09 July 2007

Chester the dog he lives across the street he’s got four furry tiny feet….

I’m a little biased towards this week’s featured artist, Dre Towey, a.k.a. Andrea Loomis Towey. You see, we went to Jr. High/High School together, and while we weren’t the best of friends back then we were always friendly. To be honest, she was one of the nicest people in our school. We reconnected at our High School reunion this past fall, both of us, coincidentally, working on new CD’s. As her adorable kids played at our feet we discussed our projects and have stayed in touch since then - even sending each other MP3’s of our demos through the glory’s of email. It’s been very cool to share the rough mixes and get the support and encouragement that comes from the feedback of another artist.

Her debut solo release, Chester the Dog, is Dre’s first foray into the world of children’s music. Wait. Don’t stop reading. All my readers who drop by every week for rock n’ roll reviews – hang tight……..Ok – back to it…..so here’s the deal – yes – it’s children’s music – but only if you actually listen to the words closely. Unlike Laurie Berkner’s work this music is very appealing to adults. The production values are excellent (the CD was recorded at The Carriage House in Stamford, CT), and are such that you could be listening to a country/bluegrass CD. Her voice is reminiscent of Nanci Griffith, and her three kids singing backup on several of the songs is absolutely priceless. Part lite rock, part 50’s roll, throw in a dash of a screaming telecaster and you have music for all ages.

While a few of the tunes are traditional and she does a cover of the Carol Hart song “A Friend Like You” my favourite songs are Dre’s originals. “Chasing the Cat” is fun and hilarious and makes me want to chase my cat more than I already do. I also love “Mama Makes the Mashed Potatoes” and the title track “Chester the Dog”. Of course, you have songs about days of the week, counting, and other cool things for kiddies to learn about – but there are other messages in the music – such as stopping to smell the roses – something we all need to do. All of her tunes are very cool and accessible - I even hear hints of Badly Drawn Boy in her song “Engineer Emmet”. Basically you don’t have to be a kid to appreciate this CD.

Overall, I feel like dancing. It’s a very happy mix of tunes and I know I will be popping this one in whenever the mood strikes me. Way to go Dre!!! For more info: http://www.littleloomis.com

Thanks to Tivo I watched or skimmed over 22 hours of the “Live Earth Concert” over the weekend. It was a lot of fun and while the channels I get didn’t show as much of the London show as I would have liked (I missed James Blunt, Damien Rice and all but one song of David Grey’s – this bummed me out immeasurably) for the most part the coverage was good and I really enjoyed seeing Roger Waters (amazing!!!!), KT Tunstall, Crowded House (awesome!!) The Police, Lenny Kravitz, Dave Mathews Band, UB40, John Mayer and Alicia Keys, one of the most talented folks to come out of music in recent years. Though I did think her performance was brought down a notch by her collaboration with the snooze fest that is John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae – two of the most boring people to come out of music in recent years. I think I fell off my couch reaching for remote to fast forward as quickly as humanly possible. Oh well – the rest of the show was very cool and more than made up for that blunder.

One of the great things about the show was that not only were the short films interesting and thought provoking, as I’d read they would in the New York Times friday the organizers made a point to show how easy and accessible making a difference can be. You don’t have to be rich and put solar panels and windmills on your roof to affect change – you can do some little things that in the long run can add up to a big change. Here are some things I do and have been doing for some time (in no particular order):
1) I walk or bike when I can instead of taking the car.
2) I changed my light bulbs to the fluorescent kind and then turn them off when I leave a room.
3) I take a canvas bag(s) for my walk to the grocery store.
4) I turn the water off when I brush my teeth.
5) I don’t use air conditioning at home.
6) I turn off power strips when I’m not using them.
7) If it’s yellow I let it mellow if its brown I flush it down.
8) I don’t eat red meat.
9) I don’t shower every day and when I do I keep it short or take a bath.
10) I recycle even though my landlord doesn’t provide a bin – I stealthily use other’s bins around the neighbourhood. It’s kind of fun, actually, except when I’ve gotten yelled at – I think they were missing the point.
11) I use a Brita filter instead of buying individual bottles of water.
12) I don’t buy over packaged foods.
13) I only use natural, biodegradable detergents and soaps.
14) I made a point not to manufacture too many copies of NUMB in the hopes that people will download the music and save packaging and shipping resources. Basically, I rarely buy new CD’s – I download or buy used.

If you look around – you’ll see the little things you can do to make a difference. One step at a time. One act at a time. We can all do it. For more info go to www.liveearth.org

Thanks for tuning in….Until next Monday…CHEERS!!!!

PS. I saw a great bumpersticker the other day, it read: Am I a liberal or am I just educated?

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