The new Avett Brothers album….the good, the bad, and the ugly!

When I first starting really getting into the Avett Brothers a few years ago in 2009, with the release of I and Love and You, I couldn’t get enough of them. And I was lucky, because there was so much other material to start collecting and listening to! I discovered some of my favorite songs on that release (such as The Perfect Space, Laundry Room, Tin Man…ok, there is a lot I like about it!!). But I also heard people say that it was too ‘polished’ for the Avetts. That they preferred them more raw. I started going back in their discography and started to understand what long time fans meant. The Avett Brothers have such strong lyric writing capacities and many of those lyrics are weighed in heavy emotions. Those feelings and emotions come out best when the songs are being performed live without restraint. And that is something very different than a finely tuned album recording. There is room for both, but if you only listen to an Avetts album, then you are depriving yourself of the magical experience that is the Avett Brothers. If you can’t see them live and in person, you can still get the feelings by listening to their one of their (3) live albums or even watching them perform on tv (or on their Live, Volume 3 dvd).

Their newest album, The Carpenter, does not disappoint on the lyrical front. They are masters with their words and ideas. I would love to be a fly on the wall during a writing session! Initially, I was a little disappointed that the boot stomping sing-alongs were missing from this album. But that was only initially. The Carpenter feels like a much more serious, sentimental release. It seems to follow in the foot steps of The Gleam (2006) and The Second Gleam (2008) releases. Those EPs are softer and played live less, for the most part. They seem more private, if that is possible. That said, some of my very favorite Avett brothers songs are on the Gleams — Murder in the City (I was there for this performance!!) and When I Drink (the inspiration for the name of this blog!!), for example. When listening to The Carpenter album, you can tell that they have grown up, gotten married, had kids (some of them!), and watched as one of their young offspring fought cancer. They are more mature and more aware that life is more than ‘just playing music’. Just listen to this song, A Fathers First Spring, that mentions Scott’s eldest daughter, Eleanor.

I never lived til I lived in your light
And my heart never beat like it does at the sight
Of you baby blue, God blessed your life.
I do not live ‘less I live in your life.
I do not live ‘less I live in your life.

I think I’ve covered the good and bad (I mean, it really isn’t bad…just a little disappointment at first!)…now for the ugly. Recently, Scott and Seth Avett performed a little of their single, Live and Die, off the new album, for a Gap commercial. They have also teamed up with Target and when you buy the cd there, you get two bonus songs. And I admit, a part of me cringed a little when I heard about it. I mean, the Avett Brothers don’t exactly scream Gap to me…but I do buy Gap clothes, so I can’t fault them there! Another part of me was elated. That part of me has learned a lot about the music industry over the past 9 months and I understand what that type of exposure can mean for an artist. There are a lot of “fans” yelling sell-out in the direction of the brothers. But I really think that is unfair. These days, there are very few musicians who are out there making millions. The majority are barely scraping by and sacrificing a lot along the way, especially if they have families. If the Gap ad and the Target deal mean that the Avett Brothers can spend a little more time at home, cherishing those moments that they have learned are precious and irreplaceable, then I applaud them. And I hope other real fans will feel the same way…yes, we all love their music and would prefer that they play in our backyard everyday, but they are also real people with real families and friends who need them! It’s easy to yell sell-out, but let’s look deeper into the situation to understand it a little better.

Here is the Gap ad…and come on, they are true to themselves and this ad is just too adorable!!

Ingrid Michaelson ticket giveaway!

Wow. I feel like I am still in Forecastle recovery…it’s hard to think of other musical happenings in Louisville this week. But, the world goes on and there are acts coming to town this week. I am actually embarrassed that I didn’t realize Ingrid Michaelson was coming to town tomorrow night and playing at Headliners.  I was even listening to WFPK this morning when Be OK came on and as I turned it up to sing along. D’oh! Oh well….it’s last minute, at least it’s before the show.

Ingrid is a indie-pop singer-songwriter from New York. Her music has been featured in episodes of several popular television shows, including Scrubs, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, The Big C, In Plain Sight, and One Tree Hill. Be OK is one of those ear worms that is just so fun to listen to and sing along with!

And if you want to hear Ingrid in person, you can win tickets here!  There are two ways you can win. You can go to the Last Bit Of Sanity facebook page, like it and post that you want to win a pair of tickets to the show. OR you can retweet the @lastbitofsanity tweet about the show. OR you can do both and double your chances! Winners will be announced tomorrow by 4pm.


Ingrid just released a new album, Human Again, and here is Ghosts from that release:

Forecastle ticket giveaway!

