Tag Archives: The Avett Brothers

One Day I’ll…Someday I’ll Come Home

I went on Saturday to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival & it was fantastic, but Sunday was the day that I will remember for all my days. My sister & I arrived early in the morning to make sure we had a good seat at the stage where the Avett Brothers would play later that evening. They were the ones we wished to see most of all, but we were eager to see everything that the festival had to offer.

When the Felice Brothers came on, expectations were low. I’d heard of the band from New York in passing, but was not sure of what they had to offer. What they had to offer was a brilliant collection of songs that came across as a hybrid of Bob Dylan, The Band & Tom Waits.  We marveled at their presence & we enjoyed them without reservation.

Then came on Moon Alice & we were less enthusiastic about their performance. They were from a bygone generation of Dead Heads that didn’t appeal to my or her generation*. They spoke of doing hallucinogenic drugs & of playing with the Grateful Dead throughout the world. I must put this out there that I have a strong distaste towards the Grateful Dead & Jam bands in particular. It’s great if you’re on acid, but if stoned or drunk it does nothing but wear on one’s patience. Since I’ve never tried any psychedelic drugs (unless you consider pot as such) I couldn’t relate.

*My sister & I are 15 years apart, but oftentimes, if not at all times, she is the voice of reason.

Boodge (what my sister will be heretofore referred to as) & I decided to eat lunch. The sun came out for a spell & we basked in its glory, however short lived & we were asked by a young hippie what we were eating & where we could get it. Whole Foods, that corporate conglomerate that brilliantly markets itself to nonconformists was the answer & she brimmed with near luminescence at the suggestion that we didn’t propagate one of the other corporate establishments such as: Safeway, Raley’s or Lucky’s. As if this corporation was better than the others because it had a better global strategy to make more money by being the organic food headquarters, by being morally just to  follow laws about fair trade & by not being afraid to hire those, nay encourage their employees (male or female) to have dreadlocks & beards. A brilliant corporate strategy & one not lost on those that have the power of literacy.

I, however, could care less about any of that. While being a concerned global citizen, my main objective is selfish to be true. I want the best price I can find for my buck. Sure I can get a cup of coffee for a buck & Winchell’s**, but Starbuck’s offers the facilities to sit & write this diatribe for $1.95 so I’m getting more for my money. That, my friends, is economics.

**That is assuming I’m not dating myself & Winchell’s is still around.

After we consumed our hummus & flatbread thing with Spinach we left our blanket & ice chest at our little spot & headed off to wander to the various booths of food & merch before going to see Randy Newman. Randy Newman was uproariously funny. Cracking jokes in-between songs & we laughed as if seated in a comedy club. It was half way through the set that I became distracted by a curious Groundhog, named Gunther by Boodge. He would come up eat a little grass, peer out over the crowd & scurry back into his hole. Shy, but not overly so it didn’t take him to long to become comfortable with me & eat leaves right from my hand.

After Randy Newman’s set, which included scattered boos for playing “I Love L.A.” we headed off to see Elvis Costello, one of the larger draws of the show. We got a spot on  a hill about a mile away, which was great for about five minutes until the sheer masses of people began to crowd around us & the young Boodge’s claustrophobia got the better of her. Five songs & we headed off to the Avett Brothers stage. Declan MacMannus would have to wait for another day.

As we walked over, Boodge felt a desire to apologize for her ailments. How heartless must one be to want to subject someone they care about to such deplorable a condition as thousands of people pushing against you & making you terribly uncomfortable. Apologies weren’t necessary as I was none to happy to subject her or myself to something thoroughly unenjoyable.

We caught the Yonder Mountain String Band & they made us dance with a joy that is usually reserved for weddings, funerals & bar mitzvahs. Banjos, fiddles & an accordion ruled the hour as we lost all inhibition to what others may think. We had never heard their music before, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying them as if they were our hometown band making a trip through one last time.

