Friday, September 7, 2007

Blind Melon Making Their Return

Blind Melon, was one of the most promising bands to emerge in the early 90's. Seattle bands and their imitators had dominated the first two years of the decade, but in 1992, along came a band from L.A. with members culled from Indiana, Pennsylvanian, and Mississippi. Unlike the sounds coming from Seattle, Blind Melon found their inspiration and influences in the classic rock of Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead & Lynyrd Skynyrd. Their short career was overshadowed by the happenings in the Pacific Northwest, but what little music they were able to leave behind is as solid a legacy as any of their peers. They are so much more than the "Bee Girl" and No Rain.

It is a shame that this band isn't mentioned more for their music and less for the tragic and untimely death of their charismatic lead singer, Shannon Hoon. An even bigger shame is that more people weren't able to see a truly great live band. I was lucky enough to see them a handfull of times in spaces varying from gyms and small town civic centers to open-air amphitheaters opening for a legend like Neil Young.

I've got much more to say, but before I lose the casual reader, let me make my point. The band has reformed with new lead singer Travis Warren. Two new songs, Sometimes and Wishing Well as well as a video of the boys talking and playing in the studio have been posted on the band's MySpace page and several tour dates have been booked. My initial reaction to the new tracks has been mixed. I can definitely hear the sounds of the band, but it is just odd not hearing Shannon's distinct vocals. I will definitely check out the new record when it is release, but no information what-so-ever is available at this time. The video is posted below, but you'll have to visit the band's page to listen to the songs since they aren't available for download, and thus far I haven't been able to track down any copies. I have posted a few tracks below for the fans, but especially for those who don't know the band very well.

Now if anyone is interested,a little personal story. We are quickly approaching the 15th anniversary, September 14, of the release of Blind Melon's self titled debut. On a personal note, I can remember it vividly. I had just started my long and illustrious college career at Mississippi State University in Starkville. I immediately sought out the local record stores. There was this buzz going around about this new band that I had never heard of. As it turned out, three of their members, guitarist Rogers Stevens, bassist Brad Smith, and drummer Glen Graham, were from Mississippi. Glen was from nearby Columbus and was attending Mississippi State when he got the call from the guys in L.A. Back to me though, having nothing better to do, I decided to attend the big record release party at on of the local stores so I could give the band a listen. I wasn't immediately hooked, but I picked the disc up anyway figuring I was helping support local musicians and it did have a nice range of songs.

It didn't take many listens to realize that these guys were one hell of a band. Not only were they tremendous musicians, but they could also write songs; some of which had a lazy peaceful groove while others were straight up rock, but still with that distinctive Blind Melon groove. Anyway, here is a sampling of their works. The band was only able to record two complete studio records, "Blind Melon" and "Soup" before Hoon's passing, and they later released an album of previously unfinished songs that Shannon had cut vocal tracks for named "Nico," for Shannon's baby daughter. The band donated a portion of the proceeds from that record to Musicians Assistants Program (MAP), an organization that helps artists recover from drug and alcohol addiction. Since then there have been several more compilation releases as well as a couple of video releases.

Anyway, here are some mp3 tracks, I hope you enjoy them as much as I still do.

Drive (Blind Melon)
Sleepyhouse (Blind Melon)
Candy Says (Velvet Underground Cover)
Deserted (Live) (Originally on "Blind Melon")
Paper Scratcher (Live) (Originally on "Blind Melon")
Soak the Sin (Live) (Original on Blind Melon)
Mouthful of Cavities (Soup)
Soup (Nico)
Wooh G.O.D. (Tones of Home Single)

If you like what you've heard, pick up the records or at least try and buy some individual tracks.

Blind Melon
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