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

Harper Simon recommends Richard Hell and the Voidoids

Harper Simon and Richard Hell

Harper Simon and Richard Hell (Harper Simon photo: Autumn DeWilde)

Harper Simon’s recommendation: “Blank Generation, Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Lower East Side manifesto is a seminal New York album and an essential for any young art punk or misfit discovering narcotics, poetry or DIY culture. The poetry is so strong, the vocal delivery so effortlessly hip. Decadent, druggy, fucked out, nihilistic and literate, the Richard Hell of Blank Generation doesn’t care what you think. Plus he’s got the Voidoids to back him up. Bob Quine was a totally unique guitar player who I had the pleasure of playing several shows with in the 90′s. His guitar playing jabs at you, it doesn’t jangle. But it avoids cliche at every turn and perfectly sets up Hell’s gutter rat Rimbaud of Rivington Street thing:

I was sayin’ let me out of here before I was
even born – it’s such a gamble when you get a face
It’s fascinatin to observe what the mirror does
but when I dine it’s for the wall that I set a place

New Pleasure. I’m Your Man. Down At The Rock N Roll Club. The Plan. Betrayal Takes Two. Blank Generation.

Richard Hell. God’s consolation prize!”

Harper SimonAbout our guest author, Harper Simon: Harper Simon grew up in NYC and later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. He then spent time overseas in London where he was part of a band called Menlo Park. His self-titled solo effort was released in 2009 and sported quite a lineup of backing musicians. We’re talking about everyone from Sean Lennon to Elvis’ bass player, Mike Leech. Harper’s album is filled with smart, strong lyrics and lush production (Harper produced the album and Tom Rothrock, who has produced albums for Beck and the late, great Elliot Smith mixed the final product). Simon commands both the sparse drum and piano arrangement of The Audit and the infectious bounce of Tennesse equally and his easy vocal delivery and intricate finger picking definitely draws on the influence of his dear old Dad (Paul Simon). Reviews of the album were strongly favorable, especially one from PopMatters.com that called the effort “…one of the most enjoyable and understated records of the year.” We anxiously await new sounds, but in the mean time, be sure to check Harper’s online site to purchase his music and merch as well as his upcoming live performances. And don’t miss the fantastic video for Berkeley Girl starring Jena Malone below.

Kevin Devine recommends Sinéad O’Connor

Kevin Devine and Sinéad O'Connor

Kevin Devine and Sinéad O'Connor

Kevin Devine’s recommendation: “There are so many, but this weekend I listened to a lot of Sinead O’Connor (and Nada Surf, but for the sake of this piece, let’s go with Sinead). She’s just so tough, and beautiful, and fearless. Her songs are so strong, and open, and even though there are some production/arrangement choices that I think can skew towards cheesy Enya-isms, she stamps them with enough honesty to make them transcend. She’s punk rock.”

New to Sinéad O’Connor? Kevin recommends you start here: “I’d start with I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. That’s the hit, and for good reason – it has my three all-time favorite songs of hers (Black Boys on Mopeds, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and Last Day of Our Acquaintance) AND Nothing Compares 2 U. C’mon. And while some of the sounds haven’t aged well, the songs have. The Gospel Oak EP may be my favorite music she’s made, and Universal Mother is a pretty great record too, but I think this is where you’d point someone looking to get familiar.”

Kevin DevineAbout our guest author, Kevin Devine: You may know Kevin from his days of fronting Miracle of 86 (Mets fans, you get the reference, right?). Since those days, Kevin has toned down his vocals and moved stylistically towards the late, great Elliot Smith, an artist that Kevin says “changed the way I look at writing music.” In fact, Devine snagged Elliot Smith’s producer, Rob Schnapf for his major label debut, Put Your Ghost To Rest. In 2009, Paste Magazine gushed about Devine’s release, Brother’s Blood, saying that Devine’s “…scathing observations and idiosyncratic details leave a disquieting mark.” Devine most recently teamed up with members of Manchester Orchestra to form Bad Books and is set to release his new album, Between The Concrete And Clouds. In the mean time, Kevin continues to play shows and win over new fans.

MP3: She Stayed As Steam by Kevin Devine

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