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Category Archives: new releases

Kenny Finds Grace…

I admit it. I’m a bit out of touch. I haven’t been keeping up with “the music” lately as I’ve just been trying to survive this cold, hard life. In my laziness, I’ve regressed to listening to the radio in the car on my long drives to Central Alabama.

Imagine my SHOCK when I flipped from the excruiating negativism of talk radio to the old comforts of country radio (I live in Alabama, after all…) to hear a new Kenny Chesney song featuring one, Grace Potter.

I listened. I absorbed. I liked. After all, “You and Tequila” surely got my attention…

So, I’m sure some Jam Band purists (and maybe my old pal, Killer Cortez) think Grace is a sell out for cutting a record with uber star, Kenny Chesney, but I can’t disagree more. First, it’s pretty cool that ole gabillionaire and super duper star, Kenny, happened to be exploring iTunes on his yacht in the islands and stumbled upon Grace Potter. And THEN, actually tracks her down and invites her to record a song with him…arguably the biggest Country star of the last decade.

Here’s a little background…

Kenny Chesney is a music guy. Thank goodness he listens to all kinds of music and that he reaches out to people he likes and makes good music with them. As for Grace, she stepped up to a fantastic opportunity and now a much broader audience is exposed to the goodness of Grace. I have to say that her performance on “You and Tequila” was very Alison Krause — and that is never bad.

While I know that Grace will never be “country”, but even country isn’t country. There’s room for all kind of music and it’s just so awesome to see two people from polar experiences come together a make sweet music…

For those who want more Grace, visit my buddy KC @ http://www.thisissomewhere.com

 

Clapping As Hard As I Can…

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Today, the inaugural Taylor Hicks music video premieres. 

Click the picture to view.

 taylor-video

The link takes you to Jake Davis’ blog.  Davis is the director of the video and I must say that I like his style.  He’s managed to capture alot of what I think Taylor Hicks wants to portray.  He creates that “alone” James Dean feel, complete with the overcoat walk in the snow on deserted streets…even the diner scene. 

Photos by Dennis Stock

Photos by Dennis Stock

The video is good.  It’s just the right amount of highlighting the artist, storytelling and showcasing the song.  Well done, Mr. Davis.

I have to say that Taylor has never looked better.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, his new What’s Right Is Right is a pleasant-enough song that seems to be catching on a little with a #25 position on Billboard’s Hot Contemporary Chart.  It also looks like he’s embracing his inner Idol with last weekend’s appearance with the other six idols to christen Disney’s “American Idol Experience”.

theseven1

Taylor’s CD, The Distance, drops March 10th and again, I think we’ll see an Idol appearance around that time.  Could it be that Idol #5 will finally start to gain traction?

Yahoo Premiere of What’s Right Is Right

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2009 in american idol, new releases, taylor hicks, Videos

 

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What’s Right is Right

…and what’s fair is fair. 

While I was a HUGE Taylor Hicks fan when he was sporting that lovely paisley shirt, purple velvet jacket and getting funky on American Idol a few years ago, I lost interest after a while.  His over-produced, Idol infused “debut” CD, the obvious malfunctions in his marketing and the insaneness of the online “fan wars” caused me to put some distance of my own between me and the Silver Fox. 

Also, the whole Grease thing really shattered my illusions of the nitty, gritty, “real”, all about the music, soul singer.  I had envisioned Taylor with the likes of Marc Broussard, Norah Jones, Widespread Panic and Grace Potter, not prancing around in a teased up pompadour singing Beauty School Drop Out.  While I still don’t like the move, it appears that the Teen Angel part has kept him out in the public.  In the summer, he released Early Works, full of older pre-idol material that was self-produced and had limited distribution, mainly via Target.  Not sure of the exact count, but let’s just say that it didn’t storm up the Billboard charts. 

Taylor has been working on a new CD, titled The Distance.  It will be released via Taylor’s Modern Whomp Records and distributed via the indie-promotiong Artists2Market.  While quite a challenge to go it alone, Taylor has asserted that this CD will be a true representation of his music, without interference from “others”.  So, today the first single from The Distance drops — a smooth, easy tune called What’s Right is Right.

taylor-hicks

Click HERE to listen to What’s Right is Right

As much as I may have seen Taylor, and his music through rose colored glasses previously, the pendulum swung hard the other way over the last two years with my disappointment in the music (or lack thereof) of Taylor Hicks.  Where was the John Mayer collaboration?  The Ray Charles studio session?  A Muscle Shoals revival?  The Yabba Dabba Soul Patrol Mojo Dive Tour, for Christ’s sake? 

