Song of the Week: Jameson Elder’s “Pony Ride”

Standard


“Pony Ride”
Jameson ElderWhere Beauty Remains EP
Self-Released

The sound of some classic rock artists may never day. It’s evident in Jameson Elder’s sound that the influence of artists like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty run deep in each strum of his guitar. His song “Pony Ride” is no exception with its slow and steady verses chugging towards the wide open sound of the chorus. Musically, Elder’s sound has grown in an encouraging way thanks to the addition of some well placed sampled drums in the opening verse, the humming organ, and the fantastic guitar solo after the second chorus.

You can download the song for FREE below.

You can also download Jameson Elder’s latest EP on iTunes or stream it on SoundCloud, as well as like befriend him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

FREE DOWNLOAD

(To download song, right click link and select “Save Link As…”)

Album Review: Stephen Kellogg – Blunderstone Rookery

Standard


Stephen KelloggBlunderstone Rookery
Self Released
Release Date: June 18th 2013

Recommended if you like: The Dirty Guv’nahs, Dave Matthews Band, Tom Petty

You can hardly tell Stephen Kellogg is 36 years old. Well, you can tell he’s spent his fair share of years on the road by the chiseled look on his face. In a way, though, Kellogg wears his age well like George Clooney does. For a man that’s 36 years old, he still has plenty to write about in his songs. While many of his contemporaries write about love won and lost, Kellogg covers a much wider spectrum with his writing style. Spending 10 years on the road and recording with his band Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, they had songs that covered the story of a Glassjaw Boxer, living as a touring musician on the 4th of July, and the envy of the youth of Shady Esperanto and the Young Hearts. After a decade of touring, the band decided it was time to take a break from life on the road. With their blessing, Kellogg went back into the studio to work on his first solo album since before the Sixers.

“Forgive You, Forgive Me”
[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2143087/03%20Forgive%20You%2C%20Forgive%20Me.mp3]

The album starts out with the fingerpicked guitar that fans of his former work will find familiar in “Lost and Found.” In a relatively upbeat tune, the lyrics sing a relationship that seems to be changing its course. Kellogg sings out in the bridge, “Do you recognize me? I don’t recognize you. I don’t know how we got here, I don’t. Do you recognize me, when you tell me it’s through? ‘Cause believe me I don’t recognize you.” “Forgive You, Forgive Me” sounds like a Tom Petty B-Side with it’s vaguely familiar guitar lick and catchy chorus melody.

“Men & Women”
[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2143087/04%20Men%20%26%20Women.mp3]

Kellogg reaches deep into his songwriting bag to write a song about gender equality with “Men & Women.” He sings about his family in one verse saying, “When it comes to daughters, well I know a thing or two. I teach them that they’re gonna have to be brave and look out for all of you. May they never feel inferior and may they make a decent mark. If some boy becomes their fire, may they realize they’re the spark.” It’s hard not to love the personal touch he puts on his songs with a true country twang to it.

Racking in at 10 minutes, “Thanksgiving” sticks out like a sore thumb. Opening with a full choir and spanning the entire life of Kellogg, this epic of a song is one loyal fans will love and new fans will skip over.  However, after spending half his life with a guitar in his hand professionally, he knows who he’s writing songs for at this point in his career.

While this record may not be a huge change for lifelong fans of the Sixers, they will certainly find it encouraging that Kellogg is still writing songs and playing live and plans on doing so for years to come. This record will not be winning any awards or topping any charts, but that’s never been a priority for Kellogg. “I make music for two reasons,” Kellogg explains. “To provide for my family and to share my thoughts with people who might be interested in hearing them. If I can have a positive impact on anybody, I want to reach that person, be they family members, friends, or fans, old and new. The work I leave behind will be my legacy to my family. That’s what keeps me going.”

You can order the album on Amazon and iTunes. You can also like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Top 10 Classes I’ve Taken at Greenville College

Standard

Original post via Greenville College Student Blogs.

The other day in my Fencing class, a fellow student was telling me how that class was in his top 25 classes of all time. I let out a little laugh, thinking to myself, “Who makes a list of their top 25 classes?”, and then realized I should totally make a list. While I have most definitely enjoyed my time at Greenville, I think it would be a stretch for me to pick 25 courses. Instead, I will choose a top 10.