After they finished we anxiously awaited the band we wanted to see most of all. Boodge wanted them to play “Colorshow” more than anything & wouldn’t you know they came out & led with it. The tempo was set & we lost ourselves in the music. They played songs from their newest album, their older albums & a cover of Doc Watson’s “Blue Ridge Mountains”. The throngs of people made it even better as we belted out the lyrics as though we’d written them ourselves. We sang with reckless abandon as well all peered out over the haze of fog & marijuana smoke that permeated the festival atmosphere.

As if on cue when “Salina” came on we danced like Native Americans dancing for rain & when the lyric “The rain it fell, the story went on. The rain it fell & we got gone” came we all screamed it as a steady drizzle fell in the valley of trees where the stage was situated. Epic is a word that I throw around, sometimes too often, but that is what the scene was in a word. The energy put into that set left us speechless. After an hour & a half of singing & playing their hearts out the boys from North Carolina left the stage to pure love & affection.

In that moment, where we all sang “I & Love & You” & the Avetts left the stage we genuinely felt it. It was nothing but admiration, thankfulness & love for giving us an experience. There are things that have stuck with me in my life, the births of my sisters, niece & nephew, my father’s passing, the first time I saw Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney & Bad Religion. This was one of those moments where time stood still & 100, 000 voices on the ground, in the trees, on hills sang in unison to the heavens. No violence, no strife as the free festival carried through three days of peace due to the benevolence & generosity of Warren Hellman.

As we left the excitement was palpable & life was good. We were throughly exhausted, but it was the good kind. The kind that makes you know that the thing you just witnessed was magical & will be a story that never grows old. We were there, like it was Monterey ’67 or Woodstock ’69. We watched these artists give us joy & in turn we gave them love & admiration. Our lives were forever changed by music & why shouldn’t it be music that changes lives. Why must life always be changed by negative things? Why can’t that those moments of joy stay locked in our cranial cavities like money in a safe only coming out when we feel the need to share. It was a glorious day!


The Art of Feeling Naked in Your Clothes

It’s been a week or so since I wrote anything. Writer’s block? Laziness? Nothing to write about? Who knows? I’ve been sitting on this topic for a few days & now I feel the time is write to truly express my outrage (probably not the right word). Coachella, in case you live in a cave (talking to you Osama), is a 3 day music festival in Indio, California in April every year that highlights some of the most amazing bands & usually showcases new & old alike. This year, however, the lineup is shit. Talk about getting right to the point.

Last year the headliners were Paul McCartney, The Cure & The Killers. This year it’s Jay-Z, Muse & Gorillaz? Jay-Z is awesome & I’ve wanted to see him forever. He’s one of the best rapper’s around, but Gorillaz & Muse? I just don’t understand why Muse is blowing up so huge. They’re good, but headlining material? Not so much. I saw them at the Download festival a few years ago opening up for Beck & the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They’re a nice band, with a nice sound. Hardly, headlining material. Don’t even get me started on Gorillaz who were another nice band about 5 years ago.

Sunday might as well be labeled has-been night with Pavement, Sly & the Family Stone & De La Soul also on the bill. 2009 had Franz Ferdinand, Morrissey, The Black Keys, Leonard Cohen & Paul McCartney & that was just the first day. What happened to getting the biggest acts in the world & showcasing them. It’s like the promoters for Coachella threw in the towel & just said “fuck it, we’ll see if Stephen Malkmus wants to get an underachieving 90’s band back together!” They’re not even headlining!

It’s get’s better. In their infinite wisdom they have decided not to sell individual day tickets, but to reduce the cost of camping.  This, to me, is a sign that they know they’re not going to make their money back with such a subpar lineup. If I had their money & the time they had form one year to the next to lock down anyone I wanted here’s 10 of the artists I would get.

Bruce Springsteen – Have him headline like he did at Bonnaroo. He’ll play for 3 hours like McCartney did & leave everyone with a memorable experience. .

Born to Run (Unplugged) – Bruce Springsteen

Thunder Road (Acoustic) – Bruce Springsteen

The Avett Brothers – Yeah I know they’re playing Day 1 on a shitty side stage, but I’d get rid of Grace Jones & move in the Avett’s. Poor planning once again.

