It takes a lot of balls to cover Hendrix, but musician Ron Pope said he grew up wanting to play like Jimi. Ron himself acknowledges that no-one can really play like Hendrix, so he had to develop his own style. But as this live cover demonstrates, he can come pretty damn close. He's getting a lot of dislikes on YouTube for something that isn't his fault, so if you feel like raising the level of justice in the world, give him some props.
Here's the original, on Hendrix' "Axis: Bold As Love" album. The triangle actually adds a lot.
This is just great, and sums up so many things - including, most especially, my gratitude. Plus, I just thought y'all might like to understand the lyrics for once. :-)
As you might expect, there's more to this video than meets the eye. More music, and more of a story...
The folks at Playing for Change.com explain how the tech revolution fueled something entirely new:
"We built a mobile recording studio, equipped with all the same equipment used in the best studios, and traveled to wherever the music took us. As technology changed, our power demands were downsized from golf cart batteries to car batteries, and finally to laptops. Similarly, the quality with which we were able to film and document the project was gradually upgraded from a variety of formats - each the best we could attain at the time - finally to full HD...."
From communities, to the world, in shared music. Not bad. In time, the playlist will be more 2-way. But...
"Over the course of this project, we decided it was not enough for our crew just to record and share this music with the world; we wanted to create a way to give back to the musicians and their communities that had shared so much with us. And so in 2007 we created the Playing for Change Foundation, a separate 501©3 nonprofit corporation.... Now, musicians from all over the world are brought together to perform benefit concerts that build music and art schools in communities that are in need of inspiration and hope."
You could do a hell of a lot worse than that. Real hope usually requires policy changes, and often cultural changes, which is why economic development projects so often go nowhere. There's always a place for art & music in a human life, and I like a project that, pretty much no matter what, always goes somewhere.
Now, if you liked that video, check out the full 24-song YouTube mix. It's a visual album that I promise you will not regret.
At first, it's hilarious to hear Texas bluegrass band The Gourds singing about being rap star Snoop Dogg. Then it becomes strangely compelling, even appropriate - and damn, it works really, really well musically. There's a thesis out there that black culture and redneck culture actually have a lot of similarities, and this would be one of the more interesting possible data points. Too out there not to share:
The Dogg's "Gin and Juice" is definitely not safe for work, unless you're wearing headphones.
AlwaysOn has an interesting entry from Mark Suster:
"Last night I co-hosted a dinner at Soho House in Los Angeles with some of the most senior people in the media industry with executives from Disney, Fox, Warner, media agencies and many promising tech and media startup CEOs. The topic was "the future of television and the digital living room." With all of the knowledge in the room the person who stole the night wasn't even on a panel. I had called on Chamillionaire from the audience and asked him to provide some views on how artists view social media, why they use it and where it's heading. He was riveting."
Really, his insights apply to anyone in new media.
Been listening to The Decemberists' new album, "The Hazards of Love," over the last couple of days.
Really interesting effort, and kind of a lovely concept. The band ended up writing a fairy tale - a real fairy tale, with edge and love and magic and horror and tragedy, all set to music. With a ton of hooks that pull you into repeat listening. It's one of those albums that may hit you funny the first time, but pulls you back to listen again, and becomes more rewarding each time.
The music in this album isn't like most concept albums. Rather than the usual concept album approach of songs and music as primary, with a story to try and tie that together, the story is prime and the music is subordinated. Its tone, underlying styles, and influences are all very much dictated by the point you're at in the story. They threw everything they had at that, from the quasi-medieval folk base to medieval, choir, hard rock, and multiple points in between, in order to get the emotional pitches they wanted. Some choices were pretty ballsy, starting with the opening Prelude and extending to the Faerie Queen's compelling, razor-edged sequences. The result is more "opera" than "rock," but to me it's faithful to the story they set out to tell. And very interesting.
So, is there a happy ending? Maybe it depends on your definition of "happy"...
