Something's happening that's music to my ears.
We're in the midst of a cool little boom for baby boomers like me who grew up on Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Beatles and Led Zeppelin but can't relate to much of today's music.
I have nothing against Carly Rae Jepsen, Justin Bieber and all of the other young and peppy pop-perfect stars who rule the charts. Every generation deserves its own stars, and if it's sugar-rush pop and dance moves that this one wants, well, enjoy. But feel free to call me in 20 years and let me know how it holds up.
An occasional Top 40 hit catches my ear, I must admit. I like Fun's "Some Nights" and Gotye's smash single from earlier this year, "Somebody That I Used to Know." The other 38 songs, though, I can do without. Two out of 40 isn't a good batting average, unless you lead off for the Cubs.
I could be happy just living in the past with Jethro Tull and all of my other classic-rock heroes. But that'd grow old, like me.
I'm not happy unless I have new music to get excited about. Something so great, I want to put it on again the second it's over. Something so inspiring, it makes me speed up when I'm driving. Something so fantastic, I flag down strangers on the street, hand them my ear phones and say, "Listen to this! The 21st century just got better!"
Lately, for me, those albums feature a lot of acoustic guitars, folk-rock rhythms, and pretty, soaring, stirring harmonies that feel fresher than laundry flapping in the breeze.
Mumford & Sons' "Babel," for one. Loved "Sigh No More" -- who didn't? -- but this one raises the bar and the hair on my arms, it's so powerful and rich. It's very cool they enlisted Paul Simon and Jerry Douglas for a respectful cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer," but that's merely a bonus cut, tacked on near the end. Everything that comes before is superb and sublime.
The Avett Brothers released "The Carpenter" the week before "Babel" arrived. I haven't decided yet if it's as good as "I and Love and You," but it's also very good: rustic, heartfelt, sincere.
Add in an earlier 2012 release that surprisingly broke through -- the Lumineers' great self-titled album -- and we're in a folk-rock boom with other relatively new and notable acts such as the Head and the Heart, Fleet Foxes and Civil Wars.
If you like a little country and Southern rock with your Americana, try Vermont band Waylon Speed. Their "Valance" rocks and, better yet, they play Crooked I on Oct. 19 with Erie's own excellent folk-rock band, Falling Hollywood.
The stunning success of "Babel" -- 600,000 copies sold in its first week -- makes me wonder if we're on the cusp of something. Might music with mandolins, banjos, fiddles and acoustic guitars -- folk-rock and Americana -- break out of its back-porch niche and become the next big thing?
We'll know the answer if Bieber picks up a banjo.
DAVE RICHARDS can be reached at 870-1703. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. ___
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