Thursday, October 29, 2009

Seven songs shaping this autumn

Tag, I'm it. Got taged by the fantastic folks over at When You Awake for this thing which is a kind of blog chain letter called the “Seven Songs Shaping Your Life”. The instructions are simple: List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your life. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.

I'm not sure if I will be "tagging" as many as seven other people, but we'll see. A good idea it is, and here I go.

1. The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You
No news for the people who read this blog that I really love this song. I love the whole album, but as this is the first song it is the one I have to get past to get to the others. I especially love the "..shape I'm in" lyrical hook that reminds me of one of my favourite bands, the truly fantastic The Band.

2. Grateful Dead - Bird Song
You're always gonna need some Grateful Dead in your life and for the moment I have been really hooked on this great jazzy ditty. The studio recording is great but recently I've been hooked on a live version from August 27th, 1972. Go check it out on

3. Kristofer Åström - When Her Eyes Turn Blue
Kristofer Åström have been one of my favourite artists for a long time. I haven't really gotten my head around his latest album Sinkadus, but this is nonetheless a favourite from that very album.

4. Jens Carelius - Face of a Dream
A track taken from Norwegian singer/songwriter Jens Carelius second album The Beat of the Travel. His first album was mostly a solo recording rooted in British folkers like Bert Jansch. This one has more of a band feeling and while we are still in the sixties folkrock landscape Carelius has found his own voice.

5. Hoola Bandola Band - Keops Pyramid
Swedish folkrock from the early seventies. Sounding a bit like the Band meet Crosby, Stills & Nash. Great song with great harmonies and heavy early seventies politics. These guys looked exactly like you presume the teachers in the schools in the seventies did.

6. Broder Daniel - Shoreline
Just saw a heartbreaking documentary about this Swedish rockband. One of the most important rockbands in the whole of scandinavia in nineties. This song is from their last and perhaps best album, released in 2003.

7. Devendra Banhart - Baby
Good ol' friend Devendra is back with another great album. An album perfect for lazy dark Norwegian autumn nights. Play this loud and all your troubles will be gone.

So, it seems that I listen to a lot of Swedish music at the moment. But mostly I listen to the Avett Brothers, Jens Carelius and Devendra Banhart albums. Check them out, maybe you'll like them to.

I tag:
You Can Put Me In Your Hair, I'll Be Happy There
Perfect Sounds
Lille Fnugg
I am Fuel, You are Friends
This Mornin' I am Born Again

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cover art on a Sunday

Just a little post of some of my favourite cover art. I've done one of these posts before, that one was called "Sundazed on a Sunday". So here you go.

Kim Hiorthøy - Hopeness EP
(Smalltown Supersound, 2004)

Tom Waits - Mule Variations
(Anti, 1999)

Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
(Drag City, 2009)

Richmond Fontaine - Thirteen Cities
(Decor, 2007)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Three words that became hard to say

The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You
from the album I and Love and You (American, 2009)

One of the best songs of the year from one of the best albums this year. Have a nice weekend.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Most of us hate anything that we don't understand

Kris Kristofferson - Jesus Was A Capricorn
from the album Jesus Was A Capricorn (Monument, 1972)

One of my favourite Kristofferson songs and albums. The melody of this track is borrowed from John Prine's "Grandpa Was A Carpenter". You can say that's fitting since Kris Kristofferson was the guy who got Prine a recording contract. Thank God for that. Love them both. Prine may be the best singer and songwriter but Kristofferson is the absolute coolest. And he still is.

Great lyrics on this song, so here you go.

"Jesus was a Capricorn, he ate organic foods
He believed in love and peace and never wore any shoes
Long hair, beard and sandals and a funky bunch of friends
Reckon they'd just nail him up if He ever come down again.."


"Egg Head's cousin Red Neck's cussin' hippies for their hair
Others laugh at straights who laugh at freaks who laugh at squares
Some folks hate the whites who hate the blacks who hate the clan
Most of us hate anything that we don't understand.."

A live version from the Ottawa Folk Festival, August 17th 2007
"It ain't Dylan, but it's all we got.."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

With you in sight, the lost are found..

