new favorites

21 02 2009

i haven’t posted in over a year, so you might expect this entry to be a work of eipc proportions.  well, sorry to disappoint you – but no brilliant insights, intrigue, analyses or epiphanies this time.  just a handful of my new favorite music, courtesy of youtube.  hope you enjoy these as much as i do…

jason mraz, live…”i’m yours”


laura izibog, live…”mmm” – this woman’s got soul, and great pipes


brian mcknight has one of the smoothest, most dynamic voices i’ve ever heard.  and his range is pretty impressive, too.  this cover of hall & oates’ “sara smile” is quite impressive.


ingrid michaelson is my new favorite artist.  her lyrics are elegant and insightful; her arrangements are simple without being boring; and her performances seem effortless.  she’s probably best known for “the way i am,” but i wanted to share with y’all this treat … “breakable” – recorded live at borders, with special guest allie moss (who’s a great singer in her own right).


if you haven’t heard of marc broussard, it’s time to check him out.  he exudes a passion and soul in a bluesy style we just don’t see much these days.  here’s a live performance of “what you won’t do for love” – live, from amsterdam, with his father, ted.


this next video is “many the miles” by sara bareilles, live in concert, backed up by marc broussard and his band.  sadly, this video cuts off before the end of the song, but it’ll just leave you wanting more.  enjoy…


now we’ll bring it down a bit with ray lamontagne and a live rendition of “be here now” from ray’s 2006 album “till the sun turns black.”  check more of this guy’s stuff out.  his first two albums are wicked good.


hope you enjoyed this little taste of what’s on my playlist these days.  thanks for stopping by.


bobby mcferrin

30 01 2008

bobby mcferrin is a vocalist. better yet, he is the ultimate vocalist. his voice is truly an instrument.

bobby grew up in new york city, and from birth, he was surrounded by music. his father, robert, was an opera singer and the first african american to sing at the metropolitan opera.

most of us know bobby mcferrin for his 1988 grammy award winning hit, “don’t worry, be happy,” but some of his best work was a capella, or done together with mega stars like chick corea and yo yo ma. check out a few samples…


21 12 2007

there were three unique things my dad and i bonded over as a kid – bugs bunny, kasha and flash gordon. for those of you who haven’t seen flash gordon, i implore you, please. see it as soon as you can. it’s a classic. and the music is amazing. performed by one of the best bands of all time – queen.

if you don’t know the music of queen, you’re in for a treat. their lead singer, freddie mercury, has one of the most pure voices ever heard – on par with roy orbison.  consider buying Queen’s Greatest Hits. it will quickly become one of your favorite albums, and you’ll never remember what your life was like without it.

anyway, a bit about the band…

queen (brian may – guitar, freddie mercury – lead vocals, roger taylor – drums, and john deacon – bass) got their start in 1969 and quickly became one of britain’s top bands of the ’70’s. in 1974, they achieved international fame with the release of “sheer heart attack,” and since then, have sold over 30 million records.

even if you’ve never heard a song by queen (and if that’s the case, shame on you), you’ve heard their influence. remember vanilla ice? you know that song, “ice ice, baby?” well, that song is built atop the chord progression and rhythm of a song queen wrote with david bowie called, “under pressure.” oh yeah, and then there’s the headbanger scene in “wayne’s world” where wayne, garth and friends rock out to queen’s “bohemian rhapsody.”

there are two things people tend to remember most about queen in addition to their music. first, queen was a band made up of four homosexual men (which, during their rise to fame in the mid-70’s and early 80’s was quite a cross to bear). and second, their lead singer, freddie mercury. freddie was one of the first public personalities to die from AIDS, and his death brought an important awareness of the disease to the british and american public.

but what’s most important to remember is that freddie, brian, roger and john – four openly gay men – changed the world. their music touched everyone, transcending pre-conceived notions and making the world realize that sexual orientation didn’t matter. anyone could inspire a generation with their art, passion and music. and they could be proud of who they were in the process.

freddie was one of those rare souls who was both macho and compassionate. he was a famous, well-liked musician, and after becoming sick, he even shared his angst with the world through songs like “who wants to live forever.”

so please, explore the music of queen. freddie’s was one of the best voices we’ll ever hear. and working with a band as talented as queen, he created an experience the world will enjoy forever. here are a few of queen’s best. happy listening…

chet atkins

9 12 2007

chet atkins is the most recorded solo instrumentalist of all time.  known as “mr. guitar,” chet was one of the most influential country artists in history.  he laid down tracks for the likes of elvis presley and hank williams, and his innovative, finger picking style influenced such legendary musicians as mark knopfler and george harrison.  chet defined what is now known as “the nashville sound,” which, by minimizing the role of the steel guitar and fiddle, gave country music broader appeal.  tip your hat, shania, and carrie, and faith…

chet played mostly gibson and gretch, and one of the most beautiful acoustic-electric guitars ever made bears his name – the gibson chet atkins.  throughout his career, chet won 9 cma musician of the year awards, 13 grammies – the most ever for a country artist – and in 1997, received billboard magazine’s most prestigious honor, the century award.  chet’s first hit tune was one we all know and love, “mr. sandman.”

as an executive at rca records, chet launched the careers of numerous country artists, including waylon jennings and dolly parton, and he produced albums for the likes of perry como, skeeter davis and bobby dare.  after his time at rca, chet signed on with columbia records.  in the 80’s and 90’s, he continued his brilliant career, making several albums, including a cd of duets with one of his proteges, mark knopfler.  chet recorded nearly 150 albums during his career, playing on countless others.

