Sunday, April 17, 2011

Twenty bands/artists who I would like to be a back up singer/dancer for

Hello out there to all of you in internet-land! Tsk...wouldn't it be cooler if we could meet in--oh--I don't know, Mega Slide Land? Or, Water Park Land? Or, Deep-Fried Funnel Cake Land instead? Alas, such will never be the case, and so we must settle on Al Gore's utopia. ...For now. Since last we spoke I had the opportunity to see a live show! On Wednesday evening last, I had the very special privilage of seeing the magnificent Carolina Chocolate Drops perform at Radford University--in a view from the front row! While this blog serves not necessarily as a post to review live performances exclusively, it DOES serve as an outlet for discussing music and all its wonderous, geeky avenues. So, before we go any further please allow me a moment to convey my deepest respect and nerdly appreciation for this horribly talented North Carolinian String band. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are an African American group hailing from the Chapel Hill area of Carolina. The members range in age from 28-33 (I think). They have been together (in one form or another) for roughly six years; but it hasn't been until recently that they have begun to explode on the bluegrass scene--playing festivals and shows all over the world--AND--even managing to ern themselves a 'lil ol' Grammy award for best new folk artist. It is uncommon to find oneself at a concert where people aged three to sixty five are dancing together in the aisles, but to this, I swear I bore witness. The Carolina Chocolate Drops specialize in old timey/bluegrass/folk/traditional irish/blues/traditional americana/and songs that you could (literally) dance the Charleston to. Even if you aren't into this type of music I highly recommend checking them out. And if you ARE into this sort of thing, and you aren't familiar with them, then ladies and gentlemen do stop whatever it is you are doing and look them up NOW. No, seriously...stop reading my blog, go to youtube, and type in Carolina Chocolate Drops. Hell, if you are so inclined saunter down to you local record shop and purchase their albums. In a nation where Nickleback clones largely dominate generic rock radio stations, the Carolina Chocolate Drops are a much needed, appreciated, and welcomed breath of fresh air. Right, i'll stop gushing now--and get on with things. Today's blog features a list of artists and performers whom I would delight in providing back up vocals/dancing for. And we could go with the obvious choices of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, etc. But that's too easy. I think we will venture into a more obscure and quirky territory. So, in the words of the immortal Samuel L. Jackson, "HOLD ON TO YOUR BUTTS!" 1. The Carolina Chocolate Drops Please see the above paragraph. Since i've already spoken to a large extent about my appreciate for this band, let me just say that I would be more than happy to be the token white boy dancing by himself in a dark corner of the stage while they dominate. Hell, I would even be thrilled to just play the triangle if they asked me to. 2. Gogol Bordello Gypsy Punk! A drunken, vivacious mad-house of infectious, unique stylings. 3. The Decemberists A versitile, weird, mix of folk, rock, and story-telling. I want to hang out with them. And YES, the wanting comes in waves. 4. The Flaming Lips DOY. My darling Yoshimi, let's battle these pink robots! 5. Cypress Hill Maybe they would let me play the harmonica for them? Cause let's be real, they possess just the right amount of Insane. ;) 6. Weird Al Yankovic A dorky fan-boy's child hood dream come true. No, really...I can clearly remember fantasizing about playing onstage along side Al and the gang from the tender age of nine. 7. Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers For some one who grew up watching Steve Martin movies since I can remember, to discovering that he played the banjo, to purchasing and falling in love with his first album (The Crow), to making the pilgrimage in the deadly Tennessee heat to watching this renaissance man perform--to actually being onstage along side him--would blow my mind twenty-seven million ways to Sunday. Steve, I could be your King Tut (in a completely heterosexual way, of course). 8. A Perfect Circle Because sometimes it's fun to flirt with the dark side ;) 9. Roger Miller I've recently begun watching the Television series "Doctor Who." Perhaps one day i'll accquire a TARDIS of my own, and time travel back to a time when it would be opportune to join this quirky, billiant, songster on the road. He is, after all, king of the road, even if he can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd. If a TARIDS cannot be obtained then I would gladly settle on a Delorean--or even a phone booth--if it came to that. 10. The Mighty Clouds of Joy Let's get the Lord up in this blog! 11. Big Mama Thornton Because who DOESN'T want to hang out/perform with a big, jolly, African-American blues woman? 