Tag Archives: History

Reaching Sainthood: Holy Holy releases serendipitous single, “History”

3 Sep

Holy Holy

What is in the water in Australia? Something great like fluoride obviously, because I have yet again been jamming to a track by a fairly new band from down under. Holy Holy began as a duo of Timothy Carroll and Oscar Dawson, and has been recently expanded to include Ryan Strathie and Graham Ritchie. The group’s name is indicative of the origins of their most recent single, “History”; songwriting borne from a miracle demonstrates just how talented these handsome globetrotters truly are.

Everything about Holy Holy is near-miraculous, in fact. Carroll and Dawson grew up separately in Australia, but met in southeast Asia, and became friends. Then, they both traveled to Europe, happened to meet up in Stockholm, and then decided they should make music together. They shared demos between Stockholm and Berlin for a few years, and are now finally back together in Australia joined by Strathie and Ritchie in the studio. 

The track’s origin shares a certain fortuitous symmetry with the way the band formed. While in the studio laying down some other tracks that they had been working on, they tinkered with a tune they had barely started writing and ended up recording it on the spot. That miracle-baby-song is “History,” which is very rich in lyrical power and rhythmic honesty about the dishonesty of our pasts. “And the only risk you take is that all of your mistakes are right,” condemns Carroll. The song reminds me of the Joshua Oppenheimer documentary, The Act of Killing, an easy example of the winners rewriting history, washing away any stain of corruption or wrongdoing in their own administrations.

I could of course be exaggerating the meaning of “History,” but you can’t blame me for jumping to conclusions, especially conclusions of a politically motivated nature. After all, their single “House of Cards” was written to speak out against the poor treatment of those seeking asylum; looks like Holy Holy is turning out to be quite the U2. Holy Holy has creative melodies, but I would not be surprised if they ended up gaining fame due to their outspoken political views inside those melodies.

“History” is available on iTunes. You can find more information about Holy Holy on their website.

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A Historical Waltz by The Rebel Light

30 Apr

The Rebel Light

I’m going to go out on a limb and start this post off with a guarantee. If you like creative pop/rock music, you will enjoy “Goodbye Serenade” by The Rebel Light. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if you are from Montauk, New York, Yucaipa, California, or anywhere in between or across the seas; if you like pop/rock music, you will like “Goodbye Serenade.” Why am I so confident?

“Goodbye Serenade” is structured to be successful. The song is effervescently focused on a catchy melody that is accentuated by several instruments like the piano, trumpet and the xylophone. It fits into the rare category of mainstream Indie, where the song is accessible enough to be dispersed to a wide range of audiences but still maintains a strong taste of Indie musicianship mixed with an enviable DIY enthusiasm. Also, the song is a waltz. Yes, I’m not lying, it is in three. Immediate kudos right there to The Rebel Light.

The Rebel Light released its debut EP last year, which was independently recorded and mixed. Vocals for each song were recorded in a bathroom and the drums were tracked in a wood shed. The band is made up of two brothers from Montauk, New York and a cousin from Yucaipa, California. The Rebel Light is currently based in Los Angeles.

“Goodbye Serenade,” as is expressed in the praise above, is my favorite piece off of the EP. The video paired with the song was also created by the band, and it provides a spine-tingling trip into history. This historical waltz flashes images and video as the song builds in the background. The strength of this song resides in its climactic chorus; a true diapason of harmonic instruments mixed with potent vocals. It has an empowering effect on the listener. The song is puissant. The melody is delightful. It all meshes well. The Rebel Light may have a big hit on its hands.

Keep up with the Rebel Light on Facebook, Twitter, and Website

Many Matches in the Matchbox

4 Sep

It’s often shocking how often you find yourself unknowingly enjoying a modern incarnation of a song that has its roots embedded in the past. Covers are great, but they spawn histories that are often forgotten. The Blues Evolution is The Music Court’s attempt to combine two engaging topics, music and history, and share tales of popular blues songs that were first recorded before the first rock n’ roll song was ever created.

Today’s song of choice is “Matchbox,” a blues song born in the 1920s and covered 30 years later by Carl Perkins (and later the Beatles). It is also a great example of musical telephone, where Perkins was forced to guess on the lyric of the decade-old blues song, thus creating an entirely new song that simply held the original’s foundation. So, if you will oblige, let’s take a trip down the long stretch of road that is blues history.

Blind Lemon Jefferson

It all begins with Blind Lemon Jefferson. Well, kind of. Blind Lemon was just one of the many ultra-talented blind blues musicians who inspired the eventual creation of rock n’ roll, but he developed “Matchbox” because he was inspired by a lyric in a Ma Rainey song. Blind Lemon, who has been called the Father of Texas Blues, was inspired by Ma Rainey – “The Mother of the Blues.” The blues ancestry works much like mythology, it seems. Blind Lemon and Ma Rainey inspired Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, and many, many others.

In Ma Rainey’s 1924 record “Lost Wandering Blues,” she sings, “Lord, I’m standing here wondering, Will a matchbox hold my clothes. I’ve got a sun to beat, I’ll be farther down the road.” In a pre-sampling example of sampling, Blind Lemon took that lyric and wrote, “I’m sittin’ here wonderin’ would a matchbox hold my clothes.
I ain’t got so many matches but I got so far to go.” Quite similar, indeed. Blind Lemon’s version of the lyric became more popular, but credit must be given to Ma Rainey as well.

There is Blind Lemon’s high croon and traditional Texas acoustic blues guitar. Gosh, pre-rock n’ roll blues is just awesome, isn’t it? This song was recorded several more times through the 30s and 40s but to no true popularity, though it was through one of these covers that the song was reintroduced to the public.

Thirty years later, Carl Perkins’ father suggested he cover the song in a December, 1956 recording session. Perkins’ father, Buck, was a student of old country music, and several country musicians covered the Blind Lemon song in the 1930s and 40s. He only remembered a few lines of the song. Carl decided to try his luck, and the session pianist, Jerry Lee Lewis (not a bad session pianist!), played a boogie rhythm on the piano. Perkins transformed the song into fast-paced rockabilly…with completely different lyrics.

The line that Blind Lemon adopted from Ma Rainey is still there. It is the only similarity that remains. The song, which Blind Lemon made about a mean woman, became a about a poor boy a long way from home. Here is Carl Perkins performing the song with Johnny Cash and Eric Clapton because we can!

The Beatles, who were inspired by Perkins, had received a request to record a Perkins song, and in 1964 they recorded the song with Perkins himself standing by. Yes, he was invited to the session, and did jam with the band (just not on the track). Ringo was tasked with the vocal responsibilities, and he sang the song while playing his drum set.

From the mother to the father to Mr. Blue Suede Shoes to the greatest band of the 20th century. And to think, I’m sittin’ here wondering if a matchbox will hold my clothes.

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