Friday, December 21, 2007
Recently one of my readers posted a comment about John Waite and Alison Krauss' duet on a re-make of Waite's massive 1984 hit "Missing You." I'm feeling particularly 80s this Friday, and am also getting excited for Waite's Barns show in February, so I thought I'd go ahead and post the video! So sit back, relax, and reminisce about 80s hair, boom boxes, and cabbage patch kids while watching this enhanced version of a song that was already pretty incredible, before the addition of Alison Krauss.
The Wolf Trap Foundation is on holiday break for the next week, but I'll be posting from time to time, so check in with me if you're need a break from playing with your new Playstation 3, X-Box 360, or IPhone.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
So it's five days before Christmas, and I'm sure all your shopping is finished, but if you're looking for some birthday gifts for early 2008, or are just curious about what The Barns has to offer for January, here is a preview of three upcoming shows.
America's Dream Chamber Artists (ADCA) - Friday, January 18 @ 8 p.m.
Formed by cellist Arash Amini and flautist Eveline Kuhn in 2003, the ADCA is a 12 piece chamber music society, of which all performers share the goal of presenting chamber music in a renewed and energized manner, making it approachable and enjoyable to all kinds of audiences.
Arash, in particular, believes in emphasizing the core of what chamber music was always meant to be by removing the formality of the concert hall and replacing it with a more personal relationship with the audience. Interestingly, it is also ADCA’s intention to make program notes a thing of the past. ADCA’s Artist Members share some of their insights with the audience about each piece before it is performed, thus making program notes unnecessary and further focusing the audience’s attention entirely to the stage. The performers also say a few interesting things about themselves to the audience, from the stage, and are on hand after performances, not only to meet and greet audience members but also to answer any questions they might have.
The ADCA is part of Wolf Trap's Discovery Series, and is this season's debut artist.
International Guitar Night - Wednesday, January 23 @ 8 p.m.
Imagine a blend of guitar wizardry featuring classic finger picking, Madagascan influenced compositions, Celtic and bluegrass music, and lastly flamenco. Tough to wrap your brain around I know, but you can actually experience this unique celebration of cultural diversity firsthand at The Barns stage with the instrumentation of Brian Gore, D' Gary, Clive Carroll, and Miguel de la Bastide.
Since its humble beginnings at a San Francisco laundry mat in 1995, this concept has exploded into a worldwide celebration of diverse guitar techniques and stylistic exploration, focusing on collaboration amongst top guitar players rather than competition for recognition or sales.
U.S. tour dates for this event conclude in February, with the closest performance location in Charlottesville, VA., so get on the IGN train while there is still time. Check out this youtube video for a little preview of what to expect.
Maureen McGovern - Thursday, January 31 and Friday, February 1 @ 8p.m.
Ok, I'm sort of a sucker for show tunes. Musical theater was a huge part of my life growing up in Massachusetts, so lay off :) Not to imply that Maureen McGovern sings only Broadway tunes, as her repertoire extends far into the American pop music songbook as well.
This woman is pretty massive in terms of reputation and demand, so it's quite a treat to see her in a venue as intimate as The Barns. She is often asked to perform with the Boston Pops and the National Symphony Orchestra. Where most musicians trying to jumpstart a careeer are making low budget records and scraping by on the coffeehouse circuit, one of McGovern's first gigs came courtesy of 20th Century Records who hired her sing the movie theme “The Morning After” for The Poseidon Adventure, which by the way, went on to win an Oscar for "Best Original Song." Not a bad start.
So come see her if you can, and witness masterful intepretations of Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Leonard Bernstein, Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Hoagy Carmichael, and of course, some timeless Broadway classics.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's video of the week.
Monday, December 17, 2007
In comparison to other major cities such as New York, L.A., and Chicago, the D.C. area is geared more towards hip-hop, rap and soul, with the top three artists being Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, and Jay-Z — who do not appear on the top lists from other cities. Another genre favorite is folk-rock, with many locals listening to Bob Dylan, Norah Jones, and James Blunt.
Jason Rentfrow and Samuel Gosling, a pair of social psychologists, have divided all music genres into four categories: Reflective and Complex (jazz, classical, folk, blues), Intense and Rebellious (rock, metal, alternative), Upbeat and Conventional (country, pop, religious), and Energetic and Rhythmic (rap/hip-hop, funk, soul, dance). So it seems that the Washington region’s taste in music is largely reflective of the last category, Energetic and Rhythmic, with 11 out of the top 25 bands fitting that criteria. According to Rentfro and Gosling, this musical classification comes with a long list of very complimentary adjectives for its listeners, including extroverted, agreeable, athletic, physically attractive, and politically liberal.
On a yearly basis, Wolf Trap makes it a priority to book solid soul, funk, folk, dance, and blues with Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Robert Cray, the B-52s, Earth Wind & Fire, Michael McDonald and Joss Stone all on the schedule in 2007 alone. In year's past we've also featured Mary J. Blige, B.B. King, Keb' Mo', and Patti Labelle, to name a few. We like to think we're catering to your musical needs. :)
I was joking around before that my own personal classification according to these four categories is that I am part of a complex, upbeat, musical rebellion. Where do your preferences lie? When you are listening to Pandora, what category dominates your artist selection?
Lastly, in terms of live performance, what artists/categories would you like to see more of in venues around town?
