Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mario Galaxy Orchestra "Overture"

My mother-in-law bought Wii a few years ago as a fun Christmas present for me and my wife.

But honestly, having little kids, it was pretty rare that we took the time to play it ourselves.

Feeling bad about it gathering dust, I did some research last winter on good Wii games for kids 3 to 5.  Santa delivered a copy of "Ready, Set, Grover" to our house.

The game is cute, and very, very basic.  It's also, secretly, a way to get the kids to exercise.  Because Elmo and Grover are doing things like jumping over mailboxes and touching their toes and running in place and such.

The kids liked it.  But it did make them curious about the other games on the shelf.

I set them up to play "Epic Mickey" but they quickly got frustrated, as the motor skills necessary are way above a small kid's level.

"You do it, Daddy."

In short order, watching Daddy or Mommy play Wii became more popular than episodes of "Curious George."  The kids will literally sit for an hour and watch one of us play a game, offering helpful back-seat-Wii-ing instructions like, "You shouldn't have let that bad guy get you, Daddy."

"Epic Mickey" actually became kinda stressful in the later stages of the game, and that's when Mario returned to my life.

The first real arcade game I ever played was a knock-off version of Donkey Kong called "Crazy Kong."  When I was 11, my friend Jay Armstrong and I would ride our bikes all the way down to the D.A.V Hall---because it was one of the few places in town with an arcade game---with a few quarters, to play.  Years later, I got Donkey Kong for Atari, and played it endlessly.

For that last month or so, my son wakes up and the first thing he says is "Daddy, can you play Super Mario Galaxy?"

Mario is now in space and there is some complicated back-story about a princess and Luma creatures and the universe and I don't worry too much about that.  I just run around and collect coins and jump on the heads of bad guys.  And whenever I complete a level, my boy does his "we completed a level!" dance.  To some typically ear-wormy Mario music.

How ear-wormy?  Even at the dinner table, my boy is humming it.  Me too.

So it wasn't a big surprise that when we asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween, he said "Super Mario!"

My wife made the costume---it came out pretty darn good.

And (now that the Sox have won the World Series) there will be two of us losing a mustache tomorrow.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Eddie Money "I Think I'm In Love"

Ahh, the 80s and their big(ish) budget videos.  It's a Halloween song, but a good vampire story works for today . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fred Schneider "Monster In My Pants"

Well if this video can't improve your Monday, then nothing can.

Here is a (perhaps) forgotten Fred Schneider solo song, that does feature Kate and Cindy from The B-52s.

At the time, Fred claimed the song was just about some underwear he had, that had pictures of dinosaurs on them.

Suuuuuuuurrrrre, Fred.

Anyway, this is a good nugget for your Halloween/Party mixed tape.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Velvet Underground "After Hours"

I was at a pumpkin carving party on Saturday with my wife and kids, when someone looked up from their phone and said, "Lou Reed died."

Looking at Facebook a few hours later, my feed was filled with Reed songs.  Obvious choices like "Walk On The Wild Side" and "Perfect Day."  Less obvious ones like "Street Hassle" and "Vicious."

Funny enough, the first song I thought of was one he wrote, but didn't sing.  Because it encapsulated my thoughts on his passing.

Back in the day, when the parties I went to didn't have pumpkins or children, but instead had copious amounts of alcohol, the Reed-penned/Moe Tucker sung/Velvet Underground song "After Hours" was our choice for our end-of-the-night anthem.
And if you close the door
the night could last forever
Leave the sunshine out
and say hello to never
It would be 6 in the morning.  The sun would be coming up.  We knew the party was over.  We'd always known that the party would end.

But we didn't want it to end.  There was always this kind of faint hope that the fun could continue, that we'd never tire, that the night could last forever.

I can't say that I'd thought about Lou Reed in the last few days (it had been a couple weeks).  I wasn't wondering if he were alive or dead.

And after I heard "Lou Reed died" today, I immediately wished I could un-hear it.  That I could close the door and go on assuming that Lou Reed was still out there, being Lou Reed.

