A Playlist From the Soul: December 3, 2017

As I am moving into my new “normal,” I have found my music choices all over the spectrum. This is not anything new though, I’m always all over the radar, but I thought it would be interesting to go over some of these songs. I wanted to think about why I’m listening to them. Maybe that can give me a clue of where I am in life and you can always judge somebody by the record collection or playlist, right?


“Proud Mary” –Tina Turner

Now I cannot completely verify this research, but I once read that “Proud Mary” doesn’t necessarily have a meaning. When John Fogerty wrote this song, he put together a bunch of different riffs and verses he had written. For me, this song makes complete sense, especially in my life now!

I really did just leave a steady career track to pursue a passion of mine. Right now I’m just rollin,’ and life has been rough, but in the end, everything’s nice and easy.

                                                               


“Mary Did You Know” –Kimberley Locke

Honestly, I have never really been into Christmas music. I’ve had a few favorites over the years, but I’ve never been elated to hear that first Christmas tune at Wal-Mart in July. I’m not a scrooge, just not overly festive. One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary Did You Know?” I love the song’s perspective. I’ve been looking for a simple version with a powerhouse vocal that brought justice to the lyrics. Kimberley Locke’s version does just that and I’m hooked.

      


“Roxanne” –The Police 

I cannot really explain why I am listening to this song. It popped into my head the other day and has been in the back ever since. I’ve been trying to figure out a few songs that I could start practicing myself that were outside the “piano” realm, but one that still echoed jazz sentiments. This song has so many great versions out there along those lines, but nothing beats the original.

      


“Purple Rain” –Prince

I’m starting to see an 80’s theme, but this is where it’s going to end. Lately I have been listening to music from Prince’s entire career catalog. “Purple Rain” is such a classic though. I can’t hear it once and not go on a binge listen for a few days….or weeks.

      


“Lady Blue” –Griffin Anthony

I discovered Griffin Anthony on Twitter a few months ago. Once I heard his album The Making of A Man, I was hooked to his vocal’s true country tones and soulful foundation. “Lady Blue” is one of my favorite tracks off of the album due to it’s pure honesty. You can sense both hope, frustration, and heartbreak woven in it’s lyrics. Expect a full review soon.

      


“New York” –St. Vincent

When I find myself in a “rut,” where I keep listening to the same artists and songs consistently, I force myself to try something new. I am a member of Vinyl Me, Please, and their album of the month was St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION. Read my full review of her album here. St. Vincent is innovative in both the sound of her music and writing. I love how so many of her songs change “attitude” throughout the song yet they always have a reigning theme.

      


“River” –Idina Menzel

Here is another one of favorite Christmas songs. I have been a fan of Idina Menzel for many years now, so naturally I did buy her Christmas album a few years back. Although this is officially Joni Mitchell’s classic, I fell in love with Menzel’s version. It was just what I needed that year and it has remained a staple in my winter playlist since.

      


“Good to You” –Jonny P 

Songs that have old school vibes with a modern twist always catch my ear. I found recently this one recently. My friend was talking about Jonny P and I found his music video on Vevo. I definitely plan to check out more of his music this week.

      


“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” –Darlene Love

Rolling Stone said it best when they declared that Darlene Love is one of the greatest singers of all time. I couldn’t agree more. In recent years, she is finally getting some of the well deserved credit and respect she truly deserves. This song will always remain a staple in Love’s career and it has cemented itself as a holiday classic. Love performed this song every year on David Letterman since 1986. Here is her first performance of her classic.

   


“Perfect” –Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé

Anything featuring Beyoncé will always get my attention. Yes, I am an unashamed member of the Bey Hive. Do not talk bad about her majesty in my presence. With that being said, I’m not 100% into this song. Ed Sheeran’s music has never really crossed my path, but this may have opened the door a tad. I am listening to this repeatedly trying to get fully into it. I’ll keep you posted.

Ed Sheeran:       

Beyoncé:       


So what does my playlist say about me? I’m not sure exactly what it says about me or where I’m at in life, but in the end it’s exactly where I need to be. Music is what you have when words are not adequate. What you listen too is what speaks to your soul. Now where does that leave me?

Who the heck knows, but I’m enjoying the journey…

                                                              

Let’s Keep Walking

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but it isn’t for a lack of spinning. My life season is beginning to speed up and I have been enjoying music with no strings attached.

I’m also attempting to listen to EVERY vinyl in my collection and it’s taking a while. I’m discovering new jewels while relishing in favorites. I’m listening to my collection by artist.  By not writing about what I am listening too, I am sparing you 50 posts over Judy Garland.

