The Rock-n-Roll (?) Hall of Fame

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI saw a Tweet the other day that indicated if I wanted to vote for a particular band to enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Hall), I should click the link and vote.  I did.  As I started going through the nominees for the 2017 class, I realized again that the Hall needs to change its name.  Maybe it should be called the “We Have to Put These Folks in So Folks Will Wonder Why We Have Them Hall of Fame”. Maybe it should be the “Folks Who Impacted Music (Good or Bad) Hall of Fame.”

Either title would work.  The first class was inducted into the Hall in 1986 with the actual Hall itself opening in September of 1995.  Hats off to the Hall for having different induction categories – performer, early influence, sidemen, and non-performer.  Of the 310 inductees, 209 are in the performer category.  

The early classes were filled with you would expect – Led Zeppelin, Buddy Holly, Ike & Tina Turner, blues performers, and some R&B folks.  Then the crack developed in what I will call the Rock Wall during the 1997 class – the Bee Gees.  Yes, the high pitched harmonies that reverberated throughout discos was in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Huh?  While they sold more records than I will ever have dollars, they weren’t rock & roll by any stretch.  Once this floodgate opened, then these folks were inducted:

  • Bob Marley – eh, maybe.  
  • Donna Summer – I mean, if you are putting the Bee Gees in, might as well put the Queen of Disco in.
  • Madonna – sold a bunch of records, but really didn’t change music except to bring cones to wardrobes.
  • Michael Jackson – I’ve put him on a lot of lists, but rock & roll isn’t one of them.
  • NWA – at first I was trying to figure out how wraslin’ fit in with rock, but then I saw a picture of NWA.  Sorry guys.

Through the years, there have been some obvious ones they got right, such as Cheap Trick, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Heart, KISS, the Who, and of course, Van Halen. 

During the induction ceremonies, it sometimes provides an awkward situation as former members have to stand on stage with the ones they fought with or trashed in the media.

So, back to voting.  I went to the website and looked over the 2017 nominees and the same holds true for this nominee class – some obvious and some head scratchers. 

  • Bad Brains – who?
  • Chaka Khan – really? 
  • Chic – more R&B 
  • Depeche Mode – heard of them, but seriously doubt their influence.
  • Electric Light Orchestra – Long line of hits and took stage sets to a new level
  • J. Geils Band – not worthy in my book.
  • Jane’s Addiction – heard of them, but again – what did they contribute?
  • Janet Jackson – please.  
  • Joan Baez – folk singer.  I can see it.
  • Joe Tex – not sure what he did
  • Journey – deserving – really set the stage for arena rock.
  • Kraftwerk – during my first year of college, a guy across the hall had their album.  Remember a bunch of synthesizers, etc.  Don’t think that qualifies them for the Hall.
  • MC5 – huh?
  • Pearl Jam – yes, they probably should be there.  
  • Steppenwolf – no issue with the band getting in, but this might be one to watch if they make it.  Bad blood between John Kay and original members.
  • The Cars – different, but no problem letting them in.
  • The Zombies – not familiar, but at least I’ve heard of them.
  • Tupac Shakur – guess if he gets in, the whole rap wars thing would be brought up.
  • Yes – yes.

You get to vote for five a day.  I voted for ELO, Journey, Joan Baez, Pearl Jam, and Yes.  Go to www.rockhall.com and vote. 

Until next time

Zach

My Take on the 50th CMA Awards

music musings, beaverdamusa.comAs usual, watching music award shows brings all sorts of emotions – awe, sadness and, “What the hell were they thinking when they picked them to play?”  The 50th CMA awards were no different.  I recorded the show and started watching about an hour into it, so here is my take on the show – for what it’s worth.

