It’s never been easier to sample before you buy…
The sheer quantity and diversity of music that is available today is staggering and making a choice can be daunting. Luckily for us, the internet makes that process a whole lot easier. Not only do many artist and record company websites offer samples of songs, but if the artist has a page at MySpace, chances are you will find several of their songs presented in full.
The songwriting talents of PATTY GRIFFIN have been recognised by many performers, including Martina McBride, Bette Midler, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Reba McEntire and particularly the Dixie Chicks, who have recorded her compositions Top of the World, Truth No. 2 and Let Him Fly. So too Emmylou Harris, a long-time supporter, who’s also covered several of her songs, and who lends her unmistakeable harmony vocals to the number Trapeze on most recent Patty Griffin album Children Running Through. Music. Trivia spotters will also note two tracks that feature legendary Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan. Much of her back catalogue is also available in Australia (via Shock), including the wonderful 2003 live CD, A Kiss In Time. That release includes a bonus DVD that features behind the scenes footage and music videos.
SJANE DOUGLASS is a mercurial artist from Bendigo and her music has an ethereal, wistful quality; think Patty Griffin meets Daniel Lanois. Not strictly folk or country, although the guest appearance of Dave Moore on pedal steel lends a nice touch to her debut EP Ordinary Imperfection. At her web site you can listen to the lead track Waterwall, an enigmatic tale of lovers torn apart by a tsunami.
The web also provided me a preview of the new TEDDY THOMPSON album, Up Front & Down Low (featuring cover versions of country classics by George Jones, Ernest Tubb and Merle Haggard to name a few), now just released as this goes to print. I wondered how he would approach the material, especially as he can be as eclectic as his parents - British folk-rock legends Richard and Linda Thompson. The samples I’ve heard suggest respectful yet enthusiastic readings of the songs. In his official biography he reveals, “As strange as it may seem, country music was the music I was brought up on. It’s the music that’s closest to my heart and the music that speaks to me the most, and it’s always been a big influence on my own songwriting. I was obsessed with country music when I was a kid, and it’s definitely had a huge influence on the way I write songs. I was always attracted to songs that had a brilliant pun or a clever turn of phrase, but came from a dark, bitter place. As a writer, I’ve always gravitated towards that feeling.”
(P.S. since writing this, I’ve heard the whole CD…possibly the country album of the year!!) www.teddythompson.com (click the Media tab for eCard samples and video)
Although it may be some time before we get to see a telecast from the recent CMA Music Festival in Nashville, but we can enjoy a preview as it airs in the USA. At the American ABC Television Network site you can enjoy several webisodes that give a backstage peek at the four-day party and music celebration for the special, Country’s Night to Rock.
This is COWBOYS IN CYBERSPACE column number 120 and next month, as we reach our anniversary, we’ll look back at ten years of surfing the information highway and look forward to a brave new world on the web!
Until next time, happy surfing!
Bob talked to Barbara Morison on 2SER 107.3 FM about this month’s column and more…