New Music For Old People: Mavis Staples, Jonny Lang, Sarah Jarosz



Al Kooper

Al Kooper

This column is like the title says — its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the ’60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don’t miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD’VE been!

1. Mavis Staples – “Eyes On the Prize”

A live album was a great idea for Mavis in 2008 with her masterpiece Hope at The Hideout with an enraptured audience live in her Chicago homeland. While her family slowly marches heavenward, she is always able to compensate; and when the high notes are now sometimes unreachable in the skies, she just makes the low ones as remarkably rendered down to earth while at just past age 70. If you just heard the intro to this, you might think it was Bo Diddley channeled through Pop Staples, because that’s exactly what is. Mavis has always been a beacon of inspiration to me and here’s just the tip of the iceberg why…

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2. Jonny Lang – “Blew Up (The House)”

For someone born in 1981 (January 29), he has accomplished about as much as possible and still looks wet behind the ears. Happily married with four kids (one of whom is named Remix), he has been on the road just about ten years with opening stints for The Rolling Stones, BB King, Buddy Guy, Aerosmith, and two Eric Clapton Crossroads Festivals. Nominated for various Grammys, he won the first one in 2006 for his album Turn Around. This is a great example of what he can do from his album Fight for My Soul.

3. Sarah Jarosz – “Song Up In Her Head”

This is very well played, sung, written, and produced. Oh, did I mention Sarah was 17 when it was released in 2009? She makes Jonny Lang look like Grampa … hahaha. Seriously, this is a noticeable talent that you and I will hopefully watch carefully so as not to miss anything, and she’s already releasing tracks worth keeping. Al puts his stamp of approval on Sarah.

This column originally appeared on The Morton Report. Click for more great selections from Al Kooper! As always, show some love to the Morton Report!

Photo Credit: Joe Mabel [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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