Tag Archives: Music Reviews

28
Jul

Review – “The Broken Record” by Corey Smith

“The Broken Record” represents the next step in the evolution of Corey Smith that began with “Keeping Up with the Joneses”.  Like all of us, Smith has grown; he’s matured both as a person and as an artist.  Here, through a mix of new songs and reimagined tracks from previous albums, we are invited on a tour of the journey from where he started to where he finds himself today. It’s an arc that will generate knowing nods from anyone grappling with a moment of reflection in their life.  It’s also a damn good record.

 

This album has a different sound from much of what Corey has done in the past.  More robust, more polished, and more lush; it’s a record made with an ear towards a broader audience.  It’s not the same Corey Smith you heard on “Undertones” – but it’s still Corey Smith.    It’s that growth that may catch some longtime fans by surprise, and an issue that he addresses head-on with the intro to the album:

 

A man on the edge, I can’t take anymore

Here’s the broken record you’ve been askin’ for.

Over and over, I feel kinda strange,

Nothin’s different here, but everything’s changed…

7
Jul

“Les Miserables” – 25 Years Young

There’s a reason the music of your youth is the music that follows you throughout your life.  When you’re stumbling through the transition from adolescence to adulthood you make strong, immediate connections to things around you.  It’s the reason your first love is always so intense.  It’s the reason you feel invincible when you’re out with your friends.  It’s the foundation that leads to that nostalgic look back at “the good old days” in later years.  Those moments and memories that surround you during that time of your life become an integral part of who you are.  For me, one of those moments was with “Les Miserables”.

I came of musical age during the 80’s – hair metal, the birth of MTV, The King of Pop, and the advent of the “mega” Broadway musical.  For my money (and with no apology to “Phantom of the Opera” fans – I just never liked that show), there was none bigger than “Les Miserables”.  Debuting on Broadway in 1986, it became one of the most successful musicals of all time.

During my senior year in high school, we did a musical review.  The closing number was a medley of songs from “Les Miserables”.  I played the part of Marius.  We defended the barricades, Eponine died in my arms, and everyone dreamed of one day more.  It was the perfect exclamation point to that year and, in many ways, it was a much larger, if more subtle, metaphor for my entire high school experience (but that’s a story for another day).  It made a deep impression on me, and the music from the show would follow me and continue to fill me with wonder for the next 20 plus years.

24
Jun

Corey Smith, “The Broken Record” Webisodes Part 3 – My Hometown

This week it’s time for the third webisode from Corey Smith, promoting his new album, “The Broken Record”. The new installment is called “My Hometown”. Corey talks why he loves living in Jefferson, Ga. and the emotional satisfaction that comes with his kids attending the same elementary school he did. Make sure to grab a copy of his new album “The Broken Record”, available now. My signed collector’s edition showed up today. I’ll be listening to it on the road this weekend and will have a review up next week. Stay tuned!




16
Jun

Corey Smith, “The Broken Record” Webisodes Part 2 – The Georgia Theater

Last week, Corey Smith posted the first in a series of webisodes to promote his upcoming album, “The Broken Record”. This week, the second webisode has been released – “The Georgia Theater”. Corey talks about starting out his career and his first performances at the Georgia Theater, and how much he’s looking forward the its reopening later this summer. “The Broken Record” releases next Tuesday, 6/21. Make sure to get a copy!




26
May

American Idol, Season 10: Finale – “And the winner is…”

At long last, the moment had arrived.  The finale of American Idol, season 10.  It was a long and enjoyable journey and last night provided the capstone on the entire affair.  Two hours of celebrity appearances, guest artists, retrospective clips, and ultimately the crowing of this year’s American Idol.

It was apparently a night of extremes.  On one hand it was the lowest rated American Idol finale show in history.  On the other hand, there were a record 122MM+ votes cast – so whoever WAS watching, voted and voted often.  The real question was – who did they vote for, Scotty or Lauren.  There’s really only one way to find out.  Let’s go to the big board and see…

25
May

American Idol, Season 10: Top 2 Performance – “Only cause she’s prettier than you.”

What an underwhelming, uninspiring, and generally disappointing final performance show for American Idol this year.  After a season of great promise and reinvigoration for the American Idol franchise, last night left me – well – flat.

The Internet was all a swirl with rumors before the show that Lauren had lost her voice and would be unable to sing.  Hailey was reportedly brought in to rehearse in the event Lauren had to withdraw from the competition (dodged a bullet there, didn’t we…) Luckily, she was okay and the producers were able to drum up a ridiculous amount of drama (and sympathy for Lauren), by bringing stylish-black-scrubs-doctor-guy out to tell us “just how bad is was”. Think they want Lauren to win?

