Tag Archives: Elvis Costello

Monday Mixtape: 5 Songs for Freedom

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Today being Martin Luther King Day, it seemed appropriate that today’s selections reflect the values and teachings that Dr. King fought for so tirelessly. Of peace, of love, of humanity and compassion, and, above all else, of equality for all.

Certainly we’ve come a ways from the days when buses, trains, and other public spaces were segregated, and now more than ever the positive effects of their work can be seen across the US by the wonderfully diverse make up of so many schools, universities, and businesses. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. Even as we’re making good progress towards a healthier, more accepting society, racism is very much still alive, and one only has to take a look at the comments section of any social media site where whatever celebrity, athlete, or even regular old joe featured there can become a lightning rod of intensely racially charged rhetoric overnight.

It’s not just black vs. white either (if ever it was). Latinos, people of middle eastern descent, sexual preference or orientation all have some equity, ironically enough, when it comes to being in the discrimination spotlight.

As much as I often feel hard pressed to believe that we’ll ever be able to “just get along” and put an end to racism and discrimination in this country, I know that as long as children continue to be taught to love their neighbors as themselves and to respect each person’s right to life and happiness– there is hope.

The songs below echo this belief, from trying to deal with the world as it is (Elvis Costello’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?”), to beginning to see how freedom and social justice can be brought about (Amos Lee’s “Freedom”), to taking the steps ourselves to be the change we wish to see (Michael Jackson’s “Heal The World”), and everything in between.

Change, as Mr. Cooke says, good, positive, lasting change is gonna come, but it’s not going to happen with out the conscious effort of regular people like us, willing those changes into being.

The time is always right to do what is right.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

5 Songs For Freedom, Equality, and Justice (+1 Extra For the Man Himself).

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Monday Mixtape: Front Row Seats Everytime

What I love about live recordings is how intimate they are. Here you get the wonderful opportunity to experience a band or artist’s music in a live setting that can be reproduced anytime you want. It’s like being in front row center every evening without the expensive cover fees, and if it’s a live recording of a high-profile act like the Stones or the Boss you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

The best live albums, like the best live shows, are the ones that extend a band’s talent in the way they experiment with the delivery of their repertoire and in the way they interact with their audience on both a visual and sonic level. There’s a reason lots of spectacularly popular pop artists seldom put out a live album: heavy on the visual spectacle, light on sonic depth.

These, therefore, are decidedly not of that vein of performance. They’re as good on the ears as no doubt they are in person.

1. John Mayer – Gravity
Where The Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles – Columbia, 2008

If this one sounds familiar, then yes, you got me. I used it on a list from last week. Okay, so no points for originality on my part, but this song deserves to be on a list such as this. The proof is most undeniably in those guitar solos in the way they build and swell with each passing moment, made brighter and carried higher by a fantastic arrangement of backing brass and vocals. Please. Put this one on and forget all else for awhile. Your moment of zen awaits.

2. Theresa Andersson – Oh Mary
Live at Le Petit (DVD) – Basin Street Records, 2010

For every rule there’s always an outlier, in this case it’s a clip that makes the case for the “seeing is believing” crowd. Whatever the case, Andersson’s bluesy cover of the traditional folk song is awesome. Multi-instrumentalist, lover of loops, and fancy footwork to boot. Continue reading Monday Mixtape: Front Row Seats Everytime