Music Monday | Gallant

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Gallant writes songs that I get hooked on and just loop over and over. First, it was “If It Hurts” and then it was “Manhattan” (same album). Up now, it’s the track below. Jamie tipped me off to Spotify’s Alternative R&B playlist and it’s been my most played collection of songs the last week. It’s full of stuff I’ve never heard and instantly loved – this being one of those. Y’all know by now – my love runs deep for Alt R&B. Really deep. So here’s something for y’all that I can’t get enough of right now. Brace yourself for that note he hits at 1:35…

Stream: “Weight in Gold”

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I’m pulling my weight in gold,
Call me anxious, call me broke
But I can’t lift this on my own…
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Music Monday | Go Soul

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When Leon Bridge’s debut album Coming Home was released a few weeks ago it was all I could listen to. Once I was able to pull myself away I found myself craving more soul music which led to the creation of my Go Soul playlist. It’s still very much a work in progress, so feel free to comment any tracks you think should be added to it. This is a mix of mostly upbeat classics and new artists. Tip: I’m finding this the perfect cocktail hour and/or dinner party playlist.

Music Monday | Dana Swimmer

DanaSwimmer002Photographed in Opelika, AL

I heard my first Dana Swimmer song live behind John Emerald Distlling Company with Jess Graves. I snapped this during their performance of “Take What You’re After” (video here). Not pictured above is the rest of the the band: background vocalist Maggie Blauvelt, drummer Parker Lusk, leader guitarist John Riccitelli and bassist Danny Hurley. The three above slayed their one take for us and we were sold. I turned off the cameras, Jess and I looked at each other, and one of just blurted out “wow…y’all are really good!” Jack’s voice is rock and soul and easy to love. You can read a little more about Athens based Dana Swimmer on The Love List’s Meet Me in Lebanon story.

Stream: “I’m Still Your Man”

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Music Monday | Delta Spirit

A few of my favorite images (and a tune) of Delta Spirit that I photographed in Opelika, AL at John Emerald Distilling Company. I took these for the Meet Me in Lebanon: A Tale in Three Acts story on The Love List. Head there for the full piece!

Stream: “Hold My End Up”

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Music Monday | Oh Wonder

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Oh Wonder is duo Anthony and Josephine from South-East London. They’re releasing a song every month for a year to make their album. So far, this one’s my favorite. It’s just as Wonderland Magazine describes it: “soft vocals, polished timing, impeccable tone and a somewhere between heart-achingly and heart-breakingly emotive quality.” I’m

Stream: “Livewire”

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Music Monday | Jus Post Bellum

jus-post-bellumPhotographed by William Hereford

A couple of pages into last week’s New Yorker, I flipped to an article titled “State of the Union.” Above it, a cool drawing of a couple – the man draped in an American flag. Under it, this: “Geoffrey Wilson and Hannah Jensen play music inspired by the Civil War.”

You’ve got my attention, New Yorker, please continue…

No one paid much attention to the interim act – a black man with an acoustic guitar and a white woman with hippie-straight hair – started delivering gorgeous unamplified harmonies.

They were Geoffrey Wilson and Hannah Jenson, of Jus Post Bellum, a Brooklyn group in the same contemporary-folk vein as Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes that forgoes the excitability pop in favor of a more intimate approach. Wilson and Jensen have been a couple for five years, during which time the band has release two albums of erudite songs inspired by the Civil War. (The name means “justice after war.”)

I was completely intrigued and the next morning listened to their Oh July album over and over. It demands more than one listen to truly feel out the stories they’re telling. But back to the article, because I’m not trying to compete with the writing skills of a New Yorker review by John Donohue…

The calvary shows up in Wilson’s lyrics, but his songs are not mired in history. “Abe & Johnny” moves from Lincoln to Wilkes Booth to a meditation on the mortal limits of love. “Sharp Was the River Bending” is lively and bucolic, but there’s an undercurrent of despair – the river is the Mississippi, and war is never far from it banks.

I love the album, but “Tell Me Mama” wins for my favorite track. Something about it hurts me in the best of ways that a good song can.

Stream: “Tell Me Mama”

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Lying in the attic
Waiting for the night to fall
Taking all our clothes off
I can hear your voice a calling me
And we were sent to war
And I was in love I don’t want to be here no more…
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Music Monday | The Whiskey Gentry

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I first heard about The Whiskey Gentry at a wedding I shot two years ago. They were the band, and I was impressed. I put their album in my car on the drive home, and it’s remained in there since alongside a random assortment of CD’s I listen to when I’m too lazy to plug my iPhone in: Boyz II Men, Pearl Jam, Stroke 9…

Fast forward to last week. I’m on their back porch with a whiskey and camera in my hand shooting a story of them with Jess Graves. It was an amazing handful of hours hanging out with Jason and Lauren. Jess and I agreed that high school us would be really proud of what we called a job that day. Enjoy the video below of a new song of theirs and then head over to The Love List: At Home with The Whiskey Gentry for the full story.