Valentine’s Day…for some, an occasion to hit the store for flowers, candy and cards and celebrate that special relationship over dinner (and hopefully some post-meal intimacy). For others, it’s a long and painful day where every turn reminds us that despite our best efforts, we are alone.
Music plays an important part in any emotional setting, of course, and for those celebrating their bliss there is a litany of sentimental songs to choose from. Most songs are about love, after all. But if you’re on the dark end of the street, songs are anything but celebratory. They become daggers plunging through your chest, each one seemingly so specific to your situation that it must have been written with you in mind.
All day long, commercial radio will no doubt fill your ears with the happy, peppy songs. Bloodshot Records has stepped up to take care of the rest of you by providing the Lonely Hearts Valentine’s Day Sampler. The free download features country, rock and blues from their label artists including Robbie Fulks, Wayne Hancock, Old 97’s, Alejandro Escovedo, Andre Collins and Bobby Bare Jr.
Click here for the free sampler.
Bloodshot has two other free “Best of 2010” samplers here and here. There’s a wealth of free MP3s available on Amazon with new promotions every month – bookmark this link for tracking those down.
Now put the sharp objects away and press “play“…
(What an odd saying that is, by the way.)
Close But No Cigar is my quick takes on albums that didn’t make it to my “best of” list this year but are still worth checking out. Some have a great song or two, many are consistently good but not great. Not quite “bridesmaids”, the “cigars” will slot somewere south of #40 on the list when all is said and done.
But that’s just one man’s ears talking. I’m hoping that you find an artist or three that knocks your socks off and/or rediscover something that you passed on earlier. Here are ten to start with, in no particular order…
Drink these up
Broken West: Now Or Heaven
Imagine if Wilco teleported to the 1980s and tried to beat Europop at its own game. Some very nice melodies, whiffs of Kinks on occasion, but ultimately a juxtaposition of styles that doesn’t quite flow from start to finish. If you enjoy the aforementioned bands and 80s pop as well as revitalizer bands like The Kaiser Chiefs and The Futureheads, this might grow on you. A good highway album.
Ian McLagan: Never Say Never
Mac is a little mellower than usual on this one, but there aren’t too many bigger hearts making records nowadays. Surrounded as always by great musicians, Mac’s soulful raspy vocals and expressive playing are framed by heartfelt songs, many obvious love notes to his late wife Kim. Ronnie Lane fans will like the organic feel of “Killing Me With Love” while Faces fans will delight in the barrel-house rocker “I’m Hot, You’re Cool”. The Bump Band is on tour where Mac’s material shines brightest, and I’ll wager some alternate arrangements pop up in the set-list.
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