We begin the evening with a memorial to Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson. Watson was a highly influential folk/bluegrass guitarist and a fine singer, and he also played banjo and occasionally harmonica. He didn’t have any hit records, but influence goes far beyond how many “hits” one has. For our tribute this evening, we’ve selected a set of recordings that Watson did with another bluegrass legend, Bill Monroe. All these songs were recorded between 1963 and 1966, at various locations. The set list:
- Foggy Mountain Top
- What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul
- Watson’s Blues
- Soldier’s Joy
- Where is My Soldier Boy?
- You Won’t Be Satisfied That Way
- Kentucky Mandolin
- East Tennessee Blues
- Midnight on the Stormy Deep
- Lonesome Moonlight Waltz
- Banks of the Ohio
This week we have a brand new (as in something released this very week!) album from Sigur Ros, a band that we play frequently on the show. There is a lot of beautiful music on this disc, Valtari. It is completely in line with their previous material, and yet it is different. In many instances, the music comes across less like “songs” and more like orchestral pieces, or something from a movie soundtrack. I’ve found it difficult to choose what songs should be featured in this set. So we started with the first song, and went from there: Ég Anda, Ekki Múkk, Varúð, Rembihnútur
Another band that I find myself featuring quite regularly on the show is Mastodon. It is extremely hard to find another band that has Mastodon’s combination of musicality, brute force and technical virtuosity, a full blend of modern metal and progressive rock. Yet, even with the success that they have achieved since 2002, they are unafraid to allow their music to grow and morph. Happily, I’ve recently been able to acquire their first album, Remission, which has some truly crucial tracks of theirs. So we started the set with March of the Fire Ants, Where Strides the Behemoth, and Workhorse (all from Remission). We then heard Dry Bone Valley and Spectrelight (from their most recent album, The Hunter). We then went back to Remission for Mother Puncher (a live favorite of theirs). We finished with Hearts Alive, an epic (13+ minutes) song from their second album, Leviathan.
I recently came into limited possession (read: I borrowed it from the library) a biography of the great jazz pianist and composer, Thelonious Monk. Although I was well aware of Monk’s absolute brilliance before, reading his life’s story just gives me a greater appreciation for Monk the musician, as well as Monk the man. So we closed the set with Monk’s Brilliant Corners (featuring the great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, along with Ernie Henry on alto sax, Oscar Pettiford on bass, and Max Roach on drums), and Rhythm-a-Ning (from 1962, featuring his long-time saxophonist Charlie Rouse, John Orr on bass and Frankie Dunlop on drums.