Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The New Basement Tapes "Nothing To It"

Maybe you want to listen with your eyes closed first?  Especially if you don't know anything about this project . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Okay, so if you didn't know the story behind this project, and you just heard it on the radio while driving down the street, would you say that it was a great, radio friendly song?

I don't know that I would.  I mean, it's fine.  Somewhat hummable.  A little ragged.  But is it a standout?

Now imagine that you know all about the back-story. 

These are lyrics written by Bob Dylan in the late 60s.  Never recorded.  Dylan recently gave them to T Bone Burnett, who then assembled Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith (of Dawes), Rihannon Giddens (of Carolina Chocolate Drops) and Jim James (who sings here) to record an album's worth of these songs.

Do you hear the song differently, with that knowledge?

That's what makes a track like this so hard for radio.

If you have the context, then it is a fascinating song.  But on it's own, it's not a great sounding single.

And most people who hear it, are not going to know the story behind it.  There more likely to say, "What the hell?" and move on to the next station.

Or am I wrong?  Does the song captivate you, even without knowing the story behind it?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sarah McLachlan & Randy Newman "When She Loved Me"

Some thoughts on last week's Yard Sale . . .

My Mother-In-Law has a big end-of-summer Yard Sale each year.  She invites a few neighborhood folks to set up in her yard too.  So the event is rather massive.  Between 9 and 3 last Saturday, literally hundreds of folks stopped by.

This was the first year we brought stuff of our own, for the sake of participating.   And it was the first Yard Sale that our kids had ever known.

On the car ride to Gramma's, we tried to explain what a Yard Sale is.  And, speaking the language of children, we gave them an example from an animated film.

"Remember 'Toy Story 2'?  The one where Woody accidentally got sold?  That was a Yard Sale.  We're taking all our old toys and things, and selling them to people who might want them."

And we cautioned them to not bring any of their own belongings into the driveway, because someone could think that their special toy was actually for sale, and walk off with it.

To put a fine point on it, we played that Sarah McLachlan song, where poor Jessie gets left behind and everyone in the audience weeps like babies.

And while losing your favorite toy to a grabby Yard Sale-goer sounds like some kind of thing that only happens in the movies, let me point you to the conversation I overheard at the end of Gramma's Driveway.

"Look at that.  Why would you want that?  521 Main Street?  What good would that do you, unless that was you exact address?"**

This was an elderly woman who was admiring, but confused by the address marker at Gramma's house.

Because, if it's in the driveway, it must be for sale, ammiright?

We did surprisingly well with the Grandparent-set.  We had a lot of baby gear and toys that my kids had outgrown.  And the grandparents that filtered through all day long were happy to pick up that spare ride-on toy or set of blocks or whatever, that they could have handy for when the grandkids visit.

One item of great interest was the Jack-In-The-Box.  It was fun to see who was delighted by it, and who it surprised/terrified.

See the video on Youtube.

It was the exact same model as the one Will Ferrell opens in "Elf."  (And for my Cape Ann friends, it is made by the local company Schylling, where my sister Amy used to work)

Somewhere in the middle of the day, a teenage boy picked up the Jack-In-The-Box and turned the crank.  At the conclusion of "Pop Goes The Weasel" he gave a surprised "Hey!" 

But not because of the pop-up clown.

Stuffed inside the Jack-In-The-Box (no doubt put there at some point by my 4 year old) was a Lego figure.


We nearly reenacted the plot of "Toy Story 2" by accidently sell Woody at the Yard Sale!

Fortunately, just like the movies, it all ended well, with Woody coming back home with us, safe and sound.  And the Jack-In-The Box, the talking dinosaur, the travel potty, the ride-on giraffe, the music table, the wooden trains and dozens of other treasures, headed to their new homes where somebody would love them.

See the video on Youtube.

** Not Gramma's real address

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

George Ezra "Budapest"

Here's one of those earworms that could have a place on MVY, but . . . I dunno.  What do you think?

The hook is super catchy, but also feels like Ezra is in that same zone as folks we don't play like Ed Sheeran or Matt Nathanson or Jason Mraz---guys who are great in their own way, but a bit commercial for our station.

On the other hand, that baritone ain't exactly what all the tweeners are into these days.

He reminds me a bit of an old MVY favorite who we haven't heard from in a while: William Topley.

What do you think?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.