Glenn Frey-Thank You (1948-2016)

Flanigan/Getty
Flanigan/Getty

He was a rocker and a Michigan native. He learned under the great Seger and headed out to make his mark. He was a band member under Linda Ronstadt and along with the drummer, Don Henley-together would create one of music’s most legendary bands. His name is Glenn Frey and he has passed on. With Henley and musicians such as Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmidt and Don Felder-The Eagles had a tight sound with passionate songwriting.

My first and only time I saw The Eagles was in 2015 as the band was promoting their amazing documentary, The History of The Eagles. With the intention of going with my fiancé, I went with my brother (she got the chills and couldn’t go) and found out Roberto would be going too. Check out this link for our review and experience of the concert.

https://youtu.be/wpsV-2fqXRY?list=PLKRW7XnwNWH0b9CN2rujJaNT1_aDMEio6

My fiancé and I were so entertained by the documentary that we told each other we had to go see them and that I proclaimed Glenn Frey was my new hero. To know why he is my hero, watch the documentary. Their story we watched together gave both of us a renewed interest of the band. Glenn along with Henley wrote amazing songs. They had a real bond and Don Henley in his prime was the best vocalist out there.

Glenn was the leader and most fans would know that it was Frey that wasn’t so big on the reunion of the band-Hell was hot and was going to stay that way. Again, watch the History of The Eagles. Glenn would always appear in movies (Jerry Maguire) and television (Wiseguy) from time to time with some success on the charts as well. My favorite from his collection is “The Heat Is On”-not afraid to blast that out loud in my car. Frey’s voice had a definite blue collar feel depicted in such Eagles classics as Lyin’ Eyes and Heartache Tonight.

I was hoping the Eagles would return to the metro Detroit area again so my fiancé would be able to witness the work of Frey and Henley along with band mates Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt. Sadly, YouTube and possibly recorded concert footage throughout the tour along with Eagles albums is what we will have to keep his musical contributions intact.

This article is perhaps one of the best ever written. Rolling Stone magazine contributor and film director Cameron Crowe shares his experience living with Don Henley and Glenn Frey at their “Million Dollar View” residence.

http://on.fb.me/1OC1LtZ

Finally, a great backstage interview with Frey discussing the career of Linda Ronstadt at the 2014 Rock and Roll of Fame Induction ceremony. For a short time, Glenn, Don, and earlier formation of the Eagles were a part of her backing band.

https://youtu.be/Cbg6Co28-Ac

Glenn Frey, may he rest easy in his next journey beyond life.

Aaron’s Blog-Discovering David Bowie (1947-2016)

www.vam.ac.uk
www.vam.ac.uk

Like many fans across the world, I was shocked to learn of the passing of David Bowie. I discovered Bowie while I was a senior in high school. I was listening to a local public radio station during my winter break and what came out of my boom box was this beautifully composed composition, Warszawa. I was hearing this music and something in my mind just broke down-It was my soft introduction to David Bowie’s Low.

Produced by Tony Visconti, producer of the Berlin Trilogy while having Brian Eno formerly of Roxy Music as his collaborator create this textured album of sophisticated pop and electronic compositions. When I was young, my musical taste was developing. Hearing David Bowie pre-Let’s Dance was an awakening, I didn’t know much of about Bowie except for the 80’s and 90’s music which I enjoyed quite a bit. To hear “Warszawa” presented me an opportunity to explore his back catalog.

Researching music on a dial up connection is time consuming. Music doesn’t load up quickly and it cost money. I was determined to hear this piece again so I would listen to all things college radio. It wouldn’t take any more than early winter of 2001 during my 1st year in college to get my chance. I was getting a ride with my dad and I was able to pick our morning drive music. Living close to Windsor, Ontario has its advantages for radio guy such as me-the host for the morning was going to play the entire Low album. Each song was better than the next but I didn’t know if my quest would be complete-is this the album? All signs were pointing yes but what if it wasn’t it?

Suddenly, I hear this rumbling coming out of my father’s work van speakers. Brian Eno’s deliciously calm synth delivery covers you like a blanket from the cold. Bowie, Eno and Iggy Pop (as credited) deliver this amazing chanting-it’s quite the emotional instrumental for the most part. That weekend, I bought the album and felt like I discovered the fountain of youth or felt the light. From Low, I picked up Heathen, Young Americans, Heroes followed by Lodger. As my taste for Bowie played out, my brother would begin to buy Bowie albums such as Hunkey Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane.

Known for his plastic soul, “The Thin White Duke” to the “Chameleon”, David Bowie covered all areas of music. He started as a saxophonist and if you like to read liner notes such Roberto and I, David played multi instruments from guitar to various keyboards. He wrote and produced with artist such as Iggy Pop, Mott the Hopple, Queen and influenced countless others. David Bowie could rock and pop with appreciation to instrumental tracks. As a young adult; I found a music nook with Bowie.

