Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Musical Journey, One Year Later

I was going to write this post a few days ago, before my birthday, but I didn't get it done in time, so here it is, two days later than I had hoped. I'm going to say "better late than never," and you can choose whether or not to believe that.

So, 364 days ago, Stacy gave me one of the best gifts I've ever received. And if you've ever been fortunate to receive one of Stacy's thoughtful gifts, you know what high praise that is. If you've forgotten, here is a recap. She contacted over 40 of my friends and family and encouraged them each to present a gift of music to me as a way to share what they felt was important to them, or would have special meaning to me. I received contributions from my wife and kids, brothers, parents, cousins, grandmother, in-laws, teachers, college and med school friends, and childhood buddies. The variety is amazing. Seriously, you wouldn't believe the eclectic mix that it is. To give you an idea, here is a partial list:

Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros
Richard Marx
Jason Mraz
Patty Griffin
Michael Jackson
Joshua Radin
The Beatles
Weird Al
Civil Wars
Bruce Hornsby
Various American Idol contestants
Flying Colors
Dream Theater
Steve Earle
Bruce Springsteen
Taylor Swift

I had so much fun listening to them all, and I sincerely listened to EVERYTHING. Not only did each of you take the time to pick something personal and specific, but Stacy also put in a tremendous amount of effort to put this together, so I really wanted to finish it all before my next birthday. Thank you again to her and to everyone who contributed. It was a great musical year for me.

I tried to write a personal message to each person who contributed to share my thoughts. I think I actually did, and if I didn't, please forgive me. And then tell me how horrible I am, and I will be sure to share my thoughts.

Now, for some musical discoveries of my own (which sometimes distracted me from the other music I should have been listening to). Consider it a thank you gift.

Dirty Loops

I didn't know what to think of the name, but they were described as having influences from jazz and jazz-fusion, funk, electronica, pop and disco. How's that for genre specific? I discovered them when I was looking up some information about "Forever Young" by Alphaville and saw that this Swedish funk group did a cover. So, naturally, I looked it up. Holy crap! These guys are incredible. They mostly did covers and have a big YouTube following. Then David Foster at Verve picked them up and they're finishing a world tour. Oh, and they have an original album, too.

Listen to this cover and you'll see why I was blown away. The bass player is incredible. The drums are so tight. And the lead singer reminds me of a Swedish Stevie Wonder, in a good way. Seriously, check him out just after his piano solo at the 3 minute mark or so on the first video and then again at the end of the second. He also kind of looks like Harry Connick, Jr. Just sayin'. Enjoy.

(An original from their album)

The Beatles/Beach Boys

Stacy and I saw "Love and Mercy" (mostly for John Cusack) and were blown away. First of all, the acting and story were incredible. I thought we'd get a healthy dose of beach music era Beach Boys (which may have tried my patience--apologies to my father, but it's the truth), but we were treated to both a complex, poignant portrait of Brian Wilson and the demons he dealt with through the years (both metaphorical and literal), as well as an intimate look at his creative genius and process as he worked on the "Pet Sounds" album. (As an aside, one of the most inspiring aspects of the movie was watching Melinda Ledbetter, who later became Brian's wife, help him start to break free from the psychological prison Dr. Eugene Landy had put him in.)

In the movie it mentions that Wilson was inspired by "Rubber Soul," and in turn, The Beatles were inspired by "Pet Sounds," which spawned "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

So, being shocked at these revelations, I did what any music lover would do. I listened to "Rubber Soul," followed by "Pet Sounds," and then finished with "Sgt. Pepper's." Do it. Song by song. It's an insightful musical journey.

This isn't on any of those albums, but the song stuck with me for weeks after the movie. Another gift to you. You're welcome. ;)


Boquinha said...

I'm reliving how much I enjoyed "Love and Mercy" now. I didn't know that you checked out those albums. That's so cool that you did that. I'm glad you like the 40th birthday musical gift celebration so much. It was fun to put it together for you!

So what does it mean that one of my takeaways from this post is the thought that I need a Melinda Ledbetter for me? :(

Dr. Mark said...

The music all speaks to us differently. I can see why you're really wanting a Melinda Ledbetter right now.

I was saving my musical exploration for this post, as a thank you to everyone. That's why I never mentioned it. Of course, maybe no one really wants to hear it. Hopefully there's some gem in there for someone, though.

Jimmy said...

My comment has to do with Brian Wilson and nothing to do with the music itself.

He didn't blink until 1:15 into that video! It's creepy. I googled and it said that the average person blinks 15-20 times per minute.

Again I prove how unsophisticated my musical tastes are.

Dr. Mark said...

Jimmy, I hadn't even noticed. It may be the effect of his medications, but whatever the cause, that is pretty creepy. And thank you for your research. I feel smarter already. Unsophisticated or not, at least you read and comment!