Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Tragically Hip

Hello Friends,

Friday night was a very special night for the world. 'Hope for Haiti Now' was broadcast globally with some of the world's finest singing their hearts out to raise funds for Earthquake Relief. In Canada the musicians, stars and broadcasters came together to do their own "lead-in telethon" called 'Canada for Haiti'.

The highlight for me was seeing Canada's band, The Tragically Hip, perform and acoustic version of 'Fiddler's Green'. I have only ever seen this live in concert once before.

The Tragically Hip have been a big part of my life since I was a mere 13 years old. They will always hold a place in my heart and each album acts as part of the soundtrack to my life.

For me this was this band that drove me to seek a career in the music industry. I interned at their record label, Universal Music, for the simple reason I would have the chance to work on their albums.

The summer I began interning at Universal was when The Hip were set to release 'Music At Work'. This album spawned a couple hit singles including the title track and 'Stay'. It truly was a dream come true.

Like them or not - there's no denying their impact on Canadian music and culture over the past 27 years. From their humble beginnings at Queens University in Kingston, Saturday Night Live in 1995 , the main stage at Woodstock in 1999 and the Glen Gould stage this past Friday night. This band is a very a big part of an entire generation of Canadians. *There has been a million other big shows and highlights in and around these I've just mentioned. I know as I've been to about 75 of them:)

With 12 studio albums, a couple of live albums and a box set - this band has evolved with the times in the best possible way.

I doubt that majority of the band's fans have even given some of the later albums the time of day - which is sad. They really have grown musically and the writing is forever more intelligent and though provoking.

I could go on about these guys forever. Instead I will give you my Cole's notes, beginner's guide to The Tragically Hip.

This list consists of my favourite track from each of their albums and a few extras...
On February 4th The Tragically Hip's lead singer Gord Downie will be in concert with another great Canadian songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. It's going to be a special night as Gordon Lightfoot is someone my father loved when he first came to Canada in the 60s. The best of both worlds on one stage for one hell of a musical experience. I Can't wait as my Dad and I will be in attendance at that show.

Ps - A little know fact is that Welsh superstars, The Stereophonics, used to cover The Hip when they were a young band called 'Tragic Love Company' named after their 3 favourite bands (The Tragically Hip, Mother Love Bone and Bad Company). Check out the track 'Could You Be The One' line 3 if you don't believe me. Here's them covering 'Fiddler's Green'.

Pss - Tim Holley can attest for the 75 shows - he was right there with me.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

For The Greater Good

Hello Friends,

On this the eve of a global benefit special for Haiti - musicians from around the world prepare to step-up and do their part to help. It's sadly something that happens on what seems to be an ongoing basis these days - but non-the-less a truly commendable thing. They do have a voice and people listen when they speak - so my hat goes off to those that get involved.

There's the obvious names that always come out for the cause including Bono, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay and Sheryl Crow and to me they are champions and leaders for doing so. They are always in it for the right reasons and set the bar for others that follow.

Tomorrow's event looks to be a massive one and involves artists from all genres of music. The line-ups go from the newest names like Justin Bieber to Motown greats like Stevie Wonder. It really is about coming together in a world that is becoming increasingly smaller each day. I have goose bumps when I read these press releases.

In Canada the media companies have all come together to create the lead-in for the night entitled 'Canada for Haiti'. Canadian musicians and celebrities alike will be out in full force to raise the awareness in a homegrown show starting at 7 pm et.

Here's the full listings of all celebs and artists involved.

U.S. Press Release

Canadian Press Release

Bono, Edge, Jay Z and Rihanna have apparently recorded a brand new song for the event and will perform this live tomorrow night. I'm sure it will go down as yet another classic anthem for a time that the world needed everyone to come together.

I hope everyone tunes in to do their part tomorrow - it's something special when everyone around the world is doing, watching, listening, talking in person and through social media about the same thing.

As I like lists - here's a quick list of songs that grew from troubled time that was Famine Relief in Africa.

