Grey's Anatomy is back, bitches! And, that means that returning too are the Friday music highlights from the show. I vow to do my best to keep up with this series as I seem to get the most feedback, requests and love for the music of Grey's than any other posts I make. It's ironic that I just made a post about change and the season premiere focused on that very subject. It appears that it really is all around us, no?
Anywho...on to the music from last night. I love, love, love all the songs that were featured and fortunately for me that means that I have them all in my possession already so I was able to avoid the pesky dig for the unknown. A few of the tracks even come from albums that are currently under consideration for my best of the year so I'll go ahead and say right up front that if you don't have them, go get them.
Blonde Redhead - "23"
Comprised of Italian twins Simone & Amedeo Pace and Japanese artist Kazu Makino Blonde Redhead is one of the most unique groups recording right now. But just because they're finally receiving recognition for their efforts doesn't mean they haven't paid their dues. The trio has been creating music together since a random New York meeting in 1993 and with seven albums under their belt, 23 proves that all that hard work has paid major dividends. Blending their diverse cultural backgrounds with haunting vocals often delivered in multiple languages has given the band a cinematic sound all their own.
I'm From Barcelona - "Oversleeping"
You might remember that I'm From Barcelona made my contender list last year along with fellow Swedish sensations Peter Bjorn & John and Ane Brun and this opening track to their standout album Let Me Introduce You to My Friends is one of the reasons why. Boasting 29 members total, the band has all the bases covered; from horns and woodwinds to banjos and kazoos this group is a guaranteed smorgasboard for the aurally starved. Their album is good times so do yourself a favor and get a copy if you're one of the few who missed it in 2006.
Lily Allen - "Knock 'Em Out"
Another artist that graced the aforementioned contender list last year was little Miss Lily Allen. What can I possibly say about her that I haven't said before? Not much. She's sassy and spunky and a little over the top in all she does. Above all else she's never afraid to speak her mind and I admire that...a lot. Her music is always a good time and despite her ongoing issues with Amy Winehouse, I gotta love anyone who shares my disdain for W.
Meiko - "Reasons to Love You"
If my heart belongs to a female singer songwriter this year it'll be an all out battle between Maria Taylor and Meiko. Thanks to my love of all things Sundance and KCRW I came across this lovely songstress early this year and I absolutely fell in LOVE with the tracks I was able to get my hands on. I tried for ages but it wasn't until recently that I finally got my hands on a copy of her album and I am ecstatic to have it. The Georgia bred beauty blew me away upon first listen and it's still in heavy rotation several months later. It appears she's finally taking off with mentions from Paste and kudos from Perez but by appearing on Grey's last night she's set herself up to reach the stratosphere and I can't think of any female artist who deserves it more this year. Check her out with Mat Kearney on the road if you get the chance and keep your eyes out to see where she's headed.
The Cinematic Orchestra - "To Build a Home"
The six man jazz influenced electronic British wonder The Cinematic Orchestra has been everywhere lately. I can't skim a blog or pick up a music magazine without them being profiled somewhere. The group's third studio album Ma Fleur is the reason for all the press and rightfully so as it's their best effort to date. With helping hands from Canadian indie folk sensation and fellow Grey's alum Patrick Watson, former Lamb member Lou Rhodes (who also has a great record out this year, Beloved One) and St. Louis Soul legend Fontella Bass the band has created a unique and beautiful soundtrack to the emotional experience of life. It's the perfect contradiction...uplifting downtempo music. You'll be seeing a lot more of these guys...just wait.
For your convenience, a .zip file of all the tunes from last night's episode. Enjoy!
A Change Is Gonna Come - Grey's Tunes - Season 4, Episode 1
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Continuing on now with the flashback, today we're going to revisit Billy Squier. Oh yes, you remember Billy...his arena rock anthems defined good times in the early 80's and his three biggest hits can still be heard playing as the background accompaniment in bars, pool halls, films and sporting events all over this great land. He's left an indelible mark on the world, people. He deserves to be commended.
Celebrate Billy's contributions by cranking up your speakers to the maximum volume and dancing around in your skivvies with me...c'mon, it'll be fun!
