Archive for June, 2010

if you could read his mind…

gordon lightfoot

gordon lightfoot

The word creeps into conversation almost unavoidably.

“Mellow.”

Actually, Gordon Lightfoot brings it up first. The tag has been pinned to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s music for over 40 years. But it’s usually employed by fans and critics to describe the light, lyrical and decidedly folkish sway of his songs.

Lightfoot doesn’t shy away from the label at all. But he is quick to apply a qualifier, lest anyone mistakenly think Lightfoot stands for lightweight.

“I think it’s kind of a relief for people to get some music that’s kind of mellow, that won’t bust your eardrums,” he said. “But don’t let me make you nervous. We’ve got a good beat.”

At 71, Lightfoot is responsible for one of the most consistent and distinctive folk-pop catalogs in or out of Canada. A listen to any of the impressive 14 albums he cut for Warner Brothers between 1970 and 1998 – all of which were re-released last week on the Wounded Bird label – underscores the work of a writer whose most visible hits shifted from quietly sentimental songs accented by orchestration (1971’s If You Could Read My Mind) to understated folk-blues (1974’s Sundown) to a modern day sea-shanty (1976’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald).

That goes without mentioning the stylistic range of the artists that have covered Lightfoot’s music, from British folk-rockers (Sandy Denny’s darkly psychedelic cover of The Way I Feel) to Americana stylists (Nanci Griffith’s countryish update of Ten Degrees and Getting Colder) to bluegrass stylists (Tony Rice and Kentucky’s own J.D. Crowe) to iconic folk and pop stars (Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and even Elvis Presley).

“The music just seemed to roll out of me,” Lightfoot said. “I’d sing at festivals, weddings, everything when I was young. Luckily, I had a teacher that showed me how to sing with emotion. He taught me to do so by having me sing songs from Handel’s Messiah. He had me singing a lot of really serious religious music at one point just to see what I could do with it. I think that’s what you’re hearing there in a lot of my music.”

Lightfoot’s career ignited in the late ‘60s with a series of five albums for the United Artists label that earned such folk hits as Early Morning Rain, The Way I Feel and Canadian Railroad Trilogy. Lightfoot has often voiced his displeasure with those early recordings. But when he sat down and gave them a fresh listen in preparation for a 1999 four-disc anthology of his music titled Songbook, he gave a favorable reappraisal to their songs.

“I hadn’t heard them back-to-back for a long time, so I took three days and listened to everything. All of that music seems to hold water for me when I look back on it. I was never happy with most of that stuff when we did it in those days, but they sound pretty good to me now. I have faith in them again.”

Lightfoot’s career skyrocketed after If You Could Read My Mind ushered in the Warner Brothers era. The singer enjoyed a strong artistic relationship with the label, drawing from its extensive stable of musicians, producers and arrangers for his recordings. Warner Brothers’ support remained faithful until Lightfoot’s personal demons – specifically, a mounting struggle with alcoholism – started to spill over into the spotlight.

“The alcohol was always the fuel until it started catching up with me,” Lightfoot said. “I walked offstage one night in London and actually got into an argument with a fan way in the back of the hall. That one made it into the newspapers and out to Warner Brothers in Los Angeles. I think they might have lost a little bit of faith in me at that point.”

Sober since 1982, Lightfoot completed his recording commitments to the label, even though his final four albums received fairly modest promotional support. Among those latter records is 1986’s East of Midnight, which stands as Lightfoot’s favorite.

“The only problem with that one was a suggestion was made to bring in (pop producer/composer) David Foster to work on one track. But it came off looking like he produced the whole album. It was self-produced. I worked on it for a long time. East of Midnight – that’s my all-time favorite.”

Perhaps the most unforeseen obstacle Lightfoot has faced in his career has been his own death – or, at least, the announcement of it. Having survived surgeries for a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, which sidelined his career for 2 ½ years beginning in 2002 – reports spread quickly last February that Lightfoot had died. So swift, in fact, was the news that Lightfoot heard of his own passing on the radio.

“Yeah, I was driving from my dentist’s office to my office at 3 o’clock in the afternoon when I heard it. I mean, I wasn’t about to complain. The next day, I had my picture on the front page of the newspaper here (The Toronto Sun) with the headline ‘Dead Wrong.’

