So this first one is New Multitudes performing "Hoping Machine" from their Woody Guthrie project -- four of my favorite folk rock artists got together and composed tunes for all these lyrics they found in the Woody Guthrie archives. And I don't even know what else to say about it other than it's super awesome. I'm astounded by how "of the moment" Guthrie's lyrics sound -- I don't know if they changed anything up, but I'm assuming not -- just the themes touched upon and the ideas he expressed. It's like that Bob Dylan tribute that I've been raving about for the last several weeks -- if a songwriter is that good, their stuff just automatically stands the test of time.
And this one -- you know how there are songs you know you can listen to a million times and never, ever get tired of them? This is one of mine. Trampled by Turtles, "New Orleans". I found this band researching contemporary bluegrass music for my novel and I've fallen completely head over heels in love with them. And their lyrics are brilliant -- they do that masterful 4-minute storytelling that I like so much in my music. This song in particular. Also I may have poached a phrase and put it in my novel. Shh. Don't tell anyone.
And Greensky Bluegrass -- another discovery through novel research (researching my novel is SUCH torture). This is "Handguns" from their latest album of the same name. I love them. Bunch of unkempt hippies. Whatever.
And oh god, Alabama Shakes! Paste Magazine named them one of their top 20 new bands of 2011 and they didn't even have an album out yet -- it doesn't even come out for a couple more weeks. But they had a 4-song EP that's just incredible, and their live performances give me hope that I can actually go see a band in concert again that actually knows how to play, in key, in time. This song is "Hold On" and it's a perfect example of their sound -- a fusion of blues, funk, soul, and just good old fashioned rock and roll. One of their songs got me a long way through grieving my older sister's death -- not this one, but I'm just saying. NPR Music has a download of one of their full sets at South By Southwest and I highly recommend it -- it's super cool and awesome.
And just because I like to fuck with people...
I loved Jessie J when I saw her perform on SNL last fall but when I listened to her EP tracks online it was all way too slick and boring. But then "Domino" came out and she also did a super cool song with David Guetta on his album, "Stuck on Repeat." She's a really good singer -- she's what Katy Perry would be if she could actually sing as well as she thinks she can.