On the American side of the pond, The Proclaimers would widely be considered to be a one-hit-wonder after their catchy tune “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” peaked at number three on the charts in 1993 after being featured in the movie Benny and Joon. But the band that mostly consists of bespectacled twins Craig and Charlie Reid have been around since 1983 and sold over five million records worldwide. One-hit wonders they are not.
On March 29, 1973, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show made it on the cover of Rolling Stone. The song “The Cover of the Rolling Stone” had been released four months earlier, in November 1972. The buzz created from the song – which had reached #6 on the charts that same month – would lead to this little bar band from New Jersey being featured in the fledgling magazine, itself only five years old at the time.
Technically speaking, though, the band itself still hasn’t been on the cover of the Rolling Stone. The magazine cover only showed a caricature of the band, with the headline “What’s-Their-Names Made The Cover.” The band name was not even mentioned. I guess the joke was on them.
Recorded in a remote cabin studio set in the San Isabel National Forest in Buena Vista, Colorado, San Isabel, the third full-length record from Austin-based duo Jamestown Revival has them taking full advantage of the buzz that is being created with the upcoming music documentary Echo in the Canyon set to be released in September. The documentary, much like the band itself, evokes the essence of the Laurel Canyon artist enclave just North of L.A.’s Sunset Strip along with the spirit of Crosby Stills and Nash, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and many others.
There is a strong early Bob Dylan vibe blowin’ in the wind of J.S. Ondara’s debut album Tales of America released earlier this year. The record, a sublime set of stark sometimes melancholy tunes that perfectly frames the boyish vocals and nuanced delivery inherent in Ondara’s voice has earned him a nomination for emerging artist of the year to be presented by the Americana Music Association later in the year.
Growing up in Nairobi, Kenya listening mostly to rock music, Ondara apparently always thought that “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” was a Gun’s ‘N’ Roses song. After he lost a bet to a friend who told him that the song’s true origins, folk music became his passion. And so began his travels down the Dylan rabbit hole that eventually lead him to Minneapolis, in Dylan’s home state, to pursue his career.
Having originally been considered to be the lead-off single when Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water album was released in 1970 (eventually losing out to the title track), the catchy and upbeat “Cecilia” eventually peaked at number 4 on the U.S. charts. Interestingly enough, the song also resonated quite well across the pond as it peaked at number 5 on the U.K. charts whereas the title track “Bridge Over Troubled Water” never cracked the top 75 there.
Over the years, it has been pretty firmly established that the song is not paying tribute to a specific musical muse named Cecilia. It is more likely that the reference is to Saint Cecilia the patron saint of musicians in the Catholic church. At the time “Cecilia” was released, it was fairly well established that the personal relationship between Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel was in serious turmoil and this was the last S&G before the initial breakup.
When a song appears on one of the most iconic albums of all time, Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A., and has to compete with “Dancing in the Dark,” “Glory Days” the title track, and “My Hometown,” a song like “I’m On Fire” can easily get lost in the musical shuffle. After all, the song was a bit of a throw-in to begin with, having been written two years prior and originally intended for 1982’s Nebraska.