Apr 25, 2013 Lists
Recently I went to a friend’s house for a game of “have you heard…” and I found that he hadn’t heard a lot of what I thought he should have and vice versa. So I began formulating this list in my head.
As always I came up with some completely trivial rules to govern the list : One album per artist, has to be someone that doesn’t get a lot of radio play or fill big venues across the country and a record that I often find myself playing for other people. Some of these albums I’ve covered before on the site, some I have not, so I will just include links to some of them.
Here’s the list in no particular order:
1. Graham Weber: Beggars Blues (2006) : The second record for this Austin based, Ohio native is a good starting point for getting into Weber’s music. He really began to come into his own on this album as a songwriter. Track Highlights: “Love and Money”, “Avenue A”, “Talia”
3. Jonathan Byrd : This Is The New That (2007) : Some people write good songs, Byrd writes phenomenal ones. This is my favorite of his records, but you should own them all. Track Highlights: “Cocaine Kid”, “Jesus Was a Bootlegger”, “Learn to Rock n Roll”
4. Tommy Womack : There I Said It (2007) : I’ve said it before, but I will say it again, some folks show a little bit of themselves when they write a song, some show a lot and Tommy Womack rips his heart out and places it on the table in front of you when he plays one of his. This album is full of those songs. Track Highlights: “Nice Day”, “Alpha Male”, “I Want a Cigarette”
5. Larry Hooper : Rust (2005) : This Texas songwriter only has two records to date and Rust is his debut. Hooper weaves his way through country, folk and bluegrass and delivers some damn fine tunes. Track Highlights : “Locomotive Man”, “Background Music”, “Outwork the Sun”
6. Greg Klyma : Rust Belt Vagabond (2008) : Born and raised in Buffalo, Klyma lets his hometown and all the cities like it be heard through his amazing storytelling on this album. Track Highlights : “Two Degrees in Buffalo”, “Roll Me Away”, “Helen Rose”
7. Roger Hoover and the Whiskey Hounds : Jukebox Manifesto (2007) : Hoover has been through a couple of backing bands since this record came out, but his songwriting and singing is always a constant. I think everything came together for this incarnation of the band on this record. Track Highlights : “Cobblestone Road”, “Please Pick Up, I’m Calling”, “Drifter”
8. Cory Branan : Mutt (2012) : I largely ignored Branan’s previous two releases. That is, until I heard Mutt, and now I love them all, which is a testament of how great this album is. You can read more of my thoughts on this one here. Track Highlights: “Survivor Blues”, “Yesterday”, “Bad Man”
9. Kelly Pardekooper : Haymaker Heart (2005) : I love the combination of folk and rock on this record, it’s not like he really blended the two, but more just smacked them together a few times and see what fell out. Track Highlights : “Tell Me (I’m the One)”, “Folk This”, “21st Century Trailer Park”
1o. Mark Jungers : More Like a Good Dog Than a Bad Cat (2011) : The latest release for Texas based, Jungers displays his songwriting and unique sounding voice in a way that makes you want all of his albums in your collection. Track Highlights : “Show Me a Sign”, “Tired of Being Lonely”, “Drive”
That’s it for the list, which really could have gone on forever. Do yourselves a favor check all of these albums out, go see these artists in concert and thank me next time you see me.
Mar 19, 2012 Youtube Clip
Sorry for the two week absence, but I’m back on schedule this week. I first heard of Jonathan Byrd, when Greg Klyma did “Cocaine Kid” at a show I saw a long time ago in Columbus. The song really struck me, but I really did nothing about it until a few years later when at another show Klyma sang the Byrd song, “Jesus Was a Bootlegger”. At that point I had to buy some of his records. Here are a few videos of my favorite Byrd songs:
First is “Happy Father’s Day”, a song that nearly brings me to tears every time I hear it.
Next is the aforementioned “Cocaine Kid”
Finally, “A Tape Full of Love Songs”, enjoy:
Jul 31, 2010 Album Reviews
Here is another review of someone who I was previously unfamiliar with. Morgan has been around for quite some time playing with just about everyone on the Texas music scene at some point. He has released a number of albums that after hearing this one I will be acquiring.
Talk About was produced by one of my favorite songwriters, Jonathan Byrd. Morgan decided to bring in someone that he respected to help him put together an album for him. Together they picked through a bunch of songs that Morgan had lying around and came up with what you hear on this one.
Morgan has a great sense of humor and that shows in his songwriter, with songs like “Shoes” and “Man in the Mirror”. He has a very unique storytelling style of delivering his lyrics that makes you feel like you know him and that he is right in front of you singing the songs when listening to the album.
“Man in the Mirror” is my favorite tune on the record. Morgan recounts looking at himself getting older through a mirror with some amusing references to standing in his underwear and cowboy hat and the graying of his hair.
Another great song on the album is the title track. “Talk About” is an upbeat folky song that invokes thoughts of Cat Stevens in his heyday. “I’ve never really had much to say, I never let that get in the way, I can move my mouth a mile a minute, even with my boot in it” , sings Morgan.
Standing aside from the general good vibe of most of the album is the foreboding, “Sad Cafe” a song about where you go when you’ve lost your love or your way. I love the feel of this song, cold coffee and stares lingering in a place no one wants to be but eventually ends up in.
Byrd and Morgan have put together a great album here. One that really showcases Morgan’s songwriting abilities and does not muddy up the songs with unnecessary sounds. Morgan seems to mostly play in the Texas area, but he does make it out and about sometimes and I am hoping a stop in Ohio is in his future because I have a feeling that the show would be endlessly entertaining.
You can find Morgan on Facebook and his homepage and I would suggest doing so.
Jun 20, 2010 Youtube Clip
Tomorrow is Father’s Day, and I thought I would look up some videos that are about dads that I like and share them with all of you. Some of them are from the perspective of the child and some of them are the dad looking at his children. Anyways Happy Father’s Day to my dad and to all the dads out there.
“A Face Among the Crowd” Jackie Greene
“Things I Wish I’d Said” Rodney Crowell
“Your Dad Did” John Hiatt
“Happy Father’s Day” Ronny Cox: it’s a Jonathan Byrd song but this is the only version of it I could find on Youtube and I just love this song.
“Father and Son” Cat Stevens
“Missing You” Todd Snider
“Garbage Man” Greg Klyma
There’s a ton more out there, but these are a few that I like and could find on Youtube. Once again Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.