Album Preview: “The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale)” by Eric Clapton & Friends

The BreezeAlbum
The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale)

Artist
Eric Clapton & Friends

Release Date
July 29, 2014

Label
Bushbranch / Surfdog

Pre-order Link
Pre-order Album

Preview
It seems as if Eric Clapton is ready to share more music with the world. This time around, Clapton has joined with several friends and music icons to pay tribute to one of rock music’s heroes of songwriting, the late J.J. Cale. Eric Clapton & Friends will be releasing The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale) this month. And if Eric Clapton’s leadership weren’t enough, the list of guest artists featured on the album promise to deliver an unforgettable experience.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton certainly has no shortage of accolades. Thrice-inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work as a solo artist, and member of The Yardbirds and Cream, Eric Clapton has earned his place as a living legend. He has released over twenty albums as a solo artist and has appeared and collaborated on countless others. His efforts have earned him seventeen Grammy awards. He is continually ranked as one of the greatest blues guitar players of all time, and his influence is cited by countless musicians today.

UnpluggedJ.J. Cale also inspired innumerable musicians throughout his four decade career, and was a frequent collaborator with Clapton. Tunes such as “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” were penned by Cale and covered by Clapton with much success. Clapton aims to honor Cale’s legacy with The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale). Speaking on the album, Clapton stated, “I would like people to tap into what JJ Cale did—that’s the point. I’m just the messenger; I’ve always felt that that’s my job. I try to interpret things so that the public at large, or at least the people who listen to what I do, will become intrigued about where I got it from.”Me and Mr. Johnson

The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale) is shaping up to be a blues fan’s dream. Guest appearances by legendary musicians such as Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, and Willie Nelson promise to deliver a collaboration that should not be missed.

Check out the official music video for “Call Me The Breeze Below!”

A teaser from The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale):

Pre-order your copy of The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale) today at Murfie! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC. 

Album Preview: “Terms of My Surrender” by John Hiatt

Terms of My SurrenderAlbum
Terms of My Surrender

Artist
John Hiatt

Release Date
Tuesday, July 15th

Label
New West Records

Pre-order Link
Pre-order album

Preview
It’s hard to imagine that an artist who’s been covered by Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Emmylou Harris and Bruce Springsteen can remain off the radar, but that’s essentially how John Hiatt has spent his entire career.

Best of John HiattHiatt grew up in Indianapolis, where he learned to play the guitar at age 11 as a way to deal with growing pains. He moved to Nashville in his late teens and ended up landing a songwriting gig with the Tree-Music Publishing Company. In 1973 Three Dog Night recorded a track he wrote, “Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here,” and he subsequently signed a contract with Epic Records.

Things wereBring the Family just beginning to look up for John, yet he was dropped from Epic a few years later when his albums failed to chart. After a brief stint with Geffen Records, he finally caught a break in 1987 with Bring the Family and his biggest hit, “Have a Little Faith in Me.” Hiatt continued to harbor critical success during his stay with A&M Records, but he couldn’t match the level of commercial success he found with Bring the Family.

6146-largeThroughout the 90’s, Hiatt continued to perfect his storytelling technique, becoming a masterful lyricist in the process. He also honed a sound that was distinctly American, falling somewhere in between new-wave, country and rock. In 1995 he received his first Grammy nomination for Walk On, and in 2002 he contributed a handful of track’s to the Disney film Country Bears.

Hiatt is set to release his 22nd album, Terms of My Surrender, next week. The record marks a minor departure from his recent country sound, opting instead for something a little more blues influenced. No matter the genre of music, however, it’s sure to be nothing but another worthy album from a well-traveled cult hero.

A teaser from Terms of My Surrender

Pre-order your copy of  Terms of My Surrender on Murfie! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC. 

Interview with Pigeon John

PigeonJohn_4320 copyPigeon John is a super talented rapper, musician and storyteller. With a home base in Los Angeles and years of experience under his belt, he holds a lot of insight on the music scene in America.

