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Monthly Archives: May 2008

“The Last Days” of Amos Lee

Amos Lee’s third CD is scheduled for release on June 24th. All indications are that this third effort will be as enjoyable as Amos’ self-titled debut CD, Amos Lee, and his follow-up CD, Supply & Demand.

Last Days is produced by Don Was, and is accompanied by a star-studded musical cast including, the formidable Doyle Bramhall, Jr who plays with the great Eric Clapton on guitar, legendary keyboarder Spooner Oldham who has backed Neil Young and Aretha Franklin, bassman Pino Palladino of The Who and The John Mayer Trio and drummer James Gadson, known for his work with Bill Withers.

From the tracks I’ve heard, Amos once again delivers an original, soulful, playful yet serious CD that exemplifies the depth of his talent. I have long been impressed with Amos and was fascinated by some of the techniques he used to promote Supply & Demand. Like his series of podcasts (here and here) that explored who he is as an artist and the process of his songwriting, delving into the stories behind some of the songs. As a fan, I eat that stuff up.

And with this effort, Amos is using subtle promotion like providing a video of a live performance of his new single, Listen, on the pre-order page for Amazon. He’s also already listing snippets of the songs before the actual release, way before. When you’ve got something good, it pays to put it out there and let people sample it.

However, through my deft navigation of the internets, I’ve managed to find full tracks of a few tracks for you to preview. Of course, I encourage you to pre-order to get your very own copy of Last Days at the Lodge.

The first single, Listen, is certainly similar to previous Amos conviction songs such as Shout Out Loud and Freedom, off of Supply & Demand, but there’s a confidence now about Amos that’s evident in his sound.

He also includes a re-vamped version of Truth, which is one of my favorite tracks off of Supply & Demand. I would like to know the reason why he’s including this song on two CDs back to back.

Truth (from both Supply & Demand AND Last Days at the Lodge)

But Amos is no one-trick pony as evidenced with the exquisite Ease Back. Enriched by some awesome BANJO, Ease Back, is a relaxing and introspective tune that hearkens Woody Guthrie and one of the few songs today that is on par with the brilliant folk songs of the ’60s.

I find the lyrics of Ease Back quite compelling and a testament to Amos’ ability to present a song that is starkly self-evident.  A great song about friends who may not have been on the best terms lately.

Hello. It’s good to see you comin’ back again.
It’s been a long time since I sat with you, my friend.
I’ll lend an ear. It’s not that’s so severe.
Time has killed the pain and dried up every tear.

And now, I’m thinking ‘bout what went down.
All the heartache, I laughed away just like a clown.
And now, you sit around and talkin’
Drink some wine. I’m really glad you stopped in.
To spend some time, you sit around and talkin’,
Thinking ‘bout the past, it’s funny how it lingers
But nothin’s meant to last.

And my Maw, she’d like to say hello.
But she’s a little scared that I can’t let it go.
So let on ease back, brother and let it slip away.
I’m tired of hanging on to the pains of yesterday.
Once again, the money is so thick.
It makes your heart go numb, it makes your mind get sick.

So, come on by, we’ll sit and talk about it,
Drink some wine, I’m really glad you stopped in, brother of mine.
We’ll sit around and talk it, drink some wine and maybe by the morning,
Everything is fine.
Everything is fine.
Ease back, brother, let this clear your mind.

Come on by and drink yourself a good time.
Have some wine, think about each other.
Sister, am I fine?
Yes, I’ve been alright now.
Take it lightly, step on out the front door.
I see you want some time.

Perhaps my most favorite track of those I’ve heard and previewed so far, however, is the Southern Rock-infused Street Corner Preacher. Like the refreshing Sweet Pea, from Supply & Demand, Street Corner Preacher gives us a great beat and an atypical subject, but it’s one of those contagious tunes that gets played over and over again until the intricate lyrics are committed to memory. One has to wonder how a Philly boy has such a Delta vibe.

