Lately I've had a bit of a crisis of faith in terms of this weekly blog thing that I write. I was concerned that my musical choices had become a bit limited and the conversation rather stale. You may or may not agree.
If the Muppets can't make you smile you need help.
I do most of my thinking when I'm riding my bike and this week was no different. Although this has been an easy phase in terms of cycling distance the slightly extended commute still gives me plenty of time to ponder. I even took the cruiser to work on Monday and Tuesday; that was a lot of fun (note to self: plan cycling so that you can ride your motorbike sometimes).
The result of my reflection, navel gazing and sweating on the issues is that I think I'll write a bit more. Not necessarily in this weekly entry, but on and off when something interests me. More often than not it's going to be a song that pops into my head that can't wait until Friday. I'll also limit my soapbox moments about anything and everything to there as well. The blog is always open for comment at www.robwoozle.blogspot.com so I'll just use it more. I like writing, I like sharing and I like comments! You can 'follow' the blog if you have an insatiable desire to be notified when I post something. Or not.
As for the musical spread. If you don't like rock, metal, blues, folk, country or a touch of jazz, rap, techno, prog or classical then this isn't the blog for you. I think it's wide ranging enough. Hey, at least I've stopped playing Billy Bragg and/or Steve Earle every week!
After last week's entry I bought a physical copy of Justin Townes Earle's album "Absent Fathers". I like it a lot. His voice isn't all that different to the early releases by his Dad maybe with a bit of Neil Young mixed in. I'm encouraged to go back and listen to some earlier albums of his that I have. Simple instrumentation and heartfelt vocals are a winner here. Definitely one for fans of Steve Earle, Mia Dyson, Gillian Welch and probably any Americana/alt-country stuff. What's alt-country I hear you ask...it's the indie-rock version of country music. The cliched "my wife ran off with the dog and the washing machine repair man" lyric and sound isn't there.It's more earthy and real-world I guess.
Justin Townes Earle - Round The Bend - http://youtu.be/V3iH-bveAfs
After years of resistance we have finally caved in and subscribed to pay TV. Overseas readers should realise that market penetration of what you might call "cable TV" is fairly limited down here. Most of that is due to the price. But with the major player in the market slashing their cost by 50% to compete with online offerings as well as me hanging out for a free installation deal it was affordable. The truth is that we got it for the sport. If I could've paid for ONLY the sports channels I would have been happy with that. As it stands the only other things I've watched is an old episode of Father Ted (what a hoot!), the cycling from Dubai and a whole lot of music television. Here's a clip that I'm not sure I'd ever seen before. DJ Al-ee-sun and I were laughing for ages. Can I get one of those pink Dean guitars?
John Cougar - Hurts So Good - http://youtu.be/4dOsbsuhYGQ
Last year when the band went up north I made some good friends. DJ Terrific was one; she looked after all of us so well. In a week or so I felt like I'd known her forever! The wonderful thing about the internet is that friendships are easy to keep going. She's even dialled into a couple of band rehearsals to see where we are up to on some tunes. So I asked her if she'd like to make a request for this week...the word has come through for something happy. Fair enough. Here we go...for everyone who needs a feel-good song today...
Kermit The Frog / Debbie Harry - The Rainbow Connection - http://youtu.be/h0Hd3uWKFKY
If the Muppets can't make you smile you need help.
Just back to the music television for a minute. Last night I saw clips from ABBA as well as Robert Palmer. Both featured dodgy looking blokes and gorgeous women. Probably the blokes still look the same in clips today but I bet none of those naturally beautiful women would get a look in. It's such a shame that we have to digitally and cosmetically manipulate women for them to appear in the media. Real people look good too and beauty is far more than skin deep.
ABBA - Mamma Mia - http://youtu.be/unfzfe8f9NI
Later on in the year we're heading to the Hunter Valley to see Choirboys, The Angels, Cheap Trick and Billy Idol. How's that for a flashback! Billy I can take or leave really but I just checked and Steve Stevens is still playing guitar for him. Steve is an awesome player and showman. That'll make Billy's sneer and limited vocal talents a lot more bearable. You can guarantee that I'll be fist pumping and sporting a huge grin when he plays White Wedding or Rebel Yell though - cheesy is OK by me.
Steve Stevens - Atomic Playboys - http://youtu.be/r1VacSU8kFA
Cheap Trick - Out In The Street - http://youtu.be/rhYxqGMkXxU
The Angels - Fashion & Fame - http://youtu.be/g49Jd1LR2vI
Choirboys - James Dale - http://youtu.be/-idy4ZPUl_k
Band rehearsals for the "Southeastern" shows continued this week. With Drummer Joel unavailable due to being a very busy boy we've drafted in someone else to pound the tubs. We had our first hit out with Hayden on Tuesday evening. There's something ultra cool about his small Gretsch kit but even cooler is the way he plays. It was very much like slipping into an old pair of comfy boots for us. Playing with Hayden is going to be a real treat. It won't be long before we get out there and play "Southeastern". It is literally one of the best albums from front to back that I've ever heard. If you're thinking of coming then you can rely on the fact that we're awesome and you like new music or you could have a sneaky listen to the original. Go on, you know you want to!
Jason Isbell - Stockholm (live and solo) - http://youtu.be/mvXGTc17Bqo
The best singers (and guitarists) not only have technical skill and an innate 'feel' for their craft but a sense of individualism. For example, there's never any doubt when it's Mark Knopfler playing the guitar. He could be bashing away on a cheap acoustic to a heavy metal melody and he still sounds like Mark Knopfler. Sting has an instantly recognisable voice but also a pattern of note selection when singing that is all his own. Today I listened to tracks from the latest album by Icelandic songstress Bjork. I've never been a huge fan of her kooky brand of music but there's no doubt that she's fabulously talented. There's a delicacy and strength in this track that also highlights her particular favourite vocal style and range. Someone who knows more about music theory can probably tell me the correct term for what I'm trying to describe. If it was a blues guitarist I might say that they regularly use a particular version of a pentatonic scale or something like that. But I could be wrong!
Bjork - Stonemilker - http://youtu.be/xhVy6rBnIeE
Long time readers will be aware that I have a couple of friends who died well before their time. It's funny how they creep into my thoughts every now and then. It's certainly not in the gut-wrenching way that it used to occur thankfully. These days it's a line from an email or a comment that I remember fondly. Not long before he died, my mate Garry went to the Royal Albert Hall in the UK to see Tom Petty play. I remember waking up to quite a few excited emails and texts that he'd sent during the gig. It was probably the last time he was happy before he passed away. I remembered his happiness at just how good the show was and on hearing Tom play this week I thought that at least Garry's last live show was a cracker.
Tom Petty - Jammin' Me - http://youtu.be/7MeXNbV-7Z8
Finally, it's here...Zoe leaves on Monday morning at some ungodly hour. I've been OK with the whole thing (usually) up until now but today I'm a bit blue. Going to miss my girl. I know she sometimes reads this so I won't be too soppy I promise! As I've said, I'm so proud of her that I could burst. Let's leave it at that safe in the knowledge that she's been counting down until this moment and I'll be counting down until she comes back (even if it is only for a few days).
Rod Stewart - Forever Young - http://youtu.be/1T9apksOv6k
That's it. Watch the blog for more.
"I believe, If you give
A little bit of love to those you live with
A little bit of love...
Has gotta come your way." - Little Bit of Love, Free (1972)