Song of the Day: April 3, 2020

Sometimes you just need to feel like you are lounging at the beach with a cool drink in your hand with waves steadily crashing on the shore. Today is definitely one of those days with nothing but clouds and rain forecasted until Sunday here in St. Louis and COVID-19 emergency stay-at-home orders in place for most of the country.

Having been fortunate enough to have spent time over the years lounging around at many different beaches, I have had plenty of time to discover music just right for the occasion.

One of my favorite artists for beach listening pleasure is Michael Franti & Spearhead. Their music has great energy, vibe, and message, and is a perfect compliment to the beach experience. The band’s station on Pandora is also excellent if you want to just turn on music and let it roll all day!

For me, hearing any song from the band immediately takes me back to a crazy trip my wife, Donnell, and I took to St. John right after a hurricane hit the island. Amazingly, there was still so much beauty even after so much destruction, but I digress.

So, to take me back to one of my favorite trips with Donnell and to celebrate Friday and imagine sitting at the beach for three minutes and forty-five seconds, here’s today’s Song of the Day: “The Sound of Sunshine” by Michael Franti & Spearhead!


Song of the Day: April 2, 2020

One of my absolute favorite albums of all time is Wynton Marsalis’ “Standard Time, Vol. 3: The Resolution of Romance”. Wynton released the album in 1990 right in the middle of my high school years when I was trying to figure out how to really play trumpet.

The album is immediately approachable and listenable, and Wynton played liked his first music teacher was in the recording studio with him. That teacher was Ellis Marsalis, Wynton’s dad, and he was indeed right there in the studio playing some of the best piano I had ever heard. While Wynton was and still is one of my favorite trumpet players, I believe the album was a showcase for Ellis, and his playing was why I enjoyed the album so much.

Ellis Marsalis passed away yesterday, and in his honor, today’s Song of the Day is “My Romance”. RIP


Song of the Day: April 1, 2020

One of my son’s school assignments yesterday was to find a song from the year they were born. Well, Beyoncé had a massive hit in 2008 called “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” so he went with that one.

Things were a bit different back in 1973 as compared to 2008. The US was in the middle of a war and a presidential impeachment inquiry. Perhaps not so different than 2020.

So, here is today’s song of the day: “You Can Have Watergate Just Gimme Some Bucks and I’ll Be Straight” by The 8th Wonder of the World, The J.B.’s!


Song of the Day: March 31, 2020

“Hands Clean” by Alanis Morissette

Music Technology

Pandora’s True Value

Pandora’s stock has been getting rocked lately with Apple Music and Spotify making it awfully hard to compete. When you can play practically any song on demand, “radio” seems too slow and out of touch. The idea of Internet radio is likely over at this point, but that does not mean Pandora has no value. In fact, the opposite is true. Pandora’s value is not in its ability to play music. The value is in its predictive engine. That is what it needs to license to others. No one can come close to its accuracy. Imagine Apple Music’s For You section with predictions from Pandora’s engine. People would play more new music bringing in revenue for Apple Music and lesser known artists. It is a win-win situation.


Dave Matthews Band – Saint Louis Concert

My wife, Donnell, and I had the pleasure of seeing Dave Matthews Band for the second time together last night at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. The band put on an incredible show, and of all of the times I’ve seen them, I can say I have never heard them play so tightly together.

I have a few thoughts I’d like to share about the concert.

  • Having met Donnell at a concert, I can say for certain that there is nothing I like more than standing next to my lovely wife listening to a great band.
  • Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that every rock band needs a horn section. Trumpet playing backup singers are pretty cool. 🙂
  • Rashawn used a lot of bucket mute during the show. I’m a big fan of bucket mute, and it mellowed out the sound of the horn to really fit with the songs.
  • I thought Jeff’s choice of a Preservation Hall t-shirt was excellent and fitting.
  • We had seats just left of center in the pavilion which were actually quite good. It was the closest I had been to Dave since I flew on the same plane with him to Jo’burg.
  • Why anyone thought it would be a good idea to build a music theater next to a landfill is beyond me, but at least the wafting of the sweet and salty smell of kettle corn disguised some of the stink from the landfill.

The band played one of my favorite songs, You & Me. Every time I hear it, I cannot help but think about Donnell and the kids so it’s great in my book.

Unfortunately, they did not play Donnell’s favorite song, Tripping Billies. Donnell and Kyah spent a lot of quality time together listening to this song when Kyah was very young so it would have been great to hear it last night.

And to close things out, here is one of the best quotations from the evening from Donnell, “He’s so Phillip Phillips, it’s hilarious!”


Van Halen: A Different Kind of Truth

I have been listening to the new Van Halen album while working and exercising to slowly get my head around the fact that there is a new Van Halen album with the old (or should I say old-ing) Van Halen.

I have to admit that I really enjoy the album. It is without question a Van Halen album.  Eddie Van Halen is still the undisputed champion of hard rock guitar. There is no one on the planet that even comes close.  There are many times while listening to the album that I find myself shaking my head in disbelief hearing Eddie rip yet another shocking run.  Alex and the young Wolfgang round out a really great rock band.

Now, that brings us to David Lee Roth.  There are moments on the album where DLR is his old self belting out lyrics just like back in the day.  Then there are the moments when he sounds like me trying to sound like the 70’s version of DLR or Robert Plant (insert funny comment from the wife here).  If my ears are working correctly (and at high volumes, I think they are), it is possible to hear the order in which the songs where recorded.  I have a feeling DLR’s voice is just a little rusty on the songs where he sounds a bit off.  It is clear to me that with practice, he can regain complete control of that insanely fun and powerful voice.

If you’re a Van Halen fan, I’m sure you’ve already heard the album, but if you haven’t, you can find it on iTunes and Spotify.


Steve Schmidt Receives Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation Award

I learned today that my trumpet teacher, Steve Schmidt, recently received the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation Award. Having studied with Mr. Schmidt for more than six years, I can say with certainty that this award is going to a great musician and teacher. Congratulations Mr. Schmidt!


Pinball Wizard

For those of you that follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I have been calling my son the Pinball Wizard in honor of his mad skills on Mappy, Galaga, Pole Position, and Pac Man. For a four year old, I am constantly amazed how quickly he picks up new (old) games. He has even taken over the high scores on some of the games, but I’m practicing!

So, in honor of my Pinball Wizard son, Noah . . . The Who!

Music Politics

Which Music Festival Would You Attend?

If you had the choice between a rock festival featuring Arcade Fire, Wilco, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, and Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen and a pop festival featuring Madonna and Elton John, which one would you attend? Come on, be honest.

Now, let me ask another question. Which concert do you think would be in support of Barack Obama? If you said the rock festival, you’d be right on. The bands at the rock festival are insanely cool, current, and relevant just like Barack. The bands at the pop festival are lame, dated, and completely irrelevant just like Hillary and McCain. To be completely fair, John Mellencamp is supporting all Democrats, but seriously, he wouldn’t be caught dead playing a gig with Madonna and Elton John on purpose.

Indiana, North Carolina, let’s finish this thing. Listen to The Boss and the rest of the rock stars and vote for Barack tomorrow. You wouldn’t have to admit that you went to some lame pop concert on purpose.

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