Tim Easton recommends Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and The Rolling Stones

Tim Easton and Gillian Welch

Tim Easton and Gillian Welch

Tim Easton’s recommendation: “A long list here because it’s all the classics plus those that came before them. I could sum it up in the way the Rollings Stones interpreted “I Used To Love Her” and sold our American music back to us with new attitudes of freedom and complete liberation. I love the band that I see on any given night that is putting it out there, going for it in whatever style they know best. I love the emotional honesty of Lucinda Williams, and I stand in awe of the relaxed and precise delivery of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. I love the Velvet Undergound, but who doesn’t? I saw a band called The Feelies when I was in college and I’m pretty sure they moved me to write songs too. My parents played classical records and I’m certain it moved me as a child as it does now. Then American classical music came along, otherwise known as Jazz, and you don’t stop.”

Tim Easton’s album suggestions: “Definitely Soul Journey by Gillian Welch. It seemed to be an album even she couldn’t get over for a while! Also, Lucinda William’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road will inform any songwriter or artist on how to be honest and strong at the same time. With the Stones, it’s Beggars Banquet for me. I love the folk music in the middle of the rock and roll.”

Tim EastonAbout our guest author, Tim Easton: You don’t have to go further than Tim Easton’s 2006 release, Ammunition to learn about his extreme street cred in the alt-country/singer-songwriter community. The collection features production from Jayhawks’ co-lead Gary Louris and backing vocals from Lucinda Williams and Tift Merritt. Big time enough for ya? Yeah, we thought so. Fast forward five years and three Independent Music Awards later, we find Easton (who is originally from Akron, OH), releasing not one but TWO solid records: the electric, band backed Beat the Band and the acoustic collection, Since 1966 | Volume 1, both being released on Easton’s own Campfire Propaganda label. Easton puts on a fantastic show and tours often, so be sure to support this A-level indie and check his tour page.

MP3: Daily Life by Tim Easton from his album, Beat the Band

Keith Zarriello of The Shivers recommends Nina Simone

Keith Zarriello and Nina Simone

Keith Zarriello and Nina Simone

Keith Zarriello’s recommendation: “I am deeply moved by the music of Nina Simone. From the first time I heard her voice I was paralyzed. I will never hear another voice like hers for the rest of my life. She doesn’t get enough credit for being a true revolutionary. I think you could make an argument she was the first punk. She was so bad ass and yet so beautiful and vulnerable at the same time. Every cover she did became her own.”

New to Nina Simone’s music? Keith suggests you start here: “Nowhere is this more evident than on her live album, Nina Simone At Town Hall. It combines everything I love – the 1950′s (recorded in ’59), New York City and of course Nina herself.”

Keith ZarrielloAbout our guest author, Keith Zarriello: Keith is the co-lead of The Shivers, the Queens based band that proves that all great indie music from New York doesn’t have to come out of Brooklyn. Classically trained church organist Jo Schornikow joined Zariello six years ago and since then the band has won praise from Pitchfork and The Guardian (UK) and has earned tour spots with big names like M. Ward and Deer Tick. With four solid records under their belt, The Shivers recently travelled to the UK to record their personal best collection, More in, get this, AN ALL ANALOG STUDIO (sorry, Pro Tools). Producer Adam Lasus (Yo La Tengo, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Helium) helped create an ultra-warm album that showcases both up-tempo hum-alongs (Used To Be) and brooding ballads (More, below). So go ahead and one-up your Brooklyn buddies. Support Queens, support The Shivers and check the dates for their live shows here.

MP3: Used To Be by The Shivers

The Shivers – More [Official Music Video]

Mathieu Santos of Ra Ra Riot recommends Robert Palmer

Matthieu Santos of Ra Ra Riot and Robert Palmer

Matthieu Santos and Robert Palmer

Mathieu Santos’ recommendation: “Robert Palmer is someone who’s always interested and moved me. When I was a kid, my dad was a huge fan of his and always had a bunch of his tapes in the car, so we spent many hours listening to him together. But aside from that aspect of nostalgia, I’ve come to really appreciate his music for its sense of curiosity, experimentation, honesty, and the scope of its stylistic range.”

New to Robert Palmer’s music? Mathieu suggests you start here: “Because his catalogue is so diverse, I think a good place to begin would be Addictions Volume 1, which was a compilation of his music that he curated. Of course, it contains the big arena-rock hits, but there’s a great selection of some deeper cuts as well, and it’s interesting to hear them all side-by-side. As far as individual albums go, I’d have to recommend Clues, which is mostly characterized by his growing interest in synths and sparse arrangements. Great stuff!”

Mathieu SantosAbout our guest author, Mathieu Santos: Many will know Mathieu from his role as bass player and founding member of Ra Ra Riot, a chamber pop group from Syracuse, NY that scored tons of positive critic reviews and opening slots for big bands like Death Cab For Cutie. Santos emerged from the recording sessions of Ra Ra’s second album energized and was able to bang out ten catchy (and just shy of experimental) songs for his own for his solo record, Massachusetts 2010. Per this Spin article, Mathieu was inspired by other artists that broke off from their bands and put out solid solo efforts, namely Paul McCartney and Stewart Copeland of The Police. The result is an upbeat, quirky collection that often puts Santos’ ehcho-y vocals and jumping bass lines in front. The album is unique to the core and is sonically bright. Mathieu is currently on tour with Ra Ra Riot and tour dates can be found here.

MP3: I Can Hear the Trains by Mathieu Santos