Every once in awhile you come across a song that just resonates with you. I knew nothing about the band South until iTunes referred me to them based on my preference for another artist. I was immediately taken in by the song”A Place In Displacement.” Beside having a great title the lyrics and music mesh perfectly. I was also pleased to come across the official video and never get tired of listening to it.
As far as I am concerned, Ray Davies is the best songwriter of my lifetime. His body of work is amazing and he is still going strong well into his Sixties. He may not have achieved the same level of notoriety of his peers over the years, but I challenge anyone who is a fan of rock music to sit down and listen to the vast collection of songs created by The Kinks and his solo work and not come away impressed. Pete Townshend has been vocal with his praise over the years and Bruce Springsteen and John Bon Jovi are avid fans. He recently released a collaborative album called See My Friends in which many top artists (past and present) covered his hits with him.
I have been a huge fan of the holiday song “Christmas Bells” by John Gorka for quite some time now. It was only recently that I took the time to explore his wider catalogue. All I can say is “wow.” He is a very talented singer-songwriter who should be heard by a much wider audience. I’m sad I took so long to realize this because I have missed many great albums and songs. Maybe it is the folk music classification that I often see associated with his name that limits his exposure, but my feeling is that music like his should transcend genre. It takes a very talented artist to hold an audience with just his voice and guitar.
It was always evident to me that Jimmy Buffet was a great storyteller. His later work as a successful author clearly illustrates this fact. His songs always manage to take you somewhere else and evoke some level of feeling. There is almost an instantaneous transition of the vibe in any room when his music comes on. Wistful smiles form on the listener’s faces and some people’s thoughts wander as they contemplate any number of things – most of which are positive. For a guy who purports the simple carefree life, he sure has managed to create a musical catalogue of substance while also pursuing many other varied passions.
I knew very little about the band Wilco when I went to see them in concert last month. Honestly I was going to see their warm-up act Nick Lowe (who is a musical legend in my book). Over the course of a month or so beforehand I went on iTunes and downloaded several songs so I could become more familiar with them. I liked what I heard and found them to be both original and creative which is what always should be happening in any art form. I also appreciate that there is a bit of an edge to their music. Formulas get old and boring fast even if they sell albums.
I can’t imagine what it was like growing up in the musical shadow of Bob Dylan. And, then to have the courage to follow in his footsteps and carve out your own successful artistic path – what pressure. The comparisons were inevitable and the stakes so high that it would have been easy to fail or give up. It also is alot to expect that songwriting talent at this level would exist in more than one person in a family. Yet Jakob Dylan persevered and his career to date clearly stands on its own merit.
As summer fades into our memory and another fall enters our lives I thought of the song “September Grass” by James Taylor. His songs have been part of the background of my life since I was a small child. There is something comforting and reassuring about his music. I never get tired of listening to him sing his lyrics which tend to conjure up vivid images and positive memories from my past. He almost always seems to capture the moment perfectly.
One of the great things about music is that there is always something new to discover. Sometimes it is an artist you’ve never heard of before, other times it’s actually making the effort to explore a songwriter who captured your attention at some point. Everyone knows the band Crowded House from their two hits song of many years ago – “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and “Something So Strong.” Regrettably, I never paid much attention to this very talented trio from New Zealand. Then I stumbled across some solo work by Neil Finn the lead singer and main songwriter and was both impressed and pleasantly surprised by his body of work including efforts on several other projects. The more I listen to his music the more I like it.
This is a new feature I am going to be testing with my blog given my love of music and the emotional connection it has to my life and work. In my personal and professional opinion, great songwriters are like poets who offer insight into the human experience and reflect on what they are sensing, […]
Think like an orchestra conductor – get all the different pieces working together in harmony