Monday, June 26, 2006

Song of the Week 6/23/06

Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - "This Is Us"

I was fortunate enough to luck into a pair of most excellent seats (special thanks to Aerosmith for making Sal go to Boston) for Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris at Radio City Music Hall Thursday night. Their duets album All the Roadrunning hadn't really caught my ear yet, but I figured Knopfler usually doesn't disappoint and Emmylou is, well, Emmylou, so how could I turn down an opportunity to see this show?

The stage was set for a good night when the lovely A.B. and I met my friend Hank and his pal George for drinks across the street from Radio City. We had a blast drinking Indian River Light; playing with the little buzzer they give you while waiting for a table; and trying not to laugh at the tall dude with the porno moustache--and shirt. (WOW.)

As we entered the venue, A.B. told me she had never been in Radio City, which I'm sure I could have eventually figured out as she looked around in wonder at what is easily New York's most beautiful music venue. It's funny how jaded -- or perhaps better put -- how accustomed I've become to what the inside of all the venues look like. Watching her was like discovering the theater again for the first time.

The show started out a little rough (especially vocal mix-wise) but settled down after a few tunes. When Knopfler pulled out the Dire Straits classic "Romeo and Juliet," it was, in a word, breathtaking. I think I even saw A.B. get a bit misty during that one. Heck, I thought I was going to get a bit misty. And then when Knopfler and Harris started singing "This is Us" -- the first single from All the Roadrunning -- something clicked. I thought, "Holy crap, this song is great, this show is great, this is one of the best nights I've had all year, I need to listen to this album more and this song every day." As if to emphasize that point, after that song was over A.B. leaned into me and said, "I really like that song."

Yup, me too.

(P.S. -- Click the link on "This Is Us" at the top of the page for a European tour bootleg version of the song. Or click here for the entire set)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Song of the Week 6/16/06

The Isley Brothers - "Summer Breeze"

Summer is really here. Temps in the 90s; thoughts of putting the A/C unit in my bedroom window; listening to tons of Beach Boys on my day off on Friday; sweating in a theater and drinking more beer because of it. So much beer was drank (nothing like a 40 of Tecate to make local theater better) that I started singing "Summer Breeze" outside the theater when I felt a little cooling wind. Then I come into work today and while cruising through some music blogs I found this cover.







Download it now while you can (follow the link above). You won't be disappointed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Song of the Week 6/9/06

Bruce Hornsby and The Grateful Dead - "The Valley Road (Live)"

I spent much of the week listening through the upcoming Hornsby box set Intersections 1985-2005 in hopes that I'd be getting him for an interview for work. Alas, that looks like it won't happen. The four disc/one DVD set is heavy on previously unreleased live tracks, including this one representation of Hornsby's time as a member of the Grateful Dead. I was a fan of Hornsby's until the mid 90s when he started moving away from the tighter songs structures of his first three albums. That's why I'm so surprised at how much I love this Deadafied rearrangement. Hornsby, Jerry Garcia and other keyboardist Vince Welnick (RIP) nail some great three part harmonies; Garcia rips off a classic solo; and the whole band just basically kicks the shit out of this song. They sound like they're having a ton of fun backing Hornsby here, and it makes me regret not going to see the band during his brief tenure in the beyboard seat.

(For those who might care, Intersections is in stores July 25th.)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Song of the Week 6/2/06

Egghead. - "Donna's Always Mad at Me"

I saved Egghead. and tons of Neil Young for the end of "Listen to Everything in My Itunes" project. (I finished this morning, finally.) Egghead. was a band comprised of three of my best friends in the world -- singer-guitarist Mike Galvin (a.k.a. Johnny Reno), singer-bassist John Bowie and drummer Mike Faloon. Part of my reason for moving to New York was so I could see them play more often. They played smart punk/power-pop songs, were lots and lots of fun to see and pretty much were always in my musical thoughts. Heck, I wrote liner notes for their posthumous compilation Dumb Songs For Smart People -- and even produced a limited edition box set of their six year career with a really big booklet that took a lot of time to figure out how to copy correctly.

"Donna's Always Made at Me" was instantly one of my favorite songs when I first heard it. (I think in 1994 at an Ithaca gig? Or was in it 1995 at Spiral? Someone help me out in the comments.) And hearing it in its studio and live versions over the past week was like welcoming an old friend back home, one that was a bit less jaded and had a lot less damage done to his liver and couldn't stop smiling and laughing at every Egghead. show.

I paid a lot to see the Pixies reunite--I'd pay a lot more for one more Egghead. show.