Monday, July 3, 2017

Why Music Matters to Us

From the Guardian:

It’s a question that has intrigued thinkers across the ages from Socrates to Schopenhauer: why is it that abstract patterns of sound mean so very much to human beings?
We are more exposed to music than ever before, thanks to streaming – from Spotify and YouTube to Mixcloud– and downloading, and we’re bombarded with music via advertising, too. It is there to influence the way we think, feel and behave. As every filmmaker knows, music is unique in its power to stir the emotions. As music therapists’ work with dementia patients and autistic children has shown, music has the capacity to touch us and tap into memories that words alone are not able to reach. But how?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

GUITAR GODS: Donna Grantis

GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE said "...Trading blazing solos with the late Purple One on a nightly basis, she proved her mettle, and earned a place in guitar history."

And its just that simple.

Donna Grantis is best known as the last guitarist for New Power Generation and as the guitarist of Prince's 3rdEyeGirl (who released the top 10 & critically acclaimed album "Plectrumelectrum" in 2014, with the title track written by Donna), but has been slugging it out on the scene for years.

The McGill jazz performance graduate quickly went to work as a session player and band leader in the Toronto area, working with a stunning array of musicians of all styles from 2002 to 2012. Also during that time, she worked as music director for the CBC and others for all manner of events.

Then, in 2012, she hooked up (by invitation) with Prince, and, following the release of their album, toured Europe and North America, including 3 nights headlining the Montreux Jazz Festival...and playing at the White House for the Obamas.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Humanizing, harmonizing effects of music aren't a myth

From ScienceDaily:

Jake Harwood turned his lifelong hobby as a musician into a scholarly question: Could the sharing of music help ease interpersonal relations between people from different backgrounds, such as Americans and Arabs?

To explore the issue, and building on his years of research on intergroup communication, Harwood began collaborating two to three years ago with his graduate students and other researchers on a number of studies, finding that music is not merely a universal language. It appears to produce a humanizing effect for members of groups experiencing social and political opposition.

"Music would not have developed in our civilizations if it did not do very important things to us," said Harwood, a professor in the University of Arizona Department of Communication. "Music allows us to communicate common humanity to each other. It models the value of diversity in ways you don't readily see in other parts of our lives."

Read the entire article HERE.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hello again, Square One – Starting a Band, Part 2

Hello again, Square One – Starting a Band, Part 2

By Thom Suggs

A graduate English professor of mine once said that “Irony is great in literature, but hell in real life.” Yep. A few months ago I had planned on focusing the second installment of this blog chronicling the start of Five Minutes Left (www.5minleft.com) on the importance of solid organization, flexibility, and having a “Plan B.” Well, here we are a few months removed from that first blog, and I’m pretty sure I’m on “Plan C” at this point. Irony… awesome.

Once you commit to forming a band, a clear, simple plan with concrete goals is critical for success because when a hundred unexpected things change, and a band finds itself drifting and unsure, being able to focus on specific steps toward a specific goal is invaluable. That doesn’t sound particularly profound – and it’s not – but you’d be surprised how easily the unexpected can sidetrack and frustrate you, and before you know it, you’re not making the progress you wanted.

Poetry Series: A BIRTHDAY POEM

~A Birthday Poem~
Liz Fink Davenport

God has a great sense of humor. He seldom gives you what you asked for and generously gives you what you begged not for. My darling, there are years that will ask you why you rowed so far ahead. And years that cry over your turned cold shoulder. And years that you will always try to say "I did my best". But your best failed. Life is funny like that. You fail. Life bites.

But here's what I know, when you hear the rush of love or waterfalls. Paddle towards them. With all your might. Love and waterfalls are always worth it. You will tumble. And you will come up with water in your ears and your nose and your mouth. Sputtering. But you will also learn the rush and the wake. You will feel more alive.

I once heard said that instead of counting towards our days we should count away. I have less than 40 summers coming to me. If I am blessed. I have spent 40 summers frivolously. May I revel in these next 40 like they are softly turned earth.

