Watch Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires Cover Warren Zevon’s “Mutineer” on Letterman

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As we’ve said repeatedly, Dave Letterman’s nights as a talk show host are dwindling down to when he will end his tenure on May 20th.  Letterman has been stacking the deck musically, and at the end of Friday’s show Jason Isbell, his wife, Amanda Shires, and Willie Nelson’s harmonica player Mickey Raphael, joined to pay homage to one of Letterman’s (and our) favorite musicians, Warren Zevon.  The trio performed Zevon’s heart-rending Mutineer, which Zevon performed on the Letterman Show in his final public appearance (for the entire show that night) before he was taken by cancer.  It’s not the first time Isbell/Shires have covered the song.  Watch below, and then afterwards watch Zevon’s stirring performance of the song that night on the Letterman Show in 2002.

Grab your coat–let’s get out of here.  Not a dry eye in the house.

And if you want to hear another reason why we sorely miss Warren Zevon, go HERE.


“Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
Hoist the mainsail – here I come
Ain’t no room on board for the insincere
You’re my witness
I’m your mutineer

I was born to rock the boat
Some may sink but we will float
Grab your coat – let’s get out of here
You’re my witness
I’m your mutineer

Long ago we laughed at shadows
Lightning flashed and thunder followed us
It could never find us here
You’re my witness
I’m your mutineer

Long ago we laughed at shadows
Lightning flashed and thunder followed us
It could never find us here
You’re my witness
I’m your mutineer

I was born to rock the boat
Some may sink but we will float
Grab your coat – let’s get out of here
You’re my witness
I’m your mutineer
You’re my witness
I’m your mutineer
I’m your mutineer”


Iron & Wine Has Released Its Seminal Archive Volume 1: Now Watch the Official Video for “Everyone’s Favorite Song of ’95”


Sam Beam and his “band” of merriment known as “Iron & Wine” have delivered many of this generation’s best ballads, rockers and lullabies.  Recently, Beam decided to back-fill his tremendous discography by releasing a previously-unreleased collection of songs entitled Archive Series Volume No. 1.   The album consists of unheralded, great songs (all killer, no filler) that Beam put down on tape circa-2002’s semi-shocking smash debut on Sub Pop, The Creek Drank The Cradle.  One of the many great songs from this tremendous Archive is Everyone’s Summer Of ’95.  This track has now been imagined as a video featuring some dude (sorry) by the name of David Dastmalchian (evidently featured in a bunch of productions that YOU, dear person, CARE about immensely–us, not so much).  The video is a bit of anxious daring-do in which the D-Dude jumps in briefly with some of his (imagined?) WWE bros (where is John Darnielle when you need him?) and escapes to who knows what?  Still: the song.  You know?

Regardless, there’s never been a song written by Sam Beam that isn’t worthy of your strictest attention.  He’s amongst our very best songwriters and lyricists, and the Archive Series proves this theorem yet again.  Check out Eden, opener Slow Black River and all the rest of these salvaged beauties.  And go HERE to pick it up.

Next up in the Archive Volumes:  the Covers, which Sam Beam does so well.

Check the video below.


Listen to Sweet Spirit’s “Have Mercy” (with Spoon’s Britt Daniel)


Austin’s Sweet Spirit is soon to be touring as openers for faves Spoon, and we can’t wait to catch ’em at the Wiltern in LA on May 30th.  To further the intertwining of the two bands, Sweet Spirit and Spoon’s Britt Daniel recently collaborated on a great new song entitled Have Mercy, which you can listen to below (lyrics at bottom).  Spoon’s frequent producer, Mike McCarthy, recorded the song and will produce Sweet Spirit’s debut album coming this summer.  We love everything about Have Mercy, including Sabrina Ellis’s vocals, the synth-rumble, the clicking drums, Daniel’s/others’ multi-tracked harmonies.  And especially that bass line that bubbles up intermittently.  And the abrupt ending.  A great track!

The single is backed by Sweet Spirit’s cover of Spoon’s Paper Tiger.

After Have Mercy, listen to another engaging Sweet Spirit song, Let Me Be On Top, off their current EP.