“So I enjoy reminding everybody these days of the Mark Twain saying: ‘Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.'”

Gordon Lightfoot performs at 8 p.m. June 23 at the Singletary Center for the Arts. Tickets are $45 and $55. Call (859) 257-4929.

in performance: the thing with joe mcphee

the thing: ingebrigt haker flaten, (in absentia) mats gustafsson and paal nilssen-love.

the thing: bassist ingebrigt haker flaten, (in absentia) reed player mats gustafsson and drummer paal nilssen-love.

It was a truly a Thing like no other.

For starters, Mats Gustafsson, the mainstay reed man of the European jazz trio The Thing was absent from the stage last night at Gumbo Ya Ya. He is sitting out the group’s entire North American tour to be with his fiancé in Vienna, who is recuperating from a ruptured appendix. Then there were the spoken acknowledgements to a pair of avant garde jazz ambassadors – one ailing (Chicago saxophonist Fred Anderson, who suffered a heart attack on June 14) and one deceased (trumpeter/educator Bill Dixon, who died June 10 after a long illness).

With the news shared and hopeful wishes relayed by saxophonist Joe McPhee (a frequent Thing collaborator and a guest on the group’s summer tour), the music was set to commence – but not before a siren raced by outside the venue.

That was as close to an intrusion as the performance sustained all evening. Over the course of two dynamic 45 minute sets, the realigned Thing lineup of New Yorker McPhee and the Norwegian engine room of drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, indulged in a set of fascinating improvisations. A few stray melodies were tossed about here and there, mostly when McPhee switched to pocket trumpet, a palm-size instrument with a massive tone. Mostly, though, The Thing strayed from past repertoires of unexpected pop tune revisions and original works and, instead, played largely by instinct.

The first set operated primarily off of group interplay while nearly half of the second relied on unaccompanied solo segments.

joe mcphee

joe mcphee

McPhee’s far reaching tenor sax sound shifted from fractured bop to hushed rumbles with Nilseen-Love that recalled Karma-era Pharoah Sanders to solos that possessed chant-like passages that were practically sung through the reed. McPhee’s piano-like strolls on pocket trumpet and beefy Coltrane-like leads on tenor (all in the second set) were equally arresting.

Nilssen-Love and Haker Flaten remain an absolutely monstrous duo. One hesitates to call them a rhythm section as their muscular interaction morphed from Nilssen-Love’s clarion call rings on gongs and playful clatter on drum rims to Haker Flaten’s elegantly bowed passages that countered lethal sounding solos made by squeezing bass strings to the instrument’s neck.

Lastly, there was passages of exquisite, motionless silence, especially in the second set, that affirmed not only The Thing’s realigned trio intensity but its audience’s enraptured involvement.

Plateau or short resting place?

Network World August 26, 2002 | Yoke, Chuck As a resident of Colorado, I spend a lot time hiking in the mountains. Often as I hike in the oxygen-thin air of 12,000 feet and reach a level spot, I stop and ask myself whether this is a resting place where I can catch a quick breath or if I have reached a plateau where I’ll have to consider whether I can go any higher.

Many people are asking that same question about network careers – have they reached a plateau or is the current market downturn just a short resting place in preparation for the next climb?

There are valid arguments on both sides. Many view the downturn and subsequent layoffs at companies such as WorldCom, AT&T and Qwest as an indication that network careers have leveled out for the foreseeable future. While businesses will continue to need network services, analysts contend there are more than enough skilled workers. go to site dish network careers

Others see the downturn as a brief resting place where users of network technology can catch up. Many businesses still are migrating from 10M to 100M bit/sec Ethernet – they haven’t even considered Gigabit Ethernet. Most that use IBM mainframes still are migrating away from legacy Systems Network Architecture networks to standard TCP/IP connectivity. And corporate strategic planners are just beginning to consider a host of available technologies, such as LAN-based video, IP telephony, peer-to-peer networking and wireless-based computing. see here dish network careers

To the optimist, as soon as businesses catch up, new growth will occur, fueling new technology development and increasing the need for network professionals. To the pessimist, however, most of these technologies bring little business value, and while some will be adopted, they will not be implemented at a rate to fuel new growth in networking.

