The country music world mourns the passing of Ray Price

The country music world mourns the passing of Ray Price

Ray Price, a giant in the country music scene for since 1951, died yesterday at his home in Mt. Pleasant, TX.

Price, a WWII vet (US Marine Corps), attended veterinary school for a brief time, singing in night clubs on the side. He was signed to Bullet Records, a Nashville-based record label. In 1951, Hank Williams called him out of the blue, inviting him to sing with Williams at the Grand Old Opry, thus cementing a lifelong friendship.

Five years later, Price revolutionized the sound of country music when he put an idea he'd had into play. He described it thus in a 1998 interview with The Washington Post: "We were having trouble getting a good clean bass sound. So instead of going with the standard 2/4 beat, I said, 'Let's try a 4/4 bass and a shuffle rhythm,' and it cut. It cut clean through."

He applied that technique to Crazy Arms and so was born the Ray Price Beat, and a skyrocketing career. Crazy Arms spent 20 weeks at No. 1.

Mr. Price's last album, [bL1285634|Last of the Breed] (2007), was a collaborative effort with Willie Nelson (whom Price discovered) and Merle Haggard. The album won a Grammy at the 50th Grammy awards in 2008.

Price's second revolutionary tweaking of the country sound was to add strings to his music. The resulting 'countrypolitan' sound was at first eschewed, and then widely copied, by all the great performers.

Ray Price was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966.

Mr. Price, who was 87, had been battling pancreatic cancer since late last year.

Lou Reed, the heart and soul of the influential 60s band, The Velvet Underground, has died

Lou Reed, 71, one of the founders of the 60s band, the Velvet Underground, died today.

Reed was a trailblazing songwriter back in the 60s, unafraid to tackle topics that, back then, were considered a bit risque. He was especially poetic in his lyrics about sex and the drug culture. Openly bisexual, Reed wrote of his harrowing experience as a young teenager who was given electro-
The Velvet Underground only lasted a few years, but its influence gained momentum as it became a cult band of enormous impact in rock history. Fueling its prominence was the role of mentor that Andy Warhol adopted with the group.

Rolling Stone magazine labelled The Velvet Underground and Nico (1966) as the 13th most influential album of alll time. In 2004, Joe Harvard wrote a history of the band, using that same title.

The most commercially successful songs performed by the Velvet Underground were Rock and Roll and Sweet Jane, both of which can be heard on The Best of the Velvet Underground: Words and Music by Lou Reed.

In 1972, Reed peaked with Lou Reed:Transformer, which was co-produced by David Bowie and Mike Ronson.

At the time of this posting, the cause of Mr. Reed's death is unknown. He did undergo a liver transplant in the spring of this year.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Ghostly International

YOU can access over 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

Fans of local music unite! Music from Ann Arbor's independent record label Ghostly International has arrived at the library and is ready for you to download!

ELECTRONIC / POP / ROCK
Midwest Product: Floating Happily Somewhere Between Music Genres
Ann Arbor trio Midwest Product welds live instrumentation to crafty electronics for output that could easily be described as both cold machine funk and ionized indie-pop. Inspired by the industrial sheen of early New Order and the hyperbolic romance of Prince’s early material, Specifics is a debut album that references the group’s love for early electro styles, warm glitch, and atmospheric post-rock in equal parts. Recommended!

RAP / HIP HOP
Dabrye: Fractured Hip-Hop Production
Taking the next logical step in his evolutionary hip-hop album cycle, Dabrye rounded up a formidable crew of MCs to create Two/Three. A moody, propulsive take on the genre, the Blade Runner-esque beats help cage rhymes ranging from world events to the street, with little chance to catch your breath. The result is a dizzying narcotic rush stronger than a back alley glue hit. Five years after his meticulously sculpted debut One/Three, local artist Tadd Mullinix made yet another indelible mark with this hip-hop sound. Gritty singles “Air” and “Game Over” have thus far foretold the progression of the Dabrye sound, and in the full-length context these tracks fit together as pieces of an unstoppable manifesto.

