Author Archive for admin


Case of covers

posterCaught the second night of Neko Case’s two night run at the at the Warfield a couple weeks ago. It was a fabulous evening with that big-as-a-house voice of hers in fine form and along with regular companion Kelly Hogan we were treated to some of the best between song banter in the business. Unfortunately the new material from Middle Cyclone was delivered with less enthusiasm then the older stuff she played. I couldn’t help thinking a well placed cover would have livened things up a bit. To that end I threw together of couple of songs by other folks Neko’s done over the years.

Alone & Forsaken A Hank Williams cover that first appeared on Neko’s 2001 release  Canadian Amp. When she opened for Calexico at The Fillmore back on July 7th, 2004 she came out during their set and did this spectacularly haunting version with them.

Brown-Eyed Handsome Man Now we’re talkin’ lively. This comes from a great compilation on Bloodshot records called Hard-Headed Woman: A Celebration of Wanda Jackson. Buy it here.

Buckets Of Rain (Bob Dylan)

Knock Loud (Sook-Yin Lee) A staple of her live set for a while, Neko’s version of this first appeared on Kill Rock Stars’ 2002 collection Fields and Streams. Both this and the Dylan track are form the 9:30 Club in DC on 4/9/06

Lord Dont Move The Mountain Neko Gets her gospel on with a Bessie Griffin number during a Peel Session at BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in London, 9/13/00

Runnin’ Out Of Fools From the same Peel Session, the way she delivers this Aretha Franklin tune makes the hair on my arm stand up.

Poor Ellen Smith A 19th century tune from the fabulous collection of murder ballads by the Mekons related Pine Valley Cosmonauts called The Executioner’s Last Songs Volume 1. Proceeds from this record and a second volume benefit the Illinois Death Penalty Moratorium Project. Buy it here.

Stay A Little Longer Again with the Pine Valley Cosmonauts from their 1998 debut Salute the Majesty of Bob Wills

The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise A hit for Les Paul and Mary Ford in 1951, this is from a solo record by Neko’s secret weapon, Jon Rauhouse’s Steel Guitar Air Show.

River Of No Return From another Rauhouse solo record, Steel Guitar Rodeo. Neko does saucey almost as well as Marilyn Monroe did in the movie of the same name with Robert Mitchum.

Get ‘em all zipped right here: Case Of Covers


RIAA wins $2M from filesharing scofflaw


Just when you thought it was safe to get yer KAZA on… It’s actually only $1.92 million but what difference can $80K make when you’re busy rockin’ out to Journey or Sheryl Crow? I must have been living under a rock or something but I thought the RIAA had backed away from this PR nightmare. Apparently they’ve stopped filing new suits but are still going after folks still in the litigation pipeline. From WIRED magazine: “A federal jury on Thursday found Jammie Thomas-Rasset liable in the nation’s only Recording Industry Association of America file-sharing case to go to trial, dinging her $1.92 million for infringing 24 songs” Click on the picture above for the full story.

So here’s the world’s most expensive playlist:

  • Guns N Roses “Welcome to the Jungle”; “November Rain”
  • Vanessa Williams “Save the Best for Last”
  • Janet Jackson “Let’s What Awhile”
  • Gloria Estefan “Here We Are”; “Coming Out of the Heart”; “Rhythm is Gonna Get You”
  • Goo Goo Dolls “Iris”
  • Journey “Faithfully”; “Don’t Stop Believing”
  • Sara McLachlan “Possession”;  “Building a Mystery”
  • Aerosmith “Cryin’”
  • Linkin Park “One Step Closer”
  • Def Leppard “Pour Some Sugar on Me”
  • Reba McEntire “One Honest Heart”
  • Bryan Adams “Somebody”
  • No Doubt “Bathwater”; “Hella Good”; “Different People”
  • Sheryl Crow “Run Baby Run”
  • Richard Marx “Now and Forever”
  • Destiny’s Child “Bills, Bills, Bills”
  • Green Day “Basket Case”

Heh, heh: “Run Baby Run” from those “Bills, Bills, Bills” before “Somebody” starts you “Cryin’” like a  “Basket Case” in the  “November Rain.”  At $80,000 per song that stab at humor would cost me half a mill…


Elvis Costello plays Amoeba records Monday

elvis-costelloAnd it’s free! The big question then is which Amoeba store. Well he’s playing two actually, and we’re not talkin’ both Bay Area stores either. EC will do a set at the SF store at noon as well as signing copies of his new record, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane. After that he hops on a flight to LA and plays Amoeba Hollywood at 8 PM (his LA set will be streamed live on and the store’s A.V. team will follow him around to document the Amoeba California tour, with both performances posted for viewing after the in-stores).

Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, Elvis’ first platter of acoustic music since 1986′s King Of America, features  dobro master Jerry Douglas and impeccable close harmony vocals from Jim Lauderdale.

I’m particularly stoked that he’s rewarding folks who still own turntables by including a pair of bonus tracks on the double LP version: a cover of Lou Reed’s “Femme Fatale” and Costello’s sequel to the old Appalachian murder ballad, “Omie Wise”, entitled, “What Lewis Did Last”.

Check out a couple of my favorite tracks:cover

I Felt The Chill – Costello’s second recorded co-write with Loretta Lynn

Hidden Shame – A nice chugging rocker with great dobro work.

Click on the cover to access a strem of the entire record. Buy the CD version of Secret, Profane & Sugarcane from Hear Music here. You can get the digital version below.


Zydepunks in town this weekend


New Orleans’s Zydepunks finaly bring their punked up Cajun French Creole and Yiddish grooves back to the Bay Area for the first time in 3 years. Their last album, Finisterre, made NHT’s Top 20 last year so you know I’ve been looking forward to this. Get out to see them at the Red Devil Lounge in San Francisco Friday or the Starry Plough in Berkeley on Saturday. I’m thinking that hearing these two tracks will convince you to join me in the City Friday night.

Angel Whiskey

Song For Mike

‘Cause Mike’s my name and I do enjoy a snort on occasion.

More tunes here and at The Zydepunks’ myspace page and homepage.


Wilco cover Woody Guthrie to support Guthrie Archives


NHT has already posted about Mermaid Avenue, the ESSENTIAL collaboration between Wilco and Billy Bragg. Now there’s a new twist on an old theme: Wilco covering a song Woody Guthrie actually recorded.  100% of proceeds from suggested donations of $2 per download will go directly to the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives. Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter and head of the foundation, asked the band to record the perfect comment on these troubled times:

The Jolly Banker

Now since it’s a benefit thing NHT is only posting half the track. If you want the whole deal (including the tastiest of lap steel solos by Nels Cline) you need to go to where’s there’s a guilt inducing donation button right under the download button. If you want to get your philanthropic on go here to kick down some corn.

In other Wilco news, looks like the new records all done. Wilco (The Album) is due June 30 on Nonesuch Records. Here’s the tracklist:

Wilco (the song)
Deeper Down
One Wing
Bull Black Nova
You And I
You Never Know
Country Disappeared
I’ll Fight
Sonny Feeling
Everlasting Everything

Another live concert film “Ashes of American Flags” was officially released on Saturday, April 18 as part of Record Store Day. The film will be available via DVD and iTunes on April 28. The DVD is now available for pre-order via the Wilco store.


Blitzen Trapper live on KALX



BT was kind enough to stop by my show on KALX in Berkeley last week and get their peace & quiet on. You know I was stoked since their latest record was my number one for 2008. We got three tunes peppered through some banter I’ll try and get up as soon as I get it edited so I don’t come off a dufus. Standing in the cramped air studio while they did “Sleepy Time…” a capella was just amazing. Check ‘em out:

Sleepy Time In The Western World

Lady On The Water

Stolen Shoes + A Rifle

Here’s a bonus from their show at The Independent back in December:

The Gambler/The Last Thing On My Mind

An hilarious stab at Kenny Rogers and a gorgeous Tom Paxton cover. The whole show is up at the Internet Archive.

Catch me on KALX in Berkeley

I host the Cuppa Joe show on KALX in Berkeley every other Wednesday from 6 to 9 PM. You can tune at 90.7 or online by clicking HERE ------------------------------------------- NEXT SHOW: October 28 FUNDRAISER SHOW!! ------------------------------------------- Check out past playlists HERE
Got something I HAVE TO HEAR? Wanna send me free stuff? Email me at


Quick note about the tunes

The mp3s on this blog are to give folks a little taste. Imagine they're those little pouches on the bag your Sunday paper comes in. You know, the one's with a packet containing just enough toothpaste to brush your teeth once or twice. They are left up for a limited time. If you find something you like support the artists by dragging your friends to their shows and/or buying their CDs/records/schwag. If you are the artist (or their label/representative) and don't want an mp3 on here, please email me ( and I'll remove it posthaste.
View Michael Lubenow's profile on LinkedIn