For a certain ilk of artist, boutique destination music festivals in Mexico have become a recent mainstay of the January/February touring cycle (or lack thereof — who wouldn’t want to scuttle off to Mexico for a lost weekend rather than tour in the depths of winter?). Acts like Wilco, Brandi Carlile and an array of others in the indie/jam/rock firmament have been parading down south of the border to the all-inclusive resorts of Riviera Maya. Though Dead & Co.’s plans were thwarted this winter by the Omicron variant in the final hour, many other acts were still able to perform without snafus or health scares. Atop the heap of performers who made their way successfully to Riviera Maya, Mexico this February were My Morning Jacket, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, and Phish.
In Pick Five, great artists tell us about five cover songs that matter to them.
Plenty of musicians write songs about politics. Fewer write songs about economics. But that’s the subject of all ten tracks on British singer-songwriter David Ford’s new album Animal Spirits, out Friday.
If an album about markets and trickle-down theory sounds kind of, well, dry – it isn’t. At all. Like all of his albums, Animal Spirits is brilliant: bluesy barn-stormers mixed with a few wedding-worthy love songs. Check out the title track:
Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.
Sons of Bill hails from Charlottesville, Virginia. The band was formed by brothers James, Sam, and Abe Wilson, whose father Bill is a professor of theology and Southern literature at the University of Virginia. The lineup, filled out by Seth Green and Todd Wellons, has honed their sound across four albums. Their latest, Love and Logic, is a huge step forward in the band’s literary and thoughtful brand of Southern rock. Ken Coomer, of Uncle Tupelo and Wilco, produced the record, saying it “takes [him] back to some of the creative heights” he found with the latter band. That’s high praise indeed, but Sons of Bill deserves it. They’ve toured the States and Europe relentlessly, working hard to win fans over one at a time both with their original music and with a selection of covers. The songs they choose reflect their wide range of influences. Here’s some of their best cover work.
Iron & Wine have already released a cover of George Michael’s “One More Try” for Two Sides of George, their limited edition 7” as part of Suicide Squeeze’s singles series. The recently released B-side is “Trouble” by Little Feat (written by Lowell George, in case you were wondering how the George part played in). Pre-order of the 7” is already sold out.
The story of the modern Veterans Day begins in 1953 at a Kansas shoe store. Up until then, every November 11th Americans celebrated Armistice Day, a holiday commemorating the signing of the treaty that ended World War I. By the 1950s though, with a second World War come and gone, folks were less keen on remembering a peace that – oh yeah – didn’t work so well.
Enter Alfred King. The shoe salesman in Emporia, Kansas (2000 Census population: 26,760) had a son fight in World War II and decided that veterans, who didn’t die (after all, they had Memorial Day), deserved celebrating more than a failed treaty. He campaigned tirelessly to change the holiday, starting at home; in 1953, Emporia became the first town in America to celebrate Veterans Day. The idea caught on and, with help from a local congressman, the issue moved to Washington. On October 8, 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower officially changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day. All thanks to one small-town shoe salesman.
“We may have learned more from Little Feat than any other band.”
So wrote Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio in last night’s Phishbill (pictured above), the program announcing their set in Atlantic City. As they do every year, they surprised the audience with a classic album set. Pre-show speculation suggested they might play Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage or Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but the band surprised everyone by performing a very unsurprising choice: Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus. Little Feat’s 1978 live album included fan favorites from throughout their discography, making it a smart pick to showcase a relatively little-known band (at least compared to previous picks: the Stones, the Beatles, the Who, and Talking Heads).
For a full ninety minutes the quartet jammed through all eighteen cuts. Well, technically seventeen – they played Little Feat’s recording of opening cut “Join the Band” as their walk-on music. Sixteen of those were Phish debuts (they’ve played “Time Love a Hero” before). Check out their runs through “Dixie Chicken,” “Tripe Face Boogie,” and “Rocket in My Pocket” below. Each song features a five-piece horn section, just like original album did. If you like what you hear (you will), download the full set from LivePhish.com.