As a Network World columnist, I get letters asking my advice on networking as a career. I am often hesitant to recommend the field of networking, as the job market – at least to me – is still questionable.

But then I consider my friend Bob. Bob studied history in college with a passion. Even though jobs for history majors are few, Bob devoted himself to the subject. And it paid off.

He worked hard and ultimately became one of the best historians around. He is a tenured college professor and has published several books on historical topics. He also conducts seminars on how to use the lessons of history to be more successful. The combination of salary plus book royalties plus speaker’s fees provides Bob a comfortable living. In a field with little apparent opportunity, Bob realized that there are always opportunities for those who are the best.

And so it is with networking. The job market has taken a downturn and how much it will rebound is open to conjecture. However, there always will be opportunities for those whose passion is networking and who strive to be the best. They may never become rich, but they will be doing what they love and providing for their families. And in the end, isn’t that what a career is all about?

Yoke is a business solutions engineer for a corporate network in Denver. He can be reached at ckyoke@yahoo.com.

Yoke, Chuck

summer album of the week: 06/19/10

king crimson: beat (released june 1982)

king crimson: beat (released june 1982)

Beat was the album that confirmed the ‘80s rebirth of King Crimson. Recast by founder/guitarist Robert Fripp as a sleek quartet with drummer Bill Bruford (the only holdover from a ‘70s incarnation), bassist Tony Levin and co-guitarist/Kentucky native Adrian Belew, the new Crimson was often thought to have hit its creative peak with 1981’s Discipline. Perhaps it did. But Beat was more fun. It sported fabrics of chant-style electronic drums (Waiting Man), poppish reflection (Heartbeat), wonderfully frenzied guitar mayhem (The Howler and Neurotica) and an arresting disassembly of the mighty Crimson’s ensemble firepower (Requiem). Together with Roxy Music’s Avalon and Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom, Beat led a newer, more subversive neo-British invasion during the summer of 1982.

night of the thing

Want to know what I think of whenever someone mentions The Thing? I think of this ‘50s horror movie by that name set in the Arctic darkness where a team of explorers encounter a space alien that resembles a giant carrot played by James Arness. That’s right – Marshall Dillon himself playing an outer space veggie in glorious black and white. John Carpenter remade The Thing in the ‘80s with tons of gore, but the campy charm was gone.

Alas, I digress.

The Thing, as we will musically know it this weekend, also hails from the North – although its members are based in Norway and Sweden. And yes, the free jazz improvisations they develop, along with alert nods to past jazz and even pop disciples, can become pretty monstrous in a performance situation.

If you’ve followed the local, long-running Outside the Spotlight Series, you’ve seen The Thing unleashed several times.

There was a November 2005 visit at the now demolished Underlying Themes downtown where the band let its muscular sax/bass/drums format loose on works on Black Sabbath (Iron Man), P.J. Harvey (To Bring You My Love) and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Art Star). The Thing returned (The Return of The Thing – sounds like a sequel, eh?) to play the University of Kentucky Student Center Theatre in April 2007 with a set that branched out into Baby Talk (by blues/jazz/roots guitarist James Blood Ulmer), the fascinating You Ain’t Gonna Know Me Cos You Think You Know Me (by the late South African trumpeter Mongezi Feza) and Chiasma (by Japanese pianist composer Yosuke Yamashita).

Yet what emerges from saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten is a daring trio sound that prefers to reference these varied works over reinterpreting them. The basic mode of operation is improvisation. That is especially true when American saxophonist and pocket trumpet stylist Joe McPhee collaborates with The Thing, as he will tonight at Gumbo Ya Ya in Bar Lexington.

Fascinating things with groove and texture happen when The Thing expands to a quartet. On the 2001 collaborative album She Knows…, McPhee opens Harvey’s To Bring You My Love with whispery scratches from the miniature-sized pocket trumpet while Gustafsson reverts to a bouncy bass role on baritone sax. But halfway in, the roles reverse, Gustafsson scorches the earth on sax with Nilssen-Love shattering the open spaces on drums before the tune calms to a funereal style finale.

