Stuck in a Rut

Over the past 30 odd years I have been mostly listening to Rock (Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Bowie and all of the other great British and American bands.
I have also been listening to Jazz (Davis, Brubeck, Chet)
and assorted other Jazz artists.
For classical I love Betthovan's 7th and Tchaikovsky final symphony as examples.
But I know that there other great albums not only in the Rock, Jazz and Symphonic categories but in international ones as well. I would appreciate any suggestions not only on Rock, Jazz or Classical but also on any other category which is not lite but great.

Henry-before I make any music recommendations I would suggest you consider the purchase of the odd monthly music magazine such as Mojo or Uncut these would not only give you great retrospective articles on the classic bands but give you some feel for newer music and where it fits into your tastes....anywhere here's some music.

JEFF BUCKLEY-GRACE-a mix of Zep Eastern type rock,folk and even classical by the late great son of Tim,great voice nice recording.

RADIOHEAD-OK COMPUTER-Floyd type ideas meet rocking,chiming guitars and keyboards-heralded as the new classic of 90's rock.

NICK DRAKE-just about any compiliation or anyone of his 4 albums.
Deceptively deep singer/songwriter folkish but somehow unique,ignored during his lifetime but now regarded as something of a lost genius.

RYAN ADAMS-GOLD-arguably todays most prolific and eclectic talent-bluesy rockers,Van Morrisonesque soul rock,plaintive reflection,country ballads and Springsteenesque charm.
A great record

BECK-SEA CHANGE-lush strings and arrangements and acoustic guitars evoking the ghost of Nick Drake and dragging it into the new millenium.

There's tons of stuff out there....need any specific advice,mail me direct.

Have fun.
If you love Jazz and Classical and you are bored I don't know how to help you - each of these fields is so vast, that I'm tempted to conclude that your "being in a rut" is the result of a habit of listening superficially to the obvious and making quich judgments about value and interest. In classical you have not only the time periods in which the music was composed that make for great differences, but the geographical origins of the composers as well. The two works you have mentioned are very easily assimulated and can, because of this become a bit boring after you have heard them a bunch of times. Try listening to Sibelius, Mahler, Stravinsky, Prokofief, for starters. And give their works repeated hearings until you know them as well as the ones you referred to - once they start to make sense to you you will find they become much more addictive than boring (at least thats the way it worked for me.) And if you really want to get your blood up, listen to some good African drumming groups, or Asian for that matter!
The genres you've listed seem to be the main bodys for each. Have you tried venturing off the main path and exploring some of the other off-shoot flavors?

About five years ago I discovered the old Bossa Nova classics of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz from the early sixties. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that people like Sarah Vaughn, Wes Montgomery, and Louis Armstrong to name a few had recorded versions of Jobim's classics too. Fun stuff.

Bossa Nova opened my eyes and helped me acquire a taste for Latin Jazz and Flamenco in particular, especially the current "Nuevo" Flamenco resurgence. My favorites are Robby Longley, Jesse Cook, Oscar Lopez, etc.

A friend of mine recently produced two CDs for a couple artists that have managed to create an awesome blend of rock, flamenco, jazz, Middle Eastern, classical, electronica. If you're interested, check the reviews for Oscuro and Magic Box here:

XRCD, Music Direct, Mapleshade, and CD Now have releases from many lesser known, but equally worthy artists.

It's funny, after having listened to these unknowns for an extended period now, it's the famous performers I need to rediscover.

Have fun!
I know what you mean! I've got thousands of albums and cd's and I feel like I'm playing the same stuff all the time.

I agree with the earlier response about getting bored with the same old symphonies. For classical, I'd start listening to chamber music. For instance, the string quartets of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven are a great start. Chamber music generally sounds better on a home system than symphonic works anyway. I also listen to baroque a lot (i.e., Bach, Telemann, Handel).

Good luck!
I agree with Newbee, if you're into Jazz, I can't understand
how you could be bored with all the great new music being released.
Check out Bob's
top 25 list is full of killer stuff.

If you like jazz & rock try some on some blues. Blind Pig Records has sale going, but there's lots of other interesing
small labels.
I grew up on Floyd, Zep, Yes, CSNY...

I know this phrase gets thrown around a lot, but "you won't be disappointed" in David Gray and Jack Johnson.