This interview was originally posted as an audio podcast earlier this year, right before Pigeon John’s newest album, Encino Man, was released. Read on to learn more about his views on the exciting genre of American hip hop, its deep connection to blues and rock, and the storytellers who make it all happen.

 * * *

This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. This time, we’re featuring a hip hop artist known as Pigeon John, based out of Los Angeles, California. He’s a great character, with a lot of insight on music and life, so it was a real pleasure chatting with him while he was on tour.

[MUSIC: “Oh Yeah” by Pigeon John]

Kayla: Alright, so right now I have Pigeon John on the phone—how’s it all goin’, Pigeon John?

P.J.: It is goin’…very fine and well.

Kayla: Good, good…where are you calling from?

P.J.: I’m calling from Cleveland, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, actually.

Kayla: No way! Oh, that’s so cool!

P.J.: Yeah, yeah we have a show tomorrow in Cleveland and we had a day off today, so everyone—the whole crew—decided to come on down, visit, get inspired, check out some musical inspiration.

Kayla: Cool! Have you seen some cool stuff there today?

P.J.: Yeah, yeah, for sure, a lot, a lot of stuff…and learned a lot, too.

Kayla: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I mean…that place really goes all across the board. All kinds of legends have been honored by them—

P.J.: Oh, yes.

Kayla: So, I would find that very inspiring, too, on tour. I know you just came through Madison, so how much of the tour do you have left to go?

P.J.: Uh, actually we have twenty-five more dates to go on the tour. And uh, so far so good…it’s been a blast.

Kayla: Awesome!

P.J.: It’s been a blast touring with The Grouch & Eligh and Madchild, and then I’m gonna join Eliot Lipp in a couple days, so…it’s been good.

Kayla: Mmhmm. I think The Grouch & Eligh, they’re playing on Saturday the 15th in Milwaukee with Slightly Stoopid, if I’m not mistaken.

P.J.: Yes.

Kayla: Yes!

P.J. Yep, the whole tour’s gonna open up for Slightly Stoopid for like, three dates I believe?

Kayla: Oh!

P.J.: In Chicago, Milwaukee, and I believe Detroit?

Kayla: Oooh! So you’re gonna be in Milwaukee, too?

P.J.: Yeah!

Kayla: Whaaaat!

Continue reading Interview with Pigeon John

#FreeFriday: Back to Black

Time for our third edition of #FreeFriday! Each week we’ll review an album, and give it away to one lucky winner. For a chance to win the album, all you have to do is read this post, then share on social media at least one of these ways:

  • Share this blog post on Twitter—use the hashtag #FreeFriday and tag @murfiemusic
  • Retweet one of the #FreeFriday tweets we send via @murfiemusic
  • Share our #FreeFriday Facebook post (in a public post)

Now, on to this week’s featured album…

MI0002782746Back to Black (Amy Winehouse, 2006)

Back to Black is one of those “must-have” albums in your music collection. Starting with just a broad overview, it’s an absolute gem in modern R&B, featuring a fun “big band” sound and Amy’s soulful, impressive voice. It’s got a vintage feel, juxtaposed with lyrics that bring up modern ideas.

That’s what makes this album great, in my opinion, is that fact that it can be modern, yet timeless all at once. Amy’s singing voice is impressive, to say the least. She’s got a unique, lower register sound, which I think leads all kinds of people to enjoy this album equally (i.e. both men and women). With that said, I would keep this one away from very young kids, since Amy won’t hesitate to cuss or talk about her struggle with heavy drug addiction.

Sadly, Amy passed away in 2011. That undoubtedly contributed to the vast interest in this album, and it quickly rose to become one of the best selling albums of all time. Back to Black is a snapshot of Amy’s life, riddled with heartbreak, literal highs and lows, yet always calm and hopeful. The songs are catchy, fun, and deep. My favorite is the title track “Back to Black”, and some other great ones are “You Know I’m No Good” (the perfect anthem if you’re a bad-ass chick), “Me & Mr Jones” and “Just Friends”.

Share this post in one of the ways listed above for a chance to win a copy of Back to Black, and I’ll let you know if you’re the winner on Monday! Good luck!

