Steve Earle & Opinions on The Black Eyed Peas and Phoenix

Musician Steve Earle joins Jim and Greg for a discussion of the life and legacy of singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt. Earle also performs songs written by his friend and mentor. Later Jim and Greg review new records by The Black Eyed Peas and Phoenix.

Steve Earle & Townes Van Zandt
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It may have been many years since you last thought about The Lemonheads, but they are making news this week. Lead singer Evan Dando is suing General Motors over what he claims is the unauthorized use of his song It’s a Shame About Ray, in two commercials. Jim and Greg don’t hear an alarming similarity, but regardless, they wonder if this is really the best time to be suing GM? Check out the ad for yourself.

Blues singer Koko Taylor died last week at the age of 80. Taylor was a longtime Chicago music icon, but as Greg explains, her influence was far-reaching. She was from the last generation of blues performers to have deep connections to the South. Initially Taylor didn’t have a lot of confidence in her singing ability, but she developed one of the most bold voices and personas Jim and Greg have ever experienced. Through her partnership with Chicago’s Alligator Records, Koko Taylor defined the Chicago blues sound and paved the way for female blues musicians. In tribute to her our hosts play I’d Rather Go Blind.

Steve Earle

Jim and Greg are joined this week by musician Steve Earle. Earle was a guest on Sound Opinions last year. This time around it’s not his own music he wants to talk about, but rather that of friend and mentor Townes Van Zandt. Earle recently released an album of Townes Van Zandt songs called Townes. He believes that the Texan ranks up there with the best American songwriters. He wrote what he knew, and for the most part, that was himself. Earle blames alcohol for his mentor’s demise, and hopes this album exposes that great catalog of songs to more people.

A lot of people have heard of Townes Van Zandt, but not as many have actually heard him. Following their discussion with Steve Earle, Jim and Greg highlight two songs voiced by Townes himself: Tecumseh Valley, which illustrates the songwriter’s tragic, but beautiful melodies, and Pancho and Lefty, which reevaluates the myth of the West.

The E.N.D. The Black Eyed Peas

The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies)

The Black Eyed Peas are hard to miss these days. After releasing a slew of hit albums and singles, they are back with The E.N.D. and its hit song Boom Boom Pow. Jim was concerned that Will.I.Am had lost his touch after producing a number of failures for other artists. But the self-professed fan is happy to hear that the raps and beats are as silly as ever. He calls The E.N.D. a great summer album and gives it a Buy It. Greg compares the songs on this record to other frothy hits like Who Let the Dogs Out. He admits the bubblegum formula is successful, but would never want to listen to an entire Black Eyed Peas album. He gives The E.N.D. a Trash It.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Phoenix

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Another new summer pop album is by the French band Phoenix. Their fourth album is called Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. That title and their song Lisztomania may give listeners the impression that this is a cerebral record. That impression would be wrong, however. For Greg this is a perfectly sequenced, filler-free pop record that combines disco with new wave. For Jim it’s an entrancing album from start to finish. Both hosts give the new Phoenix a Buy It.

Dear Listeners,

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