“Lonesome is the whip-poor-will
Never seen one but I feel
Time is like a Ritalin pill
Goes too fast and makes you ill

Have mercy on me
Have mercy on me

Love is like the mockingbird
Singing all the things he’s heard
Sweet into his lover’s ear
This time for sure, promise you, dear

Have mercy on me
Have mercy on me

Shameful is the cardinal
His colors make him fallible
While we made through the window side
He’s captured the coyote’s eye

Have mercy on me
Have mercy on me
Have mercy on me
Have mercy on me”


Watch Elbow’s Guy Garvey Gainfully Cover Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”

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Ewan MacColl was a seminal British folk singer, songwriter, communist, labor activist, actor, poet, playwright, and record producer.  Amongst many great songs MacColl wrote (including Dirty Old Town, covered so well by The Pogues and many others), he wrote The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (made famous by Roberta Flack).  MacColl was recently (what took so long?) inducted into the BBC Folk Awards Hall of Fame, and Elbow’s Guy Garvey was there to render an evocative reading of the song, joined by Ewan MacColl’s sons Calum MacColl and Neill MacColl, and daughter-in-law Kate St. John, plus Duncan Lyall on bass and Harry Mead on percussion.  Check the stirring performance out below.


Watch Dawes Perform Brilliant New “Things Happen” on Letterman Show


As the days dwindle down (20 as of today, but who’s counting) on the Letterman Show, the distinguished Dawes appeared last night and performed their valiant new song Things Happen, all in promotion of their fantastic new, Dave Rawlings-produced album, All Your Favorite BandsThings Happen features the band’s signature melody lines and clever, incisive wordplay, coupled with superb playing and singing.  In short:  the whole package.  We couldn’t agree more with Letterman’s introduction of Dawes:  “This is pretty much all you need in a rock ‘n roll band.”  In addition to rending some of the best songs in rock, they are amongst our favorite live bands.  Catch ’em if you can!

All Your Favorite Bands, will be released on June 2nd via the band’s own HUB label.  You can pre-order it HERE.

After watching the Letterman performance, check out the song’s official video.


Watch Courtney Barnett’s “Dead Fox” in Black Cab Session


A long, long time ago (OK, starting six years ago) there were the Black Cab Sessions in which musicians were captured performing unadorned in the back of a London cab.  Some of our favorite vignettes were featured, such as HERE , HERE, HERE, and HERE.  And then the cab seemed to have run out of petrol.  Thankfully Black Cab is back thanks to the Guardian.

Featured on the most recent Black Cab Session is one of our favorite new artists, the gifted Aussie lyricist and musician, Courtney Barnett.

Go HERE to watch Barnett perform Dead Fox (off of her fantastic album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.)


Watch The Decemberists on CBS This Morning and CBC’s Studio Q


The Decemberists are amongst our favorite musical acts.  Ever.  They’ll go toe to toe and pound for pound with any other act out there, and not lose anything in the melee.  And yet we haven’t managed to catch them live heretofore.  But come May 1st that void will finally be filled when we are up close to witness the band at the Greek Theater in Berkeley in support of their fantastic recent album, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World.

To get a feel for their fine live form, check out their performances of The Wrong Year and Make You Better CBS This Morning: Saturday.  For us there can be no better. Most impressive are Jenny Conlee and John Moen on Make You Better during the last third of that performance, and the harmonies.  

Colin Meloy and his love may not be “starry-eyed anymore,” but we are while watching this performance.  Bring on the starry eyes and make it better.  Please.

The CBS player is bugged and bugging so if the videos below don’t play, you can go HERE and HERE to watch.

Afterwards watch the same songs performed unplugged on CBC’s Studio Q.  Unadorned beauty.


Watch Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon Cover Spoon’s “Inside Out” and Hear Spoon’s Original Demo


There’s intense gravity and regret starting to register within, and it’s not out of character.  Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon is launching his first  Eaux Claires Festival this summer in his heartland Wisconsin.  The lineup is heavily Lefort-centric and possibly the highest-caliber lineup we’ve ever seen, including faves Bon Iver (natch), The National, Sufjan Stevens, Spoon, Low, Sylvan Esso, Charles Bradley, Field Report, The Staves, and many more).  As of now, it’s highly unlikely we will be able to attend.  We’ll try to assuage our regrets by catching Spoon at the Wiltern on May 30th.  Can’t wait.

Yesterday, Vernon upped the ante on our Eaux Claire-angst by releasing the video below of his superb solo performance (we assume at the festival site) on a moon-filled night of Spoon’s great song Inside Out.  Check it out below.  There’s musical alchemy right there.  We love everything about it, save the brevity.


