Tag Archives: Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs with Hullabaloo

If you had to go away for awhile and you could only take five of your favorite albums with you, which ones would you choose? Yes, we know it isn’t a fair question, but that hasn’t stopped us from asking music fans who happen to be recording artists in their own right. This edition of Desert Island Discs comes courtesy of Steve Denyes & Brendan Kremer of Hullabaloo, whose latest LP, Raise A Ruckus, was released on September 4th. You can preview some of the new album on their website.

Steve Denyes

Steve Earle – Transcendental Blues: I love all of Steve Earle’s records so choosing just one for my extended desert island vacation was really tough. The song that tipped the scales for Transcendental Blues is “Galway Girl.” It may be the best Celtic-hillbilly rock anthem ever. It may be the only Celtic-hillbilly rock anthem ever. . . but it is really good.

Guy Clark – Dublin Blues: The album’s opening line: “I wish I was in Austin at the Chili Parlor Bar drinking Mad Dog margaritas and not caring where you are,” says more than my ten best songs put together.

Bob Marley – Kaya: Though you’d never really guess by listening, Bob Marley has probably influenced my music as much as Woody Guthrie or Johnny Cash. Kaya is a really nice blend of the socio-political and laid-back love songs.

Johnny Cash: American IV: Listening to this album is like being inside Johnny’s head as he wrestled with his legacy and his mortality in his final years. His version of Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt” gets me choked up every time.

Bob Dylan: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan: “Blowin’ In the Wind,” “Girl From the North Country,” “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” would make for a pretty impressive catalogue after a lifetime of songwriting. Dylan did it all on his second album by the age of 22.

Brendan Kremer

Rolling Stones – Some Girls (Reissue):  For me, the best albums are a combination of great writing and greater performance.   I love listening to a band gelling together and putting out music that sounds like a group of musicians building off of each other.   No one does this better than the Stones and the 70’s was some of their best work.   I could have chosen Exile on Main Street or Sticky Fingers, but there is something about the sound on Some Girls that I love.   Must be Ronnie Woods.   And how can you pass up the Stone playing disco?   The reissue also gets my vote as it adds an extra hour worth of music which will come in handy until our batteries run out.

Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out:  Joe Morello is one of my all time favorite drummers as he made the drum set sound like a melodic instrument.  The solo on Take Five is genius, especially when you realize it is in 5/4 timing.  Throw in Blue Rondo a la Turk and you have drum beats that still seem amazing 60 years later.

Jimmy Cliff and others – Harder They Come Soundtrack:    Like everyone I grew up with, I have Bob Marley Legend on heavy rotation in my house.  But when I found Harder They Come and realized it was the original mainstream reggae album, I was hooked.   Every song on the album seems like a combination of the best of R&B, reggae, folk and rock.  It is amazing that one album can give the world Pressure Drop, You Can Get if You Really Want It, Rivers of Babylon and Many Rivers to Cross.

Bare Naked Ladies – Rock Spectacle:   If there is one thing Steve and I disagree on it is live albums. Steve hates them and I think they can be the best thing a band can put out.  One of my favorites is Rock Spectacle which shows that BNL was not just a group of really cleaver writers, but they were extremely talented musicians.   Recorded as they were first on their way to multi-stardom, it shows how a band can perfectly play off their audience and make for a great live performance.

Adele – 21:  Ok… so this is just to prove that someone is still trying to put out a quality album. As much as I love Pandora and I-Tunes, we are quickly moving away from the album as a complete package.  Other than 21, I cannot think of an album in the last two or three years that can be taken for more than a sum of its parts.  I will admit I bought it for my kids, but I have found that I chose to play it more often than they do.   I am also a sucker for the drum beat on He Won’t Go.

Okee Dokee Brothers

Desert Island Discs with the Okee Dokee Brothers

If you had to go away for awhile and you could only take five of your favorite albums with you, which ones would you choose? Yes, we know it isn’t a fair question, but that hasn’t stopped us from asking music fans who happen to be recording artists in their own right. This edition of Desert Island Discs comes courtesy of the Okee Dokee Brothers, whose latest LP, Can You Canoe?, is out now. You can preview a pair of videos from the album below — after reading their Desert Island picks, of course!

Paul Simon, Graceland

We’ve been listening to this album since we were kids. It was an ever-present album on family road trips and continued to be a source of inspiration during our high school and college music explorations. We are still amazed at Paul’s vocal delivery. No matter what he sings, it sounds heavenly. The fact that he’s singing outstanding lyrics just adds to our fanaticism. The way he delved into South African music, culture, and politics while making this record has always been a reminder to us that music is more than notes.

Dawes, North Hills

This record is representative of our more contemporary influences (it falls just above Justin Townes Earle’s Harlem River Blues in that category). We’ve been lucky enough to see Dawes perform multiple times as they’ve risen through the ranks and we’ve even had a chance to spend a day talking about songs with them. Their first record taught us the importance of a classic sound and the value of capturing an authentic performance in the studio with real energy. While we didn’t record Can You Canoe? analog like North Hills, we did try to capture as much live takes as possible. You can hear a bit of the Dawes influence on our tune “Thousand Star Hotel” after the interlude.

Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)

This record is a prime example of collaboration at its finest. David Rawling’s harmonies and lead guitar are the prefect match to Gillian’s voice. They both help write the songs too, so they’re an inspiration to us as a duo. Plus they write such unique melody and harmony lines. On this record they prove that folk music can be dissonant, harmonious, slow, and full of energy all at the same time.

John Prine, John Prine

This guy knows how to write songs with the perfect amount of tragedy and comedy, and that’s what it’s all about. He’s incredibly vulnerable and honest on this album and at the same time, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. This record proves that good music making requires good livin’ (whether that’s hard livin or happy livin’)!

The Band, Music from Big Pink

We love this record because it essentially takes all our favorite folk song parameters and invites them to let go a bit and wail away at a basement rock party. We love what the Band stood for (Dylan’s “brave knights” when he went electric, bringing musician’s together for collaborations like The Last Waltz, adding a contemporary edge to traditional songs, really great lyric writing) and this record highlights their best tunes and attributes. It was an honor to have Garth Hudson (the Band’s organ player, and more) play accordion on a couple tracks on Can You Canoe? and we really looked up to Levon, Danko, and Richard Manuel too. Robbie’s no slouch either!

Overall, if you’re gonna have just five albums to listen to on a desert island, the most important attribute has to be repeated listenability. All of these albums have that essential mixture of easy-to-understand, yet mysterious enough to listen to over and over. That combination is the most important part to making a good album no matter what genre of music you’re making.