Sunday, July 31, 2011

The White Stripes "Friends"

Well, about 2 seconds after the Newport Folk Festival line-up was announced, I put 2 and 2 and 2 together, and decided to spread a rumor.

Jack White is coming to the Newport Folk Festival!

Now, I have to say, that this was 100% a rumor, completely made up by me. But it seemed plausible.

Chris Thile & Michael Daves. Wanda Jackson. The Sweetback Sister. Pokey Lafarge.

What do they have in common? They are all on Third Man Records, the label helmed by Jack White. And they're all on the bill this year for Newport Folk.

And not only is the label sending their artists, they've sent their mobile record store to Fort Adams.

Knowing Jack White's love of his artists, of some of the other artists on the bill and of Rock N Roll history, is it too much to ask that he just show up, and make my rumor a reality?

And is it too much to ask that he and I become the best of friends? Well, yeah, probably it is.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Delta Spirit "Golden State"

Here's a funny small world music biz story, some chit-chat to while away the hours before the Folk Festival starts.

Delta Spirit is on the bill today. I'm really looking forward to seeing them.

I was introduced to the band by Paul Langton, who is their record label rep at Rounder Records (of Burlington, MA!!).

When this song came out, Paul sent me a link to the music video, which feature footage shot right in Boston (among other places).

See the video on Youtube.

Not long after mvyradio started playing the song, I was talking to one of the Moms at my daughter's pre-school. She told me she had heard the song on mvyradio, and couldn't believe it---it was the tune her husband had been working on.

He is a filmmaker, and he and his partner had recently shot the "Golden State" video.

Small world!

At the next pre-school get together, I asked him, "How did you get the Delta Spirit video gig?"

"Well, my partner lives next door to," wait for it, "Paul Langton of Rounder Records."

Really small world!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

David Rawlings Machine "Bells Of Harlem"

Gillian Welch once addressed the issue of the fact that she was usually billed as "Gillian Welch" though she invariably plays with David Rawlings.

Basically she said that the two of them played in a band, and the band's name is "Gillian Welch."

This causes some awkwardness for DJs like me.

A couple of years back, Gillian and David were both on the bill for Newport Folk.

Gillian Welch was on the schedule for Saturday.

David Rawlings was on the schedule for Sunday.

I watched the "Gillian" set, and yes, it featured Gillian and David. That was in preparation for the next day.

I had been asked to introduce the David Rawlings set.

At this point in their career, I don't know that David had ever been on a major bill. So no one was sure what a set by "David Rawlings" would be. Him by himself? A full band?

Moments before I was to go on stage and do the introduction, I was button-holed by the stage manager.

He impressed upon me, multiple times, in no uncertain terms, that I was to introduce the artist as "David Rawlings" and nothing else. This was the artist's request. Introduce him as "David Rawlings." Get it? "David Rawlings." Are we clear?

Yes, I was a clear.

So I got up on stage and I did what I was asked to do. I did my mvyradio pre-amble, promoting the station, and then I said:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, David Rawlings!"

And out of the backstage area, comes David Rawlings. And Gillian Welch.

" . . . Gillian's here too . . ." David told the crowd.

I don't think he meant to say that I forgot her, but I think it might've come off that way to an audience not aware of the whole band name game.

Well, it wasn't the worst intro moment I've ever had. But it was a bit awkward.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Check out mvyradio's Newport Folk coverage, including a live performance from Gillian and David at 4:45pm on Saturday.

Dar Williams "I Saw A Bird Fly Away"

Being a performer must come with so many indignities . . . awkward fans, critical reviews, inattentive/indifferent audiences . . . maybe you just become inured to it.

I wondered that, when I saw Dar Williams reaction.

This was several years ago at a special mvyradio Anniversary party out at The Hot Tin Roof. We felt pretty lucky that Dar Williams accepted our invitation to play the celebration.

It was getting close to "doors open" time and I had wandered out to the front to see how big the line was getting.

As I approached, I could see the bouncer at the door starting to tense up and step to block the aisle as a woman was making her way past the line, headed straight into the club, undaunted.

You could tell from his body language that the bouncer, who was doing his job, was thinking, "Who the fuck does this lady think she is?"

And before he could get out his terse, "Excuse me, ma'am" I shouted from behind, (somewhat shrill-ly, I recall), "Shestheperformeritsokay!"

But that wasn't even necessary, because Dar Williams, who'd probably faced a thousand bouncers who'd not realized that she was the damn headliner did something that was actually quite impressive.

She simply said, "I'm Dar."

What was impressive, is how she said it.

She said it plainly. Calmly. Professionally.

She didn't have an ounce of indignity. Or diva-ness. Or condescension.

It was kind of masterful, the way she was firm, fair, un-flapped and clear.

