Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers: 4th of July
This song pretty much describes exactly how I’ve been feeling lately, and a lot of the time, about life. Thank you Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers for saying it so well and my good friend Sam for getting me to actually listen to the song. I still have to get some more music from this band.
And the second song of the day is one that I just had on repeat all day yesterday, because for whatever reason, it made me feel a little better on a not so good day. FYI – The best version of this video I could find is from the label so you have to watch it on youtube.
~Note to my songwriting friends – I’d love to hear what you think of this song, especially structurally speaking. I don’t want to influence you too much by listing my thoughts about it, so I’ll just say I’d be interested in discussing it.
I’m really not a fan of working on Sunday mornings, or mornings in general for that matter. But my favorite part of this bi-weekly necessity is the drive into the city and up the West Side Highway, just driving and listening to some music, I have to make it to the studio in the 8am hour and because it’s Sunday there really isn’t that much traffic that early. So it’s a smooth ride and since the weather is nice and warm I drive with the windows down and the moonroof open – my favorite way to drive whenever I can.
Today I was listening to the Blind Pilot album, 3 Rounds and a Sound. A new friend of mine recommended this band to me and after watching a video or 2 on youtube I decided it would be a great thing to check out via emusic – my favorite source for independent music - mostly because it’s a subscription service that feeds my addiction to new (or at least new to me) music.
Anyway, I was driving so I was listening in a certain way, pretty much to overall feel of the album and I was transported to another place, which happens with me from time to time. Today I wanted to be on a wooden porch somewhere down south by a lake. You know that house in the movie The Notebook? The one Noah buys and restores with only Aly on his mind? That’s where I wanted to be and I wanted Blind Pilot, or another folk or bluegrass type group – preferably made up of friends of mine – to be on the porch playing while i sat on the porch swing listening and singing or playing along on my uke.
For those of you who don’t know, the title of this post is a quote from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It’s part of Veruca Salt’s song about wanting the golden egg and golden goose and basically her confirmation that she’s a spoiled brat. I personlly, couldn’t really care less about material things as far as this is concerned, but I definitely relate to that line of the song in that there are so many things I want do see and do, and I wonder…
Does everyone/ anyone feel like this? I want to do so much all the time and in my life in general, I really wonder – 1. if it’s possible to get/do all of the things you want and 2. if there is enough room in my head for it all. My brain has been going nonstop lately. Mostly I’ve been thinking about someone - shocking, I know. But even that’s about lots of different things and for different reasons. But I digress… Beyond that, I just have so many things I want to do and see and learn. Do normal people want to have 2-3 careers and fall in love and learn everything there is to know about music and art and some sciences and the history of the world and see every bit of it that they can jam into one lifetime? And if so, how do you go about making as many of those things happen as you possibly can?
Since it’s the last day of the year, I figured I should get to putting down my top 10 list. Now, since I have little interest in following the norm to the “t”, I’m going to do this my own way. Most of these songs and albums were released in 2009, however a few were released before this year but were new to me, so they count for me. This lists is more about the artists, but here are the songs that lead me to discover or rediscover them in 2009.
10. Now I Know Better by The Greg Mayo Band – Of all the great funky songs on their album Universal Communication, it was this ballad that stopped me in my tracks.
9. Mountains to Move by Gavin DeGraw – I rediscovered Gavin this year a few months after he released his latest album and recalled why I fell in love with his music in college. Tbe great thing about his album Free, is the contrast from his previous self-titled album. The self titled is very polished whereas Free was recorded in the Brooklyn studio of producer Camus Celli in a under 2 weeks.
8. Uprising by Muse – Muse stepped into the spotlight again this year when they provided a song for the Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack and released their fifth studio album. Every time I hear this song, I can’t help but move to the beat.
7. There You are In Me by Nelie McKay – This song is from Nellie’s 2006 release Pretty Little head. I don’t really know/remember how it came to be in my itunes library, but it came up a few times on shuffle this month and each time I played it again. So I decided to get the rest of the album and i certainly wasn’t disappointed.
6. The Big Picture and Lightning in a Bottle by Robbie Gil – I just couldn’t decide between the 2. I’ve been a fan of Robbie Gil for 3 or 4 years now and I was very excited about the release of his new EP, Lightning in a Bottle, this year. These songs are part of that release and I still can’t get enough of them. If you have a chance to see Robbie play, you really should do that. He’s one of my absolute favorite performers.
