I'm keenly aware that it has been just over a month since the last instalment in this never ending series of blog entries. Sorry. I'm sure I can make up for it. Are you sitting comfortably? Good; then let's begin.
The first track this week is from Margo Price. I heard it on the radio this week and the groove hooked me in almost instantly. Margo is being touted as the next big thing, and be that as it may, this is a great track. The rest of the album is more traditional than what seems to pass for country music today and that sits well with me. I guess if you were a fan of Dolly, Loretta or Tammy then you might enjoy the LP. If you like good music in general then you should get a kick out of this...
Margo Price - Four Years of Chances - https://youtu.be/JXQf9mAB0Ec
The Rolling Stones have a new album of blues out. Hooray. I'm sure it's awesome as well as being a testament for their life long love of the music that influenced them. Much more interesting to me was the release of a whole lot of mono original Stones stuff. Clocking in with 186 tracks this collection is aimed squarely at the serious fan. I noticed it when a track popped up on the "Discover" list that the Spotify algorithms put together for me. Mono is a funny beast - with all the fascination surrounding different mixes (did you see what I did there?) sometimes the old one speaker is a lot more powerful. For many people it's how they remember hearing music in the era of AM radio or portable turntables. I haven't got past the first few tracks of this compilation. Even taking account that I'm streaming them in high quality they still sound great.
The Rolling Stones - Carol - https://youtu.be/ISrKIpWWUb8
Ryan Adams (not Bryan) is one of those guys who I think I should be a fan of but I'm not. And I don't know why. Something just hasn't happened between us as yet! Having said that, his new song, which could really be a Bryan Adams tune, is pretty good. Ryan sings with feeling and he's got the swirly organ background noise that I really like. This is the single from an upcoming album and if he can back this up with a few rockers and the band sounding this good then I'll buy it.
Ryan Adams - Do You Still Love Me? - https://youtu.be/U-qfQcJveDw
I haven't sent through anything since Rod, Scot and I had our little pilgrimage to Sydney to see The Cult. The short version is that is was awesome. The longer version includes me being deaf in one ear, traffic jams, a youth hostel and a first class gig. There may have been snoring as well despite assurances that there would be none. The Cult have been around since the early 80s and the three of us (who used to play together in The Dark Violence of Beauty) have been fans forever. The support band, "The Art", weren't half bad as support acts go. They would've benefited from a better mix and maybe from the male singer either not singing or not playing the guitar. He was competent alright but it just muddied the sound too much. Their drummer was a dead ringer for a younger Henry Rollins and he probably had as much energy as well. Just tone it down once in a while champ! The winners were the lead guitarist whose sinuous, delay laden work made things interesting and the bass player/singer who had a great Pat Benetar-esque voice. I've seen support bands get a horrible reception and it didn't happen for these guys.
The Cult....what can I say. They surpassed all expectations in a live setting. We'd heard rumours that Ian's voice was shot. It was not! They were loud, they had a great time, Billy had his famous Gretsch guitars out and the keyboard player looked like an unearthly mashup of Bill Bailey and Billy Connolly. The Cult played their hits as well as a good chunk of the latest long player, "Hidden City". The Enmore Theatre was pretty much full and the large crowd had a great time. Well worth the price of admission.
The Cult - Sweet Soul Sister (live Sydney 2016) - https://youtu.be/u_kHSHRdqs0
And for those of you not keen on fanshot video - https://youtu.be/pqcAidqgqmU
Metallica have a new album and I've tried hard to love it but I don't. It's not dreadful, far from it, but it's nothing special. Every band with more than one album progresses and changes in some way and Metallica is no different. To all those people who will only listen to the first three or four albums I say "bah humbug". There's good tracks on every album they've released....even St Anger. Well, maybe not St Anger. The new LP, "Hardwired....to self destruct" has all the elements of a great Metallica record. It's got good some good riffs, Jaymz can still sing, Kirk can still wail on the guitar, Lars pounds the tubs into submission and Rob is magic on the bass. What's lacking is the songwriting and some of the production. It doesn't sound 'huge' in the way I expect a Metallica album to. The guitars fizz instead of roar and the drums are a bit tinny. And whilst there are some good riffs it seems that in terms of writing songs the band is stuck in a rut. It's Metallica but it's almost by the numbers. I'd rate this one as "for fans only". If you're interested in the band and need an introduction then start somewhere else. Try this...
Metallica - Cyanide - https://youtu.be/bnJzsdNwFu0
I've had a bit of a break from playing the guitar recently. There's just been too much other stuff going on. Fear not though, I began the revival of my aural assault on the neighbours yesterday. Admittedly all I did was run through a few favourites that we play in the band, but it was good to feel the music in my veins. This is a not so obvious, and not very happy, track got an airing.
Jason Isbell - Yvette - https://youtu.be/cDO9FhLFcaE
I think I'll finish with the Grateful Dead this week. That's a bit how I feel. I've been sick enough to keep me off my bicycle for three days. Unheard of! Fingers crossed I'll be back tomorrow for the final push towards my yearly distance target. It's suffered a bit with an overseas trip and then a wet winter but I'll do my best.
Grateful Dead - Mama Tried - https://youtu.be/2TBbj5_zA-8