Orphaned at age five from a musical family, French composer Félicien-César David had a religious upbringing, and would go to study at the Paris Conservatory in 1830. But he left after eighteen months, later making his way to Egypt, where music of the East would make a lasting impression on him.
David wrote a significant body of work, including a highly acclaimed and innovative symphonic ode Le Désert in 1844. It established him as the first French romantic orientalist and gained him a reputation throughout the continent.
You may or may not know who David Bromberg is, depending on your age. Odds are, though, you do know his friends. Bromberg has been featured on close to 200 albums, recording with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Carly Simon and The Eagles, among others.
Singing about one's imminent death requires a certain level of delicacy, because it's way too easy to dive into melodramatic gloom. But Sonnymoon's "Just Before Dawn" — in which Anna Wise's ethereal vocals float across Dane Orr's palpitating soundscape as she contemplates mortality — takes on a more hopeful, universal tone. "Every night, you should have someone to hold," Wise sings, "to tell you that you did okay when your mind is against you."
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 9:35 am
Cowboy Junkies makes its ninth appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.V. More than 25 years after forming, the band is more active than ever: Over an 18-month span beginning in 2010, Cowboy Junkies released four new studio albums.
John Fullbright's voice rises up and around the guitar chords in "Me Wanting You," his tone intended to haunt the person he's addressing. His desire, his "me wanting you," is as direct as he can possibly make it — it's not a cry of despair or hope or lust. It's the sound of someone intent on making as strong a connection with the listener as he possibly can.
Among the notable musician deaths of this week was go-go pioneer Chuck Brown. As prelude to this week's links, I find it fascinating how jazz so directly led into something that could be called an original musical style.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:00 pm
People throughout Belgium are currently celebrating the harmonica player and guitarist Jean-Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans, born in Brussels on April 29, 1922. That puts the NEA Jazz Master, also made a Baron by the King of Belgium in 2001, just a few days past 90.