Sunday, December 29, 2013

Best CD of 2013

In my thirst for music, I drink from many recordings and rarely buy the whole bottle. I dabble in Noisetrade, and normally repay artists for free downloads with a few purchased songs in iTunes. Maybe not the way they make a lot of money at this trade, but it's the way I spread the purchases around.

The next problem I have is that I restored my iTunes in February thus losing documentation of when I really purchased this CD. But thanks to putting it in their blog and the 3rd best of the year, I had substantiation!
Flash Company Artwork
My choice for the best is The Outside Track, Flash Company!  Of course when I clicked on the their link I see it was released in September 2012! HA.  While I love to document these accomplishments at the end of the year, I have truly have a disinterest of holding to dates anyway.

The Outside Track has five incredible musicians, and one outstanding lead vocalist in Norah Rendell.  I have documented them before in this blog, with their intensity of sound, their unique covers of traditional music, and their choice in music.  Alway innovative and never stale.  Norah is no longer touring with them since she's had a baby, and I'll have a chance to host her for the third time in February 2014; but that did not sway my opinion of this cd.
The Boathouse Digital Download
I must be feeling a little Celtic today, because my 2nd choice was Gaelic Storm, The Boathouse; it has their great sound in a fine collection of traditional songs rather than their normal crafted songs.  It is absolutely wonderful... and a cheap download from their website as I type this blog.

Finally I'll end with the 3rd FULL cd that had many many plays this year; The Great Escape by Barbara Jean.  An absolutely tightly written and performed CD from a great new artist, Barbara Jean.  She won the Songwriter contest at the Big Top Chautauqua and this CD demonstrates why.  I think you should read this review.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top Fav Videos for 2013

Oh my these are songs and videos that really were part of my life during 2013, thus had to be documented and shared:

10) Brett Dennen - Come Back Kid is really from 2011 but I discovered it this year and the song had many plays in all sort of iMixes I put together through out the year.

9) Summerlea - Belle Starr cover of Fred Eaglesmith tune is another video that was uploaded in 2011 but Belle Starr with Kendel Carson really got traction this year.  Must see them someday.

8) Annabelle Lee - Sarah Jarosz - ANOTHER 2011 video, but this video is just slightly underplayed and it's a great recording of another favorite.

7) Swimmer by Amanda Shires.. yep go figure another 2011 video but this one was my favorite when I started looking into her music.  I found her in right before she released a new CD; be careful on those rocks girl.

6) Safe And Sound - Taylor Swift with the Civil Wars... Oh my Denise from The Paradise.  Can't wait for the announcement of season three.

5) Lost at Sea with Nathan Calistro bass arrangement over SHEL's song.  What an innovative and talented bass player.

4) Sun to Sun with Lindsay Lou and Joshua Rilko.  I had a chance to host these two with Lindsay Lou and the Flatbelly's and this Kickstarter request kicked me over to contribute.  Joshua is such a lucky guy to be married to the wonderful Lindsay Lou.  I mentioned to them Lindsay's way she looks at Joshua reminds me of how Joy looks at John Paul in The Civil Wars sets.

3) McCreary's Pipes by Danny Schmidt... just love this story and the day after I hosted Danny and Carrie I told him that I would have loved to hear that song and that it sounded complex.  He said it's just a whole bunch of D's.  Danny is such a great songwriter.

2) Flesh & Bones by Barbara Jean with David Huckfelt on harmonies on this mysterious sounding piece.  MN Original also did a great job with her song "The River."  I had a chance to meet Barbara twice and in addition to the most stunning eyes you will see, she's a really nice person too.  Her banjo is great texture to the songs, and she is a wonderful viola player but tends to use that instrument as a backup to other vocalists.  David is part of the duo The Pines.