Parties end.  Rock stars pass away.  You say goodbyes.  Things change.

But sometimes you just want to put on an old record and pretend, even for 2 minutes and 10 seconds, to say hello to never.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tom Waits "Whistlin' Past The Graveyard"

It doesn't really matter what Tom Waits is singing about, he always sounds like he's in Halloween mode.  But here it really applies . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bauhaus "Bela Lugosi's Dead"

5 days to Halloween, I figured I'd post some fun songs for the holiday.  Enjoy!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sarah McLachlan "Into The Fire"

It was 50-50.  Maybe I was going to be fine.  But maybe I was going to have my body dumped in a ditch.

Just in case it was going to be the latter, I wrote a note and left it at the office.
"I got invited out to a listener's house for some beer and food.  If I disappear, this is where I was headed. (address)"
I was the host of my own nightly Alternative music specialty show in rural Virginia.  The program was a little oasis of modern music, for a niche of folks who couldn't find the stuff anywhere else.

Not long after my show went on the air, I started getting nightly calls from the folks in the kitchen of a local restaurant, who'd tune me in as they were winding down their night.

They were always boisterous and effusive, excited to be hearing some cutting edge stuff on the radio.  Also, they were usually drinking while working.  And drinking after work, as they'd call me from whatever house they were partying at, post-shift.

Over a short period of time, we built up some familiarity.  But I figured it was in the DJ/listener kind of way.  Not the "come hang out" kind of way.  Until . . .

"Are you hungry?!  You should come out to the house!  What time to you get off?"

I hesitated.

I was new to the whole DJ thing, the being on-air thing.  And I'd been warned that often the kind of people who religiously called the radio station, and wanted to "hang out" inevitably proved to be weird.

On the other hand, I was hungry.

I was only part-time, just making little better than minimum wage.  There wasn't much food in the pantry.  A free, hot meal sounded good.

I wrote my note and left it for my co-workers.  When my shift ended at midnight, I got in my car and drove out across the Virginia countryside to the outskirts of town.

The directions sent me down an unlit dirt road.  That couldn't be right.

There were the dark silhouettes of cows moving about in the field next to the road.

I was thinking that maybe I should just turn around, go home and eat another bowl of Corn Flakes.

But I could see a porch light.  And then the whole house.  A large, new-ish looking place, set back on a hill.  And I could hear music.

What the hell, I figured.  I'll go in.

There were just 4 people hanging out.  But it felt like a whole party.  Boisterous and effusive and happy and a little drunk.

They were excited to have a new friend to hear their old stories.  We talked about music and food and not much else.

They made me some pasta, and when I started twirling the spaghetti on my fork, one of the girls said, "Oh God, you're Italian!" which theretofore somehow marked me as a gourmand---never again did they server me something as plebeian as pasta.

This house would be the future site of many a good party, a couple of fun hook-ups and the occasional scene of social drama.  But tonight it was just music and food.

"Have you heard Sarah McLachlan?"

I'd heard OF her, but I hadn't heard her record.

We listened to "Into The Fire" and my personal chef/new friend gave me this "One Sentence Review" that was definitely not intended to be Dismissive, though I have used it on later occasions as a criticism not a complement.

The chef said, "It's like Joni Mitchell on Prozac."

And that pretty much summed up the night:  weird and dark, but ultimately smoothed out.  And not in a ditch.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)"

I nearly just posted this as my Facebook status:

I Googled "Dink."

It sounds positively dirty, doesn't it?  Or at least, completely incomprehensible.

The soundtrack to the forthcoming Coen Brothers' film "Inside Llewyn Davis" includes a version of a tune entitled "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)."  The soundtrack has both a newly recorded version by Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford, as well as an older version by Dave Van Ronk, who's memoirs apparently form a loose basis for the film.

Once again, I was faced with the "Joseph Arthur" dilemma, of trying to decide if I should put it on the playlist that the MVY DJs use as "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)" or just "Fare Thee Well."

Growing up, the ONLY use of the work "dink" in my neighborhood, was as a slightly toned down synonym of "dick" that was okay to use as a 4th Grader.

