- Mon, 2012-03-26 12:20
Traditionally, it seems fitting for bluesmen to be old and as a result, world weary. At first glance then, Jamie N Commons doesn't quite fit the bill. He is in his early twenties and fresh-faced. He knows the day and the year of his birthday... When he opens his mouth, however, it is most definitely the blues that comes out, and in a beautiful husky, well-travelled voice at that.
With the widely praised The Baron EP under his belt and a new single called Devil In Me just out on Luv Luv Luv records, Jamie is currently touring and still (surprisingly) unsigned. Here he presents his I Like Music Guest Edit - a track, album and music video that mean something to him and his music, plus his 20 track playlist. To let Jamie know what you think of his Guest Edit, comments are open below...
Jamie N Commons Playlist
1. The Band - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
2. Elvis – In The Ghetto
3. The Allman Brothers Band – Whipping Post
4. Johnny Cash – Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)
5. The Rolling Stones – Not Fade Away
6. Missisippi John Hurt – Frankie
7. Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons
8. Captain Beefheart – Too Much Time
9. Nick Drake – Place To Be
10. Elvis Costello – 15 Petals
11. Stephen Stills – Black Queen
12. Tom Waits – Big Black Mariah
13. Neil Young – Cripple Creek Ferry
14. Pentangle – In Time
15. John Martyn – Over the Hill
16. Josh T. Pearson – Woman, When I’ve Raised Hell
17. Howlin' Wolf – Smokestack Lightnin'
18. David Bowie – 5 Years
19. Cowboy feat Duanne Allman – Please Be With Me
20. Elton John – Tiny Dancer
Artist: Tom Waits Track: Down There By The Train Release: 2006 Label: Anti/Epitaph
This song was originally written by Waits for Johnny Cash so straight away it ties up two of my favourite artists. It is a simple, emotional, gospel hymn reflecting on religion, mortality and the afterlife. Waits paints a picture of a heaven that is beyond judgement - a place where “Sinners can be washed in the blood of the lamb.” The lyrics achieve immense sentimentality but never look back with regret or wanting. It is the antihero funeral march.
Well, I’ve never asked forgiveness and I’ve never said a prayer
Never given up myself, never truly cared.
I’ve hurt the ones who loved me and I’m still raising Cain,
I’ve taken the low road, and if you’ve done the same,
Meet me down there by the train.
The song first appeared on Johnny Cash’s, Rick Rubin produced album, American Recordings. This is the first album of the 6 American Series albums Cash recorded with Rubin. Although the rest of the series are some of my favourite albums of all time I have never been able to get into this first one as much. Consisting of just Cash’s voice and acoustic guitar, it has always felt a bit too sparse.
The demo Waits recorded to send to Cash cropped up on his own 2006 album Orphans. The recording consists of Waits on vocals and piano accompanied by a drunken, stumbling double bass. The simple arrangement pushes Waits’ vocals firmly to the fore which allows the listener to really focus on his delivery, which breaths different dimensions into the song's character. The song also contains one of my favourite lyrics:
There’s no eye for an eye, there’s no tooth for a tooth,
I saw Judas Iscariot carrying John Wilkes Booth.
Artist: Talk Talk Album: Spirit Of Eden Release: 1988 Label: EMI/Parlophone
After hearing the demos I made in pre-production for my first EP The Baron, the producer we were working with (Eliot James) asked if this album was a big influence on my production. Having never heard of it, I went home that night and had a listen... it was one of those moments where a large portion of your creative vision comes sharply into focus. I immediately knew this was the mood of production I had been trying to achieve when producing the demos. It felt like someone had turned the lights on after months of messing around, hunched over the laptop in the dark. It was a great moment.
Furthermore, the more I listened, the more I realised it was all there! That violent, grating Chicago harmonica sound, the effortless groove of the dry sparse drums and percussion, the simple beauty of a well-recorded piano chord. It all made sense. So from this, we set out to transfer these simple production ideals into our genre and song-writing style.
The song-writing is unique, making no attempt at traditional pop song formats - each song being roughly around the 6 minute mark, focusing all of its effort on the atmosphere and emotion of the song. It is hard to hear all the lyrics on this album but I have never felt the need to look them up as I think the story and emotions are already there in the melody line, delivery and production. Much like the lyric-less song Dark Was the Night Cold Was the Ground by Blind Willie Johnson; he gives you the general mood and you start inventing your own stories within it.
Artist: LCD Soundsystem Track: Drunk Girls Release: 2010 Label: DFA Records
I love this Music video. It achieves everything a music video should. It reflects the mood of the song, doesn’t distract from it, and most of all is entertaining to watch.
Directed by Spike Jones the video features the band, completely unaware of what’s about to happen, singing the song in a closed studio getting increasingly abused by a team of mischievous pandas. Simple but massively effective!
Stay up to date with Jamie N Commons at: http://www.jamiencommons.com