1) Like Minded Fool by SHEL.  They could have easily had 5 of the top ten, but I had to pick one and this one is so lush of color and Eva's eyes pierce thru this, basically the emphasis on all their eyes with the lyrics, "Look with your eyes..." hits me in the soul.*  Sarah does such a great job with the video editing and you wouldn't know that unless you've listened to them in concert; she should put a big tagline at the end. They had a goal to record a video for every songs and they must be over halfway there, waiting for Vinyl Memories, likely 2014 number one video.

*The lure of eyes in the top two is not very unusual, I've written about them a few times.  HA.

Merry Xmas to ME! Top CDs of 2013

You may know me as a person who loves music, and I DO! So what do you do when you get $30 for Christmas when you really don't need anything.  You make sure it doesn't get sucked up into paying for the groceries, and go buy some music.

So with the wealth of top album lists of the year, I did some research:

Didn't find much at Paste that interested me, but I did note that Jason Isbell was at 11 and I was intrigued.  Next up, American Songwriter had a great list of 50 and there was Jason Isbell at number ONE!  First decision made, "Southeastern" Plus iTunes had it on sale for $7.99!  This list had a ton of artists that made me stop and read the writeup, but at 33 Mark Knopfler showed up with "Privateering" and iTunes had the 20 song cd for $11.99.  I'm in, and I've never been disappointed with anything Mark has recorded, and it's the first one I'm listening to:

Of course if you adding with me I have $10 to go.  Well I went to Spin to be surprised The Civil Wars, "The one that got away"was considered a COUNTRY recording, and that and it made an AP list I had to finally own maybe the last CD Joy and John Paul will put out.  Again iTunes had for only $7.99.... I just might have to go back to the lists and find a song or two.  Until the next post I have a lot of music to listen to!

Friday, December 27, 2013

10 Top Covers of 2013

My top 10 covers of 2013*, oh my I love covers, including having bought Lissa Schneckenburger's CD called Covers, and the Tribute to John Denver, Music is You!  They really could have filled the entire top ten, but that would have been boring.  So what did the year hold? An incredible cover of Led Zeppelin's The Battle of Evermore, and my treat was hearing it live too... sounded a lot like this:

I of course should share the list:

Oh my there are 11... we'll eleven is better and louder than 10 and the last one you will not find anywhere because it was recorded live during our house concert.  A country tinged version with 3 part harmonies of the Beyonce's hit.

A few of these are covers of traditional songs like Tom Waits' cover of Shenadoah that I got off of a Noisetrade mix, or join the Dala Girls newsletter and get Red is the Rose, but if you spend $.99 on any song the one I think is the best is Nobody Knows.... It sure doesn't sound like this:

* Now anyone who knows my 2013 criteria is if I downloaded or bought it this year... I despise annual lists that forget about "LAST YEAR's" music like it has no value anymore to be discovered.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

NPR Lists

I found this link through Lake Street Dive's Facebook page... it includes Elephant Revival a band that my son recommended to me.  I like when a list includes free music.

Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett is one of KEXP's favorite discoveries of 2013.
Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett is one of KEXP's favorite discoveries of 2013.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones

White Christian soul & blues?  This video came up in my thread from Live and Breathing... St. Paul and the Broken Bones are pretty good.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Peace

Here's an original from a J A Forster that I found on youtube, a nice relaxing piece.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Little inspirations.

Snow falling, I look down to see this Lady Olivia sleeping under the tree and the first two lines were written.  On a day when we reflected on a Blue Christmas at church, the feeling of peace among friends was strong.  Thus I shouldn't be surprised that I composed my first Christmas song.

Lyrics at the other blog.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Michelle Dockery - Audrey Hepburn

I follow many Michelle Dockery sites and when I saw this on the Facebook site
I thought oh now I know why she takes my breathe away, it's the Hepburn inside.  I did find this picture, don't you think I'm right?

Audrey Hepburn - audrey-hepburn Fan Art

Of course that reminded me of the time I sat down from lunch and a stranger who I never saw again sat down in front of me and captured that same feeling.