The songs last night were one from earlier in the season, one picked by the contestants’s Idol (although we never got to see either George Strait or Carrie Underwood), and the eventual singles both Scotty and Lauren will release. (Believe me, no matter who wins, both songs will be released – notwithstanding Ryan’s repeated assertions otherwise.) We also got performances from David Cook and Taio Cruz – one good and one bad (more on that later).  If there was one saving grace, it was that the show was over quickly – almost too quickly.  At any rate – let’s dive in with a few random observations and then on to the songs…

  • Celebrities in the audience – David Archeletta, Camryn Manheim, and Rick Schroeder.  I guess the A and B list celebs held out for tomorrow night in hopes of an entertaining evening.
  • Anyone else notice that Hailey was sitting next to Casey in the audience?  Holding hands perhaps?
  • Jennifer looked great, wearing something that looked like it would have been more in place at a dancer’s convention in the merry old land of Oz.
  • I know the auditorium was much bigger, but the sound quality really suffered on the broadcast as a result.

20
May

American Idol, Season 10: Top 3 Results – “I can’t believe all these people are here for me.”

All right folks, for the second to last time Ryan dimmed the lights tonight and sent someone home.  Hard to believe next week is the finale of American Idol season 10 – it’s been an enjoyable ride.  The night started with Hailey, Scotty, and Lauren all hoping to make it to the big stage next week.  Who made it and who didn’t?  Who seemed genuinely touched and who had a sour attitude?  Who, like me, wondered why the Italian singing trio Il Volo was singing Mexican music?  Let’s not waste any time and just dive right in and see…

19
May

American Idol, Season 10: Top 3 Performance – “I missed my key change. Dang.”

Only one more week until we crown this year’s American Idol.  Last night saw the top three put in their last performances for America in a bid to secure one of the top two slots.  Each contestant performed three songs (making for a 2 hour show again…) – one of their choosing, one chosen from them by Jimmy Iovine, and one selected by the judges.   There were some interesting selections, but nothing really blew me away.

This week’s “mentor” was Beyoncé.  I say “mentor” because Hailey let slip in her time with Beyoncé that the sessions with her were actually filmed earlier that day.  By that time, I’m pretty sure the performances were pretty well baked.  I don’t think Beyoncé had that much to add.  That being said, it was still a good excuse for her to premiere her new music video and appear on the live show.  Hooray for Beyoncé.

Before we get started, a few random observations about people in the crowd and the show in general:

  • Congratulations “Fuzzy Gray Dog Costume Guy” – you got yourself on camera.  Unfortunately, all of your frat brothers are now going to call you Spot and ask you to lick yourself at parties.
  • Was that Didi Benami standing next to “Fuzzy Gray Dog Costume Guy”?  Sure looked like it.  More on Didi later.
  • How sad is it that one girl in the audience held up a sign that said – “Thank You Ford”?
  • Looks like James had a pretty good crowd at his homecoming this weekend.  I still think you screwed the pooch last week, America.
  • Lots of Hailey signs in the audience.  I sense a disturbance growing in the Force.
  • Was that Lisa Marie Presley in the audience, or just some woman with an uncomfortable amount of plastic surgery in her past?
  • Beyoncé has sold 75MM albums?  Really?  She premiered her new video on the show.  From what I could tell during my TiVo’s fast forward, it was some sort of Mad Max affair with dancing.
  • Neil Sedaka was in the audience with Jimmy Iovine.  He’s still alive?  Who knew?

Not that’s out of the way; let’s see how the remaining three contestants fared…

13
May

American Idol, Season 10: Top 4 Results – “You screwed the pooch on this one, America. Give metal a chance!”

Last night it was time for the top four to become the top three.  Who would it be?  Who would get to go home to fanfare and camera crews next week, and who would just get to go home?  72MM votes decided the fate of James, Lauren, Scotty, and Hailey – the largest vote total for a top four in Idol history.  It was a night packed with surprises, quite a few performances, and big disappointment for fans of one of the top four.  Let’s jump right in and see what happened.

12
May

American Idol, Season 10: Top 4 Performance – “If you don’t stick your tongue down my throat, we’re through.”

So last week I was travelling and missed the shows thanks to my Slingbox.  This week my power decided to go out about 30 minutes into the show and I had to catch some of the show via americanidol.com – so bear with me if I missed something exciting during one of Ryan’s intros.  Oh well, such is the life of an intrepid purveyor of sarcastic and insightful opinions on American Idol.

It was an important week this week – the final stop before the top 3 (and the ensuing visits home).  Ryan pointed out this was the same week that Chris Daughtry went home in his season, and reminded everyone to vote.  Each contestant sang two songs – one that “inspires them”, and one from the catalog of Leiber and Stoller.  So who was the guest mentor?  Lady GaGa, of course.  I know that’s who I think of when I think of Leiber and Stoller.  How did they do?  Let’s go to the big board and see…

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