Music Quote of the Day

"If you really think about it, everything in this world tries to be music." -- Eugene Hutz

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tiger Rag - Chet Atkins

Born in Luttrell, Tennessee in 1924, Chet Atkins was the baby of his family. He suffered from severe asthma and had to sleep sitting up in a hardback chair in order to breathe. His first instrument was a ukulele, followed by fiddle, and finally, at the age of 9, he worked a trade with his older brother Lowell - an old pistol and some chores - for a guitar.
Chet Atkins, himself inspired by guitar greats Django Reinhardt (whom he named the most influential guitarist of the 20th century), Merle Travis, and Les Paul, developed a style of playing that used his first three fingers for picking and his thumb for bass, creating a very defined and unique sound all his own.
Chet Atkins began producing for RCA in the mid-1950s, being put in charge of RCA's Nashville division. Here he was instrumental in creating RCA Studio B, the first studio built exclusively for recording on what became the now famous "Music Row." He became vice-president of RCA's country division and brought several artists to the label, including Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Jerry Reed. He retired from producing in the 1970s after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
Besides being an amazing musician and producer, Chet Atkins also worked as a design consultant with guitar manufacturer Gretsch who created a line of electric guitars that bore his name from 1955-1980, when he began designing guitars with Gibson.
Chet Atkins inspired many guitarists including Mark Knopfler, Jerry Reed, Tommy Emmanuel and Eric Johnson. He won 14 Grammys, 9 CMA awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and Billboard's Century Award. He died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee in 2001.

Tiger Rag by Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins website

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Case of You - Diana Krall

We saw this concert when Diana Krall came through Salt Lake City in 2001. She was amazing. Hands down, one of the best concerts I've ever had the pleasure to attend. And this song ... Oh, this song was breathtaking. She held the audience spellbound with her soft confessional delivery. It was as if everybody was holding their breath so as not to be detected accidentally eavesdropping on a lover's whisper.

A Case of You was written and originally recorded by Joni Mitchell in 1971 and included on her album "Blue" released that same year. Some say the song is about her love affair with Leonard Cohen while others believe it is a goodbye song to her partner, Graham Nash.

A Case of You
by Diana Krall from her Grammy winning 2002 live CD and concert DVD "Diana Krall - Live in Paris"

Diana Krall website

Diana Krall Myspace page

Diana Krall Facebook page

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dizzy - Tommy Roe

It seems that my vertigo is making a comeback. Oh, boy! Remember way back when you were little and you'd put your head down and spin and spin and spin until you were so dizzy you couldn't walk straight? It's like that. And of course, this song starts playing in my head. "I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning!"

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in 1942, Tommy Roe started singing and writing songs at 14 years of age. His song Dizzy, co-written by Freddie Weller, reached #1 on the Billboard charts in 1969 (1 week in the UK, 1 week in Canada, and 4 weeks in the USA).

by Tommy Roe, released in 1969 as a 7" single

Tommy Roe website

Friday, June 12, 2009

Last Dream I Remember - Wayside Drive

Here's a new song from one of my favorite new bands. I asked Jeremy Osborn, lead singer and guitarist for the band, if he'd like to share a bit about the creation of the song and video. He did! Here it is, in his own words:

"The 2 spoken word parts of the song are from an actual dream I had quite a few years ago. I don't usually write down my dreams but I did with this one. I was never a believer in "out of body" experiences before, but in the dream I was flying around having a grand time, checking out the sites, then in my dream I had the very distinctive thought "I need to get back into my body". Just like that. So I flew to my house, then into my bedroom, and saw my body lying there in the bed. So I laid down onto "myself" and I felt this upward-pulling sensation. Then I woke up! The spoken word parts are pretty much my exact dream.

"The first sung part of the song is a conversation with God about him being God and being much better at that job and me. I'm kind of a cart-before-the-horse kind of guy so sometimes I need to remind myself that I'm very limited in my view (and abilities).

"The second sung part is about inward reflection. Taking an honest look at myself and my limitations and coming to terms with it, and trying to do better, be better.

"The song itself is actually a few years old. I was messing around with some online collaborations with my good friend John Amelang and this was one of the songs we came up with. At the time it didn't have any singing, just the dream part. I sent John the drones with this crazy drum loop I came up with and the vocals and he recorded the bass and fuzz guitar parts.

"When we decided to do our 'reinvention' of Wayside I thought this song would be the best example or statement of intention regarding our new direction. It's probably the strangest of our new material, so that's exactly why we're sort of leading everything off with it. I cut the drum loops and Kevin recorded his drums parts, Natalie recorded the cello, and my friend Spinmeister from Canada recorded the synths.

"For the video I was thinking it would be good to do a very dream-like atmospheric type thing. Bits and pieces of "memories" that are more like dreams themselves instead of some silly dream sequence out of a movie. My dreams are typically random, and vivid, and amalgamated. So I found some family footage on the web from the 60's that was just perfect for the imagery that I was looking for. I messed around with different ways to layer different scenes on top of each other so that you can see multiple things going on at the same time. For the chorus parts I used a bunch of old Thomas Edison footage that really fit with the more silly/random aspect dreams can have.

"Ultimately for the video I wanted to have something that was a visual art piece that you could freeze just about any frame of it and it would look cool in and of itself."

Last Dream I Remember by Wayside Drive

Last Dream I Remember from Jeremy Osborn on Vimeo.

Wayside Drive website

Wayside Drive MySpace page

Wayside Drive Facebook page

Wayside Drive on Twitter

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Want You - Fiona Apple and Elvis Costello

Some performances are so packed with raw emotion that they leave you completely breathless and feeling not just a little violated (in a good way). This is one of those performances.

I Want You was written by Elvis Costello (credited under his real name, Declan MacManus) and included on his 1986 album "Blood and Chocolate" (Elvis Costello and the Attractions) and has since become one of Costello's signature concert songs. In 2006, Fiona Apple joined Elvis Costello onstage for VH1's "Decades Rock Live" for this stunning performance. Her version of this song was subsequently released as an iTunes single, also in 2006.

I Want You performed by Fiona Apple with Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello website

Fiona Apple website

Friday, June 5, 2009

I Think It's Going to Rain Today - Randy Newman

It's been overcast here all week. Severe thunderstorms happening all around me. I could watch them from my house. But nothing here. I enjoy blue skies as much as the next person, but I really love a good thunderstorm. Needless to say, I've felt a little left out while the rest of the valley was enjoying (and some not enjoying) the late spring cloudbursts. But today - FINALLY - we had a downpour complete with rolling thunder that was so loud and lasted for so long it sounded like a freight train traveling through the yard. Perfect day for this song.

American singer-songwriter, Randy Newman, wrote I Think It's Going to Rain Today and recorded it on his debut album "Randy Newman" in 1968. Since then it has been covered by myriad artists, including Better Midler, Nina Simone, Judy Collins, Joe Cocker, UB40 and many others.

I Think It's Going to Rain Today by Randy Newman

Randy Newman website

Randy Newman Facebook page

Monday, June 1, 2009

Goodnight, Irene - Lead Belly

The chorus for this song has been playing over and over in my head since I awoke this morning. Goodnight, Irene is a 20th century American folk song first recorded by Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter in 1932 and speaks of a lover's frustration and sadness (and suicidal musings) over a love gone wrong. This song became Lead Belly's theme song and he'd close each performance with it.

Lead Belly website

Wikipedia article on Lead Belly