That’s but one snapshot of what could happen tonight. McPhee performed here with The Thing at the Underlying Themes show and played alongside Gustafsson and Nilssen-Love when the Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet kicked off Outside the Spotlight eight years ago this summer. But expect an altogether different thing when The Thing lives again tonight.

Gumbo Ya Ya will have a $5 all-you-can-eat Cajun buffet available for the show, as they do for most OTS concerts. No word yet if any giant carrots are on the menu.

The Thing with Joe McPhee perform at 8 tonight at GumboYa Ya in Bar Lexington, 367 E. Main. $5. (859) 523-9292.

critic's pick 128

The title to Tom Petty’s first Heartbreakers album in eight years suggests a bluesy affair. And, in places, Mojo becomes one. Mostly, though, this is a record about groove. A lot of groove.

On the rootsy side, Mojo revels in a country blues shuffle that opens out into the harp driven, slide savvy, Howlin Wolf-inspired U.S. 41.Then there is the churchy slow blues Lover’s Touch that owes as much to the organ and Rhodes piano colors of veteran Heartbreaker Benmont Tench as to Petty himself.

But Mojo is also sleek and reserved in its rhythmic flow. Early into the album, two tunes – First Flash of Freedom and Running Man’s Bible – settle into light, neo-jazzy grooves that, together, stretch on for nearly 13 summery minutes. Freedom, a fanciful yarn of romantic discovery, works off a light, minor key riff that is efficient and steadfast. Guitarist Mike Campbell has a ball as the song stretches out for solos that recall the wistful lyricism of Mick Taylor’s more adventurous days with the Rolling Stones. Bible, a “glory and survival” travelogue, is more overtly rock ‘n’ roll, but its groove is still luxuriant and relaxed, a nod to British blues greats like Peter Green.

Musically, the formula stays puts for Mojo‘s 66 minute run. Riffs and grooves, often very simple ones, make up the bulk of the song structures as styles shift around them.

For instance, Don’t Pull Me Over operates with a studied pop-reggae rhythm. Let Yourself Go is all glistening boogie. Candy is bouncing blues with a light pop sheen. In each case, the groove carries the tune, wrapping lightly around – and eventually propelling – Petty’s reedy, nasally narration.

Pretty remains an artful storyteller, as well.  Inevitably, age creeps into these songs. “Could be when you get sad your memory slips,” Petty sings to himself in the lament No Reason to Cry. The Trip to Pirate’s Cove, a tale of misadventure told very much in the past tense, is more severe (“She was a part of my heart, now she’s just a line on my face”). But the melodies, the mood and those ever present grooves roll steadily along.

And yes, Mojo gets its hands a little dirty, too. The single I Should Have Known It is a freight train of swampy guitar riffs while the album opening Jefferson Jericho Blues repeats its blues shuffle lick like a mantra.

Mojo steers far from the ‘70s-style Stones/Byrds radio rock of Damn the Torpedoes and the leaner Americana spirit of 1995’s Wildflowers (the latter being, technically, a Petty solo work). But it’s also miles from the glossy excess of albums like Into the Great Wide Open that put the Heartbreakers on auto-pilot in the early ‘90s. Mojo is instead the sound of a prime American band weathering the years, flexing its still vital musical ingenuity and paying homage to the almighty groove.

LAGUNA BEACH, CA — Cameron and Tricia Fraser evacuate their home in Laguna Beach, California, on Wednesday, June 1, 2005.

