Paulelmo's Blog

A Five-Song Mix Tape for My Brother Steve

Heavy, reggae, Decor, heavymetal

When it comes to music, I have a closer bond with my brother Steve than I do with anyone else. Church, my mother, and my sister Cheryl were earlier influences, but Steve was the one who brought home the rock and roll. So much of my life has been dedicated to rock and roll music, and I have no doubt that the man I’ve become is significantly shaped by the music in my life.

While Steve is four years older, I often take the older brother’s roll in our musical life. That says nothing about me; rather, it’s just that Steve doesn’t have the time to pay as much attention to music as I do these days.

Thus, I’m often sharing new finds with him, in our ongoing pursuit that rock and roll isn’t dead. That’s where this stems from. None of these songs is brand new, but all but one of them have been released in the last 15 or 20 years. You old rock and rollers know that pretty much makes them new.

“Tweeter and the Monkey Man” The Traveling Wilburys (1988)

The song that inspired this list was the one that was not released in the last 20 years, which is The Traveling Wilburys’ “Tweeter and the Monkey Man.” Released on the Wilburys’ debut album, Vol. 1, in 1988, the song is said to be an homage to the songs of Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen is a favorite of ours, and it was noting the similarities to Bruce’s music that led me to call Steve a couple of days ago to talk about the song.

With Bob Dylan on lead vocal, the song tells the story of four people with a long history who find themselves on both sides of the law, and if it is an homage to Bruce’s work, it’s certainly a fitting one.

“Like A Stone” Audioslave (2004)

One of my favorite singers and one of my favorite songs. Chris Cornell might have been at his best when he was writing about his search for something worthy of his faith, and this could just be his best representation of that search. This is a song that could fit just about any playlist, and it’s on every playlist I have. It’s also one of those few songs that I never skip when it comes up on my feed. Exquisite. Enjoy, brother.

“The Humbling River” by Puscifer

Here’s another track that exists on just about every playlist I make. For those of you who don’t know, Puscifer is the name that Maynard James Keenan (no relation that I know of) has given what he considers his solo work. Whether or not you know of Puscifer, you may know of Maynard from his work with his other two bands, Tool and A Perfect Circle.

I love harmonies and I love reflection, and this song is chock full of both. Truly a masterpiece.

“Big Foot” by Chickenfoot (2011)

Man, but I’d love to see Chickenfoot do another album, but since this 2011 release was their most recent it doesn’t seem like that’s apt to happen. For those who don’t know this band, if you like rock and roll you should make an effort to acquaint yourself with them.

Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony from Van Halen paired up with Joe Satriani and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Then, when Smith became too busy to fulfill tour obligations, they got Kenny Aronoff to fill in. He ain’t too shabby.

The results are excellent throughout their two albums, and this track is one of their finest examples of how the old boys can do it.

“While We’re Young” by Huey Lewis and the News (2019)

Fancy Huey Lewis and the News coming in with the newest track on the list. That ain’t too easy to do. Having suffered from Meniere’s Disease for more than a decade, Huey doesn’t experience many periods when his hearing is good enough for him to make or perform music, but apparently there are occasional good times.

He had enough of those good times during the last decade to even release an album last year. While Weather only has seven tracks, it was great to see Huey and the band put together enough songs to release an album at all.

This might not be the kind of music that you’re used to seeing me share, but Steve and I are old enough to like songs that recognize that we are old, but we got to live through times when we were not as much so.

So, here are five tracks for my brother to listen to when he gets the time, and I hope some of you other folks can dig on them too.

Peace and prayers, friends. See you back here sometime soon.

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