Riding Out the Storm

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again – that’s right, it’s finals time! Although technically finals don’t start for another couple of weeks, it’s the last week and a half of class and that means catching up on all the reading I didn’t do the first time around! Which, unfortunately, means putting a temporary end to the amazing personal reading I’ve been lucky enough to do over these last few weeks! The reading has slowed to include only 33 Snowfish by Adam Rapp for my Children’s Literature class, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain for my Introduction to Literary Theory class, and Navigating Youth, Generating Adulthood: Social Becoming in an African Context by Catrine Christensen for my Sociology of Africa class, all of which are proving to be at least interesting reads, but not necessarily bloggable reads (although 33 Snowfish might pop up later!) So, seeing as how I’m not reading much but can’t stand to leave the blog hanging, I’m going to do what I usually do when reading is slow – blog about some of my favorite music!

I’m just going to hope that all of you out there have enough musical savvy to know who I’m talking about when I mention Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, two of my favorite musicians separately, who make an absolute powerhouse when put together! I bought this album a long time ago, but didn’t rediscover it until recently. And let me tell you, there is such a thing as pure and unadulterated music, and these two produce it. To hear a song like you’ve never heard it before, both in style and in quality, I suggest the first track on the album, “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us”, which is truly just a different kind of music from so much of what is out on the market today. Needless to say, Plant had his career with one of the greatest bands in histroy, and Krauss is a superstar of the country/bluegrass scene, and to put the two together combine sheer guitar brilliance (not to mention falsetto harmonies that will drive you crazy!) from Plant with the vocal range and violin skills of Krauss in a musical genre that defies both rock and country. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m in love with this album, and if there is one new album that you buy before the end of the year, I hope you’ll make it this one!

Billy Bragg is a wonderful English singer who combines not just rock and country, but also elements of protest music and punk rock music as well into a kind of musical confectionary. In addition, he’s got the kind of voice that makes me swoon – deep, twangy, heartfelt and a little bit gravelly. Combine that with Jeff Tweedy from Wilco (a band that my dad has started lovingly calling ‘dad rock’, on account of the fact that it’s one of the few bands we can agree on, although I think that label discounts just how much musical talent Tweedy has) and you’ve got one of my new favorite alternative-country-bluegrass jams of the year. The song is about a little boy bragging to a little girl he knows that he’s the best singer around, even “Way Down Yonder in the Minor Key”, which is, naturally, the title of the song. This song was originally introduced to me by my very best friend in the entire world, Rebecca, on the mixed CD she made me for my 21st birthday, and I can’t thank her enough for it! I urge you to go check out the song, and while I would definitely recommend this version, there is also a pretty boss Woodie Guthrie version (rumor has it, it’s the original) out there floating around out there!

Lastly, I HAVE to talk about Glee. Seriously, I’m obsessed with this show to a level that is both frightening and slightly awe-inspiring. I have to admit that my love for the show has grown from the first few episodes (I didn’t seem to qet quite as excited about the Journey song as everyone else who saw it) and now I literally cannot get enough of this show. Everyone I know may be obsessed with Finn, Quinn, and Rachel, but my love lies with Artie, the wheel-chair bound cutie, Puck, the asshole jock with an inner softness, and Kurt, diva fabulous and hopelessly in love with a heterosexual boy. The songs continue to get better and better (I even loved the way they did “Imagine” by John Lennon, which, to me, is a song that you just DO NOT mess with) and some of my recent favorites include the covers of: “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers, “Dancing with Myself” by Billy Idol, and “No Air” by Chris Brown and Jordan Sparks (I know, I know, Chris Brown beat up his girlfriend and is thus a horrible, horrible person, but that doesn’t mean that his music isn’t completely addicting). The vocal arrangements are always innovative, especially of the classic songs that they choose to cover, and the vocal talent of the entire cast floors me. Like, there are times almost every episode when I find myself close to tears because of the way that these kids sing. And while not all of them are entirely unkown (a lot of them found work on Broadway before switching to TV), the talent of these kids means that hopefully they’ll all be getting their own albums soon!

There you have it! The three latest groups and songs that I just can’t get enough of! The reading should be back on track soon, hopefully, but I do enjoy that until then there is always the music! Happy reading!

BookMaven

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