Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Shining - Stephen King Book Review

The Shining is a classic today as much as it was over 30 years ago.  Stephen King has written many books over the years and in my opinion the original ones are still the best ones.

This is the story of an unemployed writer named Jack Torrance who gets setup with a job as the caretaker of The Overlook Hotel in Colorado just outside of Estes Park to get a fresh start and a chance to write.

The Outlook hotel is an old historic hotel with quite a past and that past will come back to haunt them.

Jack, his wife Wendy and son Danny will spend the winter watching the hotel and keeping the place running if they don't go crazy.

As we find out earlier, Danny has a bit of a gift in seeing things and knowing what happens before it does, this is called The Shining, he learns about this from an old black cook, Halloran, that worked at the hotel.  He tells him if he ever has any trouble to call out to him.

Over the first couple weeks the story really ties around what Danny sees and feels and what Jack learns as he finds an old journal with the history of all that went on.

Jack was fired from his last job for attacking or putting in place a student who slashed his tires.  He also liked to drink a lot a and now had been sober for several months.

As the story goes on Danny keeps learning more through his visions and Jack from the journal.  Once the snow sets in and they are essentially trapped at the hotel until winter is over.  This is when Jack starts having hallucinations as if he's hanging in the bar drinking and Danny goes to room 217 and discovers that not everything is in his mind as the dead lady in the tub tries to strangle him.

Things intensify and Jack loses his mind and goes after his own family, essentially being sucked into the evil of the hotel.

I really enjoyed how the book messes with the minds of the characters and before you know it things are out of hand.  Kings writes this one in a way to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The funny thing for those who have only seen the movie there are many differences in the details and of course in the ending of how things go down.

If you plan to read the sequel I would suggest reading the book to better understand Danny and the history.


Mazzy Star - Season of Your Day - CD Review

17 years have gone by since we last heard a new Mazzy Star album and now we have a new one.  Seasons of You Day will be available on September 24th on CD, Download or Vinyl.  Probably a good choice since I think many of the fans will be vinyl junkies.

Once coined as Dream Pop or Psychedelic Rock is also sort of known as California Surf Pop to some these days.  These dreaming songs are very mellow and have a sort of soft depressing feel to them, but for me this is the best style of music out there.  I love the work that Hope Sandoval and David Roback have made together.

Hope Sandoval put out a Warm Inventions album a couple years back and has now returned to the Mazzy Star project teaming up with Dave Roback.  The songs on this cd are quite the same feel as the past with mellow acoustic tones with some glockenspiel played by Hope.  The dreamy, haunting sounds with that soft amazing voice of Hope.

Common Burn was released as a single last year and California was the pre-release song, both are in the same realm as the rest of the tunes.  I really like this cd and look forward to seeing them live even though Hope is an introvert and doesn't do well with crowds - I'm sure she will find a way to make it happen as she always has.

Track List:
1. In the Kingdom    5:14
2. California    5:23
3. I've Gotta Stop    4:04
4. Does Someone Have Your Baby Now?    4:08
5. Common Burn    5:09
6. Seasons of Your Day    3:41
7. Lay Myself Down    4:31
8. Sparrow    4:04
9. Spoon    6:09
10. Flying Low     7:36

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jack Johnson - Live iTunes Festival 9-16-2013 London

Jack Johnson introduced many of his new songs to the world via the Internet and the iTunes Festival App.  Playing on, Monday, September 16th to a packed crowd at The Roundhouse in the Camden area of London.

He came out and played a few solo acoustic songs telling the story of how he locked his bike to his now wives bike so that he could meet her.  This song Do You Remember started it off then going into a story about there being a hail storm in London and went into I Got You from the new album.  He then jumped into a story about how he was asked by a reality tv show to use one of his songs and didn't find that to be a good idea and jumped into Good People.

Shortly after he brought the band out to sing a mix of songs from new to old.  Zach parked himself on the right side with his piano, keys and glockenspiel dancing around during the songs having a good old time.

