Country Music Was Killed By ‘Bros’ As In Brocountry – Day 10

FGL

Country music was great up until about 5 years ago, though honestly, the best for me was the stuff of the 80s. Back when I really learned to like country music. You know, when the Judds were like everywhere.

But then this whole shift in country, thanks to the likes of Luke Bryan, FGL (Florida Georgia Line), Dierks Bently, and oh, Blake Shelton, kind of killed classic country. I mean, it was already starting to go the likes of more pop songs. Oh heck, country has been much more poppy for several years, but it was still doable. Now, well now it’s all about tight jeans, drinking, girls in said tight jeans drinking, summer nights, flatbeds of the truck and various other weird non country references.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the so-called ‘brocountry’. It’s a sexy genre that your daddy doesn’t like and you can feel a little bit sexy listening to, because honestly when a guy is crooning to shake your thang, it’s kind of fun. Besides, FGL inspired a whole novel of mine that I’ve been working on about a country (brocountry) singer. Hey, a girl has to take an idea and run with it, and if it happens to look like Tyler Hubbard, well so much the better.

I have a nice selection of Brocountry music to listen to, and yeah, while I love what I was grown on; Tricia Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Brooks and Dunn, and like I said, the Judds, I still have a semi-guilty pleasure of semi-bad country.

So, where do you stand on ‘brocountry’? Listen to it? Hate it? Secretly enjoy it? Psst, I won’t tell.  Share the details in the comments.

Kate

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Don’t Judge My Pitbull – Day 9

Give Me Everything (Pitbull song)

Give Me Everything (Pitbull song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People are always wondering what other’s have as a guilty pleasure. I can honestly say I have very few guilty pleasures as most of what I like I will share with you. Be it crazy dating shows or dancing shows, cartoons, cheesy films, etc. I don’t have guilt with any of them. But there is one guilty pleasure I have that I don’t mention much, especially to my family.

I love Pitbull. Not the dog, though I do love Cooper, a pitbull mix my friends have. (the dogs are adorable.) I’m talking the rapper. The crazy, arrogant, kind of sexy blue-eyed Cuban American rapper. I love his music, the sexy, overtly sexy music, the rhythm. So far, there hasn’t been a Pitbull song I don’t like. I have him on all my running playlists, I have sole playlists devoted to his music.

I first heard him on an Enrique Iglesias song several years ago, and from then on, I was hooked. I don’t get some of his constant lyrics in a song…. what the heck does ‘dale’ mean? And thank you, Daniel, over on Daniel Is Funny blog, for referencing all the weird things Pitbull sings about. Yes, that would be an amazing drinking game, though I would be soused in two songs…. It’s that bad.  For those interested here is the Pitbull Song Bingo/Drinking Game

All joking aside, which is hard to do because I roll my eyes a lot when I listen to him, I still find myself sucked down into his world of rap that is so much more explicit than I would ever let a younger person listen to. I mean, just recently I fell in love with his “Greenlight” song and it’s gorgeous, in my opinion, but the lyrics make me cringe knowing I wouldn’t let my father know I love the song. Seriously, how much more explicit can you be about sex? But the beat makes me want to get up and dance and go dancing and salsa and cha-cha my way down the street.

Anyways, explicit lyrics are probably the reason I don’t tell people this guilty pleasure. Maddie…. knowing you are going to read this, possibly, don’t judge. Lol, (we are in the same writing group so I see her)  Anyways, does anyone else have a musical guilty pleasure?  Are you willing to share? Oh, I should add that Flo Rida is a bit of a guilty pleasure as well.

Kate

 

Favorite Songs Part 1 – Day 8

Bruce Springsteen, Drammenshallen, Norway

Bruce Springsteen, Drammenshallen, Norway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I’m On Fire” by Bruce Springsteen has to be one of my all time favorite songs. I cannot explain  how much I like it, but when I hear it, there is like this little piece of me that calms down and suddenly I’m okay.

Recently, Mumford and Sons did a cover of it, a live version, that is beautifully done. Raw, gritty, Mumford-y.  Then I heard the cover by Olaf Arnalds on an episode of Lethal Weapon. Now I’m not one to begrudge a cover, nor am I one to say the original was best, but in this case, no one has it quite like The Boss.

No, I think I will stick with something that truly shouldn’t ever be played around with and changed. Now to only find more Bruce Springsteen songs that are like ‘I’m On Fire’.  Does anyone know? I’ve yet to find one quite like that song of his.

Kate

Celtic Isn’t No Irish Jig – Day 7

I was in my early teenage years when my parents were introduced to Enya and Loreena McKennitt and Clannad. I was not impressed. I thought that music was depressing and sad and cold. It made me cold to listen to it, it made me want to cry, I wondered why the heck my parents were into that kind of stuff. I would roll my eyes when they would put it on, though I did find Clannad to be slightly more bouncy at times, thank God. I just didn’t get the point.

