Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bette Midler • I Sold My Heart To The Junkman

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I will start off your Saturday morning with a little ditty written by Leon René, under the songwriting pseudonym of Jimmie Thomas. "I Sold My Heart to The Junkman" Was first recorded in 1946 by The Basin Street Boys. The song has been sung by many since, including the brilliant Bette Midler, off her 1998 release, 'Bathhouse Betty'. Bette can caress a song like few others can, and she can just as easily rock one out. Enjoy her sweet treatment of "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman".

You can purchase 'Bathhouse Betty' from iTunes and Amazon.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter at the Disco

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Well, it is Good Friday in all of Christendom, so I thought I would help people celebrate the start of the holy weekend with a bit of dance music befitting the holiday. Yes, I know, there are some out there thinking the death and resurrection of the son of God is not disco material, but I am here to give you the opportunity to rethink that. And I will start with this first clever video of the post, where some clever individual took the song "Night On Disco Mountain" from the soundtrack of 'Saturday Night Fever' and laid it over c clip from 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and made a veritable Saturday Night Jesus, or Jesus Fever...

While I have long held the belief that whatever one's thought are on the matter of religion is really a personal matter, one that needn't be used to bully anyone, I have oft seen not all would agree. I was thrilled that it seemed like the boys from Depeche Mode more more to my thinking, as they gave us the amazing song, "Personal Jesus (Eric Prydz Remix)".

And how could this Good Friday pass without a selection from the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, 'Jesus Christ Superstar'? So here is a discofied version of the title cut, so everyone can get off their feet to, brought courtesy of the 'disco' group Thunder & Lightning. Here is "Jesus Christ Superstar".

And, finally, I couldn't imagine ending with any other song than "It's Jesus I Love (Max Sedgley Remix)", which is a sweet part of my collection of music from Sarah Jane Morris. It can be found on her album 'After All These Years', and also on her album 'Love and Pain'. And you know, I am a big Sarah Jane fan, since the days she sang with Jimmy Somerville in Communards.

Have a great Easter Weekend!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mister Chase • Stay

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In his latest music video, Mister Chase takes on a recent hit by Rihanna, "Stay". The song is off her 2012 release, 'Unapologetic'. The song was written by Mikky Ekko and Justin Parker, and Ekko also appeared on the recording. The song was Rihanna's twenty-fourth Top 10 single on the US Billboard Hot 100. I would have to guess Mister Chase heard the song and fell for it, as he found the need to record his very own cover of the song.

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In his version of the song, Mister Chase find the core of the song, love. He has a great way to sho just how the people we love along the way leave an imprint on our lives. They touch our hearts, and before long, we learn they leave, talking a bit of my heart with them.

You can download a FREE copy on Mister Chase's SoundCloud page, just clicking the 'DOWNLOAD' button. You can find out more about Mister Chase on his official website. You can also 'like' them on Facebook, or 'follow' him on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

American Idol Season 12 • Top 8

After an evening of mixed results last week with the music of the Beatles, this week the Top 8 of American Idol Season 12 take on the Music of Motor City, an oddly vague title one would assume describes the Motown sound, the music coming out of Detroit, Michigan. While I am thinking Motown, the vagueness could mean any music coming out of the Detroit area, like Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, Iggy Pop, Madonna or even Ted Nugent. This might be a welcome relief from hearing the same songs from Motown we've heard year after year. On the other hand, maybe not. Guess we will have to wait and see what the American Idol Top 8 have in store for us.

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Top row: Angie Miller; Lazaro Arbos; Burnell Taylor; Devin Velez and Candice Glover.. Bottom row: Kree Harrison; Amber Holcomb and Janelle Arthur.

The theme was introduced by Smokey Robinson, who gave us a run down that it was any artist from the Detroit area, which included the rich catalog of the Motown stars, including Smokey. And, of couple of moments later, Crusty is introducing the judges and the Top 8. Crusty let's us know that not only will we be having the Top 8 on solos, but we will also have some group numbers on the schedule.

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From Left: Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban.

