Archive for December, 2010

R. Kelly’s Love Letter Album Brings Back That Lovin’ Feelin’

Posted by    |    December 16th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I know what you’re thinking. I’m not the typical R. Kelly fan. But when you realize the King of R&B, inventor of the remix, and the genius behind “Trapped in the Closet” has written for Gladys Knight, The Isley Brothers, Whitney HoustonJanet Jackson, Céline Dion, Vanessa L. Williams, Brian McKnight, Mary J. Blige, and Jennifer Lopez, it broadens your perception of who you think R. Kelly is.  For the record, I’ve been a hopelessly devoted fan since he was R. Kelly and The Public Announcement, and my first memory of his velvety voice was to “Honey Love” on a local Dallas radio station.  Since that moment, I’ve been unwavering in my love for his music, even during his slight departure from traditional R&B into hip-hop territory. Like many of Kelly’s adoring fans, I’ve been counting down the days until the release of his brand spanking new “Love Letter” album, and I’m happy to report that it lives up to the hype and then some.

With a nod to the Marvin Gaye era of soulful crooners, Kelly wrote and produced every song on “Love Letter”.  His voice is undeniably strong and full of emotion on two glowingly beautiful tracks, When a Woman Loves and How Do I Tell Her. If you were one of the lucky fans who scored a limited edition from Best Buy, you can’t deny the When A Woman Loves remix makes you want to shake your moneymaker in sheer delight.  If there’s one thing that makes R. Kelly stand out from a crowd of R&B powerhouses, it’s his ability to tell a story through song, and convey raw emotion the entire track through.  If you’re expecting the sexy, late-night beats of the “12 Play” album or even “T.P.-2″, you’re remiss.  This new creation takes the best of greats like Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, and Ron Isely and fuses them together to produce a romantic, heart-tugging, ballad-filled love letter. Like Madonna, R. Kelly has reinvented himself through his music in a way that puts him on an entirely different level than the Biebers and Gagas of present day.  “Love Letter” is clearly his gift to his fans, and as one of his biggest, I got the message loud and clear.

The following boys are responsible for my recent plethora of iTunes purchases

Posted by    |    December 14th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Matt Duke, Tony Lucca, and Jay Nash. Friday night at The Prophet Bar, I’m passing up my usual weekends of vodka soda rendez-vous with friends in favor of a voice I found two years ago at the zenith of a terrible break up. “Tidal Waves” was the nicotine patch to a year-long cigarette addiction in the relationship ashtray. Matt Duke, whose smooth voice is of the Tyrone Wells/Jason Mraz/Chris Thile/Matt Nathanson genre, is killer. Like death by dark chocolate.

The trio set up without a word to the audience and launched into “Stranger in a Strange Place”. The three talented guitarists teamed up last year for the first TFDI tour, and are at it again through the end of the month. The bromance trio yielded the mic to one another, making sure they each had ample time to showcase their specific style. (more…)

E is for Organic

Posted by    |    December 14th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

A lot of people shop Etsy these days for hand-made crafty goodness created by hundreds of talented artists, each with their own little stall nesting within the mother site  of Etsy.  You know you can find just about anything inside of Etsy, but have you ever considered shopping there for your organic clothing  needs?  One such shop contained therein is Gaia Conceptions.  Their moto is: “Eco chic apparel for the modern nomad.”  They use only sustainable fabrics such as local organic cotton, hemp, organic wool, and raw silk, that contain no added chemicals or dyes.  I haven’t yet made a purchase from them, but hope to do so soon.  The prices for many of their items is quite reasonable too, which certainly doesn’t hurt.  I am literally drooling over the colorful and casual yet classy designs.  Can I add everything they make to my Santa wish list?

Anders Osborne and Stanton Moore Trio Funk Up the Granada

Posted by    |    December 10th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Who’s that crazy homeless dude on stage rockin’ out the guitar?

Anders Osborne: Not Homeless

Anders Osborne, not homeless

Oh, my bad. It’s Anders Osborne.

With the funky fresh Stanton Moore Trio laying down the body-girating grooves, Anders topped it off with his Jackson Brown-esque vocals and some interesting jam band influenced guitar soloing. His raw New Orleans vibe really shines through in his songs. Anders is one of those performers who just oozes with expression; whether it be him channeling a 3 minute feedback drenched soundscape, or belting out his emotions on the mic, Anders’ passion radiates outward.

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Alive With the Glory of Love for the third time in one year

Posted by    |    December 10th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

In high school, I openly declared the Foo Fighters to be my favorite band. Six years since, and I can’t bring myself to listen to The Colour and the Shape for more than twenty minutes without being over it. I put too much pressure on Dave to wow me on a consistent basis, which still breaks my heart a little every time I try to listen to Hey, Johnny Park!. Since my ears and Dave’s vocal chords have a love/hate/love/despair/really-like-a lot-but-still-not-completely-healed relationship, I’ve been weary of using term “favorite band” like the Cowboys have been afraid of scoring in the 2nd half.

Say Anything is the runner’s high to my musical repertoire. They are one of the few bands that my brothers and I completely agree on; siblings in our early twenties, this is the only concert that we have attended together. I love this band more than I can convey in the English language: I’ve seen them three times in the past twelve months. At three different venues. In two different states. Which probably sounds a little obsessive, but their concerts are always served with a side of youthful catharsis that most likely works better than any Olay product.  (more…)

Virgin Airlines lands in Dallas

Posted by    |    December 6th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Sir Richard Branson, Hilary Kennedy, and myself

Virgin Airlines had its virgin flight into Dallas last week.  The star-studded flight brought the likes of Willie Nelson and Virgin America founder, Sir Richard Branson, to our fine city.  Hilary Kennedy got to sit down with Branson before he headed off to hang with Nelson for the night.  See her interview with him by clicking here.