I did learn later in life that "Dink" has some other connotations, including being a military acronym for"Desperately In Need of Knowledge" and the census/statistician acronym for "Double Income, No Kids."

But I realized that despite knowing that "Fare Thee Well" was known as "Dink's Song," (via Jeff Buckley's version), I had no idea why it was called "Dink's Song."

And that's when I Googled "dink" just praying that I didn't get a computer porn virus the way I did the day I Googled "Edith Head."

Though the song has been around for a couple hundred years, the first recording of it was by John Lomax in 1908.  He was doing field recordings of African American levee-builders in Texas, and made the first known recording of this song, as sung by a woman know as "Dink."

Hence, "Dink's Song."

So, is it more likely that a DJ is going to play the song and discuss turn-of-the-century ethnomusicologist's recordings?  Or that they'll play the song and be tempted to release their inner 4th-Grader by saying "Dink dink dink dink dink dink dink . . ." on the air?

Yeah, you know it, I left "Dink" out of the track listing.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Beards "Got Me A Beard"

It's itchy.  It's getting so long that the mustache part is interfering with eating.  It's about to go from "Hey, that guy looks like he's not really taking care of himself" to looking like "Hey, get ready to dial 911, that guy looks crazy."

But The World Series starts tonight, and I'm not shaving my beard.

For those of you who aren't into baseball . . . The Red Sox are in the World Series.  And many of the players on the team have grown these long, wild, I'm-In-Fleet-Foxes style beards.  "Fear The Beard" has become a meme.

I don't know who the Sox have lined up to sing the National Anthem, but let me suggest that they embrace the beard, and fly in Australia's The Beards.

The band is know for not only having great beards, they write songs about beards with titles like "Got Me A Beard," "You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man" "The Beard Accessory Store" and "If Your Dad Doesn't Have A Beard, You Have 2 Moms."

Beard Up!  Go Sox!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Paul McCartney "Queenie Eye"

A few different folks on my Facebook feed posted pictures of their kid standing in front of a store, with a collection can, raising money for their junior sports teams.

I flashed back to being 8 and 9, when they'd make us dress in our full Pioneer League baseball uniform, and plunk us in front of Shaws or Kmart, and have us panhandle for change.

I looked at those pictures on my Facebook feed and thought, "That's when I started my complete hatred/fear of asking for money."

Which made me laugh.  Because I was looking at these pictures on Facebook as a way to procrastinate from preparing for the Fall Friends of mvyradio Drive.

So . . . Hey!  Would you like to donate some money to support a very important local organization?

Can I look at you with my pleading, 8 year old eyes?

Well, at least for the Friends Drive, if you make a donation of $100, we'll give you the new Paul McCartney record.

For the Pioneer League, I think they only gave you a ticket that said you donated.

So . . . WooHoo!  Paul McCartney CD!  Donate!

Yeah, it hasn't gotten any easier for me.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bob Marley "3 Little Birds"

There are a number of artists that we go really deep on.

In regular rotation on MVY, you can find upwards of 20 songs by The Allman Brothers, The Band, Talking Heads and U2.  And more than 30 by The Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, The Rolling Stones and a handful of others.

Because we cover these artists really well, it's not uncommon to take some of the most famous songs by these artists, like "Casey Jones" or "Ramblin' Man" and put them in a very, very low rotation.

On the surface, that might be counter-intuitive.  The most popular songs should be played the most, right?

But these are also the songs that you are likely to hear elsewhere.  Classic Rock stations have been grinding these tunes for years, so just occasional play on MVY goes a long way because you are likely to hear these songs elsewhere.

It's pretty rare that something about the MVY library surprises me.

I've been Program Director/Music Director since 2005.  And I've been doing work with our song library database for over a decade.

But last week, something really surprised me.

I was out somewhere and I heard "3 Little Birds" by Bob Marley.  And I thought, "Gee, I haven't heard this on MVY in a while.  Did I take it out of rotation and 'Rest' it?"