Identity, the future, sexual frustration and acceptance-all areas focused through his songwriting. Bowie was the type of performer/artist I would want to be if I had that in me minus the drug habit that he kicked while making Low. For me, David Bowie begins with Low. As I had just purchased his now final album ★ (Blackstar) and Bowie’s approach is dark soul. The album is full of wounded emotion and is wonderfully crafted with jazz rhythm and timing. I had hoped that he would surprise his fans with one more tour to be announced on his 70th birthday. Sadly that will never happen but I am humbled to be a part of his swan song into his infinite rest.

David Bowie’s ★ (Backstar) is Soulful and Thoroughly Concentrated

Backstair
Marking his 69th birthday on January 8th, David Bowie released his 25th studio album titled ★ (Blackstar). The days leading up to the release date included the near 10 minute video odyssey which is titled track of the album, the opening of his off-broadway show Lazarus, (the track itself has this amazing feeling of detachment) and interviews with Bowie and bandmates discussing the process of ★ . With jazz and Kendrick Lamar influence, this is quite the flavor to blend in an album. Does it work? Yes it does.

The album has a definite swagger to it, soulful undertones throughout. Beginning with the title track, Bowie and long time producer Tony Visconti create a two layered song that begins with eerie, dreamlike rhythm while incorporating an aggressive electric drum cadence. Around the midway point, it changes and it becomes this tight and confident piece with a menacing soul polish. Track 1 laid down the foundation of the 7 track LP.

Bowie reworks two previously released track in 2014, ’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore and Sue (Or In a Season of Crime) refining their early incarnations. The two singles before their recent changes, ’Tis a Pity was surrounded by unfitting background electronic noise which Bowie has eliminated and added some backing vocals and some saxophone accents. With Sue, the brooding avant garde jazz vibe has been toned down and given a sleek, sense of urgency feel.

Lazarus, a piece taken from his off-broadway show has a seductive tone. This track is a fine example of the passionate saxophone work from Donnie McCaslin whom throughout the album along with the track, Dollar Days and the closing, I Can’t Give Everything Away performs with the emotion that will urge you to revisit the work of Andy Mackay of Roxy Music and other favorite saxophone solos during the mid to late 70’s.

The outstanding tracks for me on this album are tracks 6 and 7. Bowie’s voice at 69 years of age still has the impactful feel that it did in his peak years. It yearns of beauty and reflection. These two tracks are easily repeatable multiple times. I constantly find myself listening to the two respectfully 3 times before beginning a full listen of the LP. Bowie definitely dusted off “The Thin White Duke” delivery for a thoroughly concentrated release.

If you enjoy ★ as much as I have, I would suggest revisiting his past recordings in the 21st century starting off 2002’s Heathen and 2003’s Reality-listen to the road traveled to get to ★.

With A New Attitude, Adele’s “25” Is Mature and Reflective

A lot has happened to Adele since 2011 and her smash sophomore effort titled “21.” The album responsible for “Rolling In The Deep”, “Rumor Has It” “Set Fire To The Rain” and “Someone Like You” went on to sell 11 million albums, spawn quite a few Grammy awards (8 to be exact) and generate a James Bond feature song which landed her an Oscar. The public later learned about a serious surgical procedure that saved her voice and of course, we all heard about the heartbreak that lead to her breakthrough album.

Enter today. Adele is back and with a new album titled “25.” What happened in those intervening years? I know I was excited when I turned a quarter of a century. I was somewhat out of college, young and cocky, and felt like I could take on the world. So what could this songstress do at 25? Apparently, not lose a step. I judge many albums usually by the first three songs. Are they strong? Is it well produced? What is the message of the album? I was happy to hear the first three songs on Adele’s latest were worth a four year wait.

From the big opener, “Hello” written by Adele and Greg Kirstin-The song is quite sweeping. Kirstin certain brings a darker tone with polished keyboards as his work with the indie group, The Bird and The Bee gives Adele a much needed refresher in delivery and production. Second, working with the Swedish hitmakers of Max Martin and Shellback is “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”. Their work with Taylor Swift and Katy Perry give this track a bright, foot stumping groove that certainly needs radio play and perhaps her next big single.

The true gem of the first three is “I Miss You”. Produced by Paul Epworth, his work with Florence and The Machine as well as his work “Rolling In The Deep” and “I’ll Be Waiting” on “21” makes you wonder if Adele did an album’s worth of material with Epworth-there is no telling the depth of emotion she could go to. The third track is the longest of the 11 track album (I purchased the bonus edition with three additional songs) and the most adventurous piece produced on the album.

Adele shows real maturity with “25”. From the collection of producers Adele is collaborating with on this album that also include Mark Ronson(Lay Me Down), The Smeezingtons(All I Ask) and Danger Mouse (River Lea), all of them are able to match the overall feel of heartache and reflection. What is next for Adele? Will “30” be her next movement? Whatever the title, Adele should continue to hold our interest.