Tag Archives: music

To live is to fly

2014 was a tough year for the world. Ferguson, ISIS, Syria, Israel – havoc was unleashed on our brothers and sisters all around.

The year was an up and down one for me and mine as well. As always, the balm for my soul has been my garden and my music. The garden is dormant, as you can imagine, but music – ahh, the music is always alive.

Here is a song that soothes my ruffled heart.

To live truly is to fly.


New Article: The Rebirth of Country

published at AND magazine

“Q: “So what kind of music do you listen to?”

A: “Oh, I’m not picky, anything really. Except for country!”

It’s a pretty standard question, and today’s standard response.

Country music has had a long and colorful history in the psyche of the American public. Starting off in the early part of the 20th century as “hillbilly music” – a term that was later abandoned as “denigrating” – country music has developed into a form that boasts the two highest-grossing solo artists ever – Elvis Presley, who took the world by storm and emerged as number one, and Garth Brooks, the heartthrob crooner who is currently the second highest-selling solo artist in the United States.

In its various avatars – country boogie, honky tonk, bluegrass, rockabilly, and country rock – country music has garnered a group of loyal fans, many of them country-lovers for generations. However, country music has long been considered a pariah in the musical genre fraternity. Maybe it’s the association with the Deep South and pickup trucks, or perhaps it’s the rustic, lonesome sound reminiscent of expansive prairies, far from any hint of civilization. Barring those few die-hard fans, country has never really gotten a strong foothold in music fandom. Burdened with a reputation as a musical form which true music aficionados shun, country music has struggled long and hard for a chance to be part of the nationwide – and even international – mainstream music scene. Success has been elusive.

So what’s it going to take for country music to speak to today’s music-loving youth?”

Read more here.

New Album Review: How to Dress Well – Just Once EP

published at mvremix.com

Just Once is an EP recently released by How to Dress Well, the stage name of Brooklyn R&B/lo-fi artist Tom Krell. His sophomore effort, Just Once leaves much to be desired with respect to musical capability. Krell’s initial work, prior to his debut album Love Remains, was lo-fi, reminiscent of 80′s and 90′s R&B. In his latest release, Krell brings the R&B sound to a new realm, combining ethereal ambient orchestral arrangements with his usual style. The resulting soundscapes are stunning and creative – until the vocals are added in.

Read more here!


New Music Review! Lisa Jaeggi – Epic Epic

published at eburban.com

“Epic Epic, Lisa Jaeggi’s sophomore effort, is indeed epic. The Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, describes her style as “skateboard acoustic soul”, which is probably the most accurate description. Her style has also been described as anti-folk, although her incredible story-telling abilities display how well she has captured the essence of folk – observing and responding to her environment, commenting on life as she sees it.”

Read more here!

Music Review: Philip Gibbs – The Petroleum Age

published at muzikreviews.com

The Petroleum Age
is a pleasantly simple, down to earth album, great for background summer evening listening. A past-meets-future venture blending sounds of Americana with rockabilly, Philip Gibbs’ fourth studio release will reach particularly close to the hearts of Texan listeners. Gibbs fondly recounts the stories of the fights put up by Sam Houston (“Sam Houston’s Blues”) and Stephen F. Austin (“Stephen F. Austin’s Blues”) against General Santa Anna in Texas’s fight for freedom….Although the first few tracks remain enticing and impactful, towards the middle of the album the quality begins to decline. “To Block You From My Eyes” is painful to listen to and Gibbs would do well not to model any further tracks on this one. Although the guitar work is pleasant and enjoyable, blunt and heavy vocals detract too much from it to allow for success. Around the sixth track, “In the Middle of the Evening”, the balance between a “down-home” natural style and an under produced lack of musicianship is lost, making the remainder of the album a chore to get through.

Music Review! : Brown Recluse – Evening Tapestry

published at mvremix.com

Sunshiny and warm at first listen, Brown Recluse (named after a poisonous spider for some unfathomable reason) is good at what it does – faithfully reproducing the sounds of indie pop giants like Belle and Sebastian and Of Montreal, even Neutral Milk Hotel at several turns. Well-harmonized, upbeat and catchy, Evening Tapestry succeeds at being a fun background album – a good choice for driving or an afternoon workout. What it does not even begin to do is anything new.

Read more here!


New Music Review! – Joseph Arthur’s The Graduation Ceremony

published at mvremix.com

Joseph Arthur has outdone himself in his long-awaited offering, The Graduation Ceremony, his first full-length solo album since 2006’s Nuclear Daydream. Long known for his wide range of interests and talents, Arthur came forth with this release on May 23rd, 2011 after 5 years of work with his band The Lonely Astronauts and four solo EPs in 2008. Arthur has been a treasure trove of creative genius and has often pushed the envelope in his art, music and poetry. But this time, he has kept his music subdued, glorious in its understatement. From the first fingerpicked notes that open the album to the conclusive harmonies that wrap it up, Arthur keeps his listeners guessing at every turn, taking his creativity to a different place.

Read more here!

New Music Review! Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years

Paul Simon, half of the dynamic duo Simon and Garfunkel, has been iconic in the musical environment since the 70’s, when his solo career took off. His third solo album, Still Crazy After All These Years, just re-mastered and re-released by Sony Legacy – complete with bonus tracks – is a representative sampler of how Simon’s style began to evolve.

Read more here!

Summer listening, anyone? #10 in the top ten summer songs!

I think I might be able to say with some conviction that warm weather has finally started here in wintry Chi-town. It’s been cold even while it’s masqueraded as summer for a while now, and I for one will be thrilled when it actually IS summer.

But in preparation – and wishful thinking – I found myself thinking about what it is that’s so different about summer music. There are some all time favorites. And there are some that are just my own associations, for known or unknown reasons.

I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with!

#10 – My Girl by the Temptations

There’s probably not a single person who hasn’t heard this song and swayed, snapped fingers or bobbed a head to the catchy beat. The melody starts off and kind of creeps under your skin, making it nigh impossible to stay still while you listen to David Ruffin’s rich, round voice.

The key change around minute 2 makes the whole song swell up around you, wishing you had a girl (or guy, I suppose) that makes you feel like you have “sunshine on a cloudy day” or “when it’s cold outside, … the month of May”.

My big association with this song was when I was in high school. I played for the high school orchestra, and we had a crazy director, a young black man named Mr. Planks. We had a concert for Black History Month during which we first played an arrangement of “My Girl”, and then we played it again for our Pops concert in May.

But it wasn’t the song that truly made those times memorable. It was that poor Mr. Planks could not direct this song with any degree of decorum. He would dance, snap, and shake it. That man could shake it like no other. And the audience enjoyed our song that much more for it.


Stay tuned for #9!