Wainwright’s vocal timbre is a specific taste. You either like it or you don’t. He is one of the few vocalists that can pull off nasaled, and I was curious to see if it would work in a concert setting. It would be interesting to hear a classically trained vocalist attempt to perform these pieces as there were moments of strained higher notes. In popular music, this can commonplace and even artistic, but on the Davies Hall stage, it seemed a little strange. I'm still on the fence if I personally liked it or not.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Greg Laswell finally gets to rock out with a 5-piece band, and the catalyst to starting this blog in the first place
It was a lonely September evening when I went to see Greg Laswell by myself at Cafe du Nord in 2008. But it was there that I decided to go home and actually start writing. I had been thinking about it for awhile, but there was something about discovering this musician and seeing him play live that actually convinced me to do it.
So thanks, Greg.
I'm super excited to see him play with a 5-piece band on a bigger stage. The energy of his music calls for more sound, and somehow the two and three piece groups I've seen him with always left me a tad disappointed.
READ THE PREVIEW OF THE THIS SHOW at the Independent next Wednesday HERE
Please click through, even if you don't read it, I get a penny every time you go to my Examiner articles! MAKE ME RICH!! lol. I don't have a day job anymore!!
And for those of you not in the Bay Area check out his tour dates here, he'll be heading through the Midwest, East Coast and Canada in the next month or so.
And stay tuned for photos and review from a fellow Examiner Amber Gregory.
Watch Greg try to sing backwards (to make it look like he's singing forwards) while people destroy the set in the background.
Friday, October 15, 2010
<-- I do want to point out that Veronika Safarova, Valerie Orth's bassist, was totally rocking my world at this show. This is why I'm taking bass lessons.
READ MY REVIEW HERE
Just to share: I'm still struggling with reviews in general, but I'm getting better! Meaning: I keep doing it! I hope I'm getting better. And the more I do it, the better I will get. For many reasons reviews are harder for me to write than anything else. (I really just want to support musicians and spread the good juju and many of the people I talk to struggle with this), and I'm still struggling, and will probably continue to do so, with how to balance my opinion of the good with the bad in a critical way. (See this challenge of writing a review of a musical I was super disappointed with). It's also a tricky balance when I'm highly involved in the community I'm writing about. I'm figuring it all out.
Have any of you noticed anything about my writing or just have words of advice, encouragement or critique? I welcome them.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Last weekend I found myself in a jam session among professional musicians at a party at Sonic Zen Studios in Berkeley. As a vocalist who dabbles in playing instruments, rarely do I feel confident enough in my playing ability to pick up something more than a tambourine in these kinds of circumstances.
I walked into the party and a jam session, full of professional musicians. The jam session had already begun. I sat down, listened for a while and then, of course, got myself a tambourine.
Then they hooked up a microphone. I decided to not even consider not singing. I jumped right into it and had the most positive jam session experience I’ve ever had.
How does a vocalist “jam”? These are things I’ve figured out over the years.
1) Be very conscious about how much space you are or are not taking.
As soon as a singer begins to sing, the ear focuses on them. It’s just how the ear is trained. A bass guitarist or drummer can keep playing, and should keep playing unless they are making a specific statement to drop out. A jamming vocalist needs stay very conscious about taking up too much of the attention and stay sensitive to what the other musicians are doing. If the keyboardist and drummer are getting something going between them, you want to be sure not to step on their toes until the back-and-forth is over.
2) Dealing with lyrics.
How does a vocalist deal with this whole word and lyrics situation? Well if you are a poet, you probably won’t have any trouble. I’ve never considered myself a songwriter or a poet. And I've never really felt that words come easily to me. But this evening, words sort of came out in a stream of consciousness, or as a couple words and then some “Bla-dee-bla-dee-bla” nonsense syllables. I don’t think it really matters if you scat or sing words, but when out pops some funny or thoughtful lyric, people react to it.
3) Think like a horn player.
Play your melody a few times, riff on it a little bit. Then drop out for a while, come back in with some back-up, simple lines with some oooo’s or aaaah’s or back-up vocal type punctuation at the end of phrases. (Think Motown or soul back up singers.) Then come back in with the melody.
4) Don’t be afraid to be dramatic or silly, just don’t over do it.
Make funny voices, sing real low, real high, scream. Just don’t let that be all you do. Save it for special moments.
5) Don’t be shy to use material that isn’t yours or something you’ve been working with on your own.
There’s nothing wrong about quoting someone else. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with bringing in something that you’ve written on your own. You never know what kind of ideas someone else in the circle might bring into the mix that you wouldn’t have thought of. It could make an idea blossom into something bigger the next time you work on it.
6) Milk a good idea, just know when it’s time to move on.
When you get something good going, and the other musicians seem to react well to it, work it. And then when you feel that you’re ready to move on, do it.
The more you jam, the more comfortable you’ll get. You’ll start to get more confident in following your gut and your abilities to make things up on the spot.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
With his unique brand of spirituality (à la U2), Tim's thick, gravely voice seems to come from somewhere beyond his throat. He's touring without a band right now, so the focus is on his voice and the simple accompaniment.
Tim has just made his first tour stop in San Francisco and is onto Salt Lake City, Denver, Austin, Tennessee, Florida and then back to the Bay before he returns to Los Angeles.
