Quirkiness abounds when Leo Kottke and Phish bassist Mike Gordon join forces

Acoustic guitar legend Leo Kottke is well known for his masterful fingerpicking on traditional and folk tunes, such as Bach's "Bourree" or his own hauntingly beautiful "Crow River Waltz." But his fans also know him for his quirky original music and odd sense of humor, as demonstrated in his in experimental album That's What (1990). It seems strangely appropriate, then, that Kottke should team up with Phish bass player Mike Gordon on his latest album, Sixty Six Steps.

Sixty Six Steps follows on Kottke and Gordon's well-received first collaboration, Clone (2002). Like Clone, Sixty Six Steps features amazing fingerwork, clever lyrics, and a catchy sound, resulting in an album strangely familiar to fans of both artists while still breaking new ground. Listeners may notice a bit more of a tropical flair in the new album, however, as Kottke and Gordon experiment with island music. The album may seem familiar for other reasons, too: it features a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" and a very deadpan rendition of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion."

Looking for some live emo?

Short for “emotion”, emo is a term used to describe emotionally-charged hardcore punk music. From quiet ballads to high-pitched guitar licks, poetic lyrics to a unique style of dress, emo is alive and well and coming to Ann Arbor!

Rainer Maria, an emo rock band, will play Sunday, May 14th at the Blind Pig. If you like a little pop with your punk or just want to try something new, check out this trio from Madison, Wisconsin. Named after the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, the band has been on the music scene since 1995 and has released four albums. Catastrophe Keeps Us Together is their latest album and was released just last month.

If you like Rainer Maria you might also enjoy:

Crimson by Alkaline Trio
From Under the Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy
Louder Now by Taking Back Sunday

Hear Them and See Them

The Ann Arbor Book Festival boasts an impressive list of guest authors this year. Enrich the experience of meeting these authors by listening to one of their titles on book on cd before or after the festival. Best-selling author Jennifer Weiner, of chick-lit fame, branched out this year with a mystery, Goodnight Nobody. Jacquelyn Mitchard is making a return appearance to the Festival. We have three of her most popular titles, Breakdown Lane, Theory of Relativity and Deep End of the Ocean for your listening pleasure.

The Play Ground

The Play Ground

Dave Brubeck has been going strong since his quartet formed in 1951. He received much critical acclaim and was so popular that his picture graced the cover of Time magazine in 1954. Before becoming a legend himself, he kept company with other legends such as Ellington, Parker, Gillespie and Bernstein. In 1996 he was inducted into the International Jazz Hall of Fame and was named an NEA Jazz Master in 1999. On Saturday, May 13 at 6pm at Hill Auditorium, the 11th Annual Ford Honors Program will present Brubeck Time: A Lifetime Tribute honoring him with the 2006 UMS Distinguished Artist Award. Bravo! If you cannot attend, check him out by audio or video.

Hullabaloo!

Hullabaloo

Current magazine says this “rousing band indulges in hip-shaking ska, Latin, and rock.” I’d add swing and rockabilly to that mix, but whatever you call it, Hullabaloo is sheer energy and fun. They play at T.C.’s Speakeasy in Ypsi on Saturday night. If you can’t wait that long, try one of Hullabaloo’s CDs from the Library collection.

Where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the children are above average

"It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota." So surely will begin 2006 Honorary Oscar winner Robert Altman's film version of A Prairie Home Companion, opening on June 9th.

All of your favorite residents of Lake Wobegon will be there: Guy Noir private eye (played by Kevin Kline), the singing cowboys Dusty & Lefty (John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson respectively), and of course, hometown boy and host Garrison Keillor (played by none other than himself). Also on hand will be a few new old-fashioned singers from Lake Wobegon: Rhonda (Lily Tomlin), Yolanda (Meryl Streep), and Lola (Lindsay Lohan).

Make sure that you brush up on your Lake Wobegon gossip and A Prairie Home Companion antics to keep abreast of all the town happenings!

Constructive Construction Commutes

construction

It's orange cone season again in Michigan and time to take along a few books on cd to ease the wait. You can’t beat Martha Grimes to keep your mind on the mystery and off the traffic backups. Her newest title, The Old Wine Shades takes Richard Jury on a hunt for a vanished woman and her dog. Science Fiction fans will applaud the audio release of Robert Heinlein’s The Door Into Summer, a time traveler classic. When the ride gets really bumpy, pop in some humor and laugh the rest of the way to work. Try Dave Barry’s Money Secrets Like, Why is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar?

Anniversary of a mutiny

mutiny

On April 28, 1789, Fletcher Christian led a mutiny of the ship HMS Bounty, which was loaded with breadfruit tree plants from Tahiti and bound for Jamaica. Rebelling against their cruel captain, Lieutenant William Bligh, Christian took some of his crew and some Tahitians to Pitcairn Island where they burned the Bounty and remained undiscovered for eighteen years. Bligh and some of his followers miraculously survived a forty-seven day journey in an open boat and landed on the island of Timor.

To get the full details, read Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff or see either of two films, one made in 1935 with Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, the other in 1962 with Marlon Brando.

Literary Mysteries by Boris Akunin

The Diane Rehm Show on Tuesday, April 25th featured an interview with Russian author Boris Akunin, the pen name of Grigory Chkhartishvili. His literary detective novels became bestsellers in Russia and soon spread to the English-speaking world. The AADL owns several of his books in both English and Russian, as well as The Winter Queen and Murder on the Leviathan as books-on-CD. Can anyone spot the sly allusion to a certain Russian thinker hidden in Chkhartishvili's pen name?

Ma Rainey turns 120

April 26 marks the 120th birthday of Gertrude Pridgett, otherwise known as Ma Rainey, legendary "Mother of the Blues." Rainey was the first great professional blues recording artist and, by all accounts, the first woman to incorporate blues into vaudeville and minstrel shows. AADL owns a variety of books and CDs on the life and work of the blues pioneer, including, "Ma Rainey" and Blues Legacies and Black Feminism. She's also featured in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, August Wilson's 1982 play about racism and black rage set during a fictional recording session in a run-down Chicago recording studio in 1927.

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