On the Friday before spring break, I had the pleasure of seeing the Vanderbilt Core Choir perform their home concert that began their week long tour to Florida. The front end of the program was a typical classical repertoire, featuring works from Bach, Mendelssohn, and Brahms. Via short sets focusing on international pieces and original compositions by choir members and friends, there was a gradual transition into what I found to be an absolutely stunning performance of Americana songs at the tail end of the program. There was a complete change in atmosphere of the concert, and it was in no way related to the quality of the music going up for some strange reason. The performance level was stunning throughout; in the roots set, it was just like the music stopped being a performance and began to be a warm and welcoming conversation. It focused strongly on spirituals, arrangements of songs by The Wailin’ Jennys to highlight some of the ensemble’s remarkable sopranos and altos, and a selection for the male vocalists to shine on that happens to be one of my current favorite songs. This was an adapted arrangement of Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac’s recording of “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)” for the 2013 Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis (you can listen to a recording of the choir’s men performing the selection above). The film follows a week in the life of Llewyn Davis, a fictional folk artist in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s struggling to make it by, providing a dreary reminder to the audience that for every Bob Dylan or Joan Baez success that came from this vibrant folk movement there were countless careers that failed to start. Again and again in this dismal setting, the film’s music shines through, punctuated by performances from Oscar Isaac in his titular role. The man that put that soundtrack together was T-Bone Burnett.
It has been on my bucket list since the beginning of my first semester – watch an awesome show at the Exit/In. That may be redundant, considering the bands that come to the venue are more likely than not, extremely talented. Some of them have been lucky enough to have their names written on a large wall behind the bar or on the grand mural outside the front door. Well, I would argue that the show I went to, Kodaline with the fantastic opener LP, should be put up next on that wall of fame.
Earlier this week, Nashville was lucky enough to host one of the most innovative and creative bands in the business right now. Combining elements of jazz, electronica, rock, and everything in between, Snarky Puppy attracted probably one of the most demographically diverse crowds I have ever seen at a concert. It was amazing to see this band have such a crowd equally invested into their music, and taking a closer look at their work will show you how this was possible.
The other day, as I stumbled upon some old photos of myself deep in the crevices of my computer files, I started reflecting on my middle school self. I was, of course, rocking the typical emo/pop punk kid uniform of as much pink and black as possible and sporting thick, black etnies in most of the photos. In a few pictures, I’m seen with a metallic blue iPod mini on hand. So, the other day, I started thinking about the bands I was listening to back in 2006 and thought I’d give you all a recap of my ultimate favorites at the time. Hopefully some of you can relate.
What comes to mind when you think of music from Louisiana? For most, probably not a whole lot. You may be aware of New Orleans as the birthplace of jazz, or the Southern Louisiana favorites of zydeco and Cajun music if you are especially shrewd. Although it is true that these genres have a huge impact on the musical culture of Louisiana, there are a surprising number of artists that do not adhere to these more “typical” Louisiana genres and can hold their own against bands and artists across the nation. I find out more and more about the rich and diverse music scene in my own backyard all the time, and just recently I was informed by a Louisiana musician and friend that many of the members of Neutral Milk Hotel, who just recently sold out the Ryman, are in fact from the quaint town of Ruston, LA. Just to give you all a little taste of what I am talking about, I have compiled a list of five artists/bands that I think give insight into a different spice that Louisiana offers.
27 year old Hudson Mohawke (HudMo), real name Ross Birchard, has become quite the DJ and producer over the last several years. Most people probably know his name because he makes up one half of the duo TNGHT, or because he helped produced Kanye West’s most recent album, Yeezus (him and Lunice, the other half of TNGHT, had the most influence over Kanye’s track Blood on the Leaves which is my favorite track!). Over winter break I was most fortunate and spent nearly a month in Glasgow, Scotland, where HudMo is from, and (almost!!) ran into him several times in the small but vibrant city. Call me ignorant but I hadn’t heard his name before winter break although I knew and listened to TNGHT’s music, and as he’s a “local celebrity” in Glasgow, I had to catch up on all the gossip and news going around town concerning HudMo.
I’m a Chicago kid. Born in the city and raised on the Southside. It’s what I know, it’s what I rep, it’s the place I love and call home. We get a bad rap on the national media for the violence, the public schools and the corruption (at least, in part, rightfully so) but all in all, I’m proud of where I’m from. So when something good comes out of where I’m from, I have to bump it. [Read more...]
2013 is coming to a close, and that means it’s time to select our station’s top album of the year. Our DJs have nominated the 16 albums in the image above, but we’re leaving it to our listeners to vote for their favorites within this group. Head over to our Facebook page every day this week to weigh in!