For more touring info, visit Tim's facebook page and tumblr blog.
Check out my examiner.com article covering his show at Hotel Utah on Sunday night.
This is Tim's cover of "Wagon Wheel." The song was suggested by a fan a couple days ago, Tim learned it and recorded this video in my living room. Wagon Wheel was originally performed by Bob Dylan and Old Crow Medicine Show.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Fund the project here!
Lia Rose is the ethereal voice in front of the dream anthem pop band Built for the Sea. Their sound is big and warm. Rose's voice is sweet and hypnotic. I started listening to Built for the Sea recently and it was hard to take the CD out of my car stereo. Now Rose is hitting the studio on her own to create something all her own, perhaps something a little more delicate. It'll be exciting to see what comes out of this new project.
There are many different levels of funding, each with their own sized "reward" from a signed CD to a handmade art piece by Rose herself. As of Thursday afternoon, Rose is 78% of the way to her goal with 93 backers. She has 14 days to go. Can she raise the money to get cracking? Will you help?Lia Rose on myspace
Friday, April 2, 2010
For those of you who like Neko Case, listen up! I was playing on the internet this morning and Lissie Maurus, a Southern singer/songwriter caught my eye. She was just at South by Southwest and seems to have caught some folks' attention. There's a little bit of buzz going on about her right now, and rightly so.
She's got quite a voice and I have the feeling that like Neko, the songwriting and production quality (all that wonderful guitar reverb!) of recording will get under my skin and put me in that happy, warm place every time I listen.
Do not underestimate the power of making a good cover. That is how, especially on the internet, people will find you. That's how I found Lissie, watching Lady Gaga covers.
Here's her cover of Gaga's "Bad Romance"
And here's an original called "In Sleep"
What do you think?
Thursday, November 26, 2009
In the midst of all this Prop-8 nonsense, I do believe it is the double standard that is to blame. But there are two double standards at work here: that of gender and that of sexuality. As many have said before me the Britney Spears/Madonna kiss was okay with the media. They are both straight women. If Melissa Etheridge pulled what Adam Lambert did, I think there would have been a similar noise. Blatant homosexuality is threatening to mainstream media. This we know.
READ MORE OF MY ARTICLE AND SEE VIDEOS OF RUFUS WAINWRIGHT, MATT ALBER, IVRI LIDER, CAZWELL, LEVI KREIS & THE SCISSOR SISTERS
Saturday, October 24, 2009
One of my favorite artists that I've written about before, Kina Grannis, is one of these people. She writes songs, records some covers and makes youtbe videos with her Mac computer and edits them into some gorgeousness.
But I've got some new finds thanks to my friends on facebook: Pomplamoose and Lauren O'Connell.
This is Pomplamoose. Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn hang out in their apartment in the Bay Area (I guess they are an item and live together) and make music videos. Nataly has a gorgeous voice that she layers and layers and layers and Jack plays all sorts of instruments. They remind me of the early recording experiments of Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford.
These videos are awesomely edited together and showcase a fabulous sense of humor. Watch Jack jump around, say silly things and put puppets on the kick pedal of a bass drum. Oh, and Nataly recently got a Master's degree in French Literature. So she's smart too. And did I say pretty? Because she's really pretty.
Pomplamoose will be playing live in San Francisco on November 13th at the Brainwash Cafe. I hope I can check it out. I would be very interested to see what they do live.
This is their cover of Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." Yes, I still love this song. This is the first tune I heard of theirs, they have *ton* of good ones though. Click around on their youtube page.
I just discovered Lauren O'Connell this morning (thanks Joey), so I'm still learning about her and all her videos on her youtube page. But, she is friends with Pomplamoose and is only 20! She layers and edits all of her own stuff and does very neat things with percussive sounds (doors slamming, kicking things) to get the sound she wants. She also plays a bazillion instruments.
Oh, and she's freaking hysterical too: "Right next to my bed, is the FUCKING RAT POISON!"
She says on her myspace page that she "doesn't understand the internet." Yeah, right. She's genius at using it.
Oh look, I just found a Nataly and Lauren collaboration. Cool.
So, if you're looking to make it big on yotube as a musician, this is one of the equations that are successful. You must:
1) be funny, charming, silly, etc.
2) cool cover songs (originals are good too!)
3) edit and layer audio and video.
What do we call this? Patchwork editing?
Friday, February 6, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Many of you may have heard about this already, but NPR and The New York Times have both run stories about The AccoLade, a all-female rock band from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (you can listen to the NPR radio spot here).
Anyone in this world can play, hear and create music no matter what their gender is or nationality, we are making music and we would appreciate it if the comments are only about our music, lyrics, paintings, where talk about our song, or how good/bad our song is…and omit anything that is irrelevant or inappropriate .
And by the way we are not facing any problems with anyone, and we are satisfied with what we are doing and the way we provide our song to you ... as we said before we are doing this for fun only and we respect our country, culture and traditions …we’ll continue our music without contradicting them…
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I've also added some songs to my playlist that I hope reflect her power and dignity as a performer and singer. Unfortunately there wasn't much to choose from on the playlist site that I use.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I think I like how the day sounds through this new dawn.And the lines have all been drawn,I know where I belong.
From a long way downIt's well worth the time that it's taken to get here now