David Poe Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Singer/songwriter David Poe makes it a point to bring more to the table than just a smooth voice and catchy melodies. He recently released God & The Girl via the Charming Martyr label, and it’s a landmark record for his career. Now, Poe has made MAGNET a mix tape. Check it out below.

Gavin Bryars Featuring Tom Waits “Jesus’ Blood Has Never Failed Me Yet”
Gavin Bryars takes a field recording of a homeless man singing 13 bars of hymn, loops it, and for the next 20 minutes surrounds it with an ever-growing orchestra, then choir, until finally Tom Waits chimes in. Later this piece served as score for choreographer William Forsythe’s magnificent dance Quintett, which is how I first heard it. Doubt I’ll ever hear anything quite like it again. Video

Chocolate Genius “My Mom”
Chocolate Genius, Inc. is the brainchild of visionary/provocateur Marc Anthony Thompson, whose songs, scores and singing have appeared in lots of films (including a cover of the Beatles’ “Julia” in I Am Sam), won him an Obie (for A Huey P. Newton Story) and spiced up proceedings with Bruce Springsteen and Me’Shell Ndegeocello. “My Mom” is wrenching, sweet and brave, and is probably the best song ever written about Alzheimer’s. Check out how John Medeski’s Hammond subtly defines this story’s turn from reminiscence to present, and how the lyric uses details to show not tell. They don’t call him a genius for nothin’. Video

T Bone Burnett “Kill Zone”
T Bone Burnett is an American hero who has come to the rescue of the culture so many times that to imagine contemporary music without his contributions would be akin to some sci-fi dystopia in which Dylan’s career went no further than that of Llewyn Davis. Part of the reason the records T Bone produces for others are so compelling is that he’s a great songwriter himself, and this tune, co-written with Roy Orbison and Bob Neuwirth for Sam Shepard’s play Tooth Of Crime, is one of his many masterful marriages of lyric and melody. Video

Oh Land “Love You Better”
Oh Land is Nanna Øland Fabricius, a Danish singer/songwriter/dancer whose recombination of song, film, motion, art and spectacle is sure to delight us for years to come. She and I wrote this one day and recorded it the next in one take. Then Nanna methodically added layers of harmony to create the “angel’s muted choir.” Love this recording, but I can’t wait to hear Mavis Staples sing this song. Or Beyoncé. Video

Chris Whitley “Dirt Floor”
Chris Whitley was a visionary songwriter, player and poet whose work nods at tradition while looking into the future, and into the abyss. Restless and virtuosic, he redefined so-called roots music, introduced it to EDM and, when he chose to, rocked as ferociously as any band of the era. But to me Whitley was never more visceral than when he performed solo, as he does on his record Dirt Floor and in this video from a show we played at CBGB in the summer of ’98. He died in 2005. Video
Chris’s daughter Trixie toured with him when she was a young girl; now, she’s creating her own musical world. Trixie Whitley is one to watch. Trixie Whitley and Daniel Lanois on NPR All Songs Considered: Video

Ana Moura “Thank You”
From Portugal comes fado music, a 100-year-old genre of songs traditionally about fate, the sea, poverty and loss. Most fado songs are marked by a sense of longing—in Portuguese, saudade. So I dig it. Ana Moura is her country’s preeminent fado singer, and I was thrilled when she sang this song of mine on her record Desfado, produced with love by Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Melody Gardot, Tracy Chapman.) Excellent guitarist/violinist Freddy Koella guests on this track. Video

Brendan Hines “Miss New York”
Brendan Hines is both actor and songwriter, for which he apologizes profusely but needn’t because he is so great at both. Somehow simultaneously rollicking and poignant, this list song (from his first record and the soundtrack to the film Happythankyoumoreplease) will strike a chord with any New Yorker decamped to Los Angeles. Full disclosure: I co-produced Brendan’s most recent effort Small Mistakes, and also I follow him on Twitter. Video

Otis Redding “Respect”
Everyone knows Aretha Franklin’s version, a feminist anthem that has never been topped. But check out how the song’s writer Otis Redding rips it up in this live version from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. When Otis sings about getting his “propers,” it’s a completely different vibe from Aretha’s version, and the frenetic ending here is like a hardcore punk drummer taking it to church. Video

