Tag: music

About Those Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominations

 

shutterstock_281750147If this morning’s nominations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2016 are any indication, rock isn’t quite dead. Not yet, anyway. But it does appear to be resting.

We could — and probably will — argue about whether the existence of such an institution is in itself a nullification of the spirit of rock’n’roll. I await your comments.

In the meantime, here — though precisely no one asked for it — is my take on each of the nominees.

Yes, I’m an Opera Singer. No, Not Like Charlotte Church…

 

Charlotte_ChurchA recent conversation with a friend reminded me of something I dealt with frequently in my singer days. For years, after someone found out I was a classical singer, they would say excitedly, “Oh! You sing like Charlotte Church?! She has the voice of an angel.” At this point in the conversation I had three options: 1) Tackle them to the ground and slap them silly, 2) Explain in depth why Charlotte Church and Jackie Evancho are the products of amazing PR, but have been paraded and pushed beyond their vocal limits, ruining their voices in the process, or, 3) Smile and say, “Well, not really…”

I usually opted for number 3, unless I felt the person had the interest and ability to understand my exegesis on the horrors of tween “opera singers.” For the longest time, my mother would always say, “You’re just jealous that she’s so successful.” Of course, every singer wants to be successful, but not like that. So I would like to shed some light on the education and development of young singers in hopes that y’all will never buy a Charlotte Church or Jackie Evancho album every again.

I once heard a violinist say, “Similar to the dolphin, who is not a part of the family of fish, the singer is not a part of the family of musicians.” While it was meant to be a jab at singers, there is some truth to it. Singers are unique among musicians. We don’t start training rigorously at age five the way instrumentalists do. Here’s how the timeline for a singer’s career should look, though some things will vary depending on the voice type:

The Newbury Park Sound

 
The Neighbourhood

The Neighbourhood.

It’s been said that most of us stop listening to new music — especially by new bands — when we turn 25.  And by the time we’re 40 we are hopelessly behind the Zeitgeist when it comes to the Latest Thing. So, how about a quick tutorial to make you cool with your kids on one of the hottest new sounds on the pop charts —  courtesy of my son, Tad?

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I have been down all day for the music rehearsals for tomorrow’s Papal Mass. The music is all going to be spectacular.  Mendelssohn, Beethoven, to the best gospel, Hispanic and Contemporary music. Kudos to all the musicians that put this together. The program is here. Preview Open

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A few days ago, after reading Jon Gabriel’s “You Are a Snob” post, I was reminded of a country music group that I loved listening to during my childhood and teenage years: the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  In the comments I remarked, “Damn, those guys were good.”  They were, and still are.  Here’s their single “Oh […]

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There has been a lively discussion going in regarding The Divisiveness of Church Music and I discovered the thread before it blew up and felt unable to throw my two cents in. I have a lot of thoughts on this, greater than the 250 word limit my Coolidge account affords me. So I wanted to touch on that […]

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The Divisiveness of Church Music

 

shutterstock_96110261For the past few decades, churches have lamented the exodus of young people. Their answer has been uniform: Make the service more like a rock concert through praise music, and the young people will flock to church in their skinny jeans and hipster vests. Nowadays, it’s more common to find special music consisting of electric guitars, drums, and lighting effects than traditional choirs and organs. But has turning church into a dressed-up version of Bonnaroo really helped bring the coveted Millennials back to church?

I am vehemently against praise music, though I thoroughly recognize that this is a matter of personal preference. The pervasiveness of praise music has made finding a church I like very difficult. It has made it difficult to attend church with friends, because I just stand there with my hands folded in front of me while everyone around me sways their hands in the air, singing with their eyes closed. The difference in worship style preference has even made dating difficult in some instances. Still, I was interested to see how many of my fellow Ricochet Millennial contemporaries have a similar bias towards traditional music. They may not be as militantly against contemporary worship as I am — I will turn and leave if I walk into a sanctuary and see it looking more like a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert than a church service — but they still seem on the whole to enjoy the traditional worship style.