After the break, Crusty told us the great Smokey Robinson will be meeting with the Top 8, trying to give inspiration and guidance for the group. Candice is the first contestant to meet with Smokey, who admits he just loved her, and admitted her "I (Who Have Nothing)" brought him to tears. She will be singing "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", a great song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. It first came to the charts when sung by the great Marin Gaye. She puts a bluesy edge to it, and a bit of Aretha as well. There was great grit and depth to her performance, and she brought the audience to their feet just as the first performer should. I fear she worked it a bit too hard, and I wish she just pulled back a bit. The judges just gobbled her up, although Mariah mentions once again she wants to hear her bring us to church with her vocals, since it worked so well for Curtis Finch, Jr. After the break, Crusty announced that Kree & Janelle will team up to take on Madonna. Both girls are excited, and sing "Like A Prayer", having been inspired by a Jennifer Nettles cover of the song. They start out in tune, and the song sounds good, but feels a bit slow, a bit pokey. It just lacked a bit of go-forward. And Kree's voice showed the weakness in Jannelle's, a lack of depth. The judges loved them, although Nicki, Randy, and Mariah thought Kree outshined Janelle, and Keith thought they both sounded great.

Mariah did take a shot at the Producers, remarking the Powers-That-Be like cutting her off. I thought it was because she rarely has anything of use to say. Crusty spoiled the news that Lazaro Arbos will be up next, singing a Stevie Wonder classic. After the break, Crusty gives Smokey a big hug in the audience, giving him time to plug upcoming duets album, and the Motown show on Broadway. Back in the studio, we hear he is singing "For Once In My Life", and both Smokey and Jimmy I tell him he does a great job. Lazaro takes to the stage, opening the song with a simple arrangement, sounding like he picked the right key this week. This is his best performance I have seen by him, as I didn't watch the auditions. It picked up the tempo, bringing it to the more accepted arrangement, and enjoying his time singing. He moved on the stage with confidence. The judges all loved him, and announced he was back. Both Randy and Mariah thought there were a few pitch problems, but I have to admit I didn't hear them myself. Keith just thought Smokey gave him great advice, and Nicki wanted Smokey to be her Sugar Daddy, and that he looked better than men half his age, so sexy with perfect skin. However, I don't think his wife was impressed. Nicki also took credit for his performance, reminding all she told him to ignore Jimmy and just believe in himself. Apparently, Mariah felt the need to step up and tell everyone that Smokey was a legend, responsible for so many hits as a writer and a performer. After the break, Janelle is coming out to sing a great hit by the Supremes. Janelle is excited to be playing her guitar in her own arrangement of "You Keep Me Hanging On", written by the legendary Motown team of Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian Holland and Eddie Holland.

Smokey loved her in the studio, offering a few suggestions to enhance her performance. She slows it up, and added a little calypso touch to it. Her voice sounded fuller and deeper than I have heard her to date. I am shocked at how good she is. Mariah greeted her with a standing ovation, and loved every minute of it. Keith loved it, and thought it brought out emotions no one had mined before. Nicki loved her, but thought she was not as pitch perfect as usual. Randy discounted her, saying it was amazing and her best to date. Following a commercial break, it is Devin's turn to meet with Robinson. We found out he is singing "The Tracks of my Tears", written by Smokey, along with Warren Moore and Marvin Tarplin. Smokey had a big hit with the song. Smokey loves what he does with the song, although Jimmy I isn't as sold. As Smokey told Devin about writing the song, I was reminded of Smokey telling the same story to Adam Lambert. Once again the boy delivers a pitch-perfect performance. He not only pays homage to the original, he also updates the sound with a very current vocal style. I enjoyed it, but am looking to hear what the judges say. Keith is up first, and he thinks it was good, but wasn't sure he felt the entire song. Nicki loved it, and thought he looked and sounded great. Randy loved him, and Mariah thought he was flawless, but might have wished he sung her favorite, "Ooh, Baby Baby". And she wished he might have cut loose a bit, but knows Jimmy likes control better - another shot at Mr. Iovine, who has kept a low profile this episode. Candice, Amber and Angie sing "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me", the great song written by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff and Jerry Ross, and made famous by the Supremes and the Miracles. They do well, although once again I thought Candice let her light shine brighter than the other two. The judges greet them with a standing ovation, and loved every minute of the song, and each performance. After the commercial, we learn that Burnell will be singing Stevie Wonder's "Ma Cheri Amour", written by Wonder, Henry Cosby, and Sylvia Moy. Smokey offered a few notes, but loved it. His arrangement is very true to the original by Stevie, but adding some very modern choices in the vocals, saving it from being too boring. He can sing, and made a few sweet choices, but I really wanted more from him, and I think he is capable of it. Keith gives a standing ovation for Burnell's performance, telling us he just loves his voice. Nicki thought he looked fantastic in the white suit, and sounded even better. Randy also loved it, and Mariah thought it was just perfection. After the next break, it was time for Angie Miller to take on "Shop Around", written by Smokey and Berry Gordy. It was the first million seller for Motown. In the studio, there is a rock edge to her version of the song. Smokey encourages her to mix it up a bit, and move more toward the blues.

