Music Blog on Artist's that need more attention... I will gladly help =)
Most words written by Matt Thomas (Some written from various internet resources or Artist's websites)
Woody Guthrie once said, “Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”
Check out my buddy singer/songwriter, Derek Luttrell! New album is getting mastered right meow!
I chose to do my sound engineering assignment discussing the song “Tree by the River” by Iron and Wine. Iron and Wine is singer/songwriter Samuel Beam who is great with lyrics and beautiful guitar playing. The reason I chose this song is to compare the contrast between how it’s recorded on his newest album “Kiss Each Other Clean” and a live version of the song that was recorded at Daytrotter Studio in Rock Island, Illinois. Daytrotter is a studio that records a band every day of the week which produces 28 different tracks each week for what used to be FREE, but they charge only a few bucks now to join. They have a website at daytrotter.com where people can listen to different recording sessions and they have a good variety of bands from indie to more popular people like Iron and Wine.
My main premise is that with the way technology has evolved in the music industry, music sounds too studio impacted to me. I understand that people want to hear perfection and want their songs to sound the best they can be but I don’t think albums need to be like that all the time. When I first heard “Tree by the River” it was on the Daytrotter website and I just felt the emotion in his lyrics and voice and just thought this is a great song. One of the reasons for this is because the simplicity of it with just a voice and acoustic guitar. I’m sort of a fan of less is more, but that could be bias because I listen to more singer/songwriter and folk music. Another reason I thought the live recorded version was better is because you can clearly hear the timbre of the picked guitar which helps evoke the emotion that goes with the lyrics. It feels like he is singing it in a room personally to you.
Once I bought the new album “Kiss Each Other Clean” last summer I was expecting to feel the same way I did when I heard it raw and live on the Daytrotter website and it wasn’t the same unfortunately. The album version starts off with this keyboard drone and other percussion noises with a chorus of harmonies that to me get annoying. This takes up for about the first minute of the song then I believe his wife adds more harmony to it. One reason I don’t like the album version is the bass sounds fake with a popping rhythm that sounds like a Garageband loop. Also, his acoustic guitar is strummed compared to the finger picked version he does live which makes a difference. Secondly, I think his voice could be turned up just a little bit since there is more going on in the background it could be just a tad clearer. I do think for the most part the actual recording is good it’s just the emotional effect that gets lost for me by adding more technology into the mix.
Overall, my comparison is mostly personal opinion and nitpicky but I think I bring up a valid question when I say, why does music have to be so perfected in the studio and choruses are copied and pasted into songs? Since the vocals are so perfected in the studio it really destructs the live performance because their is no way a vocalist can sound just like the studio version every time they perform . Part of it isn’t there fault it’s how the business has evolved but personally I judge sound off how it sounds live because music is more emotional and personal then. Technology can be our friend or our enemy depending how we use it. One thing technology can never produce though is the raw emotion of a human being expressing themselves.
When I first heard of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. I said so myself, hmm… interesting name. Then of course I immediately thought of Nascar. Little did I know this 2 piece group would become one of my favorite new indie bands!
“Nothing But Our Love” is the first song off of the EP Horse Power and it sets the stage for a fantastic electronic/chill EP.
Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm1p3jl-7b4
“Nothing But Our Love”, ” Simple Girl”, and ” Vocal Chords” (From their EP)all were added to the their first full length 12 song album “ It’s A Corporate World.” This album has clear influences from the Beach Boys and the Beatles. Overall, the album is chill, fun, and puts you into a good mood.
My favorite songs are “Simple Girl” and ” Skeletons” because of the beautiful harmonies and simplistic rhythms. This album is great for the car or just chilling with friends and be sure to listen to it all the way through. If your into bands like Fleet Foxes, The Black Keys, or simple electronic music be sure to check this out!
This is in no particular order….
Derek Luttrell- I may be a little bias about Derek since I know him personally. That being said, Derek is a on his way to becoming a profound singer/songwriter. At only 21 years old he already has one E.P and a self-titled full length album out on itunes. Derek is definitely an old soul trapped in a young body, sounds cliche but it’s true. Musically, his voice has a rasp that warms your body, with lyrics that are bound to get stuck into your head. Playing acoustic guitar, banjo, and sometimes harmonica he understands what it takes to become not just a musician, but a songwriter. He writes all of his own lyrics and songs. Influenced by many folk artists/songwriters, he really gets his style by troubadour Steve Earle, Justin Townes Earle, Ray LaMontagne, and Pokey LaFarge. (If you haven’t heard of these peeps, check them out). Derek is very personable and a genuine fellow, he has a huge heart that is hard to get away from. His live performances are what captures me, if you search him on youtube that is what your gonna get an all natural raw voice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttNLOBMu91g.
