I swear that each year I have less and less time to spend listening to new music. It seems like a losing battle anymore to keep up with all the new albums coming out, but I have to keep trying. So rather than pontificate on the albums of the past year - as I've been known to do - I'm going for brevity in an attempt to get more done. And I'm adding one new feature to this year's year-end music wrapup (and future releases as well), by introducing a grading system. Here's the rundown: Dig It - You can safely part with your hard-earned money for this and not feel like a sucker. Download It - Still worth a listen, but you'll probably want to just download it and cherry-pick the best tracks. Ditch It - If you can find something of lasting value, you're a better person than I. Got
In celebration of two new CDs from New Amsterdam Records, four of the label's acts took to the stage last Friday night at Joe's Pub, located in New York City's Ã¼ber-artsy NoHo district. Despite having already heard music from three of them, I still wasn't sure what to expect from the evening. After all, classical guitarists and modern chamber groups are not the types of shows I usually see in the Big Apple. The evening got off to a rather interesting start as, one by one, the three members of opening act Janus took the stage and contributed a few lines to a spoken word loop that comprised the vocal foundation for a piece called "I Am Not (Blank)". It was a rather startling way to begin a performance to say the least. The trio's style (comprised of viola, harp, and flute) is not for
It's certainly too early to predict whether or not 2009 will best last year in terms of quality musical output, but a pair of new releases from the fledgling New Amsterdam label already has it off to an interesting start. The imprint, which opened its doors in January 2008, has become a showcase of sorts for a diverse group of artists based in the greater New York City area. The first of these acts with a new release is QQQ, a modern chamber quartet made up of two husband-and-wife teams (Dan Trueman on Hardanger fiddle, Monica Mugan on classical guitar, Beth Meyers on viola, and Jason Treuting on percussion). When I gave a spin to the group's debut album, Unpacking the Trailer..., the first comparison I thought of was with Build, another New Amsterdam act. QQQ's style of music is a
Radio stations across America started playing Christmas (sorry, holiday) music at least a few weeks ago, but I refuse to acknowledge any of it until Thanksgiving dessert is done. So now that it's officially safe to enjoy some holiday tuneage, I thought I'd pass along some of my personal favorites to you. Because not all Christmas music is crap. #1 A Charlie Brown Christmas Vince Guaraldi Trio Let's just get this one out of the way now. I defy anyone to hear any part of "Skating" or "My Little Drum" and not be instantly transported back to their childhood. I can't say anything that hasn't been said a million times about A Charlie Brown Christmas, so I'll just implore you to add this to your collection even if you hate Christmas music. Just be careful what version you purcha
There are concerts, and then there are live music experiences. Last night I witnessed the latter, as Steve Hackett and his acoustic trio performed at the Keswick Theatre (just north of Philadelphia). For two hours I witnessed a true artist perform his craft. Admittedly, I never really got into Hackett's solo career. Not because it's not good, but mostly because I just never got around to it. I've been a big fan of Genesis for years, but most fans would probably acknowledge that Hackett was criminally underused in that band. But enough about that. I and the missus made the trek down to Keswick Village last night to catch the show. We didn't get to spend any time in the town, but it seems like a nice area. It has a very quaint, small-town feel without seeming too rural or small-town. I...