I'll do that sometimes.  "Rest" a song, by pulling it from rotation for a few months, or a year.  The idea is that when it returns to rotation, the listener may not have realized it was gone over the course of the year, but hears it and says, "Oh, I haven't heard this in a while."

So was "3 Little Birds" resting?

I went to the database.  No "3 Little Birds."

The database was created in 1999.  So any song that has ever been in regular rotation at any point since then, is in the database.  Songs that maybe we have the CD for, and might play but request but are otherwise not in regular rotation are not there.

"3 Little Birds" not being there means we haven't played it as a regular part of rotation for at least 15 years.

I realized there might be some other Marley songs missing from rotation.  So I went to iTunes to see his most popular songs.

I was shocked to see that there is a whole list of Marley tunes, not in regular rotation on MVY:

"One Love"
"Could You Be Loved"
"Buffalo Soldier"
"Redemption Song"
"Rock My Boat"

These are all songs that you can hear any day of the week on your local classic rock station, or at a party, or out in public somewhere.

So it's not that I hadn't heard any of these songs since 1999.  I was hearing them.  And I was hearing them enough that I hadn't even noticed that MVY wasn't one of the sources.

I don't know if our listeners have noticed.  But I will remedy this by getting all these songs into rotation.  Albeit a low, low rotation.

If I can go 15 years without noticing they are missing, they probably only need an occasional spotlight.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sloan "I Hate My Generation"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Like a Canadian Pavement, with multiple singers . . .

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 fun to revisit.

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

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Odds "Heterosexual Man"

Here's another Weekend Post:
Is there anything more 90s than a clever, Canadian, riffy rock song with a video featuring Kids In The Hall?

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 fun to revisit.

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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Arcade Fire "Reflektor"

I don't think I'm wrong when I say that this song really isn't an MVY song.

But if you look on the Billboard chart that MVY reports to, almost every single radio station that is on the chart with us, is playing this song.

We're not missing something, are we?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chris Isaak "Wicked Game"

This one's some kind of mix between a "Dismissive One Sentence Reviews By Friends" post and a "Let Me Ruin This Song For You" post . . .

My college girlfriend claimed to have heard parody of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" as sung by a Scooby Doo imitator.  (Though I have never been able to find proof of this, via The Google)

Whenever it came on (the song was hugely popular during the time we were together), as it got to the chorus instead of singing "No I don't want to fall in love with you . . ." she'd sing in a Scooby voice, "Rooby Rooby Roooooooooooooooo!!!"

And yes, 20+ years later, that's still what I hear in my head when I hear this song.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Anders Osborne "47"

Anders Osborne is an amazing player.  And this new single has a very cool vibe.  Love the lyrics too.

But are the falsetto vocals a little weird?  If you just happened upon this, as you tuned into MVY, would you say, "What the heck is this?"

What do you think?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Grace Potter & The Nocturals "Mr Columbus"

While you have Columbus Day on your mind, I thought I'd point you to this interesting article that has a lot to say about the era of Columbus and colonialism and corrections.  It's called "6 Ridiculous Lies You Believe About the Founding of America."


(thanks for pointing me to this, Martin)

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hepcat "Can't Wait"

Here's another Weekend Post:

In the midst of the 90s ska revival, it was great that some truly authentic-sounding Jamaican-style ska broke through the surface . . .

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 fun to revisit.

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

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mr. T Experience "Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba"

Here's another Weekend Post:
Good Pop-Punk never gets old for me.  Neither do Mr. T references.

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 fun to revisit.

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

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sam Cooke "Twisting The Night Away"

Like many, many of my peers in the 80s I incessantly listened to one of those albums that seemingly everybody owned:  the soundtrack to "Animal House."

I was well into adulthood before I sorted out that I had spent most of my youth misunderstanding, and mis-singing a line from "Twisting The Night Away."
Here's a man in evenin' clothes
How he got here, I don't know
But man you oughta see him go
Twistin' the night away
He's dancin' with the chick in slacks
She's a movin' up and back
Oh, man there ain't nothin' like
Twistin' the night away
For years, I (and c'mon, admit it, you too) sang:

"He's dancin' with the chicken slacks."

