Check out this timely cover by folk/rock band, Jason Heath & the Greedy Souls from Los Angeles. The band includes Jason Federici, son of Danny Federici of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band fame. The band just finished recording their second full length album, “Packed for Exile.” You can hear the album in its entirety by visiting their offical website.

MP3: 4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy)

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“Win or lose, you know that you’ve been here before.
Keep your eyes fixed up high on the blood above your door.
It’s a promise to you that will always be true, the sun is gonna rise.
So don’t be afraid of the place where you lay, just close your eyes.”

When I first heard this song by the Los Angeles based, Jason Heath & the Greedy Souls I knew they were a special group.

The song is called “A Fighter’s Lullaby” and it was written in loving memory of Danny Federici, the accordion player/organist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Danny Federici passed away from melanoma in April of 2008.

One of the members of Jason Heath & the Greedy Souls is Jason Federici, Danny’s son. Jason, like his father, plays accordion and the organ. Jason Federici helped fund the Danny Fund, whose mission is “to bring melanoma to the forefront of awareness and help fund research with the top melanoma doctors in the world.” The demo of “A Fighter’s Lullaby” has been downloaded over 120,000 times at the Danny Fund website.

Jason Heath & the Greedy Souls recently sent a few songs from their upcoming album, Packed for Exile to select triple A radio stations. Even though the album isn’t slated for release until late February, the band is already receiving airplay from stations such as WFUV in NYC, WTMD in Baltimore and the E Street Radio channel on XM/Sirius radio.

“A Fighter’s Lullaby” is one of the most significant songs of my life for many reasons. It is not only because I work with the band, but because of the unexpectedly death of my mother, Mary Elizabeth Showalter. My mom passed away in a UVA hospital room on September 13. She was fighting colon cancer for the second time in less than 17 years. When I saw my mom sedated in her bed at UVA, I had hope that she would find a way to beat cancer again. I arrived on a Sunday afternoon and at just after 7am Monday morning, she found eternal peace.

Earlier Sunday morning, as I drove to Charlottesville, I listened to Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising. That album is the ultimate in musical redemption. In less than a matter of a day, the title song from The Rising and the epic closing track, “My City of Ruins” went from being songs of hope to songs of sentimentality. A few days later, I decided to utilize the song, “My City of Ruins” in my mother’s viewing before her funeral. Coincidentally or perhaps not coincidentally, Danny Federici plays organ on the track.

In one of the last conversations I had with my mom, I played a few demos from Jason Heath & the Greedy Souls. I played her “Ghost in My Home,” “California Wine” and of course, “A Fighter’s Lullaby.” She loved every song. And like so many times before that conversation, her approval meant so much to me.

My mom was the epitomy of the term, “fighter.” When she was starting to suffer from symptoms related to the cancer earlier this summer, she apologized for supposedly ruining a trip to Lewisburg, WV. When the doctor informed my mom that she was in fact fighting cancer for the second time, she didn’t shed a tear. She gave cancer everything she had during her first bout with the disease. Even though she was confined to a hospital bed for over two months, she emerged from the battle victorious. Following her return home, she dealt with a hip replacement surgery and various infections. Every time, no matter the obstacle, she won. She was undefeated until Sept 13, even though a doctor told me he wasn’t sure she would make it through the night. Not surprisingly, she did.

Like Danny Federici, my mom was a fighter. It is with great admiration for her and for Jason Heath & the Greedy Souls, that I present this song:

Jason Heath & the Greedy Souls — “A Fighter’s Lullaby”
Jason Heath & the Greedy Souls official website


After I scored Radiohead tickets for their show in Charlotte, I was browsing the usual websites for concerts nearby: Pollstar, Mountain Stage and the Satellite Ballroom. When I came across Feist’s date at the Charlottesville Pavillion, I blurted out a gargantuan, ‘Holy Shit!” The show will take place April 26 at 7pm and it is presented by a solid AAA radio station, 106.1FM The Corner.

I’ve been a fan of Feist since I heard “Mushaboom” from her 2005 album, Let it Die.The Reminder, Feist’s 2007 album, displayed an improvement in recording quality and a full palette of emotions. The song, “I Feel it All” and her album cover sets the tone for the entire album. Her memorable video for “1,2,3,4” is further evidence of her colorful tendencies. She’s the type of artist that could likely spawn numerous copy-cats in the near future. If that is the case, it will be difficult to plaigarise her underlying punk sensibilities which are sugar-coated with pop and jazz techniques.