throughout his career, chet was quoted several times as saying, “years from now, after i’m gone, someone will listen to what i’ve done and know i was here.  they may not know or care who i was, but they’ll hear my guitars speaking for me.”  in 2001, chet passed away at his home in nashville.  indeed, the musical world knows chet was here.  he changed its landscape perhaps more than any other person in the 20th century.  now let’s hear what chet’s guitars have to say…

video diary

26 11 2007

as you’ve probably noticed, i include a video clip with each post. the thing each of these clips has in common — it’s from a live performance. and that’s not a coincidence. it’s actually representative of the music i like the most — clean, simple, honest, pure and a true reflection of the artist. yes, i know, some recording artists really are overproduced personalities, but this blog isn’t a place to rant about the declining quality of popular music. 🙂

anyway…this week, i’ve picked some of my favorite live recordings to share with you, courtesy of youtube. i hope you enjoy them as much as i do. write a comment to let me know which artists you’d like to learn more about, and i’ll cover them in a future post.

this first clip is from fleetwood mac’s reunion concert. it features lindsey buckingham on the guitar doing his song, “big love.”

if you’ve seen the movie “once,” you’ll recognize the musicians in this next clip, which features glen hansard and marketa irglova performing the van morrisson classic, “into the mystic.”

a few months ago, we explored the works of singer/songwriter martin sexton. here’s a recording of martin doing jimmy hendrix’ “hey joe.”

joined by paula cole, here’s peter gabriel doing an old favorite – “in your eyes.”

coldplay is perhaps the best band to come out of britain in the past 30 years. here’s a live recording of “fix you” from their album, “x&y.” enjoy…

a genuine troubadour, neil young has written some of the most memorable songs of our time – tunes like “harvest moon,” “rockin’ in the free world,” and “hey hey, my my” just to name a few. here’s an early recording of neil doing another gem, “old man.”

like neil young, james taylor is another brilliant singer/songwriter. here’s james doing a cool, mellow version of the classic beatles tune, “help from my friends.”

this next performer is my favorite, hands down. after watching this next clip, perhaps you’ll feel the same…

raise your hand if you’ve heard of pete huttlinger. your hand still down? up until a few months ago, mine would’ve been, too. but then i came across this sick, solo rendition of “superstition” that pete plays on the guitar.

happy listening…

paolo nutini

21 11 2007

paolo nutini is an italian scotsman whose inspired lyrics, catchy music and passionate performances are winning him fans worldwide and paving the way for a remarkable — and very durable — musical career.

as a kid, paolo always assumed he’d join the family business and sell fish ‘n chips in paisely, scotland, when he finished school. but while he was growing up, paolo’s grandfather — a big music lover in his own right — introduced him to a wide variety of music, ranging from scottish folk songs to r&b. exploring on his own, paolo found he really connected with the stylings of the troubadours, like van morrison and john martyn.

at 16, paolo tagged along with a friend’s band, selling t-shirts and occasionally sitting in, and by the end of the tour, paolo had found his calling. he dropped out of school, traveled the 400 miles southeast to london, and started gigging around town.

within two years, atlantic records signed paolo and brought him up to liverpool to record his first album with producer ken nelson — who, incidentally, produces records for such stellar acts as coldplay and ray la montagne. in liverpool, paolo created “these streets,” an autobiography that traces his experiences moving from paisley, and beginning a new life in london.

there are too many great tracks on this album to pick a favorite, but to give you an idea of what you’re going to get when you pick up this album, check out a few of paolo’s live recordings on his web site. and unless you’ve been living on mars for the past year, you’ve heard at least a couple of his top 5 singles – “last request” and “these streets.” make sure to check out “jenny don’t be hasty” too. it’s a pretty funny tune about paolo’s experience with a 23-year-old girl he met when he first moved to london. long story short, he told her he was 23, and after a few weeks of “hanging out,” he finally fessed up that he was only 18. she slapped him and said goodbye. man, what a mistake that was. every woman i know is crazy about this kid, and i’m sure jenny’s new squeeze doesn’t have paolo’s earning potential. 🙂 here’s a video of “jenny don’t be hasty” recorded at bush studios in west london.

oh, and when you listen to this kid’s stuff, keep in mind that he recorded his album at 18, and now, he’s only 20 years old. yeah, that’s right. 20. kinda sick, don’t ya think?



keri noble

17 06 2007

keri noble is a singer/songwriter from minneapolis, via chicago and detroit. the pianist daughter of an inner-city pastor, keri’s style is a bit sarah mclachlan and a bit sheryl crow. poetic lyrics infused with blues and gospel are what make her music emotional, inspiring and unique. check out two of her best tunes (free!) at (direct links: born again & oooh oh)

keri’s debut album, fearless, starts strong with three good tracks, but overall, only gets a B from this critic. the record is definitely a commercial release. “look at me” is a great love song. just keri and her piano, it shows off her vocal range and songwriting talent. the second single, “talk to me,” is a catchy pop tune you’ll find yourself tapping your toe to from the first verse. “piece of my heart” is equally enjoyable, introducing a melancholy cello that complements the piano beautifully.

the rest of the album is much of the same, but not quite as good. if you’re an audiophile, it’s worth getting the cd for the first track alone. (pick it up at if not, i’d just grab the first three tracks off of iTunes.

if keri sticks to her roots, and brings us more of the raw, gospel and blues that lace her best efforts, she’s going to be a superstar.