Ahh, Part 2 of Casey’s Classic albums. Read Part 1 here.
Phish – Farmhouse
Much of my formative music appreciation years revolve around my cousin Elliott and his buddies. You see, I started college in Orlando, while the rest of my friends, for the most part, went to Gainesville. Elliott & Katie (his sister) and the guys in Elliott’s band were pretty much my only friends, which suited me just fine. The guys were making a go at being rock stars and, at 18 years old, we all pretty much felt as such. They played gigs downtown and at the Hard Rock Live and at House of Blues. They practiced just about every day, and I was there for most of it (I was also dating the bass player, so…). They were (and still are) total Phish-heads. Elliott, Rob and I even went drove to New York to see them play at Madison Square Gardens on New Year’s Eve in 2001. Well, Elliott & Rob went to the show; I just wanted to go to New York. Phish makes a lot of great music, but Farmhouse is definitely my favorite album as a whole… and probably mostly because the actual song Farmhouse was the first song I learned on guitar. If you want to listen to some great jam sessions, check out their Live Phish series. I think there are like 20 volumes, each of a different live show, most of which were played in the 90s. Killer.
Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams
Okay, so I feel like adding Jack Johnson to the list is a little bit of a trendy cop-out from 2005, because, honestly, who didn’t love them a little Jack Johnson then? Let be real here though, because he is a pretty talented dude. And, when you really just want to chill on a beach under a mango tree in Central America, this is just the type of music you want buzzing around your head. There are songs here and there I like off of his earlier albums (Tomorrow Morning on On And On is what made me fall in love with Jack in the first place), but this album completely did me in. A lot of this album is about love, and it just so happens that I was falling in love with my husband when this album came out… and it just so happens that we were doing things like laying on beaches in Central America eating mangoes and watching the waves while listening to these super mellow, super surfy, super catchy songs.
Nickel Creek – This Side
I lived with my brother and his wife my first year of college (God bless them for that… and thanks, Tina for teaching me how to clean a bathroom). I clearly remember sitting on the couch at like 4am watching Vh1 and seeing the video for When You Come Back Down (on the Nickel Creek album). It was one of the most beautiful songs I had ever heard. In fact, that whole album consisted of some of the most beautiful music I had ever heard. And, I loved that the musicians were my age. Incredible to me that musicians that young could make such beautiful and mature music. This Side came out two years later and stole my heart all over again. Nickel Creek was a band that set me apart from my friends in terms of what music we listened to. This whole “newgrass” thing was a little too left field for them. Funny, because if this album came out now, those same friends would all totally dig it.
Elliott James – Have Much Energy
Okay, this last one is part shameless plug for my cousin (that he is unaware of, by the way) and part an ode to the time of my life that enhanced my appreciation for music. Elliott has this passion for all music that in undeniably infectious. When he comes to you with a song or a band or an album, he is so excited about it that you can’t help but be excited, too. On top of that, he is an incredibly talented guy. He is a killer drummer, but is one of those people that can play any instrument… plus he writes kick-ass songs to boot. He plays in an Orlando band called Sonar, and him and his buddy Rob put out an album together under the name The Resophonics that I can’t help but listen to every couple of months. I am sure that part of the reason that I love these songs so much is that they remind me of my days hanging out with the band guys (can I get a WHAT for Stolen Reign & Sonar!), but I have a feeling that I would love these songs even if I had no clue who had recorded them.
Well, that concludes the Classics section of What’s in My Ears. Onto the here and now!