“After Midnight” (J.J. Cale, Eric Clapton Cover)

Originally posted 2009-02-23 23:56:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For J.J. Cale / Eric Clapton chords and lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Okay, so before I explain my song choice tonight, I have to briefly address the music video I just watched.  I really do love music videos, and it seems a lost art.  Interestingly enough, it seems that the MTV show “Total Request Live,” or TRL for short, both furthered the popularity of music videos… and led to their demise.  I mean, what’s better than a show devoted to showing music videos?  Oh, wait — TRL, not unlike commercial radio, ended up circulating only about ten popular videos on any given day.  Oh yeah, and the show only aired clips of those ten music videos!  What?!  Who decided on this format?  No wonder they finally took it off the air!

To be fair, I heard that the show had recently adopted a more progressive format, utilizing online resources to poll viewers, etc.  But I stopped watching the show loooong before that.

Anyway, back to the music video I just watched.  I was on Yahoo and saw a link to Coldplay’s new music video for “Life in Technicolor II” — it’s a great one!  I was impressed with the overall progression of the video, as it documents a children’s puppet show that turns into an all-out rock’n roll concert that includes the puppet versions of Chris Martin and company playing their instruments, and Martin not only jumping around (hanging as though suspended in the air as he sings “Now my feet won’t touch the ground”) and crowd surfing.  It ends with them being picked up, in true rock star style, by a helicopter that exits the room by smashing through a window.  Which begs the question… how did it get in in the first place?

And this is wonderful…

…except for the fact that the Barenaked Ladies already did this!  Certainly, Coldplay’s video is not a plagiarism of BnL’s music video for “Pollywog in a Bog” last year (I wonder if they even saw it), but it seems odd that they did a puppet show so soon after BnL.  I guess that just goes to show how ahead of the curve they are.  If you haven’t seen these videos, you should definitely go watch them.  BOTH of them — it’ll be worth the six minutes of your life it will take!  (Just search on YouTube for “Barenaked Ladies Pollywog” and “Coldplay puppets”).  The BnL video is especially worthwhile, if only for the really cute animal puppets that look creepily similar to the respective band members.  Such a fun and funny video!!

Okay, so back to my video for tonight…

Those of you who regularly frequent the blog will already know that my goal this year is to tie every “Chris Moore Monday” in somehow with the following New Music Tuesday.  So, you may be wondering what a J.J. Cale song that is over four decades old has to do with new music…  Well, J.J. Cale is releasing a new album tomorrow entitled Roll On, his first solo album since 2004.  His most recent success was The Road to Escondido, an album recorded in 2006 in conjunction with Eric Clapton.  This was certainly not their first interaction, as Cale wrote the songs “After Midnight” and “Cocaine,” both of which Clapton popularized.  When I was growing up, my dad would often play his “Cream of Clapton” greatest hits, which included both of these songs.

Thus, it is my honor to bring you an old Cale track in honor of his new release, which (again) comes out tomorrow.  This song may have been written in 1966, but he’s still writing and recording in 2009 at the age of 70, and that is nothing short of amazing!

Don’t forget to rush back tomorrow for an all new Jim Fusco Tuesday…

See you next session!

Halfway There: A Look Back at Ten (Officially Released) Jim Fusco Rarities – PART ONE

Originally posted 2009-03-22 08:00:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

It will be difficult for 2009 to compete with last year’s music output, both here and abroad (so to speak).  Not only did 2008 see the release of incredible albums from bigtime artists (REM, Counting Crows, Coldplay…), but also saw the release of FMP artist Jeff Copperthite’s solo debut.  There were so many new albums released last year that I could hardly keep the release dates straight, and it really was a great year for new music.  Not all of it was amazing, but much of it was extremely enjoyable.

So, here comes 2009…

Thus far, there have been only a few notable releases in the new rock music world.  Bruce Springsteen started the year off strong with Working On A Dream.  Dan Auerbach’s debut solo release Keep It Hid was solid.  Recently, U2’s No Line On The Horizon drew a five-star rating from Rolling Stone (and questions marks from me…).  On the horizon, we now have Bob Dylan’s Together Through Life to look forward to, leaving the question: what do we new music fans have to do in the meantime?

That’s simple: look forward to the April 7th release of Jim Fusco‘s Halfway There!