However, lately, I have wondered if I have simply been too hard on poor Taylor.  After all, his was an uphill climb out of the chute.  Not really Country, not really Alternative Rock, not really any specific “genre” for the suits to throw him in.  While he certainly made missteps and was, at times, lazy…did I throw the baby out with the bathwater?  I decided to really give this new CD a try.  So, I have started with What’s Right is Right

While there’s nothing here that will set the world on fire, the song is good.  It’s James Taylor-esque to me, with simple instrumentation and vocals I can actually hear.  Not sure that he’ll get much radio play on anything other than Adult Contemporary stations, but I don’t think that’s the point.  James Taylor has had VERY few “hits” over his career, yet is certainly a respected musician and singer.  If you can make money pleasing a fan base, over time, you will be able to sustain yourself and leave a lasting legacy.  I like What’s Right is Right and I think that I will like the rest of the CD that drops March 10th, 2009. 

 The track listing is promising, with a little of something for everyone. 

Wedding Day Blues
Seven Mile Breakdown
What’s Right Is Right
Woman’s Gotta Have It
New Found Freedom
The Distance
Nineteen
I Live on a Battlefield
Maybe You Should
Once Upon a Lover of Mine
Keepin’ It Real

There is a potential solid Country hit in Nineteen, along with one that I have a feeling will be a Music Maven hit — Bobby Womack’s Woman Gotta Have It.  I have adored this song since 1976, when my brother gave me my first LP album — James Taylor’s In the Pocket, arguably one of his best albums.  But THAT, my friends, is another story for another day.

If I may — give Taylor just one more chance and try to listen to this new CD without rose colored glasses or bias from unrealized expectations.  Try listening to it like any other emerging artist I might throw out there at you and then, we’ll give it a proper review.  Just keepin’ it real.

It will be available on Amazon, March 10th.  The single is available today on iTunes.  My Libra Dragons is predicting an American Idol appearance in mid-March.  Don’t they at least owe the guy that much?

 
31 Comments

Posted by on January 27, 2009 in american idol, new releases, taylor hicks

 

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Mea Culpa (of sorts)

It has been 90 days since I posted my unmistaken disappointment  in Taylor Hicks taking the role of Teen Angel in the Broadway production of Grease.  I vowed that if this turned out to be a good thing that I would happily admit that I was wrong.

Well, I have to say that I am floored that this whole Grease thing has been nothing but positive for Taylor.  Somewhat magically, once he donned the sparkly blue suit and descended the ice cream cone for the first time, substantial and positive press surrounded him.  Of course, this is the total opposite reaction I was anticipating from the less than kind industry press.

While I think that Taylor made chicken salad out of the proverbial chicken shit and seems to have virtually saved the production from closing early, I have to wonder about the sudden shift from cowpies continually flung in his direction (if he was even talked about at all) to the literal toast of the town (a really big one).

I don’t know if this gig was his idea or not; if he finally acquiesed to AI minions; or if he just wanted to summer in NYC, but he certainly has embraced the role and seems to be having a high time.  Again, I still don’t really “get it”, as I’d prefer that he be doggedly working on a “real” CD, however I must admit that this part has given him some definite positive traction.

With the demanding schedule, I highly doubt that he’s been recording anything.  So, I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see the new CD before Christmas.  Particularly since the Early Works CD is being released today in an exclusive Target offering.

For $9.98 you can own re-mastered tracks from In Your Time and Under the Radar.  While not the normal CD price, I think the $9.98 deal through Target is a great distribution deal that will end up saving Taylor money and ensuring that the CD is highlighted in a very effective channel.  (For example, EW makes it’s debut alongside the very popular Jonas Brothers CD ^^^^).  It’s also “priced to sell”, which means more people will consider buying it. 

In case you’re wondering about which songs are included on the Early Works CD, here you go:

1. Soul Thing
2. The Fall
3. Hold On to Your Love
4. The Deal
5. Heart and Soul
6. In Your Time
7. West Texas Sky
8. Somehow
9. Tighten Up
10. Son of a Carpenter
11. My Friend
12. Georgia (with Billy Earl McClelland)

While these are well known to many who have followed Taylor for a while, there are many who have never heard the early stuff, i.e., the good stuff.  Hopefully, this CD will show those who are unfamiliar, Taylor’s grittiness, talent and range.

It appears that some fan groups are doing a bit of guerilla marketing, as well…

  by PayTheDevil661

I’ll be glad when the Grease thing is done and a new CD with new tracks hits the street.  Will we finally see that collaboration with John Mayer?  How about Robert Randolph?  Norah Jones?

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2008 in american idol, new releases, taylor hicks

 

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John Mayer Shows Us Exactly “Where the Light Is”

On July 1st, John Mayer released his extended play CD and DVD, Where the Light Is. Basically, this high-quality DVD was a recording of Mayer’s December 8th, 2007 concert at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Now, being the Mayer lovah that I am, I downloaded the movie on iTunes and I must say, I LOVE IT. For the life of me, I can’t understand why every artist doesn’t produce a live video of a concert like this.

Johnny Boy starts off with an acoustic set that is simply brilliant in its simplicity. Perhaps my favorite of this set (and any other) is Stop This Train: I really dig the added whistling, as well.

