Friday, January 25, 2013

"Jason F." : THE WEEKEND MIX


If you're not familiar with Jason Falkner's work, I think it may be time to get acquainted.  There is a whole lot of genius just waiting to be heard on the few records that boast Falkner's name.

The one thing that seems to turn up in so many of Jason's songs, the thing that will invariably make my ears twitch and my heart pump with a bit more purpose, is that subtle and often unexpected turn in the melody. Whether it's that triumphant "Yeah yeah" in "Afraid Himself To Be," or that last burst of energy on the final chorus of "Follow Me," or a harmony where there originally wasn't, like on his version of "Pretty Ballerina." Or those slow builds of harmony on each subsequent verse of "Both Sides Now," Falkner always finds a way to brand every tune.

Take "Moving Up," from his E.P. "Bliss Descending," a song that effortlessly glides along as Falkner calmly and earnestly conveys his wants and needs. Come the last chorus run and he's all in. There are layers of sound everywhere and it never feels like there is too much. Jason Falkner is a very smart musician, pushing all the right buttons and always keeping the listener on guard.

It would be lazy to simply describe Jason Falkner as a singer-songwriter. It would also be just as lazy to call his music power pop, though I guess it is pop music with a lot of power.

Here is how I would describe Jason Falkner's music.

He has covered songs by the following artists:

Brian Eno
Tom Waits
The Left Banke
Def Leppard
Be Bop Deluxe
Jeff Lynne
Magazine
The Stranglers
The Kinks
The Cars
The Ronettes

He has toured with Cheap Trick and French techno-pop duo Air and you will even find Jason's name on a Paul McCartney record or two.

You will hear any one of those artists in his original songs, quite often a few at the same time.

I've put together a playlist that features ten originals and five covers.

Please listen the way you would listen to something you already know and love, and then go and buy everything, which really isn't that much.


TRACKLIST

Burning Airlines Give You So Much More
Maybe The Universe
Afraid Himself To Be
Moving Up
Jet Silver & the Dolls Of Venus
Revelation
Follow Me
See You Again
Play Myself Some Music
Runaway
Johnsburg, Illinois
Clumsy Grace
Lost Myself
All God's Creatures
Both Sides Now

zip

14 comments:

buzzbabyjesus said...

Acquiring zip now.

dogbreath said...

Only aware of his music through the occasional track you've included in your mixes (my ignorance is vast & limitless) but I have enjoyed & been impressed by those songs. So I'm looking forward to hearing this comp. And anyone covering Be Bop Deluxe's "Jet Silver..." has definitely got something right. Cheers!

jeff said...

I've never understood why he hasn't broken through. In the powerpop world he is a god. maybe he just doesn't put out enough records, or maybe he just has lousy publicists. Whatever, he does write great songs.

(wasn't he onstage at the Sandy concert? playing with billy joel? Can't remember)

Sal Nunziato said...

Really? Falkner with Billy Joel? It's very possible, But I can't say I recall seeing him.

Shriner said...

If it wasn't him, it was somebody who looked a lot like him. Brian Ray (from McCartney's current band) reminds me a lot of him.

There's a lot of Falkner I really like (I would have included "Princessa" on any Falkner mix), but I've always thought what was supposed to be his breakout album -- Author Unknown -- wasn't produced very well. Which can happen when artists produce themselves, IMO


There's a great live cover of Wichita Lineman out there by Travis with JF guesting. And JF's work with Brendan Benson is worth checking out, too. His work with The Three O'Clock, though, is forgettable...

Anonymous said...

Sal:

Thanks for this one.

His band The Grays was a pretty fine group of power popsters if largely overlooked. Shame.

Let's not forget Falkner's two Beatles cover albums: Beatles at Bedtime 1 and 2, which are so good parents like them too (saved me a few times when my daughter was a toddler). They are all instrumental, all Falkner, and McCartney gave them his blessing.

Cheers
Michael D.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, where has he been all my life? Also just rediscovered his "Pretty Ballerina," which was on one of your earlier mixes.

Thanks, Sal!

Bruce H.

stu said...

Thanks Sal, nice. New to me.

Gyro1966 said...

Thanks Sal, I'll listen. I went back and played the two much hyped Jellyfish albums. I still can't hear what all the crazy love is for them. They are not bad, but I don't think it sounds like classic music. The music just breezes by without sticking to my memory. How do you feel about them?

Gyro1966 said...

And I just played The Grays, same breezy feeling without moving me.

Sal Nunziato said...

I think The Grays record is brilliant. Both Jellyfish records have moments of genius, though I could make one fantastic record from both.

Falkner's stuff surpasses it all.

misospecial said...

Thanks, Sal, got it!

And looking forward to it...

Patrick said...

Another great JF cover is his crunchypop take of Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now. Thanks for the mix!

Sal Nunziato said...

@Patrick

It's on the mix. And I wrote about it.