Billy Squier - "Everybody Wants You"
Billy Squier - "Lonely Is The Night"
Billy Squier - "The Stroke"
Billy also happens to sing one of my all time favorite Christmas cuts. So, even though we still have a few months to go before the holiday season I couldn't very well post about Billy and not include this track:
Billy Squier - "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You"
Monday, September 24, 2007
Ahhhh, what a weekend!! Yesterday saw the equinox and marked the true end of summer. I can honestly say I’ve never been so happy to see a season go. The summer was unkind to nearly everyone I love so good riddance, I say! One look at the leaves gingerly falling to the ground with every burst of wind that passes their way and the sunset turning from pink and yellow to gold and rust as the air loses a bit of its humidity and gives way to a crisp chill of fall makes me completely excited for what’s in store for the rest of the year.
Isn’t it funny how a change in the seasons can bring about other changes as well? There are so many types of change. A change of heart, change of pace, change of scenery, change of direction and perhaps the most important change is the change of mind. I had an experience this weekend that involved all those changes and it was both refreshing and confusing all at once. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that it’s an interesting thing that happens when you get to the middle of a love story. It’s funny how time can change so many things and yet allow so many things to stay the same. And, the weekend reminded me that the greatest things in life are the memories we make…for better or worse, those remain forever.
Anywho…enough rambling and on to the tunes! Since I’m so stoked to see the seasons change, I thought I’d put up some of my favorite aptly titled or otherwise appropriate “autumn” tracks to celebrate. What are some of your favorite tracks for fall, y’all?
Ya can't have a fall mix without this disco ditty circa the year of my birth...
Earth, Wind & Fire – “September”
A beautiful track from one of the best albums of last year.
Paolo Nutini – “Autumn”
Who doesn't love The Moody Blues??
The Moody Blues - "Forever Autumn"
Magnet – “Last Day of Summer”
Blanche - "Last Year's Leaves"
Fionn Regan – “After the Fall”
An "oldie" from Frank:
Amy Winehouse – “October Song”
And speaking of oldies and Frank...here are two from Old Blue Eyes:
Frank Sinatra - "September Song"
Frank Sinatra - "The September of My Years"
Ahhhh, Mr. Wrangler Butt himself...
George Strait – “Chill of an Early Fall”
Blonde Redhead – “Spring and by Summer Fall”
You guys remember how much I loved Carla Bruni's latest release, right? Well here are two appropriate ditties from No Promises:
Carla Bruni – “If You Were Coming in the Fall”
Carla Bruni - "Autumn"
Jim Bryson – “All the Fallen Leaves”
Thief - "(like) Leaves"
The Postmarks self titled debut could definitely make it onto my most played list this year. Here are three reasons why:
The Postmarks - "Summer Never Seems to Last"
The Postmarks – “Winter Spring Summer Fall”
The Postmarks - "Leaves"
I ADORE Willy Mason and you should too!
Willy Mason – “When the Leaves Have Fallen”
Candie Payne – “Seasons Change”
The White Stripes - "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground"
Fiona Apple – “Pale September”
Yo La Tengo - "Autumn Sweater"
A twofer on the titles:
U2 - "October"
Rosie Thomas – “October”
Manic Street Preachers - "Autumnsong"
Genesis - "Evidence of Autumn"
Radical Face - "Winter is Coming"
Some of my absolutely bar none FA-VOR-ITE songs that always put me in the mood for autumn. No matter what time of year it is, these tunes always feel like fall to me.
The Zombies – “Time of the Season”
The Byrds - "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
Queensryche - "Silent Lucidity"
Van Morrison - "Into the Mystic"
Urge Overkill - "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon"
Nick Drake – “Northern Sky”
Alexi Murdoch – “Orange Sky”
Stevie Wonder - "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)"
Friday, September 21, 2007
It's that time again. Time for me to admit to my shameful love of over commercialized and processed music. I was skimming the channels earlier this week when I stumbled upon a wonder of wonders...a MTV actually playing a music video. Go figure!! Anyway, Nickelback was on with their video for the song "Rockstar" from their 2005 release All the Right Reasons and I LOVED it. I'm a sucker for a cameo and this video is nothing but cameos. I love that it mixes random shots of people singing with celebrities including ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons (who lends vocals to the track), hockey legend Wayne Gretsky, KISS frontman and reality TV star Gene Simmons, Twista, the boys of Orange County Choppers, Tommy Lee's nemesis Kid Rock, former Angel alum Eliza Dushku, Grant Hill, Nelly Furtado, Three 6 Mafia, The Sopranos' Federico Castelluccio, Big & Rich's John Rich, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Taryn Manning, Ted Nugent and even Hugh Hefner's Girls Next Door.
