#AlbumADay 4/26/18: “Traveler” by Chris Stapleton (2015)

Today’s entry: Traveler by Chris Stapleton (2015)

This is a deep blues album wearing a country costume.

Whiskey plays a major role in these songs.

The reasons to pick up the bottle, to crack it open, then mourn the decision and its consequences. His hit single “Tennessee Whiskey” is a shining example.

Love, loss and family are explored in visceral detail as evidenced by the heart-wrenchingDaddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore.

Other standout tracks: Whiskey And You, Might As Well Get Stoned and Sometimes I Cry.

Mr. Stapleton surely knows how to write a lyric!

I challenge anyone to listen to this album from top to bottom and feel nothing.

#ILoveMusic #AlbumADay

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#AlbumADay 5/4/18: “Good Thing” by Leon Bridges (2018)

Leon Bridges

Today’s entry is Good Thing by Leon Bridges (2018.) I have been waiting patiently (not really) for this album since the pre-release singles dropped. Today was a gift.

This album is everything you need for your funk/soul fix and then some! It’s not even noon yet as I write this…but already my whole day has been improved!

Here are some highlights:

Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand is just dripping with 70’s soul. There is a lush depth in the orchestration. A great opener.

Bad, Bad News is the first pre-release single that made me an addict. Ask anyone around me…I bumped this joint Every. Single. DAY since it came out. And it’s easy to see why. This song is funky as hell!

Shy thumps in that banging house party way. Now I want to throw a house party just to play this song…but I won’t. Because people.

If it Feels Good (Then It Must Be) is a must for your summer BBQ playlist. A dance-able jam that’ll move your booty whether you like it or not.

Mrs. is a sexy love letter to his better half. It feels almost too personal of a conversation for me to be a part of. Like…I think I might be pregnant now.

The album comes to a close with Georgia to Texas. We go from a love letter to a love poem to the cities that nurtured him and brought him to us…and thank heavens for that!

If I had to sum up Good Thing in one word, that word would be: “Nourishing.”

Thank you, Leon Bridges…this was just what I needed in my world today!

#AlbumADay 5/3/18: “The Next Big Nobody” by Paul Dake (2018)

Today’s entry is The Next Big Nobody by Paul Dake.

My description of this sound would be elevated folky garage rock.

The band is great, the production and arrangements are solid. Paul and crew manage to create a grand yet intimate feel throughout. My concern is the material just doesn’t have a lot of bite.

Paul’s voice is doing its best Mick Jagger impersonation but has none of Mick’s bravado. As a songwriter Paul’s lyrics have potential but often (not always) feel superficial.  Solid solo guitar work grounds the fluffiness of most of the album.

That being said, there are highlights.

End Of The Run would be at home blasting from the 8 track player of a muscle car barreling down the highway to parts unknown.

Keep On Being Good is a valid request asking people not to forget who they’re supposed to be in the grander scheme of things. Before politics and belief systems, let’s not forget to “keep on being good.”

Let’s Have A Drink is every bit a solid olde Irish Pub song, at turns both properly wistful and mournful.

Who Is It For? questions the artifice in the routine of looking for completeness outside ourselves,  whether it be that unfulfilled dream or that hookup at the end of the night.

Impossible Promise asks how long is it possible to live and do for everyone else and still be yourself. How do I get to the stage where I open my eyes and say this is who I am?

Sometimes A Dream takes a thoguhtful poetic turn with lines like chasing starlight through an open vein.

Chosen Few is easily my favorite song on the album. Lovely. Lilting. The raw emotion of Paul’s voice finally shines through here. The song visits that moment every artist meets when they question their own worth. Being so far behind the chosen few and not knowing whether to give in our give out. The last line is truly heartbreaking when the simger realizes he forgot why I carried that song around.

My favorite part of Lovesick is the chorus of “la la la’s” after the the repeated yearning of the line I need you but can’t have you. The moment feels like a man broken, screaming “fuck it” to the wind and skipping down the street to escape the pain.

Find Another Way is a short, sweet, pulsing bass and guitar anthem reminding us that there’s always a plan b.

The album closes out with Home. A soft, jazzy piano element slowly morphs instrument by instrument until the whole band rides a pleasant sturdy riff that really does resolve the whole journey of the album to a satisfying finish.

