Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Soundtrack for the End of the Year

Happy New Year! Here are the melodies we're humming as we say goodbye to 2014.

In October American Idol star Casey Abrams came back to Nora's little elementary school, where he attended as a wide-eyed second grader, to serenade the children and give them a few life lessons about perseverance. The stories of grit, urged on by his former teacher (and probably administration) to rationalize the visit as "educational," were beside the point; his phenomenal musicianship, control and range on the standup bass, piano, penny whistle, guitar and that amazing instrument that is his voice showed how hard the man has worked. He sang "Stuck In London" for the kids and its monkey lyrics and catchy tune were a big hit.

Nora with Casey Abrams

Randy and I discovered the two soulful guys of El Camino singing on the outdoor patio at Baja Beans in Pescadero, Mexico on a brilliant bright day during spring break. Love the melodies, love the harmonies, love love love the happy expat vibe. Randy are I are going back to the Baja next month to celebrate my birthday. We're leaving the girls with my Aunt Joan and the thought of traveling without them makes me both wistful and excited.

Our friends Bobby and Julie played the MCA in November, covering David Bowie's Station to Station album, with some Iggy Pop sprinkled in. Lots of fun, cool video backdrop, the crowd ate them up with a spoon!

I only grabbed a couple seconds of video of "TVC 15" because I was having too much fun to waste time fiddling with my phone, but you can get a taste of the fun:

Here's Bowie with the entire song, enjoying himself thoroughly.

Here's "Potatoes and Molasses" from the poignant and lovely mini-series Over the Garden Wall, brought to you by one of the guys who makes our favorite kid/adult cartoon Adventure Time. You can see the influence of Shirley Temple's "Animal Crackers In My Soup." And check out this original demo!! Watching this five day series became a family gathering in our house. The sweet antics of cartoon Wirt and his funny little brother Greg played against the gorgeous animated backdrops of autumn in the country changing into cold winter in the woods comforted us as we moved into the darker season.

I discovered Sia this year and found out she was the tortured talent behind "Let Me Love You Until You Learn To Love Yourself" and Beyonce's "Pretty Hurts" and melancholy songs for Rhianna, David Guetta and others, monster hits with anguish right behind the beat. The artist has fought her way back from drug and alcohol addictions and is having a moment of her own right now. I'm obsessed with this video, the soaring chorus "I'm gonna swing from the chandelier/I'm gonna live like tomorrow doesn't exist" and the eerie girl who dances like a banshee, who dances like I feel when I hear a song like this.

So thrilled I've got Mia turned onto musicals now, yay! She wanted to be my date for Damn Yankees from Light Opera Works in Evanston this summer and I couldn't pull her away from "You've Gotta Have Heart" and "Whatever Lola Wants," even though the hour was late and the intermission just beginning. Earlier this month we went downtown to see Newsies with our friends Katie and Mary in what is turning into a sweet holiday tradition. Here's the joyous "King of New York" with plenty of fun tapping.

My brother's youngest daughter Chloe flew in this last weekend to visit the French consulate and get her student visa to study in Vichy this coming spring semester. We had just seen Into The Woods the day before she arrived and we were still high from Sondheim so what a thrill to learn that Chloe played Beanstalk Jack on stage in Kansas City! We spent much of our brief time together warbling "There Are Giants in the Sky and "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis. Now the girls have the 15 minute Prologue on heavy rotation. I can't get enough of Little Red Riding Hood's "The woods are just trees/The trees are just wood/I sort of hate to ask it/But do you have a basket?"

It's a secret why I'm posting this last song, but if you watch the Variety of videos that I Show on this blog, you can probably figure it out. A little challenging to sing with that wide range, but I'm looking forward to the fun of it, whee!!

Happy 2015!!