KRT Photos June 1, 2005 | MICHAEL GOULDING

KRT Photos 06-01-2005

US NEWS WEA-MUDSLIDES 4 OC

— NO MAGS, NO SALES — KRT US NEWS STORY SLUGGED: WEA-MUDSLIDES KRT PHOTO BY MICHAEL GOULDING/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER (L.A. TIMES OUT) (June 1) LAGUNA BEACH, CA — Cameron and Tricia Fraser evacuate their home in Laguna Beach, California, on Wednesday, June 1, 2005. (mvw) 2005 see here laguna beach ca

Document Name|US NEWS WEA-MUDSLIDES 4 OC ————-+———————————————- Document Date|Jun/1/2005 ————-+———————————————- Photographer |MICHAEL GOULDING ————-+———————————————- Format |2200 x 1628 Color JPEG ————-+———————————————- Category |A ————-+———————————————- |ground, homes, krt2005, krtedonly, krtnational |national, krtrain rain, krtusnews, krtweather |weather, land, slide ————-+———————————————- in our site laguna beach ca

?? 2005 Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service MICHAEL GOULDING

family blues

ronnie baker brooks

ronnie baker brooks

It goes without saying that the life of a bluesman embraces the blues. But in a downturned economy that heightens the challenge of championing a decidedly non-commercial roots music style, relations between the blues and the artists that still play it for a living are redefined.

Take the working life of Ronnie Baker Brooks, a guitarist schooled in the music by his esteemed bluesman father and the circle of legendary artists he was part of. Brooks retains a solid national following for his music. But life with the blues in a climate where money for everyone is tight? You get the picture.

“I can’t complain considering I’m still working,” said Brooks, who performs at the new Bar Lexington on East Main tonight. “Things aren’t exactly where I would want them to be, as they have been in previous years. But I feel blessed to continue doing what I love to do and to still being able to make living at it.

“You just have to kind of fight through it. But the big reward comes from seeing the people smile and forgetting about their problems enough to have a good time. That helps me get over my problems.”

And for the record, Brooks is hardly pining about his problems. Gigs may be harder to come by in 2010. But his devotion to the blues remains devout and unwavering.

“The blues is the truth,” he said. “And the truth will be here forever. My dad always said, ‘One day, all the dark clouds will move out of the way and people will see the real stars and the real music.”

Dad is guitarist Lonnie Brooks, a mainstay of a still-healthy Chicago blues scene and a contemporary of such latter day blues greats as Son Seals, Koko Taylor and Albert Collins. All four artists enjoyed a career renaissance during the ‘70s and ‘80s through raw and rocking blues albums cut for the Chicago based Alligator label. The elder Brooks is the only surviving member of that blues pack.

It was through the inspiration of his father and his friends that the younger Brooks came to the blues. He joined his dad onstage at the age of nine before becoming a member of his touring group in 1986. A recording debut on Lonnie Brooks’ Live from Chicago: Bayou Lightning Strikes came two years later.

A solo career was initiated in 1999 and a sound versed in traditional blues but packed with a considerable rock ‘n’ roll wallop was born – or rather, reborn. Call it was you will – like father like son or like Lonnie like Ronnie, the rocking blues sound of the Brooks clan had officially found an heir.

“There was just something about the blues that I gravitated to at any early age,” Brooks said. “It was the truthfulness I heard in listening to records by Son House, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.

“My dad would take me to the clubs, or at least to the ones that would let me in. I got to see Muddy Waters. I got to see Son Seals. I got to see Koko. I was in awe of these people. But I was also pretty intimidated by them. Even when I first saw my father play, I thought, ‘Man, I could never do that.’ But I had a strong passion for the music. My dad would say, ‘Yes you can. Yes you can.'”

Father Brooks wasn’t the only motivating musical force. Guitarist Collins, who would regularly sit in at Lonnie Brooks concerts, took an active role in mentoring the young bluesman in everything from development of instrumental chops to simple but important stage etiquette.

“Listening to Albert Collins was like that moment in The Blues Brothers when John Belushi goes into the church. I saw the light. That was the moment. That’s when I said, ‘That’s what I want to do with the rest of my life.’

“Albert would listen to me and say, ‘You sound great, but quit frowning when you make a mistake. You frown and everybody is going to know you made a mistake.’ I was too serious. I wanted to be perfect. But Albert would tell me, ‘Yeah, well everybody ain’t going to be perfect. Just be the best you can be.’

“That changed my whole perspective. I always tell people to this day that, as far as the blues go, my dad lit the spark but Albert poured gasoline over it.