And she didn't even break her stride.

Dar Williams performs at Newport Folk this weekend as part of the Song Circle will John Gorka, Ellis Paul and others. You can hear tracks from Dar on our Newport Folk Channel at mvyradio.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The McGarrigle Sisters & Emmylou Harris "Green Green Rocky Road"

Barnes Newberry played this song on a recent episode of My Back Pages," and hearing it took me right back to one of my many awkward fan moments.

I was at the Ryman in Nashville, Tennessee, and I had paid a little extra in my ticket to a Anti-Death Penalty benefit show, so I could go to a post show Meet & Greet with the artists.

Not only had a met Sister Helen Prejean, the nun who wrote "Dead Man Walking" (portrayed in the film by Susan Sarandon), but I had already met Steve Earle.

Indigo Girls and Jackson Browne were also signing autographs, but it was Emmylou Harris that I really wanted to meet.

We were in a backstage area where there were a good 100 or so fans, surrounding each artist, who were each milling about the room, not unlike how Goofy and Donald and Pluto work a crowd at Disneyworld.

I had been in the right place at the right time when Emmylou appeared, and though she was quickly surrounded by the crowd, I was right up front. Unfortunately, I was just to her left, and she started signing autographs, slowing turning to her right, away from me.

And as she turned, this enormous, rock solid Ryman security staffer stayed stuck to her left shoulder. As she turned, he turned, edging me out.

Like a man looking down from a mountain, he cast his eyes down at my somewhat pitiful, squeezed-out fandom and said, softly, "Sorry, Dude."

So I waited, with a lot of time to think.

What should I say to Emmylou Harris?

I was a huge fan. Maybe not her "number one fan" on the planet. But I had seen her in concert the previous summer, and was just knocked out. I had enormous respect for her work, and was sincere in my devotion.

I didn't want to be one of those weird autograph seekers, who just want the paper. They may not even be real fans.

No, I had to say something that let her know I wasn't just a casual fan.

But it also couldn't suggested that I was a psycho fan either. I didn't want to sound rabid or obsessed.

I settled on "Green Green Rocky Road."

The McGarrigle Sisters had put out a CD in the recent past, on which Emmylou guest appeared. And this was one of the songs she sang on.

I figured, if I mentioned this project, it suggested that I was a serious music fan, and was well-aware of things she was working on. But it was recent enough that it wasn't some piece of obscure minutiae.

Confident in my choice, I watched her patiently, politely, generously, give each fan a few moments, and then graciously, gracefully move to the next. Say what you will about Country Music, there is no other genre who's stars are nicer to their fans.

She had almost fully circled around at this point. The crowd had dissipated. It was only Emmylou, the security rock, a few more autograph seeker, and me.

My turn.

I handed her my concert stub to sign and said, "I loved that version of 'Green Green Rocky Road' that you did with the McGarrigle Sisters."

And then she did something unexpected.

She looked up, brightened, and said "Aren't they wonderful!" and as she did this, she reached out to touch my hand.

And I then also did something unexpected.

My knees buckled.

It was just a split-second, but I was, apparently, so overcome in my fandom over the fact that Emmylou Harris was about to touch me, that I lost my balance.

And in that split-second, she pulled her hand back, gave me a flash of a look that said, "What's wrong with this guy," regained her poise, smiled and moved on.

So much for not looking like a crazy fan . . .

Check out the track at Grooveshark.

Hear Emmylou, live this weekend during our coverage of Newport Folk, and check out her album tonight as we play it in its entirety for our Album Of The Week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Middle Brother "Me Me Me"

Okay, if you take key players from several well known established bands and put them together, it's known as a Super Group.

But what do you call it when you take key players from several excellent, but not-so-well known established bands, what do you call it?

Middle Brother consists of members of Deer Tick, Dawes and Delta Spirit. All awesome bands, but hardly household names.

If not a Super group, what would you call it? I'm taking suggestions.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Middle Brother performs this weekend at Newport Folk. You can also listen to our Newport Folk Channel, for album tracks by all the artists on the bill. Stream it for free from the main page of mvyradio.

Monday, July 25, 2011

P.S. 22 Chorus "Viva La Vida"

This week on the blog I'll be writing about some of the artists scheduled to appear at Newport Folk, July 30th and 31st. Be sure to check out mvyradio's coverage. We'll be streaming most all of the main stage performances, and posting sets from the side stage bands on our website.

What was the coolest high school field trip you went on? A ski weekend? Knotts Berry Farm? World's 2nd Largest Ball Of Twine?

I mean, I thought we were pretty cool, going to Washington D.C. for Close-up.

But damn, Anne freakin' Hathaway didn't invite me to the Oscars.

