21 December 2011

And nobody has to cry to make it seem real nobody has to hide the way that they feel

It's the Holiday Season and in case you are looking for some last minute gifts for the music lover in your life I thought I would share some of my recent obsessions.....yes...obsessions...these CD's are awesome on so many levels I feel as though I want to listen to nothing more than these three. For weeks now if I don't have WFUV on I have one of these CD's playing.

Starting with Ryan Adams latest - Ashes and Fire - this CD is his first as a sober writer and I tell you - he's lost nothing by giving up the booze. His music is as thoughtful and at times pained as it ever was! Though it's hard to pick a favourite off of this incredible collection of tunes in this moment on this day it would be "Come Home". If you're new to him and his music this is a great place to start - if you're already a fan - this might become your new favourite CD...I dare say it's mine of 2011! http://www.losthighwayrecords.com/ryanadams

Next up lets talk about Adele. I know, right? If you know me you might not think I'd dig her - but how can you not? I've been a fan since her 19 release and I absolutely can't get enough of 21 which was released earlier this year. I have no idea what took me so long to acquire this but man - she has proven here that she's no flash in the pan. This chick is the real deal and seriously talented! I suspect we will know of her for many years to come as she does not appear to be of the Amy Winehouse School of Rock - what a tragic loss! Back to Adele - not only is she a talented songwriter she chooses some great songs to cover - I never thought I'd ever want to hear anyone but The Cure sing one of my favourites by them - "Lovesong" - but damn does she do it right! This chick is no product of computer generated ANYTHING....she is who you hear on her CD's...to prove it I am sharing her live version of the song from Letterman. Speaking of her live performances I can't wait to get my hands on her Live From Albert Hall CD! http://www.adele.tv/

I've been an Indigo Girls fan from the very, very beginning. I even saw them live at Yale playing to probably no more than 100 people one summer day back in the later 80's. But I have to say I've not loved every CD they've put out. They have come in and out of favour with me over the years. I've not felt that they have been as consistent with their music as one would hope. So maybe that's why I love Beauty Queen Sister so very much! It harkens back to their roots yet displays musical maturity that come from being around for so long and hopefully improving on your craft. To be honest I've always had a hard time with the religious references that permeates their music (hence their knick name "The Bible Dykes") but I've always been able to get past that and enjoy their honest, well spoken lyrics and pure, sweet as southern tea melodies. One of the things I want to say that surprised me about this collection of tunes is that Amy Ray's music - for possibly the first time for me - has truly tugged at my innards in a way that her songs never have. I've always felt that Emily's music, being the literature major of the two, was more romantic and appealed to me more than Amy's harder edged tunes. Not on this CD! Amy's songs are among my favourites - again - not that I could have a favourite - but in this moment I will say Amy's "Share The Moon" might be the best tune on the whole CD....so here you go! http://www.indigogirls.com/home.html

Ok - so to be clear - we've had a full year of new music so I'd like to throw in some 'also ran's' for some great music that I have yet to become obsessed with - though Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons CD Cabin Ghosts (http://www.corychisel.com/) is very close to obsession for me. In no particular order here they are:

One half of The Swell Season - Marketa Irglova struck out on her own this year to put our Anar....what a great CD!! http://marketairglovamusic.com/

Iron and Wine also put out a cool one this year....http://www.ironandwine.com/

Totally digging David Mead's latest, Dudes, another CD worth your hard earned cash! http://www.davidmead.com/

Mildly obsessed with Brandi Carlile's The Story....this chick is awesome! http://www.brandicarlile.com/

Last but not least - Harper Simon - Wishes and Stars - Paul's 30-something year old son waited until he could afford to make this CD on his own instead of trading on his name...worth the wait! This guy has talent! http://harpersimon.com/

That about covers it for now so - go buy some new music!! I wish you all a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! Remember - it's "What You Give Away" (thanks Vince Gill) that counts the most!

Thanks for tuning in...Until next time.....Cheers!!

25 July 2011

I treated myself like I knew I would, I told you I was trouble, you know I’m no good….

In honour of her very sad passing this past weekend I thought I would republish this post from May 2007. Needless to say this is a very deep loss to the music community and her talent will be missed! She was a true original....RIP, Amy...


I picked up the Amy Winehouse CD, Back To Black , this weekend and thought I would try something new – writing about it as I listen for the first time. Over the last few months (her second album, it was released in October 2006) I’ve heard a track here and there but this is my first REAL sit down with it. So far it’s a smooth mix of jazz and R & B.

What strikes me most is her retro sounding voice. If I didn’t have a picture of her in front of me (she definitely looks like a modern woman – tattoos and all) I would think she’s some 1960’s girl jazz group reincarnate (were there actually any? But still….). This isn’t surprising since she sites as her influences many female jazz/R & B singers – Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and the late great Minnie Ripperton to name a few.

