Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jumping Jack Flash

I don't have much to say today except, how cool were the Rolling Stones in 1968?!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cover Song of the Day

I'd always associated this song with The Beatles and assumed it was a Lennon/McCartney composition. This morning I heard this lovely version and come to find it's a another classic by Burt Bacharach. Man that guy could write a tune!

While I love The Beatles version, I may actually like this Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe take on it better. But honestly, it would be really hard to mess this tune up.....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wilco-The Incredible Shrinking Tour of Chicago, December 2011

The title of "Band of 2011" simply has to belong to Wilco. Not only did they release one of the best albums of the year, but they rocked the globe playing over 100 shows. But the band reserved the biggest treat of the year for their hometown fans in Chicago; playing 5 shows in one week, each at a venue smaller then the last. Beginning the week at the beautiful 3500 seat Civic Opera House and finishing up at the 500 seat Lincoln Center, the band not only sounded fantastic, but played almost 100 different songs from their catalog! Who does that?? And the highlights were certainly many. One of the many reasons I love Wilco is the way they craft a setlist so that each show conveys an ebb and flow of emotions where every show may feel different.

Opening night at the marvelous Civic Opera House featured the gorgeous and rarely played "Being There" nugget; "Far Far Away", with its "kiss and ride on the CTA" line wooing the Chicago fateful. The show also had the added treat of an classic encore performance of the Nick Lowe penned "Cruel to Be Kind" joined by the author himself. As if that wasn't enough, the band brought out the incomparable Mavis Staples, who ran through the Jeff Tweedy penned "You are Not Alone" and The Band classic "The Weight"! Luckily, this show was webcast and captured in perfect quality (featured below in its entirety).

Night Two at the grand Riviera nightclub belonged to my favorite Wilco album; 2004's "A Ghost is Born". Featuring 6 songs and a B-Side from said album, the band played a masterful show culminating with the epic set list trifecta of "Reservations">"Spiders">"I'm a Wheel"!

After a day off, Night Three was hosted at my favorite Chicago venue and site of many a classic Wilco show; the Vic Theater. Hands down, this show belonged to guitarist extraordinaire Nels Cline. Always a unique and great player, he simply owned the night song after song especially during the early one-two punch of "Muzzle of Bees" and "Hotel Arizona". Capping of a blistering show with the plaintive "Being There" lullaby "The Lonely 1", the band sent the fans home walking on air.

Just a spits distance from Wrigley Field, Night Four amazingly featured Wilco's first ever appearance at the claustrophobic and classic Chicago venue, The Metro. As the bands popularity has grown, Wilco have recently mastered the art of playing big festivals, so walking into the tiny Metro fans knew they were in for a treat. I assumed due to the size of the venue, the show would be a more low-key, mellow affair. Wrong! Playing as if they were at the freaking Glastonbury festival, the band ripped through an intense set which held nothing back. Closing the night with the rockous "Dreamer in My Dreams", Wilco sent the fans home with what I can only assume was some blissful ringing in their ears.

But the best was truly saved for last. After a night off, the band played the teeny 500 person seat Lincoln Hall; a benefit show for local charity Inspiration Corporation which raised over $63,000 for the poor and homeless. Playing an insanely nice setlist featuring many of the bands quietest compositions, the show felt special and much closer in emotional tone to those Jeff Tweedy solo gigs. Ending with the mournful 'Sky Blue Sky" closer "On and On and On", the band perfectly book-ended a very magical week in Chicago while leaving future possibilities endless.

The week was the perfect celebration for the band and their fans after a wonderful year in Wilco world. Thanks to the tireless dedication of the tapers, you can enjoy a mix (from the best available sources I could find) of each different song played over the course of the week. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I do!

Night One-Civic Opera House

Night Two-Riviera Theater

Night Three-Vic Theater

Night Four-Metro

Night Five-Lincoln Hall

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Democratic Circus

Being an election year; 2012 in America is unfortunately going to be full of blind political rhetoric and hate speech, pitting one side against another. If you are like me, you are already sick and tired of it and its only January!

I long for a time when we can discuss our politics with intelligence and empathy for the people who disagree with us, if that time ever existed. I just fear that things will just continue to get worse and worse.

So in times of turmoil, I always resort to music to attempt to make sense of things. It is in the spirit of that, I bring you a mix i made to hopefully help you through this insane political climate of ours.

Turn it up and remember, what's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some love for Bonnie Raitt.....

There is no denying Bonnie Raitt has long been one of our musical treasures, yet she is one of those artists who always seems to fly under the radar. Good news is she has a new album coming out this year called "Slipstream"; her first in 6 years. It will feature 2 covers from Bob Dylan's masterpiece "Time Out of Mind" as well as Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line". Can't wait!

Bonnie is not only one of the greatest blues guitarists ever, but no one can sing a love song like her. If this one doesn't move you, you simply have no soul.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Picture of the Day

Remember those places called "Record Stores" that had all your music divided into bland, thoughtless catagories like "Country" and "Rock".

Well, I want to hang out with the people who run this store!! Brilliant.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Celluloid Heroes-"Crazy, Stupid, Love"

Every once in a while a film comes alone that pleasantly surprises you, makes you smile, think, and reflect; none of which I thought would happen the other night when I popped in 2011's "Crazy, Stupid, Love". This is a classic case where the movie trailer pandered to the "Rom-Com" loving, lowest common denominator audience without giving a clear picture of the film (other example of this was Woody Allen's thoughtful "Midnight in Paris").

Look, the film isn't "Citizen Kane" or anything, but it's a rare film these days that intelligently and humorously touches on many of the day to day issues that impacts each of us in life (coming of age, dating, love, marriage, and divorce). I don't pretend that I have seen all the finer films of 2011, but I would wholeheartedly recommend "Crazy, Stupid, Love" and feel any list of best films of the year would suffer for not including it.

Oh, and it has Julianne Moore in it; 'nough said!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year from Etta and Jerry.....

I hope everyone had a safe and musical New Years as we hit 2012. There is some sad news in the world of music to address; singing legend Etta James is battling the final stages of terminal leukemia, but recent reports have her off a respirator and breathing on her own. Let's hope for the best for Etta! There is certainly no one like her.

Check out this 1982 clip of Etta celebrating (too much?) the New Year with some other legends. I just love how she tries to mix it up with Jerry towards the end. Great stuff right here!!