Friday, April 23, 2021

Music from A-Z

Chris the Collector seems to have touched on a topic everyone is dying to talk about: our musical tastes. We all know each other's tastes in cards and some bloggers occasionally post about music, but we don't know as much about our fellow bloggers' musical predilections, too. It has been fun for me to read what everybody is listening to.

If I had done this exercise 20 years ago, I think my answers may have been more eclectic and probably easier to think of. In adulthood, I've found a comfortable "groove" in my musical habits. As a result, this list is probably narrower than it would have been when I was younger. In fact, there were more letters than I originally thought that I had only one answer for, and a few that I had to stretch a little.
For artists that I have more affinity for than others, I'll share my go-to album. Even some of my honorable mention bands will have a go-to listed, if I know more than one and they're really a favorite.

A: Athenaeum

Man, I wore out their "Radiance" CD back in high school. I don't expect many others to know them, though.

 Go-to Album: Radiance

B: Better Than Ezra

If I were to make a Top 5 list, Better Than Ezra makes the list. This was a no-brainer for me, even though "B" is a strong letter for my favorite artists.
Go-to Album: Closer

Honorable Mention: Blackhawk (Love & Gravity), Barenaked Ladies (Gordon), Clint Black (One Emotion)


C: Counting Crows

Yes, you're definitely seeing my generation bias in this exercise. I make no apologies.
Go-to Album: This Desert Life

Honorable Mention: Cake

D: Dave Matthews Band

Dave Matthews has been my favorite for a really long time. "D" was another strong letter, but no one else was even considered.

Go-to Album: Busted Stuff

Honorable Mention: Dispatch (Bang Bang)

E: The Eagles

This one may flip-flop with Eve 6, depending on my mood. And I'm often in the mood for Eve 6. But if I consider the overall body of work, The Eagles get the edge.

Go-to Album: Self-Titled

Honorable Mention: Eve 6 (Self-Titled), Evan & Jaron (Self-Titled)

F: Ben Folds

Ben Folds is just so much fun. His music is so serious sounding, almost soulful, but the lyrics? They reveal that he's just a smart aleck. But his songs always have a story to tell. Way back, when I was still a teen, I thought it would be fun to make a compilation of stories based on Ben Folds's songs, with more fleshed-out characters and deeper plot lines. I still haven't done it, but now that I've written it out, I might have to get to work on it.

Go-to Album: Whatever and Ever, Amen

Honorable Mention: Fastball (All the Pain Money Can Buy)

G: Garth Brooks

I may cheat a little on this exercise. Some solo artists will be used for their last names (like Ben Folds above), others for their last. I feel it gave me a more accurate list to do it that way. Garth wasn't going to beat out Better Than Ezra for "B," but my all-time favorite list wouldn't be complete without him. So he slots in at "G" here.
Go-to Album: Fresh Horses

Honorable Mention: Goo Goo Dolls (Dizzy Up the Girl)

H: Harvey Danger

They might be a one-hit-wonder, but this band is criminally underrated. I love their music, but I especially love their lyrics. How many other bands would think up a song called "Carlotta Valdez" that rocks out the storyline of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo? Great stuff.

Go-to Album: Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?

I: Imagine Dragons

By default, really. I liked their first two albums, but not much since then. I'm not one of those snobs that Nachos Grande mentioned who thinks they "sold out," but I don't care much for the evolution of their music. Nobody else even comes to mind here, though.

Go-to Album: Night Visions

J: Jack Johnson

This was another no-brainer. 
"Jack Johnson. Next!"
Go-to Album: Brushfire Fairytales

 Honorable Mention: Billy Joel


K: Kid Abelha

The only non-English speaking artist to make the list (though you will find another in the honorable mentions later on). This Brazilian band plays just my style of music and I love Paula Toller's voice.