I can’t say when it was that it started to grow on me, but by the time I reached my mid teens, I was hooked. I listened to everything we had, which was several Enya albums, and come to think of it, several Loreena albums. We had The Chieftains, James Galway, Enya, Loreena, and more, though I’m blanking on what. Then I added Altan and more Loreena, and Celtic women, and gosh, all kinds of things. I even started learning to sing the songs that were in Gaelic. (I even went so far as to learning how to make Celtic knots, and wanting to learn Gaelic, and I have a Scottish dictionary…) My friend and I were hooked.

The music has stuck with me over the years, though I have to say that my fascination for Celtic music has waned some. I was instantly hooked recently when I was watching King Arthur Legend of the Sword and the first song came on, The Life sung by Gareth Williams. Reminds me of Billy Boyd singing in The Return of the King. Haunting.

A lot of Celtic music is haunting and sad, a touch depressing and honestly when it is raining, it seriously fits the mood. I find that I don’t need the ‘depressing’ mood when it rains. I have enough depression/discouragement in my life without adding to the mix. Maybe through those semi angst-filled teenage years I needed depressing. I certainly had a lot of lows. But as I get older, the less sad music, the better.

Loreena McKennitt Rome 2017

But I will say, Celtic music is what shifted me more towards folk music and that is an area I have definitely taken to. So while Enya doesn’t get played as much, and I can’t remember the last time I played Clannad (excluding the Christmas tunes that have several Celtic artist’s renditions), I have a healthy respect for the style of music. I think it has inspired me in many ways and helped me along my path.

Now, it’s your turn. Readers, has Celtic music influenced your life? If not that style, what has? Country, Rock, Rap? Tell me in the comments below.

Kate

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Spoon River Gossip Column

How, as a poet, I didn’t know about Spoon River Anthology is beyond me. I just recently found out about the marvelous poems of Edgar Lee Masters by chance as I was listening to a back issue of Poetry Off the Shelf.    It had been 100 years since it had first been published, and the book, despite being somewhat dated in stories, has never gone out of print. Now talk about staying power.

I fell in love with the tragic poems recited in the podcast, but it was once I started reading them that it really became the good stuff. Sitting down and flipping through the Kindle version ( I now know I must get a hardback copy) I felt my heart start to race and the just utter shock at the stories hit me like I was reading a gossip column about the trials of all of Hollywood.  I sit there and I want to share this titillating story with my mother.  “Did you hear?” is running through the back of my head as I read one more snippet of scandal. The horrors, humor, and tragedy just make my heart start to pound and I am flipping the next page (the crackle of a newspaper is nearly at hand!) and I’m on to the next salacious story.

Back when my mother was in Jr. High, (I believe) my aunt did a skit of sorts reading three poems from Spoon River. Lucinda Matlock, Yee Bow, and Elsa Wertman were those recited. Years later, meaning just a few weeks ago, I was telling my mother all about finding Spoon River Anthology and falling in love with it, and her first thing she said to me was, “Why does that sound so familiar?”  I explained the premise and boom, she was back remembering hearing her sister recite the poems. After I downloaded the ebook, she flipped through it, page after page and found those three poems and said those were the ones she remembered here. Boom, and email from my aunt confirmed it. Clearly the poems have such staying power as to stick in the head of a 14 year old girl, who is now much older.

I can totally understand the appeal of such poems, done in such a loose, informal way, that there is no actual meter or rhyming scheme, because the stories themselves talk of life in such a way that you can relate, even if the poems and situations were written one hundred plus years ago. There is till rape, racism, hate, greed, sloth, longing, adultery, pure love, long lasting love, commitment, abortion, murder…… All of our sins are spilled out for us to ooh and ahh over, with no thought that we are just like them. Written in such a way that you eagerly turn to the next story.

I think every high school drama class should perform a rendition of Spoon River Anthology. Take and mix it up with each class. Heck, I would do it in a heartbeat. If I could stand out there and recite a story that has such meaning and emotion embodied in so few words. Heartbreaking and entertaining, I highly recommend Spoon River Anthology for anyone interested in learning about poetry and having it almost completely understandable. And if you enjoy People magazine, well even better. The gossip rags have nothing on Spoon River’s drama.

If you are looking for a free copy, Project Gutenberg has one, as the copy write is out of date, but personally while I downloaded that one, I like the Kindle Dover Thrift Edition.

