Bright Eyes released A Christmas Album (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) over a decade ago to raise money for a Nebraska AIDS charity. Last month the band the band reissued the album (including on vinyl), which consists of eleven traditional Christmas songs – nearly all of which are pretty quiet and mellow. Major props on the song selection for this gem that has stood the test of time.
And new this year, Nick Lowe (a.k.a. the headmaster of British rock) recently released Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family (Amazon MP3 & Spotify). The album mostly consists of originals, but (as I’ve stated before, I’m pretty classic on Christmas songs) also includes some ROCKIN spins on “Children Go Where I Send Thee” and “Silent Night.” Lowe performs with Iron & Wine and Calexico at The Beacon Theater Tuesday night.
Check out the full playlist here! NOTE: Playing it on shuffle is recommended.
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST: a very grassy Christmas (2013)
Greg Liszt, banjoist for the Boston-based bluegrass band The Deadly Gentlemen, also happens to be the man who filmed a video of Brooklyn’s Lake Street Dive covering The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” That video, which was recorded on the sidewalk outside of Liszt’s house in the Boston neighborhood of Brighton, hit YouTube in May of last year, was tweeted by a few celebrities and went viral.
On Tuesday, Liszt posted a damn fine little ditty he wrote that was inspired by Lake Street Dive. The song, “All My Friends Blew Up On the Internet,” features his bandmate Stash Wyslouch on guitar and Joy Kills Sorrow‘s Jacob Jolliff on mandolin and vocals. The three live together with a slew of other musicians in that same house where Liszt shot the Lake Street Dive video. While Jolliff has his fair share of creds – Berklee’s first full-scholarship mandolin student and the 2012 National Mandolin Champion – he had not sung in years and even then he sang bluegrass, not poppy songs like this one. But Liszt told him that the song was perfect for his voice and got him excited about it. Recorded in just a few takes after a ton of drinks with heaps of the bands’ friends at an Irish pub down the street from the house, it’s golden and pretty hilarious.
Check out the video below (along with Lake Street Dive’s rendition of “I Want You Back”) or catch the song live at the 1st Annual Deadly Gentlemen’s Ball on January 25, 2014 at the Sinclair in Harvard Square. The Ball features performances by The Deadly Gentlemen, Joy Kills Sorrow, Della Mae, and Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge (of Punch Brothers) and should be a pretty incredible evening. You can also catch Jolliff on another side project in a Pacific Northwest tour with Darol Anger and others over the next couple weeks.
Last night The Recording Academy announced nominations for the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards and Sarah Jarosz made the list…twice. While she trails Jay Z with nine nominations and Justin Timberlake with seven, Jarosz’s album Build Me Up From Bones is up for Best Folk Album and the album’s title track is up for Best American Roots Song.
Jarosz is up against strong old-timers like Steve Earle, Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott, Edie Brickell & Steve Martin and Allen Toussaint for Best Song. For best album, she will battle Guy Clarke, Milk Carton Kids and The Greencards.
Other gcb favorites on the list include Della Mae and Del McCoury Band for Best Bluegrass Album. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Mavis Staples and Allen Toussaint are up for Best Americana Album.
The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on “GRAMMY Sunday,” Jan. 26, 2014, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and once again will be broadcast live on CBS from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).
We’re getting to that time of year when the album release train slows down, so it’s a good time to look back at some of the stuff that we were too busy with our day jobs to cover earlier this year. Two bands from the Southeast are on that list.
Mount Moriah, a band that we first saw on tour with Horse Feathers last year, released Miracle Temple (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) in February just as I was shipping off to Australia. The album is definitely a shift to a less grassy side of the spectrum, but “Connecticut to Carolina” – one of the quieter songs on the album – is one that I’ve been digging lately.
Knoxville’s indie mountain band, The Black Lillies, won the attention of critics all around with its 2009 debut, Whiskey Angel. In March, the band released its fourth record Runway Freeway Blues (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) and released a phenomenal single called “The Fall.” While I love that one, I caught this live recording of “All This Living” from a session at CD Baby and think it might take the taco.
Multiple friends of the grass clippings fam had a week to be thankful for…and released some good vids for us to share.
Anthony D’Amato, the young Manhattan folk singer we got to know at Newport last year, announced via Billboard that he has signed a deal with New West Records and will join with members of Bon Iver and Megafaun to record his next album. In 2010, D’Amato recorded an album in his door room at Princeton, which won critical acclaim and helped score him a spot at Newport. Along with the announcement this week, he released a video for “Ludlow” – a new damn fine song he recorded in his apartment on the LES street of the same name. Give us more, Anthony. Happy Birthday and congrats.
Meanwhile, the our friends in Jus Post Bellum dropped a new video for “Sharp Was the River Bending” on The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog. The song is just one great track off of the band’s phenomenal new album Oh, July (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) – a record released earlier this month and one that I’ve been listening to non-stop lately. Jus Post Bellum debuted the album with a packed show at Rockwood a few weeks ago and we’re pretty excited to see a band we’ve followed for so long get some big props.
Earlier this month, Andrew Bird released I Want to See Pulaski at Night (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) – a new seven song, thirty-two-minute-long EP. A follow up to last year’s Hands of Glory, the EP carries the same gentle, cinemaesque and mostly percussion-less folk sound as its predecessor. “Pulaski at Night,” the project’s only song with lyrics and backing harmonies of bassist Alan Hampton, is flanked by three instrumentals on either side that mesh so well that it’s easy to miss the track transitions. Pulaski is Bird at his best – absolutely gorgeous through and through. I listened four times in a row and didn’t get bored for a second.
Bird closes out the year with a short tour, which includes a sold out show at Rough Trade in Williamsburg on December 6.
Boston-based Della Mae made it’s Rounder Records debut earlier this year with This World Oft Can Be, which maintained the band’s strong and polished traditional-bluegrass roots that we first heard and fell in love with at the release of its indie debut several years back. Tonight the band plays a ticketed show on Stage II at Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side. For a taste, check out my favorites from each of the albums.
“Blessed Hands” off of I Built This Heart
“Hounds” off of This World Oft Can Be