Normally I like to try to give a smart, pithy, and sage comment, with the odd chance someone will think I sounded smart. When it comes to Kendall Kelly's "Bears," I just think it best to say enjoy every bear-luvin moment of the video.
Friday, November 30, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
I will tell the truth, I really know very little about Hot Pants Road Club. I learned they are from Austria, and enjoy making their own sound blending Funk, Soul and Pop come alive when they play. I also know they made a video for "Don't Call Me In The Morning" that positively makes me smile, and even laugh.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, I was looking out my window, and noticed there were an impressive number of birds landing on the back lawn. I was so taken aback, I needed to get my camera out and take some pictures through the screen that was between me and the birds. I knew full-well it was time for the flocks of blackbirds to be heading south for winter, so I thought it was only right I would add Sarah Jane Morris' title cut to the 2008 album, 'Migratory Birds' to accompany the photographs. Hit play now...
It wasn't long before the huge flock seem to be on the move once again, with birds taking off as others were still landing on the yard. I wasn't sure where they were coming from, or where they were going. In fact, they seemed to be coming closer and closer to the window, and the noise just kept growing in volume.
As I stood by the window with my camera to my eye, I swear I was beginning to have some serious flashbacks to watching Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds,' as the view out the window grew darker, filling with more and more blackbirds. They seemed to be coming way too close to the house, before swooping up and over the roof.
But soon they had vacated the back year, although I continued to hear them, either on the front yard, or on the field across the street. Either way, I have to admit I was breathing a bit easier now they were not filling up my view. And it also gave me the chance to listen to some more music by Sarah Jane, which is always a good thing. Check out "Blower's Song" also off the 'Migratory Birds' album.
Just wanted to remind everyone there is still time to be a part of the fundraising for Eric Himan Band's 'Formal' album. I will fully admit I have long been addicted to the music of Eric Himan, for longer than I might think. After all, the above pictures were taken by me, at two different shows at Philadelphia's World Cafe Live. So when I saw Eric was putting something together for a new album for the Eric Himan Band, I was eager to be a part of it. And you have that same chance. The thought of Eric getting all electrified was exciting, and I remembered I had a video of him playing the electric guitar, on the Phil Collins' classic, "In The Air Tonight."
With a range of investments from $10 to $2,000, anything is possible. I say investments, for you are always getting something back for your money. You can check that out at the official Pledge Music site.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
'The Times of Harvey Milk' is a brilliant documentary film about the great gay rights warrior. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for 1984, and was awarded Special Jury Prize at the first Sundance Film Festival, among other awards. To commemorate his passing on November 27, 1978, I offer up this post of the full-length version of the movie, featuring the narration of Harvey Fierstein.
Remembering the life of Harvey Milk, and how he fought for the rights of all, is keeping the hopes and dreams of equality for all alive. Watch this film, and remember why Harvey Milk is still a legend.
There are still two weeks left for you to purchase a special something for yourself this Christmas, for for someone you know who loves music. Out and proud Michael West is offering the opportunity to pre-order his new album, 'A Fond Farewell,' out in time for Christmas. Michael makes his own blend of Southern Rock, Folk and Country, coming together to make glorious music. Take, for example, the title song off the upcoming record, which you can here below. This is "A Fond Farewell".
Monday, November 26, 2012
It seems as though the Thanksgiving holiday left me a bit under the weather, as I lost my voice on Thanksgiving night, and it has yet to return. Since a nagging cough have come around, I am hoping that means the cold is on it's way out. However, far be it from me to keep an ailment from inspiring a post. Tonight I will offer you all two songs from the motion picture soundtrack to 'Funny Lady,' featuring the always brilliant Barbra Streisand.
Once again, she took on the role of Fanny Brice, this time taking a look at her time with theater and music empresario Billy Rose. The soundtrack combined the the music written by Rose and sung by Brice, as well as some new material written by John Kander and Fred Ebb. Than new material included a song I completely identify with at the moment, "I Got A Code In My Doze". This was a perfect fit, a stylized comedic number that helped make Fanny Brice a star on Broadway.
