There are few combinations in rock music better than Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Much to Pete’s chagrin at times, Roger is often the better singer of his songs. There is something about this pairing which is both powerful and remarkable at the same time. You have one of the most thoughtful songwriters in rock & roll music history combined with probably the most potent lead singer. The creative tension is sometimes palpable and there is a sense that these two make each other better whether they like it or not. It is sometimes awe inspiring how Roger can give voice to Pete’s songs. Continue reading
The Pretenders are a great band. They have a wonderful catalogue of music spanning many decades. I’ve always felt that Chrissie Hynde is underrated as a songwriter. She is a very talented artist who explores all aspects of life and relationships. Her songs are very good at making you “feel” something. In addition, very few bands can match their versatility. Whether it’s a ballad that touches your soul, the title track of a film score, a remake of a classic hit that improves with her interpretation, a straight ahead fun rock & roll song or a harder edged piece that reflects the more primal side of human nature, she puts her heart and soul into the art form and it shows. Continue reading
I must admit to not being all that familiar with the Grateful Dead when I was younger. It just didn’t seem to be my scene. However, as I’ve aged I’ve grown an appreciation for their music and overall vibe. There is something to be said for not bowing to convention and living your life the way you want to regardless of what others may think. It may have been a “long strange trip” for all those involved but there is a definite poetry and sense of contentedness to their songs. The connection between the band and their supporters is about as strong as I’ve ever seen. So strong in fact, that the line between artist and fan seems blurry at best. They almost operated as one unit with Jerry Garcia serving in the role of Zen Master. Continue reading
Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile has one of the most distinctive voices in music. His heartfelt approach to songwriting and singing is something special to behold. He is also a notorious perfectionist sometimes taking as long as 7 years to complete an album. His bandmates, Robert Bell and Paul Joseph Moore share his convictions about their craftsmanship. It feels like every single note is carefully thought out and played to perfection. They also never feel the need to show off or dazzle you with their abilities, but rather keep it simple, beautiful and melodic. It’s clear that as they age and grow musically they’ve come to appreciate the concept that less is more. When I first heard the band in the early 1980s it was like nothing I had heard before. Their debut album, A Walk Across The Rooftops, challenged conventional music at the time and still do this day makes me wonder how they put some of the songs together. Continue reading
There is a rare breed of songwriter who arrives at a certain point and time and he/she runs off a string of hits which is hard to imagine. They get the timing just right. Five For Fighting is such a band and what’s even more impressive is the content and thought behind the songs. These aren’t formulaic pop compositions with unremarkable lyrics. They also aren’t mostly computer generated tunes that simply replicate different versions of the same beat or riff. John Ondrasik is a serious songwriter with great talent who has something important he wants to say. His wisdom seems to be way beyond his years, but all good composers have that air about them. Continue reading
I have always had a soft spot for R&B and soul music from the late 60s and 70s. Some of the best songs of the last 50 years were written and sung by artists from that period and genre. There was real emotion and inspiration running through the music. Whether it was simple love songs or deeper social content, the songs were well crafted and the harmonies and melodies sublime. There were also very few computers and limited editing equipment to make up for a lack of ability. As a result, true talent rose to the surface. I can still remember waiting impatiently for Soul Train to come on and listen to some of my favorite bands and singers. Continue reading
was never much into the Goth music scene, but did appreciate some of the bands who came out of it. Bauhaus was one of those bands. The lead singer, Peter Murphy went solo in 1983 and his second album called Love Hysteria still holds up pretty well. There is not one weak song in the mix and the production was pretty impressive for that time. He has released a number of CDs since then and occasionally reunites with Bauhaus and tours with Nine Inch Nails. All of these artistic eforts have been thoughtful albeit sometimes esoteric musical journeys for the artist and his fans.