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Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Music Sourced Tribute to Levon Helm


Written by Chris Adams


Levon Helm:  Bluegrass and country music…if it comes down into that area and mixes there with the rhythm and if it dances, then you’ve got a combination of all that music...
Martin Scorcese:  What’s it called?
Levon Helm: Rock and Roll. (From The Last Waltz)

With Levon Helm’s passing today, it is a good time to remember the incredible things that he has done for this genre that he considers rock and roll.  Not only was he a great drummer for one of the most critically acclaimed bands to come from the 1960s and 70s, but also, a singer that was accomplished enough to be named to Time Magazine’s 100 greatest singers.  For those not familiar with his work, I strongly urge you to seek out The Last Waltz dvd and give it a watch.  It’s a who’s who of the music from this period, but Helm’s musicianship and demeanor on stage are a strong part of why this concert film is considered the best of all time.

Helm was born in Arkansas to the son of a farmer.  He later began playing gigs with Ronnie Hawkins as a teenager.  After this, he formed his own band called “Levon and the Hawks”.  There he met Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson who would all later go on to play behind Bob Dylan and eventually, do their own thing.  They called themselves “The Band”.

Levon and his band mates went on to produce a sound that can only be described as mentioned above by Levon, himself.  Because of the musician’s virtuosic abilities, their sound was top notch in combining Helm’s drumming with the rest of the band in creating a sound is not heard from in today’s music that is choked with autotune and lipsynching. Levon left “The Band” after “The Last Waltz” and collaborated with many musicians during the 1980s.  He came upon hard times in the 1990s, after his home burned down and was also diagnosed with throat cancer later in the decade.  Helm underwent radiation and could not sing for an extended period of time.  In this past decade, he regained his voice and  held a show every Saturday night called the Midnight Rambles.  He also released two Grammy-winning albums called “Dirt Farmer” (2007) and “Electric Dirt” (2009).  Both of which I own and are excellent albums that play off of each other very nicely. 

Levon Helm was one of the all-time greats and if you haven’t given his music a listen, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  With “Levon and the Hawks”, “The Band”, or his solo career, the music is so stripped down and raw, combined with excellent songwriting, that this music will get ahold of you and you’ll find yourself hitting repeat quite a few times.  I, like many others, have only one thing to say: Thanks, Levon.



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mumford & Sons - Live at Ryman Auditorium

The British folk rock band Mumford & Sons performed their first headlining show of the year last night in Nashville at the famous Ryman Auditorium. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance to see this band perform the music that made it's mark on American radio airwaves in 2011. Being only a casual fan of their music, I was looking forward to seeing this group perform instrumentally and to also experience the folk rock energy they're known to bring to the stage. If I were to comment only on those two criteria alone, I would say that I was quite impressed.

Mumford certainly did the Ryman justice instrumentally since they predominantly play acoustic guitar, stand-up bass, and banjo, which is why they have staked their claim in the folk genre. But they play the hell out of those instruments, and bring a strong backing of vocals, which really gives the group their rock undertones.

The show didn't play out quite as planned however as the group stated their nervousness for performing on the Ryman stage several times. It certainly had some affect on the groups lead singer Marcus Mumford as he struggled with the lyrics as well as a bout of coughs on a few of the songs performed which resulted in the songs ending prematurely. I've never been to a live show before where the artists had to take a 5 minute break off stage to regroup during the middle of a set. Some fans were critical of this (And who wouldn't be on Music City's biggest stage) but for me personally it did not noticeably degrade the performance. I'm sure it would have had a larger effect on me if I was more of a follower of Mumford's music or I had a keen liking to some of the shortened songs. However, I personally thought the missteps made for a better connection with the crowd on hand as the group shared their personal thoughts on what its like performing live and dealing with a nervous mind.

The final misstep came on the band's final song "The Cave" but it made for a nice scene as Marcus asked the crowd for assistance singing the song and the Auditorium came alive with the voices of the crowd. I was fortunate enough to record the moment and have loaded the video below. I did cut out the beginning of the song where the group stops mid-song out of respect for Mumford. The Brits voiced a lot of respect to our country as well as Nashville itself which they consider a second home so respect is deserved in return. Enjoy the sounds, and leave your comments.