Based on these few tracks alone, I give the CD an A+. Amos Lee is one of the great new artists of this generation who beautifully uses influences like Bill Withers, Ray Charles, and Bob Dylan to create a sound that is undeniably soulful and thoroughly enjoyable.  While critically acclaimed in many circles, Amos has sold less than 500,000 CDs of both of his releases COMBINED.  That, my friends, is a stark statement regarding music today.  However, while Amos is not a household name, he does quite well touring…at least enough to keep making great music.

Amos will be touring the U.S. this summer, doing what an artist should do — giving fans live performances to assist in the sales of his new release.

Click here for a listing of tour dates.

Amos Lee MySpace Page

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 31, 2008 in Amos Lee, music dudes

 

Feelin’ Kenny

Well, yesterday I was feelin’ Jimmy. Then, Amy posted some good stuff about how Kenny is the new Jimmy. I particularly relate to Old Blue Chair:

Oddly enough (and as karma would have it), Lefsetz is in the middle of a Kenny Chesney love fest, so I thought it only appropriate to include a post on Kenny.

Now, I know somebody who knows Kenny Chesney and I hear that he is but a wisp of a fella, however he is just as Lefsetz describes — down to earth and “one of us”. Now, I have extolled how Country is the new Pop and how the genres really have changed over the years, but Lefsetz gets to the heart of the matter much more succinctly than I can.

One of the finer points that he makes that resonates with me is this:

“The rock stars tell you to keep your distance. The rappers want to say how much better they’ve got it than you, with their women and their wheels. The country acts want you to know they’re just like you. That you’re part of their family. But for a quirk of fate, a bit of talent and some extremely hard work, your roles could be reversed. Kenny Chesney doesn’t have a security guard. He cruises Vegas with his assistant. He doesn’t take an entourage to awards shows. Because his audience respects him, gives him the distance he needs, because they believe they own him.

You don’t own the audience, the audience owns you. Too many stars seem to be playing to “Entertainment Tonight” and the rest of the celebrity industry. They get caught up in their fame. They play the roles of celebrities. Whereas country acts are quick to reinforce they’re regular folk, accessible, that they’re there for you and you only.

There’s nothing on tape, just a ten piece band. At times four guitars. A full horn section. The hi-def screens above the stage and hanging from the speakers on the side insure that even those in the cheap seats can see what’s going on onstage. You feel included. In a club you paid your dues to over and over again. You listened on the radio, you bought the albums, why shouldn’t you be respected, you’re the engine driving the enterprise!”

Damn right. I’ve been struggling about how much my opinion on various matters should matter concerning artists that I enjoy. I think Lefsetz hits the proverbial nail on the head in that we should have somewhat of a say as we, as fans, do “own” the artist. And, the artists that are the most successful at packing them into huge stadiums and shows are those, like Kenny and Jimmy, who actually LIKE their fans. They like to be with them, near them, understand them, relate to them.

After all, these guys weren’t born to success. They worked hard for it toiling in dives and bars so that we would spend our hard earned cash to come and see them and support their acts. Then, they relied on us to support them by buying their “records” and paying to see their concerts, maybe even buying a T-shirt that we won’t throw out for 12 years or paying to join some stupid fan club that sends you useless trinkets for the priviledge of better than average concert seats.

Again, it’s all about the kun-NECK-shun. People want to be a part of something. A family. A group. The in-crowd. The rebel crowd. The winning team. There is a basic need that seems particularly true of music lovers, to be a part of all. That’s why word of mouth marketing works so well among “music heads”. We want to know what others in our “group” enjoys and we try it based on the fact that one or more members likes a particular song or artist.

Today, I’m feelin’ Kenny, so NOW HEAR THIS:

Taylor Hicks,

Taking the part of Teen Angel sucks. It is beneath your talent and potential. Take a page out of the Kenny and Jimmy playbooks. Get out there with the fans who really dig your music. Listen to what they have to say. Buy them a beer. Hell, buy me a beer.

Sing THEM a song; something that makes THEM feel good. But, realize that you don’t own the audience. Rather, they own you…they bought what you were selling in 2006. NOT AI, but Under The Radar, Workplay and all the Florabama Mp3s. And, you owe them. Everything.

