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Ten Musical Notes and New Music for The Week of November 13, 2017

Check out the new music from The Golden Boys (above) and La Vida Continua (below). Find more from these bands and many others at Bandcamp.

There is the great old Chuck Berry joke. But sending music into space with the hopes of finding extraterrestrials who can keep a beat is serious business. The Mercury News reports that Messaging Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (METI) and Sonar, a Spanish electronic music festival, transmitted what the story describes as a “a silent and invisible pulse that’s the mathematical equivalent of ‘dance with us’ ” to a planet orbiting which, in astronomical terms, is more or less next door. The signals were sent from in Tromsø, Norway to planet GJ273b on Oct. 16, 17 and 18th. The planet is 12 light years away, so any return signal won’t get here for 24 years.

Lil Peep, a 21-year-old hip hop performer, died in Tucson this week. The report at CNN said that the artist, who was born Gustav Åhr on Long Island, was found unresponsive on his tour bus. There were signs of potential drug involvement.

The Chairman of the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Vermont resigned his position on November 10 in response to cuts made in the department’s budget and resulting elimination of classes. D. Thomas Toner had been asked to recommend cuts of $3.7 million to $4 million. The total budget for the collegeis $110 million. Toner said that the cuts were coming late in students’ course selection process. The administration said that the large toll in the college was due partly to it has a high reliance on part-time faculty.

Can a Grateful Dead musical work? One is running in NYC and Robert Hunter wrote a song for it

“Beautiful,” the Carole King musical was, well, beautiful. For that reason, it would be unfair to write off what seems to be a pretty bad idea: A musical about The Grateful Dead. “Red Roses, Green Gold” is playing at the off-Broadway Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City. The show is set at the Palace Saloon and Mining Company, which is in Cumberland USA. The focus is on Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter songs from “American Beauty” and “Workingman’s Dead.” One good sign is that Hunter wrote an original for the show, called “Drunkard’s Carol.” The story this week at Rolling Stone said the show opened last month. The fact that it’s not called “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been” is a reason for hope.

People like music. A lot. The Nielsen Music 360 2017 U.S. Report, according to Billboard, found that that 90 percent of the population listens an average of 32.1 hours per week. The prior study said 86 percent listened for 26.6 hours per week. Americans, on average, spend $156 annually on music, $3 more than last year. Of the total, 54 percent is spent on live performances, 29 percent on LPs, downloads and gift cards, 9 percent on streaming and 8 percent on satellite radio.

He does apparently have a heart of gold and obviously is growing old. Neil Young will provide access to an online archive of his entire catalogue at the beginning of next month. The Neil Young Archives will be free (at least at its launch), according to CTV. The archive will have features to help navigation. Young also has an album coming out, the story says.

Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia are separated by a line down State Street. The Tennessean has an interesting story a visit to The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, which is on the Virginia side. It was the site of The Bristol Sessions, which were recordings done in 1927 by Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company. The sessions featured the Carter Family (Maybelle, A.P. and Sara), Jimmie Rodgers and others. It is known, according to the story, as the “big bang” of country music.

Another story in The Tennessean looks at a program for veterans organized by Challenge America. The program, which is held on a secluded farm in Williamson County owned by Amy Grant and Vince Gill, teams vets and country music songwriters. The story mentions Operation Song, a similar program. In addition to helping veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, the programs help people experiencing chronic pain and other physical and emotional maladies.

It’s nice to see that John McLaughlin still is doing his thing, though precisely what his thing is esoteric and even a bit confusing. The guitarist, most famously with The Mahavishnu Orchestra, was very influential in the 1970s. The story at the Chicago Sun Times describes the music as jazz rock fusion. It was that and more. McLaughlin worked extensively with Miles Davis and influenced many guitarists. Indeed, you had to be an extremely talented player just to capable of being influenced by him, if that makes sense.

Drake became at least the third male performer to stop a show recently when he spotted bad behavior on the part of a man in the audience. During a show at Sydney’s Marquee club, he saw a guy inappropriately touching a woman and stopped the song. The video at The Guardian shows Drake pointing and saying, ““If you don’t stop touching girls I’m going to come out there and f**k you up.” The story points out that UK rapper Loyle Carner last month told somebody in the audience at a Norwich show to leave after making a sexist comment. In August, Sam Carter — lead singer of the heavy metal band Architect — called out an audience member who was inappropriately touching a crowd surfing woman.


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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.