“God’s Gonna Cut You Down” (Johnny Cash acoustic folk song)

Originally posted 2009-08-31 22:00:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Johnny Cash chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

As the Mamas and the Papas would say: “Monday, Monday!”

Welcome to the first acoustic cover song music video of a brand new week here at the Laptop Sessions.  Tonight, I’m bringing you my second cover from Johnny Cash’s first posthumous release, American Recordings V: A Hundred Highways.  Yes, that’s right…  I specified “first” posthumous release, because I just read that American VI is scheduled for release later this year.  Apparently, Cash was working on V up until he passed away.  I was under the impression that V was a collection of material that was still unreleased, but that’s more along the lines of what VI will be.  Even so, I am very excited to hear this final collection when it is released.

What brought on this sudden return to Johnny Cash’s recent work, you might ask?  Well, I found the first American Recordings CD on sale at Newbury’s last week and decided to pick it up.  Truly good new albums have been far and few between this summer, with the exception of the Fruit Bats’ The Ruminant Band earlier this month — a very pleasant surprise to say the least!

I’ve been enjoying American Recordings thus far; it clearly displayed a lot of potential, which was explored on the four — and soon to be five — subsequent editions of the series.  The only one I have yet to hear is American Recordings II, which includes the classic “I’ve Been Everywhere,” which Jim worked into my version of “Folsom Prison Blues” way back when for my second Laptop Session cover song video ever.

The song I chose for tonight is “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” one of my favorites from American Recordings V.  It is a traditional song that Cash truly made his own, a song that has the ability to be simultaneously catchy/rockin’, and yet haunting/foreboding.  I had a fun time playing and practicing it the past few days, and I hope you’ll enjoy watching it.  As I mentioned earlier, this is the second song I’ve covered from this album, if you count Johnny Cash’s cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind,” one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

In other music news, I spent some time tonight reading about R.E.M.’s forthcoming double-CD live album that will include 39 tracks culled from their 2007 shows at the Olympia.  To be more specific, they played five shows in a row as they tried out new material for their 2008 album Accelerate.  In addition, they also played their hits and deep tracks.  I’ve wanted to hear these performances since I heard their new album, and I’m truly thrilled to hear this concert when it comes out in a couple months.  If you’re an R.E.M. fan, too, you should check out the videos for the two songs — the excellent “Living Well is the Best Revenge,” for which I recorded a Laptop Session, and Automatic for the People opening track “Drive — that have debuted on RollingStone.com.

And if you’re someone who has lost interest in Michael Stipe and company since they went through what can only be called a boring streak recently, then you need to give Accelerate a shot.  You won’t be disappointed.

I’ll leave you with one final, music-related note.  I added to Paste Magazine‘s trending topic on Twitter.com about the best albums of the 00’s, and shortly thereafter learned that I am the only person in the universe to have ever tweeted about the Wallflowers’ Red Letter Days, much less mention the album as one of the best during the decade.

I know; it’s quite the distinction…

See you next session!

The Weekend Review New Music Report: 2010 Edition

Originally posted 2011-01-17 10:00:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

In the past, before the Weekend Review was officially a segment on the Laptop Sessions blog and my articles had the oh-so-clever title of “Music Review” — and I know, I know, “the Weekend Review” isn’t all that much more clever — I have been accused of writing reviews that were positive to a fault.

This may well be true, as I have found it challenging these past couple years to define and refine my voice as a music critic who is also a singer/songwriter.  After all, it has been difficult to find a comfortable middle ground between praising music simply because someone labored over it and pointing out flaws to bring others down a notch.

Being an “amateur” has allowed me the opportunity and relative privacy to hone my craft.

I’ve come a long way from the every-so-often, knee-jerk nature of my early “CD Reviews,” articles that I typed and saved on my computer long before the Fusco-Moore Productions blog — now known as the Laptop Sessions blog — was launched.  I’ve also come a significant way since the aforementioned “Music Reviews.”  And, I’d like to think that I’ve progressed as a writer over the past year of “Weekend Reviews.”

So, this being my fifty-second and final Weekend Review of 2010, I decided to dedicate it to laying out a table of contents of sorts for the fifty-four reviews I’ve written this year (including “Yes, No, Maybe So?” one-sentence reviews).  They’re arranged below in descending order from my one five-star rating down to my handful of one-star reviews.

What it all amounts to is a lot of music from a diverse range of artists that run the genre gamut.  The one common denominator here, the one solid link between all subjects of the Weekend Review, is the presence of the singer/songwriter.  With the exception of a couple of cover song albums, these are albums of original music released in 2010.

The best I can offer as an overall statement for the year’s music is that this was, overall, an excellent year for new music.  The range tended to follow the bell curve (1 five star, 14 four stars, 23 three stars, 13 two stars, and 3 one stars), but this should not undercut the fact that there were fourteen very strong, interesting, entertaining albums released this year.

