Tracy Chapman at the Grammys. INCREDIBLE!!!
Coltrane fans, mark your calendars for July 14th! If the single of “Impressions” is any indicator, this album is going to be massively fun to explore.
It was a really good week for new music from some of the biggest artists of the last 30+ years!
First we have a single from Jay-Z featuring Gil Scott-Heron. “NEW YORK (CONCEPT DE PARIS)” is a rethinking of “Empire State of Mind.” It’s got everything you’d want in a great song – really cool rhythms, trumpet, guitar, drums, and of course, Gil Scott-Heron. In a nod to the original version, we still get a sample of Alicia Keys. Awesome stuff!
The second song that dropped was from Foo Fighters. “Rescued” is the first release since Taylor died last year. The music is unmistakably Foo Fighters, and the lyrics have all of the feels of a band that has been through a lot together. While there has been no official announcement, there are a couple drum licks in the song that I know Dave Grohl has played in Nirvana or Foo Fighters songs so I’m going with Dave on drums for this album. I am so happy the band decided to push forward and keep on rocking!
As you all know by now, music has been a major part of my life from a very early age. I started playing guitar before I was 10, picked up trumpet at 10, messed around with piano in high school, and decided to learn bass as a junior in college. Clearly, it’s something I like to do, but before actually playing music, I was listening constantly.
Growing up, it seemed like WLS was playing in the background at our house all day long. When they would play the Beatles A-Z over the course of a weekend, the radio would be on and turned up. This was back in The Big 89 and The Rock of Chicago days when WLS was the station for Rock & Roll in Chicago. I even had WLS covers for my school books!
As my music tastes changed moving into the ’90s, I began listening more and more to WXRT. The music overall was more progressive, but they played a great mix of old and new artists that I definitely was not hearing on WLS especially after WLS turned to talk and became completely uncool. I still listen to XRT today thanks to streaming.
Music was, of course, the main reason I enjoyed listening to radio, but there were also some of the best DJs on WLS and XRT over the years. My two favorites were Larry Lujack on WLS and Lin Brehmer on XRT.
These two guys were personable, funny, relatable, and most importantly, picked great music to play during their shows. You could always tell who was spinning the records when these guys were on the air. They told the best stories and made you feel like you really knew them. These guys were different. Lujack really did feel like Uncle Lar, and Brehmer really did feel like your best friend in the whole world.
Both of these radio giants are gone now. We lost Lin recently after a long battle with cancer. His voice is missed. Radio isn’t quite the same. But looking on the bright side as he always did, this one’s for you, Lin.
It’s Friday! It’s great to be alive!
One of the benefits of having children is not being completely ignorant of the newer artists featured during the Grammys each year. This year’s broadcast had many great performances, but in this post, I want to focus on Stevie Wonder.
The Grammys tends to trot out older musicians, and yes, Stevie is older, but you would never know it. The guy is 72, and his voice and piano work are still exceptional and fresh. He put on a hell of a show and showed all of us how it’s done.
This brings me to the point of this post. I’ve always said that if I went through with becoming a music teacher instead of studying finance, I would play music constantly as part of my teaching. I feel like this was a massive failure of the teachers I had through high school. We have recordings of everything. Why not use them? So, this is my way of helping share some amazing music while Stevie is still with us and performing at an insanely high level.
Between 1972 and 1976, Stevie Wonder produced a string of four straight albums that all can be considered once-in-a-career great albums: “Talking Book,” “Innervisions,” “Fulfillingness’ First Finale,” and “Songs in the Key of Life.” Seriously, how does one guy put together a streak like this?
Following are my two favorite songs from each of these albums. Take some time to listen to the incredible music, and then go back and read the lyrics in the context of the early ’70’s. Stevie wasn’t just making great grooves. He was trying to tell us something.
From time to time during periods of social crisis, a song comes around that puts into music how people are feeling so perfectly that it becomes a marker in history that helps remind future generations what it was like to live through that point in time.
Just think about all of the incredibly timely songs we have from the Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement, and the political turmoil of our current century. Songs from Buffalo Springfield, CSNY, Marvin Gaye, and Green Day immediately come to mind. The songs take you back to the time of crisis and paint a picture of what was really happening.
We are living through one of those times now. Of course, we are in the middle of the crisis and have no historical perspective, but that will come with time.
For today’s Song of the Day, I would like to share a song that puts into music how many of us are feeling right now: “i can’t wait to see you again” by Simone.
We saw a lot of insane talk and short-sighted decisions from a few governors today about reopening parts of their economies. I suspect these states will find themselves in trouble in a few weeks. My hope is that the citizens of these states do not suffer unnecessarily from the poor decisions being made by their leaders.
So, let’s all continue to mind what the experts are telling us and listen to Jack Johnson and stay “Home!”
Did you all know that “The Last Dance” documentary started tonight on ESPN? There are so many things I remembered from that last Bulls championship year yet so many things I had forgotten.
Now, one thing about those championship years that is impossible to forget was the player introductions. How intimidating that must have felt for the opposing team”s players!
The celebrate the release of “The Last Dance,” today’s Song of the Day is “Sirius” from The Alan Parsons Project!
There is so much togetherness happening at the Probst house these days. No track practice, no soccer practice, no baseball practice, no school pick-ups, no eating out, no evenings out with Donnell, a whole lot of nothing like our pre-COVID-19 lives.
The one thing I have been enjoying about all of this nothing is that we have spent a ton of time together as a family. I know these years fly by fast. One of our kids is no longer a kid, and the second one is really close to not being a kid so I know these times are precious.
With that in mind, there is one song that always gets me right in the parental feels. One particular lyric, actually.
Dave Matthews Band released an excellent album back in 2009 named “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King.” It was their first album since the passing of their long-time sax player, LeRoi Moore. You can hear the pain, loss, happiness, and joy in the songs on that album without even trying. And then there is the last song on the album, “You and Me.”
All I can think about when I hear that song is my kids getting older and the joy and sadness that brings all in one package knowing that Donnell and I will have an empty nest in the not-to-distant future and will have another amazing adventure in front of us while the kids start their own amazing adventures.
It really is a beautiful song. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Happy Birthday Mom!
Lake Street Dive reminds me of you because you always listen to it in the car. Another reason that Lake Street Dive reminds me of you is because you always sing along to it when you play “Rabid Animal.” Lastly, the song reminds me of you because the song is good.