Love Shines

Love Shines (film) - Wikipedia

Just finished watching a beautiful documentary about Ron Sexsmith’s troubles to get a “hit” in the land of radio (a la Bob Rock as Producer). I’ve been inspired lately by many things, some sad, some happy… This film had both… the praise and adulation of his peers and the “wall” that he can’t break through to reach a wider audience – and in the mix, such wonderful works of art, including the title to the film Love Shines.  Ron writes some haunting melodies with lyrics to match… watch this film!

Love Shines in our grief… A childhood (and adult) friend of mine passed away recently… a widower himself, he leaves behind a daughter… so much pain…

Love Shines through our happiness. My wife and I saw Paul Simon at Massey Hall recently and, just last week, Elvis Costello and the Impostors at the Sony Centre (nee O’Keefe then Hummingbird).  So much talent, so much joy brought to so many.

And to bring it all full circle, there was having Elvis Costello talking about Ron Sexsmith in Love Shines and calling him a “Man Out Of Time” (basically). Beyond belief…

May the Muse be with you all… and trailer below

Going Platinum on Bravo!

Jewel and Kara DioGuardi to Star in 'Going Platinum' | The Daily Dish

Former American Idol judge and music publisher/songwriter Kara DioGuardi and singer-songwriter Jewel will co-host a new show on Bravo titled Going Platinum.  The ten-episode reality competition is currently in production and is slated to premiere in 2011.

The program will focus on singer-songwriters as they write their own songs. It will feature 12 musicians competing in songwriting challenges – from dance tracks to love ballads. The winner will receive a $100,000 cash prize, a publishing deal and a recording deal with RCA/Jive. 

Said Jewel, “I am excited to be a part of this show because as a songwriter, I understand the dedication and struggle these musicians are going through.” She added, “This series will showcase the passion, talent and determination it requires to become a hit songwriter, and in the end we will find the next big music star.”

“Hit songs are the backbone of the music industry, and as a publisher, nothing excites me more than finding new songwriting talent,” DioGuardi said in a statement released by Bravo. “I am happy to be a part of a show that helps up and coming songwriters pursue their dreams, while giving the public a look into the creative process.”

Brian Wilson as Songwriter – Upcoming Documentary

Brian Wilson - Songwriter 1962-1969

On November 23, 2010, Songwriter 1962 – 1969: Exploring Brian’s Music in a Decade of Dreams will be released online.  The film is a 3-hour 2-DVD collection that examines Wilson’s time writing and recording with the Beach Boys in the 1960s. It also includes many rare and classic live performances, studio footage and archival interviews and photos, as well as discussions with fellow Beach Boys, studio technicians and a variety of other people close to Wilson at the time.

From the distributor’s website

Brian Wilson Songwriter 1962 – 1969 is a documentary film in which the rich tapestry of music written and produced by this brilliant 20th century composer is investigated and reviewed. With the main feature running at over three hours in length across two discs, the songs Brian wrote for and recorded with The Beach Boys during the 1960s are here re-assessed to quite startling effect. FEATURES INCLUDE – •Historical musical performances and rare and classic recordings re-assessed by a panel of esteemed experts •Obscure footage, rare archive interviews and seldom seen photographs •Exclusive contributions from fellow Beach Boys, Bruce Johnston and David Marks; Wrecking Crew musicians Carol Kaye and Hal Blaine; friend and Beach Boys manager Fred Vail; producers Russ Titelman and Bill Halverson; Wilson family friends Billy Hinsche and Danny Hutton, biographers Peter Ames Carlin and Domenic Priore and many others •Live and studio recordings of many Brian Wilson classics

May the Muse be with you Brian… check out the video clip below…

Jay-Z on Songwriting

n77852784853_5696[1]

Absolut Vodka’s Facebook Page is promoting the premiere of NY-Z, a concert plus documentary from Madison Square Garden with Jay-Z.  It will premiere online on Monday, March 22.

In September 2009, Absolut and Madison Square Garden announced the Absolut Concert Series, a three year partnership between the two iconic brands, dedicated to giving music fans the ultimate concert experience through a series of high-profile performances.

