Friday, September 29, 2006

His Master's Voice

Marni and I went for audio therapy at lunch time and I picked up the following:

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Nothing to Lose, Something to Post

Update re "Looks like my writing gig was a fairweather stin): Well, I eat my words. Published in September 15 paper.

Artist: Mat Kearney
Album: Nothing Left To Lose
Review Rating: 7 out of 10
By Stephanie Kiernan

Plucked from the line of his latest album and single, Nothing Left to Lose, Mat Kearney summarizes his route to Nashville, “To a kid from Oregon by way of California”. More precisely, Kearney was born and raised in “The World’s Greatest City for the Arts and Outdoors”, as per Eugene’s official slogan. That seems to be the key ingredient for his artistic tendencies, turning to everything from painting and photography to writing poetry and screenplays. He played soccer and studied Literature at California’s Chico State University before setting up camp in Nashville. In the daunting presence of the Nashville talent scene, rather than discouragement, Kearney found the muse and motivation to refine and hone his own music.

Nothing Left To Lose, extracts a whole seven songs from his debut album “Bullet”, sifting them through a more sophisticated and ambitious venture. The album reveals a youthful and original talent in this singer-songwriter with rhyming tales and spoken verse that give emphasis to an unusual blend of urban folk and hip-hop. Vocally you’ll pick up Chris Martin and perhaps Jack Johnson; but that’s not to take away from Kearney’s own particular sound. His live performances prove his authentic vocal flair beside a talent for playing the piano, guitar and harmonica.

“Undeniable”, “Crashing Down” and of course title track “Nothing Left to Lose” are sure winner that pipe up with optimism, strong pop guitar backing and of his clean vocals. The album has an earthiness to it, most of the songs hinged by spoken verse, exposing the artist’s sensitivity toward the written word. He’s not quite Leonard Cohen, but the kid’s got genuine ability and keen musical influences as posted on his website’s journal page, citing current playlists that include Sujan Stevens, Patty Griffin, Built To Spill, Lucinda Williams, Neko Case, Billie Holiday and Johnny Cash.

Although it’s not necessary to assign music to a specific form or genre, but it is difficult to pin down Mat Kearney, because of the “hip hop” spoken verse cast through most of his music. It may be a turn off for some and I’m more inclined to think that his music hits a younger demographic. I would hope if you’re looking for something new in pop, that you’ll give Mat Kearney a chance. Be surprised by the album. It’s sure to renew your faith in the new generation of musicians.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg

Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling christmas eve
I stole behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve

She didnt recognize the face at first
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried.

We took her groceries to the checkout stand
The food was totalled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation dragged.

We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldnt find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car.

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how.

She said shed married her an architect
Who kept her warm and safe and dry
She would have liked to say she loved the man
But she didnt like to lie.

I said the years had been a friend to her
And that her eyes were still as blue
But in those eyes I wasnt sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude.

She said she saw me in the record stores
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was heavenly
But the traveling was hell.

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how.

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving in our eloquence
Another auld lang syne...

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away.

Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain --

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Snow Patrol Review

This is my review of the new Snow Patrol Album "Eyes Open" (Released by Polydor Ltd (UK), May 13, 2006) which I hope to have published in the North Shore News - usually a Friday edition paper. I've given it 7 out of 10

It’s easy to think of Snow Patrol as a new British alternative band and to mistake the freshly released Eyes Open as the second release to follow up a successful debut record. Though it’s true their 2004 album Final Straw quickly passed over the North American music radar screen with the breakthrough beacons “Run”, “Chocolate” and “How To Be Dead”, this Celtic band has been in the hopper for ten years. Even with such honest, college-indie beginnings, Eyes Open is about to open the eyes and ears of many this side of the proverbial pond.

Glasgow based Snow Patrol’s commander is Gary Lightbody, born in Belfast in 1976, he formed the three-man band in 1997 while attending university in Scotland. Four albums later, old-friend and super talent Paul Wilson replaces the band’s co-founder/bassist, Mark McClelland, and a new five-member line-up emerges with multi-instrumental talents.
Listening to UK Internet stations over the past month, I was already prepped for track one, “You’re All I Have”; a catchy, upbeat pop song that tags track two “Hands Open”. Both are sure to be successful singles for Snow Patrol here in Canada and back in the UK. The album presents a dual personality with excited fast moving songs and then mature, reflective ballads that perfectly demonstrate Lightbody’s songwriting ability and vocal talent.

This peculiar transition from upbeat to sullen works in their favor, as a wide net is cast. Clearly there is intelligence here and we may still be surprised with the depth of confessional lyrics. A definite highlight is the featured vocals of Martha Wainwright, younger sister to musician Rufus Wainwright. Sounding like the missing link between Kate Bush and Tori Amos, Wainwright provides a haunting element to Gary Lightbody’s immensely evocative song “Set The Fire To The Third Bar”. Then the short and sweet, “You Could Be Happy” is simply lovely, with a poignancy that is complete with a tinkling music box. The track “Chasing Cars” is pure and may creep over to radio waves.

If you are a fan of Final Straw, you’ll notice the shift in the sound of Eyes Open. With alluring layers of melodies, blending violins, cello, piano and background choirs, it is nevertheless clear that mainstay Gary Lightbody holds court to this band as his vocals are forefront. As Snow Patrol makes its way to the mainstream, we can only hope they can hold on to a trace of their humble, independent charm.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Improving Outkast Hey Ya...

Bear with it - it's a long song, but Charlie, Snoopy, Sally and Linus totally improve this tune.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Robert Post's Got None

I still got none...and so I fall into the open, singing out your name, and when I'm done, I'm crashed and maimed, I hope that's where you'll find me...

And after all the bandages are gone, I hope you find a favorite part you can work on...