In all fairness, what the year was lacking was any albums that really blew everything else out of the water.  Although several have argued this point with me, I do not hesitate a moment to give All in Good Time (BnL) the full five-star nod.  That being said, I do not consider it their best album, not by a long shot.

So, where does that leave us?

In my opinion, it leaves 2010 as a very strong year with at least fifteen strong reasons to buy new albums, but it also leaves a gap for those attuned to and awaiting the next, best classic albums for the ages.

I hope you’ll check back for my final post (at least for a while) on the blog tomorrow and that you’ll consider checking some of these albums out while they’re still available on the ever-increasingly trend- and contempo-centric CD shelves.

54 New Albums, 2010: Arranged in descending order of star ranking (out of 5).

All in Good Time (Barenaked Ladies) – 5 stars
Bad Books (Bad Books) – 4.5 stars
Be in Love (Locksley) – 4 stars
Broken Bells (Broken Bells) – 4 stars
Heaven is Whenever (The Hold Steady) – 4 stars
Kaleidoscope Heart (Sara Bareilles) – 4 stars
Lonely Avenue (Ben Folds & Nick Hornby) – 4 stars
Mines (Menomena) – 4 stars
Mojo (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) – 4 stars (4.5 w/o “Candy” & “Takin’ My Time”)
Night Work – (Scissor Sisters) – 4 stars
Sea of Cowards (The Dead Weather) – 4 stars
Suburba – House of Heroes – 4 stars
The Grand Theatre Volume One (Old 97’s) – 4 stars
The Suburbs (Arcade Fire) – 4 stars
Volume Two (She & Him) – 4 stars
A Postcard from California (Al Jardine) – 3.5 stars
A Singer Must Die (Steven Page with the Art of Time Ensemble) – 3.5 stars
American Slang (The Gaslight Anthem) – 3 stars
American VI: Ain’t No Grave (Johnny Cash) – 3 stars
As I Call You Down (Fistful of Mercy) – 3.5 stars
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin (Brian Wilson) – 3.5 stars
Brothers (The Black Keys) – 3.5 stars
Dark Night of the Soul (Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse) – 3.5 stars
Death to False Metal (Weezer) – 3 stars
Destroyer of the Void – (Blitzen Trapper) – 3.5 stars
Easy Wonderful (Guster) – 3 stars
Everything Under the Sun (Jukebox the Ghost) – 3.5 stars
High Violet (The National) – 3.5 stars
How to Destroy Angels (How to Destroy Angels) – 3 stars
Hurley (Weezer) – 3.5 stars
Light You Up (Shawn Mullins) – 3 stars
Lo-Fi for the Dividing Nights (Broken Social Scene) – 3 stars
Page One (Steven Page) – 3.5 stars
Sigh No More (Mumford & Sons) – 3.5 stars
Something for the Rest of Us (Goo Goo Dolls) – 3.5 stars
Stone Temple Pilots (Stone Temple Pilots) – 3.5 stars
To The Sea (Jack Johnson) – 3 stars
Transference (Spoon) – 3.5 stars
Court Yard Hounds (Court Yard Hounds) – 2.5 stars
Crazy for You (Best Coast) – 2.5 stars
Eureka (Rooney) – 2 stars
Everything Comes and Goes (Michelle Branch) – 2 stars
Familial (Philip Selway) – 2.5 stars
Forgiveness Rock Record (Broken Social Scene) – 2 stars
Heligoland (Massive Attack) – 2 stars
Infinite Arms (Band of Horses) – 2 stars
National Ransom (Elvis Costello) – 2 stars
Realism (Magnetic Fields) – 2.5 stars
Women & Country (Jakob Dylan) – 2.5 stars
Write About Love (Belle & Sebastian) – 2.5 stars
Y Not (Ringo Starr) – 2.5 stars
100 Miles from Memphis (Sheryl Crow) – 1.5 stars
Clapton (Eric Clapton) – 1 star
Interpol (Interpol) – 1 star

“Great Day” (Paul McCartney Cover)

Originally posted 2008-03-16 16:08:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Sunday edition of the Laptop Sessions!

Today, I bring you a tune that I covered on my album “That’s All Folks” called “Great Day” by Paul McCartney. It closes out his 1997 album “Flaming Pie”, one of my all-time favorites.  That album, “That’s All Folks”, came about because I had purchased my first good acoustic guitar.  That guitar meant everything to me- it sounded great, played great, and made me feel like a real musician.  I didn’t even really know how to play too well when I bought it.  So, I learned how to play a bunch of songs I was listening to at the time.  That taught me more chords, which turned me into a better player.  And, at the time, I was going through a HUGE Paul McCartney phase.  They had just released “Wingspan” with all of Wings’ greatest hits.  I know those songs probably grate on people after all this time, but they were all new to me- and I fell for it pretty hard.  We were also listening, as a family, to Paul’s albums from the 90s quite a bit.  The first real song I learned how to play (and played it for my parents) was, of all things, “Hope of Deliverance” by Paul McCartney off of the “Off the Ground” album from the early 90s.  I guess you could say that Paul McCartney’s songs really taught me how to play.  And when it comes to rock musicians, you can’t get a much better tutor than him.