You owe them more than singing Beauty School Drop Out for five minutes each night this summer. That is lazy. Give them On & On.  Give them The Right Place. Give them a song recorded at the Ray Charles studio or FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. Give them a CD recorded on the Stax label. Give them a “Live from Sun Studios” performance. Give them something of substance from a guy who is supposed to be of substance. You worked hard to establish some credibility with those fans who “bought” you…news flash…you have to work TWICE as hard to keep us, your fans. Kenny and Jimmy get it. You know what? So do Steely Dan, Bon Jovi and Radiohead. C’mon, Taylor, make us proud.

For the record, my favorite Kenny Chesney tune is a toss up between:

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem

and

When the Sun Goes Down

or maybe, it’s this one….

How Forever Feels

 

Feelin’ Jimmy

It’s almost here. Mini-DD’s final exams are nearing completion and tomorrow will mark the official start of summer in our house. It all has me feeling a little Jimmy.

Living on the Gulf Coast, Jimmy Buffett music captures most of the emotions of this “summertime” area. Now, people can dismiss Jimmy as superficial, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Many of his songs have significant meaning and certainly kun-NECK with the listener.

Like the wonderful Pirate Looks at Forty. (with a special message for JenW)

This song captures the feeling of many of us who have to live within an hour of water. For me, I HAVE to spend at least a week each year on the shore, just sitting and staring out into the waves and water contemplating my navel and re-grouping and re-charging to face the challenges of everyday life for another extended period. Pirate Looks at Forty is one of those songs that I play while sitting there at sunset, having a glass of wine and totally relating to the song.

Another Jimmy song that became a favorite in recent years is Trip Around the Sun, done with Country artist Martina McBride.

Again, more navel gazing lyrics but music is very reflective for me and this song conveys the emotions around getting older and the years passing and getting to a certain level of acceptance with that process. Besides, I like the melody.

In Changes in Latitudes, Jimmy gives us more reflection wrapped in a bit of humor. Perhaps part of the reason his music kun-NECKs, is because it’s honest, and it’s him. Jimmy Buffett is always playing for a few hundred (or hundred thousand) friends. Friends who know every word of every song.

I’m looking forward to our annual beach trek in a few weeks. A week chock full of beautiful sunsets, fruity drinks, navel gazing and a little FloraBama.

 

Memorial Day Reflection

I struggled a little with what to post yesterday. Last Memorial Day, I shared the story of my friend, Lex, who was killed in the Marine Barracks’ bombing in Lebanon in 1983. I was heavy of heart thinking of my friend and how he was frozen in time in my mind as that bright, blue-eyed 18 year old, just as he was when I saw him last. My mind couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that it had been 25 years since that sickening time.

However, this year, I felt different. Rather than sadness and regret, the feeling that I can best describe is peacefulness and optimism. Perhaps I’m at a different place in my own life at this time, but I think I truly understand the importance of Memorial Day being a celebration and not a recurring funeral.

You see, Memorial Day honors those who gave their lives to fight for our (and other’s) freedoms so that we can enjoy our lives without intimidation and persecution. Perhaps the highest honor that we can pay these fallen soldiers is to make the most of our lives. Live up to our potential. Be great sons & daughters, parents, friends and people. Making the most of our lives and helping others when we can, in their honor, seems the most fitting homage. Doing what they are not here to do…never forgetting them, but getting on with living life, the way they would if given the chance.

So, this day after Memorial Day, I thank God for my blessings. Family, love, good friends, work I enjoy AND pays the bills, wonderous beauty outside my door and the constant hope in a brighter day.

Because as they all knew, life is beautiful.

Life is Beautiful – Keb ‘Mo

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 27, 2008 in holidays, that's life

 

Colette’s Corner: Shining a Light on Early Mick & The Boys

In the era of reunion tours and with the resurgence of “classic” artists like Van Morrison and Neil Diamond, Martin Scorsese’s Shine A Light has resonated among die hard Rolling Stones’ and younger generations enamored with the band that has had such an influence on the last 40 years of Rock & Roll.

Perhaps it’s that today’s music is much more contrived and manufactured, but it seems that there is a desire among music listeners to get back to that raw, unbridled performance sound that The Stones typify. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, The Stones have done something that few Rock bands have been able to do — stay relevant throughout their 45-year “tour”. Led by the irrepressible 64 year old, Sir Mick, The Rolling Stones are truly timeless in bridging generations of Rock & Roll aficionados together.

Colette’s most recent submission concentrates on the early Stones and their musical ascent to the court of Rock & Roll royalty:

The new Rolling Stones film by Martin Scorsese gives a bracing account of an (unusually) intimate Rolling Stones concert at the Beacon Theatre, with a quick glance back to the saga of this amazingly hardy, influential and iconic band.

I can’t help recall, though, what the Stones were like when they first scored big during the early 1960s. And I’ve retrieved some telling clips to illustrate the first major phase of their career.

Consider the context and contradictions of their emergence.

They were coming up right alongside the Beatles. In fact, the Stones and Beatles were good buddies and friendly rivals, who clubbed together and swapped women and songs. But they had very different images, ironically so.

The Rolling Stones, led by the well educated (London School of Economics) and upper class Jagger, were considered the scruffy, surly rock outlaws, rebels with a sex appeal that was raw and dangerous. The Beatles, conversely, all grew up working-class in a tough section of Liverpool, but were considered the “nice boys” — the mop-top teddy bears any mother would welcome if a daugher brought one home. In reality, they were hard-driving party-dogs too as they rode the wave to fame.

And hough they shared some influences, the Stones were obviously very different musically than the Beatles.

The Beatles were rockers with an exquisitely melodic and romantic side, and a love of vocal harmony a la the Everly Brothers. The Stones had just one main vocalist and were steeped in down ‘n dirty blues and raunchy R & B. Like a lot of British kids of that era, they worshipped Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and other gritty Chicago bluesmen.

Before the Beatles became their own composers, they were doing a lot of Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly covers. The Stones, before the Richards-Jagger songwriting collaboration got in gear, were covering Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

As I kid, I recall the aura of something thrillingly, mysteriously dark and nasty about the Stones. But they were far less theatrical than now. I saw the group at DC Stadium in the mid-sixties, and Mick (dressed in a loud houndstooth jacket) wasn’t dancing around — mostly just leering at the audience with that sensual full-lipped I-dare-you-gaze and singing, sometimes with a tambourine or a little bit in-place Jame Brown-style footwork. Here’s some of my early favorite Stones tunes:

— “Have Mercy”

— “The Last Time” — on the TV show “Shindig”

— “Time is on My Side” — from “Ed Sullivan Show” (Irma Thomas made it a hit first)

Some of their best ’60s covers:

— “Little Red Rooster” (written by Willie Dixon)

— “How Strong My Love Is” (a great tune made famous by Otis Redding, who would return the favor by brilliantly covering the Stones’ “Satisfaction”)

One rap on the Stones was that they were male chauvinist pigs, to use a quaint old expression. Unlike the Beatles songs of romantic love and yearning, the Stones have a huge back log of tunes about bitchy broads, kinky sex and transgressing social norms.

These songs drew a lot of flak when they came out for taunting or outright dismissive treatment of women. Are they sexist? In my opinion: sure, but they’re really more about sexual and soical gamesmanship. They’re nasty, naughty, twisted fun, in a way no other band in the Top 40 could get away with at the time:

— “Under My Thumb” — with the late Brian Jones playing a great marimba riff

— “Get Off Of My Cloud” — the ultimate kiss-off song

— “Play With Fire” — one of my old faves

Overall, the Stones were the most sexually explicit mainstream band of the ’60s. They mocked the Sullivan show for censoring the lyrics in one lusty hit, and put out the great sexual/social frustration anthem of the age:

— “Let’s Spend the Night Together”

— “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”

You’ll notice in that 1966 “Satisfaction” performance, Mick was starting to dance around more. Gradually, he added a lot more stage shtick — which he was mocked for at first. Some of it was ridiculous — wearing a devil’s cape to sing “Sympathy for the Devil,” etc. In some ways, I actually prefer the Mick who just scorch-eyeballed the camera, rocked out in that sultry voice and made all the little girls go outta their head.