Today, Brooks is still professionally linked to his father’s recordings as a player and sometimes producer. Outside of his own career, he has collaborated with Tommy Castro, Magic Dick (of the J. Geils Band) and Deanna Bogart in an all-star ensemble called The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue. He also turns up as a guest on the upcoming Red Dog Speaks album by another blues/rock vet, Elvin Bishop.

“What I try to do is simply incorporate the authenticity of all those guys I heard growing up and serve as a bridge between what they did and the music of a younger generation, the music my friends were listening to.

“Look, I can’t talk about growing up picking cotton or plowing a field with a mule or anything like that. But I can talk about what I was raised around in the Southside of Chicago. And I can take all these styles I grew up listening to and try to make the music mine.

“My delivery is different. But it’s what I feel. Hopefully, other people can feel it as well.”

Ronnie Baker Brooks performs at 9 p.m., June 15 at Bar Lexington, 373 E. Main. Tickets are $10 and $12.

in performance: carrie underwood/craig morgan/sons of sylvia

carrie underwood last night at rupp arena. herald-leader staff photo by mark cornelison.

carrie underwood last night at rupp arena. herald-leader staff photo by mark cornelison.

It was around the time Carrie Underwood sailed over a Rupp Arena crowd of 8,600 last night on the bed of an airborne pickup truck singing John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Roads that you pretty much had to dispel any conventional notions of what did or did not qualify as country music.

For the better part of two hours, the one-time American Idol champion offered music that was country by categorization only. This was a full blown rock and pop production for which the flying pickup was but one grand trick. There was also a gargantuan stage that allowed Underwood to swing on a makeshift tree branch, a centerstage area with multiple lifts that allowed her to pop up and down through the floor (she made her show entrance on a divan dressed in a pseudo-tux outfit singing Cowboy Casanova) and rotating platforms that conveniently moved band members out of the way so that the star of the show could occasionally make an entrance from the back of the stage when she tired of emerging from beneath it.

Even by the eye popping standards adopted by the numerous big name country concerts that have visited Rupp so far this year (last night marked the fifth such production in six months), Underwood’s show was, to put it very mildly, extreme.

But here’s the thing. Given that her show seemed designed to present every song as a production number, Underwood herself proved a dynamic and tireless vocal artist.

In one of her few stationary moments early into the set, she sat on the multi-circular platforms at centerstage and scored a knockout with I Know You Won’t. A singer who favors the flair of her upper register, Underwood locked in on the tune’s longing sentimentality and squeezed some very potent drama out of it.

On the flip side was Someday When I Stop Loving You, the closest thing to a moment of reserve the production offered. Along with the later What Can I Say, which sported able vocal aid from Sons of Sylvia minus the rockish overtones of the trio’s show-opening set, the tune displayed the obvious emotive clarity of Underwood’s singing minus the anthemic overtones and visual flash. A few more such instances would have nicely lightened the load of a production that too often seemed to sell itself on spectacle.

Craig Morgan also liberated himself from the stage a few times during his preceding 40 minute set. No, there were no airborne trucks for him. He simply made his entrance the hard way by walking straight through the arena crowd to sing Bonfire.

Sure, the tune references AC/DC, but there was a definable country accent to the song – and Morgan’s full set, for that matter. Well, there was until he did what is commonly referred to in political circles as “flip-flopping” by following the highly traditional sense of country faith and family bound strength offered on This Ain’t Nothin’ with covers of The Commodores’ Easy and The Steve Miller Band’s The Joker.

Sons of Sylvia’s opening set confirmed that it was pretty much open stylistic season last night at Rupp. The sibling trio opened with The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter and maintained a rugged electric and de-countrified air throughout its 20 minute run.

Like the two artists that followed, the Sons’ performances were solid but stylistically stymied – signs of a modern Nashville act that brands itself as country but continually flees from the mighty shadow real country music casts.

QATAR : Vodafone launches BlackBerry Apps for its customers in Qatar.

Mena Report April 15, 2011 Vodafone has launched a BlackBerry App World for its BlackBerry smartphone customers in Qatar.

Vodafone spokesperson said that now Qatar Vodafone customers will be able to explore, download and enjoy a huge range of mobile applications for their BlackBerry smartphone from various categories, plus entertainment, games, IM and social networking, news, weather and productivity. in our site free blackberry apps

The store is accessible for all BlackBerry smartphones with a trackball, trackpad or touch screen running BlackBerry OS (device software) 4.6 or higher.

