Happy Birthday Tony Gwynn, “Mr. Padre”

Wishing Tony Gwynn a happy birthday today.

You may ask why a baseball player is being featured on a music website…

TonyAlicia
Visit Tony and Wife Alicia’s Foundation!

If you follow this blog you probably know I am a huge sports fan. Growing up watching the San Diego Padres, was/is not much to root, cheer, (insert verb) for!

But in 1982 along came Tony Gwynn. As a kid you watch and cheer for your favorites. But over the years of following the team there was a ‘Tony Gwynn’ work ethic that was always discussed.

Tony was a tireless worker at his craft…hitting a baseball. He spent hours and hours watching film, studying the game and working on his game. That made a huge impression on me growing up.

It made me want to work that hard at guitar and I began to listen to guitarists who had that same work ethic. The guys who put in HOURS & HOURS day in and day out playing guitar.

Not only that he was and is a loyal citizen of America’s Finest City, San Diego! My hometown!

So that said Tony was a huge influence on me personally and professionally and that is why he is being a wished a happy birthday from me.

Thanks Tony and Happy Birthday!

The Oscar For Best Original Song, Goes To…

The Oscar For Best Original Score Goes To…

Oscar 2

The 2013 Academy Awards are all set to be broadcast this weekend. A time for movie goers to celebrate their favorite films and actors of the year. A time for millionaire actor$ and billionaire $tudios to finally be bestowed some actual credit for their hard work. ;)

Of all the yearly award shows the Oscars is my favorite. Much more than the Grammys, my own industries honors. Even more than the ESPYs…wait do we really need a sports award show? Isn’t that why they play the games to figure out who’s the best?

Of course my favorite awards of the night are for my favorite part of most movies…the music! Best original score and best original song.

Nominees For Best Original Song:

Chasing Ice“Before My Time,”  J. Ralph 

Surprise surprise, Scarlett Johansson can sing and sounds great. Joshua Bell’s melodic violin lines are incredibly expressive and make the song for me. Every time I hear this song I like it more!

Ted- “Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” Walter Murphy; Seth MacFarlane

Cause, everyone knew Ted was Oscar worthy from the start! ;0 Norah Jones sounds great. The song is just a typical showtuney jazz thing. They should enjoy the nomination!

Life of Pi- “Pi’s Lullaby,” Mychael Danna; Bombay Jayashri

The biggest drawback against the original score from, “Life of Pi,” in my opinion is the minimalist lack of direction. That same dreamy quality is what makes this song so successful. In song form the lushness of the orchestration shines. I love this song!

Skyfall- “Skyfall,” Adele Adkins; Paul Epworth 

Adele at her best! Great sultry voice blends great with the ‘spy’ genre accompaniment. I like her voice, but, nice to hear her mix it up a little on this piece.

Les Miserables- “Suddenly,” Claude-Michel Schönberg; Herbert Kretzmer; Alain Boublil

Do you like this song? Do you hate this song? It is not really my cup of tea. It’s nice. Hugh Jackman sounds good. Will it win?

Which song will win the Oscar? My favorites are, “Pi’s Lullaby,” and, “Before my Time,” for their well crafted artistic nature. I like, Adele’s “Skyfall,” as a really effective 007 song, but….I dont see how any song is going to beat, “Suddenly.” Like it or not I don’t see how Les Miserables can not win the Oscar for best song.

Begrudgingly I have to say…

The Oscar for Best Original Song, Goes To…Les Miserables, “Suddenly.”

The Oscar for Best Original Score, Goes To…

The Oscar For Best Original Song, Goes To…

The 2013 Academy Awards are all set to be broadcast this weekend. A time for movie goers Oscarto celebrate their favorite films and actors of the year. A time for millionaire actor$ and billionaire $tudios to finally be bestowed some actual credit for their hard work. 😉

Of all the yearly award shows the Oscars is my favorite. Much more than the Grammys, my own industries honors. Even more than the ESPYs…wait do we really need a sports award show? Isn’t that why they play the games to figure out who’s the best?

Of course my favorite awards of the night are for my favorite part of most movies…the music! Best original score and best original song.

Nominees for Best Original Score:

While all are very well composed scores with interesting soundscapes, there were none that were truly unique or mind-blowing, over the top. That said…

Anna KareninaDario Marianelli

Perhaps the most artistic of all the nominees. Reminiscent of the Russian Romantic composers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

ArgoAlexandre Desplat

A nice combination of modern technology and middle-east flavors. In my opinion the synth driven background is not as difficult in compositional nature as Lincoln and Anna Karenina.

