Thursday, November 26, 2009

Joe Purdy: A man, a piano, a guitar, and a beard

Joe Purdy- Jammin' Java, Vienna, VA, 11.19.09

First off, my apologies for writing a week after the concert. It's been an extremely busy, but fun week and I'm just now getting some time to catch my breath. Anyway... on with the review.

So for those not familiar with Joe Purdy, he's a fantastic singer/songwriter from Arkansas. Hardworking doesn't even begin to describe this man. Over the course of the last 8 years, Joe Purdy has released 10 full length albums, his latest "The Last Clock on the Wall" in Spring 2009. Nearly all of those releases have been independent. He must write continuously! You may be familiar with a few of his songs from commercials, of all things. "Wash Away" is featured on a Dawn dish soap commercial, and "Can't Get It Right Today" on an Autism PSA. Check out the Autism PSA, the song fits very well in the commercial's message!

Joe played for over two hours to a sold out crowd. I don't know if I can remember being at a show with an audience so attentive to every word coming from the performer's mouth. They were extremely respectful, and you could tell that everyone was anxious to get as much of Joe Purdy's music as possible. It was just him, and a guitar, and a piano... simple. He might as well have been in your living room.

Over the course of his set, which must have consisted of at least 20 songs, I was surprised that he pulled out a good deal of new material. I mean the guy has approximately 100 different songs he's written in the last 8 years and an album that is only about 6 months old. But that's what I love about Joe Purdy. He performs and writes what he's feeling. You never get the sense from him, that he's there to sell you something or push an album. He's passionate about what he does, and he's constantly evolving his music.

Many of Joe's songs tell stories, and in this kind of setting the stories seem so real. "Outlaws", one of my favorites, is about a man who meets a woman at a bar and they fall in love while on a crime spree. Basically, it's a great Western movie in a song. Another, "Santa Rosa" is about being stuck in a snowstorm in New Mexico on New Year's. However, my favorite ballad of the night was a new song called "The Ballplayer". Joe plays it at the piano and it tells the story of a struggling ballplayer (shocking) and how his struggles with his career effects his personal relationships. You can find a link to the video of the song performed a couple nights later in Nashville, at the bottom of the page. It's a beautiful song.

The regular set included favorites such as "Secret", "You Can Tell Georgia" and "Ode To Sad Clown." The encore was really fun to watch. Basically, Joe came out and simply asked the audience to shout out their requests and he would try to play them. He would entertain all the options then select one. Many times you could see him working through the lyrics and chord progressions in his head, trying to recall which of the 100 songs it was. During "The Sun", an adamant fan request, Joe had to stop and make up some lyrics, which made for a pretty humorous moment for all.

If you're looking for a high energy kind of concert, you probably aren't going to find it at a Joe Purdy show. But, if you're looking for some great laid back music, that is written with passion and honesty, Joe Purdy is the show for you. His songs are very easy to relate to, and have been integral parts of the soundtrack I would use for my life. In fact, I was making a playlist of my favorite Joe Purdy songs to share with a friend... 25 songs later I still felt like I was leaving some important songs out. I hope you have a chance to check him out.

Happy Thanksgiving! Josh Ritter next week!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

American Music Awards Tonight

Check out the American Music Awards tonight on ABC. You can still vote for breakout artist over at the ABC website and since the contenders are Lady Gaga, Keri Hilson, Gloriana, and Kid Cudi, I think we can all assume the winner is Keri Hilson. I kid. Lady Gaga should have this and really it's worth tuning in to see her wacky ensembles/faux suicides.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

50 Most Important Recordings of Decade According to NPR

Sweet little list over at NPR of the most important recordings of the decade.

Kudos to the team that compiled the list for including tracks ranging from the Britney Spears to Arcade Fire to Brad Paisley, which are all some of my favorites. (Pretend you don't secretly love the song "Toxic").

Steve will be proud to see The Swell Season represented.

Sadness fills my bones over the fact that the Killers and the Airborne Toxic Event are no shows on the list, but I suspect the second act is a little too new and the first is a little too awesome?

Check out the list right here.
Did they miss your favorite recording of the decade? Which ones do you agree with and which make you crazy?

Shout out to Ellyn for bringing this to my attention.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Billboard (Not So) Hot 100

Sometimes I enjoy perusing through the Billboard Hot 100, just to see how off base my tastes are with those of the general public.

The results?
Very. Very off base.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Current Jams

I don't want to ruin my street cred, but I REALLY like that song that is everywhere right now, Fireflies, by Owl City.

