The Latest Buzz
- This Buzz for You: Joy Kills Sorrow, Wide Awake (EP)
- This Buzz for You: Noah & the Whale, Heart of Nowhere
- PHILADELPHIA FOLK FESTIVAL LINEUP ANNOUNCED
- And Then There Were None...
- Musicians and Fans: Pheed!
- Cirque de la P!nk : Pink's Truth About Love Tour Review (Philadelphia)
- Festivals 2013: An Observation On Representation
- The Buzz About 2012 - Our Favorite Music
- Bee Well: In Support of Honeybees
- Ten Random Pop Culture Musings
This Buzz for You: Joy Kills Sorrow, Wide Awake (EP)
The first time I saw Joy Kills Sorrow, in October of last year, my friend Jenne and I were actually sat amongst them in a bar in Philadelphia. While my initial comment (to Jenne) was that I loved Emma Beaton's hair because there was no way mine could achieve such height, I quickly came to appreciate both Beaton's, whose voice you simply do not forget, and the band's sound.
Comprised of classically trained musicians Beaton (lead vocalist), Matthew Arcara (guitar), Wes Corbett (banjo, vocals), Jacob Jolliff (mandolin), and recent addition Zoe Guigueno (bass, vocals), the Boston-based string band presents a fuller, lush sound on its recently released EP Wide Awake.
The title comes from the first verse of the EP's opening track, "Was It You": "Was it you there slipping out the backdoor / When you thought I wasn't home / Could you leave me in good conscience / So you wander all alone / Wide awake and searching in the shadows / All the places where we been / But the walls aren't giving any answers / And the silence never ends." A song about being haunted by the memory of a person once dear, "Was It You" showcases Joy Kills Sorrow's biggest strengths: songwriting craftsmanship coupled with big sound from both excellent, incredibly skilled playing and the strength of Beaton's vocals. It's also emblematic of what listening to Joy Kills Sorrow does: their sound sticks with you. "Get Along" infuses a jazz sound to their bluegrass stylings, while "Gold in the Deep" perhaps most reflects their traditional string sound.
I've talked many times in this column about my love of percussion, but, I must say, I don't miss it on Wide Awake in the least. That's in large part to the band's newest member, bassist Zoe Guigueno. I don't have the words to describe how much I adore both her playing as well as her vocal harmonies (I mean, let's be honest, she and Beaton totally kill it at 2:55 in "Was It You" and that never fails to make me smile, every single time, and my play count is quite high having only had the EP since June 4th).
And if you don't think an acoustic string band is capable of a mighty sound, listen to Joy Kills Sorrow's cover of The Postal Service's electro-pop "Such Great Heights", which is included on Wide Awake and is also a (quite excellent) feature of their live shows...
Joy Kills Sorrow is currently touring in support of Wide Awake, and I'm really hoping, quite selfishly, they make it back to Philadelphia in addition to the dates posted. Tour dates can be found here, via their website.
Wide Awake is available now.
This Buzz for You: Noah & the Whale, Heart of Nowhere
Noah & the Whale's fourth release harkens back, in terms of sound, to the band's 2008 sophomore album, The Last Days of Spring. This nostalgia isn't accidental: following their transatlantic success of 2011's Last Night on Earth, a lot of road and air travel prompted frontman Charlie Fink to take a look back at how much his life--and the lives of friends around him--have changed. The passing of time, growing up, personal readiness, and reminiscing on lost or missed love are themes all found here.
The album begins with youthful exuberance expressed through strings: the instrumental Introduction leads seamlessly into the title track that features Anna Calvi on supporting vocals, whose addition inspires a touch of melodrama in all the right ways. For a band whose main theme across albums is transition, this moment between first and second tracks is really quite excellent, and is, admittedly, one of my favorite moments on the album. "Lifetime" is another energetic track that soars with its strings, musing on the oxymoronic qualities of the passing of time.
Heart of Nowhere has other surprises in its more subdued moments as well. The more methodical "Silver and Gold" challenges a lover "If you feel brave, then you'll stay," a line easier to sing than actually follow through and do, coupled with the all too human (mis)conception that worth is also tied into that dynamic. That track also marks a shift: absent are the soaring strings, largely, from the second half of the album. While this is noticeable, it doesn't detract from quality: things get a bit more contemplative at times, but not necessarily without beat or gumption. The instrumental parts of "Not Too Late," for example, remind you of "Lifetime"'s more boisterous moments in their rhythmic pattern, though the track itself has a more subtle approach.
Established fans of Noah & the Whale won't be disappointed by Heart of Nowhere for its blend of the band's sound roots with its moving forward by looking back. Newcomers: well, you all need a good album to start summer with, right? This one will start you off just fine.
