I like so much music, of so many different sorts, that I've only listed the stuff that you may not have ever heard of before. After all, whoever you are, wherever you are, you've heard of Eric Clapton, right? But have you ever heard "Guitar Boogie"? (Beck, Page, Clapton) You've heard of Metallica, but have you heard of Apocalyptica? Anyhow, these are a few albums I strongly recommend for virtually anyone.
Fred Eaglesmith Lipstick Lies and Gasoline Funky trucker-surfer sound with brain-catching lyrics that are offbeat and beautiful. To me, the quintessential Fred songs are "Water in the Fuel" and "White Rose". He does nostalgia well. Also very worth seeing live - the Fred show travels extensively and constantly and seems to go just about everywhere in North America once a year. William Shatner Has Been No - I am not joking. William Shatner did a solo album, produced by Ben Folds (of the Ben Folds Five) with a bunch of other interesting guest appearances including Henry Rollins, Joe Jackson, Aimee Mann, and Adrian Belew. There are some really well-done thought-provoking tracks on this album. Shatner doesn't sing, but does pretty good beat poetry. Apocalyptica Plays Metallica for Four Cellos
Their first album and not necessarily their best. Raw and amazing sounds from cellos bring out the lyricism hidden in Metallica's music. This is wonderful doom/goth music to listen to while sitting in your throne of darkness in barad-dur...
Their later albums (Cult, Inquisition Symphony) are more sophisticated and better recorded than their first. Their "Live in Concert" DVD is a must-have (look for it on Ebay)
Emmylou Harris Wrecking Ball Everything Emmylou has ever done is pretty darned incredible. I think this is my favorite album of hers - my wife introduced me to this one when we first started dating. "Deeper Well" and "All My Tears" are just amazing songs. "Red Dirt Girl" is my second favorite Emmylou album. Ray Wylie Hubbard Eternal and Lowdown Ray Wylie's the real deal: country folk rock with heart and soul. When he's not writing ballads like "Up against the wall redneck mother" or "Screw you, we're from Texas" he writes terrific stuff like "The ballad of the crimson kings" and "Dust of the Chase" Christina Aguilera Mi Reflejo Her spanish language album really showcases her vocal skills, without the distracting lyrics of her earlier pop icon tracks. "Beautiful" on her album "Stripped" is also great. If she can avoid the insanity of drugs and hype she's going to turn into something very interesting. Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins Neck and Neck Dire Straits' guitar-wailing god meets Chet Atkins' good ole yakkity axe. "There'll be some changes made" is a terrific bit of fun. Stellar guitar playing throughout, as you'd expect. Greetz to All Potter for this one! Mike Esposito Let it Slide Dobro and slide guitar from a master in New Jersey. His cover of "ghost riders in the sky" is simply incredible. Simply great stuff. Willie and Lobo The Music from Puerto Vallarta Squeeze Gypsy rock flamenco laid-back cool stuff. Violin and flamenco guitar. A bit pretentious but very beautiful. Mino Fly Mino Vaknin produces the baddest-ass slick and glittering techno/trance music I've ever heard. This is total rave/nitrous-head music but it's great to write code to also. Armik Gypsy Flame This guy plays flamenco guitar with a whole lotta soul. Glittering, sharp, soft, passionate - he does it all beautifully. Los Lobos La Pistola Y El Corazon Tex-mex rockers Los Lobos go back to their roots and play some kick-ass traditional Mexican music. The title track is stellar. SWANS White Light From the Mouth of Infinity SWANS is the greatest band of the late 20th century. Nobody's heard of them. Intense, lyrical and weird. This stuff is made to be listened to very loud and is not particularly relaxing. "The Burning World" is another great (and more accessible) album of SWANS' work. Unlike many musical acts, SWANS followed a very sharp trajectory from grunge to artistic depression. Interesting stuff. Southern Culture On The Skids Dirt Track Date Weird stuff. Charming redneck rockabilly. "Walk like a camel" is a cult favorite. Very quirky stuff... YeeHAW! Various Phases of the Moon Traditional chinese music - beautifully recorded. "The dance of the Yao people" is really great stuff. Johnny Cash Live from Folsom Prison This is just some great stuff from the heyday of the great country singer. My other favorite Cash album is "The man comes around" - whoah that is some heavy duty stuff! Heather Myles Highways and Honkey Tonks Country-girl rock with a flair. "Broken Heart for Sale" is great stuff. The Supreme Beings of Leisure Supreme Beings of Leisure Incredibly groovy cool retro trance music. Undescribable, but it makes you feel laid back, in the groove, and in 6" platform shoes. Really. Geri Soriano-Lightwood's vocals are so sweet you could bathe in them. Highly recommended. (Their second album, "Divine Operating System" tries to capture the cool groove of the first and manages to miss by a crucial but narrow margin) Henry Rollins Talk is Cheap (Vol 1-4) Rollins' spoken word performances are alternately funny, crude, and straight from the heart. I have to confess he's had more influence on my public speaking style than he should have.
Have you got a suggestion? E-mail me! I love music and am always happy to encounter something new. Want to enter my "CD swap" program? Send me a CD of music. Any CD. I'll send you a CD back. I can't promise I'll like it it but I won't try to force you to like whatever I send you, either! [ALL CDs swapped in the CD swap program must be original manufactured/published CDs - absolutely no copies of copyrighted material!]