Mullins is a distinctive songwriter, steeped in tradition but indisputably original, and he assembles a keenly woven set of tracks in Light You Up — still, there is something tauntingly brief about Matthew Sweet’s appearance on “California.” (You petered out after your debut, so mull it over: an electric Thorns album would be sweet!)
Wow, how long has it been?!?! I’ve been so incredibly busy that I keep looking back and saying to myself, “Hey, hasn’t Thursday just passed?” Between work, refinancing a mortgage, ditching cable for DirecTV, working on the house and lawn, and much more, I can’t believe it’s already almost Christmas time! I’m really excited about it and hope to have some more free time to do videos and just enjoy life, you know? I’m most excited about writing and recording my new set of songs- I’m already up to 13! Plus, we’re hoping to get our basement finished soon, and that means I’ll have a brand-new “studio” of sorts to record my videos in! I’ll have more room, be able to use instruments I haven’t touched since I moved-in over a year ago, and will have much better lighting. Plus, who wants to see a printer in the background, anyway? 🙂
Onto tonight’s video!
I have such a long list of videos to record now, but I’m starting here with a song I’m sure you’ve never heard of. Normally, I like to take songs that weren’t originally “acoustic” and turn them into the classic Laptop Sessions “a man and his guitar” format. But this is just a great song and shows that a true simple acoustic guitar tune can be just as good as a fully produced song. Sure, the Thorns (a band formed by three mid-90s solo acts to form a sort of “supergroup”) sing in great three-part harmony on the song. But, I’ve never been able to find other people to sing in that range with me on a consistent basis. So, I’m going it alone on this one!
Doesn’t the guitar part just sparkle on my new Martin? I truly love playing this guitar and it makes all of my videos sound that much better. Now, I’m not knocking the nylon string guitar. That guitar is so easy to play and I love its mellow sound. It’s great to sing with because you don’t have to fight with the loudness of a steel-string guitar.
On a side note about “I Told You”, I believe I read that Van Dyke Parks (of Beach Boys ‘SMiLE” fame) plays the accordion on the original recording. The Thorns used a lot of older musicians and collaborators on their only album from 2002. Jim Keltner, the drummer for the Traveling Wilbruys, plays the drums on the whole album! Now that’s pretty cool. One of the songs even features a bass harmonica, which is used on the Beach Boys track “I Know There’s an Answer” from “Pet Sounds”. So, this album was an instant winner with me. If you haven’t heard the Thorns self-titled album, please do yourself a favor and get it. You won’t be disappointed.
One final personal aside for a moment- I’ve been going-through the audio versions of every single Laptop Sessions acoustic cover and original song I’ve ever recorded. I’m up to 221 videos now. That’s GOTTA be a record! I wanted to do a project where I chose my favorite videos and recordings. But, I’m over 150 songs into the list now and am no closer to compiling a list. I hope I get popular enough to have my own historian someday. That way, I won’t have to keep track of all this myself. 🙂
It’s good to be back here on the site. I sincerely hope that I’ll be posting regularly from now on, but who knows. Something always manages to come up. Have a great couple of weeks and I hope to see you again in early December!
NOTE: This video was remastered in 2020 for improved picture and sound.
So, I’ll admit it- that messup in the beginning of the video wasn’t left in there on purpose. Why didn’t I catch that? Must’ve been in a rush to render the video…
Anyway, this is my first entry into “New Bands Week”. Jeff set the bar pretty high yesterday with a great cover of a David Bowie song. I bring you a song from a MUCH lesser-known artist in The Thorns. This band, which consists of 90s pop artists Shawn Mullins, Matthew Sweet, and Pete Droge, made only one album and this is the opening track.
I’m not going to lie and say that this is the best album ever, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. My brother Mike had heard one of their songs and got me into the group. I listened to this album about 100 times, and even though it has some “eh” songs on it (which is consistent with just about ANY debut album), there’s a lot of great songs, too. The band was clearly influenced by Brian Wilson with their harmonies and usage of great instruments like the bass harmonica.
But, the band also has Traveling Wilburys ties. All three members played acoustic guitar, just like the Wilburys members did, they used famous session drummer Jim Keltner (known as the sixth Wilbury), and this song, “Runaway Feeling”, sounds like it’s taken from the Tom Petty songbook. I tried to keep the Petty impersonation to a minimum, but with this song, you don’t really have that much of a choice.
That’s my fiancee Becky in the background clapping for me at the end. This is the last of my “outdoor” videos. I have so many songs I’m ready to record from literally TEN new artists, but I can’t right now because I’m in that “no voice” phase of my cold. I hope it subsides enough by Thursday so I can have a good showing for my next new video. Thankfully, I already have next week’s Original Wednesday original song video recorded from one of my last sessions.
I’m so excited to see what songs Chris and Jeff are going to do from new artists this week. Remember last time we did a New Bands Week? It extended out almost a whole week afterwards. That’s why I like doing this- it makes us think. And once a new artist or song pops in, others seem to come very quickly.
Enjoy today’s video and come back tomorrow to see what Chris will premeire for us here on the best music video blog of all time: The Laptop Sessions! (Oh, and by the way, over the past three days, I’ve gotten TEN more YouTube subscribers!)