  • Opening video was nice retrospective on past shows.  The stroll through the songs was a treat for the most part.  It included folks like Vince Gill playing Haggard and Brad Paisley sharing the stage with 80 year old Charlie Daniels.  Reba came out in a dress that matched her hair. At the end, they brought out Randy Travis to watch them sing his song Forever and Ever, Amen.  
  • Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley as co-hosts always bring some great comedy.  Their take on the Presidential debates was a nice nod to current events.
  • In the “know where you are” category, the record exec who tumbled off the stage behind him while up there with Thomas Rhett, takes the prize.
  • Excited to see Kelsea Ballerini perform her hit Peter Pan.  Could have done without the ballet dancers on strings behind her.  Sound was off a little bit on her number.  It never ceases to amaze me how bad the sound is on these shows.  
  • They had long-time crush Olivia Newton-John as a presenter for Song of the Year since she won a CMA in 1974.  Really wanted Cam’s Burning House to win.
  • Jason Aldean and Brooks and Dunn performed some song – They were the first ones to bring out the F factor.  The F factor is how quick can I hit fast forward on the remote.  They scored 2F.  Did Ronnie Dunn lose a bet and have to have his hair styled liked that?
  • Maren Morris is evidently the new “favorite artist” this year.  Sounds like she has some pipes, but not my cup of tea.
  • Jennifer Garner came out to present something.  Doesn’t’ matter what she presents – she can present me with anything she wants.
  • New artist went to Maren Morris over my pick Kelsea B.  I did like her line about watching last year’s awards at a bar across the street and now she has killer seats.
  • Barbara Mandrell – didn’t like you back then and still don’t.  
  • Nice set by Garth & Tricia.  Showed what I think was Lorie Morgan during the Keith Whitley song.  YIKES!  The miles have not been good to Lorie.
  • Carrie Underwood’s number (Dirty Laundry) wasn’t my favorite, but I love the fact that they always have her walking down steps when she sings.  My sweet wife chimes in for the first time with “how’d they find that many girl guitar players?”
  • Glad Fatih Hill has long hair again.  Keep it that way.
  • Glad to see Eric Church get album of the year.  Not really a fan, but he recently donated $1 million to JDRF – need him to keep making money.
  • Miranda – sigh.  She gets every award in my book.  Where is her sparkly pink microphone?  Also, where are those spurs she wore at Fan Fair?
  • Circle of kids around McGraw during Humble and Kind reminded me of Children of the Corn.
  • Vocal duo – Why did they switch the Osborne Brothers’ name around?  Really surprised they didn’t do Rocky Top.  At least it wasn’t Florida-Georgia Line.
  • When Brad was talking about Wal-Mart’s Green Light for Vets, my bride chimes in with “he got that jacket at Wal-Mart”.
  • Come back from commercial – it’s Beyonce in some sort of white space suit with other ladies on stage – wait – oh crap – they’re back.  Dang Dixie Chicks.  Didn’t like them before they killed their career.  You don’t cover a Stevie Nicks song (Landslide) and get love from me.  This earned the highest F factor – F infinity.
  • Good lord there’s Peyton Manning – in a tux.  Wife – “he could be President”
  • Camera shows the crowd – good Lord, Jennifer Garner is sitting next to Olivia Newton-John.  I need a cigarette. Way too much hotness in one spot.
  • Something about Luke Bryan’s songs I just don’t like.
  • Lee Greenwood – has anyone ridden a single song more and longer than him?
  • Crap – it’s Florida-Georgia Line with Tim McGraw – he must have lost a bet or they have photos of him.  F factor of three.
  • Lily Tomlin intros the Dolly tribute – damn – the recording shut off and I was about 10 minutes behind.  Missed her speech and Stapleton winning male vocalist.  
  • Thought Taylor Swift put Nashville and country in the rearview mirror?
  • Entertainer of the Year – Garth.  Who else? Sells multiple shows out everywhere he goes.  Highest number of shows in a single city was 11 on this tour.  It was like Garth said “step aside – Daddy’s here to take home the big prize.”  

All in all, it was an entertaining three hours – well, except for FL/GA line, oh, and Jason Aldean, and the Dixie Chicks.  Did I tell you I can’t stand the Dixie Chicks?

Musing in Nashville

Zach

Singing With the Saints

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThis musing is going to be a little different from my others.  It’s is going to be more reflective or personal.  For the past 10+ years, I have sung in the choir at my church – Kingston Springs United Methodist Church in Kingston Springs, TN.  If you are interested, I sing bass and love it. 

Our choir director is Julia Rich who is a gem and performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for years.  Her late father was a United Methodist preacher who served in the Middle Tennessee area for years. 

One of his stops was Tulip Street United Methodist Church in East Nashville.  Tulip Street was founded in 1859 with the building started in 1860 and finishing after the Civil War.  The architecture of the outside is beautiful and the inside is stunning and cathedral-like.  But, like many of these old churches, the neighborhoods are changing, people are changing how and where they worship.  With an average worship attendance of somewhere around ten, the decision was made to close this grand ole church.  

