Packed downtown streets, countless tourists, an excited frenzy in the air, unbeatable energy and outdoor activities to please even the pickiest of individuals – these can only signify one thing in Montreal and that’s Grand Prix weekend.
In the utterly go-go, trans-media flurry which was mid-sixties pop(ular culture), every television star worth their Nielsens was expected to not only chase spies and rope steers, but compete with those rock ‘n’ rollers of the moment upon the Top Forty to boot. To cite but two examples, Lorne Bonanza Greene and his 1964 chart-topping “Ringo,” not to mention Captain James T. Kirk’s similarly Beatle-busting Transformed Man album. Which contained the possibly definitive version of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” I kid you not.
I have decided to gather together some of the best country and roots rock releases received over the past few weeks and tell you all about them in the hopes you’ll want to check them out. Remember, good rootsy rock and hardcore country is hard to find these days so if you’ve got a hankerin’ for this kind of stuff, well, here it is:
Blue Rodeo – The Things We Left Behind
I would be remiss if I didn’t offer an apology to Blue Rodeo and to their label for not getting to this review of the new two-CD set by Canada’s greatest band (next to Sloan, anyways) a lot sooner. Truth is, I took it out to my car a few months ago as I wanted listening material for an upcoming road trip and just got so used to having it close at hand during long drives (and short ones too) I totally forgot I needed to review it and let you, faithful readers, know about the album I have been listening to almost non-stop since I received it. I guess I also owe you an apology as well because if you didn’t know about this album, you’ve been missing out on one of the most impressive albums this year and one that (at this point anyway) is definitely going to be on my top ten for the year.
Yeah, I said it. It’s that good. But it’s no surprise really, as this band’s been putting out great albums for about thirty years now.
On this week’s podcast I turn things on their head a bit and feature what I consider 3 very distinct styles of music in 3 very distinct sets. And I went against my initial impulse to start of the show with the harder stuff to keep things interesting!
I have just finished reading “Rick Rubin: In the Studio” and it is a pretty fascinating book as Rubin’s taste in music know no boundaries. From hip hop to hard rock, metal to Pop, Red Hot Chili Peppers to Johnny Cash, the guy understands that music is about the song and the emotion it conveys. A highly recommended read and a good rule of thumb to go by. Don’t get caught up in genres in niches, focus on the song and let the rest take care of itself which is kind of what I did this week. I love all this songs and at first listen you might find them to be quite different from each other but to me that doesn’t matter. Each song caught my ear and I like each one regardless of whatever genre YOU think they belong in!
From Sloan’s brand new CD Parallel Play this is Believe in Me.
Sloan are one of my all time favourite bands because every release is like a rock and roll history lesson. They have mastered the art of “the hook” whether it be vocal or musical and they always are fun to watch and listen to and their upcoming Parallel Play sounds like it is no exception. Their MySpace page has a little behind the scenes “rockumentary” of how some of the songs came about and as always, the band’s humor is infectious. You can check it out at this link:
By the way, it’s nice to see that the band have reactivated Murderecords.
I am a huge fan of Canadian band Sloan. Have been since their first EP Pepermint and I am stoked to hear that they have a new CD coming out this June called Parallel Play and Yep Roc is streaming it on their website right now.
Head over to http://220.127.116.11/MP3Players/Sloan/ParallelPlay/wimpy.html for a listen. I am going there now!