Here’s a short documentary of Jay-Z from his NY-Z gig that includes a discussion on his songwriting process:

Ryan Bingham – Oscar For “The Weary Kind”

Crazy Heart - Wikipedia

“Crazy Heart’s” Ryan Bingham continued to add to his awards season cache with his first Oscar for “The Weary Kind (Theme From ‘Crazy Heart’).” Backstage, where he addressed the press without fellow songwriter T Bone Burnett — who wasn’t feeling well and returned to his seat — Bingham said he has come a long way from living in a Suburban four years ago. Asked if writing sad music would be challenging now that he’s married, Bingham noted that the past is always with him. “We have stuff from the past that is always there. Songwriting is venting and getting the past off my chest.” Bingham also noted that co-star Colin Farrell originally performed the song with an Irish accent. “We were all rooting for him to be an Irish country singer in the movie, but it didn’t work out,” he said.

Enjoy the YouTube video below with Ryan’s performance… and may the Muse be with him (‘cos Oscar is…)

Springsteen to Guest on Spectacle

The Boss will be a guest on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle program this coming season on CTV in Canada (and on January 27 on Sundance in the U.S.).

From a New Jersey Star-Ledger article by Jay Lustig about the 2-hour season finale with Bruce and members of his E-Street Band:

Songs performed by the entire ensemble include urgent versions of Springsteen’s “The Rising” and “Seeds,” as well as a soul-shouting duet on the Sam and Dave hit “I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down” and a well-conceived medley of Springsteen’s “Radio Nowhere” and Costello’s “Radio Radio.”

Costello opens the first episode by singing Springsteen’s “She’s the One” and introducing him as the “past, present, future of rock ’n’ roll.” The artists’ respect and admiration for each other is obvious as they discuss Springsteen’s development as a musician and a person, and their musical philosophies.

“The greatest rock ’n’ roll musicians are desperate men,” Springsteen muses. “You’ve got to have something bothering you all the time.”

“You can’t always be a nice guy in the song, is what it is,” Costello responds.

The pair also zeros in on specific topics, such as Springsteen’s early years performing in Asbury Park (he calls it a “low-rent Fort Lauderdale” and says the town’s isolation from the recording industry meant “you were left in a bit of your own wilderness”), fatherhood, the influence of Bob Dylan and President Obama’s inauguration.

The most amusing segment comes when they talk about the way Springsteen’s songwriting changed between 1975’s “Born to Run” and 1978’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” becoming … well, darker.

“One reason it was different is there was some young English songwriter at the time who said the songs on ‘Born To Run’ were too romantic,” says Springsteen. “I can’t remember his name right now, but …”

Costello looks genuinely surprised. “Was it me?” he asks. “It wasn’t me.”

“I’ve been waiting 30 years for this moment,” says Springsteen, with delight. “What do you think? Of course it was.”

I’m looking forward to catching this episode for sure… The Muse is with these two and here’s a clip from the episode:

Back with Elvis Costello

Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... (TV Series 2008– ) - IMDb

It’s been too long since I’ve posted… just busy work-wise and sad personal-wise to deal with my blogs but I’m excited about Elvis Costello’s Spectacle show finally being shown in Canada on CTV!

I first posted about this a while back and more recently here

I won’t repeat what was said in my past posts, only to add that the National Post carried this article today on the show.

I enjoyed the article and am really looking forward to the show. I hope you’ll watch it too… Some quotes from the article follow:

“They try to compare it to a talk show, but [David] Letterman goes on five times a week with three people every night,” Costello, 54, says. “I could never go on that often — there aren’t that many witty people in the world.”

“Any host, really, just has to set the scene,” says Costello, who writes every show and draws upon his huge musical knowledge in talking with guests such as Herbie Hancock and Elton John. “I steer the conversation toward a subject I’m interested in — that’s really all I’m suited to do.”

Costello’s onstage familiarity with jamming gives his show an improvised feel. What began with a dependence on a teleprompter gave way to playing with his guests by ear.

“The show really changed with Bill Clinton,” says Costello, explaining how the former U. S. president’s people informed him he’d only have 45 minutes to shoot. However, the famed raconteur and, according to Costello, quite able saxophonist made it clear he was in no hurry to leave.

“I’d only written about 20 minutes of questions, but found the last part of our program was the best bit,” he says. “I still spend loads of time researching, but perhaps I’m not the weak conversationalist I thought I was.”

May the Muse be with you… this Friday at 10:00 p.m. on CTV (and for 13 shows in total!)

The Musical Brain

A Day in the Life" with Toronto producer Vanessa Dylyn

I read an article in our local weekly about producer Vanessa Dylyn (pictured left with Sting at McGill University) and her latest project, “which mixes neuroscience and music [and] examines what music can tell us about the human brain and the what the brain can tell us about music.”

