Daniel Clarke

Daniel Clarke

I had the pleasure of shaking hands with Daniel Clarke on Sunday when I went to Hardywood to fill a growler.

I never know what I’ll find when I go there, though I should know by now that there’s no such thing as a quick Hardywood errand. Half the time I find a mob scene — people everywhere, food trucks everywhere, parking spaces nowhere, craft show/beer release/indeterminate festival in full swing… the other half of the time I get sucked into a performance I don’t want to end, which is what happened on Sunday. Clarke on keys, J.C. Kuhl (who I recognized from Mekong Xpress) on sax, Cameron Ralston (of Matthew E. White’s band) on bass, Brian Jones on drums. Their cover of Radiohead’s “National Anthem” made my heart unreasonably happy. I got video of most of “National Anthem,” though I don’t think I’ll upload it. Seems a little tacky, especially because most of the actual video is of people standing in line for beer. The audio is excellent, though. I’m listening to it now and my heart is unreasonably happy again.

I introduced myself to Clarke just before their set break ended and we talked briefly about our shared love of BK Music, which is where I recently picked up a copy of Clarke’s new Diamonds 45. Y’all might know Clarke from his work in Ryan Adams’ band, but Diamonds finds him front and center, playing every instrument Stevie Wonder-style and singing beautifully. What comes across is a natural comfort with R&B — the kind that comes from a deep appreciation of the genre and its roots. Definitely makes me want to go back through my Spacebomb records and listen for his contributions. Also makes me hopeful that he’ll release more of his own work, which he’s said he might do.

While I love both “Diamonds” and “Guided (By What We Have),” don’t sleep on the third and shortest track, “Rollin’ Out,” which is funky as hell and could easily have followed “Green Onions” on a dance party playlist in 1962.

Daniel Clarke — “Diamonds” [Pax-Am/iTunes]

Daniel Clarke — “Rollin’ Out” [Pax-Am/iTunes]

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CD Monday

Ray LaMontagne

At a wedding in Baltimore this weekend, I ended up in a conversation with one of the other guests about Ray LaMontagne — about how I’d been gifted a vinyl copy of Gossip in the Grain a few years back, and then about how much I love Till the Sun Turns Black. 

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Lianne La Havas

Lianne La Havas

Happy release day to Lianne La Havas!

I spent about an hour of my Outer Banks vacation running on the beach while listening to NPR’s First Listen of Blood and was made deliriously happy. “Green & Gold” and “What You Don’t Do” jumped out as early favorites before “Wonderful” stole the title away for good with its masterful pacing and phrasing — the way languid recollections morph into staccato choruses with lyrics that toe the line between clever wordplay and emotional precision. I found myself thinking back on old relationships, trying to identify which parts of them were “kind of wonderful.” It was fitting for a beach trip I’ve been taking with my family for more than 20 years — decades in which I was trying to figure out what a wonderful relationship was.

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Landlady

Landlady

On repeat. All day. Can’t wait for tonight’s show at The Camel.

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CD Monday

JR JR

Congrats to JR JR on the new name! I loved the NASCAR reference, and I’d be lying if I said their old name wasn’t part of why I started listening to them, but it’s definitely not why I’ve kept listening to them. The Speed of Things was an excellent follow up to an excellent debut, and I know that spinning the copy I picked up at BK Music a while back is going to make my week markedly better.

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brb

Outer Banks

OK, so we’re technically in Currituck County, but you get the idea.

Catch y’all wonderful weirdos next week.

James Taylor — “Carolina In My Mind” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Sound Gaze

Sound Gaze

So I was on Sound Gaze again! I’m a huge fan of Doug Nunnally’s WDCE show, and I’m extremely thankful to have been invited back last Saturday. The full episode is posted below.

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