Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The Best Albums You Never Heard

A few weeks back, I was chatting with our good friends and wonderful musicians Mark Mulligan, Brent Burns, and Dave Zobl over at Fiddler's Dream. We talked about how I once profiled trop-rock music on this blog, highlighting an artist and album on pretty much a weekly basis. They were all encouraging me to start it up again, and I told them it sounded like a good idea and I'd get off my lazy ass and do it again.

But I didn't. Until now. Why now, Crime Dog?

Because I just had the pleasure of hearing my buddy Sam Rainwater's first CD release, Vacation Location.

You may have heard every one of these songs a bazillion times from Sam and his ever-present ukulele, and enjoyed them every time, but let me tell you, you have never ever heard them like this. Where did that steel guitar come from? And that piano? A horn section? Percussion? Steelpans? Really? Holy trop-rock, folks, this album is GOOD.

I had the privilege of being among the first to purchase Vacation Location at the rooftop singer/songwriter event last week at the Rum Barrel in Key West. It was actually the only one I purchased all week at Meeting of the Minds, not wanting to haul them around in my pockets all night and pack them up for the long trip home. I couldn't have made a better choice.

This is escapism at its Parrothead finest, my friends. Great lyrics, excellent backing music, and a professional sound to rival the work of any label.

I never would have guessed the title track might be the best song on the entire album, but it just may be. Or maybe it's Tiki Bar In My Backyard. And Bourbon Street South? The horns give it a New Orleans street jazz feel that will make you want to head down to Duval Street or even the Big Easy itself.

At this year's Phins To The West event, Sam grabbed me on the first day and asked me to listen to a song he had just begun to write and was excited about. That song was It Ain't Cool To Be A Pirate Anymore. I was immediately captivated by it, and could not get it out of my head for days. Hearing it on this CD, I now know why. Are you listening out there, Sandbar Radio? Island Time? Permanent Vacation? This song needs to be played.

Do yourselves a favor, folks. Come by Sam's release party Friday, November 13, at Club Max's Sports Grill, Thomas & Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale between 6:00 - 9:00PM. There, you'll be able to pick up a copy of Vacation Location and sail away with Sam Rainwater. Out of towners can order a copy from Sam himself at his website, or even download a copy at Digstation.

And remember: It ain't cool to be a pirate anymore, and it's even less cool to bootleg music. All of Sam's CD sales proceeds go to support troop mailings and Castaway Kids, so buy your own and don't make me go all Crime Dog on you by burning a bootleg.


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