public radio music surprise

It’s an 11 hour drive from San Francisco to Portland Oregon. You can listen to a lot of music and check out a boatload of crappy music stations. So when I wandered into the bottom end of the dial and the public radio station was ending a talk segment and moving into music I almost skipped over expecting either some random African metal drum timpani yodeling group or maybe some sung poetry scat thing but when the opening chord to Night Train (Bruce Cockburn) came out of the speakers I stuck around to hear what they had to play. What an awesome three song set. Three great songs and three great deliveries (Cockburn’s and Adams songs are particularly good). Here you go:

–          Bruce Cockburn “Night Train” from 2003 Charity of Night album. Great driving song because it uses that train chugging along the tracks beat and has this beautiful sparse guitar picking across the top of the rest of the band chugging along behind the vocal. He will never be an opera singer type voice but he has that rustic sound that fits perfectly with the overall feel of the song and driving and … well … big countryside. And after such a nice simple clean almost forlorn feel it ends with this really messy guitar overlay. It’s a 6 minute + song and it doesn’t feel too long. Oh. And Bruce adds in a nice female voice to fill in under his vocals which smooths a couple of portions of the song and adds in a nice softening element.

‘Night Train’:

–          Carrie Rodriguez “I made a Lover’s Prayer.” I am fairly sure this is a remake (but I am too lazy to check). While it is slightly different than the first and the third in this three song set it fits in the middle perfectly just like the marshmallow middle in a moon pie. It is a simple song. It’s a beautiful song. It’s a heartfelt song. And she has always had a great voice and sang okay songs (I have always wondered if she would ever make it big) but in this song it’s like she found the perfect song to sing.

‘I made a lover’s Prayer’: (I couldn’t find a studio version to link to and the beginning of the video will give you a headache but she plays a sweet guitar)

–          Ryan Adams and the Cardinals “Cold Roses”. Ok. Ryan Adams is maddening. He writes so much stuff and at least half of it is crap you want to give up on it. And then a song like this comes on the radio (and I even had this cd and didn’t realize it was there). Cold Roses is everything great about Ryan Adams. Beautifully crafted song. Multi layered with a variety of different instruments and Ryan’s voice kinda keeping it moving along melodically with those wistful words he writes (the type when they are written well are impeccable). But. What makes this song is this guitar that almost sounds like they asked old Neil Young when he was playing Cortez the Killer and asked him to sit and jam. It is this kind of clean jangly strong sharp sound that weaves in and out (or someone could suggest it has a little Grateful Deady type guitar feel). Awesome song.

‘Cold Roses’: (this is the full song … the last minute of this song will show you synchronized guitar playing at its best)

  • This is a bonus ‘cold roses.’ It is only a 1:24 live clip but it captures the guitar sound AND if you want to hear possibly the most amazing live vocal harmonizing this clip is worth listening to –

Awesome set.

Written by Bruce