In short, I contend that this:

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So … we’ve been talking religious music around here … and here … and here.  As I have yet to afford a Reagan membership, I’ve decided to create an original post to flesh out my thoughts in a bit more detail.  I do apologize for length here, but this is a topic on which I […]

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A New Music Documentary Says You Don’t Know The Damned

 

DamnedDoc-622x559This is a pure music post, my apologies. I don’t know what to think of what’s happening at the debate on Thursday. I was just informed that Kinky Friedman didn’t make the cut.

I went to see a documentary on one of my favorite bands, The Damned, this week. It’s called “The Damned: Don’t You Wish We Were Dead.” They were 1977 birth-of-punk U.K. contemporaries of the Sex Pistols and the Clash. The point of the doc was that most people know the Sex Pistols and the Clash, but your average music fan has just never heard of the Damned, and they suffered from that fact. It explained a lot of their woes.

The Damned are much cooler than those other two bands for aficionados, but for the casual observer of punk rock, I was wondering if the director’s premise was true. I’d say there is no better place on earth to test his theory than right here on Ricochet, so here goes: How many people out there who are familiar with the Sex Pistols and the Clash, are completely unfamiliar with The Damned?

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There has long been a love affair between Jewish immigrants and the United States.  From Gershwin and Kern, to Irving Berlin and Rogers and Hammerstein, the Jewish immigrant community in the United States dove into the potential and energy of this great country, and they responded to that energy in kind, creating perhaps the most […]

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If you were a child of 70s or 80s you doubtless remember the terrific growth of the action figure industry, led by the runaway phenomena first of the Star Wars figurines, followed by GI Joe.  I remember re-enacting many a movie battle with my own figures, plus crafting entirely new stories involving the entire jumbled […]

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Looking back on my life, I’ve made many choices that I regret now.  But there is one choice that I made in 1984 that I would do all over again in a heartbeat; re-starting playing the violin. When I was a kid in the Seattle Public Schools in the 1950s, it was understood that when […]

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Finally checked a bucket list item – saw Weird Al live in concert this evening.  2 solid hours of constant entertainment.  I am hoarse from singing along.  This kids loved the show too. He puts on a long show with breaks only to change costumes.  And yes, he’s actually singing, no lip synching.  Tons of […]

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If you missed Freeven’s Post Requests thread, there’s still time to make requests of your fellow Ricochet members for educational primers.  Hank Rhody asked about syncopation in music (as opposed to syncopation in brain washing). As a lifelong musician, I’ll give it a whirl. But I haven’t studied musical theory in well over a decade, […]

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The Beatles vs. The Who

 

BeatlesStipulating that there’s no accounting for taste, what sane person would say The Who are/were a better band than The Beatles? This guy:

I believe rock and roll is a sometimes ephemerally subtle, sometimes gruesome and grotesque she/he-animal capable of transcendence. I believe that rock and roll should reach for the Golden Ring, hot, sexy, lissome and coy, even if it falls in the attempt. I believe that the ability to hear rock and roll is a gift that deserves not just moments of grace, but moments where the fusion of volume, energy, and meaning appear to have the power to split the atom. That’s why I prefer the Who to the Beatles.

B.B.’s Gone — The Thrill Isn’t

 

Just yesterday, I was musing over the summer concert calendar — The Who and Stevie Wonder are among those coming to town — and thinking that this may be an expensive few months. Sure, most of these acts are nowhere near the peak of their powers anymore, but I’ve got a long list of people I want to see live before they either retire or move on to trashing hotel rooms in the great hereafter. Unfortunately, one of the entries on that list was B.B. King, who died yesterday at his home in Las Vegas at the age of 89. I don’t, contra one report I read, regard this as “tragic news.” Anyone with even a cursory understanding of the actuarial tables for blues musicians ought to recognize that making it nearly nine decades and dying in your bed is something just short of miraculous. Nonetheless, a legend has passed. But, oh, to be in the front row in heaven tonight when he fires this one up:

The Joys of Snobbery

 

shutterstock_22218943Is it possible to be “discerning” and have “refined” tastes without being a grump? Can a person be sharply critical of art and entertainment without being constantly annoyed by mediocre works?

In seeking what is good and beautiful, should we readily dismiss lesser works? Should we try to overlook flaws in order to appreciate as much as possible? Or is that settling?