Sounds Like Texas: The Best of the Lone Star State

We know everything is bigger in Texas, but is the music better? This week, check out reviews of three albums by The Lone Star State’s greatest!

PearlJanis Joplin
Pearl

Listening to Pearl feels a bit heavy, and there’s certainly reason for that: Janis Joplin’s last, the album was recorded near the very end of her life. After succumbing to an overdose at 27, she would never live to see it finished and released. Her tragic ending was a symbol of how she lived: erratically, but remarkably—an incredible voice and presence that belonged to a very troubled woman. Pearl is both a testament to her incredible talent and a hint of what could have been.

One of the album’s greatest strengths is Full Tilt Boogie, the backup band that’s with her through every track. Together with Janis’ big voice, they create a sound that lets her rock, but keeps her refined and smooth. She doesn’t overpower them, nor they her—it’s a harmonious combination. On tracks like “Cry Baby”, Janis is her full, belt-y self, brought down to earth with Full Tilt Boogie’s influence.

This album has an organization to it that other Joplin records lack, and it’s a refreshing and new take on her music. Previous albums like Cheap Thrills have essentially lacked structure; while letting Joplin’s trademark rawness show is great, the extra guidance in these songs lets her shine in a different way. Her intensity is kept in check just enough to let the songs fully develop, but not so much that she never has her big moment. This album has taken an already incredible talent and refined it into something that much more listenable.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Cry Baby”, “Mercedes Benz”

 

370176-largeLos Lonely Boys
Los Lonely Boys

Los Lonely Boys are certainly true to their Texas roots—they call their musical style “Texas Rock n’ Roll”, a fusion of rock, soul, country, blues and Tejano. A group of three brothers, the band is forging those influences into a brand-new and extremely inspired sound. To cement their status as a true Texan band, the group recorded this album at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales recording studio.

At the heart of this album is their incredible music talent and creativity. Rather than making the album hard to follow, the group’s numerous musical influences instead work their way into a track list that is incredible varied and creative, yet cohesive. That variety turns out to be their greatest strength on Los Lonely Boys: “Crazy Dreams” is a masterpiece of guitar riffs, while “Dime Mi Amor” shifts effortlessly into a Latin-rock structure that echoes Carlos Santana.

Variety isn’t these brothers’ only talent, however: this album shines on instrumentals, vocals and songwriting. Rather than sticking to their Texas roots, their talent elevates them to what feels like a new genre: their songs are crafted with incredible nuance; they find a place in both your heart and your mind. Whether it becomes the soundtrack to your summer party or a quiet at-home listening session, this album deserves a place in any music collection.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Crazy Dreams”, “Senorita”

 

67224-largeGeorge Strait
Troubadour

It’s impossible to write a compilation of Texas music without at least one country album, and there is no country star more worthy of such a spot than the King of Country: George Strait. Texan-born, George Strait has released dozens of albums and had dozens of No. 1 hits. Twang is a testament to his signature sound and the solidifying of his status as country’s music supreme ruler.

A true Texas star, Strait’s collection not only contains nary a bad album, but manages to stay true to his Texas sound. After releasing so many albums, Strait still manages to find a new sound on Troubadour. The album finds him looking introspectively, creating a soft, mellow sound that is calm and soothing without ever slipping into melodramatic or depressing. On this album, he certainly sounds like a Troubadour—a singer who has had a long and varied career, but always manages to emerge that much better.

It would be easy to mistake Troubadour’s 12 songs for simple tracks, but his sound and songwriting prove otherwise. He’s enlisted a lot of outside songwriting help here, including Buddy Cannon and Monty Holmes, but the songs weave together into a calming, cohesive collection. Despite the number of people involved, the album keeps its attitude going all the way through: it’s a subdued, intimate album that sounds like the soundtrack to events you’ll want to remember. Strait stays true to his Texas roots for a reason: why mix it up when you do it so well?

Don’t Miss Tracks: “River of Love”, “It Was Me”

 

Shopkeep of the Week

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We know him as “One Dollar Albums“, but it’s time to meet the man behind the username: Jordan!

Back in 2011, Jordan signed up for Murfie, and since then he’s sent over 1200 discs from good ol’ Montana to Madison. He successfully markets his shop via facebook and twitter.

Murfie: How did you originally learn about Murfie?
Jordan: I heard the piece about Murfie on NPR’s “Weekend Edition”.

M: When did you purchase your first CD? What was it?
J: It was Another Level by Blackstreet. No diggity.

M: How many CDs do you own (or did you own at your peak)?
J: I’ve sold a few hundred, and I invested the funds in additional inventory for my store. The most I’ve had at once is about 850.

M: How tall are you?
J: 5’11”

M: Tell us about your musical tastes.
J: Post-punk/Manchester bands like The Smiths and Joy Division are my favorites, but I also love Riot Grrl bands of the 90’s, hip hop, and I have a lifelong obsession with David Bowie. I also love anything that’s fun. I love to flip on the radio and hear a jam by Rihanna or Ke$ha.

