Deep Into the Winter Blues

After spending essentially three weeks in sunny Southern California and another 4 days in humid Miami, my body is finally accepting the fact that we’re deep into winter now, and I can tell you that my current music selections reflect the shortened days. I know I’m not one to go for music you’ll hear on the radio – but even I’ll admit, I’m diggin’ deep into Blues and Folk right now. Let’s take a quick look at what’s on regular rotation on the IPod:

Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite — Get Up! Charlie Musselwhite and Ben Harper

When you’re finished listening to this album, you’ll swear you’ve smoked a pack of unfiltered Marlboros and finished a bottle of moonshine (may I recommend the apple pie flavored moonshine? Throw that in with some apple cider, and your evening will be epic) – it’s that dirty. I had the opportunity to see these two artists at the 9:30 Club here in Washington, D.C. in 2013 and…wow. With songs like “I’m In I’m Out and I’m Gone” and “I Don’t Believe a Word You Say” I walked out of there thinking I was at some backwater juke joint in the Deep South….back in the 40s.

“You Found Another Lover and I Lost Another Friend” has to be the most heart wrenching song on this album.

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the album, get it – it’s worth every penny, and if you buy the physical CD, there’s a DVD included with videos of live performances – which will feel like you’ve been invited to a private concert. Something that I’ve always wanted to happen…hint, hint.

Demien – Supernova Syndrome

I know, this album came out years ago, but it always cycles back up into my play list. DJ Jazzy Jeff originally introduced me to Demien on his Soul Mix Tape back in 2005. I’m telling you, compilation albums are the best way to learn about artists you may not normally know exist. Supernova Syndrome has two very specific songs that stick with me no matter how long it’s been since I’ve heard them – Amanda Blue and Erotic Dreams. Two totally different songs, but both worth checking out. Here is my favorite of the two — Amanda Blue:

I don’t know what happened to Demien. Unfortunately, I think he was just part of that group of R&B singers who are just a bit off centered enough that he was pushed aside for others who are easier to market.

tarka-and-friends-life-album-cover-press-300Tarka & Friends: Life

Building on what I mentioned before regarding the beauty of compilations, I’d like to share with you a brand new album – Tarka & Friends: Life. I found out about this album after a friend sent me the video done for the Alice Smith and Citizen Cope song “Satellites.”

Now, most of you know how much I love me some Alice Smith and Citizen Cope – whatever they are in, I buy. Shoot, I was telling friends on the West Coast their recent tour dates like I was buying my own tickets for the shows. Yes, it’s some serious stalker love right there.

Needless to say, like pretty much any compilation CD, I’m amazed at the array of talent and can’t wait to sit down and look up some of the other artists featured on this album. Like the previous albums/songs mentioned above, this one is perfect with a glass of wine (or….my fav, bourbon) and an easy chair – just put your feet up, sit back and let the emotions come out of the speakers.

Side Note: I also didn’t realize, until recently, is Tarka Cordell took his own life right before his solo album was going to be released. All the cuts on this compilation are covers of those songs by his friends — with proceeds going to mental health charity Calm.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – Give the People What they Want Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings

I have been a huge fan of SJDK for quite some time now, and it broke my heart when I found out that, just as she was breaking out in a big way (like most artists that hover below the major radar, she’s got some hardcore fans nationwide) she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I work with an organization that is focuses on bringing more research to this deadly disease, so I know way too much about what she’s been going through.

Sharon and I after her awesome show

Sharon met and hugged each of her fans after the show (yep, that’s me all geeked out)

Fortunately, Sharon has been putting up a good fight and is winning in a big way. I was lucky enough to see her and the awesome Dap Kings (the best freakin’ current funk band out there as far as I’m concerned) a couple of weeks ago when they came through DC. I’m trying to put together a review worthy enough of what I witnessed at the Lincoln Theatre. Pure and utter awesomeness. I swear I was at a 1960s Doo Wop review – the band, the singers, the music….just….everything.

This new album has a definite edge to it – and her song “Retreat” makes you think she’s talking to her cancer and letting it know, it’s got to go.

Hippie Sabotage – Stay High (Tove Lo Flip)

Aww….this song is ridiculous. I don’t know how I found it…or why. All I can say is that sing song is everything one can feel when sitting alone on a random evening and thoughts of exes and crushes from the past pop up in the brain. I can’t explain it…just take a listen (and there’s a link to a free download from the video)

So, this is just a quick look at my randomness, I hope you enjoyed. Next time, assuming everyone is still focusing on having a healthier 2014, I’ll talk about the best ways to stumble on good gym music.

Actually, I can’t wait — here’s one of my new additions to the gym mix, courtesy of a recent night at Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars event at, yep, the 9:30 Club (can we say freakin’ epic?!)

And I’m out….gotta hit the gym before it’s too late…PEACE!

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About KJStJ

Proud nerd who loves music, animals and making the world a better place
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