NOTE: Mumford played two new unreleased songs. I really enjoyed both. Look for a great second album as summer nears. The release date has not yet been announced.




Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jenny & Tyler - Faint Not

There's a good amount of male/female music duo's out there that are on my good music radar. I gravitate towards the contrasting vocals because it typically makes for a pretty aestheticly pleasing harmony. One of those duo's that fit this description is Jenny & Tyler.

The Nashville based husband and wife duo benefit artisticly from having different musical influences/backgrounds, as well as having common beliefs and interests. They describe their latest album release titled "Faint Not" as a "journey of faith" and an "honest telling of our relationship with the Lord and with each other". In contrast, one of their most recognizeable songs titled "One-Eyed Cat" playfully pokes fun at the couple's differences in interest and lifestyle. The end product of these similarities and differences equates in to a well-rounded musical offering that can currently be acquired for free from several different sources!

If you go to the Jenny & Tyler website they have a "Free" section on their site that offers up over 20 of their songs at no cost. Including their latest album in its entirety! You can get a sample of the duo's sound by viewing their newest video for the title track of their latest album shown below.

NOTE: If you enjoy playing the acoustic guitar you can also check out the "Chords" section on their site. It shows the chord progression for all of their music. A really cool offering. One that I appreciate!

Download - Jenny and Tyler's Music





Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jack Johnson - Turn Your Love : Free Download


Happy February friends !! Ok, so maybe I'm a little late in getting that out there but it's never to late to enjoy some free music.  As I was perusing through Jack Johnson's website reading about his upcoming live album (which I'm sure I'll write about when it comes out in April) I came across a free download of Jack's song Turn Your Love that they offered for free on Valentines Day.  After clicking the link I was happy to see that it was still available.  This version of the song features a few of Jack's more frequent collaborators Paula Fuega and Animal Liberation Orchestra playing live in Berkeley.  In all truth why should you have one special day of the year to tell that special someone you love them? Getting this free track a week late may be just the help you need to get off the couch and back into the good graces of your significant other.... no need to thank us, just pay it forward to someone else that could use the healing vocals of a great lyricist like Jack Johnson.  

Before I forget here is the link to the download.  Turn Your Love

Friday, February 17, 2012

FUN: Aim and Ignite - Free Download



Big news coming from a band that is about to make some noise. The trio that call themselves FUN has released their first album "Aim and Ignite" as a free download. This album was initially release on August 25th 2009 and has garnered the group a good amount of fanfare for their creative music process. Fun stays true to their name with upbeat lyrics and sound, but their genre is harder to pinpoint. Drawing influences from Queen and the Beach Boys as well as channeling sounds from their previous bands (The Format, Anathallo, and Steel Train).

Fun is offering a free download of their first album in anticipation of the release of their sophomore album titled "Some Nights" on February 21st. You might recognize the first single off of this album "We Are Young" from the Super Bowl stuntman commercial for the Chevy Sonic. Check out the official music video for "We Are Young" below and use the widget to preview and download the groups first album "Aim and Ignite". Great music, at an even better price.



Thursday, February 9, 2012

Video of the Week - Erato













The creativity of the human mind is just about endless. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, abstract talents and creative ideas can be put on display from all cultures and societies. I'm sure that there isn't very many of you out there that can claim that haven't spent at least a half hour straight viewing random videos on YouTube. One of the greatest displays of human awe-inspiring accomplishment can be viewed on one of my favorite YouTube videos titled People are Awesome.

But that video really isn't music related. But pretty gosh darn impressive isn't it? But musically speaking, I came across this video from viewing Sara Bareilles's Twitter feed. It is a Sweedish group by the name or Erato covering the song "Call Your Girlfriend" by Robyn. And along the lines of creativity, this trio uses cottage cheese containers to create the main beat of the song! This alone is pretty awesome, but the groups harmony is what really deserves the attention. From what I can tell, Erato is just getting started as a musical group but you can learn more about this group using the links below. Check out this awesome video of the week from Erato.

