As we make our way towards Tennessee, we might as well hop aboard the train for a restive journey.
The Andrews Sisters were LaVerne contralto, soprano Maxene and mezzo-soprano Patricia "Patty" They have sold an estimated 80 million records & they became the most popular female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century.
They had 113 charted Billboard hits, 46 reaching Top 10 status (more than Elvis Presley or The Beatles). They also starred in 17 Hollywood films (more than any other singing group in motion picture history).
All 3 of the girls have long since departed. LaVerne died in 1967 at the age of 55 after a year-long bout with cancer. Maxene suffered a heart attack and died at Cape Cod Hospital on October 21, 1995,she was 79. Patty died at the age of 94 in 2013.
The 1st version of this song came out in May 1941 by The Glen Miller Orchestra, but The Andrews Sisters followed up with this one in December of the same year, they seem to have not released it as a single.
Willis Alan Ramsey is an American singer/songwriter, a cult legend among fans of Americana and Texas country. He is a cult legend because for years he refused to record a 2nd album. When asked where the new album is, he often responded, "What's wrong with the first one?" Finally, finally, finally after 40 years, he relented & did a 2nd album.
This album came out in 1972, it was released on Leon Russells’ Shelter records. Leon plays piano & is joined but other such great musicians as Carl Radle, Jim Keltner, Red Rhodes, Leland Sklar, and Russ Kunkel.
I still have this one on vinyl, still play it often & still love the thing.
After a brief hiatus, we get back on the road & land in Utah today.
This song comes from Harry’s 5th studio album released in 1970. called Nilsson Sings Newman, with the Newman being Randy. This album for some reason did not even chart on the top 200 of the albums chart.
It appears as though Harry & Randy were the only 2 artists to play & sing on the album. On August 20, 1969, the two artists began to record what would become Nilsson Sings Newman. After basic tracks were laid down, Harry spent six weeks overdubbing his voice to create layers and harmonies, line by line. As many as 118 overdubs were laid down for a single song.
Harry was just 52 when he passed away, dying of heart failure on January 15, 1994, in his Agoura Hills, California home. During his lifetime he won 2 Grammys & was nominated for 3 others.
Sometimes it is difficult to find any info on an artist even in the days of almost anything being available on the internet. Carol Abair seems to be one of those folks.
It appears as though she is from a long line of Vermont natives & that she wrote this song & that it comes from her 2000 album called Close To Home & that it was also the 1st of just 2 albums from her with the 2nd one not happening until 2008.
It is a nice mellow visit to Vermont from the native,singer/songwriter. And, for me, it is always nice to find someone new to listen to.
These folks were an English rock band formed in 1970 & led by lead singer and main songwriter Bryan Ferry —and bass guitarist Graham Simpson. Even though Graham Simpson was a founding member of the band, he had departed before the album & single were recorded. Rick Kenton joined & plays bass here.
The song was not included on the band's original UK debut album, Roxy Music, having not even been recorded when the album was released. After the success of the album in the UK, it was included on later re-issues.
Bryan Ferry took the title "Virginia Plain" from one of his own paintings, featuring an image of cigarette packaging - "Virginia Plain" is a variety of cigarette tobacco.
In 2019, Roxy Music were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It seems as though most of the songs about Washington state revolve around Seattle in one way or another & this one is no exception. I suspect many have seen videos of this bridge before, but it is still a bit scary to think of.
This band was also from Seattle, they were formed there in 1981 & seem to still be active even releasing a new album as late as 2020. They are another new group to me.
This song comes from their 3rd album called The Men Who Loved Music, released in 1987. Evidently the band had quite the sense of humor. The album included a song called "Beer Money" which they offered to retitle as "Pepsi-Cola Money" if Michael Jackson’s corporate sponsor will, well, bribe them.
Today we make a pit stop in West Virginia & listen to perhaps the most famous song about the state. Everyone has heard John Denver’s version, so I’ll try another. We at least stay in the John family, but Olivia takes us on the trip.
Olivia is a four-time Grammy Award winner with 5 US number ones and another 10 Top Tens on Billboard's Hot 100, and two Billboard 200 number-one albums: If You Love Me, Let Me Know (1974) and Have You Never Been Mellow (1975). Eleven of her singles (including two Platinum) and 14 of her albums (including two Platinum and four 2× Platinum) have been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). She has sold an estimated 120 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
This song comes from her 3rd album called Let Me Be There, released in 1973. The album’s title song was her 1st top 10 hit single and it also won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocalist. The album got to #54 on the Billboard top 200, but it went all the way to #1 on the Country chart.
