Michigan-based Orpheum Bell describes their music as “country and eastern.” It’s easy to see why with down-home instrumentation and a jangly percussiveness channeled through the wide ranging musical backgrounds of the band members. Somehow it works.
Check out a few of the tracks from their 2007 album Pretty as You on Last.fm
Aaron Klein – vocals, banjo, ukuleles, tenor & regulation guitars
Annie Crawford – vocals, violin
Laurel Premo – vocals, banjo, dobro, cittern, violin
Merrill Hodnefield – vocals, violin, autoharp, saw
Michael Billmire – accordion, trumpet, shepherd harp, mandolin
Serge van der Voo – double bass, percussion
Rather than provide any ex post facto rationalizations, I’ll just say that Donora’s particular brand of pop grows on you. The band first garnered widespread attention in the Calling All Bands competition sponsored by MySpace and Verizon Wireless which offered them “the chance to be the first unsigned band to launch their career on a wireless phone.” Thankfully they’ve transcended that dubious aspiration. The track Shh on their eponymous album was used in a viral valentine video that infused their career.
Postsecret‘s Valentine’s Day Video
Arcana from the internets: Bethany Hanner, the wife of drummer Jake, saw a road sign for the town and suggested it as the band’s name, although the band is from the Gibsonia section of Richland Township in Pittsburgh’s North Hills. The band had never been to the town until they performed there as part of a town celebration.
“I Think I Like You”
Hat tip to My Old Kentucky Blog
This tongue and cheek ice house anthem comes at the end of Hayes Carll’s breakout album Trouble in Mind. I hadn’t seen the video until today. Let’s just say it takes it up a whole n’other level. The Jimmie Dale Gilmore cameo around 3:12 is what really does it for me. Hat tip: A Fifty Cent Lighter and a Whiskey Buzz
KUT in Austin did a great job with a new radio documentary, Amazing Grace: The Willie Nelson Story with the full audio available from their website. Most surprising: Nelson’s virtuosity as a songwriter and influence of jazz phrasing even in the early stages of his career. An interesting anecdote, the version of events that lead to Patsy Cline recording Willie Nelson’s Crazy differs from that of Cline’s biographers; Cline reportedly refused to sing the song until she heard Nelson’s original demo; in Cline’s bio, her arranged slowed it down and arranged it into a ballad.
Amazing Grace: The Willie Nelson Story – has already won two National Headliners Awards including this yearâ€™s Grand Prize for Radio. Now, the New York Festivals have recognized the show with a Gold World Medal for best U.S. Radio Documentary.
Nearly a year in the making, the program features rare music plus interviews with, among others, Kris Kristofferson, Norah Jones, John Mellencamp, Ray Price, biographer Joe Nick Patoski, Willieâ€™s best friend and closest confidante (his sister, Bobbie), and the man himself.
I’m not big on the late night talk scene, but I might have to start keeping an ear to the ground if stuff like this is going to turn up there on a regular basis. Jimmy Fallon’s new gig had Paul Simon sing Late in the Evening, backed by his house band the Roots and the horn section from the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra.
I got to hang around the apartment for the first time in a while with nothing pressing to do but run through some music blogs and catch up on what’s happening. I was also sort of half-watching the 2006 documentary Before the Music Dies on Hulu (embedded below):
It began to dawn on me how much had changed even since Before the Music Dies came out. After waxing nostalgic and the standard artist/label horror stories (Doyle Bramhall was the posterchild) it moves to Napster and MySpace with some indie-power-to-the-people-be-true-to-yourself optimism. In a two-hour span, I went through a couple of hundred posts from mp3 blogs, MySpace pages and mp3 aggregators like hypemachine, pandora and last.fm, downloaded a few DRM free albums from Amazon and some tracks on iTunes (giftcard)… and all this in boxers.
There’s a certain amount that’s wrong with that – some concessions to convenience that I don’t have to have the album in my hand, that it takes more and more to get me out to a live show these days, that I’ll put up with MP3 sound quality – on the other hand I just checked out about 50 new artists I’d never heard of before today. Read the rest of this entry »