Archive | November, 2010

The Tallest Man on Earth – The Torch has been Passed

22 Nov

Occasionally you find an artist who just turns heads. In this case, it is not because of physical height, but instead an immense presence that is evoked in a brand of folk music that is eerily similar and stupendously different. The Tallest Man on Earth, the moniker of Swedish folk musician Kristian Matsson, plays music that is effortlessly perfect. Rarely do I drag an entire album into my exclusive Favorites playlist on my iPod. But, Matsson’s music is the pinnacle of folk perfection. It calls back to better days. And, his voice…wow…is that Bob Dylan?

That is perhaps my favorite song from Mattson. It appears on his first LP, Shallow Grave, which was released in 2008. Since then, he has put out another LP (The Wild Hunt) and EP (Sometimes The Blues is Just a Passing Bird), while releasing his first single “King of Spain,” which I will include below. The music is immaculate. It is, like I said above, pure folk perfection; everything from the guitar riff to his eccentric and eclectic voice. Is the voice for everyone? No. But, if you are a fan of Bob Dylan’s classic folk music, you will love this.

But, as much as the music may sound similar to Dylan, it maintains some strong differences. The music plays around with more modern musical ideas. It moves away from basic chords and experiments with different techniques. It also implements some strumming original to Mattson.

The voice does sound like Dylan, but, Mattson’s voice is deeper and more guttural. It even sounds more natural on first listen.

The 27-year-old Mattson also plays piano and banjo. This is a talented up and riser and he most certainly deserves some Music Court attention. Enjoy “King of Spain” off his new album.

By the way. “Boots of Spanish Leather.” I see what you did there with that lyric Mr. Mattson.

Bob Dylan is Bob Dylan

19 Nov

Let’s get this straight. Bob Dylan is a musical legend, but his skills have certainly diminished over the years…and drug use. He is an iconic figure of musical intuition and perseverance, a man that is more of an idol than an actual living, breathing performer. So, when you get the chance to see him grace an audience with his presence, well, you go. And, go I did.

On Wednesday Nov. 17, Dylan stopped at Binghamton University to instill in students, faculty and residents a quick lesson on how to rock and how to stay alive. The 69-year-old performer played a straight one hour and a half set of blues. I understand many virgin Dylan concert-goers went anticipating an acoustic guitar strapped around Dylan’s next with an harmonica in a sling attached to his mouth. They expected him to run through old favorites like “The Times They Are ‘A Changin.” But, that’s just not how he roles any longer.

Please understand this folks and don’t be upset. Dylan changes music genres more than weather changes in Binghamton. He is now on a blues fix. If he continues to play, who knows, he may go back to playing “Lay Lady Lay” like he did in 2002. But, Wednesday night saw Dylan and his excellent band (who all matched in grey suits…except for the rebellious drummer) truck through some blues music.

Blues allows Dylan to concentrate a little more on the music. He was singing, yes, but no one could really understand his words. But, that’s okay, no one could understand him 40 years ago. While Dylan’s guitar playing was dull, his keyboard playing was on par and he blew the harmonica with passion.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI

Passion. The word of the night. Dylan may be 69, but he was moving around stage with a youthful nimbleness that I did not expect to see. He swayed while he played the guitar and actively participated with his band when he was near them. When he was at the keyboard he was certainly more detached and he concentrated on the song at hand. But, a surprisingly energetic Dylan had the crowd of around 5000 tapping their feet and dancing. By God, it seemed like Dylan was enjoying himself.

That is the reason why he continues to play. The man has plenty of cash. But, he loves performing. At the heart of his being is an entertainer and music has always been calling. It doesn’t matter what type. All that matters is that he can be on stage playing the music. That is respectable, and fans have to be excited that they can still see a living legend when he buses to their town to play a set.

The highlight of the night was “Highway 61 Revisited.” My favorite Dylan song was played with enthusiasm and, while it may have been hard to follow him, I still sang along. And then came the encore with “Like A Rolling Stone.” He has transformed the song and the way it is sung, but, it was still fun to sing the chorus with a crowd full of people.