Evidently the song was released as a single, but it did not hit the pop charts.
This is a song written by Lee Fykes and originally recorded as a duet in 1968 by George Jones and Brenda Carter. The single, was a hit, reaching #13 on the Billboard country singles chart.
John Prine did it as a duet with Melba Montgomery on his 1999 album, In Spite Of Ourselves. It was his 13th studio album & was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. He didn’t win that one, but did win 4 other Grammy awards out of 13 total nominations.
He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019.
John died on April 7, 2020, of complications caused by COVID-19 at the age of 73
Raining Jane is an all female rock band out of LA. They began by playing small clubs in & around LA & then they became more prominent on the college circuit when they opened some shows for Sara Barielles. It was at one of these shows in 2006 where they met Jason Mraz. They went on to write several songs together including Love Someone & A Beautiful Mess. Over they years they have co written 11 songs with Jason.
This song comes from their 2nd album called Diamond Lane released in 2005. The album was produced by Mark Johnson who has also produced for Jackson Browne.
They are another new discovery for me, but I really like them a lot & will be looking for more of their music.
John Hartford is probably best remembered for the song Gentle On My Mind. In the end, the song will win 4 Grammy Awards. John won the award for Best Folk Performance and Best Country & Western Song (Songwriter). The other two awards Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance, Male and Best Country & Western Recording, went to Glen Campbell for his version of the song.
But, as can be heard on this song, he was an incredible musician. He played multiple instruments including guitar, fiddle & banjo. The song comes from his 5th album, Gentle On My Mind and Other Originals, released in 1968. Billboard praised the album, calling John one of the era's "great songwriters.
John had non-Hodgkin lymphoma & died of the disease at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, on June 4, 2001, at age 63.
The Wild Feathers are an American country rock band formed in 2010 in Nashville. They began touring in 2013, playing hundreds of show with acts like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and ZZ Ward. They have referenced Tom Petty, The Eagles, and Otis Redding as inspirations.
I don’t seem to be able to definitively pin point which album this song comes from. But, the song is from 2019, so that leads me to believe it comes from Greetings From The Neon Frontier released in 2018.
I was able to find out the song was written by Casey Beatherd & Eric Church.
Regardless, this is some really good music. It would be good listening for the road trip they are singing about.
JJ Grey & Mofro is an American Southern soul-rock band from Jacksonville, Florida. They released their 1st album in 2001, but the band was involved in a car wreck that sidelined many of them & delayed the next release until 2004.
Ya never know where the break will come from, two of the guys actually worked together for an air conditioner company & built a relationship around music.
This was the title song from their 5th released in 2010. Their music has been described as a combination of blues, funk, soul, and rock. This one seems to lean towards the blues side with some nice harmonica & slide guitar. They also have a bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd in their sound.
They are yet another new discovery for me, & I know I tend to say this a lot, but I really like them. Listened to a lot of their music & haven’t found anything disagreeable.
You might recall this band as a 1 Hit Wonder with their big hit single Dancing In The Moonlight from late 1972. But, they did indeed record other stuff.
They were a French/American rock band as can be seen from their history.
The original four members first formed the group in 1969 in Ithaca, New York, where all four - Dave "Doc" Robinson (lead vocals/bass/keyboards), Ron Altbach (keyboards), Ed Tuleja (guitar), and Rod Novak (saxophone) - were attending Cornell University. The group broke up for the first time in 1971.
However, one by one, each of the four would migrate to Paris that same year, where they reformed King Harvest, now as expatriates.
Their label would eventually go bankrupt, leaving the band in the lurch. In 1974, they got back together in LA with support from Carl Wilson & Mike Love of The Beach Boys, signed to A&M Records & gave it another go, to no effect. With no follow up success, they dissolved in 1976.
This song comes from an album called The Lost Tapes. The album was recorded in late 1973 but wasn’t released until 2007.
Charlie Musselwhite was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, but the family moved to Memphis when he was just 3. He is an American electric blues harmonica player and bandleader & is rumored to have been the inspiration for Elwood Blues; the character played by Dan Aykroyd in the 1980 film, The Blues Brothers.