By the way Ben, I pulled some Nick Drake and really like him. God call.
There are tons of great musicians who don't typically get much radio airplay. One great source for me is WXPN a non-profit station in Philadelphia. is a vast wonderland of bands & albums to check out. Their "XPNessentials" is a great read, for both new stuff & what you already know.
People classify them as "singer-songwriter" whatever that means, but to me it's rock/folk/blues/a bit of jazz; the common thread is real emotion, & not much concern for commercial success. check it out...
I really dig Stan Ridgways solo stuff! Almost anything the guy does has been exceptional. I don't like all of his cuts of his cd's ,but there are always 4-5 songs I like. I have like 9 of his CD's and made a compilation which took up 2 full cd's.

Look up things at this site!
Advice above is good, especially concerning classical -- Beethoven 7 and Tchaikovsky 6 and that's it? Sheesh. Go buy yourself recordings of the Bach's Goldberg Variations, Brandeburg Concertos, and Violin Partita in D minor, Haydn's Cello Concertos, some Mozart string quintets, Beethoven Opus 110 and 111 piano sonatas and opus 131 string quartet, Berlioz Nuits d'Ete, Schubert's trout quintet, Chopin's Nocturns or Ballades, List B Minor Sonata, Brahms Violin Concerto and Sonatas for Cello and Piano, Mahler's 1st and 9th Symphonies, Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit and Daphnis and Chloe Suite, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Song of the Nightingale, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra and some of his string quartets, Prokofiev's 3rd piano concerto and 7th piano sonata, Barber's Cello Concerto and Shostakovich Symphonie #5. Then you will have a sampling of what are all themselves overplayed warhorses of the classical literature -- all of them great, none at all obscure. (Other people could just as easily generate equally valid and completely different short lists). If you get bored of these, then no worries, because each one suggests about a thousand other things to listen to. Oh, and you get the pleasure of being able to compare performances of the same pieces too. Gould's and Kirkpatrick's Goldberg variations could hardly be more different, and both are awesome things.

On the non-classical side, check out some Frank Zappa. He sounds like nothing else, and part of what's great about his work is that, while most of it is packaged in rouughly the format of standard rock band, his composing, with its myriad chord changes, quick time shifts, build and release crescendos, often extremely long melodic lines, virtuoisic passages and choral counterpoint, has virtues like those found in the best jazz and classical material, even of the hard-to-take-in avant garde varieties. So listening to Zappa with the right kind of ear can be a wedge into other music that is somewhat hard to grasp at first, but extremely rewarding when you learn how to hear it. I recommend "The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life", and "We're Only in it for the Money" for easy entry into Zappa. Carefull though: When I started listening to Zappa -- long after being saturated in classical music for well over a decade -- I hardly listened to anything else for 3 years. Still not bored though.

As for jazz, get some Louis Armstrong and the Hot 5's and 7's from around 1927-1930. If you haven't listened to that, then you haven't heard jazz. Everone is still playing Louis' solos.

Man there's so much. No need to get bored.


To avoid boredom with classical music, buy several discs of the same piece. Brahms and Tchaikovsky violin concertos are a good place to start.

An interesting feature of classical music is that you can find many recordings of some of the great pieces, and compare the style of various performers. The variation of interpretations is remarkable, and I am talking of performances which all are good, by highly regarded musicians. For example: I have five or six recordings of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, and while I don't have time to listen to all of them at one sitting, I do enjoy playing just one movement several times as played by different artists, and reflecting on the different interpretations. This approach will open up another dimension to your musical experience.

All the above are great. Try doing a A/B comparison of Nick Drake's 'Pink Moon' to Beck's 'Sea Change' - Drake reincarnate.....30 years later. (warning: not for the already depressed). :-)

Also try these:

Carlton Rittenour: Larry & Lee
Miles Davis - In A Silent Way

Lou Reed - Magic & Loss
Radiohead - Kid A

B.B. King - Blues on the Bayou
Ronnie Earl - Guitar Virtuoso Live in Europe

Arvo Part - Te Deum
Mahler - 1st

Brian Eno - Apollo
Harold Budd - The Pearl

Moby - Play
Patrick O'Hearn - Indigo

Great Storytelling:
Tom Waits - Mule Variations
Stan Ridgway - Mosquitos

Oops - could also add these epics:

The Clash - The Clash, London Calling
XTC - Nonsuch, Skylarking
Peter Gabriel - Security, Passion
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
Psychedelic Furs - Psychedelic Furs
we have similar music tastes (and i think the same zip code if that's your zip in your name...), here are some of the musicians i listen to when i need a change

this is just off of the top of my head...since i'm sitting in my cube at work and am trying to visualize my cd collection through the hum of the flourescent lights...