Go-to Album: Acústico ao Vivo

L: Chris LeDoux

I'm going full-on cowboy on you here. This is the music I was weaned on. I've always loved LeDoux because he was a true cowboy, making a living on the rodeo circuit before his singing career. Coming from a family in which I had two uncles who were pro bronc ropers and two cousins who rode bulls professionally, I've spent plenty of time at the rodeo too.
Go-to Album: Western Underground

Honorable Mention: Live, Legião Urbana, Lifehouse (No Name Face)

M: Matchbox 20

I used to really love Matchbox 20. As the years have progressed, I find myself loving them even more today. When some of their later stuff came out--and Rob Thomas's solo stint--I thought it was only "okay." Now, even all of that has grown on me and Matchbox 20 became a clear-cut favorite of mine.

Go-to Album: Mad Season

Honorable Mention: Jason Mraz (Mr. A-Z), Edwin McCain (Misguided Roses), Pat McGee (Save Me)

N: Nickel Creek

Yes, I listen to bluegrass. In fact, this won't be the last banjo-heavy artist on the list. When I was 16 and 17, I spent a few days each summer working at the Birch Creek Bluegrass Festival, serving Cokes and listening to the bands play, then camping out at night. That was a lot of fun.
Go-to Album: Self-Titled

Honorable Mention: Matt Nathanson (Beneath These Fireworks)

O: Old 97s

This was a very tough choice to make. Both Old 97s and Our Lady Peace instantly came to mind for "O", with neither standing out above the other. They couldn't be more different, either with the Old 97s 12-string, alt-country guitar and Raine Maida's falsetto intonations over a hard rock guitar for OLP. In the end, I leaned toward Old 97s because even though I get into moods when I just have to hear Our Lady Peace, I am always in the right mood for Old 97s.

Go-to Album: Fight Songs


Honorable Mention: Our Lady Peace (Happiness is Not a Fish You Can Catch)

P: Phillip Phillips

As a Dave Matthews fan, I can easily understand why I loved Phillip Phillips from the moment I heard him. There are times when I'm listening to Phillips that I could swear it's actually Matthews singing. As a non-fan of American Idol, I also believe this is the only time an alum from the show will make this list.

Go-to Album: The World from the Side of the Moon

Q: Queen

This is just by default. I wouldn't consider myself to be a fan of Queen. I have exactly zero songs on my phone by Queen and have never owned an album. Still, I like pretty much every song I know by them and never change the station when Queen comes on the radio. Bonus points for my 10-year-old claiming "Bohemian Rhapsody" as his favorite song.

R: Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband

Another bluegrass-type group, with the frontman playing a fiddle while singing lead vocals and one of the band's two major radio releases titled "Banjo Boy."  A local product, Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband holds the distinction of being the only band I have seen in concert multiple times--five times, to be exact.

Go-to Album: Simplify

 S: Sister Hazel

"S" is a strong letter; I could have chosen any of my honorable mentions for the list and been satisfied. But Sister Hazel has long been one of my favorites and they have so many songs I love that it would be difficult for any other band to match, even if I absolutely loved their style.
Go-to Album: Somewhere More Familiar

Honorable Mention: Stroke 9 ("Nasty Little Thoughts"), George Strait ("Chill of an Early Fall")

T: Third Eye Blind

I truly love this band. My single favorite song of all time is their "Motorcycle Drive By," so they definitely have that going for them. But they earned this spot on more than the merit of that song. Their first album is a masterpiece, and they followed up with Blue, which isn't far behind.

Go-to Album: Self-Titled

Honorable Mention: Tonic (Lemon Parade), Josh Turner (Your Man)


U: U2

Let's be clear here: I'm not a U2 fan. I never have been. In fact, I dislike most of their music until the 2000s. That's a good portion of their body of work that I'm not fond of. In my opinion, their best album is Songs of Experience, released in 2017. That's not recency bias speaking; that's when I first heard an album that I enjoyed from them. But there really is no other choice for "U". 
Go-to Album: Songs of Experience

V: Vertical Horizon

"V" is also slim pickings because there aren't too many choices. Luckily, I only needed one and I really am a big fan of this band.