Then again, I couldn't sing like the kids of P.S. 22 Chorus.

They'll be on one of the side stages this weekend, busting out amazing choral covers like the ones below. And check out the video of them going crazy, finding out they'll be going to the Academy Awards, plus their show-closing performance.

You can also listen to our Newport Folk Channel, for album tracks by all the artists on the bill. Stream it for free from the main page of mvyradio.

Viva La Vida

Hear the song on Youtube.

Rolling In The Deep

Hear the song on Youtube.

Anne Hathaway invites them to The Oscars

See the video on Youtube.

Their Oscar-Closing performance

See the video on Youtube.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stroke 9 "Little Black Backpack"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Another 90s nugget, that has hot weather feel to me.

This one was always a bit of a DJ tongue twister to announce.

See the video on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Len "Steal My Sunshine"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Just pulling out some 90s hot weather songs. This one makes me want to run under the sprinker.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Styx "Come Sail Away"

You really shouldn't laugh in church.

And you really shouldn't laugh in church during a funeral.

But there I was, with a huge smile on my face, laughing in church.

The organist was playing "Sailing Away" by Styx and it just made me smile.

I was at the memorial service for my college roommate Teri.

I hadn't spoken to Teri in a few years, so the news of her death came as quite a shock. She'd had a very aggressive form of breast cancer that took her life within 6 short months.

The memorial was really such a great reflection on the friend I knew so well, way back when. It was quite remarkable to hear people who knew her when she was a young child, to the people with whom she'd become close to in recent years, speak about her in exactly the same way I would have. Meaning, her positive attributes, her foibles and her spirit were consistent, no matter what stage of life the various eulogizers spoke about.

I mean, a later-in-life friend talked just casually mentioned her need for Diet Coke and I can remember times 20 years ago, when we desperately needed to make a detour to pick up her favorite drink. Simple things to make you smile.

But what really got to me, was the music.

Ken, a later-period roommate of hers was a piano player, and, to give the service a breather between some of the speakers, he played instrumental version of songs that Teri loved, that somehow seemed appropriate for the day.

"Is that Duran Duran?" my wife asked, correctly identifying "Save A Prayer." Awesome.

And when he dipped into the opening notes of "Come Sail Away," I immediately knew I would be digging in the garage when I got home.

I remembered a letter she sent, where she excitedly wrote about meeting and interviewing Styx for the cable TV company she produced videos for. I remember how special and thrilling it was for her at the time, and it just filled me up to know that that experience and that love of the band made enough of an impression on her, that "Sailing Away" became a part of remembering who she was.

It's a sad thing to lose a friend, but it's a good thing when she can still make you laugh in church.

Below, I'll put a little excerpt from her letter, dated September 27, 2000. It might be fun to read, as the song plays.

So here's a cool rock and roll story for you: MediaOne, now AT&T (could I work for more of "the Man" than AT&T, I ask you) has this partnership with Music Choice. They have a featured artist every month and they produce a concert, which will air on our channel all month long. October artist? Styx and REO Speedwagon. "Hurrah!" I say to myself. "Get me an interview!" I shriek to my boss (Nicely, of course). She does, I go down last week with my bandmate, Jen, in tow and my buddy/co-worker, Jim, and we meet and interview all of Styx and two members of REO Speedwagon . . .

So the interview goes well, I'm happy, nearly delirious in my good fortune and we run to our seats that George, the manager, has secured for us. 20 rows back, excellent seats, rock out to the show. Styx plays first and Jen and I are in heaven . . .

At the end of the Styx set, Tommy Shaw starts throwing out guitar picks and slapping the hands of the fans. Jen and I bolt down the aisle to get a guitar pick for Joel. Tommy makes his way over to our side of the stage, recognizes us, points at us (the double point, one for each of us) and blows us this huge kiss! Jen and I sort of stop, look at each other and say, "That was for us, right?" and we're transported immediately into the land of 12-year-old geekiness Heaven!!! Tommy Show blew us a kiss! Very cool.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Robert Ellis "No Fun"

I think I inherited from my Dad this certain piece of DNA that the Human Genome Project has not fully identified.

It's the gene that drives me (like my Dad) to want to be the first to arrive and the last to leave.

I always watch the movie through to the end credits, just in case there's some kind of post-credits bonus scene surprise.

I hate to miss anything.

That's why when I go to a concert, I always try to be early enough for the opener.

I went to see the Old 97s last week, and knew absolutely nothing about the opener, Robert Ellis. I could have been discouraged by their admission that they hadn't fully Sound Checked, and they were kinda sick of their own songs so they were going to do mostly covers. But I wasn't.


Because Robert Ellis and his band threw down a shit-kicking 45 minutes of classic country covers with a few great originals sprinkled in.

