Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

Another new year. Whew! I have a big birthday coming up in the summer...and I'm not sure I'm ready for it!
The Christmas season is over for another year, everyone is settling down back at work. Look around at all the new sweaters, scarves, watches, and other paraphernalia and wonder if the economy can really be as bad as we're led to believe.
No recent concerts to report on. A little bit of new music, and a couple books though.
I rediscovered the Roches Keep On Doing album during the Christmas rush. Probably due to the viral video of shoppers bursting into a (seemingly) spontaneous rendition of "The Hallelujah Chorus" at a Welland shopping centre. The Roche sisters covered Handel's classic way back when, produced by Robert Fripp and it's beautiful as is the whole album. This meant though, I had to play the vinyl version. Vinyl is really making a comeback and recently I've picked up 12 inchers of Elvis Costello's new album, Roky Erickson, Ry Cooder & Manuel Galban and an EP from Laurie Anderson. What goes around comes around.
The Boxing Day sales held very little interest for me this year. Gone are the days when record stores offered such incredible deals that you would go home with bagfuls of music for $20! Nowadays it's a handful of selected bestsellers for 30% off and catalog titles maybe at a 10% discount. I recall one Boxing Day when I bought 10 albums for thirty-nine cents each! Good stuff too.
I did pick up Featuring... by Norah Jones, Odditties by the McGarrigles, West Coast Seattle Boy by Jimi Hendrix, and Aaron Neville's new gospel album. This one features Greg Leisz and Allen Toussaint and is a great return to form for Neville. Gospel recordings are popping up all over the place this year, Tom Jones' Praise and Blame and Mavis Staples produced by Jeff Tweedy are two more recent classics.
Watched a few movies over the holidays. I admit to falling asleep in the first half hour of The American but when I woke up, I really enjoyed the rest of the film. Angelina Jolie taking on the CIA and FBI and the KGB was goofy but lots of fun in Salt. More brainless fun and plenty of action was there for the taking in Killers with Kucher and Heigl. I enjoyed it!
The King's Speech featured great acting, and a fascinating true story in a stately paced film. It had to be paced slowly to enable the king to f-f-f-finish his lines! The Coen Brothers' True Grit was also filled with great acting, and beautiful cinematography. As a fan of the Duke's Oscar winning performance I have to say that Jeff Bridges had big boots to fill, and he more than filled 'em.
I read Steve Martin's new novel An Object of Beauty which I recommend as both a cautionary tale and an overview of the art world in NYC. Of course Keith Richards' Life was on my reading list, but everyone has already told you how good that was. Listen to the audiobook read by Johnny Depp! A couple Bob Dylan books kept me busy, one by Sean Wilentz and another by Greil Marcus. Both worth pursuing. Next up...a new biography of T.E.Lawrence called Hero.
Tonight? Well, I'll drown my sorrows after Team Canada's collapse in the gold medal game and watch the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concerts. Sound like fun to me!

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