Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blinded By Sound

Now that Blinded By Sound is up and running, I will be posting articles there. In fact, there are a few reviews and articles of mine already published.

Blinded By Sound - it's new and it's more than a little awesome.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two-fer Tuesday: A Little Boogie Woogie

Expected -- from phenomenal pianist Henry Gray:

I had the distinct honor of meeting Henry Gray in 2009, hearing him play, and photographing him at work. Lovely man.


I'm so sad that I only got to visit the Liberace Museum once for a cabaret showcase right when I moved to the Vegas. If you're amenable to it, they are taking donations to help preserve the collection and find it a permanent home. It's worth it. Sincerely, to see the shoes and the costumes and the piano and everything else...this is a sight to behold.

And one of my favorites -- the Queen of Boogie Woogie, Ms. Sue Palmer! Special guest, Steve Lucky (of Steve Lucky & the Rhumba Bums, who I also enjoy):

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Two-fer Tuesday: Shannon McNally and K.T. Tunstall

Some songs just begged to be shared. And shared they must be!

K.T. Tunstall "Black Silk Ribbon" - it's beautiful and haunting.

Shannon McNally enchanted me with her performance of "Now That I Know" on Late World With Zach (Galifianakis). Watching her sing it for me and the audience, it was sweet and powerful and struck home. Years later, I discover it was written by the amazing Eric Bazilian (songwriter for The Hooters, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, Zucchero, Robbie Williams, Bon Jovi, The Scorpions(! yes, just keep wrapping your head around that one), LeAnne Rimes, Jonatha Brooke, Ronnie Spector, and the list goes on. I should have known the sweet, elemental thread that pulls one through this song was his...that's what he does best and why he writes for so many people and why I was enchanted.

Back to KT Tunstall as she takes on Dylan's "Tangled Up In Blue".

Shannon goes after Taj Mahal's "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes" and does a fine job of it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Two-fer Tuesdays: Tab Benoit

It's been snowing here in Vegas and I wanna warm up a bit. No better way to do that than with some hot Cajun goodness!

I have a lot of favorites, but I love "Solid Simple Things" especially. Nothing fancy, just...solid...simple...

I'm also partial to "When A Cajun Man Gets The Blues".

I've been fortunate enough to see Tab a few times and to even take my son to see him. The man puts on a good show! If you ever get the chance to see him, RUN...don't walk. It's totally worth it.


A family favorite.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Two-fer Tuesday: The Son's Choices

My son is visiting this week, so I told him to pick a couple videos. Here are his choices.

First up, Golden Earring - cuz you can never get enough dramatic spy music videos and cheesy 80s dancing. All at the same time.

And Billy Idol. Because nothing says cheesy 80s dancing better than cheesy dancing zombies!

Of course, it wouldn't be an adequate Two-fer Tuesday without a bonus or two. How about some cheesy 80s dancing with older Brits from the Kinks?

Perhaps a little cheesy 80s stop animation dancing from Men At Work is in order, too. *Now with extra random old lady appearance!*

Ah, I do believe I've taught him well. He's even grown a thin, cheesy mustache to go along with the theme.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CD Review: Alex Reidinger - The Pleasures of Hope

I can't confess to spending most of my days preparing for the holidays listening to random Christmas carols and the like. Let's face it, I'm not much of a traditionalist, although I do love Christmas carols and will listen on Christmas Day. However, I try very hard to put myself in a more homey frame of mind as I sit down to wrap my gifts and craft the one or two cards I may send (MAY being the operative word anymore). This refusal to give in to traditional fare means I either go the rock 'n' roll, country, or blues route for holiday cheer, but not always. For the last two years I've found the perfect CD to kick off all such wrapping and baking and decorating activities ahead of me: The Pleasures of Hope by Alex Reidinger.

Perhaps it's the lovely Celtic strains that are delivered with such deftness and heart that make me feel at once comforted and wide awake and warmed to the bones. Or maybe it's the energy and deliberate pacing of the CD itself. I listen to the tunes in order. Every time. Except when I'm running my playlist on shuffle. Nope. I prefer to let the artist, in this case, the delightful Alex, tell her story her way.

My family may have some Celtic blood coursing through our veins (chances are it's very little), but The Pleasures of Hope makes me feel very much at home. The virtual hearth is lit and the warmth spills into the room. One can imagine a cup of Irish coffee causing an uncle to perhaps dance about the kitchen every now and again; or the children to run through, delighted to steal a few forbidden cookies with impish grins upon their flushed faces. I also imagine those moments where I might sit and take a break, sipping a cup of tea and snitching my own bit of shortbread and try to make sense of the bits of ribbon tangled about here and there.

I usually start the music a day or two before Thanksgiving and Pleasures continues to feature high on the list well into the New Year. It is, after all, hopeful. Wordless and wonderful, it gives you the opportunity to paint your own hopes and dreams upon the musical canvas Alex has provided us. It's obvious that Alex possesses (and always has) a maturity and understanding of music, pacing, order, and inviting the listener to be a part of the experience. It's very rare in this world that a musician allows you to participate at the level to which Miss Reidinger does.

