Here are this week’s five songs worth listening to.
The Lumineers, known up until this point mostly as an infectious pop folk group, takes a dark turn as they follow the unfortunate journey of Gloria Sparks, an alcoholic mother of a newborn. The Lumineers put out EPs representing chapters of a story. Gloria is the third of a three-song story. You should also watch the first two, but I’m posting the third here because it is the best as a stand-alone song. The full album spans multiple generations of the Sparks family.
Tobe Nwigwe–Caged Birds
This was an NPR Tiny Desk discovery. I’m always fascinated by watching hip hop performed live mostly acoustically. Tobe is from Houston and this song represents those who are trying to escape their desolate surroundings in the hope their message can make the world a better play.
Rodney Crowell–You’re Only Happy When Your Miserable ft. Ringo Starr
Yeah, you read that featuring correct. Former Beatle Ringo Starr teams up with one of the best kept secrets in country music for a few decades now. Rodney’s new album, Texas, features a litany of stars: Ringo, Vince Gill, Steve Earle, Billy Gibbons, Lyle Lovett, Lee Ann Womack, etc..
Rodney was recently asked about partnering up with Ringo in an interview here:
So you know, there’s a mutual friend who originally got Ringo and Ray together. He’d been trying to get me and Ringo together to write songs. Because Ringo needs songs, he’s been making albums regularly. So there was a connection about albums, and I got a note back from the mutual friend saying Ringo was available to record. And I just said, “OK, pinpoint where I need to go and I’ll go there.” When I was in his studio, I started playing this song, and he was slapping his knees. And he said, “OK, I got it.” We did it in one take.
Stray Cats–Three Times A Charm
Forty years. Forty years since Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker and Slim Jam Phantom helped continue to drive the rockabilly sound. To celebrate, they got back together for a new album. And this one sounds like yesteryear at the drive-in. Squint hard enough and you can see the jeans roll.
Brian Setzer: “You have to understand how unique the Stray Cats are. It’s me playing an old hollow body guitar, Slim Jim playing two or three drums, and Lee Rocker slapping a stand-up acoustic bass. I get to write new songs and then play them with my buddies. Somehow we created a new and exciting sound with this simple idea. And you know what? A lot of people agree!”
“Yeah man, we was rockin’.”
Sheryl Crow–Story of Everything ft. Chuck D, Andra Day, Gary Clark Jr.
For the second time is three weeks, Shery Crow makes this column. Last time, it was featuring Chris Stapleton. This time, the features take a left turn. For this one, Sheryl takes on social issues, including guns, congress, wage disparity, what the “good ol’ days” really were, etc. And ultimately, our need to get along.
“Songs are really just interesting things to be doing with the air.” Tom Waits