time to get in the car and drive to des moines to see the musicians' musicians, umphrey's mcgee. well, that's what i'll be doing. and i'm bringing you with me.
i'll start the show on the road, and on the way i'll play some new tunes by elbow, and finally, i'll bring the microphone right onto the stage where you can hear their final set live. ;)
great new music from coldplay (pictured), and also jack white, natalie merchant, the black keys, broken bells, a stunning new song from robert plant (yes, him!) and a new song by a wonderful band you should hear: radio moscow.
get up sunday morning and turn on your radio to turn on the best music from this year.
here's the playlist
30 years ago the synths were tinny, the drum machines were mechanical, mullets seemed to make sense, and the music was so full of reverb it was hard to even hear. but i found an hour's worth of wonderful and historically significant music from 1984 to make your this week's show wonderful and historically significant.
this week's 1984 show features 2 songs that were banned (the bbc refused to play the erotic dance tune "relax," and a number of christians boycotted cindy lauper's ode to masturbation, "she bop"), john lennon released a new album 4 years after his death, and his son julian released one by seemingly channeling his father, we were warned of the chaos in bangkok, and don henley's [right] ultimate reminder that "all she wants to do is dance"....
against the metal, post glam glitter of the 80s, todd rundgren released his humanitarian, pre- apocolyptic, 1984 global masterpiece, "one world":
Politicians and dictators and the guys with the dough
They think they run the world but they just don't know
'Cause down here on the street we got it under control
From Berlin to San Francisco, from London to Tokyo.
this week...summer dreams...
they might be the hardest working band in the usa; having traveled to all the weirdest and hippest venues, now they're playing at some of the biggest and best. a 12-minute song seems to fly by in a flash...
despite their relative youth, umphrey's mcgee guitarist jake cinninger says umphrey's main influences are led zeppelin, the beatles, sting, chick corea, the band, and tommy emmanual. with those eclectic influences the result is progressive rock fusion with improvisational wizardry that cannot be categorized or contained.
they'll be in des moines july 24th and omaha july 2nd. who's on the bus with me? it'll be a 2 hour performance you won't forget.
by now everyone's heard jim carrey's cozmically funny and wise commencement advice to mum last week. as i browsed through music to play from 40 years ago, i realized a lot of music from 1974 was also intended as good advice to the (then) youth of the world. so, along with excerpts from jim carrey, i'll be playing some of the following advice (find these quotes as you listen along) (here are all the songs):
"you can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathways to the future..." - jim carrey
"you're only dancing on this earth for a short while, and though your dreams may toss and turn you now, they will vanish away like your dad's best jeans..." - cat stevens
"genuflect, show respect, don't forget..." - stealer's wheel
"listen to the lion" - van morrison
"look here brother, who you jivin' with that cosmic debris. don't you waste your time on me." - frank zappa
"you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows..." - bob dylan, harry nilsson, john lennon
"love is a rose but you better not pick it; it only grows when it's on the vine." - neil young
"when the demon is at your door, in the morning it won't be there no more. any major dude will tell you." - steely dan
"whatever gets you to the light, is alright, it's alright." - john lennon
"you know two heads are better than one." - joni mitchell
"to appreciate we deactivate. he knows who goes within himself..." - donovan
"when you were young and your heart was an open book you used to say live and let live..." - paul mccartney
"new music, sweet music, can lighten us, can brighten the world, can save us." - cat stevens
"back when i was young my hope was strong but in time blew it all to hell. if i thought i knew what was good for you, i'd have gone and done it for myself." - todd rundgren
lots of great new (dare i say it?!) pop songs have been released in the last couple years. some you've heard; most of these you haven't. but they're all singable and authentic.
to the left is the swedish swing band, sugarpie and the honeymen. their "bohemian rhapsody" is...well...it swings.
broken bell's "after the disco" was released earlier this year. they continue to be an amazing melodic force.
i start and end with 2 versions of "the big big bang"--an ode to the cosmos, vedic cosmology, and cosmic orgasms:
The big big bang, the reason i'm alive,
When all the stars collide, in this universe inside.
The big big bang.
there's a new kind of americana music being created these days. some of it comes from england (mumford & sons), but its roots go back to american cowboys rephrasing old irish folk songs in ways that expressed their time and personal stories.
neil young has led the way, and this week i'll play his take on woody guthrie's "this land is your land."
but most of the music is being made by the next generation to embrace living and playing in the dirt and water. while their music might be played by the hipsters at the coffeeshop, these guys aren't hipsters.
take alex ebert, right, of edward sharpe & the magnetic zeros. he and his bands of musician friends are hippies, plain and simple, singing and dancing around the drum circle bonfire.
and then there's hawaii's modern folk singer, jack johnson, left, who i consider much underappreciated as someone who writes creative, organic music with mostly just an acoustic guitar.
father john misty, fanfarlo, and avicii.
call it the new americana. it's the music a new, and old, generation are building and gardening to.
40 years ago, the last chords of "whiter shade of pale" had long since faded into the memories of the creative collective consciousness of progressive music, but procol harum was just getting around to producing their best album: "exotic birds and fruit." a forgotten gem, released in 1974, along with the 2nd and best solo album of procol harum guitarist, robin trower, "bridge of sighs."
this week i feature the best tracks from both of those remarkable, creative, and very different albums.
here's what you'll be hearing: the songs.