i second that E motion…the alphabet project
Going through the library and sharing things I like, and things you might. If you missed the earlier posts, find them on my page by clicking on my name. (To answer the questions as to why I’m not providing links, clips, videos or pictures…it takes too long and I figure if you want to know more, you’ll find it.)
If you can imagine somewhere back in the sixties that the Byrds fell into a giant mixing bowl along with Fairport Convention and someone stirred it all up until all the various ingredients blended together, you’d get the Eighteenth Day of May. With sadly only one album to their credit before disbanding a couple of years ago, the good news is that it’s still available for purchase. Folk-rock I guess you’d call it, with six members from the UK, US and Sweden coming together in London where they performed for several years. Here’s some of the instruments that are featured: guitar, sitar, harmonica, dulcimer, flute, harmonium, mandolin, autoharp, glockenspiel, drums, percussion,viola, Fender Rhodes piano, bells and bass. There’s still a My Space page with tracks streaming and their “break up” message is a classic:
“We regret to announce that The Eighteenth Day of May will no longer record or perform live together. It has been lots of fun doing so for the last three years, but we’ve reached the end of the road and all good things must come to an end, etc. Ultimately, this has been an amicable split and there is nothing more to really say on the matter other than that it was all Karl’s fault.”
Another folk band I’ve liked that came together in 2001, and lifted up fast and high before fading off into the sunset was Eastmountainsouth. An LA duo featuring Peter Bradley Adams and Kat Maslich Bode, they were signed to Dreamworks and had songs featured on hot TV shows and managed to get opening slots on tours from Lucinda Williams, Joan Baez, Tracy Chapman and Nelly Furtado. They even scored a hit song at radio before the label got swallowed up and it was all over. Adams has put out three solo albums in the past few years and as luck would have it, just this week he put up a free sampler on Amazon with three songs that sound much like the band did and there’s even more downloads on his website. Bode lives in Nashville and she has a few beautiful songs posted on her My Space page.
I’m beginning to think that E might be a bad letter for band names. Consider the everybodyfields and this notice on their website: “So, it is with heavy, hopeful and forward-looking hearts that we are now saying so long for now to the everybodyfields so that we can officially pursue our own solo careers.” Darn it…I loved this band. Sam Quinn and Jill Andrews are pursuing solo careers now, and Jill’s EP has been a blessing for those of us fans who are heartbroken about their demise. The duo had met at a summer camp in 1999 where they were both counselors and they managed to put out three great folk-country-alt-indie-bluegrass tinged albums and toured all over the place. Should you have missed them, go get them.
There’s not much country here, but I don’t care. Eef Barzelay is the principal songwriter and singer with the band Clem Snide who have a great “on the road” story. In Kentucky a few years ago, only twenty people showed up at a club and so Eef brought the audience on the stage while he sat out front. Eef has two solo albums, of which I have the most recent Lose Big, and I’d say its a blend of straight ahead rock, indie-type alt stuff and softer acoustic tracks.
Eleni Mandell comes from the Valley, has an extremely funny and abbreviated bio up on her website (her first real kiss was with David outside of Straw Hat Pizza on Van Nuys Blvd.), she’s released about six or seven albums and her style swings so wide it’s undefinable to me. Her 2003 Country for True Lovers is more or less the only one I really connect with (as well as her recent side project with the trio Living Sisters) because music like this hasn’t been made since Patsy passed away.
Hal Willner’s tribute project to pioneering musicologist Harry Smith’s documentation and preservation of American folk which featured an incredible array of artists several years back has a performance by Elvis Costello that I think is the best thing he has ever recorded. The song is “Ommie Wise, Parts 1-2 (What Lewis Did Last Night)” and starts out with just Kate and Anna McGarrigal singing it. When they finish, you hear Elvis say that the murder ballad had an unsatisfying ending, so he rewrote it and he starts to sing. Just a brilliant performance. And for another song that’s also just as strong, check out his “Sleepless Nights” on the Gram Parsons’ tribute album Return of The Grievous Angel as well.
The second album from San Francisco-based Emily Jane White may or may not be available in America yet depending on what website you visit. But with a little searching finesse you’ll find Victoria America and fall hard for this woman. With a large following in Europe, I’ve seen her called “dark country” which I guess is like “goth-americana”, but you should ignore the labels. She’s really not like Mazzy Star or Nick Cave but there is a thread that binds.