This is the perfect acoustic song and gives quite a vocal workout, which you wouldn’t expect in such a simple song.  I decided to do this acoustic cover song on my nylon-string classical acoustic guitar, as it gave me the opportunity to be more expressive in my performance.  This song is very soulful, which you wouldn’t really expect from the lyrics.  I kind of dumbed-down the guitar picking riff throughout because that’s not really my thing.  I’m a strummer and a soloist, but can’t do the flat-picking thing too well.  Paul McCartney, the phenom that he is, is proficient at almost anything, musically.  The man is one of the best bass players of all time, he can play the drums, sing (obviously), write songs, and play any guitar part you throw in front of him.  Oh, and he’s written some of the most famous rock songs of all time on the piano, as well.  That’s a pretty impressive life, for sure!

I hope you all enjoy today’s Session, as I’ll be back on Wednesday with a “political” original song- don’t miss it!


“House of the Rising Sun” (The Animals Cover)

Originally posted 2008-12-26 23:15:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Christmastime will have to wait another year to come around again. But, things went very well over the past couple of days. Christmas Eve started with breakfast at McDonald’s before work with Chris and Dana. Then, we got out of work at 2:00 and I came home to clean up and take a nap before my family arrived for dinner. We all ate and ate and ate until Mike and I went over to Hubbard Park in Meriden where they have the whole park decked-out in Christmas lights. There’s always so many interesting animals made out of wire and lights- turtles, a beaver, moose, and even frogs. After that, Mike and I watched an episode of the show Freaks and Geeks before bed.

We woke up to our usual bounty of Christmas presents. I was happy because this year, I actually got everyone a TON of stuff, too, and was pretty excited to see if they liked it all. I got what I was hoping for- a Playstation 3! I’m so excited because I have a great Samsung HD television, but I haven’t gotten to use it to its full potential yet. With the PS3, I’ll be able to play games and movies in high-def.

I also got some other great stuff, including a TON of accessories for PS3 (and also the game MLB 08) from Mike. I got some very useful stuff for my condo, as well, as I tend to neglect buying things I truly need for everyday life and just focus on saving up for large purchases.

After we ate dinner, we took our annual trip to my Aunt’s house. We opened presents and I played a Nintendo DS game with my little cousin Gerry where the object of the game was to make Daffy Duck angry. How fun!

I then came back home for, as Chris said, a great episode of TNA iMPACT! Oh, I also got that video game, too!

After that, I finally got to come home and open presents I got from Becky. She got me a train set (I was right!) for around the tree, some “hot packs” of baseball cards (when you’re guaranteed to get a jersey card inside), and six (yes, 6!) Blu-Ray movies for my new player! I got one from every category, including scenic, action, music, etc.

I got up this morning and went to the train station with Becky to catch the train to New York City. We had an appointment at the NV Perricone Cosmeceuticals boutique on Madison Avenue, where I scheduled a spa treatment for Becky. Thankfully, I work for NV Perricone’s headquarters in Meriden, CT, so it was a lot easier (and less money) to get an appointment. I couldn’t believe how upscale that area was. I ate lunch at a nice European cafe…that is, if you consider lunch to be a piece of pie and a cup of coffee for 14 dollars!!! I sat down and looked at the menu first. I was so surprised at the prices for lunch that I forced myself to just get the pie and coffee. I would’ve been out forty bucks easy if I got lunch…for just me! So, to ease my hunger, I got a $1.50 hot dog from a street vendor, then went back to find a glowing Becky after her treatment.

We then saw the Rockafeller Center Christmas tree, then won a lottery where we got FRONT ROW seats to see Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” on Broadway for only $27 each! Those tickets were going for $120 at the box office! We were pretty pumped. We ate a nice meal at Bubba Gump shrimp (I knew the answer to the trivia question about how many Dr. Peppers Forrest drank at the White House) and then saw the show. It was a long train ride home, especially because I knew I had to record a video!

Tonight’s video, after 640 words of writing, is one of the most covered songs of all time. Just about every folk singer has done this, but the reason I know it is probably the reason why you know it, too- The Animals. Their version of this traditional song is just so cool. The ripping vocals, the wailing organ solo, and of course, those four to five chords that just give you instant recognition of this tune. The strumming pattern is cool, but not the easiest thing to do while singing. At least they’re easy chords.

I’m glad to add another “new” band to the best video blog ever created- it’s like “going to bed at 4 am knowing that this was the night you were supposed to catch up on your sleep, but who cares because it’s the weekend of Christmas” good! I only have ONE MORE video to do to complete our entire year’s worth of Laptop Sessions acoustic cover and original songs videos and I feel very accomplished right now. Enjoy tonight’s video and I’ll see you for my year’s swan song on Monday!