The story goes that Mississippi John Hurt was at the ripe young age of 35 when he traveled up from Mississippi to Memphis to lay down the first recordings of his career on the legendary Okeh label, a hop and a jump later in December of 1928 he made this recording in New York City, a lyrical reworking of “Make Me A Pallet on Your Floor”. You have to love the sound of this old recording; mellow and oaken, a bright finger picked guitar and a voice that will last for the ages.
Hello folks, welcome back to a brand new year of Art of the Mixtape. To help kick it off I bring you a nice bucolic little mixture of some great songs.
1. Greatest Show On Earth- The Felice Brothers
On their eponymous debut, The Felice Brothers very much earned their label of following in the tradition of Bob Dylan and The Band. Perhaps what is most impressive is their narrative ability, delivering slices of Americana in a world weary mood. However, “Greatest Show On Earth” stands out with its jaunty New Orleans infused melody. Come for the story, stay for the music.
2. Fables- The Dodos
The Dodos burst onto the San Francisco music scene with a unique drumming centric sound, but don’t let that scare you, they’re very much a rootsy rock band with a percussive twist. Many of their other songs showcase a more daring aesthetic but “Fables” is a very endearing acoustic standout with a nice vocal to boot.
3. Jackhammer- The Spinto Band
This song has a bag full of production tricks around every corner, and it’s done very well. I love songs that continue to surprise their listener.
4. Oslo Campfire- Port O’Brien
You’ll be hooked from the very beginning of this number by the unfortunately little known Port O’Brien, very much a cousin to The Shins output circa “New Slang”, the guitar/vocal/drum hook is amazing.
5. Snake- Frightened Rabbit
A nice little lilting acoustic number.
6. Stepping Stones- G. Love and Special Sauce
A delightful little modern blues number with a very catchy chorus
7. Ruminant Band- Fruit Bats
Hearing this song, you’d be very surprised to learn that it was not recorded in the 70’s, but in a good way.
8. I’ll Be Back- The Beatles
One of the oft-overlooked numbers from a tremendous album, A Hard Day’s Night
9. The Cave- Mumford & Sons
A very energetic number from an up-and-coming folksy band out of England.
10. Hiroshima- Blake Mills
Blake Mills came out with a very under-promoted debut and his number “Hiroshima” is delightful ear candy that grows from the likes of worthy predecessors such like the homegrown material of Paul McCartney’s McCartney and Ram, absolutely beautiful melody, before a slide guitar solo comes out of nowhere sounding like Duane Allman coming from the dead.
11. Mightiest of Guns- A.A. Bondy
One of those perfect songs.
12. Steel On Steel- J. Tillman
A very charming and upbeat number, with a great horn melody and diverse instrumentation.
13. I Summon You- Spoon
Spoon has been hard pressed to beat the overall feeling of this song and for good reason, it’s a straight up classic.
14. All Day Day Light- The Morning Benders
Great production, arrangement, vocal, on “All Day Day Light” The Morning Benders do everything right.
15. Timshel- Mumford & Sons
Detractors would say that they took this directly out of the book of previous acts like Fleet Foxes, they would be right, but they do it so well that its hardly an insult, their harmonies are gorgeous.
16. Let The Distance Keep Us Together- Spoon/ Bright Eyes
Spoon can create a great melody out of anything, but when they write great lyrics to go with it, there’s hardly a modern band that can compete with them.
17. Change of Time- Josh Ritter
Perhaps no man is better qualified to write a finger-picked acoustic piece of Americana than one who went to Oberlin and graduated with a self made major in “American History through Narrative Folk Music”
18. Frankie’s Gun- The Felice Brothers
If you had any doubts about the following in the footsteps of Bob Dylan and The Band label, well here’s your proof.
19. Ain’t No Tellin’- Mississippi John Hurt
This beautiful little ending number is reaching your ears all the way back from 1928.