Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Shows, CD's and What Not

Music Mish Mash

Keith and I went to see Kieran McGee do an in store show at Ear X-tacy on Saturday, pre-back strain. I don’t get where this flood of young folks doing this music that’s so heavily influenced by traditional and old-time tunes is coming from, but I hope it doesn’t stop any time soon. To look at him, you’d expect him to do these droney emo-core mope-ass songs, and he hits you with this flood of old time country bluesy twangy music! His lyrics could have used a tweak or two in places, but it’s obvious he’s got great talent and potential. I’ll have to check out his CD, soon!

I ended up going to see Natalie MacMaster with a friend from work, since Keith wasn’t feeling well. There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe the show. From start to finish it was a blast of high energy playing, charisma, and fun. MacMaster took great pains to point out that despite all the flash, her music is firmly rooted in the Cape Breton tradition, with “a few bells and whistles added on.”

I think it’s this sense of rootedness and tradition that made for such a great show. Yes, there were all sorts of extra touches, electric bass, drums, and so on, but they never overpowered the fiddle-playing. Instead, they supported and complemented it, creating a mix of the old and the new that was intoxicating.

MacMaster is a consummate musician and entertainer as well. She spent the show interacting with various band members, pulling them off to one part of the stage or another, as if they were a mini-band within her larger band. She carried the audience along too, teaching about Cape Breton and its music, as well as entertaining. She’s also not afraid to let her musicians shine on their own; in the middle of the show, her piper, Matt MacIsaac, gave a solo on the Highland bagpipe.

It was just a super show.

I found an Edith Piaf CD at a thrift store recently and spent yesterday playing it. I really got a kick out of it. Great, great stuff! It was a fun change of pace from my usual listening habits.

Keith and I have become really enamored of the Americana music channel we get on cable via Music Choice lately. We can listen to a variety of artists, many that we know and like and many that we don't kow but find intriguing, without having to change CD's! It's encouraging that they'll play even more politically-charged music, like stuff from Steve Earle's last CD. We are puzzled by a few of their choices, though. I mean, Alan Jackson? On an Americana channel? C'mon!

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