I was recently talking to a merch guy at The Bluebird, and was stoked to find out that CU Denver has a neat-looking degree program in Music Industry Studies with their very own student-run record label. Equally cool are the breadth of courses offered at Berklee (not Berkeley) School of Music. I always thought Berklee (in Boston) was just a high-falutin music performance school, like if you’re really really good on the cello, you go there. But they also have courses in songwriting, music business, music production, film scoring etc that you can take online.
They’ve got a cool new contest where you can win one course online through Berklee via a promotion for the artist’s service TuneCore, which helps musicians distribute their tunes online. It’s an interesting pairing; check it out, it only runs through tomorrow. I already have all the degrees I am gonna get (I think), but I am tempted.
We’re All Stuck Out In The Desert
A friend recommended I listen to this guy after he recently swung through town opening for gf-Jenny Lewis’ Rilo Kiley. I’d heard his name (I always say it extra-breathy in my head with that seemingly-bonus “h” in the first name) but never listened to him before now. Wow, I like this guy: Scottish-roots, New York-dwelling Rice has an addictive, warmly catchy sound with the feel-good lyrics of the summer: “We’re all stuck out in the desert, and we’re gonna die.” Right on. He’s toured with Neal Casal of The Cardinals — see the video of them performing this song in grand festival style at Hyde Park. Further North is his sophomore album, and it’s out now. If he looks vaguely familiar, it might be because played Roy Orbison in Walk The Line. So cool.
Can’t Change Me (French version)
In honor of Chris Cornell rescheduling his date with Denver (it’s November 20th at the Fillmore), I want to share this fantastic French version of his solo song “Can’t Change Me” from his 1999 solo album Euphoria Morning. Cornell has an absolutely breathtaking set of pipes (even though yes we can admit he’s stretching them a bit after all these years) and when you combine it with a gorgeous Romance language? Ridiculous and so much fun — sexy, dangerous fun.
Fresh-faced Chicago retro powerpop group The Redwalls finally have an album completed and a release date! In just one month, we can all enjoy their first full-length album released since they parted ways with Capitol. Now on Mad Dragon Records (which is a student-run label from Drexel University, how cool), they have a pow-pop-bang new self-titled joint out on October 23. This first sample feels a bit more Eighties-danceable feel to me than the straightforward ’60s guitar fuzz of the past. I absolutely love their sound, love their output. They are currently on tour with Rooney and I plan to see them next month when they swing through here; they put on an excellent show.
The River (Springsteen cover)
This cover is one that has set the masses a-buzzin’ the few times that Idaho singer/songwriter Josh Ritter has performed it. Ritter gets the Springsteen (and Dylan) comparisons all the time, but still it’s a daunting task to cover this song. He earnestly and beautifully nails it. This was a bonus encore track not streamed online from the WXPN free noontime concert back in August. Friends who were there say it was absolutely magical, and that you could have heard a pin drop. Stream the rest of the main set here, and do yourself a favor by picking up his new album, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. [photo credit]
Let My Love Open The Door
Joe Purdy duet with Pete Townshend
The Attic Jam series is something I’ve been meaning to write a post on, and still intend to once I find full audio from these amazing sets. Pete Townshend and his ladyfriend Rachel Fuller have hosted several of these jam-session evenings blending Pete’s performances with some of their favorite up-and-coming songwriters, as well as established artists. They’ve welcomed everyone from Billy Corgan, E from Eels and Ben Harper, along with guys like Willy Mason and California folk artist Joe Purdy. Joe is a bit of an anomaly in that he doesn’t want to be signed, but prefers to self-release — over 10 albums since 2004. He gives his stuff away for free, and has had his tunes show up on Grey’s Anatomy, my beloved LOST (come on, Feb 08!) and House. I like that refreshing spirit and the homey sincerity of his voice on this wonderful collaboration.