Stop This Train

I really identify with this song. The lyrics really touch on the progression of life and the realization of aging parents and that we are ever closer to there being no buffer between us and death. He touches on that every once in a while you’re all together and everyone is there and it’s all just perfect and you just want to stop time and have it last just a while longer. But, time stops for no-one. Mayer captures it beautifully and runs the gamut of emotion from fear to happiness to contentment.

Another acoustic gem is John’s cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’, when he’s joined by guitarists David Ryan Harris and Robbie McIntosh of The Pretenders, who also has served as a session musician for Sir Paul McCartney. It is fantastic…

Free Fallin”

The cinematography in this film is awesome. There are many great angles including those from in amongst the crowd. This movie really gives you the feel of a concert without the hassle of getting good tickets, parking, fighting the crowds and bad sound. While I try to make several concerts a year, I just can’t make all the ones I’d like to, but putting up $12.99 for a kick ass, high quality, extended set concert that I can watch on my HDTV? Done. I would like to see other artists begin to produce concert movies like CDs, particularly when the concert is as good as this one.

After the acoustic set, John brings on Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino, who are part of the John Mayer Trio to go down and dirty blues and jazz.

Who Did You Think I Was?

He also performs the great Hendrix anthem Bold as Love with the trio with a very heartfelt introduction, as well as some pretty frank dialogue in the middle about living his life and love — that “gotcha back kind of love”

Bold As Love

Lastly, Mayer brings his entire band on to complete the concert with many hits from Continuum and otherwise. Perhaps my favorite is the I’ve Got Dreams to Remember intro into Gravity:

The film/concert is a little over 2.5 hours and is definitely a keeper. Mayer shows his depth of talent and his obvious intelligence and sincerity in his music. To me, Mayer’s viability as a contemporary artist is directly correlated with his ability to evolve and expand his music into various genres and styles and to be “all about the music”.

The CD/DVD live concert release will be a nice tune up to his upcoming CD of new material, which will include All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye. Here is a short sample:

If you’re looking to attend a great concert (over and over again), I strongly recommend purchasing the movie, Where The Light Is. Once again, Johnny Boy does not disappoint.

The “Where The Light Is” tracklisting is as follows:

Acoustic Set:
1. Neon
2. Stop This Train
3. In Your Atmosphere (L.A. Song)
4. Daughters
5. Free Fallin’

Trio Set:
6. Everyday I Have The Blues
7. Wait Until Tomorrow
8. Who Did You Think I Was
9. Come When I Call
10. Good Love Is On The Way
11. Out Of My Mind
12. Vultures
13. Bold As Love

Band Set:
14. Waiting On The World To Change
15. Slow Dancing In A Burning Room
16. Why Georgia
17. The Heart Of Life
18. I Don’t Need No Doctor
19. Gravity
20. I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)
21. Belief
22. I’m Gonna Find Another You

 

Amos Lee: “Last Days” Podcasts

ETA2:  The vids are back with a few extra delicious tidbits (see below).  Don’t mean to pre-empt Colette’s Corner spotlight on David Cook, so make sure to visit the post below this one.

ETA: Sorry folks, Amos evidently pulled these off of YouTube.  Believe me, they WERE really good stuff.  I’ll try to find them elsewhere…

YEAH!

Amos does it again. In anticipation of his coming new CD, Last Days at the Lodge, Amos Lee provides a podcast for most of the songs on the CD. He gives an explanation of the song and some of the history behind who, what, when and why. Now, some may not be interested in the detail, but as a liner note junkie from way back, I LOVE THIS STUFF.

I like to understand where the artist was coming from when they wrote the song and what they were trying to convey or what the story is behind a key change or rhythmic riff. I know this is a lot of YouTubeness, but each one is only about 2 minutes long and gives some wonderful insight to this CD, that I’m predicting will be even a bigger hit than the first two.

Amos is a very “real” guy who is very transparent in his artistry. No hidden or mysterious innuendos or aloofness, just WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get, for all you post DOS folks). It’s guys (and gals) like these that I truly appreciate. They “make the sausage” and show us all the parts, then let it stand on it’s own for us to enjoy the flavor.

He talks about music influences by Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley and Paul Simon, and the fact that his music comes more out of practice than theory. There are some real nuggets of insight to the artist that Amos Lee is.

So, when you have a little time this weekend, check out the podcasts for Last Days at the Lodge…right here, at Music Maven:

Ease Back

It Started to Rain

Jails & Bombs

Kid

Listen

Street Corner Preacher

Truth

What’s Been Going On?

Won’t Let Me Go

Superb.

Don’t forget to pre-order your CD at Amazon or to download the tracks from iTunes on June 24th. You will not regret it.

Here are a couple of “hot off the press” vids done expressly for YouTube by Amos, IN HIS LIVING ROOM!  I love this guy….noice couch.

  Baby I Want You

  Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight

Notice the invitation to respond to Amos via a song “cover” and his acknowledgement that he listens to the heartfelt covers that people do of his songs on YouTube.  That, is making a kun-NECK-shun. 

 

 
 
 
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