She walked slowly by the pieces of the past
Scarf wrapped up to her short-cropped hair
Somewhat out of place with Hepburn flair
Stubbornly, She’s stuck with a style that lasts.

She made her way to the café window table
Oblivious to her surroundings she went on-line
Reading, renewing and restoring lives entwined
Only pausing for an infrequent nibble on a bagel

He pictured her in front of bustling Paris street,
Much easier to finish the plot without any words
And on cue the music switched to jig on a dulcimer
He needed to leave and folded up his vision complete.

There you go, strangers at noon and never love.
He looked back and she was gone from her chair
Chuckled to himself, “was it real or just a dare”
The devil had dialed up one that would fit like a glove.

By Dave Schipper  (c) 2010 Rose Riversongs

I even recorded it quickly...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We Ride - Burning Man.

I know enough about Burning Man events to know that they bring out the most avant garde risk taking artists of our world.  Display art and burn it and tear it down.  Missy's song is nominated for something maybe a Grammy... all I can tell you is you should watch this and buy the song like I did.... it has her normal passion.  The portion below is the "About" from the video:

Inspired by her experience at Burning Man and by the movie Spark: A Burning Man Story, Australian singer & songwriter Missy Higgins wrote and performed this original song for the movie. This is not a music video! It is an unedited clip from the movie.

Spark is an independent film about the story and aspirations behind Burning Man as the event faces new challenges and growth. It premiered at SXSW 2013 and in theaters in August. Spark now is available on iTunes at

The Spark soundtrack is available on iTunes at

"We Ride" was performed & Written by Missy Higgins and produced by Dan Wilson. Released by Spark Pictures and

Blue Christmas - Dying to Live

This is a great video on one of my most favorite Edgar Winter song growing up.  Love the introduction, and oh how I love YouTube that I could search this and find a wonderful video and sound quality.

For those who are Blue during Christmas.. please listen to this song, it might help.

Of course I did quick video back this summer... sound quality isn't my best, but I think at least I'm singing in key.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mary Mack a new voice to laugh at...

Well Mary isn't exactly new voice on the comedy industry, but she still has a way to go before she's saturated.  She's getting a big break into a new FOX cartoon Golan the Insatiable!

It's getting a full time slot on Jan 11th!  The previous Amazon link has a 15 minute first show, but here's a trailer.

I love the write up in the Pioneer Press.  The producer had her voice targeted FIVE years before he had the show.

Of course readers of the blog know Mary and I can officially call her a friend since she has played our house concert series twice.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The muse returns!

I've been feeling dry lately... a lack of words though not a lack of passion.

The other day I was humming Leonard Cohen's masterpiece, Hallelujah, and noted the structure, 8, 8, 10, with the 10 rhyming through out the entire song.  As a challenge, I decide to write a piece in that structure.  My Fantasy  is of course fitting my style of dreaming.  It is not merely one woman in this fantasy but a blend of many over my 55 years of eating lunch alone at a variety of places.

Then this weird world of Twitter has people who play the part of characters.  I ended up being followed by Lady Rose MacClare, and I was just being playful saying I wrote a piece for Mary but anything for Rose may end up being a little sassy.  She blew me a kiss, what was I to do but write something.  Ah... that feels good.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013


‪#‎throwbackthursday‬ A friend at Church said I would love to play Borning Cry the way you do, threw it to Youtube, 18,000+ views later.  Not sure if you twitter, I've avoided it but with work; I've come to respect it's strength in numbers.  Twitter handle

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Congrats Pope on being Man of the Year.

Congrats Pope on being the best fresh air in the Christian conversation since I was born Roman Catholic some 55 years ago.

I wanted to share a song about the down trodden, and on of my favorite from my youth was Kris Kristofferson's Pilgrim Chapter 33.  See him wasted on your sidewalks, but don't pity him.  Let's try to make a difference not from the top down, but maybe face to face.