He released his 41st album in 2020, but for this particular song we go all the way back to 1967 & his very 1st album called Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band. He took advantage of the clout this album gave him to move to San Francisco, where, instead of being one of many competing blues acts in Chicago, he held court as the king of the blues in the exploding countercultural music scene. He proved to be an exotic and gritty figure to the flower children. He was even able to convince John Lee Hooker to move to California.
He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010. During his lifetime he has been nominated for 13 Grammy’s but won just once. He is a 33-time Blues Music Award Winner.
There are a lot of times where I see group members getting together in high school, but perhaps these guys couldn’t wait. Group members Owen Thomas and Thomas Daugherty met while attending grade school together in Missouri. Most members now reside in Muncie Indiana.
The Elms are rock and roll band known for their blues-based rock. They have been compared to The Black Crowes, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, & The Kinks.
This song comes from The Great American Midrange. It was the fourth and final original full-length album from the band, released in 2009. They broke up on 2010.
"Back to Indiana." had its national premiere during ABC's television coverage of the 93rd Indianapolis 500. The song was also named official theme song of the 2010 Big 10 Men's College Basketball Tournament.
I reckon I was completely out of the loop since I had no idea that Kevin Costner was in a band & making music. But they have been doing so since 2007 & had their 1st world tour in 2008. Yikes! Where have I been?
This song comes from their 1st album called Untold Truths, released in 2008. The album went to #61 on the Country chart, they also released 3 singles but none of them charted at all. They went on to release 4 albums, the last one came out in 2012 & it went to #12.
In 2009, the band and special guests The Alternate Routes went on tour. In August, at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta, Costner and the band were scheduled next on stage when a severe thunderstorm struck, causing the stage and stands on the main stage to collapse. One person was reported dead and forty wounded. Later, an auction was held to raise money for the two young sons of the woman killed. A dinner with Costner was auctioned for $41,000. Two guitars, one autographed by Costner, helped raise another $10,000 each. And still, I was clueless.
Ludo is an alternative rock band from St. Louis, Missouri. The band seems to have been mostly on hiatus since 2012, but plays live shows sporadically, I reckon whenever the mood hits, or the money gets big enough.
The band has released just 3 albums with this song landing on their 2nd one called You’re Awful, I Love You, released in 2008.
Sometimes we listen to stuff because it is so brilliant it needs to be heard. Sometimes we listen because it is a head shaking moment. I have no idea what this song is about & for once it seems I am not alone:
AllMusic writer William Ruhlmann felt that the band's lyricism was considerably "dumbed down" from their previous effort, noting how "Topeka" squanders its beginning by having a lack of direction and continuous repetition of said beginning.
Hey, give it a listen. It’ll start your day off on unsteady footing which can only get better. The album actually got pretty good reviews, but none of the other songs fit with the travelogue theme.
The Hot 8 Brass Band is a New Orleans based group that blends hip-hop, jazz and funk styles with traditional New Orleans brass sounds. It was formed by Bennie Pete, Jerome Jones, and Harry Cook in 1995, by the merging of two earlier bands, the Looney Tunes Brass Band and the High Steppers Brass Band.
The band has certainly seen some bad times & some bad ends to members of the group.
In 1996, seventeen-year-old trumpet player Jacob Johnson was found shot execution-style in his home.
In 2004, trombone player Joseph "Shotgun Joe" Williams was shot dead by police in controversial circumstances.
In 2006, drummer Dinerral "Dick" Shavers was shot and killed while driving with his family.
Despite all the tragedy, the band continues on & continues to play pretty spectacularly.
It’s kind of crazy that during the age of anything being available on the internet, I can find nothing about these folks. They have no pages on Wikipedia, no facebook fan pages, & even no names of the folks in the band that I can find.
If you do a google search, it takes you to an album called Sister Lovers by the band Big Star, or an R&B group from the late 60’s called Sisters Love that was formed by a few members of The Raelettes.
The only thing I can find is that someone in the comments under the video claims the band is from Syracuse NY.
So your guess is as good as mine. It isn’t a bad song & claims to have been issued on a self produced & self titled EP from 2007.
Erica Wheeler is an American folk singer-songwriter. She was born in Maryland but now lives in western Massachusetts. She grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., listening to traditional folk and bluegrass music from Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.
