I am going to start with an artist you probably don’t know, but who is not at all new. In fact he died nearly 30 years ago. Steve Goodman is one of my favorite performers and songwriters of all time. If you went to see him perform you would spend half the show laughing and the other half nearly in tears. I have never seen an artist who could do this before. Plus he was an amazing musician. But few people know his music. He wrote “City Of New Orleans” which launched the career of Arlo Guthrie and “You Don’t Even Call Me By My Name”, a song that was a big country hit for David Allan Coe. I was fortunate enough to see him at least five times. I had the pleasure of interviewing him once when I was in college radio. He was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and ironically enough he lost his lengthy battle with Leukemia at the age of 36 in 1984; just four days before the Cubs made their first postseason game in decades. Steve has a terrific catalog of his compositions as well as some amazing covers of classic songs. Steve’s circle of friends includes John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristoferson, Jimmy Buffett among others. He was one of the greatest acts I have ever seen and he was gone way too soon. One of my musical “Genie In the Bottle” wishes would be to see one more Steve Goodman show. Do yourself a favor and look at these videos.
Steve Goodman “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request (circa 1983)
Steve Goodman “The 20th Century is Almost Over” I saw Steve perform this in the bottom line in October of 1977. I remember it so clearly because it was the night Reggie Jackson hit three homeruns in one game of the World Series against the Dodgers. Steve brought a TV on stage and kept turning it on to let everyone know what was going on in the game.
Steve Goodman “My Old Man” A song everyone can relate to.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis “Same Love” Ben Haggerty (aka) Macklemore has been at it for a long time. He and producer Ryan Lewis have released some mixed tapes and EPs before. But their first album “The Heist” was released in October of 2012 and debuted at #1 in iTunes and #2 in Billboard, selling nearly 78,000 copies. The most important thing is that these guys have done it all themselves. It has taken 10 years, but they have done everything right so far. They self-released the album. They have a mainstream booking agency that has done a terrific job. But the guys and their team has made it work. They easily sellout thousand “seaters” across the country and in several markets do much better. Despite the fact that the official clip of this song has 11 million views and the album debuted very high on the charts, they are still unknown to most people over the age of 20. This is indicative of the niche-like appeal of music in this era. This is a clip of their visit to NPR and a feature called “Tiny Desk Concert”. The first part of the video is worth the price of admission…”Same Love”.
The Lumineers One of the hottest new acts in the business right now. They essentially broke through tireless touring and several great “placements” on TV and the movies. The band broke out of Colorado, but two of the three members are from Ramsey, NJ. In fact, on Christmas Eve, my daughter’s best friend reminded me that she had given me a CD from them several years ago. She worked at Starbucks with one of the guys. They were not the Lumineers yet and I remember liking the vocalist, but not being sold on the songs. In my defense I don’t believe any of the songs from that disc made the LP. Anyway, these guys are about as hot as you can get right now. I can’t believe I missed it……
The Last Royals This is another local New York band. They are from Brooklyn a song from their first EP, “Crystal Vases”, got a good deal of play on Sirius/XM’s “Alt Nation”. They are about to release their debut LP next week. I think this song has a chance to be a big hit.
The Last Royals “Only the Brave”