Fall Spotify Playlist: Autumn Sweater

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Yesterday was the official beginning of Fall, which means it’s time to break out the pumpkin spice latte (or Oktoberfest), sit out on your porch and read a book, or finally take that road trip you’ve been meaning to do before it gets too cold outside. No matter what you end up doing this Fall, these songs will fit the many moods of the changing leaves.

Happy Fall!

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Spotify Playlist: The Open Road

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There’s still plenty of summer left, which means you still got time to get in your car and take that road trip you’ve been meaning to take since you read ‘On The Road’. Or you can go visit your grandma who lives an hour away. Or you can go to the store and pick up some toilet paper. No matter where you’re going, you’ll need some good tunes for the road.

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New Album Releases: Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium

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I had always heard great things of Okkervil River, but I must admit that I never bothered to give them a decent try until now. Like Drive-By Truckers and Phish before them, this Austin based neo-folk rock band’s excellent discography is shadowed by a lack of hit songs or of a single album that towers over anything else.

Well Okkervil River might have finally found their breakthrough album. The Silver Gymnasium is a concept album inspired by frontman Will Sheff’s New Hampshire childhood and it’s a great listen. Many will find influences from The Band and newer Americana bands such as early Wilco and My Morning Jacket.

Do yourself a favor and enjoy some Okkervil River.

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Remembering Levon Helm

Yesterday Levon Helm died after a long battle against throat cancer.  He was 71 years old.

Helm was the drummer of The Band, which had huge hits such as “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, and early in their career they were Bob Dylan’s backing band.  After The Band broke up he continued playing music with a successful solo career.  He was one of the few talented people who could drum and sing well.  He had a unique voice and was a terrific songwriter.

Here’s an appropriate song from The Band’s final performance that happens to include Bob Dylan, Ringo, Ronnie Wood, and Eric Clapton.  He will be missed.

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Music Journal: Six Reasons Why You Should Be Excited For The New Bob Dylan Tribute Album

Another year, another new Bob Dylan album.  Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International is a new Bob Dylan covers album (how many does this guy have?!) scheduled to be released on November 22nd.

Here are six reasons why you should be excited.

1. It’s a whole album of Bob Dylan songs.

Enough said.

2. Most Bob Dylan cover albums kick ass.

Check out I’m Not There and you’ll get what I mean.

3. My Morning Jacket is on the album.

And if it’s anything like their take on The Band, then “You’re a Big Girl Now” will be a highlight.

4. …and so is Adele.

You can hear her sing “Make You Feel My Love” here, it’s awesome.

5. …and so is Dave Matthews Band, Rise Against, Sting, and plenty of others.

All solid artist who will probably do Dylan justice.

6. …and oh yeah, Ke$sha is on the album too.

Yes, you read that correctly.  She will be covering Bob Dylan, and supposedly she’s doing “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.”  It doesn’t matter how you feel about her, you know you want to hear what that’ll sound like.

So don’t hide your true emotions and be excited for the new Dylan record!

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Top Lists: Top Bob Dylan Covers

Part 2 of his 70th birthday celebration!

I just did a list of my favorite Bob Dylan songs, now here are my favorite Dylan cover songs.  If you cannot get over this guy’s voice – you know who you are – maybe you’ll appreciate his songwriting when someone else does his songs.  Some of these covers are very familiar (I think we’ve all heard Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower” many times) while others are unexpectedly great (how about Dave Matthews doing “All Along The Watchtower”?).  Most of these songs are from the soundtrack to the Bob Dylan movie I’m Not There, highly recommend for any Dylan fan and even for those unfamiliar with him.  Hopefully these songs make you appreciate this man more before he bites the dust – he isn’t going to be around forever!

Jack Johnson/The Band – “I Shall Be Released”

Jimi Hendrix/Dave Matthews Band – “All Along The Watchtower”

Yo La Tengo – “Fourth Time Around”

Jeff Tweedy – “Simple Twist Of Fate”

Calexico and Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Just Like A Woman”

The Hold Steady – “Can I Please Crawl Out Your Window?”

The Black Keys – “The Wicked Messenger”

Jason Mraz – “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”

Calexico and Roger McGuinn – “One More Cup Of Coffee”

Mason Jennings – “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”

Calexico and Jim James – “Goin’ to Acapulco”

Sufjan Stevens – “Ring Them Bells”

Norah Jones – “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”

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Playlist: Americana Driving Music

I’m going to cheat a little bit for this playlist.  Some of the songs here are not from American musicians and not all the songs are what I consider to be Americana music.  However, what all these songs have in common is that they are all great songs to go driving to when surrounded by nature.  If it’s rainy, sunny, cloudy, or any other type of weather, I find that these songs have a kind of clarity in them that make you see your surroundings more and the music fits with the scenery.

Wilco – “Either Way”

Bob Dylan – “Workingman’s Blues #2”

The Band – “The Weight”

Counting Crows – “Friend of the Devil”

The Head and the Heart – “Down in the Valley”

Ryan Adams – “Oh My Sweet Carolina”

Ryan Adams – “Dear John (Follow The Lights EP version)

Billy Bragg and Wilco – “Birds and Ships”

The Decemberist – “The Crane Wife 3”

Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”

Neil Young – “After The Gold Rush”

Nic Jones – “Canadee – I – O”

Bob Dylan – “Girl From The North Country”

Herbie Hancock – “River”

Wilco – “Jesus, Etc.”

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – “Codeine”

You’ll find that all these songs fit nicely with the songs I enjoy driving down to Bloomington to.

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Best Albums Named After Colors

Because the band was too lazy and we had to have something to call the album by.

The Beatles – The White Album

Jay-Z/Metallica – The Black Album

Danger Mouse – The Grey Album

The Band – The Brown Album

Weezer – The Blue Album

Weezer – The Green Album

The worst album named after a color

Weezer – The Red Album

Albums named after colors that I’m indifferent to?

Stefy – The Orange Album

Spongebob Squarepants – The Yellow Album

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Soundtrack to Bloomington

Over the weekend I went down to IU, and when I had some free time I purchased many new albums that for some reason I could not find back home.  College will be such a great place to discover new music!

Miles Davis – In A Silent Way

A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

James Black – James Blake

The Band – The Band

The drive down to IU is long, but these albums made the three-hour ride much more enjoyable.

The Black Crowes – Before The Frost

Whiskeytown – Faithless Street

The Grateful Dead – American Beauty

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