To round out this post, I thought I would also include a song written by Billy Rose, along with Harry Warren and Mort Dixon. In 1931, Fanny Brice opened in a Broadway show produced by Rose, 'Crazy Quilt'. One of the song she sung was "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)".
The movie did not have either the commercial nor the critical success of "Funny Girl," although the soundtrack was pretty wonderful. The movie also starred James Caan playing Billy Rose, Roddy McDowall as Brice's best friend Bobby Moore, and Ben Vereen as the great Bert Robbins. There was also a cameo for Omar Sharif as the love of Fanny's life, Nicky Arnstein. The movie was once again produced by Ray Stark, married by Frances Arnstein, the daughter of Brice and Arnstein.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Since I was planning to take the weekend off to spend some time with family for the holidays, I thought I would repost my first of the 'Sunday Morning With...' series.
While putting together the Friday morning offering, I came across this clip and I just had to share it on this fine Sunday morning. She takes this Gospel spiritual, "Do Lord," and just rocks it home.
And there is also the very different "Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho". Sure, it is not a rocker, but it is a spiritual, and she is taking it home. I think God liked hearing it too.
Enjoy your Sunday!
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Clockwise from Top Left: Lena Horne, Peggy Lee, Julie London, Anita O'Day, Gladys Knight, and Etta James.
For the holiday weekend, I thought I would resurrect my first "Torch Song" post from about 18 months ago. I hope you enjoy this jazzy break to your holiday weekend. My love to all!
With a nod to Father's Day, I thought I would just compile a group of glorious lady torch singers, and let them tempt and tease their way over a drink and a smoke. Much of their music can conger up images of smokey clubs with a piano and a woman at the microphone, a little worn by the world. Men loved the torch singers - the straight men wanted to sleep with them, the gay boys wanted to be them, with their hearts broken over some no-good thug. Drag Queens were them, often twice a night on the weekends.
A clear example of a classic torch singer would be Julie London singing Cry Me A River. Long before she played nurse 'Dixie' on Emergency!, she was stopping hearts when she sang jazz classics.
While everyone knows our next singer for the timeless beauty of At Last, it was far from the only song she sang. Etta James not only sang I'd Rather Go Blind, she also reportedly wrote the lyrics. She is performing the song in the clip with Dr. John.
Miss Peggy Lee spend six decades singing, starting with a time as the vocalist for the Benny Goodman Band. She could do it all, whether it was the wronged woman, the coquette, or or the wise friend, she poured an honesty into her work. Check her out singing Why Don't You Do Right? with the Benny Goodman Band.
When I first thought of this post, I knew I wanted Miss Lena Horne to be a part of it. What I didn't want was to post yet another clip of her singing Stormy Weather. She is way too good to be defined by that one song. So I found this, a clip of Miss Horne sings You'd Better Love Me.
Our next singer shattered the image of the 'girl singer' back in the day. Instead of showing up to sing in a ballgown, she would appear in a skirt and a jacket that would match the band. But that isn't where it ended. She had her own style, was more rhythmic in her singing, her musicality. That should come as no surprise, as she also played the drums. Here is Anita O'Day as she sings My Funny Valentine.
It is tough to figure out what to say about the great Gladys Knight that hasn't been said already. She first came to the attention of the public when she won on the great-grandfather of American Idol, Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour television show in 1952, when she was just seven years old. In the 60s, she was signed to Motown Records, and has been a star since, almost 50 years later. Watch the clip as Gladys sings Please Send Me Someone To Love with accompaniment by the amazing and illustrious BB King.
Hope you enjoyed the ladies who carry their light with a big torch!
Friday, November 23, 2012
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Left to right: Kian Egan, Brian McFadden, Nicky Byrne, Shane Filan, and Mark Feehily.
To celebrate Thanksgiving, here is Westlife singing "Thank You."