The big weekend is almost here….it’s been a long time coming and Louisville is ready! I’ve only been looking forward to this forever and can’t wait to see my favorites, The Head And The Heart, Abigail Washburn, Ben Sollee, Justin Townes Earle, Cheyenne Marie Mize, Lucero, My Morning Jacket, Sleigh Bells, The Features, and Walk The Moon. I am also excited to check out some new (to me) groups like Real Estate, Moon Taxi, Beach House and Andrew Bird.

After a near scheduling disaster (darn my son for being selected to that all-star baseball team!) that nearly made me decide between my son and music, it is all good! And I don’t want to hear “oh, I can’t believe the easy choice wouldn’t be your son.” Of course, I love him more than anything. But, Mama’s gotta have a life too…otherwise Mama might not be so pleasant to be around!

Anyway, I have a general admission Forecastle ticket to give away for Sunday. Go to my facebook page, Last Bit Of Sanity, and like it. Then answer the question posted (who are you most excited about seeing this weekend?). A random winner will be picked on Friday.

Mumford and Sons with Dawes in Louisville!!

That’s right, Mumford fans in Louisville who have had to travel to Nashville to see them (including yours truely!), they are coming to us this time! Mark your calendars, get your sitters and get your dancin’ boots on! On Monday Aug 13, Mumford and Sons with Dawes will be playing at Louisville Waterfront Park – Great Lawn! Tickets go on sale Friday at noon (even though their site says 1pm, I have good info that it is actually noon!!). Tickets will be general admission and $40. If you are a WFPK member, then you will be getting your presale password today! Also, WFPK is running some ‘beat the box office’ contests, so tune in! Don’t wait to get your tickets, because if past history is any indication, then this show will sell out fast.

If you saw them this winter at the Ryman, then you might recognize this song. It is a new one called Where Are You Now. It’s a slower one, but just as good!!

And I am totally excited to see Dawes! I missed their last show at Iroquois Amphitheater, but I did catch their set at ear X-tacy and was amazed. Can’t wait to hear a full set from them. I love, love, love this song!! A Little Bit Of Everything….

New Avett Brothers: we have a date & one track!

It hasn’t been that long since The Avett Brothers have released an album (I And Love And You came out in 2009), but to the dedicated, loyal fans who can never have too much of the brothers it seems like an eternity (okay, okay…I am speaking from some very personal experience!). Originally, the word on the street that the new album, The Carpenter, was to come out in the winter of 2012. But, it has been delayed due to the fact the producer, Rick Rubin, changed labels and brought The Avetts with him.

Finally, we have a date and even get to hear a single off the release!! Woohoo!! Happy Tuesday…heck, Happy June, everyone! The big release date is 77 days away (that’s Sept 11 for those who don’t want to do the math). And here is the link to the new song, Live and Die,  that is currently on NPR. Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to buy tickets to another TAB show…it’s been almost 8 months since I have seen them live and that is just not acceptable!!

The Avetts were recently on Conan O’Brien, performing one of my favorites, Murder in the City. It is not the boot stomping, string-breaking song that they have become known for, but it is an absolutely beautful song with striking lyrics.

Listen to the new song, Live and Die.

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Win FIONA APPLE tickets BEFORE they go on sale!!

There has been a lot of hype around Fiona Apple’s newest release, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (released June 19, 2012). Yes, it has a long and complicated title that matches the music and lyrics you will find inside. (She has a thing for long titles – her second release had an long poem for the title!)But that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has listened to Fiona Apple’s music before. Her deep, sexy voice is alluring and her lyrics are blunt. This album is heavy on the piano and percussion with the main focus staying on the vocals.

Apple has a pretty full tour schedule around this release and it includes Louisville! She will be at The Palace on Friday Oct 5. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday June 22nd at noon. But, I’ve got a pair of tickets for you to snag before they are on sale! All you need to do is like Last Bit Of Sanity on facebook, like the Fiona photo and post what your favorite show was at the Louisville Palace. I will announce the winner Friday morning at 9:30am!

My music rut has been broken!

I am more than willing to admit that I can easily get into a music rut. I have the tendency to listen to a song or album over and over and over again if I really like it. I am pretty sure I spent years of my youth with American Pie on repeat….except the repeat technology wasn’t so good then. It took much more effort to rewind the tape at the end of the song. I even got fancy and recorded multiple tracks on a tape, so I could listen 2-3 times before having to rewind. Ah, kids these days don’t know what they are missing (and just to clarify….I was not even born when the song first came out…it was just a gem I discovered one summer in grade school).

At least my music neurosis nearly always revolve around good music (I am proud to say I was never into the New Kids On The Block!). Well, for the past few months not only have there been just a small handful of bands that have come out of my speakers (minus my morning dedication to WFPK), but I have been spoiled by those same bands because I have had the pleasure of seeing them live…some of them more than once and some more even more than twice!! I’m talking to you Walk The Moon, Ha Ha Tonka, The Features, Langhorne Slim, Ben Sollee, and The Head And The Heart!! In fact, this blog has been quiet because I can feel you all rolling your eyes when I bring up any of the aforementioned bands….I know I have made it known how much I love them.

