Reuben Bullock’s “Influences”

Reuben Bullock’s “Influences”

To celebrate the release of his new album, Arms of a Dream, Reuben Bullock (of Reuben and The Dark) shares a playlist of his influences.

“These are all songs that have inspired me… moved me one way or another. Songs that hold still a moment in time but still feel timeless listening to them now. New and old.” — Reuben Bullock


Charles Bradley, “Changes”
This one is a heartbreaker. Charles Bradley had this way of embodying all of the emotion he put into his songs. “I’m going through changes” as lyrics are so simple and meaningful. One of the best hugs I ever had was from Charles.

Dawes, “When My Time Comes”
Big chorus. I’m not sure where I came across this band. I’m a sucker for a folk anthem. I heard this song once, years ago, and those words have been in my head ever since.

Fleet Foxes, “White Winter Hymnal”
When these guys first appeared, they really changed a lot of things. It was maybe my first experience with “indie-folk.” Interesting arrangements and a bunch of guys singing old-time melodies with voices soaked in reverb. At the time, I was playing a lot in stairwells and train stations and rooms with a lot of natural reverb. I love how their voices carry. This whole album is great. Somehow nostalgic on first listen.

David Bowie, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide”
This was my intro to Bowie. I heard this song in a skateboard video in 2002. It was Flip Skateboards with Arto Saari’s part. Skateboarding introduced me to a lot of music. This is a song I wish I had written. Best opening lyric: “Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth.”

Modest Mouse, “The Good Times Are Killing Me”
This was the band that soundtracked high school for me. I love this recording. It’s so raw. Also, it has a great opening line of “Can we smoke in here?” It’s great.

Slow Show, “Bloodline”
I just came across these guys this summer. I feel a strange affinity with this band’s songs. Dream Darling was on repeat for a couple months straight.

Bruce Springsteen, “Nebraska”
A friend gave me this record after I recorded my first solo album. He was surprised I didn’t listen to Springsteen. At that point, I had only really heard his big band stuff and maybe “Born in the U.S.A.” Whatever was on the radio. This album really changed my opinion on Bruce Springsteen. This song is my fave and that album is one of my all-time favorite albums. I still listen to it all the time. It is dark and gentle.

Ben Harper, “Another Lonely Day”
I remember being in a car with a girl at about 2 or 3 in the morning when I was in high school. We wanted to listen to this song, but there wasn’t any way of doing that back then unless you physically had a copy of it. I think we called her sister and woke her up to play it off her CD player, and listened through a cell phone. That’s the measure of a good song.

Broken Social Scene, “Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl”
This was the first BSS song I ever heard. I repeat a lot of lyrics in my songs, over and over. I wonder if I got that idea here? I love the line “park that car, drop that phone, sleep on the floor, dream about me.”

Arcade Fire, “My Body Is A Cage”
I wish I wrote this song. It’s my favorite Arcade Fire tune, for sure.


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