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Who is Jason Gould, you ask? You can't be serious, right? You must know that Jason is the son of two very talented performers. Yep, he is the song of actor Elliott Gould and the immaculate Barbra Streisand. In October he released his eponymous debut, something I didn't discover until after I posted a clip of him singing with his mother at a concert in Philadelphia. I loved the sound in the video, and wondered how he didn't have any music out. He did. I found it. I fell in love with it. And it immediately made me wonder why this talented boy with clear connections in the music business waited until he was 45 years old to release his music? Well, it seems he wanted to do it all on his own, and for that I have to give him lots of credit. At least that is the story told, that Streisand didn't know he was recording until he allowed her to hear the finished product. Imagine having one of the great singers of the last 50 years, and a renowned perfectionist, listening to your first recording. That must have been interesting, to say the least.
Jason has a warm tone, one that doesn't particularly remind me of anyone else (for all those wondering if he sounds like his mother), but has a sound all his own. Now I've always loved that Streisand has impeccable phrasing, along that that stunning voice. I was happy to hear Jason also has wonderful phrasing - not exactly like his mother, but distinctive and his own. It is clear with this 5-song collection Jason has a connection to the music, and in the credits for the album, he did some of the arrangements.
The first track on the EP is "Morning Prayer," which was written by Jason Gould, Liz Vidal, and Marsha Malamet. This is really a lovely song, and there is a beautiful, haunted quality to it. There is a sensitivity in his voice, which draws me in. The next track is Leon Russell's classic "This Masquerade," an amazing song that has been sung by so many great vocalists, it must be daunting to try to bring your own flavor to it. And Jason succeeds, blending the jazz-tinged acoustic performance with the adult-contemporary tell of the collection. "Hello" is a moody song written by Charlotte Martin, Eric Owyong, and Ken Andrews. There is a real mystical quality to this that I really like. Next Jason takes on the Irving Berlin classic, "How Deep Is The Ocean". The arrangement is sparse and lovely, allowing the emotions to really come to the forefront. The collection closes with another classic, "Nature Boy," written by Eden Ahbez. Once again, there is a hint of Jazz, and it builds with the song. Somehow, Gould have managed to have very simple and stripped back production, yet make is sound very rich. I love it, and it has become a steady part of my musical diet.
Of course, one has to think it must have been interesting for the young, gay Jason, growing up the son of one of the great gay icons. I don't know, but he seems to have survived it all very well. I must repeat something from the earlier post, damn, he looks good. And sounds every bit as good to me. For more about Jason Gould, visit his official website. The 'Jason Gould' EP is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. For less that $5, you can't go wrong with this one.
I don't know how I do it, but sometimes I do. What, you ask? I miss the boat. It seems Daniel Robinson released an EP at the end of last year, and I didn't know it. But last December, he released 'North,' a six-song collection filled with Pop yumminess. Daniel lives in Buffalo, New York, and records his music in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He spent some time exploring music genres, from Indie Folk to the layered Electropop he found was perfectly suited to his creative urge.
I discovered my lack of knowledge when I discovered Daniel is a handsome young man. And he is also an out and proud member of the LGBT community. Oh, and yes, he has a new single out, "Deep River". There is a lush quality, with the music washing over me, adding to the emotional ambient journey, perfectly aligned with Robinson's voice. The core of this great song is a beautiful melody, each note touching my heart, one after the other. But rather than prattle on more, why not just give yourself an early holiday favor, and listen to it for yourself?
