Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Albums of 2010

December 21, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s that time of year for everyone to start compiling the list of their favorite albums of the year. This post however lists the albums that I purchased through the year. They are in alphabetical order:

The Album Leaf “A Chorus of Storytellers”
Arcade Fire “The Suburbs”
Band of Horses “Infinite Arms”
Beach House “Teen Dream”
The Bird and The Bee “Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates”
The Black Keys “Brothers”
Brian Wilson “Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin”
Broken Bells “Broken Bells”
Broken Social Scene “Forgiveness Rock Record”
Corrine Bailey Rae “The Sea”
The Dead Weather “Sea of Cowards”
Deftones “Diamond Eyes”
Efterklang “Magic Chairs”
Jakob Dylan “Women and Country”
Jenny and Johnny “I’m Having Fun Now”
John Legend and The Roots “Wake Up”
Johnny Cash “American VI: Ain’t No Grave”
Kings of Leon “Come Around Sundown”
Mavis Staples “You Are Not Alone”
Menomena “Mines”
MGMT “Congratulations”
Mumford and Sons “Sigh No More”
The National “High Violet”
The New Pornographers “Together”
Patty Griffin “Downtown Dream”
Philip Selway “Familial”
Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs “God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise”
The Roots “How I Got Over”
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings “I Learned the Hard Way”
Spoon “Transference”
Sufjan Stevens “The Age of Adz”

Categories: Music Tags: , ,

The Original Diva

September 9, 2010 2 comments

I confess, I was watching VH1 last night. They were displaying the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. The list was chosen based off votes from around 200 musicians and “music experts”. We got to the Top 30 and at number 27 was the original diva, Aretha Franklin. I sat there and listened to the segment on Aretha and thought to myself, “Why don’t I own ANY of her music?” This morning it hit me that I needed to get some. What to get? I looked on a wiki page to see her discography only to be intimidated by the catalog. So I just decided to pick something. I chose “Aretha Franklin: Live at The Fillmore West”. I hit the jackpot! For a music lover, who just randomly picked an album, this is like winning the lottery. This is one of the best albums I have listened to.

The album kicks off with an introduction and then the band takes no time in getting it started. The first song of the set is “Respect” at about (no joke) 50bpm faster than the radio version. The event then transitions to a version of “Love The One You’re With” followed by “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. The show picks back up with “Eleanor Rigby” and it’s amazing. Later in the show Aretha does a reprise of “Spirit in the Dark’ with the one and only, Ray Charles.

This is a must have album. Check it out, then get it!

Aretha Franklin: Live at Fillmore West – iTunes

Aretha Franklin: Live at Fillmore West – Amazon MP3

Track List:
1. Respect
2. Love The One You’re With
3. Bridge Over Troubled Water
4. Eleanor Rigsby
5. Make It With You
6. Don’t Play That Song
7. Dr. Feelgood
8. Spirit In the Dark
9. Spirit In the Dark (Reprise with Ray Charles)
10. Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)

Featured Musician: James Childs

July 20, 2009 1 comment


Musician: James Childs

Website: (( all things audible ))

Twitter: jameschilds

LiM(Life is Music): What Instruments do you play?

James:Mainly guitar and bass and then I can fake it on a few other things
such as mandolin and some keys.

LiM: List you gear.

James: I have too much, but I justify it by thinking that it’ll be good to
have for the studio one day.

Fender Telecaster
Fender Stratocaster
Epiphone Sheraton
Epiphone Casino
Fender Jazz Bass
Epiphone Mandolin
Crafter Acoustic Guitar

90’s British Vox AC15

Budda Wah
RC Booster
volume pedal
Fuzz Factory
DOD 250
Deluxe Memory Man
DL4 delay
DD-20 delay
Boss TR-2 tremolo

My main methodology is a few different overdrive options into a few delay options with tremolo added for texture.

LiM: What are 10 of your favorite records?

James: Hmm, how bout 22 of my favorite records, in chronological order..
It’s just too hard to narrow it down to 10, plus this list spans the genres and eras of the music I really enjoy.

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas

The Beatles – Rubber Soul

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

Steely Dan – Aja

Boyz II Men – II

No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom

dc Talk – Jesus Freak

Shawn Colvin – A Few Small Repairs

Third Eye Blind – self-titled

Radiohead – OK Computer

Coldplay – Parachutes

Outkast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Wilco – A Ghost is Born

Matt Wertz – Twenty Three Places

The Cardigans – Long Gone Before Daylight

Nickel Creek – Why Should the Fire Die

Acceptance – Phantoms

Copeland – In Motion

Brooke Fraser – Albertine

Mindy Smith – Long Island Shores

Andy Davis – Let the Woman

LiM: What artists have you played with?

James: Nowadays I mainly play with Shelly Moore and Daniel Renstrom and
not-so-recently, Jacob Taylor. Since middle school I’ve also served
in worship bands at churches I’ve attended throughout the years.
Going way back I would add Cardboard Box and Trademark and maybe my
middle school “band” called One Life Purpose/EDGE/The Gyrotones. Of
course we changed names about every other month and broke up over
creative differences. It was all very That Thing You Do.

LiM: Can you list any recordings that you have been apart of?

