Explorations by Kenley Neufeld

March, 2009

Cultivating Music in 2009

By on March 18, 2009

Rocco DeLuca and the Burden
Rocco DeLuca and the Burden

The last two months have  been a boon for my musical collection. Typically I purchase quite a bit of music in a year, but for some reason I have added twelve new pieces to my collection in the last two months and I’d like to share my thoughts on 11 of those releases.

In addition to playing my iPod at my desk, I also have a 45-minute commute each direction, which provides plenty of opportunity to listen to music. My musical tastes vary considerably and I hear about music from a few key friends, listening to KEXP, and reading the linear notes of my existing collection. Take for example the new release by Rocco DeLuca and the Burden. Though I’ve heard of him, and almost went to see him last year, the motivational factor on this purchase was that Daniel Lanois produced Mercy. Dan is one of my top artists and producers, so I usually grab anything related to him. Once again, this is not a disappointment. A great blues release with subtle lyrics and an angelic voice. Clearly a unique sound on an old style. The “Lanois” sound does not come through too strong like it did on the Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, and U2 productions but if you listen closely then you can hear it. You won’t be disappointed.

Bon Iver
Bon Iver

Where was I last year when Bon Iver released For Emma Forever Ago? This is a truly fantastic lo-fi release that I heard on KEXP’s “Music That Matters” podcast. Recorded in a hunting cabin during the Wisconsin winter, guitar and voice blend together a stirring story and an enjoyable piece of music. It came out in mid-2008 and if you haven’t  heard this, you might find it of interest.

I’m still a fan of purchasing an entire release and listening to it from start to finish (and also usually purchase the physical media). After I become a little familiar with the music as it is presented by the artist, I can load it up on my iPod and create a shuffle playlist of all my new material. That’s where I’ve been the last week as I shuffle the songs from the eleven CDs. Here’s what else you’ll find: