I love, love, love, love, love me some Dixie Chicks. Their album "Wide Open Spaces" featured my theme song for the year of 1998 and their follow ups, "Fly" and "Home" contained some of the most beautiful songs that still resonate with me today. On the heels of their come back effort, "Taking The Long Way", they are releasing the film "Shut Up And Sing" which documents the events that took place after lead singer Natalie Maines made a cutting remark about the commander in chief during a concert in London just days before the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In my mind the outrage should never have been that she made the statement (which I couldn't have been more tickled with then or now)...it should have been that a huge group of American citizens chose to feel she should somehow be denied the RIGHT to make the statement. The outrage should have been that these women...these mothers...received death threats from their fellow citizens for simply exercising the first amendment right to freedom of speech. I'm still dumbfounded that there are people in our nation who would say that her speaking out in that way was inappropriate when after all our great nation was founded upon the principles of freedom for ALL people in ALL things. But then again I'm still left speechless in the face of racism, religious intolerance, anti-abortion activists and the ban on gay marriage in the land of the free in 2006.
Per one of the greatest documents ever drafted in history...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
I guess I missed the part where that applies to everyone but those who choose to question the ill advised invasion of a foreign country under false pretenses by our government or state their opinion that they are ashamed a silver spoon licking moron happens to hail from their home state but I digress.
Whether you agree or disagree with the United States attack on Iraq or love or loathe Natalie, Emily and Marty, this movie is definitely something I think people should see. If I didn't, I wouldn't be coming out of my flu induced coma to write about it first thing. It's not ever an easy thing to stand up for what you believe in...to speak your mind freely. It's even harder still to stand your ground in the face of fierce adversity. The Chicks have done that these past three years and for that, I applaud them.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
"And it doesn't always work out the way that we planned.
Did you really wanna know the way that all the movies end?
Last but by NO means least...
Storyteller. Joe Purdy is a storyteller in every conceivable way. His lyrics always tell a story but it's so much deeper than that...even a completely instrumental version of any one of his tunes will tell a story if you listen with your heart. So many of his songs are simply recreations of an intimate conversation set to music...words between lovers, family and friends that were never meant to be overheard that touch the deepest parts of the delicate places in all of us. The amazing stories told in the lyrics of Joe Purdy's songs coupled with his distinctive voice and laid back musical style are the perfect remedy for whatever ails you. A huge fan of bluegrass, his music appealed to me right off but it's not so infused with that genre as to be a turnoff to anyone who isn't a fan. It's a beautiful blend that incorporates the harmonica, banjo and mandolin as accents and not the full course of the song.
An Arkansas native, Joe had to release the self titled "Joe Purdy" album (in my opinion, his best work and my FAVORITE!) along with "Sessions From Motor Ave." and "StompinGrounds" on his own before being discovered by the folks at Reincarnate Records and the music producers on Grey's Anatomy and LOST. Having chatted with Joe, I'd also like to say that he's a great guy...totally down to Earth, honest and real. I so appreciate that in an artist...no ego, no hype, no nonsense...it means a lot. I fully intend to track him down pre-show, hug his neck (sorry, Dre Dog but you're lacking the ring and paper!) and request that he play either "Isn't Love", "Mary May & Bobby" or "Lover's Side Of Town" for me that night. I'd put money on it that he will...he's just that kinda guy.
I could go on and on and on and on about Joe Purdy and how much his music has touched me but I've got packing to do, Bitchards! So, without further adieu...I give you some of my favorite Purdy cuts. Enjoy them and as always snatch 'em up on iTunes, at Target, Wal-Mart, Sam Goody, B&N...wherever...and go see him when you get the chance!
Monday, October 9, 2006
"...remember the face. The girl who had made you her own and how you left her alone."
As easy on the eyes as he is on the ears, Joshua Radin makes my heart happy. With a voice unlike any other I've heard in recent years, he has the ability to take even the most serious of lyrics like
Girlfriend in a coma, I know, I know, it's serious. Girlfriend in a coma, I know, I know, it's really serious. There were times when I could have murdered her. But you know I would hate anything to happen to her. No I don't want to see her.
from The Smith's original tune "Girlfriend In A Coma" and turn them into a heartwrenching ditty all his own. His soft, gentle voice is in a word intoxicating and can and will break your heart in the best way possible if you listen just long enough to inch past the pain. His style is intimate in the way that Damien Rice and at times the inimitable Ray LaMontagne can be. I find that I require complete silence and great calm while listening to Radin's music...it's a full body hush that befalls me when I take his albums for a spin. The imagery in his songs is phenomenal and I defy anyone to deny him the label of brilliant lyricist.
