Showing posts with label Alabama Shakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alabama Shakes. Show all posts

Mar 23, 2020

10 Positive Jams for Unsettled Times

By Matthew Martin

We're in weird, uncertain times. There's no doubt about that. We're living in the midst of what has been labeled by the World Health Organization as a global pandemic. And, to make matters worse, we're seeing unemployment begin to tick up due to people losing their jobs as service industries begin losing patrons. Where are those patrons? Well, we're inside. We're wondering what comes next. And, many of us turn to music in times of happiness, grief, and every emotion in between. 

I was sitting around yesterday trying to work (it's a little hard to focus these days) and a friend asked if I had any uplifting music recommendations. It got me thinking- we could all use a positive jams list. So, I am going to start this thing off with my 10 favorite positive, uplifting songs. Go ahead and let me know what songs you turn to in the comments or via twitter (@rnrmeanswell) and let's get positive here. Also, side bar- if you're struggling with this, please reach out to loved-ones and friends or even me via Twitter. We'll get through this. In the meantime, wash your hands and practice social distancing to flatten the curve!

10- Frank Turner- I Still Believe: A treatise on coming together over the universal language of Rock and Roll. If that doesn't scream positivity and inclusivity perfectly, I don't know what does. Frank Turner puts out some impossibly positive music for any occasion, but this is the one I always go back to in order to bring myself back down to earth. "Remember folks, we're not just saving lives, we're saving souls and we're having fun!" I will forever smile at that line.

9- Lucero- Sounds Of The City: For a band that is known for heartbreakers and drunken ballads, this song is a real barn-burner about falling in love. From the organ to the horns, this song incorporates all the happy sounds. And, falling in love is always a good memory. Yeah, sometimes it might not end well, but that initial falling is a hell of a feeling. This song evokes that feeling of falling in love, dancing drunkenly, and the white noise that seems to fill your ears when that person is around you and everyone else is drowned out.

8- J Roddy Walston & The Business- Don't Break The Needle: Not much to say here except if you don't find yourself movin’ and shakin’ during the chorus, maybe you just need to turn it up!

7- The Hold Steady- Stay Positive: The ultimate positive band, in my mind. Even their bummer songs have some glimmer of hope. And this song is the one feels like the song we should turn to in order to feel better about things to come. You gotta stay positive.

6- Alabama Shakes- Hold On: Another self-explanatory song. I mean, the song is killer, it completely rocks, and it has a really simply message. That message is to just hold on, you'll get through it. When this song came out a few years ago, I think I listened to this song more than any other song that year. And what better time to crank this one up.

5- Professor Longhair- Tipitina: I'll be honest, Professor Longhair pretty recently came into my orbit and damn I'm glad he did. This song, which is what the famous music club in New Orleans is named after, is a straight boogie. The Professor knows how to get folks moving and with this non-sensical (but it makes so much sense) song, go ahead and forget all your troubles of the day.

4- Japandroids- Adrenaline Nightshift: When I think of albums that make me smile just thinking of them, Celebration Rock is usually the first one to come to mind. The album is full of fast-paced, fist-pumping, sing-along songs. There's no better album to feel alive to. And this is the one song that exemplifies the album the best. "There's no high like this!"

3- Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires- Dirt Track: I dunno if there's any song that takes me back to the sweltering days of my Southern Summer days more than this one. That dirty, swampy guitar and back beat practically drip humidity. Not to mention the song's whole premise is just to keep it moving. Don't give up! So, I highly recommend cranking this one up as loud as possible and boogie like hell during the breakdown. Can't tell y'all how many times I've done that. Damn, I love this band.

2- Glossary- Trouble Won't Last Always: This is the first song I thought about when my buddy asked me about positive songs. Glossary is also one of those bands who really seemed to excel at the positive song. It seems like something a little hard in the whole Americana/Country genre, but they nailed it. And, this song epitomizes everything we all love about Glossary. Go ahead and listen to the whole album this song is from, Long Live All Of Us. That's it, that's what it's all about. I'll let Glossary sum up my feelings completely, "When trouble comes around, Like it surely will, Remember you were happy once, And you can be happy still." 

1- Hank Williams- I Saw The Light: There's something about Hank that always makes me smile, no matter how dark the song. Maybe it's the fact that he is by far and away my 92-year old Granddad's favorite musician. Maybe it's the fact that I find something new to love about Hank with every listen of every weird collection of music. But, nonetheless, I smile. And the one that makes me smile the most is I Saw The Light. Whether or not you're religious, there is something comforting about a Spiritual song. Hank nails this one with a cathartic wail. I think his version on The Complete Health and Happiness Recordings is the best version. It's uplifting, his voice is like a whip-crack, and the Drifting Cowboys sound like they are enjoying themselves (probably one of few times they did). Find whatever light you want to find and focus on that. 

So there you have it. My favorites. These can, and probably will, change over the next couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy these and you show me a few I should add to my list. Until next time, keep it on the dirt track.

