One of the habits I’ve let fall by the wayside, over the last couple of years, is my quest for new music. To find new artists and songs that resonate and mean something — that just plain work for me — takes time and effort. If you have an eclectic taste that wanders over many genres and styles, it takes even more time and effort.
Just like so many other areas of life, it is far too easy to let that musical search slide and live instead inside your own status quo. It is especially easy when you already have an extensive library. “Who needs new stuff,” it is too easy to ask, “when you already have so much that works?”
There are a lot of ways to find new music. None of them, unfortunately, is quick, easy or certain. Recommendations from friends is perhaps the most reliable method, but even that has a batting average that would make most major leaguers fear for their job. It also can lead to its own musical/cultural cul-de-sac…
One of my old stand-by’s, then, has been a podcast from NPR called “All Songs Considered.” Oh, the odds of finding there something that makes my regular musical rotation are pretty damned slender, but it has proven over the years still to be a good way to expose myself to songs from styles and artists I would never otherwise hear.
To put that in context, I am not one for rap, country, or gospel. But, thanks to that program, I have found artists and songs in each of those genres that have touched me, and earned a place on my personal playlist. I am not, I will reiterate, a fan of country music…but Trampled By Turtles is an awesome band, and I would never have so much as heard of them without the podcast.
At any rate, that long-winded introduction is there merely to set the stage for a different kind of post. I’m not writing a post about writing, or the world. I’m not even writing one based on random drunk ranting. No, instead I’m doing this post solely to call out a couple of new songs that just plain work for me…and to provide a bit of insight into how I hunt for new music.*
*Recommendations are always welcome, by the way. I will give a listen to anything you folks want to share or steer me towards.
Okay, so…in the preceding paragraphs, I harped on the fact that I am not a fan of country music. I did that to set up one particular song. Steve Earle is the very definition of a country artist. His music has been covered by some huge names, across a number of genres, but at the core of it he is a full-on Dukes of Hazzard, deep south, country guy. But…well…some things transcend boundaries.
His son — also a musician — died this past summer. J.T. Earle died from those twin demons that haunt so many artists: drugs and alcohol. I can just barely grasp the love and courage — the sheer strength — it took to do this, but Steve went through his son’s music and recorded an album of them. That album — named J.T., for his son — will officially release on Monday. Listen to the song below, then, and go give the entire album a try when you can. Even if the style or sound isn’t to your taste, the emotion and strength behind it have meaning to everyone:
The second song is one I found through a different source entirely. It is still however a new one, released as part of an EP just a couple of weeks ago. This song (and artist) is far more in my “normal” vein of music, but…well…I still had to get lucky to stumble across it.
For someone who writes often about the loss of youth and innocence, the entire freaking EP just plain connects with me. Don’t look at the text on the video I linked below, by the way. Just listen to the music. The voice should be familiar to you.
And, well, because I am — behind the scenes — a serious foodie and cook, I just have to make this a three-course meal.
I’m, err, gonna go ahead and violate everything I talked about above. Wandering pretty damned far from the planned path has pretty much defined my life so far, so why change now? This is an older song, but from an artist that has been firmly in my library for a very long time. It also happens to offer an outlook and tone that pretty much defined my younger years…
Err…so like all true French chefs, you have to make that a four-course meal. Hey, everyone deserves a dessert, right? Right?!
Even older, this song. Not much to it, other than the fact that you just never hear it anymore. Well, that and the oh-so-young memories I have that go along with it. C’mon, it’s freaking dessert — it’s not supposed to be good for you!