[Music Monday] Take me out to the ball game!

Saturday it was 80 degrees and sunny. Springtime is officially here- flowers are sprouting, birds are singing, and patios are opening. The arrival of spring has always and will always mean one thing in my world: BASEBALL SEASON. Don’t get me wrong, I love many things about spring time but baseball is the best. To me, it doesn’t get much better than sitting in the sunshine enjoying a hot dog and a cold beer cheering on the Rockies.

I became a Rockies fan during the very first season when I was five years old and ever since then I’ve spent most of my winter counting down to baseball season. If you ask my dad he’ll tell you when I was kid I wanted to be “the big cat” (Andres Galarraga) when I grew up. I would play catch in my grandma and grandpa’s back yard and dream of my future as a Rockie. While I know now that dream will never come to fruition because I’m equal parts not athletic and not male, I still like to think about what songs I would pick for my big WALK UP SONG.

The walk up song is one of the intangible characteristics that separates the players in my mind. You can be the best hitter on the team but if your walk up song is something stupid like Nickleback (I’m looking at you, Brad Hawpe) I’m probably going to care less when you step up to the plate. It is shallow, but true. A player’s music choice is something that humanizes them and draws fans even closer.

I have spent many moments while at games with friends discussing what we would choose for our walk up song. While there are many great options out there, for me it always comes back to one song. If I was a baseball player, my walk up song would hands down be…

This is the song I always come back to. It has an amazing beat… and with words like these, how could you not have a good at bat?

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, guillotine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind

What song would you choose for your walk up song?

While you’re thinking, remember to participate in PURPLE MONDAYS this season…..


Go Rockies!


[Music Monday] I Love “The Voice” And I’m Not Afraid To Admit It

As I sit here watching “The Voice” I can’t help but think of the many reasons why I think it is so amazing- from the blind auditions to the battle rounds to the awesome judges I could go on and on. While I could list many, here are the reasons why “The Voice” is the best reality show to happen in a long time.

The blind auditions force the judges to focus on only the music- which is the whole point of a singing competition isn’t it?

It is human nature to have preconceived notions about people based on their looks and the blind auditions force the judges to push those away. With their sense of sight not being engaged they are able to focus completely on the way the people sound, which in the end rises the overall quality of the artists they choose. As I’ve been watching this season I haven’t really heard anyone I didn’t like because they all chose such amazing artists.

The battle rounds are one of the most interesting features of a reality show I’ve ever seen.

I LOVE the idea of the battle rounds. What better way to push an artist to do their best than making them sing a duet with their competition? It is such a unique way to judge who of two artists is really the best. This years battle rounds have been such delicious torture because everyone is so stinking good. Every single round I want the judge to be choose both artists. That is how every music competition should be.

The judges are actual musically talented, currently active in the music scene, and overall know what they’re talking about.

I’m not the biggest fan of all four judges but they are all at the top of their individual genres and have been involved for many years now and aside from Christina they are all currently touring/recording/making music of their own. I think this fact alone qualifies the judges more than any other music reality show. None of them are up there as a gimmick- they just genuinely love music and want to help others find success like they have.

And a final side note: it is nice to see Christina on tv for something other than her train wreck antics.

Every once in a while she’ll bust out a crazy run and I remember how stinkin’ good she is. Her pop music might not be the best music ever, but girl can sing the hell out of a song. Remember this?

Uh, I just forgot what I was talking about because I’m sittin’ here in awe of Christina….

So what about you- do you love The Voice?

[Music Monday] I’m disappointed in the Grammy Awards, and you should be too.

I know it has been a week since the Grammy Awards aired, but I have been reading a lot of articles about them this week, particularly articles about Chris Brown, and I feel I need to share my disappointment with you.

I’m disappointed in the Grammy Awards for allowing him to perform not once, but twice, after previously blacklisting him and for then awarding him a Grammy. I know the awards at their essence are not supposed to be based on the character of the individual receiving them, but there are instances like this in which I believe it should be a factor.

Did they forget what happened in 2009 to lead to his original placement on the blacklist? I sure didn’t forget. He was convicted of felony assault for beating Rihanna senseless and nearly unconscious and threatening numerous times to kill her. By choosing to ignore this fact, allowing him to perform, and giving him a Grammy, the producers of the show were essentially saying that what Chris Brown did was acceptable because he is a good artist. By accepting Chris Brown, we as a society are accepting domestic violence.

While you could possibly argue that music fans are just trying to remain unbiased and accept his music for what it is, I think the residual affects are damaging. The affects are demonstrated by the disturbing trend after the Grammy Award’s aired of tweets similar to this one:

This to me proves that at some level people have grown to accept domestic violence and have “forgiven” Chris Brown for his actions. (And the fact that Rihanna has forgiven him to me is irrelevant because that in no way makes what he did acceptable.)

While I do think people can change, I don’t believe that is the case here. Just days after the Grammy’s Chris was cited as promising someone he wouldn’t beat them if they had a drink with him. I see that as extremely problematic and a sign that he never learned from his actions. He didn’t learn any lessons from what he did because he only had to serve community service with no jail time or probation and was able to go straight back to his successful career. And then he won a Grammy.

I’m disappointed with the Grammy’s for dropping their blacklist for him and giving him an award. And you should be too.