I always buy Nickelback albums. I have them all. I can't help myself. Seriously. I love Chad Kroeger's voice and their sound is always infectious. I can throw the top off the Jeep and just blare the music and drive and feel awesome about life no matter where I'm going. It's just fun tunes and sometimes I need that. They have a few tracks that are sentimental to me for certain reasons as well so for that I'm grateful. If a song becomes part of the soundtrack of your life (intended or not) then how can you not support the people who created it?
Anywho...here's the video and the song that started me on this post along with my favorite Nickelback tracks for a super fun Friday. Drive with the windows rolled down, people!
Nickelback - "Rockstar"
Nickelback - "How You Remind Me"
Nickelback - "Never Again"
Nickelback - "Someday"
Nickelback - "Feelin' Way Too Damn Good"
Nickelback - "Figured You Out"
Nickelback - "Photograph"
Nickelback - "Savin' Me"
And my favorite video from them for their song "If Everyone Cared". And I couldn't not post the video as all streams generate money for one of my favorite charities, Amnesty International, as well as the International Children's Fund Canada.
Nickelback - "If Everyone Cared"
And two of Chad Kroeger's collaborations with the one and only Carlos Santana:
Santana with Chad Kroeger - "Into the Night"
Santana with Chad Kroeger - "Why Don't You & I"
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Every single time I see Kanye sporting the new wave 80's shades I'm instantly transported back to that time of big hair, big earrings and bigger music. I'm also reminded of all that happened in the world during those years...
The beginning of the decade had everyone wondering who shot J.R. on the tube as in real life John Lennon was brutally gunned down in New York City. Ronald Reagan won the presidency, Richard Pryor caught fire thanks to his pesky freebasing habit, Post-It notes were all the rage at the office and Mount St. Helens killed 60 when it erupted. Everyone went wacky for Pac Man in 1981 as Sandra Day O'Connor joined the boys club as the first female to serve on the Supreme Court. The weddings of the century aired on television starring Diana & Charles and Luke & Laura and video killed the radio star when MTV hit the air on August 1st. The next year proved to be huge for music history as MJ hit it big with "Thriller" (that I still love by the way) and Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat during a performance in Des Moines, IA. John Belushi and Grace Kelly met their maker while the Brits welcomed baby William to the monarchy. While we invaded Grenada and got bombed in Beirut in 1983, the White House began their assault on drugs with the "Just Say No" campaign, Karen Carpenter died of anorexia, Sally Ride became the first woman in space and HIV was discovered. Tipper Gore led an all out war on inappropriate music in 1984 by labeling it "explicit" letting every kid in America know just which naughty tunes to pick up next, the summer Olympics were held in LA where Mary Lou won the gold medal and American's hearts while the Soviets protested and Cosby was king on TV. Vanessa Williams became the first African American Miss America and was de-throned shortly thereafter after a nude photo scandal, Michael Jackson was on fire for Pepsi, Run D.M.C. went gold, Apple put out their first PC, AIDS was discovered, Reagan was re-elected and Gandhi was assassinated.