Sep 4, 2014

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years

I don't usually copy and paste press releases, but this seems like something most of you'd like to see!


Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years
Two-Hour Primetime 40th Anniversary Special Premieres October 3rd on PBS

Star-Studded Broadcast Features Jeff Bridges, Sheryl Crow, Matthew McConaughey, Willie Nelson, Foo Fighters, Bonnie Raitt, Alabama Shakes, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Guy, Lyle Lovett, Gary Clark Jr. & many more

Austin, TX—September 4, 2014The landmark PBS series Austin City Limits (ACL) highlights four decades as a music institution with Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years, a primetime special honoring the program's milestone 40th anniversary, airing Friday, October 3rd, 9-11pm ET on PBS Arts Fall Festival. With guest hosts Jeff Bridges, Sheryl Crow and Matthew McConaughey, the two-hour broadcast features memorable moments from the trailblazing show's remarkable run, while the brightest stars in the series' history return to the ACL stage for dream duets and choice collaborations. Ready to write the next chapter in its storied history, ACL’s Season 40 premieres on October 4th with an epic hour from an American original, musician/songwriter Beck.

An all-star lineup of ACL royalty pays tribute to the show's enduring legacy with unforgettable music performances in Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years. Highlights of the special include the show opener as Bonnie Raitt, Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard, Jimmie Vaughan and Gary Clark Jr. team up for the Sam & Dave classic “Wrap It Up”. Incredible pairings include ACL Hall of Fame legend Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris on the Nelson-penned classic “Crazy” and Kris Kristofferson and Sheryl Crow's moving take on his signature “Me and Bobby McGee”. The Foo Fighters honor ACL with a wild rendition of Texas cult hero Roky Erickson's "Two Headed Dog," recorded at the show's original television studio especially for the occasion. Host Jeff Bridges performs the late singer-songwriter Stephen Bruton's song “What A Little Bit of Love Can Do” as a tribute to the influential Austin musician who inspired Bridges’ Oscar-winning portrayal in Crazy Heart. Local legends Joe Ely and Robert Earl Keen showcase their troubadour roots and significance to the Austin music scene. Breakout artists and ACL alumni Alabama Shakes and Gary Clark Jr. give blistering performances that forecast the future of the series. Blues titan Buddy Guy brings it all home with an electrifying take on his “Mary Had A Little Lamb”. The special comes to a close with an all-star reading of two Lone Star classics—a stellar lineup of guitar slingers blaze through the Stevie Ray Vaughan standard “Texas Flood” and the biggest names in music trade verses on the Buddy Holly classic “Not Fade Away", as ACL embraces its past and hints at what is to come.

"This is a huge milestone for us,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “and this show captures the essence of what Austin City Limits is all about. We set the bar high for this celebration, and we exceeded it! The lineup of talent speaks volumes about the respect that artists have for ACL.”

Artists performing on the special are: Alabama Shakes, Doyle Bramhall II, Jeff Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Double Trouble, Joe Ely, Mike Farris, Foo Fighters, Grupo Fantasma, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jimmie Vaughan.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years was taped at ACL Live at the Moody Theater, and the program's original television studio, Austin PBS station KLRU's Studio 6A.

Austin City Limits (ACL) is the longest-running music series in American television history and remains the only TV series to be awarded the National Medal of Arts. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the pilot episode taped in 1974 with Willie Nelson. Since its inception, the pioneering music series has become an institution that's helped secure Austin's reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. The historic KLRU Studio 6A, home to 36 years of ACL concerts, has been designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. In 2011, ACL moved to the new venue ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement in 2012.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years setlist:
Bonnie Raitt, Brittany Howard, Jimmie Vaughan & Gary Clark Jr. | “Wrap It Up”
Bonnie Raitt | “Your Good Thing (Is About to End)”
Kris Kristofferson & Sheryl Crow | “Me and Bobby McGee”
Alabama Shakes | “Gimme All Your Love”
Jeff Bridges | “What A Little Bit of Love Can Do”
Willie Nelson | “Whiskey River”
Willie Nelson & Lyle Lovett | “Funny How Time Slips Away”
Willie Nelson & Emmylou Harris | “Crazy”
Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris & Lyle Lovett | “On the Road Again”
Robert Earl Keen & Joe Ely | “The Road Goes On Forever”
Gary Clark Jr. | “Bright Lights”
Foo Fighters | “Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)”
Sheryl Crow |“Can't Cry Anymore”
Doyle Bramhall & Sheryl Crow | “I'm Leaving”
Grupo Fantasma | “Mulato”
Jimmie Vaughan & Bonnie Raitt | “The Pleasure's All Mine”
Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Mike Farris | “House Is Rockin'”
Robert Randolph | “Pride and Joy”
Buddy Guy | “Mary Had A Little Lamb”
All-Star Finale | “Texas Flood”
All-Star Finale | “Not Fade Away”

May 13, 2014

Live Review: Alabama Shakes with Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires

Alabama Shakes w/Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
Apr. 25, 2014 - 9:30 Club, Washington, DC

By Matthew Martin

It's been a while since I've written up any shows I've been to, and in the time that has past I've been to quite a few.  However, I just didn't think they were worth writing about.  Not because they weren't good enough.  Maybe I just hit a lull in writing, or maybe I felt like things got just a little bit blurry near the end of the show.  So, I put off writing anything.  Until, now.  I come back to you guns blazing with a review of one of the best shows I've been a part of in the past 2-3 years.

