An Open Letter to Jason Mraz

Mraz & Kitty

Dear Mr. A-Z,

One of life’s great joys is realizing when a song is grafting itself to a memory. And while you’ve managed to score many memory points within my noodle prior, you’ve scored the big one and managed to weave your magic into my fondest memory to date. I recently wed the kindest, loveliest and plain bestest woman that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Our gift to ourselves was a week’s respite from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives on the quiet North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

Newlywed and dizzy from the beauty surrounding us, we turned to the local radio to provide the soundtrack as we bounced from beach to beach soaking in the sun and celebrating the love and life we’ve lived so far and what lies ahead. To my surprise, there was one song that seemed to follow us everywhere and that song was “I’m Yours”. I recognized it from one of the many live recordings that I’ve collected over the years, but had never expected to hear it on the radio. I swear we must have heard it twenty times during the week.

From Haleiwa to Kualoa Ranch to Waikiki to Sunset and Pipeline you followed us on our every adventure. It was, as if some perfect bit of irony, the last song we heard as we returned the rental car. These simple and beautiful words to a tune that seemed almost perfectly Hawaiian made us smile time and time again…

Well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you’re free
Look into your heart and you’ll find love love love
Listen to the music of the moment maybe sing with me
A lá peaceful melody
It’s your God-forsaken right to be loved love loved love loved

Mahalo Jason, for the gift you’ve shared with us.

Cheers,

Michael & Christine

Jason MrazI’m Yours (Live) (MP3)

Buy: Selections for Friends Jason Mraz - Selections for Friends

Links: Official Site | MySpace | Blog

And because I love to share, a photo taken by yours truly @ Sunset Beach…

Sunset @ Sunset Beach, Oahu, HI

March Fourth Marching Band

I’m a sucker for a brass band music experience, whether it’s the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Bruce’s Seeger Sessions Band, or even a kick ass high school marching band at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. So when our local scene rag here in Phoenix, the New Times, featured a review of the March Fourth Marching Band, I jumped into their web site and checked out some tunes. And I’m glad I did.

March Fourth Marching Band comes from Portland, and is your typical marching band – if they took 5 hits of acid each and marched through the Jim Rose Circus and a gypsy encampment. A core 9 piece band. 10 drummers. 12 horn players. Stilt walkers. Go-go dancers. Lavish costumes. And some wildly entertaining and original music.

Check out Niki D’Andrea’s great review – ‘Cabaret on Crack’ – over here on the New Times site.

And jump into the crack haus…

March Fourth Marching BandCrack Haus (mp3)

Hear some more tunes, meet the individual members of the band and buy some of their songs over on their MySpace page.

Lateef and Z-Trip: Listen to the DJ

A mainstay on my iPod for the last several weeks has been Ahead of the Curve, a mix-tape by Lateef and DJ Z-Trip. I’m not too well versed in the current underground hip-hop / mix-tape scene, but let me tell you, this stuff is right up my alley. It’s probably due to the old school influence that pervades this album – er- mix tape.

Lateef the Truthspeaker is a west coast rapper originally from East Oakland, CA. His dad was a member of the Black Panthers, and his mom was also in the organization, as a medic (?). He was a founding member of a collective called Solesides, and has worked with Fatboy Slim and DJ Shadow, among many others.

Z-Trip comes from my neck of the woods – Phoenix, Arizona. He’s out of L.A. now, and is a member of a collective called the Bombshelter DJ’s, which also features DJ’s Emile and Radar. He’s featured in a 2001 DJ documentary called Scratch.

I’ll definitely be jumping into more of their music, and into the scene in general. As one who was disillusioned by mainstream hip hop in the mid-late 90’s, little did I know that all I needed to do was dig a few feet under ground. Shame on me.

This one is the third track, dedicated to and featuring Z-Trip, another funky Caucasian from Arizona. At times, it sounds like a classic Bomb Squad production, with Public Enemy’s Terminator X on the wheels of steel. But nope, it’s 2007. It’s Z-Trip. It’s Lateef. It’s – what are the kids saying these days – dope / tight / off the chizzle.

Lateef & Z-TripListen to the DJ (mp3)

Lateef the Truthspeaker’s MySpace.
Z-Trip’s MySpace and Official Site.

BUY Ahead of the Curve.

Jerry in the Big House – Oregon State Prison 1982

There I was, all inspired to hit you with a cool, newly found show (new to me) of Jerry Garcia performing acoustic at Oregon State Prison in 1982 – with John Kahn accompanying him on bass. It’s a soundboard, with killer versions of such tunes as “It Takes a Lot To Laugh (It Takes a Train to Cry)”, “I’ve Been All Around This World”, “Friend of the Devil”, and a bunch of others.

But on a Google image search, I stumpled upon a great site, Cuckoobird.net. Matt beat me by a few months. He posted the show back in February. And poke me with a stick and call me Frank, he still has the show up. Bless his soul.

 

Jerry Garcia & John Kahn – Ripple- Live at the big house, Oregon State Prison, May 5th, 1982

DOWNLOAD: Get the whole show here.

Miscellany: for posterity’s sake, I give you a Photoshop doodle, courtesy of my 3 year old tonight.