1985 saw the opening of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Live Aid was broadcast across the globe. "We Are the World" was a mega success, Billy Joel landed his very own uptown girl, super model Christie Brinkley, the Titanic wreckage was located and Rock Hudson became the first celebrity to die of AIDS. On January 28th, 1986 from the media center of my school I watched as Challenger exploded on television and awaited the return of Halley's Comet later that year. Oprah Winfrey premiered her daytime talk show and the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. was finally celebrated as a holiday. The Unabomber had everyone terrified at the beginning of 1987 as the nation was caught up in the Iran-Contra affair, the sex scandals of Jessica Hahn & Jim Bakker and Gary Hart & Donna Rice and Baby Jessica trapped in a Texas well. Prozac hit the shelves in 1988 just in time to accompany Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy"...they should have used it as a slogan, don't ya think? Compact discs were all the rage outselling vinyl for the first time ever, Rev. Jimmy Swaggart fell from grace after admitting to affairs with prostitutes, Sonny Bono became the Mayor of Palm Springs, Mike Tyson beat Robin Givens for the last time and RU-486 was again distributed in France after some controversy as Michael Dukakis lost his bid for the presidency to the first of the worst, George H.W. Bush. The last year of the decade found Ted Bundy being electrocuted for his serial killer crimes, Salman Rushdie in hiding and the Exxon Valdez spilling its contents into Prince William Sound. Arsenio Hall ruled the late night talk show circuit, Milli Vanilli won a Grammy (later taken), Pete Rose was banned from baseball, Rob Lowe made a porn video with an underage girl, the Menendez Brother Murders shocked the nation, the U.S. invaded Panama and drove Noriega out of hiding by blasting rock music 24/7, thousands of protesting students were killed in Tienanmen Square, Lucille Ball passed away leaving millions of fans in mourning and the most important event of that year and possibly the decade occurred on November 9th when the Berlin Wall fell after 28 years of dividing the nation of Germany.
As an 80's baby, a member of Generation X, I have a strong affinity for all things Reagan era and I've kept mass amounts of memorabilia from my life during that time. Thanks to my mother having a miserable childhood I was spoiled rotten and then some so throughout the 80's I was able to accumulate quite a collection toys. And thanks to my mother's inability to toss anything out (and she wonders where I get it!), I still have it all. I have the Care Bears and all their cousins, Rainbow Brite, my Texas Instruments Speak & Spell, Speak & Read and Speak & Math, the Sega, Nintendo and even the Atari that was old to me then and that are now completely pre-shistoric, a collection of 6 My Child dolls, the talking Teddy Ruxpin and his pal Grubby (who consequently doesn't talk anymore), a few ugly ass Hugga Bunch dolls, My Little Ponies in abundance, the original Strawberry Shortcake and a few of her friends (who don't smell good anymore) along with several pieces of their damaged property, two Cabbage Patch Kids, about a trillion Barbie dolls (with Country & Western Barbie sporting the all white fringe jumpsuit a la Dolly Parton being my favorite of all time) and an old ass yellow and brown Barbie Dream House from before it dawned on them to make it pink that my Dad stayed awake all night putting together for me the night before Christmas. Oh yes...I have it all and then some. Looking back it's almost sickening how much I had as an only child in the 80's. But lucky for me a TON of this crap came back in so now I'm the coolest mom on the planet because I saved it all. Em enjoys all the toys as much as I do and I totally love playing with them again. I love those items from my past and I'm glad I kept them as some things just never get old.
And music is one of those things.
The best thing about the colorful 80's is the MUSIC! My love affair with music began with 80's country and pop that played over the airwaves all around me. So for the next little bit the Throwback Thursdays will be entirely devoted to the sounds of the 80's in all their cheesy pop glory. I'll touch on the country of the decade later down the road but for now I'm going to go through my collection of 80's music and post songs that I love randomly. Enjoy the trip down memory lane:
Who didn't love this song and the video that accompanied it? You know you did the little Egyptian dance at some point, admit it. I defy you not to whistle.
The Bangles - "Walk Like An Egyptian"
Is there anyone alive who doesn't know all the lyrics to this song?
Soft Cell - "Tainted Love"
"'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance well they're no friends of mine!"
This video is TOO much and I LOVE IT!
Men Without Hats - "The Safety Dance"
"Down in the street there is violence and a lots of work to be done."
Eddy Grant - "Electric Avenue"
"Don't turn around, oh oh..."
Falco - "Der Kommissar"
Making PMRC's "Filthy Fifteen" list thanks to the sexual nature of the song and it's references to masturbation (which as a child I never caught on to), this is a classic. The video as always was the case with Cindy was great fun.
Cindy Lauper - "She Bop"
This may be the karaoke song I've been forced to sing the most in my life. Such a quirky song and video...totally 80's.
B-52's - "Love Shack"
As a big, huge, nerdy ballroom dance lover this video was a favorite. I love me some Wang Chung. Whatever happened to those guys?? My favorite part:
"Take your baby by the hair and pull her close and there, there, there."
