In the spirit of this blog’s name, today’s post is not a new discovery or a recent release. It’s a song that has been on my mind and in my ear for much of this week, stirring up a bunch of emotions and thoughts, and I just feel like sharing it. Plus, it’s a grey, Friday morning here in Maine at the end of a long-feeling week; a ripe moment for some blues.
I woke up to this song today. It’s my alarm ringtone now, so I’m being reminded daily how much I love it. How much I respond to Gary Clark, Jr.’s simple electrified picking and his plaintive voice. How much I like stripped-down Gary Clark, Jr. and the sparse version of this track versus the polished, produced version on his full-length debut record Blak and Blu (a common refrain among blues ‘purists’ and Gary Clark, Jr. fans and critics alike, but I’m not getting into that now).
Most of all, I respond to the varying moods the melody evokes. It’s just such a soulful, beautiful track. The song pulls me along through the 4+ minute run time; never bored, because Clark is always playing with the syncopation or throwing in a quick, improvised riff, and never once feeling like he’s finished exploring the depths of emotion he can create with his guitar and voice.
Enjoy the weekend, y’all.
Featured Image by Jonathan Mannion
I was pysched to see Mt. Joy show up on the Portland concert calendar. An up-and-coming indie folk-rock group and nearly overnight success story, they were one of my favorite personal discoveries in 2017.
They released their debut album last year (the eponymous Mt. Joy) and it is stacked with hit single-worthy tracks. Hooky and catchy, but without being too pop-py or over-the-top anthemic, the songs feel — above all else — intimate and authentic.
Despite their youth and meteoric rise as a band (from posting three tracks online as unknowns to playing Bonaroo and Newport Folk Festival and releasing a full-length debut – all in under a year), Mt. Joy live sound confident and seasoned. A bit road weary, yes (and anxious to write some new songs to play), but they put on an energetic, heartfelt show with a set that kept the audience’s attention. Lead vocalist Matt Quinn’s distinctive, natural, range-y voice (at a pitch and tone that helps the lyrics stick in your brain) was on full display.
Outside hearing my top songs from their records (Sheep and Silver Lining), my favorite moment from the show was the band’s performance of Julia. The full track is below, but the band took the song to 11 live by adding an interlude cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” It was tight. A really great show by a band that I hope comes back around again.