Another reason that I’m excited about the Feist show is that Canadian singer/songwriter, Hayden has been announced as the opening act. In the mid 90’s, I latched on to Hayden’s lo-fi aesthetic when he released his album, Everything I Long For.As a high schooler, I related with Hayden’s whims on relationships, crushes and living with his parents. It was one of the those CDs that my girlfriend at the time and I embraced to get through adolescense. I hadn’t heard anything from Hayden since his 1998 album, The Closer I Get. I incorrectly assumed that he quietly evaporated into the musical background and ceased making records. I’m glad I was wrong.

MP3: FEIST — “Past in Present”
MP3: HAYDEN — “Hardly”

In conjunction with this music blog, today I started the Our Shadows Will Remain Internet radio station. The station will feature songs that have resonated with me recently. In addition, future programming on the station will feature interviews from performers such as Josh Ritter, an unsigned show and a local WV music show with concert listings. Any interested in bands and musicians can submit material for consideration by contacting me via nicedreaminc@yahoo.com.

One of the bands I am currently featuring on the OSWR Internet radio station is What Made Milwaukee Famous from Austin, TX. The band will be touring the west coast later this month and the east coast in March in support of their upcoming new album, What Doesn’t Kill Us on Barsuk Records. The album is due out March 4, 2008. Louis XIV will be performing with WMMF during their east coast run.

I was first introduced by What Made Milwaukee Famous via an episode of Austin City Limits two years ago. Suprisingly, they headlined the episode and Franz Ferdinand opened for them. And even more surprisingly, they blew Franz Ferdinand away. Granted, it was a “home game” for WMMF, but their energetic set propelled their set forward. Their set included “idecide” and “Hellodrama” from their album, Trying to Never Catch Up.

One of the most blogged about songs this year is “Resistance St.” from What Doesn’t Kill Us. The song is a thoughtful rocker minus some of the keyboard timbre of “idecide.” If the rest of their new album is of the same quality as “Resistance St.,” it will be well worth picking up.

MP3: WHAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS — “Resistance St.”MP3: WHAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS — “idecide”

Sometimes you discover sounds that deserve an instant replay. I’ve been spinning these songs on my iPod and in my time travel vessel for the last few days. Yesterday I shared “Turn Into” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with my good friend M/p. After listening to the song she wrote, “I’ve got it on repeat now.” “Turn Into” is one of the best album closers I’ve heard in a while and the most emotive YYY song that’s entered my ears. It’s in the acoustic backbone of the song, the shifting, piano-punctuation 90 seconds in and Nick Zinner’s jangly, slide-guitar solo. Even tho Show Your Bones has been out for nearly two years, “Turn Into” still holds its relevance. The band is currently in the studio working on the follow-up to the Is Is EP.

I first heard the vocal-stylings of Sia on a CMJ music sampler that included a Zero 7 song. Sia, the lead singer for Zero 7 has been making some noise with her recent Hear Music release, Some People Have Real Problems. The album is Sia’s fourth solo studio album. Sia and Zero 7’s music gained lots of attention with the success of The Garden State soundtrack and film. Listening to a few of the tracks from Some People, Sia could easily garner attention ala Feist. Sia’s solo material still contains the chill-out elements of Zero 7, but like Some People’s playful album cover she isn’t afraid to paint the canvas with a fully loaded palette of colors.

Over the Rhine’s music has been sitting in my computer for well over a month courtesy of my friend Lena. (Evidence of her musical taste can be found here.) The song I’ve been playing over and over again is “Spark” from their 2005 release, Drunkard’s Prayer. Over the Rhine consists of Ledford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist. Bergquist supplies the engaging, vocals and Detweiler serves as the primary songwriter and provides additional instrumentation. Last year, the duo released three studio albums: a career retrospective (Discount Fireworks,)an original Christmas album (Snow Angels,) and a proper album (The Trumpet Child.) OtR’s sound brings together elements of jazz, country, solid songwriting and then some. Like the aforementioned “Turn Into,” OtR’s music has a timeless quality that will satisfy for infinity.

Show and Tell:
MP3: SIA — “Day Too Soon”
MP3: OVER THE RHINE — “Spark”
MP3: YEAH YEAH YEAHS — “Turn Into”

With 2007 behind us, here’s a few of my favorite sounds from the previous year:

Sounds of the Year


(5) Radiohead — In Rainbows
Undoubtedly, the most hyped release of the year finds Radiohead returning to form.. sort of. The album contains the breath-taking, “Nude” and “Videotape” from their 2006 mini-tour. In Rainbows also includes the most conventional rock song the band has crafted since The Bends era in “Bodysnatchers.” Overall, In Rainbows is their best work since Kid A. The album isn’t as strong as Kid A or The Bends and it certainly doesn’t eclipse the breadth of OK Computer. “15 Step” is a weak opener to the album and “Faust Arp” is a curious inclusion on an album that only runs 10 songs long. The second disc to In Rainbows contains some great work: the moving, “Last Flowers Til Hospital” and “4 Minute Warning.” My guess is that the band decided to leave those songs off of the first disc to create more variety in the final result. Another factor to consider with Radiohead is that most fans had heard almost all of the songs from In Rainbows since they crowd-tested them during the 2006 tour. Therefore, when you listen to the disc there is some wonder as to what songs will make the cut and how the songs will be arranged, but it doesn’t have that new car smell that you would expect from music that hasn’t been road-tested.