In the performance, part of the song is lost in the arrangement, as her voice fought with the band, instead of being accentuated by it. She sounded off for much of the song. It didn't really come to life until the final 30 seconds or so, and that had moments of uncomfortable stretch. Randy stepped in to say it was an odd one, having never heard her so pitchy. Mariah loves her, but thought this was not her best performance. She would have liked her to have been at the piano singing "I'll Be There". Keith thought the melody dragged her down, and pulled her off the song. Nicki thought it wasn't the song, it was her performance, her choice to bring it someplace that wasn't organic, wasn't real. She is not a rocker, not a blues singer, she is a singer/songwriter. She needs to own it, for that is where she shines. And Angie just wanted to have some fun with it. That'll teach her, won't it? The next up is Amber, who will be singing Stevie Wonder's beautiful ballad, "Lately". Jimmy mentions she was in the bottom three last week, and both he and Smokey thought she didn't deserve it. I will say I called it, though... As she begins to perform, I feel a bit of nerves as she tends to go sharp in the first few bars. But as she gets into the song, she straightens out the pitch issues, and and builds to a big finish. Mariah comes out with a bad British accent calling it a "tour de force", and then insults the audience thinking we have no idea what that means. Keith loved it, and thought it was beautiful. Nicki loved her, and thought she was amazing. She wants her to get a twinkle back, and forget she was in the bottom last week. Randy called it the best of the night, although I am not sure I'd agree there. Before going to commercial, Crusty tells up that next up we will have the boys, Burnell, Devin and Lazaro, taking on the Four Tops. I have to admit, I am not sure how this trio will gel together. They will sing "Can't Help Myself", written by the brilliant Holland–Dozier–Holland. As they are singing, I thought Devin was the standout, although it wasn't a great performance. Nicki is the only judge allowed to speak, and she hated it, and felt it was like Hollywood week, with the bad group numbers. She was not impressed. Burnell responded that he knew his part, kinda tossing Lazaro under the bus. Devin tried to stay out of the mess, and Lazaro admitted he had trouble learning the lyrics. By the way, Nicki was right. Next up is Kree, who is taking on a song by Smokey's best friend, Aretha Franklin. She will be singing "Don't Play That Song", written by Ahmet Ertegün and Betty Nelson. Smokey loved it, and can't wait to call Aretha and tell her to listen.

Kree went live with it, and took the song from the beginning and made it build just right. She soared on it, her voice sounded amazing on it. Randy thought it might not be the most perfect of the night, but she will be around for some time to come. Mariah thinks she is one of the strongest in the competition, and loved it. Keith loved that she shows how much Soul and the Blues influence Country, and thought she was amazing. Nicki loved her, and the fact she took on two queens tonight, Madonna and Aretha, and lived to tell the tale. She loves her confidence, and her talent. Crusty tosses to the recap, and I am left to think about the performances of the night. My personal picks for the bottom three tonight might anger the judges, but not sure I care. Obviously to me, Angie was the weakest of the night, although I doubt she will be going home. I think Lazaro would be in my bottom three, as well as Amber. That said, I am betting we won't see two girls in there, as they have worked so hard to praise the ladies. So perhaps Burnell and/or Devin should be concerned. And that might lead to a surprise elimination, like perhaps Amber or Devin singing their song of survival. Perhaps one of them should have tackled Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever", or Iggy's "Lust For Life"...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Eric Himan Releases New Single, "Running"

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Singer/songwriter Eric Himan has released a new single, a rocking and soulful song that will blow your socks off. "Running" is a great song I first heard Eric play when I caught him playing last month in Washington, DC. I've already purchased it from iTunes, and made it a part of my playlist! Eric recorded the single at the Jim Henson Studios last December, and have been prepping for the release since then. Sounds to me like Eric got it right... Here he is performing "Running" live.

"Running is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp. For more about Eric Himan, visit his official website, where you can listen to his music as well as learn the latest news. You can also 'follow' him on Twitter, or 'like' him on Facebook.

Being Human • "If I Only Had A Raw Brain"

This is Being Human Season 3 Episode 11 of the SyFy Channel's version of the great series first produced on the BBC. Since the early episodes of the series, the SyFy version, set in Boston, Massachusetts, found a narrative of its own, allowing the ghost, the vampire, and the werewolf to step out of the shadowy constraints of the British original and find a life of their own. I love both series!

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Last week, we were left hanging as both Nick and Stevie left us, their zombiefied second lives cut short to stop them from eating more flesh. That left only Sally, whose hunger for flesh grows stronger and stronger. Sally was worried her time was coming, even if Josh was looking for a solution. Aiden was not doing much better, as he is having blackouts, waking up in odd alley's, unsure of who he might be drinking. And while he just started a relationship with Nora's best friend Kat, I am not sure she will love the fact that he drained her ex-boyfriend. Or that he told the vampires the cure to the virus killing them is drinking werewolf blood, even if they promised to stay away from Josh & Nora. They did go after Sally's new buddy Pete, and almost got Josh when he went to see him. But we also learned Aiden and his wife struggled in the 1700s, trying to have a baby. It took several heartbreaking attempts to have their son, just a few years before he went off to war. What will happen this week? I think we will have to watch and learn for ourselves.

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The episode opens with Josh and Aiden chatting in a hospital stairwell. Aiden wants names of vampires, but Josh can't remember them. He just wished he could have helped Pete. They exchange words, and while Josh understands he was trying to protect Nor and himself, he is still upset about Pete. Aiden goes to visit Kenny, who is packing his things, wanting to get out. A bone marrow transplant is scheduled, but he wants out, and asks Aiden to turn him. He doesn't want to go through the months of treatment, feeling sick, so either Aiden helps him out, or he'll call Blake. Faced with that choice, Aiden agrees, and first helps Kenny escape his bubble. Within a blink of an eye, they are in the park, and Kenny is rolling on the ground, playing with a dog. Kenny has one request, and that he has one day as a human teenager, before he spends eternity as a vampire.

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Back at the house, Sally is asking Nora and Josh to lock her up so everyone else is safe. She wanted to be at their wedding, but is afraid what she might do. When the couple go downstairs, they see Aiden coming in with Kenny, and looking quite sexy in those shades. He tries to tell them what is happening, and at first, Josh and Nora are not happy with the thought of Aiden turning the boy. Aiden explains that this is what Kenny wanted, and he will try to help the boy once he is vampiric. Surprisingly, Nora agrees. After Aiden and Kenny leave, she tells Josh she understands, Aiden is doing what he thinks he must for his friend. Josh is confused, then clarity comes to him. He, Sally and Nora head out, in search of Donna Gilcrest, the witch who changed Sally. Josh figures if they kill Donna before Sally dies, she won't be damned as she fears. But when they get to the soup kitchen, they find an empty lot. The building is gone. They don't know what they will do next. Back at the house, Nora and Josh are talking, and decide to move up the wedding, so Sally can be with them. They go to her room to tell her, but she is gone.

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After a commercial, Sally goes to the funeral home, and sees hunky Max, with an odd proposition. She'd like some bodies to munch on, so she doesn't go after those she loves. She explains she now has a hunger for raw meat - raw flesh, really. He is shocked, and she tells him she realizes how strange it is to ask the man she loves to get her human munchables. He handles it fairly well, all things considered, but feels he can't let her graze on the bodies there, it is just wrong. She understands, but isn't sure what will happen. Back at the house, Josh and Nora break the news to Aiden that they are getting married the next day. Kenny is excited, knocking several things off his human bucket list, including drinking a yucky beer. They Josh's lesbian sister, Emily, shows up, to take Josh out for a bachelor party. Of course, Kenny is on board to join them, and so Aiden will go with them. Back at the funeral home, Sally is helping Max with a body, and when he leaves the room, she can't resist taking a bit out of the dead woman on the table.