5. Some People by Rachel Platten – I heard about Rachel a while ago but never got around to checking out her stuff until a friend posted this video a little while back. I dare you not to relate to this one. Check it out here.
4. I Need a Riff by Martin Rivas. I heard this song a few times live before I picked up Martin’s latest release Sea of Clouds. It starts out, “I need a riff to get me through the morning” and I just love that thought. I don’t go anywhere without my ipod and a notebook, so I can completely relate. This song has a great grove and riff, of course. I loved hearing it live and I love having the CD so I can play it whenever I Need a Riff.
3. You Could Be The One by Dan Torres – I saw Dan play live at Rockwood Music Hall about a month ago, I think, and I was just blown away. He reminds me, especially in this song, of a cross between Jeff Buckley and Dallas Green. And he’s an awesome musician and songwriter in his own right, of course. Make sure to check out his music.
2. Locked Up by Ingrid Michaelson from her latest album Everybody which was released in August. I love the intensity of this song and I wish I could put into words how much I relate to a lot of what Ingrid is talking about with this song. Anyway, since I’m not really doing it justice at all, I’m just going to say it’s a great song and you should really check it out.
1. Afterglow by Ian Axel – It’s one of my favorite songs and has been since I heard it a few months ago, which has a little to do with the circumstances of my discovering it, but much more with the fact that it’s just a great song and part of an impressive first offering from a very talented artist. Ian’s first full length album comes out on Tuesday (1/5) so be sure to check that out! From what I’ve heard of it so far, it sounds like it’ll be great.
Quick recap of highlights. I think these are in order of the sets, but I could have mixed them up a little.
1. Rebecca Correia – just awesome, all 3 songs were great. I think her first song was called Home, I don’t remember the name of the second one (but i remember liking it), and I’m pretty sure she covered one of Amy’s songs. I’m not always great with details, so feel free to correct me if you have a better memory than I do. What I do know is I was totally impressed and I’m so going to see her at the Bitter End tonight. (-9pm bleecker btwn thompson and laguardia)
3. Martin Rivas with Wes Hutchinson singing a new tune of theirs, I think it’s called Don’t You Ever Stop Believing In Me. I really like this song, so forgive me and please correct me if I have the title wrong, guys.
4. All of Live Society’s set. Especially their cover of As by Stevie Wonder, my favorite love song of all time. If you don’t know it, get it now! Really, just get the entire Songs in the Key of Life album. If you’re a music fan and it’s not in your collection, you are missing out. Anyway, I’ve never heard anyone do that live so that was great.
So yeah, just a few things that stuck in my head from an awesome night of music. I can’t wait for the next one.
I sometimes forget how much I appreciate and enjoy certain genres of music. I went to a holiday party tonight with quite a group of musicians in attendance. So, not surprisingly, there was a good amount of music making going on. However, in contrast to the environment of my usual musical haunts, this was a group of classical musicians. I’ve been privy to some impromptu performances of a few genres, but not so much in the way of classical. Tonight my friend and his companions read a Fauré quartet for strings and piano among a few other pieces which were all just lovely. Later on, he sang a bit of Schumann lieder, with which you really can’t go wrong.
Meanwhile, the soundtrack for my commute today was the Wicked original cast recording, which I haven’t listened to as a whole in year or so and never to the extent that I listened to showtunes in my middle school days. All of this just got me thinking about how much music is out there and how much of it I love. And also, how I tend to step away from some genres for one reason or another.
I would love to know more about classical music as a genre, and as a time period really, but that’s a whole other story and part of my dilema really. There is just so much out there that I don’t even know where to begin. I only hear what people I know have played or recommended to me. So in that case, I think it may be time to start researching.
Anyway, when I got home tonight I listened to some local pop/rock artists that I’ve become a fan of recently and I love the fact that I can thoroughly enjoy all of this music. I have favorite songs or pieces in so many genres and for different reasons, but I think it’s great that there are so many different kinds of music out there, just as there are so many different kinds of people. And then there are people like me who are insatiable and just want to explore everything.
So as a conclusion to the randomness that has been this post here’s a short list of current and lasting favorites in various genres. Check them out!!
String Quartet No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 131: VI. Adagio quasi un poco andante Beethoven – I discovered this because of it’s use in the miniseries Band of Brothers, which I recommend to everyone. The placement of the piece and it’s slight integration into the storyline is just the kind of thing I wish would happen more often in filmmaking.
