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Calexico: “Splitter” and “Over Your Shoulder”

Calexico has released eight albums. This is how AllMusic describes the band:

Calexico, a Tucson collective of musicians focused around Joey Burns and John Convertino, forged an eclectic identity through their exploration of Southwestern culture. Composer Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Westerns as well as Portuguese fado, Afro-Peruvian music, and ’50s and ’60s jazz, country, and surf music all factored into Calexico’s music. Burns studied classical music at the University of California, Irvine, before starting his rock career, and Calexico formed after Burns met John Convertino in Los Angeles in 1990. At the time, Convertino had been playing with Howe Gelb’s experimental rock group Giant Sand after serving as their upright bassist for a European tour. Burns and Convertino found their voice as a duo during a Giant Sand break, moved to Tucson in 1994, and began collecting instruments from the Chicago Music Store.

First, they worked with Tucson’s neo-lounge combo Friends of Dean Martinez, playing marimba, cello, accordion, and vibraphone in addition to their usual work on bass, guitar, and drums. After a split with Friends of Dean Martinez founder Bill Elm in 1996, the duo began to get session work with Barbara Manning, Richard Buckner, Victoria Williams, Michael Hurley, Bill Janovitz, Vic Chesnutt, and Lisa Germano (as the trio OP8). Burns and Convertino also experimented on their own with their new instruments in a home recording studio in 1996, releasing their debut CD, Spoke, on Germany’s Haus Musik Records. After signing with Quarterstick/Touch & Go Records in Chicago, they released The Black Light in 1998 and The Hot Rail in 2000. (Continue Reading…)

Above is Spitter and below is Over Your Shoulder. Here is the band’s website and Facebook page.

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Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.