Paul Simon, Under African Skies

Image via Wikipedia

I love how monumental Paul Simon’s Graceland recording has become in  cementing and furthering the ties of American popular music with the syncopated rhythms of South Africa. Paul Simon and the musicians of South Africa have forged an indelible common bond that is strengthened by the 25th anniversary  celebration of a very special concert and music recording experience in South Africa.

The story of the making of Graceland, and the controversy created when Paul Simon went to South Africa to record with local artists, is told in “Under African Skies,” the new full-length documentary by two-time Emmy and Peabody Award winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger (“Brother’s Keeper,” “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” the West Memphis Three/”Paradise Lost” trilogy) and and A&E IndieFilms.

I urge you to visit Paul Simon’s Graceland page here. Discover more about this wonderful achievement in music sociological and cultural circles.

Watch the official film trailer here. I can’t wait to witness this heartwarming, engaging film on the big screen!

Under African Skies film poster


npr music First Listen: Paul McCartney, Kisses on the Bottom

I am assured to see npr music and Paul McCartney teaming up to give a first listen to the entire recording of Kisses on the Bottom. Just yesterday I posted about Paul McCartney’s forthcoming classic songbook work. Now we can all listen to it before it’s available on February 6, 2012.

We can do it, just me and you 🙂

Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney, Technology + Collaboration

Members of the Paul McCartney Fan club ( like us) can order the high-resolution deluxe digital download edition of Paul McCartney’s Kisses on the Bottom recording. This package includes two extra tracks, “Baby’s Request” and “My One and Only Love“, plus access to a free live download on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.

Paul McCartney is very meticulous in his recording methods. The high-resolution production process utilized is described by engineer Allan Rouse of Abbey Road Studios:

The audio industry has seen many technical innovations since Paul McCartney and Wings’s Band on the Run was first released on vinyl in 1973, the most notable being digital recording. However, with the introduction of CD came two advances, “de-noising” and “peak limiting” which have become increasingly unpopular within certain areas of the music industry and amongst audiophiles.

De-noising was introduced to remove the inherent sound, or hiss, associated with analogue tape. The amount of processing used to remove tape noise can be varied, but when used excessively, many believe that it also has a detrimental effect on elements of the musical sound.

Copyright 2012 Paul McCartney Website

Peak limiting is a process that increases the loudness of music. It is achieved by holding the loudest peaks down and raising the overall level of the music. Much depends on the amount of limiting applied, but at its most extreme the result can be a serious reduction in the dynamic range and often audible distortion.

The release of The Beatles’ remasters in 2009 saw a marked change in attitudes towards these issues, where both noise reduction and limiting were used sparingly with the aim of representing the master tapes more accurately. Such is the case with the newly remastered Paul McCartney and Wings CD of Band on the Run: tape noise reduction has scarcely been used and the degree of limiting is subtle. In addition digital technology has advanced with the ability now to offer recordings in 24 bit/96kHz/16 track. The high resolution version is being made available via download and is being offered in two formats: limited, which is comparable in volume to the remastered CD, and un-limited, which in comparison with the limited version will sound quieter, but retain the dynamic range of the original master recording.

Rosemary and I love most about Paul (in addition to his ability to leverage technology) is his incurable romantic personality. The timing of this new album, just a week before Valentine’s Day makes it the perfect gift for your Valentine.

Copyright 2012 Paul McCartney Website

The majority of the tracks are solo efforts with the exception of  two  Paul McCartney written songs, “My Valentine” and “Only Our Hearts”.

Eric Clapton plays guitar on “My Valentine”.

Stevie Wonder collaborates with Paul McCartney on “Only Our Hearts”. This marks the 30th anniversary of their classic hit, “Ebony and Ivory“.

Stevie Wonder joined Paul McCartney at LA’s Capitol Studios to record the track.

Paul McCartney spoke about working with Stevie again.

Copyright 2012 Paul McCartney Website

“Stevie came along to the studio in LA and he listened to the track for about ten minutes and he totally got it. He just went to the mic and within 20 minutes had nailed this dynamite solo. When you listen you just think, ‘How do you come up with that?’ But it’s just because he is a genius, that’s why.”