I have to tell you, once I heard this, I could not stop myself from listening to his earlier EP, which is also very special. But I think I should leave that for another day. You can purchase the single, "Deep River," from iTunes. You can find his EP 'North' on iTunes. For more about Daniel Robinson, visit his official website, or 'like' him on Facebook, or 'follow' him on Twitter. But first, give yourself the gift of music, and listen again. And don't feel shy about adding "Deep River" to your regular rotation on your iPod.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I am a huge fan of the music made by Mark Weigle, and was somewhat saddened when he announced his retirement from making music. Man, I wanted to see and hear him performing live, the rich voice caressing my ear drums with a deft and knowledgeable touch. Yes, I've been a fan for some time, at first wanting to support an out and proud man, but soon just lost in the music. There is such a richness to his tone, and a depth to his emotional tone, his music rocks me. And I have been wanting to share my love for his music with you all, but there is so little video out there, and I thought you really need to experience his voice for yourself to understand just how freakin' good this man is, and what great music he makes. Well, I made contact with Mark through his partner, and asked permission to make a few videos with the music and pictures of Mark, and was delighted I was given a green light. And I also feel confident in allowing you to have your own Weigle epiphany, for I am definite that once you've been exposed to his music, you are hooked for life. Well, I know I am.
I will begin with a cut off his 1998 album, 'The Truth Is'. It has two of my favorite cuts on it, including this first one. With "Two Cowboy Waltz," Mark manages to combine his strong Folk roots with just the right amount of Country, to make this amazing track. I read somewhere that Mark wrote it after he made his first trip to a gay bar that had country dances. It was there he firs saw two men dancing the Country Waltz, an intoxicating view to any gay man just finding their way. Enjoy "Two Cowboy Waltz".
On 'Out of the Loop,' his 2002 album, Mark did a brilliant duet with pioneering out musician Steven Grossman, a decade after we had lost Grossman. Steven was a great musician who was out and proud in the 1970s, and even signed on with Mercury Records to release his debut album, 'CaravanTonight,' released in 1974. The second track on the album was "Out," a beautiful and moving letter to Steven's family about the struggle with being a gay child in society. Mark decided to do a duet, having received permission to not only sing the song, but to use some of Grossman's vocals to achieve the posthumous duet. I love both voices, so this is nothing short of a delectable treat, one that touches me deeply. I made the video for "Out (a duet with Steven Grossman)" using photographs of both Steven and Mark.
Now I will return to the album 'The Truth Is,' at least in spirit. It was on the album that I first heard Mark singing a breath-taking song, "Take Your Shoulder From The Wheel". When I first heard it, I was so touched, and moved. Then, when I purchased his 2003 album, 'Different and the Same,' I discovered the live track, and it was even better. I know, go figure! I fell in love with it all over again, and cannot tell you how many I hit play because that is just what I want to be hearing, sung by that gorgeous voice.
The album 'The Truth Is' can be found on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. The album 'Out Of The Loop' can also be found on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. For more about Mark, you can 'like' him on Facebook. And join me in hoping Mark comes out of retirement at some point, if only to do a show I can attend. And if you are good, I bet you can join me.
Brett Gleason has released the second music video from 'The Thawing,' as the music video for "Calculated" hit YouTube earlier this morning. It, of course, features the handsome singer/songwriter Gleason as we follow him from waking up to his taking care of his morning ablutions; from the office to venturing out on his inline skates. As we got through the machinations of his day, we also hear the inner thoughts as he proceeds, the methodical calculations as the clock keeps ticking, time moving forward. Oh, hell, watch it for yourself!
"Calculated" can be found on his latest EP, 'The Thawing'. You can purchase 'The Thawing' from iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and Bandcamp. The Maxi-Single featuring the "Calculated" remixes is available on Bandcamp. To learn more about Brett, visit his official website. You can also 'follow' him on Twitter, and tell him ho much you love the video.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Some might not know that the musical 'Gypsy' was based on the real life story of the family of Burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee. In real life, the 'stripper' made a huge career for herself by never stripping down all the way, offering much more flirtation than actual nudity. And her sister, known as Baby June in the musical, was the starlet June Havoc. In fact, it was June running off with one of the dancers that led Mama Rose to focus on her eldest daughter, even if it meant stripping in the burlesque halls. And Gypsy's star did indeed rise far into the night sky, and she appeared on many stages, and as well as in the movies. Here is her appearance in the 1943 film, 'Stage Door Canteen.' Gypsy performs "Psychology of a Stripteaser."
