Friday, May 31, 2013

Erasure • Who Needs Hits Like That?

Erasure, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke
Erasure bandmates Andy Bell, left, and Vince Clarke, right.

Sometimes I am working on a post, and I surprise myself with amazing observations like, "No Freakin' way it has been 28 years since I first heard this song!" Yes, I know, I don't really say freaking, but I thought I'd clean it up. But it is true, it has been almost three decades since I first heard the amazing duo Erasure. I had followed keyboardist Vince Clarke since his collaboration with Alison Moyet in Yazoo, as well as his stint in Depeche Mode. So when he paired up with Andy Bell, I was curios to hear the new sound. After all, I had no idea who this Bell kid was, and I was reluctant to let go of the hope Vince and Alison would get back together.

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In the Fall of 1985, before the first album hit the shelves, the group released "Who Needs Love Like That", soon to be featured on the debut album, 'Wonderland'. The song had a strong Synth-Pop sound, and dealt with a faltering dysfunctional relationship, and asks the immortal question, "Who Needs Love Like That"?

While that none of the early singles entered the US Billboard charts, Erasure did have a following in the States, with people who were loving the EuroPop coming in the form of New Wave acts like Howard Jones, Yazoo, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Soft Cell, Bronksi Beat, and so many other. In April of 1986, just weeks before the release of 'Wonderland', they released the single "Oh L'Amour" and I remember going to my music import store in the West Village to get it. The sound was so new, so fresh, and so darned fun.

It was another two years before Erasure started to show up on the US Single charts. In 1988, they released 'The Innocents', a fantastic new collection. The month after the album's released, a new song hit the airwaves that would certainly make an impact in the US. "Chains Of Love" was a bold and brash song that stood firm in the stance that all love needs to be honored, not just some. To free all love from the chains restricting those people, we can't really be free. Yes, this was a song I danced to on more than one occasion and in more than one club in New York. "Chains of Love" made it to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #4 on the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart.

That was followed up by a song that instantly spoke to so many people, it was universally loved. "A Little Respect" had so much meaning on so many levels, for the gays marching and trying to feel the respect offered to everyone but themselves. It also spoke to people in relationships, where one one person feels they are working so hard just to have their voice heard, be it with a lover, a friend, or a parent. The song made it to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #2 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. Here is the music video for "A Little Respect", also off the album 'The Innocents'.

You can find these hits and more on 'Pop! The First 20 Hits', available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, or at their online store. To learn more about Erasure, visit their official website. You can also 'like' them on Facebook and 'follow' them on Twitter.

Candy Apple Blue • You Turn Me On feat. Daveo Falaveo

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There is a new single out from Candy Apple Blue, and it features cutie Daveo Falaveo in what is sure to become a favorite song of the summer, "You Turn Me On". The single was written, arranged, produced, mixed and mastered by Candy Apple Blue, and features singer Daveo Falaveo, the host of 'Gay Life TV'. The sexy video celebrates all varieties of sex and intimacies, just in time for the LGBT Pride celebrations across the country. The video features Daveo as well as Brandon Manuel, Debbie College, Kimmy Johnson (aka "Kimmy Cupcake"), Christian Teed and William Fissell. I must admit I also noticed Hoyt in the video, and I did let out a sigh. Check out the video for yourself!

I know I had to download it and get it on my iPod, and I bet you must do it, too! The single is now available on iTunes and Amazon. To learn more about Hoyt and Carly, visit their official website. You can also 'follow' them on Twitter, or 'like' them on Facebook! You can also check out their music available on Bandcamp. For more on Daveo Falaveo, you can 'like' him on Facebook, or 'follow' him on Twitter.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lucas Miré • Following The Landslide

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I was so pleased to read the email I received from Lucas Miré, the Atlanta-based singer/songwriter who recently released a new album, 'Following The Landslide'. Lucas wrote me a sweet note, telling me of his third album, and expressed an interest in my giving it a listen and writing about it on the blog. I jumped at the chance, for I am always looking to find new music and new voices, especially in the LGBT community. You see, somehow or another I managed to miss his first two releases, so now would be a great time to catch up. I could not wait to listen to 'Following The Landslide', and excitedly hit 'Play'.

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The cover is an interesting shot of Lucas looking through a window, our view of the artist partially obscured by the life outside. The album opens with the ethereal "Going". The track begins with a new age feel, the electronics echoes of life. Soon the sweet sounds of the acoustic guitar break through, as well as the voice of Miré. Check out this song, and be sure to give it some time to develop.

"Going" touched my heart, and I had a feeling there was more to come. There was something much more tangible with "Let It Break", a song grounded in today, with Miré's vocals taking center stage, hitting an honest and naked truth. The chorus reaches in and touches the soul. Next up, "Here" keeps the acoustic feeling, adding a wonderfully uplifting amount of self-awareness and acceptance. This song is just so joyful, giving me a touch of classic Folk of Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell, when they are having a very happy day. The opening bars of "Comes & Goes", with the haunting cello leading the way, tells me there is a shift. It seems much like our emotions, ideas do come and go. But so far, I have to say Lucas' talent has definitely come on strong. On this track, he allows the softness of his vocal to prove the strength behind it. On the next track, "Blood On Your Hands", Miré is joined by very talented Edie Carey. Together, their voices make some real magic. Give a listen to the song, and be prepared to lose your heart.

The two indie artists manage to bring very different styles to the table, and make something so beautiful. The same could be said for the sixth song on the album, "Blue Ink". This time, Miré is joined by Lucy Wainwright Roche, the daughter of Loudon Wainwright III and Suzzy Roche. Their harmonies on the chorus are just everything to me, managing to seem both strong and vulnerable, having shared some honest feelings with me. It is in the chorus of "Blue Ink" that we find the album title, and allows us to understand just a little bit more. In keeping with the flow, Miré is joined on "ILY" by the wonderful group Girlyman. With both making homes in Atlanta, I hope they find time to work together again, if this is an example of what an happen. The harmonies behind Lucas add a delicious depth to the song. By the end, I am feeling so recharged. There is a delicate and simple feeling to the opening of "My Mother's Only Daughter". Once again, there is a bit of a confessional feel to the song, but no 'mea culpa' offered, just a slice of life dressed with a bit of emotion. There is an instant charm to "Rings", which also features Bo Shell. There is a slight hint of Country in the music, but remains strong Folk. And Bo Shell's voice is so perfect, and so rich, the song just continues to grow throughout. From the start of "You Don't Know", there is a pared down style, with just Miré and the acoustic guitar.