The Oxford American – Thirteenth Annual Music Issue

I made a great musical find last night browsing at my local Barnes & Noble book store. I saw out of the corner of my eye a copy of Oxford American magazine sitting by its lonesome. It was calling me to pick it up. I noticed that my favorite music journalist, Peter Guralnick had contributed an article, “Sam Phillips‘s Greatest Discovery” to the publication. It’s a story about Howlin Wolf and its reallllllly good!

I have developed a discerning taste for music journalism over the decades. The Oxford American, thirteenth annual Southern music issue surpasses my expectations with its content. It is a treasure chest of well articulated and researched music literature. The publication adds tremendous depth to the importance of our rich American heritage, the music of the South.

One of my major bucket list items is to take an extended vacation on the Southern blues trail(s). The Oxford American is the magazine I will be taking with us on that journey.

So forgive me as I rub my hands with glee here this morning. I have this great magazine to hunker down with and learn from this weekend.

Life is sweet 😉

SpotOn Radio, You’ll Want To Be Listening ;)

I just discovered SpotOn Radio from reading Spotify’s Blog. Pandora Internet Radio you’re on notice more than ever now, trust me. 😉

SpotOn Radio is an innovative Apple iPhone music app. SpotOn Radio is developed and supported by the dynamic duo known as Springworks and Rebel&Bird.

SpotON Radio is free, but you need a Spotify Premium membership to use it. I just so happens I have a Spotify Premium account. 🙂

SpotOn Radio provides personalized radio stations which springboard off Spotify’s streaming technology. It seamlessly integrates an online music service(Spotify) with the Echo Nest’s song recommendation and discovery engine.

What’s awesome about SpotOn Radio is that it adds value and dimension to my Spotify social music experience.  I recently cancelled my Pandora One account. I had  a twinge of regret breaking away from the music genome experience Pandora has patented.

My anxiety turned out to be a momentary concern. The Echo Nest Music API engine with 30 million songs in its database (and growing) gives SpotOn Radio a superior advantage over Pandora Internet Radio. 

The song by Chicago comes to mind here, “Only the beginning, only just the start….”

Keep your eyes and ears on SpotOn Radio and Echo Nest. The Semantic Web, Web 3.0 is in full-scale music interaction now. I think that’s so cool 🙂

Guy Davis – The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed With the Blues

Guy Davis is a venerable, hard-working blues artist. He just self-released his newest CD, The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed With the Blues. 

“There is no tale so tall I cannot tell it, nor song so sweet I cannot sing it.” Guy Davis

The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed with the Blues features a number of Guy Davis original compositions, as well as songs by such blues icons as Robert Johnson, Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Willie McTell and Big Bill Broonzy. The album is a “road story” in the truest sense. Guy Davis performs the stories and songs in character as “Fishy Waters,” who traveled throughout the south meeting a host of vivid characters and creating a lasting impression that is at times humorous and playful, at others mysterious and sometimes intensely powerful

The Adventures Of Fishy Waters: In Bed With The Blues is a story containing several smaller stories: a mixture of stories, tall tales and music.  The subjects are survivors, not victims.  The culture is Black.  The music is Blues.  The message is human.

Guy Davis will celebrate the release of his new album with a special run of performances of the one-man play in February at the famed Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick,New Jersey.

Special Contest

Order your copy and your name will go into a drawing for the Grand Prize: two tickets to see Guy do that very same show live at the Crossroad’s Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, on a date of your choice! The show runs the last two weekends of February.

Your order must be received by midnight on January 30th in order to be entered in the drawing.

You can purchase Guy Davis’s CD, The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed With the Blues here.

Howlin Rain – The Russian Wilds, Available on Valentine’s Day

I am always looking on the radar screen for new music that generates more than a blip on the screen. The radius of the signal strength emanating from Howlin Rain‘s third album, The Russians Wild is commanding my attention.

Part of this has rapt attention has to do with the midas touch of Rick Rubin. The Russians Wild will be released on Rubin’s American Recordings label. Rick Rubin is the producer of The Russians Wild.

I’ve been listening to The Russians Wild player on the Howlin Rain’s Facebook page. I especially like the sonics I am hearing. The sound is fresh, vibrant and exciting to the senses. The track  that garners my interest the most is the first single, “Phantom In The Valley”.  It is seasoned with intricate changes and segues that support your interest throughout. Check out the salsa coda on the end 😉

Their tour is coming close by my door, they are playing Cafe Nine in New Haven, Ct. on February 11th. Strongly considering this show 😉