Saturday, December 31, 2011

Have a happy New Year's Day!

I can't speak for you folks, but 2011 had its share of ups and downs on my end (as do most years).

I went on a great ski trip in February with my wife and family. I met Brian Wilson in July when my wife (and family) went to see him in concert, and he signed an album for me. I won a Brian Wilson-signed "SMiLE Sessions" box set in a Facebook contest. And I got married! I love my wife and I enjoy spending time with her family, and you can't beat that. The wedding was the biggest positive of the year. :) So, as you can see, some really great ups there!

I've also had some downs, including the death of my paternal grandfather, some issues at work and scattered bits and pieces here and there (I don't want to dwell on the negative).

I know that 2012 is going to have some challenging times, what with changes in my workplace (and in the industry in general) and all the other unknowns and unforeseeable obstacles. And there's the upcoming election, which means more negativity and bashing and self-promotion ... Bah, I say. Bah!

But there are good things on the way, too. The Beach Boys are reuniting for a worldwide tour, a new album and some compilations and archival releases. Very cool. :) There'll be great albums throughout the year, great new artists and new songs that will inspire and fulfill us in ways only music can do. The Rolling Stones might tour (well, Keith thinks they could), and who knows what else is just around the corner? Focusing on the good seems like the best route to take.

So tonight (New Year's Eve in my neck of the woods ... midnight fast approaching), I hope you all have a great time. I hope you stay safe, of course, but I hope you enjoy good friends, good family, and some love and laughter. Let us hope that 2012 is better than the best of 2011, and let us do our part to make that happen!

My best wishes to you all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The hippest El Camino I've encountered?

In 2011, The Black Keys released their seventh album. Called "El Camino," the album had an unenviable task: It had to follow its very popular predecessor "Brothers."

"Brothers" is how I got into The Black Keys. A very good friend of mine (the same friend who got me into The White Stripes) bought a copy of the album for me. Knowing my tastes in music as he did, and knowing how I appreciated good sounds and was wanting to expand my knowledge of modern bands, my friend figured "Brothers" was a good place to start. He was right.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I will be live blogging before the year is over

Howdy, friends.

Sorry it's been a while. I was waiting to see if I'd get any feedback or suggestions for the live blogging listening party idea. I didn't get anything, so I'll just have to choose something myself.

Works for me. :)

I'll grab an album I haven't heard before (or haven't listened to in a long time) and get that entry done before the year is over.

I wish you all the very best this holiday season. No matter your religious beliefs, political stances or anything else, I hope your next several days are full of peace, caring, comfort and good will.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Live blogging an album

Ever gone to a listening party?

I haven't gone to enough of them. So my latest flash of brilliance (that might be an exaggeration) was to listen to an album and blog as I'm listening. Giving impressions, first reactions and whatever thoughts pop into my head at the time.

What do you think? Cool?

Might as well try!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

RIP John Lennon

On this day in 1980, John Lennon was slain by Mark David Chapman outside the Dakota Apartments in New York City.

The man, as a Beatle and as a solo artist, created some amazing music and helped forge a sense of political and social activism that few rock musicians had shared up to that poet (sure, you had folk artists doing it). His peace anthem "Imagine" continues to rally people worldwide. His love songs, his family songs, his artsy songs ... They all form a musical fabric that have colored and enriched so many of us.

One can only wonder what kind of music would have been released in the last 21 years had he lived. Would the Beatles have reunited? Would "Free as a Bird" or "Real Love" have been released? Would "Milk and Honey" have been released, at least in the form it took? Would John and Yoko still be together? Would John have gotten closer to Julian?

These questions, and more, can never be answered.

But the music lives on, and for that we can be grateful.

I have a lot I can say about Lennon. I was born in July of 1980, so I was too young to care about his music before he died. But the Beatles were very important to my young life, and continue to be now. His solo works provide important, interesting material that continues to inspire (and confound, at times). But my words pale in comparison to Lennon's own. So ...

Here's one of my favorite John Lennon songs, "Instant Karma!" We all shine on ...

RIP, John Lennon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Favorites? Favorites, more favorites ... Hmm.

What's your favorite band? Who is your favorite singer? What is your favorite song?

Common questions. Sucky questions. For the music addict, those questions can be nearly impossible to answer.

But we're all friends here, and we can take the time to discuss the most mundane things and the most challenging things alike. After all, you're reading a blog ... you don't have anything better to do! :)
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