Playlist #52

This marks the one-year anniversary of me starting this playlist project. It’s kept me writing here for the whole year, which I like. I’ve even gotten back into working on Novel #7 (I’m well-past the halfway point, I think).

For this playlist, I thought about doing a retrospective, selecting my favorite songs from other playlists. But I decided against that. I’ll do another post later this week where I examine the playlists as a whole, looking at who got played the most and how many songs I repeated (I think just one? I’m not sure, but I’ll find out!).

Anyway, remember there’s the Patreon. I’m about to post April’s song. I’m pretty proud of it. Anyway, without further ado, here’s this week’s playlist:

  1. Dr. Dog, “Lonesome”: I love the guitar in this one. Pretty sure it’s a dobro or resonator.
  2. Andrew Bird, “Atomized”: Andrew Bird has a new album coming out this summer. I’m stoked. If this song is any indication, it’ll be a great one.
  3. Jorge Orozco, “Gran Vals”: Orignally composed by Francisco Tarrega, this is the song that Nokia got its ringtone from. It’s a very pretty song.
  4. Langhorne Slim & the Law, “Put It Together”: I’m a sucker for a shout-along chorus.
  5. The Doubleclicks, “This Is My Jam”: I like jam. Who doesn’t like jam? Commies, that’s who.
  6. Dolly Parton, “Jolene”: This is the slowed down version, the one from the 45 played at 33 1/3 RPM. It’s haunting.
  7. Aimee Mann, “Phoenix”: What is it about the way Aimme Mann writes and plays songs that just captivates me? I just love everything about her sound.
  8. Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come”: Some days, you just need to let Sam take you home.
  9. Santana, “Evil Ways”: The way they add the, “baby,” to the end of certain lines in this song amuses me to no end.
  10. Bob Dylan, “Paths Of Victory”: My love for Dylan is no secret at this point. Someday, I’ll figure out an arrangement of this song for the guitar (rather than the piano he plays in this version). Until then, I’ll just have to sit and marvel at how well that man puts words together.

Playlist #51

Happy Tax Day, America! Happy regular ol’ Monday after Easter! Happy, um, April 18th, everyone else? Don’t forget to join my Patreon, where I’m making new music every month for your listening enjoyment (actual amount of enjoyment may vary. Please see your doctor if you receive too much enjoyment from listening to my music)! Anyway, here’s this week’s playlist.

  1. The Beatles, “Taxman”: Like I wasn’t gonna do this today. “My advice to those who die/Declare the pennies on your eyes.”
  2. Bruce Cockburn, “Lovers In A Dangerous Time”: Only started listening to him this morning, but the line, “Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight/You gotta kick in the darkness till it bleeds daylight” is just one of the all-time best.
  3. The Ink Spots, “Java Jive”: Like most music from the first half of the 20th century, my exposure to this song was through a cartoon when I was a small child. Little Lulu, I think?
  4. Lizzo, “About Damn Time”: Here comes Lizzo with another summer jam. God, where did she find that bass player? That bassline slaps.
  5. Ten Years After, “I’d Love To Change The World”: With a chorus that literally says, “I’d love to change the world/But I don’t know what to do/So I’ll leave it up to you,” this is the quintessential Boomer song. “Eh, I’d love to do something about it, but I’m not gonna. Tough luck, future!”
  6. XTC, “Across This Antheap”: Another song with so many good lines just tossed off all casual-like. And that trumpet? So good.
  7. The Wallflowers, “Bleeders”: Included simply because of the way that organ sounds at the very beginning of the song.
  8. Ben E. King, “Stand By Me”: You know what always aggravates me about the John Lennon cover of this song? It adds absolutely nothing to it. You might as well just go back and listen to the Ben E. King version instead. Which is why this version is on the playlist.
  9. Otis Redding, “That’s How Strong My Love Is”: Listening to this song, I’m reminded of how very much in-touch with that ’60s R&B Stax sound CCR (or really, John Fogerty) was. This coulda been a CCR song. Or any CCR song coulda been an Otis Redding song.
  10. Josh Ritter, “Old Black Magic”: This song just chugs along and gets downright fiery towards the end.

