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Judah and the Lion Rocket Off to Another Adventure in new video for “Suit and Jacket”

Judah and the Lion’s latest music video, “Suit and Jacket” continues the folk-hop band’s 7-year conversation with youth, adulthood, death and meaning within the context of a new outer-space theme. The video, off their new Folk Hop and Roll Deluxe album, features an opening scene with band members Judah Lee Akers, Nate Zuercher, Brian Macdonald and Spencer Cross sitting in a small blue-lit bedroom. Akers sings, “I ain’t trading my youth for no suit and jacket.” His is a common refrain within the lyricism of the band.  He continues, “I ain’t giving my freedom for your money and status,” folding imaginary bills in his left hand.

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There is Nothing Not to “Love” About Lana Del Rey’s New Single

Not often do fans of the infamously melancholy Lana Del Rey get to hear a song that is genuinely happy. Yet this is precisely the kind of song that the singer’s new single “Love” is. For the girl known for penning songs like “Sad Girl” and “Pretty When You Cry”, “Love” couldn’t be more pleasantly opposite.

Del Rey, who released the song as a lead single for her upcoming album Lust for Life, has made a notable departure from her typically depressive, sultry style to create something blissful: an unadulterated love song. “Love,” a tribute to young romance, speaks straight from the mouth of enamored youth itself, as the chorus goes: “You get ready, you get all dressed up / to go nowhere in particular/ Back to work or the coffee shop / Doesn’t matter because it’s enough to be young and in love.”

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See What Happens When 1000 Italian Musicians Play a Foo Fighters Song

This is one of the coolest videos of the year. 1000 musicians got together to perform the Foo Fighters’ Learn to Fly. The event was the brainchild of one man, Fabio Zaffagnini, who so wanted the band to come back to his part of Italy to hold a the first concert in Cesena Italy since 1997, that he spent over a year planning this.

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Dick Van Dyke and The Dustbowl Revival

I still watch The Dick Van Dyke Show nightly on Netflix. The wife and I have followed The Dustbowl Revival around Los Angeles for years now.  When these two worlds collide, the outcome is all fun.  Watching 89 year old  Van Dyke dancing like he did 50 years ago, to the pure, Americana sounds of a band made up of 30 somethings and under is pure gold.  And who said there is no culture in Los Angeles?

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Lessons from Motown: How music smashes cultural barriers and unites us all

After 7 years in college and grad school studying the subject and almost 20 years learning to be a performer and composer, I am still completely fascinated by music and its impact on society.

It’s a necessarily abstract art form, yet it can evoke vividly specific emotions and memories. It can be entirely wordless, yet effortlessly tell elaborate stories and carry incredible drama. It’s inherently ephemeral, yet a single concert can haunt a person for a lifetime.

I’m not usually one to quote poets, but in the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”

Well said.

I think it’s because of this universality that music fosters a level of inclusiveness far ahead of every other aspect of human culture. Unlike the visual, film & television, and other types of performing arts, creating great music all but requires a blindness to everything that isn’t about the sound.

To make this point a little more meaningful, I want to play a little game. I’m going to ask you to listen to some great music. Then I’m going to ask you what may seem like a few really dumb questions. Okay?

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Mozart as a Freelance Artist

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The most outstanding feature about Mozart’s biography, the one people are most familiar about, is his prodigious musical talent. Everyone is familiar with the story of the precocious Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), who led by his father’s hand, traveled to opulent courts across  Europe as an itinerant child prodigy. As he grew older, he became a professional composer who produced an output of hundreds of compositions in a diversity of genres and styles with many of those works ranking as some of the most inspired music ever composed.

The late German author, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, brought to light in his thick tome about Mozart’s life and work another facet of the native from Salzburg that is perhaps less familiar in the Mozartian mythology. According to Hildesheimer, Mozart was not only an innovator and a master of every musical form, he was also an innovator in the music business; our hero might have been the first freelance composer. Although F. M. Scherer disputes this notion in his essay The Emergence of Musical Copyright in Europe and claims freelance composers had existed a century before Mozart’s period, it is quite clear Mozart possessed an innate rebellious nature that rendered him as an inadequate candidate to vegetate in tedious comfort as a court composer. Not that he felt a conscious need to manifest a rebellious attitude against the current social order; such a sentiment would have been alien to Mozart’s nature. However he probably searched for a context that allowed him to exploit his powerful compositional skills to the best of his ability.

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Three Questions for Stephen Limbaugh

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Pianist Stephen Limbaugh is set to release his first full-length studio album, Pants.  It’s already bouncing up and down in the Top 50 Classical Hot New Releases on Amazon and it’s not due for release until Jan. 20th.

About two years ago, Stephen Limbaugh’s indie rock band Kingsley, decided to put the band on hiatus so that the members could devote some time exploring other projects.  Kingsley guitarist and front man Brandon Sweeney, and drummer Nadir Maraschin are now playing in The Eeries, a previously unsigned rock band that became an overnight success, and thus signed, when Los Angeles based radio station KROQ played their first single on the air last summer.  

Stephen Limbaugh has gone back to his roots of classical music. An accomplished pianist who just recently performed at the HBO Golden Globes after-party last Sunday, Stephen has played all over the world and, when yours truly first met him, had just arrived back in the United States from Russia where he had performed in a symphony he had also written.  So in anticipation of his debut release, the one with the stars & stripes pants on the cover, I asked Stephen to answer 3 questions about his new album and it’s relation to liberty.  Never one to shy away from answering a question, I present to you Stephen Limbaugh’s answers… unfiltered. You’re welcome.

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THE REAR VIEW: The Empire Strikes Back

empire_strikes_back_ver6This week on The Rear View podcast I had the pleasure of sitting down with film composer Ryan Rapsys to talk about one of his favorite movie scores – John Williams’ The Empire Strikes Back. It was this score that Williams first introduced the “Imperial March” to his canon of iconic and unmistakable film themes. The film itself is often held up as the superior of all the Star Wars film, and it can be argued that film score may be what helped elevate its standing.

Ryan and I discuss the importance of collaboration with the director early in the filmmaking process and why a strong melody is vital in tapping into the emotions of an audience. The power of sense memory is unmatched when it comes to music and film. Filmmakers wishing to make an impact on the culture should always be looking to connect with their audiences and a simple and memorable melody can by just the ticket. You can also checkout Ryan Rapsys’ work on Soundcloud.