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Storytellers


jrplefty

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There has been a lot of talk about TVZ and Steve Earle here the past couple of weeks, both are really great songwriters, and at times both are also good storytellers. Right now, I would have to say my favorite storyteller is Robert Earl Keen. He is a good songwriter, but manages to tell a great story in the process.

 

I'm curious who some of your favorite storytellers are in the acoustic singer/songwriter world. I'm looking to broaden my horizons and get some more influences coming my way.

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Certainly John Prine ... Grandpa Was a Carpenter, Bottomless Lake, Blue Umbrella ....

 

 

Lyle Lovette ... Listen to his latest ... mostly covers but a great story that starts "I met a hooker in the grocery store"

 

 

Randy Newman ...... "President said to the little fat man, ain't it a shame what the river did to this poor cracker's land?"

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I'm with you on Robert Earl Keen. I really like a lot of the music that he puts out. Plus I love the traditional band behind him. Those boys can absolutely wail when the time comes to let it rip. A lot of his lyrics really hit home with me since I moved all over the place as a younger man. The lyrics that he puts out can only come from the heart and years of examining everything going on around a unique artist.

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Amen on Greg Brown. Lots of great ones like Townes, Cash, Prine, Dyan. I like Brown as much as any. Don 't care for some of his jazz/blues sounds on some of his albums, but that's just my own personal tastes. What I really find compelling are many of his lyrics. You can just about taste the food.......All of these guys make me want to write.

 

Canned Goods

Let those December winds bellow 'n' blow

I'm as warm as a July tomato.

 

[chorus:]

Peaches on the shelf

Potatoes in the bin

Supper's ready, everybody come on in

Taste a little of the summer,

Taste a little of the summer,

You can taste a little of the summer

my grandma's put it all in jars.

 

Well, there's a root cellar, fruit cellar down below

Watch you head now, and down you go

 

And there's [repeat chorus]

 

Maybe you're weary an' you don't give a damn

I bet you never tasted her blackberry jam.

 

[repeat chorus]

 

Ah, she's got magic in her - you know what I mean

She puts the sun and rain in with her green beans.

 

[repeat chorus]

 

What with the snow and the economy and ev'ry'thing,

I think I'll jus' stay down here and eat until spring.

 

[repeat chorus]

 

When I go to see my grandma I gain a lot of weight

With her dear hands she gives me plate after plate.

She cans the pickles, sweet & dill

She cans the songs of the whippoorwill

And the morning dew and the evening moon

'N' I really got to go see her pretty soon

'Cause these canned goods I buy at the store

Ain't got the summer in them anymore.

 

You bet, grandma, as sure as you're born

I'll take some more potatoes and a thunderstorm.

 

Peaches on the shelf

Potatoes in the bin

Supper's ready, everybody come on in, now

Taste a little of the summer,

Taste a little of the summer,

Taste a little of the summer,

My grandma put it all in jars.

 

Let those December winds bellow and blow,

I'm as warm as a July tomato.

 

[repeat chhorus)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

And talk about small town America fading-away. A sweet and simple tune.

 

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Harry Chapin was the first one to come to mind. He made me want to play guitar and tell stories. Taxi, Sequel and Better Place to Be eats my lunch every time I hear them. Steve Goodman was also great. Both died too soon. I also think Bruce Springsteen does a really good job.

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Thanks for chiming in everyone. There are a lot of names on here I've listened to casually that I'm going to be giving a more serious listen to, and I was excited to be exposed to Jeffrey Foucault. I had never heard of him before.

 

On another note, I was watching the MusicFog Marathon on livestream last night and was reminded of how well Cody Canada can tell a story at times, and it seems as if a guy named Jason Eady is coming into his own as well.

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Thanks for the tip Gio! I'm lovin' Horse Latitudes....You can really hear the tone of his J-45 coming through on the recording!!!

 

[thumbup]

 

horse_latitudes_cover.jpg

 

Hey, I'm glad you enjoy this great artist. [thumbup] I love "Horse Latitudes" too and the song "Goners Most" is one of the best he's ever recorded.

 

I would like to add The Milk Carton Kids (i.e. Kenneth Pattengale + Joey Ryan) to the list. I honestly don't know if they really can be defined storytellers in a John Prine or Townes Van Zandt way. They might be more similar to Paul Simon's style. However I really appreciate both their music and their lyrics:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbPYg04J2Dk

 

And let's not forget Suzanne Vega (I'd like to define her a "urban storyteller"...please forgive me...):

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKTzUBvPV3w&feature=fvst

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