Chris “Spacewolf” Feinstein, bassist for Ryan Adams & The Cardinals has passed away, and I can’t tell you how sad it makes me that the post to bring me out of my “lack of posting” funk is this one.
Feinstein joined the band after Catherine Popper’s departure in 2006, and initially recorded with the band on the 2007 masterpiece, “Easy Tiger”. On a personal note, both times I was lucky enough to catch the Cardinals perform live, Spacewolf was a consistent highlight for me. The dude looked exactly how a rock star should look on stage: natural, chilled, and effortlessly cool. Together with drummer Brad Pemberton, Chris Feinstein laid one of the most solid rhythm sections I have ever heard. I know that many fans out there will be feeling the same loss that I’m feeling today.
“This is the saddest day of my life. I lost my best friend today…things will never be quite the same.”
-Brad Pemberton, Cardinals drummer
Thanks to Phil for pointing this out to me – otherwise Black Friday would have passed uneventfully for me – but apart from online savings, Black Friday brought not only shopping madness, but also the release of Blakroc.
And, holy hell, the thing is shit hot.
Blakroc is, at its core, a collaboration between American blues-rock music duo, The Black Keys (Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney), and 11 credible names in the hiphop game. And it’s exactly the kind of album I needed to hear as 2009 wraps up. Check out more on the official page here, but basically the concept behind the album is:
“11 artists who collaborated with the Black Keys. 11 days in the studio. 11 tracks”
And that “11 artists” is a lineup that quite frankly has me swooning. Not only are there big names, such as Raekwon, sadly-departed Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and RZA… but also lesser-hyped artists like Pharoahe Monch, NOE, Billy Danze and Nicole Wray. And, the very, very best part for me… Mos Def. The dude just exudes cool, and as soon as I knew he was involved in the project, I was hooked. I mean, seriously… watch the below video of Mos Def and Jim James performing on track “Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)”, and tell me it’s not one of the hottest tracks you’ve heard this year…
One of the most interesting aspects of BlakRoc is the fact that the recording process has been documented on film. You can watch all the “webisodes” here, and I would recommend that you do if the album sounds even slightly like your cup of tea. The glimpse into the creative process behind this album is nothing less than inspiring. In particular, the below one with Billy Danze is heartwarming. The dude simply cannot contain himself and his enthusiasm…
Unfortunately, not all the tracks live up to the hype though. There are some notable low points, and I’m nowhere near calling this the “release of 2009”; but the process behind the album itself is so awesomely organic, I’m rooting for it to do well, hoping that it may inspire others to return to a purely creative recording process, such as this one. As Billy Danze says in the above video, “Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. Making a record, create that shit”. And that’s exactly how this record feels… not manufactured, but created with heart.
Seriously, I haven’t been this inspired by an album in… well, I can’t remember how long. Stream some of the tunes here, and, after doing so, buy this shit. Now.