Tag Archives: Southern Rock

What’s on my playlist right now…

These days my energy levels are so much better when I’m listening to music. I have a basic playlist I listen to regularly, to which I add a few different things from time to time.

Prior to becoming obsessed with all things Lynyrd Skynyrd, my playlists were eclectic and diverse and very large. The benefit of ripping CDs and filling up my MP3 player (and later my phone) was that my playlists could contain 1200 songs so that I could listen to music for days without hearing the same song over and over again.

There are some songs I can here on repeat without tiring of, but not as many as you would think. I stopped listening to the radio with the advent of CDs and when I joined BMG Music Club and Columbia House and could buy more CDs than I knew what to do with. I used that time to acquire more CDs than most people think I need. I love music and I love exploring new and old music, rediscovering classics and finding artists I hadn’t yet heard of. I love music, plain and simple. It’s the one thing I can’t go very long without.

The past couple of weeks have been those kind of weeks, I had gotten away from listening to my playlist or any music regularly, as sometimes happens when I get busy. I started to feel tired all the time and couldn’t figure out why. Other than a long weekend in Biloxi, Mississippi, my schedule hadn’t changed much at all. I tried an experiment this past week and discovered that part of why I felt tired and uninspired was the lack of music in my daily routine. It wasn’t that I forgot to turn it on, or I didn’t want to listen, I just get busy with work and home and dogs and cats and, well, life. Sometimes I don’t realize until it’s time for bed that I hadn’t turned on my music or playlist. Some days I am busy with co-workers and trying to figure out third grade math, that there just isn’t a chance to listen to music at all.

The horror of it all to think that in working in the music business, there are days where there isn’t time to listen to music. But, it happens and such is life. My experiment was to see that if I turned that playlist on again, if my energy levels would be better. Sure enough, while the music was playing (loudly), I had all the energy I needed to get through my day. It was the fuel I needed to supplement the fuel I consume for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The last thing I need to add back into my world is my exercise routine, which is a whole other story.

Back to the music, my playlist of late, in particular. I went back to my regular playlist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackberry Smoke, Blackfoot and Brantley Gilbert. That’s my main list. Depending on how I listen, via Rhapsody or via Amazon Cloud Player, I add Buddy Guy or Leroy Powell. My only problem is that some Blackfoot records aren’t on Rhapsody and while I have most of my music purchased as well, the bills have to come before I can buy every album under the sun. That’s why I love my Rhapsody subscription – you can try before you buy.

Back to my playlist. I started with my Rhapsody playlist which contains, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackberry Smoke, Blackfoot, Brantley Gilbert and Buddy Guy. There are about 280 songs on that playlist for a total of almost 20 hours of music. There’s another version with Leroy Powell on it that instead of Buddy Guy. Rhapsody limits the number of songs you can have on a playlist so I have to change it out and mix it up from time to time. My Amazon Cloud playlist has Blackfoot, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackberry Smoke, Leroy Powell, The Black Crowes and Brantley Gilbert at the moment. I’ve listened to both lists this week.

These are my go to artists for getting me through the day and putting a smile on my face. I’ve been listening to Leroy Powell and Blackberry Smoke for just over a year and I love both of them. I purchased their entire catalog and will rant and rave about them all day. Coincidentally, both are alumni of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Simple Man Cruise. They are both impossible to pin into just one genre, but both are worthy of all the attention they get.

The Leroy Powell albums I think you should listen to are the latest, Life and Death and The Snowblind Moonshone Deathride. They happen to be my favorite albums from his catalog. As for Blackberry Smoke, you should most definitely pick up their latest, The Whippoorwill. From there, get A Little Piece of Dixie.

If I use my Amazon Cloud Player, my playlist consists of my favorite Blackfoot albums, not available on Rhapsody, No ReservationsAfter the Reign, and Medicine Man. They were hard to find albums to begin with, but well worth the money and effort. If I’m on Rhapsody, I don’t have access to those albums, so it’s StrikesTomcattin’MarauderSiogo and Rick Medlocke and Blackfoot.

As for Lynyrd Skynyrd, they get the lion’s share of the playlist. It’s based around the 1991 Box Set, The Complete Muscle Shoals AlbumVicious Cycle LyveLive from SteeltownLast of A Dyin’ Breed and God and Guns. There are more songs on one service as opposed to another. Again, the limits on the playlists determine how much of everything makes it to the playlist.

You’re probably wondering what good a 20 hour, 50 hour or 100 hour playlist would do. That is a good question. The answer is shuffle. When the playlist is shuffled I get a broad mix of music and can listen to the same playlist day after day without always hearing the same songs. There are always going to be repeats and there are multiple versions of the same song on a single playlist as well. You would, however, be surprised by how different the mix is everyday. Sometimes I hear songs I forgot were on the playlist. That’s why I make my lists so big.

Think of it as a radio station from about 30 years ago. While there was a Top 40 list that received the most plays, there was much more variety on the radio back in the day than there is now. They had vast catalogs of songs they could play. Spare the really popular songs, they would play a wide variety of artists and songs throughout the day. There were also multiple stations where I grew up, so I had all kinds of music to listen to when I changed the station. Back in those days we made our own mix tapes by recording them off the radio. My mixes were just as eclectic back then as they are now.

The only difference with now is that I’ve had 30 years to collect more music. Oh and this thing called the Internet happened. Now I can create the craziest playlists through my subscription with Rhapsody and take my purchased music collection and make even crazier lists. I can listen to what I want, when I want. So while I may be stuck on Skynyrd, Blackberry Smoke and the like right now, at any given point I will put on Christina Aguilera, Aretha Franklin, Marty Stuart, Loretta Lynn, Louis Armstrong or whatever tickles my fancy at a particular moment.