ELECTRONIC / IDM / AMBIENT
Christopher Willits: Gentle Sound Clashes
Christopher Willits’ newest record on Ghostly International, 2010’s Tiger Flower Circle Sun, is his most technologically complex yet—it’s also his most organic, drifting skyward in a swell of ambient hums and subtle polyrhythms. On Tiger Flower Circle Sun, Christopher Willits takes his attention to craft further than ever before, using the language of ambient, dream-pop, experimental electronic, and afro-latin music to explore themes of love, connectivity, and universal vibrations. With Tiger Flower Circle Sun, Willits has created a diverse, effortlessly complex album of sublime beauty.

September is Classical Music Month

Fall is quickly approaching (officially September 22nd!), and soon the weather will turn crisp and cool. It is the perfect time of year to reflect on the beauty and timelessness of classical music. September is Classical Music Month, and AADL has an extensive collection of CDs with which to enjoy the season!

If complex, elaborate harmonic music is your thing, or you can't get enough of the harpsichord, check out the Baroque era (1600-1750) composers like Bach, Vivaldi, or Purcell. Want something a little simpler, delicate, and more melodic? That would be the Classical era (1750-1830) composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Paganini. Maybe you're looking for emotional, expressive, sometimes surprising music, in which case you'll want to search out the Romantic era (1830-1900) composers like Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and Schubert. Or jump into the 20th Century and explore intense symphonies with composers like Mahler, mathematical music with Schoenberg, and jazzy rhythms with Gershwin.

Still not sure where to start? ClassicFM has a wonderful, easy to use online guide to the various music eras.

And of course, we have some great books to guide you as well. The Rough Guide to Classical Music, How to Listen to Great Music, 1001 Classic Music Albums You Must Hear Before You Die or The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

Allen Lanier, co-founder of Blue Öyster Cult, has died

Allen Lanier, co-founder of Blue Öyster Cult, died August 14.

Lanier, a multi-talented musician, formed the band, Soft White Underbelly in 1967. It morphed into Blue Öyster Cult in 1971. Except for a two-year absence, Lanier stayed with the band until his retirement in 2006.

In addition to playing keyboard and guitar, he wrote a couple of songs for BOC including In Thee, from the 1998 album, Heaven Forbid.

In addition to his work with BOC, he collaborated with several other rockers. He and Patti Smith co-wrote Elegie from her album, Horses (1975), in which he also played guitar. Smith wrote about their personal and professional relationship in her popular 2010 autobiography, Just Kids. He also played keyboard, uncredited, for The Clash's Julie's Been Working for the Drug Squad, which can be heard on The Essential Clash ( 2003).

Lanier, long suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) due to his heavy smoking habit, reunited with Blue Öyster Cult last November for a one-time performance in New York.

Lanier, who was a voracious reader (comparative religions was one of his favorite subjects) was just 67 years old when he died.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Mellow Teen Rock, A Messe is a Mass, Djun Djun Anyone?

YOU can access over 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

FOLK / ROCK
Connor Thuotte: Guitar Driven Alternative Rock
This strictly acoustic singer/songwriter styled work is carried along by story-teller lyrics and soothing vocals. The twelve song album embodies the California surfer vibe while providing uplifting melodies to contrast the calming chord progressions. Sunblind is Connor Thuotte's first album and was recorded when Connor was just sixteen years old.

CLASSICAL / BAROQUE
Craig Hanson: Exquisitely Moving Baroque Organ Music
François Couperin (1668- 1733) was a French composer more commonly known for his harpsichord music, despite his 55 plus years spent as a church organist. The Mass for the Convents is one of only two organ pieces that he wrote and was paired with another organ mass called Messe des Paroisses, or The Mass for the Parishes, both dating between the years 1689 and 1690. The Mass shows Couperin's charm and poetic nature throughout, and is considered one of his great accomplishments, particularly considering his young age at the time of its creation.

WORLD / NEW AGE
To Life: Tribal Landscapes, Rhythmic Dance, Hypnotic Trance.
TASABASABA fuses North African, Middle Eastern, and contemporary grooves to create a unique and compelling trance music genre. "Funky World Global" has been used to describe the sound, although one might want to add 'tribal', 'organic', and 'soulful' to the mix. African djun djuns and aboriginal didjeridoo drive the primal rhythm, made contemporary by this fresh California group. This is the first full-length release from the Bay Area World Music Trio "To Life!".

JJ Cale, revered singer-songwriter, has died

JJ Cale, known as the founder of 'the Tulsa Sound' for his brilliant understated sensitivity on the guitar, coupled with his minimalist lyrics and his passion for the engineering side of the sound studio, has died.