Playlist #50

Happy Monday, folks. I’m back at work after a lovely and relaxing Spring Break. Over the break, I worked on the next song for Patreon, which you should join if you haven’t already. Anyway, here’s this week’s playlist:

  1. Pink Floyd, “Hey, Hey, Rise Up (featuring Andriy Khlyvnyuk of Boombox)”: A song recorded in conjunction with Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk, who cut short his American tour with his band Boombox to go back and fight against the Russians. The lyrics are from an old anti-war song from 1914 called, “Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow.”
  2. Whiskeytown, “Jacksonville Skyline”: The more I listen to Ryan Adams’ lyrics, the more I realize the dude doesn’t really write coherent stories. What the hell is a “hopeless streetlight,” anyway?
  3. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, “Alabama Pines”: The loneliness and isolation this song’s narrator goes through is palpable, and the little details – like the only liquor store on the north side of town – add the perfect amount of realism and sincerity to the song.
  4. Mott the Hoople, “All the Young Dudes”: A David Bowie song in all but name. He produced their album and wrote this particular song.
  5. Neko Case, “Hold On, Hold On”: “In the end I was the mean girl/Or somebody’s in-between girl.”
  6. Norah Jones, “Creepin’ In”: Did you know Norah Jones recorded a song where she dueted with Dolly Parton? She did. It’s this song. It’s fun.
  7. Paul Revere & the Raiders, “Kicks”: I originally heard this song when it was covered by the Monkees, of all bands, on an old greatest hits tape my mom had. It’s a damn fine song.
  8. Tonic, “If You Could Only See”: The ’90s called, and it said you can have this song. They overplayed it already, thanks.
  9. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, “Straight Into Darkness”: Yeah, the album Straight Into Darkness isn’t the most essential Tom Petty release. Most of the songs are inconsequential and nowhere near the heights of Damn the Torpedoes or even Hard Promises. But even mediocre Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers can still kick the crap outta most other bands on their best days.
  10. Soul Coughing, “16 Horses”: I would love to write a song like this someday. I’d love to be able to play a song like this someday.

Playlist #49

Whoops, it’s Thursday and I totally forgot to post this week’s playlist. My bad. In my defense, it’s been Spring Break all week, and I’ve been trying my damnedest to relax the whole time. Don’t forget to give me a follow on Patreon!

  1. Bon Iver, “Blood Bank”: I remember, many years ago, sitting down in my classroom with a coworker to record him doing a selection of songs. This was one of them, and it’s been one of my favorite Bon Iver songs since even before then.
  2. Cake, “Comfort Eagle”: “He is now accepting callers for these pendant keychains.”
  3. Camper Van Beethoven, “Pictures Of Matchstick Men”: Back at Accotink, I occasionally taught a Humanities class. We spent a quarter on art, a quarter on poetry, a quarter on theater, and the final quarter on the history of popular music. I’d put together short playlists for each genre of music we covered, and then I had the kids research a genre of their choice and put together a playlist for it. One of my coworkers put together a playlist that I can’t recall the genre for, and this song was on it.
  4. The Clash, “Train In Vain (Stand By Me)”: I do dig the album London Calling, and this is one of the best songs on their best album.
  5. Traveling Wilburys, “Heading For The Light”: I used to play this song on the guitar all the time. I should relearn the chords for it.
  6. Laurie & John Stirratt, “Juniper”: Someday, I’ll put together that list of songs by bands related to Wilco. These two will appear on that list, since John Stirratt is the bass player for Wilco (and one of the musicians in The Autumn Defense).
  7. Tom Waits, “Cold, Cold Ground”: “Lay down together in the cold, cold ground.” Beautiful and weird, Tom.
  8. Mark Knopfler, “The Trawlerman’s Song”: A song about a fisherman who has to keep going out and fishing because he owes money on his boat? Classic Knopfler.
  9. Counting Crows, “Up All Night (Frankie Miller Goes To Hollywood)”: One of my favorite songs off of Hard Candy, which is otherwise a pretty great album as well.
  10. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Who’ll Stop The Rain”: Still just one of the best CCR songs out there, which is saying a lot.

Playlist #48: Cover Songs

Happy Monday after my birthday! It’s a chilly one here in northern Virginia, where they apparently turned off the heat in my school building a wee bit too early this year (don’t worry, I am quite comfortable). Anyway, don’t forget you can support me on Patreon, and here’s a list of fun cover songs to get you through the last week before I go on Spring Break and don’t have to think about anything for a whole week!

  1. Postmodern Jukebox, “Rude (featuring Von Smith)”: Tried listening to the original version of this song by the band Magic! (the exclamation mark is a vital part of the name), and just didn’t dig it. Not a fan of the reggae vibes, I guess.
  2. The Rolling Stones, “Not Fade Away”: A rough and tumble cover of the Buddy Holly classic and a classic in its own right.
  3. The Clash, “I Fought The Law”: The damn law won.
  4. Hem, “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”: This song was what made me a fan of both the band Hem and Elvis Costello’s songwriting.
  5. Spoon, “Held”: Apparently they used to play this one in their live act, and if it was anything like this rendition, it must’ve blown the doors off.
  6. Patty Griffin, “Stolen Car”: I love me a Bruce Springsteen cover, and this one is damn-near as iconic as the original.
  7. The Decemberists, “Think About Me”: A band with zero interpersonal squabbles/drama covering the band best known for its interpersonal squabbles/drama (Fleetwood Mac)? Yes, please.
  8. The Highwomen, “The Chain”: More Fleetwood Mac. Because more Fleetwood Mac.
  9. The Eagles, “Ol’ 55”: It’s a ballsy move, covering a Tom Waits song, when you’re a band as known for being smooth and unoffensive as the Eagles were.
  10. Pomplamoose, “Maneater”: “Whoa-oh, here she comes…”

Playlist #47: Happy Birthday To Me

So this coming Sunday, March 27th, is my 42nd birthday. I am getting older, as are we all, and I thought I’d use this opportunity to do a couple of things that benefit me and, possibly, you.

