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Archive for the ‘Dolly Parton’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: YOLA-Tiny Desk Concert #934 (January 17, 2020).

Yola was just nominated for a Grammy for best new artist.  And it does seem like she just came out of nowhere.  But she has been making music for a least a decade (with the band Phantom Limb) and was singing backing vocals for bands like Massive Attack before that.  She finally went on her own a few years ago and then released her Dan Auerbach-produced debut album last year.

This Tiny Desk features Yola singing three songs from that debut album and wow, what a voice she has.

With her bouncy Afro and a big smile, Yola’s presence behind the Tiny Desk was commanding, her energy captivating and, oh, that voice!

I had the exact same reaction as Bob Boilen:

I assumed her background was as a southern gospel singer, until she spoke. Her British accent was a shocker.

She’s very funny between songs as she chugs water and then jokes how she puts it here and it comes out here (on her forehead).

Yola’s affection for American music, from Dolly Parton to Aretha Franklin, is at the center of her character and expression. It’s likely one of the reasons she chose to write and record her debut album, Walk Through Fire, at Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville, and why it was such a perfect fit for her.

The second song, “”I Don’t Wanna Lie” is a “newie” and it is my favorite song of hers.  I absolutely love the chorus–so catchy and powerful.  It’s a shame it’s only on the deluxe version of her album.  Instead of piano, the keys are a great organ sound and the main riff on bass (from Taylor Zachry) and the great guitar licks (from Andy Stack) make this song a great soulful rocker.

For the last song, “It Ain’t Easier,” she picks up the acoustic guitar and is accompanied by slow guitar lines and that cool organ sound.  Drummer Jamie Dick is using brushes to emphasize the gentleness of this song.

I’m not sure what it takes to get someone to go from backing and guest vocalist to making a way for herself.

Now this singer from Bristol, who once sang for Massive Attack, and sampled by Iggy Azalea and The Chemical Brothers, is front-and-center.

But it was a great decision.

[READ: January 23, 2020] Giant Days Vol. 8

In this book, friendships are fractured and the future of our trip is in doubt!

As Chapter 29 opens we see Esther looking fabulously academic as she heads to her Romantic Lit class. She is the star of the class and always has the right answer. Until today.  McGraw’s ex-girlfriend Emilia has just started taking the class and as Esther rants “It’s not fair to sing that good, look that good, and think that good.”

Meanwhile Ed Gemmell is trying out a new look–overalls and a braid and, boy howdy, Daisy does not like it.  She asks, “Are you ‘fine’ because you joined a cult and they’taken away your pain?”  He says he’s tried so many things but girls are not interested in him.  Daisy sets him up with her friend Kathy with whom he should have lots in common.  She’s geeky and sexy!  But when she tries to move things forward he demurs.  Daisy is furious, “she could not have been any more your type if she’d been the result of a lab experiment to create the perfect Gemmell mate in one of those nightmare sci-fi shows you both like so well.”

The Esther/Emilia issue resolves itself at a literature professor’s soiree.  When one of the teachers gets handsy with Esther. It is Emilia who is there to help her out. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 27 & 28, 2019] Newport Folk Festival

Back in 1998, I won a radio contest (not through luck, I knew the name of a song and couldn’t believe no one else did!) and scored a ticket to the Newport Folk Festival.  It was in a lull back then and also, I believe there was only one stage (it’s hard to remember).  Now it is at full power, selling out before artists are even announced.

S. and I have talked about going and finally this year I saw when tickets were announced and I bought 4 tickets for us.  I knew that our son wouldn’t want to go, but I decided to make a long vacation out of it–a couple days in Rhode Island and then about a week in Maine.  He couldn’t say no to going to that.

I didn’t get Friday tickets because three days seemed excessive.  Plus, you never know who is going to appear until long after you buy the tickets. and that actually worked out pretty well.   Turned out, there wasn’t anyone I really wanted to see.

So we rolled in for Saturday.  I was told that if you wanted to get the poster you had to get their very early.  We arrived at 12:30 and they were long sold out.  Oh well. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 16, 2019] I’m With Her

I’m with Her is something of a folk and bluegrass supergroup made up of Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins.  I knew each of them from previous Tiny Desk Concerts and knew I’m With Her from a Tiny Desk Concert as well.

I was pretty excited to see them as both Sara and Sarah were on my list of artists that I wanted to see live (I was otherwise unfamiliar with Aoife).  One thing that always come up is their name–did they name themselves after the Hillary Clinton campaign?  In fact, no, the three got together and named themselves before Clinton used the slogan for her campaign.  Technically the band came first, but the Clinton campaign didn’t take it from them either, evidently–coincidental naming.  The band says that the exposure certainly didn’t hurt–but if it had been the other side’s campaign, they definitely would have fought it.

But on to the music.  The women sing in absolutely gorgeous harmony.  Individually, their voices are wonderful, but as they add one and then a second harmony…swoon.  They also switch instruments constantly–fiddle, mandolin, ukulele, guitar, banjo.  Everything sounds a little different. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: SARAH HARMER-I’m a Mountain (2005).

I first heard Sarah Harmer in 2000, with her “Basement Apartment” single (which always made me think of my friend Ailish who, at the time, lived in a basement apartment in Brookline, Mass.)

My wife Sarah has this CD playing in the car and I’d forgotten how much I liked it.  Unlike the You Were Here, I’m a Mountain is much more country music sounding. I’m not much of a fan of country music as a rule, but there is something about country music from Canada that just sounds better to me.  It tends to have more of a crossover sound, and is lyrically more interesting to me.  Maybe it has something to do withe Calgary Stampede.

While two or three tracks on here could easily fit on a country station, the album still got nominated for a Juno for Best Adult Alternative album.

To me, the album really kicks into high gear with the title track, which is funny and catchy (the line about Wal Mart is a good one).  The cover of Dolly Parton’s “Will He Be Waiting for Me?” is beautiful.  And the French song “Salamandre” sounds gorgeous even if I have no idea what she’s on about.”  The disc closes with my favorite song: “Luther’s Got the Blues” a wonderfully funny country song written by Luther Wright.  And in Sarah’s hands, it turns into a yodeling masterpiece.

You might hear Sarah’s voice backing up all kinds of bands.  And her voice really is fantastic.  So, should you tend to shy from country music as I do, this may be an entry way for you.

[READ: January 15, 2010] Hopeless Savages

I read this comic years ago, and loved it quite a lot.  I found it right around when I found Blue Monday. I recently tacked down the third trade paperback, so I figured I’d read all three again.

The premise here is that Dirk Hopeless and Nikki Savage, two old school punk rockers fall in love and settle down.  They have four kids: Rat Bastard, Arsenal Fierce, Twitch Strummer & Skank Zero Hopeless-Savage.  Each kid is a traditional punk: bad assed, fierce and take no shit.  But they are also pacifist by trade (Ronald Reagan took on the world with force, so force is for fascists, too right!).  Self defense is okay, mind you.

In this first story (there’s three trade volumes published so far), there’s not too much punks-in-proper-society comedy, because it’s all action.  The kids’ mum and da have been kidnapped, and its up to the four of them to find them.  Well, actually it’s up to the three of them to find Rat and then find their parents. For you see, Rat Bastard has sold out and gone commercial. (more…)

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