Laundry Room – Avett Brothers

It Goes On & On – Avett Brothers

The Pixies – They’ve been playing again recently & would’ve been a helluva better option than Pavement.

Here Comes Your Man (Live) – The Pixies

Hey (Live) – The Pixies

Blitzen Trapper – An amazing band that would’ve fit nicely with Passion Pit & Grizzly Bear on day 1.

Furr – Blitzen Trapper

Wild Mountain Nation – Blitzen Trapper

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse – They came out with one of the best underground album in years (probably since The Grey Album) & John Waters will be playing on Saturday.

Revenge – Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse featuring Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips

Little Girl – Feat. Julian Casablancas

Dr. Dre – He’s coming out with a new album. Could’ve gotten Eminem on stage with him & screams West Coast much more than the New Jersey native Jay-Z.

Nuthin’ but a G Thang – Dr. Dre

Forgot About Dre – Dr. Dre feat. Eminem

Guns ‘N Roses – What better venue than Coachella to try & get the original line-up together for a one-off? This is what Coachella used to be about, getting bands back together after years of strife.

Don’t Cry – Guns N’ Roses

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Guns N’ Roses

Led Zeppelin – They’ve been talking about getting back together for a couple of years now. Wouldn’t Coachella have reaped the benefits of getting such an amazing act on their queue?

Black Dog (Live) – Led Zeppelin

Going to California (Live) – Led Zeppelin

My Morning Jacket – They bring their own audience much like the Dead, but talented. They are a band that would bring people from across the country to the event, unlike say…Muse or Grace Jones.

One Big Holiday (Live) – MMJ

Where to Begin – MMJ

Oasis – What better venue than to get the Brothers Gallagher to kiss & make up once again than Coachella. They could bring a global audience to watch what could turn out to be great music or a great fistfight. Either way the crowd is entertained.

Live Forever (Unplugged) – Oasis

What’s the Story Morning Glory (Unplugged)– Oasis

The One Big Soul That Belongs To Everybody

Bob Dylan once wrote a song to Woody Guthrie (A Song to Woody was the official title) while Guthrie, increasingly unable to control his muscle movements due to Huntington’s Disease, was hospitalized at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. It’s addressed to Woody, but also meant for all the old folk singers that were losing touch with the new modern world. A world that was increasingly forgetting about them. Woody Guthrie sung of the Depression mainly the Dust Bowl Refugees that had come to California seeking work only to be turned away.

I’ve referred to what I think is the greatest novel ever written many times on this blog recently, The Grapes of Wrath & how it correlates with today’s new economic climate. I don’t have a cable television, mainly because I have an addictive personality & I would indeed watch all the time, but I do keep up with the news voraciously & I love to read. Today, people are no longer coming to California for work, they are leaving.

There are so many scapegoats that it would take weeks to list them on this blog, so I won’t go into huge detail about all. However, there is one main culprit I have in my sites today & that is Unemployment. This is one of the worst, most unconscionable Government Organizations around.  While in theory it is there to help people, it is run by people who’s main goal is not to help you find work, not to help you while you are unemployed but to find ways not to pay you. I have witnessed this first hand with many members of my family.

It is corrupt & even though this is hyperbolic & slightly biased, evil. They interview people over the phone to see if they are eligible first off, but their line of questioning & tone is, more often than not, accusatory & on the blaming you side. Meaning you lose your job, they question why you wouldn’t do everything to keep it up to & including grabbing your ankles. It is not their goal or desire to help those that desperately want to work. They seek not to help get you work with their CALJOBS site (which is an absolute joke). What they seek is reason to delay, deny & discourage those that can’t find work.

I am not speaking of those that consider being unemployed, funemployed. People who sponge off the system or defraud it are deplorable. No, I speak of the needy in this state that need a sympathetic ear when times are tough. Whatever happened to courtesy? What happened to core ideals like caring for your fellow man? Where did we go wrong as a people that simple compassion & understanding have gone the way of the dodo only to be replaced by apathy & outright disdain?