I'd be interested to hear your reactions and thoughts.
Friday, December 14, 2007
An apparent highlight of the evening was when the quartet broke into "Rock and Roll" for their second encore, complete with visual imagery from Zeppelin's reign over the music world in the early and mid 1970s. The video depicted a younger band, but not one any more in sync. In his review of the band's first full length show in 27 years, Rolling Stone's senior editor David Fricke stated "The band that played underneath those memories last night was not the one that misfired at Live Aid in 1985 or again in New York in 1988. This one was rehearsed, ready and out to kill. This band was Led Zeppelin in every way."
Having proved to the world that they are still the best at what they do, what lies ahead for arguably the greatest band of all time? Will they launch a world tour, headline Bonnaroo (substantiated rumors are flying around that they are already booked), cut a new record, or are they obliged to go out on a high note after the London gig? It's open for discussion. What does everyone think? I'd love to hear your opinions.
Also, have many of you heard Raising Sand, the recent collaboration between Alison Krauss and Robert Plant? I think Alison Krauss is absolutely brilliant and despite winning Grammy awards into the double digits, I don't believe she's ever gotten the credit she deserves. Perhaps with this album, alongside one of the greatest male rock voices in history, folks will pay attention. She's headlined the Filene Center ten times since 1991, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed for a Plant/Krauss visit to Wolf Trap, although their draw would likely warrant a larger venue…
In the meantime, I've posted the setlist and a decent video capture of Zeppelin's 12/10 performance of "Kashmir". Plant's voice still soars on the high notes, and Page's delivery of his hard-driving signature guitar style is as tenacious as ever. Bonham and Jones aren't bad either :)
"Good Times, Bad Times"
"In My Time of Dying"
"For Your Life"
"Trampled Under Foot"
"Nobody's Fault But Mine"
"Since I've Been Lovin' You"
"Dazed and Confused"
"Stairway To Heaven"
"The Song Remains the Same"
"Misty Mountain Hop"
"Whole Lotta Love"
"Rock and Roll"
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Venues in the magazine’s ranking included Nissan Pavilion and Merriweather Post Pavilion, coming in at #24 and #26 out of 100. With nearly 100 shows in 100 days over the summer, the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts sold more tickets year-to- date than both venues combined. The 9:30 club in D.C. was ranked #1 in the club venue category.
To me, this is wholly representative of the fact that D.C. area music fans crave quality, consistent artistic programming on a daily basis. Venues like Wolf Trap and 9:30 go strong all summer long (and all winter and spring for that matter) to make sure music lovers are never resigned to listening to a live show on an ipod in their living room.
Also, the Filene Center received the nomination for a 2007 Pollstar Concert Industry Award in the category of Red Rocks Award/Best Small Outdoor Venue, which is decided from the collective decision process of industry agents, managers, talent buyers, and record company executives.
I know that the entire staff shares my sentiments when I thank you all for helping us become #1!
Monday, December 10, 2007
It's sort of a catch 22 that today's methods of consuming music are much more plentiful, but when I mention how much I love The Shins new record "Wincing the Night Away", a lot of people nod and smile, but in truth probably have no idea what I'm talking about. In your opinion, your brother's cousin's fiance is the frontman for the best pop-punk band since Green Day, but I really have no easy way of making this discovery unless I pay attention to the same niche world as you. Take of this what you will. I personally love being able to close myself off in a musical box with what I like to pretend are bands that got together purely for my own exlusive enjoyment, while others seek conformity in order to share what you love with those around you.
Musical taste is such a subjective thing, and the methods for its distribution are almost overwhelming in abundance, which bodes extremely well for emerging bands. Heritage acts like the Doobie Brothers, Steve Miller Band, The Rolling Stones, The Police, etc., will always maintain a massive following and will always make money because they were able to successfully leverage the relationship with their record label to achieve nationwide exposure, combined with the fact that they are inherently very talented musicians.
If you have a passion for music, both on the performer and consumer side -get excited, because now is the time to pounce. Investigate, read, experiment, play shows out of your basement in hopes that the neighbors like it and tell their friends, start a blog, subscribe to a new music magazine - you'll be amazed at what out's there that isn't available only through exposure to the mainstream.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I feel as though I might have let some of you down by not posting a video of the week last Friday, so to make up for it, I've included two in today's post.
First, as promised, feast your eyes upon this amazing display of killer dance moves (the pee-wee!) wrapped into some good old fashioned holiday spirit with the 2007 Wolf Trap Frosty the Snowman audition for this year's holiday Sing-A-Long. The audition took place in our lecture hall, which is where John Eaton records his American Popular Song series that is released on Wolf Trap's record label, Wolf Trap Recordings. The winning Frosty candidate went on to tear up the stage in front of 3,000 people during last Sunday's Sing-A-Long. I would have auditioned, but for once in my life, I'm actually too tall for something!
This next video has only been on Youtube for approximately 4-5 hours. It is footage captured from Toyota's December 6 unveiling of their latest robot that is capable of playing the violin. In this clip, the robot plays a pretty spot-on version of "Pomp and Circumstance". If you're wondering about the practicality of this excercise, it's purely a demonstration of the robot's overall dexterity. I heard the robot can also play a mean version of Guns 'N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle", but that's just hearsay:).
Have a great weekend,