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At the strip club, Kenny is drooling over the dancers, with Emily deflating his fantasy by pointing out many of the dancers are lesbians. But he is sure they will want him soon, and Aiden interrupts, pulling him aside to tell him to quit with the vampire talk, and go get some orange juice. Josh and Aiden start a serious discussion, and Emily breaks it up, telling them they are getting creepy, and gets Josh a lap dance. As she drags Josh off to the special room, Aiden thinks he seems something, but he isn't sure what. Back at the house, Nora is trying to have a shower with her maid of honor, Sally. But she needs to keep locked up, so she passes her some wine spritzers, and they talk about things. Nora worries about her hair, and Sally tells her to go with a side pony. They smile, although both know what a crazy circumstance they are in. At the club, the raven-haired dancer is lap dancing away, with Josh being distracted. She starts to caress him, touching his hair. And them she goes all vampirish, and tries to bite him. Her fangs are bared, and Josh fights her off. Until Aiden comes in, and stakes her, saving Josh's life.

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As the curtain is open, they see Emily and Kenny looking in, and and Emily is freaked out, and runs out. Josh chases her out, and they talk. He admits he is a werewolf, and Nora is too. And Aiden is a vampire. She is thrown, she now thinks of Aiden as a murderer. She is confused, angry, and hurt, and leaves Josh. He is upset. Back at the house, Aiden is about to turn Kenny, as promised. He even prepared a care package, with bags of O Negative blood, and some werewolf blood as an immune booster. Kenny has second thoughts, after seeing Aiden stake that dancer, realizing that being a vampire might not guarantee eternity, and asks Aiden about his other 'children'. Aiden is honest, and tells him about Henry, who died of the virus. Aiden is forthright and compassionate, and Kenny finally is ready for the process to begin.

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Adien goes upstairs, and finds Josh drinking a beer. They start to chat, and talk about their perspective curses. They say they want to define their own lives, their own curses. They feel strong, their bond better than ever. Before he leaves for work, Sally asks to see Aiden. She wants him to kill her when her time has come, so she won't hurt anyone she loves. He has an idea, so he lifts his shirt, and says, Eat me" to Sally. She is taken aback, but then understands he wants her to snack on him, and she starts to gnaw on his taught, muscular abs. Frankly, I would have gone for a bit more, but then again... After the snack, she can go to see Alana, the psychic, as she is mostly healed. Alana once directed Josh and Nora to find Donna, and Sally wants guidance and help understanding. Alana is confused, a little scare, but kinda fascinated by Sally's story. She tells her she needs to realize what a strong being she is, and she must beat Donna at her own game, but being prepared to fight once the door comes. After all, she has survived an exorcism, a period in limbo, and so many other situations most could not handle. Sally goes to the funeral home to say goodbye to Max, for she must be moving on. they have a sweet and humorous goodbye, including a kiss. Back at the house, Aiden prepares to go to work, where he will find blood that will help him heal. After all, Sally nibbled on his abs, and we get to see them again. But something comes up to him, and they are fighting in the ally. They struggle, and Aiden finally stakes him. He asks why Aiden did this to him just before he turns to dust. Aiden remembers who it was. It was Kat's ex, Jeff.

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Josh and Nora are talking in the kitchen, and he is disappointed, for he wanted their wedding to be special, and this doesn't feel that way. She tells him all she needs his him to make is perfect. Aiden returns to the basement, checking in non Kenny. He is freaked out, having just realized he didn't remember turning Jeff. What has he cursed Kenny with? Was it worth it? What happens next. Back at Alana's house, the psychic hears a noise and goes to check it out. A man's sneaks up to ask her questions. It is Ray, and he asks her about Sally. He wants to know what she told her. She says nothing, really, but she thinks they need to leave Sally alone, they have taken so much from her already. Ray isn't impressed, and swiftly breaks her neck. He goes back to the witch, to report what is going on. Oh, my, what will be happening next?

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With only two more episode remaining in the current season, don't forget to tune in at 9PM/8PM Central Monday night on SyFy! For more about the show, visit the official website here. You can purchase previous episodes from this season on both iTunes and Amazon. You can also follow them on Twitter, or like them on Facebook.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dark Monday • Priscilla Lopez Sings Nothing

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Michael Bennett was the mind behind 'A Chorus Line'. The show began life with tape recorded discussions with Broadway dancers, which went on to form the story of the show. Bennett utilized the stories, and the performers who created them, to form the storyline, and musical numbers were created for them. After several workshop productions and an Off-Broadway run, the show moved to Broadway in 1975. It certainly was considered groundbreaking, featuring the members of a chorus line, whose very job is to not stand out. The cast all had their problems, from racial discrimination to parents discovering their son was doing drag.

