Alright, the time has come to wrap this adventurous week up. We’ve gone through soft rock, headbanging, hip hop and even dance. Today, to wrap things up, we’re going to honour an underrated talent. She can sing, play guitar, write, act and even model. Today’s song is going to showcase items 1,2 and 3 on that list. I chose a song which strips her performance of any distractions. I’m a fan of the raw nature of an acoustic performance, and this song gives us just that. Her voice shines through above subtle instruments, and the simple but poignant lyrics are there for the world to take or leave. To close the week, I give you “Mine” by Taylor Swift. Please enjoy!
EDIT: The audio is slightly off sync, I apologize. Really though, you should be able to enjoy this with you eyes closed.
Today, two important words, Artistic Freedom. What does it mean? Artistic freedom allows talent to create, and that’s exactly what today’s artist does. Okay, maybe not create in this case, but refine. A live performance allows musicians to be playful and try new things. I would have never thought that today’s song could happen. A hip hop/dance tune performed by a stadium rock band. It shouldn’t work, but thanks to the raw talent behind it, it most certainly does. It’s a musical marriage that contrasts today’s mashups. Instead of forcing two things together, it’s taking the best of what one artist does, and letting another artist put their spin on it. Let’s take a listen to “We Found Love” by Rihanna as performed by Coldplay. Give it a try.
Something else that is great about live songs is that they can breathe new life into songs we’re sick of or never really liked in the first place. Case in point, today’s song. The song is good enough to get played on pop radio and rock radio, for better or worse. Songs this popular are usually as disliked as they are liked. Such is the case for today’s jam. The intro sounds amazing, and just like yesterday’s song, the band really gives themselves to the music. You have probably never thought of this song as a headbanger, but watch the first 30 seconds and try to keep your head still, I dare you! Go on, watch the song. I hope it gives life to this hit for you again, or maybe even ups the love you already have for it. It’s “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People.
As we continue our live songs countdown, today is a personal favorite. This is a band that came into my life accidentally. I bought the album off iTunes on reviews alone. I had never even heard of this band before I bought the album, now there’s no going back. What I love about this particular live performance is how the band members give themselves to the music (specifically at 3:03 of the video). The performance takes the song from a fun folk/bluegrass/rock song to a head banging blast. After all, what is a live performance for if not adding emotion to art? These guys are fantastic at that. The guys are Mumford and Sons, and the song is “Roll Away Your Stone”. You’re gonna love it!
Today we’re going to listen to a live song that is a little more stripped down than its original version. It’s “Cancon”, and as good as rock gets. When I was in college studying Recording Arts, one of my instructors was an engineer on the album version of this song. So although I am tied to the original version of the song, I do enjoy the live version as well. I’m not even sure that the artist is still making music, so this song stands as a piece of art. His voice is true to the album version, and the rest of the band, however faint, is on point. Today we enjoy a live version of “Summer of ’69″ by Bryan Adams.
We can’t forget Hip Hop this week. The era of “throw your hands in the air, and wave ‘em like you just don’t care” has come to a close, and has been replaced by artists like today’s. All of the instruments are live and tight, and the vocals are crisp. It’s slower, introspective hip hop, so much so that it can be played as dinner music at a wedding reception. It’s not what you might expect as dinner music, but there’s no shame in hearing new music or something a little different. It is “You Got Me” by The Roots. Enjoy!
Today, a live performance with a pointed message. I remember first time I played this for someone, their reaction was “What can we do?”. That’s a powerful reply to a call to action. Yes, many people consider this person “preachy”, but I think deep down we all know he’s right.
The song behind it is an all time classic that you know from the first note if you remember anything about the nineties. It’s not romantic, in spite of popular perception. In fact, it’s a break-up song. Either way, the song is beautiful to listen to, and help put this band into the homes of hundreds of millions of people around the world. It could only be “One” by U2. The audio is a little low, so turn it up, absorb the message, and “go on it!”
This week’s theme, live performances. We’re deviating slightly from the theme of this blog, in that I usually won’t play these versions at a wedding, but all the songs we listen to this week are performances I’m really excited to show you.
I do consider myself a live performer when I DJ. I have to create a show on the spot. My instrument is not one we usually think of when we think of live music, but make no mistake us DJ’s are performers. We do things things with our instrument that evoke emotion in people, which is the goal of any musician. Personally, I take cues from the U2′s and LL Cool J’s of the world in terms of how I should perform. They have mastered the art of captivating their respective audiences for the duration of their performances. And who knows, maybe those artists could find their way onto this prestigious list. If they’re lucky!
Today’s song is probably the strangest on this list. I say strange with the highest praise. Strange and different is the only way music (and the world) moves forward. I love this group because they are not afraid to be different. Two vocalists, LOTS of band members, no wardrobe design to speak of, and awkward instrument stage placement (you’ll see what I mean). In other words, nothing to distract from the music. Heck, the male vocalist was so busy writing genius tunes, he didn’t even have time to button his shirt. The song is “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I think you’ll like it.
EDIT: It notice more nuances of this group every time I watch the video. Notice the female vocalist taking off her backpack and stashing it beside the piano before the song starts! Probably the first person to ever wear a backpack on Letterman.
I’ve got one more for you. You thought that we were done with slow jams? Not quite yet.
The truth is that it was a late night last night spinning tunes for a company party (awesome, by the way), and I haven’t yet decided on a theme for this week. Today, I’m going to post one of my all time favorite slow jams. If you don’t know this artist, you should get to know him. I had the good fortune to see him live at the Orpheum Theatre a few months ago. The room was filled with his distinct, raspy voice for 90 amazing minutes. He was humble to a fault. No talking between songs other than a heart-felt “Thank you very much”. So, to say thank you in return, I honour him by posting a double live performance by him. The songs are “Shelter” and “Hold You In My Arms” by the incomparable Ray Lamontagne. I know you’ll love it.
Today, we’re wrapping up slow jams week here at Visionary DJ Services. It’s been fun, and we’ve heard a lot of great music, but fist-pumping and head-banging are getting lonely! Okay, maybe not, but we do want to get back to what makes weddings do much fun, high-energy, light hearted songs.
The song of the day today starts slow and then cuts over to another song to close out the video. I don’t actually know why they’d do that, but it works well, because both songs are great. What we want to focus on today is the brilliance of the first song. Other than maybe “My Girl” and “Satisfaction”, no songs escaped the sixties with such memorable lyrics. Also, as witnessed by the video, the group’s talent is off the charts. Particularly that vocalist…. Okay, enough talk, let’s have a listen to “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5. Enjoy it, and thanks for visiting