The Wellfleet Beachcomber is not exactly a Texas Roadhouse, but the room was definitely rocking to songs written by Lefty Frisell, Faron Young and Willie Nelson.

The video below doesn't quite capture the energy, the playfulness or the tight-tight-tightness of this band, so you'll have to go see them live, to hear what I heard.

But the exciting surprise of loving a band I'd never heard of, made me glad to have the genes I do.

(Plus, this original is a riot.)

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bad Religion "Stranger Than Fiction"

I didn't really discover punk rock until much later than the average punk rock kid.

Let's face it, I didn't have much of a punk rock upbringing.

And from the outside, in those years when fellow teens may have been turning their musical attention to the punk rock of the day, the music held no particular appeal to me.

As a gentle kid, I didn't respond to the anger.

As a low-key, under-the-radar flier, I didn't respond to the fly-in-your-face-ness.

And as a kid who felt like the only thing he had going for him was that he was smart, I didn't respond to the rebellion that I perceived as not only anti-authority, but anti-intellectual.

The very primal nature of the music, as well as the sneering disdain, struck me as kinda cretin-ish.

Later, in my mid-20s I was turned around on that, really, by this one song.

Going forward (and looking back at the much of the music I missed out on), I discovered that lost in the image (or anti-image) and the anger, was that there were some pretty amazing and literate people writing these songs.

The first time I heard this song, the very first sentence sent me running to the dictionary:

"A febrile shocking violent smack . . ."

I'd never had a song send me to the dictionary before.

But how many bands had lead singers who have a Ph.D. in zoology, and when they are not touring, teach Paleontology at Cornell?

This one song made me reconsider the form, and led me down some wonderful roads, to Rancid and The Descendants and Social Distortion. Bands I never would have considered, if I hadn't had my vocabulary challenged by Greg Graffin and Bad Religion.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Old 97s "I'm A Train Wreck"

There are many great songs written about the Cape and the Islands, evoking the Spirit of this place. Great tunes like “Never Been Gone” or “Vineyard” or “Cape Cod Girls.”

But for every song that was inspired by a location and is written about that place, there are 100 songs that were inspired by a location that, well, really don’t exact evoke the location whatsoever.

A year ago, my wife was dragged, practically kicking and screaming, to The Wellfleet Beachcomber by her sister-in-law to see an artist she’d never heard of.

“If you don’t want to go with her, I will,” I told my wife. “I love Rhett Miller.”

By the time the show was over, so did my wife.

Something about the songs, and the setting really won her over.

Something about the setting must’ve won Rhett Miller over, too. Because on that night a year ago, he vowed to return with his band, The Old 97s. And the day after that show, a year ago, he wrote a song.

True to Rhett’s word, The Old 97s played the Beachcomber this past weekend. And my wife, and her brother and my wife’s sister-in-law and my sister and I all made the trek to see them.

Miller introduced new song by the band, saying that he’d written this particular tune one year before, on the sands of Wellfleet Beach.

I’m guessing the local Chamber Of Commerce will not be using this song to promote tourism on Cape Cod. Especially not with Miller’s introduction that says his day on the beach inspired him to write a song about being a “total fucking disaster.”

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kimya Dawson "Little Panda Bear"

Today's story starts with a song, so you can check this out first.

Hear the song on Youtube.

My wife and I saw Kimya Dawson, as an opener for Ani DiFranco a few years ago, and we just loved her. Especially fun, was when she played a couple of songs from her children's album. I made sure to pick up a copy of "Alphabutt" when I became a Dad.

Fast forward a couple of years to my second child's first birthday. My wife was looking for a theme for his party, when she remembered how much she loved this song.

Panda theme. Easy.

She and I, with our combined baking and artistic skills, made a Panda cake. And she bought little favors for the party.

I think anyone who has at least two kids, knows how it goes when a younger sibling has a first birthday---the older sibling(s) feels entitled to take ownership of whatever loot the party brings.

Not a big deal. The one year old doesn't much care, and the 3 year old is entertained, until . . .

For party favors, my wife had found these plastic panda figurines. Only about an inch big. They came in a tube. And each one was a little different. One panda walking. One eating. Another climbing. One sleeping. Etc.

Well, I'm not sure exactly how this happened, but one night 2 weeks ago, my wife had been trying to use the bathroom, with both kids hovering around her (parenting: where privacy is a distant memory). When she had finished, and stood up, somehow (how?), somehow, the three year old dropped one of the pandas into the dirty toilet.

What to do?

Well, my wife noted to herself that our toilet has pretty lousy water pressure. So instead of reaching into the dirty john, she flushed, hoping that the heavy plastic object would just rest at the bottom of the toilet, and she could pick it out of clean(er) water.


And it was gone.



