Best Original Score 2014

Are you still scrambling to get your 2014 Oscar picks in and win that pot of gold or at least bragging rights among your friends?

I am here to offer some help…at least in the music department.

Sadly, I have to say my favorite was not even nominated…   Mark Orton for Nebraska his music made the movie. I love the sounds of Americana. Coupled with the cinematography Orton hit the nail on the head!! The harmonies and orchestration had more depth than any of the nominees in my humble opinion.

Following is my breakdown of the nominees for Best Original Score…

The Book Thief, John Williams

I thought John Williams deserved the Oscar last year for, “Lincoln.” Perhaps the Academy is looking away from the maestro just to get some new blood…well that theory doesn’t hold weight regarding perennial winner Meryl Streep. For this film Williams went back to more of the Romantic Period style we expect although a bit more pastoral than Wagnerian.

Gravity, Steven Price

Should have been John Williams penned! Williams and outer space = Oscar!

Her, William Butler, Owen Pallett

The soundscape is kind of cool and fits the quirkiness of the film. Although minimalist and slightly boring. Nice sounds though!

Philomena, Alexandre Desplat

Compositionally strong although a bit repetitive. We’ll see how the Academy reacts to the film in general, could take home the gold!

Saving Mr. Banks, Thomas Newman

Another minimalist, new-agey piano score. I think it will suffer from comparison’s to the mega hits of the Sherman’s legendary Mary Poppins songs.

My pick;         Philomena, Alexandre Desplat

Click for past Oscar Picks and 2014 Best Song

Paco De Lucia, RIP Maestro

Fell asleep on the couch last night. Woke up to head up to bed but checked my iPad first and saw the extremely sad news. One of the guitar world’s heroes has passed away.

Paco De Lucia IS an amazing legendary guitarist. A flamenco guitarist who crossed many boundaries which furthered the genre’s cause. He played with Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin in THE Guitar Trio, marking his crossover into the jazz/fusion world. His long hair and rock look, coupled with his amazing guitar chops, piqued the interest of the heavy metal and rocker guitarists. And his association with greats like Los Romeros gave him notice in the classical realm.

I was lucky enough to see him in the 90s in San Diego. We had front row seats(directly in front of the Romeros) and will never forget that show!

RIP the guitar world has lost a giant…

(Paco is not the one pictured in the video capture below, he is on the left of your screen)

Run Playlist 2/14/14, 2/17/14 Michael Schenker, Bridge the Gap Edition

Anyone who works out with their headphones knows how awesome it is when you get a big lift from your favorite song. Or hearing a cool tune you would have never picked shuffle through on your picturesque jog… With 1000s of songs on my iPod I almost always shuffle.

I’ve always thought it would be cool, interesting, perhaps even motivating to write about each playlist and the music’s effect on myself and the workout. Then I thought that might be kind of boring. Then I thought, “Yeah,” I was right…on both counts. ;)

Really just another chance to talk about music!

Feb. 14 & 17

3 mile runs

Michael Schenker’s, “Bridge the Gap.”

“Neptune Rising”

“Where the Wild Winds Blow”

“Horizons”

“Lord of the Lost and Lonely”

“Rock N Roll Symphony”

“To Live For the King”

“Land of Thunder”

“Temple of the Holy”

“Shine On”

“Bridges We Have Burned”

“Because You Lied”

“Black Moon Rising”

“Dance for the Piper”

“Faith” w Don Dokken, vocals

If you have read any of my previous “Run Playlist,” entries you know I shuffle through my workouts…almost exclusively! I rarely listen to one album straight through.

Another thing I hardly ever do any more is buy CDs. Sure songs here and there, but, not many full CDs anymore. However, I recently received in the mail Michael Schenker’s, “Bridge the Gap.”

With the new piece of ear candy in tow I turned off the shuffle feature and went to town dissecting my new sonorous treasure. My last two runs in fact were entirely devoted to the German guitarist’s newest release.

I won’t give the album a full review here cause it is just too early. I will share my first impressions, however.

GREAT!

Great production, great sound, heavy well composed songs, great vocals(not always a trademark of MSG music) and of course great guitar work. In fact Michael has never sounded better. Part of it is the production of the music. I also think part if it is Schenker seems to be enjoying life as much as ever. Props!!

A couple other quick hits…

-The keyboards(Wayne Findlay) are integrated really well on this disc. Perhaps even a sonic tribute to the recently passed Jon Lord of Deep Purple?

– Doogie White easily slides to the top of the class regarding Schenker vocalists over the years. Then immediately has to kind of battle it out to hold serve with Don Dokken who also sounds great on the bonus track, “Faith.” Major Kudos to Doogie on this disc and recent tours, sounds great!

-Dokken may be one of the top vocalists to work with Schenker. On the flip side Michael easily becomes the best guitarist to work with Dokken. Sorry to George Lynch fans. He’s a good dude and pretty good player just not even close to the same league as Schenker.

