The Frederick Craft Spirits Festival. Have you heard of it? It’s set to go down this Saturday at the 200 East Art Haus. Tickets are still available. Think of it as all the craft spirits you could possibly drink in a three-hour span. That’s what the ticket includes. Crazy, right? Right. Anyway, our dear old friend Luke Alexander, he of Big Hoax fame, will be bringing along some friends to perform with him throughout the proceedings, which will be split into two sessions – one from noon to 3 p.m., the other from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. We recently caught up with Luke to get his installment of one of our favorite new features, Celebrity Playlist. Below, we asked him to give us some of his favorite songs ever and why they mean as much as they do to him. Again: He’ll be performing throughout the day Saturday. You’ll come hang, right?
Bruce Cockburn: “Love Song”
There aren’t many love songs I gravitate toward, but the tension in this song is really what makes it a genius piece. Bruce Cockburn writes an infatuated description of his lover, and as buried as the message is in his lyrics, you can feel the longing in the chord progressions that he’s writing about someone he’s never met. He then ties a bow on the package with “When you be beside me, I am real.”
Joni Mitchell: “Carey”
Joni Mitchell was a large part of my upbringing. Long car rides and singing. This song was one of our favorites.
Jack Johnson: “Traffic In The Sky”
This song always put me in a good place. Jack is submissive and passive in this song, but it’s relatable and opens a window into who he is, which is what authentic songwriting is all about.
Rage Against The Machine: “Testify”
It was hard to pick which song off “The Battle of Los Angeles” I was going to use.
Damien Rice: “Volcano”
This was the first and only song I played with my sister Leah. She took the violin and harmonies one afternoon when we were kids. It’s one of the memories I keep close.
Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: “When Will You Come Back Home”
There are moments we need to let go of our fronts and face ourselves for a little while. This is one song that takes me there when I need it.
Modest Mouse: “Bukowski”
I love everything about the tone and production of this song. It’s just the right level of frustration and defiance.
Paul Simon: “The Cool, Cool River” (Live in Central Park, 1991)
This is one of the many concerts I’d take a time machine to. This song was made to be heard live, and Paul shows you.
Yes: “Going for the One”
My step-father introduced me to a much more technical catalog and took me to live shows at an early age as a way to bond. 50 cent and Eminem are great, but I think this transitional period as a listener was where I really identified with my passion for music and writing. Yes was a big part of his catalog.
Dave Matthews Band: “Busted Stuff”
Not including DMB on this list would be me simply lying to you. Their music and songwriting structure taught me to look outside the box as a songwriter.
Sam Cooke: “Bring It On Home To Me” (Live at Harlem Square Club, 1963)
This entire album, I hold very dear. I think every live musician/frontman should take notes from this record. The spirit that’s captured here was such a sanctuary for African Americans during a pivotal time for civil rights, and it bleeds and sweats through your speakers. This is bonafide soul.
Alison Krauss And The Union Station: “Choctaw Hayride” (Live From The Louisville Palace, 2002)
Alison Krauss and her all-star string band. This album is one of my favorite examples of clean, warm modern bluegrass.
DJ Shadow: “The Number Song”
I’ve spent a lot of time meditating to this shaman behind the sampler.