Like any good Methodist, when faced with a crisis – they decided to eat.  Seriously, a Homecoming/Last Service was planned where former pastors, members, and staff were invited back to celebrate the church to celebrate its history.  Our choir director was asked to come and sing since her father was pastor at Tulip Street, and she then volunteered to bring us to the festivities.  So we grabbed our robes and music and sang during communion as shown below.  [In case you wondering, I’m the bald dude on the back row on the far left, looking at the picture.]  

tulip1How about that beautiful pipe organ!  It was installed in 1891 and has had minimal alterations to it.  The sounds that came out of those pipes were magnificent.

Sitting and standing up there in the choir loft, my mind starting to wander – not during the sermon, of course.  I started thinking about all the people who sat where I sat over the last 150+ years.  What would they think about the church closing?  Did they hear the same pipes/bellows clicking as the organ played? 

I realized that I was part of the last choir to sing at this church.  Wonder what the first choir was like?  Wonder if the saints who have gone on gathered around on October 9, 2016 to watch that sanctuary once again be filled with music and people?  I would like to think so.  It was quite an honor to sing there and I really appreciate the opportunity.

Musing and singing with the saints

Zach

P.S.  Someone recorded the service and posted it on YouTube – the choir starts at 1:22 into the video at (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruQ-5ghO9wQ).  

P.P.S. – You can check out the Tulip Street UMC page on Facebook for much more information.  I am also attaching some pictures of the church my sweet wife took.

tulip2

           tulip3tulip4tulip5

Three for the Hall: Heart, Jett, Cheap Trick

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIn what could also be termed the AARP tour, a promoter pulled recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick (2016), Joan Jett (2015), and Heart (2013) and sent them on a summer tour billed as Three for the Hall.  Since I am a card-carrying AARP rock & roller, I snagged my tickets for the Ascend Amphitheater (Nashville) as soon as they went on sale.  Luckily I did, because I discovered my $35 lawn seat was fetching $77 on the day before the show.  I would have sold it, but then I would have to find a new blog subject this week!

It was a rare cool night in September when my bride and I ventured downtown on a school night (we know how to party!).  As I have written before, the Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville on the river is a great place for a show.  

As most “experienced” acts seem to, they started the show on time!  Videos from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction was shown for each artist.  Not only did it show pieces of their induction speech, but it showed a video history of the artists.  One thing that really surprised me was the quick set changes between acts.  It was literally 15 minutes to whisk away the previous act’s gear and roll out the next one’s. Very impressive.

Cheap Trick played first on the bill which surprised me somewhat.  Though they were first, that didn’t diminish their show.  They played an hour reaching back to their first album, as well as playing from their latest release.  As usual, they played their hearts out with Rick Nielsen changing guitars as often as Taylor Swift changes boyfriends or Beyonce changes costumes.    Robin Zander still can handle the vocals as well as ever and never met a high note he didn’t like.  Cheap Trick truly seems to enjoy playing and changes their set from night to night – not just one or two songs, but four or five songs.  Really makes it fresh. 

Joan Jett played all the songs she was supposed to play.  The songs sounded exactly like you were used to hearing.  In all honesty, I have never been much of a Joan Jett fan and her set this night didn’t change it.  It was very low energy to me and quite honestly, boring.  I did hear some folks comment that they though her set was great; so I guess it was just me not being a fan.  The angry punk persona just doesn’t work when you are 58.

Now Heart, that’s a different story.  Ann and Nancy Wilson came out and took the stage by storm.  Though both are in their mid-60’s, they still have it.  Yes, I have been a Heart fan for years, so I am biased.  Ann didn’t avoid any note and nailed them all.  Best surprise of the show had to be when Nancy sang a great song called Two off their latest right after These Dreams. 

I must confess that I suffered a couple of broken ribs during the show.  This occurred when Nancy proceeded to kick her leg over her head during the start of Crazy on You.  My lovely bride elbowed me and said something about calming down.  I mean, I was just showing my appreciation for her flexibility…..  They closed the show with a two-song encore consisting of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song & Stairway to Heaven.  Normally, I would complain about artists playing other artists’ songs, but Heart has long been known for throwing in Led Zep songs and they rocked on these two.  Speaking of Stairway, do yourself a favor and Google Heart’s performance of Stairway at the Kennedy Center Awards.  It will give you goosebumps.