Band Aid - UK artists for Africa

We Are The World - American artists for Africa

Tears Are Not Enough - Canadian artists for Africa

Take care of each other.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Pop Music means Popular Music

Hi Friends,

Much like candy - some pop music just doesn't have any substance. The good thing is that it doesn't really matter. Good music really is good music - no matter what the content.

I can honestly say I'm a sucker for great pop tunes. From Duran Duran, Culture Club, Debbie Gibson, Whitney Houston, New Kids on the Block, Madonna, Back Street Boys, N'Sync, Corey Heart, Gwen Stefani, Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Sugar Babes, Robbie Williams, Take That, The Spice Girls and even Miley Cyrus' 'Party in the USA'. A catchy hook is a catchy hook:)

Today as I left the offices at MTV I saw a crowd of, for lack of a better term, Cougars on the prowl. I wasn't sure why they were all there as the MTV building sees many stars pass through the doors and always involves fans and audience. Tonight it was for Joey McIntyre of NKOTB fame...and perhaps a few fans of Boston Public the series. Joey is in town for a show at the MOD Club touring a solo album I believe.

I for one had a younger sister that loved them while I grew up - so an quite familiar with the many hits and amount of merchandise that had their faces branded on. I secretly have a soft spot for these guys - and really love the single from a couple of years back 'Summertime'. Donny also did a hell of a job playing Sargeant Lipton on HBO's hit series 'Band of Brothers'.

I digress...

Sometimes I save my pop songs for a long run - or in the car where nobody can hear me singing along (except poor Raffy). I know that everyone has their own 'Guilty Pleasures' - but they shouldn't feel guilty if a song makes them feel good.

Here's a short list of some of my very own 'Guilty Pleasures'.
Awesome - I've not so secretly created tomorrow's running playlist.

Pop music simply means popular music and I'm not afraid to say I like it all.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Something was bound to go right sometime today...

...all these broken pieces fit together - to make a perfect picture of us" - Snow Patrol 'The Lightening Strike'

I cannot get enough of this song from their album 'A Hundred Million Suns'. The song itself is 16:18 in length and when you listen to it you could mistake it for 3 different songs. Band on the Run is another that does this - but Band on the Run is a mere 5:14.

I keep thinking of places that it might be perfect to hear it during. High above the clouds in a plane, a long run in Central Park, grocery shopping or even on headphones while works everywhere and is genius.

I will shut up now so you cn give it a listen and judge for yourself.

Please do me a favour and listen to the full duration and don't cheat yourself out of this amazing track. My personal favourite is the last of the 3 breaks...
  1. What if this storm ends? (Part 1)
  2. The Sunlight through the Flags (Part 2)
  3. Daybreak (Part 3)
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Music Videos

Hey Friends and Happy 2010,

Can you remember a time when people had time on their hands? Do you you remember when we would sit on front of a TV to watch a music video from start to finish?

Well I do because that's what I grew up on.. That's not the case today as this generation, unlike any that has come before, has little to no attention span to sit through anything. It's not there fault - there's simple more to see and do now:)

I find myself doing the same these days. I can honestly say that I've seen the new Lady Gaga video for 'Bad Romance' about 35 times - and until the other day had never got to the end where the bed has been burnt to a crisp. Do I have A.D.D. too now?

Music Videos, contrary to popular belief, did not kill the radio star - they enhanced and adapted to the times. There have been some amazing music videos made over the years and some of which should have won Oscars as they were as good, if not better than some feature length films. Thriller will always be the king of all music videos no matter what comes next (IMHO).

It's a great form of expression and I'm sure that each and everyone of you has your very own favourite.

Anyway, I'd like to share a few music videos that I have loved over the years that I think you should see. Here they are (categorized too)
There are obviously many many more amazing videos - but this is simply a few of my favs I wanted share with you.

Thanks for checking this out.

Speak Soon

Gregg Stewart