Music like The Seeger Sessions
October 30, 2012 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Music filter: More music like Springsteen's The Seeger Sessions

My wife has developed a serious addiction to The Boss's "The Seeger Sessions".
Help me make her happy(er)! Do you know of any other music with comparable qualities -> multi member bands -> folksy/americana style?
Bonus for left leaning lyrics, but not a requirement.
We tried Seeger himself, but one guy + banjo just doesn't cut it.
posted by Thug to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wilco. Especially Mermaid Avenue, which is a collaboration with Billy Bragg and they play all unreleased Woody Guthrie songs.
posted by General Malaise at 11:44 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Off of the top of my head, Mumford + Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show. The Avett Brothers... not exactly in the pocket but close.
posted by pazazygeek at 11:46 AM on October 30, 2012


Seconding Wilco's Mermaid Avenue (though it's not as political, because the songs were selected to show a different side of Guthrie) and Old Crow Medicine Show.

Going back a bit, you'll want to check out the Band.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:55 AM on October 30, 2012


The Byrds- Sweetheart of the Rodeo

Uncle Tupelo- No Depression (note: members of Uncle Tupelo went on to form Wilco)
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:56 AM on October 30, 2012


The Felice Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Assembly of Dust.
posted by jbickers at 11:57 AM on October 30, 2012


We tried Seeger himself, but one guy + banjo just doesn't cut it.

What about Seeger's band before he went solo, the Almanac Singers?

Also, HARP, the Holy Near, Arlo Gutrie, Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger collaboration.
posted by Jahaza at 12:03 PM on October 30, 2012


Thanks for the great suggestions :-)
I think I failed to emphasize the the hmmm... "modern" part of the Boss's interpretation of Seeger/Guthrie.
Personally I love old records of Guthrie and Seeger. My beloved don't.
The other aspect of Springsteen that seems to be lacking in the above answers is HAPPY!
The Boss have the ability to sing about shitty conditions and exude happiness while doing it. I think that's what she's after.
Keep 'em coming!
posted by Thug at 12:13 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the best parts of The Seeger Sessions (my favorite Springsteen album) is that it was recorded live, and the session is very loose (you can hear him calling out chord changes and such).

I personally can't stand Wilco and the like... you might seek out jam bands live albums, though, for something similar.
posted by softlord at 12:36 PM on October 30, 2012


Billy Bragg? I'm thinking Talking with the Taxman, especially.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:41 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the best parts of The Seeger Sessions (my favorite Springsteen album) is that it was recorded live, and the session is very loose (you can hear him calling out chord changes and such).

Yep, that seems to be a big part of it.

I personally can't stand Wilco and the like... you might seek out jam bands live albums, though, for something similar.

any pointers, softlord?
posted by Thug at 1:20 PM on October 30, 2012


A handful of Ry Cooder's stuff:

Pull Up some Dirt and Sit Down
My Name Is Buddy
Chavez Ravine

Perhaps Election Special as well, haven't listened to it yet.
All of that is americana and political to greater or lesser extents.

give Charlie Parr a listen, he has a bunch of stuff but two I like are Keep Your Hands on the Plow and When The Devil Goes Blind.

The last album released post mortem of Johnny Cash's is pretty good (actually all the "American..." albums are really good)

maybe some of Mark Knopfler's solo stuff like Sailing to Philadelphia, and The Ragpicker's Dream and/or All the Roadrunning.

Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose (produced by Jack White) is damn near a classic.

You might might like The Handsome Family, Twilight for example.

umm if any of that floats your boat I can dig up others
posted by edgeways at 1:26 PM on October 30, 2012


maybe the Buena Vista Social Club record?
posted by softlord at 1:30 PM on October 30, 2012


Getting closer...

edgeways:
give Charlie Parr a listen

Charlie Parr sounds promising. Sure floats my boat, but she says that one guy & his [guitar][banjo][whatever] isn't gonna cut it.

Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose (produced by Jack White) is damn near a classic.
I can hear why. Gonna get that one for sure.

softlord:
maybe the Buena Vista Social Club record
Yeah, we have that and love it. Actually saw Ruben Gozález, Ibrahim Ferrer & some of the others years ago in Copenhagen. Great experience.
posted by Thug at 2:01 PM on October 30, 2012


Mermaid Avenue has been mentioned above, but I would just add that I don't love Wilco, but the Billy Bragg tracks on Mermaid Avenue, Vol. II are my favorites, and transcend my expectations for what I imagine Wilco capable of. Bragg's takes on those Guthrie songs are HAPPY! in a way that I never really get from Jeff Tweedy. And "Aginst Th' Law" from that album, with vocals by Corey Harris, is brilliant and both bleak and happy at the same time.
posted by The World Famous at 2:01 PM on October 30, 2012


You like that Charlie Parr. try this-
Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down

He has a whole album with those guys, the Black Twig Pickers. and it's hands-down my favorite modern take on Americana stuff, because it sounds as loose as a lot of those old string-band recordings do.

Speaking of that sorta stuff- jug band music and whatnot- you might also really dig the Carolina Chocolate Drops. This is pretty anomalous, but their cover of Hit 'em Up Style gives a pretty good flavor of what they're about.
posted by hap_hazard at 3:53 PM on October 30, 2012


Cordelia's Dad, a punk band whose frontman Tim Eriksen frequently opened shows for The Dead Milkmen by singing Farewell to Old Bedford.
posted by The White Hat at 5:03 PM on October 30, 2012


Oooh! The Seeger Sessions are one of my favorites!

My suggestions would be:
Raising Sand is a duet Album from Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. Killing the Blues is one of my favorite songs off of it. A bit more folksy than rousing, but fabulous musicality.

And if that's promising, check out The Civil Wars, another duo with great energy and amazing harmonies. Barton Hollow is the title track off of their recent album.

Ray Lamontagne might be a bit too much "guy and his guitar" and The Be Good Tanyas a bit too much in the alt country direction, but worth taking a listen nevertheless.

I've recently been completely obsessed with Hadestown, by Anais Mitchell, and I think that gets closest to some of the looseness and joy that makes the Seeger Sessions great. Check out the title song here.

And for waaaay more options to explore, try browsing the lineup of this year and previous years' Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, which is chock full of artists doing all sorts of awesome stuff in the folksy/Americana vein.
posted by psycheslamp at 5:06 PM on October 30, 2012


hap_hazard:
the Carolina Chocolate Drops are just incredible! Hit 'em up Style completely made my day :-)
Will definitely introduce her to Parr + the black twig pickers also, although it might be slightly on the rustic side... ;-) I love it, though.

psycheslamp:
The Civil Wars sound very promising. We have a couple of albums with The Be Good Tanyas and heard them a lot a few years back. But you are spot on: A bit too much alt country.
Anais Mitchell, on the other hand is probably the best music I've been introduced to this year. So sweet and rough at the same time, and it has that wacky quality I've always loved about Tom Waits.

Thanks for the wonderful recommendations, I see an evening of youtubing in the near future :-)
posted by Thug at 9:32 AM on October 31, 2012


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