Life of PiMychael Danna

Danna sets a very nice mood with the peaceful score in Life of Pi. The use of eastern instruments and ideals lends perfectly to the movie. In my opinion the score is a bit too minimalist and might suffer from its demure sonic atmosphere.

Lincoln–  John Williams

I am really impressed with this one. When I first heard Williams was penning the music for Lincoln I kind of rolled my eyes. ‘Lets use the biggest name in the film scoring business.’ He tends to be bombastic and his moves often have a similar style. However, I really like what he did for Lincoln. Williams did a great job composing Americana music, as well as, setting traditional songs of the day. Maybe not some of his most memorable sounds, but, some of his truly best artistically and structurally!

SkyfallThomas Newman

This is a cool fun score. Newman did a great job interpreting the James Bond theme we all love with some techno beats and backgrounds. I think this nomination will suffer from being a 007 film and similar to Argo I don’t think this piece had the same compositional chops as Lincoln and Anna Karenina.

So you can probably already tell where I am going with this pick. In my opinion it is definitely between Lincoln and Anna Karenina. My personal vote would be for Lincoln. I am torn on who I think the Academy has picked. The slightly superior Lincoln or the more artistic Anna Karenina.

Gotta go with my gut…

The Oscar for Best Original Score, Goes To…John Williams for Lincoln!!

Guitar Practice Tip, It Ain’t Like That…

This guitar practice tip may be one of the most important to keep in mind when learning the instrument(or anything new). Unfortunately, for some it might be one of the hardest pieces of advice to truly grasp and put in your tool box.

Recently, I’ve been reading about how adults learn vs. how children learn, not just guitar, but, in other areas like language, as well. As is often suggested, do kids really have a larger capacity to learn than adults? Looking back upon my most successful students over the years they all have had one thing….

As previously mentioned, it is often said that kids learn things so much easier. Brain science and genetics aside this may not be a true statement. In my experience teaching both adults and kids it has a lot to do with learning style.

Adults have learned how to learn already. We learn how to study, play sports and drive for success. There are as many strategies for tackling new things as there are people trying new things.

Kids are more pliable in their learning styles. More willing to take to heart what teachers suggest. Without as much life experience, they are more open to just purely DOING something new and seeing what happens.

By the time we are adults we have developed certain preconceived notions how to learn  things. An athlete may learn by taking new experiences head on with brute force and strength. An engineer may face things analytically, breaking down problems, systematically and logically solving the unknown.

How we were brought up determines how we learn, as well…good ol’ nature vs. nurture.

Athletes pound it out, music ain’t like that…

Salesmen don’t take no for an answer, music ain’t like that…

Students work extremely hard studying to do well on tests, music ain’t like that…

Where am I going with all this? Teaching thousands of students from 4 year olds to elderly and all ages in between over the past 20 years one thing stands out.

To go Yoda on you, …”Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Yeah it is kind of ‘use the force’ when learning music.

-You may need to check your learning and drive for success styles at the door when trying an instrument. (Although they may help some they may ultimately hinder you, as well)

-You need to be open to exposing yourself a bit by dropping your pre-conceived notions for success in other fields.

…So what is the one thing my most successful students possessed?

They had an adaptable approach…They knew when to push hard and when to let off the gas. When to listen and when to attack. On and on…

In essence they had a flexible approach rather than a rigid pre-learned approach to learning and achieving musical success.

Bottom line approach the guitar with an open mind!

Be willing to learn in a different way than you’ve previously had success in other areas of life, when needed.

Above all, at all levels of your journey enjoy playing!!

Top 10 Countries to View ’12 Notes & The Truth!’ in 2012

Becoming a blogger this year has been a lot of fun. There were certainly some surprises for me along the way some include;

-That just under 10,000 viewers would visit, read & reply to this blog.

-How many cool people I have hooked up with to chat about music.

-That no matter what your opinion….someone will STRONGLY disagree. Although I had very few negative comments over the year they are venomous when they disagree…a small taste of what those in the public eye must endure daily…like actors, athletes and musicians. Actually my first negative comment oddly felt kind of good. That what I had to say touched a nerve with someone…like I was doing something right here. Although, personally, I would prefer an adult exchange of ideas. I never did censure any comments even those lame spam ones that get through.

-One of the most mind-blowing aspects is how many views I received outside of the U.S.

Here are the top 10 countries to visit 12 Notes & the Truth! since it was unveiled in March.

