Songs You May Have Missed #618

Los Lonely Boys: Diamonds (2006)

Lots of contemporary bands are touted as throwbacks to the sound of classic rock. Few of them sound, to my ears at least, like the sound of rock’s halcyon days.

Los Lonely Boys seem to have soaked in the formula. They know this much at least: Classic rock songs are built around the guitar riff. The riff is central; it is the cornerstone. If you have a great riff beginning the song and repeated throughout, you have the makings of a great rock song. It is the thing “new rock” is missing that 70’s rock bands would never omit.

“Diamonds” is pinned on a killer guitar hook, one that’s easy to get stuck in your head. And the rest of the song is pretty damn fine, too.

Songs You May Have Missed #617

Tir Na Nog: “The Gangway” (2017)

The warm, faintly antique-sounding folk sound of Sonny Condell and Leo O’Kelly is intact on 2017’s The Dark Dance LP, as if it hadn’t been forty-four years since their last album (1973’s Strong in the Sun, commemorated on a page linked below).

Over their brief, three-record major label stint, they evolved somewhat from the pure acoustic sound heard here to more of a full-fledged rock band configuration, albeit one fronted by two guys wielding acoustic guitars. But their songs seemed most comfortable in the most rustic of settings: mostly acoustic with spare ornamentation to distract or detract from the haunting melodies and the spell of two voices intertwining harmonies.

Timeless stuff.

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Songs You May Have Missed #616

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real: “Find Yourself” (2017)

Self-described “cowboy hippie surf rocker” Lukas Nelson and his band Promise of the Real have frequently opened for Lukas’ father Willie Nelson, and Lukas follows his own live set by playing in dad’s band.

Here he duets with none other than Lady Gaga on the roots rocker “Find Yourself”, with Gaga channeling Bonnie Raitt to deliver exactly the type of muscular performance the song requires.

On a personal note, this song, like others I’ve posted here, came to me at the exact moment–literally the very hour–when its message was most pertinent in my life:

I know the love that I deserve

I hope you find yourself before I find somebody else to be my lover

Songs You May Have Missed #615

Karl Jenkins: “Introit” (2005)

Karl Jenkins’ contemporary requiem combines Eastern and Western traditions–with text in Latin, Japanese and Welsh–for an uplifting and melodically memorable work that deals with the cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth.

“Introit”, which begins the album, is a gorgeously rendered full-choir highlight.

Songs You May Have Missed #614

Steven Wilson: “The Day Before You Came” (2014)

Steven Wilson doesn’t exactly specialize in the straight-ahead love song. The Porcupine Tree mastermind and frontman is not typically prone to a tendency to deal in anything so treacly as a lyric that extolls a lover’s positive influence on one’s life.

So it makes sense it would appeal to him to tell the love story in a more emotionally subtle and artistically subversive way–in this case by painting a picture of the dreary routine of life prior to “the day before you came”.

Yep, it suits the melancholy Wilson to a T. Except he didn’t write the song. It’s from his 2014 album of cover tunes. So who is responsible for this devastating examination of an empty existence?

Why, ABBA of course. And it’s not as inconsistent as one may at first think. With hits like “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “S.O.S.” and especially album track “My Love, My Life”, those lovable bejumpsuited Swedes routinely created dichotomous musical clashes of emotional turmoil and musical glee, something Elvis Costello celebrated as he paid unlikely tribute with “Oliver’s Army” in 1979.

Wilson’s reading of the minor key meditation takes it into darker territory indeed.

Songs You May Have Missed #613

Until June: “Baby” (2009)

“When planes fly away, do you feel left behind?”

Just as they do in “Sleepless”, another song we’ve featured here, Until June tug at the heartstrings in the song’s first line.

If you like the sound of this one, check out Dan Ballard’s solo project My Dead Air, also recommended and represented among the links below.

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Songs You May Have Missed #612


Bee Gees: “Morning of My Life (In the Morning)” (1971)

For such an obscure song, the Bee Gees’ “Morning of My Life” has quite a long history in the Gibb family. It was first recorded by the band in 1966 during sessions for their debut Spicks and Specks album. During the period when Robin Gibb left to pursue a solo career, Barry and Maurice performed the song acoustically with their sister Lesley on a BBC-TV special. And the group recorded the song once again with Robin during the sessions for their 2 Years On reunion LP.

bee-geesWhile the song was ultimately left off that album it appeared a short time later on the soundtrack to the 1971 film Melody. It has appeared on Bee Gees compilations and box sets but never on an official Bee Gees album. Andy Gibb too recorded a version that was never released.

As a Moody Blues fan, when I first heard “Morning of My Life” I thought the similarities to the Moodies’ 1971 “Emily’s Song” were striking. Since the Bee Gees song has origins half a decade previous, if one song influenced the other it was certainly the Bee Gees tune that inspired the one by the Moody Blues, and this seems fairly likely to me.

Take note not only of the common lyrical threads but of the general similarity in feel between the song Barry Gibb seems to have aimed at a young child and the composition John Lodge of the Moody Blues wrote for his newborn daughter Emily (and which parenthetically inspired the naming of my own daughter Emily):


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