30-day Song Challenge

I like this idea; it’s been going around Facebook for a while and it sounds like a fun thing to do. Here’s what I’ll be posting. If you have a blog or regular place you post to, why not play along?

day 01 – your favorite song
day 02 – your least favorite song
day 03 – a song that makes you happy
day 04 – a song that makes you sad
day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 – a song that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 – a song that you know all the words to
day 09 – a song that you can dance to
day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 – a song from your favorite band
day 12 – a song from a band you hate
day 13 – a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 – a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 – a song that describes you
day 16 – a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 – a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 – a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 – a song from your favorite album
day 20 – a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 – a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 – a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 – a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 – a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 – a song that makes you laugh
day 26 – a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 – a song that you wish you could play
day 28 – a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 – a song from your childhood
day 30 – your favorite song at this time last year

I’ll start with a favorite song tomorrow (along with my thoughts on that term “favorite song”). In the meantime, let’s just have a good song. How about . . . “Love So Pure” by Puffy Ami Yumi?

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Trombone Shorty keeps it fresh

I love jazz. Always have. Some of the earliest records I remember loving were Benny Goodman’s legendary live set from Carnegie Hall and a cut-rate Duke Ellington compilation. Both shared space on a dusty wire rack below an old suitcase record player. Jazz players look to the past for inspiration, look inside themselves for something unique to say, sometimes look deep into the cosmos for that far-out sound that they can’t quite replicate. What they don’t do often enough is look at the world around them to build a new audience and connect to the culture outside of jazz die-hards. The jazz repertoire doesn’t expand often; a modern sax player is often riffing on the same Irving Berlin tunes that his great grandfather whistled.

That’s one reason I’m so glad Trombone Shorty is around. He’s got the chops to do long improvised jams, but he knows how to cut a single that might actually get airplay on the radio. Troy’s young and good-looking, possessed of a very respectable soul singer’s voice.  He writes most of his own songs. And like most great artists, he draws influences in from all around him: long funk workouts, big rock jams, playful Dixieland improvisation, slick R&B. Backatown is flat-out one of my favorite jazz albums of the last decade. Trombone Shorty and his band are doing their part to make New Orleans musically relevant again; check out the video below, and if you dig it then try to catch a show when he’s near you.

Cool Artists I Have Known #8: Tanya Reichard Voorhees

It’s been more than 20 years since I met Tanya. Cool chicks who sing, play guitar, and write heartfelt songs aren’t exactly thin on the ground in American colleges, but Tanya’s something special. The voice, first of all: impassioned, heart-rending, but never sloppy or unfocused. Her guitar picking is delicate and often bluesy, not just the rhythmic *strum strum strum* of the earnest folkie. And the songs . . . hearing “City of Dreams” the first time was like a punch in the gut. An album is available for streaming or $5 download here: http://tanyareichardvoorhees.bandcamp.com/

And to round things out, here’s a video of Tanya and husband John performing “City of Dreams” at a New Orleans coffeehouse.