And some pretty amazing things have happened with those bands since the beginning of the year – Walk The Moon has just exploded, especially with the ‘young people’…makes me still feel young. haha Langehorne Slim launched a PledgeMusic crowd-sourcing campaign that was fully funded within days and he just released a new album that has broken the Billboard top 200!

But let’s move to the fun amazing things that are connected to me. 😀 In January, I started working with Ben Sollee as his social media and Team Sollee coordinator. It has been a fabulous ride that allows me to use my brain for something other than mommy stuff!! I actually get to use my good ole’ Bellarmine University Communications degree for something other than trying to interpret baby babble. Woohoo! Plus, it gives me a chance to help an independent musician whom I fully support and respect. Then Ha Ha Tonka was playing at Uncle Slaytons around my birthday (I had gotten to know them when I interviewed them), so my hubby helped organize a group of friends to come to the show and to my shock and dismay, Ha Ha Tonka called me up on stage, mentioned the blog and lead everyone in singing happy birthday to me. These guys are great and always so kind and friendly whenever I see them (I promise I am not a groupie, but I have seen them 3 times in 5 months and even went 8 hours away to see them….don’t worry, it coincided with an already planned trip!!). Lastly, The Head And The Heart. I started following them very early in their career…just as they were self-releasing their album (before they got picked up by subpop). And I still have trouble believing how all of the pieces just magically fell into place and it is hard to write about them because it just really doesn’t seem real. All I know is that I was able to have dinner with the band before their Louisville show at Headliners, gave Charity a ride to the show from dinner and shared bourbon on the tour bus with Josiah after the show. An entertaining twitter convo was also thrown in there. All of the above groups are just so real and genuine. I am afraid the bar has been set pretty high for any and all future groups that I fall in love with!!

So, you can see why I was pretty content with my musical rut (and see how I am totally trying to justify my craziness!!). Except, I was starting to feel like a fraud for not posting about the newest and greatest music out there! And something new just jumped out at me. The Lumineers. I had heard of them and even heard some of their stuff on WFPK, but for whatever reason I hadn’t paid that much attention to them. Until I was watching tv with my 6 year old daughter and a commercial came on and she said “i know that song”. It was familiar to me, too, but I had to shazam it. And what do you know, it was Ho Hey by The Lumineers. I checked them out on spotify and immediately order their cd. And now, because of my neurosis that we have already established, my kids and I know just about all the words to the whole cd. We’ve had it for 3 days. I love them, I love them, I love them. My only problem is that they aren’t scheduled to come to town. I guess that gives me some time to figure out how I can make friends with them, too. Enjoy this earworm….

Too many hats?! Nah!

For the past few months, I have felt this blog staring me down and questioning my loyalty! I can’t believe I haven’t posted in so long…but it isn’t for a lack of trying or desire. I started many, many posts, but they just never felt right. So many rockin’ things have happened and if I told you about all of them right now, you would either call my bluff or roll your eyes in disgust. Seriously. I will eventually get them all out, but in little doses.

Recently, a friend forwarded me a link to a ‘music writers wanted ad’ from louisville.com (props to that amazing Bellarmine alumni network!!). My thoughts of ‘sure, why not’ quickly turned into thoughts of ‘oh shit…what have I done?’! I pushed my fears and insecurities aside, hyped myself up on some good coffee and got to work. Below is my first (of many, hopefully) articles on louisville.com.

WFPK fuels the Louisville music community

Upon hearing of my new endeavor, a friend questioned me about how many hats I wear. It made me laugh. If you know me, you know I am always doing something. I get it naturally…my Dad is the same way. He is due to retire this year and I have had so many people say to me, ‘how is that going to work?!’. haha Don’t get me wrong, I love downtime. I don’t particularly like running the kids from practice to practice. But, I use my time wisely. Last night, as #2 was practicing baseball, I sat at the ballpark and wrote the louisville.com article. If I sit down to watch a movie at home, more often than not, I am also folding laundry. It just me…it is what I do.

Everyone functions differently and I have many people look at me like I am crazy when they hear about all the things I am involved in. And, as I was pondering that ‘how many hats’ question, a realization hit me. I LOVE live music. There is just nothing better, in my opinion, than a good, high energy, live show. I am always speechless when people tell me that they love music, but can’t stand live shows. How is that really even possible? A live show caters to all of your senses and puts them into overload. I get there, let my mind go, and soak in all that there is to see and hear. It is like a whole body experience and it is heaven! After a show, I feel like I am flying high sans the drugs. It.is.the.best. And my realization was that: that is how I do things…in overload so of course live shows call my name!

