I spent a lot of time this past weekend stalking the Instagram accounts of several of my favorite bands that happened to be playing at SXSW. It was a bit of a depressing experience, both because I was at the time stuck in Featheringill trying to study for a test and because I currently do not have the money to spend on a large music festival experience. That being said, there are a ton of music festivals that are driving distance from Nashville that are cheaper and still offer great lineups. So if you’re bummed about missing Coachella or Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza, check out these awesome festivals coming up this summer.
As a composer, people often ask what my favorite piece of music is – the one that affected me the most, the one that made me feel things I hadn’t before, the one that when I heard it I knew what I had to do with my life. I remember one day last fall that question was posed in my Intro to Composition class, to a room of mostly composition majors. Everyone in the room called to mind immediately their first exposure to Mahler, or their first bout with Bach or Beethoven or Brahms. As a composer I know I “should” love these great composers and be deeply affected by their expertise and power – and I do, and I am. But the piece that has most deeply affected me, the one that makes me sure of exactly why I chose to study to be an artist, and the one with which I responded in class was “Life On Mars?” by David Bowie. This song is, without hesitation, my Mahler Five, my Beethoven Nine, my Rite of Spring. But its impact on me (as well as Bowie’s impact) stretches back years before I ever decided to compose.
English singer-songwriter Sam Smith won Best Original Song at the 2016 Oscars on Sunday for “Writing’s on the Wall,” the theme song for Spectre. This is the second time that the theme song for a James Bond film has won an Oscar, with Adele’s “Skyfall” from Skyfall setting the precedent in 2013.
After selling out Marathon Music Works in October, contemporary 1950s-soul artist Leon Bridges was back in Nashville last night at a sold-out Ryman Auditorium. The crowd surprisingly consisted of all ages compared to the Marathon Music Works show, which was a glaring majority of young couples. The ability to sit down in pews likely contributed to the older crowd’s attendance, and there was also the benefit of not having to watch hundreds of couples slow-dance and make out to Leon’s jams. In general, as my friend astutely commented, “There are a lot of good hats tonight.” Leon’s vintage style permeated the crowd, transporting us to the 1950s.