Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Waterboys Do W.B.

The collision and incendiary results of two of my long-time favorites: My all-time favorite writer, the poet W.B. Yeats, and one of my favorite folk-leaning rock bands, The Waterboys.

Head Waterboy Mike Scott recently undertook the adaption of a set of Yeats poems to rock song format. And while I’m not sold on every single interpretation, some of them are quite inspired ... and inspiring. This is is one of them:

“Mad As the Mist and Snow,” was one of three tunes from The Waterboys’ new release, An Appointment with Mr. Yeats, that the band performed on Later with Jools Holland on 10/28/11.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What the Buck?!

Mountain bikers beware! Here’s why pedaling through the savannah might not be as fun as it sounds:

I feel for this dude! That looked brutal. Who knew those red hartebees were such badasses? The Forty-Niners should sign a few of them as cornerbacks.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

F*** This!

This is a creative and effective take on the PSA (that’s public service announcement, for those of you not familiar with the media biz lingo).

They managed to get more of a diversity of celebs to participate, not just the usual crew of lefty do-gooders (although most of them are represented here, too).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jobs Done ... for Good (R.I.P.)

What a day! First folk guitar legend Bert Jansch and now comes news of a much bigger loss in terms of popular cultural impact, the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Despite his having resigned as Apple’s CEO a few months ago due to lingering and serious health issues, tonight’s news still seems shocking – for its rapidity, if not its unexpectedness. (A year from now this news wouldn’t seem so surprising, I think, as it does now.)

Personality aside, Jobs was undeniably a creative and marketing genius whose visionary work has affected the daily lives of so many of us for more than two decades. Literally everyone in the Western World has been touched in some way by the results of his inspired ideas and high standards. Not just the early Mac adopters among us, and not just every iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-touting biz person, hipster or kid even. But anyone who has ever enjoyed iTunes, been able to be more productive and creative with the help of an easy-to-use personal computer at work or home thanks to the user-friendly graphic interface, or even just been exposed to the far-reaching design sensibilities that trickled out of Cupertino, Calif., into so many products and aspects of our contemporary culture.

Let’s hope that Apple can honor Steve by living up to his legacy in the years to come.

This video clip of Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford University in 2005 is one of the more oft-referenced graduation speeches of recent years, thanks in no-small part to 6 million and counting views on YouTube. It’s worth watching if you haven’t seen it, or again, even if you have.

Bert’s Blues (R.I.P.)

This clip, recorded for an instructional folk guitar video, is a nice mid-1970s rendition of one of Jansch’s mid 1960s folk masterpieces, “Black Water Side,” later reinterpreted by Jimmy Page as “Black Mountainside” on the first Led Zeppelin album.

Saddened today to hear news of the passing of acoustic guitar genius Bert Jansch. A spiky plunker of a fingerpicker with the most magical fluid fretting touch. So glad I got to see him in person a few times, between the early 1990s (at a high school gymnasium in Waltham, Mass., of all places, accompanied by his with Pentangle pals Jacqui and John) and as recently as last year, opening for Neil Young’s “Twisted Road” solo tour.

Bert was a magical guitar player, who Jimmy Page (whose acoustic style borrowed liberally from Bert) called him “a real dreamweaver” and Neil Young referred to him as the “Jimi Hendrix of the acoustic guitar.” My wife, who I fairly sure has harbored a thing for ol’ Bert for many years, sadly noted the loss of his lovely poetic singing voice, too.

He will surely be missed, but remembered with reverence and appreciation.

• NPR’s music blog, The Record, has a nice concise write up highlighting his influence.