Saturday, November 28, 2015

Happy Merry Hanukkah Christmas Oi!

It seems as if everyone loves the music this time of year – Christmas music playing all the time in the stores as we shop. But – let’s look at some non-traditional holiday songs; the ones that do not typically get played in aisle five of  Duane Reade

Christmas In Hollis – Come on, this is beautiful folks – this song is so wrong it’s right. Run DMC stereotypes galore, this song puts the hood into Christmas 

Christmas All Over Again – by Tom Petty. Again, an original Christmas tune – played in Petty-esque simplicity – 

Christmas Time – Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan is Tim Burton’s dream soundtrack singer – he makes Christmas seem so Smashing Pumpkins in this song which is hauntingly beautiful. 

Oi to the World – No Doubt … a punk Christmas tune that only Gwen Stefani could get away with covering. A song of forgiveness and bourbon – highly recommend.

Ave Maria – Chris Cornell and Eleven – Traditional yes, but not with this voice. Beautiful – powerful.

  I would never have imagined the next one. So I wanted a Hanukkah song but never thought I would come across a Hanukkah song like this. Please get ready to dance: Chanukah Jewish Rock of Ages - Official Hanukkah Song.

Don’t Shoot Me Santa – The Killers. Disturbing but the video is hysterical (and its The Killers, of course it is good).

I’m not even a Tom Waits fan – but this is awesome! Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis. Sad  song – but beautifully done.

 Fairytale of New York – This song is so New York, you can smell the bar at 4am. Beautiful (as much as Shane McGowan can be beautiful) duet with Kristy MacColl.

Christmas Must Be Tonight – My Morning Jacket. Jim James does not stray from the Band original. Classic and should be heard by

A New York City Christmas Tradition of sorts for us in the emergency response community. Shilelagh Law wrote Christmas in New York Again after the 11th and it captures holidays and remembers those no longer with us.

Making ChristmasNightmare Before Christmas – Eerie holiday song from one of the best movies ever made. If you want to play Christmas music starting after Halloween, you should start with this one!

Merry Christmas Everyone - Happy Hanukkah and have Very Blessed and Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Eternally Wild With The Power

Michael Kelland John Hutchence January 22, 1960 - November 22, 1997

Many of us grew up listening to INXS. The songs are our youth. My first INXS memory came with listening to the cassette of The Swing. For about six months, I thought it was Dancing on Jelly. So I was like ten and we didn't have jetty's in western Pennsylvania. The sounds were new, fluid, and KICK is a soundtrack of many wonderful memories. When we hear those strings from Never Tear Us Apart, we are reminded of those nervous moments at school dances. Devil Inside was the song that meant fun was going to be had. And New Sensation was an anthem of experimentation. Moving along, X was the more mature anthem. Come on, who didn't get overwhelmed at By Your Side or relate to the symbolism in The Stairs.  

While we all love Kirk, Gary, Andrew, Jon, and Tim, it was Michael that lead the band with his charismatic persona, golden good looks, and sultry soft yet powerful voice. He was vulnerable and powerful. Our Michael was an enigma wrapped up in a devilish grin and tight pants. However, with our love and fandom of him also came our sadness for the troubles and trials we had to endure. His music made him a video star. And media killed our video star. Tabloid fodder brought down our shining star.

Each passing year, we reminisce and pay homage to Michael Kelland John Hutchence. In our memories he will always be the young, warm, energetic, soft spoken heart throb lead singer.In our hearts, he will always be our youth.

In Michael's words ... Love and Peace.

The nature of your tragedy
Is chained around your neck
Do you lead or are you lead
Are you sure that you don't care

There are reasons here to give your life
And follow in your way
The passion lives to keep your faith
Though all are different, all are great

Climbing as we fall
We dare to hold on to our fate
And steal away our destiny
To catch ourselves
With quiet grace

 PMCarlson 2000 Sydney

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Eternal Life - The Annual NYC Tribute to Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley’s spirit was definitely hovering around Arlene’s Grocery for his Annual Tribute concert but together by Robert Urban. Each year I am both astonished and selfish about the growth of Jeff’s fan base. On the verge of  what would have been Jeff’s 49th birthday, I met a 22 year old drummer from the UK who discovered Jeff only four years ago. He, like most of us, quickly fell in love with Jeff.

There were new faces that sang the songs Jeff wrote as well as songs both by musicians who inspired him and musicians he inspired. The early highlights include Adam Cohen, Edwin Blas with Cesar Presa, and Matt DeBenedetti of Toy Cars. From Hallelujah to Radiohead’s High and Dry, the night kicked off with some great music fit for Jeff.

Now if people weren’t already moved when French musician Michael DeFleur hit the stage after being in New York City while his country was tragically attacked last week, he finished with a song that a handful understood. Jeff Buckley’s Eternal Life on the Live at Sin-é opened with the following monologue:  
This is a song about, it's an angry song. Life is too short and too complicated for people behind desks and people behind masks to be ruining other people’s lives, initiating force against other people’s lives on the basis of their income, their color, their class, their religious beliefs, their whatever.
But Michael did not recite that … he only sang the following before leaving the stage and it was a statement so raw that it was hauntingly beautifully framed because it was Jeff’s words:

There's no time for hatred, only questions
Where is love, where is happiness, what is Life,
where is peace?