Cale was late in getting his music out there. His first album, Naturally was released in 1972 when he was 33. It contained the song, Crazy Mama which made it to #22 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart that year. By his own admission, Cale wouldn't have minded the fortune, but eschewed the fame. So it wasn't until Eric Clapton joined forces with Cale on their Emmy-winning album, Road to Escondido (2006) that Cale was reluctantly drawn back into the limelight.

Cale claimed that his genius in the recording studio where he discovered the power of drum machines, was born of necessity. In an interview with Aaron Kayce, Cale told him, "I first started out doing that because of the economics; I didn't have enough money to hire a band. Now that I have enough money to hire a band, I still like that; it's kind of an art form in itself."

Cale's roster of Blues artists who sing his praises is impressive: First and foremost is Eric Clapton who said, "...I was impressed by the subtlety by what wasn't being played." Neil Young also weighed in on Cale: "JJ's the one who played all that s*** first...he's got that thing. I don't know what it is."

On February 23, 2009, Critic Michael Corcoran wrote in the Austin American Statesman "...Cale serves the blues rock like the best $1.99 breakfast you've ever had...Nobody can hit it hard and soft at the same time, and still carry a melody, like this 70-year-old boogie minimalist."

JJ Cale's death, at 74 of a heart attack last Friday, brings to mind his lyrics of Roll On's final cut, "enough is enough, can't do it no more/ Bring down the curtain, close the door."

AADL Talks To Herb David

On April 12, 1962, the Herb David Guitar Studio opened in a basement on South State and one of the great success stories in Ann Arbor and the music business began. AADL talked to Herb David shortly after the closing of his landmark studio on East Liberty, almost 51 years to the day the studio opened. Herb's influence extends beyond the students he taught to love music, the musicians who bought his handmade instruments, the local bands he nurtured and promoted, to the top musicians that visited his studio to talk "shop" and discovered David's wide range of interests in philosophy, cultures and travel. Herb's genuine concern for his community and the power of music to transform lives as well as his great sense of humor shine through in this podcast.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-Herb_David.mp3 18.4 MB

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Rub a Dub Dub, Modern Jazz, Does Brad Really Suck?

YOU can access over 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

ELECTRONICA
Burning Babylon: Super Fine Dub
Give a listen to the superfine dub of Knives To The Treble by Burning Babylon. Hypnotic beats, synthie sound carpets, excellent effects—it's one of those albums you'll find yourself putting on again and again. Subtly funky beats range from the 70s oriented "Roots Fi Cool" to technoid dubs like "Babylon Overdrive" to the heavy mellow groove of "King Dubby". Positive, laid back, deeply cool.

JAZZ / BLUES
Park St Trio: Catchy, Melodic Jazz For All Occasions
Like Goodnight Daylight, the first Park St. Trio album, 3 Plus 5 was recorded to 1-inch tape with no overdubs, no "fixing" of notes, no redos. On this album, what you hear is what they played. In the studio the band did three takes per song and selected their favorite one. True to the art of jazz, they invited a number of guest musicians, five to be exact, to record with them to add excitement, depth and unpredictability to the music. Recorded at Little Red Wagon Studios, and mastered at Headless Buddha Studios, the outcome is a catchy, quality album that establishes Park St. Trio on the Bay Area jazz scene.

ROCK / FUNK
Brad Sucks: Brilliantly Sardonic Indie Rock
Guess Who's a Mess is the third self-recorded and produced release from Brad Sucks. A more uptempo and aggressive outing than I Don't Know What I'm Doing (2003) and Out of It (2008), Guess Who's a Mess mixes funky beats, noisy synths and big guitars with Brad's wry, world-weary vocals about handling people's expectations and learning to be true to yourself.

Opening Night Concert at the Bandshell

Opening Night at West Park BandshellOpening Night at West Park Bandshell

Wednesday, June 19, 2013, marks the opening concert for the Ann Arbor Civic Band summer season! All performances will take place in the West Park bandshell. As you can see from this 1943 photograph of the old bandshell, lounging in the grass before this A2 landmark is a summer tradition that goes back many years. Read about the history of West Park in Oldnews, and catch some of the recent photographs we've posted detailing the construction of the original bandshell in 1938.

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