Music Monday #2: Folk music, blues music, and Aussie music

With four new (well, new-ish in some cases) albums attained this last week, this week’s Music Monday will focus entirely upon these albums. Included in the list are Glen Hansard’s new solo album, a tribute album to Fats Domino, and two albums by two awesome Australian artists, Ash Grunwald and Xavier Rudd. Hope you find something you like!

Rhythm and Repose by Glen Hansard

First up is Glen Hansard’s solo album, Rhythm and Repose. Glen Hansard is perhaps best known as the frontman of Irish group The Frames, and is also one half of folk duo The Swell Season. On top of this, he starred in the film Once, for which his song “Falling Slowly” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Despite being in the music business for over twenty years (and longer if you count his teenage years he spent busking on the streets of Dublin), this new album is his first solo venture.

The overall sound of Hansard’s latest work is very mellow, quieter than both The Frames and The Swell Season (the latter of which was fairly mellow as well). As a result, the album feels very intimate and personal, and frankly quite beautiful. Perhaps my favourite song on the album is the second song, “Maybe Not Tonight”, with its haunting piano and slide guitar that oddly reminds me of Pink Floyd and perhaps some of David Gilmour’s solo work, but there are some great songs with more energy too, such as “Talking With The Wolves” and “Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting”.

If you’re a fan of his earlier work, definitely buy this album. If you’ve never heard of him or the bands he’s been in, what better time to find out if you like his style of music than right now? Check out the rather silly and fun video for “Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting” here:

The Lil’ Band O’ Gold Plays Fats by The Lil’ Band O’ Gold (and Very Special Guests)

When I was in the music store, I heard a song come on which clearly had the vocals of one of my favourite singers of all time, Robert Plant (famous for his solo albums, his Grammy-winning album with Alison Krauss, and of course, being the lead singer for Led Zeppelin). When I asked about what the album was, I discovered it was actually a tribute album to Fats Domino by Louisiana supergroup The Lil’ Band O’ Gold, on which Robert Plant sung two songs. This awesome blues tribute album also features guest appearances by Jimmy Barnes, Tim Rogers and more, as well as many songs performed by the core group, who are all talented musicians in their own rights. If you want a fun, foot stomping album, you need go no further than this. I bought it after hearing a single song, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Below is a live video of Robert Plant singing “I’ve Been Around” with The Lil’ Band O’ Gold. Just try and watch it without smiling:

Trouble’s Door by Ash Grunwald

Ash Grunwald is an Australian blues musician, who has built up a huge fanbase and reputation for awesome live shows in Australia and overseas over the past decade (something I can attest to, as well). With a unique bluesy voice, and the use of guitars, lapsteel slide guitars, harmonica, stomp box and more, it’s almost impossible not to want to get up and dance to his songs. This, his latest album, is no exception, and with songs such as “Shake That Thing”, and songs with a more dance and funk inspired twist such as “Longtime”, I suspect it’s part of his intention to make people want to move to his music.

Check out the first single off the album, “Longtime”, (featuring appearances in the film clip of other well-known Australian musicians) here:

Spirit Bird by Xavier Rudd

Xavier Rudd is another Aussie songwriter and musician, also with an impressive live reputation, and a multi-instrumentalist who plays several instruments simultaneously even on stage. His music drifts between folk music, blues music, and various other genres, and he commonly plays the yidaki (a didgeridoo), adding a very Australian flavour to the music, which often complements the lyrics with themes of Aboriginal rights and environmentalism. Spirit Bird, his latest offering, continues this same winning formula, and what I found really cool was the use of “bird samples” – recordings of bird sounds being used on some of the songs, often in the opening moments, adding a very natural feel to the music.

Check out the video for the song “Follow The Sun” here (and listen out for the bird sounds at the start):

What are your thoughts of the albums/artists/songs I’ve discussed here?

What music have you been listening to this last week?

8 thoughts on “Music Monday #2: Folk music, blues music, and Aussie music

    • Muhahahahaha….
      Sorrrryyyyy. 😛 I don’t intent to cause people financial trouble. I just want to spread the love about the awesomeness I discover. 😛
      It has occurred to me that now I’m sharing my music collection on my blog too…that’s going to be even worse than my book collection, simply because it’s bigger…more than twice as big in fact. Hahhaha oops.
      I think the Glen Hansard album is my favourite out of all of them. Actually I think I wrote them in my order of preference, though I do like all four of them. 🙂

      • Ah it’s okay, keep ’em coming. There’s no such thing as too much music, after all. 🙂

        In return, what music have I been listening to in the past week, you ask? Well, King Crimson gave way to Led Zeppelin, again, and this other band that was playing in one of my favourite places here. Steely Dan, have you heard of them? I don’t know much about them yet, I haven’t had time to actually go look them up, but I got their Definitive Collection (because that’s what was playing and I fell in love with it), and they’re part rock, part jazz, and I don’t know what else. Really fun and easy to listen to, but the substance-filled easy, you know?

        • Hahaha, that’s absolutely true, there’s no such thing as too much music 😉
          Ahhh awesome music you’ve been listening to! Love King Crimson and Led Zeppelin as I’m sure you know, and yes I have heard of Steely Dan, have their best of and also a couple of their albums, “Pretzel Logic” (I think that’s what it’s called) and Aja. Both awesome albums. I know exactly what you mean, it’s easy listening but they are quite talented musicians and songwriters, so it’s still satisfying music on that deeper level I guess! 🙂

  1. I loved all the music clips! Thanks for expanding my music horizons. ‘Follow the Sun’ reminded me of some of the scenes from the Crocodile Dundee movies and renewed my desire to fly to Australia for a vacation! 🙂

    BTW, you were my Sunday Interview this week, although for you I guess it ended up being your Monday. 🙂

    • Ahh awesome, glad you liked the songs! 🙂 Xavier Rudd’s music is very Australian sounding, and his clips tend to reflect that it seems! I love how both that, and the Grunwald clip with all the surfing pretty much just reiterate the stereotypes people think of when they think of Australia! 😛
      Oh great, thank you, I will check out your post on the interview, and later on tonight I’ll post up a link to the interview on my blog as well, and tweet it! 🙂

  2. I listened to Glen Hansard’ s “Love Don’t …….”; I then found the “Low Rising” video. Woe! I just may be another fan. I even found “Once” now a DVD, I hope! Thank you, The Other Watson!!!

    • Oh yes, Low Rising is one of my favourite songs by The Swell Season! Interestingly enough, the film Once was how I discovered Hansard and his many bands, when it was shown on television a few months ago. It came on and I couldn’t turn it off because the music in the film was so good, and I went out the next day to hunt down some of their music. Best accidental discovery ever! 🙂

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