There are few things in this world better than a show on a Friday night.  The release of all emotions that comes with a great show.  The suspension of anything that is happening in your life.  And, of course, the pure joy of being with 1200+ (in the case of a 9:30 Club show) of your newest friends.

This was absolutely the case on Friday April 25th, 2014 at 9:30 Club when Alabama Shakes made their triumphant return to 9:30 Club and D.C.  I believe the last time they were in D.C. was in 2012 with the Drive-By Truckers.  And shortly after that, they headlined the Rams Head stage in Baltimore with a band opening for them I had never heard of- Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires.  I happened to be at that show, and both bands shook me, albeit in different ways.  So, when I found out that this same line-up would be coming back to D.C., I (im)patiently waited for the tickets to go on sale on the 9:30 Club website and got secured my spot to a show that sold-out in 5 minutes.

First up, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires came out and ripped through a set that seemed like a cocaine-fueled punk version of Southern rock & roll.  I do not know how else to put it.  They are a stunning band and watching them on stage is incredible.  Guitars are up to 11, drums are relentlessly pounded, and the bass is forcefully plucked.  Songs from their first album, There Is A Bomb In Gilead, are amped up to a 100 mph speed.  Songs like "Red Red Dirt of Home" have the tempo increased and the songs are transformed.  It works.  I actually prefer the faster versions.  It seems this is the speed Bains and crew are more comfortable in.  When you hear the new album, Dereconstructed, it's clear that this is the new Glory Fires sound: loud, fast, and pissed off.  The set closed with the new song "Dirt Track" of the new album.  It was during this time that the guitarist, to the cheers of 1200+ people, got on Bains' shoulders and both proceeded to give killer solos.  The set lasted about 50 minutes and seemed far too short.  It's fair to say, the boys gained a hell of a lot of new fans that night.

Now the wait for Alabama Shakes began and the crowd was beginning to become electrified.  There was a buzz in the air unlike any show I've been to in a really long time.  Folks seemed not quite sure what to expect.  After all, Alabama Shakes have released exactly one album (Boys and Girls), and that was in 2011- three years ago!  

Needless to say, Brittany Howard and crew still had it.  They had the crowd in the palm of their collective hand from the opening note of the opening song.  By the time they reached "Hold On," I thought the place was going to come down.  I have seen many shows at 9:30 Club and I can honestly say that I have never heard the crowd roar as loud as I heard when they ended that song.

They ripped through the majority of their debut album along with a few others that were new, and some that were B-sides and singles; i.e., "Always Alright" and "Heavy Chevy."  Throughout the show, it was clear that Brittany had gained a new confidence that I didn't quite recall from the show in Baltimore a few years back.  This confidence went a long way that night.  She owned the stage.  She proved that being a frontwoman can be a hard and easy task all in one.  She roamed the stage, looking at everyone, singing to them.  I witnessed first hand, I suppose, what it means to gain that confidence and what a difference that made.

By the time the show ended, everyone was wearing the biggest smiles.  Something pretty awesome had just been seen, and no one was quite ready for that.  To be impressed by a band is one thing, but to be blown away by the complete package is another.  We were lucky that night to be in the latter group.  If it sounds like I'm gushing, I am.  We all knew Alabama Shakes had talent.  We knew that they made catchy-as-hell songs.  I'm just not quite sure we expected to be blown away.  

As I always say, go see these bands - both of them! - when they come anywhere near you.  I'm confident that you won't be disappointed.  Until then, go buy their music.  Support them.  Let's keep these folks around for as long as we can.  It's a short lifespan sometimes in rock and roll, but these folks deserve to be old-timers.  As Lee Bains III sang, "keep on rollin, keep it on the dirt track."

Feb 18, 2013

Alabama Shakes - Always Alright

Alabama Shakes played on SNL this past Saturday, and was one of the only highlights..particularly when they performed this song that was not a part of their 2012 debut (it was a part of the Silver Linings Playbook soundtrack). Now, the band is offering "Always Alright" for free here! Better hurry.

May 25, 2012

10 Best Songs of 2012 So Far

Arliss Nancy - 40's (I can't find anywhere for you to listen to this yet, but trust me... it's about drinking 40's by the shore... it's awesome)

Nov 4, 2011

YouTube Gems: Alabama Shakes

Whoa. This band is going to be huge. Garage rock and soul combine in the best ways possible here. RIYL: The Black Keys, Otis Redding, The Black Crowes, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Their EP is available here.


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