The High Cell Shuffle

The High Cell Shuffle

In Your Eyes (Live) – Jeffrey Gaines

What a great voice Jeffrey has. It might sound a little sacrilegious to Peter Gabriel fans, but this is actually one of those magical cover songs that I like more than the original version. I think it’s a great song that is now shrouded in the musical vices of the time (mainly synth), and this particular version offers a sincere, heartfelt acoustic interpretation of what was originally at the core of the songwriting. A lot of instrumentation can cause a song to get rather dated later on, but no one can argue with a guy just playing an acoustic guitar who sounds like he means it. My cousin Dawn’s band “Gesture Without Motion” recently played a show with Jeffrey, and I was jealous as hell.
Listening to this makes me want to find an outstanding 80’s song that might sound outdated and/or a little cheesy today, and do a sincere acoustic cover (any suggestions are welcome .)

People Turn Around – Delta Spirit
I’m really loving Delta Spirit lately. I’d describe them as a young band in the indie rock category that maintains a kind of passionate old-school rebel folk vibe. I think this song (like many of their others) would fit into our society just as well in the Vietnam War era as it does today. A lyric in the song sums it up better than I can; “The song that needs singing, has already been sung before.”

Mind Eraser – The Black Keys
Another song that I think would fit into just about any era. The Black Keys are really just a classic blues and R&B influenced duo (guitarist/singer and drums), but they’ve taken a liking to enhancing their studio albums to more full-band arrangements over the past few years under the tutelage of superstar music producer Danger Mouse. While I still love the old stuff that just embodies the essence of a two-man garage band, I think it’s great that they’ve branched out in the way that they have. It’s almost like two different bands between the “old” Black Keys and the “new” Black Keys, but it’s two different bands that I love to listen to.

The Joker – American Standard
This is from the album “Better Than Fiction”, and it’s such a damn shame that it’s out of print and isn’t available on iTunes or any other mp3 or streaming services. The band American Standard was a bit of a Midwest supergroup comprising of the ridiculously capable blues-rock guitarist Chris Aaron and the foolishly talented vocalist Corey Sterling. They put out a few albums before this one under the “Chris Aaron Band” or CAB (featuring Corey Sterling). You might remember Corey Sterling as the original singer for the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, heard on the album “Ledbetter Heights”. While I love Noah Hunt (the second/current singer for KWS band), there’s just something about Corey Sterling’s voice that always resonated with me. His voice and Chris Aaron’s SRV influenced guitar playing set against the background of some great songwriting, created a batch of songs that I honestly still go out of my way to listen to on a regular basis nearly ten years later. It’s just good, sincere, timeless blues-rock music.
After the demise of American Standard, Chris Aaron is still doing his thing kicking ass in Wisconsin bars, and Corey Sterling is somewhat MIA back in his home country of Canada. After this song came up on “the shuffle”, I sent an email to Chris’ management in the hopes that they might make this album more accessible to new listeners, and I also did some homework as far as where you could hear the music legally.
This song along, along with one of my very favorites from the same album (Warheads on Flatbeds, are available for a free listen or a download here:
Give a listen and let me (and them) know what you think.

Run On – Moby
The foundation of this song was a traditional religious folk tune also known as "God's Gonna Cut You Down". It’s been covered by tons of artists, including The Blind Boys of Alabama and most notably Johnny Cash in his later years. I believe the version that Moby sampled for this song was from the 1940’s, and I think it kicks ass that he was able to use his electronic medium to expose people to this kind of stuff. A lot of the Moby album “Play” cited old standards like this, and I still appreciate the healthy nod to the past that he conveyed. What better way to make these songs relevant and keep them alive than to effectively communicate them in a new way?

Has it been five songs already? I’m not ready to stop listening, but I’ll stop babbling about it for now. As always, I extend a sincere thanks for reading. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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