Have we really gone so far as to becoming a country where the haves seek to eliminate the have-nots? It is a telling example that the unemployment is understaffed & now open on Saturdays to help with the utter saturation of calls they receive. Are they cycling people from the DMV into the Unemployment offices now? I am not complaining for the sake of complaining I want change. Our Governor checked out a long time ago. When you elect Rich Men who could care less about poor people this is what you get.

I watched parts of the “Jobs Summit” that the President held the other day with Corporate execs & I heard a recurring theme especially from Disney Chairman Robert Iger & that was reduce the Corporate tax. For what? They won’t employ more people, they’ll just line their own pockets. The economic system is so inherently flawed that it is destined to reoccur in the not too distant future. The people that are trying to help aren’t listened to or labeled as crazy & the people that shit on the poor are regarded as heroes. We are in serious need of our Tom Joad. Someone who will fight for the cause of the poor. Perhaps, The Grapes of Wrath was a call to socialism as many have intimated. If true then so be it, the system we have now is no longer working.

Tom Joad: I been thinking about us, too, about our people living like pigs and good rich land layin’ fallow. Or maybe one guy with a million acres and a hundred thousand farmers starvin’. And I been wonderin’ if all our folks got together and yelled…
Ma Joad: Oh, Tommy, they’d drag you out and cut you down just like they done to Casy.
Tom Joad: They’d drag me anyways. Sooner or later they’d get me for one thing if not for another. Until then…
Ma Joad: Tommy, you’re not aimin’ to kill nobody.
Tom Joad: No, Ma, not that. That ain’t it. It’s just, well as long as I’m an outlaw anyways… maybe I can do somethin’… maybe I can just find out somethin’, just scrounge around and maybe find out what it is that’s wrong and see if they ain’t somethin’ that can be done about it. I ain’t thought it out all clear, Ma. I can’t. I don’t know enough.
Ma Joad: How am I gonna know about ya, Tommy? Why they could kill ya and I’d never know. They could hurt ya. How am I gonna know?
Tom Joad: Well, maybe it’s like Casy says. A fellow ain’t got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody, then…
Ma Joad: Then what, Tom?
Tom Joad: Then it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.
Ma Joad: I don’t understand it, Tom.
Tom Joad: Me, neither, Ma, but – just somethin’ I been thinkin’ about.

Ghost of Tom Joad – Bruce Springsteen

Song to Woody – Bob Dylan

The Bourgeois Blues – Lead Belly

Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise – The Avett Brothers

Top 15 Cover Songs of the Decade

It’s come to that time of the year/decade where innumerable lists will come out touting writer’s knowledge of music by saying what the best album, songs or artists of the decade/year are. Some are interesting reads, others are banal wastes of time & yet others are pretentious attempts at musical superiority while showing you have little knowledge about “real” music. It is this final category that Paste Magazine’s 30 best covers of the decade falls into.

Covers are a delicate subject with me. A cover song must be at least similar to the original. Otherwise, you’re not covering another artist’s song you’re simply saying you think they did a shitty job the first time around instead of paying homage. Jimi Hendrix did not cover Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” he dissected it & made it better. Dylan provided the blueprint for Hendrix & Jimi ran with it. Dylan himself has said as much:

It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day…I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way…Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.

Paste has a reputation for thinking they’re better than everyone with obscure references to obscure songs & praising them from the mountain top as being immortal & themselves as fore bearers to the band’s success. Their list is full of songs that hold little relevancy to anyone except the artists themselves.

It’s a bit disgraceful to see a list of songs with The Polyphonic Spree at #7 with Nirvana’s “Lithium” or Calexico at #8 with Stereolab’s “Peng! 33”. What? Really? Stereolab was an obscure band from the ’90’s that never found success in part because they were bad at making music. The Polyphonic Spree is a band from today that suffers from the same problem. I’m all for opening eyes with new artists. I try to introduce new artists to the masses on this blog regularly, but to indiscriminately toss out labels like “best of the decade” is hyperbolic to the core.

