As a lifelong banjo-enthusiast, hearing Don Reno tear it up in his great rendition of Green Mountain Hop invariably brings me to the brink of tears. Being aware of the cultural sneering toward country music, bluegrass, etc. (at least until “O Brother Where Art Thou” made it cool to like such music), I take great satisfaction in hearing Reno play this song, and in so doing, demonstrating the amazing musical artistry that he was so capable of. Mozart was born to compose classical music, Muddy Waters to sing the blues, Louis Armstrong to play jazz. Don Reno, as demonstrated in Green Mountain Hop, was born to play banjo, and I respectfully suggest you check him out.
Maybe I should have said, “Make a Case for an Esoteric Musician”. All I really wanted was for fellow dopers to convince the rest of us to check out a great musician that we may not have been aware of. So, I ask, are there any takers??
I’m a taker: how about that Burt Bacharach/ Elvis Costello effort, “Painted From Memory”?
When most people think of Lyle Lovett, the only things that come to mind are:
- He’s ugly.
- He married Julia Roberts
- He’s a country singer.
1 and 2 are true, but calling him a country singer is a gross oversimplification. He actually uses all sorts of styles, from blues to rock to country. And he is a terrific singer, turning even a gross musical cliche like “Stand By Your Man,” into something fresh and deep.
He’s also a great songwriter, one of the few working today who knows how to write a truly romantic song (listening to him, you know exactly why Julia was attracted to him). And he can rock, too – his live act was one of the best I’ve seen. Songs like “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas)” can get everyone on their feet. He also has a nutty sense of humor; “Here I Am” is strange and hilarious, and who else would have a lyric “Penguins are so sensitive to my needs”?
He’s well worth checking out. Try his “Live in Texas” or “Lyle Lovett and His Large Band.”
Not erally very esoteric but…
Mario Lanza. Not perhaps the most technically proficient tenor ever. But IMHO the best of them. He sang with passion and feeling that I think is unknown in other singers. have heard people who hit notes better etc, but none who sounded so much like they mean every word.