Luke Kenny seeks to pay tribute to a genre of music that, he claims, has given birth to all the modern genres as we know them.
The Blues and I
In two days time I will be playing a Blues concert at the Blue Frog. I seek to pay tribute to a genre of music that has given birth to all the modern genres as we know them. It’s one thing to be a Blues artist, but it is entirely another thing to take a genre of music and make it your own. I have made efforts in the past with specific artistes like The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana and Michael Jackson. But this time I take on a whole genre that has already been much interpreted within itself. From Punk, to Hard Rock to Jazz to Soul to Funk, artistes as diverse as The Clash, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, Prince etc have taken their Blues fundamentals and left their mark on popular music in their own style.
It is quite a task putting together a worthy selection of songs, balancing the layman ethics versus the purist aesthetics. But in the end, it’s about the music, how the songs are played out is secondary. The Blues aren’t a discipline like a classical tradition, they are a feeling and an emotion that changes the way a certain song is viewed. It is music of a troubled time in human history that has become a metaphor for the universal human condition. And it is that metaphor.
Here’s what you want on your iPod, recommends Luke Kenny
Kid Rock’s follow up to the hugely successful Rock ’N Roll Jesus and he’s on a roll. Although he sings, Slow my roll, I don’t think anything is going to. This is his first family friendly album, there’s no profanity and no metal even. Straight up rock ’n roll that sees guest appearances form Sheryl Crow, Bob Seger & Zac Brown. This is Kid Rock lite and I don’t think anyone’s complaining.
Showroom of Compassion
Their sixth album after 2004’s Pressure Chief sees this idiosyncratic band from California in a slightly mellow mood. Funky and loopy, this is a pleasant return to form from the band that gave us Short skirt/long jacket. Did you know a lot of their songs have featured in various films and TV series? Smallville, The Sopranos, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and more? Cake has always been an unassuming and unpretentious band.
The King is Dead
I discovered this band when I wrote about their last album, The Hazards Of Love in 2009 This is a more upbeat album and closer to the folk aspect as to the alternative rock of its predecessors. Hey, even Peter Buck from R.E.M makes an appearance in keeping with traditions. But seriously, here is some further interesting listening from an under-the-radar band that only indie-geeks like us will appreciate.
Thank You Happy Birthday
Cage The Elephant
Hailing from Kentucky and formed in 2006, this is the follow up to their eponymous debut in 2008. Led by brothers Matthew and Brad Schultz, Cage The Elephant has gained credibility with their genre ‘slacker-funk-punk’ and in their short two year lifetime have accumulated musical ideas that are now being slowly unleashed as every album comes out. Another band to follow for all us indie-geeks, I guess. Gladly.