There are a few I agree with on the list, but none above number 9 (they are 28, 20, 18 – which may be the best on their list, 10 & 9). In large part I think Paste is, once again, showing they’re rightly regarded as a magazine strictly for the arrogant hipster, who thinks he knows more about music than you. It’s like saying Sgt. Pepper is too commercial of an album to be the best of all time or the “Godfather” is too widely known to be the best film of all time. Everyone has their opinion & rightfully so, but when an opinion is there to show you how shitty your musical tastes are then it becomes a practice in musical bullying & I think it’s an abhorrent practice.

Music is there to spark conversation, to create unity, to educate, not belittle (unless you’re talking about Gangster Rap). Every time I give an opinion on this blog (or any other place I write) I try to give it context, not to dumb down my point, but to educate in one way or another. I happen to know a lot about music, mostly because I have no life, but also because it happens to be my passion. I do not claim to be the end all be all of musical critics. I’m simply a conduit to better understanding for those that have lives or seek some better form of musical knowledge.

So here is my list of the 15 best covers of the decade with short explanations as to why I enjoy them & why they’re great in my opinion:

#15 – Love Vigilantes – Voxtrot (originally: New Order)

A classic ’80’s song that is faithful to the original without being a complete replica. While expressing the emotion that many families are feeling, it is apropos of the moment in which we live.

#14 – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie (Originally: Cyndi Lauper)

Another ’80’s song many consider trite pop, but Gibbard turns it into something much more. An anthem of parental & societal oppression. The audience laughs but if you really listen to the lyrics you realize that it is a plea to stop worrying about social mores that tend to pigeonhole people into groups that have no true bearing on who they really are. A beautiful interpretation.

#13 – You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – Counting Crows (Originally: Bob Dylan)

Redone by many artists, this is faithful to the original from Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes version with The Band. Marketa Iglova & Glen Hansard do a fairly competent version on the I’m Not There Soundtrack, but it really doesn’t compare to Adam Duritz belting this classic out.

#12 – The Long Way Home – Norah Jones (Originally: Tom Waits)

Tom Waits has that writing quality that makes everyone want to redo his songs. Norah Jones is a phenomenal songwriter in her own right & has the perfect voice for this Waits composition. There’s something to be said for a steel guitar & a Tom Waits song that just reeks of awesomeness.

#11 – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam (Originally: Nina Simone)

While the Animals may have popularized this song, it was written for Nina Simone by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell and Sol Marcus. The song correlates with Yusuf’s own struggles after he changed his name from Cat Stevens to Yusuf Islam & his subsequent inclusion on the Terrorist watch list in the early ’00’s.

#10 – Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want – She & Him (Originally: The Smiths)

Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward covered this song for the 500 Days of Summer Soundtrack perfectly. The echo behind Deschanel’s voice creates a haunting version while staying succinctly true to the original. You can almost hear the anguish in her voice as she desperately emotes Morrissey’s plea for a change in his luck.

#9 – Glory Days – The Avett Brothers (Originally: Bruce Springsteen)

The issue I’ve always had with this song is that instead of saying fastball at the beginning he says speedball. When I hear Bruce say “He could throw that Speedball right by you.” it always makes me cringe as a baseball fan & someone who had a lot of friends who did a lot of drugs. That’s my only complaint, though, I love the song & the Avett’s doing it with a banjo, a kick drum & a tambourine is magical.

#8 – The Weight – Gaslight Anthem (Originally: The Band)

The seminal song in the Band’s career is faithfully done by the Gaslight Anthem’s lead singer Brian Fallon. There’s a lot to be said for a man & his guitar. Fallon has that kind of voice that is suited for a song such as this. It’s a story song, almost in the same vein as The Beatles “A Day in the Life”.

#7 – Sunday Morning – Beck’s Record Club (Originally: Velvet Underground & Nico)

When Beck started his Record Club project it was considered a bit of a lark (especially when I read he considered doing Digital Underground’s album Sex Packets in it’s entirety), but when you hear this song you realize otherwise. I have never been a fan of Beck’s music. I’ve interviewed him a number of times, smoked out with him & find him to be a fascinating person, but musically I’m not evolved enough to enjoy what he does, though I do recognize his talent. Be that as it may I do love this cover so much. When stripped down Beck’s voice is incredible.