Although, a theme has risen through the music I have been listening to at home and work. I have been gravitating towards songs and artists that I feel empowered through. I’m listening to songs that tell me “I’m worthy.”

I am not necessarily going through a depressed stage of my life, but it isn’t my happiness by no means. I need a pick me up. Here are some of the artists that have inspired me to keep walking lately.

As with all my lists, they are in no particular order.

1. John Legend

I have been a fan of Legend on and off for many years now. Recently I have been intently listening to his latest release, Darkness and Light and his first release, 2013’s Get Lifted. What I love about Get Lifted is its straight honesty and how Legend styles hip hop. Darkness and Light has become special to me as I have become more socially aware. Although I am a white male, when legend sings “There is power in the color of my face” in “I Know Better,” it not only brings awareness to problems our society is still facing, but it also reminds me that we are all unique and contribute to God’s vast world.

2. Beyoncé

Sorry B, couldn’t wait for an official release of Lemonade on vinyl.

Beyoncé strives to provide empowerment for women and African-Americans on her albums, especially with her last two releases Beyoncé and Lemonade, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a universal message. As a by-product of her mission, I have also seen that I can be comfortable in my own skin. I just feel pumped to be me when I hear the likes of “***Flawless” and “Formation.” Again these are songs that speak to me as I have begun to dissect my surrounds and become aware of our society. I am not discrediting this, I just think it’s beautiful that she can speak to anybody in any circumstance through her music’s message.

3. Reba McEntire

Now it is not everyday you see Beyonce and Reba in the same list, but my versatile ear is unpredictable from hour to hour. Reba’s latest album, Sing it Now: Songs of Faith and Hope has spoken to me in a way an album hasn’t in many years. Reba is very special to me (read about that here) and this album has helped me as my faith has been growing lately. There is not a more poignant message then her latest single “Back to God.” This world would be a better place if we just gave it back to the Creator and lived the true message of what it means to be like Christ (I will have a full post on this album soon). For unbelievers, I think the universal concept here is if we only would love each other and lay ourselves down for the goodness of others and the world, we could create a better place one action at a time. Below is my favorite lyrics and Reba’s conviction gives me chills.

“You gotta cry, rain tears of pain

Pound the floor and scream His name

‘Cause we’re still worth saving”

So although taking steps into the hurdles of our days may be burdensome and heavy, we have to realize we all have something to contribute to this world, we are all-powerful, and we need to love each other more. If we could realize these simple truths we would truly give this world back to God, and serve a higher purpose than ourselves. We would serve others.

Basically there is power in all of our faces, we must sing and act on faith and hope, and slay while we do it. This world is worth saving.

 

 

Until Then We Have Steve and Eydie

Before there was Kim and Kanye or Beyonce and Jay-z, there was Stevie and Eydie.

FullSizeRenderI discovered Eydie Gorme a few years ago when my mom stumbled upon her solo album, Don’t Go to Strangers. I was immediately hooked to Gormé’s vocals. Her vocals go every where, moving from high to low and then side to side. I’m pretty sure they reach uncharted terriotory. She can equally convey humor as easy as she can strike you with a ballad. Gormé is easily one of the greatest vocalist of the 21st century.

Next, I first learned of Steve Lawrence through a few Steve and Eydie albums, until the day I found his 1962 solo album, Winners! I became a fan almost instantly when I heard his renditions of “Who’s Sorry Now?” and “Moon River.” It was a different side of Lawrence that I had not picked up on in his duets with Gormé.

Together they were an anomoly. When listening to Steve and Eydie it is easy to tell that they are the pinnacle of celebrity, musical duos. Gormé and Lawrence remained married until Gormé’s death in 2013. One can sense the love they had for each other when listening to their recordings. The songs they sing don’t even need words. They could simply speak gibberish and still convey the love they had for each other.

FullSizeRender 2This love is evident on a compilation album I found at a thrift store on Sunday. This album, The Longines Symphonette Society Proudly Presents Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé Together, gives the listener the tip of their heart-shaped iceberg. The album begins with the budding love song, “This Could Be The Start of Something” and quickly turns to their humorous sides with “I Remember it Well” (my personnel favorite) and “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo.”

Side B keeps the love alive with their Grammy award-winning song, “We Got Us.” The duo then shows off their acting chops with the semi-breakup, 50’s do wop inspired “You Can’t Be True, Dear.” This showed their talent of delivering a song regardless of content. The album concludes with the Christmas staple “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which is easily one of the best renditions of this song recorded.

Looking through my collection I realized that I have many of Steve and Eydie’s duet albums, but this one gives the best summary of their performances. Hopefully one day we can all experience a love like theirs. Until then, we have their recordings to give us a glimpse of what’s to come.