Just for fun, here’s the ultimate Beatles vs. Stones comparison, on “I Wanna Be Your Man” (a Lennon-McCartney tune, written for the Stones) — two of the greatest bands ever, both completely valid on their own terms:

— “I Wanna Be Your Man”

Thanks for another solid contribution, Colette.

I just have to add one to the “trashy women” songs that for me, is one of those generation defining songs.

Honky Tonk Women

Can’t wait for Shine A Light to come out on DVD to experience the richness of Scorsese coupled with the “enthusiasm” of The Rolling Stones. To start my long holiday weekend, I think I’ll crank up Paint it Black.

 

Dial Idol Don’t Lie

Marc Mainz/AP/Fox

As I explained in the previous post, Dial Idol predicted a landslide David Cook win on American Idol. A clear winner, despite the comments of the judges (picked up by major media) of “knockout”, “clearly the best singer”, etc. Simon Cowell presumably set the world right when he vehemently apologized to Cookie right before the big reveal, citing that after a closer look at the replay the “knockout” was not so evident.

Really? Gee, thanks, Simon for affirming the actual truth and not the fabricated fantasy to try and force a close contest and enrapture the viewers. Puleeze.

Now, don’t get me wrong…Little Davie Archuleta has talent and with all of his contest experience, I think that he will be tapped for musical theater and be great at it. I hope he chooses that path and does not try to conform to the pop star mold. The last few months on Idol should show him that the public won’t buy him as such, but will gladly accept his powerful voice in Disney movies and The Great White Way.

As I explained, Cookie won because he picked up votes as other contestants were voted off, whereas Archie did not. Cook was also the most consistent over the season, despite high blood pressure and panic attacks over mounting pressures of his brother’s illness.

I guess congratulations is in order for Mr. Cook. He certainly will receive some very pointed attention over the next few weeks and then there’s the slave tour before having to crank out his CD before Christmas. Surely, his brother’s illness will impact his upcoming tour. I don’t think he’ll be able to replicate the success of Daughtry because it’s been done and he’ll have the responsibilities of being the winner and fulfilling all that comes with it. Also, the choice of producer will be a critical one for the neophyte Cook. (Please tell me that Tuesday night was Clive Davis’ swan song…wasn’t he officially put on the shelf?)

As for American Idol. I think we’re seeing the beginning of the end. The show, as we know it, will not be recognizable in future seasons, if it survives that long. The winds are changing. Reality TV has overloaded the senses of most viewers. The music business is also changing and beckoning for real, raw talent in lieu of synthesized, over-produced nonsense.

As finales go, this one was decent. Highlights of the evening: Seal performing with Syesha, Graham Nash performing with Brooke White, and David Cook’s Sharp Dressed Man, with no other than ZZ Top. Also, Cookie’s Risky Business Guitar Hero commercial was superb. But perhaps the best performance of the night goes to the irrepressible and totally resilient, Mr. Robert Downey, Jr.

Dude’s got moves.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 22, 2008 in american idol

 

Knockout? No so fast….

Photo by Zamoraography

Simon Cowell delivered the script with perfect timing. “David, you came out here tonight to win. And, what we have witnessed is a knockout”, after Little Davie Chimichanga delivered his saccharin version of Lennon’s Imagine.

I’ve told you guys since the beginning that the pint-sized balladeer was Idol’s choice for unfettered commercialism this year. However, I am still amazed at the disingenuousness that the “judges” and producers display in trying to manipulate the public into crowning their designee. Yet, the only time their “pick” has really ever won was Carrie Underwood, and maybe Jordin Sparks but I don’t think ANYONE really cared about that one.

Well, even American Idol fans are not as naive as the establishment thinks they are. Usually, the winner is chosen in the spirit of WHAT THE FANS think the contest is….to choose the singer they like the best. Yes, they will be talented but may not be the best technical singer. If someone gives off a vibe of insincerity or being contrived, they are toast. The fans simply won’t vote for that contestant or will actually vote against that contestant.