#6 – Dancing in the Dark – Pete Yorn (Originally: Bruce Springsteen)

Another Springsteen song covered by a talented musician. Pete Yorn’s first album spoke to me so much that I don’t think I listened to another album for a month after it came out. Yorn with a piano slowly singing this mournful song about escaping the everyday doldrums of life. It’s something we can all relate to, especially in this context.

#5 – I Don’t Wanna Grow Up – Cold War Kids (Originally: Tom Waits)

Hearing the Cold War Kids acoustically is a sound to behold. Hearing them sing Tom Waits’ song about having to accept responsibility as an adult & wanting to stay a child forever is a moment. It’s much like when the Beach Boys released A Beach Boys’ Party where they covered a few Beatles songs among others & made it a sing along. This recording, while much less hokey, has that feel to it.

#4 – The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Originally: Bob Dylan)

While not completely factual this song still does speak to the injustice that was still going on in 1960’s America. Lead Singer, Peter Hayes, expresses the difficulty in remembering all the lyrics before he starts actually singing noting it is a Bob Dylan song. He doesn’t sing it with tonal precision which makes it even that much better. What he does give it is slightly more melody than Dylan (as many often have). The harmonica in the Bridge is not overstated or too intense to overpower the audience.

#3 – My Oklahoma Home – Bruce Springsteen (Originally: Pete Seeger)

When Bruuuuuuce decided to make a tribute album with all Pete Seeger songs I never thought it would work. I love just about everything Springsteen touches, but even this seemed like a stretch to me. I was wrong. The true merit of an artist is the ability to reinvent oneself & make it work. Dylan did it, the Beatles did it & Springsteen did as well. This song about the Oklahoma Dust Bowl holds as much connotation in today’s current economic climate as it did 80 years ago. No one today speaks of the hardships of the blue collar society like Bruce & before him there was no one better than Pete Seeger & Woody Guthrie.

#2 – The Drugs Don’t Work – Ben Harper (Originally: The Verve)

Ben Harper has a way of making songs better as with this Verve song about as Richard Ashcroft put it:

There’s a new track I’ve just written […] It goes ‘the drugs don’t work, they just make me worse, and I know I’ll see your face again’. That’s how I’m feeling at the moment. They make me worse, man. But I still take ’em. Out of boredom and frustration you turn to something else to escape.

Harper brings a subtle vulnerability to this track as if he were actually speaking this to a loved one. The Verve version was a little more gruff, but beautiful nonetheless. Richard Ashcroft is a highly underrated lyricist & never was that made more evident than in this version.

#1 – Long, Long, Long – Jim James (Originally: The Beatles)

Earlier this year Jim James of My Morning Jacket, quietly released a 6 song EP under the moniker Yim Yames covering some of his favorite George Harrison songs. It went mostly unnoticed by critics as it was released primarily online, but it was perhaps the best thing recorded all year. This is one of my favorite Beatle songs from the White Album & James captures the essence of the track with the echoed brilliance of the vocals. If ever a cover song moved me I can not remember when one did it like this one. It is not merely faithful to the original, but luminous in it’s own right.

Cause I’m Done Forever It’s You & Me Forever

Was having one of those state of music discussions with a friend of mine & The Avett Brothers came up. As they should! The thing my friend spoke of was the wholesome sound & how he worried that with their new album being their major label debut would diminish that sound that has basically set them apart from any other band out there. At one point they remind me of the Beatles, at another any bluegrass band from the 60s, but most times they are wholly original.

I decided that we should come up with a best of mix-tape of The Avett’s to post. the dilemma then becomes what songs do you choose? I decided that we would write our ten favorite songs on a piece of papel (that’s paper in Spanish, sometimes I think in Spanish, but brken Spanish cause I’m not fluent), see which ones matched up then offer expanations as to why the others are worthy of being on the mix-tape. Seems like alot of work, but it’s worth it.

10 – I & Love & You – Their major label debut single is one of their best ever already.