I think we were a little unprepared for the response from our three year old.

She didn't cry this hard when the fish died. She didn't cry this hard when we went Cold Turkey with her pacifiers. She was wrecked.

To her, each of the many pandas that we had, were individuals, with distinct personalities, to go with their distinct poses. The wasn't just a random lego or block. This was a singular creature that had been lost into the vortex.

Even worse, we started to realize, after a few days, that we may have done some psychological damage.

As I wrote about (what seems like) a few years ago, she had refused to poop on the potty. And she's still refusing. She'll pee on the potty. She never has an accident. But she flat out will not poop on the potty.

Well now, she began to talk about how the panda had disappeared down the potty and was never coming back and how that was upsetting and scary.

Not good.

If we couldn't get her on the potty before, we were never getting her on it now.

We tried to tell her that the panda was probably having a very exciting adventure. We re-watched on of her favorite movies, "Ratatouille," to show her how Remy went down the pipes and ended up in Paris, having the time of his life. The panda was probably doing the same kind of thing.

It was a no go.

This past weekend, we were in Maine, in a discount store called Reny's, when my wife covertly called me to the side. She'd found a tube of pandas, just like the ones we'd gotten for our son's birthday. She bought the tube and hid it in our suitcase.

The evening after I had gone into the backyard with a flashlight, to usher our cat inside for the evening. My wife seized the opportunity.

She had me hold my daughter and poke around the yard for a minute, while she worked in the shadows. And then she suggested to our daughter that they look around a certain dark part of the yard, together.

I stepped inside and waited.

Oh, the look on her face!

When she came in, she was beaming. Shaking with excitement and happiness.

She held a little panda in her hand, like it was a diamond.

My wife was near tears herself, with a huge, proud-parent smile on her face. "Tell Daddy who we found. He's not going to believe it."

My three year old could barely get the words out.

"Daddy! We found him! He came back from his adventure! You won't believe it!"

"What is it, honey?" I said, playing along.

She held it up, high above her head.

"My panda came back! And you won't believe it! He came back smaller! He shrunk after going down the potty!"

Well, it wasn't a CIA level operation, but we'll call it a success.

From the sewer scene from Ratatouille.

See the video on Youtube.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pat Benatar "Heartbreaker"

How about this trio?

Pat Benatar does Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker."

Mick Jagger does Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker."

Robert Plant does The Rolling Stones' "Heartbreaker."

Hear the originals and see if you can imagine the switcheroo.

(Thanks for the idea, Craig Sherman!)

Hear Pat Benetar on Youtube.

Hear Led Zeppelin on Youtube.

Hear The Rolling Stones on Youtube.

For other Incredible Imaginary Freaky Friday Cover Tune Switcheroos see all the posts from this week.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Coldplay "Trouble"

A couple of cast off Imaginary Freaky Friday Switcheroos, that I didn't get to this week.

It doesn't take much imagination on this one. Both artists have range and are pretty dramatic. This could be an easy switch.

See Ray Lamontagne on Youtube.

See Coldplay on Youtube.

Friday, July 15, 2011

kd lang "Hallelujah"

This Switcheroo seems pretty well matched.

I'm forgoing the original Leonard Cohen "Hallelujah" in favor of kd lang's recent, incredible version. Particularly because it matches up so well with Martin Sexton.

kd has always had a great sense of playfulness, so hearing her vamp around a bit on Martin's song about good and evil and hypocrisy and throwing stones would work. And she'd, in trademark style, soar during the choruses, drawing out the "Sippin' Hallelujah" like it was a cool drink on a hot day.

Meanwhile, how about letting Martin loose on this song? He's got as much range as kd, and could simply slay the dramatic repetition of Hallelujah's that come at the end to drive the song home. Unlike any of the imaginary examples of this week, this is one that I wouldn't be surprised to find has happened in concert before.

See kd lang on Youtube.

See Martin Sexton on Youtube.

For other Incredible Imaginary Freaky Friday Cover Tune Switcheroos see all the posts from this week.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lisa Loeb "Stay"

Today's Incredible Imaginary Freaky Friday Cover Tune Switcheroo faces the artists with the issue of having to go from loud to quiet or vice versa.

But I think both would sound pretty good.

I can pretty easily imagine Matthews plucking out a straightforward version of Loeb's "Stay," with his slurry-croon. The run-on poetry isn't too far from what he normally does.

"I only hear what I want to don't listen hard don't pay attention to anyone, anywhere."

And Loeb could crank up the band, and would wound positively charming, singing DMB's "Stay," is her clear, girlish sweetness.

"Oh, we were dancing mouths open, splashing tongue taste, for a moment this good time would never end."

See Lisa Loeb on Youtube.

See Dave Matthews on Youtube.