Bosstober: Tearing through Chi-Town, Rocking the cover of Rolling Stone

Photo: Max Vadukul

Can I dub this month Boss-tober? Okay, I will. Hey everybody, it’s Boss-tober!

The Boss is back where he belongs, on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone. I hope I’m looking that badass when I’m closing in on 60. There should be a “badass” pill 20 years down the road, right? Somewhere in a far off laboratory, there’s some pretty badass mice or monkeys strutting about. In 20 years, it’s our turn. Who knows, maybe I won’t need the pill.

So the new issue has some cool features:

And of course the tour is just getting started, and is really revving it up. The Boss & Band took Chicago by storm the last couple of nights (21st and 22nd). He busted out some tasty tour premieres last night: “Tunnel of Love”, “Spirit in the Night”, and “Thunder Road”. The latter was a request from a young boy in the crowd who was holding up a sign. I guess the video screens were zoomed in on the kid during the song. Now there’s a story of a lifetime.

Check out the set list from Monday night, and listen in on the tour premieres…

October 22, 2007
Chicago, Illinois
United Center

Radio Nowhere
Prove It All Night
Lonesome Day
Gypsy Biker
Magic
Reason To Believe
Candy’s Room
She’s The One
Livin’ In The Future
The Promised Land
Tunnel Of Love (Tour Premiere)
Spirit In The Night (Tour Premiere)
Darlington County
Devil’s Arcade
The Rising
Last To Die
Long Walk Home
Badlands
Thunder Road (Tour Premiere)
Born To Run
Dancing In The Dark
American Land

And why not buy Magic, if you don’t already have it?

RIP Lucky Dube: 1964-2007

The world loses another great musician. In a senseless & random act of violence, South African reggae star Lucky Dube was shot and killed outside of Johannesburg yesterday in an attempted carjacking – in front of his children, mind you. What a wonderful world we live in…

Lucky isn’t too well known here in the U.S. (at least on the mainstream side of things), but on the other side of the world, the man is HUGE (including Seychelles, where my wife is from).

RIP Lucky Dube.

Lucky DubeTogether as One (mp3)

From his official site….

Lucky Dube was survived by his new wife Zanele and his 7 children Bongi, Nonkululeko, Thokozani, Laura, Siyanda, Philani and his brand new three-month old baby Melokuhle.

Should you wish to send a message of condolence to Lucky’s family, please email Lucky@gallo.co.za or fax on +27 (0) 11 340 9471

Other blogger tributes:

Videos:

“Back to My Roots”

“It’s Not Easy”

Seela’s Coming Over

Seela - Rock with Us

Holding down the bass lines for Matt the Electrician is Seela. Matt was kind enough to pass along one of her CD’s, Rock With Us, which she recorded live at Austin’s KUT studios with her band 4-Eyes. I’ve been enjoying it, particularly this track, in which she sings sweetly about the downfall of a friendship as they succumb to that irresistible urge: the late night booty call.

Seela with 4-EyesI’m Coming Over (mp3)

From Rock with Us (CDBaby)

Seela’s Official Site.

Even Better Than the Real Thing

U2 in the mid to late 90’s were a rock n’ roll spectacle pure and simple. The excess of the ZooTV gave way to the pared down style (by comparison) of the Popmart tour which has been captured here in the form of the U2: Popmart Live from Mexico City DVD. Filmed at the Foro Sol Autodromo in Mexico City on December 3, 1997 and originally released on VHS in 1998, I suspect that seeing the show in this manner may even surpass the experience of having been at this show.

Beautifully shot, this show captures a beautiful moment in time. From the opening march from the back of the stadium (complete with military escort) to the final note there is more than enough material here to please every generation of U2 fan. Opening with “Mofo” into “I Will Follow” sets the tone of the show. “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” gave me the same sense of satisfaction as the Rattle & Hum performance. Especially poignant are The Edge’s solo performance of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and Bono’s dedication of the somber “One” to Michael Hutchence who had taken his life just 11 days earlier. Both stand as reminders that despite the spectacle swirling around, U2’s songwriting is the real star of the show here.

My only criticism is the fact that the show retains its 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Perhaps I’ve become spoiled with the beautiful HD/Widescreen releases of recent times (Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds “Live from Radio City” comes to mind). The sound however has been upgraded to a 5.1 surround mix in DTS which more than makes up for the lack of a widescreen picture. Also to be noted is the excellent packaging this set comes in. Overall I’d say the set is well worth the price of admission.

Buy U2: Popmart Live from Mexico City

Link: Official Site | MySpace

How to Endear Yourself to a Canadian Crowd

1. Be Bruce Springsteen.
2. Bring the E Street Band.
3. Bring up the core members of Arcade Fire for a couple of songs during the encore.

As promised, here’s the encore from Ottawa the other night (Sunday, Oct. 14th).

Great quality? Nope. A snapshot in time of a very cool moment in music? Yuh-huh.

Girls in Their Summer Clothes [mp3]

State Trooper (with Régine and Win from Arcade Fire) [mp3]

Keep the Car Running (with Régine and Win, from Arcade Fire) [mp3]

Born to Run [mp3]

Dancing in the Dark [mp3]

American Land [mp3]

Buy Bruce’s latest, Magic.

Buy Arcade Fire’s latest, Neon Bible.