Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#156 in the Series) is The Decemberists, The Crane Wife.
The Decemberists are one of the more current bands that I’ve written up here on Cool Album of the Day. They have been a band since 2001 and actually began getting known about 2005. This coinciding with their move to a major label.
They hail from Portland, Oregon. The band’s name refers to The Decembrists revolt in Imperial Russian. Many, including band leader Colin Meloy view the 1825 revolt as a communist revolution.
The Crane Wife album was inspired by a Japanese folk tale. And you thought Rock and Rollers were shallow people!
This was the band’s first album for Capitol Records. It received a nice media push that included national appearances on shows like Late Night with David Letterman.
The Crane Wife, released in 2006, is a good old fashioned concept album. I wish more bands would bring us back to that era. The Decemberists have actually made a career out of that. God bless ‘em!
Some of the highlights include The Crane Wife, Pt 3 (Which is actually the opening number), The Perfect Crime, Sons and Daughters and of course the superb, O’ Valencia!
The album peaked at #35 on the Billboard Album Charts.
The Perfect Crime #2 did well on the Billboard Dance Charts peaking at #3.
Here’s their rock solid performance of O’ Valencia on the Letterman Show. Note to Dave: You need more room for acts this size! (Dig the vibes! ) I actually hadn’t listened to this song for sometime. While watching this video I’m reminded just how great a song this is. PLUS…As an added fun bonus.. Check out The Decemberists jammin’ on Heart’s Crazy on You. Check it out.
Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#124 in the Series) is Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, All the Roadrunning
What a special collaboration. They don’t get much better than this. Especially considering that these two musicians come from two different worlds. I’ll have more on that though later.
Bringing Mark and Emmylou together was genius. The only thing that angers me is that I missed the tour and I have a feeling that that was a one-off tour and will not come again.
This is Us is a really heartwarming track that follows a couple as they flip through their old photographs. I think it’s my favorite of the bunch.
Other goodies, they begin with listening to Emmylou sing a duet on Belle Starr. Her voice remains as strong as when she sung in her Gram Parsons era. Red Staggerwing rocks and rolls and tells us a good story. All the Roadrunning has a nice warm feeling to it.
We get 12 tracks here. I’d call this more of a Mark Knopfler album with Emmylou at his side than I would an actual full fledged duet project.. He writes ten of the songs and it’s his voice and, of course, guitar that stand out the most. Emmylou does have for print on it as well as it tends to lead more to the country side of Mark’s leanings. The band is pretty much all from the Knopfler stable as well.
The two of them released a live album and DVD right after the tour. There you’ll find most of this album plus some Emmylou standards and also some Dire Straits tunes. It’s a must get for real music lovers. It’s titled Real Live Roadrunning.
I often think back to something I once heard Emmylou say. It was on the ‘Nitty Gritty Dirt Bands’ Will The Circle Be Unbroken II. I don’t know the exact words, but she said something about how music is meant to be played with family and friends on the front porch. That ‘That’ is real music! And sometimes we get to far away from the front porch and have to bring it back. I surely like many types of music and much of it could never be played on the front porch. But I completely understand what she means.
This 2006 release reached #16 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts.
Here’s Mark and Emmylou playing This is Us with Paul Shaffer’s band along with a couple more tracks. One which is isn’t a song from the album but a nice surprise! And it could be done on the front porch!!!