Go-to Album: Running on Ice

W: The Wallflowers 

There was a time when Bringing Down the Horse was my most listened-to CD, but then there was never a follow-up. Still, nothing better comes to mind for me than Bob Dylan's kid's group.
 Go-to Album: Bringing Down the Horse

Honorable Mention: Weezer (The Blue Album)


X: X Ambassadors???????

I think I know one song. There might be a second if I thought about it. But that's one more song than pretty much all other "X" artists combined, so here we are.

Y: Yellowcard

I'm always a sucker for a good fiddle. A good fiddle in punk rock? Yes, please! The first time I heard Yellowcard I was hooked.

Go-to Album: Ocean Avenue

Z: Zeppelin

If I'm being transparent here, this is a cop-out on two levels: first, Led Zeppelin shouldn't count as a "Z". I doing it anyway. Second, I don't want to masquerade as a Zeppelin fan. I mean, I like their music, but to say that I'm totally familiar with all of their work would be a lie. Truth be told, I've only started to get into Led Zeppelin in the past year. Somehow I missed out on their music for most of my life. But I'm finding myself liking them more with the more I hear.

Most Honorable Mention of All: Millennial Choirs and Orchestras

I'd be wholly remiss not to mention this outstanding musical group. I guess when I said Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband was the only artist I'd seen in concert more than once, I was wrong. I've watched MCO perform at least twice year since 2013, when my wife and oldest son joined. Now, my wife and all three kids have had the opportunity to perform at some of the finest concert halls in several states, record studio albums, and film music videos. When I tell people that my wife and kids perform in a choir, it's really hard to convey to them that this isn't a typical community choir. You have to hear them to understand. The most common reaction we've heard from people who see a concert for the first time is, "I had no idea!" I've mentioned MCO on the blog once before, but I'll give you two music videos to see for yourself. None of my family members appear on screen in the videos, but their voices are part of the recording you hear.
"Amazing Grace"--Original Arrangement by Millennial Choirs and Orchestras

The next one is more like a David Archuleta music video, with MCO as backup, but one of the choir's conductors wrote the arrangement and asked Archuleta to perform as soloist in the song for this year's Easter concert. It's an original arrangement of a Christian rock song by Zack Williams.
"Old Church Choir"--Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, ft. David Archuleta

If you want some good music, albeit without the video, you can check out their Youtube channel. And if you listen, just know that Mrs. Bump and Run and all the little Bump and Runs are singing in the recordings.

Well, that about wraps up my musical tastes. As I mentioned early in the post, it's not very varied and most of it resides in one particular era, but I'm okay with that. There was a time when I was always trying to discover new music, but I have other interests and things that take up my time now, so I stick with my old standbys.


  1. Interesting choices. A lot of different ones than mine if I ever get around to it.

  2. Ooof, except for the Eagles and default choices Queen and U2, nothing that was around before the '90s. I wonder if some of these will have the lasting power of acts from the '60s, '70s and '80s.

    1. Oh, I'm almost certain they won't. But I still like to listen.

  3. Liking C, T, and W best. I'll have to check out that Third Eye Blind song.

  4. Very cool to see this catch on, and thanks for participating! I'm not familiar with many of the artists you listed, will have to check them out this weekend. I do like Matchbox 20 though. And I get why some people don't like U2 but I don't think I've ever heard anyone that prefers their newer stuff. :)

  5. I remember one of my students loved Yellowcard. While most of his classmates were into hip hop and R&B, he would rock out to Ocean Avenue and Only One. I think by the end of the school year, a high percentage of the class had memorized the words to both songs.

  6. Aside from their extremely overplayed "hit", the only thing I know about Harvey Danger was that the lead singer had a reputation for being an arrogant pr*ck during their brief "prime". Because of this, I've heard multiple people from the entertainment field celebrate the fact that the band never had another hit.

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  8. Great stuff!! Love the Blackhawk callout in the Bs. This list will have me listening for a while.