All in all, it was a great night of classic rock.  While I disagree with some of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees, these three definitely deserve to there.

Musing in Nashville

Zach

P.S.  Here are the set lists from that night

Cheap Trick

  • Hello There
  • Clocks Strikes Ten 
  • California Man
  • Southern girls
  • He’s A Whore
  • No Direction
  • Day Tripper (Beatles cover)
  • Stop This Game
  • I’m Waiting for the Man – Tom Peterson on lead vocals
  • The Flame- Robin Zander nailed that last note
  • I Want You to Want Me
  • Dream Police
  • Surrender
  • Auf Wiedersehen

Joan Jett 

  • Victim of Circumstance
  • Cherry Bomb (Runaways)
  • Do You Wanna Touch Me
  • Bad Reputation
  • TMI
  • You Drive Me Wild (Runaways)
  • Light of Day (Michael J Fox & JJ movie)
  • Make It Back
  • Love is Pain
  • Any Weather
  • I Love Rock & Roll
  • Crimson & Clover
  • I Hate Myself for Loving You
  • Everyday People

Heart

  • Wild Child
  • Magic Man
  • What About Love
  • Even It Up
  • These Dreams
  • Two 
  • Straight On
  • Kick It Out
  • Beautiful Broken
  • Alone – very stripped down version with Ann wailing
  • Crazy on You – leg kick (oh my)
  • Barracuda – opening riff is one of the most wicked licks in all of rock & roll
  • Immigrant Song
  • Stairway to Heaven

My Favorite Concert Experiences

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIn the past, I have mused on what were my favorite concerts.  This musing is about my favorite concert experiences or moments.   While the particular show, may or may not have made my list of favorite concerts, these particular moments stand out for me.  So in no particular order, other than how they came to my brain, here are some of my favorite memories:

  • The opening of Styx’s Paradise Theatre show in Nashville – I was standing within a person or two of the front row as A.D. 1928 starts with a lone janitor sweeping the floor in front of a large curtain.  True to the album order, Rockin the Paradise kicks off with the curtain dropping, lights flashing, and pyrotechnics for days.  The shock was amazing.
  • Sammy Hagar – 5150 tour in Memphis -   This was Sammy’s third show with Van Halen and it was so full of energy.  The sound guy must have figured he could over power any acoustic because my ears ached for two days.  Also, Sammy & Eddie both climbed up on the lighting catwalk above the stage.  Sammy even stood on the railing and leaned out over the crowd only hanging on by one hand.  Two nights later in Nashville it was only Sammy on the catwalk.  My theory on why is in a later bullet.
  • Jimmy Buffett – W.O. Smith Music School benefit at Tennessee Performing Arts Center– the opening song was Jimmy coming out barefooted and sitting on the edge of the stage with his feet dangling.  He launched into It’s My Job as he started an unforgettable night of truly acoustic music.
  • Van Halen in Atlanta – Sammy reunion show – Sammy left Van Halen without any prior hint so many Van Halen fans felt like they never got a chance to say good-bye.  This tour was that chance.  It was obvious that this would be his last tour with the band.  When It’s Love was the last song they played and I loved the fact that one of my favorite VH songs was the last one I heard Sammy sing with them.
  • Van Halen – 1984 (I think) tour in Nashville at the Municipal Auditorium – my friend Joe and I had aged enough to know that trying to get up front was too much hassle, but loved standing on the floor.  We had discovered that the sound was awesome at the back of the floor by the sound board.  Well, we look over and who is watching the show about ten feet from us but Valerie Bertinelli – Eddie’s wife at the time.  [This is why I think Eddie didn’t get on the catwalk]
  • Alabama A&M Homecoming – My roommate and blog host, his future (and current) wife, and I noticed that there was a great show happening at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville.  Midnight Starr, Zap, featuring Roger (never figured out which one was Roger), and the Gap Band were playing.  We head down to see it and then realize it was Alabama A&M’s homecoming.  To say we stood out is an understatement.  Let’s just leave it at that.
  • Van Halen – Atlanta & Nashville – Van Halen (with Sammy) was touring and kicked off their tour at an amphitheater in Atlanta.  There is something about the opening night of a tour – the band is so jacked up with energy.  Well, we spent the night in Atlanta and then drove back to Nashville the next day to [you guess it] see them again at Starwood amphitheater.  It was quite the experience.
  • That Nashville Moment – this occurs at any concert in Nashville.  It always seems that when artists perform here, they always pull another star out on stage with them.  Whether it was Ann Wilson with Emmylou Harris and Allison Kraus or Jimmy Buffett having his former neighbor John Kay (Steppenwolf) come out, it is always a treat.