As you may or may not know, I like music. Not just listening, but creating. And over the past weekend, I put up an EP of songs I’ve been working on over the past couple of years: The Three Chords And Some Compelling Lies EP! It’s available through your favorite music streaming service (Spotify, iTunes, or AmazonPrime Music). Here’s the songs, along with some of my thoughts on them:

  1. Intro (Sunrise In The Badlands): The whole song is done with an E chord. It’s a bit drone-y and ambient and I did it for funsies.
  2. Unanswered Prayers: My brother Clif did the first couple of notes on the slide guitar (I did the rest of the slide stuff) and played electric on this one. Everything else was me. It’s still one of the songs I’m proudest of.
  3. Narhwal V. Unicorn: A goof of a song that I still kinda love. I like the marimba in it. Clif did his own version of the song, but left off two lines in the bridge, for which I will never forgive him.
  4. Saint Joan: An acoustic number that I’ll probably get around to going full-band electric on someday. I’m still not 100% sure on the piano bit during the verse, though it sounds great (and a little eerie) without vocals.
  5. Native Son(g): I have a complicated history with my home state. This song maybe explains part of why that is.
  6. Earthquake Weather (Acoustic): I’ve been fiddling with this song for as long as I’ve been recording my own songs. I think this is the version I’m happiest with. It’s a really simple set of G variations that I totally swiped from George Harrison.
  7. This Town Ain’t Big Enough: Written and recorded during the pandemic, it’s me dealing with anxiety and feeling cooped up for a year and a half straight. And it slaps, especially with the guitar solo from my Uncle Gert.
  8. The Quarantine Blues: Another song written and recorded during the pandemic. I started it about a month into things back in 2020, and finished it middle of last year and put it onto digital tape. It’s quiet and simple and a perfect way to end the EP, I think.

Playlist #46: Romeo and Juliet

So this weekend, I was listening to an album by pianist Alan Clark. He played with Dire Straits back in the ’80s (as well as acts like Bob Dylan), and it was an album of solo piano versions of mostly Dire Straits songs. One of them was the song “Romeo and Juliet,” which is a tune I absolutely adore, and so I decided to put together a playlist this week built around that pair of star-crossed lovers. Also remember that I do have a Patreon, and I’m working on not one but two versions of March’s song!

  1. Dire Straits, “Romeo and Juliet”: “Finds a streetlight/Steps out of the shade and says somethin’ like/You and me, babe, how ’bout it?” is just one of the best lines in any song anywhere ever. And that guitar figure Knopfler picks out on what sounds like a resonator? Gorgeous.
  2. Tom Waits, “Romeo is Bleeding”: Alas, poor Romeo, he got shot while knifing a cop and is slowly dying while everyone around him remains oblivious.
  3. The Buzzcocks, “Ever Fallen In Love?” “Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t fallen in love with?” they snarl, and if that ain’t Romeo and Juliet, I don’t know what is.
  4. Duke Ellington, “The Star-Crossed Lovers (aka Pretty Girl)”: Yes, switching from the punky Buzzcocks to the jazzy Duke Ellington is a bit of tonal whiplash, but I think that’s why I like it so much.
  5. You + Me, “Love Gone Wrong”: We all know Romeo and Juliet isn’t really a love story, right? It’s about a couple of pubescent teens dumbstruck with infatuation who end up destroying both of their families (and themselves) in the process.
  6. M. Ward, “Poison Cup”: Sure, Hamlet was the play with the poison cup in it, but poison plays a major role in the final scene of this one, too, remember.
  7. Mates of State, “A Duel Will Settle This”: Mercutio vs. Tybalt is one hell of a fight, though I’m not sure it settled anything beyond that Mercutio will even use his own death to be the sassiest mofo ever.
  8. Cutting Crew, “(I Just) Died In Your Arms”: What could match the overdramatic reaction of Romeo and Juliet? An ’80s song!
  9. Indigo Girls, “Romeo and Juliet”: A cover of the Dire Straits song we started the playlist with. Almost as good as the original.
  10. Ben Harper, “Verona”: Slow, bluesy slide guitar is always some of my favorite, and it’s such a quiet, sweet song to end on.

