Here are this week’s five songs worth listening to.
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram–Ghost From Christmas Past
I included this one this week mostly as a reminder that now, and only now, that we are past Thanksgiving, you can break out the Christmas season. And also, your Christmas music probably sucks. All that happy, happy, joy, joy stuff. Yeah, you. Anyway, I do Christmas music a little different, as you will see if you click that link. Ingram is a 21-year blues man from Mississippi with a sound that belies his age by a few decades. This one makes the Acceptable Christmas Music list.
Listen, any decent Liverpool FC fan is going to understand why this one is in here. I saw Brittany live a few years back with her Alabama Shakes band. Here, she covers the famous Gerry Marsden tune that has become my favorite sports anthem. Getting to belt this at the top of my lungs at a packed Busch stadium before a soccer match was one of the cooler sports memories I have.
Also, Sarah is lucky I have not done this to our bedroom wall yet.
JR Carroll–Grass That Isn’t Always Green
This is my second pick from JR in recent weeks, and was actually released before my previous pick, way back in May. It is entirely possible JR becomes my 2021 obsession the way Zach Bryan and Tyler Childers have been the few years. Really looking forward to a full album from this guy.
Steve Earle–Harlem River Blues
We have previously discussed on this blog the loss of Justin Townes Earle. Well, father Steve has recorded an album of JT songs, set to be released in early 2021. Harlem River Blues was my gateway to Justin Townes, and it is the first single released from the upcoming album. I can’t even imagine the emotion involved in doing an album full of songs by your recently deceased son, let alone this one in particular.
Dirty Guv’nahs–Backbeat Melody
I will take to my grave that the Dirty Guv’nahs were about to “make it” when they folded shop a couple years ago. Years on the road wore on them, and they decided to call it quits in 2015. So, when I saw in early 2020 they were going to make another run at it, I was excited. These Tennessee boys make some great firepit music.
And then Covid happened and touring died. I really, really hope they stick with it and finally catch their break. 2020 will be a marker for a lot of bands in this corner of the world. Some will have the time to write some great stuff. Some will never get the chance to play them for anyone as they can not rely on touring to both hone their craft and earn a living.
I worry about the long term effects this whole thing will have on the type of music I tend to listen to. Many of these artist are not at the point where they can survive as musicians without touring. And we will be worse off for them never getting the chance. So, with that I say, here’s to the Dirty Guv’nahs and the Guv’nah-likes, I am pulling for you. And that also goes for the type of bars that bring these guys in. I’ve bought T-shirts and kicked on GoFundMes in the hopes of keeping bands and bars alive. I encourage you to do the same thing. The corporate sponsored stadiums and the bands who play then will be fine. But they all had to start somewhere. Let’s keep that alive.
We’ll be back with five more next week. Until then, remember the immortal words…
“Songs are really just interesting things to be doing with the air.” Tom Waits