In the wake of recent disasters–Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, floods in South Asia, wildfires in California, I started watching The Vietnam War, Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick’s gut-wrenching ten-part documentary series. It’s excellent and worth your time.
I suppose I’m feeling disheartened of late. For as many natural disasters that have hit us, there are many more man-made ones. You only have to read the daily news to learn of the cruelty human beings inflict upon one another.
Perhaps I fear history repeating itself, or maybe it’s because I’m traveling to Bali shortly, where Mt. Agung, an active volcano is threatening to erupt. Over 140,000 people have been evacuated. The eruption has been ‘imminent’ for the past three weeks. As at this writing, it still has not erupted.
I don’t live my life in fear, so after evaluating the risks, I’ll be leaving tomorrow as planned. I will be staying outside the 12KM exclusion zone around the volcano, so I should be fine.
This song played on episode 3 of The Vietnam War. The images are heartbreaking, the lyrics sobering. I’m moving forward, even though it seems as if the world is teetering on an eve of destruction everyday.
I’ll be blogging from Bali over the next weeks.
Last week, amidst another mass shooting in the US, it felt like Tom Petty died twice — once via rumours spread by news agencies too quick on the draw, and then as the victim of a heart attack. Petty was 66.
I’ve previously featured three of his songs on my blog, “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin’” and “End of the Line” as part of the Traveling Wilburys.
I actually came to know Tom Petty as one of the Traveling Wilburys before I discovered his extensive repertoire as leader of the Heartbreakers. Over the years, Petty’s distinctive twang has played often for me, through the car radio, over a speaker in a store, or on my own stereo system. That ubiquity did not make him a journeyman though. In the vein of his idols Bob Dylan and George Harrison, Petty was an accomplished singer and songwriter. His songs’ opening riffs were instantly recognizable and his lyrics, whether simple or complex, were always relatable.
I will remember Petty as a man with artistic integrity who fought the record industry to keep his records and concerts affordable.
“Something Good Coming” is a testament to his enduring legacy as a hardworking, optimistic songwriter and a champion of the music industry.
“… And I’m in for the long run
Wherever it goes
Ridin’ the river
Wherever it goes
And I’m an honest man
Work’s all I know
You take that away
Don’t know where to go
And I know that look that’s on your face
There’s somethin’ lucky about this place
There’s somethin’ good comin’
For you and me
Somethin’ good comin’
There has to be”
Australian duo Tom Iansek and Joanna Syme formed Big Scary in 2006.
Their catchy single “The Opposite of Us” ranked number 17 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2016, an annual poll hosted by the national Australian radio station, Triple J. Some music acts I’ve featured who previously ranked in the Top 10 of Triple J’s list include: London Grammar, Daft Punk, and Lorde.
I’ve been exploring new music and I liked this song immediately. Perhaps you will as well.
Have a great week,
The leaves are changing colour. Some have even fallen off the trees. It is autumn, after all, only you wouldn’t have known it this past week.
We had record-high temperatures in Toronto, making up for the cool and rainy weather we’ve had most of the summer.
I loved it! And judging from all the people I saw outdoors in shorts, on restaurant patios, and walking in the streets, I’d say the rest of the city loved the return to summer too.
As a tribute to the hot weather, here’s one of the big hits of the summer.
Enjoy award-winning Lorde with her energetic song, “Green Light,” and let’s hope the heat continues.
Have a great week!
The 42nd annual Toronto International Film Festival concluded yesterday after ten busy days. Not only was it a passel of big names from the world of film, but a number of musicians also premiered their documentaries at the festival. Among them were Lady Gaga, Eric Clapton, Grace Jones and the Tragically Hip.
When I drew a blank on this week’s music choice, I thought to highlight the only person I’ve yet to have on my blog from the TIFF list—Grace Jones. Her movie, Bloodlight and Bami looks at her unconventional life as a model, singer, and New Wave icon.
Here’s one of Jones’ biggest hits, “Slave to the Rhythm.” Check out her incredible live performance while twirling a hula hoop!
Wishing you a great week as we head into the final days of summer,
I love these three funky sisters who make up the band, HAIM. They hail from a musical Jewish family and are multi-instrumentalists.
The California pop-rock band has amassed a huge following thanks to their catchy melodies. Their harmonies and musical stylings have been compared to Fleetwood Mac, but I think they are quite unique unto themselves.
Have a listen to one of their biggest hits, “Want You Back,” and enjoy your week.
Walter Becker, guitarist, bassist and co-founder of the the band Steely Dan, died this past week. Along with Donald Fagen, the duo formed Steely Dan back in the early seventies. Their music blurred the lines of jazz, pop, rock and soul, and their lyrics were always complicated and witty. It’s one of the reasons I enjoyed their songs; they were storytellers.
Steely Dan had numerous hits including “Hey Nineteen,” “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number,” and “Aja.” When it came time to choosing one I wanted to feature, “Do It Again” seemed to fit if only because I wished Becker were still around to play it.
May you rest in peace, dear man.
You’d expect something whacky from David Byrne, and this video is certainly that.
Listen to “Who” by the Talking Heads frontman and another multi-instrumentalist musician, St. Vincent.
Have a great week,
I’d like to dedicate this blog to Jimmie, a sweetheart of a man whom I had the pleasure of knowing. His wife and I were close friends, and he became a friend as well. A Scotsman with an easy smile and a constant twinkle in his eyes, he reminded me of my father in many ways. He left a wonderful legacy, and I will miss him.
His son used this Linkin Park song as a tribute to him. The lyrics say so much.
