Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More info on "Quiet Please, The New Best of Nick Lowe"

Yep Roc has put up the tracklisting for "Quiet Please, The New Best of Nick Lowe," it looks pretty good. Here's the album cover, looks pretty cool! I'm excited, even if I have most of these songs already. I just wish Yep Roc would tell us exactly what's on the bonus DVD.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nick Lowe-New Best-Of due out March 17th!

This is pretty exciting, Yep Roc just announced that "Quiet Please...The New Best of Nick Lowe" will be released on March 17th. No tracklisting yet, but it's a 2-disc set, with a deluxe edition to feature videos! I'm psyched, hopefully this will lead to more people discovering the great music of Nick Lowe. But not too many people, I still want to be able to see Nick in intimate clubs instead of giant arenas. (Okay, so I probably don't have to worry about that...but you never know.) Is it just me, or is Yep Roc like the coolest label? They need to sign Elvis Costello.

Anyway, I'm very excited about the prospect of more Nick Lowe product, even if I probably have most of the songs that will be on "Quiet Please." Hopefully the 30th anniversary edition of "Labour of Lust" will follow soon!

I Saw Harry Connick!

I saw Harry Connick Jr. in person tonight at the Mall of America. Sadly, it was only for about a minute. Harry was signing autographs in support of his new film, "New In Town," with Renee Zellweger. (Which is set in Minnesota, but was sadly not filmed in Minnesota. It's because we stopped giving tax breaks to production companies. That's why nothing has been filmed here since "The Mighty Ducks.") Because I had to work today, I was not able to line up hours ahead of time to get Harry's autograph. So I raced to the MOA (yes, that's how it's known...lame, I know) but I was on the opposite side of the mall from where Harry was. By the time I got there, Harry was just about done signing, so I saw him for literally about 60 seconds as he left. So I didn't get to meet one of my favorite musicians. Oh well. Oh, and for the ladies out there, he looked very nice.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Robyn Hitchcock's "Goodnight Oslo" is out February 17th!

Good news for all you Robyn Hitchcock fans out there, his new album with the Venus 3, "Goodnight Oslo," is due out February 17th from Yep Roc! The press releases on Yep Roc are really playing this up as his masterpiece, I hope they're right, and I hope Robyn gets some good sales out of it. I've already pre-ordered my copy, even though I have more Robyn Hitchcock CD's than I know what to do with! (Actually, I know what to do with them, I listen to them, duh!) Despite the fact that Robyn has been busy re-issuing many, many CD's lately, this is actually his first new studio album since 2006's "Ole, Tarantula."

So, anyway, spread the word...if you pre-order right now, you'll get to download 3 bonus tracks. I just listened to them, and they're really good. Oh, and Robyn, if you're reading this, please go on tour and come to the Twin Cities!

Leonard Bernstein's "Mass"

On Friday night I saw Leonard Bernstein's Mass, a Theater Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers at Orchestra Hall here in Minneapolis. It was amazing. It's difficult to describe the piece, it combines many different elements, it's a little of everything, a little bit Broadway musical, a little bit of a symphony. The piece calls for a full orchestra, a "street chorus," a chorale, a boy's choir, and dancers. All told, more than 200 different artists were on stage all at once! Mass was commissioned by Jackie Kennedy for the 1971 opening of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Bernstein took his inspiration for the piece from the traditional Latin Catholic mass, a link to JFK's Catholicism. (Bernstein was once asked, "What's a Jewish boy like you doing writing a mass?")

I can't say that I totally understood the piece, but it deals with faith being questioned. I couldn't understand most of the lyrics to the songs, but the music was beautiful. The music Bernstein wrote for Mass was amazingly diverse, at times it sounds like West Side Story, at times it sounds atonal, at times it sounds like folk-rock. But it's always very striking, there are themes and motifs that only last for a moment or two, but are amazingly beautiful and moving. All in all, it was a fantastic opportunity to see a great, experimental work that is rarely performed live.

My Mom went with me, she has the original album, which she just loves, and she was very excited to see Mass in person. After the show, there was a Q&A with Leonard's daughter Jamie and Minnesota Orchestra conductor Osmo Vanska. One man in the audience had been at the premiere at the Kennedy Center in 1971, and he flew in from New York just to see this performance! Also, a woman in the audience was one of the flute players at the premiere. She talked a little bit about how much fun it was to work with Leonard Bernstein, and what a joy he brought to all those around him. Hearing these personal stories was a nice end to an unforgettable evening.

Patrick McGoohan, 1928-2009

Patrick McGoohan died on January 13th, at the age of 80. As a fan of McGoohan's iconic TV series "The Prisoner," I was saddened by his passing. Regular readers know that I have compared elements of "The Prisoner" to "House," and remarked upon the similarity between Hugh Laurie and Patrick McGoohan. I can't say that I'm familiar with much of McGoohan's work beyond "The Prisoner." But "The Prisoner" was an absolutely brilliant show, thanks in large part to McGoohan's acting and his hand in producing, writing, and directing the series.

For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it's an allegory about freedom and the individual in our contemporary society. (It's also much more than that, there's lot of layers to the show.) McGoohan's character, who is only referred to as "Number 6" during the entire run of the show, is a government agent who suddenly and angrily resigns, and is then kidnapped and taken to "The Village," a seemingly innocent place, but with a very sinister undertone. "Number 2" is in charge of "The Village," and it is his or her job to find out why Number 6 resigned. (There was a different Number 2 each episode, another brilliant decision.) Number 6, of course, refuses to tell Number 2 why he resigned, and keeps trying to escape the Village.

Without giving more away, "The Prisoner" is a fascinating study of individualism, all 17 episodes are worthy of watching and re-watching. It's a show that made people think. And Patrick McGoohan was the brains behind it, and for that I will always be grateful. Be seeing you, Number 6.

I'm Back! (Again)

Greetings, dear readers! I was having some computer issues, which are now fixed, thankfully. So now I can return to my usual blogging. Woo-hoo!