More instrumentation is added for the chorus, offering a momentary respite from the bracing vulnerability Lucas is serving. The look at communication is just so real, I am feeling like Miré has been in a few of my relationships without me knowing. The last cut on 'Following The Landslide" is "Gone", which has a haunting feel, almost wounded. There is something about the inherent hurt in the "Whoa-whoa-whoa, that also allows up to know just how much love can hurt, but why we want it so. I am not sure what I was expecting when I started to listen, but what I got was a journey I really enjoyed. The music is so pretty, which compliments the wonderful grace of Lucas' voice. There is a beautiful arc to the album, more emotional that narrative. Miré, who wrote all the songs, allows us to see him emotionally naked, and we get to see our own heart bared as well. You can purchase 'Following The Landslide' on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby or Bandcamp. To learn more about him, you can 'follow' Lucas on Twitter, and 'like' him on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rod Stewart • Early Hits

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With my recent posting featuring Long John Baldry, I was reminded of Rod Stewart. According to Stewart himself, Long John discovered the singer while he was singing , drunkenly, on a train. Like many stories, it might not have been quite that simple. Stewart became interested in a career in music in 1961. He fell in love with the music of Bob Dylan, Ewan MacColl, and Woody Guthrie. Soon, he was hanging out in London, learning to play the harmonica, and playing on the streets for tips. He did the same in Paris. In 1962, he auditioned to sing vocals for the Ray Davies Quartet, but did not get the job. Later, the name was changed to The Kinks. In 1963 he joined The Dimensions, playing the harmonica and sometimes sing lead. Later, The Dimensions were hired by singer Jimmy Powell, and were renamed Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions. But this also demoted Rod to harmonica only. But they were booked into Studio 51 in London, where Stewart got to see and learn from the Rolling Stones playing live. Soon Stewart left his band. In January of 1965, a drunken Stewart went to see Cyril Davies and the All Stars, and afterward was playing his harmonica on the platform, when Long John Baldry, then the lead vocalist for the All Stars, heard him play, and invited him to sit in with the band. Not long afterwards, Cyril Davies passed away, and Baldry asked Stewart to join the newly christened band, The Hoochie Coochie Men. Stewart played the harmonica, and was given time to sing, too. He was also part of Steampacket, the band also featuring Baldry, Julie Driscol, and Brian Auger. Soon, Stewart was moving out on his own, working with great guitarist Jeff Beck, and then joined the rock group Faces, featuring Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane), and Kenney Jones, as well as guitarist Ronnie Wood. Just as Faces were coming together, Rod was also kick starting his solo career.

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Rod Stewart photographed by Chris Walter.

In 1971, Stewart released his second solo album, 'Every Picture Tells A Story', a combination of Rock, Soul, Blues and Folk that seemed to speak to listeners. The album went Platinum in sales in the US as well as topping the Billboard album chart, with the help of a big hit found on the album. "Maggie May" went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and could be heard playing all over radio. Listen and watch as Rod sings about young love and sex with "Maggie May".

In 1972, Stewart released 'Never A Dull Moment', another great collection of music. Stewart himself had a hand in writing four of the nine songs included on the album. The first single off the album, "You Wear It Well", topped the UK charts, and went to #13 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified Gold in sales, keeping Stewart as an artist who could deliver music making the studio very happy. Here is Rod singing "You Wear It Well".

Stewart's next few album had some success, but it was 'A Night On The Town', Rod's 1976 album that once again had people buying. The album has be certified Double Platinum, on the strength of a great line-up of songs. But the song that caught the attention of the world was "Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright)". The song made it to #5 on the British singles chart, but made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is a sexually suggestive ballad, written by Stewart himself. It also included some whispering from his sexy then-girlfriend, Britt Ekland. HEre is the music video for "Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright)".

In 1977, Stewart released another album that would have more success than anyone dared to dream. 'Foot Loose and Fancy Free' flew up the charts, certified Platinum in the UK, and Triple Platinum in the United States. It went to #1 in the UK and Canada, and #2 in the US on the album charts. At least part of the success but be due to the amazing appeal of "You're In My Heart (The Final Claim)", the song written by Stewart and the first single off the album. The song helped to create a new sound for Stewart, who was coming to be quite the troubadour. Here is Rod singing "You're In My Heart (The Final Claim)".

This was an impress run for the man who debuted as a solo artist just six years before. In fact, it was just over 10 years after being discovered by Long John Baldry on a train platform. For more about Rod Stewart, visit his official website. You can also 'like' Rod's fan page on Facebook. All four songs can be found on 'The Definitive Rod Stewart', available for purchase from iTunes and Amazon.

Audra McDonald • Go Back Home

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When it comes to Audra McDonald, I just can't seem to help myself. Her voice is so pure, I can listen to whatever she sings. So when I heard she was working on another album, I we beside myself with excitement. I have her others, and I think 'How Glory Goes' is a beautiful collection, one I still listen to often. I am not the only one fascinated by the lady, for Audra has won 5 Tony Awards, an incredible accomplishment. Her latest win came in 2012, when she took home the Tony for 'Best Leading Actress In A Musical' for her stunning portrayal of Bess in the 2011 revival of 'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess', directed by Diane Paulus. She also won a Drama Desk Award, a Drama League Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award. So once I received my copy of 'Go Back Home', I couldn't wait to give it a listen!

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'Go Back Home' is a collection of songs written by Broadway composers, including both well-known writers as well as some new faces to the genre. While most people know John Kander and Fred Ebb from hit shows like 'Cabaret', 'Woman of the Year' and 'Chicago', Audra went to the 2010 musical 'The Scottsboro Boys' to find the title song off the album. This is a gorgeous song, and McDonald sounds great on it. Listen as Audra shows us sometimes less is more with "Go Back Home".