Cue DialIdol.com. DialIdol was established a few years ago to measure the voting on American Idol and basically predict who will be voted off by measuring call ins through your modem using their free software. It boasts a 91% accuracy rate and has never been wrong in the finals pick.

And, the results for this year’s final are in.

Surprise, Surprise. Also, here is DialIdol’s commentary on the vote:

Let’s be clear – DialIdol is definitively predicting that David Cook will win American Idol. No ifs, ands or buts about it. No crazy margin of error claims or anything. The DialIdol scores are significantly different enough to wash all that out the window.

This comes as a bit of a surprise to me given that David Archuleta “knocked out” David Cook during the performance show so before you decide to skip the results show tonight you might want to consider that I myself will be watching with the usual uncertain anticipation that has become habit for me!

As you can see, David Cook is predicted to win by one of the largest margins ever. More than Carrie over Bo, more than Taylor over Kat, and more than Jordin over Blake. So, all of that over-pimping by Randy and Simon (Paula was actually subdued), will provide yet another “eat crow” moment for the great AI powers that be.

How now will they backtrack on Simon’s “knockout” remark, much less Randy’s seizure about how Archuleta is “what this contest is all about. Finding the best singer. And the best singer from Season 7 is right there.” Now, what do they do with their American Idol, David Cook? Haven’t they now cheapened his win. Was that their intention? I think the dwindling viewing public has tired of “the game”.

You see, the guys just don’t get that contestants like David Archuleta do not win fans over the competition. He’s very narrow in his scope of performances and attracts a certain kind of fan. He absolutely repulses alot of other fans who will vote for anyone but him. Therefore, once David Cook made it to the finals, he basically won because all of Jason, Syesha, Carly, and Brooke’s fans are voting for him.

Regardless, I stand by my contention that American Idol has “jumped the shark“. I read an article yesterday that producers are already looking for ways to “spice it up” and bring some new twists to the show. Look for Simon to show up to the auditions in Fonzie’s jacket.

The death knell is ringing….loudly.

 

 
26 Comments

Posted by on May 21, 2008 in american idol

 

The David Wars

More on the whole American Idol “slide” later, but tonight pitts Cookie against Archie.  The first all male final since Ruben vs. Clay.  I think everyone that I know is clearly on the side of the adult, but I could be over-estimating.

As if I could like David A. any less, we find out that his father is a stage dad who shamelessly promotes his kid to the point of aggravating the AI producers.  Now, if the AI producers are displeased with your over-promotion, you know you have a problem.

Here’s my favorite performances of each.  You tell me.

  Billie Jean, David Cook

A little background article on Cookie….

  Imagine, David Archuleta

A little background article on Archie…

My prediction?  It’s a done deal.  David Cook is the 2008 American Idol.  But, where he goes from here, I just don’t know.  I’m envisioning mediocre sellers for their debut CDs as AI will pimp them for all they can get, but the sophomore efforts will be dismal for both Cook and Archuleta. 

There’s always Broadway. 

;)

 

 
19 Comments

Posted by on May 20, 2008 in american idol

 

Midnight Special…Those Were the Days

Where have all the flowers gone?

Seriously. Where is the great music that we used to be privy to on that glorious 70s musical showcase, The Midnight Special?

Shrew and I were talking the other day about how groovy The Midnight Special performances were. Okay, we didn’t actually say groovy, but you get the point.

The Burt Sugarman produced variety show featured over 1,200 musical performances during it’s 10 year run. I spent many a Friday night waiting for Johnny Carson to wrap up to watch my favorites perform on my TV. Now, we only had three channels and NBC was spotty at best, but most late Friday nights it came in clear as a bell.

