Monthly Archives: January 2014

To My Old Brown Earth by Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger
Cover of Pete Seeger

Paul Winter dropped a reminisce about Pete Seeger in my e-mail Inbox the other day. I’d like to share it with you.

Dear Friends,

Our long-time friend and mentor, Pete Seeger, passed away on Monday. I was privileged to meet Pete at the Newport Folk Festival in 1966, and he then gave me encouragement as I was creating a new ensemble that became the Paul Winter Consort.

In the early 90s, sensing that Pete’s recordings were not being heard by younger generations, I suggested to him that he record an album of his Earth songs. He said, “My voice is shot, but if we can have a chorus to carry the melodies, I could sing along.” My Living Music colleagues and I produced the album Pete in 1996. It won a Grammy, Pete’s first. The final song, “To My Old Brown Earth” (lyrics below), is one Pete had written for a friend’s funeral. It’s the most moving “goodbye song” I’ve ever heard.

We’d like to offer it as a free download for anyone who would like to hear it. And please feel free to pass it along to your friends.

With gratitude,
For living music,
Paul

TO MY OLD BROWN EARTH

Inline

To my old brown earth
And to my old blue sky
I’ll now give these last few molecules
of “I”

And you who sing
And you who stand nearby
I do charge you not to cry

Guard well our human chain
Watch well you keep it strong
As long as sun will shine

And this our home
Keep pure and sweet and green
For now I’m yours
And you are also
Mine

— Words and music by Pete Seeger, 1958

About the song, Pete wrote: “In 1958 I sang at the funeral of John McManus, co-editor of the radical newsweekly, The Guardian, and regretted that I had no song worthy of the occasion. So this got written.”

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Johnny Winter – Down & Dirty Etc.

There is a lot happening with Johnny Winter as he timetables toward his 70th Birthday.

First on the list is the 70th Birthday Celebration Johnny Winter with Special Guests at B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill on 42nd Street in New York City. This event takes place on Sunday February 23rd, Johnny’s actual birthday.

Second on the list is the release of the 4 Disc Box Set ‘True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story’ on February 25th. Pre-sales orders accepted at amazon.com

Third on the list is the documentary, “JOHNNY WINTER: DOWN & DIRTY” which will have it’s world première in the “24 Beats Per Second” category of the South by Southwest Film Festival (March 10-14).  Johnny Winter, his band, and film producers Greg Olliver & Jeremy Mack will be present at the screening along with special guests.

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Berklee College of Music – MOOC Course, Introduction to Music

I enrolled in my first massive open online course (MOCC) with the Berklee College of Music. I am an educator  who is emphatic about online learning. I have a graduate degree in instructional design in online learning with Capella University. I earned my degree by participating in a three-year online learning program. I am now a practitioner of designing and delivering a computer network management curriculum with Canvas by Instructure, an Open Source Learning Management System  (LMS). Much of my courses are facilitated directly online along with virtual labs or as a “blended” learning solution of classroom and online learning combined.

When the opportunity presented itself to enroll in edX a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT I leapt at the chance to belong to this prestigious community. I realized I could learn more effectively about building, designing and offering MOOC curriculum as a student first, instructional designer second.

The course that appealed to me the most was the Introduction to Music course from a school I have always wanted to attend the Berklee College of Music (part of the edX consortium). I have an undergraduate degree with a major in business and a minor in music. I was missing the music university learning experience in my life.

This free online course will be facilitated online by John P. Kellogg, Esq., Assistant Chair of Music Business Management at Berklee College of Music. Mr. Kellogg is an entertainment lawyer who has represented the late Gerald Levert and the O’Jays. He was also the lead singer for Cameo.

John Kellogg has written a substantive book, Take Care of Your Music Business, Second Edition: The Legal and Business Aspects You Need to Know to Grow to 3.0. His book serves as the recommended reading resource for the course.

I hope to become better informed about the music business which I write about as a music journalist. I can write from a position of strength with authority about music business matters. This course will serve as a foundation for the research I am conducting about cloud music, artist’s rights and micropayments. 

I have read many Web music business and technology articles about the direction that cloud music is floating towards.  It’s a fascinating, controversial, evolution of the music industry. John Kellogg’s course and knowledge is helping to shape my understanding of how the music business operates. This will prove valuable in shoring up the foundation of music industry knowledge I must know.

Wish me luck with my online MOOC course experience. I’ll try to write another article about what I learned from John Kellogg and my fellow students six weeks from now 😉

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God Bless You Pete Seeger

English: This graphic was used for the cover o...
English: This graphic was used for the cover of the Pete Seeger single. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

We will miss your wonderful words and angelic voice. God Bless You Pete Seeger. You are forever an inspiration in the music of our heart.