Wang Chung - "Dance Hall Days"
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
God how amazing does Johnny Depp look at 44, people? Seriously. Wow...just wow.
It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day and since I hail from the land of the Purple Pirates (don't hate!) and do so love them I decided to play into the utter ridiculousness and put up some of my favorite "pirate" ditties. And by favorite I mean those that instantly came to mind that I had on hand since I don't have a lot of time today.
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum, bitches! Enjoy your day and work in some cheesy pirate statements along the way.
Classic tune from her In Concert release. If you don't love Nina Simone you should.
Nina Simone - "Pirate Jenny"
The title track from Diane's 2006 release that I didn't get until this year but have TOTALLY been meaning to touch on in a post. Oops! Here's my chance nevertheless. Check her out...she's got a great sound.
Alela Diane - "The Pirate's Gospel"
Not really a pirate song but when I was scanning the vast recesses of my musical brain the first thing I heard was:
"Professor, what's another name for pirate treasure?"
Beastie Boys - "Professor Booty"
The classic that immediately came to mind from Mr. Margaritaville himself.
Jimmy Buffett - "A Pirate Looks At 40"
And from last year's ode to pirates, Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys here are tracks from three of my favorite guys:
Bono - "A Dying Sailor to His Shipmates"
Sting - "Blood Red Roses"
Teddy Thompson - "Sally Brown"
And a repeat from yesterday because I saw Brandi perform with Chris Isaak last night on the Elvis: Viva Las Vegas special on ABC and because it's just that fucking awesome:
Pat Monahan & Brandi Carlile - "Pirate on the Run"
Some piratical tutorials:
And lest you think talking like a pirate is stupid just know that George Harrison was all about it:
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I'll start by admitting that every word written here comes from a highly biased standpoint. I've said before but I'll say again that Train is my favorite band. Not only has their music affected my life in amazing ways for over a decade now but as individuals they are fantastic men. They are gracious and humble and a true pleasure to be in the company of and above all they love their fans like crazy...and SHOW it. It's one thing for artists to say they love their fans but it's something entirely different for them to actually put that love into action. To actually call you, send you tickets and passes and embrace you with genuine affection, sign everything put in front of them and share stories about the music they've made that you love is far more than lip service. Oh yes...something quite above and beyond indeed. And, as someone who has been on the receiving end of that love on several occasions, I want to put that out there. So, having said all that I want to share a bit about lead singer Pat Monahan's new solo project Last of Seven.
First of all, Train is NOT breaking up. I repeat NOT breaking up. With the support of my beloved Jimmy and the rest of the gang, Pat opted to use their recording hiatus this year to pen a collection of tunes for a solo album. Many a lead singer has branched out from their group and returned and this is the case in this situation. All Train fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief now...I know I did. As with so many people who write...music and prose...a rush of emotions and circumstance can often lead to the need to put pen to paper and get it out of the system and that appears to be the catalyst for the album. Pat has never been private with his emotions, experiences or personal demons and I think that's part of what makes the music he creates so fantastic. With him what you see is what you get...the good, the bad and the heartbreaking. This album is born of the private pain and enduring promises that came after the dissolution of his marriage and that's evident in many tracks on the album..."Two Ways to Say Goodbye" and "Always Midnight" being the greatest examples.
Fans of Train will find much to love on Last of Sevens. Monahan's unmistakable voice and distinctive delivery are still alive and well and the vibe overall is comparable to the one that Train has carried through its previous seven albums. The intimacy of this album is what sets it apart from his work with the band though...it's clear that Pat was in total control of this record. A cornucopia of aural pleasures, the album features something for everyone including a gorgeous duet with Brandi Carlile (who you all know I adore) and a steel guitar fueled ballad about togetherness and equality with none other than the great Graham Nash. The radio friendly first single "Her Eyes" (inspired by his new wife and daughter) instantly reminded me of "Meet Virginia" in its lyrical content and delivery and the rugged "Ooh My My" and gospel tinged "Raise Your Hands" and "Someday" (with Richie Sambora on acoustic guitar) are sure to bring the house down in a live setting. Pat is a phenomenal entertainer and I can't wait to hear those two tracks in Kansas City & St. Louis in October and Dallas in November.
