Lianne La Havas’ Debut Album


Lianne La Havas

Click here to listen!

Here’s what they’re saying about my beautiful cousin on Rdio:

Offering a mostly acoustic and hushed hybrid of alternative folk and soul, Lianne La Havas was born and raised in London, England, the daughter of a Jamaican mother and Greek father. The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist was a member of the Paris Parade, but the act proved to be short-lived. La Havas eventually shifted to solo work and released Lost & Found, an EP featuring a duet with Willy Mason, in October 2011. Two months later — the same month she opened for Bon Iver during a North American tour — it was announced that she had been nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll. La Havas’ debut album for Warner Bros. was planned for release in 2012. ~ Andy Kellman on Rdio

Do Re Me Fa So Long Lala

lala_7For the last few years, my music needs have been met by I logged on and listened from work every day, took Lala to parties, and relaxed at home with playlists to meet any mood. While Lala started out as a CD swapping site, it morphed in to something fabulous and had the potential for much, much more. It’s been called a cloud-based site where, basically, your music resides out there somewhere in the sky.

Unlike iTunes, the Lala website was super speedy to negotiate, the layout was clean, oozing white space, and music was clearly the main attraction. The social aspects of Lala were fun, not pushy, but plentiful. You could follow another listener’s taste in music, read their reviews, listen to their playlists, follow their suggestions, and watch the most popular music rise to the top.

Lala gave you the option of uploading your own music or searching for more. My favorite aspect, by far, was the ability to listen to an entire album for free. Let’s face it, 30 seconds a song, such as iTunes offers, isn’t enough to get the true vibe of an album. My second favorite aspect is the ability to buy a web-based song for $0.10 – which means you can listen to the song as many times as you want online. In addition, you could buy the entire album for web-based use. And…MP3s for about $0.89 a piece or the whole album for about $8.99.

I will miss Lala and I’m so thankful for the best two musical years of my life. I’ve learned so much more about music, opened up my mind to genres I’d ignored in the past, and enjoyed the large collection of Christmas music available. Unfortunately, Apple got their greedy little hands on Lala and tonight they’re shutting the site down. Thankfully, in an uncharacteristic manner, Apple is refunding the “web-based” funds we’ve invested in Lala, for use on iTunes, but I’m really disappointed because iTunes is messy, cluttered, navigation sucks, and it’s super, super slow and clunky. Hopefully, Apple with keep the best parts of Lala and spit out the bits of iTunes that make exploring music less tasty.

Fortunately, I was able to copy all my playlists so all is not lost and the music will continue.

Here’s to Lala! A brilliant way to celebrate music.

An Evening of Bluegrass and Banjo

In August, I bought tickets to see Steve Martin in Spokane, at the Fox. Silly me, I thought it was an evening of Steve Martin the comedian – wild and crazy – or some variation thereof. A few hours before we (Paula, Doug, and I) leave for the show, I check online and find out that it’s actually an evening of bluegrass and banjo, and joining Steve Martin on stage is The Steep Canyon Rangers. He’s on tour to promote the release of his first bluegrass album, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo (Rounder Records). The album was released in May 2009, and reached #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Album chart where it stayed for 12 weeks. But it’s still banjo music.

I was a bit disappointed. I send my brother an IM to let him know just in case he was looking forward to a night of Funky Tut and Cruel Shoes. He already knew. And Paula heard Martin interviewed on NPR. And…we’re still going. ¬†Banjos. Seriously? Banjos? I’m not sure I can do it. I throw a bottle of aspirin in my purse.

It’s a lovely theater. Our seats are dead center stage and very, very high up. Paula leans over to me, motions to the ceiling and says, “Watch your head.” Austin and Laura Storm come walking up the aisle and end up sitting next to us. Laura knows it’s a night of banjos, too. How did I miss this important fact? I say to Paula, “Do you think all these people know it’s banjo music?” She laughed and reminded me about the NPR interview. I look around at the crowd and wonder if they are a sampling of an NPR audience.

Well…shut my mouth! It was a fantastic evening of great music. The Steep Canyon Rangers , from Asheville, North Carolina, are very, very talented musicians. In addition to Steve Martin on the banjo, the Rangers are: Woody Platt (guitar and lead vocals), Graham Sharp (banjo, harmony vocals), Mike Guggino (mandolin and harmony vocals), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass and harmony vocals) and Nicky Sanders (fiddle and harmony vocals).

I’ll admit it. I was totally surprised by how much I enjoyed the music. The instruments and vocals blended flawlessly. The performers wore beautiful suits – no overalls, and not a jug, saw, or washboard was played. Steve Martin managed to weave his comedy throughout the performance. We laughed and clapped for eighty minutes. And, after three curtain calls, Steve graced us with King Tut. Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia, King Tut. He was buried in his jammies.

Unfortunately, the tour is over. If you didn’t get the chance to see Steve Martin in concert…you missed a great evening of entertainment. You can check out his website here. And thanks to lala, you can listen to the album on that little gadget below. The album is good, but the live performance was priceless. I’m happy to report I lived through a night of banjo and bluegrass music, and I’d do it again if Steve Martin or The Steep Canyon Rangers were on stage.

The Crow – New Songs for the F…

What Album Is That?

In Season 2 – Episode 7 of In Plain Sight, entitled Duplicate Bridge,” Marshall Mann walks in to Norman Baker’s house and there’s an album on the turntable. Marshall holds up the album and I recognized it right away:

Count Basie off the album Count Basie’s Finest Hour (Verve), and the cut is Li’l Darlin’. Just in case you were wondering. Scroll down and listen to it.

Count Basie’s Finest Hour – Co…

Practice Doesn’t Always Make Perfect

So I talked myself in to singing with Mark LaMoreaux’s band. He asked. What’s a girl to do? It’s been quite awhile and I’m feeling a little rusty, but I enjoyed the practice last Tuesday night.

This time, we only have three opportunities to practice. Mr. LaMoreaux is a pro and doesn’t sweat the same stuff I do. Either that or he doesn’t notice it. Or our standards are very different. If it were up to me, all we’d do is practice. Standing in front of people brings an element I’m not comfortable with. I forget to sing loud enough for anyone to hear. If I don’t, Mr L will crank up the volume and then you can hear me in Texas. So whatever I’ve got by Wednesday night, our last night of practice, is all I’m gonna give.

Friday night we’ve got a gig at a local pub. We’ll play some rock, some blues, something that sorta resembles jazz, and some stuff I have no idea what category it fits in. I’ll wear black and try to disappear in to the corner. This is proof that I have lost my mind.

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