Hey Roots Music Lovers: How Many of Cahalen Morrison & Eli West's Top iTunes Tracks Do You Know?"/>
As opposed to our favorite songs, or songs we'd like to think define our listening habits, taking a look at what a person actually listens to can be far more revealing. With that in mind, every Wednesday we ask an artist or band to take a look at the most-played songs in their iTunes libraries and share with us the results. We do this on the honor system, and we ask our subjects to share a few words about each song.
My answer to that question: absolutely zip (though this is from someone who thinks having a few Earl Scruggs LPs makes you an expert). But while "new-old" timey string duo Cahalen Morrison & Eli West's taste in tunes might transcend mass appeal, they continue to inform their style and technique. I mean, who would have thought anything in the world of jazz would top their iTunes most-played songs? And that an easy-listening piano composition by Keith Jarett would rank in as "one of the most beautiful [sic]" songs Morrison--best known for his original Appalachia-fashioned bluegrass tunes--has ever heard?
This is quite refreshing in the bubble of iTunes Questionnaireland, and it's an indication that all is well on the Seattle sonic landscape. Sure, we have our share of over-zealous folkies, but we also have these guys, whose fevered and harmony-rich songbook is as original as the influences pumping through their headphones--or gramophone, as the case may be here.
Cahalen Morrison & Eli West will release their second album, Our Lady of The Tall Trees, tonight at The Triple Door at 8pm.
Read on for Cahalen Morrison's Top Five iTunes Songs:
"The One That Was Lost/The Hag's Purse/The Black Rogue," Alan & John Kelley: I've been learning this tune for a while now, which I think is why it's so high on the list. But, it is a killer medley, the three tunes in the medley have great varying texture, and the squeeze box and flute is a nice combo that you don't hear too much of, without fiddles.
"Western Suite II: Apaches," Jimmy Giuffre: This tune evokes such great sense of place for me. The cover of the album is a saguaro cactus, and the whole record just screams "western country" to me. The dynamics on this tune are truly killer. It is so live feeling, sounds like you're right there in the same room with them. And again, the combo of saxophone, electric guitar, and trombone is so unique and satisfying. I just picture the group playing this, stuck in the middle of the desert.
"We'll All Go To Heaven When The Devil Goes Blind," Bruce Molsky & Big Hoedown: I think if you know this tune, you'll know why it is high on the list. It is incredibly repetitive and simple.
"Country," Keith Jarrett: This tune, though it has all the ingredients to be incredibly annoying, is one of the most beautiful tunes I've ever heard. I was turned on to this record a few months ago by a friend, who said it would be one of his "stranded on a desert island" records. So, I got it, and have subsequently racked up the hours listening to it, especially this tune. It is one of those sugar sweet melodies that only Keith Jarrett can play.
"Satisfied Mind," Blue Sky Boys: One of my favorite brother duets, as of late. Blue Sky Boys have that great throaty, nasal quality in their voices that just makes them blend to where it truly sounds like one voice. Beautiful melody, harmonies and playing on this one.
Eli West's Top Five:
"Craigie Hill," Dick Gaughan: Love his phrasing and inflection.
"Tragic Romance," Stanley Brothers: This song sounds a lot like "Ommie Wise" from the Harry Smith Anthology, but without involving murder.
"Polska efter Erik Sohlberg," Mattias Pérez Trio: With this Swedish trio, the guitar is still being defined in the genre, but they do really cool rhythmic and chord phrasing here.
"My Blue Tears," Teddy Thompson: Richard Thompson's son, sounds like a straight Rufus Wainwright.
"Heaven," Ron Miles: Great to hear Ron Miles and Bill Frisell compete for who can play more simply.