Archive for the ‘Daniel Lanois’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: TERRA LIGHTFOOT-Live at Massey Hall (December 8, 2017).

I know of Terra Lightfoot because she has done some (very minimal) work with Rheostatics.

Amazingly, she is not related to Gordon Lightfoot (how many people have this last name?).

Terra Lightfoot opened for Whitehorse (a double bill I would love to see).  She plays a half a dozen songs.  I thought she might be a sensitive folkie (again that Gordon connection), but it turns out that she rocks (and blues), has a powerful voice and plays a pretty wicked guitar as well.

Lightfoot is a great front woman–engaging and funny–and she has some great stories to tell about each of her songs.

“Stars over Dakota” just rocks out–big guitars, smashing drums (from Joel Haynes) and then settles into a swinging shuffle.  Lightfoot has a singular voice which I quite like.  I also like the little guitar riff she gives after the “gin martinis make dizzy” line.  She is joined mid-song by Melissa McClelland of Whitehorse who sings some amazing harmonies.  That’s two killer voices on one stage.

Drifter is a slower song, with a really lovely opening guitar melody.  She has been inspired in her career by her grandmother and her aunt who both played music.  Her grandmother recently died, but her aunt is still playing.

Introducing the next song “You Get High,” she says she has a special new guitar–a woman made it for me Ashley Leanne from Waterloo, she’s 26.  While Terra’s going to play this acoustic, she invites Daniel Lanois up on the stage.  “Can we get a spotlight on the man here?”  They can’t so he scooches over to her spotlight amid much chuckling.  Lanois plays a beautifully fluid electric guitar while she picks out a lively melody on the acoustic.

“Norma Gale” is about a famous musician from the 70 who played with Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash and went on a date with Conway Twitty (I guess he didn’t call her back).  While she was doing all these cool things, she was also raising a young son on her own.  So Terra wrote this song for her.  It starts as a pretty, slow ballad but builds nicely with the addition of keys (from Alan Zamatis).

“Hold You” rocks up again, and it’s got a cool call and response with a bass melody (from Maury LaFoy) rumbling along.  “Two Hearts” is a song she wrote in a couple of places in Europe when she was very much in love…. with a couple of people.   The song starts slowly but build to an intense climax with pounding drums and Terra on her knees rocking out,.

Having had a total mis-perception of Terra Lightfoot, this show blew me away and I want to hear more from her.

[READ: January 19, 2019] All Summer Long

This was a fun story about friendship, distance and guitar playing.

As the story open we see Austin and Bina getting ready for 7th grade summer vacation.  They have been friends since they were five years old and have spent all of the previous summers together.  They even created the Combined Summer Fun Index–a way to tally just how much fun they have each summer.

Last summer’s included:

  • Cats petted: 22
  • Went swimming: 51 times
  • $idewalk change: $1.18
  • Sneaked into R-Rated movies: 2 times

But this summer, Austin can’t participate.   He is going to soccer camp for a month.  A whole month.  Summer is ruined–for Bina at least. (more…)

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lizzie SOUNDTRACK: BLACK DUB-Tiny Desk Concert #89 (November 8, 2010).

black dubBlack Dub is the collaboration between Daniel Lanois and Trixie Whitley (daughter of Chris Whitley).

I think I might have been more excited about this if I hadn’t seen Daniel Lanois’ other performance on Tiny Desk, where he came across as kinda jerky.  I also had not heard of Whitley (who was 23 at the time).

Whitley has a huge voice (especially given how tiny she is).  It’s big and brash and bluesy in a Janis Joplin sorta way.  And she’s really passionate about what she’s singing–look at her face, for crying out loud).  But it’s actually too bluesy for my liking.  And it almost seems over the top given Lanois’ simple acoustic guitar strumming.

They play four songs, “Surely” which pushes five minutes; “Silverado” which has a nice duet between Whitley and Lanois to start (and then I feel like she adds too much during her section); “I Believe in You.”  For the final song, Whitley straps on an electric guitar and plays a rocking riff (I enjoyed the accidental feedback that Lanois created).  Her voice works a little better with the extra volume of the guitar.  Although the song builds and buildups and never really goes anywhere.

I just never got into this Concert.

[READ: July 1, 2015] That Should Be a Word

I heard a big hyped review of this book, so I was really excited when Sarah brought it home.  But I wound up being a little disappointed by it.

I imagine that since these items come from her newspaper column, it might be more fun to read a few at a time rather than all at once.  Because while I enjoyed the premise, I got tired of the punny schtick after a few sections.  And that’s a shame.

The one major gripe I have is that nowhere in the book does it ever acknowledge the pioneering work of Rich Hall and Sniglets, the guy who really spawned the idea of creating words for every day things.  Skurnick does things differently of course, but I feel like at least a nod to the man would have been nice (especially since she is–admirably–so into the whole retro thing).

The premise behind this book (and the column is that Skurnick (and readers, I gather) create words for things that don’t exist.  But the real premise is that the newly created words are sort of punny based on two other words (which Sniglets didn’t do). (more…)

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sistersSOUNDTRACK: DANIEL LANOIS-Tiny Desk Concert #415 (January 13, 2015).

lanoisI don’t really know very much about Daniel Lanois. I know he’s a great producer.  I know that he’s worked with Brian Eno on an umber of projects. I even know that he has at least one album out of his own.  But other than that he’s an enigma to me.

And he remains so here.

He and his bassist Jim Wilson and drummer Brian Blade, play three instrumentals that are more or less improvised.

Lanois stands with his back to the audience, facing the other two guys. And aside from some closeups of his gear, the only interesting thing visually that happens is that the drummer knocks over an LP during a song and picks it up.

Lanois’ gear is totally perplexing to me—there’s knobs and buttons but no keyboards, so I don’t know where the sounds are coming from.  The bassist keeps a steady rhythm while Lanois turns and spins and slides things. Musically it’s not all that interesting—it’s sort of mellow background electronica.

The best part of the whole deal is the drummer. He plays some amazing fills and runs on that snare and hi hat.  It’s amazing the complexity he is able to achieve with just a bass, snare and hi hat. He also smiles a lot which is nice to see from these rather dour men.

Lanois doesn’t say a thing during the set, not even when it’s over.  You can see it here.

[READ: February 10, 2015] Sisters

I really enjoyed Smile, although I found out about Smile when Sisters came out.  So this is a sequel to Smile (although Raina still has her braces on during the book, so I guess it’s more of a concurrent story).

As the story opens, Raina (age 14) and her family (her mom and dad. her baby brother (6) and, grr, her sister (age 9)) are visiting relatives in Colorado.  Their dad has some work to attend to so he will be flying in a few days later, but everyone else is going to hop in the van and drive from Colorado to California and then back–so that’s basically two weeks in the car and one week in California.  Ugh.

The only saving grace is that their van has three rows of seats so each girl has a seat to herself while their brother rides shotgun.

Before they head out, we see that Raina and her sister Amara are on each other’s nerves constantly–with Raina ultimately shouting “Why did I ever ask for a sister?!”  Then we see flashback of Raina as a young girl desperately wanting a sister to play with.  And when Amara finally came–Raina was in love–until she realized that the baby would be sharing room with her.  There’s a joke about Amara meaning “immortal” in Sanskrit and “love” in Latin and her father muttering “it also means bitter one.”  And it turns out that Amara is a pretty cranky kid–especially where Raina is concerned. (more…)

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