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.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rock Prophecies Screening at Las Vegas Hilton, Saturday, December 11, 2010

Not only is the Hilton showing the movie, but Tyler Bryant is scheduled to play.

Las Vegas Hilton, 7pm, 12/11/10
Free admission
3000 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Two-fer Tuesday: The Union

No long intro this time around. Straight to the videos we go!

Is it too much to ask that a trip to England and a few concerts with The Union be placed in my Christmas stocking?

If you're interested in finding out more about the band, check out The Union's website.

And now, for a special song:

Please visit The Union's ChildLine Rocks page to purchase merchandise, of which 100% of the profits go to support ChildLine, UK’s free, confidential helpline for vulnerable children and young people in distress.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas with the O'Jays

Gigante Media announced today that the O'Jays are releasing a Christmas album. The release will be supported by live performances in select cities.

Fairfax, VA --- Soul superstars The O’Jays invite R&B fans to celebrate Christmas With The O’Jays as they release a new album and launch a holiday tour this winter hitting select cities such as Chicago, New York, Orlando and Newark to name a few. Christmas With The O’Jays (on Saguaro Road Records) serves up plenty of new reasons to groove around the Christmas tree. The ten song CD features soulful holiday classics including “Silent Night,” “Joy To The World,” “The First Noel” and “Jingle Bells” as well as two new songs, “I’m What You Want This Christmas” and “Cause it’s Christmas.” Backed by a national DR television advertising campaign, the album will be featured on cable and networks nationwide including BET and TVOne as well as major markets such as New York City, Chicago, Atlanta and Washington, DC. A comprehensive radio advertising and promotion program will run concurrently.

"This CD was created with the best intentions and in good spirit,” says Walter Williams, Sr of The O’Jays. “Every now and then an opportunity like this comes along. We, The O'Jays, Bruce Walker & Jacques Richmond were able to capture the holiday love and spirit in these performances for our fans’ enjoyment.” “This was one of the fastest records I ever recorded,” adds Eddie Levert, Sr. “It is a great product that I am proud to have been a part of. It was a real treat working with Bruce Walker and Saguaro Road Records. It was a great experience going into the studio to create what I am sure will be a long lasting holiday treat.”