Thanks for indulging me as I stroll down memory lane.  Hopefully, there are many more moments in the future.

Musing in Nashville

Zach

Home Sweet Home to Me

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThe calendar slipped upon me this week.  I just realized that I am supposed to publish a Musing. Well, I am about six hours past when I normally send in my blog.  What should I blog about?  What is on my mind musically?

Rocky Top you will always be, home sweet home to me……

That’s is what’s on my mind.  You see, today my beloved University of Tennessee Volunteers kick off their 2016 football season.  Rocky Top is the song associated with UT football.  Opponents hate it – but it you have any orange coursing through your veins, you love it.  You sing it with the Pride of the Southland Marching Band (UT’s band), you sing it with gusto at a karaoke bar after that sixth beer, and you sing it by yourself as you sit in the confines of your home watching the Vols.

The song was written in 1967 by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and recorded by the Osborne Brothers. Wikipedia tells me that the Osborne Brothers hit #33 on the charts with it in 1967 and Lynn Anderson hit #17 in 1970.  However, I would be willing to bet that the Volunteers are primarily responsible for the song’s continued popularity, if only amongst alumni.  Whether at a bar, wedding reception, or in the middle of Times Square; if Rocky Top plays, the UT fans are easy to spot.  We will perk up, start singing, and might even shuffle our feet a bit.

Love or hate it – it is the song people associate with my beloved University.  Rocky Top will always be “home sweet home, to me”.  Gotta to go watch some football.  Go Vols!

GI Joes, My Hairline and Music Racks

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIf you are playing $20,000 Pyramid or Catch Phrase, the answer would be – things that shrink. Feel free to add your own items to the list as you play along at home.

Often while mowing, my mind will wander while listening to my tunes. This week was no exception and I reminisced about new music yesterday vs. today as I listened to a cut off the new Jackyl album. I thought about going to get a new album and how that has changed.

record-store-925553_1280Whether I was as a kid waiting for the parents or as an adult waiting for the wife to finish shopping, I spent many hours in a record store. As you can imagine, I could get lost in there for hours looking through the bins. Unless it is a hipster store in East Nashville, go see how much real estate is dedicated to actual you-can- touch-it music sales – either albums, tapes, CDs, etc. If you want to see a movie that captures the essence of a record store – watch High Fidelity, starring the great John Cusack.

Keep in mind that back in the day, you had to go get your music – it didn’t come to you via download or online streaming. Often, the type of media purchased (album or tape) was dictated by the length of time between the record store and your house. Can’t wait to get home, you would snag a tape so you could listen on the way home. Quick trip?

You got the vinyl and made a tape for the car later.

Another thing is that you didn’t have the internet, Facebook, MySpace, or iTunes to let you know when your favorite artist had an album dropping. You had to go to the record store and browse the bins to see who had an album out, unless you were a subscriber to Rolling Stone. Occasionally, a record store would post a list of album release dates, but I always enjoyed browsing the bins.

There is just something about walking into a store and picking up an album. As I was musing, here are some of my thoughts that came to mind about record stores (only order is how they popped in my mind):

*  Skipping class to go to the mall in Columbia to get Van Halen’s 1984 when the record store opened at 10:00.

* Trying to find a record store in Murray, KY, without the benefit of Google on the way to my Grandad’s so I could get Sammy’s first album with Van Halen (5150).

* Going to the Bellevue Mall and being probably the first person to buy the debut Blue Tears album in Nashville. Ironically, a band member and his wife were with me.

* Going into Tower Records for the first time in Nashville. It was like a fox in the hen house – I had never seen that many albums in one place.

Yes, I do miss going to the record store, but I also enjoy being able to download a particular song while sitting on the couch or using the “search” feature to find particular songs/albums. I guess the moral is that we all must adapt while remembering how it used to be.

Musing in Music City

Zach

An Evening With John Waite

music musings, beaverdamusa.comFor years, I have been a fan of John Waite, dating back to the Babys era. I even mused about John once for this blog.

