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Music is Everywhere


Spin posted an article yesterday describing a staged variety show being planned by David Byrne. The program will be presented at Town Hall in New York City on June 1.

The element that resonates is the idea that the explosion of technology has broadened the way in which people find music. The presentation is based on a chapter in his book, “How Music Works,” which was published in 2012:

That chapter is about the “four ways we discover music in the digital age: recommendation by experts, by the music itself, by social and cultural forces, and by narrative and context.” The variety show will demonstrate the power of expert recommendation—a.k.a., Byrne will introduce musicians and performers whose work he enjoys personally.

The bottom line is that music is a soundtrack to life. It seeps into our consciousness through a variety of means, from a formal recital to a jackhammer, lawnmower or train heard in the street. It’s not exactly what Byrne is getting at, but close enough to make the point. Nothing is not music.

Sort of along the same lines is the clip below the Amazon ads, which features a very young Frank Zappa and Steve Allen. The program, which aired on March 4, 1963, features Zappa and Allen using bicycles as instruments. Bryne is addressing the different ways in which music is distributed. Zappa is making the point that everything is music and that music is a representation of the life around us. The two ideas are distinct, but related at some level.

Above is Above is Bryne’s Road to Nowhere.

Homepage photo: livepict.com

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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