Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekly Music Recommendation: "Sugar Chile" Robinson

You gotta see him to believe it. And even then, you may not believe this boogie-woogie piano virtuoso and blues singer could do what he did at the age of 8. He even played for President Truman before hitting double digits, and "retired" shortly after to pursue an education.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Weekly Music Recommendation: First Aid Kit

These Swedish folk sisters are the sirens in the Odyssey playing in my head. Their wispy, but potent voices harmonize perfectly over their acoustic Americana guitars to create one powerful, ethereal instrument. It's a sibling "reverbary" we can all cheer on.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Weekly Music Recommendation: La Femme

Perfect pop confection from Biarritz, France. Unapologetic upbeat synthesizer music seemingly right out of the one-hit-wonderful, golden ‘80s, but with dark, dizzying, unexpected turns that keep you on your toes while you dance away solo like a total freakazoid.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Music Zen

Marriage is about compromise. Lucky for me, my wife is just about perfect, so this part comes easy. But there is a but - a huge, big but. She's not exactly fond of Morrissey. And as anyone who loves Morrissey can attest, or even those who have witnessed us Morrissey diehards at his concerts, this is no good. To us few, fond of the Moz, his awesomeness isn't a matter of opinion. It's not up for discussion. Moz's awesomeness is an empirical fact, supported by just about every song in his repertoire going back to when he was with The Smiths. All of this is to say: my lovely wife, sweet love of my life, wonderful mother of our children, is simply flat out wrong. Over the years, I've been spectacularly unsuccessful in getting her to hear it my way. So sadly, Morrissey only comes on through my headphones or when I'm driving solo or with just the kids. They're early converts, by the way, my sweat, beautiful, little, well- musically calibrated offspring. That said, we had somewhat of a breakthrough a few years ago. You see, both of us - having attended and met at the University of South Carolina - are fond of Hootie and the Blowfish (please, now is not the time to judge). Turns out, Hootie nails a cover of The Smith's "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want." Please take a second to appreciate the irony in the song title. And, bless her little South Carolina-educated heart, my wife loves the cover. So here's where the compromise part comes in: She's okay with Morrissey songs, as long as he's not the one singing them. Fair enough. I can work with that. So this past weekend, I went on a hunt for Morrissey covers. Downloaded a few on iTunes. But I couldn't find a good cover of one of my favorite Moz songs, "My Love Life," until I found Frances Eby on YouTube. Not only did I love her many Morrissey covers, but I loved that she completely surprised me. Truth be told, I was simply not expecting her to be this damn good. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekly Music Recommendation: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Punk is sorta like pizza: even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty damn good. These Bay Area goofballs are proof you can punkify just about anything: Willie Nelson, Simon and Garfunkel, and (gulp) R. Kelly. That said, it takes a special kind "choots-pah" (thank you, Bachmann… it's the gift that keeps on giving long after CHA-nooka) and musical acrobatics to make it tasty.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Music Zen

The magic starts around time 2:15, when Maestro Orestes Vilató - a monster on the timbales - takes his solo. I had the fortune of interviewing Vilató for an article reflecting on the 40th anniversary of Ray Barretto's "Acid" - one of Fania's first releases. In the article, I tried to make the case that Barretto was among the first, if not the first, to blend salsa with rock 'n' roll. "Acid" was released in 1968 - a year before Carlos Santana released "Santana" with "Oye Como Va," which usually gets credit for melding the two genres. Vilató, whose fancy timbale work is all over "Acid," ended up becoming my "missing link." Unbeknownst to me until our interview, he had played with Santana for a few years, and according to him, "Acid" was a huge influence on Santana. In fact, Vilató gave me this "golden nugget," as he called it: Santana totally lifted the opening trumpet break in "El Nuevo Barretto" and inserted at about time 1:34 of "Oye Como Va." Of course, Santana plays the break on the guitar instead of trumpets. Fantastic!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Music Zen