9 – Swept Away – A banjo infused song that makes me long for a porch, a glass of iced tea & a solid sunset.

8 – When I Drink – Who hasn’t felt the exact same thing? At least those who drink more than occasionally know what it’s like to be a jerk when you drink. Maybe that’s just me & the Avett’s.

7 – If It’s the Beaches – A sad song about a relationship crumbling & the desperate, drastic steps one takes to keep the love of their life.

6 – Matrimony – A continuation of sorts from “If It’s the Beaches”, but a bit more pointed. This is their ode to the Everly Brothers if not intentionally, stylistically.

5 – Left on Laura Left on Lisa – A song about giving your heart to someone full & openly & having it stomped on…a reoccurring theme.

4 – Pretty Girl From Chile – In my opinion, the best of their Pretty Girl Songs as it almost is two songs in one with a grandiose transition after the message.

3 – The Weight of Lies – Almost like a father talking to his son, reminding him that lying follows you wherever you go.

2 – Salina – An ode to a band on the road’s cities. Saying goodbye to them and describing their feelings.

1 – Colorshow – The best Avett Brothers song & it’s not even close. This raucous, brooding, chair stomping anthem to individuality is a sign that the band will not conform to any radio norms or be anything other than the fantastic band they have been throughout their whole career.


Glory Days – Being the huge Bruce Springsteen fan that I am it was incredible to hear the Avett’s cover this tune & they do an admirable job.

Brooklyn, Brooklyn Take Me In

I can’t tell you how excited I am about the Avett Brothers upcoming album I and Love and You & now the album cover & first single.

The Avett Brothers have redefined Bluegrass music, if you want to pigeonhole them & brought their own unique vision of music to the forefront of the indie scene. Their first album with a major label is the one that will decide what step they take next, but rest assured they’ll be around for quite awhile.

The Avett Brothers – I & Love & You

Mixtape #2

My friend Jamie is back from Europe & I haven’t seen her for nearly two years so it’s gonna be great to hang with her again. So I figured I’d do a Mixtape on road trips, leaving, coming back & everything in between. So that is theme of my second Mixtape. Twelve songs about the wide open road. Tell me your favorite road songs in the comment section.

Thunder RoadBruce SpringsteenMTV Unplugged

My favorite song of all-time. This simple song talks about a theme we can all relate to & that’s just escaping a town with someone that makes you happy. The feeling of the wind blowing through your hair in a convertible going to God knows where just to get the hell outta here, wherever here is to you. With that familiar intro of the piano &  just Bruce. He describes the scene so vividly of  growing older. He speaks of the reality in talking about “Show a little faith there’s magic in the night, you ain’t a beauty but you’re alright & that’s alright with me” He doesn’t consider himself some savior in fact he offers little consolation if the girl is looking a “hero”. The only thing he has is a car that can get them out of the town they both seem to hate, but she’s afraid to leave. While Bruce paints this vivd picture it starts off the journey.

Goodbye Yellow Brick RoadElton JohnGoodbye Yellow Brick Road

The ultimate road song parallelling the ultimate road movie, “The Wizard of Oz” & if you don’t think the “Wizard of Oz” is a road movie then you’re nuts. A movie where they’re constantly on the road, the yellow brick road for that matter, trying to get home is in fact a road movie. Perhaps, the first & greatest road movie of all time. The song talks about it as if it were happening to the singer himself. Escaping the travails of being wealthy & escaping to the simply & familiar life of plows & farm life.

Roadworn & WearyThe SupersuckersMust’ve Been High

The feeling one gets after travelling your whole life. The knowledge that it’s gonna be a long time before you see that love of yours. Taken from the perspective of a truck driver. Regardless of the distance, that person is still with you. While you feel that love for that girl you know that the job is the most important thing right now. This song has a simple little guitar solo in the middle & a killer harmonica solo at the end.