New sponsor - Top Hats by Eva

In my long line of select sponsors to the blog, we're finally adding another one just in time for the Holidays.  It's a trendy #trendytophats, and it's hand made by Eva.  I have personally set eyes on her creation (well at least the one on her head once); and must vouch for it's workmanship.

She boasts of hand made quality just for you on her website:

I’m so excited to introduce the first hat in a collection I have designed especially for SHEL fans. The 2012 Limited Edition, Blue Forget-Me-Not is a hand made fashion statement with signature blue lace and ribbon roses and a variety of colored sashes. I’m an avid thrift store shopper so depending on what I’ve found on my fabric hunting excursions the sash colors will vary from hat to hat, making each one uniquely individual. Each hat is autographed and numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity. I hope you enjoy the first hat of my collection designed especially for the distinguished individuals found at SHEL concerts.

Now be nice to our sponsor..and check out her other pictures and price at

Remember, I paid them dearly to allow me to put their promotion on my blog. ;-)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Life's lessons..

I'm a good tipper... moved into a more traditional 20% range, and of course you just need to read a few of my poems to know I fall in love with most waitresses or baristas, or hostesses.

So tonight when I ran into this on Facebook I had to share it;  While I did work at KFC for 3 years, I'm not sure it qualifies me totally... I kept wishing the front clerks would grope the cooks; but I was a mere horny teenager.

Tip that waitress, why don't you... and keep your hands to yourself, but do smile and enjoy their company.  Just heed the words by Loudon Wainwright III...

Monday, December 9, 2013

A voice made me turn today

I needed a jolt of music while at work and put on an old playlist on the iPhone playlist, a little while later I was picking up my phone to remind me who that voice was... Missy Higgins.  Ah... boy that's right... dark eyes, Aussie accent, and the cutest chin dimple.  I have to remember she's the answer to the most famous person I'd like to have play my house concert series... (at least today)  Later in the day I found she had tinted her hair, but is still stunning looking.

Then I found there was a whole concert on YouTube...

I've watched enough to know that I'm in love again.  Yes, I've heard she's either Bi or Gay, but I'm harmless in my love, I just would die to get a hug and a conversation over a glass of wine.  Yes she has nothing to hide. 

All I can tell you is that she is talented AND Pretty; I could look at that smile and those dark eyes for hours.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

SHEL continues to amaze me...

Here's another incredible cover of Sleigh Ride, but it's the craftsmanship and creativity they bring to us... we are so lucky.  Pass the word and the good cheer, and watch out for the lady with the long nails.

Tim Burton move over, there are some new girls in town.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

SHEL - cover Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know"

Here's an interesting cover of a song that I had to look up.  Eva learning how to use her new banjo!

I guess it was all done in Garageband; let's start a campaign to have Eva be sponsored by Apple.  Classy companies should support classy artists using their products don't you think?

ok so here's his acoustic version, the other version the other video had 41 MILLION views, boy Dave you know nothing about popular music, just only know about good obscure music.  Here's hoping that when SHEL is famous that I keep following them. 

Happy Birthday Kendel

Here's a belated Happy Birthday to our favorite, truck driving, wild thing of a fiddle player from Canada, eh.

Rock on Kendel Carson! Elvis lives!

Click here for all things KENDEL in this blog.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stage It - Crystal Bowersox

Ran into this from a fellow Twit'r, a Crystal Bowersox Acoustic Christmas Concert Dec 5th. on Stage It.  This is a new format for me, per their site:

On Stageit, artists perform live, online shows from their laptop that are never recorded or archived. That's right! Every Stageit show is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that's not to be missed.

Stageit allows both fans and artists to be part of the show. Fans are encouraged to ask the artist questions, request songs, and even chat with other fans during the show.

Stageit enables fans to support artists. Whether you're helping an artist finance their next album or contributing to the performer's favorite charity, Stageit artists actually get paid for their time.

Couple clicks later I'm registered on their site.  Hey ... I'll keep you posted if I ever use the site... I have a meeting when Crystal is playing.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

This guy has great tastes

Giant Step Design

Giant Step Best Albums of 2013 (Part II: Albums)

Merry Christmas it's Danny..