Listen. Was he sharp the entire night? No. But, you go to a Dylan concert with a split mindset. You want to enjoy the concert, yes. But, you are seeing Bob Dylan. The name itself can almost make the show.

Bob Dylan Tonight

17 Nov

Bob Dylan’s list of pseudonyms is long. His never-ending tour is longer. Tonight I will be seeing Mr. Robert Zimmerman, a.k.a. Bob Dylan, a.k.a Zimbo, a.k.a Bobby The Hobo, a.k.a Luxury/Boo Wilbury, at Binghamton’s Event Center. And, whatever name he chooses for the performance will be just fine with me. Seriously, I would not mind a Traveling Wilbury reunion tonight. Roy Orbison can come back from the dead for an amazing reborn performance.

The never-ending tour is just that. Bob Dylan has performed around 100 shows a year since 1988. That is 22 years folks. I am 21. Maybe there should be another name addition for Dylan. The Machine. That is what he has become.

I saw the tambourine man a few years ago at Nassau Coliseum. The show was an interesting experience. It was not what I expected. Dylan transformed his well-known pieces into unrecognizable tracks. I looked at the set-list after the show and seriously questioned whether I heard some of the songs on it. But, after reviewing the concert over in my head I realized something.

This is Bob Dylan. He is a cryptic trend-setter. The man changed rock n’roll and didn’t care what you thought. That’s why we love him right? From social activism to electric to country to swing to gospel, who cares. Bob Dylan effortlessly amalgamates genres and creates a bubbling cauldron mixture of excellent music and lyrics. So, for those going tonight, take a spoon. The soup may taste weird, but, this is Bob Dylan we are talking about. If it didn’t taste odd, something would be wrong.

In preparation for tonight here is one of my favorite Dylan songs off of my favorite album:

The Beatles Are Now On iTunes

16 Nov

The Beatles Are Now On iTunes

This is the image you are greeted with when you go to The fab four have never gotten this spread on Apple, mainly because they were not on iTunes. Well, now they are.

Oh, that massive library of hits. Apple has been trying to get their hands on that for a long time. And, finally, a promotion is awaiting the people who settled the differences and worked around the finances of the band.

That link takes you to the download page on iTunes.

What does this mean for you?

Well, if you don’t currently have the entire Beatles’ library on your iPod (I do) then you can now purchase choice Beatles’ songs for 99 cents a pop. But, be careful. A spending spree may be in order for many listeners. Similar to Pringles, once you pop you can’t stop downloading songs!

Yesterday, I brought you a post saying that it might happen and today I bring you this saying that it did. I am happy when I am right. So, go on iTunes and enjoy some Beatles’ downloading…and make the richest band ever, richer!

Now, the real question of the morning is what song should I use to celebrate this agreement. It may be just as complicated as the whole Apple+Beatles situation. Okay, maybe not. I got it. Symbolism?

Another Brick In The Wall/Your Ipod Playlist

15 Nov

Are the Beatles finally coming to iTunes?



Will the long-standing feud come to an end tomorrow? According the the Wall Street Journal, the answer is a:

You all know you liked what I did there? Beatles’ puns are the best. Apple’s “exciting announcement” will be made tomorrow and despite Yoko Ono‘s quieting of rumors back in August, the WSJ cites sources close to the situation who believe that this will be the statement. What took so long? The Beatles’ finances are like an inextricable web of numbers and agreements. Let’s be real. It wont be untangled, but, intelligent people can work around it if they have patience. It is possible that the conflict has ended and finally iTunes customers will be able to download Beatles’ music from the music service tomorrow. Cross your fingers.

“We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control.” You can just hear the eery sound of the school children’s choir. Well, a Tampa choir is going to have that pleasure tomorrow. And, in this bloggers mind, that is amazing!

Yes, I am jealous of the 12-year-old. This is such a cool opportunity. Seriously, it makes me giddy. It is like “School of Rock” except instead of Jack Black it is Roger Waters. (Insert Joke Here). Have fun out there kids. And, remember, “Leave them kids alone”

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