Category Archives: Masterpieces
I enjoyed this song when I heard Jeff Bridges sing it. I fell in love with it when I heard Ryan Bingham, who wrote it, sing it.
Technically, I could have chosen *any* song from the Tom Joad album, but this one has always meant a lot to me. Bruce at his best: a simple guitar picking pattern, great dynamics in his voice, an evocative, graphic writing style. It’s a movie that unfolds in front of our eyes.
Maybe you discovered this song through Bonnie Raitt’s version. Or maybe you heard John Prine sing it first.
Either way, it’s a great song, and this video shows Prine explaining where that song comes from.
Featuring two of my guitar players, namely Sonny Landreth and Mark Knopfler, this live rendition of the song Cannibals is further enhance by a stunningly tight and proficient band.
JJ Cale has made more money writing songs covered by other artists such as Eric Clapton and Lynyrd Skynyrd than anything else he ever did. As a guitar player, you gotta love his use of, if I may say so, crappy guitars that still get his music across. Goes to show: it’s in the fingers, not the gear.
Man, we need more artists like JJ Cale!
Anyway, here’s Magnolia:
John Hiatt is one of those songwriters whose songs are popular to casual music fans because of other, famous artists recording them, but whose name is still not as well-known as it should be.
Fittingly enough, I discovered this song through a Buddy Guy recording, from the “Damn right I have the blues” album.
That opening riff is a thing of beauty, and the mood is perfectly set by both the lyrics and the chord progression.
Just because I love him so much, here’s Buddy Guy’s version. Oh yeah, and it’s the wonderful Bonnie Raitt on slide and vocals:
This is the song that got me hooked on the Avett Brothers. That opening devastated me.
“If I get murdered in the city / don’t go revenging in my name.”
Who writes lyrics like that, anymore? I guess they do. Just a stunning and touching song, reminding us of the beauty inherent to the family bonds that sometimes disappear for no known reasons – hello, my estranged brother to whom I haven’t spoken in over 20 years…
Iris Dement is a true treasure. She writes beautiful songs, has a unique and extremely evocative voice and is a great duet partner as exemplified by her work with John Prine, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Emmylou Harris, etc…
This song, Our Town, is plaintive and sad, yet tells a story through the eyes of a person struck wit loss and an overall belief that all good things come to an end.
In this video, we are also treated to the fine dobro playing of Jerry Douglas, maybe the best exponent of that instrument of all times.
This song means a lot to me for many reasons. First, it was written by Townes. In a dream. He dreamt that he was a songwriter/folk singer one night, and that’s the song he wrote in his dream.
Secondly, it’s a song I play live, but only with my good buddy Mark, who sings harmony with me on it. He does it so beautifully, it’s a gift he gives me every time we do it.
And just because I love this version of the song by Emmylou Harris & Steve Earle, here it is:
That entire album was a gem, and to this day it remains one of the albums I’ve listened to the most.
This song is a melting pot of sounds, rhythm signatures and riffs, yet it’s unified by gorgeous and evocative lyrics.