For other Incredible Imaginary Freaky Friday Cover Tune Switcheroos see all the posts from this week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fleetwood Mac "Songbird"

This is a funny one to think about doing the Freaky Friday Switcheroo, because I think it probably only goes in one direction . . .

I just can't wrap my brain around Christine McVie, in all her polite English seriousness, letting loose on a reggae number like Montbleau's "Songbird."

She could probably play it. The Brits have an affinity for reggae. She could probably do justice to the groove on her keyboard. But putting on the Jamaican accent? No. F-N. Way. I just don't think she could do it.

I mean, she's great at what she does (see "You Make Loving Fun"), but even when she's having "Fun," it feels pretty a bit, restricted.

On the other hand, while it's not necessarily something he would sing, Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird" is something that Ryan Montbleau could do, and do well. For the exact reason the McVie couldn't do the opposite.

When Christine McVie recorded her "Songbird" they set her up in an empty concert hall, and covered her piano in flowers, to put things in the right mood for her performance.

Can you imagine Montbleau in that scenario?


But because he is loose enough and free enough and self-effacing enough, he can take on virtually any kind of song and do well.

I don't know if he plays the piano, but he's got a great piano player in his bandmto lead him through this. Or better, he could pick it simply on his guitar.

It'll work, based on sincerity, without the self-seriousness.

See the video on Youtube.

See the video on Youtube.

For other Incredible Imaginary Freaky Friday Cover Tune Switcheroos see all the posts from this week.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Feist "1, 2, 3, 4"

Yesterday I started a week's worth of posts, playing a game I've titled:

The Incredible Imaginary Freaky Friday Cover Tune Switcheroo!

And today I have a match up that I'm on the fence about. Could be good. Could be a disaster. I guess it's all up to your imagination.

(For a review of how to play, see yesterday's post)

Today's songs:

Feist "1, 2, 3, 4" and Gloria Estefan And The Miami Sound Machine "1, 2, 3, 4"

I know what you're saying. "Feist and Gloria Estefan! Together at last!"

So go ahead and try it. (Listen to the originals below, if you need a refresher on how they sound)

For Feist, I imagine that she could do Gloria's song in the same trappings of her Modern Rock/crossover hit. Somewhat spare start, choir in the background, sing-songy delivery, with emphasis on the first syllables "One Two Three Four, COME-on BAY-by, SAY you-love-me. Five Six Seven times. Eight Nine Ten Eleven, I'M-just-gonna-keep-on COUNT-ing, till-your-mine." And on the "mine" she'd go UP with her voice, singing "my-EE-EEEN!"

Gloria Estefan would probably want to work in her own milieu too. So you'll have to imagine your own swift Latin beat, as she rapid-fire delivers (with double-tracked vocals) "One Two Three Four, Tell me that you love me more." Really, she could probably do the Feist lyrics over the original Sound Machine track.

Cool? Or Horrifying?

See Feist on Youtube.

See Gloria Estefan on Youtube.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Willie Nelson "Crazy"

For a bit of a change of (blogging) pace, I thought it would be fun to play a game this week. A game I'm calling . . .

The Incredible Imaginary Freaky Friday Cover Tune Switcheroo!

It'll require a little bit of imagination on your part. But you don't mind, right? Letting your brain drift away from work or home or whatever you should be doing, for just a second?

Because these aren't real covers. So to "hear" the songs, you'll just have to imagine them.

I was inspired in part by Peter Gabriel's last project. He did covers of some of his favorite artists. But then he also had those artists cut their version of one of his songs.

For The Incredible Imaginary Freaky Friday Cover Tune Switcheroo! I'm asking you to imagine that two artists who have songs with the exact same title, decided to switch tunes and do the other person's different song of the same title.

Get it? Not really? The explanation is more complicated than the execution. So let's just play the game.

Today's song:

"Crazy" by Willie Nelson and "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley.

This is a pretty easy starting point, in that Willie Nelson has tackled all kinds of cover tunes in his day, and he does it in a very recognizable style.

So it's not too hard to hear in your head, Willie, singing in his somewhat-cracked but still beautiful drawl, "I remember when, I remember when I lost my mind, there was something to pleasant about that place."

Maybe a little harder, but no less fun, to imagine, is Cee Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley, taking on Willie's song that is most closely associated with Patsy Cline.

Can you hear his clear, pointed tenor, with maybe a stripped-down beat underneath, singing, "Crazy, crazy for feeling so lonely. I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying and I'm crazy for loving you."

What do you think? Could you hear it?

All this week, I'll be playing this game. Some of the match ups sound really promising, others will be total train-wrecks.

Should be fun!

See Willie Nelson on Youtube.