Where the Streets Have No NameU2Joshua Tree

Bono’s song about escaping from the perils of the world we seem to live in. Whther that place be Heaven, Valhalla, Nirvana or just some place to “take shelter from the poison rain”. More a reality of the dangerous world we live in, similar to the Wizard of Oz analogy made earlier. It’s about going to “a better place”. Where petty conflicts do not exist, where live in simpler & we just bask in the warmth of the sun & feel the wind in our face.

Rainbows & Pots of GoldStereophonicsYou Gotta Go There to Come Back

This is not the typical road song like the others. It’s more of a song about taking a trip to the past. A song based in reality when, according to the Sun UK, Kelly Jones (Lead singer of the Stereophonics):

discovered band photographer Julian Castaldi was dating his ex-fiancee Emma Dunn, four weeks after they ended their 12-year relationship. Jones drove to his home, KICKED the door down, threw a BRICK through a window and SMASHED his two cars with a scaffolding pole.

So, in a sense, it is a road song.. He took a trip to destroy his ex-friend’s stuff because his ex-friend is a huge douche for dating his ex-girlfriend.

SalinaThe Avett BrothersEmotionalism

At first, you listen to this song & you think it’s about a band bidding farewell to the cities it leaves on the road, but then it takes a U-turn and becomes the story of bandits on the run. As it does the tempo changes as well, much like The Beatles, “A Day in the Life” it almost turns into a completely different song then reverts back to it’s slow banjo picked ballad as the narrator yearns for his home in Carolina. Then a slow, mournful piano leads the song out of the last minute & a half. it is quite beautiful.

Two of UsThe BeatlesLet It Be

On it’s face “Two of Us” is the consummate road song about trying to get home. Though, if you dig deeper, it more than adequately describes the relationship Paul McCartney & John Lennon have shared as their Beatles relationship collapses. The song is rife with metaphors about life on the road as members of the Beatles , both good times and bad times. Chasing paper, spending someone else’s hard earned pay are both symbols of money. However, the tell-tale sign is the transition line, “You & I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.” I’ve read someplace where people think it’s about Paul’s girlfriend, future wife Linda, but I just don’t buy it.This is a song about the mournful longing for happier times between old friends.

No Sleep Till BrooklynThe Beastie BoysLicensed to Ill

The Beastie Boys describing what it’s like to be a supergroup in the 80s. How many other Jewish Rappers do you know that could be as epic as the Beasties? This song has 2 amazing guitar solos by Kerry King from Slayer, while being a spoof of Motorhead’s album No Sleep Till Hammersmith. It’s also been said to be related to the film The Warriors, in which a gang must fight their way through New York City in order to get back to the safety of Coney Island.

Promised Land Elvis PresleyPromised Land

Promised LandChuck BerryRock N’ Roll Rarities

Promised LandJohhnie AllanPromised Land

Originally written by Chuck Berry while serving a five year prison term for violating the Mann Act and borrowed an atlas from the prison library to plot the itinerary. In the lyrics, the singer (who refers to himself as “the poor boy”) tells of his journey from Norfolk, Virginia to the “Promised Land”, California, mentioning various cities along the way.  These are 3 different distinct versions of the same song. I love them all, but James Burton makes Elvis’ version ridiculous good. The two solos one in the middle are just good ole time rock n’ roll. Johnnie Allan’s is a swamp country style that really works well & Chuck Berry’s version is his own distinct style heavy on the snare & piano with the guitar playing merely the rhythm until :37 seconds in and he just let’s loose for a good 10 seconds. John Lennon said it best, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”

Welcome BackJohn SebastianThe Best of John Sebastian

The final song is the return home after the “Road Trip”. Returning back to the place where you started. the place where your friends are. The verse that speaks to the heart of the trip that runs full circle is:

And I know what a scene you were learning in
Was there something that made you come back again
And what could ever lead ya
Back here where we need ya
Yeah we tease him a lot cause we got him on the spot
Welcome back

Then a solid guitar harmonica solo by the former leader of the Lovin’ Spoonful. Recorded for the T.V. Show “Welcome Back Kotter” starring now poker star Gabe Kaplan & a young John Travolta. It speaks of dreams being fulfilled by coming back home where you belong. To the place where you can leave but never leaves you.