Category: Folk

Steve Earle “Townes”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#662 in the Series) is Steve Earle, Townes The year was 1971 and singer songwriter Joe Ely, Texas National Treasure, and once considered to be the musical heir apparent to fellow Lubbock resident Buddy Holly, was driving on the outskirts of town when he spotted on the horizon a straggly Howard Hughes looking dude, wearing a back pack, wandering on the shoulder of the main road leading into the city. Ely pulled over and offered the travelling stranger a ride to the other side of town.  As a kind gesture to thank him, the stranger reached into the back pack, pulled out one of the fifteen albums that resided there, no clothes...

“Once” Original Soundtrack Recording

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#652 in the Series) is the Original Soundtrack Recording from the film, Once With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, if you are looking for a movie to get you in the mood for corned beef and cabbage, instead of the old standby The Quiet Man, check out the Irish musical film “Once.” It produced a terrific soundtrack that more than stands on in its own. It features musicians Glen Hansard, from Irish folk band The Frames, and Czech immigrant Marketa Irglová. You don’t have to see the movie to appreciate the soundtrack, but it only helps the appeal of these charming yet soulful songs that have pop rock roots. In...

Dan Fogelberg “Home Free”

    Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#643 in the Series) is Dan Fogelberg, Home Free Somehow it’s easier to believe its 40 years since the release of Dan Fogelberg’s inaugural album Home Free than to accept it’s also going on five years since the untimely passing of the Illinois’ native. Look “Dan Fogelberg” up in Wikipedia and you’ll read that Home Free met with a “lukewarm” response—but that’s not the way it was that fall in Champaign at a time when a college freshman could walk wide-eyed into the music store heaven known as Record Service and encounter a giant display in support of this album.  Suffice it to say it appeared they were buying and selling...

Levon Helm “Dirt Farmer”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#632 in the Series) is Levon Helm, Dirt Farmer. (Vanguard Records) Every year since the early 80’s I’ve come up with my own Album of the Year. This won easily as my Album of Year in 2008.  (It was actually released late in late 2007, I know! You’ll understand soon.) We all know Levon Helm as drummer, picker and lead vocalist of The Band.  If you’re a fan of The Band, or just Americana music in general, you must add Dirt Farmer to your collection. It was strange.  I actually had this album for quite some time before I really got into it.  I had it, gave it a quick spin when...

Don McLean “American Pie”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#626 in the Series) is Don McLean, American Pie Magnum Opus, noun….a great work, especially the chief work of a writer or artist: Proust’s magnum opus is Remembrance of Things Past.  Origin: 1785–95;  < Latin You cannot find a better way to describe Don McLean’s American Pie other than by simply referring to it as his Magnum Opus. Were you around in 1971 when this was a hit? If you were sure you remember exactly how huge this was. The single “American Pie” spent nearly 2 months at the top of the Billboard Top 100 singles chart. That’s incredible considering current at the same period were albums like Carole King’s Tapestry and John...

Suzanne Vega “Solitude Standing”

Today’s Cool Album of The Day (#606 in the Series) is Suzanne Vega, Solitude Standing. Solitude Standing was singer – songwriter Suzanne Vega’s second release.  It contained the hit song, “Luka.” I always thought that it was a song about spousal abuse. As I did my research on the album, I actually found out that it’s about child abuse. These are Suzanne’s own words… “          A few years ago, I used to see this group of children playing in front of my building, and there      was one of them, whose name was Luka, who seemed a little bit distinctive from the other children. I always remembered his name, and I always remembered his face, and I didn’t know much...

Mason Proffit “Wanted”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#598 in the Series) is Mason Proffit, Wanted. The Mason Proffit name is quite well known in these Chicago parts. I’m really not so sure outside of this market. I look forward to hearing from those not in our backyard. Mason Proffit was a mid to later 60s to early 70s band that was founded and fronted by the Talbot brothers, Terry and John-Michael. They both played guitar and supplied the writing and the vocals. They were actually one of the originators of country-rock.  It would be nice to see their name included more when someone tosses out names on the subject.  They really should be recognized more. One song that you may...

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band “Will The Circle Be Unbroken-Vol. II”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#588in the Series) is The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Volume II. Will The Circle Be Unbroken Vol II is, obviously, the follow up to the 1971 album. If you’re not familiar with the two, they were a pair of albums released by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band that featured a roomful of guest stars. The original album gave us names like Roy Acuff, Merle Travis, Vassar Clements etc. Volume II continued the tradition. Some wonderful names are on this release. Here we find, Johnny Cash, Sam Bush, Bruce Hornsby, EmmyLou Harris, Levon Helm, John Denver (Before he made a big splash), John Hiatt, John Prine, Rosanne Cash, Randy Scruggs, Roger...

The Low Anthem “Oh My God, Charlie Darwin”

      Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#552 in the Series) is The Low Anthem, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin (Nonesuch (US), Bella Union(UK)) For this , their 3rd album (but first to be widely available), The Low Anthem really surpassed themselves, conjuring up a magical album, full of ghostly otherworldly ambience, with the odd wonderfully raucous detour thrown in for good measure! The sleeve states that it was “recorded in the solace of a Block Island winter” and that’s entirely fitting, there’s a distinct chilly, spectral feel to the full thing. I suppose it’s a folk album really, just not the kind you’ll have heard before. Probably. They’ve taken some well-worn ingredients, given them a good...

Robert Ellis “Photographs”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#547 in the Series) is Robert Ellis, Photographs. (New West Records) The name Robert Ellis is new to me and all I know about him is that he’s 22 years old, hails from Houston Texas and made quite a reputation for himself at “Whiskey Wednesdays” in a place called Fitzgerald’s. Oh, and he’s just made a totally brilliant album! Now some albums have you hooked from the first few listens whereas others take time to grow on you, working their charms at a nice sedate pace. This one manages to pull off the unique trick of doing both. He’s done that by making a record that has the feel of a defiantly...

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