See Gnarls Barkley on Youtube.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Voodoo Glow Skulls "Left For Dead"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Per yesterday's post, I'm searching for 90s ska nuggets . . .

See the video on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dance Hall Crashers "Lost Again"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Warm weather and happy times put me in an mid-90s ska frame of mind.

There were a few bands with big hits, and lots of great little bands, with wonderful, half-remembered, fun fun fun songs, like this.

See the video on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Joe Henry "Ohio Air Show Plane Crash"

Most of the time, if I write about a song that evokes a certain memory, the memory is of a time or a place or a person or an event.

But there are a handful of songs, when I hear them, I simply think about listening to them and enjoying then, and advocating for them.

I can't say that this song reminds me of a particular time or place, (I've been listening to it regularly for years), but every time I hear it, I want to tell people about it.

Simply, I think this is one of the best pieces of short story songwriting I've ever heard.

Listen to it and pay close attention to the lyrics.

See the video on Youtube.

I just find it so impressive that the narrator tells the entire story of a failed relationship, in the split second it takes his girlfriend to turn her head, as an air show plane is crashing.

The chugging, repetitive guitar gives the vignette its slow-motion feel as that one little motion illuminates everything in the relationship that had led up to that moment and their subsequent break-up.

Some short story writers could take pages to paint as clear a picture as Henry does in just a few lines.

And hell, the 6 minutes of song do a far better job of selling it's brilliance, that the 15 minutes I spent writing this entry.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bon Iver "Calgary"

It's part of mvyradio's DNA to have Folk music.

I mean, Bob Dylan and Carly Simon and Bruce Cockburn and James Taylor and Joni Mitchell are among our core artists.

So it's only natural to want to embrace the new artists from the "Folk music world" (whatever that means).

There are some pretty traditional sounding artists out there, strumming and singing, and we play young artists like that (Tallest Man On Earth, for example). And we also try to embrace the more progressive, indie, modern Folk artists.

I say "try" because sometimes the most interesting modern Folkies, are actually kind of hard for mvyradio to embrace.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a young Folk-leaning artist more lauded than Bon Iver, so it would seem obvious that we would want to add "Calgary" to our rotation.

But there's this thing about indie artists that I've never quite understood, particularly in the case of Folk indie artists.

Where's his voice?

The thing about folk music that made it so dangerous, so confrontational in its 50s and 60s hey-day, was the up-frontness of the vocals.

Stripped away were the strings and the horns and the percussion and the production of modern music. Folk music was about the voice and the words. They were up front, standing atop a strident strum of acoustic guitar. From that platform, the writer/singer could clearly ring out his/her message.

I don't know if its modesty or shyness or stylistic choice or atmosphere or an aversion to appearing strident, but many modern indie Folk musicians bury their voice in the mix. They put on echo or reverb. They deliver their words in more hushed tones.

It can be a neat effect. Someone like Daniel Lanois, on his solo material, can make the deep, lost voice part of an appropriate sonic landscape.

But on this track, I kinda want to say, "Sing up, Justin!"

The track sounds a little weird on the air, next to other mvyradio songs where the person who sings is the thing.

That being said, we're here to support bands like Bon Iver, so expect to hear this song on the radio, even if you can't really hear what he's saying.

See the video on Youtube.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Southern Culture On The Skids "Banana Pudding"

When the weather is hot like this, and I'm hungry, I think about the years I lived in Virginia, and all the good, regional cuisine that came into my life.

Growing up in New England meant clams and lobster and baked beans and other foods that people in the rest of the country aren't regularly exposed to.

And growing up with Italian relatives meant homemade raviolis and pizzellas and such, which I'm sure were foreign to my Southern friends.

On the flip-side, I spent the first 25 years of my life, completely unaware that there was such a thing as Chicken & Dumplings.

Chicken in a pot of gravy, with flat flour "dumplings," without an ounce of fat being spared . . . Man, that is some good comfort food.

My roommate's Grandmother knew how much I savored the dish, and she'd make it for me on my birthday. No one cooks like Grandma. Even someone else's Grandma.

Somewhere in those years, I had a girlfriend who could not cook. Would not cook. Didn't really care too much about food. She was perfectly happy with pre-packaged and frozen and just-add-water meals.

But the one thing she could make, was Banana Pudding.

I think a large part of Southern cooking (and probably other types of regional cuisine) came from using the seemingly unusable. The scraps. The leftovers.

Banana Pudding is at it's best when the bananas are, as the song says, "Day old, and Bold!" and the Nilla wafers are a little bit stale.

And when the whole thing sits in the fridge for a day or two, and the wafers suck up the pudding and it all gets a little mushy, but with a skin on top . . . yah-friggin-hoo!

You know it's a bona fide American South cultural phenomenon, if Southern Culture On The Skids writes a song about it.

