The great thing about shows at the Greene Space is that many of them are broadcast live on WNYC and then archived at the station’s site, where you can find this particular one. That’s right, you don’t have to take our word for it, go right to WNYC and hear the amazing little set Rosanne Cash played this afternoon on Soundcheck with John Schaefer. She has a new album coming out titled The List, based on a hundred-song list her dad gave her when she was eighteen. “This was a guy who listened to everything, metal included,” Johnny Cash’s daughter took care to point out, but her dad’s compilation was basically Americana, a “musical genealogy,” she explained, a not-so-subtle hint for a teenager who up to that point had gravitated closer to the Beatles than to classic country. She’s done plenty of covers, but this will be her first all-covers album – and since there’ll still be ninety or so more songs on her dad’s list that she won’t have on this cd, a second volume seems likely as well.
Backed by a five-piece, electric two-guitar band who played the songs with unabashed relish, Cash soared wounded and sultry over her husband John Leventhal’s smartly counterintuitive countrypolitan arrangements. In the studio, she’s finely nuanced – live, there are few others (Jenifer Jackson is one) who can find so much emotional subtlety yet still pack such a wallop – if she’s been injured, you can tell from just a minute inflection of her voice where she’s been hit and what caliber the shell was. Yet her stage presence is casual and amusing, not bad for someone carrying a legacy that would crush plenty of other artists (in addition to her own: Black Cadillac is every bit as good as anything her dad ever did)
The Hank Snow standard Movin’ On swung casually but incisively, as did Jimmie Rodgers’ Miss the Mississippi. Sea of Heartbreak (a duet with Bruce Springsteen on the album) was understated in the tradition of the 1961 Don Gibson original. They wrapped up the set with Long Black Veil, Cash not bothering to change the lyrics to fit traditional gender roles – when she got to the end of the chorus, “nobody knows,” the intensity was something considerably beyond wrenching.
You can hear the complete show at WNYC, including some commentary by Bebel Gilberto (who has a new album out as well) and NPR critic Tom Moon – who seems to be a decently aware classical/jazz guy whose knowledge of rock ends right about 1976, the end of the boomer era – about music as a legacy for future generations.
We’ve been doing this every Tuesday – to cut down on the workload here while we attend to some infrastructure things, we meant to suspend the feature for awhile. Before we do, here’s this week’s top ten. As always, you’ll see this week’s #1 song on our 100 Best Songs of 2009 list at the end of December, along with maybe some of the rest of these too. This is strictly for fun – it’s Lucid Culture’s tribute to Kasey Kasem and a way to spread the word about some of the great music out there that’s too edgy for the corporate media and their imitators in the blogosphere. Every link here will take you to each individual song.
1. Bobby Vacant & the Weary – Never Looking Back
So far this is the best single song we’ve heard this year, a defiant look back on a checkered past. Suits us just fine. From the new cd.
We’re late in picking up on this snide classic by the Canadian powerpop rocker. He’s at Union Hall on 10/15.
3. Karine Poghosyan with the Kokolo String Ensemble - Haydn F Maj. Piano Concerto
The fiery pianist with an equally inspired chamber orchestra behind her.
4. Sarah Lov – Tell Me How
“It is all I ever feel, like nothing good is ever real,” she laments over a catchy Aimee Mann-esque midtempo anthem. She’s at Union Hall on 10/16 at 8.
5. Izzy and the Kesstronics – Hanging Death Waves
Izzy from Uncle Fucker on guitar plus a sax and rhythm section playing weird funny surf/garage/roots stuff. They’re at Beauty Bar in Bushwick on 9/27 at 9ish.
6. String Driven Thing – Suicide
Every now and then we run across a classic like this. This is from a reunion concert by the 70s art-rock cult favorites sometime in the 90s, a bitter, somewhat brutal graveside scene for a dead rocker:
The T in contract
The I in empire
The M in muzak
The E in Ex-Lax
The S in suicide
7. Erin Hill – Girl Inventor
Classical harpist who sounds absolutely nothing like Joanna Newsom playing psychedelic pop. More like Kate Bush actually.
8. The MK Groove Orchestra – MCP
Woozy, inventive groove-driven big band jazz. They’re at Spikehill on 9/26 at 10.
Danceable Japanese noise-rock with a real screamer on vocals, cool stuff.
10. Don’t Give Small Money Chance Brass Band – It Is Raining
Brooklyn big band playing horn music from Ghana! Pretty wild.
Every day for the next few days, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown will get one step closer to #1. Then we’ll put up a whole bunch of them at once and keep you in suspense until we return with regular daily listings, review and so forth around the middle of October. For now, Wednesday’s song is #308:
Pink Floyd – Dogs
Not only one of the great stoner songs of alltime but a characteristically magnificent, towering, practically sidelong antiwar epic. “Dragged down by the stone, stone, stone…” ad infinitum. Go ahead and download the 1977 Animals album somewhere if you haven’t already; if you want to hear it first, it’s on youtube in two sections here and then here.