PHILADELPHIA FOLK FESTIVAL LINEUP ANNOUNCED
The Philadelphia Folk Festival will be celebrating its 52nd anniversary this year as one of the most beloved music festivals on the East Coast. Those who have attended the festival in the past—myself included—know it to be a special occasion out there off the beaten path in Schwenksville. Last year saw Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt, and Steve Earle rocking the main stage, and this year’s lineup, revealed yesterday, looks just as promising. Top-billed is the incomparable Richard Thompson, who will be playing with his famed electric trio. Thompson is a seasoned veteran, in a league all his own, and will undoubtedly close the festival in unforgettable fashion. The Mavericks, Asleep at the Wheel, Jake Shimabukuro, and Carolina Chocolate Drops will also be featured prominently at Old Pool Farm. Per usual, there will also be an XPN Philly Local stage, this year featuring Philly acts like Modern Inventors, Toy Soldiers, and Ali Wadsworth. And it wouldn’t be the Philadelphia Folk Festival without Gene Shay, who will be returning for his 52nd consecutive year as the festival’s host.
For the full lineup, ticket information, and more, visit www.folkfest.org.
And Then There Were None...
It is a with a heavy heart that I write to let you know that we lost all seven of our hens to a predator just over a week ago. It was so unexpected and quite traumatic. Needless to say, our hearts were broken. With each passing day, we begin to build a routine that no longer includes gathering eggs, walking in the yard without tripping over them, giving them treats, etc.
Those hens were a part of our family. Losing them hurt.
Adding insult to injury, we had to put our 11 year old black lab, Iris, down last Tuesday. She wasn't sick, but developed a ruptured spleen at some point on Tuesday and there was really nothing else we could do aside from prolonging her death by a few months and still that wasn't guaranteed. We sat with our sweet Iris, told her she was a "good girl" and gently rubbed her chin as she drifted away peacefully.
We have been so humbled by the outpouring of support from our family, friends and coworkers. So many were touched by Iris' sweet demeanor and "puppy dog" energy. Sometimes, with such unexpected loss comes a realization that we are blessed beyond measure - surrounded by love and life.
Death is a part of living and loving. It is not easy. Death reminds us to cherish every single moment we have...taking in all that is good and kind. So many times, in the busyness of living, we forget to slow down, to take it all in, to love, to laugh.
I challenge you all, my sweet TBAers, to...just for a moment...slow down, look around, love those around you, help someone, help yourselves. Know you are loved.
We have decided to take a year off from raising hens. Have no fear, Holly's Hens live on...here and in my heart. Looking forward to sharing the joy of raising more feathered friends from chicks when the time comes.
Until then, we keep moving forward...loving our remaining two pups (Cooper and Ranger) and our two cats (Manny and Darby). Thanks to those of you who have
reached out and sent love and support.
Musicians and Fans: Pheed!
I am not very skilled in social media. I am a fairly private person, so perhaps that accounts for some reluctance. Our social media consultant is appalled that The Buzz About has less than one thousand tweets in nearly four years. I tweet one superbly talented musician, but that is because I recognize people I've beaten in wiffle ball. Luckily, we have contributors eager to Tweet, and post on Facebook about new music and concerts, or update about new content on The Buzz About website.
Two weeks ago, I read about a fairly new social media service, Pheed. Launched in October 2012, Pheed takes many elements of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and incorporates them into one easy to use social media outlet.
Why should musicians care about posting content on yet another site? Pheed is unique in that it allows users to capture and post audio or video via the app. Yes, one can still post YouTube clips, but the ability to instantly capture and post a few cords of a new song, or a quick, "We are backstage and ready for you..." to fans, known as "subscribers" on Pheed is quick and painless. Pheed imposes no time limit to video or audio uploads. One has the ability to seamlessly share and/or connect Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Last week, we created a Pheed account for The Buzz About. As our social media guru reminds her mostly musically inclined clients, "Claim your name!"
I've posted to our Pheed, and I'm very impressed with the clean, easy to use interface, whether via computer or using Pheed's free iPhone app.
MySpace was a great place to hear demos or music clips (please forgive the archaic reference).
Pheed is the place for musicians. Share a quick snippet from a new song, a video from backstage, copyright a Pheed. Allow fans to read your Pheed, "Remix" (Pheed's version of retweeting), "love" a Pheed, leave "Pheedback," and use beloved hashtags.
One thing uniquely Pheed is one can charge subscribers to read or listen to their Pheeds. That is, if you want to charge to listen to a new song or watch a performance of a few songs, anyone can charge a fee. Let's not get ahead of ourselves though, Pheed is simply a great way for people, namely musicians and fans, to connect.
Let fans hear you in a new way, and interact through a new platform that incorporates all the great elements of the social media sites we have come to know and love.
Pheed can be found at www.pheed.com.
You can find The Buzz About: http://pheed.com/thebuzzabout
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