In Memoriam

I was sitting on the porch today enjoying the beauty of the Memorial Day sunshine, when my mom came out to tell me some disheartening news.  A member of our family had passed away; or so it  seemed. Gregg Allman has always been a part of our lives, and to hear of his passing, does create a void in a way. Now I can’t claim to be an Allman Brother’s fan. My father will tell you I have spent most of my life rolling my eyes at him, whenever he begins reveling in the grovel of Gregg’s voice or the 15 minute drum solo of Jaimoe, which my brother and I loving know as “Gregg’s bathroom break.” But, even if we couldn’t quite appreciate or understand Gregg’s music while we were growing up listening to Britney Spears or Eminem,  I can honestly look back and see that Gregg, the Allman Brother’s, and my dad’s love for them, has changed my life.

While each generation finds its own unique sound, I believe that it is the music that our parent’s expose us to from a young age, that truly helps root our appreciation of music and  the genre’s that we will most gravitate to. As mentioned, I was a 90’s baby’s with bubble gum pop ruling my record choices for a good portion of my early years. However, my dad never let us get into the car without listening to at least one of his songs first. “One song, and then you can have control of the radio,” he would promise. Of course it would always be an Allman Brother’s song, which was 10+ minutes long and we would get to where we were going just as the song was finishing! As much as this begrudged us at the time, our exposure to musicians playing instruments and songwriting that had deeper meaning than the puddly pop we were indebted to, was a blessing. It may have taken a while for me to come around, but by the time I was heading into high school, I had come to discover my own rock legends  and delve more into classic rock music.

For me it was and will probably always be Fall Out Boy. My brother passed down a burned copy of their Take This to Your Grave album, and from the moment I heard “Saturday” my music bubble, in which I only listened to Top 4o, was  shattered. I soon was intrigued to learn more about Fall Out Boy’s influences and what musicians inspired them.  I soon was rediscovering and truly appreciating the music that my parents had always had on in the background. Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Neil Young, Bob Seger, and most notably the Beatles.  I even ended up writing my college entrance essay about The Beatles. An essay about how much they impacted me, and how all the music of my parent’s generation influenced me. All the music,  I thought, but the Allman Brothers, which I did in fact bring up in the essay. I still felt that I couldn’t quite connect with Gregg. But, the universe was determined to never let the Allman Brothers get too far away from me, even as I journeyed into adulthood. When I first met my college advisor, he mentioned, I gathered jokingly, that the only reason I got into the school was that the essay mentioned his favorite band. “Oh yeah, the Beatles,” I thought.  Nope! The Allman Brothers, even if it was a line about how I didn’t care for them, he was at least proud that I knew who they were.

Gregg’s passing is truly the end of an error in this household.  I doubt that his music will die out with him, and I in fact am fully prepared to hear his music coming from my Dad’s speakers in an incessant celebration of his life  for the next few days, but it does mean the end of my dad and his 4 brothers donning their Eat a Peach shirts and heading out for the umpteenth time to go see Gregg in concert, and the pure joy that comes along with that. I know this will  hurt, because if my crying at coming within inches of Andrew Mcmahon at a recent show is any indication, I know how awesome it feels to see your idol in concert.

So rest easy Gregg,  they will never catch the Midnight Rider, and they will never be able to find a musician who can fill your shoes.

 

 

Throwback Thursday Vinyl

Well, after an extended hiatus do to my turntable failing on me, TBT vinyl is back!👏👏

To kick things off, a bit a of a tribute. Two weeks ago today we lost a memorable legend of rock, J. Geils. While  born and raised in New York, we Bostonians like to claim him and the J. Geils Band as our own, as they were formed while Geils was attending Worcester Poly Tech and after recruiting local musicians including lead singer Peter Wolf, making the loss even more bittersweet.

The J.Geils Band first came onto the scene in the mid 60’s as an acoustic blues band, but started using electric guitars and adding in keyboard, harmonica, and other instruments and sounds, leading them into the genre of rock, with early performances opening for bands such as The Allman Brothers and The Byrds.

