Up from the ground, up from the cold.
I’ve been here before, I know how this goes.
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When I listen to a new song the first time, and without even listening to the words carefully, I find myself getting wistful or misty-eyed, I know I have found something special.
That happened a while ago, via The Loft on XM Radio.
Fire Mountain, the pride of Troy, Alabama. After listening to Doing Fine about 25 times, I went to Spotify, and listened to the rest of their excellent new record, All Dies Down. Music like this is why I have ears. Wonderful. Highly recommended.
Chuck Brown has released a new record, entitled A Flower in Winter. Chuck and I have cowritten numerous songs over the years, and two of them are on the new record.
Makris and Letter from Molly join 10 other songs on a record Chuck describes as “songs of yearning, love, devotion and loss. Melodic pop music tinged with country, jazz and blues influences.”
You can listen to the songs at NoiseTrade.
First, the version by Jeannie C. Riley that made it famous. Yes, this is frickin’ awesome.
Up to now, my favorite covers have been this one by the wonderful Mary Jane Hooper.
And a mostly forgotten one by Syd Straw.
Here’s a sad little not-so-secret. There just isn’t much of a music scene in Houston. We’ve had some great bands over the years (Fever Tree, ZZ Top, the Dishes, etc.) and some fine musicians spent time here (Townes Van Zandt and others), but it’s nothing like the Austin or Nashville scene.
So, when I receive a review copy of a record from a Houston artist, you can rest assured I’ll take a listen. In this case, I’m glad I did, because Leslie Krafka‘s new record is very good. The music and arrangements are top-notch, as you’d expect from anything produced by Lloyd Maines. Much of the writing and singing has a nineties-era Suzy Boggus vibe, and for those who didn’t know me back then, that’s high praise. Suzy’s recording of the Cheryl Wheeler song Aces is one of my favorite tracks ever. My favorite track on Leslie’s new record is South Texas Fall. This song is a 10 on anyone’s scale.
She does a great cover of Drunken Poets Dream that oozes girl-power (though I continue to lament the way many musicians and almost all of Hollywood play to the false myth of cigarettes as cool and rebellious (when they are, in fact, stupid, unhealthy and offensive to anyone nearby).
Wine Women and Song is another favorite of mine.
On·ward is set for release on May 3, 2014 at Anderson Fair (I’ve seen so many amazing shows there; Steve Fromholz being one that immediately comes to mind as a favorite). If you share my desire to support Houston musicians (and you should), check it out.