Erato Blog (Use Google Translate): http://erato.blogg.se/
Erato: Facebook




Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Fray - Scars & Stories



The biggest album release so far this year for me personally dropped today. The Fray released their third full-length album today titled "Scars & Stories". I was excited to find the entire album's worth of songs available to stream and preview today on Grooveshark. Good music just makes the work day go smoothly!

The Fray have a knack of creating music that just gets stuck in your head. Not just lyrically, but the beat always seems to play on. Ask most people that own a radio and they could sing you the chorus of "How to Save A Life" on the spot. Time will tell if they score another huge smash from this album, but their first single release "Heartbeat" is a solid contender for massive radio play. There are many other songs that could also garner a lot of attention, but I personally had the song "Munich" playing on repeat today.

Anybody else have a favorite track from "Scars & Stories"? Leave a comment below! If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to any of the new album yet, you can stream the entire album using the widget below. If you're like me, you'll let it run all day!

The band has also debuted a newly designed website. Check them out at http://www.thefray.com/us/home.


The Fray - Scars & Stories by Music Sourced on Grooveshark

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Wooden Birds

To ease in to the beginning of another work week, I have been listening to the newest release from The Wooden Birds titled "Two Matchsticks". It hit me perfectly on Monday morning with a constant paced acoustic guitar and light vocals. The Wooden Birds released "Two Matchsticks" last summer but they still have some free tracks to download. They also have a new video for their track "Criminals Win". See the video below and use the widget to download this song (and others) for free! You can also check out my favorite track off of the album titled "Too Pretty To Say Please".

And lastly, The Wooden Birds are featured on their label's Summer Sampler found on Amazon featuring their song "Two Matchsticks". Download the free Barsuk Summer of 2011 Sampler HERE.







Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Green River Ordinance - Heart Of Me












Have you ever played the Waiting Game?
  • I'm calmly waiting until Green River Ordinance releases their first LP in 3 years on February 28th 2012 titled "Under Fire".
  • I'm patiently waiting to buy tickets to attend the Green River Ordinance tour that will be announced in support of their upcoming album release.
In the meantime, the group has released the first single off of the "Under Fire" album titled "Heart Of Me". They have also released the video for this single and a package of 3 free songs to download which includes this newest song. Visit the bands website for the free 3-track download: www.greenriverordinance.com

Have you not heard of Green River Ordinance yet? Check out their new video below and get acquainted because this will not be the last time you hear from them. Just wait...

Free Download: Heart of Me

Update: 
Green River Ordinance has also released a free sampler on Noisetrade that includes 7 of the groups best songs from all of their releases. To download the sampler, click HERE
 




Thursday, January 19, 2012

Best Free Albums of 2011 - Still Available!

This is the last review post from 2011 I promise! I plan to catch up with the times again here shortly. I did however find it important to spotlight some of the most popular free music downloads from our site that are still available to download! So if you see any music listed below that you are unfamiliar with, take a listen. This is the best that 2011 had to offer.

Green River Ordinance
Download: Out of My Hands
This group was our best music discovery of 2011. I was searching the ranks of Noisetrade and found this album near the top of the popularity charts. I am very surprised that this album is still available on their site because it truly is a full-length high quality album. It appears that giving free music to the fans has paid mighty dividends because they are releasing a new album on February 28th that was fully fan-funded from their Kickstarter project. This group has massive appeal and their music was tops on my iPod this past year.


The Rocket Summer
Download: His Instrument And Your Voices
This selection was the easiest to make when considering the best free albums from 2011. Our Rocket Summer post from May 25th has dominated our sites traffic and received the highest fan response on Facebook, Twitter, and around the web. The Rocket Summer has a pretty passionate fan base that's fueled by a pretty passionate performing front-man in Bryce Avary. This album shares 16 tracks and it features a solo Bryce performing some of his hits for fans across the U.S.


The Civil Wars
Download: Live at Eddie's Attic
If you are wondering why a free album from The Civil Wars would be such a big deal, then you probably weren't paying attention the music scene in 2011. This duo blew up in a big way this year with their very first album release. This album is a live set that they performed at Decatur GA's famous Eddie's Attic and it features many songs that were featured on their award winning first album.


