Fresh off of his appearance on yesterday’s Big Morning Buzz Live, we had the opportunity to sit down with Matt Nathanson, former You Oughta Know artist and the voice behind 2009′s platinum hit, “Come On Get Higher.” The self-proclaimed “music nerd” constantly suggests that his Twitter followers tap into the experience of listening to artists’ full albums, so every morning, he recommends one LP per day via the hashtag #morningrecords. The tune talk doesn’t stop there for Matt Nathanson, though; with a new album coming June 21st, he has his ears to the street, and since he’s a You Oughta Know alumnus, we were curious to know what artists he thinks are “on the rise.”
you oughta know
We’re always excited when a You Oughta Know artist comes to our offices and performs an exclusive You Oughta Know Live set, but The Civil Wars particularly enthralled the room (even if the “room” was our lobby). Before they took the impromptu stage, the audience was more hesitant than usual, largely hanging by the elevators or against the back wall.
But the instant they launched their their four-song set with their single “Barton Hollow,” the band’s presence drew in the crowd; Joy Williams and John Paul White are almost instinctual performers. Williams in particular accentuated her vocals by gesturing and dancing, and when, on “Poison & Wine” (“the loud version,” as White called it), she was behind the keyboard, the two locked eyes, not only to “perform” the doomed love of the song but also as a substitute for any rhythmic accompaniment besides White’s strumming (which also allowed them to end on a rather long shared note). These two belong on a stage. No wonder they scored opening gigs for Adele next month.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have lots of fans here at VH1. It’s not just any group that gets selected as You Oughta Know artists, invited to play “Paris (Ooh La La)” at 2010′s VH1 Divas Support the Troops and a set in our You Oughta Know Live series with a four-song set featuring a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” (as part of a month we spent with the band as part of VH1′s Posted series).
So of course we were excited to see the band taking on another challenge of a cover, Beyonc?‘s “Why Don’t You Love Me,” over at Billboard.com. Watch the band’s rendition above, and click through for the full story.
VH1′s NYC offices welcomed singer/guitarist Lissie and her band earlier this afternoon. Lissie is an upcoming You Oughta Know artist, so we were happy to host her amid what’s apparently been a busy schedule for the band. They left our offices already packed for their Australian tour that starts Wednesday, debating whether Lissie would have time to go home to Ojai during their extended layover in Los Angeles tomorrow (they decided no) but thankful that they at least had time for a trip to In ‘N’ Out.
The Railroad Revival Tour kicked off in Oakland, CA last night, with Mumford & Sons, fresh from Coachella, teaming with Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. But friends, family, and a handful of lucky fans were treated to a private “pre-game” performance the night before in San Francisco. The bands took the low-stakes opportunity to get back into the groove of jamming together before the tour started in earnest. Above, watch the three bands perform “Wagon Wheel” from 2004′s self-titled Old Crow Medicine Show.
As we teased not quite two weeks ago, You Oughta Know artist Fitz and the Tantrums swung by the VH1 offices for an exclusive You Oughta Know Live performance. The four-song set was a blast, but the absolute highlight was the double-time clapping and funky breakdown of “L.O.V.” which we’ve shared above.
To a music listener, the term “working musician” means being a member of a band (or, maybe, a songwriter or producer). But to most musicians, the term means something else entirely: a session player. Most people making a living as musicians are constantly hustling from studio session to gig to studio session, in each case earning scale (or a multiple thereof) – ??which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s stable freelance work. To actually form one’s own band, make a record, and go out on tour, it helps to be very young and very na?ve, or else really believe in the music, because that already-limited stability completely evaporates.
Every one of the six members of LA’s Fitz and the Tantrums has been a session player. So when Michael Fitzpatrick – ??who has always been known to his friends as Fitz – ??got hold of a vintage organ, wrote a song called “Breaking the Chains of Love,” and called up some musician friends (starting with saxophonist and longtime friend James King) to form a band, this was no small thing. Give up steady paychecks to start a soul band? Let’s put it this way: the Tantrums are hardly old, but they’re not teenagers, and they’re certainly not na?ve. So the late-2008 leap of faith that led to 2009′s Songs for a Breakup Volume 1 EP and the band’s debut full-length, Picking Up the Pieces, last August says more about what the band thinks of their music than any story Fitz might tell comparing the organ he found to One-Eyed Willy’s treasure map in The Goonies (I’m not making that up).
Upcoming You Oughta Know artist Fitz and the Tantrums stopped by VH1′s NYC offices this afternoon for an exclusive, four-song live set. You Oughta Know Live got it all on tape and we’ll be sharing that with you all shortly, so stay tuned, but here’s a little bit about what to expect:Â
- Fitz and the Tantrums are funky as all get out. They get compared to the Motown sound a lot, and Fitz looks 60s-Detroit-sharp, a bit like Michael Keaton in costume as “Modern Love”-era David Bowie.Â But that’s way off – ??the sextet are southern-soul Stax cats through and through. They’re sharp, to be sure, but Joseph Karnes’s walking basslines and skilled drumming from John Wicks provide a looser rhythm.
- They don’t have a guitarist; they don’t need a guitarist. Briefly (as in his solo on “Dear Mr. President”) saxophonist James King takes the sonic space of the guitarist, but this organ-bass-sax funk band sounds plenty full as-is.
At first glance, The Civil Wars (songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White) have a familiar backstory: they teamed in Nashville circa 2008, got some buzz for their 2009 EP Poison & Wine and then received a ton of attention when that EP’s title track was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. But there’s much more depth and range to the neo-Americana duo than is suggested by that tale of canny cross-marketing, which is why The Civil Wars are VH1′s latest You Oughta Know artist.
One of the many perks of working here at VH1 is that there always seems to be incredible musicians and gorgeous celebrities roaming the hallways here in Times Square. Take You Oughta Know artist and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, for example. A few weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to be treated to a short set from the breakout stars of the most recent VH1 Divas show, right here in our lobby. They played an intimate yet rocking three song set, including their big single “Paris (Ooh La La)” and this smokin’ cover of Jefferson Airplane’s trippy, late sixties psychadelic anthem, “White Rabbit.”
The band first performed this song for last year’s Alice In Wonderland soundtrack. As you’ll see, Grace Potter delivers her vocals with the same sort of passion and intensity that Grace Slick did way back in the Summer of Love. Rather than keep this awesomeness all to ourselves, we figured we’d share this entire You Oughta Know Live performance with you guys, too. Enjoy!