Just in time for the holidays, I present you with a new Fine Tuning “Old, New, Borrowed and Blue” set. And because I feel bad for not posting in a while, I am going to give you a bonus ONBB set! That’s right — two ONBB sets!
Twos are definitely wild with this post. There are two songs by the same band; two songs that prominently feature violin and 2.5 artists that hail from Scotland. We have a lot of ground to cover so let’s dive in.
Kicking off the first ONBB set is “Chance” by Big Country, released in 1984. I tolerated as best I could my older brother’s obsession with this band back in the day, but I could never really feel the love he did. This track, however, caught my attention recently, leaving me wondering how I let it pass me by.
The (relatively) new track is “Masterpiece” by Big Thief from their 2016 record of the same name. I recognize 2016 seems like an eternity ago, but indulge me. You won’t be disappointed. This song features muscular, thrashing guitars and an actual guitar solo! When was the last time you heard one of those in a 21st century track? The guitar solo seems to have gone the way of the moderate Republican. And it’s not just any guitar solo; this is a dissonant, screeching solo that reminds me of Tom Morello’s work with Rage Against The Machine. Enjoy (once you get past the first 25 seconds of random banter that opens the video).
Next up is Lake Street Dive’s sultry and soulful cover of Paul McCartney’s “Let Me Roll It.” If the volume isn’t already cranked up after “Masterpiece,” take a moment to adjust before clicking on this.
Closing out the first Old, New, Borrowed and Blue set is the blue tune, appropriately entitled “Blue,” by the Jayhawks. I adore this song. Here’s a beautiful live version from Letterman in 1995.
Opening the second set is the old track, “Catch The Wind,” by Donovan from 1965. When I first heard this song, I thought it was a cover of Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom,” which was released in 1964. Not the case. Just a good imitation — the highest form of flattery.
The second set’s (relatively) new track is “Close to Me” by Lake Street Dive. You may recall them from the first ONBB set, above. What can I say? I like this band, as apparently does Stephen Colbert. This song is from their 2016 release, Side Pony.
The borrowed track is an absolutely arresting live performance of the Waterboys covering Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing.” Singer Mike Scott is possessed, appearing to speak in tongues at times. The violin work is beautiful. A brilliant version of a classic.
The second ONBB set concludes with Gregory Alan Isakov’s “Dark, Dark, Dark” from his new record Evening Machines. If you dig this live performance, you should check out the studio version. It is haunting.
And just because I’m in the holiday spirit, here’ a a bonus track. Think of it as my own personal “Train In Vain.” It is a stripped-down version of the Cold War Kids’ “Can We Hang On?” from their 2017 release LA Divine. Been feeling this one a lot lately.
Hope everyone has a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year!
FYI, I created a Spotify playlist with these tunes for those interested. Click here to access it.