Back Road Bound’s Favorite Songs in 2015 (Pt. 02)

The Second part of my annual music roundup.

Listen here:

 

Jack White : Did You Hear John Hurt? (from Another Day, Another Time)

The Avett Brothers : That’s How I Got To Memphis (from Another Day, Another Time)

 

Another Day Another Time Cover Jpeg

Danny Schmidt : Cries Of Shadows (from Owls)

Danny Schmidt Owls Cover JpegEliza Gilkyson : Peace Call (from Land Of Milk & Honey)

Eliza Gilkyson Land Of Milk And Honey Cover Jpeg

Bruce Cockburn : Pacing The Cage (from Slice O Life)

Bruce Cockburn Slice O Life Cover Jpeg

The Honey Dewdrops : Loneliest Songs (from Tangled Country)

The Honey Dewdrops Tangled Country album cover jpegEric Bibb : Sittin’ In A Hotel Room (from Deeper In The Well)

Eric Bibb Deeper in The Well Cover Jpeg

Joan Shelley : No More Shelter (from Over And Even)

Joan Shelley Over And Even Cover Jpeg

Son Volt : True To Life (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96) (from Trace)

Son Volt Trace Cover JpegDonovan : Epistle To Derroll (from A Gift From A Flower To A Garden)

Donovan A Gift From A Flower Cover JpegDar Williams : If I Wrote You (from Many Great Companions)

Dar Williams Many Great Companions Cover JpegBill Morrissey & Greg Brown : Fishing With Bill (from Friend Of Mine)

Bill Morrissey And Greg Brown Friend Of Mine cover Jpeg

The Cowboy Junkies : Misguided Angel (from The Trinity Sessions)

Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions Cover Jpeg

 

Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer : Way Over Yonder in The Minor Key (from Little Blue Egg)

Dave Carter & Trace Grammer Little Blue Egg Cover Jpeg

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Bruce Cockburn : Pacing The Cage

Finally bought Bruce Cockburn’s (read my review of his excellent album Nothing But A Burning Light here)  solo live album Slice O Life and Pacing The Cage is (so far) my favorite song from that album. Here he can be heard at his melodic and lyrical best, it’s a wonderful song. The video (if I am not mistaken) is taken from the documentary film about this tour.

Bruce Cockburn : Nothing But A Burning Light

Bruce Cockburn Nothing But A Burning Light album cover When Nothing But A Burning Light was released, way back in 1991, I liked the music I was listening to have a bit more punch and drive, so I didn’t give him and his music the attention it definitely deserves. Having left the ‚Rock’ period more or less behind the past few years, I can see now that he is an amazing guitarist, an extraordinarily gifted songwriter and politically on the ‘right’ side, which for me is the left. He’s long been active and supportive of humanitarian and ecological causes, as well as a supporter of Native American causes (he was, for a time in the 1960’s, a member of Abundance To Revolution with Duke Redbird, whose song Silver River (with Shingoose) can be heard on Native North America Vol. 1 (read my review here). Which neatly brings me to one of the standout tracks of this record, Indian Wars. Fittingly, it’s a somber, sparsely produced song with only him on acoustic guitar/vocals and Jackson Browne on a resonator guitar together with violin/mandolin player extraordinaire Mark O’Connor. The result is a dignified, slow and gorgeous songs with touching, poetic lyrics such as this: ‘treaties get signed and the papers change hands but they might as well draft these agreements on sand’. O’Connor’s contributions can’t be praised enough, on here, as well as on One Of The Best Ones, his graceful violin/mandolin accompaniments are simply wonderful. Also exceedingly excellent is Child of the Wind – a song with  a title like this could be very much kitsch in lesser hands, but on here it’s utterly beautiful (this time with Cockburn on a resonator guitar, having one of those played on a song is always a plus). Speaking of arrangements, the album is produced by probably the best man for this kind of music, T Bone Burnett. Burnett contributed his skills to many of my favorite records such as Counting Crows’ August and Everything After, as well as albums by The Wallflowers, Jakob Dylan and Gillian Welch (just to name a few). In the recent past he’s become legendary of course with his musical directions for The Coen Brothers’ O Brother Where Art Thou?’ and Inside Llewyn Davis. On here you hear a sound which is, for that time period, outstandingly good, a bit thinner than nowadays maybe, but there’s mainly acoustic instruments and the sound is both rustic and naturalistic – just as I like it. There’s also two lovely instrumental songs, one, Actions Speak Louder is the theme to a documentary called The Greenpeace Years. The slightly too commercial for my taste Great Big Love most probably was intended as a hit single (the album was released on Columbia Records after all), but for me is the least convincing song on the album. Album opener A Dream Like Mine which sounds similarly catchy (it’s one of the few slightly more uptempo songs) fares much better in comparison. Second track Kit Carson and Mighty Trucks Of Midnight sound exactly like the titles suggest, breathing the spirit of empty North American trails and highways, with the latter touching on problematic issues such as US American companies leaving the country to do their manufacturing down in Mexico. Soul Of A Man, a song by Blind Willie Johnson sounds exactly like you would expect it to (which is a good thing, naturally). Somebody Touched Me in contrast, sounds light and airy with a rather nice organ by Booker T. Jones. I’ve just been rediscovering this CD among my records a few days ago, I didn’t even know anymore I had it. I am very glad I did, it’s an amazing record by an artist at the prime of his career, with a producer on board that knows exactly how to produce this kind of music, a match made in heaven. And, most importantly, a bunch of great songs. Here’s a rather beautiful video/slideshow to ‘ Indian Wars’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t1a5DLmR8U