So, this is one o' them stories that doesn't really have a point but does give me an excuse to put some music on my blog. As such, hooray!
And so but anyway, I finally got a chance to listen to the new Counting Crows, which, as it turns out, is a whole album of cover songs. I'm actually okay with that in principle, but it does mean that the album no longer counts for a best of 2012. Sorry, fellas.
Anyway, the album begins with Romany Rye's "Untitled (Love Song)." I am not at all familiar with the band, I didn't know the song, and I didn't realize that it was all covers yet. So I started listening and I thought two things: 1. "Holy shit, Counting Crows are trying to be The Band," and 2. "It's actually pretty much working."
Basically, this reminded me of nothing so much as "The Weight." If you don't know The Band, you probably still know "The Weight."
The Band, for those who don't know, basically hit the big time when they toured backing Dylan. I don't actually like Dylan that much as a performer, but, holy shit, could the man write songs. As such, I almost always like a good Dylan cover, like, say, when Scott Lucas & the Married Men do it.
I also mention this because I decided to start a Pandora station for The Band. There was only one problem: Pandora wouldn't let me. I put in The Band and hit enter and suddenly ended up with a station for The Band Perry. So I tried again and the closest I could get was a The Band & Bob Dylan station. But it then gave me a similar artist: The Band. I was forced to wonder if The Band would have come up with a different name had they known it would be impossible to create a Pandora station some fifty years later. I'm assuming the answer is, "No."
Anyway, the only neat transition from here goes in the wrong direction, so here's some Lost Immigrants doing "Circle in My Hand" at the fantastic White Elephant Saloon in Fort Worth. You can hear a bit of a different song tagged in at the beginning and then the whole coda at the end.
The other song is "Wagon Wheel," by Old Crow Medicine Show.
"Wagon Wheel is a re-write of an old, unreleased Dylan tune. Dylan, as it turns out, attributed the song to an old bluesman. Why? Because everything goes back to the old bluesmen (even things from before the blues. Black dudes with soul can time travel. How else do you think that noted Kenyan anarchosocialcommuatheistmuslim Barack HUSSEIN Obama managed to travel back in time to plant his birth certificate and announcement in Hawaii?). That, for the record, leads me down yet another rabbit trail for another day.
Meanwhile, in looking for a video for "The Weight," I discovered this.
Yes. That is Mavis Staples singing with The Band. Why do you ask?
So, then, you go with The Band and you can find Dylan. You can find Old Crow Medicine Show. You can even work the long way around to hit Scott Lucas & the Married Men. You can find Woodstock and (through Mavis Staples) the Chicago Blues Fest.
This is The Band Perry:
That right there is bland, inoffensive countrypop with a little bluegrass mixed in. From there you can get to, um, Sugarland. Or Lady Antebellum. Or Taylor Swift. Now, if you're lucky you'll follow the bluegrass to Alison Kraus, which is a gateway to some great stuff.
But, otherwise, yeah...good show on that, Pandora.
Alison Kraus is one of those musicians who I really, really want to like. She's really good at what she does and collaborates with some great musicians. I just find every song she does is, well, slow and boring.