A Day In The Life

Musical DownsizingMy brother gave me three CD’s fo…
December 28, 2006, 4:02 am
Filed under: Music
Musical Downsizing

My brother gave me three CD’s for Christmas. Nothing too surprising about that. He always asks for a Christmas “wish list” and the selections he gave me were taken from my list. I was, however, I bit shocked with my own musical requests. I tend to like lush, melodic, ‘large’ music with a myriad of instruments and beautiful harmony. Puccini operas, Mozart, Beethoven, the Beatles, the Eagles, Guns ‘n’ Roses, vocalists backed with an orchestra, large choirs singing intricate harmonies.

I am the first to admit that I am a bit of a musical fanatic. I teach music. I think about it a lot. I am immersed in it. I love music. And I have very strong musical opinions. I am totally appalled by many of the musical offerings available to the public in this day and age. It seems we have reached a point where talent, musical knowledge, musical technique and even musical ability are no longer a requirement for superstardom. So many vocalists and bands sound exactly the same to me. I firmly believe their ‘sameness’ derives from the fact that so many of today’s “artists” are not really musicians. Or maybe I should say that so many of today’s “musicians” are not really artists. Regardless, and before I really get into a major sermon based on my musical views, I think a lot of the so called music on the market today is just commercial crap. I mean Paris Hilton a musician? Give me a break.

Now….back to what I began to write about in my first paragraph…..I know, I know…I get carried away. What can I say? I’m a classically trained musician. I could discuss and debate music for days. I surprised myself with my musical wish list because I strayed from my usual listening tastes and, no, I did not ask for the Paris Hilton CD.

I was a Kris Kristofferson fan in the 70’s. He wrote some great music and I was totally into the Barbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson flick A Star Is Born. Kris played an aging rock star on his way out and his character in the movie seemed rather prophetic for what was happening in his real life musical career. His voice was sort of rusty and abused. And he pretty much had a personal and professional meltdown in the 80’s. I wanted to hear what he had to offer as a solo artist twenty-something years later so I asked for his 2006 release “This Old Road”. I am not disappointed. His voice is cleaner than I’ve ever heard it. Kris isn’t a very melodic singer and most of the songs on this CD are very sparse. Mostly just Kris and a guitar. His lyrics are layered with nuance and wisdom. Very powerful. A sample from “In The News”: “…Burning up the atmosphere and cutting down the trees; The billion dollar bombing of a nation on its knees; Anyone not marching to their tune they call it treason; Everyone says God is on his side. See the lightning, hear the cries; Of the wounded in a world in Holy war; Mortal thunder from the skies; Killing everything they say they’re fighting for…..”

Next on my wish list was the soundtrack from Brokeback Mountain. No discussion of the subject matter of the movie…..maybe we’ll do that in another post. The music from this movie is excellent. Again, very sparse. Most of it is guitar, pump organ and pedal steel guitar. Haunting melodies with unexpected harmonic twists here and there. Some excellent collaborations between Gustav Santaolalla and Bernie Taupin. Great vocals by Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris and others.

Last, but not least, my brother gave me Dwight Yoakam’s “Blame The Vain”. It is a 2005 release, but I didn’t have it yet. Again, I am not disappointed. Classic Yoakam with a few quirky surprises thrown in for good measure. Not as sparse as Kristofferson and the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack, but I love that Bakersfield sound. We lost Buck Owens this year so it is up to Dwight to keep it going.

Hope you had the merriest Christmas ever and Happy New Year! I’m gonna listen to some good tunes now……..


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I love Kris’s songs… but not necessarily sung by him.

I’m with you. It makes me mad to see some no talent slob make big bucks for saying the F-word etc in a chant to something that could never pass for music.

Comment by Pamela

I have to agree with you on todays music.. most of it you cannot even consider music.. its all about “how sexy you are” to get famous these days.. I have not listened to most of your listed music but may give it a shot πŸ™‚

Comment by Tonya

And, then there’s rap music. In my humble opinion, there is no music in rap. And, it all sounds the same. I like Kris Kristofferson, too.

Comment by Betty

WHAT? You can’t possibly mean that you think Paris Hilton has no musical talent.

Didn’t you mean that she has no TALENT whatsoever in any field?

Why must every celebrity insist on making a record? I’m with you – leave it to the Real musicians!!!!

Comment by Karmyn R

I am with you on today’s music in many cases (especially the Paris thing, how could she????). I’m revisiting the 80s myself — Elvis Costello’s greatest hits…. Isn’t it nice to have something new to listen to?

Comment by Grim Reality Girl

I really think you’d like Linkin Park…has Tiggerlane had you listen to them yet?
I wish I knew more about music…I listen to it, and I like so many things but I can’t exactly explain why I like one and not the other, that might actually be similar.

Comment by Claudia

I agree with Pamela on the KK songs, like his writing, not his singing.

I’m not so much annoyed by today’s ‘music’, as saddened at the absence of talent. They don’t even pay musicians to provide backing tracks, they just sample previously recored music. What a disgrace.

I like Dwight Yoakam too. Have you listened to Asleep at the Wheel? They play Texas swing and a lot of Bob Wills stuff.

Comment by Willowtree

Ah, the silver-tongued devil! Kris Kristofferson is one of my favorites and this cd is among his finest, in my humble opinion. Not only is his voice strong and clear, but the lyrics are outstanding. I have to say that I love his voice; gritty and with much character – perfect for his style of music. What a great Christmas present!

Comment by gawilli

I remember visiting my Aunt and Uncle in Tennessee when I was a kid (in the 70s). Every night before they went to sleep, they listened to Kris K.s albums.

I’m with you on the lack of artistry in contemporary music. It drives me crazy. I can hardly stand to turn on the radio sometimes.

P.S. I loved this post. You should consider doing CD reviews for all of us!

Comment by Susan in va

Happy New Year Songbird!

I must agree, ESPECIALLY WITH TEENAGE BOYS, that what they call music it ABSOLUTELY horrid!

Birddog and I often try to steer them more into the past with some Journey, Eagles, etc. . . πŸ™‚ – sometimes it works – and sometimes we just CRINGE!

Comment by Shauna

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