I hope you take a minute to read the article I wrote because it is closely tied to live music in Louisville. And I NEED live music to continue to function!

LOUIE FM! LOUIE FM!

I originally published this on Sept.5, 2009 after discovering that a local radio station had changed hands and call letters. My youngest was about 17 months old at the time. It was a sad time but I am re-posting it because I am excited to say we have a ‘new’ LOUIE FM in Louisville!! 104.3 WLUE. The format is good….lots of old songs I haven’t heard forever, but what is even better is the look on my kids’ faces when they heard the station identification!!

I know it is weird to say I am upset that 100.5 LOUIE FM is no longer. But I am seriously upset about it. It is now called Gen X radio or something like that. The new music format is okay…I have heard many songs over the past couple of days that I hadn’t heard in 10 years!!

But, I cannot get over the fact that I will never hear “You are listening to 100.5, LOUIE FM.” It had a very special meaning to our family. Again, sounds weird, I know! Let me explain.

A few days before our youngest was born, hubby and I came to the mutual realization that we weren’t so crazy about the boy name we had picked out for him. We have used family names for all of our kids (first and middle), so by the fourth child and third boy, the pickings were getting pretty slim. However, we both agreed that we kinda like the name Louis Frederick (nickname Louie), after hubby’s Dad, Fred, aka Frederick Louis. But, we were going to wait until he was born to make the final decision. And we had learned the lesson early not to tell anyone the names we were considering!!

Well, as soon as baby #4 was born, we looked at each, while everyone else was inquiring, “What’s his name?!”, and we both said “Louis Frederick” and that is when our little Louie was introduced to the family. Ben’s Dad had no idea that we were even thinking about using his name and I will never forgot when he was holding Louie in the hospital, nearly too emotional to speak. It is a moment that will forever be burned into my memory.

On our way home from the hospital, we were listening to the radio when we heard “You are listening to 100.5 LOUIE FM.” Again, hubby and I looked at each other and just laughed. Our Louie’s name was Louie FM (Louis Frederick M****). And hubby joked that it was very fitting all the way around, because his Dad had spent his whole life in the radio business.

Whenever the older kids would get in the car and hear the call letters, they would always make a big deal about it. It was something that always brought a smile to our faces. It was fun and comforting at the same time.

It became even more meaningful when my father-in-law lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, just a few weeks after holding his namesake for the first and only time. LOUIE FM always reminded me of the connection that Louie held with his PawPaw, even though he would never get to know him.

So, I am upset that I will never be able to turn the radio on again and hear “LOUIE FM”. I am sad that the family won’t be able to joke about Louie’s station anymore. I am heartbroken that Louie won’t be able to hear those call letters and be reminded of the love his PawPaw had for him, even before he was born.

Here is my request….if anyone has ANY connection at Clear Channel, I need your help! I would love to have a couple of things (bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc) that said 100.5 LOUIE FM on them. I want to save them so that when Louie is older I can show it to him and we can re-tell the story and it will be part of HIS history…not just part of history. Thank you in advance!

And I was able to get a few items that say LOUIE FM on them…posters and plastic cups. If someone at the new LOUIE FM would like to send keepsakes my way, I will not deny them! 😉 I would love to surround my budding musician with reminders that his love of music comes from someone very special who is no longer with us.

Got Your Back with Matt The Electrician and free tickets!!

Ah, the sappy, over-commercialized ‘holiday’ of Valentines is upon us. I’ve never been fan of the day. I am not a hater, but it seems to me that we should be showing our loved ones how much we love them on a daily basis. And why should one day matter more than all the rest? I think flowers on a random Tuesday would be so much more fun that the pressure to pick the most perfect Valentines gift. Plus, “Saint” Valentine, isn’t even on the Catholic calendar of saints (they removed him in 1969), because nothing is known about him other than his name, birthday and day of death (Feb 14). So, there ya go!

That said, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share a song that isn’t overly gushy or sappy. It just has solid lyrics that describe the kind of love I hope everyone can experience, whether that is through family, a spouse or a friend. Love is love no matter where you find it! And my Valentines wish is that every one of you has someone who has “Got Your Back”, as Matt the Electrician so eloquently sings about.

In the universe you’re a molecule
In my eyes, you’re a great big deal
Bigger than the moon
You’re the only tune I hear
I’ve got your back, we’re on the same track

And if we’re moving then we’re moving together
And if we’re standing still then it’s still forever

And guess what?! Mr. The Electrician is coming to Louisville soon and you can win (2) tickets to the show at Uncle Slaytons!! He will be performing on Feb 22. Just got to the last bit of sanity facebook page, like it and tell me that you want to be entered to win the tickets! The winner will be picked on Monday Feb 20!  I have been  blown away by his latest release, as I wrote about here. Hope you jump on the chance to see this amazing singer/songwriter!

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