Kelly Willis’ New Record is Out… And Good

It’s just after midnight on June 26. Kelly Willis‘ new album, Translated From Love was just made available on the iTMS, and since I pre-ordered it, it was a-waiting for me to download it. Oh, yeah. I’m four songs into it, and it’s really good. I have all of Kelly’s stuff, but the last two, Easy and What I Deserve, have been my favorites. Based on what I’ve heard so far, they may have some competition with this album.

Kelly’s voice is just as smooth and luscious as always. She has that Austin twang, and her music is about as far as you can get from the “pop country” that passes for C&W these days. Kelly, Mindy Smith and Neko Case are my favorite ladies. You should check them out.

Kelly is coming to Atlanta on July 7! I went ahead and bought my ticket the other day, after I got hosed on the Mindy Smith show selling out. I was not pleased about that. I love both these ladies’ music, and I really wanted to see Mindy. Oh well, at least I’m assured of seeing Kelly.

Abrupt Music Changes

I’m sitting here working while listening to my latest purchases for iTunes (curse them!) and I was just struck by an abrupt change in style. I have very eclectic musical tastes, so buying disparate styles at one time is not unusual for me. But sometimes when listening, I get caught off guard.

I started out today with Oingo Boingo‘s “Dead Man’s Party,” a classic. Next in line was the lovely Sara Evans doing a Dwight Yokam song. Next came the latest single from Liz Phair, which is quite good. OK, so far. Next was some old Eric Clapton and some even older Cream. A quick track by the one and only Lemmy Kilmister, singer/bassist for Motörhead, with an old KISS song. Then into a fairly long stretch with the entire Haus der Lüge album by the great Einstürzende Neubauten. That record lasted 45 minutes or so. Now here’s where the abrupt change occurs. The last Neubauten track ends and on comes… wait for it… “Looking for Love (in All the Wrong Places)” by Johnny Lee. I was jarred from my trance by that one…

Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

It’s 00:17 and I’m listening to the first Travelling Wilburys record, which came out in 1988. I bought it then and still have the CD. I listen to it occasionally, and I’m always struck by how good the music is on it. I’m struck because I never liked the music of any of the Wilburys individually. It’s just a really good collaboration where all the parts work together to, IMO, create something better than the parts themselves. That doesn’t happen all that often. Most “supergroups” that put out records pretty much suck.

Speaking of Rocking…

Speaking of rocking as I was a moment ago, I have to plug Only Way to Know for Sure by Rollins Band. I’ve been a huge fan of Henry Rollins since his Black Flag days. I saw him in Atlanta (at the now-dead Metroplex) on his first tour after going solo, way back about 1988. Anyway, his most recent record is a live recording from Chicago that is excellent. I’m sitting here working with this record blasting from my speakers. It’s good work music. Loud, fast and heavy. Very nice.

Brudda Iz

Brudda Iz If you’re a fan of Hawaiian music, then you know who I’m talking about. If not, you should become acquainted with Brudda Iz as quickly as possible. Actually, you may already be familiar with his music and not realize it.

“Brudda Iz” was a man called Israel Kamakawiwo`ole. He was a very large man, with the voice of an angel. He did a medley of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World that is an extremely beautiful thing to hear. The only instruments were his voice and his ukulele. The song has been used in lots of commercials, and you can hear the part you’d be familiar with by clicking here.

I remember when I finally discovered who sang this song. I was at a Borders browsing the international music section, looking for a Kate Rusby record, when I noticed that they had one of Iz’s records on a listening station. After reading the staff recommendation to listen to the medley, I turned it on and was instantly met with the song from “that commercial” that would get into my mind and not go away. I don’t know why I didn’t buy the record that day, but I didn’t.

Anyway, several of his records are on iTunes now, and I bought his 1993 record called Facing Future two days ago. I’ve listened to Somewhere Over the Rainbow many, many times since then. My son loves it, too. What’s kind of funny is that he does a cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” though customized for Hawaii as opposed to West Virginia.

Sadly, Brudda Iz died in 1997 at the way-too-young age of 38. I found this article and this one in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin covering his death and memorial service. The second article says that while his body way lying in state in the capitol rotunda, 10,000 people filed past to pay their respects.

I Have a Lot of Music

Anyone who knows me knows that I am constantly listening to music. All the time; working, playing, sleeping… well, maybe not sleeping. But I have music going all the time. I just looked at the counts in my WinAmp music library, and here’s what I saw:

Artists: 557
Albums: 868
Songs: 10,728

That includes all my ripped MP3 and Ogg files, plus those songs I’ve purchased at iTunes and live concert files in FLAC, SHN and Monkey Audio formats. That’s a heck of a lot of music. I didn’t realize just how much I had.

Just this morning, I was listening to a random selection of songs, and several times a song would start playing and I had no idea what/who it was. And that’s kind of funny.

Two days ago a friend turned me on to AudioScrobbler, which is sort of a social network for music lovers. You sign up, download a plugin for the audio player of your choice, then start listening to music like you normally do. It will report what you’re listening to and aggregate you with everyone else. You can then link to other people who listen to the same stuff and see what else they listen to. This is a great way to find bands you didn’t know about, but that are similar to bands you already listen to. If you’re interested, my page is here.

Gotta Love Dolly Parton

While being honored by the Country Radio Broadcaster, Dolly had this to say

I think of radio as a great lover. You were great to me. You bought me a lot of nice things. Then you dumped my ass for younger women.

She’s a tough old broad, eh? Read the rest.