12. Run DMC Don't deny it, you know you'd wanna rock it with these guys too. 13. Loretta Lynn & Jack White I would do very bad things to be able to be on stage with Loretta Lynn and Jack White. She is the greatest female country artist to grace our land, and He is the savior of rock n roll. Together they create an unstoppable force of toe-tapping, heart-breaking, glory-filled musical magic. 14. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy A swingin' big band from the late nineties that never really got the recognition they deserved. Having survived middle and high school playing the trumpet, these guys are right up my alley. I admit, this fourteenth entry had strong competition from the Glen Miller Orchestra, and The Squirrel Nut Zippers, both of whom I admire on the highest levels. Of all the bands that i've posted so far though, BBVD ranks at the top of those whom I would actually have a real shot of playing with; were my trumpet skillz not so rusty. I still have my trumpet (a beautiful, silver, Bach Stradavarius) that i've been promising myself as soon as I live in a place where the walls aren't so thin, I will pick back up and start playing again. Maybe someday i'll start a swing band of my own. Hey...a lad can dream right? :) 15. Shel Silverstein We can probably blame my unhealthy fascination with poetry on Shel Silverstein--and the fact that when I was eight, I picked up a copy of "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and never looked back. Imagine my delight when, as I got older, I discovered that not only was Shel a talented poet and cartoonist, but he was also a singer-songwriter/performer. In my opinion, Shel Silverstein is the definition of cool; and easily one of the folks whom I base my philosophies and way of life upon. To even just be in the same room with him, would make my feeble little mind kersplode into a gooey universe of millions of excited little pieces. But to have had the chance to play along side him? Brother...I can't even begin to imagine... We miss you Shel Silverstein. The whole world misses you. 16. Flight of the Conchords/Tenacious D Born of similar ilk; these two groups profess and practice the ideas upon which my worlds revolves. Music, and comedy. You can be a wonderboy, but you don't have to a prostitute. 17. Old Crow Medicine Show The bad-ass mad men of bluegrass. Enough said. 18. The Travling Wilburys Nelson Wilbury, Otis Wilbury, Lefty Wilbury, Charlie T. Wilbury, Lucky Wilbury...A.K.A....Spike Wilbury, Clayton Wilbury, Muddy Wilbury, Boo Wilbury.....A.K.A....George Harrison, Jeff Lynn, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan & Roy Orbisson. Possibly the greatest band ever to walk the face of the earth. I would be content to simply have been a fly on the wall (or stage, whatever) when these men came together to play. They are my heroes. Three live on to play and record music in their own respective rights in this world that we live in; while two have moved on to groove with all the greats in the wide unknown. But wherever they are, in this life or the next, they are always creating perfect music, for the imperfect listener to learn from, to live in, and to love. Cheers mates, and thank you. 19. Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band I owe a lot to Jimmy Buffett and his band of merry music makers. I know they're not for everybody, but for me they are perfect. They always provide just the right song for just the right mood. And if you've never seen them live then honey you haven't lived. A Buffett show is one of the single most thrilling, happy, energetic experiences you can ever hope to have. For years Buffett and the Coral Reefers were my white whale. I came so close to seeing them so many times. But in the summer of 2009 I managed (somehow) to see them twice. I can testify that it is one big jolly (mon) of a party. Whether I was just some dude dancing on stage, or singing back up vocals, or strumming along to a simple song in the standard and much loved chord of G, on my daddy's old Alvarez; I would be one, ecstatic Parrot Head. Waitress? We need two more boat drinks! 20. Justin Jewell, Brandon Daigle, Aaron Atkins, Tom Hughs, Erich Robinson, Sidney Hollandsworth, Nathan Schell, Dawn Graham, Brack Stovall, Joyce Banker, Tim Banker, Missy Amos, and anyone else i've ever had the very esteemed opportunity and privilage to participate with in a backyard bonfire sing along with acoustic guitars, or driven down the road with while the music blared from car speakers and we sang along with reckless wonderful abandon in our glorious and beautiful off-key voices. Cause that's what it's really all about. You can fantasize about playing with your favorite bands. And while it's a sweet, fun fantasy--that's all it is. And that doesn't come anywhere close to playing music and singing along with your best friends and loved ones. Obviously, I can't post a link to that sort of thing, so if you're reading this then I invite you to sit back, tune in to your most cherished memories, and reflect on all the excellent times we've had together making our nerdy musics. I wouldn't trade you guys for even a micro-second of playing with any of the afforementioned artists. Thanks and praise to you all, for all the years and smiles that you've given me. And in the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all i've got to say about that." Honorable mentions: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and any musical number that The Muppets have ever performed, ever. Till next time, long days and pleasant nights. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Songs that completely transform your mood