” … If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In the sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
Or quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do …”
Rest in peace, sweet man. xox
Glen Campbell passed away last week at the age of 81, six years after his diagnosis with Alzheimers disease.
Born the seventh son in a sharecropping family of twelve kids, his obsession with jazz guitarist Django Reinhard had him drop out of school to play gigs with his musician uncle.
By 1962, he earned a spot with the Wrecking Crew, a group of session musicians in Los Angeles who played on hits for the Byrds, Mamas and Papas, Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, and many others.
“Adios” is a song written by Jimmy Webb originally for Linda Ronstadt and is also the name of Campbell’s final studio album. It released two months prior to his death.
According to Campbell’s producer of the album, he had to stand with him in the booth to record the vocals “line by line” as Campbell could not remember the lyrics, yet he “didn’t lose his melodies, and that beautiful perfect pitch and tone.”
Adios, sweet man, you will be missed.
London Grammar’s music has been described as a blend of ambient, ethereal, and classical sounds with powerful, soaring vocals.
The English trio is made up of vocalist Hannah Reid, guitarist Dan Rothman, and keyboardist/drummer Dominic ‘Dot’ Major.
“Strong” is a moody, emotional song, and I think you’re going to like it.
Hope you have an amazing week,
The ivy is abundant, flowers are in full bloom, and mosquitos are a-biting. It’s been a wet summer so far, but this past weekend saw its first without rain. Whee!
So nice to see the rain has stopped … for now.
Hope you’re enjoying your summer so far.
Last week was all about women for me, beginning with Monday’s music post featuring Ella Fitzgerald, A few days later, a girlfriend and I attended a wonderful exhibit by American artist, Georgia O’Keeffe.
Fantastic show and worth seeing if you’re in Toronto, closing July 30th so go soon.
On Saturday, I hosted an all-female barbeque, It was great to bring six smart women of diverse backgrounds together for an evening of food and fun.
As I was trying to think of whom to feature this week, Joni Mitchell appeared on T.V. in a news item.
She seemed the obvious choice.
“Little Green” was written in 1967 about the daughter she gave up for adoption. Mitchell reunited with her thirty years later.
And then another woman made the news … Princess Diana died twenty years ago, hard to believe. 😦
Time flies, so I hope you take it slow and enjoy.
Born April 25, 1917, Ella Fitzgerald, often referred to as the First Lady of Song would’ve turned 100 this year.
To this day, there is no other singer I’ve heard with a voice as pristine as hers.
In this version of Bobby Darin’s classic, she forgets the lyrics and improvises the entire verse. And she scats like no one’s business!
If this song does not put a swing in your step, nothing will.
Smile and have a great week. 😀
“Hey Joe” is a song that has been recorded by numerous artists, most notably The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966.
This weekend, I binge-watched a psychosexual series called Gypsy on Netflix. Charlotte Gainsbourg’s recording of “Hey Joe” appears during an edgy scene between two women.
Haunting and moody, it was the perfect song for the scene.
If you’re interested in watching a good psychological suspense, I’d recommend Gypsy. It’s a slow burning series and I appreciated the good writing.
Hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful week.
Canada celebrated its 150th birthday two days ago on July 1st. Fifty years ago for the Centennial, the great Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot performed at the celebration.
He did so again this Canada Day and sung one of my favourites from his vast repertoire.
Lightfoot said his divorce inspired the lyrics for this song. The second verse always brings tears to my eyes.
… If I could read your mind love
What a tale your thoughts could tell
Just like a paperback novel
The kind that drugstores sell
When you reach the part where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
Heroes often fail
And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s just to hard to take …
Have a great week, and to my American family and friends … Happy 4th of July!
I heard this song last week and can’t get it out of my mind. It’s not a new song, nor the first time I heard it, but this time it finally stuck.
The video is a shiny piece of space-age funk mixed with anime and Pharrell.
How can you go wrong?
Have a great week and hope luck is on your side. 😀
I watched an excellent film on Netflix called That Sugar Film, written and directed by Australian filmmaker, Damon Gameau.
The documentary follows Gameau in an experiment to highlight hidden sugars in normal, everyday foods. For 60 days, he eats a health-conscious diet low in fat but high in sugar, consuming 40 teaspoons of sugar daily in foods such as pasta sauce, juice, and cereal. How his body transforms over this period is alarming.
Watch the film if you get a chance. It has a humorous slant but provides a strong message about the foods we eat and the dangers of sugar.
This sweet childhood tune always brought a smile to my face. Hope you enjoy and have a great week. 😀
In 2014, Rolling Stone ranked Daniel Caesar’s debut album, Praise Break, as one of its Top 20 R&B albums.
The Toronto-based singer songwriter left home while still in high school after a fight with his parents over faith. “Death and Taxes” is a track from his latest album Pilgrim’s Paradise and features Caesar battling with God.
” … Only two things in this life that are sure, of that I’m sure
Death and taxes
Death and taxes”
Caesar is only 22.
You’ll love his voice and the bluesy guitar. I look forward to featuring more of his music in future posts.
Have a great week,
Liam Gallagher, formerly of Oasis, made a surprise appearance at Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester benefit concert.
The show included Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and many others to raise money for victims of the terror attack that killed 22 people after Grande’s concert, May 22nd.
The terror continued yesterday with another killing on London Bridge and Borough Market.
Among the seven killed was a thirty year old Canadian woman. 😦 Rest in peace, Christine Archibald.
During these difficult times, music is the common language that unites the world. I am comforted by the strength of Mancunians, and I’m so grateful for the power of music.