I had noticed he was doing some dates across the country on what is billed as the Wooden Heart Acoustic tour. For the longest, the closest was Memphis back in May. I even commented on a Facebook post John that he should add a Nashville gig, to which he replied “What about Memphis?”. While I love me some John Waite, I had to explain that a trip down I-40 to the Bluff City just wasn’t my cup of tea, even if I could stop at Buffalo and get some pie at the Log Cabin.

IMG_0291Anyway, he finally announced a show at the intimate and great venue – the Franklin Theatre. Having seen a few shows there, I knew it would be a great evening, so I snagged some tickets up front at the tables which put us about ten feet from the stage.

The opening act was Raquel Aurilia who sang six songs accompanied by just an acoustic guitar. Her voice was nice and gave everyone a chance to settle into their seats.

For the ADD readers – it was a John Waite fan’s dream. Now, for those that enjoy a little more detail, read on. John came out with a very stripped down band – a guitar, a bass, and a cajon. [I learned that night that a cajon is the proper word for beat box]. John would occasionally play the acoustic guitar during the set. His guitar player was Nashville native (who isn’t now) Kyle Cook (www.kylecookmusic.com), formerly of Matchbox Twenty. It was a treat to watch him play. Kyle played on John’s Rough & Tumble and co-wrote one of my favorite John Waite songs – If You Ever Get Lonely.

John explained that the show would be very laid back and he would talk about the songs and their inspiration. He also added that the audience would get to ask questions throughout the night. So, he basically set the stage for our own Storyteller session with him and about 400 of his closest friends in Franklin. What a treat.

Throughout the set, we were treated to tidbits and stories prompted by the songs or questions from the audience, such as:

* He grew up listening to country music as a child in England. He talked about walking to the bus stop for school and staring at a Marty Robbins album in a store window and how he dreamed of making it to play and sing in Nashville.

* One of his favorite moments was getting to sing on the Grand Ole Opry, courtesy of Allison Kraus. Allison and John redid his monster solo hit Missing You several years ago with commercial success.

* He talked about how much he admired Vince Gill and his guitar work so much that he cut one of Gill’s songs – Whenever You Come Around. As he was playing this song on the Opry stage, he realized Gill was playing with him on stage.

* Waite lived in Nashville for a few years and really loved the vibe. He mentioned that he left because NYC really felt like home. He said that Nashville has become too crowded and is losing its country music vibe due to the record labels.

I could go on and on about how great of a night it was, but I realize not everyone is as big of a John Waite fan as I am. Which brings me to my final point. It was truly an evening for John Waite fans, but not a casual one. Yes, he did some hits from all eras of his career – Babys, Bad English, and solo. But, he also threw in some real deep cuts. It was refreshing to see an artist do the songs that he wanted to and that the true fans would appreciate. If you have a chance, go check out John Waite if he stops in your neck of the woods.

Musing in Nashville.

Zach

Set list:

* When I See You Smile – probably my favorite Bad English song

* In God’s Shadow

* In Dreams

* New York City Girl

* If You Ever Get Lonely – Favorite solo song; was recently covered by country duo Love & Theft

* Missing You

* Bluebird Cafe – stripped down acoustic. Told the story of a real waitress and how he imagined why she was in Nashville.

* Whenever You Come Around – this is when he told the story of Vince Gill playing with him on theOpry.

* Downtown- only instrument was a Spanish acoustic guitar

* Magic Camera

* Best of What I Got – Bad English

* Change

* Head First – Only Babys song he did.

Reviewing “Jericho,” Erica Bryan’s Debut EP

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWhile I have written about songs, artists, and various other things over the life of this blog, I don’t recall ever reviewing an album.  Fellow BeaverDamUSA blogger, Erica Bryan has released her debut EP entitled Jericho.  I decided to try my hand at reviewing it for her.  You can download the album on iTunes and follow Erica’s journey to the EP’s debut (among other things) here.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to the Jericho.  Erica has a nice vocal range and great sound.  Recently, a lot of country music is over-produced and too slick; but not this one.  No one went knob-crazy in the production booth.  Speaking of country – I don’t consider this a country album.  Of course, my idea of country and today’s country are pretty far apart.