10. CIS 105: Computer Fundamentals
I have always loved computers. In high school, I took as many computer classes as I could. So when I had to this course for my (then) major, I was pumped. I had the choice of taking it with some old dude, or with some young guy from IT. I chose the IT guy. Good choice. Instead of writing summaries from some outdated book, we learned about Google Reader and ManBabies.

9. PHL 201: Major Issues Philosophy
I’m currently enrolled in this course with Dr. Christina Smerick. Now many people will tell you that you HAVE to take this with Dr. Kent Dunnington. And trust me, Dr. Dunnington is a phenomenal teacher. But if you are clueless about the ideas behind philosophy and need someone to spell it out like alphabet soup for you, then Dr. Smerick is your professor. Dr. Smerick has been really great at helping to decipher these difficult concepts and has made Philosophy a class that I have very much enjoyed.

8. HPRA 256: Fencing
Ok, let’s just think about this. Fencing just looks insanely awesome. (Video) This class has just been a barrel of laughs. Love it.

7. MGT 321: Management of Organizations
This was my first class with Dr. Ivan Filby. If you are not familiar with Dr. Filby, he is the head of the Management Department at Greenville College as well as the faculty adviser for AgapeFest. Dr. Filby is one of those teachers who can just relate to students on any level, and does a great job of showing leadership. In a class that has potential to be slightly boring like an upper division Management class, he provides ample opportunities to spice up the class and even make a final project based on the movie The Devil Wears Prada.

6. PHY 105: Planets and Stars
I needed a lab science to graduate. I thought, “Hey, Planets and Stars sounds fun.” And it was. Our professor was actually a science teacher at the Bond County High School, so it gave the class a much more laid back feel. He had a great sense of humor, and the class was just really enjoyable.

5. MUEN 165: Rock Ensemble
Once upon a time, I was a CCM major. And in my first semester here, I was enrolled in the Rock Ensemble class. In this class, you are put in a band with 2-4 other people who play different instruments, and you perform a new cover song every week. While the song was often assigned to you, there were weeks occasionally that you were able to pick your cover song. We had the most rag-tag band out of them all; out of the 6 members, none of us were really singers. I  kind of took over the role as singer out of necessity, so when it came time for us to pick our song, I chose a Tom Petty song that I knew very well. This class definitely made me a better musician and made me appreciate playing 6 different instruments over the semester. Our Tom Petty cover: YouTube

Sidenote – Two members of my Rock Ensemble band dropped out of college that year to go play as musicians in touring bands. I felt pretty legit.

4. MKT 201: Marketing
This was a cool class. My favorite part of the class was that we had to take a real life event and market it. This was very easy for me, because I was working on putting on a concert on-campus. It was just a very useful class for me and I really enjoyed my professor and getting to do real life work in a class.

3. MGT 327: Entrepreneurship
This was a very interesting class for me. Essentially the idea behind this class was to create a new product, business, or service, write a business plan, and then present your idea to the class. It was very challenging because we were pretty much on our own for all the information, but it was great because we had to be very resourceful. My service was called “Streamlined Events” and the premise for my service was to create a professional grade online streaming service for showing events. The pitch went very well, and I ended up with a pretty good grade in the class. It not only made me a better student, but it really encouraged me to pursue a career in entrepreneurship.

2. COR 302: Science & Christianity
This was such a cool class.  It was a great learning experience for me, because our professor, Dr. Darrell Iler, simply laid out the facts and left it up to the students to decide what they thought of all the different ideas. Dr. Iler made it a point to not influence our opinions by giving his, which I thought was both very difficult and very wise of him. One of my favorite/least favorite  parts of the trip was our trip to the Creation Museum. At the end of the course, we were required to write a paper on a subject related to the class, and I wrote mine about my feelings about the Creation Museum. If you have the opportunity to take this class during Interterm, do so. (Creation Museum paper link.)

1. COR 101: Jesus of the Media
My first course I ever took at Greenville College still stands as my favorite. This was by far the best class I ever took. I loved how much it challenged me, and it was exactly what I needed coming into college. In this course, we watched mainstream films that talked about religion, dieties,  love, relationships, and everything in between. We watched films like Saved!, Dogma, Lars and the Real Girl, Unbreakable, Magnolia, Jesus Camp, and my personal favorite Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This class made me a very critical thinker and definitely set the tone for the rest of my collegiate career.