The next song is a familiar one, from a well-known source. "The Glamorous Life" was written by Stephen Sondheim for his wonderful musical 'A Little Night Music'. McDonald's voice just dances on this one, her voice so light and airy. Her control allows her to do so much with the gorgeous song. The next song is from a less-known but so talented Zina Goldrich & Marcy Heisler. There "Baltimore" offers some dating advice for all to hear. Next we return to the John Kander & Fred Ebb, this time through their Broadway musical 'Steel Pier'. "First You Dream" is a beautiful and soaring ballad, and perfect for Audra. For "Tavern", composer Will Reynolds set a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay to music, and the result is lovely and ethereal. And it also truly touches my heart. Although composer Adam Guettel might be best known for his work on 'The Light in the Piazza', he has written for several Broadway shows. He also composes Classical compositions. McDonald sings "Migratory V", from his song cycle 'Myths and Hymns'. The song is really lovely, and is performed perfectly. In the liner notes, McDonald mentions that composer Michael John LaChiusa is working on a new musical, based on an ABC book written by Marlene Dietrich. Both "Virtue" and "Married Love" are slated for that musical, but Audra gives a sneak peak. "Virtue" has a light and lilting feel, while "Married Love" is more narrative about love over a lifetime, and McDonald can tell a story when she sings! Also in the liner notes, Audra says after hearing the firs ten bars of "I'll Be Here" from Adam Gwon's musical 'Ordinary Days', she knew she wanted to sing it herself. This is a really sweet song about finding love in New York City. When McDoanld was offering another Tony-winning performance in 'Ragtime', she got to know composer Steven Marzullo, who played piano in the orchestra. Lucky thing, for he wrote the music for "Some Days", which used the James Baldwin poem for lyrics. Listen as Audra sings it for you.

That was just stunning, and Baldwin's lush language a fitting partner to McDonald's rich voice. That is followed by another brilliant piece. Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II wrote the score for the 1959 Broadway musical 'The Sound of Music'. One of those songs, the lovely "Edelweiss" , is included in this collection, with a beautifully pared back arrangement that showcases the inherent beauty of the song as well as McDonald's voice. For the album, Audra points out she was accompanied by her husband, fellow-Broadway star Will Swenson, so played the guitar. Check out this clip of Audra singing "Edelweiss" live.

While some might think the final song on the album to be a classic from the Great American Songbook, "Make Someone Happy" also started out as a part of a Broadway musical. It was written by Jule Stye, Betty Comden & Adolph Green from the 1960 Broadway music 'Do Re Mi'. Interestingly enough, the musical itself was met with lukewarm notices, but it gave the world this song, which went on to be sung by the greats, like Tony Bennett, Judy Garland, Aretha Franklin, and now, Audra McDonald.

This album is just so beautiful, I can't recommend it highly enough. It is just the right mix of familiar songs with new ones, never failing to keep my attention. The material is so uplifting and joyful, and at times hysterical. And McDonald delivers it with a deft touch, combining her flawless vocals with the emotions needed to make each and every song come to life. You can purchase 'Go Back Home' from iTunes and Amazon. For more about Audra McDonald, visit her official website. You can also 'follow' her on Twitter, or 'like' her on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Long John Baldry • (Walk Me Out In The) Morning Dew

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I just think this song from Long John Baldry is really beautiful. "(Walk Me Out In The) Morning Dew" written by Canadian folk singer Bonnie Dobson in the early 1960s, and made famous by the Grateful Dead. I am not sure what inspired Baldry to record the song and release it on his eponymous 1980 album, I am just glad he did. I think it takes great advantage of his stunning voice, showing it off with it's great depth. This is also a beautiful arrangement.

Hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Voice Season 4 • The Top 8 Perform

Well, it is Memorial Day Weekend and yet I am sitting at my computer, waiting for The Voice to come on. The Top 8 will be taking to the stage, looking to sing their way to the Top 6. Shakira and Usher are hoping the lone remaining contestant makes it through this week, and that Adam Levine and Blake Shelton might finally be sending an artist home. I might still be a bit cranky after they sent home 'the pretty' last week, leaving very little distraction from a few mediocre acts that should be going home. Between doing some tree and hedge trimming today, and losing the pretty one, I fear I might be a bit cranky this evening, so I hope the artists are ready to deliver!

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Left to right: Adam Levine, Shakira, Blake Shelton, Usher, and Carson Daly

Carson comes out to remind us to be grateful to those who have fought for our right to enjoy reality singing competitions. He introduced the judges, and reminded us who was sent home last week, and tried to remind us about the stakes for the teams, with the possible elimination of Team Shakira or Team Usher. Then he introduced 'rarely sober' Blake Shelton coming out to sing his latest single, "Boys 'Round Here". It is as close to a Country Rap song as I have heard, like, ever.

It is a fun song, but not one I will be running to purchase any time soon. However, if you are in a frame of mind that you have to have it, you can find it on his most recent release, 'Based On A True Story...'. You can find it on iTunes or Amazon. After a break, Carson talks to Adam about what his team needs to do to keep together. He also asked Shakira about what it will take to keep Amanda coming back, and Shakira hopes America will hear her great voice. Usher hopes America realizes there is no one else like Michelle Chamuel in the competition, and will keep her on the show. Blake hopes his team makes it through again, for he is just so proud of each and every one of them. Team Adam puts up with Judith Hill, who will be singing #thatPower, by Will.I.Am and featuring Justin Bieber. She takes a very Electro-Pop song and brings it to a deep Soul place, more James Brown than Justin Bieber. I think she was great, really showing off her amazing vocals and ability to really imprint a performance with her own style. Blake loved it, and thought it was yet another performance where he could find nothing to complain about. Usher thought she started the show off well, and is a real talent. Shakira loved what she did, and loved that she is taking chances with performances. Adam was so very proud of his star, and thinks of her more as an artist than a competitor on a singing show. After a break, Holly Tucker meets with Blake to work on her performance of the song "Done" by The Band Perry. Blake asks her to stay away from the pretty side of her voice, to get down with the angry side of the song. Here is The Band Perry with "Done".

