Do NOT Miss Leftover Cuties

Best Beloved took me to see Leftover Cuties Wednesday night at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. Actually, we saw the cutest cutie three times, not just once.

Stopped at the light at 10th and Nicollet, I watched Shirli cross the street, a pair of high (really high) heels in one hand.

As she stepped to the curb on the northwest side of the intersection I thought, Shirli . . . Shirli. Wait. I just watched Shirli McAllen cross the street.

I felt like I should run after her an apologize for not saying hello. (She later told me “You should have!”) As we were seated at our table near the stage, there she was again, scooting between the tables toward the backstage rooms. I started to stand and apologize for my earlier rudeness, but she was just too quick.

Leftover Cuties are the kind of band which feels like you really ought to run after them and say hello.
Continue reading Do NOT Miss Leftover Cuties

Happy Heartbreak #1: Engine, Engine #9

A hallmark of Roger Miller’s songwriting is what I call his happy heartbreaks: the saddest stories, told with wit to cheerful music.

Just as Hitchcock makes pokes us with the incongruity of life by making us laugh during a terrifying scene, Roger reminds you that life isn’t the events, but our reactions. Even the poor guy standing in a train station somewhere 110 miles from Baltimore sounds more resigned than heartbroken when he says “I don’t think she loves me any more.” Continue reading Happy Heartbreak #1: Engine, Engine #9

USSS: oddbod

Why isn’t oddbod famous? Proof positive that talent and fame are not connected. Tim “oddbod” Conway is one of the finest songwriters and performers I’ve ever heard. His new songs at FAWM turn into a mad rush to comment. A week in, his first song Instamatic has nearly a hundred comments from other songwriters who are supposed to be scrambling to write 14 songs of their own. Continue reading USSS: oddbod

beautiful carelessly sultry

Songwriter friend Charlie Cheney keeps telling me that song lyrics should lean heavily on nouns. Show, don’t tell. Pack the song with people doing things in places with stuff, instead of talking about feelings and interior monologues and all those abstracts.

A handful of years ago, Charlie and a group of friends wrote a song which was nothing but nouns. It didn’t make much sense, but it sure had nouns.

Continue reading beautiful carelessly sultry

More Gypsy Jazz

Film maker (which is quite an understatement, really) Nic Askew graciously pointed out the music credits in his film “The Perilous Journey” which you should go watch right now. I’ll wait.

Back? Great. You’ll need to watch it more than once to really let it sink in. Anyway, the credits pointed me to Stephane Wrembel, acclaimed as the finest personification of Django’s gypsy jazz, and I thought you should know.

In fact, if you’re in New York, would you please go see Stephane for me? I can’t make it to New York right now, but I’d feel better knowing the task was being covered.

Thanks. Let me know how it goes.

Oh; here’s where you can see and hear Stephane Wrembel:

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Applying thoughts from one industry to a completely different industry is one of my favorite business revitalization tricks. It’s been working with music for aeons. Speaking of Ians, have a listen to the psychedelic classical and big band music of Ian Stewart.

There are links on his bio page to some mildly psychedelic jazz, and a fantastic rock arrangement of the standard “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”

Another page has downloads of a half-dozen ambient/techno tunes.

The home page has a video of a live performance of the adagio from Stewart’s Concerto Grosso. Perhaps I’m a sucker for live classical music (this is not rock or jazz where you can turn mistakes into improvisation) but it’s mesmerising.

Everything tomorrow doesn’t have to be like everything yesterday.