The Damnwells
Download: Noisetrade Sampler
The Damnwells have done a lot for the fans, and independent music artists everywhere. After being chewed up by the major music industry, they released a full length album to their fans at no cost without the backing of a crowd funding social platform. They then went on to partner with Pledge Music for their next release which helped set the standard for the fan funded music movement. This free download is a music sampler from many of the albums that The Damnwells have released including their newest release "No One Listens to the Band Anymore". This one might also be a bit personal, because The Damnwells are high on my list of favorite music.


David Ramirez
Download: Live at The Cactus
This guy is a modern day music troubadour. As far as I've seen, he is always on tour packing his 6 string and some heavy lyrics to any stage that will have him. I have noticed many times on his Twitter feed asking his followers for a place to play and a couch to sleep on based on wherever he was currently located. He has also made at least 5 sets of music releases and distributed them for free in 2011 that I can think off of the top of my head. And most importantly, he is a damn good artist. I'll definitely hit one of his shows this year if I can catch up to him. This free download will give you a preview of his live show.



Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 In Review - Best Concerts

So I'm still feeling a pretty solid holiday hangover because I had full intention to get this 2011 review posted before the new year. #Fail. It's safe to say that all things "effort" related fell to the wayside this past holiday month. I am truly excited however to share some of my newest music cravings and start scheduling some upcoming shows this year. There are a lot of good albums coming out soon and tours will soon follow! Speaking of concerts and albums, I would like to list out the best shows and albums of 2011. Below you will find a list of the top concerts I got to attend this year.


I got to see nearly 100 acts live in concert during 2011 and I have listed out the top 5 shows that I attended in 2011. I tried to leave all bias out of it and focus on the music, stage presence, venue, crowd and overall aura and atmosphere of the show. I hope to be seeing more of these artists this year!


1. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, IN)

Bob Seger took the stage on his 66th birthday to put on a 3 hour and 3 encore show for a ruckus crowd of all generations. This is the only show that I have ever been to where the adults were being the irresponsible ones. Most in attendance that night would qualify for the senior citizen discount but they showed that they can still rock and roll like only their generation can. Bob Seger is still bringing energy and passion to the stage and sounds just the same as his early recording days. Backed by one of the most talented bands in the business, his act should not be missed.

2. Something Corporate
The Pageant (St. Louis, MO)

Something Corporate got together for a 10 year reunion tour which had music fans buzzing all summer long. I have never witnessed so much excitement as the crowd went wild as the first chords played for EVERY song. The groups fan base was so crazed to see this group back together again and the SoCo guys delivered with a great high energy show. Seeing Andrew McMahon smashing piano keys with his feet is a sight that has to be witnessed. It was truly something special for me to have the opportunity to see them play live.

3. Green River Ordinance
12th and Porter (Nashville, TN)

This show came shortly after GRO released a very successful acoustic EP titled The Morning Passengers. GRO has a very polished sound and catchy lyrics and were top dog on my iPod this year. To end the show, the group brought their acoustic instruments in to the crowd to perform a campfire version of "Where the West Wind Blows" which now stands as the most memorable concert moment of my life. This group has mass appeal and deserves to have a more prevalent status in the music scene. More than any other band I know.

4. Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors
Exit/IN (Nashville, TN)

This cherished local Nashville group played in front of a lot of friends and family in support of their very successful summer album release titled Chasing Someday. The husband and wife duo of Drew and Ellie Holcomb brings a unique connection to the music that this group performs. They personify a group that truly enjoys performing for the fans and sharing their music message with a purpose. Their opening act Mockingbird Sun had some of the sweetest harmonies I heard all year. Both of these bands have received a lot of coverage on this site.

5. Alex Dezen
Uncle Slaytons (Louisville, KY)

Alex Dezen (frontman of The Damnwells) is such a treat to hear as a solo acoustic act. His empathetic vocals has a way of transferring an emotional connection and will immediately silence a room. He is also very good about socializing with the crowd and have a running dialog with the fans as the show plays out. Funny guy I must say. Harper Blynn opened for Alex and their careful construction of vocals and instrumentals created the best aesthetic sounds I heard all year long.


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