You can get your own dose of Pat's live performance (trust me he will NOT disappoint) when he hits the road for a fall solo tour across the U.S.:
10/4/07 - Phoenix, AZ The Marquee
10/5/07 - Las Vegas, NV The Joint
10/6/07 - Los Angeles, CA House of Blues
10/7/07 - San Diego, CA House of Blues
10/9/07 - San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
10/10/07 - Reno, NV Grand Sierra Resort
10/12/07 - Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom
10/13/07 - Seattle, WA The Showbox
10/14/07 - Boise, ID Big Easy
10/15/07 - Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
10/16/07 - Denver, CO Ogden
10/18/07 - Kansas City, MO Voodoo at Harrah's
10/19/07 - Indianapolis, IN The Vogue
10/20/07 - Cleveland, OH House of Blues
10/22/07 - Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
10/23/07 - Milwaukee, WI The Pabst Theater
10/24/07 - St. Louis, MO The Pageant
10/26/07 - Chicago, IL House of Blues
10/27/07 - Detroit, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre
10/28/07 - Cincinnati, OH Madison Theatre
10/30/07 - Phila, PA The Fillmore @ TLA
11/1/07 - New York, NY Webster Hall
11/2/07 - Boston, MA Paradise
11/3/07 - Falls Church, VA State Theatre
11/4/07 - Norfolk, VA The Norva
11/6/07 - Asheville, NC Orange Peel
11/7/07 - Charlotte, NC Amos' Southend
11/8/07 - Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
11/9/07 - Nashville, TN City Hall
11/12/07 - Ft Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
11/13/07 - St. Pete, FL Jannus Landing
11/14/07 - Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
11/16/07 - Austin, TX La Zona
11/17/07 - Houston, TX Meridian
11/18/07 - Dallas, TX HOB
Or see him perform tonight if you're fortunate enough to be in attendance at the Dream Concert in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. at Radio City Music Hall. (They cannot put that on DVD fast enough!)
If you can't get to a show, check him out as he makes the talk show circuit:
10/2/07 - The Tonight Show on NBC
10/3/07 - Last Call with Carson Daly
10/4/07 - The Late Show With Craig Ferguson
10/9/07 - The Ellen Show
11/3/07 - The Early Show on CBS
Pick up the Last of Seven at a music retailer near you today and for proof that my bias is of no consequence...
Pat Monahan - "Her Eyes"
Pat Monahan - "Raise Your Hands"
Pat Monahan & Brandi Carlile - "Pirate on the Run"
Monday, September 17, 2007
As an Okie there are a certain number of things you just inherently adore. Red dirt, rodeos and Reba McEntire rank at the top of that list. After a staggering three plus decades recording music for the masses, acting in feature films, on Broadway and even her own television series and desinging clothing and even her own bedding collection Reba's still standing tall. So after 30 years in the business what's left for a country music legend and Oklahoma princess to do? Make music with Justin Timberlake, that's what.
On her latest album Reba Duets, Reba teams up with a host of music superstars ranging from contemporary pop icons Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson to celebrated country sensations Rascal Flatts, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney and LeAnn Rimes. She even throws in collaborations with legends Carole King and Don Henley and tops off the album with tracks featuring fellow Oklahomans Trisha Yearwood, Ronnie Dunn and Vince Gill. She's teamed up with Gill and Dunn previously to much success. Given McEntire's often overpowering and instantly distinctive twang that lends itself to country music in a way that few others can an album of duets with such a wide range of artists could have been disastrous. But fortunately for fans it's a beautifully crafted album that allows each artist to showcase their individual talents. The best part about listening to the album is that it's clear that everyone was a huge fan of everyone else and I love that.
Duets is her 25th studio album and marks the final release under her current MCA contract. Something tells me she won't have a problem re-negotiating a new contract or picking up a new label if she so chooses. For the time being McEntire is as busy as ever on the road. She just finished her "Key to the Heart" tour to benefit a cause near and dear to me, Habitat for Humanity and she's scheduled to play a benefit performance at Carnegie Hall on October 15th. And forever an Okie, she will celebrate our great state's centennial on November 16th in Oklahoma City. You can guarantee I won't be missing that. You can catch Reba performing songs with JT and Kelly Clarkson on Oprah September 19th and you can rush right out and grab your own copy of Reba Duets when it hits stores tomorrow.
