In the 14 years since releasing his debut studio album, Scottish-American songwriter Johnathan Rice has kept busy. He’s a frequent collaborator with Jenny Lewis, played Roy Orbison in the 2005 film Walk the Line, toured across the United States multiple times, and written multiple songs for film soundtracks. Rice’s busy life is reflected in his music; his idyllic songs jump between folk, rock, indie and even make room for chamber instrumentation. But the real star of the music is Rice’s voice. He can go from tender to sultry, ethereal to brooding, to fit the style he’s singing, sometimes even changing mid-song to fit the twists and turns of his many tales.
See Johnathan Rice at 191 Toole with The Felice Brothers. 8 p.m. Saturday, June 15. $15-$18. 21+
I Am The Cosmos
Like so many people I heard the Big Star records when I was a kid and had my mind blown. Alex Chilton (finally) gets a lot of well-deserved respect for his body of work, but this masterpiece by Chris Bell still kinda flies under the radar. It’s big, bold, and heartbreakingly damaged at the same time.
Let It Be
I love this band so much. This record captures all the different sides of Paul Westerberg’s writing. He can pull off the punk thing and then sing a ballad that will make you cry.
The Notorious B.I.G.
Ready To Die
I’ve been on the West Coast for more than 15 years now, but whenever I hear this music I’m transported back to the suburbs of D.C. where I grew up. This was the record blasting out of cars when I would walk to school. It’s a pretty incredible lyrical achievement. Punishingly bleak but you can still just vibe out to it so hard.
The song Pink Moon was in a Volkswagen commercial when I was in high school. That was my introduction to Nick Drake. I immediately went searching for all his records. This one is so special to me. He sounds completely alone. There’s a mesmeric, hushed beauty to these songs.
Silver and Gold
This probably sounds strange but I love this record so much I can barely listen to it. It’s so evocative of a specific period of my life. It’s such a hopeful, positive, romantic collection of songs. He sounds so at peace.