Hello old friends! I'm not dead, I haven't been magicked into a ferret, and I'm not lost in Uganda! I am however, sitting in the dodgy Radford-city hookah bar sipping a black coffee and enjoying a white peach/tangerine hookah. It's been a few weeks since last we spoke. I wish I could say that i've been out flying dragons, pirating ships (not the Somalian kind though...those guys are douchy), or at the very least making home made beer. Sadly the only reason I havn't updated in a little while is because i'd previously been doing my blogs at work; and I came to the conclusion that that was probably a poor idea. And, this is the first chance i've had to get out of the apartment with a little free time (and extra $) and stroll down to the local Sheesha bar, to take advantage of their free wi-fi. I trust you will forgive me, and that you will delight in today's blog. A blog titled, "Songs to completely transform your mood." A.K.A. therapy songs to cheer you up when your life is in the shitter! Yay! 1. Blues Traveler--The Mountains Win Again Do you remeber the first Cd's you ever purchased? My first was, of course, "News of the World," by Queen. I was in sixth grade when that one came into my possession. "Four" by Blues Traveler, came to live with me shortly after. I bought it, originally, because i'd heard "Hook" on the radio and fell instantly in love. It wasn't until one afternoon while out walking my old dog Maggie though, that I had the opportunity to listen to the album in its entirety. Somewhere between Creek Branch Ct. and Cub Run Drive my ears first fell upon the beauty that is "The Mountains Win Again." It is...track five, if i'm not mistaken. The song starts out with John Poppers magnificent harmica ever so delicately bellowing these riffs that can only be described as blue-birds gliding through a damp summer evening. The song then continues to ease into an aura of well-being and general happiness that burns through any all bad feelings that may be dragging the listener down, and lifts them up and out of the body to elate the listener with memories of camping with your daddy when you were five, watching the sunrise in the Rockies when you were eighteen, and leaves you with a sense of provacative cheer. Have a listen. 2. Elton John---Tiny Dancer One word: COLLEGE ;) 3. Ben Folds---The Army I didn't discover that I was a big Ben Folds fan until a few years ago. There were tell tale signs all over the place that I should've been paying attention to...for example, he is good friends with Weird Al Yankovic, he is our generation's Billy Joel/Elton John (both of whom I adore), and most importantly, just the fact that he's a quirky, happy go lucky guy. One of my favorite memories of this song is from several years ago at a party that Dawn Graham and I threw at our house on Davis Street. I'd made several mixes for the party, one of them containing this song. When it came on everyone started geeking out...most notably Andy Reech and Brandon Daigle. There were dancing in my dining room. :) I think about that whenever i'm down. 4. Bruce Springsteen---Out in the Street This song is my life. It is the anthem of the working man. It illustrates that, Yeah; times are hard...but dammit he's gonna find a way to rock out and admire the beauty of life anyway. And, most importantly, he's gonna show his girl a good time. P.S. i've never seen Clarence "The Big Man" Clems frown 5. Everclear---I will buy you a new life Where your flowers can bloom.... 6. Alison Krauss--I'll fly away I often listen to this song on particularly difficult days at work--it helps to remind me that I won't live in Radford forever. I maintain that Radford is kind of a sad town; where good things tend to happen. 7. The Talking Heads---And she was Two stories about this song. Both true. One kinda funny, one kind sad. 1. I say David Byrne perfom in 2004 at my first Bonnaroo. He was one of the closing acts. Before going into "And she was," he gave a little monologue. It went something like this, "So this song...this song is about a girl I used to know; back in high school. Sometimes after school she and I would sneak out to the fields near where we lived. We would drop acid and lay in the grass and admire the clouds and the sky and dote on each other and how sweet life can be. This song is about that girl. This song is called And She Was." 2. My dog, Maggie, who I got when she was a puppy in 1995, passed away this month four years ago. Saying good bye to maggie was one of the hardest things i've ever done. I was home visiting my parents that weekend; and poor maggie was pitiful. She could barely walk; and I knew that it was going to be the last time I saw her. Before I hit the road to go back to radford I sat down on my parent's living room floor with her, and I kept her company