Kayla as Amy Winehouse

 

A little something extra:
Here’s me as Amy Winehouse last Halloween! Unfortunately, I kept getting a lot of “Hey, Snooki!” since my coat was covering the fake tattoos.

 


Kayla Liederbach
@djkaylakush

Kayla manages social media and customer support at Murfie. You can hear her on the radio hosting U DUB, the reggae show, Wednesdays on WSUM. She enjoys hosting the Murfie podcast, cooking, traveling, going to concerts, and snuggling with kittycats.


Mom-Approved Modern Music for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day can often mean a trip back home to spend the day with a certain woman who raised you. I love a good family tradition (and I love my mom even more), but let’s face it: A day of listening to music released circa your mom’s high school years can get a little, well… old. Here are three suggestions to bring your mom into the 21st century, music-wise, this Mother’s Day. Take them for a spin this Sunday—they’re guaranteed to not contain too many lyrics that will make family listening time uncomfortable. (Author’s Note: All albums have been successfully test-driven by my mom.)

MI0003392585Channel Orange
Frank Ocean

This 2012 record was the beginning of something big: Frank Ocean is one of the most incredibly talented singers and songwriters of our time. This record is packed full of the stuff of legends: One-of-a-kind lyrics, an ambitious sound, and a sizable helping of passion and philosophy. Ocean is a storyteller, and his stories highlight the best and the worst of what it’s like to be alive.

Musically, this album is a mishmash in the best possible way. It fuses influences from decades past (think ’70s funk sounds and ’90s hip-hop) with a new and thoroughly modern groove, including truly awesome use of quiet electronic percussion. There’s also heavy soul influence here–moments on this album suggest flashbacks to Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. I rarely listen to R&B, but I sure would if it all sounded like this. The songs have tight verses that hit you with incredible impact. The sheer force of emotion on this album hits you hard, creating a soundtrack for those who have lived, loved–and most of all, lost.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Bad Religion”, “Pyramids”

MI0003341793Blunderbuss
Jack White

Up until now, Jack White has been part of a group, whether alongside Meg White of The White Stripes or the rest of The Raconteurs. On this album, however, he’s the star: Not only is this a great solo record, it also holds its own among White’s incredible discography as part of a band. White’s reflections on life and love might tear you apart, but you’ll manage to enjoy every moment of the gut-wrenching process.

For White, going solo means that all his crazy musical ideas and influences find a home. This album contains traces of everything from old-school R&B all the way through modern country music. From his cover of Little Willie John‘s 1960 hit “I’m Shakin” to his use of fiddles and mandolins on “Blunderbuss”, a lot of ground is covered here. Jack White isn’t an easy man to figure out-—nor does he want to be: despite track after track lamenting the heartbreak of love, his female backup chorus includes his ex-wife Karen Elson. A few listens of this album, however, leave you with the impression that Jack White does his best work when he’s a little shrouded in mystery.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Love Interruption”, “Sixteen Saltines”

MI0002921033Brothers
The Black Keys

For a group with such a stellar big-band sound, it’s hard to believe that The Black Keys are a two-man show. This album comes after both members took some time away from their main band, trying their hand at other projects. It was a well-needed break: This album is their best release in years, cementing their own unique sound and their position atop the blues-rock food chain. This is nothing incredibly new or different, but that’s why I love them: Consistency is key with a group that constantly delivers music that just sounds like a good time.

This album very successfully plays around with a variety of styles, incorporating everything from up-tempo beats on “Howlin’ For You” to quiet, haunting harpsichord on “Too Afraid to Love You”. My personal favorite addition, however, is vocalist Dan Auerbach’s incorporation of falsetto, For a band that’s made a name with its bluesy sound, a falsetto was certainly a surprise (and a welcome one at that). He nails the sound on tracks like “Everlasting Light”, bringing a much-needed new edge into the mix. For longtime fans like myself, this album set a new standard for the band, turning classic bluesy sounds into something fresh and creative.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Everlasting Light”, “Howlin’ For You”

Interview with Pigeon John [Podcast]

Pigeon John is a rapper and more—with a deep focus on the musical element of his songs and influences from De La Soul to The Beatles, lovers of pop, rock, and blues can easily find themselves turned on to his sound. After continually evolving over the years, Pigeon John has discovered himself as a writer and storyteller, making his everlasting mark on the exciting genre of hip hop.