I find this performance lacking, as Holly's vocals seldom show me any depth at all. She always reminds me of the girl taking the microphone at the County Fair. I kept wanting her to do something that wasn't predictable, that wasn't safe. It didn't happen. Carson called on Usher for his thoughts, tossing some shade by calling out Urkel (with his Michelle Chamuel glasses), and Usher served back, reading Daly as 'Jimmy Neutron', and damned if he isn't right. That could be my favorite part of the show so far. Usher loved Holly's boots, and thought she was incredible. Shakira loved the performance, and enjoyed the sass and attitude. Adam loved it. Blake tells her he is so proud, as it is the first time she has really owned the song. Really, Blake? You seem to love her every week, but this was the first time? I'll move on. Judith, Michelle, Sarah and Sasha team up to take on Rihanna's "Diamonds". All the ladies look great, and I have to say I was most impressed by Michelle Chamuel, who was so completely on the for the entire song. I thought Judith and Sasha were also wonderful, but Sarah kind of was overwhelmed by it all, and faded out a bit. During the commercial break, I see the advertisement for 'America's Got Talent', and I can't imagine a judging panel I would be less inclined to tune in to hear. Back on the show, Blake is talking to The Swon Brothers, who will be singing "Seven Bridges Song" by The Eagles. First they discuss what is happening back in their home state of Oklahoma, and all 3 are moved by what they have heard, and keep everyone in their prayers. Blake loves what they do in rehearsal, but reminds them it needs to be tight. They are the last men left, and the only duo or group to make it this far in the history of the show. Here are The Eagles performing "Seven Bridges Road".

They keep the harmonies tight and strong, and I loved it. There was a real strength and heart behind it. Usher loved it, and thought it was so strong. Shakira thought it was a little bit Country, and a little Rock & Roll, and loved it. Adam loved it, but noticed there were a few moments that were a bit scary. Blake was very proud of them, and thought this performance showed how talented and unique they are. Sasha Allen talks about the pressure of being the last representative for Team Shakira, and she will be singing "Without You" by David Guetta and featuring Usher. She comes out and sounds a bit vulnerable, but soon is owning the song, her voice coming out big and bold. She is killing the song, and brings it to a surprising soft and beautiful ending. Adam just tells her how bittersweet it is to hear her, and that she is with the right coach. Blake loved it, and thought it should keep her around for another week. Usher is so glad she did her thing with it, and thought she was great. Shakira loves her, and thinks she is just so talented, and made the risk of singing another coach's song pay off. After the break, it is time for Sarah Simmons to meet with Adam, as they talk about her singing "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye and featuring Kimbra. Adam feels the song has been out of culture for long enough it will be fresh with her. I am not sure about that. He feels this is the artsy kind of music she should be making. Before too much longer, here is Gotye and Kimbra singing "Somebody That I Used To Know".

I loved her audition, but ever since then, I just feel she is all about affectation, not real communication. She doesn't sing a bad note, although there is that unfortunate scream near the end. I felt like the performance was scattered, and frantic, almost manic. Blake, Usher, and Shakira are all supportive and polite, but not gushing. Adam thought she was wonderful, and one of the first people to get the song right. I roll my eyes, and opt to just move on. The four Country acts will be working together, as The Swon Brothers, Holly Tucker, Danielle Bradbery and Amber Carrington get together to sing a great song by Sugarland. They tackle "Something More", and I have to say it is a little bit less successful than the earlier group song. While all four are Country artists, they all seem to have a different take on the song, and it never comes together. No one did badly, but I didn't feel anyone shined, either. All I can think of saying is "Next!" And that would be Michelle Chamuel, who is meeting with Coach Usher to talk about her take on "Grenade" by Bruno Mars. Usher wants to pare the production back, and show off her voice and artistry. Here is Bruno Mars singing "Grenade".

Michelle's performance is powerful, and soaked with real emotion. She connects with the song on a real visceral level, and shared that with me. This was the best performance of the night, and she just controlled that moment. Shakira thought it was spectacular, and Adam was excited to watch it, and called it one of the best of the night. Blake was impressed such a big voice comes out of such a little human being. And he thought it was her best so far. Usher is so proud of her, and what a special artist she is. I have to agree with him. After a break, we learn that Danielle Bradbery will sing "Grandpa" by The Judds, one of Blake's all-time favorite songs. In rehearsal, she struggles a bit with the lyrics. We also learn she never really met either of her grandfathers, and she is singing this for them. I am not loving this performance, for I don't feel a real connection from her. She sounds great - she has a wonderful instrument - but it was very paint-by-numbers. Usher loved her boots, and loved her effortless performance. Shakira also loved it, and thought she has real star quality. Adam just thinks she is a Country star in the making, a true talent. Blake was so proud, and thinks she did the song beyond justice. That leaves us with just one more for tonight, as Amber Carrington will rehearse with Coach Adam as she prepares to sing "Skyfall" by Adele. That is a huge song by a singer not used to doing Pop. But first, here is Adele singing "Skyfall".

She has a cool new look, working some great hair. She delivered some seriously wonderful vocals, with great attitude and boldness. Blake loved her, but pointed out you can't hide the Country. Usher thought she was incredible. Shakira was sold on her with the high notes, which were amazing. Adam is just so proud, and thinks she is the first person on this show to do Adele justice. Carson tells us it is time to vote, so it is time for me to review the night. With only six acts making it through to next week, this means there are two acts leaving tomorrow night. I truly hope that Judith, Sasha, Michelle, Amber and the Swon Brothers are safe, for they all had strong vocals this week. Danielle was good, but I felt a bit off this week. The weakest of the evening for me was Sarah and Holly, neither truly connecting with me for their moment in the spotlight. Of course, it all hinges on who has the most votes, and which two have the least. Speaking of votes, to learn how you can place your vote, visit the official website. In brief, you can vote via a toll-free phone number, online at, with the special NBC App, or Facebook. Unlike some shows, The Voice limits the amount of votes people can place per method. You can vote 10 times per phone, or 10 times via Facebook, or 10 times via NBC App between now and 10AM Tuesday morning. The phone number is (877)553-37XX, filling in the 'XX' with the artist number. Those numbers would be Judith Hill 01, Holly Tucker 02, The Swon Brothers 03, Sasha Allen 04, Sarah Simmons 05, Michelle Chamuel 06, Danielle Bradbery 07, and Amber Carrington 08. Don't forget, your iTunes purchase also counts as a vote, if you are so inclined. There is a link to all the songs on the iTunes front page.

Dark Monday • Oklahoma!

