365 Days Of Song Recommendations: April 10
365 Days Of Song Recommendations: April 10

Ugly—Robert Pete Williams

I find most of what passes for “blues music” today to be depressing. Not depressing in an “I got the blues and I feel so bad” kind of way, but depressing because of how a once-powerful form of idiosyncratic and personalized creative expression has largely been reduced to a cliche-addled assembly line of formulaic bromides.

Let me apologize in advance, because I’m about to throw Curtis Salgado under the bus.

Mr. Salgado’s latest release is current #1 on the Blues Album Charts at the Roots Music Report. In a recent interview, he described the lyrical content of the album as…

365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 9
365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 9

Make it Funky—James Brown

Great songs have a way of becoming our north stars—the way we find ourselves again after having been lost. They become mantras to remind us of what we treasure most—the lost center of our souls we know we must return to, to be whole again.

Often, these songs tell us soothing stories about who we are, were, and might one day be again. They can veer to the rose-tinted and nostalgic, or the aspirational and uplifting. Many’s the time they feel like they’re telling us our own story—as if they knew us.

There are times when this is all by…

365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 2
365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 2

I Walk On Guilded Splinters—Dr. John

Nothing about the creation of this eerie masterpiece quite makes sense.

For example, despite being SUCH a New Orleans record, it was recorded in Los Angeles.

Despite his vocals being absolutely indispensable and inseparable from this most supreme of supremely vibey records, Dr. John was still thinking he’d have another vocalist sing the album, even as they were headed into the studio to begin the sessions.

Despite being one of the greatest psychedelic swamp-rock records of all time, the album was not a success upon release.

Even the title wasn’t quite right. Dr. John has famously noted that it’s based…

Our exclusive series of song recommendations—and its accompanying playlist—is officially 90-songs strong!

The #365Songs project has officially concluded the first quarter of song recommendations!

We’ve given you three months of proprietary content, introduced three monthly visual themes, and added 90 songs to our exclusive Spotify playlist!

We’ve shared artists with you ranging from Pete Seeger, Mississippi John Hurt, and Townes Van Zandt to Curtis Mayfield, Nina Simone, and Jimi Hendrix, and from Neutral Milk Hotel, Mobb Deep, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, to Iris DeMent, Sinéad O’Connor, and Manu Dibango.

Here is the full list to-date:

Pete Seeger — Go Tell Aunt Rhody Billy Bragg — Island of No Return Blind Willie…

365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 1
365 Days of Song Recommendations: April 1

The Witch—The Sonics

This is the pinnacle of garage rock by just about every measurement. Primal, stomping, adrenaline-addled mutant rhythm and blues by suburban young blue ballers with a hormonal desperation to sweat it out over Bigsby riffs and trash can drums.

There was a time when every city and every neighborhood had a garage from which you could hear the thumpys comin’ down in overdrive, but nobody did it quite like The Sonics.

In addition to their overdriven and near-canonical takes on classics like “Have Love, Will Travel,” Tacoma’s own left some mighty originals to posterity as well, with their holy trinity…

365 Days of Song Recommendations: March 31
365 Days of Song Recommendations: March 31

So What—Ministry

If this is a perfect album—and it is—then “So What” is it’s most perfect song.

There is an intelligent ferocity to everything Ministry has done and does, and while early Ministry is too techno and late Ministry is too metal, there was a blissful few albums in the middle where Ministry just did everything sonically right, and in the process, they put industrial music in the dictionary under themselves and closed the book. No one has ever done it better.

Done right, industrial is anarchic, brutally smart, edgy as all get out, and somehow, funky. Al Jourgensen is a witty…

I’ve Told Ev’ry Little Star—Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins is one of the most complex, most fascinating, most thoughtful, most perplexing, most delightful figures in the history of modern jazz, and having avoided an early demise unlike so many of his contemporaries, his body of work is today beyond vast.

And speaking of contemporaries, the Contemporary label, founded in 1951, was known not just for advancing the “west coast” sound, but for advancing a sound—recordings on Contemporary have long been revered for their superior audio qualities.

Contemporary boasted an all-star list of jazz talent as well; thus, the reference to Contemporary’s “leaders” in the title of this…

365 Days of Song Recommendations: March 29
365 Days of Song Recommendations: March 29

Leader of the Pack—The Shangri-La’s

Among the vinyl treasures in my house when I was growing up was a 3-LP set called Leaders of the Pack:

365 Days of Song Recommendations: March 28
365 Days of Song Recommendations: March 28

Amsterdam—Jaques Brel

One of the best album reviews I ever received noted that I sung as if I was about to expire at any moment.

I loved that. I’ve always believed that’s the ideal you strive for when you perform—you literally just give it everything you have.

I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to Jacques Brel’s live performance of “Amsterdam,” recorded at the Olympia Theater in 1964, but it’s more than I can count. I know every syllable he sings. Every breath he takes. Every crack in his voice.

And yet, every single time I hear it, I am shocked…

Preacher Boy

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist , poet, writer. Vintage guitars, vintage typewriters, new Moleskines.

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