See the video on Youtube.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Robbie Robertson "Fear Of Falling"

Because the process of putting a song into regular rotation on mvyradio is so competitive, I don't give myself much room for regret or second guessing. I try to only choose songs that I feel certain are going to work for the station and our listeners.

I am never 100% right in my choosing, but even the songs that end up not quite working or catching on, I can usually deem worth the effort of giving a shot.

But I have had this creeping feeling about a new song on mvyradio, and I'm hoping my sense in not confirmed down the road.

LOVE Robbie Robertson. Love him.

Love the new record.

And when the second single, "Fear Of Falling" was released, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Hell, it's even got Eric Clapton AND Steve Winwood on it. So now it's not one but three guys who are older, but still capable of making great, great records.

So I added it.

But now I've been hearing it on the air for a couple of weeks and . . . I've got that creeping feeling. That feeling that I didn't make the right choice.

And I can tell you exactly when that feeling started.

It was the moment when I realized that this tune sounds a little too much like a particular Clapton song.

Oddly enough, it is one of Clapton's biggest hits. But it's also his song that I find the least interesting, the most generic.

"Change The World."

That track is fine. I'm not offended by it. It's just kind of middle-of-the-road-pop-craft boring. Co-written by Babyface, it's a cake baked for mass-consumption.

Clapton can still kill it on guitar. Winwood's voice is still in top form. And Robertson has complete mastery of his atmospherics/production, and can still write incredible lyrics.

So maybe I've set the bar too high, if I find this song a little generic?

And maybe, like "Change The World," it will be a huge hit, in spite of, or because of, its accessibility.

Of course, as always, the real answer rests with you, the audience, to embrace or reject it, and let us know what you think, so we can continue to fine-tune our programming ears to bring you what you want to hear.

See the video on Youtube.

See the video on Youtube.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dave Alvin "4th Of July"

What with the holiday specificity of this track, you'd think it would be more popular at this time of year, but you don't really hear this one around, do you?

See the video on Youtube.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Blur "Coffee & TV"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Continuing yesterday's Muppet thing . . . this 90s video from Blur features an anthropomorphic milk carton, designed by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

(And check out the tease/parody Muppet movie trailers below)

See the video on Youtube.

See the trailer on Youtube.

And another teaser trailer on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Supergrass "Pumping On Your Stereo"

Here's another Weekend Post:

I've had Muppets on the brain this week in anticipation of the new Muppet movie due out in the fall.

I was reminded of a couple of awesome 90s music videos that featured the work of Jim Henson's Creature Shop," including this super-fun one from Supergrass.

See the video on Youtube.

See the Muppet trailer on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pink Floyd "Time"

It's hard to imagine a radio station like mvyradio, an internet radio station, in the pre-internet age. But I was there.

I was laughing to myself the other day, as our engineer/IT guy was talking me through a process I didn't understand, that would correct a problem I didn't understand that was happening to a machine I didn't understand.

I was laughing, because I was remembering my first year at mvyradio, when we had to fight over the dial-up.

Our phone system had 4 incoming lines, and if someone wanted to get on the internet, you'd need to use one of those lines to connect, via a dial-up modem. So no one could call you on that line. And if someone else needed the internet in another part of the building, well, you'd just have to sign off so they could sign on.

Now when I sit in front of the microphone, I usually have at least 3 computers within arm's length.

When I started at mvyradio, it was 2000, and we were forward, but not advanced.

Our webmaster had started this tradition of posting song lyrics on the website, and when he left the station for another adventure, it became my job to do the "Lyric Of The Day."

Back then, if you were trying to come up with a lyric, you'd listen to the station for a bit, and when you heard something, you'd type it in. Back in those days, we still played a little Pink Floyd, and I got a kick out of a phrase in the lyrics to "Time."

"Digging away, the moments that make up a dog day."

I just loved the idea of a dog, digging fruitless holes as a way to pass a hot day. What a brilliant metaphor!

Much to my chagrin, I got an email from a Floyd fan, who informed me that the lyric I posted wasn't right at all. The line really goes:

"Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day."

How did I get this wrong? Why didn't I just look up the lyrics?

Because 10 years ago, the correct lyrics to every single song were NOT YET POSTED ON THE INTERNET!!!

I know it's hard to imagine. I mean, right now you can probably think of a song. Any song. The first song that comes to mind, and if you Googled that song title plus the word "lyrics," you'd be able to find the lyrics, no problem.

But yes, there was a time when you couldn't find the lyrics to any old song on the internet.

Now, however, not only can you find the lyrics, you can find the whole song (something you'd be hard pressed to find, legally, in 2000), in a video, with the lyrics printed on the screen.

Viva La Future!

See the video on Youtube.