I have another blog post in the works about what is and isn’t country or a particular genre in general, but my playlist always comes down to listening to the music that I want to listen to when I want to listen to it. I don’t listen to what I don’t like and I will rant and rave about what I do like. The plain and simple of it is that there are only two kinds of music – the kind you like and the kind you don’t. Maybe it’s time for genre based music and radio stations to be a thing of the past. Maybe we just need to go back to only a few genres and and not a thousand sub-genres and niches for artists to get lost in.

A lot of people will make the argument that the two kinds of music are good music and bad music. Well, in simple terms that’s true – but that varies from person to person. Not everyone will think alike. There are a few exceptions, or generalizations, that I can and probably will make from time to time, but it’s mostly just my opinion.

So what’s on my playlist right now is my go to, happy, get me through the day music. Tomorrow it could be all classical music or nothing but 80s hard rock. It’s mostly just whatever I’m in the mood for when it’s time to mix it up. I wholeheartedly admit I am addicted to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Blackberry Smoke and Leroy Powell. Adding in the new Buddy Guy and a couple of Black Crowes CDs I didn’t have, along with my favorite Brantley Gilbert tunes just makes it better. Each artist has its unique qualities, all similar in one way or another and just good stuff.

 

CreativelyMusical.com Artist of the Week June 2, 2013: Blackberry Smoke

I could probably write for days about Blackberry Smoke.  They’ve been a band for a dozen or so years, but I only heard of them last year. I was instantly hooked. It’s one of those things that just happens. The only way I have found to explain why I instantly fell for Blackberry Smoke is that there music is familiar. It feels like I’ve been listening to it for years, like it’s always been there.

There is nothing forced about Blackberry Smoke, they are who they are and that really comes through in the music they write and play. They know the music they like and that’s what they make…it’s as simple as that really. They don’t try to be what will sell a million records, they are themselves and they play music from their heart and soul – the way music is supposed to be played.

As musicians they are in fact products of those that influenced them, something they talk about in their Live at Georgia Theatre DVD. Also available digitally through iTunes, the DVD is a live show with interview scenes spread out throughout. You are introduced to the band members, get a little history and hear there thoughts and opinions on their influences, their fans and their music philosophies.

There is one quote in the DVD that I often post and repost when I watch the DVD. It speaks volumes of why some many people have fallen in love with Blackberry Smoke’s music.

 “We’re not fucking around when it comes to music… That’s what we eat, sleep and breathe for… And it’s not about a cute haircut or a catchy tune. It’s about music, you know, making music that makes you get goosebumps. You ever listen to just a part of a song that gives you goosebumps? Like a pedal steel solo or a sax solo or, you know… Wonder if a drum lick has ever given a goosebump? I’m sure it has Brit. Somebody being real, being honest with the music. It’s, you know, not about how many billion copies of this we can sell because somebody’s cute. It’s about making something that sticks to your ribs musically. That’s what Blackberry Smoke does.” – Charlie Starr

That quote alone is reason enough to love Blackberry Smoke. They’re real people, music lovers, who’ve dedicated a substantial part of their life to their music. It comes across in every song, every live performance, every interview. They have a passion for music. Their fanbase has grown substantially over the years because of it. Those fans are dedicated to “spreading the smoke” to all corners of the earth. I joined those ranks last year and this is one of the ways I am sharing my love of Blackberry Smoke with the world.

Their music is real, you can relate to it. It touches your heart and soul, makes you wanna dance, reminds you that life isn’t perfect, and takes away your cares for a while.

It’s time to recommend a few songs that I think you, the reader, should listen to from the Blackberry Smoke catalog. This is really hard to do. There are so many I think you should listen to…like, all of them, really. That’s most what I tell people who ask me about them when they ask what album to pick up – all of them. But I do have to pick a few for this feature, so as with my recommendations, if you have to start with one album, it should be their most recent The Whippoorwill.

Here are three songs from The Whippoorwill I think you should check:

  1. “Sleeping Dogs” – Rhapsody Link: http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/blackberry-smoke/album/the-whippoorwill/track/sleeping-dogs
  2. “The Whippoorwill” – Rhapsody Link: http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/blackberry-smoke/album/the-whippoorwill/track/the-whippoorwill
  3. “One Horse Town” – Rhapsody Link: http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/blackberry-smoke/album/the-whippoorwill/track/one-horse-town

Here the video for “Pretty Little Lie” from The Whippoorwill:

Here are three tracks from A Little Piece of Dixie, released in 2011:

  1. “Who Invented the Wheel” – Rhapsody Link: http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/blackberry-smoke/album/a-little-piece-of-dixie/track/who-invented-the-wheel
  2. “Bottom of This” – Rhapsody Link: http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/blackberry-smoke/album/a-little-piece-of-dixie/track/bottom-of-this
  3. “Prayer for the Little Man” – Rhapsody Link: http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/blackberry-smoke/album/a-little-piece-of-dixie/track/prayer-for-the-little-man

Here’s the video for “Good One Comin’ On” from A Little Piece of Dixie:

Check out their entire catalog on Rhapsody or the music service of your choice. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed – especially if you’re a Southern Rock fan. Their music is reminiscent of the 70’s music scene, yet has some hard rock and country elements to it that make it unique.

For more information about Blackberry Smoke, visit their official site at www.blackberrysmoke.com.

Finally, here are couple of acoustic songs from YouTube.com – this is amazing stuff, really captures what Blackberry Smoke is all about.

Get to know Blackberry Smoke: