Friday, August 29, 2014

Jingle Bell Rocks! Coming Soon to a Theatre Near Me

I haven't given much space in the past here at Merry and Bright! for "Jingle Bell Rocks!", Mitchell Kezin's labor of love movie about, well, the kind of good people that read this here blog.  The reason is that Mitchell's film was well covered in the rest of the Christmas Music blogosphere, and I'm pretty sure that my readers also stop by the other blogs, so I didn't see the need to repeat the info.

Well, time for a change. 

Great things have been happening for Mitchell and his film as he's made the film festival circuit.  Awards, accolades.  Plans for the DVD and Blu-Ray release.  (Hey!  I know what my team at work is getting for Christmas!)  A new distributor - Oscilloscope Laboratories.  How cool is all this?!?!!

The best part of this (for ol' Der Bingle anyway), is that "Jingle Bell Rocks!"  has been selected for the Kansas International Film Festival in Overland Park, Kansas in October.  October 10 at 7:50PM to be exact.  Overland Park is in the Kansas City metro area, and the theatre is about half an hour from my house.  I'm excited!  Greg (proprietor of Greg's Swank Pad Lounge) and I will kick off the Christmas season and meet up for the screening, and hopefully meet Mitchell as well.  Maybe share a Christmas mix or two...

I only know Mitchell through Facebook and the Christmas Music blogosphere, but I'm very proud of his accomplishment with "Jingle Bell Rocks!".  It's very inspiring to me to see the results of his work in a narrow niche field of artistry, and to see the success that is coming his way.  I felt the same way about Elizabeth Chan last year, with her "Everyday Holidays" CD release, and her realization of becoming a Christmas Music Artist (a very rare bird indeed).  These amazing, dedicated artists are true inspirations.

So - Kansas City readers - October 10, 2014, Glenwood Arts Theatre.  Come and treat yourself to "Jingle Bell Rocks!".  I hope to see you there!

Want to know more?  Follow the links!

Jingle Bell Rocks! Official Website

Jingle Bell Rocks! Facebook

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kasey Rausch Concert at my house!

I mentioned in my last post that I have turned 50.  A week before my birthday (and a few days after my wife's equally significant birthday), we hosted a celebration at our house, with friends and family invited to join us.  The highlight of our party was local musician Kasey Rausch, who played a set on our back deck by the pool. We have been blessed with a very mild Summer here in Kansas City, so at showtime it was only around 80 degrees, perhaps only in the upper 70s, so we had a beautiful evening for outdoor music.

Kasey Rausch is a country-folk-roots singer-songwriter.  I found her (like so may others) on Kickstarter as a local musician funding a new album.  I loved what I heard, and so I backed her.  A little later, looking at her online profile and website, I saw that she performed at house concerts.  The wheels started turning, and, to make a long story short, I booked her to come and perform at our birthday party.

When she arrived that evening following an afternoon gig at a nearby winery, I found that she redefined "local".  She lived only a couple miles away, and her kids go to the same high school as mine.  In fact, my son knew her son, as they had been in a class together!  Talk about supporting your local musicians :-)

Kasey performed out on our deck for about an hour, and she was fantastic.  She has an amazing voice - smooth yet with a touch of a rough edge (or maybe rough at the center and smooth all around?), perfectly suited for her roots/country music.  She performed mostly original songs, including one about her grandmother, who had passed away at the fine age of 103.  Simply beautiful.   Kasey also sang a couple songs from great country songwriter Johnny Mullins, who wrote songs for Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, and many others.

Kasey is truly a hard working artist.  She performs all over Kansas City, many times more than one gig per day, and almost always several times a week.  She travels around Missouri and Kansas, and earlier this Summer did a mini-tour in South Dakota and Wyoming.  She plays solo or with several incarnations of bands (including a weekly happy hour show with her group The Naughty Pines).

The best news is that Kasey has been signed to a record label!  MudStomp Records will be releasing her new CD, from the Kickstarter campaign, later this year.  Having listened to any of her new songs live on my deck, I can hardly wait for the CD release!

In the meantime, I am hoping to get out to see Kasey perform a few more times as Summer turns to Fall, and then Winter rolls in.  Local friends - go see her.  It doesn't matter if you consider yourself a country music fan or not, get out to a local honky tonk and see Kasey!  You will love her!

Friends across the globe - you can find Kasey Rausch on Spotify, and her albums "Born Near the Waters" and "Live How You Love" are on Amazon.  And, follow Kasey Rausch Music on Facebook to keep track of Kasey and her performance schedule.  Oh yeah - she hosts  radio show every Sunday morning, too - River Trade Radio - listen in online to get your Sunday off to a great start!

It was a pleasure and privilege to have Kasey perform at our house for our birthday celebration.  She is a talented musician and song writer, and is also an amazingly nice person (and neighbor!) We all truly enjoyed getting to know Kasey and hear her music on a beautiful Summer evening.

Now if I can convince her to record some Christmas songs!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's a Milestone

Hello good readers.  Today is a milestone for Der Bingle.  Today I left my 40s behind and zoom into my 50s, feeling great and excited about things to come.  (pause for accolades and toasts).

