My wife, Angela, studied music for the first couple of years at college. She plays the flute and still performs a few times a year (mostly at our church). However, in all the years we’ve been together, we’ve never actually played any music together. In fact, we haven’t really created many projects together (aside from two kids and numerous DIY house projects, of course).
Well, a couple of weeks ago Angela was asked to play a short piece of her choosing at a Wednesday night church event. She decided it would be fun to have out daughter and another young person from church, both of whom also play flute, to play a woodwind trio. Angela picked one of her favorite hymns and asked me to transcribe it using MuseScore. Other than helping the kids search that site for some piano sheet music, I didn’t have much experience with it or the desktop application.
After a few minutes, I had the piano treble clef transcribed in a file. I duplicate that part into two copies. Then came the fun part. Using the arrow keys to start re-arranging the piece. When I told it what instrument would be used for each part (in this case, a flute trio), it handily would color code notes that were getting outside the range of that instrument. Now, I don’t actually play the flute and aside from that note range and the knowledge that a flute can’t really play one than more note at a time, I considered this a first pass. Angela then went through the piece and indicated what notes need adjusting (a lot of them). She also borrowed from the bass clef and added in some flourishes of her own liking. The playback isn’t perfect (you’d never think you were listing to anything other than synthesized instruments) but it’s very helpful in arranging. What’s more, Angela and I got to work on something creative together!
The three of them played the piece last night at the candlelight service. I though it sounded great but as I ended up as the liturgist, I didn’t get to record them performing. But, you can at least see and hear the piece here:
My kids love the Moana soundtrack and who can blame them? Lin-Manuel Miranda is amazing. So back in February I introduced them to the Hamilton soundtrack. Turns out, there are a lot of kids who love Hamilton (despite the not-at-all-age-appropriate material in many of the songs).
So, given that music linking success (I’m getting burned out listening to Hamilton every day), I decided to try my luck with some other music. My son loves the Moana song Shiny which is sung by Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame.
The song has a definite David Bowie feel, somewhat influenced I think by Flight of the Conchords Bowies in Space.
So, anyway, I figured he might be interested in some classic David Bowie. So, I let him listen to both Changes and Fame on the way back home this evening. He seemed to enjoy them (well, at least he didn’t ask to listen to anything else), so who knows maybe I can get them interested into a lot of different kinds of music. That will definitely save me from getting burned out on just a small handful of songs.
Out of nowhere, I got into the mood to listen some Amy Winehouse this afternoon. It struck me as a real shame she never got to record a Bond theme, among the many disappointments of losing her. Winehouse just had the perfect sultry, throwback voice for a Bond film intro. I realize that it was ‘attempted’ and, honestly, having a duet by Alishia Keys & Jack White is a pretty good consolation. “Another Way to Die” is a great song, but I can’t help but wonder what could have been…
I always though the only things the Beatles and Led Zepplin had in common was that they were both genius, English rock bands who had a penchant for misspelling. While that is probably still true, what would it have sound like had The Beatles written “Stairway to Heaven?” Well, it might have sound like this:
That’s the Australian tribute band, The Beatnix, performing on a television show in the early 90’s (via BoingBoing).
My co-worker Ronnie has a friend who has a friend who made a very nice recording of the Son Volt concert I attended a few weeks ago. I have to say, there’s something cool about listening to a live recording knowing you’re one of the people shouting in the audience on it.
Angela and I have been watching Judd Apatow’s “Undeclared” via Netflix. It’s not nearly as good as “Freaks and Geeks” but still better than your average comedy. Most of this, by Apatow’s description is due to the fact that the really good stuff that goes on at college can’t be shown on network television. True, that. Anyone wanting to go see Knocked Up, please give me a call.
Last night, we went to see Son Volt at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. Last week was Big Head Todd & the Monsters. Two really good bands. Frankly, I didn’t have too high of hopes for the Son Volt show as the “reunion” of that band feels a lot like Jay Farrar cashing in on the relative success of the band as compared to his solo career (especially last month’s new album, which I found disappointing). However, I really like Farrar’s songs, be they Son Volt, solo career, or Uncle Tupelo – all of which got some play-time last night.
Per everyone-I-know’s recommendations, I read the late Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.‘s “Slaughterhouse Five” recently. Well, after having read the book, of course the next thing to do is see the movie (no, not really – I think it’s a shame that the general notion seems to be that the highest status a novel can have is to be made into a film). So last weekend, I watched the 1972 movie based on the book. I was fairly pleased with how it got portrayed and apparently, Vonnegut was, too.
Last, but probably the most important, Angela and I really enjoyed the baby shower our friends Holly and Meg threw for us at also-friend Jessica’s house. It was great and we were simply amazed at how generous our friends are. We clearly have no idea what we’re doing with this whole baby thing (apparently just like everyone else, knowledge that has kept us going). However, in addition to the really great gifts that everyone went out of their way to get us (and mail us, too!), having people to count on is a big deal. Thanks, everyone.
I’m trying to make this a weekly thing, but who knows how long it’ll last.