Encino Man is set to be released April 29th—order your copy on Murfie today!

Encino ManWho: Pigeon John; interviewed by Kayla Liederbach
What: Pigeon John describes the similar spirit in all music, the importance of being your own planet, and the dangerous, relevant, “pinpoint sharp” American genre known as hip hop.
Where: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland, OH) and Murfie headquarters (Madison, WI), via Skype
When: Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
How: Recorded by Kayla Liederbach
File: mp3 version

Find music by Pigeon John in our shop.

Check out more at pigeonjohn.com.

Into RSS? Follow our podcast feed via https://blog.murfie.com/category/podcasts/feed.

Sounds Like Florida: The Best of the Sunshine State

Last week, we brought you the best of the Garden State with New Jersey’s finest. This week, check out the best of Florida!

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd

This album is, in a nutshell, the Southern Rock album. Lynyrd Skynyrd, more so than any other band of their time, epitomized that sound by bringing together country, blues and rock to make an incredibly authentic blend. For a debut album—or any album—this is a raw and original sound.

One of this album’s strengths is how concise it is – with only eight songs, the band doesn’t waste a moment on anything unnecessary. Instead, each song is incredibly strong. Another bold move was the sheer variety moving through the tracklist. Opening with “I Ain’t the One” and moving on to the sadder, slower “Tuesday’s Gone”, the band moves through sounds and emotions seamlessly.

These pieces alone make this album good, but it’s Skynyrd’s one-of-a-kind sound that makes them great. It takes a great band to blend hard rock, country and blues into one, and that ‘s exactly what this album does. Not only was this album the birth of a great band, it’s the birth of a genre.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Sweet Home Alabama”, “I Ain’t the One”

Iron & Winehttps://www.murfie.com/albums/iron-wine-the-shepherd-s-dog
The Shepherd’s Dog

This album, to put it succinctly, made me an Iron & Wine fan. When it was released, it became the band’s most progressive and unique album to date; the kind of record that takes several listenings to fully appreciate. It’s also a turning point for the band, moving them away from lo-fi recordings towards a fuller sound.

Despite this transition, the album is still rooted in vocals, lyrics and guitar, as on its previous albums. These foundations are rock-solid, and the band builds on them by adding blues, dub and numerous other styles on top. These details, however, are the best part of the album: banjos, steel guitars, and vocal harmonies top off an already solid sound.

This album is a foray into new territory for Iron & Wine, and they executed that transition beautifully. It’s rare that I find a record that I can listen to over and over again, but this lends itself easily to repeat. The attention to detail and beautiful flow of these songs is addictive.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “House by the Sea”, “Love Song of the Buzzard”

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
The Christmas Attic

Although this album is not exactly currently seasonal, I’m unashamed to admit that Trans-Siberian Orchestra has year-round rotation in my music collection. This album in particular is a favorite of mine—the orchestra showcases its mastery of composition, storytelling, vocals and instrumentation. It’s a captivating album that puts a great twist on classical musical and holiday tunes.

This album shines on its most animated tracks, which are flawlessly executed and brilliantly original. These songs mix traditional Christmas songs, including “’Tis the Season” and “Joy to the World”, with the Orchestra’s trademark touches. The Orchestra incorporates countless instruments, most notably strings and percussion. The real star here, though, is electric guitar, which shines through on tracks like “March of the Kings – Hark the Herald Angel”.

Although this album certainly draws comparisons to the Orchestra’s previous holiday releases, it’s strong enough to stand alone. Despite these comparisons, it’s impossible to overlook how beautiful the instrumentation and vocals are here, and to forget this group’s mastery of both arrangement and storytelling.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Midnight Christmas Eve”, “The Snow Came Down”