for a little while both of us knowing that this was it. Dogs can't talk of course, and if they could they would probably say things like, "get off my biscuits honkie!" but when I looked into maggie's face that afternoon in April of 2007 I saw that her eyes were saying goodbye to me; and that hey...maybe we'd meet up again some day. We grew up together, and now it was her time to move on. I gave her one last pat on the head; and then promptly got into my truck to drive the four lonely hours back to Radford. I cried the whole way. After I got home I went straight to the backyard with my mixed cd and my headphones and sat in the grass to think about all the times we'd spent together. One of the songs that came on my cd was "And She Was" by the Talking Heads. Listening that, I felt a little better. A few days later I was on the phone with my mom and dad and they told me that Maggie had passed on. But no doubt, she was floatin' there above me, and she was. 8. Old Crow Medicine Show---Wagon wheel A song about a guy road-tripping just to see the love of his life and nothing else matters? Yeah...i'll take that. :) 9. Jimmy Buffett---Take another road I often espouse to profess my love for one particular buffett song as my favorite. This of course is complete bungle as there are so many....but damn...this one is WAY up there. "Sail upon the ocean, just like Mr. Twain." That says it all... 10. Dave Matthews Band--#41 Would you believe me if I told you I didn't listen to this song for the first time until just about a month ago? Well, friends and's true. :::hangs head in shame::: 11. M.C. Hammer---Do not pass me by AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW HAMMER DON'T HURT 'EM! HA! 12. Tori Amos---A thousand oceans First Tori song I ever heard was "Crucify." I thought it was weird and awesome. Second song I ever heard was "Winter." I thought it was sad and lovely. The third song I heard was "A Thousand Oceans." That's when I fell head over heals in love. I think it was sophomore year of college. I listened to this song at least three times a day for several months. In February of 2004 (I think) I saw Tori in concert with Rachel Frone, Bear, and Dawn Graham. I can't even begin to relate to you the feelings that began to swell (not just in myself, but in all four of us) when she unexpectedly began to play this incredible tune, half way through her set. 13. Jackie Wilson---Higher and Higher I dare you to listen to this, on a bad day, and tell me that you don't instantly feel better. 14. Damien Rice---Toffee Pop In a song library where most of Mr. Rice's tunes are remarkably dark, and brooding, and very much a musical "FUCK YOU" to a girl that clearly burned him, "Toffee Pop" stands out like a leperous thumb in the glee that it exudes. 15. The Beach Boys---Good Vibrations The first time I ever heard "Goob Vibrations" was when I was maybe...oh...I don't know...five years old? My mom called into the nationally syndicated radio program "Solid Gold Saturday Night" to request it. She got through. We still have the recording of her on the radio somewhere on an old cassette tape. It was history in the making. 16. Michael Jackson---Will You be There? So many Michael Jackson songs could have ended up on this list. Man in the mirror, I want you back, I'll be there...just to name a few. But this gem stands out. Nary a day goes by that I don't wonder what would've become of the King of Pop had he not overdosed on painkillers two years ago. I'm quite certain he would've encountered a come back. Did you know that during the Thriller years he recorded several songs with Freddie Mercury? It's true..and they are going to be released sometime this year. Don't believe me? Just ask Brian may. CAN'T. WAIT. Lordy he was prolific... 17. Bob Marley---One Love :) :) :) 18. David Bowie---Magic Dance (From the motion picture "The Labyrinth) My a nutshell. Damn you Jerith...and damn me too... 19. Simon and Garfunkel---the only living boy in new york I am the only living boy in radford town. Sometimes after a long day, I go down to the river and scream; with this song playing on repeat in my head. It scares the ducks away, but I always feel better. :) 20. Blues Traveler---Just Wait And so, we will begin and end with John Popper & Co. This song is also from the album "Four." "If ever you are feeling like your tired, and all your up hill struggles...are headed down hill. And if you realize your wildest dreams can't hurt you, and your appetite for pain, has drinken its fill...then I ask of you a very simple question, did you think for one minute, that you were alone? And is your suffering a privilage that you share only? Or did you think that everybody else, feels completely at home? Just wait...Cause if you think i've given up on you you're crazy. And if you think i don't love you, well then youre just wrong. In time you just might take to feeling better. Time is the beauty, of the road being long..." :::ENTER GLORIOUS GUITAR SOLO::: And now i'm going to take off my shoes, and walk around barefoot while listening to my new mix cd, entitled, "Spring 2011." I suggest you all do something similar, and go enjoy the sunshine. :)