Another week flew by me and I’m not sure where it went. That’s more the norm than not I suppose. Here’s a few things, in no particular order that have been interesting and enjoyable this week:
Getting to see inside me by having an MRI done. I’ve been learning some about medical imaging in the past few months with baby ultrasounds for Angela as well as x‑rays and MRIs for me. It’s all amazing stuff and makes me really appreciate modern medicine and our ability to see what is happening inside us without ever opening us up. Of course, the cost for all this imaging is still high enough to make it as common as I expect it someday will be, so that makes me appreciate having good insurance.
Having a good boss. Okay, he doesn’t read this so don’t assume it’s for his benefit or anything. However, I’ve had some bad jobs before and I’ve been lucky to work for people sense college that allowed me to work in my own style instead of some rigid framework. Work has been insanely hectic for the past couple of months and that’s going to continue for a while in the future. However, my boss never beats me up about it. He’s demanding, but not unreasonable and that’s about the best you can hope for in this kind of work.
Okay, just so you don’t think this is some thanksgiving list, I’ve also been loving three new albums I downloaded this week. Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky is kind of a continuation of A Ghost is Born; some quirky and soft melodies punctuated with some rockin’ moments. Not having listened to Modest Mouse for all that long, I can’t say if We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank is much of a progression for that band since their last album, but I can say I like it a lot. After seeing The Avett Brothers last week, I can see why my friend Chris likes them so much. Their live album on iTunes – Live, Vol. 2 – seems to capture a lot of their live shows and “Pretty Girl From Annapolis” has been stuck in my head for days, now. I need to pick up their new album as well.
I got on a Futurama kick a few days ago and have been watching a number of episodes off of Comedy Central (I only occasionally watched it first run in my pre-TiVo days). It’s best moments are using Fry & Co. to make commentary about modern life (this must have been the inspiration for Idiocracy…). It’s most boring moments to me are showing once again how annoying Dr. Zoidberg is or how crass Bender is.
This weekend is the Lebanese festival in Richmond. Angela went to lunch there with some of her co-workers, as did one of my co-workers, and they said it was great. Angela is going to take me to dinner there this evening. I haven’t enjoyed it just yet, but I know I will!
The Coal Men were supposed to be playing in Ashland tomorrow night (the fourth), but as things happened, that show fell through. However, Tuesday before last, Dave called me up to let me know he’d be in town with Stephen Simmons to play a show on the 27th. I really enjoyed Stephen’s show last time and this time even more so, since I had been listening to a couple of his albums and knew the music. I tried to take a bunch of photos, but I still really suck at low-light stuff. The best of them made it to Flickr. Speaking of photographing live music, if you haven’t seen Scott’s photos of Mojave 5 from that same weekend, you should check them out. I’m going to have to hit him up for some advice.
This is blog meme from a long time ago and I’m just now getting around to posting it, even though it was old even before I did it, as at least one of the songs indicates. In keeping with the idea of the meme as I first read it, I one day just put my iPod on Random and hit play, without starting any playlist or selecting a genre. Frankly, I was somewhat surprised with what came up (as I figured it’d would be some iTrip station selectors or a podcast). This was the first time I did this, and here were the first five songs that came up:
Good Grief by the Foo Fighter’s eponymous album. While they’ve virtually crossed over intot he pop genre, the Foo Fighters are still a pretty solid rock band. My only dislike about the band: Dave Grohl no longer plays drums.
Hey Now from Finley Quaye’s sophomore album, Vanguard. Quaye borders on trippy, but never loses a melody in this slow-paced song. Also, his attention to detail has always been something I liked; slight changes throughout a song keep it from becoming monotonous.
I Like It from the Dixie Chick’s latest album, Taking the Long Way. Yes, I do like it. I would have outdone Rick Rubin on this song by really making the final couple of choruses epic sounding, but it’s a good song anyway. These ladies are the top of pop-country, even if that’s really not their fit so much anymore.
Pieholden Suite from Wilco’s much unappreciated album Summer Teeth. A melody more than a single song (as the name suggests); this one seems to be Wilco’s take on the sounds of the 20’s. Summer Teeth was my first Wilco album, and maybe that gave me a somewhat different window to view them through.
Left A Slide from Son Volt’s Straightaways. Jay Farrar just behind Jeff Tweedy; the story of his career, right? Probably not, really. Farrar is experimental in his own right, even if not pushing the same boundaries that Wilco does. Like the previous Wilco song, this one might not be my top pick from this artist, but it’s still a great song from one of my favorite artists.
Just for the record, although I don’t know that it’s worth going into more detail, here was the next ten:
Retrieval of You — The Minus 5 — Down With Wilco
Hold Yr Terror Close — The Go! Team — Thunder, Lightening, Strike
Cool Blue Reason — Cake — Prolonging the Magic
Jet Pilot — Son Volt — Okemah and the Melody Riot
Words So Leisured — Franz Ferdinand — Eponymous
Humble Me — Norah Jones — Feels Like Home
Stumbling Through the Dark — The Jayhawks — Rainy Day Music