Hey, I assumed that Chicken Slacks were some kind of 50s apparel that had faded out of existence.  It's no more implausible than a "Poodle Skirt."

I got a good laugh a few weeks back, when I happened to be standing in front of Alison Hammond's "Local Music Cafe" CD library, and saw this album on top of a pile:

Well, they get points for humor.

You can hear the band The Chicken Slacks below, and in this episode of The Local Music Cafe.

Hear Sam Cooke on Youtube.

Hear the Chicken Slacks on Youtube.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell "When You Get To Asheville"

When I hear the first line of "When You Get To Asheville," I immediately think of "Your House" and the story I wrote about yesterday.

"When you get to Asheville, send me an email."

It's such an interesting opening line, because it does nail the song down to a time and place.  It couldn't have been written 20 years ago.  And probably wouldn't be written 20 years from now, when we don't use email anymore because there is some kind of future-communication.

And, unlike Alanis Morissette, I get the feeling that this reference by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell is fully intentional.

The Old-Time/Bluegrassy/banjo sound is an immediate throwback.  Whether it was recorded 40 years ago or 40 minutes ago, it can sound old.

Starting of a Pop song or a Rap song with a mention of "send me an email" would be perfectly appropriate and uneventful, as that music is crafted to sound "here and now."

But starting off a banjo song with "send me an email" catapults the Old-Time-sounding song, and the story, firmly into the present.

It's a clever move.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Alanis Morissette "Your House"

Here's another "Dismissive One Sentence Reviews By Friends" post . . .

In the mid-90s, when Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" was out, I had a close friend who was attending an all-Women's College in Roanoke.

Naturally, I visited quite a bit.

And naturally, the kick-ass, bare-it-all nature of Alanis' breakthrough record, resonated with many of the young women.

But there was one critique, by a girl that I really liked, that stood out to me.  It was about a lyric in the final, a capella song on the record, titled "Your House."
I took off my clothes
Put on your robe
I went through your drawers
And found your cologne
Went down to the den
Found your CD's
And I played your Joni
And I shouldn't stay long, you might be home soon
I shouldn't stay long
"I don't like it when a songwriter puts in a detail that keeps the song from being timeless."

Basically, she was saying that by referring to "CDs," the song was destined to become an anachronism.  A song about CDs couldn't have been written in the 60s or 70s, because they didn't exist.  And she had the foresight to realize that in the future, we wouldn't be listening to music on CDs, we'd be hearing our music via other mediums.

Eventually, the song would sound as silly as if it had said "Found your 8 Tracks" or "Found your cassingles."

I don't think I really agreed with her.  I don't find it necessary for a song to be timeless.  Sometimes it even helps.

Then again, maybe I was just more weirded out by the idea of some ex-girlfriend breaking in my place to take a shower.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dr. Dog "Broken Heart"

Barbara and I spent a bunch of time listening to new songs to possibly add to rotation at MVY.

This Dr. Dog song is a good example of a tune that, out of context, sounds really great.

Both Barbara and I wanted to discuss this one, as we'd both been listening to and enjoying it.

It's a really great sounding, unusual sounding track, with slightly off-kilter but hooky harmonies in the chorus, and a brief but slightly unhinged guitar solo.  And when the songs heads into the home stretch, it takes on the weird anthemic nature of a David Bowie song.

All of this makes the tune really compelling on its own.

But listening to it in the context of the station---thinking about it being sandwiched between a Ryan Adams song and an Allman Brothers song---it just doesn't seem like its a sonic fit for the station.

What do you think?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Velvet Underground "Last Night I Said Goodbye To My Friend"

Here's the dream I had a few nights ago:

I was in a police academy, and we had to run a very complicated obstacle course.  There was lots of crawling through small spaces and climbing walls and ladders and narrow points of entry to the next step.  I was actually doing pretty well, meeting the challenge, making it through at good speed, except . . . there were many, many other people on the course and the congestion they created was making things complicated.

My wife had a very difficult last week.