Now customers can download BlackBerry App World right away to their smartphone by visiting website.

BlackBerry users have been looking forward to the launch of BlackBerry App World in Qatar. We are thrilled about bringing this exciting new experience to Vodafone s BlackBerry smartphone customers in this market, said Praveen Senadheera, product manager (BlackBerry) Vodafone Qatar. site free blackberry apps

BlackBerry App World can be opportunely accessed over both Wi-Fi and mobile phone networks and automatically presents customers with the applicable catalogue of applications available for their specific BlackBerry smartphone model.

2011 Al Bawaba (Albawaba.com) Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company

summer album of the week: 06/12/10

wilco: a ghost is born

wilco: a ghost is born (2004)

With the groundbreaking Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in the past and an exit from its alt-country beginnings complete, Wilco grabbed both horns of the pop beast and went for the ride of its life on A Ghost is Born. Jeff Tweedy and pals dabbled in autumnal melancholy (Muzzle of Bees), Beatle-esque psychedelia (Hummingbird), Neil Young-style garage jams (At Least That’s What You Said), minimalist flavored rock grooves (Spiders) and Ramones style whimsy (I’m a Wheel). But Tweedy also tried many a soul with the 15 minute Less Than You Think, a piano ballad that fades into an unnerving, Metal Machine Music-like drone.  Risky and evocative, A Ghost is Born remains an album for all seasons – mostly because it crams the sentiments of each one into an amazingly comprehensive pop document.

in performance: dropkick murphys

dropkick murphys. photo by kerry brett.

dropkick murphys. back row: tim brennan (seated with guitar), james lynch, scruffy wallace, al barr, jeff darosa. front row, seated: ken casey and matt kelly. photo by kerry brett.

“No scores,” demanded bassist Ken Casey before Dropkick Murphys dropped a blast of anthemic, electric Irish-American fire called Fields of Athenry last night at Buster’s.

The warning was well-taken. For the duration of the Murphys’ wildfire session of brutish Irish party music – a double shot of traditionally minded Celtic mayhem fueled by jiggish turns on banjo, tin whistle and bagpipes along with bawdy, punkish outbursts tailored made for a barroom – the audience knew exactly what not to give the band. Specifically banished until show’s end were updates of any kind regarding the fourth NBA championship game between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.

As the pride of Beantown that has championed a number of its hometown sports teams (although the Murphys’ preferences over the years have extended more generously to baseball and hockey than basketball), knowledge of a score in a crucial game can be a distraction. And when you saw Casey lead the rockish piper drive of Sunshine Highway or razor throated co-singer Al Barr toss a vocal firebomb into Citizen C.I.A., you knew this was a band that could ill afford to lose its focus.

And so the Murphys plowed forth. The Celtics played on in a game that was likely the focus of the evening in most any other bar in town. The Murphys, however, had their own business to conduct before a packed Buster’s crowd where numerous patrons were proudly decked out in Red Sox caps, multiple Boston-themed t-shirts (including one for a Boston Harley Davidson dealer) and more than a few kilts.

In return, Barr, Kelly, piper Scruffy Wallace and the clean but ferocious drumming of Matt Kelly offered tuneful and tireless works like God Willing, which amounted to a high octane, high volume Irish blessing. A stage backdrop of simulated Celtic stained glass heightened a sense of ceremony and tradition. But the punkish drive – and all the crowd-surfing antics that came with it – were pure rock ‘n’ roll.

For the record, the Celtics evened up the series last night by holding off the Lakers with help from a powerhouse bench. The Murphys, though, had all the champions they needed right on stage.

travelin’ band

the travelin' mccourys: jason carter, ronnie mccoury, rob mccoury and alan bartram.

the travelin' mccourys: jason carter, ronnie mccoury, rob mccoury and alan bartram.

They’re not called The Travelin’ McCourys for nothing.

