Music Blog

PriMDNA Tour?

MDNA album cover

If you caught the Madonna show at the Pepsi Center on Thursday night, you were probably operating at a sleep deficit if you had work Friday morning.

The material girl arrived on stage nearly 3 hours late for her show and by the end was almost universally forgiven by those who stayed for the spectacular production, rife with elaborate sets, costumes and her trademark flawless troupe of dancers.  While her inclusion of an opening number in which the black-clad diva brandishes guns and repeatedly "kills" members of her troupe had angered some audiences even before she reached Colorado, site of the recent horrific Aurora Theater Shootings,

JEFFERSON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: 60 YEARS OF BEAUTIFUL MUSIC

The Jefferson Symphony Orchestra (JSO) is celebrating by offering an ambitious and engaging schedule this 2012-2013 season, including their October 21st opener Afternoon at the Opera, with gifted guest mezzo soprano Kara Guggenmos.

The pieces to be performed will include Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Four Last Songs and Der Rosenkavelier from Strauss and Tristan und Isolde, Wagner's piece that inspired Herrmann Bernard's haunting theme for the movie Vertigo.

The Musical Mothers and Fathers of Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons - Babel

Are you one of the 450+ people waiting for the new Mumford & Sons album, Babel?  No reason to sit idly by until that hold arrives at your local library. Check out these great artists who paved the way and discover the rich tradition of American roots music behind these British folksters.

Like other revivalists, Mumford & Sons have put their unique stamp on the sound but much of it harkens back to earlier eras of bluegrass and country. Here are some of my favorite artists and collections that exemplify some of the same soulful singing, tales of love and yearning, and driving instruments that have made Mumford such an exciting band to see rise up so quickly and pack venues with thousands of foot-stomping fans.

Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry Smoke

Southern rock can be likened to a tree with many branches and even more roots. Tapping deep into the ground, it draws nourishment from blues, country, soul, folk, and a whole lot of other genres, all tangled together. The up-and-coming group Blackberry Smoke is the real thing, and their brand new album, The Whippoorwill, is distilled Southern goodness.

Channeling the heyday of Lynyrd Skynyrd before the plane crash that killed three band members and a crew member in 1977, BBS captures that essence with a sound that has the power to transport listeners straight to Jacksonville. With edge, humorous storytelling, and skilled musicianship, they put together songs rich with a sense of place and time. See for yourself in this recent performance of "Everybody Knows She's Mine":

Woody Guthrie : An Okie Centennial

Woody Guthrie

July 14th, 2012 marked what would've been Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday. Although he passed away in 1967, his legacy is as vibrant as ever.

Like many of my generation, I was introduced to Woody in my elementary school music class. Along with songs such as "And the Green Grass Grew All Around" and "Rainbow Connection," "This Land Is Your Land" was a staple of our teacher's singing selections. Of course we sang the sanitized version which excluded the political verses. I don't remember knowing who actually wrote it but it just went into the mental category of "Songs Everyone Knows."

Flobots: The Circle in the Square

Cover of the Flobots latest album, The Circle in the Square

If music was like sports, the Flobots might be Denver's home team. This socially conscious hip hop band is a major local community player, and they have both an upcoming album and a couple of concerts happening in the very near future.

No song by the Flobots is unremarkable, but listeners less familiar may remember them by their first major hit from the 2005 album Fight With Tools, "Handlebars," which captivated minds and gained the group international recognition.

It's an art installation....It's a mammoth beat making structure.....It's Amon Tobin!!!

Amon Tobin's Isam album cover

Musician, programmer, recording artist, composer, sound designer and ninja...but on top of all that, a futurist with a pulse that is always beating ahead of it's time.

Born in Brazil, artistically blossoming in Portugal, England, and San Francisco, then settling in Montreal, Amon Adonai Santos de Araújo Tobin's music is much like his passport- all over the place. Beginning as Cujo in the early 90s, he wrote jazzy trip-hop that got him noticed by England's powerhouse trip-hop label Ninja Tunes, where his over-the-top sound design and production values earned him a top spot on their eclectic roster.

Summer Sounds for Everyone

Fear Fun by Father John Misty

With two weeks of 95+ degrees heat, it's easy to realize we're in the thick of summer.  But at the end of the day, as the sun grants us reprieve, the evenings are ripe for spending time outside with a cold drink, friends, and music.

I can enjoy some of the catchy summer radio hits such as We Are Young or Pumped Up Kicks but here are a batch of recent albums that offer more substance without losing their backyard BBQ appeal.

Denver Sings

GALA Choruses Festival 2012

Do your shower acoustics assist in delusions of stardom? Do you secretly await the lone elevator ride or duck into a stairwell to break out in song? Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a choir?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you won't want to miss over 6,000 voices and 200 performances of the GALA Festival 2012. The streets of downtown Denver are going to be filled with the sound of music. Gleeks and groupies of Gareth Malone, choirmaster who is changing communities one song at a time on BBC's The Choir, will turn out in force.

Regina Spektor Alert

Cover of Regina Spektor's 2012 album, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats

Maybe it's her background as a child immigrant from the former Soviet Union to America in the late '80s that informs her fascinating lyrics, but as for Regina Spektor's interesting musical compositions and gemlike vocals, it's got to be raw talent. Get on the library's hold list sooner rather than later for her new album hot off the press, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats.

After recently coming across Spektor's performances of the songs "Small Town Moon" and "Ballad of a Politician" from this album, aired on the Colbert Report, I immediately regretted having previously put off listening to her music.

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