James: I played electric guitar on our church’s college band’s project
called ‘Vaunted Pleasures’, and on Rob Rucci’s ‘Better Day’ record,
some bass on Shelly Moore’s ‘Hope & Decay’ record and electric on her
‘A Hymn Project’. Recently I played bass, guitars, mandolin, and piano
on Daniel Renstrom’s ‘On the Incarnation’, and bass and guitars on
Taylor Regan’s unreleased hit single ‘Stone Me’.

LiM: When did you first start playing guitar and what made you want to
start playing music?

James: I first started playing in 6th grade when I got my first electric
guitar from a JC Penny catalog for Christmas. What really made me
want to start playing guitar was listening to guys play on Point of
Grace and Steven Curtis Chapman records. It’s funny because as I got
older I was embarrassed by that because I thought that music was
cheesy, then I realized that all my favorite players now played on all
that stuff back then! So my inspiration wasn’t Slash or Van Halen, it
was the more pop/rock oriented session players, which leads into your
next question..

LiM: What musicians would you say have influenced you the most as a guitar player?

James: My main influences are definitely some amazing session guys like
Jerry McPherson, Gordon Kennedy and Tom Bukovac. They’ve got killer
tone and an amazing ear for playing exactly what the song requires.
Another guy is Taylor Johnson–he was one of the first players that
made me want to be sparse, ambient, and melodic in my playing and he’s
also got great tone. As cliche as it is, the Edge from U2 is a big
influence, as is John Leventhal who plays on all Shawn Colvin’s
albums, and Ed Cash who is all over everything. I could go on and on
really, I find a new favorite player all the time..

LiM: What would you say are your strengths in regards to playing the guitar?

James: From what nice people tell me, I tend not to overplay and my parts
generally fit the song well. What they don’t know is this really comes
from a weakness of not being super fast or technically proficient – so
I couldn’t steal the show and overplay even if I wanted to. I also
try to get the best tone I can which sometimes helps me stand out from
other players. Some guys have their death metal distortion pedal and
their 80’s chorus pedal and go to town doing finger-tapping solos. I
like to try lay out and play intentional melodic parts. But again
it’s mostly because that’s all I know how to do! And this is more of
a God-given gift than a strength, but I have a pretty good ear for
melody and harmony so I can hear something and pick it up pretty

LiM: What would you say are your weaknesses?

James: ..however, I also can’t read music very well so that slows me down
in some cases. Also timing: I have an annoying habit of tending to
rush. This isn’t as big of a deal playing live, but in the studio I’m
constantly having to ask the engineer to nudge my tracks back to make
it feel more in time. I hate that. I’m also really weak at
soloing–which I don’t do much, but it would still be nice to rip one
out every now and then to impress the kids at Guitar Center.

LiM: Tell me about “Tone” and what that means to you as a guitar player.

James: To me Tone means getting a euphoric guitar sound from the endless
combinations of guitars, pedals, and amps. Some sounds are original
but I’m mainly trying to copy the archetypal tones that every guitar
player strives for — Edge’s delay sounds, Jonny Buckland’s bell-like
melody lines, Tom Bukovac’s buttery overdrive tones. I like my sound
and parts to create a layer of texture to a song, so I might try to
dial in something haunting and eerie, or chimey and anthemic, or
rootsy and folksy with lots of tremolo, depending on the song. I have
a library of tones in my head that I’m constantly striving to recreate
and make my own. It’s never ending but it’s a blast..

LiM: When rehearsing or playing live on stage, what are some key areas
you focus on?

James: The main thing is listening to the other players and trying to
complement them as best I can (your hair looks nice! are those new
slacks? etc.). Seriously though, listening and trying to fit in the
sonic space is key to make room for all the music and most
importantly, to leave a space for the vocal which is always the most
important part of any song in my opinion. I also try to focus on
Dynamics – making the verses softer, the chorus louder, making builds
dramatic, etc. Sometimes it can feel like overkill but all the
audience notices is that the song has depth. If you’ve ever seen a
band where they all play as loud as they can and bust out as many
licks as they can and play that way the entire four minutes of the
song, it’s not very enjoyable. I’m focusing on avoiding that as much
as possible. If I’m playing with you Will, I’m mainly focusing on not
being too distracted by your boyish good looks.

LiM: What are a few of your most memorable moments as a guitar player?

James: Great question.. the biggest crowd I played in front of was when
Ron Paul was speaking at Liberty University’s chapel, so that was
pretty exciting. My first real guitar was my Tele, so it was a pretty
awesome day when I got to play that live for the first time. I’ve
gotten to play for a few fun CD releases over the years and it’s
always fun and nervewrecking playing in front of all your friends and
family. One great memory was a few years ago when I went to the Naval
Academy in Annapolis with Shelly Moore Band and got to play for some
of their students. It ended up being a small show but it was a fun
band and an amazing place.

LiM: What do you hope the future holds for you as a musician?

James: I would love to end up anywhere in music, but if I had my dream job
I’d want to be a producer/mixer/engineer and/or a session player.
Ideally I’d love to produce and mix projects and also have a hand in
playing on it and even help with the songwriting and arranging.
Basically I want to be Ed Cash, who does all of this for a living and
is insanely good at it. It will probably take a while and a lot of
sacrifice but hopefully God will bless me with that dream someday.