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Showing posts from April, 2005

72. Ryan Lee - The Pride Before The Fall (2004)

I knew Ryan as a friend before I knew him as a songwriter / performer. Take my word for it, he's a warm, caring, funny, guy. He's easygoing and easy to talk to. But look at him scowling on the cover of his first full-length CD and take a listen to some of the mysterious, dramatic songs he writes and it seems like the work of a completely different person!

But that's what artists do. They take the troublesome stuff in their heads and get it out in their work. If I think of it that way, it's not such a jarring disconnect. And anyway, this should be all about the music, not my issues.

I've seen Ryan perform in a variety of settings: Solo shows in coffee shops, loud full-band shows in bars, and stuff in between. Thus I've heard many of his songs performed in drastically different ways. What's amazing is how great they all SOUND here, not just arrangement and performance wise, but also from a production and engineering standpoint.

I've always known Ryan was tal…

Shufflin' On Down

As I've stated before, one of my favorite iPod features is called "Shuffle Songs." It takes all of your songs and plays DJ. It makes strange choices, and sometimes gets fixated on a certain artist. And often it does not consider flow, and I mean AT ALL!

But sometimes wonderful things happen. As I've used the feature, I've found myself attempting to make mental connections between the songs. You know, lyrically, historically, geographically, thematically, etc. It has become sort of a game for me, so I thought I'd detail a recent example:

1. Prince - Movie Star. A great start is always impotant, and this funny, spoken-word b-side delivers.

2. Olympic Hopefuls - Stoned Again. The iPod wisely decides to stay local.

3. Johnny Cash - Hurt. Of course you know that Johnny mentions St.Paul in his song Big River?

4. Neil Diamond - The Boat That I Row. Johnny Cash was known as the Man In Black, and Neil pretended to be a black man in The Jazz Singer!

5. Henry Mancini - Mo…

71. Glen Phillips - Winter Pays For Summer (2005)

I was not always the music-savvy person you see before you today. For most of high school, my CD collection consisted of the entire ouevres of The Monkees and The Beatles and nothing else. I listened to the radio, but I had no idea what was popular with those "in the know." That began to change in the mid-to-late '90s, but not without some bumps along the road.

In 1994 I saw Toad The Wet Sprocket on David Letterman and was mesmerized by their performance of Fall Down. I went out and bought Dulcenia immediately (well, the next morning). You have to understand that this was revolutionary for me at the time. Buying a CD by an "alternative" band with a strangely indecipherable name? That wasn't my style back then. But I loved the CD. It led me into the false belief that I was now approaching that elusive cutting edge. I remember telling a K-Mart co-worker who loved The Misfits and Husker Du that I'd bought a Toad CD. I guess I thought it gave me some sort o…