So there you have it folks, my top 10. I have to say, I do have a pretty awesome schedule for next semester, so stay tuned in to see if any of those classes make the new and improved top 10!

-matthew

Top 10 of ’10

Standard

Allow me to preface this list by saying that this year has been a hella good year for new music. I have a Top 10, 5 Honorable Mentions, and a Top 5 EPs. And there was a huge amount of music I left out. Please feel free to discuss my choices and let me know if you agree, disagree, like, dislike, etc.

Top 5 EPs

#5


Lauris VidalBetter Part
P Is For Panda Records

#4


StatesLine ’em Up
Unsigned

#3


Andy ShaufWaiting For The Sun To Leave
P Is For Panda Records

#2


Brandon Clark & The American StandardHonestly
P Is For Panda Records

#1


SatelliteRing The Bells
ADM Records

Honorable Mentions (In alphabetical order)

Brett DetarBird In The Tangle
Ravensong Records

Favorite Tracks: Empty House on a Famous Hill, Road to Ruin Woman


HellogoodbyeWould It Kill You?
Rocket Science Records

Favorite Tracks: Finding Something To Do, When We First Met


Jakob DylanWomen & Country
Columbia Records

Favorite Tracks: Nothing But The Whole Wide World, Everybody’s Hurting


Jimmy Eat WorldInvented
Interscope Records

Favorite Tracks: Movielike, Coffee and Cigarettes


Sky SailingAn Airplane Carried Me To Bed
Sky Sailing/Republic Records

Favorite Tracks: Alaska, A Little Opera Goes A Long Way

And now for the Top 10.

#10


Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Mojo
Reprise Records

I’ve always had a soft spot for TP. It’s my Dad’s favorite artist, so I grew up listening to him and loving his stuff because my Dad loved it. Then as I got older and learned to appreciate music, it helped me realize why Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers are as good as they are. With Mojo, they went back to their influences and created an album that was less pop based then all of their other stuff and created a straight up blues/rock album. With catchy tunes like I Should Have Known It and Jefferson Jericho Blues, they show they still have that pop sound. However, they aren’t afraid to just hit record and jam. With 4 tunes clocking in at 4:59 or longer, The Heartbreakers show off their amazing talent and just play to their heart’s content.

#9


AnberlinDark Is The Way, Light Is A Place
Universal Records

I have been a fan of Anberlin since I bought their album Cities a few months after it released. However, I was not a big fan of New Surrender. When I heard they had a new album coming out, I was slightly anxious because I feared they would continue down the road they had gone with the last album. I’m glad they didn’t. When I listen to this album, I hear catchy tune after catchy tune. Whether it’s Closer, You Belong Here, Pray Tell or Down I just think of how well they have done with this record.

#8

Sara BareillesKaleidoscope Heart
Epic Records

My love for Sara Bareilles started this summer when I saw her play for free in downtown St. Louis. Nicole had told me she was playing, and I was slightly hesitant to go. Thankfully, we decided to go out and see her. When we saw her, she had yet to release her new album, but she played several tunes from it. Every song she played from the new album was infinitely better than any song she had ever written before. When I finally got a copy of the album several months later, I fell even more in love with her songs. Uncharted just has that piano hook and lyrical hook that takes days to get out of your head. Let The Rain is one of her few guitar based songs, and it’s my personal favorite. I love the quirky clapping pattern and the following lyric:

Wish I were pretty, wish I were brave
If I owned this city, I’d make it behave
If I were fearless, I’d speak my truth
The world would hear this
That’s what I wish I’d do

#7


Zach StroutLuggage Rack
Blackroom Records

My freshman year at Greenville College, a band called Ellery Grange was created. It was such a different band than I was used to seeing; it consisted of two acoustic guitar players, a viola player, and a drummer. I had always wanted to start a folk band with a lineup and song collection similar to theirs, so I chose instead to fall in love with their music. After just a few short months together, the group called it quits and 2 of the members left Greenville College to pursue other opportunities. However, Zach Strout continued to create music and was signed as Blackroom Records’ first artist in over 5 years. His low key, guitar strummed style of folk music instantly drew me in. I quickly grew to love the amazing harmonies in Mary Lou, the stomp-clap part in La de Dah, and the poignant lyrics of Since I’ve Been Home.

Side note: When Zach played his CD release show, I was lucky enough to meet a very attractive string bass player, and well… the rest is history.