Over the past year, 4/5 of the acclaimed Del McCoury Band – in essence, everyone save Del himself – hit the road to play collaborative performances with such stylistically diverse acts as country star Dierks Bentley and the gospel/groove ensemble The Lee Boys. There have also been plenty of shows The Travelin’ McCourys have played on their own with a quartet lineup augmented by guests drawn from a roster of champion guitar players.

And if that wasn’t enough, there has also been some prime TV moonlighting by mandolinist Ronnie McCoury with Willie Nelson.

Now that’s what you call travelin’.

“We’re just trying to branch out a little bit,” Ronnie McCoury said. “And my dad, with his blessing, wanted us to try something of our own.”

“Dad” is Del – Del McCoury, one of the most honored bandleaders and family men in the bluegrass business. While his career extends back to a tenure with Bill Monroe, much of the elder McCoury’s current reputation centers around an immensely industrious group – aptly named The Del McCoury Band – that enlisted the talents of sons Ronnie (on mandolin) and Rob (on banjo) along with longtime fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram.

The Del McCoury Band has always been something of an anomaly. It remains, at heart, a hardcore traditionalist unit built around expert musicianship and father Del’s high mountain tenor singing. But its repertoire and fanbase went all over the map. Recordings boasted songs by Richard Thompson, Tom Petty and Robert Cray while tours and festival dates regularly placed The Del McCoury Band onstage with such esteemed jam bands as Phish and String Cheese Incident.

That very distinctive musical dichotomy set the stage for The Travelin’ McCourys.

“What we play kind of depends on where we’re at,” Ronnie McCoury said. “If we’re going to play a bluegrass festival, we’re going to be playing bluegrass pretty much. But overall we stretch things out.

“With my dad’s music, we’ve always pushed things a bit. I guess since I’ve been playing with him the longest (since 1987), I’ve seen his music grow by leaps and bounds. We’ve been able to get in front of a lot of people. And with each record, we developed our own sound more. With dad’s traditional voice and the way we play with our five piece band, we’ve been able to arrange songs to where they’re not your normal bluegrass sounding song.

“Having all that in our back pocket lets us stretch a little outside the normal boundaries with The Travelin’ McCourys. But when we play at bluegrass festivals, we play what we’ve been taught.”

The Travelin’ McCourys have yet to release a full album of their own, mostly because there hasn’t been time to work one up. But Ronnie McCoury said one is planned for this year. So is a joint venture mixing the full Del McCoury Band with New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Father McCoury contributed two vocal performances to the jazz group’s splendid benefit album, Preservation, earlier this year.

Then there’s Willie. With his performance plate already spilling over, Ronnie McCoury turned up on sessions for Nelson’s recent T Bone Burnett-produced Country Music album this spring. He also backed Nelson (along with a team of bluegrass and country all-stars) for TV performances on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and The View.

“It’s funny,” Ronnie McCoury said. “I told Willie in the studio that back in the ‘90s, my dad’s band recorded one of his songs called Man with the Blues (for 1993’s A Deeper Shade of Blue album). So he said, ‘Get the words to that and we’ll do it.’ So everybody starts running around, getting on the internet. We pulled the lyrics up and Willie said, ‘Guys, I wrote this 50 years ago. I’ve totally forgotten about it.’ ”

Man with the Blues wound up reborn as the only Nelson-penned tune on Country Music. It seems great musical minds reappraise their songs once they get the McCoury treatment. Just ask Tom Petty, whose Love is a Long Road was done up as a shot of straight up bluegrass on The Del McCoury Band’s 1996 album The Cold Hard Facts.

“I was in Los Angeles about a month ago and got to meet to meet Tom,” Ronnie McCoury said. “One of his guys introduced us. ‘Tom, this is Ronnie. His dad is Del McCoury. They recorded one of your songs.’ And Tom said that of everybody that has ever recorded his songs, our cover was his favorite. He said, ‘And I’ll tell anybody that.’

“It was a rock ‘n’roll song, but we interpreted it our way. And Tom got it. Let’s just put it that way.”

The Festival of the Bluegrass run June 10 through 13 at the Kentucky Horse Park Campground. Tickets are $10-$45 (daily), $95 (full festival). Call (859) 253-0806 or go to www.festivalofthebluegrass.com.

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