Belgian Trixie Whitley just released the video for the ballad “I Breathe You In My Dreams” and you can watch it below. The song, which Trixie performed at Mountain Stage, is from her upcoming solo debut. Fourth Corner which will be released January 29, 2013. You can download a free, legal mp3 of the song along with several others by entering your email address into the Noisetrade widget below.
Last night’s Mountain Stage featured Carrie Rodriguez, Brooke Waggoner, Trixie Whitley, Iris Dement and Bruce Cockburn. With such a powerhouse lineup, it’s no surprise the show sold out before the doors even opened.
Carrie Rodriguez’ 2008 Mountain Stage set was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended, so I was excited to see her return to my beloved venue. No one woman should be as pretty and gifted as Carrie Rodriguez. Her face and voice are equally gorgeous, her songwriting is top-notch and she’s a multi-instrumental virtuoso. She was accompanied last night by a single guitarist, Luke Jacobs.
Carrie opened with the high energy “Devil in Mind,” playing her violin like a rock guitar. She followed that with the mellow, swaying song “Lake Harriet,” which she called her “ode to the Minnesota man.” The beautiful love song “Get Back in Love,” a tribute to her guitarist’s parents, was the highlight of her set. Carrie asked the Mountain Stage band to join her for her new single, “I Cry For Love,” and ended with the sweet ballad “I Don’t Mind Waiting.”
Carrie Rodriguez’ fifth full-length solo album, Give Me All You Got, will be released January 22, 2013. You can download the new single, “Lake Harriet,” by signing up for Carrie’s email list at her website and watch the video below.
Julie Adams and the Mountain Stage band took a turn covering Ron Sexsmith’s lovely “Speaking With The Angel.”
Brooke Waggoner, a striking redhead in a bright red dress and black boots, took the stage and piano next. I loved Brooke’s sophomore album, Go Easy Little Doves, but had never seen the classically trained singer-pianist in concert before. I had tickets to see her at Mountain Stage in the winter of 2010, but a snow storm canceled the show. I’m so glad Brooke chose to visit earlier in the season this time.
Brooke has one of those rare, flawless voices that sounds exactly the same live as it does recorded. Her voice and melodies have an unusually haunting and delicate quality to them, yet she’s not afraid to add a dark edge to certain songs.
Brooke and her band blasted the stage like it was a rock arena. This girl is going to be a huge star. At least, she should be. She played all new songs from her upcoming album, each more astounding than the last. It was like someone put the best, most impressive elements of Little Earthquakes-era Tori Amos and The Dresden Dolls-era Amanda Palmer into a blender. She was my favorite act of the night and I wish she’d played an extended set.
Brooke Waggoner’s next album, Originator, will be released in early 2013. You can download the first single, “Ink Slinger, at Rolling Stone.
Belgian singer Trixie Whitley had no difficulty following in Brooke’s wake. Trixie is a jack-all-trades kind of artist, having been an actor, dancer, DJ and musician. Her recording resume reads like a Who’s Who of the music industry, with names like Me’shell Ndegeocello, Robert Plant and Marianne Faithfull. Trixie was by far the most entertaining member of Black Dub when I saw them perform at Mountain Stage in 2010 and one of the standout covers on the recent Fleetwood Mac tribute.
Trixie opened with an atmospheric piano melody before picking up an electric guitar for the harder “Gradual Return,” a rock song with almost psychedelic riffs. She switched to an acoustic guitar for a bluesy ballad about a Mexican town, then slid back behind the piano for the love song finale, “I Breath You in My Dreams.” Every song was completely different, yet equally captivating. Trixie’s soulful, versatile voice rivals Adele.
As I posted last month, Trixie is offering a free, legal EP download via Noisetrade (see the end of this review) and her solo debut, Fourth Corner, will be released January 29, 2013.
