“What record are you listening to now?”

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by Dave Carew

One thing that always fascinates me is to hear what particular artist or record my friends and readers currently are into.  Since I share the belief (with many) that older pop, rock, and country music is generally superior to today’s versions, I have no problem with a friend telling me she or he now is listening to so-n-so from the ‘70s or hoozy-wits from the ‘90s. In fact, it strikes me as more interesting, because I love the whole notion of artists being re-discovered by individuals or generations years after their creative time. There’s something very affirming and redeeming about that.

Since you forgot to ask <smirk>, I’ll share with you two albums I’ve listened to endlessly recently, one of which is 17 years old, the other nearly twice that.

They are Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter (1970) and the Bee Gees’ Still Waters (1997). Here—mercifully succinctly—is why I think both are excellent records:

The Bee Gees’ Still Waters sounds like how Justin Timberlake would sound if Timberlake could write good songs (the essential missing element in most of today’s pop/rock). Proving they never lost their gift for writing great melodies and hooks (in a career that spanned three times longer than that of the Beatles), the Bee Gees here reveal a true and respectful ear for the sonic landscape of the late 1990s, while still delivering an album that—in all its electric melodic and harmonic sense—is still pure Bee Gees. No mean feat.

Featuring several of Nick Drake’s most compelling and enduring songs (“Northern Sky,” “Fly,” “Chime of a City Clock,”) Bryter Layter is the only album ever recorded by Nick (of the three he made) featuring full-band production, i.e., bass, drums, etc. Recorded while Drake was just 22, it nevertheless has a fully-realized artistic feel to it, an urban-dream-like quality founded on Nick’s virtuoso acoustic guitar playing and impressionistic, lonely, opaque lyrics. Sadly, it was after the initial commercial failure of this album that, as one reviewer put it, “the shadows began closing in” for Nick Drake. Within four years, at age just 26, he was dead. It’s a pity he wasn’t around to see the world affirm what a stunning musical contribution he’d made.

Editor’s Note: What record or artist are YOU listening to now?  Why? Using the “Comment” option below, send the name of the record, along with a few words about why you love it. Your response will be used in a future post in Underground Nashville.

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter,” both now available at Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

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Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit Amazon.com and/or the page on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/EverythingMeansNothingtoMe?ref=ts&fref=ts

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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

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Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

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4 Responses to ““What record are you listening to now?””

  1. davidyates1 Says:

    Have been listening to Gerry Rafferty’s “Night Owl” album, as well as others (“City to City”, “Snakes and Ladders”, “North and South”). An underrated genius who turned his back on the music establishment, but had the goods to make music on his terms. Great pop hooks, meaningful lyrics and layers of depth make for music to get lost in, especially with a pair of headphones.

  2. rachel Gladstone Says:

    OK! So your witty writing inspired me to tell the world that my go-to record right now is Patti Griffith’s “Impossible Dream”. I am swept away by the imagery and the achingly-beautiful way she delivers every line. The slightly out-of-tune acoustic piano makes me feel like I’m in the room with her as opposed to listening to some digitized, audio blueprint that is more machine than human. She is da bomb! And so are you, by the way.

  3. shansmusic Says:

    Great recommendations Dave! I also like Nike Drake. I’ve been listening to Mary Chapin Carpenter a lot lately…amazing songwriter!

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