Kate

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Music Videos Are More Fun Sometimes – Day 6

Sometimes it is the music video that I love almost more than the song itself. Or sometimes the video is what gets me to like the song better. It does depend sometimes, as the video can make me not like the song. Case in point, I love “Bad Liar” by Selena Gomez, and the video is really creative, but parts of it irk me enough that I probably will avoid the video if I can help it.

Here is a random sampling of music videos I love as much as the song, or vise versa.

Song, violins, 50+ girls playing violins…Train. It’s all good.

Nick Jonas isn’t one of my more favorite artists, but this song is killer.

The original “You Don’t Own Me” by Leslie Gore is a classic woman’s empowerment song.   The new version by Grace featuring G-Eazy is exceptionally sexy.

Fun’s ‘Carry On’ is cool because of that underground subway-esque restaurant.

Maroon 5, What can I say, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this band. This song, well, it goes without saying that I love this song, and video, and surprise wedding receptions.

Mumford & Sons is my second band, and when “I Will Wait” came out, fans just screamed. Me included. It didn’t hurt that it was filmed at Red Rocks, my ultimate place to see a concert.

I could go on. The Piano Guys have some of the best videos ever. I love sexy Enrique Iglesias  songs. Oooh, Pitbul! His are fun. Oh, and before I go, I’m going to leave you with one of the best videos I ever saw. It’s probably still a favorite being that it’s a Paul Simon song. Chevy Chase makes it perfect. Yes, I am a child of the 80s. Try and tell me this isn’t a great song and video though. Just try.

So, what are some of your favorite music videos and songs? Share. I’m always on the lookout.

Kate

All Because Of Billie – Day 5

English: Portrait of Billie Holiday in Down Be...

English: Portrait of Billie Holiday in Down Beat magazine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had Billie Holiday’s ‘Love Songs’ on my shelf for several years before I actually fell in love with her. It took several years of listening to other artists of a more modern era before I could fully appreciate Ms. Holiday’s tunes. Things like Diana Krall and Norah Jones. Ella Fitzgerald and various other 40s and 50s -esque tunes.

Then it was reading, and in this case, re-reading Emilie Loring‘s “original” books which all took place pre 1950s, to suddenly need to hear music that was from the time period I was reading about. Billie Holiday was never mentioned in an Emilie Loring book. I’m not sure it was her kind of music since she seemed to stick to much more classically inclined music. (I’m currently reading The Trail of Conflict, published in 1922 and the song repeated a couple times is “Papillions” by Schumann) Which is fine, but I do like non classical things and Billie Holiday seems like ‘the thing’ I would have listened to in the era she was most popular.

Now, well now that she has filtered into my repertoire, I can’t help but put her on regularly, again, much to my family’s dismay. To Dinah, who has commented on my first post about Jazz, I totally agree, Billie is probably my first love with jazz, not counting those two songs mentioned in the post. I love her husky wavering voice and oh, it just makes me want to start moving around the room.  “You Go To My Head” is my all time favorite of hers,  though “Me, Myself, and I” are a close second……. Oh Heck! I love the whole gosh darn album. I love Billie Holiday.

So, if you want a very snazzy introduction to just some of the best jazz, listen to Billie Holiday. You just won’t be disappointed. “You go to my head like a sip of sparkling Burgundy brew……”

Kate

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John Denver Ruled My Childhood – Day 4

In more ways than one. I still think the first music or John Denver’s I listened to was either his Rocky Mountain Christmas (my favorite) or his Some Days Are Diamonds album. I didn’t get around to his greatest hits until I hit my late teens, which was odd because my father had both of his Greatest Hits albums. And by albums, I do mean vinyl records. I actually love that I’m from a generation that still knew what records meant. The poor kiddie saps of today who think everything is digital.

I’ve posted plenty of times about John Denver, probably because he has had a pretty big impact on my music listening life. My father was a huge JD fan; I think he actually did see him in concert once, and I’m too lazy to go downstairs and ask Mr. B if that is correct, so let’s assume it is. It’s much more fun to think that he did see him in concert. Something I wish I could have. (I have never been to a concert. It’s on my list of things I want to do.)

But I’ve always known about John Denver, mostly because of the two Christmas albums we listened to without fail every year. It’s tradition to turn on his Christmas Like a Lullaby album, which my sister loves more than the Rocky Mountain Christmas, which I adore. There’s something about that 70s and 80s vibe that takes me back in time to when I was a child, but without actually having to go through the time period as an adult. There are things that the music brings back to me that I really can’t explain other than a deja vu moment.

As for all his other music, well, it’s probably the most calming music I’ve ever listened to and probably know by heart. I can sing a few bars of almost every song of his, with a few exceptions.