Strangely, Grammy-winning folk singer Iris Dement was probably the most famous of the performers and the one whose music I was least familiar with. She counts among her fans and collaborators Merle Haggard, John Prine, David Byrne, Natalie Merchant and the Coen Brothers. Her songs have been featured in various television shows and movies, and she herself played a small role in the film Songcatcher. But, to put it politely, her lengthy, dry banter and high pitched whine were not my cup of tea. The older folks in the audience seemed to like it, but I wasn’t the only younger person in the crowd yawning and checking my watch.
Thankfully, Mountain Stage pianist Bob Thompson soothed my frayed nerves with “Stardust.”
Finally, Bruce Cockburn. I’ve seen the Canadian folk master perform at Mountain Stage so many times over the years, I’ve lost count (last night was his 13th time at the venue). But it’s never enough.
As quiet and unassuming as the man is, there is no question that Bruce Cockburn and his music are legendary. I often wonder why Cockburnesque isn’t as overused a musical adjective as Dylanesque, but then I can’t think of any artist that can be compared to Bruce Cockburn. His live performances are even better than his recordings. There’s just something so likable about his humble demeanor and so captivating about his folk songs.
Bruce started with an older instrumental, then played “Call Me Rose” from his most recent album, Small Source of Comfort. He closed with the quaking, gut-renching “Put it in Your Heart.”
Brooke Waggonor and Trixie Whitley were the only performers of the night who didn’t stick around for the group finale. Carrie Rodriguez, Iris Dement and Bruce Cockburn joined host Larry Groce and the Mountain Stage band for a cover of “If I Prove False To Thee.”
If any band deserves one of these ever popular tribute albums, it’s Fleetwood Mac. Just Tell Me That You Want Me is a mostly solid collection of classic Fleetwood Mac songs as covered by a diverse selection of modern bands. Among them are Antony (of the Johnsons), Lykke Li, Bonnie Prince Billy, Marianne Faithfull, The Kills, St. Vincent, The New Pornographers and The Crystal Ark. You can stream the entire album below.
“Albatross” by Lee Ranaldo Band featuring J Mascis is a disappointingly bland instrumental intro, but the album soon gets off to a proper start with Antony‘s lovely and unexpectedly understated cover of “Landslide.”
Trixie Whitley gives a soulful, gut-rumbling blues rendition of “Before The Beginning.”
Billy Gibbons & Co.’s “Oh Well” is a clanging, thumping, thunderous piece of blues-rock machinery.
Best Coast’s peppy “Rhiannon” is a painful example of lost potential. Their claphappy retro girl pop rendition strips the song completely of all its magic and drama.
If only Lykke Li had been granted that cover in addition to her spectacular, ghostly rendering of “Silver Springs.” Now this is an artist who knows how to interpret a song in a fresh and enchanting way without sacrificing the substance of the original.
The Kills’s dark-rock “Dreams” is equally mesmeric.
Karen Elson also does a surprisingly worthy cover of “Gold Dust Woman.” She made a smart choice by going for something in between the rocked up definitive cover by Hole and the haunting, more acoustic style of Fleetwood Mac’s original. Elson was also a highlight on last year’s Rave On Buddy Holly tribute.
Gardens & Villa’s languid take of “Gypsy” isn’t quite as atmospheric as the original, but it’s still good.
The Crystal Ark are one of the few here who successfully alter the integral arrangement of a Fleetwood Mac song. Their futuristic, electro-funk retooling of “Tusk” works amazingly well.
MGMT, however, failed to do the same with their annoying computerized “Future Games.” It’s almost funny how I can consistently dislike a band even when I don’t realize it’s them I’m listening to.
The remaining tracks aren’t interesting enough to warrant either praise or criticism. All in all, it’s definitely one of the better tribute albums to be released in the past decade. But there are some glaring omissions – most notably “The Chain” and “Go Your Own Way.” And, like most modern compilations, its long-term appeal may suffer from too many forgettable of-the-moment bands.