Revisit Chris Gantry

Chris Gantry may not be a household name, but we can hold out hope that At the House of Cash will go some way to remedying that. These songs are all from back in 73′, recorded at the home of Johnny Cash. While the balladry is sincere and heartfelt, what really stands out is the lush arrangements that were laid behind the core of the tracks. Sure, it was studio magic used many a time for that era, but as you’ll see on the single below it creates an artist of grand vision, something that never fades in time. Drag City is releasing this album on November 17th.

FT5: Band Logos

0219top5coverIn the history of popular music, there have only been a handful of truly memorable and iconic logos. While searching through all of the logos out there, I decided to try and make the list a little more interesting. So I’ve chosen my favorite band logos from a few different genres and then ranked those. There were great logos out there for crappy bands. There were band logos from my younger days that reminded me a little too much of a Yaga shirt. So follow the jump and you’ll find logos that are as timeless as the bands they represent.

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FTC: Warren Zevon

FTC_warrenzevonWarren Zevon is an underrated musician in the history of rock music with a diverse career full of humor and cynicism. I didn’t know much about Zevon outside of the popular “Werewolves of London” for most of my young life. However a friend plopped down Excitable Boy one late college night, and the mood that his music created wasn’t quite like anything I had ever experienced. While it was definitely full of catchy beats that had my foot tapping along, it also had a dark, almost eerie quality to it. Just as I was having an opportunity to really appreciate the man’s music, I discovered that he didn’t like to go to the doctor. He came down with cancer in 2002 at the age of 55 and did the only thing he knew how to do: head back into the studio. His final album, The Wind, remains one of the most heartbreaking albums I have ever listened to (rivaled only by Johnny Cash’s American IV). He died shortly after it’s release. As a celebration of his life, I leave you with the first song I heard when that needle hit the groove on Excitable Boy, the upbeat “Johnny Strikes Up the Band”. Enjoy.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/01-Johnny-Strikes-Up-the-Band.mp3]

FT5: Songs About Cars

0122top5coverThere are few song subjects that lend themselves to expressions of pure happiness.  Songs about automobiles seem to be an exception.  The sense of freedom that comes from driving a car always seems be a joyful experience in songs.  Whether you’re talking about The Beach Boys or The Geto Boys, exalting the virtues of the automobile seems to be a peculiarly American phenomenon.   Most songs seem to be about American cars too as, to my knowledge, no one yet has written a great pop song about a Honda Civic.  Maybe some day.  In the mean time, follow the jump for five great songs about (American) cars.
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FT5: Music Books

1030top5coverWith today’s Top 5 I am starting the ATH Book Club. This is a list of the best books about music I’ve ever read. Mine are all biographies, but any old book about music can qualify. Obviously I haven’t read everything out there, so if I missed something important let me know. I’m always up for a good book recommendation, and I hope I have a few on my list that you might want to check out. So without further ado, follow the jump for my Top 5 music books.
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FT5: Classic Country Albums

0717top5coverFor today’s Top 5, I figured it was about time I give our readers a little Country Music 101. For starters, not an album on this list was recorded after 1975 and I’m not putting in more than one album per artist. I acknowledge that country music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m writing this to potentially open a few eyes (and ears) towards a genre that not everyone quite understands or appreciates. So pop open that bottle of Jack and allow me to educate you on what country music is really all about.

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Joaquin Phoenix Works With Diddy

In a break from new music posts, here’s a bit of tasty news from one of our favorite actors making the all too baffling leap into music.  Some of you may have already seen the ridiculous video of Joaquin Phoenix rapping/falling on stage, but you may not have known that Phoenix plans to bring Sean “Diddy” Combs on board to produce his album.  You may also not know that Casey Affleck (Ben’s sort of talented younger brother) plans to make a documentary about the creation of this album.  We don’t even know what to say… just look at that picture.  Phoenix is either on heavy medication/drugs or just another actor who plans on embarassing themselves for our amusementSinging like Johnny Cash does not mean rapping is a good idea.  ATH fans, how about a Joaquin Phoenix album title or worst musical acts by famous actors?  Go!