And what’s a Jeff Buckley Tribute without a cabaret? Honestly, one of the most beautiful moments was Tracey Stark, Kathleen Stuart, Gretchen Reinhagen and Beau Howard singing a beautiful and soul filled rendition of Hallelujah. It’s moments like those that make the annual tribute so special. And more moments were promised as Robert Urban joined the Jenny’s and Mike Linkens almost the most Buckley-esque performance of the evening … almost.

Gary Lucas, guitar master, a mentee of Captain Beefheart, song writer, and co-writer with Jeff himself...broke a guitar string when he started to play Mojo Pin with Tara Lynne. 
 But meanwhile as the guitar was re-strung, Mike Linkens joined Gary after a masterful acoustic solo. It was as if Jeff walked onto the stage and we were taken back to the days of Gods and Monsters. A snapshot in time given to us as gift to the Buckley faithful. See you all again for Jeff's 50th birthday next year.

Eternal Life is now on my trail
Got my red glitter coffin, man, just need one last nail
While all these ugly gentlemen play out their foolish games
there's a flaming red horizon that screams our names
And as your fantasies are broken in two
Did you really think this bloody road
would pave the way for you?
You better turn around
and blow your kiss hello to life eternal, angel
Racist every man, what have you done?
Man, you've made a killer of your unborn son...
Crown my fear your king at the point of a gun
All I want to do is love everyone...
And as your fantasies are broken in two
did you really think this bloody road
would pave the way for you?
You better turn around
and blow your kiss hello to life eternal
There's no time for hatred, only questions
Where is love, where is happiness, what is Life,
where is peace?
When will I find the strength to bring me release?
And tell me where is the love in what your prophet has said?
Man, It sounds to me just like a prison for the walking dead
And I've got a message for you and your twisted hell
You better turn around and blow your kiss goodbye
to life eternal angel...


Sunday, November 15, 2015

"They want to shut us up. They want to silence us. And we won’t let them"

U2 at memorial outside of Paris  venue Bataclan
These are our people,  said Bono. This could be me at a show, you at a show…It’s a very recognizable situation.
Friday's attack in the City of Love hit the heart and soul of many music fans. People out enjoying a carefree Friday night out in Paris became the target of anger and hate. The goal is to make us live in fear. Targeted because it was a mass gathering, or because it was a venue recently sold by its Jewish owners, or just a random, nonsensical act of barbarity, there are more questions than answers. Families, lovers, friends, lost on a night where others dined, and watched a football match, all completely unaware that they would not see another Paris sunrise.
What lessons can be learned? Love. Strength. No Fear. Acknowledgement that the hate will not simply vanish because we want it to. It is our love, determination, and our unwavering spirit of freedom that cannot be silenced. All we can do is continue to moving forward. We cannot cower and hide. We must live our lives,  for when we stop enjoying it is then that hate truly will win.

I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out...
Charles Dickens  A Tale of Two Cities

Friday, November 6, 2015

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats: Something Old Something New

Rateliff, who looks like a cross between a barista and a backwoods preacher, has greeted his success with a mix of excitement and trepidation." ... "It's a lot easier if the crowd is on its feet and clapping and putting their phones away. Rolling Stone

Missouri born and self-taught musician Nathaniel Rateliff and his hard hitting band, The Nightsweats are the "it band" and for good reason. Their sound is a mix of rock nostalgia with whiffs of The Band, Otis Redding, Van Morrison,  and even the Big Bopper with a nice blend of The Wall of Sound. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats are refreshing in our world of TV talent shows. While Rateliff had several songs prior to the Nightsweats breakout album, it was his musical inspirations that seem to knock him on the head and say "hey, we can do this!"

The thirteen song, thirty-eight minute album is full of songs you think you've heard before. They're familiar but new at the same time. Their hit song, SOB woke everyone up. A song about giving up and then giving into the drink is driving and almost a church revival. Howling at Nothing is a good swing song with soul. And Thank You, well just says it all. The songs are simple but so full of harmony, thought, and musical history. 

Live, you cannot go wrong with seeing Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats live. Nathaniel got his wish. At The Bowery Ballroom on November 4th, every single person in the crowd was singing, dancing, and stomping. Their performance is powerful but not overpowering. Each band member exudes their own gifted talent that blends into one musical gift. 

We can only hope that we get more from Nathaniel and the Nightsweats. We need to be refreshed and reminded why we love music so much.

Nathaniel Ratefliff and the Nightsweats:  Joseph Pope III, Mark Shusterman, Patrick Meese, Luke Mossman, Wesley Watkins, and Andy Wild
PMCarlson 2015