Saturday, September 26, 2009


The musical Hair first came out in 1967, the year I was born. Growing up, I'd certainly heard of it, and even have a vague memory of seeing it performed on the sitcom Head of the Class.

But during this summer's vacation I went to see the revival of Hair on Broadway. And while I had an appreciation of it all (the set, the costumes, the band, and the actors) It wasn't until about three days later, I realized I had seen something really great.

cover of Hair soundtrackSo I've been listening to the new soundtrack almost every day. And it's funny - are these best vocals ever? No. But the songs aren't meant to be super-lyrical either. Maybe you have to see the show, but there is so much energy and passion infused into some terrific songs, that the whole soundtrack is just elevated to another level. The chorus is tight and the band rocks. My only complaint is that as songs (as opposed to songs for a musical), some are way too short. And, had I really familiarized myself with the music before seeing the show, who knows, maybe it would've hit me right away.

If you're fortunate to see it on Broadway, it's a visual treat as well. The set and costumes seem to burst with color. The band is also on the stage as well. Far from hokey, the actors go into the audience as well and are literally dancing and singing before you.

My kids ask me to play the title track and want to hear it every time we're in the car. What's funny is that I know they'd like the entire soundtrack, which grew on me remarkably fast, but given the content, I've only shared Aquarius, Manchester England, I Got Life, and, of course, Hair.

Still, nearly every day, one of us sings "Hair, Hair, Hair-Hair-Hair, Hair, Hair Hair!" And my six your old son belts out: "We'll be gaga at the Go-go when they see me in my toga..."

The soundtrack to the revival of Hair - Music You Need To Hear

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sam and Ruby

Opening acts have it tough.

Most everyone in the audience didn't come to the concert to see them. Most opening acts are also relatively new to performing. If you're going to a concert, chances are, you have an expectation in your brain of what the headliner sounds like, and anything else is a bit...well, foreign. It's kinda like working out, reaching for your water bottle, and someone has secretly replaced the water with milk. Not that you hate milk, you just weren't expecting to taste milk at that moment.

The opening act I saw was the folk/soul duo Sam & Ruby and I'll admit at first I thought they were okay, they certainly could sing well together, but the songs didn't really do it for me. Then they began Suitcase Song and it initially struck me as being too whimsical, especially the first verse. Suddenly the lyrics (to me) went beyond "if a suitcase could talk". Whether Sam & Ruby meant this or not, who cares? When the chorus hit, it was as if being struck on the head with a cast-iron skillet. And I got it. Soaring melody, wonderful harmonization, and perfect chord changes. You could tell their music came from a deep place. The arrangements on their debut full-length CD are sparse yet fit seamlessly into the blending of their voices.

It's a testament to Sam & Ruby that their music was able to break through whatever mental block I had going that night. I'm really glad it did. Heaven's My Home made it to the soundtrack of the movie The Secret Life of Bees. The song The Here and the Now, was just devastatingly gorgeous. A song about redemption, starting over, and living for today. This is the song you play when you're through being pissed off at your partner, have had time to calm down, and realize just how stupid you acted the first place. All and all, not bad for the first song Sam & Ruby wrote together! (You can hear all three songs on their MySpace page.)

And in case you're wondering, Sam Brooker is originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin and Ruby Amanfu is from Ghana. They connected in Nashville. Reviews from iTunes and critics are along the lines of "musical soulmates". Take a few minutes and give it a listen -- I think you'll agree.

Sam & Ruby - Music You Need Too Hear

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Perpetuum Jazzile

Forget for a moment that, some members of Perpetuum Jazzile (outside of singing) may not even speak English. Forget the really cool imitation of a rainforest at the beginning of this clip.

Here's a testament to the sheer joy of singing that, to date, has been viewed over 4.6 million times. It's a cover of Toto's Africa And it's every bit as good as the original.

And if you absolutely can't wait for the music, it starts at about 1:49 into the video.

Perpetuum Jazzile - Music You Need to Hear

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Owl City

Owl CityEvery now and then a song comes along that is so catchy and has such great hooks, that it just sucks you in after the first listen and doesn't let go.

Currently, for me, that song is Fireflies by Owl City. (As of this writing the song plays as soon as you get to the web page.)

This is electronic music that has also been described as "computerized pop". There's no band, just Adam Young sitting in front of his computer. Don't write it off until you hear it - my 11 year old was hooked after one listen as well. In fact, I dare you not to like it.

Fireflies had the potential to be the monster hit of the Summer - it's THAT irresistible. Unfortunately, as I type this, it's the last weekend of the Summer. Nevertheless, I suggest cranking it up loud -- in your car, on iPod, at home and ride the wave for nearly four minutes.

Owl City's Fireflies - Music You Need to Hear