Dylyn came across the book This is Your Brain on Music by Dr. Daniel Levitin (see my previous posts). She knew it would make the basis for a wonderful documentary straight away and I have to agree (and can’t wait to watch it).

CTV will be airing the documentary, The Musical Brain, this weekend (January 31, 2009 at 7 p.m.). Here is CTV’s description:

Using the research findings of leading medical experts, including Dr. Daniel Levitin (This is Your Brain on Music), the documentary examines the physical, psychological and emotional responses to music through a variety of tests on children and adults. ‘The Musical Brain’ also features candid interviews with Michael Bublé, Feist, Wyclef Jean and Sting who share what they have learned about the power of music in their lives.

In addition to discussing his passion for music, Sting puts his own musical mind to the test when he enters an fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine to have his brain scanned. Inspired by Dr. Daniel Levitin’s book, Sting undergoes tests to find out how music affects him on a physical and emotional level. Using state-of-the-art technology, ‘The Musical Brain’ demonstrates how Sting responds to various types of music – complex and simple – and what his musical brain reveals about him.

“Music is a gateway to emotion and memory, pleasure and intellectual stimulation throughout our lives,” says writer and director Christina Pochmursky. “‘The Musical Brain’follows Sting on his journey of discovery into his own musical brain, and also explores how music can define each stage of our lives.”

“This riveting documentary sheds light on the human musical experience and how science is teaching us more about it,” says Bob Culbert, Vice-President of CTV Documentaries. “The stories shared by the participating artists will resonate with viewers who understand the power of music in their own lives.”

May the Muse (and your brain) be with you…

Spectacle: Elvis Costello With…

Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... (TV Series 2008– ) - IMDb

Well, I’m still waiting to hear back from CTV as to when this show (Spectacle: Elvis Costello With…) will be airing in Canada. CTV is supposedly one of the owners of the show and made much fanfare in April 2008 that this series would be showing by the end of the year… well, there’s like a day left to that…

When the series began a few weeks ago in the U.S. on the Sundance cable network, I emailed CTV and asked when we could look for it here in Canada… and I emailed again and a third time… not one response! They’re not exactly making this viewer feel welcome…

But that’s what Elvis’ job would be if I was able to watch the show… I can’t even catch the clips from the Sundance site (though a couple have been posted on YouTube) as they are “georestricted” (probably at CTV’s request, no less, then they fail to put the show on here). Oh well, if you go to the show’s site you’ll see the list of guests (past, present and future) and see that there is a marathon of sorts tomorrow on New Year’s Eve starting at 5 p.m… (hmmm… maybe I can find a grey market satellite to watch a couple of these episodes…)

Anywho, there’s Elton John, Lou Reed, Bill Clinton, James Taylor, Tony Bennett, The Police, Herbie Hancock, Smokey Robinson, Rufus Wainwright and Diana Krall (I wonder if Rufus’ and/or Diana’s own Canuck families will get to watch the show!) and more… so quite a range and I’m sure it will be interesting, to say the least…

Come on CTV… let’s get this show on the air! And may the Muse be with you…

Of All The Things

Of All the Things Poster

A documentary to look out for as set out in IMDB:

The most unlikely comeback of the year. Dennis Lambert was one of the most successful and diverse songwriter/producers of the ’70s and ’80s, with hits like “Ain’t No Woman Like The One I’ve Got”, “Rhinestone Cowboy”, “Don’t Pull Your Love”, “Baby Come Back” and “Nightshift”. He had chart-toppers in almost every genre of music, and at one point four of his songs were simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a feat previously accomplished only by The Beatles. That was then. Today, he’s a 60-year-old family man selling real estate in Florida. But it turns out his obscure 1972 solo album is still huge… in the Philippines. A Filipino concert promoter has been begging Dennis to tour for decades, and in 2007 – thirty-five years after the release of his album – he finally agreed. “Of All The Things” is a hilarious and touching pop/rock/country/R&B documentary that follows Dennis on his whirlwind tour as he rediscovers his passion for music — a two-week adventure that takes him from the comforts of Boca Raton, through the remote outer islands of the Philippines, to a sold-out show at Manila’s famous Araneta Coliseum for thousands of fans he never knew he had. Some lives deserve an encore.

Well, this I have to see and I’ll be looking for it in the theatre or on DVD… Let me know if you see this somewhere…