The Midnight Special debuted on August 19, 1972 with John Denver and the great Mama Cass Elliott, a couple of years before her death.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Another great performance from ’72, was the late, great Harry Chapin:

Taxi

The Midnight Special wasn’t restricted only to folk music, but offered a cross-section of music of the day. A prime example, Cisco Kid by War:

Sugarman provided the mega famous:

Respect, Aretha Franklin

and the little known, yet fabulous:

No Matter What, Badfinger

From the oldies,

Runaway, Del Shannon

Maybelline, Chuck Berry

to cutting edge rock:

Time, 1980 Floor Show – Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)

Frankenstein, Edgar Winter Group

Some landmark performances:

Dancin’ Queen, ABBA

Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’, Journey

To Love Somebody, The Bee Gees

Reelin’ in the Years, Steely Dan

Rubberband Man, The Spinners

You & Me, Rick James

Train Kept a Rollin’, Aerosmith, with an introduction from Little Richard

Point is The Midnight Special was all about music and exposing people to music. The mediums in those days were narrow. It was totally radio, a few concerts here and there and sporadic performances on Ed Sullivan, or a variety show. The scarceness of live performances caused built-in “demand”.

But you could always count on The Midnight Special to provide THE acts of the day each week. And while the ’70s had its challenges, the music was original, inspired and captivating. There was a real anticipation as to what the next Friday would bring.

The Midnight Special brought those live performances right into our living room on those Friday nights, long before the World Wide Web, 400 Cable Channels, MTV or iTunes. Back when life was a lot more simple and the music much more compelling.

Funny, but it seems that as technology has increased, the quality of popular music has decreased. Maybe it’s why I still get wistful on Friday nights…

To own a piece of music greatness, click here.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on May 16, 2008 in classic rock, Music History

 

GREASE is the Word?

I’ve tried to be supportive. I’ve tried to be patient. But this morning, my Yahoo! News had a proclamation that made me wince….

Taylor Hicks to play Teen Angel in Broadway’s ‘Grease’

Now, I will preface my remarks with the statement that I am a substantiated Taylor Hicks’ fan. I think the dude has talent in spades, and I sincerely want him to prove the critics wrong and show that he’s not your average ‘idol’.

But Broadway? Really? Why? Kat McPhee, yes…Taylor, absolutely not.

I can’t help but think that this is some kind of AI commitment, because I really can’t explain it. When I think of Idols on Broadway, I think of Rueben as Fats Waller, Fantasia as Ms. Ceely, Diana DiGarmo as Penny Pingleton, Jennifer Hudson as Effie (yes, I know it was the movie version of Dreamgirls) and sadly, Clay Aiken in Spamalot.

In my narrow little mind, I simply don’t see Taylor in the same bucket. I mean, his whole appeal was as the anti-idol, stickin’ it to the man, rebel without a cause….and now he’s Teen Angel? I mean Danny Zuko or even Kinicky, but Teen Angel? So now Taylor will forever be associated with Frankie Avalon and Beauty School Drop Out?

Think about it. How is this good for his career? Will Warren Haynes, Snoop Dogg, and Keb ‘Mo be attending his debut? I don’t think so.

I cannot accept that Taylor is doing this of his own volition. Given the pipeline from Idol to Broadway, I can’t help but think that this is some kind of attempt by AI to further emasculate Taylor. Who knows exactly what’s in the original iron-clad AI contracts…Perhaps he had no other choice. In my heart of hearts, I hope that is the case, because I cannot explain how this role at this point in his career will help. All this does is further entrench him as just another idol “production” and further distance him from the street cred he so desperately needs to re-capture. Is a stint in Grease pandering to the older, nostalgic crowd? Lord, I hope he’s not that transparent.

Personally, I think small-venue tours, sporting events and private gigs are better than this “opportunity”. I love Taylor, but he’s either doing this out of servitude to a legal commitment or he’s succumbed to the lure of celebrity and the magnetic heat of the spotlight.

Either way, I’m disappointed.

Disclosure: I don’t need a history lesson on Taylor and his prowess, as I have been there since the beginning, so please…you have a right to disagree with my opinions but please keep comments on a civil level. I really DON’T want the wrath of The Soul Patrol. And, just for the record, I don’t want or need hits to my blog by mentioning Taylor. I would like to get hits to my blog for writing about The Midnight Special, however. (See previous post.)

 
50 Comments

Posted by on May 16, 2008 in american idol, taylor hicks

 
 
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