The early 70’s brought most of the bands commercial success, with their third album Bloodshot reaching #10 on the Billboard charts and their single “Must Have Got Lost” peaking at #12 in 1975. Then in 80’s, the debut of MTV help gained the band a #1 hit with “Centerfold,” of their 1981 album Freeze Frame.

“Flamethrower” is one of the B-side songs off the Freeze Frame album, rising to only #25 on the charts, however it does not provide any less vim and vigor than any of their more popular hits. The song is an ode to a woman who is all business during the day, but knows how to bring it when she clocks out. Here’s to working hard and playing harder!

 

Save

Save

Fashion Review: Grammys 2017

Last night was the 2017 Grammy Awards.  Some stars came to rock, while others I would have liked to see be rolled right out the door. As always, lets start with the bad and the ugly.

  1. Jennifer Lopez

Image result for Jennifer lopez grammy 2017

Well all I can say is J. NO! For starters that color has got to go. This is the Grammy Awards, not brunch with Grammy! That pastel hue has no edge, no femme boss power. It is putting me to sleep. And then, obviously there is that  neck line. It looks like she was walking past a circus tent during high winds and someone’s cotton candy flew by and stuck on her. I like her shoes? But not nearly enough to save this.

2) Nick Jonas

Image result for Nick Jonas Grammy 2017

My first male review because I just can’t understand this. He looks like a gay Johnny Cash. The Bedazzler needed to stay in the the attic with the rest of the 80’s memorabilia. And why, when you have one of the most gorgeously ripped bodies on the carpet do you wear a tee shirt so large it looks like he just came from the Biggest Loser ranch? Not to mention that the rhinestone cowboy jacket, while being stand alone ugly, is also too big and boxy. Ugh, has he never heard of the KISS method? Keep It Simple, Stupid! Should have worn a suit.

3) Tori Kelly

Image result for tori kelly grammys 2017

Tori, Tori, Tori. This is not cute. The layers make you look wide, the neckline looks like a tissue box cover, and overall this just looks sad. Did no one remember that the Grammy red carpet is a time to have a little fun with fashion? This dress is safe and blah and does not scream Diva. Keep dressing like this and your voice won’t be able to keep you a float. You have to look the part too!!

4) Katy Perry

 

Image result for Katy Perry grammys 2017

I don’t even really have words.  I was not aware that she was here to promote the new Beauty and the Beast film, but…

Image result for fifi beauty and the beast

 

Thankfully there was some good

 

  1. Demi Lovato

Image result for demi lovato grammy 2017

While I loathe the Kardashians, Demi keeps wanting to dress like one, and I am surprisingly OK with it. This fits her impeccably, her hair and makeup are flawless, and while there is a lot going on here, somehow it doesn’t seem like too much. Well done Demi! Keep doing you!

2) Adele

Image result for adele grammy 2017

Adele loves to dress like Lady Grantham and I love every minute of it. Her mother-of-the bride style somehow works. She always looks gorgeous and always picks something that glides over her shape in all the right ways. This is no exception. This dress would literally be completely unacceptable on anyone else, but on Adele, it works!

3) Halsey

Image result for Halsey grammys 2017

I am in love with this look in  so many ways! She said she wanted to do an early 90’s/TLC throwback, and she nailed it! Her hair and make up look great, this color looks great, and this is the edge that I demand from the Grammy red carpet! She had fun with fashion and took a risk, and I wish I could pull this look off! Although have to say, it apparently did not photograph well, as this looks rather wrinkly.

4) Lady GaGa

Image result for Lady Gaga Grammys 2017

At first I wanted to hate this. GaGa stepped onto the carpet, and I was a bit taken aback because I thought GaGa may be past this phase, as many of her latest awards shows she has gone the Hollywood glamour look. But then, I fell in love, because this is classic GaGa that we all know and love, it had the edge of a music super star, and was such a fashion moment. All hail Lady Gaga for bringing this award show to life!

My Jam Monday

Monday again! Oof! Its almost over everyone, don’t worry!

To help you get over your Monday blues, some music! Tonight I have 2 songs. Both artists are not new or undiscovered, actually quite the opposite, but I feel that they  both should be recognized for another reason.

