Vic Chesnutt’s luminous “Chain”

Vic Chesnutt – “Chain”

Vic Chesnutt‘s craft is at such a high level, between lyrics and voice and accompaniment, that listening to his songs one can forget oneself and become entirely transported into the musical picture. “Chain” from his latest album, is a soft cinematic masterpiece, each instrument a character, conversing and dancing ethereally with the protagonist/singer, illuminating a scene far more nuanced and colorful that pop music is expected to be. Perhaps this is why Mr. Chesnutt’s reputation amongst pop stars is so well established – to list his famous admirers would be something of a cliché at this point – while his own fame among the general public is still relatively limited. The quality of this work is so self evident all I can suggest is, download it and have a listen. And if you’re wondering if the rest of the album, and indeed the rest of the output from this artist is as original and beautiful as this, this answer is yeah, it is.

Vic Chesnutt
“Chain” (mp3)
from “At the Cut”
(Constellation)

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Curtis Harvey’s lovely “Box Of Stones”

Curtis Harvey – “Oldertoo”

I swear if Paul Westerberg were born in the Appalachians instead of Minneapolis, he would have started a hillbilly band and recorded this song. Or I could say, if Bill Monroe were a young New Yorker, he might have done. These are compliments to all parties, if there’s any wondering. Curtis Harvey, at the time of this writing, has a whopping 47 myspace friends for his brand new solo outing, in which he emerges from a respectable run as a multi-instrumentalist with Rex, Pullman and others, to take the leading role. Listen to the beautiful guitar and banjo arrangement, and picture perfect lyrics of the single “Oldertoo,” and I’m sure you’ll agree this was an idea whose time had come. A gr8 new music find, folks, from a brilliant under-discovered artist, on the visionary Fat Cat Records label. Enjoy.

Curtis Harvey
“Oldertoo” (mp3)
from “Box Of Stones”
(Fat Cat Records)

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Sleep Whale’s quiet ecstasy

Sleep Whale – “Cotton Curls”

Beginning with a sweet and ponderous bell intro that hints of Balinese Gamelan music, Sleep Whale’s “Cotton Curls” evolves into a weaving, waving, softly delicious dream. Rather extreme filters and other effects on the vocals add to the originality of the piece, rather than distract from it. Intriguing and foreign, while strangely accessible and distinctly human. Also, I have to say arbitrarily, really perfect early autumn Sunday afternoon music. So it goes up today! Enjoy.

Sleep Whale
“Cotton Curls” (mp3)
from “Houseboat”
(Western Vinyl)

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Graham Lindsey’s light amid the darkness

Graham Lindsey – “Tomorrow is Another Night”

With a voice that reminds favorably of Steve Earle and Bob Dylan, Wisconsin’s Graham Lindsey has an arresting way with words and a painfully clear gaze on the human condition. His minimal, elegant accompaniment seems to draw as much from European folk musics as it does from more distinctly American forms. This song grows with repeated listens – on first pass I was moved, by the third time I was convinced this is major. What a magnificent, smart, and poetic lyric. I get angry when I discover artists like this, who deserve a lot more exposure than they are likely to get during this age of corporate ersatz musik. But b4 I get on that soapbox again, let me just say: TWO MONTHS TO GO! I have posted a song a day for all of 2009, and I am proud to share and shout about each and every one of them. Give this mp3 a spin, and if you like it as much as I think you will, do yourself a favor and pick up the perfectly titled album – “We Are All Alone in This Together” on SPACEBAR Recordings. I bought it after posting another Lindsey gem called “Old Roger” back in August. A gr8 record from an artist who merits our support. Thanks, getting off soapbox now! Love, SuperFan

Graham Lindsey
“Tomorrow is Another Night” (mp3)
from “We Are All Alone in This Together”
(SPACEBAR Recordings)

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Graham Lindsey’s new old school country folk

Graham Lindsey – “Old Roger”

Graham Lindsey‘s latest album, “We Are All Alone in This Together” is one of the freshest country records to come along in recent memory – a hard left and several states away from your standard Nashville fare. Lindsey’s first brush with fame came at the tender age of 12 as a member of the punk novelty trio, Old Skull, and he has since grown into a full fledged singer-songwriter with a distinct and original voice. On “Old Roger,” the troubadour’s punk roots shine through as clearly as his love for Bob Dylan and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. A gritty work of great imagination.

Graham Lindsey
“Old Roger” (mp3)
from “We Are All Alone in This Together”
(SPACEBAR Recordings)

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“Lust In Space” with the Trailer Park Rangers

Trailer Park Rangers – “Lust in Space”

When we come across a title like “Lust In Space” by an artist named Trailer Park Rangers, our expectations run understandably high. This record does not disappoint. I hear everything from Bob Dylan and Joe Strummer to David Byrne and Captain Beefheart, in front-ranger David T. Carter’s voice, with a crack steel string and vocal harmony ensemble accompanying him as only veteran musicians can. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, from the storied Northern California towns of Graton and Petaluma, the Trailer Park Rangers. Outstanding work.

Trailer Park Rangers
“Lust in Space” (mp3)
from “Lullabies of All the Mess”
(FlightSafe Music)

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Papercuts lovely “Future Primitive” in heavy rotation at my house

Papercuts – “Future Primitive”

The Papercuts are soooo cool. “Future Primitive” is the single from their hot new “You Can Have What You Want” album. I keep playing this CD over and over. Echoes of 50s, 60s pop, and some other, harder to place influences that must have come from outer space. Climb aboard and enjoy.

Papercuts
“Future Primitive” (mp3)
from “You Can Have What You Want”
(Gnomonsong)

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Buena Vista Social Club owns Carnegie Hall!

Certainly one of the major musical events of the turn of the 21st century was and is the worldwide recognition of the Buena Vista Social Club. The story would be great anyway, but with music this good, this joyous and unpretentious, it becomes a unifying force that renders borders and politics impotent.

Buena Vista Social Club
“De Camino a la Vereda (live)” (download mp3)
from “Buena Vista Social Club At Carnegie Hall”
(World Circuit)
Buena Vista Social Club – “De Camino a la Vereda (live)” (play)

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Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel got “Hesitation Blues” for real

Dayumb. They REALLY don’t make ’em like THIS anymore! Shoot, who can even PLAY like this anymore!? This great record, recorded by Jerry Wexler himself (google him if ya don’t know) was finally released, 30 years after its completion. Hesitation Blues indeed!

Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel
“Hesitation Blues” (download mp3)
from “Willie And The Wheel”
(Bismeaux Records)
Willie Nelson & Asleep At The Wheel – “Hesitation Blues” (play)

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Matthews Southern Comfort sez “Touch Her If You Can”

Matthews Southern Comfort – “Touch Her If You Can”

There are a number of labels popping up lately who specialize in digitizing vinyl records from decades gone by and making them available for new music fans to enjoy. You can call that a major service to humanity, a labor of love, or just smart business! Cos it’s a gold mine, really. Two such labels that deserve big props in this dept. are Light In The Attic and ItsAboutMusic.

Matthews Southern Comfort
“Touch Her If You Can” (mp3)
from “Scion”
(ItsAboutMusic.com)

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This track I just found from an artist called Matthews Southern Comfort, whom I’ve never heard of before, is a real gem of southern country folk rock. Nashville’esque production and a Grateful Dead dancing barefoot with flowers in hair attitude, frame some clever lyrics that stand the test of time as more than just a summer of love cliché. Plus this guy has a lovely singing voice. Sort of a friendlier, not as tragically damaged Cat Stevens warble. Check it out!