In this weekly feature, a different LEO staff member will share 7-10 of the songs they’ve got on repeat right now. (Songs by Louisville artists are marked with an asterisk.) Got a track that you think we’d like? Let us know at [email protected] or at the author’s email below.
G Love and Special Sauce — “Peace Love and Happiness”*
Nothing happier than the topic of this song, and you can bet when group members covered this at the recent Motherlodge, an ethereal feeling spread throughout the room. In other words, everyone started smiling and putting their arms around one another and holding up lighters/phones. Drums. Guitar. Harmonica. Lyrics. We could use this message across the globe right now, and especially locally at the moment. Smile and dance. Love your neighbor. Go hug a friend, y’all!
Hot Brown Smackdown — “Put on the Dog”*
The aptly named local six-piece bluegrass fusion ensemble really knows how to throw down an energetic jam — and they bring the same presence to the stage. Using mandolin, drum, banjo, fiddle, bass, and guitar, Hot Brown brings its audience complex compilations combining a variety of genres: bluegrass/funk/jam/jazz…maybe inventing one of their own in the process? This new super-happy tune combines upbeat bluegrass-style pickin’ and fiddlin’ with a few surprise bluesy-funk grooves.
Goose — “Arcadia”
After spending New Year’s weekend in Cincy to see Goose’s two-night tour stop, I could compose my entire tracklist from this Connecticut-based jam band’s songs. You’re gonna get a lot of crazy “wah wah” beats in this one; it’s a great song to jam out to if you’re in a funky dance mood (or wanna be). The close friendship of this group lends itself easily to their experimental riffs and ability to read one another on stage, traveling in and out of songs — and songs within songs — that definitely gives them the staying power of a band like Phish or Grateful Dead.
Michael Franti — “Hey World (Don’t Give Up)”
This version is my favorite; it’s a much more somber take on Franti’s happier version of “Hey World.” When living between Charleston and Louisville a few years back, I began every day possible taking in the sunrise over Breach Inlet (between Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island), watching the waves roll in and the birds fly by. I would sit on a rock, drink my coffee, cry if I needed to…then let my troubles go to the ocean. It was a cathartic experience; this song reminds me that there are bigger troubles in the world than the ones most of us deal with every day.
Mr. Please — “Diggin’ A Hole“*
Local band Mr. Please could have brought this song back from time travel. Swanky 70s funk, heavy guitar, and a steady drumbeat lay the groundwork for this track about wanting to see your baby one more time to make things right, even though ya keep on diggin’ a hole. The group offers lots of funky fresh fusion and catchy hooks that can really get a crowd movin’.
Joy Oladokun — “Look Up”
One of my friends, back in the “shutdown” days, knew I was going through a difficult time and wanted to do something special for my birthday. He got me unicorn headphones and had a playlist for me and a “scavenger hunt” with little notes to find throughout his home. This is definitely one of my “pick-me-up” songs now, and I love Oladokun’s deep register, thoughtful lyrics, and adorable rasp when she hits those higher notes.
Bill Withers — “Lovely Day”
If one hasn’t noticed, my picks are filled with happiness, jams, and optimism. It’s not always the music mood I’m in, though I have my go-to songs for the times I wanna feel “YAY” or I need a little motivation to get in that zone. I love this optimistic, catchy Bill Withers song. Plus, Goose also recently performed a great cover of it!