international music, you must try something by Fela Kuti - "Zombie," "Beast of No Nations," or "Shakara" are all great places to start. If you're not familiar w/ Fela's music, you're in for a treat - driving horns and beats - a combo of jazz, rock, reggae, protest music....just make sure you find fela and not his son, femi kuti

i find myself listening to more and more johnny cash and willie nelson - soulful country, unlike the junk on the radio today. these guys are real men.

sometimes i like to listen to some female vocals to wind down after a long day...for this, try joni mitchell "blue" or "court and spark," eva cassidy "live at blues alley," nina simone...

I've always liked schubert's 9th symphony for classical - great build up, powerful and beautiful

allman brothers "live at filmore east" really gets me pumped up, as does springsteen's "born to run"...though you probably already have those in your collection...

i'll keep thinking
one more from fela kuti - perhaps my favorite "original suffer head"

also, maybe some tom waits - start with "small change" or "blue valentine"
Some areas of music that you might consider are Baroque as suggested by Easy E and another is Bluegrass. You can find some pretty jazzy Bluegrass stuff (Dave Grissman, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, and others) The jazzier bluegrass is easier to start on because of the little or no vocals, which can throw a lot of people off. Almost any acoustic music is a good change of pace and sounds better as you increase the quality of your system.

listen to it all
I just discovered his music, and the lyrics and compositions are extremely is his guitar playing,,his live recordings have exemplary sound quality.

female vocalist Maia Sharp has an outstanding CD called Maia Sharp with a great band. jazzy-rocky-country'ish...but great voice and production.
I second the Bluegrass suggestion. A recent excellent selection is the double "Alison Krauss + Union Station Live" album. IMO it's wonderfully recorded (and after just seeing them live at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, lauded as one of the finest music venues in the world, I contend that it's one of the finest recordings I have ever heard) and the talent level heard on this disk as far as bluegrass goes, is hard to beat. Another excellent record is Chris Thile's latest solo effort, "All Who Wander Are Not Lost."

I have also touted Jack Williams on this forum before. He is a little known singer/songwriter, but his Southen soulful sound is a great change of pace. You can find him @ There is also a good description of his music at

Nice Thread.

Henry, I'm a bit younger than you but I love alot of the same era music you do. If you're looking for something recently released to look up at your local record store, check out the following:

Rosanne Cash "Rules of Travel", Ryan Adams "Rock and Roll" and "Love is Hell Part 1", Perfect Circle "Thirteenth Step", Guster "Keep It Together".

IMHO, you'll find something in each of these to appreciate for sure.
Good Thread. Follow through on the idea of listening to alternative radio stations on your computer. There is some great stuff out there for the finding. You can even link-up with European Stations, video included if you have DSL.

Also, if you have lots of CDs, try mixing them up and just keep playing from the top. My car has a CD player with cartridges that hold 6 CDs and i have three cartridges. A while ago I mixed up my whole collection and I just keep exchanging CDs. I drive alot and, by the time I get to the 'third' cartridge, I can't easily remember what is coming next so it is a pleasant surprize.

Finally, get yourself Satellite TV (I have Dish) and listen to the CDs. No commercials, and they show the playlist. Rock, Light Classical, Hip-hop, just about everything. Especially on Dish, the folks who program the Blues are outstanding.
I'm also in a bit of a rut. I listen primarily to classical
music, although I started 50 years ago with jazz. Stan Kenton's foray into orchestral music in the late '40s/early '50s rather channeled me into classical, where I've been ever since.

One thing I've found helpful is this: when you're buying an album of a composer with whom you're familiar, try to find one in which he/she has been paired with another composer. Most record companies tend to program albums that have more than one composer so that all selections are of a similar
nature, chronologically, geographically, etc.

Suggestion: give a listen to The Be Good Tanyas. Might not be your cuppa tea, but then again....


The Be Good Tanyas latest record is great isn't it? If you like her, be sure to check out Gillian Welch, especially her first record "Revival" if you haven't already.

"Chinatown" was the first of their CDs that I bought. Then I bought "Blue Horse", which includes my favorite tracks: "Lakes of Pontchartrain", and "Keep It Light Enough To Travel".

They are three very talented ladies; wish I could see them in person. Maybe they'll start touring some more after Frazey's baby is a bit older.