There's an extra special playlist for you this month! Joining Phoebe Fowler and Big Al Hammond is their friend Vera Jean Thibodaux (who has often suggested songs for this playlist in the past). Vera brings her own tastes and her own choices to add to the musical mix. So three great musical curators for the price (free) of two! As always, quotes are from song lyrics:
"Yeah, I heard a funny thing, somebody said to me, you know that I could be in love with almost everyone, I think that people are the greatest fun, and I will be alone again tonight my dear"
"Alone Again Or" was written by Bryan MacLean and originally recorded in 1967 by the influential rock group Love. It sounds perfectly suited for Calexico.
"Now this past winter was the coldest in years. It's hard to explain if you've never lived here, but it locks your doors and starts your mind, thinking in circles just to pass the time, and breaks your weary heart."
September brings Canada to the ItD,O Playlist! Toronto-based and Saskatchewan-raised Andy Shauf's "Wendell Walker" is dark and moody and a bit of an old-school murder ballad. And how many murder ballads have you heard today that also feature a clarinet section?
"Ain't no digit that can make her move, gotta put the needle in the groove, put on your red dress and do it right, find a DJ, gonna dance tonight, she's a vinyl girl"
The Findells, from Staunton, Virginia, occupy a very special place in the hearts of everyone who has ever danced to them. I am proud to be among their longest-running (40+ years) fans.
"Dozens like me, never quite free, filling out our dance cards, mark my time on the wall, answer the call and listen to the slow parts"
I've seen The Mountain Goats live a couple of times. They're exactly what you expect. Smart, funny, musical, literate. John Darnielle is a joy. Here in "The Show We're Not Calling 'John on (The Creative) Process'", John shows us a really groovy notebook he bought here in RVA.
"Now it seems everyone's rushing around including you and I, I wanna take a little time just to fall in love again"
Vera brought you this Al Green and Corinne Bailey Rae song "because I heard it in a movie, and it reminded me of my dad and how much he loves Corinne. And when I showed it to him he played it on repeat for a good 3 days. Or was singing it in the kitchen and that made me really happy.". Vera and her dad are good people.
"A buzzard riding the rails, I steal my meals when all else fails, I'm right at home on the line, but I'm well on my way to feeling fine"
Bhi Bhiman is another great find. He's got some pipes. As Phoebe says, "His voice really transforms that song. Not sure I'd like it as much of it were sung by someone else". Plus, Bhi looks good in a suit.
"Every day getting a little more acquainted with the riddles until I'm looking for them everywhere I go"
Dawes kind of amaze me. I have no idea whatsoever what genre they fit into. If I didn't know, I couldn't even tell when these songs were written. The melodies kind of float along so effortlessly that they feel like they have to be from an earlier era, and their lyrics are wise and quirky and funny. I honestly haven't been a huge fan of their music in the past, but when I stop and listen to them, they kind of blow me away. Two other fun facts: Brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith's father Lenny Goldsmith was the lead singer of Tower of Power, the famous 1970's R&B/horn band. And Dawes' first Album North Hills featured an appearance by Wilco's Pat Sansone, my unapologetic man-crush. Here's a sweet and (mostly) minimal live version of this one.
"I'll take all the blame, aqua Sea Foam shame, sunburn freezer burn, choking on the ashes of her enemy"
Imaginary Future is singer-songwriter Jesse Epstein, with his wife, singer Kina Grannis. Their cover of the Nirvana hit might be my favorite version of this song.
"Only a river gonna make things right"
I was never a Deadhead (though I liked some of their music a good bit), and Bob Weir was never my favorite member of the band. I'll be confessional here and admit that I was largely just turned off just by the look of Polo Shirt Bob (sorry, but rock stars should not dress like they just stepped off the country club tennis court), and I will further confess that part of the reason I love this song so much because over the years PSB has gradually morphed into Old Man Bob. As I've gotten older, I've gained much admiration for those (see Findells, above) who keep at their art. It's also just a beautiful song. I'd also like to recommend to you a sweet and hilarious GQ interview with Weir and his two daughters about the musician's various fashion priorities over the decades, in which he takes full ownership of his polo shirt reasoning. I still think he looked like an idiot then, but much respect now.
Let me also recommend a wonderful live version of this song.
"For years I've been working and traveling alone, I eat out in restaurants where men wear cologne, Recognized as a stranger every place that I went, Sometimes I just sometimes I just close my eyes"
Our token extrovert (Vera) brings us a wonderful introvert song, by another Canadian, Ottawa's Leif Vollebekk.
"Though we're much too old for make believe and I know what it's like to behold and not be held"
Moses Sumney is back for his third appearance in the playlist. According to both Phoebe and Vera, he can visit any time. I don't disagree. And just like last month, it's a nice thing to end the playlist with the best video.
For your listening pleasure, there's also a giant list with all the songs from all 15 months. Check out the ItD,O All Time Playlist.
If you're interested, email updates with new content (including a link to a new music playlist) are sent out once a month. Info is never shared.