It's All About the Music

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So I learned today that my best friend, Darren, is getting married. Also he and his intended are expecting. Between this and the recent spat of baby news and experience in my life, I was all set to do a post about babies. However the music intervened. If you've read my last post, you know music is very important in my life. It's what I do for living (the listening to and the playing on the radio, not the making) but more than that it's what feeds me. My wife, also a hardcore music lover. The only time one of us isn't playing something we recentally discovered on iTunes, is when we are watching tv. Even then we often wish we were listening to music instead.

Now the guy on the right here is Ray LaMontagne. Some of you may know who he is. If you do, then you are already very happy. If not, shame on you for not already rushing to the store to pick up his album, Trouble. I first heard of Ray a couple of months ago but was reminded of his greatness tonight while watching American Idol. Now this is the second time this season that a truly great (and in my opinion, unappreciated song) has been given a large audience on the show. A couple of weeks ago Elliot Yamin shined performing "Moody's Mood for Love" by James Moody. (Also a must hear) This week we have Taylor Hicks to thank for taking us out the so/so world of modern pop with LaMontagne's "Trouble" off the above mentioned album.

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Taylor, or "the soul patrolman" as he has taken to calling himself, is the single best thing that has happened to reality tv since Puck blew up on The Real World. Seriously this guy is everything that Idol is not supposed to be. He's 29 he's got gray hair and little bit of double chin. He dances like he's blind and he lists Ray Charles and Joe Cocker as his major influences.

HELL YEAH. In year's past I haven't tuned into Idol mostly because I don't care for pop music, and I can only stand so many covers of Motown standards. This season I watched for the trainwrecks that inevitably come in the audition portion and instead fell madly in love with Elliot and Taylor. You know, in a completely manly way. These guys bring taste, maturity and originality to a competition that could easily spawn a yearly boy band that breaks the charts with one hit and then races into obscurity.

Last year when Bo Bice and Constantine Ma"whatever his nameis" were in the finals, I read the same articles you did about how the show was breaking new ground, but phooey. Bo is fine, if you're looking for a new lead singer for Skinnard. But come on doesn't Rock Star over at CBS already have that covered? This year there are contestants that could have a serious recording career in the following genres: country, rock, soul, r&b, pop, hip-hop, folk, gospel, and jazz. That's diversity. Now just get rid of Bucky. Please.

While you are waiting to pick up Elliot Yamin's and Taylor Hicks' debut albums, I've got a website you have to check out. This is where I found Ray LaMontagne. www.pandora.com The idea is that it quantifies music and organizes it by its inherent qualities: instruments, tempos, moods, gender and timber of vocal, lyric content etc. You just input songs and artists you like and it plays some like it. Work with it for a while, so far I average one song in four that I've never heard of and can no longer live without. Them's pretty good odds. Thanks for listening and don't forget to look up Ray LaMontagne...go ahead...I'll be here when you get back.