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Sorry I didn't have time to get together a more elaborate post, but last night I went to see some great music performed live in Wilmington, Delaware. Gable Music sponsored 'The 6,' where six invited singer/songwriters come to perform six of their songs. I really knew about it because I was invited by one of the artists, the brilliant Stewart Lewis. When I looked at the list, I also saw the name of one of my Twitter friends, Michael Natrin. So neither I nor my sister could resist, and we foudn ourselves driving to Wilmington to check out the event. And, of course, I couldn't attend without both my still camera and my videocam, could I? I don't know what I would do with myself if I didn't. Well, I hope to get a post together very soon that includes pictures and individual video clips, but until then, enjoy this overview of the night.
It was great to see some musicians from here in Delaware. While Stewart is from DC, Joy Ike from Pittsburgh, and Elephants Gerald are from Baltimore, Lauren Kuhne, Sol Knopf, and Michael Natrin play for the home team! And the acts were introduced alternatively by Gayle Dillman and Jeremy Hebbel of Gable Music.
Well, it is Sunday morning, and I thought I would just offer up a gorgeous voice singing good music. The lovely woman in the picture above is Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the celebrated soprano. She was born in New Zealand, and spent the better part of the past 40 years on some of the greatest opera stages around the world. In the first clip, I bring you Dame Kanawa as she sings "Climb Every Mountain" from 'Sound of Music.'
In the final selection, I offer you "Exsultate, jubilate," a gorgeous solo written by the great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He originally written the song for one of his favorite castrato, but it was soon being sung by the great sopranos everywhere. Enjoy.
Have a great Sunday!
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Clockwise: Francine Reed & Lyle Lovett; James Taylor & Carly Simon; Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé; and Michael Feinstein & Cheyenne Jackson.
I wasn't sure what I was going to do for the Saturday evening post, but was inspired by the amazing Lyle Lovett to come up with more duets that have a more contemporary feel. I still wanted the music to be perfect for that smokey club we all go to in our dreams, with a classic Jazz feel. So when I focused in on the first entry, even I had to laugh at my ability to bend my own rules. You see, I picked Lyle singing with the talented Francine Reed on "What Do You Do," written by the Lovett, and recorded for his 1989 album, 'Lyle Lovett & His Large Band'. Well, it might not be a time-tested classic, but it sure has that feel to it. So enjoy as Lyle and Francine sing "What Do You Do."
the next song was written in 1963, but most likely had the most familiar cover a decade later, when the husband and wife team of Carly Simon & James Taylor sang "Mockingbird," a song written and recorded by Inez and Charlie Foxx. The song appeared on Simon's album 'Hotcakes,' and went to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1974. The two sag it together on tour in 1974, but it was an exciting performance at the 1979 'No Nukes' concert that many will have on their minds when they thing of the song. And here it is.
The song "I'm Nothing Without You," written by Cy Coleman and Chris Zippel, was written for the 1989 Broadway musical, 'City of Angels'. The song appeared on the 2009 album 'The Power of Two'. In fact, the song opened the album, immediately letting the listeners know they were in for some spectacular duets from the two very talented artists.
It's kinda funny, but when I think back to my youth, I remember one couple in particular who was always on the television, whether it was the variety program 'The Carol Burnett Show,' or the wonderful 'Mike Douglas Show,' featuring entertainers from all walks of life. And the married couple were also on just about every Christmas collection I remember hearing. So here they are singing "Something's Gotta Give," written by the great Johnny Mercer in 1954, and first performed by Fred Astaire in the 1955 musical, 'Daddy Long Legs.'
Hope your weekend is a great one!
Written in 1930 with lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton; and music by Johnny Green, "Body And Soul" quickly became a favorite of the best singers of several generations. Fifty-one years later, singer/songwriter Carly Simon put out an album of Jazz standards, the appropriately named 'Torch'. I thought Carly did a magnificent job with the classic, her voice a perfect fit for the song, her expressive voice so on point. Enjoy as she delivers "Body And Soul".
