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 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.
John Convertino and Joey Burns of Calexico.
Calexico drummer John Convertino may listen to music though his iPad, but many of the songs contained there are straight from another era. Hardly the norm for an indie rock band member these days, but then again Calexico isn't your average indie band, with a distinct sound that mingles desert country with Mexican trumpets and soft Spanish guitars.
Touring behind the band's seventh full-length album, Algiers (named for the New Orleans neighborhood where it was recorded), Convertino took a moment to share the top songs from his music player. Recently dubbed by The Wall Street Journal as "one of America's great bands," his picks likewise reveal a fondness for classically American tunes--just check out the group's cover of Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" below.
Calexico plays The Neptune this Friday (10/19) with the Dodos.
"Le sacre du printemps," Igor Stravinsky: I love this piece because it rocks so hard there in the middle section. I found an interview with him on YouTube. This guy asks him how music is created, Igor scoffs at the question, then gets serious and with a big smile says, "Music is created in big loud drums and cymbals." Music to my ears as a drummer.
"Vengeance is Sleeping," Neko Case: Beautiful song and so expertly sung. A fine example of how meticulous and precise Neko is in her craft. I am proud to say I have worked with her quite a bit, and I love the challenges she presents in her music.
"Early in the Park," Hauschka: A brilliant piano player from Germany, he prepares his piano which is a lot of fun, but I think beyond that his compositions are a joy to listen to.
"'Round Midnight," Miles Davis: A timeless classic I listen to over and over again, I love the buzz roll going into the first chorus, I love the phrasing and melody, it's a song that will bring you through the toughest of times.
"Never Let Me Go," Bill Evans (Webster Hall version): I love Bill Evans. I think about him a lot when I am playing, I don't know why. I have recordings of him playing live at some club in NYC to what sounds like 5 people, they are playing in the afternoon and it's so pastoral and beautiful.
"Pretty Baby," Jelly Roll Morton: Library of Congress has these recordings of Jelly Roll playing with what sounds like a metronome, and he kind of rambles on and sings and talks. Transports you to another time, a time I completely romanticize and wish I could live in. It was probably just as hellish as it is these days, but better style anyways.