New Music

I’ve been in search of some new music lately. After a while, I get a little antsy with the music I listen to because I’ve listened to it so many times before (that’s not to say I don’t still like it, but every once and a while you need something new). Luckily for me, there’s this fantastic website called NoiseTrade that gives you downloads of music (with the artists’ permission) either for free or in exchange for a donation for that artist. It’s mostly lesser known artists, but it’s all fantastic music. They recently put an album on the website from Matthew Mayfield. A couple of years ago, I went to a NeedToBreathe concert and Matthew Mayfield opened for them. He’s pretty amazing. After the show, he stood in the lobby and handed out his album, Now You’re Free. I’ve pretty much loved his music ever since. But the album that was just put on NoiseTrade is 72 Songs | Every Release. This means every song Matthew Mayfield has ever released. It’s pretty incredible. A lot of these songs I had already from his other albums/EPs, but some of them I’m hearing for the first time. Whenever I get a new album, I get really excited about music. This album especially has been perfect for studying and everything lately (Funny story: I’ve been listening to all of my Matthew Mayfield music and I noticed that some of the songs I haven’t listened to in a while I played a year ago. Basically that means that Matthew Mayfield is the best at getting me through finals). Anyways here’s one of my new favorites off this album:

This is the live version, but it’s still just as good. And here’s his cover of “Ring of Fire.” Just so amazing.

I really like his music because of the acoustic sound. He doesn’t have a lot of songs that are over-produced. And really, it’s just such. good. music. Please listen to this guy because he’s so talented and more people need to hear him.

Same Old Same Old

Yesterday I talked about the fictional duo in “Once” (although they were a couple at one point and a band in real life!), but today I need to talk about The Civil Wars. This duo is fantastic. I think I was probably introduced to them when they sang with Taylor Swift on “The Hunger Games” soundtrack, and I was hooked. Their harmony is insane and their songs are so dreamy and ethereal (except when they’re screaming hardcore-country-rock-bluegrass blessed madness). Unfortunately, they are currently “separated.” When I heard about that I was so disappointed. Some bands break up and it’s not a huge deal – but these guys are different. This is just my opinion, but I don’t think they sound as good alone as they do together. There’s something that each gives to the other that makes them, them. I’m hopeful they’ll get back together soon and go on tour, because I would love to see them live. But their most recent album, The Civil Wars sort of narrates the dissonance brewing between them in perfect, harmonious, lyrical moments. I really love all the songs on this album. I read an article around the time the album came out from NPR. They did an interview with Joy Williams of The Civil Wars and she said this about the song “Same Old Same Old”: “there’s still magic when we sing; the way that our voices blend…” I think that’s a perfect way to describe the way these two voices sound together: magic.

Once

Can I just write a blog post that is all about my favorite movies? It’d probably be pretty long…and you’d probably get bored of reading it…and I’d probably run out of ways to say “awesome” or “amazing.” But I’m listening to a song from the “Once” soundtrack and thinking about how great this movie is. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s about two people (an unnamed man and woman) who meet on the streets of Dublin and spend a weekend recording music together. It’s about love, life, missed chances, and how music can connect people even in just one moment.

I first watched this movie with my family not that long after it came out, and I watched it again in my Film Studies class in high school. I love movies that talk about music as something universal; so often songs have the ability to connect us to people we’ve never even met – whether it’s the songwriter themselves, or a person halfway across the world who is listening to the same song. I know I’ve read different artists talk about performing in Asia and it’s incredible to them that people who don’t even speak English, can sing along with them at concerts. Even when you don’t understand the language the song is in, the language of the music speaks to us.

This is the song I was listening to. This scene is near the beginning of the movie and it’s pretty incredible what Glen Hansard can do with his voice (and his face).

This song is kind of the theme of the whole movie. This scene in particular is when the two characters first sing together. The first time I saw this, I got goosebumps. (And it won an Oscar!)

About Me: Normandy

I’ve mentioned several times that I went to Bath during the summer of 2012.  I was there for five amazing weeks, and at the end of that time, I didn’t go home, instead I went to France.  I met my family in Paris, and from there we drove to Rouen for a night, and then we went onward to Normandy, and later back to Versailles and Paris.  Now, one thing you need to know about me: I have always been fascinated by Paris.  I’m not sure where this fascination came from – Madeline? Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s Passport to Paris? The animated Anastasia movie? – I don’t know.  All I know is that from a very young age I knew that I wanted to take French in high school (I did) and that when I went to college I wanted to study abroad in Paris. That was it. Case closed. No questions asked.

