JC Brooks’ artist recommendation: “Amy Winehouse — tragic case and an incredible vocalist and an even better lyricist. Plus, I identify with her work because we both happen to be too willing to give our hearts to dudes who don’t deserve our time. I like Adele for the same reason, except she’s kinda the opposite of tragic. Where Amy’s pain ultimately destroyed her, Adele parlayed it into several Grammys and a tidy fortune.”
Album recommendations from JC Brooks:
Whokill by the Tune-Yards
Merril Garbus is an incredibly inventive musician and she has a very unique voice that you either love or you hate. I love it.
Severe Tire Damage by They Might Be Giants
It’s got all the hits. I find it impossible to not be amused by this album.
Tango Zero-Hour by Astor Piazola
It’s fun and (at times) creepy. It’s what the accordion was invented for.
Channel Orange by Frank Ocean
Because Channel Orange by Frank Ocean. I feel about this album the way Zooey Deschanel’s character in Almost Famous felt about The Who’s Tommy…
Rapture by Anita Baker
You either get it or you don’t. Amazing jazz/R&B from the peak era.
The Heart Of Saturday Night by Tom Waits
It features some achingly beautiful lyrics delivered in Waits’ unique style. It not only makes you want to fall in love, but it makes you kinda want the heartbreak that comes from a deep and abiding love.
The Royal Scam by Steely Dan
(It was tough to choose between this, Gaucho, Two Against Nature, and, though not a Dan release, Don Fagen’s The Nightfly). Jazz-Rock FOR.EV.ER! Brilliant writing, undeniable grooves, music your dad would be proud to catch you listening to.
Blue by Joni Mitchell
C’mon, this is poetry prose from one of the best lyrical storytellers of her day. I could go on and on…
Where Have I Known You Before by Return To Forever
Picking a single Chick Corea album was almost as hard as picking a Steely Dan album, but WHIKYB was my first and I have to honor that…
Under The Pink by Tori Amos
This one wasn’t my first tango with Tori (that was Boys For Pele), but it’s my favorite of her work, from Pretty Good Year all the way to Yes, Anastasia (which is a journey in and of itself) the album is solid, and weird, and emotional, and angsty, and endearing. BFP is a close second, though.
About our guest author, JC Brooks: Jackie Wilson was known as “Mr. Excitement,” but the same moniker could be applied to JC Brooks, the Chicago based trained actor turned soul man extraordinaire whose live show reaches the frenetic glory that Wilson, Otis Redding and James Brown once provided. Brooks and his band, the Uptown Sound, formed in 2007 and put out two solid long players, Beat of Our Own Drum and Want More. Their live performances have brought them through Bumbershoot, Lollapalooza and World Cafe Live, where they co-headlined a bill with Gary Clark Jr. Those performances helped form a strong following, but, for us at Rock Torch, the band’s highlight gig of the past few years has to be Wilco’s Solid Sound festival (check the band’s upbeat take on Wilco’s normally gloomy I Am Trying to Break Your Heart and wait to see Jeff Tweedy crash the performance half way through). JC and the band are back with their third album Howl, which is produced by heavy hitter producer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, GodspeedYou! Black Emperor). Check the band’s tour page for electrifying performances coming your way.