(Let me stop here to say that I put a lot of my personal life out there/in this blog, but am also sensitive of her feelings and the feelings of the many folks that are involved in the story that follows.  So I'm keeping the details very general, hoping only to draw the larger point)

She lost a close friend.  A former co-worker.

They spoke (texted, actually) one day.  The next day, the friend was gone.  Sudden, and shocking.

As you would expect, my wife experienced a range of emotions in the following days.  Deep, bottomless-feeling sadness.  Anger.  Blame.  Helplessness.  And that weird, familiar need that we have to do something.

Her first reaction was to go to the place where she used to work.  Where her friend had continued to work.  She reconnected with mutual friends and former colleagues and shared in their grief.

But when she got home, she questioned herself.  Was that an appropriate thing to do?  To show up at the old workplace?  Was that something that would seem out of line to other folks still on the job?

My wife is an artist.  And part of her do something response was to create some art for the memorial service.  And to invite as many mutual friends and former colleagues as possible into her studio space to join her.  She spent the afternoon buzzing around the house, trying to get the studio ready, and calling, calling, calling people to get the word out.

After one particular call, she questioned herself.  The friend she had just spoken to was in a very dark place, overwhelmed with sadness.  My wife was in do something mode, very upbeat and resolute.  After hanging up the phone she said, "My God, I must've sounded completely insensitive!  I was zipping around talking about creating art, and she's on the other end of the line, a complete mess."

One more vignette.  At the memorial service, she approached someone that she expected was hit hard by the loss.  She hugged this person.  The person asked, "So how's PJ?"

"It was a complete disconnect," my wife told me later.

"Everyone is in a different place right now, processing this all at different speeds," I said.  "(This person) is probably in a very numb place right now."

Over the course of the week, my wife had felt deep, bottomless-feeling sadness, anger, blame, helplessness, and that weird, familiar need that we have to do something.

All her friends were feeling those things too.  But not at the same time.

The hardest part of grieving, sometimes, is dealing with other people's grieving.  If what they are feeling in the moment isn't the same as what you are feeling in the moment, you can appear insensitive to them, and they to you.

You can be like Lou Reed, John Cale and Mo Tucker, and write and perform a song for your friend Sterling Morrison, because that is how you process the loss.  But maybe to someone else, doing so comes of as self-serving or attention seeking or somehow inappropriate.

You can choose to ignore the feelings of others, and grieve the way you need to grieve.  Or you can moderate your feelings, in deference to others, and perhaps not process your grief in the way you need to.

I think my dream was basically telling me this.  There are obstacles in life.  You can run to meet them and even relish the challenge.

But there are other people running the course.  And ultimately, the real challenge is navigating people without bulldozing them to get to where you need to go, nor letting their progress (or lack of it) hold you back.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Al Green "I Can't Stop"

Here's another We Used To Play This post:

In 2003 Al Green made a comeback album.  He paired with producer Willie Mitchell for the first time in nearly 20 years, and the critically acclaimed result seemed like it would thrust him back into the spotlight.  But as is the case with many classic artists who make super-solid, late-career records, it didn't gain the traction or the attraction it should have . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Badly Drawn Boy "Something To Talk About"

Here's another We Used To Play This post:

I always thought Badly Drawn Boy would be bigger . . . There is Elliot Smith's tunefulness and sincerity, without the melancholy.  This track was attached to the adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel, starring Hugh Grant, so it should have broken through.  But despite the fact that this song still doesn't sound dated, it didn't last on the MVY playlist much beyond its initial run . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lyle Lovett "She's Already Made Up Her Mind"

Back in 1992, the format we know as Triple A (Adult Album Alternative) was really still in its formative stage.  Oh, there were stations like WMVY and WRNX and others, who played an eclectic mix of intelligent and critically-acclaimed artists, aimed at the discerning adult listener.

But there was no such thing in South Florida, where I was living.

Which made life difficult for artists that didn't fit inside a traditional box.

In 1992, I was working at a small cable operation in there production department.