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Certainly by now we have all seen the pictures and videos of the devastation left in the wake of the tornadoes in Oklahoma a week ago. So I thought I would offer up a tribute of the state with a look at a great musical I think everyone must know. I thought I would visit 'Oklahoma!', the brilliant musical with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical first opened on Broadway 70 years ago, in 1943. The original production starred Alfred Drake, Joan Roberts, Celeste Holm, Howard Da Silva, and Lee Dixon, and was choreographed by the legendary Agnes de Mille. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, 'Green Grow the Lilacs'. The show is set in the Oklahoma Territory in 1906, and tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance with farm girl Laurey Williams, as well as the relationship between cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie. The show opened in London in 1947, and had Broadway revivals in 1951, 1979, and 2002. The musical was filmed for 20th Century Fox for a 1955 release, starring Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Rod Steiger, Charlotte Greenwood, Gloria Grahame, Gene Nelson, James Whitmore and Eddie Albert. There was also a 1998 revival in London that featured Hugh Jackman as Curly.

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With music by the iconic team of Rodgers and Hammerstein, there is so much excellent music available, it was tough to winnow it down to just a few songs. But I thought I would lead off with a magnificent song, "Oh What A Beautiful Morning". I remember growing up and this being a part of the cultural experience, and everyone could sing it, either for real, or in a mocking way. In the clip below, the song is sung by Gordan MacRae from the 1955 film version of the show.

I have to giggle for "I Cain't Say No" was also a part of the cultural zeitgeist for me, usually in a mocking sense. "I'm just a girl who cain't say no, I'm in a terrible fix," sung with a bad Southern accent, could work, and did work, in countless situations. Once again, I am relying on the film version, this time with the delicious Gloria Grahame as Ado Annie.

Once again, I can think of many different ways I would be able to hear people singing the lyrics for "Surrey With The Fringe On Top", for theater geeks, like myself, to people driving carriages when I was regularly attending Morgan horse shows in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. I decided to go with a clip featuring the 1999 London production, featuring Hugh Jackman, Maureen Lipman, and Josefina Gabrielle.

For my money, "People Will Say We're In Love" is the best song in this rather spectacular score. It allows the voices of both the romantic leads, male and female, to soar. When it is sung well, the song can carry the audience so far long this journey. Once again I am going with the 1955 film version, featuring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae. This, by the way, was the first film appearance by a young Shirley Jones, who went on to have a great career. But I do laugh, for there are some I am sure remember her as the mother of 'The Partridge Family', never realizing she was an amazing singer.

And, finally, I could not possibly do this post without including the title song for the show. The song seems so very iconic to me, for who can't sing along with it. It was certainly a favorite at the piano bars in New York City in the 1980s, for I heard many a show queen singing it there. In fact, the more the merrier at The Duplex, or Marie's Crisis, or Don't Tell Mama. Enjoy the 1955 film cast singing "Oklahoma!"

One of the reasons I thought to do this post was because the show showed such a wonderful toughness and resilience of the people of Oklahoma, a people who face life on the frontier at the turn of the 19th Century. The people are still that strong, but that doesn't mean they must go through the terrible tragedies caused by the tornadoes last week. We can honor their strength by pitching in and giving what we can, and doing what we can to ease their burden, even if it is ever-so-slightly. You can donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting “Red Cross” to 90999. For other ways to donate or help in the relief effort, call 1-800-HELP NOW, or log onto the Red Cross official site.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Songs of World War I

Helen Clark photo Helen_Clark_zpsa0876deb.jpg World War I scene photo WW1_trench_zpsc39c518c.jpg Florrie Florde photo Florrie_Forde_zpsb5931f7d.jpg
Mark Sheridan photo Billy_Murray_zps2880cdf5.jpg Billy Murray photo mark_sheridan_zps95943fd7.jpg Rosa Ponselle photo Rosa_Ponselle_zpsf91aac81.jpg
Clockwise from top left: Helen Clark; Photo from the literal trenches of WWI; Florrie Forde; Rosa Ponselle; Billy Murray; and Mark Sheridan.

As this is Memorial Weekend, I thought I would do a bit of research and decided it would be fun to play some of the music of World War I. The War started on July 28, 1914 and did not end until November 11, 1918. The War was pretty much fought on the ground of Europe, although all people in the world were affected by it to some degree or another. It all began with a single shot fired in a highly-charged atmosphere of Europe. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand brought the tensions to a head in the area, and soon the whole world was picking side, and getting involved. That included the United States, as the American Armed Forces stood beside the Allied forces in battle. The first song I being to you this evening is one that was really more a call to arms, really a recruitment tool. "Your King and Country Want You" was written by Paul Rubens and recorded by several ladies eager to encourage young men to fight for the crown. I was able to find this version by Helen Clark, released in 1914.

Next up, I found an amazing lady by the name of Florrie Forde. She was born in Australia, and quickly became a star in the music halls there. When she was 21, she moved to London, and took her new home by storm. She quickly became a big star, both on stage and in the recording studios in 1903. She quickly became a voice of the country, and this was certainly the case when she recording a couple of songs during the war that instantly struck a nerve with the British public. Here is Florrie Forde singing "A Long Long Way To Tipperary" and "Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit-Bag And Smile, Smile, Smile". The first was a British music hall song written by Jack Judge and co-credited to, but not co-written by, Henry James "Harry" Williams. The latter was a World War I marching song, published in 1915 in London. It was written by George Henry Powell under the pseudonym of "George Asaf", and set to music by his brother Felix Powell. While she certainly sang them while the war raged on, Florrie rerecorded two of her hits in 1929.

I first learned of this song, as well as the first song, when working on a production of 'Oh, What A Lovely War' while in college. The show features several songs from World War I, from propaganda to heartwarming. Now, I would have to say "Belgium Put The Kibosh On The Kaiser" would distinctly fall under the category of propaganda, as well as ribald entertainment. The song was first performed by Mark Sheridan in 1914. He was a well-known comedian and singer from the music halls, and songs like this, which combined national pride with humor mocking the enemy, made him a popular man. Please enjoy him original recording of "Belgium Put The Kibosh On The Kaiser".

