After I wrote about my love of the music of the 1980s, blogger-friend Debby asked what music I like now? The sad thing is that I listen to very little music anymore – who has the time? Plus, nothing I hear on mainstream commercial radio is even remotely interesting. Everything seems to be Auto-Tune’d and over-produced to death.
We have XM Radio in the helicopter, and on the rare occasion that I’m flying by myself I crank up the Alternative Nation or XMU channels. In my car, there is a program on our local public radio station called World Café which plays some interesting stuff.
I do still love rock – the louder the better, but I am getting older and more in touch with my softer side - my alternative side if you will. Thus, I was blown away by some music I heard recently by two women - sisters from Sweden who call themselves First Aid Kit. There is something about sibling harmony that simply takes my breath away. Give a listen and see if you are not as impressed as I am with this beautiful song.
...you know I'm not asking much of you
just sing, little darling
sing with me
Three of the four names referenced in the chorus are probably familiar to you: Johnny Cash and his wife, June, and Emmylou Harris. The other person mentioned, Gram, is obviously Gram Parsons, a mythical character in the music world – one of those guys who could and should have been a huge star but got sidetracked by drugs and died way too young.
In the 1960s Gram Parsons was part of the movement that literally invented what was to become Country Rock (think the Byrds and the Eagles). He and Emmylou Harris were a couple for a time. He got chummy with the Rolling Stones and probably influenced their foray into country music ("Wild Horses" anyone?). Some people claim that it was Parsons who wrote the Stones' hit, "Honky-Tonk Women," although the Stones deny it. Parsons liked to go out into the desert, to Joshua Tree National Park and get high, which is where he finally died at age 26. Coincidentally (or probably not), Joshua Tree is where the video for “Emmylou” was shot.
I’m also smitten lately by a band called Great Lake Swimmers. Such great music! Please check out their song, “Easy Come, Easy Go.” But before you click on it I must warn you: You know how I’m always complaining about modern music being boringly derivative of stuff I've heard before? You’ll probably make comparisons between the Great Lake Swimmers and Tom Petty and/or the Traveling Wilburys. I don’t even care.
Finally, I’ve always been a big fan of the incredibly talented Conor Oberst. He was part of the group, Monsters of Folk which I’ve raved about in these here pages, but he’s had a varied career both as a solo artist and with various other musicians that he’s worked with. Check out his song, “Sausalito.” It’s really wonderful.
So there ya go, Debby. There are just three things I’m listening to now. I’ll leave the harder stuff for another post.