Playlist #45

It’s a classic rock sorta Monday. Make sure to follow me on Patreon, where I’m starting work on March’s exclusive song!

  1. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, “Carry On/Questions”: I love the bassline in this song. And that wah pedal solo in the latter part of the song.
  2. Cream, “Badge”: This is clearly a George Harrison song and I won’t be taking any questions.
  3. The Animals, “Gonna Send You Back To Walker”: Who doesn’t love the Animals? No one. And if they do, cut them out of your life. You don’t need that kind of negativity.
  4. Jackson Browne, “These Days”: “Yeah, I’ve been out walking/I don’t do that much talking these days,” the song starts. And just gets better from there. I’ve always preferred the Jackson Browne version to the Nico version. Your mileage may vary.
  5. Led Zeppelin, “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”: This song does stomp.
  6. Paul McCartney, “Junk”: “Buy, buy says the sign in the shop window/Why, why says the junk on the lawn.”
  7. The Rolling Stones, “Far Away Eyes”: Yeah, it’s goofy and clunky and not even a little bit authentic, but it’s a helluva good time.
  8. The Eagles, “After The Thrill Is Gone”: Over Winter Break, while I was back home in Oklahoma, I played this song with my Dad. He’d never played it on the guitar before somehow.
  9. Grand Funk Railroad, “Some Kind Of Wonderful”: Someone I follow on Twitter was saying yesterday that everyone should have a shout-along song. This one might be mine.
  10. Bruce Springsteen, “Rosalia (Come Out Tonight)”: Or maybe it’s this one. I dunno.

Playlist #44: Back in the Saddle

Happy Monday! I’m actually back to work today, after a month away taking care of the Wife. She’s improving every day, slowly but surely, and she’s well enough I’m comfortable leaving her home alone while I come toil away in education mines. A reminder that, if you want to support me making my own music, I’ve got that Patreon you can contribute to! I actually drop February’s song today!

  1. Genesis, “Turn It On Again”: I recently downloaded the album this song came from, Duke, and while this is definitely my favorite song off the whole record, the rest of the songs ain’t too shabby, either.
  2. Steve Winwood, “Back In The High Life Again”: “All the doors I closed one time/Will open up again.” Yes, they will.
  3. Aerosmith, “Back In The Saddle”: A bit of my anthem this morning.
  4. Andrew Bird, “Orpheo Looks Back”: Every playlist could benefit from some Andrew Bird, and I love this song.
  5. Bob Dylan, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'”: “Beyond here lies nothin’/But the mountains of the past.” Maybe not Dylan’s most profound work ever, but I still dig the rhythm of this song and the guitar work.
  6. Gorillaz, “DARE”: I could dance this morning, I think.
  7. Glen Phillips, “Duck And Cover”: A more stripped-down version of a song that appeared on his Winter Pays For Summer album off of Tornillo.
  8. The Gaslight Anthem, “Stay Lucky”: Someday, I’ll put together a playlist of songs that I love to play on the guitar. This song will also appear on that list.
  9. Frank Turner, “The Way I Tend To Be”: I love this song for the mandolin mostly.
  10. CCR, “Midnight Special”: Another that I love to play on the guitar and howl along to at the top of my lungs, as one does with CCR songs.

Playlist #43: Presidents’ Day

Happy Presidents’ Day, ‘Murica! Here’s some executive branch love in aural form. And hey, don’t forget I’ve got a Patreon, where February’s song is about to drop!

  1. They Might Be Giants, “James K. Polk”: Educational, entertaining, and a banger. Yup, it’s a TMBG song, alright.
  2. The Presidents of the United States of America, “Lump”: I get exhausted just typing out the name of the band. Thank goodness the song title is so short.
  3. Hamilton, “History Has Its Eyes On You”: The only song from the show I can play on the guitar, and a great vocal delivery from Christopher Jackson.
  4. Mark Knopfler, “Don’t Crash The Ambulance”: A changing of the guard. A handing over of the keys to the kingdom. And a brief explanation of just how things work around here.
  5. The National, “Mr. November”: “I was carried in the arms of cheerleaders.”
  6. Billy Bragg & Wilco, “Jesus Christ For President”: We could do worse, honestly.
  7. Molly Lewis, “Our American Cousin”: A three-part look at Mr. Lincoln’s infamous trip to the theatre. Funny and dark and heartbreaking.
  8. XTC, “Here Comes President Kill Again”: The ’80s? Subtle? No.
  9. Drive-By Truckers, “The President’s Penis Is Missing”: A damn tragedy, to be sure.
  10. Over The Rhine, “If A Song Could Be President”: Again, we could do worse. And I have a whole murderer’s row of talent in mind for the Cabinet.