But if you just can't wait another day, here are a few of my favorite tracks to tide you over:
Reba McEntire with Justin Timberlake - "The Only Promise That Remains"
Reba McEntire with Don Henley - "Break Each Other's Hearts Again"
Reba McEntire with Trisha Yearwood - "She Can't Save Him"
And some of my favorite Reba classics:
Reba McEntire - "Can't Even Get the Blues No More"
Reba McEntire - "Why Do We Want (What We Know We Can't Have)"
Reba McEntire - "Why Haven't I Heard From You"
Reba McEntire - "The Greatest Man I Never Knew"
Reba McEntire - "You Lie"
Reba McEntire - "Walk On"
Reba McEntire - "(You Life Me) Up to Heaven"
Reba McEntire - "You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving"
Reba McEntire - "She Thinks His Name Was John"
Reba McEntire - "Love Will Find Its Way To You"
Friday, September 14, 2007
Everybody (myself included as I was completely distraught by the desecration of Elvis with the "Trouble" intro) has been so busy this week bitching about the trainwreck that was Britney's pitiful excuse for a "comeback" performance that we've neglected to discuss the radiant shining star of Sunday night's less than stellar events...Rihanna. Oh yes...Rihanna. The 19 year old Barbados native showed up gorgeous in a tasteful yet sexy bright pink dress, performed flawlessly with Chris Brown and accepted graciously when she received her two awards for "Monster Single of the Year" and "Video of the Year". THAT my friends is how it's done.
I love pop music. There, I said it. I LOVE pop music. I said it again. And Rihanna has put out two of the biggest pop hits of the last two years with "S.O.S." and "Umbrella". So, it's only fitting that I give her a spot on this week's Guilt Free Friday. She's got her shit together and I admire that. She could definitely pull a Britney somewhere down the road...anyone could...but here's hoping she steers clear of the downward spiral.
Rihanna - "S.O.S."
Rihanna - "Umbrella"
The video of the year per MTV:
A few more Rihanna related moments that deserve FAR more attention than Shitney's performance...
Each time I've seen Chris Brown perform whether it's at an awards function or on Oprah this kid BRINGS it. Here he is in THE performance of the lackluster VMA's this year with Rihanna:
And in what was probably my FAVORITE moment of the entire show...the one and only made an appearance and my oh my has he been hittin' the gym; he looks better than ever! Britney needs to take notes from some of the greats on the anatomy of a "comeback". Here's Ms. Mary J. introducing Dr. Dre presenting the award for video of the year to Miss Rihanna. I like the ovation from Diddy too...it's a nice touch.
Why I haven't heard more mention of Dre showing up I don't know but it disturbs me. Lest anyone forget...
Dr. Dre feat. Eminem - "Forgot About Dre"
Monday, September 10, 2007
It just occurred to me as I was listening to one of my favorite contemporary male artists covering some of my most beloved classic male artists that I haven’t yet appropriately proclaimed my adoration for David Gray on this blog yet. Save a few track postings and this mention in my year end rundown, Gray’s name is noticeably and shamefully absent here and I intend to remedy that right now. He is one of the most talented male singer songwriters creating music today and deserves to be recognized as such.
His distinctive voice and sentiment soaked lyrics married with his folk heavy style have forced comparisons to Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and even Dave Matthews but he truly deserves to have his work stand on its own as he‘s no copycat. Having said that, it’s ironic that his latest effort is an album completely comprised of cover versions of some of the songs he loves most from the artists who made them famous. On A Thousand Miles Behind, Gray explores and interprets the work of legendary artists like The Man in Black, The Boss and even Mr. Freewheelin’ himself. While Gray typically handles his own songwriting and does so quite well, this isn‘t the first time he‘s tackled cover tunes. David will often throw a cover song into the mix of a live set and a breathtaking version of Soft Cell‘s “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye“ graced his breakout hit album White Ladder in 2000 and was so perfectly delivered that most people unfamiliar with the original had absolutely no idea it wasn’t an original song.
