Tag Archives: James Taylor

June Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

29 Jun

JUNE BEGINS WITH A “J”

JamesTaylor.TimeMag.June2105“J” for James. His first album of new material in thirteen years, James Taylor brings us Before This World. “Purity of expression — it’s a rare and precious commodity in pop music, particularly in singing. After more than a decade of juiced-up vocal showdowns on TV, and more years of Top 40 crooners wallowing in melisma and melodrama, it is nothing short of a relief to hear a simple, moving lyric relayed simply and movingly.” Amen to that … JT believes in the power of live performance: “When you go to a concert with 2000 like-minded people and dedicate three hours to listening to a program that’s been made just for you, there’s some kind of common experience there that has real power, I think.” … And hard to believe, this is his first album to reach #1 on the Billboard charts!

THE DEAD LIVES

Garcia+Hunter.1963.June2015Garcia+Hunter.SongwriterHall.June2015They met at a local production of Damn Yankees in Palo Alto when they were teenagers. Then Jerry Garcia formed the Grateful Dead in the mid-60s, and he wrote the band’s music and Robert Hunter its lyrics. You know the songs – Casey Jones, Sugar Magnolia (my fave!), Ripple, China Cat Sunflower, Uncle John’s Band, Truckin’ (recognized by the US Library of Congress as a national treasure!), Dark Star, Touch Of Grey, Friend Of the Devil, and on and on and on. Now they’re honored as new inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame … To commemorate the Dead’s 50th anniversary, the surviving “core four” members have reunited for its final Fare Thee Well concerts in Chicago and Santa Clara, CA … In September, they will release an 80-disc box set Thirty Trips Around The Sun (Rhino) featuring 30 unreleased live shows … “Truckin’ got my chips cashed in, Keep truckin’, like the do-dah man, Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin’ on.” It’s what they do best.

MUSIC APPRECIATION PART 1: LOVE AND MERCY

LoveAndMercy.poster640x949.June2015.cr-useBrian Wilson was on The View to talk about his new album, No Pier Pressure and Love and Mercy, the new film portraying his life and music. Whoopie Goldberg asks him: “When you are writing music, one of the things we see in the film is music coming out to you sort of full. Very much like we’ve heard Mozart heard music. Do you still hear it that way?” Brian: “Sometimes I don’t hear it at all…Sometimes I can hear a full record produced by Brian Wilson.” Whoopie: “The piece that saved me was In My Room [tearing up] thank you for everything.” Thanks, Whoopie, you said it for all of us.

MUSIC APPRECIATION PART 2: LENNY

Lenny.June2015Conducting the New York Philharmonic in April 1972, Leonard Bernstein said of this photograph: “Taken at the Royal Albert Hall early in my career this image has always seemed to me to epitomize the inexpressible ecstasy that music can induce in both the listener and performer.” … Did you know that his dad discouraged him from pursuing music? Sam preferred he run the family’s hair and beauty business. It’s well-known that after his son’s famous Carnegie Hall debut in 1943, Sam was asked if it was true that he had refused to pay for his piano lessons. “Well, how was I to know he’d turn out to be Leonard Bernstein?” … It turns out, not so! From a letter just found from 1941, he secretly wrote to the future Maestro’s mentor, Serge Koussevitzky: “…from fatherly instinct [and] every outward indication, it is quite obvious that Leonard is…preoccupied with the work which he centers his every thought: MUSIC … I am appealing to you to find some opportunity for Leonard so that it will be possible for him to continue with his first Love: MUSIC … My chief concern is to find some haven for Leonard where he may continue with his work and know happiness.” … This Russian immigrant father wanted two things for his son: the American Dream and happiness.

AMERICAN BEAUTY

MistyCopeland.June2015Love, fate, tragedy, forgiveness. Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is the very definition of ballet. Performed by the American Ballet Theater at the equally celebrated Met Opera House, ovations went to Misty Copeland who made her New York debut in the lead dual roles of Odette and Odile. Sure it may be a historic moment in ballet, but really it’s just a great moment because Misty is simply just great.

DOG NEWS

DogNews.AKCbreeds.June2015The American Kennel Club added three breeds: the Berger Picard, the Lagotto Romagnolo, and the Miniature American Shepherd. Two are herding dogs from France and the US, and one a sporting dog from Italy. In fact, the Lagotto Romagnolo possesses a rare talent as the “only purebred dog in the world recognized as a specialized truffle searcher.” That can come in handy when you’re walking him in Central Park. Calling Chef Mario Batali!

WE CAN HELP

Bono.June2015U2’s Bono revealed the reason for the sunglasses: he has suffered from glaucoma for two decades. It’s a disorder that causes damage of the optic nerve and can worsen over time. Bono plans to help battle unnecessary blindness in the developing world … According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation it is common in people over 60. Bono’s early diagnosis is rare and wearing sunglasses is a treatment and preventative action in itself. The GRF’s mission is to improve the lives of glaucoma patients and to fund innovative research to find a cure. There are 120,000 people in the US who are blind from glaucoma. Your donation will help them.