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It also included the story of a young Hispanic girl who, like the actress who portrayed her, Priscilla Lopez. During those early taped sessions, Lopez had shared her struggles at the Highs School for the Performing Arts with an acting teacher. Listen as Lopez, who was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, as well as winning the Obie Award for Best Actress for the Off-Broadway run of the musical. The Tony was won by her fellow castmate, Kelly Bishop. In fact, 'A Chorus Line' swept the Tony Awards, winning all four performance categories, the leading and featured actor/actress awards. As well as being a prat of the chorus line, Lopez sang two amazing songs. There is just so much charm to her first solo turn n the show, with Music by the late Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban. Here is Priscilla Lopez singing "Nothing".

Priscilla also the final solo of the show, perhaps one of the most moving songs written in a very touching show. While some might think of the song "One" as the most popular fromt he show, I would have to beet that "What I Did For Love" could give it a run in popularity, and has been sung by so many people since. But it was Lopez who debuted the song on Broadway, and brought down the house night after night. While I couldn't find a clip of her singing it live, here is a clip from the Original Broadway Cast album.

To hear more of 'A Chorus Line', you can purchase the album from iTunes and Amazon.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Inspires

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Clockwise: Blossom Dearie; Anita O'Day; Sarah Vaughan; and Billie Holiday.

This week, we ushered in Spring, even if much of the United States is still wrapped in colder temperatures, and even some snow. But I thought I would welcome the season, and maybe inspire a bit of warm weather with some songs about Spring, sung by some of the finest vocalists I can find. And I will start with the adorable and charming Blossom Dearie as she sings "Spring In Manhattan", a song written by Anthony Scibetta. It was off the 1976 album 'My New Celebrity Is You'. I love the way Blossom takes on the song, with a light and airy approach.

I am such a huge fan of Anita O'Day, and still listen to her often. She has her own style, and a voice that not only sounds great, but also has a beautiful edge to it. Anita's battles with drugs and alcohol were noted, but I think that also colored her voice in some wonderful ways. For this post, I picked out her singing a duet with Cal Tajder, a great pianist of the day, from the 1962 album they released, 'Time For Two'. They did an amazing job with Frank Loesser's "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year". The song first appeared as part of the soundtrack of the 1944 film, 'Christmas Holiday'.

If you are putting together a list of great singers, you can certainly never leave off the great Lady Day, Miss Billie Holiday. She recorded "Some Other Spring" for her 1956 album, 'Lady Sings The Blues'. The song was written by Arthur Herzog, Jr. and Irene Kitchings. Herzog collaberated several times with Billie, including writing her iconic song, "God Bless The Child", with her. But this is Billie singing "Some Other Spring".

I think Sarah Vaughan is an amazing talent, and vastly underrated. The things she could make her voice do is amazing. It often feels like her voice is truly another instrument, adding musical depth to whatever she sings. I picked her singing "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most", a song written in 1955, with lyrics by Fran Landesman and music by Tommy Wolf. It was included on the 1963 album 'Snowbound', surrounded by some truly amazing Jazz songs.

Happy Spring, everyone!

Kings of Convenience • Me In You

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It is my pleasure to share with you a beautiful song from the Norwegian duo Kings of Convenience to start your Saturday morning off with a bit of sweetness. "Me In You" is off the 2009 album 'Declaration of Dependence', a lovely collection, as are all the album from Kings of Convenience. Eirik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Øye, friends since they were children, are the men behind the music.

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Kings of Convenience are Eirik Glambek Bøe, let, and Erlend Øye, right.

Bøe and Øye also directed this video, shot in their native Norway. There is such a stunning simplicity, and a grace to their music. There is a tranquility I find whenever I play any of their albums. So turn up your volume, hit play and go to full screen so you can really enjoy "Me In You".

You can purchase 'Declaration of Independence' from iTunes and Amazon. For more about Kings of Convenience, visit their official website.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Date Night • Thirteen or So Minutes...

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Carlos Salas, left, and Nick Soper, right.

For date night tonight, I thought I would offer up this beautiful short film, 'Thirteen or So Minutes...', written and directed by William Branden Blinn. In less than fifteen minutes, the film tells the story of one young man who is very comfortable with himself, and one who is less so, and how their paths cross. I happen to think Lawrence, played by Nick Soper, is particularly yummy. This is one of several gay themed films from Blinn. I hope you enjoy 'Thirteen or So Minutes...'