The Launch Party was held at the Winspear, a truly incredible location that transformed itself into a make-Hollywood-proud red carpet extravaganza.  Not only did it look gorgeous outside, from the planes “flying” overhead, to the crystal clear fountain, but then you move inside to fabulous drinks, the ability to donate to Stand up to Cancer and sign the Stand Up to Cancer banner (which I’m told will reside in the airport in the Virgin terminal), to fantastic Dallasites and others from around the country dressed in cowboy chic or west coast casual.

Dallas is the airline’s first mid-continent destination, and a good choice at that.  A strategic choice for Virgin, the greater Dallas area’s population is projected to grow by 30-60% in the next 15 years. (more…)

Graduation

Posted by    |    December 3rd, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I first fell in love with Needtobreathe at a good friend’s party where The Heat was blaring from the speakers. I spent a good portion of the evening texting the lyrics to myself as each song shuffled to the next, promising that I would Google said lyrics upon my return home. They’ve been an iPod staple ever since.

House of Blues Dallas frequenters, this year Needtobreathe graduated from the Cambridge Room and moved on up to the Music Hall where they sang “Let Us Love” and “Lay ‘Em Down” to a packed house. Lead singer Bear Rinehart’s voice is so unique; it reminds me a little bit of Creed’s Scott Stapp, but way way, way, way better. Did I mention his voice is better? Oh by the way, his voice is better. (more…)

Sir Richard Branson Brings Virgin Airlines to Dallas

Posted by    |    December 2nd, 2010 at 11:35 am

Last night was an affair to remember-red carpet, flashing lights, and a dose of lengedary performer, Willie Nelson.  Oh, and “kind of a big deal” Sir Richard Branson, the 212th richest person in the world.  When I found out about my invitation for the launch party of Virgin Airlines in Dallas several weeks ago, I was pretty excited for two reasons: I like any excuse to get dressed up and go to the Winspear, and I wanted to meet Sir Richard.  I have never flown Virgin Airlines, though my friends who have rave about how hip, cool, and modern the flight experience is.  Despite luxuries like WiFi and touch screen technology, my fascination is with how the addition of Virgin might lower airfare at DFW intially on Virgin Air flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco. When my handsome date and I arrived, we checked in to get our wristbands, walked the red carpet, and headed inside to open bar and DJ Red Foo of LMFAO spinning good tunes.  Sir Richard and Willie Nelson walked the carpet together, with the former wearing “Free Willie” on his t-shirt.  (After all, Willie Nelson was just arrested last Friday and potentially faces six months in jail.)  His performance was exciting-even for people like me who aren’t country music enthusiasts.  When it ended, Sir Ricard gracefully granted me a sit-down interview on the couch (thank you, Ms. Jordan,) and we chatted about all things Virgin and Big D.  I can see how he became a self-made billionaire-that man is quite the charmer; his compliments in that British accent would make any lady blush.

And when he stood up after our interview, the Willie Nelson bandanna he’d been wearing all evening fell to the floor.  I’m happy to say it’s found a new home with my wardrobe.

Motion City Soundtrack smells really good

Posted by    |    December 1st, 2010 at 9:12 pm

The guys of Motion City Soundtrack like to have clean clothes. I know this because my freshman year at SMU, they performed at McFarlin Auditorium, and were later spotted in the Virginia-Snider dorm laundry room washing the tour bus smell out of their Ts. This was very exciting for all of the building residents, and became somewhat of a bragging point in the weeks to come. This memory sticks in my head for two reasons because a) I have an innate curiosity in regard to what would happen if I were to rub a dryer sheet on Justin Pierre’s hair and b) I have no idea how they got in the building without a keycard. While I may never find the answer to either of those inquiries, I did have the privilege to see them perform at the Palladium this past November.

Named one of Spin 25 Best Fall Tours, co-headlining with Say Anything, these guys live up to the title. Their beats will make you jump and wish you had the gusto to crowd surf. Their lyrics are straight out of the doodles in your 9th grade Geometry book. It’s as if they examined your high school soul and wrote about your visible angst from under the microscope of your Chuck Taylor-ridden existence. (more…)

Someone please inform me if I’m trapped in 1950

Posted by    |    December 1st, 2010 at 1:18 pm

“Are you taking notes?” A handsome guy asks me of my incessant documentation. “Yep, it’s my job,” I reply, “who are you?” “I work with Matt.” Alright, you have my attention.

I’m talking to Danny Garcia, Matt Costa’s guitar player, stage left in the Cambridge Room as Everest wraps up their set. “We’re dangerous together,” he says of his friendship with Costa. I believe him.

Matt Costa is unpredictable. He enters the venue from the front door, leading his band up to the stage which appears to be set in the 1950s, or the 1860s, depending on how you look at it. The drummer looks so soda shoppe, I feel like ordering a chocolate malt from him. “Hello everyone,” Costa said upon approaching the mic. Something about him makes me feel like I’ve been working on the railroad. Also, I’m wearing plaid and I look like a roadie. (more…)