Friday, November 16, 2012
In the final installment featuring the winners of the 2012 RightOutTV Music & Video Awards, I saved these winners to jump-start your Friday, to help kick off your weekend. Not only are both winners making excellent music, they also show the universal nature of both the awards as well as music itself. After all, the spotlight first falls on a musical project from Vienna, Austria. The group Blinded By Stardust was named the winner of the Best Electronic/Dance/Hip-Hop/R&B Video for their fantastic single, "Can't We Just Dance Instead (feat. Biuna)".
I love the song, but I will admit I had a tough time learning more about the group. For more about Blinded By Stardust, 'like' them on Facebook or subscribe to the YouTube channel. I can't seem to find a place to purchase the music, but you can check out their songs on Soundcloud.
Darren Ockert is an out and proud musician from England who is currently living and working in Miami, Florida. Ockert released his first album, 'Anything Is Possible,' in 2005. It is a wonderful collection of Electro-Pop, delicious, really. But fast-forward to earlier this year when Ockert released 'The Rain From London' EP, which featured the single that was named Best Electronic/Dance/Hip-Hop/R&B Song, "This Modern Life (1984)".
For more about Darren Ockert, visit his official website. You can also 'like' him on Facebook, or 'follow' him on Twitter. "This Modern Life (1984)" can be found on 'The Rain From London' EP, which can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, or Ockert's online store. In fact, you can find his first album on those same retailers, and I can tell you I am thrilled to have it in my collection.
Well, that ties up the winners for the 2012 competition, and I would like to thank RightOutTV founders Marlee Walchuk and Tully Callender for inviting me to join the judging panel, and the opportunity to witness first-hand the depth of the competition among those in the LGBT community who nominated their music and videos. I remain proud of the commitment this blog makes to feature the music of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender artists, the the RightOutTV Awards brought new and interesting artists into my life. For that I will remain so very grateful. You can check out the website for RightOutTV, and discover an excellent line up of amazingly talented people making music from all over the world.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Once again, I am continuing the series featuring the winners of the 2012 RightOutTV Music & Video Awards. Tonight we will have the opportunity to check out the winners from the Folk/Country/Jazz categories. I will start with a Santa Barbara-based singer/songwriter who has been lighting up the West Coast both with her solo music, as well as with her band. Earlier this year, Kat Devlin and the White Whale released the EP 'REM Cycle #3.' It is from that collection that we have the winner of the Best Folk/Country/Jazz Video, "Dear Emmi." The beautifully introspective song has music by Kat and lyrics by Shannon Brennan.
For more about Kat Devlin, visit her official website. "Dear Emmi" can be found on her EP 'REM Cycle', released earlier this year. You can purchase it from Bandcamp, iTunes and Amazon. You can also order the CD from her online store.
I love the fact that before this competition, I had never heard of Summer Osborne. After immediately asking myself if she was the lost child of Sharon and Ozzie Osborne, I gave her music a listen, and I didn't think of the Dark Prince again. There is a clean feel to her music, and a crisp tone to her vocals. That, along with writing a great song, earned Summer the award for Best Folk/Country/Jazz Song for the song "Be Still".
For more about Summer Osborne, visit her official website. "Be Still" can be found on her 2012 release, 'The Scenic Route.' To purchase Summer's music, it is available online: go to Vibedeck.com and click on the cover for 'The Scenic Route.' If you have any problems finding it, check back again soon. I have the album, and it is well worth hearing!
Only last week I was blogging about Jeffery Straker taking home a 2012 RightOutTV Award for Music & Video, which you can visit here. Now, we are lucky enough to have a new music video from the talented Canadian, and I get to share it with you! The video is for the single "Botanic Garden," off his wonderful new album, 'Vagabond,' a fantastic Pop collection of nine great songs. There is such an intrinsic charm to Jeffery's music, captured beautifully in this video.
You can find my review of Jeffery's album here. For those who don't want to visit there, I can tell you I loved it! From start to finish, it is a great album, one I know I will revisit for years to come. You can purchase 'Vagabond' from iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp. To learn more about Jeffery Straker, visit his official website.