{For a more detailed account of the saga of Chris Brown, this article on Jezebel is a good resource: http://jezebel.com/5885776/everything-you-need-to-know-about-chris-brown **Be aware that there are links to rather graphic photos of Rihanna’s injuries**}

[Music Monday] Five Love Songs That Don’t Suck

I hate Valentine’s Day. I’m not a scrooge or anything, I promise. I just hate the commercialism that has come to define the day. But that being said, if you are looking for a few great love songs to capture the feeling of love tomorrow, here are five of my favorites:

1. First Day of My Life- Bright Eyes
“Now I don’t care, I could go anywhere with you and probably be happy.”

2. Wonderful Tonight- Eric Clapton
“My darling, you were wonderful tonight.”

3. My Best Friend- Queen
“My feelings are true, I really love you. You’re my best friend.”

4. You Are The Best Thing- Ray LaMontagne
“You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

5. The Trapeze Swinger- Iron and Wine
“Please, remember me fondly…”

[Music Monday] “Are y’all ready to get sad together?”

As soon as I heard the first few lines of ” Oh My Sweet Carolina” on Saturday night I knew I was in for a treat. I’ve been listening to Ryan Adams for a while now and I saw him at Red Rocks in 2007, so I thought I had a pretty good idea about what to expect….. but this was a totally different version of Ryan Adams. This version of Ryan was, dare I say, happy and seriously funny. While the rocking performance with The Cardinals was great, I much prefer subdued, sober, acoustic Ryan Adams.

I’ll talk about Ryan in a minute, but first, I need to tell you guys about Butch Walker. I was a little bummed when he walked on stage because I was under the impression that I wasn’t going to have to sit through an opening act. All it took was about 10 seconds for him to prove me wrong. Butch Walker has one of the best voices I’ve heard in a long time and he managed to make the Buell feel tiny with his huge voice. I look forward to seeing him at a smaller venue when he comes to town next.

Here is a taste of what Butch Walker brought to the table:

Now that we have that out of the way, here are a few Ryan-centric highlights from the evening….

*The fact that the show was acoustic provided the opportunity for very interesting versions of old favorites. Ryan managed to inject the same power and life of the full studio versions into the stripped down performance so much that I didn’t miss the band at all. I especially loved particularly slower versions of two old favorites- New York, New York and Firecracker.

*Although the Buell Theatre is pretty large, it felt extremely small and intimate. I believe this is mainly due to the “rules” set in place at the venue-the prohibition of photography (although some people did still take flash photos), the limit of alcohol to the lobby only, and a strong urge against using cellphones (I didn’t see a single person on their phone). Without these distractions we were all able to enjoy the moments for what they were. And they were so great.

*Ryan Adams is hilarious, which is something that was not extremely evident when I saw him last time. He started out the evening joking- “Are y’all ready to get sad together?” He navigated the awkward silences and heckling with amazing sarcasm and finesse.  In past years Ryan would’ve flipped if someone yelled “play the good one”, but this time he just laughed and coined a hilarious song about the man on the spot.

Overall, I have to admit that I think taking three years off was exactly what Ryan needed. I hated on Mandy Moore as much as the rest for “taking” him away when he simultaneously married her and quit music…. but it is evident that taking some time off to refocus, sober up, and enjoy his wife and pets was great for him. And musically, he is better than ever.

Here is a recent performance at a radio station to give you a taste of what the show was like:

If you have never listened to Ryan Adams, I can’t recommend enough that you do so. right now.

[Music Monday] Shake Your Molasses.

Friday night we went to Star Bar to see a local Denver band play for free. I discovered two new things I love that night…..

*Cocoa Mole from the New Belgium Brewing Lips of Faith collection is a-maz-ing. You can try it on tap at Star Bar and it is available at fine liquor establishments. We found it at Mondo Vino but they were running super low since it is limited time only. Check it out before it is gone!


*The Parlor Pickers! I thoroughly enjoyed what they call Roadhouse- “a blend of good ol’ fashioned Rock n’ Roll, Blues, Country, and Bluegrass”. Here’s a video of thier song called “Shake Your Molasses” for your Music Monday listening pleasure……

Enjoy. 🙂

[Music Monday] Albums To Watch For

Now that everyone has wrapped up their Best of 2011 lists, it is time to get excited for what 2012 will bring us. I know it is only the 9th day of the year, but details have been released for some pretty exciting albums! Here are just a few albums to watch for…

January 24: Craig Finn (of The Hold Steady) – Clear Heart Full Eye
I was unsure how to feel about this- Craig Finn stripped down without the rest of The Hold Steady sounds like a bad idea. But then I saw THIS on The AV Club… I am absolutely in love with what I hear and I really hope the rest is just as amazing.

February 7: Ben Kweller- Go Fly A Kite
There are some artists who have voices that always calm you down and make you feel like everything is going to be alright with the world. BK is one of those for me. His four other albums are great, but this one is notable because it is his first to be self-released on his new label.

***also notable on Feb. 7- Of Montreal- Paralytic Stalks

February 21: Cursive- I Am Gemini
It is no secret that I love Saddle Creek, the Omaha music scene, and everyone attached… so when I heard Cursive was coming out with a new album I was pretty stoked. I have loved their past releases, especially Happy Hollow, but this album seems like it might have a new sound. Just check out this catchy track. Intriguing. Make sure to check them out on February 12 at the Larimer Lounge.

***Also notable on Feb. 21- Sleigh Bells- Reign of Terror

March 20: The Shins- Port of Morrow 

It has been FIVE years since a Shins album and I know that I for one have been longing for some new material from them. I really haven’t heard anything about the album, but come on have you heard the Shins? It will be amazing.

And remember this…

It will change your life, I SWEAR.

***Also notable in March: Andrew Bird- Break it Yourself (March 6)

Artists I like who are releasing albums in 2012, but haven’t released specific details…
*No Doubt
*John Mayer
*The Avett Brothers
*The Mars Volta

So there you have it- a few musical treats to look forward to in the coming months.

What albums did I miss?