(4) Feist — The Reminder

Perhaps no artist from the previous year invoked her personality in her music like Feist in her second album, The Reminder. The overall feel of the album is simple: fun. From her catchy, iPod pop/rocker, “1,2,3,4” to her matter of fact, “My Moon, My Man” Feist puts her full range of emotion into her work. Feist reels you in with her voice and then seals the deal with her instrumentation and charm. The album doesn’t lose momentum until “Intuition” and by then you’re already sold on the album. If The Reminder were trimmed down to eleven songs, it may be the best of 2007.

MP3: FEIST — “Limit to Your Love”


(3) Wilco — Sky Blue Sky

With the addition of Nels Cline as their lead-guitarist, Wilco constructed one of their best albums in Sky Blue Sky.Some of my favorite guitar solos from 2007 come from this album: check out “Impossible Germany” and “Hate it Here.” The other noticeable difference with Sky Blue Skyis the stripped-down sonic of the album. It’s apparent that Jeff Tweedy and company wanted to get back to core songwriting minus the layers and construction that made Yankee Hotel Foxtrot their biggest curveball. Kudos to Wilco who proves yet again, they can make a great album using different sounds, techniques and band members.


(2) Arctic Monkeys — Favourite Worst Nightmare

I’d heard all about the Arctic Monkeys from industry rags and Internet websites. On the surface, they seemed like another cheeky, elitist UK rock band. When I popped in their latest album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, my preconceived notions dissolved. This album received lots of play on my car stereo this past year. The main thing this album requires is volume. With the volume knob turned clockwise, the brilliance and pure enjoyment of this album can be experienced. If there ever was an album that should come with a high-volume disclaimer, it’s this album. Favourite Worst Nightmare never loses steam, thus making it a perfect driving record and one of the best releases of the year.


(1) Muse — Black Holes and Revelations

It took me nearly twelve months to get my head around Muse’s latest album, but when I did it proved to be the most dynamic and consistent album of the previous year. First of all, Muse is more than just a Radiohead clone. This album proves it. With Black Holes and Revelations, the band takes more chances and expands their trademark sound which revolves around Matthew Bellamy’s synth-guitar and towering vocals. The standout tracks on the album include “Map of the Problematique,” “Invincible,” and the multi-genre closer, “Knights of Cydonia.” The latter being the closest any band has gotten to recreating “Bohemian Rhapsody” since Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android.” I’ve been longing for a standout rock album for well over a year and this album delivers in every song. Muse ranges from Coldplay like sounds in “Starlight” to Depeche Mode in “Super Massive Black Hole” and Queen in “Knights of Cydonia” and “Soldier’s Poem.” But, the fact that they borrow from these artists doesn’t take away from the album. If there is a weakness in Black Holes, it’s Bellamy’s lyrics which at times are obvious poke at George W. Bush: “You’ll go to hell for your sins against the world.” However, the fact that a three-piece rock band can cover as much ground and provide as much aural depth as Muse does here, makes this album the most memorable from 2007.

MP3: MUSE — “Knights of Cydonia”

Our Shadows Will Remain blog would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas today. We hope you get to spend the holiday with your family and friends instead of being an instrument of greed for the corporation.

Here’s a song by Real World Records recording artists, The Blind Boys of Alabama. Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records is the same label that houses Joseph Arthur’s first few musical releases. The Blind Boys of Alabama have been touring and making music for over 60 years. They have collaborated with the likes of Tom Waits, Robert Randolph, Ben Harper, Richard Thompson, Aaron Neville and John Medeski. They have won numerous Grammy Awards for their uplifting gospel compositions.

Long time leader, Clarence Thomas ceased touring with the Blind Boys earlier this month due to complications from diabetes. He will also not be appearing on the Blind Boys’ upcoming album, Down in New Orleans which will be released January 29. You can hear two songs from the album at the Blind Boys’ myspace page.

The Blind Boys of Alabama performed this song on Jay Leno last week and I’ve been humming the melody since then:

MP3: BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA: I Pray on Christmas

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