The Next Big Nobody has potential. All the elements are there. The instrumental interludes are the strongest parts of the album. The most comfortable. Where the artists show me who they are without telling me. But overall there isn’t enough fire to push this train into high speed.

 

 

 

#AlbumADay 5/2/18: “Tigue: Strange Paradise” by Tigue (2018)

I was surprised to find this album was listed under classical. The sound of Tigue: Strange Paradise” feels very much like a modern work.

An exploration of minimalism, the album consists of only three tracks. But the immersive ambience of the electronic and percussive soundscapes takes the listener on a satisfying journey.

One could think of each of the three tracks as a movement. Movement 1 is Triangle. A simple digital drone slowly evolves into layers of lively percussion. Triangle swirls around for a bit before winding itself down and mutating into the meditative second movement: Contrails.

We don’t stay in this slave long before the energy is brought to a dramatic and booming conclusion with the third and final movement Quilts.

Tigue: Strange Paradise is relaxing stimulation for background listening or letting your imagination roam.

#AlbumADay 5/1/18: “Field Songs Revisited” by Fertile Ground (2005)

Today’s entry is Field Songs Revisited (2005) by Atlanta jazz/soul band Fertile Ground.

Yesterday, I went HAM on the black ass nonsense that was Dana Murray’s “The Negro Manifesto” soField Songs Revisited” is just what I needed in my life today!

Fertile Ground is known for their skillful blend of smooth vocals, the warmth of African percussion, buttery jazz instrumentation and engaging spoken word all providing a snapshot of a moment in the black experience.

Unlike “The Negro Manifesto,” “Field Songs Revisited” wraps me into the arms of the journey as opposed to beating me over the head with tales of struggle.

I feel empowered and improved for having been down the path instead of confused and weary.

Standout Tracks:

In Cotton Fields, the fields in question are used as a metaphor for how we are all in the same daily grind. We are all in the same boat, but if we take the time to lift our head acknowledge each other, we can see the beauty of the whole picture instead of the small sphere of our own experience.

Black Sunshine is just a feel good musing on the light that shines within that affects everything and everyone around us.

Ghetto Butterflies asks us to see the beauty all around us…even if it isn’t always obvious.

This album was a pleasant catharsis…as I knew it would be. Fertile Ground has yet to let me down!

#AlbumADay 4/30/18 – “The Negro Manifesto” by Dana Murray (2018)

Today’s entry is “The Negro Manifesto” by Dana Murray.

Chile, what a black-ass mess!

Did you know that black people were slaves? Did you know that life has been hard for black people throughout history?

Well, you will after listening to the opening track, cleverly titled “Intro.” Unfortunately, then you have to learn that lesson over and over again for twelve more tracks!

This album is the soundtrack of the Hotep Movement.

This album is the sophomore college year of that suburban light skinned kid who decided to be black as fuck all of a sudden to prove he wasn’t trying to be white, despite what everyone says back home.

This album has all the subtlety of a 90’s John Singleton film.

This album is the musical equivalent of a bean pie baked in a Black Power Fist-shaped pie pan.

This album sounds like the third hour of a poetry slam taking place above a hair shop/anarchist bookstore.

This album is awful.

If you want to hear the black experience accurately encapsulated, just listen to ANY track from ANY Kendrick Lamar album.

But leave “The Negro Manifesto” the hell alone.

#AlbumADay 4/28/18 – “Elohim” by Elohim (2018)

elohim

I’ve been a fan of Elohim for a couple of years now. I didn’t realize that all of the songs I’d been enjoying were waiting for this album.

“Elohim” is a Hebrew word for God. An interesting choice, considering the theme for this album is one of “what the fuck exactly is going on in my life?!”

Couple that with sweeping strings and synth choirs, some BUMPIN’ ass beats and her own sweet vocals and Elohim is a transcendent experience!

One of my fave tracks is Hallucinating.  A quirky beat, playful vocalization and a mariachi style breakdown make for a good time!

There seems to be a struggle with self worth and stability with songs like Enemies, Panic Attacks and Insecure. That’s why tracks like F**k Your Money have such a “hell yeah” feel. “I’ve got love, f**k your money.”

So…if you love unique, danceable electronic beats and ethereal vocals, then Elohim is for you!