This compilation of covers comes on the heels of the March 2007 release of a compilation of Gray’s early work titled Shine: The Best of the Early Years. Fourteen years after the release of his debut, A Century Ends, Gray has contributed a total of seven studio albums, three compilations, two live DVD performances and countless live recordings to my music collection and I cherish each and every one. I must admit, it was White Ladder that grabbed me and made me a Gray fan but it’s his constant, impressive body of work that keeps me hangin’ on. I was hoping for a new studio album from him during the first quarter of 2008 but it appears he has other plans. Gray kicks off his six date “The World To Me” tour in November with stops in Newcastle, Glasgow, Wolverhampton, Manchester and a two night engagement at Roundhouse in London. Perhaps he’ll make it to the studio at some point after that.
If I were to properly post about David Gray it would take all day and so I’m sort of copping out here but it’s the best I have time for at the moment. He deserves better, truly. And, at a later date I vow to appropriately delve into the greatness of Gray. In the meantime, I’ll offer up the following tracks and videos as examples and let the music speak for itself and close by saying if you don‘t own at least two copies of White Ladder (one that‘s scratched and worn with a broken case and one still pristine in the shrink wrap) you‘re doing yourself a severe disservice.
From A Thousand Miles Behind:
David Gray - "To Ramona" (Bob Dylan Cover)
David Gray - "Streets of Philadelphia" (Bruce Springsteen Cover)
David Gray - "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" (Randy Newman Cover)
From White Ladder:
David Gray - "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye"
and, the original:
Soft Cell - "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye"
And three videos of some of my very favorite songs:
"This Year's Love"
"Please Forgive Me"
"Shine" from the WONDERFUL DVD "Live at the Point"
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of The Beatles. It’s also not classified information that I have a rather odd fascination with all things related to one of the most turbulent and tantalizing eras in history, the 1960’s. Knowing these two facts it should come as no surprise that for the better part of the last two years I've been eagerly anticipating the release of Julie Taymor’s visually stunning and uniquely brilliant musical ode to two of my greatest loves. The wait is over.
Starring Evan Rachel Wood (who despite her recent raunchy video exploits with shock rocker boyfriend Marilyn Manson continues to deliver onscreen) as Lucy and English export Jim Sturgess as Jude, “Across the Universe” is essentially a love story set in the unsettled Vietnam War torn sixties told through the music of John, Paul, George and Ringo. After coming to America in search of his father, Jude finds himself in Greenwich Village where he meets and consequently falls for the shielded suburban blonde beauty, Lucy. But, like everything else during that time, things quickly change and the two find themselves absorbed into the counterculture movement of peaceful protesting, sex, drugs and rock ’n roll when Lucy’s brother Max is drafted and forced to fight in Vietnam. Sadness and heartbreak ensues all around.
While the film focuses on the love struggle of Jude and Lucy, this phenomenal musical journey showcases for viewers a wide variety of both physical and personal backgrounds visiting the stories found everywhere from college campuses in Ohio and Massachusetts to the violence found on the streets of Detroit and the fields of Vietnam. By combining live action work with three-dimensional and painted animation, Taymor is able to transport the audience to all these places and truly capture the essence of the trippy, tumultuous 60’s. Getting by with a little help from friends Joe Cocker and Bono (music legends in their own right) the film is lent a hand by an outstanding ensemble cast with Eddie Izzard, Salma Hayek and a host of fresh new acting faces leading the charge.
Originally scheduled for release in September of 2006, the debut was postponed due to creative differences that resulted in an all out tug of war for control between Taymor and Revolution Studios executive Joe Roth. After much debate as to the appropriate length of the film and Taymor threatening to disavow the film altogether, to the delight of all involved the film was not cut and clocks in at a substantial 2 hours and 13 minutes. You’ll get more bang for your buck with the longer length but skip the large drink and bucket size popcorn lest you miss one breathtaking minute of this fabulously crafted film.
“Across the Universe” is scheduled for limited release on September 14th along with the soundtrack which features the actors interpreting 30 classic Beatles tunes that are showcased in the film. The film that’s sure to have everyone talking for better or worse is slated for national release September 21st. In the same vein as Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, it’s a must see for any music fan and certainly has the potential for cult classic status in the future.
To get you in the mood, here is a clip of the trailer:
And, my favorite cover version and the accompanying video:
Rufus Wainwright - "Across the Universe"
Crazy Fiona does it:
Fiona Apple - "Across the Universe"
And the classic from the Fab Four themselves:
The Beatles - "Across the Universe"