Graham Wardrop – “And I Love Her” mp3
Starting the week off on a very sweet note, here’s an acoustic guitar duet performance of the Beatles’ classic “And I Love Her,” by New Zealand’s steel string virtuoso Graham Wardrop. Eschewing production gimmickry, Wardrop has long focused his efforts on (gasp!) actual playing. He plays entirely with his hands, preferring the tonal possibilities of fingers on steel strings over the more limited range offered by plectrums. Graham’s devotion to his craft is evidenced by the fact that he builds his own instruments to get exactly the sound he wants. And his playing is quite beautiful. So here, I give you, one of the world’s greatest love ballads, played on a guitar built by the performer himself. That’s a lot of love in one mp3! If you like this, click here to find the whole album he made of Beatles covers. Enjoy.
“And I Love Her” (mp3)
from “Beatles Project – Solo and Duet Guitar”
Antoine Dufour – “Lost In Your Eyes” mp3
Here is a luminous instrumental serenade from Canadian harp-guitarist Antoine Dufour. His instrumental mastery is matched by a child-like playfulness and wonder, that is such a refreshing contrast to today’s prevailing cynicism. It’s easy to hear when someone is really having fun playing, and that joy is instantly contagious. An all acoustic, no effects, str8 up the middle stringed instrument recording that is as vibrant as a Spring day.
“Lost in Your Eyes” (mp3)
(Candy Rat Records)
Luce – “The Year We’ll Have” mp3
Among a touring band’s greatest fears is to wake up one morning and find their gear van stolen. This happened to San Francisco’s Luce, not long after band leader Tom Luce’s house burned down with most of his belongings. So he did the reasonable thing. He quit. But, as the Muse is relentless for some folks, he couldn’t quit for long. Beckoned by an admiring fan base, and warm receptions to their earlier recordings, Luce reassembled themselves from scratch, to emerge with this joyously defiant statement of optimism. The unexpected vocal harmonies are delicious, and the band’s live-in-studio performance is expert, honest and unpretentious. Truly fine lemonade made from life’s lemons.
“The Year We’ll Have” (mp3)
from “The Year We’ll Have”
(Ninth Street Opus)
Dirty Sweet – “You’ve Been Warned” mp3
“American Spiritual” is the perfect name for this record. It’s a right swamp boogyin’ guitar twangin’ snake handlin’ freakout. And fun! Dirty Sweet from San Diego, CA conjures an original sound that draws hungrily from American musics North, South, East and West. On this tale of madness and impending fate, lead singer Ryan Koontz’ powerful tenor sails over a deliciously apocalyptic musical gumbo. Very tight band, gr8 singer, and they rock live. We’ve been warned.
“You’ve Been Warned” (mp3)
from “American Spiritual”
Dave Bianchi – “Nowhere” mp3
Within minutes of dubya’s re-election in 2004, Dave Bianchi decided to leave the USA, soon landing in Barcelona. There he opened a recording studio called the Emergency Room, where he produced records with some brilliant area artists and released them on his own WHATABOUTMUSIC label. This Kurt Weil meets Radiohead sounding piece from his solo debut, “The Suburbs of Salt” finds our expatriate hero deep in the throes of an existential social networking crisis. The composition is elegant and comical, the performances inspired and precise, all matching a frightfully accurate poetic gaze into the digital abyss. Brilliant.
from “The Suburbs of Salt”
The Singleman Affair – “Good Goodbye” mp3
Though created by a one man band, this lovely track by The Singleman Affair sounds every bit like a classic small band recording. Over a sexy, lazy swinging beat, laden with warm acoustic guitar and analog keyboard licks, singer-songwriter Dan Schneider weaves a tale of a good goodbye. Seeing Tim Buckley, Skip Spence and Nick Drake listed among his influences on myspace, I was curious, to say the least. I’m happy to report the mp3s there do not disappoint next to those considerable names. It’s all gr8 stuff, with haunting, beautiful vocals and relaxed, elegant accompaniment. Plus, the lyrics are sublime.
The Singleman Affair
“Good Goodbye” (mp3)
from “Racehorse – EP”
(Cardboard Sangria Records)
The Abramson Singers – “Fools Gold” mp3
Fool’s gold. If you’ve ever been to the Sierra Nevada, and gazed into a mountain stream, you’ve seen the shimmering stuff, beckoning as it did to prospectors who sought their fortunes there starting around 1848. Pretty, but worthless stuff. Then we wonder, why is gold valuable? Well, because we say it is. We agree it’s valuable and carry on having civilizations based on it being valuable. Pretty absurd if you toy with that notion. So let’s don’t. Don’t be fooled by the title, this beautiful song by The Abramson Singers is pure gold. Haunting twang-y guitars and delicate snare brushes set the stage for some magnificent, soft and sweet female vocal harmonies that could melt Fort Knox. From their, or more like her, eponymous album. Lovely work, check it out.
The Abramson Singers
“Fool’s Gold” (mp3)
from “The Abramson Singers”
Farmer Dave Scher – “Bab’lone Nights” mp3
Don’t we all wish we could “Flash Forward to the Good Times” as the title of this album proposes? Farmer Dave Scher, uploading his crop to the Intercosmos from that unique space alien outpost of Venice, California, has a positive and somewhat comical take on reality that I must say I rather prefer to reality proper. A veteran of Beachwoods Sparks and All Night Radio, pedal steel master, producer, singer-songwriter and sideman to the likes of Interpol and Elvis Costello, this is one busy and prolific musical farmer. “Bab’lone Nights” is a delightful romp through mishap and mayhem, skipping along in carefree defiance with hooks and fun to spare. There’s even a drum solo of sorts, which works as a bridge, like, well, like nobody ever does anymore. Gorgeous, original work, with deep roots and a playful heart.
Farmer Dave Scher
“Bab’lone Nights” (mp3)
from “Flash Forward to the Good Times”