Until I found out about the Bath program, that was pretty much still my goal. Once it came down to deciding where to go, however, France just wasn’t a perfect fit for me.  Pretty much any program I went on there would be taught in French, which wouldn’t mean anything for me credit-wise since I had already filled my language requirement.  I don’t regret not going to France at all for study abroad.  And luckily, I got to go there anyways.

At any rate, back to the story. So we drove up to Normandy (An interesting experience) and stayed for about three days.  Let me say this: that was one of the coolest places I have been.  We went to pretty much all the various D-Day Landing beaches.  I’ve always found history fascinating, especially when you can really feel like you’re experiencing it.  We went to Utah Beach, one of the D-Day Landing sites.  This picture shows what it looked like at low tide, which was when the soldiers had to disembark onto the shore.  We didn’t walk all the way down to the water’s edge because it was so far – at least a mile.  Imagine what it would have been like for those soldiers who had no cover in the early morning light.

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Utah Beach, Normandy

 

One of the other stops we made in Normandy that has stayed with me was our trip to the American Cemetery.  This is where soldiers were buried who died during the war in Europe.  It overlooks Omaha Beach.  I can pretty much say that I have never seen a more beautiful location for a cemetery – and that’s part of the reason it’s stayed with me.  The scenery is in absolute contrast to what happened on that beach so long ago.  And the silence.  Up on the bluff in the cemetery, you can barely hear the waves.  Everything is silent, everything is in awe and remembrance of those people who lost their lives.

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The other thing that has stuck with me is the opposite of silence: the music.  When we had entered the cemetery museum, we signed a guestbook and saw that some people had come in just before us that were from the same town.  We found the man, his son, and his father (a World War II veteran) who had signed the book, and found out that his other son would be singing later on in the cemetery with his chorus.  We decided to check out the singing, and found out that the chorus was actually from a high school near our house.  It was the weirdest moment of being in a small world.  The chorus sang a couple of songs, but the one that has stuck with me is “I’ll Be Seeing You.”  This song was very popular during World War II, so it was appropriate for the chorus to sing it.  Standing there, the wind gently blowing, listening to this song that so many millions of people turned to for comfort during the war, surrounded by a hauntingly beautiful setting…It’s a hard feeling to describe.  Music has always been important to me, and I think it can create such strong, powerful feelings within you.  It made me feel the despair, hope, strength, and love of that entire era, and reminded me that the whole world was forever changed by those events.  That moment will forever be etched in my mind.

“I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.”

 

About Me: Music

I didn’t mention it in my last post, but I am actually a huge music fan.  I’ve been playing the piano since I was 6 or 7 and I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 14 (I also played the clarinet in elementary school and middle school, but I haven’t really picked it up in a while).  Music has always been a huge part of my life.  My parents always made music important in our house, and I’m really grateful for it.  It can bring so much joy and really be a companion during any part of your life.

My music tastes have changed some over the years, but I like to think that I have very eclectic taste in music.  I love most all types of music (Sometimes I even like rap, although it’s not my favorite).  I really like Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles, Ed Sheeran, Hunter Hayes, The Civil Wars, Mumford & Sons…all types.  One of my favorite lesser known artists is Alexz Johnson. Alexz Johnson was on one of my favorite television shows when I was a kid, So Weird, and then later she was on Instant Star.  In both of these shows she sang and I was always amazed by her voice.  She has put out a few solo albums and will hopefully be putting one out in the near future. I just recently discovered this song on YouTube that I’m hoping will be on her new album.  Her voice is just fantastic.

As I’ve said multiple times, I really like television too.  So when television and music combine, I generally really like it (Except maybe reality competitions).  One of my favorite shows now is Nashville.  It has really good, soapy storylines, and the music is generally fantastic.  Just this past week, two characters sang a song called “This Town.” It was kind of creepy, but really just hauntingly beautiful. (For some reason, it’s not letting my embed this video, but trust me, clicking on the link is worth it.)

http://abc.go.com/music-lounge/video/Nashville-Extended-Performances/_m_VDKA0_k8awz4ou 

These are some of my favorite songs/artists right now.  I’ll leave you with another one of my favorite songs from Sara Bareilles’ most recent album, The Blessed Unrest.  It’s called “Satellite Call,” and it’s really beautiful.