In keeping with Small Business day yesterday, I bought a few cd's from artists I hosted at my house concert yesterday.  Two from Danny Schmidt... the new great Texas poet.  Here is from my favorite music video channel, Music Fog.

The song above is Better off Broke, and Carrie Elkin (Danny's fiance) was on harmonies.

Lyrics below from Danny's site:


All by my lonesome and by myself
Ain't no soul left this boy can sell
Cause there ain't no reason to make no rhymes
Oh child, you're right on time

Oh child, the things I could tell
The things I could tell you, but you already know
Those rhymes ain't cards you play like poker
They're jokers so hold 'em til the fools all fold
So the child came over or the child came out
Speakin' in a whisper what a man might shout
About dreams and devils and dollars and dimes
Oh child, you're right on time

Oh child, the things I could tell you
The things I could tell you, but you already know
Keep drawin' them dreams in the dirt with your finger
Cause singin's about bringin' that mud some soul
So we sing all night and we talk all day
And we sleep while the farmers of the world make hay
And throw pennies in the well, and we pull back wine
Oh child, you're right on time

Oh child, the things I could tell you
The things I could tell you, but you already know
Water to wine and wine to wishes
And wishes to something you can drink down cold

Why now, why all now?
Hope's just something we need somehow
Why now, why all now?
Tomorrow ain't going away
Golden-tongued child and a fireside night
Spittin' songs in the kettle with the heat up high
When the blood's to a boil then the soup's sublime
Oh child, you're right on time

Oh child, the things I could tell you
The things I could tell you, but you already know
You're better off broke with soup in your belly
Than sittin' there hungry round a pot of gold
Copyright 2008. Words and music by Danny Schmidt.

Share your wealth..

My recommended global outreach is ELCA World Hunger mainly because they have boots already in all countries and they do not have big administrative costs filtering off a big percentage from the donations, but... as Michelle speaks about, do something to help.

Checked twice...

Yep double checked, after I admitted Denise Lovett is my inspiration too, I'm still in love with her and waiting to watch episode seven..

Here's a fan video I can love... Denise and Safe and Sound with Taylor Swift & the Civil Wars

Introducing Sterling Waite & the Cotton Avenue Hustlers

Many of my readers know that I've discovered many artists using and I highly recommend that you search any artist that you like, and then try some of their Fans of ___ should like:

That's what happened when trying to learn more about Ryan Bingham, he wasn't on there but I thought I'd try Sterling Waite & the Cotton Avenue Hustlers and was impressed.  As I'm writing this blog, I see they have two CDs available on Noisetrade, I'll need to go get Fire in the Mountains after I give Rose Hill enough listens.  This is how their Facebook site describes them:

Songs about running, drinking beer, automotive problems, love, loss and truck stops.

Zachary Gruman, Christian Wimberly, Sterling Waite, James Lengel

Sterling Waite moved to Macon, Georgia from the Bronx in October 2009. Heavily influenced by new folk groups like Old Crow Medicine Show, the Avett Brothers, and Justin Townes Earle, Sterling formed the Cotton Avenue Hustlers, an old time string band, in the spring of this 2011. The group is named after Cotton Avenue which at one point was a major part of Macon’s economic center. “Hustlers” refers to the band’s frequent street performances in Macon.

Free In The Mountains:
"This album is the result of three sweltering days of recording in my downtown apartment in Macon, Georgia. The air conditioner was far too loud, the ceiling fans created too much air movement, and the street noise was too great with my windows open. So with temperatures nearing triple digits, we turned off the fans and A/C, closed the windows, huddled around two microphones and began to play. Over three sessions Zach, Chris and I recorded the bulk of the album. I then added harmony vocals, banjo, harmonica, and lap steel guitar to most tracks over the following weeks. Some recordings, like "Be With Him", remain true to the original live take. The lyrics to "Up On Blocks" and "Punkin Brown" come from the strange and wonderful mind of Andy Frazier. The Hustlers then brought them to life over a few sessions of pickin' and grinnin'. Andy also contributed lyrics to "Macon Town."