Derek has played many shows throughout Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and even Tennessee. The way Derek is moving I won’t be surprised to see him all over the U.S within the next 5 years. Whether your talking to Derek after a show or listening to his music, he will have a impact on you. Please check his music out at derekluttrell.com
Kelsey Wild- I’m speechless when I think, wow she isn’t famous yet? Yes I know their are tons and tons and I’ll say it again tons… of people trying to make it. Auto-tuned enhanced music of today seems to be where the majority of the public seem to be aiming their ears to, especially teenagers. I think many of Wild’s songs can get the young teenage audience with her lyrics and voice.
For Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7bcvd_RwuY
Some of my favorites our “Meaningless” , ” Let Me Go” , and ” Wishing Well” . She mostly is a solo artist with a keyboard/piano and a voice that will wake you up. She has been compared to Regina Spektor and Cat Power, but she has her own style. Not even 21 yet, Kelsey has been making music since she was 16 and has actually been in a band with Derek Luttrell back in the day…
Playing most of her shows out of Chicago, Illinois… she has appeared at SXSW in 2010 http://www.spinner.com/2010/03/14/kelsey-wild-interview-sxsw-2010/
Kelsey has 3 E.P’s up on itunes, or you can give her a listen at http://www.kelseywild.com/HOME.html
Anna Johnson- Even though her name is probably pretty common, Anna is definitely not common and is one unique person. She is another young songwriter trying to make it in the scene…. and is well on her way. In my opinion
Taylor Swift better be writing another album soon because Anna will be taking over… (We all know Taylor is never gonna lose it all.. just saying hypothetically). Anyways, to be honest Anna has something special because of what she brings to the stage as a person. You can’t help but smile and gravitate toward her, and once she starts playing she has you hooked. I’ve seen her play Live once with Derek Luttrell and it was fantastic. I think her Live performances are the best, just her voice and an acoustic guitar. Their is so much more emotion and realism that captures you. Anna is currently playing around Nashville, Tennessee area and has recorded one full length album. It’s called ” Ready To Go” and it’s a mix of pop and beautiful harmonies, that are sung with her sister Julia who also plays violin.
For Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7ZIkRhRF7k
Anna’s music is filled with love, happiness, emotion, and melting harmonies. Personally I enjoy her folk/acoustic Live albums better, to me they are more real. Though, I would easily put “Ready To Go” against any other sugar-coated pop candy that’s on the radio. My guess is that you will enjoy her sweet voice, and down to earth personality that you will end up grabbing more.
Check Anna’s music out-http://www.reverbnation.com/annajohnson#!
Jeremy Messersmith- Jeremy has a eye-catching last name, and style that reminds of a new-age Buddy Holly. His music is a mix of haunting lyrics and beautiful, soothing melodies. Messersmith has been featured on NPR, NPR’s Car Talk, World Cafe Live on WXPN, MTV’s The Real World, and Delta’s Inflight Radio.
This was the first song I heard of him and it gave me goosebumps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLR9c8LyZww
*Apparently, after looking that on youtube it was featured on the show “Chuck”… funny last time I saw that video last spring it only had 12,000 views now it’s past 100,000 That’s great to see!
Messersmith’s (That is fun and sort of creepy to say haha) latest album is titled ” The Reluctant Graveyard.” The first track ” Lazy Bones” starts off with a 60’s electric pop guitar that drives the song and gets the album moving. The second song “Dillinger Eyes” really reminds of 60’s Beatle’s or Monkey’s melodies.
“The Reluctant Graveyard” is Messersmith’s 3rd full length album and is my favorite so far. Most of the songs are catchy either with the lyrics or riffs. The third song on the album is called “Organ Donor” it’s beautifully eerie —— Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9MdFgDoj8Y
For more information and music. Please check out http://jeremymessersmith.com/
Ernie Hendrickson- He is a singer/songwriter from Northern Illinois. His voice at times reminds of Tom Petty, which to me is a good thing!
Born in Shullsburg, Wisconsin, Hendrickson grew up in Rockford, Illinois where he picked up his first guitar as a 10 year old and quickly found a gift for writing original songs and began developing his own distinctive and colorful guitar style, integrating flatpicking, classical and fingerstyle techniques. From the first basement concerts that he performed for family, Hendrickson has remained devoted to his craft, and has ascended through the ranks to be named among the finest songwriters of his genre. With his first album - Down The Road (2008) – he perked the ear of famed guitarist and producer, Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams), which led to Ramsey taking the reigns as producer for Walking With Angels. A landmark year for the young artist, 2010 saw him playing in prestigious venues from New York City to Nashville, where he opened for Don Williams at the legendary Ryman Auditorium. Poised for an even brighter 2011, Ernie recently landed an official showcase at the 23rd annual Folk Alliance conference to be held in Memphis this February.
Learn more about his newest album and his personality http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnRZiVUEQw8&feature=related
25 Notable Artist’s That I’ve Been Listening To: (Little more known)