Next I have a patriotic novelty song sung by tenor Billy Murray in 1915. Murray was born in Philadelphia, the song of Irish immigrants. In the 1890s, Murray made a name for himself playing vaudeville shows, as well as traveling minstrel shows. After the new century rolled in, he was recording songs, both comedic and serious in nature. The song I picked here would be the former, as "Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts For Soldiers" was a bit of a tongue-twister, as well as sending a strong message to the people not fighting the war that we must support out troops.

In the last song of this post, I offer up the stirring and beautiful "Keep The Home Fires Burning" composed in 1914 by Ivor Novello with lyrics by Lena Gilbert Ford. It was recorded by several different people at the time, and quickly became a favorite of the people with sons or brothers or husbands or friends battling in the war. I have chosen a version by Rosa Ponselle, a young woman born in Connecticut, the daughter of Italian immigrants. She began singing in movie theaters, entertaining the audiences while the reels were being changed. Soon there were more engagements, singing in cabarets and clubs. That led to work in vaudeville, which later brought her to the attention of the Metropolitan Opera, where she was a featured soprano. But while still singing popular music for the masses, she made a beautiful recording of "Keep The Home Fires Burning", so please enjoy it.

What binds all these songs together was their appreciation and support for the men and women who serve their country, no matter which country that was. Whether it was the United States, England, Ireland, Australia, or any other place where music could be heard. And now, a century later, we celebrate Memorial Day, a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Today, like every other day of the year, we offer them out sincere gratitude for all they have done. Thank you.

Memorial Sunday • Judy's "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"

Judy Garland photo TheJudyGarlandShow_zps1c0a3c8e.jpg

As it is Memorial Day Weekend, I thought it would be perfect to start off Sunday with a bit of inspirational Judy Garland. I know, many of you are saying that whenever Judy sang it was an inspiring event, which might very well be true. However, there were times when it was more so than others, and I have to think that when Judy dedicated here performance of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" to her friend John F. Kennedy, the President of the United States of America and her good friend, there was that certain bit of something in the air that night. Enjoy as Judy sings this great song.

It cannot be denied that when Judy was on her game, it was tough to compete with her as a live performer. And while Judy is being all patriotic, how about this very sweet recording of her singing "America The Beautiful" on a 1964 episode of 'The Judy Garland Show'. And if any woman can sing a song with a five o'clock shadow and still sound beautiful, it would be Judy!

Enjoy the holiday, and don't forget to remember all how have given their lives in defense of the nation, and thank those who have served in the armed forces.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Men Can Really Carry a Torch

Boz Scaggs photo boz_scaggs_zpsd9ece0c5.jpg John Stevens photo JohnStevens_zpsf57f48ce.jpg
Rick Astley photo Rick_Astley_zps91de6b71.jpg Tony Hadley photo Tony-Hadley_zps6a09461d.jpg
Clockwise from upper left: Boz Scaggs; John Stevens; Tony Hadley; and Rick Astley.

While it is true that I usually give my Saturday nights to the ladies who steal our hearts with the gift of song, tonight I thought I would change it up a bit, and give some men a chance to carry the torch, at least for this week. When deciding what direction to go with this thought, and decided to check my own collection, and was struck by an idea, which doesn't happen nearly as often as you'd think. Anyway, what if I were to offer you the music of some amazing guys you might not have realized they made some torch music of their own? Rather than going into more detail, I will begin with one man I loved back in the 1970s, when his Pop music was topping the charts. With songs like "Lowdown", "Lido Shuffle" and "We're All Alone", Boz Scaggs was a big part of the soundtrack to my high school years. His album 'Silk Degrees' was an amazing one, to be sure. But almost 3 decades later, Scaggs released the album 'But Beautiful', which is a wonderful collection of classics, including "For All We Know". This was a popular song published in 1934, with music by J. Fred Coots and lyrics by Sam M. Lewis. It has been recorded by so many, but perhaps best remembered by the Nina Simone version. But here is Bozz Scaggs singing "For All We Know".

A very young John Stevens was a contestant on the thrid season of American Idol, when the producers first discovered how to demonize a contestant. Perhaps some remember his bright red hair, but I remember the wonderful tone of his voice, and a sense of timing that might not be right for Urban Pop, but is made for the standards. In 2005, Stevens released the album 'Red' on the Maverick Record label, co-founded by Madonna. One of the songs off the album was "I Only Have eyes For You", the gorgeous song with music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin. The song written in 1934 for the film 'Dames', and introduced by Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler. But here is John Stevens singing it 70 years later.

I will be out and proud, and tell you I was a bit Rick Astley fan back in the day. His music was everywhere in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The richness of his vice was so special, I couldn't resist it. His dance-friendly Pop songs were fantastic, and I spent a fair share of time at clubs making moves to his music. But like so many, when a new decade brought new flavors in music, Astley was shuffled to the side. But in 2005, Astley released his first album in a while when 'Portrait' came out. I thought it was outrageously good, with Astley taking on some classic songs, putting his own spin on them. An example of that would be his version of "These Foolish Things", the standard written by Eric Maschwitz and Jack Strachey.

Another man whose name came to our attention in the 1980s, Tony Hadley had many hits as the lead singer of Spandau Ballet. His tone was just so nice, and his voice was so crisp and clear, he was just so damned memorable. With songs like "True", he was able to shine. And like many bands from the period, they were unable to capture that success again, and soon they broke up. But Hadley continued singing, both in the studio and in musical theater. And in 2006, he released the album 'Passing Strangers', a Jazzz/Swing album that fit beautifully with his voice. Here he sings "The Good Life", a song written by Sacha Distel and Jack Reardon. The song was published in 1962 and make popular by the great Tony Bennett.

Hope you enjoyed the men tonight! Have a great weekend!

Dusty Springfield • Windmills of Your Mind

Dusty Springfield photo DustySpringfield_zps7ac3a90f.jpg

This morning, I am not exactly sure why this song popped into my head, but it did, so I went with it. I am talking about "The Windmills of Your Mind", with music by French composer Michel Legrand and English lyrics written by Americans Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. The song was used as the theme for the 1968 film, 'The Thomas Crown Affair'. Noel Harrison recorded the song for the movie soundtrack, and has a hit in the UK with it. The brilliant Dusty Springfield also recorded the song, and had a hit with it, having the song make it to #31 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The song has such a lovely melody, and when sung correctly, such a wonderful flow. And I have to say, Dusty always knew how to sing a song! Enjoy!

