Every so often I make up a mix CD of my favorite songs at the moment; mostly new songs, but with some old songs sprinkled in for flavor. I thought it’d be a neat feature of this new blog to go through, song-by-song, and explain a little about why it appeals to me.
I remember the first time I heard of Jamie Cullum. I was watching VH1 one morning, and the VJ introduced him as someone you and your grandfather could enjoy listening to. The video that then played was “All at Sea”, from his most popular album Twentysomething. I was instantly hooked. His music is a blend of standards, covers, and original material (mostly written by himself and/or his brother Ben). It’s very much jazz and blues, but with more than its fair share of modern rock sensibilities. He’s a kinetic performer live, never sitting still. In a favorite performance, he goes from using the piano keyboard to using the piano body itself as a drum set, back to the keyboard.
The song I chose to include on my summer CD is blatant pandering: “High and Dry” by Radiohead. As you may know, I’m not a fan of Radiohead, citing only a handful of songs that I like. This is one of them. (Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Thom Yorke himself has said in interviews that the song is “very bad”.)
As of now, Cullum is one of my favorite contemporary artists, achieving the highest of my honors: new material is an auto-purchase on date of release. I can guarantee lots more of Cullum on future compilations.
Next time: another fantastic British band.