– The song format of this disc may lead to a better response from the average fan as some of Schenker’s recent music has been sort of through composed super-works. Most music fans are accustomed to block songs for easy digesting. Personally I liked when he stepped out of the box a bit. Even naming the songs on his MS 2000 disc the by the spelling of the CD title, “Dreams & Expressions.”

1 DMS 2000_ Dreams & Expressions

2 R

3 E

4 A

5 M

6 S

7 A

8 N

9 D

10 E

11 X

12 P

13 R

14 E

15 S

16 S

17 I

18 O

19 N

20 S

Bottom line- check out, “Bridge the Gap,” if you are a fan you won’t regret it!

Check out previous Run Playlist Posts.

Run Playlist 1/30/2014

Anyone who works out with their headphones knows how awesome it is when you get a big lift from your favorite song. Or hearing a cool tune you would have never picked shuffle through on your picturesque jog… With 1000s of songs on my iPod I almost always shuffle.

I’ve always thought it would be cool, interesting, perhaps even motivating to write about each playlist and the music’s effect on myself and the workout. Then I thought that might be kind of boring. Then I thought, “Yeah,” I was right…on both counts. ;)

Really just another chance to talk about music!

January 30, 2014

3 Mile Run

..And then there’s days when it is just you against yourself and no music is going to take you to the next level. That was this day’s run.

“Seasons of Madness,” -Catharsis

“Gimme Your Love,” -Michael Schenker

“Convoy,” -C. W. McCall

“Already Gone,” -Eagles

“Pieces De Clavecin Book 2, Les Moissonneurs,” F. Couperin, perf. John Williams

“The Struggle Within,” -Metallica

“Serpens Cauda,” -Tony MacAlpine

“Aftershock,” -Van Halen

“Brother John,” -Blues Traveler

“See You in Hell,” Yngwie J. Malmsteen

“Heroes End,” -Judas Priest

“Octopus’s Garden,” -Beatles

“I Will Remember,” – Queensryche

There was some good music on this playlist, but, as mentioned, there are days when the struggle is truly within…to steal the Metallica title. Body just wasn’t responding, maybe it had to do with the leg weights I lifted the day before.

To the music…

If you never heard Catharsis you aren’t alone. They were a local San Diego band that just missed it…and thats too bad cause they were really good, progressive and heavy and just getting started. Anyway you might know the guitarist, Scott Fox. He is a good friend and my musical partner in the Slayen & Fox guitar duo. If you ever get a chance look up Catharsis(make sure it was the SD band) and give them a listen.

Yes, “Convoy,” is the silly novelty song from the 1970’s. You know during the CB radio days? Smokey & The Bandit? Guess I am dating myself.

Highlight of this playlist was Tony MacAlpine. Known somewhat as an Yngwie clone from the 80’s Tony has been an afterthought in my listing all these years since. Recently I had the chance to see him play on “that Metal Show.” It definitely renewed my interest enough to head over to the fruit stand and download a couple tunes of his. “Serpens Cauda,” being the song that captured my ear the most.

Lowlights, “Octopus’s Garden,” just not a running song.  Also, Yngwie’s, “See you in Hell.” Definitely not one his better efforts. The guitar licks are OK its just a little too cheesy.

Check out previous Run Playlist Posts.

Music to Relax, Queensryche, “I Will Remember”

It has been a while since I’ve done a “Music to Relax,” post. But the time has come and Happy 2014 to those of you who’ve been holding your collective breaths waiting for the next piece of music to slow your heart rate and send you into musical Nirvana.

After a 3 mile run and while walking back to the house, Queensryche’s, “I Will Remember,” shuffled through my iPod. What a great song to regulate the body and bring my heartbeat back to a resting rate.

Queensryche was once a noted heavy metal band of the 80’s, unfortunately, now known more for fighting like little babies over use of the band’s name, etc. Much like Styx and their ex-band mates have gone through.

Although they were  a metal band this is such a peaceful tune. The song employed a unique sound, a little dark with a melodic, harmonized guitar solo. Vocalist Geoff Tate’s usual over the top operatic runs gave way to some extremely controlled phrasing, without relinquishing his powerful voice. Some of his best work in my opinion.

Take a trip back to the 80’s, relax and Enjoy!

View previous ‘Music to Relax’ posts.

The Mighty Zep!

Zeppelin 1Did you catch it?

No not a lot of hype but it must be mentioned!

Led Zeppelin’s self titled debut album was released 45 years ago this month…thats 1969 for those slower in math and those struggling to get into their Monday groove.

Yes the Led Zeppelin era is middle-aged and unbelievably, Jimmy Page, the bands patriarch turned 70 earlier this month.

The 60’s belonged to the Beatles, but, the 70s were about Zeppelin right up to drummer John Bonham’s untimely death in 1980. Bonzo along with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones took rock n roll to new heights throughout the decade.

Much like the aforementioned Beatles, Zeppelin’s stronghold on fans was achieved utilizing a variety of musical styles beyond just rock n roll. Zeppelin’s repertoire features among others; blues, country, psychedelia, classical, Indian, Reggae, Latin and mystical influences.