I'm excited to be approaching the holiday season again, when the blog will come back to life with all the merriment and joy of the years gone by.  And, it's also back to school time, which nowadays is meaning fewer activities than ever before.  Oldest Bingle child is now a fully employed pharmacist.  Elder Bingle Son is beginning his second year as a teacher and coach.  Middle Bingle is starting her second year at college, leaving only the youngest two at home (a high school Junior and a 7th grader).  So, instead of the flurry of back-to-school, it will almost be a respite.

And that's good for you dedicated readers of Merry and Bright.  Until sharing season, I hope to get several posts written, about a variety of topics, including:

  • update about a concert held here at my house this Summer by an outstanding local musician
  • reviews of a terrific new (to me) artist that I discovered on Kickstarter
  • updates on some Christmas-related hobby activities
and more, including (hopefully) a major (to me) event that will be fulfill a lifelong bucket-list goal.  It'll take time and focus, but I have the dedication.  The talent may be questionable in pursuing this project, but I'm determined to complete phase I.

No, in case you're wondering, Der Bingle will not be singing. 

I'm also hoping to use my time smartly and do some genealogy work, and some painting.  I did one painting a year or so ago, using a Bob Ross video as a guide, and darned if it wasn't decent.  So I want to get back to putting out a few more Louvre-bound paintings :-)

That's it for tonight.  Keep your eyes on Merry and Bright over the next few months.  I hope you enjoy my musings.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Springtime 2014

Hello readers!  It's May the 9th, mid-Spring, and nearly 5 months since I left you with a "Merry Christmas" greeting!  My, how time flies.  The good news is that there is only 5 1/2 months to go until Christmas Music Season :-)

I'm going to try to get a few posts out this Spring and Summer, mainly about new music from indie artists.  I've backed a couple projects on Kickstarter from fab musicians that deserve some good press, so once their new CDs arrive, I'll post out some info about their new work.

One artist, Hannah Spiro, is releasing her 5th CD, "Jewish Love Songs".  As part of my Kickstarter supporter package, I received her four previous CDs, and they are really great, and a new musical experience for me.

Another artist, Kasey Rausch, is a local Kansas City musician, who plays old-timey, folky, bluegrassy type music.  Awesome musician, great singer, great songwriter.  And, I'm working on getting her to play a show at my house this Summer - what a blast!

More on these great artists to come.  Plus whatever else comes to mind.  I have some Christmas-related projects on the drawing board - if they come to fruition then all you readers will be the first to know.  In the meantime - have a great Spring and Summer!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

An Enchanted End to the Sharing Season

Christmas Eve!  The clock is ticking toward our traditional Christmas holiday family festivities.  Dinner at Mom's.  Church.  Home for the evening, watching "A Christmas Story".  Then to bed, awaiting Christmas morning.  We will have a White Christmas here at the Bingle's in Kansas City.  A snowstorm on Saturday night followed by a cold front has left the snow for us to enjoy on Christmas Day.

For you, my readers, I have what I believe to be the most interesting, certainly the most eclectic, share of the season, "Enchanted Carols" from the Saydisc label in the UK.  "Enchanted Carols" features songs performed on Street Piano, Roller Barrel Organ, Orpheus Disc Piano, Handbell Choir, Music Box, a Brass Band, and the Bells of St. Mary Redcliffe in Bristol.  What a collection!

There are traditional favorites such as "Good King Wenceslas", "Jingle Bells", and "O Come All Ye Faithful".  There are also songs that we don't hear as often, like "Down in Yon Forest", "A Virgin Most Pure", and "See Amidst the Winter Snow" (as part of a carol medley).

Just for fun, I included a scan of the inserts in the album cover.  They aren't directly related to the record, but I thought you might enjoy them.

So, with "Enchanted Carols", I conclude another season of sharing Christmas Music with you.  As I've prepared the shares this year, I've found that many more Christmas recordings of the past are now available in digital format.  That's both good and bad.  Good because they have been remastered with excellent sound quality.  Bad because it limits what I can share.  Still, I hope that you have all enjoyed the music this year.

Merry Christmas!

"Enchanted Carols" download link

Monday, December 23, 2013

Truly a Joyous Record

According to the album notes on the back cover, "The Pop Christmas Melodies" is just that - truly a joyous Christmas record.

I was quite amused by the album notes on this record.  While I praised the writer of the album info on the last share from George Wright, I can't heap quite as many kudos for this one.  Although, for sheer amusement, this isn't bad. 

"In America, Christmas is the big holiday..."

"Carols are sung at Christmas season as they are joyous and happy."

"The date, December 25th, was probably picked as it was closest to January 6th (Epiphany)."

Oh well - the writer didn't have Google to help way back when.  So, Rondo Record Corporation album note writer, I wish you many Season's Greetings!

Oh, about the record...  "The Pop Christmas Melodies" featuring the Popular Players' Orchestra, is a record of pretty good Christmas music.  Pretty much standard stuff, arranged and performed quite competently.  I particularly like the inclusion of "Little Jack Frost", as it's the one that isn't in the upper tier of the Christmas music canon, although we all know it well.

I dig the artwork on the cover too.  As my teenagers say, very retro.

The rips here have some noise.  The record was in rough shape, so there is some fuzz here and there that I couldn't remove.  But, it cleaned up enough to be a nice addition to the season.

Please enjoy "The Pop Christmas Melodies"

download link