 

 

 

 

 

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Highlight of Last Night’s Grammy Awards…

Last night’s Grammy Awards Show from the Staples Center in Los Angeles was stellar. Many fantastic moments, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performing live together, Pink’s Cirque de Soleil acrobatics, The Highwaymen commanding total respect, Daft Punk, Pharrell, Stevie Wonder and Nile Rodgers tore it up.

The one performance that crossed many boundaries was Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. Their collective energy had the star studded audience on their feet.

Here is a video of their bombastic set.

 

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Congrats Chicago!

Tonight CBS Television will broadcast the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards from Los Angeles, California. The music of our heart is jumping for joy for this event. I love watching The GRAMMYS every year, you could say I was star struck 😉 I wish that the full GRAMMY awards were broadcast all day long. I would love to see all 70 award categories honored.

Speaking of GRAMMY honors I am pleased to share that Chicago’s first album, Chicago Transit Authority has been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame. It’s also listed as one of the 1001 albums you must hear before you die.

The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame was established by The Recording Academy‘s National Trustees in 1973 to honor recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance that are at least 25 years old.

Chicago will appear with Robin Thicke in a special collaboration during The GRAMMY Award Show this evening.

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Janis Ian – The Tiny Mouse

Janis Ian has always been an important voice of wisdom in the music of our heart. I am enthralled to learn that she has authored a children’s book, The Tiny Mouse. 

The Tiny Mouse is Janis Ian’s first children’s book. It is warmly illustrated by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert, a husband and wife team that have created many award-winning picture books for children.

What I love about the book is that it is a multidimensional learning experience for children. The first dimension is the art of storytelling. I can visualize reading The Tiny Mouse for my great-niece and great-nephews. Children are enchanted with stories and they learn from being read to and entertained.

The second dimension of learning is via sound in the form of recorded music. Janis Ian has included a CD with the book on which she performs the title song, “The Tiny Mouse”. The Tiny Mouse Web site allows you to listen to Janis singing and playing guitar with a band on this song.

The third learning dimension is to build upon that music experience. Janis Ian supplies the lyrics for singalongs, MP3 files as a foundation for creating a video for YouTube and sheet music for music making.

Perhaps I could learn to play this song on my piano and entertain the children next time they stop by our house :).

Thank you Janis Ian for a well thought out multidimensional experience that supplies fun for the family and the kiddies.

I plan to order this book soon for Caroline, Luke, and the twins Ethan and Blake 🙂

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Nashville Cats, Jack White and Neil Young

The news about Nashville Cats, Jack White and Neil Young is captivating the music of our heart. It made perfect sense when Neil Young validated this week that his new album, A Letter Home will be released on Jack White’s Third Man Records. Jack White and Neil Young share a vital bond for achieving audio excellence and sound preservation. Their music partnership builds upon their mutual respect for quality in sound recording.

Neil Young has been focused on a dedicated mission to deliver us the PONO music system. He wages heavy peace with PONO to provide 100% high-resolution audio for listeners. Neil Young informed us that the SXSW 2014 Music Festival (March 11-16) will serve as the PONO product announcement platform for PONO. SXSW is the ideal spot to hold this historic announcement with its pivotal role in music technology. I am grateful that Neil Young has stayed on target to bring this appealing technology to market. We stand to benefit significantly hearing the totality of sound instead of having it scrunched into a 5% music output form (MP3).

Third Man Records made the decision on Record Store Day (as you may recall Jack White was the 2013 Record Store Day Ambassador)  to use the highest quality aluminum substrate lacquers in The Third Man Recording Booth. These blanks offer the best fidelity for cold needle record cutting and can be played dozens and dozens of times without any noticeable audio degradation. They switched to clear vinyl several months ago.

Neil Young recorded in the Third Man Recording Booth that day which started him on the path towards  A Letter Home. Here’s a picture of Neil holding his prized record in the sleeve afterwards.

Jack White later recorded “Coal Miner’s Daughter” on Record Store Day. He did the song “so you can hear the warm analog fidelity that radiates out of this booth”.

What transpired during Record Store Day in the Recording Booth probably fueled speculation about Neil and Jack recording “duets” together. 😉

Third Man Recording Booth is a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph machine that records up to 2 minutes of audio and dispenses a one-of-a-kind 6″ phonograph disc to the user. An arcade staple through the middle of the 20th century and famously used by Martin Sheen’s character in the film Badlands, these “make your own record” booths were popular audio peculiarities that fell out of vogue in the 1960s and 70s. Like the records of old, users of the Third Man Recording Booth are encouraged to mail their recording to a loved one. Third Man even offers custom-printed envelopes and postage stamps to make that happen.

