Entries tagged with “Music”.

edsheerIt’s been a while since I posted about music. I am mindful that despite my posts about things that I find that fit my taste and style, music is a little more of a touchy subject. Meaning, I know better than to think just because you like my posts about vintage finds, bicycle photographs and swanky over-priced leather goods, you are also going to dig my musical taste.

But every now and then I like to share a musical artist that is speaking to me – especially when it is a new contemporary artist with an old soul. Today, I am going to recommend you take a listen to British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.

If you watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics from London a few weeks ago, you may have seen a small glimpse of Ed Sheeran, who performed an excellent cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish you were Here” – or you may have missed it as his set was pretty tame compared to the rest of the production – he was just a boy with a guitar and a backing band. Anyway, for me as a fan of Mr. Sheeran, it was a reminder of how great this young artist is.

Ed Sheeran is, broadly classified, a folk-ish singer-songwriter. He has strains of James Morrison, David Gray, James Blunt, and Matt Hales (Aqualung), a few other popular British artists of the past several years – but he is his very own with witty and contemporary lyrics and mellow folk/pop voice. And I just think he is great.

His most recent album, “+” (that is the title, the “plus” sign), is full of songs that showcase his sweet voice and casual style with his lyrics on full display. If you are unfamiliar with Ed Sheeran, and you like any of the afore mentioned artists, take a listen, he may become your new favorite thing.

If sampling on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Pandora or other some such thing, try “Wake me Up”; “Lego House”; “Give me Love”; or “Gold Rush” all from “+” or take a chance on the “Wish you were Here” cover which has been released and features a stellar back-up band including Nick Mason, Mike Rutherford, Richard Jones and David Arnold.

I have loaded every Ed Sheeran track I have into my upcoming vacation’s playlist and I know that he will be part of the soundtrack for the week. I look forward to years from now when I hear a random song from Ed and be instantly transported back to this very moment in time. For all the old-timers out there that think all good music was recorded prior to 1990 – well, I disagree.

Check out Ed Sheeran’s official site here.

Sample Ed Sheeran’s music on Yahoo Music here.

ASM1As much as I love finding the little gems of the arts hidden in the woods and mountains of rural New Hampshire as I continue my sabbatical here, I do miss having easy access to the art institutions of a major metropolitan area.  I lived in Boston for several years and never for a minute took for granted the city’s wealth of cultural offerings including world-class theater, museums, and music from pop and jazz to opera and classical.

The good news is that with proper planning, a little free time and the hospitality of friends, a trip to Boston can be easily arranged to allow me to continue to experience all the city has to offer.

This weekend, I was thrilled to be invited to attend an opening weekend performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) one of the world’s great orchestras.  The concert featured guest soloist and conductor Anne-Sophie Mutter backed by the glorious Symphony performing Mozart – how could we go wrong?

About the BSO performance: “The dazzling German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter returns to the Boston Symphony Orchestra as both soloist and conductor for a second night, Saturday, October 1, performing Mozart’s violin concertos nos. 1, 2, and 4 to begin the 2011-12 subscription season. This concert completes Mutter and the BSO’s season-opening cycle of Mozart’s violin concertos begun with the Opening Night at Symphony gala performance September 30. Ms. Mutter is celebrating 35 years on stage this season, having made her solo debut in 1976 at the Lucerne Festival at the age of 13.”

I enjoyed a visit to the big city and a great night out a the beautiful Symphony Hall in Boston to here great music played by some of the world’s best musicians. Ms. Mutter is an amazing presence on stage while playing an conducting and was a thrill to see and hear here, especially with an all-Mozart program.

I do feel we need to support the arts, especially the institutions dedicated to preserving the tradition of the worlds great composers and the glory of the classical orchestra.  If you are lucky enough to live in an area with a symphony (large or small) I encourage you to take advantage of the experience only live music can provide. 