#6


Andrew BelleThe Ladder
1L Music Inc.

Even thought I only downloaded this just a week or so ago, this album has quickly immersed itself as one of my favorites of the year. I love the way the album starts out with the track The Ladder, with the lyric “Woe is me/faithless you and selfish me/I will leave a key for you outside my doorway” and the song quickly picks up with kick drum and a haunting banjo riff. Song after song hits you hard, with poignant lyrics and music that matches the tone of the words so perfectly. My personal favorite on this album is Oh My Stars. The 2nd verse is so beautiful:

Tell me all about your foreign wars
And all about the photographs that line your drawers
‘Cause I know a lot about closing doors
But not enough about what opens up yours

#5


Tokyo Police ClubChamp
Mom & Pop Music

One afternoon I was driving home from my summer internship. I was sitting in hardcore traffic on I-64 and decided to turn on the NPR station out of St. Louis. Just as I turned it on, they had just started giving a review on the new release from Tokyo Police Club. Just a few days later, Nicole went to see Passion Pit, whose opening act was Tokyo Police Club. She told me how good they were live, and I knew it was a sign that I needed to download the album. The opening song Favorite Food immediately sets the mood for the album, with its interesting synth intro, its slow guitar riff, and its flowing lyrics. Whether it’s a synth heavy song like Bambi or a guitar driven song like Gone, their style never wavers. The lyrics and Dave Monks’ baritone voice is always the centerpiece of the song, and is surrounded by a wave of instrumentation.

#4


JónsiGo
XL Recording

It’s a little hard to pinpoint what it is about this album that makes it so good. Is it the quirky synths and orchestral-eque arrangements? Is it Jónsi’s ever-constant falsetto voice? Is it his unique accent and diction? Is it the penetrating lyrics? Yes, to all of the above. What was supposed to start out as a simple acoustic side project turned into an explosive masterpiece. Whether it’s the hyper and upbeat tune Animal Arithmetic or the slow and steady song Grow Til Tall, it’s easy to see why Jónsi’s debut album was so well received.

#3


The NationalHigh Violet
4ad Records

I did everything in my power not to like this album. I tried to convince myself that I hated Matt Berninger’s voice. I tried to convince myself that the songs were awful. But I couldn’t do it. I downloaded the album, listened to it all the way through once, and couldn’t stop thinking about how good it truly was. In a very airy, sad tone, each song cuts right through you and tells a story. In the lyrics, the songs seem so simple with often repetitive phrases, but that makes the songs so much more penetrating. My personal favorites off this record are Bloodbuzz Ohio, England, and Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.

#2


Mumford & SonsSigh No More
Glass Note Records

The first time I heard Little Lion Man this summer, I fell in love with Mumford & Sons. I loved that I heard a song filled with banjo, acoustic guitar, and rich harmonies immediately after hearing Dynamite by Taio Cruz on the same station. After I heard that song, I went home and looked up the album and listened to the whole thing. It was just a few days later I got the full album. While it was technically released in 2009 in the UK, it wasn’t released until February of 2010 in the US. My question was “How did I not hear about these guys for nearly 5 months?!” The rich harmonies, the ever present banjo, and the brutal lyrics are just a few of my favorite things about this band. It’s hard not to love a band with lyrics like this:

How can you say that your truth is better than ours?
Shoulder to shoulder, now brother, we carry no arms
The blind man sleeps in the doorway, his home
If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won

#1


MenomenaMines
Barsuk Records

I heard about Menomena this summer while spending my summer in St. Louis. The first time I listened to their album, it didn’t really click for me. I liked a few of the songs, but I wasn’t really feeling the flow of the album. And then one day it hit me.

I listened to their song Tithe. The intro, the piano riff, the guitar riff, and the first verse:

Spending the best years of a childhood horizontal on the floor
Like a bobsled minus the teamwork and the televised support

From that day on, I understood the flow of the album. Each song was so intuitive with the song before it, and each song was so unique. I had the opportunity to see them live when they came to St. Louis, and seeing them perform these intricate songs live just made the album come to life even more. The song Five Little Rooms add lots of variety to the album by putting an emphasis on the baritone saxophone played by bass player Justin Harris. Overall, this album is outstanding and definitely worth a listen.

Thanks for reading along and checking out my choices. Hope you’ve enjoyed!

-matthew
1:40 pm