And I have a list of general favorites that I know almost all of the lyrics. Aspenglow is probably one of my all time favorites these days. It’s Christmas without actually stating it’s Christmas, not to mention that it is THE song of December for me that takes me back to being about 5.  Gravel on the Road (the message in the song), Sunshine on My Shoulders, Some Days Are Diamonds, The Cowboy and the Lady, Thank God I’m A Country Boy, Starwood, Leaving on a Jet Plane, and Take Me Home, Country Roads. There are probably lots more, but those are particular favorites.

His music has influenced my love of folk and a specific type of country music you don’t hear much these days. It’s the music that makes me feel solemn but also comfortable. He’s mocked by many and loved by many. You have to be a specific type of person to love John Denver, but his music has spanned the decades. I might be old school, but I’m glad my life has been filled with the music of John Denver.

So, thoughts? Have you been a Denver fan or do you mock him? Listen to him? Love him?

Kate

Scoring Myself – Day 3

While  yesterday was all about musicals, today is about the scores and soundtracks from films. One of the best things about films is the music used. Some scores make the film so magical that you just have to have the score for later on to listen to. Soundtracks come a very close second, or maybe you just need both, but many times the score is what gets me most. I can list composers that I just adore; Alan Silvestri, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Howard Shore, and Alexandre Desplat to name just a few.

I have several film scores that are just tres magnifique, in my opinion. Disney scores, with the soundtracks are just perfect. I actually would love if you could get a double feature of soundtrack and score most of the time. Best scores in my opinion as of right now are, The Holiday, Harry Potter (all are perfect especially the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them), just about anything Disney, the new King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, and You’ve Got Mail. I’m blanking if there are others. I mean, every John Williams score is unbelievable, same with Alan Silvestri and Hans Zimmer. I mean, there are very few of those three that I can think of as bad.

Soundtracks, now those, I could list so many of those. My family has quite a few soundtracks that have filled up our musical life. The best ones are where the whole song list is wonderful. Of course, Disney tops the list. Others, well, okay, I could make an incredibly long list, but I won’t. Here’s a handful.  Serendipity, The Parent Trap (newer version), You’ve Got Mail, Chicago, My Fair Lady, Sound of Music (see, all those musicals too) Morning Glory, just to name a few.

So what score/soundtracks do you like best?

Kate

Musicals are for Girls? – Day 2

My Fair Lady (film)

My Fair Lady (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I put that title in a question as I know most girls like musicals, but really they are for anyone. I was talking to a man a while ago and he spit out something from My Fair Lady. So no, it’s not just for girls, but I’d say, on the whole, there are very few girls/women who don’t know one musical….. or more, and can sing something out from them.

Disney is to blame for me loving musicals, and there will be another whole post on Disney tunes, later this month. But when you start at age 2 seeing your first musical, they kind of just ingratiate themselves into your life. I actually didn’t see My Fair Lady until I was in my late teens, which is honestly just a shame. If I had a daughter, I would have had her see it when she was about 6 or so. Maybe not, it’s a long film.

From Singing in the Rain to Grease, Moulin Rouge, Mama Mia, Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera (which falls under the heading of opera as well) White Christmas, The Sound of Music, The Music Man…. and that’s just to name a few of the ones I know I’ve seen. I know, it’s a small list. But musicals have shaped my music life. Out of nowhere I can break into song from any one of those… Grease came out the other night for some reason or other. Not sure why.

My Fair Lady is probably the most ‘quoted’ sung musical in my repertoire, though Chicago’s Cell Block Tango spits out a lot when we are talking about things dying… or murder. Trust me, anything with a really catchy tune will stick in my head. Murder just makes it a bit more fun, especially when you can get all emphatic and nearly spit out “he had it coming….”

I’m not sure what it is in particular that make musicals a necessity in my life, but there is something about a song that is telling a story that ingratiates itself into your head and you find yourself pulling it up and blurting it out, usually at the top of your voice, at the most random moments. I actually find plenty of moments to do it and the joke around my house is “oh gosh now that song is stuck in my head!” (to which the reply is, “I can fix that, want something worse?” Trust me, there is always something worse. We have two backup standby ‘worse’ songs that get pulled up all the time. Natasha Bedingfield’s “I Got A Pocketful of Sunshine” and Bill Nighy singing “Christmas Is All Around” from Love Actually…. You’re welcome! )

There are lots more other musicals I’ve yet to see (and by see, I mean film) but my list is growing. The ‘Mikado’ is first on the list, since my mother can sing several songs from that and I’ve yet to actually listen to one…

West Side Story, South Pacific, Les Miserables, and I just pulled up the Wikipedia article and realized I’ve seen a heck of a lot more than I thought, and there is a LOT more I want to see….. Here, List of Musical Films by Year  Start having fun with that list…

Yes, musicals have definitely shaped my musical life.

So what are some of your favorite musicals of all time?

Kate