All Spots To Black “Baby”
The songs of guitarist/pianist/singer Philip Krohnengold hang-glide in the appealing chasm between craggy despair and defiant vulnerability; his band All Spots To Black falls somewhere between the moody roar of Mark Kozelek’s Red House Painters and Tonight’s The Night-era Neil Young. Brainy, but mellow, but loud. This live-in-studio video, directed by Ronnie Smith, features singer/songwriter Holly Conlan and drummer/producer/composer Al Sgro. Video

Joseph Arthur, Kraig Jarret Johnson & Gary Louris “September Baby”
Here’s three of my favorite guys. Between his excellent records, art and poetry, Joseph Arthur may now be the hardest working man in show business; with the Jayhawks, Golden Smog and writing songs for others, Gary Louris has made some of my favorite music in the last 20 years and is one of the great rock singers; Kraig Jarret Johnson has played with both of them, as well as with Run Westy Run, Iffy, O Geez, Angela McCluskey and his own project the Program. Ed Ackerson and I produced a record for Kraig that were some of the most fun and creative recording sessions ever. It comes out in 2015. Video

Curtis Stigers “Everyone Loves Lovers”
No contemporary jazz singer can tell a story the way Curtis Stigers can and, like Miles, he curates his repertoire with great aplomb (when he’s not writing the songs himself.) “Rock ‘n’ roll and jazz share so many of the same artistic bloodlines that it’s remarkable the two don’t fuse more often into the kind of inspired marriage of visceral clout and intellectual savvy conjured by the singer, songwriter and saxophonist Curtis Stigers,” says the New York Times, and it’s true—unlike a lot of jazz cats, Curtis gets how contemporary songwriters (e.g., Elvis Costello and Steve Earle) are writing the standards of today and how their work can live right alongside classic tunes, as they do on his superb record Let’s Go Out Tonight. I wrote this one for Curtis after he and his band (which features trumpet player John “Scrapper” Sneider) blew me away at the Blue Note in New York. Video

Kristen Toedtman “Precious Lord”
She’s an accomplished singer who performs regularly with enormous orchestras and choirs, sings backup on countless records (notably, on performance artist Amy Raasch’s upcoming project Girls Get Cold) and moonlights as music director of the St. Michael & All Angels church in Los Angeles, but most nights you’ll find Kristen Toedtman knocking one back at the piano and singing songs with decidedly more secular themes. Like Aretha, Sam Cooke and Ray Charles, her performances are buoyed by a spiritual, gospel-infused passion even when she’s singing about whiskey and sex. Video

Grey Reverend “Little Eli”
I first heard Grey Reverend when DJ Jeremy Sole played this song late one night on his excellent radio show and immediately pulled my car over, bought it online and tweeted @greyreverend how I would be honored to write one with him. Seems strange now that this sweet little guitar instrumental was my introduction to his work, as Grey Reverend’s vibey voice and lyrics are what I have come to love about his most recent release, A Hero’s LieVideo

Thomas Dybdahl “I Never Knew That What I Didn’t Know Could Kill Me”
Norwegian singer/songwriter Thomas Dybdahl’s falsetto is otherworldly, his writing is pure and organic and his most recent effort, What’s Left Is Forever, is his finest yet. He and I wrote this song with Larry Klein, who produced this recording. Tchad Blake mixed it. The band is stellar: bassist David Piltch, drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarist Dean Parks and keyboardist Jamie Muhoberac. This deep string arrangement is by Vince Mendoza. Video

Gustafer Yellowgold “Pterodactyl Tuxedo”
Songwriter/cartoonist Morgan Taylor’s children’s project Gustafer Yellowgold is a growing universe of charming oddballs designed to teach early readers life lessons about friendship, acceptance and nonconformity via a “moving, musical book” format. Parents and hipsters seem to enjoy it too—he’s opened for Wilco and the Polyphonic Spree. Best of all, Gustafer never talks down to kids, just speaks to their inherent humanity and emotional intelligence, and that is a beautiful thing. Also, he jumps on cake. Video

Pilobolus “Transformation” (From Shadowland)
Shadowland is the first-ever full-length shadow dance piece by Pilobolus, the American dance company you may have seen performing on Oprah, Conan, 60 Minutes, the Oscars and a command performance for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Shadowland, for which I wrote a score that is one-half pop song, one-half orchestral and electronic music, has a narrative conceived by Steven Banks (Spongebob Squarepants) about a young girl who goes into a dreamworld populated by heroes and villains, half-animals, man-eating flowers and an undulating landscape, where she is transformed into a dog. Hard to explain, but visually stunning and a total innovation in dance theater. Video