Enjoy your weekend!

Kazaky • Crazy Law

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So I was just kinda cruising around on YouTube, and ran across a video that caught my eye. And a quick look at the pictures would give you an idea why a Ukrainian group would not only grab my attention, but also make me drool just a little. Kazaky is a four-man group made up by made up of Kirill Fedorenko, Artur Gaspar, Stas Pavlov and Oleg Zhezhel. The group was formed in 2010 by Oleg, a choreographer of obvious talent, wanting to combine their dance talents with making music. The sound tends more toward Techno, with a driving beat that seems perfect for the dancers. Kazaky manages to poke at traditional gender roles, combining hard masculine shapes and forms with feminine ones, wearing footwear traditionally worm by both sexes. But with all the playing with gender roles, it is hard to get a handle if the boys are gay, straight, bisexual, or somewhere in between. In fact, it seems like it doesn't ultimately matter.

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This past October, Kazaky released their first full-length album, 'The Hills Chronicles', after a series of singles. The fourteen-song collection includes songs ranging between 1 to 3 1/2 minutes long. The latest single and video is for "Crazy Law", which is not found on the album, suggesting new music is being made. Watch and enjoy.

For a time, Stas Pavlov left the group, and Francesco Borgato stepped in to take his place. However, once Borgato decided to embark on solo projects, Pavlov returned to be a part of Kazaky. But while Francesco was a part of the group, they made a couple of music videos, including this one playfully called "Kazaky Horror Picture Show", featuring the song "Love", found on the 'The Hills Chronicles'.

Now, I find these videos to be truly scrumptious, just delightful. You can find 'The Hills Chronicles' on iTunes and Amazon. To learn more about Kazaky, visit their official website, or find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jay Brannan • Super Bass (Nicki Minaj cover)

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In keeping with my theme of cover songs today, I bring you one of the truly surprising and charming cover songs by singer/songwriter Jay Brannan. This time, Jay takes on Hip-Hop artist Nicki Minaj prior to her involvement with 'American Idol' on her wonderful song "Super Bass". Jay does it all with just his voice and acoustic guitar. I have seen Jay a couple of time, and his live shows never fail to impress me. His self-effacing humor, striking good looks, and interesting music all blend together to make a great evening. You can see it in this video, shot at a 2011 performance in New York City.

I am a huge fan of Jay's music, and recommend all his albums without hesitation. If you liked this performance, you can find Jay's cover of "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj on his album 'Live at Eddie's Attic'. You can purchase this collection of live performances on iTunes and Amazon. To l;earn more about Jay Brannan, visit his official website. You can also 'follow' him on Twitter, or 'like' him on Facebook.

Bobby Jo Valentine • What A Wonderful World

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With the release of a recent video, singer/songwriter Bobby Jo Valentine has tossed his hat in the ring to participate in one of the reality television music competitions, and did so with great style. He chose to perform "What A Wonderful World", a song written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, and originally recorded by Louis Armstrong. In this performance, Bobby Jo offers a tender softness for the song, showing great strength as he doesn't oversell the song. Listen as he caresses the lyrics of "What A Wonderful World".

While I think he does a great job on this song, it is really his own music I love to hear him perform. Listening to his studio music, I am always impressed by the strength you can find in his voice, without him needing to try vocal gymnastics. For more about Bobby Jo Valentine, visit his official website. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook. His latest album, 'Home', can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.

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Eli Lieb • Mirrors (Justin Timberlake cover)

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With a bunch of new music coming out as of late, I thought it would be nice to give a listen and a look at some not so new music, in this case a cover by the sexy and talented Eli Lieb. Here he covers the brand new single from Justin Timberlake, "Mirrors". As Eli is wont to do, he takes the song and spins it to sound like it is Eli's, and not a JT song. Eli gives it a full orchestra treatment, stripping away the glossy veneer of the original recording. Of course, it also doesn't hurt that the camera loves him, even on those close shots. So please enjoy the video.

I read somewhere that Eli was recording a new album of original material, which I find very exciting. He takes a break from time to time to offer up a little something for his fans, which is nice, but I am really looking forward to the new music! After all, I really like his first album, his eponymous 2011 release. You can purchase 'Eli Lieb' from Eli's online store at his official website, iTunes or Amazon. For more about Eli, visit his official website. You can also 'follow' him on Twitter, or 'like' him on Facebook.


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