1. United States-Obviously

2. United Kingdom-Makes sense as the U.K. is English speaking and very much Western in music and culture

3. Canada-Ditto #2

4.Philippines-From watching my stats throughout the year it seemed to line up with my American Idol posts. I think Jessica Sanchez may have been a part of the attraction, as well. There was also a wedding photographer from the Philippines that traded links with my site.

5. Germany-I did write a couple Scorpions posts and am a huge Michael Schenker fan, both of whom are native sons to Germany. I never saw a direct correlation to my stats however.

6. Australia-Again ditto #2 & #3

7. India-A welcome surprise how high they ranked.

8. Brazil

9. Mexico-Not as much a surprise due to their proximity to San Diego even though they have a very different culture.

10. Netherlands

Ranking just outside of the top 10 were; Spain, France, Russia, Italy, Greece, New Zealand and South Korea.

Some countries that visited which surprised me were; United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Algeria, Lebanon, Maldives, Kenya. Not surprised that the folks there are interested in music and culture of America and the West. More surprised that their interests brought them to my humble blog.

Some of the global appeal I think relates to previously mentioned posts about Michael Schenker, Scorpions and American Idol. Others include my sports posts on baseball, the NFL and the Olympics and I would like to think just a general appeal to music lovers.

Here is to a great, prosperous and musical 2013!!!

2012 NFL Predictions ‘Rock n Roll’ Edition

Here are my 2012 NFL ‘Musical’ Predictions. I used only songs from my own music library. If you are unfamiliar with any of the music, check out the songs and broaden your musical horizons.

These views are my own, if they are inflammatory towards your favorite team or player, it IS intentional but all in good fun…except the Raider cracks!

So here is the 2012 NFL season as I see it! Come back after the season and we can re-hash and I will probably even have a playoff version!

Good luck to your favorite teams!

AFC WEST

San Diego Chargers–Loving You Sunday Morning, The Scorpions

Bolts are my team win or lose. Let’s go with win, despite Norv Turner!

Denver Broncos -The Gambler, Kenny Rogers

Elway is gambling on Manning’s health…All In! Probably gonna be a good bet!!

Oakland Raiders–Living in the Past, Jethro Tull

Yeah we know you won….a long time ago…but you’ve been pretty bad since. Find a new argument Raider fan! Not that you have the fastest player…that’s tired as well!

Kansas City Chiefs-Castles Made of Sand, Jimi Hendrix

They are relying on Matt Cassel,  that’s not a good thing for Chiefs fans.

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans– New Kid in Town, The Eagles

No more Manning in the division the South should be theirs for a year or two at least.

Tennessee Titans– Caught In the Middle, Ronnie James Dio

They wont be first, they wont be last, they wont be memorable, they’ll be caught in the middle.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Cat Scratch Fever, Ted Nugent

That’s what these cats are gonna give their fans not much else.

Indianapolis Colts-Upside Down, Jack Johnson

We’ve bee used to seeing them on top but should get used to seeing them on the bottom for awhile, definitely in 2012.

 AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens–Hard to Handle, The Black Crowes

They may be hard enough to handle all the way to the Superbowl. D can’t do it all. Gonna rest on the shoulders, actually the arm, of Joe Flacco.

Pittsburgh Steelers-Steel Bars, Foo Fighters

Where Big Ben belongs? How long do you call a franchise classy when their star clearly is not. Apples don’t fall far from the tree. They will fight for the division and settle for a wildcard.

Cincinnati Bengals-Breaking the Law, Judas Priest

Yeah, we all know the Bengals offseason exploits. If they could focus all their criminal energy to the field of play they could be good…don’t see it though.

Cleveland BrownsI Am the Walrus, The Beatles

Not sure even Mike Holmgren can fix this mess especially not this year.

AFC EAST

New England Patriots– Same Old Song & Dance, Aerosmith

Yep, they’re still here, still good, still got a shot at the Superbowl and adding to their dynasty.

New York Jets-Just the Two of Us, Grover Washington, Jr.

If Sanchez and Tebow do not make a music video arm in arm singing this song and sharing the backfield… 2012 will be a DISASTER in New York.

Buffalo Bills–Dream On, Aerosmith

Maybe another strong start but playoffs look like a dream.

Miami Dolphins-Bad to the Bone, George Thorogood & The Destroyers

Nobody likes bones in their fish and these fish just stink.

NFC WEST

San Francisco 49’ers– Who Are You, The Who

This applies to the whole team but especially Alex Smith. Were they for real last year? We’ll look for them to be tough

Arizona CardinalsThree Little Birds, Bob Marley

“Don’t worry, ‘Bout a Thing” Mostly mediocre division, nobody expects much. If they get any kind of QB play …”Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright” Just not sure that will happen.

Seattle SeahawksJust the Way You Are, Billy Joel

…Mediocre, and that’s the way they’ll be this year.

St. Louis RamsBad, Michael Jackson

Someone had to get this song why not the Rams, the shoe fits.

NFC SOUTH

New Orleans Saints– Bounty Hunter, Molly Hatchet  ..And Justice For All, Metallica   Redemption Song, Bob Marley

Bounty Hunter…they did the crime!

…And Justice For All…They are paying the price

Redemption Song…They proclaim their innocence.

They still have LOTS of offense and I see them outscoring teams in the regular season.

Atlanta FalconsDevil Went Down to Georgia, Charlie Daniels

Seems like he only shows up in the playoffs though, unlike the rest of the team. Maybe their year to break the playoff bug with the Saints down but I still see them as a wildcard.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Sunday Bloody Sunday, U2

Tampa fans should be more worried about the Rays catching the Yankees, cause I dont see the Bucs doing much in 2012. Sundays could be tough.

Carolina PanthersThings Can Only Get Better, Howard Jones

With Cam Newton a year older Carolina fans have got to hope this is true.

NFC NORTH

Green Bay Packers-Run With the Pack, Bad Company

It would be a good bet to run with the ‘Pack.’

Detroit Lions-Welcome to the Jungle, Guns N Roses

Who woulda thought the Lions would be players in the NFL watch out for em!

Chicago BearsBlowin in the Wind, Joan Baez

In a division with GB & Det…their hopes like their great city are in the wind.

Minnesota VikingsOutshined, Soundgarden

Looking California but Feeling Minnesota…gonna be a long year.

NFC EAST

New York GiantsLimELIght, Rush

Yes Eli has 2 SB’s but in SD we remember his snively limp wristed attempt to hold the Bolt jersey on draft day. Giants will be good but hunted! Better be ready for everyone’s best shot.

Dallas CowboysWhere Have all the Good Times Gone, Van Halen

America’s Team No More….never was as far as I am concerned although they have made some serious NFL history in their heyday.

Philadelphia EaglesDog Eat Dog, AC/DC

Oops did I go there? Good things happen to good people and bad things… to Vick!

Washington RedskinsWaiting on a Friend, Rolling Stones

If and when RGIII is ready the ‘Skins will be ready

Click here for other sports & music posts!

American Idol Live! Tour, San Diego Concert Review -July 26, 2012

Let me say I do watch American Idol. I didn’t see the first five years or so but every season since I have, but I never vote.  Growing up a rocker into Van Halen, Zeppelin, Judas Priest, etc., it is a bit out of my element.  However, when my wife’s cousin Mary (of Mama Mary) got tickets and asked us to go I was actually pretty excited. Maybe even a little afraid that it would be a cheesy pop concert but I was excited to see the show and hang out with Mary and her husband.

The kids did not disappoint!!

My fears that it might be a Brady Bunch Popfest were unfounded. Surprisingly, as well, the stage setup was not beastly over powering the singers. With all the hype Idol brings I expected a huge overbearing scene. It was, however, state of the art and perfect for letting the singers do their thing.

So here are some of my thoughts on the show…keeping in mind that I am a guy that loves music but not usually into vocals so much.

The Good!

First of all let me say there was no pitchiness Dawgs!

All the girls sounded amazing! So much serious musical talent for such young musicians. They don’t just sing but use their voices as instruments.

Highlights included;

Elise Testone’s version of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love.  Since I usually go to rock concerts it was a chance for me to feel in my element and rock out a little.

Erika Van Pelt, nailed Pink’s Glitter in the Air!

The duo of Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh hit some serious harmonies together and their musical phrasing was impressive! Their respective solos were great as well.

Very cool to see San Diego native Jessica Sanchez return to a hometown hero’s welcome. Sixteen years old are you kidding me? That girl can flat out sing!

On the boys side I would have to say my biggest surprise of the night was Colton Dixon. He sells it out! There is a difference between good singers and good singers who put their heart into it, good job my man!

Phillip Phillips, what can you say? First of all he was my pick from day one of the auditions when he sang Michael Jackson’s Thriller. All bragging aside he like Colton, but even more so, has stage presence, a great voice and likeability.  I would say he even stole the hometown crowd away from Jessica, a bit.

But the best singer of the night maybe one of the best ever is Joshua Ledet!!!! The boy can SANG! I said it not sing…SANG! His version of James Brown’s It’s a Man’s World was PHENOMENAL. Regarding my earlier statement that I like to attend concerts of musicians over vocalists does not APPLY to Joshua. Not sure what else to say but AMAZING!

