Wildcard - John Blevins

Since I’m now curating the Wildcard series, I thought I would contribute my own this week. All of this music I've stumbled across in about the last six months, and all of it has been on repeat. Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of time spent listening to new music lately, and these are some albums that have earned their way onto my playlist. A lot of this music speaks to my love of playing and writing at the guitar in addition to the trumpet. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I have!

1. Son of Stan - Divorce Pop

Son of Stan is Jordan Richardson; Jordan Richardson is the Son of Stan. Divorce Pop is both the album and the genre. It has been on my playlist since I first heard it last summer on my honeymoon. My wife Amanda and I took a road trip around the U.S. and were able to spend some time in Los Angeles with her brother, Daniel Stessen. He happened to be listening to this at the time, because he'd recently created the album's artwork and music videos for "Corsica" and "Noxeema." Jordan has worked as a drummer and producer for years (Ben Harper, Future People), and Son of Stan is his first solo project. The album has been one of my favorites of the year. Its funky, deep guitar grooves make you move, while the song writing draws you in and especially resonates for anyone with an appreciation for those posters found in hair stylist windows from the 1980s...

2. The Milk Carton Kids - Prologue

The Milk Carton Kids have managed to get their song "Michigan" completely wedged into my ears for the time being. It's a beautiful song that begins their unforgettable album Prologue. The sounds of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan remind me of music by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings or Simon and Garfunkel. Their guitar playing is exciting and impeccable, but I'm mostly drawn to their vocal harmonies and phrasing. I highly recommend watching  their set on “The Portland Sessions" for a real glimpse at their mastery.

3. Ron Miles - Witness

A few weeks ago I found some earlier recordings by trumpeter Ron Miles. Witness was recorded in 1989 for his debut as a leader. It features Fred Hess on tenor saxophone and flute, Art Lande on piano, Ken Walker on bass, and Bruno Carr on drums. I'm most familiar with Ron Miles's playing from his 2012 release Quiver, so I really enjoyed hearing his imaginative and unique voice present over 20 years earlier. The tune selection is also unique, and I particularly enjoyed Monk's "Ugly Beauty."

4. Ceramic Dog - Your Turn

Ceramic Dog’s Your Turn hit me from the first track, “Lies My Body Told Me,” like Hendrix meets Frank Zappa meets Tom Waits. Guitarist Marc Ribot’s band with drummer Ches Smith and bassist Shahzad Ismaily is a raw, experimental, and unapologetic musical force that’s rejuvenating and electrifying. I first saw Marc Ribot in January at the NYC Winter Jazz Fest, so I’m really new to his music—of  which there is a lot! You can see and hear Marc Ribot this Friday, February 21 at The Stone in NYC with John Medeski and Calvin Weston as Din.

5. Father John Misty - Fear Fun

Thankfully an old friend recommended Father John Misty’s Fear Fun last fall, and we finally arrived at an apt musical experience of our age. If you need comfort while you toil and fret just give a listen to “I’m Writing a Novel,” and feel better because while we want to make our mark and make a difference we’re really just summoning the courage to hop an amusement ride for some “Fun Times in Babylon.”

John Blevins is a trumpeter, guitarist, composer, teacher, and breakfast lover based in Brooklyn, NY.