The album has seven tracks and provides a very nice sampling of Erica’s range and styles.  Erica was smart in putting a variety of styles on the album.  If you don’t like a particular song or style, there is always the “next” button.  I typically judge an album by how many songs do I reach for that “next” button after I’ve listened to it once.  I am happy to say that I only tapped it once.  Here are my quick hits on each of the tracks:

  • Jericho – Has a marching feel to it due to beat.  Love the bass line on it and see this as a top-down, turn it up, driving song.
  • Immune to You – Nice keys starting the track. This song soars in vocals and tempo.  Best song on the album.
  • Gypsy Life – nice ebb & flow on this one.  Like the slow, sultry feel.
  • Billboard – This is the “next” song – just a little too pop’ish for me.
  • Sad Song – Everyone has lived this song.  This has the same sultry feel as Gypsy Life.  Love the line “birds are singing in minor key” – a minor key can make Happy Birthday seem sad.  This is Erica’s wheelhouse.  I picture listening to this song in a dark room with a drink in hand while thinking of what might have been.
  • Leaving You in Memphis – Nice catchy tune.  Like the image of driving east on I-40 after leaving whoever in Memphis.  Of course, the thought of being left in Memphis is plenty scary.
  • This House is Haunted – This song should be played after listening Sad Song.  Along the same thought, this song again lets Erica soar on vocals.

In summary, this is a very solid debut album.  Erica has a beautiful voice and Jericho lets her show it off. I would definitely recommend purchasing Jericho.

Musing In Jericho

Zach

Like the Proverbial Kid in a Candy Store

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWhatever metaphor you want to use – drunk in a bar, pig in slop, etc. – that has been me for the last couple of months.  At my age, what would do that to me?  Two words – Apple Music.

First, I must let you know that Apple is not sponsoring this column nor have I received any product placement fees.  For the longest, I was deadest against anything Apple – didn’t have an iPhone, iPod, or an Apple computer.  For those that know me – that isn’t hard to believe.  Through the years, I have tended to go against the grain when it comes to whatever the mainstream is doing.  For example, I have never seen Gone with the Wind, It’s A Wonderful Life, or Titanic.  I’ve never listened to Thriller, any Adele album, or ever purchased a Whitney Houston album.  So I was clutching my CDs and Android phone for as long as possible, but something made me break.  I think it was just being tired of swimming upstream.  The first step was to buy an iPod and synch my CD collection to it.  While I was using the technology, I still liked the feel of buying an album or CD and reading the liner notes.  Occasionally, I would go to iTunes and purchase a single song that I wanted and eventually started buying albums.  The Android phone gave way to the iPhone and I guess you could say I was drinking the Kool-Aid (Google Jim Jones, if you are under 40).

Slowly, but surely, I was sucked into the Apple world and eventually signed up for iTunes Match which basically stored my entire music library on the Cloud for a mere $29.99 a year.  All my music was available to me anytime I had a Wi-Fi connection.  Loved it!  But wait, what is that shiny object off in the distance.  It is glowing like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow- Apple Music.

Apple Music is the candy store and I am the kid who stumbled in with unlimited access.  If you haven’t heard about it, you basically pay a flat amount each month for virtually unlimited music downloads, in addition, to a streaming radio feature.  The accountant in me quickly calculated that if the Clayton household downloaded two albums a month, it would pay for itself.  What a deal.

In a manner similar to the way I approach a Chinese buffet, I must get my money’s worth!  Realize before Apple Music, I had approximately 7,000 songs in my library – now, the total is approaching 10,000.  Without even trying new music, I have definitely made them pay, like Mr. Wu at the buffet.  Oh, Night Ranger has a live acoustic album – it’s mine.  My choir director has albums on iTunes – BOOM!  Three albums added to my music and ready for a listen.  Need to listen to the old Al Jarreau song After All?  Go add his Greatest Hits to the library.

I realize I need structure around this for my sanity and perhaps for the Musing.  Maybe I can review a new album every so often or reminisce about an old one I discovered. I will tell you that when you go back and listen to old albums, it is odd how you start remembering the deep cuts on those albums and can pretty much sing right along – now, did I remember to put the garbage out today? Nope, but I can sing along with Lady of the 80’s on Loverboy’s debut album.

Like I said earlier, this isn’t an advertisement, but merely a music junkie finding another way to snag music.  Now, I wonder if After The Fire’s album is on Apple Music……

Zach, Musing in Download Heaven

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