The song can be found of Springfield's acclaimed album 'Dusty in Memphis'. You can find it on iTunes and Amazon. Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Double Feature • Hitchcocked & The Boy Next Door

Hitchcocked photo DateNight003_zpsf0ede400.jpg
Hitchcocked photo DateNight002_zps2eb9bebe.jpg Hitchcocked photo DateNight001_zps3094e625.jpg

Tonight we have another Double Feature of short films, so you can grab some popcorn, and maybe a glass of wine, and enjoy them both. The first is the 2006 short written, produced and directed by David M. Young. The film, just 8 minutes in length, takes a look at reality, and what might or might not be real. Role playing can be fun, but what if someone goes a bit too far? 'Hitchcocked' stars Yuval David as Al, and David Grant Beck as Fred. They are both very handsome, and I believed them so much, I was starting to get a little worried...

Now it is time a break to hear a word from someone's sponsor. I wish I could say it was my sponsor, but it ain't the case. The following commercial was shot for Guinness Ltd in 1995, but never made it to air. Apparently, some were concerned the British were not ready for a look at the busy morning of a couple getting ready to face the day.

I am amazed that commercial was made almost 20 years ago, and that Guinness gave it a green light. I am surprised it was never aired, for that was some money that went down the drain. However, I am truly glad someone involved decided to post it online now so we can all check it out!

The Boy Next Door photo DateNight006_zps3015b6f8.jpg
The Boy Next Door photo DateNight005_zps194726f0.jpg The Boy Next Door photo DateNight007_zps39177ffb.jpg

In 'The Boy Next Door', we take a look at what might be the monsters in our lives, whether we define them as such or not. Monsters come in many different forms, and ever character in this riveting short must come to grips with their own monster. 'The Boy Next Door' was written, produced and directed by Gregor Schmidinger. Michael Ellison, Truman Chambers, and Damon Preston are the cast of the 2008 film. Have you slayed your monster? Or at least chase it away?

Have a great weekend!

Eric Alán • L.O.V. & E.

Eric Alan - L.O.V. & E. photo EricAlanLOVE007_zpsec1b0a58.jpg
Eric Al photo EricAlanLOVE005_zps5268bf17.jpg Eric Al photo EricAlanLOVE001_zpsd5cd0807.jpg
Eric Al photo EricAlanLOVE002_zpsc674a961.jpg Eric Al photo EricAlanLOVE004_zps154a2862.jpg Eric Al photo EricAlanLOVE003_zpsd6e3c9d1.jpg

Kicking off the weekend with a little frisky fun! After all, don't we all need a little "L.O.V. & E." now and again? I know I do, and apparently, Eric Alán understands all about it. You see, Eric grew up in Southern California, in a home that seemed to have little patience for a little boy who knew he was special. His life continues to be eventful, as he tries to make music as well as a living, for he works 3 weeks a month on deep sea oil rigs, to help pay for the studio time when he is home. He also writes his own music, and his latest release is "L.O.V. & E.". The video includes cameo performances by Latin pinup model Gio Dell along with the late Arpad Miklos. I would like to add that if you are at work, the video can get a bit deliciously spicy. Yum!!

At this point, Eric is an out and proud gay man, and in many ways celebrates his own acceptance with an ease and freedom of his dashing good looks and sexy Latino moves. You can see more of that amazing freedom in his single from a while back, "Pornstar". The camera does love Eric, as you can see in this music video.

You can purchase "L.O.V. & E." on iTunes and Amazon. Also, "Pornstar" is available as a single on both iTunes and Amazon. To learn more about Eric Alán, check him out on Facebook or 'follow ' him on Twitter.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pansy Division • Undressed

The Pansy Division photo PansyDivision_zps02258ac2.jpg

As the weather heats up, we are reminded that Mother Nature cannot be denied, and summer is on the way. With that warm weather comes thoughts of summer music, and my mind starts to drift back to summers when I was younger. Hey, not that much younger, but still. I remember when I thought there was nothing better than some great rock songs to keep me going, and then I did it. I thought of Pansy Division, and what great summer music they make, and it was over. I couldn't think of anyone else, and, in fact, didn't want to think of anything, so I went directly to iTunes and started playing 'The Essential Pansy Division', a great favorite of mine. Then I checked out some of the individual releases, and discovered that 20 years ago this past March, they released the album I first fell in love with, 'Undressed'. The band, who I think of as one of the Leather Daddy of Queercore, were came together in 1991, and made their debut in 1993. At that time, Jon Ginoli, Chris Freeman, and Patrick Hawley made up the band. Ginoli and Freeman have been the core of the band throughout, and Ginoli has written much of their songs. To be honest, I didn't find them until '94, when they made a big splash with inclusion on several Punk compilation albums, and being chosen to open for Greenday on the 'Dookie' tour. But once I found them, I've never let them go...

Pansy Division - Undressed cover photo PansyDivisionUndressedCOVER_zps63687c60.jpg

'Undressed' was their debut album, and it featured short songs often performed at breakneck speed, typical for Punk bands. It also bore witness to the influences of many Punkers, Pop music of the 1960s. What was not so typical, however, was the content, as Ginoli wrote songs specifically about his experience as a gay man, including some sexually explicit themes. Like much of Punk, the 'safe' was the only taboo. From the opening song to the last, Pansy Division was in-your-face gay, a startling and welcome relief from many gay boys who thought the genres was exclusively heterosexual. The music is bold and brash, while the lyrics are salacious, real, and often funny. They spoke of gay men and gay sex in an honest way, and often tackled bigotry with a raised fist and a wry smile. Let's begin with a track I love, but before I do, I will have to say this music is meant to play loud, and not in an office. Some might be offended by the frank language. Luckily, I am not. I begin with "Bunnies", taking a look at the very early stages of some very special physical relationships I would bet we all have had.

Ah, yes, we've all be there before. Now I will move an to another song, one with a stronger melody, a mid-tempo song. "Hippy Dude" speaks to a particular penchant one might have, for a particular type of guy. Some might like a Twink, while others a Bear. Some get excited by seeing a Punk, while still others get turned on by a Geek. Apparently, the San Fransisco-based band had a thing for counter-culture boys. I hope you enjoy "Hippy Dude".

