In addition to being a creator of music, I am also a passionate listener. From now and into the foreseeable future, I’ll be adding a weekly post sharing some albums that I’m currently listening to. My Top 3 Albums of Now will be from any era and are not limited by newest, edgiest, best or worst. Writing about these albums may not mean that I have just discovered them but may instead point to a revisit that I have to share with the world.
With these posts, I hope to not only keep this blog updated with quality content, but also share my musical tastes and influences with anyone who is interested.
Here are 3 albums that I’ve been enjoying over the past week:
1. Andrew Bird – Hands of Glory (2012)
I first discovered this album after learning the Ramblin’ Jack Elliott version of the song ‘Railroad Bill’ and doing some research. Andrew Bird is a phenomenal songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a very appealing writing style that sits somewhere in the realms of experimental folk and country.
This album features 2 different interpretations of the same song to open and close the album – ‘Three White Horses’. From here, it rises and falls between the rockabilly ‘When the Helicopter Comes’, the introspective folk storytelling of ‘Spirograph’ to the traditional ‘Railroad Bill’ and a beautiful cover of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘If I Needed You’.
With only 8 tracks and a 34min run time, Hands of Glory is short but sweet. Not one song leaves me fidgeting with the skip button.
2. Blake Mills – Heigh Ho (2014)
The gem that is Blake Mills was a fairly recent find for me thanks to the encouragement of another Sydney Songwriter friend of mine – Leroy Lee. If you’re into a lyrics, guitar tones and clever production then this is an album well worth checking out. Then there is the technique, approach and note choice of Blake Mills. This guy is doing appealing things with the guitar that I haven’t heard before.
Heigh Ho features plenty of nylon guitar – often with a Cuban sort of twist (suggested by my guitarist and friend Cameron Henderson as due to his Ry Cooder influences), ear-candy electric guitar and some very accessible songwriting. Highlights for me include ‘If I’m Unworthy’ and ‘Three Weeks in Havana’.
If you are a guitarist in pursuit of the perfect tone, this record is a great place to start.
3. Cass McCombs – Big Wheel And Others (2013)
Another suggested record from the aforementioned musician to check out, Big Wheel And Others was a slow burner for me. With such a huge amount of content on the one album (22 songs@ 1hr 25min!), its hard to appreciate each song individually. And to tell the truth, I don’t like every song on this album. However this is made up for by the songs on it that I love.
This is another record for those who appreciate quality lyrics with the addition of chimey pedal steel. If you didn’t know already, I love pedal steel.
When you check out this album, which I highly recommend you do, there are a couple of songs that will be worth multiple repeats. Look out for ‘Brighter!’, ‘Name Written In Water’, ‘Angel Blood’ and ‘Morning Star’. The song ‘Brighter!’ also features a version of the same song sung by the late great actress Karen Black who died about a year after it was recorded.
Here’s an official video that was made to Honour Karen Black:
Expect another 3 albums next Monday.