Pale Fire is a Jack-in-the-box, a Faberge gem, a clockwork toy, a chess problem, an infernal machine, a trap to catch reviewers, a cat-and-mouse game, a do-it-yourself novel. It consists of a 999-line poem of four cantos in heroic couplets together with an editor's preface, notes, index, and proof-corrections. When the separate parts are assembled, according to the manufacturer's directions, and fitted together with the help of clues and cross-references, which must be hunted down as in a paper-chase, a novel on several levels is revealed, and these "levels" are not the customary "levels of meaning" of modernist criticism but planes in a fictive space, rather like those houses of memory in medieval mnemonic science, where words, facts, and numbers were stored till wanted in various rooms and attics, or like the Houses of astrology into which the heavens are divided....read the whole thing, and then go buy the book.
I suspect most of you have seen this already. If not, do yourselves a favor. Visit this YouTube page, and watch an unemployed, 47 year old spinster walk on a Britain's equivalent of American Idol... and just blow the effing house down.
Thanks to the Internet, this was the viral equivalent of a tsunami. Follow-on TV appearances have been frequent, she may be about to record a duet with her singing idol Elaine Page (who was impressed), and it seems like she won't have to be looking for a job any time, well, ever again. The only shame in all of this is that she's been singing in her village, recording local charity albums (listen to "Cry Me A River" from 1998), rather than being on stage in London's East End for the last 20 or more years. Where she belongs. The good news is, some of the people in her village think that what you just saw on "Britain's Got Talent" wasn't even her best singing. Um, wow.
It's a great story. I love the fact that she sang a stage tune to do it. And I love it that someone with that level of talent was able to walk on, demonstrate it, and let that trump everything else. She didn't win a sympathy vote. She's just that good, and she'll rise as high as her talent lets her. To me, that's what it's all about.
Incidentally, 2007's winner was a guy named Paul Potts, now a multi-millionaire who's touring the world. He was a 41-year old mobile phone salesman, who remembers being beaten up at school every day until he was 18. That was excellent training for his subsequent dissertation on the problem of evil and suffering in a God-created world - and for his life's ambition, which was to become an opera singer....
Listen to his walk-on audition, for an extra treat. My wife, who is an opera fan with a pretty good ear, was very impressed. You will be, too.
Opera. He went out and sang "Nessun Dorma" - and won an "American Idol" equivalent. I love it. He went on to perform before the Queen, of course:
"Well, what did you expect from opera... a happy ending?!?"
Sometimes, even operas have a happy ending. May the best contestant win.
First Ray Charles. Then Ray and Jerry Lee Lewis. Then Ray and Jerry Lee with Fats Domino. Paul Schaeffer directs. The cameo guitar has been listed as Rod Stewart, but viewers' collaborative intelligence suggests Ron Woods, and also gives a more plausible setting of Storyville Jazz Hall in New Orleans, back in 1986.
With all that that of the way, get ready to have these 3 rock you out of your seat:
I've ridiculed the "pop punk" music set more than a few times - often with eminently good cause. These guys do an especially poor job trying to deal with larger themes, which makes them frequent targets for hilarious sendups by MuchMusic TV's Ed the Sock (for a treat, go to YouTube and enter "ed the sock" fromage).
The genre has produced some good music, however, and on the whole I'd have to say that its existence has left pop music better off. Not hard, I know, but every little bit helps.
Anyway, some of you who went to see Relient K's Christmas video yesterday may have noticed another Gotee Records vid called "In the Valley of the Dying Sun," by House of Heroes. I thought it was a nice exception to the "large themes/poor job" inverse rule. Perhaps not a surprise, in this case - you don't see may artists outside of the explicitly Christian genre explaining that biblical references helped contribute to their latest song.
This music video deserves to become a Christmas Classic. Giant rampaging snowmen! Jackin' Santa's sleigh! A love interest who really can go like a bunny (chicks dig the cool ride...)! And a classic song well executed.
Note that you can adjust the controls by mousing over the video area at any time. From the band Relient K...
Just hear those sleigh bells jing-a-ling, ring-ting-tingaling, too
Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleight ride together with you...
What more could you ask for this season? Well, maybe some friends like this guy's. If you have those, you are truly blessed.