As a teenager (she was 17 at the time), it was Reidinger's desire to present the music she loved so much in a manner that suited her. Playing fiddle, harp, and concertina on the album, she was joined by other musicians: Chelsea Link, Harp, Track 6; Vincent Fogarty, Bouzouki, Tracks 1,3,7,13; Tom Fellenbaum, Guitar, Track 2; Al Petteway, Guitar, Track 5. The music was chosen and arranged by Alex herself with just a little help. She also took on the responsibility of putting together the CD packaging. Additionally, she composed "John Daly's" (track 13) as a means of thanking Daly for all his guidance.

From beginning to end, The Pleasures of Hope is a beautiful work of art and the perfect way to start and end one's day, especially the hectic ones. This young lady creates a stunning tale with her music. A little something to add pep to your step to start you off, then a tender moment to gather your wits about you, and on and on through the near hour worth of music. Jigs, reels, airs, hornpipe, set dance...all there for you. Don't try to pick a favorite. Nigh impossible. Although, "Martin Wynne's, The Sligo/Leitrim Bucks Of Oranmore" moves me to a pensive place, but I can't say that makes it a favorite as each selection is brilliant and bright in its own way.

I do so very eagerly encourage you to pick up a copy of The Pleasures of Hope. Okay, pick up several copies. (CD Baby is also offering 10% off your order if you purchase multiple copies right now.) Just remember to save one for yourself as you give these to friends and family. All will thank you. I know everyone who received the CDs I handed out last year appreciated them and they are played often.

Best part of this deal, you can play the music all yearlong and smell the crisp green grasses and leaves, feel the warm fires at the hearth, hear the laughter of loved ones gathered near, and revel in the sense of stress slipping off your shoulders like an unnecessary wool coat on a summer's day.

Track Listing:
1. Hanly's Tweed/The Bunch of Green Rushes/Bunker Hill - Concertina
2. Crabs in the Skillet/The Woods of Old Limerick - Harp
3. The Stage/The Pleasures of Hope/McGlinchey's Hornpipe - Fiddle
4. An Binsin Luachra - Harp
5. The Maid at the Spinning Wheel/Aherne's Egg/The Fly in the Porter - Concertina
6. Martin Wynne's/The Sligo/Leitrim Bucks of Oranmore - Harp
7. O'Farrell's Welcome to Limerick/The Roaring Barmaid - Concertina
8. Paddy Fahy's/The Boys on the Hilltop/Reavy's - Fiddle
9. The Bright Lady - Concertina
10. Paddy Fahy's/Lad O'Beirne's - Harp
11. Cró Na nGabhar/Gan Ainm - Fiddle
12. The Ebb Tide/Seán Ó Duibhir a'Ghleanna - Concertina
13. The Tenpenny Piece/John Daly's - Harp
14. The Bird in the Bush/The Jolly Tinker/The New Road - Fiddle

San Diego Radio Station KPRI Goes Commercial-Free for Christmas

From 6pm Christmas Eve until 6pm Christmas Day, KPRI FM in San Diego will offer commercial-free programming. As well, beginning at 8pm on New Year's Eve, the station will again offer nothing but music until some undesignated time (one assumes after midnight) on New Year's Day.

Kind of nice to see a radio station put their listeners ahead of profits during the holiday season.

Thanks, KPRI!

Two-fer Tuesday: Holiday Edition

May all your holiday wishes come true!

And of course, my favorite of all times.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Two-fer Tuesday: Songs That Would Never Be Hits Today

Let's face it, there are some songs that would never be hits in this day and age. Then again, some weren't even hits back when they were released. But having a hit isn't always necessary to entertain your audience. Of course, it helps if they have some idea what you're doing. Then again, since when did musical entertainment HAVE to make sense? Sometimes music wanders into "Who's On First" territory and, guess what? We don't care. We're along for the lovely lilting ride.

Three of my favorite examples of this:

I'd thought maybe I'd include songs from Kay Kyser (with whom my grandfather used to play) and Spike Jones (a family favorite), but it turned out most of their songs all made sense! Go figure.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World

For those who love guitars, you may want to check this documentary out.

Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World tells the story of the wah wah effect pedal, from its invention in 1966 to the present day. Musicians, engineers, and historians discuss the impact of the pedal on popular music and demonstrate the various ways it has been used, as well as how its evolution has improved the ability of artists to express themselves musically. The film features interviews with Brad Plunkett, the inventor of the pedal, plus many other musical luminaries such as Ben Fong-Torres, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Buddy Guy, Art Thompson, Eddie Kramer, Kirk Hammett, Dweezil Zappa, and Jim Dunlop. These professionals explain how a musical novelty transcended convention and has become timelessly woven into the fabric of modern pop-culture.