Music and Art Monday, June 4th, 2018: Sorry About the Voice

Just because a few people liked it the last time, I decided to go ahead and attempt a couple more songs. My voice has not been the greatest the past few weeks, I’m blaming allergies, and my guitar playing is… Well… Ha…

But here goes:

First up is one of my favorite Gillian Welch songs, “Tear My Stillhouse Down.” It is probably the best one of all of these so you can probably just watch it and then skip the rest 😉

I’m kidding… Or am I?

Yes, those are reading glasses. I am going blind in addition to losing my voice…

Next up is John Prine’s Spanish Pipedream. This song contains what is perhaps my favorite line in a song, at least out of a John Prine song. See if you can figure out which one:

The next two I really wasn’t sure about. I love both of these but I definitely didn’t do them justice. Plus I think maybe the keys are not quite what they are in the originals.

Well… They won’t load. So I guess you were spared. 😀

I hope you enjoyed these. Or didn’t. Either way, here they were.

You can tell me in the comments. 🙂

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Music and Art Monday, May 7, 2018: A Little Of This, A Little Of That

It was a slow week up here on the hill. Not much to report on the music or art front.

I finished up a trio of paintings that I started back in December. I didn’t spend all that time on them, I just got super distracted. They were inspired by an art challenge. I can’t remember exactly what the theme was but whatever it was inspired me to paint the biggest events in our life.

Edit: I was going to finish these over the weekend but I got sick. So the last one is not finished, I’ll put a finished pic up as soon as I can.

The first is a humorous take on birth. I obviously wasn’t born with a beard, though some may believe I was.

The second is an image of aging. It might be a bit literal.

The last is death. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t the least bit creepy to paint myself as a dead guy.

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about how they came out. The technique seems to have evolved a bit during the process and I got more detailed as I went. They are on canvas which is not a normal medium for me. I think I learned some things about canvas which is good.

As for music, I turned a bit of a corner and went from the mellow tunes I discussed last week to some upbeat songs of my youth.

The current selection is Cornershop’s When I Was Born For The Seventh Time. This album originally belonged to my sister, who bought it as a curiosity. She was really only interested in the Punjab version of “Norwegian Wood”. After awhile it ended up in my collection. Of course that was 20 years ago, and now instead of popping in a CD I can stream it on Spotify. Still a good experience.

Also popping up is Sublime’s self-titled album. Also over 20 years old, it never really gets old. I do feel slightly conspicuous blasting it in Alamogordo. I am so white…

On the not so old side of things I have been listening to a playlist of The Raconteurs, The White Stripes, and The Black Keys. You wanna play a fun game? Shuffle that playlist and tell me if you always guess the band correctly.

So that’s been my week. Anyone have any favorites or recommendations for the week?

Music and Art Monday April 30th 2018: Pensive Tunes

Is there anything like music to set a mood? What happens if you’re already in that mood? The wrong music can totally kill it.

These are a few go-to albums for when you are in a pensive mood:

Linda Perry In Flight: my first girlfriend dumped me while this was playing in the background. From the very first chord of “In My Dreams” this album is a drag. But in a good way. You may know Ms. Perry for her Four Non-Blondes hit “What’s Up” or her feud with Pink, I know her mostly for this album. It’s the perfect background for any melodramatic mood. There is no way you can be cheerful whilst listening to “Success“. That bass line always gives me goosebumps.

I also recommend her second album, After Hours, though it’s a bit hard to find.

If you’re in a creative funk, Jon Hopkins’ album Opalescent provides the perfect ambiance. See what I did there? He’s an ambient musician… Well, I thought it was good. I was listening to this album when I decided to take an old job back. It was raining a lot and I was driving around. You would have to be there. It’s always a go-to on nights when I just have to stay up and paint, write, or Photoshop.

That and most of the album sounds an awful lot like the soundtrack to the original Maplestory.

Hopkins’ collaboration with Purity Ring is what piqued my interest in him. But Purity Ring is a great group on its own. another eternity is a tremendous album for when you’re in that mellow but optimistic mood.

Nothing says “mellow” quite like levitation.

Every song is written in such a way that you are almost not sure when one ends and the next begins. Despite the similarities I do have two favorites, “Begin Again” and “Bodyache” stand out to me and are particularly good for a bit of an uplift.

What are some of your favorite songs/albums for mellow moods?

Music and Art Monday April 23rd, 2018: As Promised

Well, as promised, although a week late, I finally sat down and recorded a few videos of my rusty guitar playing.

First up are two of my favorite John Prine songs: “Take the Star Out of The Window” and “Paradise”. You can definitely tell that I am rusty.

And here are two originals from almost 20 years ago. I was not the best lyricist back then, and I probably haven’t played these for 10 years. The first is called “Hold Me To Your Side” and the second is “Blue Bob Blues”. It was not written about my wife, I swear it.

