Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Knockout acoustic pop from The John Butler Trio

I know it's just a Rorschach but I swear I see a man's face.

So I was at the library and I found “Grand National,” a 2007 release by The John Butler Trio. His is a name I have heard but I was unfamiliar with his music. I have probably even heard some of his stuff, given the kind of music he plays and the kind of people I hang out with. Still, I didn’t know what to expect. I love that, though, so I picked it up and brought it home.

Well, after my first time through the disc, I kind of thought maybe John Butler was an up-and-comer. The melodies were fresh, the lyrics were edgy and politically outspoken, and the album was all killer, no filler. It turns out, John Butler Trio has been at it for over 10 years and “Grand National” is their fourth LP (they also have 3 EPs). JBT plays uplifting acoustic pop with depth and melodic appeal. Even when the subject of a song is heavy, the joy of the music is irrepressible.

7 of the 13 songs on this release are worthy of a recommendation. Check these out.

  • Better Than – If you have heard one song off “Grand National,” this is probably it. Its catchy-as-hell hook made it the single and as a result they made a cool video.
  • Good Excuse – Butler encourages privileged white boys who think they’ve got it hard to “take a step outside and see what’s shakin’ in the real world.”
  • Gov Did Nothin’ – Here’s some of the political content I was talking about. The title refers to the Hurricane Katrina.
  • Funky Tonight – OK, this is a funny video about a guy sitting in a business meeting who gets this rocker in his head and can’t sit still.
  • Nowhere Man – This is a simple and light song, but it’s very pleasant and I like the chorus.
  • Losing You – So here’s an example of a song with a sad subject that is still uplifting somehow. The guitar part is so beautiful and the vocal melody is pretty. Just a man and a guitar, but he makes it sound so rich.
  • Groovin’ Slowly – I’m not sure what I would need to write about this one, since the title pretty much says it all. This makes me think of a cross between G. Love and Bob Marley.

Reviews I have read of this album by fans of the band say this is a bit of a departure. Less outspoken, more radio-friendly. Fine with me. Still, I will have to go back and check out the rest of the JBT catalog.



December 10, 2009 - Posted by | Jam Bands, Popular, Rock

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