People were yelling requests but Jack said he couldn't hear them or that he would get to it.  Switching between acoustic and electric through out, we got a mix of fun songs like Bubbletoes, Flake & Bannana Pancakes.  Merlo rapped out as JRadio during Staple It Together.

Mixing up verses and various lyrics throughout, Jack adapted as he went along and made it seem like it was just a part of the show.  He also brought out the opening band Bahamas to play a few tunes.

Overall a really fun night of music that you can rewatch on demand through the iTunes Festival App.
Jack has a new album out this week, you can pick it on iTunes, Amazon or at http://jackjohnsonmusic.com/ 

Do You Remember
I Got You
Good People
Washing Dishes
Sitting Waiting Wishing
Shot Reverse Shot
Fortunate Fool
Bubble Toes
Wasting Time
Don’t Believe A Thing I Say
Banana Pancakes
Tape Deck
Staple It Together
At or With Me

Ones And Zeros
Angel/ Better Together

Steve Martin, Edie Brickell & Steep Canyon Ranger Live in Omaha, NE7/21/2013

On Sunday, July 21st at the Holland Center in Omaha, NE, Steve Martin & Steep Canyon Rangers played an evening with Edie Brickell and what a fabulous night it was.

The night started out with Steve & Steep Canyon Rangers playing a series of songs and joking about as they played showing that it was going to be a fun night for all. 

The Holland Center in Omaha, NE is a very beautifully designed building with fantastic acoustics.  There isn't a bad seat in the place and the sound was amazing.  The crowd was a mix of fans and those with season tickets.  All seemed to really enjoy the show.  It was a sold out show.

Edie joined the guys after about four songs to play a series of songs off the new album Love Has Come For You as we'll as several other classic songs.

There was a lot of fun bantering going on through out the show from Steve, the guys in Steep Canyon Rangers and Edie.  It was a really fun night of great music the band was really on.  

I loved seeing this show with them all together playing some amazing songs, but the guys from Steep Canyon Ranger were all so talented, I would live to see them on their own.  Each and everyone of the guys were amazing.

We had the opportunity to meet Steve after the show and took a picture good time.

Here was the set list from the show.

• Katie Mae
• Rare Bird Alert
• Yellow-Backed Fly
• The Crow
• Get Along Stray Dog
• When You Get to Asheville
• Yes She Did
• Love Has Come For You / Knob Creek
• Atheists Don't Have No Songs
• Jubilation Day
• The Great Remember / Sun's Gonna Shine
• Fighter
• Sarah Jane and the Iron Mountain Baby
• Pretty Little One
• Auden's Train
• The Dance at the Wedding
• Remember Me This Way
Another Round / Pitkin County Turnaround

We had the opportunity to meet the guys from Steep Canyon Rangers as well.  They were all a great bunch of guys and very welcoming to us visiting.

This was a picture of us with Edie after the show, my son kept hiding and missed out.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell - Love Has Come For You - Album Review

After The New Bohemians. A solo career, collaboration with Harper Simon and a couple albums with The Gaddabouts, Edie Brickell has now teamed up with Steve Martin for a great new Bluegrass album.

Over all the years of the different styles of music, I really think Bluegrass really suites Edie well.  It brings out a certain beauty in her voice.  

There are a lot great stories and  catchy riff as well as some great banjo playing by Steve.  Edie & Steve met years ago and somewhere along the way decided to collaborate on some song.  Steve emailed Edie some songs and she added  lyrics and it all started there.

My favorite song on the album is the first track When You Get To Asheville.  It seems funny that a Bluegrass song would start, "When you get to Asheville, send me an email". I always think of Bluegrass as unplugged old time music.  Well, now it has been modernized.

There are a lot of fun songs and catchy tunes that make you want to get up and dance around or just clap your hands.

Sarah Jane in the Iron Mountain Baby is an interesting song.  A sad but happy as well.  It's about a boy thrown out a train and surviving for a man to pick him up and delivered him to Sarah Jane.

Lots of great songs and beautiful music.  Edie has a brilliant way of writing and an amazing voice to add to the songs.

