Bernard Herrmann was one of the greatest 20th-century composers ever. He was born in New York City in 1911. In his early 20s, Herrmann held the prestigious postion of arranger and conductor at CBS radio, where he was introduced to Orson Welles. That relationship proved to be a most creative and exciting collaboration, resulting in the very terrifying "War of the Worlds" broadcast, famously known for seriously frightening the nation as listeners sincerely believed they were hearing an actual report of an alien attack. Shortly thereafter, Herrmann landed his first major film score, Citizen Kane. Herrmann's credits include Citizen Kane, Vertigo, The Day the Earth Stood Still, North By Northwest, Taxi Driver and Psycho. "Scene D'Amour" from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo has an eerie beauty. The lush arrangements are heavenly and tearful. Almost three minutes into the piece, the composition has an unrequited joy about it. "Scene D'Amour" from the Vertigo soundtrack is an absolute must-have.
I stumbled upon this band simply by surfing the net. I love finding something new and interesting. These guys are from Durham, North Carolina. Their sound is a kind of modern Appalachian experimental rock-n-roll with some great harmonies. It just sounds to me like they are having a good time. They have some shows coming up on the East Coast and then in Austin, Texas. Download "Lazy Suicide."
Roberta Lee Streeter, AKA Bobbie Gentry, was born in Chickasaw County, Mississippi. Her mother and father divorced shortly after she was born and she spent the first six years of her life in poverty living on her grandparents farm. Gentry's grandma traded a family cow for a piano and, at age seven, Bobbie wrote her first song. She shuffled between both parents, moving in with her father and then to California to live with her mother. She studied philosophy at UCLA and then transferred to the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. Gentry is best known for her Grammy-winning title "Ode To Billie Joe." Her voice is true, sincere and made up of all the good stuff we need to be reminded of these days. Inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, she now lives the life of a private citizen. You gotta respect that. Another great track from the album Ode To Billie Joe is "Mississippi Delta."
Genre: Country Soul
Artist: Bobbie Gentry
Song: Mississippi Delta
Album: Ode To Billie Joe
Producer: Kelly Gordon
Polygraph Lounge is an underground music/comedy duo from New York City, founded by multi-instrumentalists Rob Schwimmer (piano, theramin stylophone, claviola) and Mark Stewart (daxophone, trombadoo, chaladoo), a gifted guitarist who plays with the great Paul Simon. Their talents combined are alien-like. Plus, they invent their own instruments. Their humor is sophisticated and sophomoric, appealing to both kids and adults. It's Joe Meek at the circus. Anyway, you can catch Polygraph Lounge at Carnegie Hall, with the sublime Bobby McFerrin on February 23rd at 2 PM. Tickets are still available.
Autoamerican, released in 1980, was Blondie's fifth studio album and their third album in a row to go platinum. "Rapture" was a groundbreaking and original single. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. The track "Faces" represents a gentler overlooked side of the band and deserves a listen. It's got a jazz-like swagger to it, atypical of Blondie. Download "Faces."
Producer: Mike Chapman
Ledisi is a Grammy-nominated soul singer born in New Orleans. She grew up in a house filled with music. The track "Upside Down" opens up with a scatting flavor of Ella but with a modern twist. Ledisi is a thumbprint of a new generation of soul. Download "Upside Down" from Lost and Found.
Song: Upside Down
Album: Lost and Found
Producers: Ledisi, Rex Rideout, Nano Hanes