We hope to see you out sometime, put a smile on your face, and get your feet stompin' along. There's only a few things in this world better than a knee slappin' good time, but it wouldn't be proper to go into that here.

Give them a watch:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dustin Bentall and mermaid Kendel Carson

If you follow my blog, you know that I have loved anything Kendel Carson touches... She's playing with Dustin Bentall and the Smokes, and I love how they describe her on their website:

Kendel Carson, a rock & roll fiddle player, first played with Dustin in the Grand Cariboo Opry – an ensemble-style live concert organized by Barney Bentall. Having been a part of Victoria’s notorious Outlaw Social with Adam, performed for years with Chip Taylor (“Wild Thing”), played with Elvis Costello, Feist & Ron Sexsmith at the Gemini Awards and now has her own band Belle Starr, the addition of Kendel was natural and her inimitable style mapped out a new sonic landscape for the band.

Of course he said nothing about her swimming skills, and the lucky dog gets to kiss her at the end of the video.

Brooks Williams in the close out bin?

Not a shopper traditionally for Black Friday or any day... I'm the hunter type... go on kill it and leave with my prey.  There is one shop I've shopped for ages; way before Amazon and iTunes could fill my needs for music.  Fritz Shuler would have CDs at the Golden Ring Folklore center, Manitowoc WI that would blow your mind.  I'd spend an hour and leave with 5 cds, especially when I moved away from town and it took 4 hours to get there.  Well CDs are dinosaurs for small shops especially and he's in his last phase of liquidating.  I've missed it until now but boy did I get some gems.  Pat Alger, Lui Collins, Dar Williams, Rory Block, Eric and Suzy Thompsen, Jym Mooney, Charlie Sexton, Ed Trickett, The Bobs, and BROOKS Williams, almost all circa late 90's early 2000's.  Many of these artists I had some of their music before but now 10 cds for $30 was too good to pass up.  I had listened to Brook for a while, and if you never have, please do:

I love the story opening for this Statesboro Blues cover has a tie in to my favorite rock band The Allman Bros. (his home town...)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gonna go Downtown...

Mark the date and the new place. The 39th annual Great River Folk Fest is moving downtown to the Riverside Park. Yes the same great acoustic, Americana, folk music, Arts & Crafts, and Kid's Area; and we're promising a few more surprises. See you August 22nd - 24th, 2014!

"Downtown" is copyrighted and courtesy of Greg Brown a three time performer at the fest!

If you don't know who Greg is, he has played our fest about three times and gave us permission to use the song... nice guy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mark Lavengood - Dobro

Mark Lavengood dobro player with Lindsay Lou and Flatbellys is making a new cd, pick on Mark, pick on..

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Beth Wood - Miles Davis CD

This is a great story from a great singer... Beth Wood stopped in LaCrosse and Dae Miles taped most of her concert.

Here's a few Bad Girl , Doing this Dance, this great a capella song My Joy.

and this great cover of At Last...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

SHEL in the USA Today...

I still need find a weekend edition to see if this made it into print, but there they are right there with all the odd cultural stuff you won't find in this blog.  Either that means I'm going mainstream, or occasionally mainstream wises up.  SHEL in my blog was introduced back in September 2012 right after their self title CD was released.

Of course they were right about the video is four sisters singing a siren song, and these ladies could lure any wayward ship their way... but when you meet them you'll find the classiest friendliest band you'll find to work with.  They banter like "Sisters" on stage, and leave the audience wow'd and well as with smiles.  You can read the short article, but who cares, they made it to USA today ONCE, this is their 14th time in my blog.  Watch the video here, why don't you?  (What the USA Today didn't say loud enough was that Sarah was the video editor on this masterpiece too as well as the violinist siren)