Picking yourself up and dusting yourself off when you fall or continuing to keep getting it when times get hard, is the gist of this album from Todd Snider’s newly formed band the Hard Working Americans. Whether it is the accomplished musicians in the Hard Working Americans or the lyrics, you can find a pinch of many great bands within this group. A little Neil Young. Check. A little Black Crowes. Check. A little Arlo Guthrie. Check. A little Widespread Panic. Check.
Colour is a short, smooth trip.Tropic Harbour’s new EP begins with its honey-sweet eponymous opener—“Colour” features rolling surf-inspired pseudo-flamenco guitars over echoing snares and Mark Berg’s dream poppy vocals—and the end that comes a few minutes in is a lingering sentiment you won’t soon shake.With its intro through, Colour sails on to “Golden Rays,” a Fitz and the Tantrums riff-meets-Beirut’s melancholy grandeur under the vulnerable voice that Raggi brings to Of Monsters and Men.And that’s all there is here—not quite ambient, lazily outgoing, Tropic Harbour’s
With Jake Shimabukuro’s new release Grand Ukulele: Live In Boulder; ukuleles are not for Don Ho singing Tiny Bubbles or Tiny Tim tip toe-ing through the tulips anymore. Thank Goddess of Fire Pele! The ukulele being In the same vein as the Lower 48’s accordion as a stereotyped instrument that can’t possible grab one’s attention for long; is not only for the Big Island anymore.
This time ‘round for Zion-I, the duo’s MC Zumbi has a mission statement. In brief—“The sole purpose of the MC is to energize, invigorate, and guide the listener to a higher state of mind, whether that be reflection, relaxation or enlightenment.”Production behind the MC here as he goes to work on the task at hand is classic West Coast with Eastern underground dubs n’ breaks sprinkled in—think Wu-Tang meets Def Jux featuring the righteous sermons of a bizarro, born-again Mad Child preachin’ redemption.
Music is a ubiquitous part of my life because it has the power to make it better. On countless occasions, it has demonstrated the ability to rejuvenate me when I’m sapped of energy and to will me out of a funk when I’m frustrated or down in the dumps. It even has the power to enliven my spirits for weeks without even yet being heard – anyone who lives for the music knows what it’s like to anticipate a show weeks, or even months, ahead of time.
Here we have—singer-songwriter Todd Snider (usually a solo fellow) and bassist Dave Schools (Widespread Panic) leading the charge, Neal Casal (guitarist for Ryan Adams, Chris Robinson); Chad Staehly (of Great American Taxi) on keys, and King Lincoln drummer Duane Trucks (nephew of Butch Trucks, who worked the set for the Allman Brothers, if you want a reach of a tie-in)—the Hard Working Americans. It’s a solid crew.
Musicians that decide to go the solo route, all by their looooooooooooooonesome, are deserving of respect just for the sake of displaying the confidence it takes to share their creativity and talents to make good things happen. Solo acts have to deal with huge expectations ranging from thousands of folks in a big venue looking to catch the best version ever of their favorite songs or simply being the focus of fifteen people in a small club with strings of Christmas lights as the stage lighting.