I was the guy who made those low, low, low budget tv commercials.  The kind that feature the car dealer who's pitch on-location at his lot is drown out by the windy conditions.  The kind that feature shots of food that look beige and unappetizing because they are under-lit, not dressed by a professional food stylist and look terrible on grainy, low-grade video.

The kind of local cable commercial that features a final shot with the entire staff of the business, standing in front of the company sign, waving roboticly.

I was the guy who did that.

On occasion, my job would be a little easier, in that, the client would provide us with some high quality video and I'd just have to edit the pieces together and add a voice-over.

This would frequently happen when an artist like Lyle Lovett was coming to town. 

Ahead of his Fort Lauderdale area appearance, Lyle's promoter sent a couple of music videos from his new album, and we were left to our own devices.

First, I tried to put together a concert spot featuring the video for "She's Already Made Up Her Mind."  But after the first couple of tries, I found that trying to make a dynamic, exciting show promotion over the sounds of a slow ballad, was not working.

So I started cutting things together over the strains of this song called "Church."

My boss came and stood over my shoulder, to see what I was working on.  After listening for minute, he questioned my choice of song.  Why didn't I use the more traditional sounding, country-ish ballad?

I explained that I chose the other song for reasons of pacing.

"But if you use this, people will think this is the kind of music he plays."

Admittedly, neither of us knew much about Lyle Lovett at the time.

To us, he was just a "Country Music" artist.  At the time, there was no context for him to be anything else, outside of the clearly drawn genre lines.

In the end, I cut the promo to include a little bit of both songs.  It probably wasn't as cohesive as it could have been with just "Church," but it did give a broader explanation of who Lyle Lovett was.

Of course, 20-plus years later, more people do understand what kind of music Lyle Lovett plays.  They understand that he's not strictly a Country artist.  They understand that Lovett might throw in Texas Swing and Gospel and Folk and R&B and whatever makes his song work the best.

And there is a home for artists like Lyle Lovett and Elvis Costello and Neko Case and others that don't fit neatly into one box.

Thankfully, I found a home here too.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Garland Jeffreys "Any Rain"

Have you ever had this experience at one of those buffet restaurants?

You start filling your plate with things that really look good.  And when you get back to your table, you realize that your meal consists of a slice of prime rib, lasagna, a crab leg and some Brunswick stew?

You were just thinking about what looked good.  You weren't thinking about balance.

That happens from time to time, while programming the station.

I think most people who don't do this job just assume . . . you pick the best couple of song each week and that becomes your playlist.

But if you do that, without consideration of the bigger picture, you can end up with an unbalanced and awkward plate.

Coming out of the summer rush into some clearer-headed fall consideration, I felt that the station's list of new songs had started leaning toward the modern/alternative a little too heavily.

The playlist is full of Avett Brothers and Vampire Weekend and Neko Case and Elvis Costello & The Roots.

But the MVY tradition is rooted in singers and songwriters.  And I realized that the plate was really lacking in artists the huat more closely to the folk roots that are the baseline of MVY.

And that's when, as a programmer, you worry less about the best song, and more about the right song.

It was great to see Garland Jeffreys new record come in, because I knew it was the first step in speaking to the missing part of the current playlist.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Simpsons "An Amendment To Be"

Well, in the midst of all this Government Shutdown stuff, with lengthy discussions of Washington process, I've seen/heard a few places post the 1975 educational "Schoolhouse Rocks" called "I'm Just A Bill."

But given the intransigence, the unusual tactics and the general disregard for what has otherwise been decades of accepted process, it made me think of The Simpsons parody of "I'm Just A Bill."

See the video on Photobucket.

Hear "I'm Just A Bill" on Youtube.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Nicki Bluhm And The Gramblers "Little Too Late"

Paul Westerberg referred to them as "jokes" in his songs.

They aren't so much jokes---with a set up and punch line---as they are funny turns-of-phrase like "a rebel without a clue."

That's what caught my attention about this Nicki Bluhm And The Gramblers tune.  It's full of good "jokes," the central one being in the chorus:

"It's a little to late to die young." 

And if you're just discovering Nicki Bluhm, delightful Van Sessions are a great way to waste a little time on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.