10 women who rock with keyboards and great songs

Rock music has many outputs, but at the same time, it became intrinsically associated with guitars. Well, not for these women. They manage to do the job with powerful voices, lyrical prowess and a set of keys.

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Nina Simone

Nina Simone’s career developed parallel to the birth of rock tradition, and today she is recognized as an influence by numerous artists. One of the strongest voices of the civil rights movement, her activism went into the music. She wrote several protest songs, and in this rendition of “Mississipi Goddam”, first record on “Nina Simone in Concert” (1964), you can see the anger on her face.

 

Joni Mitchell

Canadian folk icon Joni Mitchell, in turn, is well placed in the rock n’ roll timeline: she has been called “the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century”. Her incredibly rich tales are packed with sounds from jazz to folk, and although she is mainly remembered playing guitar, her influence was also felt for the piano tunes. She didn’t attend the festival, but made “Woodstock”, from “Ladies of the Canyon” (1970), a hymn of the era.

 

Tori Amos

Amos came around in the middle of the nineties’ alternative wave with an unequivocally visceral and feminine piano-driven take on pop rock. She has released 14 albums, expanded her sound and lyrical depth even more and garnered a devoted following. From her 1991 debut “Little Earthquakes”, “Precious Things” is a rarely matched display of emotions from its starting riff.

 

Fiona Apple

Apple came around at the end of the alternative wave, strongly enough to get a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the single “Criminal”. Since then, her music went from jazzy to indescribably unique – piano and clever lyrics remaining. “Fast As You Can” pointed that direction in her second album, “When the Pawn…” (1999).

 

 

Amanda Palmer

Since her breakthrough with duo The Dresden Dolls, Amanda Palmer jumps from one project to another. In almost all of then, she uses the piano to form a vigorous base for intense and inventive songs of personal confusion. Sometimes this vigor comes in a more straightforward rock style, as in “Girl Anachronism”, from the Dolls’ 2003 self-titled debut.

 

Bat For Lashes

Natasha Khan’s music is as diverse as it is dark, even when it’s electronic or evokes sensuality. In “Siren Song”, from “Two Suns” (2009), she takes the place of a sweet lover whose “blond curls slice through your heart”, and then shows her “wickedness and sin”. The transformation is felt in the music, and it’s as fascinating as it seems.

 

Amy Lee

Although it became known in the company of her band Evanescence, Amy Lee’s combination of piano and voice is equally potent when isolated. It can be heard in several songs, like the ballad “Lost in Paradise”, from “Evanescence” (2011).

 

Cat Power

Chan Marshall is an explorer of sounds whose career built up from the nineties to become a fans’ and critics’ favorite in the next century. Her simple songs and smooth voice reveal very personal feelings, as in the hit “The Greatest”, from “The Greatest” (2006).

 

Kate Bush

Kate Bush had a memorable start with the UK Singles number 1 “Wuthering Heights”, written when she was 18. That launched an almost 40 years long career of notoriously eclectic and experimental music and performances. Her piano is a bit drowned in “Love and Anger”, from “The Sensual World” (1989), ¬†but the song shows well her mix of styles – besides, it would be too clich√© to stick to “Heights”.

 

Tarja Turunen

Finnish soprano Tarja Turunen entered the world of rock as singer of the metal band Nightwish. But since her departure in 2005, she’s been playing a lot of piano on her solo career, with four albums already released. “Innocence”, from “The Shadow Self” (2016) is an example of Tarja’s piano and metal mix.

7 songs about Jesus on wheels (and 4 about him doing other stuff)

Two thousand years passed and, guess what? Jesus Christ is alive and kicking! He developed an interest for driving, riding and even building wheeled vehicles. And doing other stuff with musicians he meets along the way.

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by Sean Bieri

Ugly Kid Joe – Jesus Rode A Harley

All heaven breaks loose in a hard rock party. For some reason, the Lord’s got “big red eyes”. And we also get unholy glimpses from the past of Moses, Noah and Mary.

 

Tom Waits – Jesus Gonna Be Here

Jesus is coming, driving a brand new Ford to save Tom Waits. And he better hurry, because the guy is clearly suffering.

 

Craig Finn – New Friend Jesus

The Hold Steady’s singer Craig Finn is invited to the Nazarene’s car and develops a very close relationship. Then he uses it as last resort to impress someone.

 

Screaming Blue Messiahs – Jesus Chrysler Drives a Dodge

In this rockabilly tale, the Messiahs give him a nickname, a matching vehicle of choice, and inform us he “drives it on the wages of sin”. The Virgin Mary is also involved somehow.

 

Jim White – If Jesus Drove A Motor Home

Jesus is a recurring source of inspiration for Jim White. This time the singer raises lots of questions about the driving savior, beginning with “I wonder would he drive pedal to the metal, or real slow?”

 

ZZ Top – Jesus Just Left Chicago

It is never said Jesus is on wheels here, but since he crosses the US, we’ll assume he didn’t do all the trip walking like the old days.

 

Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod

In this 90’s hit industrial collab, Jesus is not the one driving, but the constructor. The lyrics, sung by completely drunk Butthole Surfers’ Gibby Haynes, don’t say much, but spoken word explains that “Jesus built my car / It’s a love affair”.

 

Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon – Are You Drinkin’ With Me Jesus?

That’s a cover of folk duo Lou and Peter Berryman, about a guy who can not believe his luck finding the son of the man himself at the bar. But we’ll leave you with the underground icons’ partnership, which by the way is not the only one worth looking up.

 

King Missile – Jesus Was Way Cool

From the album “Mystical Shit”, this monologue gives us all reasons why Jesus was cool, including that “he could’ve played guitar better than Hendrix”.

 

John Prine – Jesus, The Missing Years

It is well known that nobody knows what happenned to Jesus between ages 12 and 30. Well, John Prine set out to solve the mystery.

 

The Dead Milkmen – I Dream of Jesus

Well this one is too… inventive to describe. Just listen.