Soundtrack to this IssueSoundtrack.AmericanBeauty.June2015Let’s honor the Dead’s 50 years and Garcia + Hunter!
Grateful Dead’s Sugar Magnolia
from American Beauty (Warner Bros. Records 1970)

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

Sugar Magnolia blossom’s blooming
Head’s all empty and I don’t care
Saw my baby down by the river
Knew she’d have to come up soon for air…

Sunshine daydream
Walking through the tall trees
Going where the wind goes
Blooming like a red rose
Breathing more freely
Light out singing
I’ll walk you in the morning sunshine
Sunshine daydream
Walk you in the sunshine

 

Who rescued whom????????????????????????????????So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
James Taylor’s Time Magazine March 1, 1971 cover credit: J. H. Breslow
James Taylor commentary quote: USA Today
James Taylor performance quote: USA Today
Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia pic #1: wheresthatsoundcomingfrom.com

Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia pic #2: Jay Blakesberg
Truckin’ lyrics: Robert Hall Weir, Jerome J. Garcia, Philip Lesh, Robert C. Hunter ©Ice Nine Publishing Co. Inc.
Leonard Bernstein pic: ©Clive Barda/ArenaPAL
Sam Bernstein quotes: Prelude, Fugue & Riffs, Spring/Summer 2015
Misty Copeland pic: ©Darren Thomas/QPAC
Dog News pic: AKC/AP
Dog News quote: AKC press statement
Bono pic: AP
Sugar Magnolia lyrics: Robert Hall Weir, Robert C. Hunter ©Ice Nine Publishing Co. Inc.

July Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

31 Jul

A WHOLE LOTTA MUSIC IN JULY

She is loved! Linda Ronstadt received the National Medal of Arts at the White House from President Obama, who revealed, “I had aLindaRonstadt.NatlMedalOfArts.July2014.cr-use little crush on her back in the day.” … Yet another award, the Library of Congress George Gershwin Prize for Popular Song was given to Billy Joel … The irony of it all. The George Harrison Tree got infested by, yeah, beetles … Newly restored, A Hard Day’s Night plays in theaters 50 years on, pretty good soundtrack … Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers released Hypnotic EyeEric Clapton saw to an all-star tribute album, The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale. Joining him are Mark Knopfler, Tom Petty, and Willie Nelson … The NY Philharmonic’s Star Spangled Celebration for July 4 … Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors series presented a memorial concert for Pete Seeger, Toshi Reagon’s Deep Roots of Rock and Roll, and the premier of John Luther Adams’ Sila: The Breath of the World … The positively upbeat Jason Mraz released YES! … Love the piano? Mannes held their annual summer keyboard festival …  JasonMrazYES.July2014.poster.crJames Taylor and Renee Fleming performed Tanglewood’s opening night  with the Boston Symphony Orchestra … Music Vault is Wolfgang’s Vault’s YouTube page of 13,000 performance clips and full concerts. Now you can watch the Who at Tanglewood in 1970 … Summertime means Peter Frampton with the Doobie Brothers, Aerosmith, Crosby Stills and Nash, and Yes on tour … Finally, Tommy Ramone, the last Ramone, has joined the band to play Blitzkrieg Bop in rock ‘n roll heaven. “We started auditioning drummers, but they just couldn’t grasp the concept of the band – the speed and simplicity.” And that’s how Tommy became their drummer. “Hey ho, let’s go!”

WEIRD AL RULES


“I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh, I’m on the bleeding edge of marketing, this is going to be a business model that will change the world.’” Remember Eat It? Weird Al Yankovic finally made it to #1 on the Billboard album chart with Mandatory Fun. The King of Parody’s online video campaign went viral crazy, especially with the songs Tacky and Word Crimes, which yours truly wrote about (see Blog post: Weird Al Yankovic’s “Word Crimes” Ain’t No Crime!). “I read your email, It’s quite apparent, Your grammar’s errant, You’re incoherent.”

WE CAN HELP DOGS!

ElayneBoosler.omg-im-adopted.July2014

“My friend has two dogs, a Shi Tzu and a Shar Pei. She named them Fluff and Fold.” Elayne Boosler’s (yeah, that Elayne Boosler!) Tails of Joy raises funds for rescue organizations, gives “Little Guy Grants” daily on a most needed basis, helps with pet emergencies, works for the passing and enforcing of anti-cruelty laws, and rescues animals. Learn more at the Tails of Joy website. Staffed entirely by volunteers, 100% of every donation is dedicated to animal welfare!

Barknado.ASPCA.July2014

Sign the ASPCA’s pledge vowing to make pet adoption your first option. “The only way to stop is to adopt it!”

Broadwaybarkscalendar.July2014

Broadway Barks held their annual dog and cat adoption event to benefit NYC animal shelters and adoption agencies, featuring Broadway stars like Zach Braff and Audra McDonald and hosted by founders Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters. Their fabulous 2014 Calendar is out now!

LindaRonstadt.AsylumRecordspic.July2014
Soundtrack to this Issue is

When Will I Be Loved? by Linda Ronstadt

C’mon, sing along:

I’ve been made blue, I’ve been lied to
When will I be loved?
I’ve been turned down, I’ve been pushed round
When will I be loved?

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
IMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Linda Ronstadt National Medal of Arts pic: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
Tommy Ramone quote: Noisecreep, 2011
Weird Al pic: still from Tacky video
Word Crimes lyrics: from the album, Mandatory Fun (2014)
Linda Ronstadt pic: Asylum Records
When Will I Be Loved? lyrics: Phil Everly © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

How Do You Write a Song, James Taylor?

31 Jul

Forty-two years ago today, James Taylor’s You’ve Got A Friend by Carole King sat atop the Billboard Top 100 chart, his only #1 single.

He talked to Charlie Rose about his songwriting process:

“It’s just very satisfactory…It’s like a puzzle fits together somehow.”

“The most delightful thing that happens to me is when the pieces fall together and it makes a song…”

“Writing music is a lot like listening to music or appreciating music with just a little bit of an extra something to it.”WWW.JT.7.31.13WWW.JT.7.31.13.young

Sources:
Quotes: CBS This Morning
Pic (current): Associated Press
Pic (1971): Biography.com

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