After the video, listen to the just-released, spare demo of Inside Out by Spoon (from a superb Song Exploder session a few months back).

The song’s lyrics are at bottom.  Though Britt Daniel might disabuse us of the notion, we don’t share in the anti-faith interpretation of the song’s lyrics.  We prefer to read the song as professing belief (in the big “you”) while resisting organized religion (otherwise the “holy rollers” stanza stands out of place and seemingly without context).  But that’s just us.  Regardless, it’s a great song on a fantastic album.

“Time’s gone inside out
Time gets distorted when
There’s intense gravity

I don’t got time for holy rollers
Though they may wash my feet
And I won’t be their soldier

There’s intense gravity in you
Yeah, there’s intense gravity in you
I’m just your satellite
I’m just your satellite

Ooh, and I know that time’s gone inside out
And now it’s only like we told you
Mmm, though they may wash my feet
They do not make me complete

Break out of character for me
Time keeps on going when
We got nothing else to give
We got nothing else to give

Ooh, cause time’s gone inside out
I don’t make time for holy rollers
Mmm, there’s only you I need
They do not make me complete”


Watch Sam Beam and Ben Bridwell Perform On Letterman Show As Its Days Dwindle Down


Sadly, the David Letterman days are ticking down to the inevitable culmination of the talk show host’s esteemed and historic career.  We’ve been enjoying Letterman since 1982 when he and talented band-leader Paul Shaffer would jokingly recall the illusory days when the show began “15 years ago.”  33 years later, Letterman and Shaffer will end their talk show collaboration, and the baton will be passed by a “class act” (as Dave likes to say).  Sad, but inevitable.  Many of late night’s best musical moments (Warren Zevon, Tom Waits, James Brown (killing it in 1982), R.E.M., U2, Joe Strummer, Janelle Monae, etc., etc., etc., but NOT that uber-lame Future Islands performance) have occurred on the Letterman Show, and while we fear the void, we trust that Stephen Colbert will carry on that tradition when the show re-starts on September 8th.

As the nights dwindle down, Letterman is bringing out some of the musical greats, to be capped off by Tom Waits as the last musical guest on the show on Wednesday, May 20th.

Last night was another great musical event.  As mentioned yesterday, Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam and Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell showed up to cover Unicorn’s No Way Out Of Here (but see “Exit” sign above) from their forthcoming covers album Sing Into My Mouth (which you can pre-order HERE).  With Shaffer and the great studio band riffing along, Bridwell and Beam lit up the stage with their harmonies and exchanges.  Check it out below.


Updated: Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell and Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam Release First Samples From Their Covers Album–Also Appearing Tonight on the Letterman Show


Two of our all-time favorite singer-songwriters, Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam and Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell recently announced the release of a covers album entitled Sing Into My Mouth.  The two have evidently been longtime friends and have previously exchanged other folks’ songs (that heavily influenced them) via cassette and mixes.  Through Beam’s persistence they eventually managed to squirrel away some time to record the album together in Asheville, North Carolina, and it will be released this summer on Black Cricket/Brown Records.

As a first sample, they have today released Sade’s Bullet Proof Soul (you would think:  of all things; you would be wrong).  We love everything about their take on the song (harmonies, pedal steel, guitar, you name it) and can’t wait for the album.  Check it out below.  Update:  the duo has also revealed (listen below) for your eased ears Unicorn’s obscure, Beatles-esque No Way Out of Here.

The duo will also appear on the unfortunately-dwindling-down Letterman Show tonight, so set your DVRs.

Check out the full tracklist after the song below.

Sing Into My Mouth:

01 “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” (Talking Heads)
02 “Done This One Before” (Ronnie Lane)
03 “Any Day Woman” (Bonnie Raitt)
04 “You Know Me More Than I Know” (John Cale)
05 “Bulletproof Soul” (Sade)
06 “There’s No Way Out of Here” (Unicorn)
07 “God Knows (You Gotta Give to Get)” (El Perro del Mar)
08 “The Straight And Narrow” (Spiritualized)
09 “Magnolia” (JJ Cale)
10 “Am I A Good Man?” (Them Two)
11 “Ab’s Song” (Marshall Tucker Band)
12 “Coyote, My Little Brother” (Pete Seeger)