Music legends are born  by the way they are able to adapt and recreate their sound in order to grow with their audience and the generational shifts. Both started out at Disney, which can be a hard place to transition from. Both also were part of boy bands, another very challenging genre to grow from. But these two artists are making waves in the music industry, and no one is shirking at their abilities because of their background.

The first artist is at this point very seasoned even though he still young at 35. His music has not only topped the charts, but he has been recognized with many accolades including the MTV Video Vanguard Award and the iHeartRadio Innovator Award. His newest song is so catchy and continues the growth that he shows every time he releases new music. So in case you wanted this song further stuck in your head, here is Justin Timberlake’s  Can’t Stop The Feeling.

The next artist is just beginning to break the mold, but is no slouch at following in JT’s footsteps. Nick Jonas has grown leaps and bounds from his Jonas Brothers days. From his look to his lyrical content, he is clearly on the move and only going up! So I hope you also enjoy Close feat. Tove Lo.

My Jam Monday

Its that time again, for New Year’s resolutions. Since I have never been successful at keeping them, I suppose my first resolution this year would be to keep my New Year’s resolutions! I mean I don’t understand why I shouldn’t. Its not like I resolve to do things that are horrible or torturous (Besides burpees, but they are  unfortunately a necessary evil).  At the top of my list this year as always are to read more, get back in shape after eating one too many holiday cookies, and to write more. I decided to get a head start on the last goal. In order to do this I am here by instating: My Jam Monday. Formally known as Oh Hot Damn, This is My Jam…, I will be using Monday to bring you some of my current favorite songs. I’m hoping that they will be ones you have not heard before, from a new artist, but I cannot make any promises, as you will see by tonight’s installment. Sometimes it will just be whatever is stuck in my head.

I am also hoping to bring back Throwback Thursday Vinyl with  a vengeance! This may be mostly in part to that the fact that if I don’t do something with the records I keep hoarding, my mother might use them for kindling. But I digress, I really enjoy sharing my vintage gems with you, so stay tuned because I have some great ones coming up.

I am also hoping to start some new segments and topics, as well as continue writing book reviews and other random reviews of pop culture. I’m sure the 2016 election will be a bubbling font of writing prompt wonders!

So here’s hoping you had a very warm and wondrous Chrismakwannaukh and here’s to a vibrant New Year!

Oh and for your listening pleasure the song that is eating wormholes into my brain at the moment (happens to also fittingly apologize for my absence!) *shamefully looks away as she is silently judged*

Throw Back Thursday Vinyl!

This week I am representing my home with a Boston born artist. I also thought the song was a good fit because I think all of us here in the North East, who are finally starting to see grass again, are dreaming about warmer weather and destinations.

James Taylor was born in Boston, but was actually raised mainly in North Carolina. This upbringing is the obvious inspiration for tonight’s track, Carolina In My Mind.

Caroling In My Mind was first released on Jame’s self-titled debut album in 1968. My recording of the tune is from my copy of the his 1976 Greatest Hits album. Taylor started working on the track while overseas, first while in London recording for Apple Records, and then continuing to record in various locations abroad. The tune reflects the homesickness that James was feeling at the time, and also sheds light on his struggle with drug addiction. This struggle  was the ultimate reason the song did not get as much recognition as it should have when it debuted. Taylor could not focus on promoting the album as he continued to battle personal demons. The 1976 version is actually a re-recording as it was too difficult to get the licensing rights from Apple, as Taylor was now under the Warner Bros. umbrella.

The beauty of the song can be best defined by the words of James himself:

“Chapel Hill, the Piedmont, the outlying hills, were tranquil, rural, beautiful, but quiet. Thinking of the red soil, the seasons, the way things smelled down there, I feel as though my experience of coming of age there was more a matter of landscape and climate than people.” – taken from James Taylor: Long Ago and Far Away by Timothy White

So while he may not be 100% pure Bostonian ( although he did attend boarding school in Milton and vacationed for years on Martha’s Vineyard, and then there was the stint at McLean’s…) we the people of the finest city in the North East ( I would say anywhere, but then again I haven’t traveled much) will not fault him for desiring a more temperate climate.

Enjoy!