I highly recommend going out and picking this album up.  You will live it.

Track List:
 1.  When You Get To Asheville 3:15 
 2. Get Along Stray Dog 2:10 
 3. Love Has Come For You 3:08 
 4. Friend Of Mine 2:36  
 5. Siamese Cat 2:57  
 6. Yes She Did 1:34 
 7. Sarah Jane And The Iron Mountain Baby3:12 
 8. Fighter 2:40  
 9. King Of Boys 2:51  
10. Sun's Gonna Shine 3:05  
11. Who You Gonna Take? 2:40
12. Shawnee 2:29
13. Remember Me This Way 3:31

Grateful Dead - Sunshine Daydream (Veneta, OR 8/27/72)

Another one of the many live Grateful Dead live releases releases that have come out over the years.  This one is accompanied by a full DVD of the show.

There are many great comments throughout this show.  Much talk about how hot it was out and Bobby even says that it's hard to keep his guitar tuned because of the heat and sun.

The fans were reminded to keep cool and take breaks from time to time to drink water.  There were also quite a few from the kids tent where many people left their kids as they watched the show.  

The show started off with a nice version of Promised Land that wend into a nice but short version of Sugaree.

Although you could tell they were hot and miserable through the show, they just played on and had some really nice jams.  I could always do with a little less Donna, but still some great jams including a really nice Dark Star.  Playing into He's Gone into Jack Straw was a nice set of tunes as well as the China Cat > Rider was pretty awesome.

Overall this 3 cd set compares to many of the other great 1972 shows that have been released.

I highly recommend picking up this set which is available next week in stores as well as at www.dead.net.

Track List:
1. Intro (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 4:00
2. Promised Land (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 3:23
 3. Sugaree (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon)7:30
 4. Me And My Uncle (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 3:15 
 5. Deal (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 4:55
 6. Black-Throated Wind (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 7:01 
 7. China Cat Sunflower (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 7:58 
 8. I Know You Rider (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 7:02
 9. Mexicali Blues (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 3:49
10. Bertha (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon)5:59  
11. Playing In The Band (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 19:56
12. He's Gone (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 9:32
13. Jack Straw (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 5:06 
14. Bird Song (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 13:16 
15. Greatest Story Ever Told (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 5:36
16. Dark Star (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 31:27 
17. El Paso (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon)5:04
18. Sing Me Back Home (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 10:50  
19. Sugar Magnolia (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 8:45 
20. Casey Jones (Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon) 6:25 
21. One More Saturday Night ( Live - 8/27/72 Veneta, Oregon)

Jack Johnson - From Here Now To You - Album Review

Jack Johnson puts out his first studio album in 3 years following up To The Sea.  In similar fashion Jack mixes both acoustic and electric guitars into this album.

The album brings back the usual suspects Adam Topol, Merlo Podlewski and Zach Gill to create another amazing album with a great mix of catchy lyrics tied to a compliment of great music.

Jack really likes to tell fun stories through his songs, some a little darker and some about love for his wife and others about silly things his kids do, that spark songs out of him.

At first listen there are a lot of similar tunes to the style of To The Sea, but nothing wrong with that at all.  I Got You was the first single release, a good fun tune.  Shot Reverse Shot is a catchy tune with a nice beat.   Those who listen to a lot of Jack will recognize the song Home as he's played it on the En Concert album and DVD.

Another fine piece of work by Jack and crew.  They will be heading out on a tour, hopefully we will get the opportunity to see him here in Kansas City again like on the last two tours.

Track List:
1.  I Got You 2:59
2.  Washing Dishes 3:23
3.  Shot Reverse Shot 3:10
4.  Never Fade 4:02
5.  Tape Deck 3:21
6.  Don't Believe A Thing I Say 3:14
7.  As I Was Saying 3:45
8.  You Remind Me Of You 2:24
9.  Radiate 4:15
10.  Ones and Zeros 4:27
11.  Change 3:14
12.  Home 3:02