It’s all about listening…
Really? You’re writing a music blog and THAT is your amazing insight. Of course it’s about listening!
Hold on… Breathe… Stay with me.
How many times do we move through life and not stop to smell the proverbial roses… or actually listen to the music… really take it in… and perhaps even more importantly, how often do we not listen to each other?!
When we are open… open to sharing and receiving and giving… magical things happen. This is when we bond, connect, love… These are the moments that are magical. Listening is what led me to my two most recent, new music discoveries.
Getting and giving musical recommendations is one of my great pleasures… Word of mouth… or music of mouth, I guess, brings so much joy.
So let us share. Amen!
I am starting to come back to KLOS, in bits and increments, and normally do not love the morning show… but I decided to listen.
My normal 4-station rotation is KCSN (88.5), KCRW (89.9) and The Sound (100.3)… with a little KLOS (95.5) or Jack FM (93.1) thrown in to mix it up.
I am more than happy I was station surfing this morning… as I found something remarkable… a true artist… in multiple mediums. (Check out his art and Sketch Gallery)… and insert ENVY here. Damn!
Again… the KEY is to listen… to be open… to give EVERYTHING a try!
To say I was blown away by Nick’s live performance would be a crazy understatement. And I echoed the sentiment of almost every caller, that the live session sounded as if it was recorded… It was that good and that stellar and tight. You can check it out with the above link… or below…
I immediately reached out to Nick, who is about as decent and kind as sincere as he is talented, and I am hoping to spread the word about his music. I also sent messages to some music managers I know, as I want them to hear his songs.
I told him he reminded me of a more rocking and potent Cat Stevens… and his live version of “Gotta Get Something Right” is what stopped me in my tracks. I hear John Mayer in his bluesy, folksy acoustic pop… and also Johnny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd… especially in his absolutely incredible cover of Bill Withers’ “Use Me”!!! And okay, really… you are playing every instrument???!!! Show off! 😉
THE EXPLORERS CLUB
Thanks to my friend Keith Valcourt, the music/entertainment writer for The Washington Times, I was able to work as his photographer on two great events… Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camp in North Hollywood… and the rehearsal for The Wild Honey Presents benefit show for Autism and the Children’s Music Fund.
In addition to meeting Micky Dolenz and Carnie Wilson (I looove her!)… I got to meet Jason Brewer, whose band is The Explorers Club… from South Carolina by way of Nashville, now.
After a great conversation and interview with Keith, Jason offered to send some music our way.
Let me just say… Wow! I have two albums and three EPs and I am blown away.
I have no idea how old Jason is… He looks young, with a cherubic, innocent face… but their music is so sophisticated and complex… and yes, massively influenced by The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson… which makes sense that he was performing in a show honoring The Beach Boys.
You will also hear the ‘70s sounds of Burt Bacharach, the jangly rock of The Byrds… and even a bit of Blood, Sweat And Tears on some tracks… that horn washed, jazzy rock and pop… And yes, you will hear one of my all-time favorites The Pearlfishers, though Jason has not yet heard this band! Clearly the Brian Wilson influence bonds them together and I am anxious to hear his opinion once he gives them a listen.
I think, aside from other, very specific bands and artists, most modern rock and pop musicians get their influence from the Big Five, as I call them… At least one of, or a combo of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin.
The Explorers Club is Power Pop at its best, and if you are a regular reader you know I am an unashamed, unabashed lover of all things Power Pop. Luscious… gorgeous… plush… This is the perfect music for a date night or dinner party, or to drift away into an evening of pure romance.
They have a new album coming out in April, and based on the track Jason sent me for that, it is going to be an ideal Spring and Summer record. Keep an eye out… and I will review it once I have it.
2008’s Freedom Wind is a remarkable homage to The Beach Boys and stand out tracks like the opener “Forever”, “Don’t Forget The Sun” and “Do You Love Me?” will make you want to be on your feet, swaying and dancing.
“Run, Run, Run” from the phenomenal Grand Hotel record (2012) would have worked so well on the Austin Powers soundtrack. I love the horns and arrangements on this one! Same with the title track “Grand Hotel”, which I could also, totally see playing over the opening credits of a Peter Sellers film! It makes sense that they have had their music on The O.C., How I Met Your Mother, and Bored to Death.
That is one common element between these two artists… A lot of their music would serve so perfectly well as part of a movie soundtrack or film score. Nick’s most recent “Riverside Sonatina” screams to play under the flickering images of a movie screen. As I listen to this beautiful piece, I see a relationship coming together… a reconciliation… or some other romantic victory.
Just another way music can also alight our other senses.
The key… of course… is to open up your ears, and your heart, and listen!