Q: What’s your go-to album to spin when you’re hosting a get-together?
Photo by Bob Forte
Adam "Shmeeans" Smirnoff — Lettuce
A: I’d have to say Funkify Your Life: The Meters Anthology. I’m such a fan of Leo Nocentelli’s tone during this era, and he played very tastefully on these recordings. I was just at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and I had to learn a bunch of these songs to play with George Porter and Ian and Ivan Neville, so it’s been playing in my house a lot, in general.
Current obsession: Trying to become a more well-rounded musician. Lately, it’s been playing the piano. Guitar players could learn a lot by figuring out some tunes on other instruments. It will help you be a better writer, producer, and might inspire you creatively to step out of your comfort zone. A lot of the original demos for classic Lettuce songs were written on a computer and composed on a keyboard. “Shmink Dabby,” which has a big guitar feature on our new album, Elevate, was written in the back lounge of our tour bus with our drummer and musical force, Adam Deitch. Stay humble, try and get a little bit better every day, and remember that we’re all forever students of the universe.
Larry Smith — Reader of the Month
A: Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti. My go-to album not only for parties but for, well, every mood and life event. There’s something for everyone: the hard rockers, the groovy tunes, the epic blues tunes, the acoustic stuff, and Zep’s masterpiece “Ten Years Gone” (what a solo). A brilliant and profound album from front to back. And, of course, everyone feels “Kashmir” in their gut. The first bars come on and the room is bouncing.
Current obsession: GarageBand has opened up the world to writing, recording, and producing my own music. There are so many killer guitar sounds and a lot of them have led me to experimenting and pushing myself out of my guitar comfort zone. I got a bass and then I got a nice mic and I was invincible. The first time I listened back to my finished song, I cried. I did it. All of it. I was so proud.
Tessa Jeffers — Managing Editor
A: I gleaned a fun method from my best friends, a married couple, who are fantastic hosts (and musicians). We all take turns picking the record and so the soiree soundtrack is diverse and unpredictable, and you can see what everyone’s vibing on. My go-tos are: Steppenwolf’s Gold, Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, Led Zeppelin II, and Black Keys’ Blakroc.
Current obsession: I really love Jade Bird. She’s got a singular Americana-rock sound already at a young age, powerhouse vocals, and taps a fire-in-the-belly in her songwriting.
But the song I’ve got on repeat this summer is the 1975’s “I Like America & America Likes Me.” It’s the sound of the times.
Chris Kies -- Associate Editor
A: I’m very serious about hosting parties. I fret the most over what music people will hear and how it will move them. Luckily, my gal gifted me Booze and Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks that pairs classic albums with apropos cocktails and appetizers. (For example, they suggest French 75 and Champagne Cup for Dark Side of the Moon.) Ultimately, my choice isn’t in the book. I’d spin the Dazed & Confused soundtrack. It has Sabbath, Foghat, War, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Nugent, Kiss, Derringer, Skynyrd, and enough variety to have a track for everyone.
Current obsession: Unreleased music. Vouched to silence, I can’t tell you much, but I will give you one-word teases to agitate your curiosity: Tyler Childers (polished), Russian Circles (theatrical), Pelican (heavyweight), the Raconteurs (cruiser), and Baroness (comprehensive). Just know if you’re a fan of any of these artists, you’re really gonna enjoy letting these jams become the backdrop to your summer 2019 adventures and memories.