Tori Amos is one of those rare singer songwriters that can truly captivate an audience preforming live all on her own. Here she is performing Winter live in Montreux, Switzerland in 1992, just after the release of her first solo album Little Earthquakes. I just love the lyrics of this song, comparing childhood to a winter that melts away.
In the final stage of his career, Johnny Cash recorded a series of albums covering popular songs from a range of musicians. Arguable the most successful was American IV: The Man Comes around, producing Cash’s final hit song before he passed away on Sept. 12th, 2003. Cash’s cover of Hurt, originally recorded by Nine Inch Nails and written by lead singer Trent Reznor. The song itself is a searing self reflection of the harm a person can cause those around them, and is given another layer of meaning from his own struggles with alcoholism, and drug abuse. The accompanying music video was directed by Mark Romanek, and won a Grammy for best video. It features video from his life, shots of the long abandoned House of Cash museum, and present day footage of both Johnny and his wife, June Carter Cash. June would pass away only three months after filming. Although Trent Reznor initially had some reservations about Cash covering Hurt, he was very moved by the songs video, saying: “I pop the video in, and wow. Tears welling, silence, goose bumps… Wow. [I felt …
I fell in love with Disturbed’s restrained cover of The Sound of Silence the first time I heard it, and they sound just as good performing it live. This appearance on the Conan O’Brian show was so impressive Paul Simon wrote lead singer Draiman an email commending his performance.
Alma Duetscher is a stunning musician and child prodigy. Composing her first full opera at the age of the age of 10 and performing her first piano concerto at the age of 12, she seems almost too good to be true. But as this 60 Minutes video shows, she is the real deal. Watch her compose a piece of music with four notes, pulled from a hat, in 60 seconds.
I am always looking for acoustic covers of my favorite songs, and Cimorelli’s ethereal cover of Lord Huron’s The Night We Met is perfect. The dreamy vocals and sun drenched video leave me with a nice warm glow, despite the melancholy tone of the song.
No band personifies winter more for me than Sigur Ros, and not just because they are from Iceland. Their sound is an atmospheric mix of dreamy vocals and avant-guard sounds just remind me of falling snow and winter landscapes. This clip is part of a documentary, Heima, that features footage of the band from two outdoor concerts. Don’t let all the wool sweaters and pale sunset fool you though, they were filmed in Iceland at the end of July and beginning of August.
I’d say The Spice Girls are a guilty pleasure of mine, but that would imply I feel some sort of shame for listening to their music (I don’t). If I had to pick a favorite song, it would be their 1997 hit Too Much, which just turned 20 years old this past December. I stumbled upon this acoustic version by Danny McEnvoy, a busker in the UK, and I love it. I also adore his quirky taste in mismatched socks. https://www.facebook.com/DannyMcEvoyMusician/
I have a huge amount of respect for any singer that can accompany themselves on the piano while they perform. I was pleasantly surprised to discover Skylar Grey is one of those singers while watching SNL last weekend. Here she is accompanying herself while performing Coming Home live last April.
There are a lot of traditions I enjoy on Thanksgiving. Consuming as much turkey, pecan spinwheels, and cranberry sauce as possible with my family, drinking copious amounts of red wine, and strategizing my online Black Friday shopping with my sisters is typically how I️ spend the day. There is one particular tradition we enjoy that doesn’t involve complete gluttony, and that’s listening to Arlo Gunthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant Massacree, on the radio, at noon. Originally recorded in 1967 and detailing real events in his life (for over 18 minutes!) it became a Thanksgiving tradition to play the song on rock radio stations. Growing up my family arranged our travel plans for the day so we could listen to it on the car on the way to wherever Thanksgiving was hosted, and I️ still make a point to be by a radio every year to hear it. https://youtu.be/W5_8U4j51lI
When I first discovered Panic At The Disco, it was not love at first sight. I found their over the top theatrical style a little off-putting, and it wasn’t until their Pretty. Odd. album that they started to grow on me. Michael Urie may be the only original member left, but they are still making good music, and he sounds fantastic live. Here he is in February 2016 on Ellen with an Art Deco styled performance of Death of a Bachelor.