The Not So Good?

Deandre Brackensick with his super falsetto and Heejun Han with the sweet crooner voice just did not quite live up to the others…keep at it though guys!

The flow of the concert was also a little off especially in the first half. I think it is just the nature of the show not being one recording artist and their own fans creating a bond.

Valley View Casino Arena…come on San Diego we can do better than that worn down piece of junk! I remember seeing shows there in the 80’s and it was not a great venue then…lots of memories though.  And sorry to Valley View…everyone is San Diego just calls it the Sports Arena!

The Must Be Mentioned!!

The band! Yeah, believe it or not there are real musicians backing these kids up and they have the best backing them up. Flawless rocking out in the band and some great guitar work throughout the show but most notably on Testone’s version of Whole Lotta Love…Don’t forget these guys!!!!

Alright, there’s my thoughts. I am going to go read Mama Mary’s blog  for her thoughts and you should too!

 

Click here to view the American Idol Live! Tour Setlist

Junior Seau, RIP

Junior Seau, on field

It is a tough day in San Diego! One of our true hometown sports heroes Junior Seau has passed away. There are many things that can be said about Junior and the media will do their digging and prodding but on the field for a San Diego sports fan he was THE best! San Diego sports have had so few guys come through and give such a consistent Herculean effort on the field and in the community.

I will never forget the Superbowl season of 1994 which he was the undisputed leader. I will never forget Junior making huge plays then slumping in between each down because his arm was in so much pain. That dangling arm never stopped him and endeared him to SD fans forever an image burned into my sports memories! And who can ever forget his fist pumping leg kicking move after one of his patented big plays!

Thanks for the memories Junior. Thanks for laying your heart and talents on the field for our local team! Sorry you wont get to grow old feeling the love of the community or maybe I’m just selfishly wishing we had you as an ambassador for America’s Finest City for years to come.

Thanks and rest in peace!

I don’t write about a lot of non-musical topics so for a musical reference here is the San Diego Super Chargers Fight Song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whNOfvyPpaM

National Anthem, Jose Feliciano-Play Ball!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=shpJ-sRUB-8

It’s a great day, opening day of the baseball season! One of the unofficial holidays in the life of sports fans across America. Lucky me, on Spring Break and working from home this week got to see all the opening day festivities on TV, live from Miami.
They had all kinds of pregame fanfare: F-16 flyover, Vegas style showgirls escorting the players onto the field, an appearance by the ‘Champ’ Muhammad Ali and of course the National Anthem, sung by Jose Feliciano.
I am not one who usually enjoys much deviation of the norm on the Star Spangled Banner. I just don’t think it’s a song that should be used for personal self promotion and showing off what a great singer you are. The reason it is sung at events is to honor our country. So the runs, trills and ‘check me out’ vocal fireworks are usually out of place. And that is coming from a musician who loves to hear unique performances and musicians strut their stuff, just not so much on the National Anthem.
The Anthem just like all songs has room for interpretation. If a musician can embellish the intent and lyrics of the song, musically, I am all for it. Whitney Houston’s Superbowl XXV version is still the standard of great Anthem performances. A touch of her own personality and a boat load of passion! There are other famous versions out there too. Jimi Hendix’s opening of Woodstock was definitely not a traditional rendition in the least, but, has stood the test of time as a classic and was appropriate for the venue it was intended. Then there is the infamous. Roseanne Barr and her crotch grabbing, spitting and horribly out of tune antics at a San Diego Padre’s game in 1990 comes to mind.
Back to today’s baseball game, I was really taken by Jose’s rendition. It was a toned down version. Jose and his guitar. His arrangement is a bit pop/folkish, and although he lent his own style he was true to the melody. There are no ‘check me out’ antics. The lyrics were given precedence. Above all, aesthetically it was enjoyable.
Living in our modern world I immediately went online to see if it was posted yet and was surprised by what I did find. Feliciano originally performed this rendition in 1968 for a Detroit Tigers World Series game. He became a target of American’s who were used to ‘traditional’ performances.
His career suffered after the performance. He was boycotted by radio stations which obviously had ill effect on record sales.
Personally, I always thought he was a great singer, but, never knew much about him. Think I am going to listen to more of his music and find out more about him. Don’t be surprised to hear more about Jose Feliciano in future posts!
On another note: It was great to see Muhammad Ali driven onto the field before the game, but, so sad to see how his health has declined, Godspeed Champ!
And to all of you baseball fans out there…PLAY BALL!