M: What can folks expect to find in your store (if different than the above)?
J: My goal with the store is to have good albums by artists you’ve heard of all priced at $1. It has a little bit of everything, from Ricky Martin to The Doors to Black Sabbath to Garth Brooks.

M: If you could meet any musician or band in person, who would it be and why?
J: I would meet Morrissey to see if he’s really like that in person. He can’t be, can he?

M: What is your favorite album at the moment?
J: So by Peter Gabriel.

M: What do you plan to do with the millions of dollars you’re making from your Murfie shop?
J: Ha! I’m not making millions, but I am coming out ahead. I got involved because I thought it was a neat project, and I liked the recycling element. I haven’t put a lot of thought into what I will do with the money. Maybe I will get a Sonos player.

M: Which Beatle was your favorite?
J: Billy Shears.

Check out Jordan’s shop on Murfie!
“One Dollar Albums” on Facebook: www.facebook.com/onedollaralbums
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/1dollaralbums

Shopkeep of the Week is a weekly feature that focuses on our most interesting Murfie shopkeepers. These are music lovers like you who have sold hundreds of pre-loved CDs on Murfie and have hundreds more at the ready to please your ears! If you’d like your Murfie Shop to be featured, or if you’d like to nominate a shop to be featured, please e-mail us at info@murfie.com and let us know.

Shopkeep of the Week

jeff pic

In early 2011, JP’s CD collection took a journey from the warm climes of New Mexico to the waning winter of Wisconsin. Since then he has sold hundreds of his pre-loved CDs on Murfie and has over 200 more listed for sale.

JP’s musical tastes run in quite a few directions, and his CD collection numbered about 1,200 discs at its peak! He’s a big Motown guy. He’s also an avid fan of numerous singer-songwriters like Van Morrison, Dylan, Tom Waits, and Jim Croce. You’ll also find The Beatles, Wilco, Mumford and Sons, and The Allman Brothers Band sprinkled throughout his musical sundae—along with a few scoops of Kanye West, Miles Davis, and Oasis —all topped off with a Sinatra cherry! With that said, he admits that there are some stinkers in the collection too, but hey, we all make mistakes sometimes! :-)

MURFIE: When did you purchase your first CD? What was it?
JP: I think about 1986 —Peter Gabriel’s “So.”

M: What do you plan to do with the millions of dollars you’re making from your Murfie shop?
J: Buy an electric toothbrush.

M: Favorite Beatle?
J: Lennon —natch.

Check out JP’s collection on Murfie and find yourself a deal!

Shopkeep of the Week is a weekly feature that focuses on our most interesting Murfie shopkeepers. These are music lovers like you who have sold hundreds of pre-loved CDs on Murfie and have hundreds more at the ready to please your ears! If you’d like your Murfie Shop to be featured, or if you’d like to nominate a shop to be featured, please e-mail us at info@murfie.com and let us know.

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Murfie Staffers = Awards FINALISTS! (Time for us to show off a lot.)

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Hopefully you caught our last article about all the fabulously talented staffers here at Murfie who held nominations for the 2013 Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs)! If not, here’s a refresher: [March 9th article]

Well, the votes have been counted…and the FINAL nominees for the 2013 MAMAs have been announced!!! Congrats to these Murfie staffers who have made it to the final round:

Lovely Socialite Mrs. Thomas W. Phipps – Best Jazz Album (Registers Her Delight) & Best Jazz Performer
Live on U Dub – Various Artists – Best Compilation Album
Kayla Kush – Best DJ
Corey Murphy – Best Brass Instrumentalist

First of all, Woo-hoooooo!

Secondly, here’s one last round of voting to participate in—and thanks so much to everyone who voted last time! To vote in the final round, you can check out The Madison Area Music Association’s website, www.themamas.org. Voting ends on May 17th. The MAMAs exist not only to celebrate Madison’s local music scene, but also to raise funds for youth music programs in the area. How sweet is that?!

Good luck, Murfie staffers! We’re looking forward to the awards show on June 23rd at The Capitol Theater in Madison!

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@murfiewishes

Murfie Genie

Murfie Wishlists are simply magical. Know why?

Everything from the Global Wishlist on our site is magically sent to our new twitter account, @murfiewishes. This twitter feed makes it possible for you (yeah—YOU!) to fulfill each other’s musical wishes.

With these new magical tools, you all have the power to see what others in the community are looking for, and you can help each other out if you’ve got an album sitting around that’s wanted by someone else. Don’t be shy about adding to your own Wishlist now that another member of the community might be able to help you find what your heart desires!

Oh, and don’t be shy to talk to Pinky, our new Murfie Genie (@PinkyTheGenie). We just hired him and he’s actually very chatty ;-)