I heard it for the first time in an Old Navy and prior to hearing this song, the only music I associated with Old Navy involved Lil' Kim being real hood.

Needless to say, I'm glad to replace one memory with another.

You can check out the video right here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"The Swell Season is the BEST Season!"

The Swell Season- 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C., 11.9.2009

Welp, I finally know what I want to do with my life…. I want to be Glen Hansard! That’s an acceptable goal right? I’ll have to quit my teaching job of course and find a school where I can study how to be supremely awesome and the coolest man alive. Do you know of a program? If so, please leave it at the bottom of the page.

After the concert Monday night, my friend informed me that I have a man crush on Glen. A piece of me felt I had to defend myself, but it’s clear that I do. I just want to be his best friend (insert dream sequence). Catch a match, grab a pint at the pub…sigh.

Monday’s show was the fourth time I’ve seen The Swell Season, and while the others were great, this show somehow stood apart. 9:30 Club was already packed by the time Doveman, the opener, took the stage. Then some guy from Chicago gave a meandoring, long winded, and quite confusing introduction to the band, which only made us more happy to finally see Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova take the stage.

The duo started the show with a pair of songs from the 2007 film Once. “Falling From the Sky” opened the set with Glen and Marketa playing from their knees. This was followed by “Lies”, which Glen introduced by saying, “This is a song about a man who tells the truth about things that never happened.”

At this point, The Frames, joined the stage playing a collection of song from the new album Strict Joy along with a well placed Willie Nelson cover, “Blue Eyes.” “Low Rising”, the new single off the album, seemed to be a fan favorite. It’s the kind of song that feels like it should have been a hit in the 60’s.

Marketa stepped up to the mic for two songs, which she sang beautifully. However, the highlight of the show came directly afterwards when the rest of the band left the stage, leaving Glen to play four songs. Glen started busking on the streets of Dublin when he was 13 years old, and it’s easy to see that with all that seasoning, he certainly knows how to mesmorize a crowd. “Leave” and “Say It To Me Now”, which started the solo set, are two of my all time favorite songs. Plus, I think “Say It To Me Now” was written about my life. Call me conceited, but I think the evidence speaks for itself. The final song of the solo mini set was a cover of Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks”. Can I swear in blogs? I don’t know the rules. Because, my reaction to this song involved a lot of “Holy _________ “ and “That was _______ ing unbelievable,” and I’ve seen him cover this before! My words cannot do it justice, so looking it up on youtube would probably be wise. Basically, Glen goes crazy with his loop pedals and creates a tsunami of sound that just rocks this song to it’s knees. Have you watched it yet? Yeah, it’s easy to see my man crush now isn’t it?

After everyone caught their collective breathes, the band rejoined Glen for a handful of songs. “When Your Mind’s Made Up” closed the regular set, and everyone sang along, even to the screaming part at the end. The encore included “Falling Slowly” an obvious crowd favorite, and a new, yet to be titled song, which sounds like it will come together into a very nice song. The night ended on a Frames song, “Red Chord”, that included seques into “Here Comes the Night” (Them) and “The Parting Glass” (The Clancy Brothers). Simply brilliant! Glen asked the crowd to sing “The Parting Glass” in honor of Liam Clancy, who is extremely ill back in Ireland. This left everyone singing “Goodnight and joy be with you all,” until eventually fading completely. A pretty stellar way to end the show.

So if you have the chance to see The Swell Season, I highly advice you to take that chance. They are an absolutely amazing band to see live, and I doubt you’ll regret it. As one concert goer proclaimed, "The Swell Season is the BEST season!" Agreed!

Were you at the show? Have your own Swell Season memories? Let us know!

1. Falling From the Sky
2. Lies
3. Low Rising
4. Feeling the Pull
5. Blue Eyes (Willie Nelson Cover)
6. The Rain
7. The Moon
8. If You Want Me
9. Fantasy Man
10. Leave
11. Say It To Me Now
12. Back Broke
13. Astral Weeks (Van Morrison Cover)
14. Emer’s Dream (Colm solo)
15. People All Get Ready
16. The Verb
17. I Have Loved You Wrong
18. Once
19. When Your Mind’s Made Up
20. Falling Slowly
21. New Song- Untitled
22. High Horses
23. Red Chord--> Here Comes the Night-->The Parting Glass

Current Jams

Here is a song I think you should be vibing to right now.
More on The Airborne Toxic Event soon.

Tell us what you think!
Love it? Hate it? Indifferent?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A New Music Blog

A new blog to help spread the word of bands we dig to you. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we get this thing off and running.
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