From Heaven Distilled a Clemency by Tarik O’Regan from Triptych (cantata for string orchestra and chorus) – the entire piece is great, but this movement is without a doubt my favorite of the 3. I’ll be singing this with YNYC in March – head over to ynyc.org or contact me for more info. I also recommend both Conspirare recordings of this piece – Threshold of Night includes the entire Triptych and A Company of Voices includes a recording of this movement with chorus and percussion instead of strings, which is also really cool.
Wicked Original Cast Recording – There is something about the main theme of this that just gets me. I love the use of brass in this orchestra and the choral harmonies in No One Mourns the Wicked give me chills.
Ragtime Original Cast Recording – Still my favorite musical and cast recording. If you are a fan of musical theater at all you really should look into this one. So powerful.
Leaving in the Morning by Dan Torres
Get Out by Josh Dion
and I’m sure there are many more in all of the above genres. I hope there is something here that appeals to you. If not, let me know what’s on your playlist lately.
Not that this is news, I just had a great weekend filled with music, friends and family and I can’t wait to tell you all about every amazing thing I’m hearing and working on. I heard some awesome musicians this weekend, and earlier in the week I grabbed a CD that I should have picked up months ago, which I absolutely love.
So, while this post is going to be a short one, expect lots of musical gushing to follow in the coming days. Dan Torres and Ingrid Michaelson are just a couple of the artists on my radar this week. Also, I need to tell you about the wonderful chorus I’m singing with – the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, that is. We have a performance on December 5th and I would love to see a huge crowd there. More info to follow. Have a great start to the week, everyone!
Song of the moment – Soldier by Ingrid Michaelson, listen here
…to be continued
Tonight I actually spent some time with my old friend, the piano. We have some differences to work out – it’s been entirely too long since we’ve spent a decent amount of time together – but I’m confident that our relationship can be rebuilt. I made some progress on an old song, so that was great. I changed the key of the song a while ago, but did so with the intent to keep the chords of the bridge the same because I thought that if I brought that down too, it would be too low for me to sing comfortably – boy was I wrong. I decided tonight that it isn’t true to what’s really in my head that way, so back to plan A, now in D major. I wrote a piano part for said song too. Well, everything but the bridge. This is still a work in progress and I have no idea if I’ll end up keeping any of it in the long run, but it’s great to get back into that mindset of just putting your fingers to the keys and seeing what happens. I think the next step will be to record the piano line and see if it makes any sense when i try to sing over it. My relationship with the piano is still in such a fragile state that it will not allow my brain to process singing and playing pretty much anything but block chords at the same time, but this is why I’m trying to get us to be friends again.
That’s really all I have to say for now except that I’m really looking forward to perfecting this song and then moving on to finishing the others that have been in pieces for entirely too long. So here’s to old friends and new ventures!
“And in the air the questions hang, will we get to do something? who we gonna end up being? how we gonna end up feeling? What you gonna spend your free life on?” Free Life – Dan Wilson, title track from his solo album
I had to share this song today because I’m so in this mindset right now. I just love the whole idea of this song, “What are you going to do with this life you’ve been given, this free life?” It’s a sort of call to action on one hand, but at the same time, and maybe even more so, a reminder to just appreciate the life you have. Appreciate the people around you who care about you and just keep living. Keep pursuing your dreams, no matter how far-fetched or difficult they seem. Don’t loose sight of what you want to do with your life, and if you do, try to find your way back.
I lost it for a while and I’m still not exactly sure where I’ll end up, but I remember what I want now, what I’ve wanted since I was about 12 years old – to sing and make music. I never stopped doing this, but I also don’t feel I’ve been putting quite enough effort into it for quite a while now. That ends today. There is no reason I can’t keep working on being a better musician. There are so many things I want to do with my life, a lot of which has to do with the kind of person I want to be. But, at the top of the list right now (career wise anyway) are: become a better musician and engineer and keep writing - the last part goes for music and prose. Now it’s in writing and I can’t forget it again. And while I could probably go on for quite a while about this, I’m just going to say one more thing about the song, upload a video so you can hear it, and call it a night.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Dan Wilson’s songwriting. In this particular case, I love the simplicity of this song, it’s very mellow and has a melody that’s easy to follow, but the message is so powerful and the lyrics are great. “Lets fall in love again with music as our guide/ We’ll raise our ready hands and let go for the ride/ Down into unknown lands where lovers needn’t hide/ We got these lives for free we don’t know where they’ve been/ We don’t know where they’ll go when we are through with them/ The starlight of the sun the dark side of the moon”
What are you going to spend your free life on?