Day 13 - A picture of your favorite (band or) artist. You know, I thought about this one for awhile last night as I was trying to fall asleep. There are a lot of bands I like: Ludo, Nickel Creek, White Stripes, Nirvana, etc. There are a lot of artists I like, too, like Lady Gaga, Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, Neil Young, Sean Watkins, etc. But I figured that my favorite was probably someone whose songs I could sing along to (knowing all the words), who I could listen to in almost any sort of mood. And I came up with two. Because I have a hard time making up my mind, you know that! So I chose the fantastic Johnny Cash and altogether underrated Gillian Welch.
What can I say about Johnny Cash that hasn't been said? His early stuff was amazing, but I believe the American Records series blow everything else away. Covers of songs by artists like Chris Cornell, Tom Waits, Beck, Tom Petty, Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, and of course the mind-blowing cover of "Hurt" by NIN, are sandwiched in between traditional ballads and Cash originals for a sound that's crazy-amazing. The songs can make you angry, make you sad, make you laugh. And the video for "Hurt"...Good Lord, you would have to be made of stone to not have it affect you. And if you want to see just how many famous people love Johnny, see if you can count everyone in this video (around 40).
Gillian Welch is an extraordinary singer. Her voice is pure folk bluegrass - moonshine undiluted. She writes her songs with her partner David Rawlings, and they play together, but her star shines. Like Cash, she can sing anything. Her songs are sometimes traditional, sometimes bluesy, sometimes rocking. You want a song about a woman who kills her rapist and is then haunted by him (Caleb Myer)? Want a song about robbing a bank (Pass You By)? Want a song about going to heaven to meet her (adopted) parents (I Had a Real Good Mother and Father)? Or just a song about a monkey (One Monkey)? Or do you just want to hear a good smack-down song about a boyfriend? Then listen to My First Lover, conveniently embedded below!