The press release promises, “Halfway There may just be the best piece of music you purchase this year,” citing Fusco’s “attention to detail,” “organic effects,” and “warm sound.”  As there haven’t yet been any tracks leaked onto the web — either on Fusco’s offical site or by, um, other means 😉 — there is only one thing to do in the next two weeks as we wait for the official release…

Listen back to his previous albums!  [EDITOR’S NOTE: The new songs are now streaming online – click here.]

He has been quite a prolific artist, self-producing and self-releasing all of his previous albums.  There have been enough to merit a “best of” release in 2004.  Still, there are a lot of great tracks that have been overlooked by The Best of Jim Fusco, Vol. 1.  Thus, I’d like to share my top ten favorite (officially released) Jim Fusco rarities.

In no particular order, here goes…

Ten (Officially Released) Jim Fusco Rarities

1)  “It Makes Life Interesting” – A great song with a slow start, just drums and lead vocals.  The heartbeat of the rolling bass line makes it an instantly likeable song.  In private interviews, Fusco has made mention of a mentality that shaped his early high school through college years — namely, his response to the things he chose to do or situations he found himself in was “it makes life interesting.”  In a way, this song is a personal statement, carved out in a catchy, vocal-drenched three-minute song, ending appropriately as he sings, “And that is all that I’m going to say about that.”  Enough said, I suppose.

2)  “Mold Me” – I never understood why this track didn’t make it to the “best of.”  Privately, Jim admitted a degree of embarrassment with this track, but I immediately fell in love with it.  Fast-paced, distortion guitars, simple two-part vocals — it’s the perfect little rock package!  The song starts out at a breakneck pace, sounding like it may fly apart at any moment, and ends perfectly with a sudden stop and a fade into distortion.  It gets me going every time…

3)  “This Side Up” – Another album starter that became an instant favorite of mine, yet failed to make it to the “best of.”  For a long time, the lyrics to this song were posted on my door, next to my mirror.  I would see them in the morning as I combed my hair, and there was always something about the words that I found simple and optimistic, but very real.  And, as if the lyrics were not enough, this song features one of my favorite Fusco electric guitar solos.  Whatever he had experimented with while working on My Other Half had become fully realized by the recording of That’s All Jim — that much is apparent on this song.

4)  “I’m Gonna Find Out (About You)” – It’s built on a steady, driving beat, decorated nicely with keyboards and lush vocals.  What really stands out about this track is its combination of early Jim Fusco sound and an extended drum solo.  It’s not all that often that you find a Fusco track laced with an extended instrumental solo of any kind, and I’ve always been a fan of this one.  The structure of the song works well with the lyrics, as the instrumental portion of the song is almost 1/3 of the total running time of the song, which is perfect for a song about what happens “when I’m not around you.”

5)  “Ode to K” – The two disc album My Other Half was all about experimenting with sound and structure, as well as the overall artistry of the album — this much is apparent in the wide range of effects and vocal arrangements, as well as the cover art and booklet design.  “Ode to K” is a gem, one of only two times (both on this album) that Fusco used spoken word as the centerpiece of a song.  In this song (as opposed to “Here I Go Again,” the spoken-word album opener), he incorporates spoken word over traditional singing and a great musical arrangement.  It’s pure, very sincere, and I love it.

To Be Continued…

Click here for an exclusive sneak-peak at the album, now streaming online!

“Beyond Here Lies Nothin’” (Bob Dylan Cover)

Originally posted 2009-03-30 22:11:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Bob Dylan chords and lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

It was definitely one of those “clouds parting” kind of Chris Moore Mondays for me.

First of all, I should clarify that “Chris Moore Mondays” is the title we use around here to remind you all that it’s my job to post a great cover song music video for you each and every Monday evening.  Next, I should explain the “clouds parting” aspect.  Well, I woke up around 5:30 this morning and was having serious difficulty getting myself out of bed.  Then, I noticed I had an email from bobdylan.com.