I'm gonna row. Hard. Toward the spray of the fall. Toward stupid doomed love. Towards destiny. Towards my word. Serendipity. Toward 40 warm and leafy summers.

I row. God and His sense of humor gives me the giggles. And I row. The spray of the water is on my lips.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

GUITAR GODS: Udi Levy

Its not every player who can play with equal passion and authenticity in a variety of styles, but Udi Levy is on the short list.

An in demand session player in New York, he has been immersed in the world of jazz for years, even playing with jazz greats - and Miles Davis alumni - Marcus Miller and John Scofield, toured the world. and seen his music on the charts.

But now Udi has released an album of shredding instrumental rock music that sounds like he's been doing it his entire life!

Learn more about Udi Levy at his website, and be sure to check out his music and videos.

I had a chance to chat with Udi recently - check it out!

Friday, May 19, 2017

GUITAR GODS: Malina Moye

"I love where she's coming from." - Stevie Wonder

Guitar flipped upside down and played leftie, Malina is in the fast lane to the top of the pop-rock heap. A fabulous guitarist with the compositional chops, the voice, the dance moves, and the look to create the whole package in a way we haven't seen in a long, long time...and in a way we desperately need.

You may have seen her on stage or on video, you may have seen her on TV playing the national anthem on guitar (Vikings vs Cowboys) or playing the Chuck Berry Tribute and Michael Jackson Tribute shows at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. You may have heard her collaboration with legend Bootsy Collins or seen her name on the charts (Billboard, Amazon, & iTunes),. You may have heard her music on MTV or seen her in Guitar World Magazine (who named her one of the top 10 best female guitarists on the scene today).

Or you may have seen her when she joined the "Experience Hendrix" tour, sharing the stage with the likes of Eric Gales, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, Brad Witford, and others, or sharing the stage at Bospop Festival with legends like Chaka Khan, or on other stages around the globe, where she has shared the stage with artists as diverse as pop icon Robin Thicke and guitar legend Vernon Reid, Eral Slick, and Lemmy (Motorhead).

But if you haven't, the time is now.

She is an artist of many talents - a real musician with real-world savvy thrown in - and her time has come.

Learn more about Malina at her website (and be sure to check out the video at the end of the interview!).

I had a chance to chat with Malina recently - check it out!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

GUITAR GODS: Adam Bentley

Arch Echo is an incredible new band that features rich, sophisticated instrumental songs filled with passion and dazzling displays of virtuosity.....and they have just released their debut album, ARCH ECHO.

Eight days ago, we featured an interview with one half of the twin guitar team, Adam Rafowitz (see his interview HERE). Today, we feature his partner in crime, the amazing Adam Bentley.

Adam attended the Berklee College of Music (where he met his Arch Echo band-mates), and then set out for Nashville. Once there, he stretched out beyond the scope of instrumentalist, and is also working as a composer, mixer, and producer (in fact, he mixed the debut Arch Echo album, and recorded, mixed, & produced his debut solo album, under the moniker "Absently", titled "Open Mind").

You can learn more about Adam and Arch Echo at their website, and be sure to "like" their facebook page. Adam also has a personal Youtube Channel with loads of great tutorials and music.

I had a chance to chat with Adam recently - check it out!

RIP Chris Cornell

"2, maybe 3 hours ago. I never write this soon after. I took a day to write about Michael Jackson. 2 weeks for Prince....."

Read it all at Skinny Devil Universe


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

GUITAR GODS: Courtney Cox

Courtney Cox is a shredding new talent. She burst on the scene in 2008 as a member of the Iron Maidens (an all female Iron Maiden tribute band), but by that time - due to her time at the Paul Green's School of Rock - she had performed on-stage with legends like Jon Anderson (Yes), Adrian Belew, Janes Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell, and guitar hero George Lynch (ed. note: see George's "Guitar Gods" interview HERE).

She then relocated to Los Angeles and was quickly tapped for the role of "Adriana Smith" in the Iron Maidens, and has scarcely had time away from the fast-paced world of music since.

Learn more about Courtney at her facebook page and check out the Iron Maidens.

I had a chance to chat with Courtney recently - check it out!