Next up, I thought I would share with you this amazing cover song. Well, quasi-cover, as it were. You see, "Rock & Roll Queer Bar" take the music of "Rock & Roll High School" and Ginoli gives it new lyrics, making the song a whole new present to the world. The band lampoons the experience, poking lightly at the 'stereotypes' found in the typical gay bar. Enjoy "Rock & Roll Queer Bar".

Finally, I bring you the last track on the album, "ANTHEM". The song allows the boys to stand up and be out and proud rockers, with no apologies. Once again they are in-your-face, announcing they are "the butt-fuckers of rock & roll". The song has great energy, and some fantastic electric guitar work. So watch out world, they are coming to get you. Listen to "ANTHEM" by The Pansy Division.

This 13-song effort is fantastic from top to bottom. They shift between relentless Punk tempos to melodic Pop songs with a grace and ease few could. What never shifts is the commitment to offering a view of gay life, or of life seen through the gay eyes of a Rock band. Two decades ago, it was unlike anything I had heard before. And when I listen to it today, it still sounds fresh and new, and just as irresistible. You can purchase 'Undressed' from iTunes and BandCamp. You can order the physical CD from Amazon. For more information about Pansy Division, you can visit their official website, 'like' them on Facebook, or 'follow' them on Twitter.

Reasons Be • Hands Up EP

Reasons Be - Hands Up cover photo ReasonsBEHandsUpEPCOVER_zps9ce47db9.jpg

I was recently made aware of a new release from a band named Reasons Be. The band, comprised of Scotty Dickert and R.E.L., put out the 'Hands Up' EP last year. I hadn't heard about it at the time, but will admit I am a fan of R.E.L. when he was fronting the band Belkins, a straight ally whose music I really enjoyed. With a bit of research, I learned R.E.L. had answered an advertisement on Craigslist, and this is when he met Scotty. It seems they instantly bonded, and the duo was established. When I heard about the new situation, I admit I was excited to first hear the new music to be found on 'Hands Up'. I was truly excited when I hit the 'Play' button to get started.

Reasons Be - Scotty Dickert and R.E.L photo ReasonsBe_photo_2488_zpsafa5f597.jpg
Let to right: Scotty Dickert and R.E.L.

'Hands Up ' is a four-song EP with a crisp sound. It opens with a delicious Pop confection, "Hands Up". The song is up-beat and melodic, and I started humming along seconds after hitting play. The rhythms are driven by the bold acoustic guitar, and the flawless vocals. There is an inherent sweetness to the opening of "Voice of Mount Mary", but as the production builds, so does the song. We feel the emptiness of the singer missing his love, just wanting to be home. There is a sexy and rocky opening for "Carry Me Home", showing a sassy side to the duo. This song was made for the radio, demanding to be heard, and daring you not to move with the contagious beats. The final cut on the EP is "Love the Way", which opens with the guitar sounding so sweet and lyrical, only to be topped with Scotty's vocals. Well, give a listen for yourself.

There is more Pop freshness, as you could hear. I really enjoyed this first outing for Reasons Be, and look forward to hearing more. If you would like to learn more about Reasons Be, visit their official website. You can also 'follow' them on Twitter, or 'like' them on Facebook. You can purchase the 'Hands Up' EP on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss • Raising Sand

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant - Raising Sand photo RobertPlantAlisonKraussRaisingSandCOVER_zps88eb8db4.jpg

In 2007, an album was released that is arguably the best release in the new millennium. 'Raising Sand' featured the vocal talents of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, the iconic singer best known for his time with Led Zeppelin. Plant not only had roots in Hard Rock, he also recorded some of the great 1950s standards as frontman of the band The Honeydrippers. Krauss was known for her Bluegrass Roots music, both solo and with the band Union Station. The unlikely pairing as brought together seamlessly by producer T-Bone Burnett, whose career as a musician, songwriter, and producer has been nothing short of amazing. His work with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, John Mellencamp, Counting Crows, Elton John & Leon Russell, and Elvis Costello, to just name a few, shows how well he works to make great music. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling about 112,000 copies in its first week, the highest chart position for either artists' solo work, although Plant had previously reached #1 several times with Led Zeppelin. 'Raising Sand' was certified platinum by the RIAA in 2008. On February 8, 2009, 'Raising Sand' won all five awards for which it was nominated at the 51st Grammy Awards: including 'Album of the Year'; 'Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album'; 'Record of the Year' for "Please Read the Letter".

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant photo RobertPlantampAlisonKrauss_zps1e45c2e7.jpg

First I will feature one of my favorite tracks on the album, "Rich Woman". The song was written by Dorothy LaBostrie and McKinley Millet, and recorded by McKinley "L'il" Millet and his Creoles in 1955. I just loved the sound of the song, and how incredible the voices sounded together. It just has such amazing depth and texture to it, which could be why it also was named 'Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals' at the 2009 Grammy Awards.

The second track on the album, "Killing The Blues" was written by Rowland "Roly" Salley. The songwriter is perhaps better known for playing the bass guitar as part of Chris Isaak's band Silvertone. Putting his beautiful song into the artful hands of Plant, Krauss and Burnett allowed the song to be shown at it's best, their voices taking a haunting feel that works to well. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, the song was named 'Best Country Collaboration with Vocals'. Here is a clip of the song being sung live on 'Later...With Jools Holland' in 2008.

I was also just insanely crazy about the song "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)". It was written by Don and Phil Everly and recorded by the Everly Brothers. Of course, it was written with themselves in mind, and their incredible harmonies that were the trademark of the duo. But Burnett mixed it up a bit, giving the song a timeless feel, and Plant and Krauss responded with amazing vocals. "Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)" was released as a single, and it was also named 'Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals' at the 50th Grammy Awards. Enjoy this music video shot for the song.

Finally, I also loved "Fortune Teller", written by Naomi Neville. This was a pen name for Jazz great Allen Toussaint, when he was writing in the 1950s and 1960s, trying to work his way around publishing contracts. The song has a great feel to it, with interesting rhythms and a dark and brooding feel. I hope you enjoy "Fortune Teller".

You can purchase 'Raising Sand' on iTunes and Amazon.


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