Long story short, I had woken up to find the link to a free download of the new, unreleased Bob Dylan track “Beyond Here Lies Nothin.'”  It will be track one on his upcoming album, Together Through Life, to be released on Tuesday, April 28th.  Sorry, Jim — this means that your birthday the following day is going to be something of an anti-climax.  😉

In all seriousness, this is an exciting bit of New Music Tuesday news.  After all, there were five years of separation between 2001’s Love and Theft and 2006’s Modern Times.  Now, it’s been less than three years and there’s a new release.  Based on the first track alone, I couldn’t be more excited.  It’s a pretty simple song — only three chords and a basic verse, chorus, repeat structure with a few instrumental breaks thrown in and a classic Dylan chorus style in which the lines in each chorus are slightly different.  I wasn’t sure what to think of the lyrics at first, but they’ve really grown on me today as I’ve listened to the song repeatedly and learned to play it.  I’m still not sure what to think of lines like “The whole world is my throne” or “And every window’s made of glass.”

The conclusion I’ve come to is that this is a deceptively simple song.  In the beginning of the song, Dylan sings of a lover in terms that express fairly standard love-song mentalities.  Still, by the end of the track, he compares himself to a ship in harbor with the sails up.  This implies that the ship is about to leave harbor, or perhaps that he is ready to move on to something — or someone — new.  And yet he goes on to tell his lover that she should lay her hand upon his head.  In typical Dylan fashion, even a love song has darker overtones, as played out in the chorus lines.  The choral sections really are my favorite lines.  “Beyond here lies nothin,'” he sings, “But the mountains of the past” or “Nothin’ done and nothin’ said.”  There is simply nowhere else he would rather be than where he is, as he acknowledges that there is nothing “beyond here.”  The questions, of course, are 1) where is “here”? and 2) does he really want to be “here” or are there simply no better options?

As I mentioned, it’s a fairly simple song.  Even I was able to figure it out in short order.  It’s three chords — Am, Dm, and E — easily within my register with an uptempo beat.  It’s actually caused a bit of a debate among Dylan fans who have disagreed over the use of accordion in the song and the state of Dylan’s vocal abilities.  As far as I’m concerned, the instrumentation is excellent, raw and loose but very intentional and fitting, accordion or no accordion.  As for Dylan’s voice, I read one user’s take on the fansite expectingrain.com.  He essentially said that Dylan’s vocals have deteriorated even more than they had on Modern Times.  My reaction is simple:


I mean, if you’ve followed Dylan over the past decade and enjoyed Time Out of Mind or the aforementioned two albums, then you know that his gritty vocals are fitting.  He may not stand a chance on American Idol, but I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing!  Another post that I read made a great deal of sense.  This user basically argued that Dylan’s vocals on studio recordings and during live performances should be weighed separately.  I agree with this — while his vocals may be a bit difficult to understand and follow in concerts at times, his studio recordings haven’t failed to impress me — including vocals, instruments, etc.

Needless to say, I hope you enjoy my take on this brand new Dylan song.  If you’re a guitarist, you should check out my chords and lyrics (see the link above) and have fun playing it yourself.  And, without further ado, I wish you a good night and a great week…

See you next session!

Pearl Jam’s “Ten” (1991, 2009 Remix Deluxe Edition) – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2010-03-28 20:15:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

RATING:  5 / 5 stars

If I were to post a one-sentence review of this album, it would read something like this:

“Pearl Jam’s Ten is the Pet Sounds of the grunge rock genre.”

I do not take such a comparison lightly, so let me begin by explaining my reasoning in detail.  In both cases, the general public took some time to warm up to the songs, but they have both ended up making regular appearances on “Best Albums” lists, both of the decade and of all-time.  In both cases, the songs and the image projected via artwork and touring would define the band for years to come.  Finally, in both cases, the album stands out as head and shoulders above and beyond other similar work being released at the same time from the same genres.

While Pet Sounds was the Beach Boys’ eleventh release and arguably more of a Brian Wilson solo album, Ten was Pearl Jam’s debut album, their very first studio release, and as much of a group effort as any rock album ever recorded.  Of course, the former came at a turning point — it perhaps caused or at least contributed to that turning point — for rock/pop music in the sixties.  Virtually every album that came after can be traced in some way back to that foundation.

In that sense, I do not mean to overstate Ten‘s importance by comparison.

Still, though its influence cannot compare, Pearl Jam somehow managed — and in their debut, no less — to compose and record as strong a set of songs as any being released during the early nineties and certainly from the grunge scene.  From fade in to fade out, Ten demonstrates a simultaneous command of subtlety, beauty, and gripping lyrical content, while also delving into raw, reckless abandon in a manner that is not sloppy yet not too controlled.

Almost two decades later, it is one of the cornerstone albums of the nineties and of rock music as a whole.

