Sunday, July 31, 2011

Singer/Songwriter Kelley McRae Live!

Many of you may not have heard of Kelley McRae, a beautifully talented singer/songwriter, most recently hailing from Brooklyn, NY.  Kelley and her husband Matt (an excellent guitarist in his own right) quit their jobs, bought a VW van, and set out on a nationwide tour, consisting of small venues and, mostly, living rooms across America.  Kelley works the web in search of hosts for her shows.  As of July 31, she and Matt have played nearly 80 shows since the end of February.

On July 30, my own living room was the venue for Kelley and Matt.  I and about 15 others enjoyed a great show, as Kelley played her original compositions for about an hour.  Yes, the show was about an hour, but Kelley and Matt were guests in our home for over 4 hours.  They are not only superb musicians but terrific people.  It didn't take long to feel like they were a part of our usual circle of friends.

The Music:  Kelley and Matt play acoustic guitars.  Kelley sings, and Matt harmonizes from time to time.  Kelley has a strikingly beautiful voice.  She ranges from soft restraint to inspiring power, often in the same song.   Smooth, natural, beautiful.

The Songs:  There are many great singers out there, but to me the musicians who write and perform their own songs take the artistry to new heights.  Kelley is an immensly gifted songwriter.  During the show, she told us that some come easy and some take years to finish.  Kelley has taken snapshots from her life and turned them in to amazing songs, especially "Johnny Cash" and "Never Be".  "Sparrow", "One Hundred Dollars", and show-closer "Time" were other highlights of the show.

To all my readers, please take some time and listen to Kelley McRae's music.  She has recorded two albums, "Never Be" and "Highrises in Brooklyn".  Check out her website and tour blog,  If you're so inclined, contact Kelley to host a house show.  I've never had an experience quite like the intimacy of an incredible musician performing in such a personal venue. 

Amazing, just amazing.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Great News!

Santas Working Overtime reports that the greatest guitar player in the world (my humble opinion), Tommy Emmanuel, is working on a Christmas album for release later this year.  No details given, but this would be tremendous.  I've seen Tommy perform three times, and he is freakin' awesome...   Hmmmm.... over at Falalalala I once posted that I wanted a Tommy Emmanuel Christmas CD.  Maybe he is a reader?  Could Roberta Gambarini be next?

The news from SWO

I've been away in the Southwest on a road trip with the family for nearly two weeks - hope to get a few more tunes shared out in July.  For a Christmas in July fix, please visit Ernie's place.  He'll get you set up good.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Christmas in July part 2

Another quick share for Christmas in July, and this one is a preview of things to come.

Last season I shared out a 3-record set called The Glory of Christmas.  Pretty good stuff, though it needed some cleanup work, especially "Patapan", which had a nasty little skip.  Over at, DavesWorld56 told us that he had acquired a reel-to-reel tape version of the same set, in pristine condition.  Dave ripped the album from his reels, and they were indeed terrific.  Just one problem, his reels didn't include several of the songs from the record set, including "Patapan".

So, I'm planning to remaster the missing songs from Dave's reels, use better technology to clean up the rips, and merge them in with Dave's this season for a full set of The Glory of Christmas in as good a condition as we can muster.

As a preview, here is a remastered "Patapan", without the skip, and with better noise elimination technology.  I think it sounds pretty good.  So, for Christmas in July, and as a preview of the 2011 season, here is "Patapan" from The Glory of Christmas.

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Christmas in July

Here we are, past June 25, closer to Christmas 2011 than Christmas 2010.  At nearly 100 degrees outside in Kansas City, it doesn't feel too Christmassy right now.  But, in the Christmas in July spirit that is present on so many places on the Internet, I have a share or two for you.

First up is an album of Organ and Chimes Music, starring the Original Wurlitzer from Radio City Music Hall.  There's not much information about the album - no artists credited, no orchestras.  Just organ and chimes music from the Radio City Music Hall organ.

There is a lot of organ Christmas music out there, and when it's just the organ, I'm kind of so-so about it.  However, the chimes on these arrangements add a lot to the music, as well as the song selections.  One of my favorite Christmas songs is "The Cherry Tree Carol", so I was glad to see it on this album.  The medley of carols that closes the record is very nice too.

So, please enjoy the unknown musicians on chimes and organ on "Merry Christmas Carols with Organ and Chimes".

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