Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Amos Lee

I first saw and heard this musician randomly on one of the early morning news shows while I was waiting for my car to get fixed and have been hooked ever since.  He has a unique style of guitar playing, song writing, and singing that is funky and fun to listen to.  He was an elementary school teacher in Philadelphia before he realized that this music thing would take off and I have got a great deal of respect for the teaching profession.  On top of that he self-produced his first album and in 2008 performed at voter rally's for the man himself Barack Obama.  Alot to like about this artist but most importantly his music.  I am looking foward to seeing him this summer.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Head and The Heart

The Head and The Heart are a great new band made up from a collection of bands from Seattle, WA.  I first heard them on Pandora as they were musically similar to the Avett Brothers Band.  They have one album that is a great listen all the way through, very soothing music with great harmonizing and lyrics--which I am a fan of.  If you havent heard of them, check them out, I am psyched to be seeing them this summer.  This is their first TV perfromance on Conan.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Real Lady Gaga

About a year ago, it was completely impossible to avoid this Lady Gaga as most of her music is catchy and pop friendly--it sticks in your head all day long. after reading about her in Rolling Stone I gained alot of respect for her talent and gift as she in my opninion is the best female artist in over 20 years. What most people dont know is Stefani Germanotta is Lady Gaga's real name and she was talented in her own right as evidenced by this video from when she was at the Tisch school of music at NYU. Besides the Italian factor, she can write music with some of the best of them. Her lyrics are deep, metaphorical, and symbolic of much more than what she is actually saying, something that the great writers do. Since she couldnt get a record deal on her own she became a writer for some of the most popular singers at the time who dont write their own music, artists such as Brittany Spears, the Pussycat Dolls, Akon, and Fergie. Finally she made the choice that changed her life, she created the Lady Gaga persona which is kind of a punk shot at America in itself because America only gave her recognition when she pushed extremes with the outfits she wore and persona she demonstrated at live performances but really she is a gifted singer, songwriter, and musician as she works to compose much of her own music as well as lyrics. She also talks about something that is helpful to the people that listen, particularly for the young females and gay community that embrace her intensely, self-esteem and self liberation. I dig her for all of these reasons. She is an Italian New Yorker that helps people and makes her own rules, a true example of what can happen when you follow your dreams and dont give up. HBO had a special on her Madison Square Garden performance that was intimate and over the top. No I know why her tickets are $200 and she is sold out no matter where she goes. Her whole concert is a performance of empowerment unlike what any artist has done since Bowie, Madonna or Floyd. It is no wonder why Elton John, one of the best ever, called her the best songwriter of this time and even asked her to be the Godmother of his son. Thats the other part that I like about her is that she is vocal in her beliefs and the people she supports. She has done a great deal for the Gay community which is a big stand for her to take but important, especially in these days in which it is still ridiculous that the government can tell you who to love and who not to.
If you cant appreciate her music than you probably dont appreciate true musical talent. She has two Guinness World Records, sold fifteen million albums and fifty-one million singles worldwide, Gaga has been included in Time magazine's annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world as well as Forbes' list of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential celebrities in the world, Forbes also placed her at number seven on their annual list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women. Later this May her new album will come out, her 3rd in 3 years, it has already sold faster than any other album in itunes history.
People will always criticize what is different and new and shocking but they should seek to understand because the people that have been this polarizing are people like the Beatles and Kurt Cobain who people dont appreciate until they arent around anymore. For the sake of women's empowerment and gay rights I hope Lady Gaga is around for a very long time...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Real Time with Bill Maher

Over the years Bill Maher has been ever present in the stand up comic world and for quite some time but has been in the political commentary line of comedy for almost 20 years now.  He first started with Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central in the early 90's and then later ABC.  That show was funny but didn't push the boundaries and when he finally did and made some inappropriate comments, he lost his show.  Luckily for me and many other social libertarian types who believe that what you do with your own body is your own business as long as you are not harming others, HBO gave him Real Time with Bill Maher in 2003.  Since that point he has taken it to another level of comedy and quick witted guts that isn't seen in any other media outside of the great Jon Stewart.  I love that he has not only Democrats with like minded views but has on a slew of some of the most outspoken republicans and does what no other media does, confronts them.  He asks hard questions and because its HBO can deal it back.  I gain respect for some of the republicans who can go on this show because they are open enough and not "Tea Baggin" crazy enough to just blatantly lie with every word out of their mouth.  I love listening to smart people.   For the last decade or so of my life the political arena has been filled with alot of stupid people including 2 reality stars who bankrupt fortunes and quit their jobs in a recession.  Bill Maher does his stand up in places in the deep south where he will hear the boos and he constantly pushes the envelope.  America needs more voices like his that speak smart, informed dialogue and are willing to listen to views they oppose and even consider something other than their own beliefs--it sounds progressive when really its just common decency.  If you haven't seen him on HBO, he offers a free podcast on itunes so check him out.  Here is a clip from last week when a democrat did in 2 years what Bush couldn't do in 8.  I love it.