It was fun taking a trip down memory lane, even if it was a bit bumpy.

Music and Art Monday, February 12, 2018: Soundtracks

How many times have you heard a song in a show or movie, only to have it get stuck in your head until you watched the show again or at least satisfied your brain with a listen on Spotify? Such is my life lately.

This past week was “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” by Irma Thomas. I got sucked into Black Mirror by Netflix’s great marketing. I swear this song is the only song they got permission for. It shows up in so many episodes you can’t help but wonder what exactly are the writers trying to communicate with this choice? Are we to assume all episodes of the show take place in the same horrific universe? Eek.

Before that it was yet another Netflix show, Stranger Things. The unmistakable sounds of the 80’s make this not just one of the most listenable soundtracks but one of the most memorable as well. It makes for particularly great driving music. And if you are the passenger you can enjoy Spotify’s “Stranger Things Mode”. Oooooo….

Ok, so it’s just a flash light… booo

The last song that gets stuck in my head all the time is the very first song from the movie Youth. Not only do they shove you right into the singers face for the first three minutes of the movie, they play the entire length of “You’ve Got The Love”, thereby placing it squarely in your subconscious, only to come back weeks and months later begging for a re-watch. While listening to this on Spotify I actually discovered the rest of the soundtrack is pretty darn good as well. Even the song sung by cows. If you never watch the movie (which you should) you should at least give the soundtrack a spin. Cows people, cows…

Sir Michael Caine directing cows in song, does it get any better than this?

Music and Art Monday, January 22, 2018: Christian Metal

The_Undisputed_Truth_by_Seventh_Star

I once had a pastor who said one of his nightmares was to get stuck in a rock concert. I had to chuckle when he said it (in a sermon) because one of the members of our church headed a metal band. Despite what the pastor may think, rock music isn’t all sex drugs and rock n’roll. Sometimes it’s theological.

Metal was not a genre I grew up listening to per se. Sure, there were bands like Metallica, Def Leppard, and Poison. But 80’s hair “metal” hardly qualifies as metal. In my teens, I listened to much of the roots of metal with Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, AC/DC, and The Who. The heavier sounds eluded me until my wife introduced me to Iron Maiden, As I Lay Dying, Nodes of Ranvier, and Alice Cooper’s Brutal Planet and Dragontown.

Still not sold on it, it took a moment of anxiety to change my mind. She had always claimed that metal mellowed her out. I was incredulous, how could something so loud and raucous mellow one out? So one particularly crappy day I looked up Christian Metal, because I figured if I couldn’t understand the lyrics, they might as well be “good”.

The first band I stumbled on was Becoming the Archetype. What got me hooked on them was their rendition of “How Great Thou Art” on the album Dichotomy. I could understand every word! It probably helped that I already knew them, but you know. The fact that they were loud and roaring made my anxiety melt, the noise drowned out my crazy thoughts.

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The whole album was so melodic, classical music came to mind. It was exactly what I needed in that moment of my life. Mellowing indeed.

My second favorite album of theirs, Celestial Progression, is a little less heavy and mixes in another of my favorite genres, electronica. There is also some sitar and a little ska thrown in, it’s an incredible mix of eclectic styles. It’s definitely worth a listen.

After that I explored the genre a bit, even joining Facebook groups dedicated to it. They introduced me to many other awesome bands including Demon Hunter, Sleeping Giant, I Shot the Albatross, and Haste the Day.

My current favorite, and what inspired me to write this post, is Seventh Star. Seventh Star is (was) headed by a guy in my church, so i may have a bit of a bias. I’m not even much a of a fan of their first album, released before he was the lead singer. Particular highlights of his career with the band are “The Seventh Star”, “My 96th Thesis” (the most Reformed metal song of all time), and the entire third album Undisputed Truth.

Unfortunately, the band broke up in 2008, but have reunited on occasion. If we are lucky they will do another tour soon. For the most part you can understand the lyrics, but metalcore wouldn’t be nearly as fun if you knew all the words. The good balance of comprehensible lyrics to unintelligible ones is a testimony to Johnny’s skills as a singer.  Having spent some time with him, I can hardly see him being such a great metal singer, he’s way too mellow. Hey, maybe I should take lessons! If listening to metal is mellowing, singing it must be all the more! He’s proof!

Maybe with some poking I could get some singing lessons!

Who’s up for listening to my first release? 😀

Music and Art Monday, January 15th, 2018: Just One Thing 

Otis Redding

I’ve been on a Motown kick lately, which is probably appropriate given today’s holiday.

It started as an innocent request to Google to play Otis Redding. Then all the flashbacks of listening to the oldies stations in my youth (when this music was only 20-30 years old!) came and made me find a Playlist on Spotify. 

Well here it is: https://open.spotify.com/user/classicmotownrecords/playlist/0bI05scZoM5amVNebOVZkH?si=7wDI64RIQWm_bRMWLbaNxw