This song comes from her 2nd album called The Harvest, released in 1996. She released her latest album back in 2008 & now she is on a different course.
Today, she combines her background in natural and cultural history and her experience in the performing arts to offer inspiring and educational programs that deeply connect people and place. She runs the Sense of Place Consulting working with parks, museums, heritage sites, and conservation organizations as a visitor experience specialist and professional development trainer, with her background as a songwriter and performing artist to offer a unique, proven process for finding and developing stories sourced in a sense of place.
Since we are making a daily road trip through the states, it is nice to hear a song that speaks of road tripping with family. I suspect we have all had experiences like this at one time or another.
Steely Dan is an American rock band founded in 1971 by core members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. Initially the band had a core lineup, but in 1974, Becker and Fagen retired the band from live performances altogether to become a studio-only band, opting to record with a revolving cast of session musicians. Rolling Stone has called them "the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies, and on that decision, the other regulars departed for greener pastures. Becker & Fagen were getting the royalties from writing the songs, the others were living off of live shows & touring…no tour, no money.
This song comes from their 2nd album Countdown to Ecstasy released in 1973 it was not as commercially successful as their first album. Becker and Fagen were unhappy with some of the performances on the record and believed that it sold poorly because it had been recorded hastily on tour. But, the reviews were all positive with many placing the album in the 5* category.
It was the 1st album to feature Donald Fagen on vocals, due to the departure of vocalist David Palmer. Personally, I really like the album.
Founding member Walter Becker died on September 3, 2017.
Air Traffic Controller is an indie pop band that started in Boston, Massachusetts. The group took their name because the lead singer, singer/songwriter Dave Munro, had previously served in the United States Navy as an air traffic controller.
The band has been nominated for 5 Independent Music Awards & won 4 of them including Best Alt. album & Best Alt. song.
They have released 4 albums between 2009 & 2017 but it seems to be almost impossible to determine if this song was included on one of them or not. If not, it should have been. When they get wound up, they get it all going on. Good stuff! And another new one for me.
I hear a lot of folks complaining & saying new music sucks, I suggest that isn't always the case & these folks prove it.
I have never heard of Bill Janovitz but he is an American musician and writer. He was also the singer, guitarist, and songwriter of alternative rock band called Buffalo Tom, a band I have also never heard of.
As a author he has written the Exile on Main St. book for the 33⅓ series, and contributed to Boston Magazine, the Boston Phoenix, and Post Road magazine. And in August 2020 he started work on his third book, an authorized biography of LEON RUSSELL: Master of Space and Time.
He seems to always have more than one iron in the fire. In 2011 Bill, along with Graham Parker and Kate Pierson, sang on the album Lost Songs Of Lennon & McCartney - From A Window, featuring covers of Lennon–McCartney songs that were originally recorded by artists other than the Beatles.
Since the end of Buffalo Tom's career in the late 90s, he developed a parallel career as a real-estate agent, based in Lexington, Massachusetts, with a particular interest in the city's mid-century modernist homes.
This song comes from his 2nd solo album called Up Here released in 2001. He has a bit of the Bruce Springsteen sound going on.
When Carrie 1st began her career after winning Season 4 of American Idol, her 1st touring sets were as an opener for Brad Paisley. The two have since gone on to become great friends & they co – hosted the CMA Awards for many years.
As the song says, “they get together every time they can”. They even get together when they can’t actually be together, like in this video.
Louisiana Woman Mississippi Man by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley
I figure the best way to celebrate the holiday is with a visit to Montana & a performance by that all American guitar guru Frank Zappa.
During his lifetime Frank released 62 separate albums with many of them being double albums. After he departed this earth his family trust has released 56 more with many of those being 3 or even 4 album live sets & evidently there is still enough unreleased music in the vaults to keep the music flowing for years to come.
This song comes from his 1973 album Over-Nite Sensation, (his 17th). The studio version included backing vocals by Tina Turner & The Ikettes. Just to show how big an ass Ike was, he insisted that Frank pay the ladies no more than $25 per song. Frank ignored it & they were paid by the hour. Then Ike hated the music & refused to let the ladies be credited on the album.
This live version shows just how incredible he & his band were.
One of my regrets on the musical front was never seeing Frank perform live. RIP Frank, you are missed.