Pearl Jam's "Ten" (1991, 2009 remix)

Pearl Jam's "Ten" (1991, 2009 remix)

As the cover suggests, Pearl Jam decided from the very beginning to be an “all for one, one for all” sort of group.  Outside of their revolving door of a drummer’s seat in the first decade, they have followed through on the promise implicit in that pose.

And this is what makes the individual tracks so strong for a first release.  As the various band members have stated in interviews over the years, many of these songs began life as Stone Gossard/Jeff Ament band jams, riffs and solos that were worked on and written, refined, and improved over a period of time.  When Eddie Vedder was brought in, he carried with him a new sense of lyricism and a unique voice that brought these instrumentals to life.  To this day, the issues and emotions expressed on Ten make for very compelling listening.

Critical opinions on Ten vary widely, though that difference has most often been the distance between five and four stars, or an A and a B-.  Most reviews have been positive, at least to some extent, but I find it difficult to understand any rating that falls short of recognizing the outstanding fusion of classic and modern rock, energetic performances and purposeful recording studio techniques, standout songs and an overall cohesive sound and voice that define this album.

Pearl Jam's "Ten" (1991)

Pearl Jam's "Ten" (1991)

Any great tale should begin with “Once upon a time…,” and Ten does.  It’s clear from the opening that this is no fairy tale, and “Once” sets the tone for the other songs to follow.  (Taken in a different context, “Once” has also been situated as the second in a three track series known as Mamasan, or Momma-son.  This three song cycle follows the story of “Alive” into the murderous “Once” and concludes with what has been read as an execution in “Footsteps.”)

“Even Flow” and “Alive” follow on Ten, unfolding one powerful, catchy riff after another, all driven by Vedder’s vocals.  These are the songs that you wish you could play along to, and the songs that you try to sing to.

Even the by-comparison mediocre tracks shine, like “Why Go” with its driving beat, shouted chorus, and manic guitar solo.

It’s forgotten, though, by the time the next track unfolds.  “Black” is a true masterpiece: put your headphones on for this one and listen for the way the instruments all play an intricate part, and yet how all the components gel around Vedder’s magnificent lead, made most impressive by what can only be called his vocal solo on the outro.

Next comes “Jeremy,” based on the true story of a boy who was bullied to the point of desperation, bringing a gun to school one day to shoot himself in front of his classmates.  The refrain “Jeremy spoke in class today” gains more poignancy as the song continues.

The second half of the album nicely mixes the tempo and tenor of tracks.  There are the slower, more melancholy tracks like “Oceans” and “Release.”  There is the declaration of independence and survival that is “Garden.”  Then there the rockers like “Deep” and its even more well-constructed, entertaining counterpart, the Vedder-penned “Porch.”

The outtakes from this period and the Ten recording sessions are nothing short of phenomenal.  Ament reportedly considered leaving the band when Gossard grew tired of “Brother,” a gem that went unreleased until 2009’s remix.  Even better is the live standard “Yellow Ledbetter,” a masterpiece in its own right.  While I understand the decision to leave “State of Love and Trust,” “Wash,” and the aforementioned “Footsteps” off the record, I am thrilled to have them as outtakes.  These are all songs that I look forward to, and they certainly transcend the typically forgettable bonus track fare.

From front to back, Ten is not only the strongest album in Pearl Jam’s considerable catalog — and this is saying something — but it is one of the best rock albums of all time.  The balance that was struck here between interesting musical compositions and engaging vocal performances set a bar few albums since have been able to rise to.  This is an album that deserved a reissue, and the deluxe edition (2 CD/1 DVD combo) was no doubt the best, most affordable deal of the four options.  The packaging included a hard case with a scrapbook style booklet, a disc with the album as originally mixed, a second disc with the remixed tracks and six bonus tracks, and a DVD of the MTV Unplugged concert that Pearl Jam performed in 1992.  This performance alone was worth the price of the album, and seeing Vedder, Ament, Gossard, Mike McCready, and Dave Abbruzzese was a clear reminder that these were different times: the grunge look has since gone out of style, but viewing this DVD provides an opportunity to see them in their early prime, each band member smiling at various moments in different songs, celebrating the outstanding music that they had written in brand-new acoustic arrangements.

(On this, the nineteen anniversary since the recording sessions began, the Weekend Review tips its hat to Ten and encourages you to squeeze in a listen very soon!)