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Ten Musical Notes and Some New Music From The Week of November 5, 2017

Here are interesting music-related items that appeared online this week and new music. “After Slice” is from Ivory Waves (above) and “No Vacation” is from Yam Yam (below).

The New York Times posted a Q&A featuring The Root’s Questlove, Salamishah Tillet and Jon Caramanica. The topic was  the influence of hip hop on media. The wide-ranging discussion noted that there recently has been a resurgence of hip-hop related movies.

Garth Brooks is the CMA Entertainer of the Year

The 2017 Country Music Association Awards were held Wednesday at The Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The ceremony honored the 58 people killed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last month in Las Vegas. Garth Brooks won the Entertainer of the Year Award, according to USA Today.

The Conversation takes on the weighty topic whether listening to music helps or hurts a person’s performance on specific tasks. The story is interesting and, as often happens with this type of research, the answer is not a straight yes or no. Author Nick Perham writes that the type of task and the genre of music determine whether performance is helped or hindered. My takeaway: Don’t let your brain surgeon play The Ramones.

Cryptocurrencies based on blockchain is an exceedingly confusing topic. Essentially, it is bringing financial transaction into the digital world and giving value to things that are not real. The key questions to start with are: Why is gold valuable? (Answer: Though gold has some useful properties, such as its malleability and conductivity, its market value is mostly due to the simple fact that everyone simply agrees that it is valuable.) Is there a reason that a random set of numbers can’t also be deemed to have a specific value? (Answer: No.) Cryptocurrencies are coming to music. Business Insider reports on SingularDTV, which is building an entrainment app on Ethereum. Forbes writes about AudioCoin, another cryptocurrency getting into music.

It’s very hard to sum up the theme of a post at Big Think called “We Do We Love Music?” The reasons, which are complex, have something to do with our brains.

It’s two weeks before Thanksgiving, so that means it’s time December holiday music and ads. The site Tampa Bay chronicles this phenomenon. A chart at the story says that Best Buy is the worst offender, with holiday activity starting on October 22.

The Inquirer describes a fund raising initiative by The Grammy Music Education Coalition aimed at bringing music programs to Title 1 schools in Philadelphia, Nashville and New York City. The organization was partly founded by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences but now is a “collective of more than 30 groups.” The next step is to move beyond the three cities.

The Colorado Springs Independent has a nice feature based on an interview with Phil Alvin, co-founder of The Blasters. The roots band has been around since 1980, though co-founder Dave Alvin has left. The Blasters backed Big Joe Turner in the 1960s.

Knox News reports that the state of Tennessee, which its rich musical heritage, next year will establish the Tennessee Music Tour, a 1,200-mile loop that will run the length of the state. It will start with 50 to 55 sites.

In good news for musicians and people who run music sites, Nielsen Music says that on average people listen to 32 hours of music weekly. That’s a significant jump from the 26.6 hours listened to last year and the 23.5 hours the year before. In the first six months of the year, 184 billion songs had been played on Spotify, Apple Music and similar sites.

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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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