Coffee House Series Presents...

Looking for some folk music this weekend? Check out the Green Wood Coffee House Series concert at the First United Methodist Church on Green Rd. tonight, Friday, September 28. Ellen McIlwaine will be demonstrating her amazing blues slide guitar and vocal skills. A Canadian native, Mcilwaine only does a few gigs in the U.S. So don't miss her performance. Also, take advantage of the homey atmosphere and reasonable cost of concerts in this series.

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part III: Why Isn’t There Rock-Blues

If rock is blues and country, then is blues-rock just bluesy blues and country? How blues is blues-rock in comparison to rock? Of course, if someone in 1956 called a group or artist “blues-rock,” it most certainly would have been redundant, but by the time of the sub-genre explosion in rock music (or as I like to call it, The Great Rock Schism) in the late sixties, all sorts of groups like Cream (and for that matter, any of Eric Clapton’s groups,) The Spencer Davis Group, The Rolling Stones, J. Geils Band, Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green’s version,) and hoards more identified themselves as blues-rock.

Great Lakes Myth Society playing in town this Friday

Southeastern Michigan’s Great Lakes Myth Society bring their blend of folk, pop and rock music back to Ann Arbor this Friday for a performance at the Blind Pig. A common theme throughout many of GLMS’s songs is Michigan and its natural surroundings. Singer/Songwriter Timothy Monger explains, “to reference our home in song has always been a natural reaction. It was only when we noticed how strong the themes were that the desire to center our project within the Lakes took hold."
Check it out for yourself on their latest album. Side note: In the song “Marquette County, 1959” the singer croons “Jimmy Stewart came to Marquette County in 1959.” This is true and references the film Anatomy of a Murder which Jimmy Stewart did indeed film in Marquette in 1959. (It’s a gem of a film costarring Lee Remick in a sassy roll.)

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part II: Never Mind The Sex Pistols

Truly, as far as punk rock is concerned, we must remember two things:
1) Never say you like punk because you like The Clash. That’s like saying you like rap because you like Run-DMC. Of course you like The Clash. They rule. That goes unsaid. Saying you like The Clash is going to make people think you don’t know what you’re talking about.
2) The Sex Pistols are awful. If you haven’t heard their one record displaying how truly bad and nonsensical their music is, don’t bother, because the Pistols are not the end all, be all of punk. Near the end of the punk’s prominence, a London clothier fabricated this band to capitalize on the punk fashion scene.

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part I: The Name of The Band Is Yes

Most people (rightfully) believe rock music came from the hybridization of country and blues music. After all, the early rock and rollers like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis played nothing more than twelve-bar blues with a country backbeat. But toward the end of the sixties, rock music had a sub-genre explosion, with rock and roll giving way to [blank]-rock (the blank filled with some adjective, e.g. “hard,” “country,” “blues,” and cetera.) Progressive rock, though, while still in the blanket term of “rock,” has little to no blues background. Yes, especially by the time they hit their stride with The Yes Album and Fragile, were little more than a classical music ensemble playing rock instruments.

IBM 1401

In 1971, the father of Icelandic musician and composer Johann Johannsson, bemoaning the deaccession of his office IBM 1401, and in one of the earliest examples of techno-romanticizational archival preservation(TM), made a recording of the sounds and electromagnet waves that the 1401 produced, utilizing a radio receiver and a reel-to-reel tape machine. It was nearly 30 years before his son rearranged these recordings, combined them with excerpts from an original audio instruction manual, and set the whole thing to a post-modern orchestral score. IBM 1401: A Users Manual is the result. You can click here to read a story from NPR's Song of the Day and listen to a sample track from the album.

The Only Band That Matters

The Band went from backing Ronnie Hawkins as The Hawks to backing Bob Dylan when he did his electric tour to being the most unsung band out there. While they achieved popularity in their time, scored hits, and certainly had the respect of all of their contemporaries, history unfortunately hasn’t yet brought Music From Big Pink and The Band to the forefront of classic rock must-haves like Let It Bleed, Who’s Next, or any The Rutles record.

Graduation by Kanye West

Graduation is the third installment in Kanye West's "education" series. This CD is fresh and innovative (and even somewhat eclectic). If you like hip-hop music, you will love Graduation. In my opinion, it is the best hip-hop CD of 2007!

I Don't Feel Like Dancing

As far as my musical tastes go, I have two main tenets. Firstly, I hold that Queen is the greatest band that ever was or will be. Second, I don’t much fancy music in the "Dance/Electronica" genre: just not my cup of meat. That being said, I tuned into Saturday Night Live back in 2004 and saw the obscurely obscenely named band Scissor Sisters. Taking one look at their falsettoed lead singer wearing a onesie and listening to the music, I realized something. These people love Queen almost as much as I do, because “Take Your Mama” (the song I was hearing) could easily be on any of Queen’s records.

Her name is Vega

American contemporary folk artist and popular musician Suzanne Vega is performing live at The Ark in Ann Arbor on Saturday, September 29. Vega began releasing albums in the mid- 1980s and her first big success came with the singles “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner” (you know, that song that always got stuck your head.) Her latest release, Beauty & Crime, brings further proof that she’s got something to say that’s worth listening to. You can see more of Vega at her website.

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