If you do not have that option available, I highly recommend searching out a local cinema that offers the great series of live concert broadcasts of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Gustavo Duhamel.  It truly is almost as good as being there.

dg1When Lost Cowboy was launched in the autumn of 2009, I had grand ideas about sharing all sorts of thoughts about popular culture – things like theater, film and music. I still have those grand ideas, and soon you will see much more diversity in the posts as we prepare to take Lost Cowboy to a new level. (How is that for building excitement?)

Anyway, I was inspired to write about music today, based on having gone to a great concert last night. But before I sat down to write, I did a little research to see just how many music postings I have done over the past 18 months or so. Well, the answer is: a grand total of ONE.

Unless I did some postings about music that were mis-labeled, I have written just once with a recommendation on a musical artist. That was in October 2009, shortly after Lost Cowboy started, and the artist that I wrote about at the time was singer-songer David Gray.

Fast forward to last night, when I was sitting in Boston ’s Wang Center enjoying a concert with Sophie and her mum, thinking, I really need to talk about this artist on Lost Cowboy. The artist? Wouldn’t you know… Mr. David Gray.

So I guess I really like this guy. Thanks to Sophie, we had great seats – the front row of the mezzanine of the glorious Want Theatre. I had purchased tickets myself to surprise Sophie, as I knew she would be in town, but she surprised me with tickets inviting me to join her and her mother. I tried to sell my tickets, but a couple of leads fell through and I ultimately forgot about them. But I had the tickets in my wallet last night – and they were really good seats on the floor.

While waiting for Mr. Gray to go on, Sophie asked me whatever happened to my tickets and I said “nothing” but I had them with me. Then we came up with a plan to “pay it forward” by going all the way up to the top of the balcony to surprise people with an upgrade. So I dispatched Sophie and made the evening of a young couple who had the worst possible seats.

I digress. But here’s the deal… Check out David Gray – he is very talented singer-songer for our time, and he is much more than the one or two songs you may know by him.

See more about David Gray and watch and listen to video clips on his website.

Be sure launch the music player to check out “Full Steam” – Mr. Gray’s collaboration with the magnificient Annie Lennox. Sublime.

Are you a familiar with Brit singer-songwriter David Gray? If you are, you are all set. If you don’t know him, you may be familiar with a few of his songs from the past decade or so, most notably “Babylon” which was played endlessly on adult-orientated radio stations.

I hate to admit this, but I am one of those people that finds an artist they like and then starts to resent them when they become too popular.  “He’s sold out!”  I am heard to say of a singer who hits it big.  In some cases this is true, in others it is just a need to feel cool.


Such is the case with Mr. Gray.  I loved the guy.  Loved every song.  But when he got big and everyone knew him, or at least one or two songs, I was done.  “He sold out!”

Well, it is stupid, I should still like the music I always did.  So when I heard Gray was coming out with a new album, I was excited to give it a chance.  “Draw the Line” is his first album of new material in nearly four years and it is great.

Much of the press “Draw the Line” has received focuses on the fact that it is a departure from the “formula” that has made Gray one of the UK’s top selling artists in recent years. This may be true, he formed a new band and collaborated with different artists, but the sound is unmistakably Gray. And it is a sound that is very pleasing to hear, like an old friend coming back into my life.

I mention this now, as I had the chance to see Mr. Gray perform in concert last night at Boston ’s Wang Theater, thanks to an invitation from a very dear friend. Gray put on a great show.  From the second he came on stage I was in the palm of his hands.  He performed songs old and new and proved to me why I liked him the first place, and, begrudgingly, why he became so popular.

He puts on a great show, he looks good, sounds great and has an amazing stage presence.  The Lost Cowboy recommends you take a listen to David Gray’s music – whether it is to reacquaint yourself with him or to discover him for the first time.

The new album is not quite the departure some who have you believe, but I guess I would say that after listening to it and seeing him live…  “David Gray has bought himself back.”

Visit David Gray’s website.
Purchase the CD or download “Draw the Line” on Amazon.