale Street Blues Boy
B.B. King, the Beale Street Blues Boy 12 photos
EXPAND GALLERY
The Mississippi native’s reign as “king of the blues” lasted more than six decades and straddled two centuries, influencing a generation of rock and blues musicians, from Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan to Sheryl Crow and John Mayer.

He was 89.

He was hospitalized for dehydration in April in Las Vegas, a long way from his modest roots as the son of a sharecropper.

He got his first big break in 1948 by performing on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio program out of West Memphis, leading to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis and a 10-minute spot on WDIA.

Beloved Lucille

It was during this era that King first named his beloved guitar Lucille. In the mid-1950s, King was performing at a dance in Twist, Arkansas, when a few fans became unruly and started a fire. King ran out, forgetting his guitar, and risked his life to go back and get it.

He later found out that two men fighting over a woman named Lucille knocked over a kerosene heater that started the fire. He named the guitar Lucille, “to remind myself never to do anything that foolish.”.

King used various models of Gibson guitars over the years and named them each Lucille. In the 1980s, Gibson officially dropped the model number ES-355 on the guitar King used, and it became a custom-made signature model named Lucille, manufactured exclusively for the “King of the Blues.”.

30 Grammy nominations.
In the ’50s and ’60s, King was a peripatetic figure, idolized by musicians and R&B fans, known for putting on some of the best live shows around. By the late ’50s, he was traveling in a chauffeur-driven Cadillac accompanied by a custom Greyhound bus, called Big Red, which housed his band.

He received a standing ovation. He returned to the Fillmore several more times.

In 1967, his changing fan base was enough to get him booked in San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium.

In 1970, he won his first Grammy for his trademark song, “The Thrill is Gone.” That same year, he debuted an all-blues show at Carnegie Hall and appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”.

Even after his bluesier R&B became less commercial– he observed that “they (once) called guys like me rhythm and blues, so somewhere along the line, I guess I lost my rhythm”– he still maintained a following, this time among white musicians.

Over the years, he racked up 30 Grammy nominations and 15 wins, including two in 2000: one along with Eric Clapton for Best Traditional Blues Album for “Riding with the King” and another with Dr. John for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for “Is You Is, or Is You Ain’t (My Baby).”.

Eric Clapton was a fan. Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac modeled his sound on King’s. John Lennon said he “wanted to play guitar like B.B. King.”.

“We used to play the Fillmore all the time, but it was then about 90 % black,” he told PBS. “But this time … it was long-haired white people, men and women, sitting body to body going up to the door. I told my road manager, ‘I think they booked us in the wrong place.’ “.

His last was in February 2009 for Best Traditional Blues Album for “One Kind Favor” (2008).

Kind Of…Sometimes…Maybe by Jessie Ware

Posted by | Song Discovery | 6 Comments

Kind Of…Sometimes…Maybe is a slow burner, heavy on the atmosphere.  As you may have guessed, the title of the song is also the chorus.  There are subtle production techniques throughout, and they percolate just under the surface so you have to be paying attention in order to notice them fully.  This track is a good introduction to the type of vibe that Jessie Ware has throughout her music.