Listening to Radin, one would think that he's been writing songs and performing them for years but it was just a few short years ago sometime in 2003 that he stepped into the New York music scene with his song "Winter" in tow after landing a gig at an open mic night. He ended the night a huge hit with the crowd and after some encouragement from long time pals Cary Brothers and Zach Braff, Joshua decided to pursue his songwriting. Braff thought so much of his friend and the song that he passed it on to the producers of his hit television sitcom "Scrubs" and the rest is Radin history. He began work on First Between 3rd & 4th shortly thereafter and followed that up with the STUNNING We Were Here that was released this summer. The perfect soundtrack for the brokenhearted who have licked their wounds and learned to live again, We Were Here earned its way onto my "Best of '06" list and undoubtedly will be featured on many more. He has been featured on several notable primetime series and has even found his music on the silver screen as of late. (I'm not gonna plug it again, I swear!)
Finding himself in love and in L.A. these days he can be seen performing often at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. Those lucky bastard Westies have embraced him with open arms and only let him out of their sight on rare occasions like this tour. There is such a warmth and delicate beauty to his voice. My words can't do it justice so have a listen for yourself...
Sunday, October 8, 2006
"and let the world spin madly on."
Deb Talan and Steve Tannen were both brilliant singer/songwriters seperately but when the stars aligned and they joined their creative energies in 2001, The Weepies were born and the world has been a better place ever since. I first heard them when I was sent their debut album, "Happiness" in 2004. As always, I let it sit under a stack of mail for several weeks before giving it a spin but boy once I did, I was hooked. Their tunes are infectious and that record truly was...well, happy. I was immediately struck by their country folk roots that I found within the music and the mingling of their voices just seemed perfect. It wasn't until I did some digging that I discovered that they had each had a solo career prior to forming The Weepies. "Happiness" was an album that I could pop in no matter what I was doing and just let it play and feel like I was transported into a local honky tonk on a Friday night and with songs like "Dating A Porn Star", "Somebody Loved" and "Jolene", who wouldn't be?! Their Sophomore effort, "Say I Am You" was digitally released in December of '05 and dropped commercially earlier this year in March and wowed me in exactly the same way. "World Spins Madly On" was featured on some of my very favorite shows and movies including Grey's Anatomy, Men In Trees and in the Jennifer Aniston (TEAM ANISTON!!!) flick "Friends With Money" and has catapulted them into the mainstream stratosphere. "Not Your Year" was my anthem for a few months at the beginning of '06 and "Riga Girls" and "Take It From Me" never fail to get me into head bob, steering wheel tapping mode. My friend Tamara, who knows Deb & Steve tells me that they came up with the name of the band because they feel they are drawn to and make music for those who weep. Those who weep tears of pain and sorrow...and those who weep tears of joy and gratitude. As soon as those words came out of her mouth, I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt why I have always been so drawn to their music. I, my dear friends, am a weepie. I feel all of my emotions deeply and intensely and their music speaks to me on all of those levels.
I hope some of these songs below speak to you in the same way...whether you're a proud weepie, a closet weepie or non weepie with dusty ducts.
Thursday, October 5, 2006
"You can be the one that got away; but you can never be a love song."
In my excitement about ROCKtober, I'm keeping up with my promise to profile the artists and up next we have Mr. Cary Brothers. When I first heard the name, Cary Brothers, I'm not gonna lie...I thought it was actually a duo...a band of brothers. Just because I dye my hair brunette doesn't mean I'm not a blonde at heart, people. Anywho...I kept hearing this buzz about Cary Brothers about the time Garden State came out. I'm fairly certain it was Dre Dog or Shley that sucked me into that film. It was a good one either way and had a KILLER soundtrack. He's gone on to follow that up with musical appearances in some of the best shows on television today...Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, ER, Bones and Smallville. That's a fairly impressive list for a relatively unknown singer/songwriter who's influences are all over the place. After listening for awhile, it's fairly obvious to detect Cary's Nashville roots but if you'll listen a little longer and dig a little deeper, you'll start to hear many 70's and 80's inspired cuts as well.