At this point I’m about half way through the CD and so far I would say I’m really loving the music! Somehow, some way you get the feeling that this could be a live show in a club in NYC in the mid 1960’s. I swear it’s truly amazing how good this stuff sounds! Don’t get me wrong – it’s not some faux retread, it’s fresh and interesting and downright impressive! Even the backing vocals have it down…back when they added almost more than real instruments and certainly more than they add these days. I think that was what was so cool about the music then - it was more basic and stripped down – you couldn’t hide behind synthesizers and electronic drums – you had to work with what you had and vocals stood out more because of those now antiquated methods of recording and more ‘acoustic’ instruments. Nowadays it’s easy to fill in musical gaps – to make something better than it is because of all the recording tricks, and cutting and pasting one can do whilst in the studio and after the fact.

While I can’t be certain of the methods used in recording this CD, I can say that after hearing the whole album straight through it’s true to it’s word throughout– honest, pure and definitely a sexy listen! If you’re looking for something retro but new and fresh – this is it! She’s got a killer voice – the songs are cool and it’s a fun ride! Check her out at itunes, www.myspace.com/amywinehouse, or http://www.amywinehouse.co.uk/

My mother always told me ‘those who can’t do – teach’. She felt that if you were really capable at your art – you wouldn’t be teaching it – you would be a successful artisan. This was especially loud in my ears as she fought my tenth grade English teacher when he gave me a ‘C’ on a paper she (and others – including my mother’s own college professor) felt was a college level paper. She even tried to get the hack fired - that’s how strongly she was behind it. So when recently I was asked to donate time to run lights for the adult version of “Grease” for the kiddie school where I have worked on and off over the last six months – I was a little skeptical. Of course, it was all for their scholarship fund – about 30 students a session are on scholarship – so that wasn’t the issue – every person working on it donated their time – but I was unsure of what I would see on stage. In the adult versions of these musicals all the teachers, some former teachers and a few parents act and sing their way through the show.

I was, to say the least, pleasantly surprised. After months of seeing/working these kiddie shows where, despite the talent that some of these kids come from, the apple does apparently fall from the tree, it was great to see a show how it’s supposed to be done! There were harmonies, people being IN character, knowing their lines and knowing the songs. Overall I was impressed by the actors on stage! Of course some were better than others and some were more in tune than others but no matter what it was a lot of fun! Everyone on stage and in the audience had a blast – and it showed! At one point last night I held a blackout a little longer because “Good Lovin” came on (I know – “Grease” takes place in the 50’s and this song came out in 1966 – a point not lost on me) and everyone in the theatre started clapping in time and singing along, it was a cool moment that you think only happens in movies. But the point is – while no one on stage is an academy award winning actor or singer these teachers impressed me. They can do!

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

10 June 2011

Our love is like a paper airplane flying in the folded wind Riding high, dipping low And innocence is fair game, I'm hoping I can hold it in

Wow....has it really been that long since I've updated this? Needless to say it's been a busy few months. But I've still had time to buy some new music so I thought I'd share what I've been listening to in recent weeks and months...in no particular order...Enjoy!

I think I'll stop right there.....I hope you've enjoyed this snippet of new(er) tunes...

Thanks for tuning in...Until next time...CHEERS!

19 January 2011

And in those times of trouble When you are most alone The memory of love will bring you home. John Denver

It's been 11 years and one day since I last heard my Mother say "I love You". In fact, those were the last words she ever said to me the evening before she unexpectedly died. It is the memory of her love and those last words that carry me through my days. Those words echo in my heart when I feel the world has turned away. They ring in my ears and serve to remind me that wherever I am I am nothing if not loved. Love carries on and transcends time and physical place. My mother was not perfect - she had her faults - and her demons. Yet despite an early childhood spent in displaced persons camps in Poland and Germany right after WWII she embraced the world around her with compassion and grace along with an abundance of optimism. She was beautiful inside and out - she was humble - she was kind - she was giving. I am truly blessed that she was my Mother and that 'those' were the last words we spoke to each other.

The greatest gift my Mother gave me aside from her wit, her charm (I hope) and her nose- was her love. Or more specifically - her fearlessness towards love. She was not afraid to tell the people in her life that she loved and cared for them. She went out on a limb - she threw away all caution - she jumped right in - despite the pain that might follow - she LOVED with everything she had and did so generously. She may have feared rejection (she was, after all, an actress) but she didn't let the fear prevent her from expressing her feelings and demonstrating her love. She not only said "I Love You" she showed it. Maybe that scared some people - I'm sure at times in my troubled youth it scared me - but she persevered. She hugged, she held, and she cried right along with you if you needed her. She was supportive, encouraging and completely unconditional with her love. I say this not just as her daughter - but I've been told by those who knew her as an adult and a contemporary. She meant LOVE and she was LOVE.

I do my best to carry her lessons with me on a daily basis. Although it took me years of reckless behaviour to fully grasp Her kind of Love luckily my Mother bore witness and, hopefully, truly felt my love. My Dad tells me that she did. So if I love you - I say it. I fear nothing - except rejection - yet still I persevere. I mean it, too. I mean it forever. I mean it unconditionally. Once you have entered my heart there is no escaping. There are those I've not heard from in years - but if they were to reach out - they would find my open arms. I learned all this from my Mother. Love is forever and it will bring you home.

Thanks for tuning in....Until next time....CHEERS!