The Band - Whispering Pines
from the album The Band (Capitol, 1969)

This gem, written by the late great Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson, is one of my all time favourite The Band songs. One of my favourites from any band actually. It's a beautiful melody and Richard Manuel's vocal delivery is nothing short of haunting. I can feel the goosebumps on my arms just thinking of it. It is a quite sad song, full of longing. The song's protagonist are feeling the presence of his loved one who probably has passed away.

"Foghorn through the night, calling out to sea
Protect my only light, 'cause she once belonged to me
Let the waves rush in, let the seagulls cry
For if I live again, these hopes will never die
I can feel you standing there
But I don't see you anywhere"

Great words and the music fits them perfectly. This was a band that really had tapped in to something really great at this time. The whole album are filled with haunting songs like this one. I would have loved to be a fly at the wall when this and the other songs on this album was written and recorded. Truly classic stuff, the intensity is almost too much to take. I love this album, and I love this song. Richard Manuel may very well have been the most soulful singer that ever lived.

"Try looking through a haze
At an empty house, in the cold cold sun
I will wait until it all goes round
With you in sight, the lost are found"

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Imperial Grand Blues

J. Tillman - Live at Blå, Oslo, October 3rd. 2009

J. Tillman, at this moment in time probably most known for his role as a drummer in Fleet Foxes, has released no less than two albums this year. The first one Vacilando Territory Blues came in January and the second Year in the Kingdom were released just a couple of weeks ago. Both are well worth checking out. That said, both those albums are bleak if you put them up against what J. Tillman and his band are doing live on this tour.

From the first sparse harmonies in set-opener "All You See" to the complete rockout in the set-closing "New Imperial Grand Blues" this band had me wrapped around their littlefinger. A perfect mix between the slow mellow songs and more sonic experimentation throughout the set.
The liveversion of "Though I Have Wronged You" with handclaps and footstomps as percussion was especially haunting. Nothing short of perfection actually. I think the last time I was this impressed by the live rendition of an artist that I only had heard on record probably was a solo performance by Phosphorescent a few years ago or maybe Fleet Foxes with Tillman on the Øya Festival last year.

Truly impressed. If you have the opportunity to go see these guys, just do it. Don't think more about it. They will make it worth your money. I promise.

"Though I Have Wronged You"
from the album Year in the Kingdom (Bella Union, 2009)

"Steel on Steel"
from the album Vascilando Territory Blues (Bella Union, 2009)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Doing the E-Street shuffle..?

Well, not exactly. This is going to be a new recurring post on Heartworn Highways. The plan is that every once in a while, once a week or something, I will set my iPod on shuffle and write down the first five songs and publish them here. No hocus pocus there. Just letting you know what's going in to my ears from time to time.

Entry #5
Sunday, October 4th, 2009

1. Warren Zevon - Genius
from the album Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon (Rhino, 2002)

2. Jimmy Eat World - Gotta Be Somebody's Blues
from the album Chase This Light (Interscope, 2007)

3. Joy Division - Komakino
from the boxset Heart and Soul (London, 1998)

4. The Gaslight Anthem - Here's Looking At You, Kid
from the album The '59 Sound (Side One Dummy, 2008)

5. George Jones - The Battle
from the album The Battle (Epic, 1976)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What if you did? What if you walk?

R.E.M. - Drive
from the album Automatic for the People (Warner Bros., 1992)

This song has appeared from out of nowhere twice on my iPod the last week. Well, maybe not completely out of nowhere since my iPod has been on shuffle, but still. Not that I am complaining in any way. This is one of my absolute favourite R.E.M. songs, at least from the Automatic for the People album. The production are so understated and at the same time really big. A great start-stop rhythm-arrangement driven forward by Michael Stipe's vocals and Peter Buck's guitar. I especially love it when the electric guitar countermelody comes in halfway through the song. And also the way it builds along with the electric guitar with louder drums and the more prominent string section before it mellows down again at the end. Quite haunting actually. Sounds best in a dark room played loud.

Great song, great album, great band.