He's appearing alongside his tour mates Schuyler Fisk, Joshua Radin, Rachael Yamagata and many others on the fabulous (yes, I'm plugging it again) soundtrack from Zach Braff's directorial debut The Last Kiss. I debated on whether or not I should upload a few of my randomly favorite tracks or the video for "Ride"...which was also consequently directed by Mr. Braff (those two have MAD man love for one another) and figured what the hell, I'll do both. So, enjoy the few tracks below and then have a look see at the video. It's fairly fantastic and so is Cary Brothers. Check him out the first chance you get!
Sunday, October 1, 2006
In the words of Blue October, "hate me today...hate me tomorrow". Oh yes, I'm thrilled that my life is at this point so awesome that it's hate worthy and enviable. Just when I think that ROCKtober '06 couldn't get any more fantastic for me, I find out that it can and will and HAS! One of my new co-workers and I were discussing music last week and discovered that we're both huge fans of The Weepies which is enough to make her even more outrageously awesome than I already suspected but then we discussed having them come to one of our coffeehouse shows early next year depending upon their present tour schedule since SHE KNOWS THEM! So...being the Google Queen that I am, I immediately got to work checking out their schedule to see if it might be a possibility and discovered that kismet is alive and well and working overtime in the Land of Linda. They're playing in K.C. the weekend of ROCKtober and so I ran it by the rest of the congregants for what is sure to be a fantabulously bonding musical weekend bordering on a religious experience and Brem took the ball, ran with it and scored us all seats! They discovered that my beloved Weepies will be there as part of The Hotel Cafe Tour which just upped the overall magnificence factor exponentially. I'm giddy over this, people. Christmas morning, Friday birthday, first kiss giddy. I'm through the roof excited and I can't even begin to tell you how awesome all these performers are because words are simply inadequate. But, I'll try. I'll profile each of the performers (several that I've already blogged about in the past) who we'll be seeing for the next few days and maybe weeks (depending on how busy I get) for your listening pleasure and general musical education. Not that many of you need it because if you're friends of mine then chances are good that you too are an elitist with impeccable musical taste but this can be a refresher for you nonetheless.
First up to bat we have Schuyler Fisk.
My love affair with Schuyler began long ago when she played Kristy in "The Babysitters Club" movie. Shut up...I'm only 28 and I LOVED those books as a girl! I was taken aback by how much she resembled her Mom, the ridiculously talented Sissy Spacek, but didn't give too much thought to her after that because well, I was busy finishing out my teen years and collecting ex-boyfriends. Then I caught her again in Orange County (which could also have been titled "When Celebrity Offspring Attack") where she starred opposite Tom Hanks' son, Colin and the one and only Jack Black and had the same reaction to her. She's got this unbelievable natural beauty that just has me near jealous. At that time I found out that she'd been recording music and had been featured on the soundtracks to Snow Day & Skeletons In The Closet but didn't take my search any further. I got busy with my relationshp, being a Mom, working and just L-I-V-I-N in general and she dropped off my radar until my love of indie films had me running into her again. She showed up in a little movie with a BIG cast in American Gun (which I STRONGLY encourage you all to watch) and found myself looking into her story and background once again. I was lucky enough to know someone who knows someone and had them send me four tracks from her unreleased EP and have collected a few others from here and there along the way and have enjoyed them immensely. She's also appearing with Joshua Radin on The Last Kiss soundtrack (which will make it into my list for '06) so grab that at your local record store when you can because their voices together are just...too much of just the right stuff for me.
The coal miner's daughter's daughter is an AMAZING talent...no lie. She's got this voice that just permeates the room and her lyrics are honest and heartbreaking. A devastatingly delicious duo for anyone who like me LIVES for that combination in music. To find out that she was playing on this leg of the tour delighted me to no end and so I dug through my Mount Everest size stack of mp3 discs and unloaded the tracks of hers that I have been hanging onto for awhile. She's grand in every way and I can't wait to hear her live. Be on the lookout for her full length album that will hopefully drop next year and have a listen to the songs below to see why I have such a girl crush.