New Music for Old People
Where Has all the Music Gone?
"There's just no good music today." How often I have heard that lament from my fellow Baby Boomers. If I depended on commercial radio for my music, I might tend to agree with them. However, talent has not skipped a generation.
People tend to stick with the music they loved when they were young. I'm of "Classic Rock" generation. Music of that era will always be special to me. However, music is too important for me to spend the rest of my life listening only to music that is 40 or 50 years old.
The Internet is a treasure trove of undiscovered and independent music; it offers endless opportunities to expand your musical horizons from the comfort of home.
- Try a site like Pandora or Spotify. Sign up for a free account, enter some musicians you like, it will find music of a similar style. You can be fine-tune it by voting selections up or down. This provides your own personal playlist.
- Check out small, independent radio stations. Many of them broadcast on the web. You can find a station that plays whatever style of music you like. My personal favorite is KVMR in Nevada City, CA.
- Use the Internet to search for concerts and festivals in your area. I would bet there's plenty of music being made right in your home town. Recorded music can't compare with a live show. Often I go to a festival to see an artist I love, but one I didn't know about ends up being the highlight of the day.
Some of my Favorite New Music
I've been following Jackie Green's career since I first saw him play at the the fairgrounds in Auburn, CA. He was 21 then, but he looked younger. I recognized him right away as an amazing talent. He writes fantastic songs and plays piano, guitar, banjo and harmonica.
While at the festival, I picked up a copy of his first two CDs "Rusty Nails," and "Gone Wanderin'." I also got "Positively 12th and K," which is a tribute album to Bob Dylan. I still listen to all of those CDs.
Now 36, this prolific composer has eight albums under his belt. He has collaborated with former Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir since 2007. He has also toured with Gov't Mule. Some of the bands he's played with include The Weir/Robinson/Greene Trio, Trigger Hippy, Black Crowes, and of course his own Jackie Greene Band.
Jackie Greene - Honey I Been Thinking About You
When you hear James Hunter's 50s influenced R&B, you might think you have stepped right into another era. However, there's nothing stale about the songs Hunter writes.
I love his CDs, but the best way to hear James Hunter is live. With his over-the-top cockney accent, snappy wit, and retro suit that borders on tacky, Hunter is one of those performers that really connect with the crowd.
Born into a working class family in Colchester, England, Hunter spent time as a railroad construction worker. His career in music began with a band called "Howlin' Wilf and the Vee-Jays" They released their first album, "Cry Wilf," in 1986.
R&B legend Van Morrison, sang back up on Hunter's first solo album, Believe What I Say in 1996. This led to a tour with Morrison in the 1990s, and Hunter sang back up on Morrison's albums, A Night in San Francisco, and Days Like This. Van Morrison has remained one of James Hunter's biggest supporters, calling him "one of the best voices, and best kept secrets, in British R'n'B and Soul."
2006 saw the smooth crooner's first US release with "People Gonna' Talk" on Rounder Records. The album was nominated for a grammy and made #1 on the Billboard charts.
He has since released three more albums.
- The Hard Way (2008)
- Minute By Minute (2013)
- Hold On! (2016)
James Hunter - People Gonna Talk
Paul Thorn's music has elements of Southern Rock, Country, Blues and Rock, but he has said that Americana is the genre that “took him in.”
He was the son of a Pentecostal preacher in Tupelo Mississippi. That’s where he learned about music, and showmanship.
He is a man of words. At his live shows, Paul often introduces a song by telling a funny story about it. The stories are charmingly delivered in his delightful southern drawl.
He is self-produced by choice; he likes the freedom it gives him. He even creates the art on his CD covers.The power of the Internet, offers independent musicians like him an alternative to signing with big record companies. No longer shackled by onerous contracts, they have the creative freedom to play what they love.
He released his last two CDs "Pimps and Preachers" and "What the Hell is Goin’ On" under his own label "Perpetual Obscurity."
In the video below he is playing on Delbert McClinton's Sandy Beaches Cruise. That's where I first saw Paul Thorn.
Paul Thorn - Mission Temple Fireworks Stand
The first time I ever encountered Lukas Nelson I had never heard of him and I had no idea who he was. When he started singing I said “Hey, that sounds like Willie Nelson singing." Then I learned that there was a good reason for that, he is Willie’s son.
His voice is a lot like his dad’s, but Lukas is more of a rocker than Willie. He has tremendous energy and stage presence.
Lukas and his band, “Promise of the Real” released their album of the same name at the end of 2010. The band toured extensively promoting the album. They played many major festivals.
I first saw him at a festival in Humboldt County, CA. That is in California's "Emerald Triangle," so called because it is a high marijuana growing area. Lukas apparently inherited his dad's fondness for the weed, as he openly puffed onstage.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Gov't Mule is a southern rock jam band. Guitarist, Warren Haynes and bassist, Allen Woody of The Allman Brothers Band are the founding fathers of the band.
They released their debut album, Gov't Mule, in 1995, and have made nine more studio albums since then. Gov't Mule tours widely, across the U.S. They have become a fixture and music festivals such as Bonnaroo, and the New Orleans Jazzfest.
The first time I heard them, they opened for The Steve Miller Band at the brand new Sacramento Amphitheater. Even though I thought their name was kind of strange, I never forgot it.
Gov't Mule - Thorazine Shuffle
American singer-songwriter and Ben Harper plays an eclectic mix of blues, folk, soul, reggae and rock music. He also receives rave reviews for his guitar and slide guitar skills.
He was born in Pomona, California on the 8th of October, 1969. Raised by his mom, he learned to play guitar as a child. He learned to love music through his maternal grandparents, who ran a music store.
When he was nine years old, Harper went to a Bob Marley concert. It made quite and impression, as Marley became an important musical influence.
Harper has won three Grammy Awards. One for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and one for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album in 2005, and Best Blues Album in 2014.
I got turned on to Ben Harper when I saw him play at the Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park.
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals - Steal my Kisses
I hope you enjoyed my musical discoveries. I may stop by later and add a few more.
© 2017 Sherry Hewins