Personally, I have been through many Zeppelin phases, from constantly listening  to not listening much. Either way I can’t imagine a world without Zeppelin. Certainly, the quartet and most notably Jimmy Page’s guitar and compositional prowess have had a significant impact on my own music development. Not to mention all the good times with friends over the years featuring Zeppelin as part of the soundtrack!

I was barely born when Zep debuted. Most my students today weren’t even born before they disbanded. Not to mention many of them were not even born in the same millennium Zeppelin prevailed. However, Led Zeppelin is still influencing young musicians today in 2014. Just taught a kid, “Heartbreaker,” this weekend. “Stairway to Heaven,” “Kashmir,” and “Over the Hills and Far Away,” are still staples of the guitar’s ‘must know’ landscape. When I am out performing, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” always gets one of the biggest crowd responses.

I always wonder what the shelf life of rock music will be. Technology and global media seem to have added to the life of the rock n roll era. Keeping it out of the dinosaur ‘symphony halls’ for now. As much as I want rock n roll to be around forever, I’d love to see what future generations/incarnations of popular music will hold?

Run Forrest Run, Music & Movin’

Anyone who works out with their headphones knows how awesome it is when you get a big lift from your favorite song. Or hearing a cool tune you would have never picked shuffle through on your picturesque jog… With 1000s of songs on my iPod I almost always shuffle.

I’ve always thought it would be cool, interesting, perhaps even motivating to write about each playlist and the music’s effect on myself and the workout. Then I thought that might be kind of boring. Then I thought, “Yeah,” I was right…on both counts. 😉

Really just another chance to talk about music!

January 17, 2014

4 mile jog, plus

You know its gonna be a good run when the first 2.5 miles are all your favorites!

“Sinner’s Swing,” -Van Halen

“You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” -Judas Priest

“Circles,” -Joe Satriani

“After Forever,” -Black Sabbath

“Big Bad Will (Is Sweet William Now),” -Van Halen

“Moby Dick,” -Led Zeppelin

“Nobody Does it Better,” Carly Simon

“Symphony no 96 in D Major, 1st Mvmnt,” -Franz Joseph Haydn

“Poison My Eyes,” -Anthrax

“Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, 3rd Mvmnt,” -Gustav Mahler

None of the songs specifically effected me on the run today. It was just cool to have so many of my favorites  play. “Moby Dick,” was probably the coolest song of the run. Nothing like a mile and a half drum solo from John Bonham to keep you going! Carly Simon might seem like the odd song out, but, I was already in a groove and I like that song.

“Poison My Eyes,” is probably my favorite Anthrax song. I like the heaviness and progressiveness of it. Also because I don’t know a lot of their music…any of my metal bloggers out there have any Anthrax recommendations?

Full disclosure: It was about 85o degrees this morning in San Diego, all apologies to the rest of the northern hemisphere. So the rock n roll laden playlist was definitely appreciated to beat the heat.

Michael Schenker, Bridge the Gap Setlist & Concert Review

Schenker 2014This past Saturday night, legendary rock/metal guitarist once again brought his Flying V’s to San Diego. This time out in the sticks a bit to the Ramona Main Stage.

Seeing Schenker, one of my earliest and greatest musical influences, is always special and never a let down. The man can play! Plus, in the ‘stranger than fiction’ category, my old pal, San Diegan, Wayne Findlay, now tours and records with the band as keyboardist/guitarist.

BTW happy belated Birthdays to Michael and Wayne, both January 10 babies!

It’s always easy to review a Schenker show….masterful guitar work, great sound, energetic band. This show lived up to all! Only drawback…the stage was too low! Since they set up tables you can’t really get to the front and see Michael’s hands! Ramona MainStage is a cool venue and I recommend you get up there as they have some great acts coming though in an intimate venue….but, they either need to raise the stage a bit or clear out the tables and let a rock n roll show happen! I know some of the aging rockers now days like to get a table and relax and watch a show, but c’mon rock n roll is rock n roll!!!! You’re past selves would have kicked those walkers out from under your present selves and you know it!

Another oddity at Schenker shows… I am always surprised how much the crowd seems to know the UFO songs over his solo work. Maybe because  I am a bit younger than the average fan…lol! Love the UFO stuff but I was raised on his first four solo albums and always want to hear more of those songs! This show did replace a few of the UFO tunes from recent tours with the aforementioned. Even played Assault Attack from the likewise titled 80s album. One of my top five albums All Time!

Since I was not able to find the current tour setlist any where beforehand thought I would do my best to represent the San Diego show here.

Michael Schenker, Bridge the Gap Setlist, Jan. 11, 2014 San Diego

Neptune Rising*

Rock My Nights Away

Cry for the Nations

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Assault Attack

Lovedrive

Another Piece of Meat

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Attack of the Mad Axeman

Where the Wild Winds Blow*

Horizons*

Shoot Shoot

Let it Roll

Lights Out

Rock Bottom

Encore

Into the Arena

Armed and Ready

Doctor Doctor

*Since I hadn’t had a chance to hear the brand new album, “Bridge the Gap,” I estimated these titles as best I could.