The Third Man Recording Booth is the only machine of its kind in the world that is both working and open to the public. The booth will run on custom Third Man tokens already in use in the Third Man Novelties Lounge.

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Moogfest 2014 – Asheville, North Carolina

Some of you visiting my music blog may have seen this banner ad for Moogfest 2014.

Moogfest is an electronic music festival that will be staged and delivered in Asheville, North Carolina where the Moog Music Factory is based. Asheville was also the home for the last thirty years of his life to Robert Arthur “Bob” Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer and founding father of electronic music.

Moogfest is the annual event that honors the remarkable vision of Robert Moog and his amazing musical inventions that changed the course of music, and celebrates Bob Moog’s legacy as a sonic pioneer.

The first wave of artists who will be performing has been announced. Electronic Music Pioneers KRAFTWERK 3-D will present 3 Concerts at Moogfest 2014.

CHIC featuring music super producer Nile Rodgers also to headline. Plus exclusive live performances from legendary composer Giorgio Moroder and artist Laurie Anderson.

Other Nighttime Performers Include, RJD2Soul ClapDaedalusDan DeaconGas Lamp KillerGreen VelvetSashaArt DepartmentEscort and A Rare Performance From UK’s Darkstar.

There are 70+ More Artists Still To Be Announced,  Who can it be now? Stay tuned.

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Coming March 2014, Neil Young’s PONO and new album, A Letter Home

It’s been an interesting week about Neil Young, Jack White’s Third Man Records and Neil’s next two projects, The PONO music player and A Letter Home, 

Project One: PONO

Neil Young announced an update about PONO during his acceptance speech in Los Angeles at the Village recording studio for the President’s Merit award at the Grammy Event of the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy.

Michael Kovac/WireImage

Digital. Digital is not bad. But Xerox is not good. I always like to say Picasso was really happy to see original Picassos everywhere, but when he went into some places and saw Xeroxes of Picassos, it didn’t make him as happy, because he thought people thought that we was making those things. The thing we do is, we make great stuff in the studio and then we kiss its ass goodbye, because nobody’s ever going to hear it. That’s unfortunate, and it didn’t use to be that way. That’s something that happened to us – that’s an injury we sustained, and it deeply hurt us. So the time has come for us to recover and to bring music back to the people in a way that they can recognize it in their souls – through the window of their souls, their ears. So they can feel and vibrate and so that they can get goosebumps. We cherish those fucking goosebumps. We really need those.

Being impressed by something, and how cool it is, and how sharp it is, and how snappy it is, is one thing, and that translates into almost any media. But when you’re singing something very soulful from your heart, and the echo is perfect and everything’s great and you’re using maybe an acoustic chamber and everything sounds great. And then you listen to it and you love it, but you hear it somewhere else and it’s gone – that’s terrible. We don’t like that. Not many of us like that, we’re not happy about it. So we’re trying to change that, and we’re trying to make it better. We’re trying to make music sound technically better, and that’s what I want to do. So we have a player that plays whatever the musicians made digitally, and that’s going to come out. We’re announcing that at SXSW, we’re introducing it, it’s called PONO, and that’s my commercial, thank you very much.

Read Neil Young’s entire speech here:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/read-neil-youngs-full-epic-speech-from-grammy-honors-ceremony-20140122#ixzz2rBLch2Rh

Project Two: A Letter Home

After his speech Rolling Stone Magazine spoke with Neil Young and asked him a few questions. Here are two of those questions that are specific to his next recording project.

Your next record’s coming out in March?
Yeah, it’s one of the lowest-tech experiences I’ve ever had.

How come?
You’ll hear it. It’s called A Letter Home.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/neil-youngs-low-tech-new-album-a-letter-home-due-in-march-20140122#ixzz2rBcLDbpX 

Could it be that Neil Young recorded the entire project inside Jack White’s Third Man Recording Booth? If you recall, Young recorded a cover of Bert Jansch’s “Needle of Death” inside the booth during Record Store Day 2013.

Third Man Records unearths NEIL YOUNG’s A LETTER HOME

An unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever. — Homer Grosvenor

I also refer you to Michael Goldberg’s blog post from 1/16/14, “Exclusive: Neil Young and Jack White Collaborate for New Covers Album” for the best specifics about A Letter Home.

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