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Archive for April, 2013

You Guys Rock!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Oh, my! What fun it has been to listen to strong music by strong women this week. You guys really were fun, bringing me music from the 60s to today.

Diana/Otterwise sent me a link to 25 Women (most young) rocking it today. I only knew a few of the names. It’s amazing and inspiring. Maybe you want to check it out, also? 25 Women Who Rock Right Now – Spinner

I still want to collect a Pat Benatar song or several, but she’s not on iTunes. I relate, as a musician who has struggled with the current system of music licensing, that someone might make that choice. I’ll get her some way or another. Meanwhile, I put her on my list because she is who started this thought process.

I’m sort of amazed at how many ways a “strong woman sound” might record. Dolly Parton, Nancy Sinatra, Sister Sledge and Joan Jett on the same list? Cool. And for most of you, the Carpenters might not fit, but it was their album I first purchased, the first band I was in love with. They are pure vocals. It was hard to find an upbeat song in their catalog, but Top of the World is truly happy and so I chose that one.

It turned into more of a “beat-full, tush-shaking, house-cleaning songs sung by women” but I’m really enjoying it just the way it is. My iTunes says the playlist is between 1 and 2 hours long. That’s enough time to get some work done, and not get bored if I have it on repeat. Yeah!

I’ve had a great day or two. Thank you very much for playing this game with me.

Here’s my Playlist:

  • ABBA – Take a Chance on Me
  • Adele – Rolling in the Deep
  • Alanis Morissette – Hand in my Pocket
  • the Bangles – Manic Monday, Walk like an Egyptian
  • Laura Branigan – Turn the Beat Around
  • Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – What I am, Nothing
  • The Carpenters – Top of the World
  • Tracy Chapman – One Good Reason
  • Sheryl Crow – All I Wanna Do (is Have Some Fun)
  • Karla DeVito – Is this a Cool World or What?
  • Heart – Magic Man
  • Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – I Love Rock & Roll
  • Katrina & the Waves – Walking on Sunshine
  • Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi
  • Dolly Parton – 9 to 5
  • the Pointer Sisters – I’m so Excited
  • Pretenders (Chrissie Hynde) – Brass in Pocket
  • Helen Reddy – I am Woman
  • Linda Ronstadt – You’re No Good
  • Carly Simon – You’re So Vain
  • Nancy Sinatra – These Boots are Made for Walkin’
  • Sister Sledge – We are Family
  • Donna Summer – She Works Hard for the Money
  • Shania Twain – Man! I Feel like a Woman!

I think I’m ready for a work day! Thanks so much!

Rockin’ Sound for Magnificent Work

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

It’s funny how we can take decades to learn about ourselves. Self-discovery is hard. Why is it such a challenge to see the pieces of how we interact with the world?

In the last year I’ve discovered again how sound impacts my life. Sounds, their presence/ volume/ lack thereof can help me function beautifully… or not well at all.

Born this Way

My mother remembers that I reacted as an infant to minor-key music on TV (by crying), even if I was in a different room. I’ve heard that story enough that I’ve repeated it myself. I know that movies and TV do not relax or energize me, they exhaust me. I don’t watch them any more.

Last summer, when I spent 2 weeks in Montreal alone, I was there to write. Some days, sitting long enough to write was a challenge. Some days, it was pleasant and no problem.

An Aha! Moment

One day on the balcony (see above), I figured out that rhythmic sounds helped me sit still (a clock ticking in the kitchen or a lawn sprinkler outside). When the neighbor stopped watering the lawn, I first missed the sound and then realized how much it had added to my comfort level.

Why did I find this information so surprising? Why did I not imagine that sounds other than minor-key music might impact my moods? Why do I know that certain music helps me stay focused, but not that a non-musical sound (crickets in the night, morning birdsong or a lawn sprinkler) might give me comfort?

Maybe you’re not self employed as I am, but all of us want to function well during those times when getting things done is important, yes? Personal tasks, professional work, volunteer or family obligations… all of these can benefit from our focus. Driving and cooking, in particular, depend on our full awareness.

I found a few Apps for my iPod Touch* which play me some sounds I enjoy when it’s too quiet but I don’t want music. In particular, this has helped me on nights when it was hard to sleep.

Pondering a Music Mood

I sing love songs professionally. The 1920’s was a prime time for romance and sweet melodies. It was great for sentimental lyrics. Brian and I perform positive music on stage, by design. We want to help folks gain a smile, and improve their day. That’s our niche, and one my voice (and temperament) is well-suited for.

Yet, I believe that music is a sort of non-prescription drug. When we decide what music to play, we are choosing what mood we want to be in. Sentimental romance is not a balanced music diet.

For example, when I choose Michael Jackson or the B-52’s in the morning, I want to dance myself awake and get on the road quickly. When I play non-English-language African music, I need to stay focused but not be distracted with words.

Sometimes I want to walk briskly. Sometimes I need “oomph” to clean house. Sometimes I work in the yard, and need a bit of energy behind me. At these times, I wish I had more energetic music options. I’m not a rocker by nature, but sometimes I need some rockin’ music to propel me.

I Need You

So… that thought has brought me to another which may seem unrelated at first. What makes them connected is that I’m seeking a particular sound input for myself. Perhaps you can help?

I want to put together a playlist of unforgettable single songs from female rock singers, anywhere from the mid-1970s to 1990 or so. I tried to make a Pandora channel of this type, but they kept suggesting male singers. I’m ashamed to say I had many of those CDs already. It’s time for the Grrrrrls to rock my world.

I need some musical Sisters to sing me into a dance-beat mood of action. There just are not enough of them. It’s time for me to both support and get to know them better.

Here are some possibilities I’ve thought of, only the first two of which I already own. This is not a long enough list. Help?

Linda Ronstadt, You’re No Good
Alanis Morissette, Hand in My Pocket

Chrissie Hynde/ The Pretenders
Nancy and Ann Wilson/ Heart
Annie Lennox/ Eurythmics
Deborah Harry/ Blondie
Pat Benatar
Cyndi Lauper
Joan Jett
The Go Go’s
Kim Carnes (Bette Davis Eyes)
Alannah Myles (Black Velvet)

Please leave me a comment with as many song titles as you want to suggest. I do listen to the radio when I’m in my car, but they don’t give much information these days. It may be I know a song but not who sings it, or a name but no songs associated with that name.

I’m a little out of my expertise here, but sometimes I’m in my car and this stuff comes on. I sing along, have  a great time, and wonder… “who is this singing?”

Will You Help?

Thank you for any input you can bring to my search. I’ve wanted to ask you for far too long. I look forward to your replies.

*(My favorite iPod sound apps are “Relaxing Sounds” and “Sleep,” both by Red Hammer Software and M30 Pendulum (a metronome) by AMuseTec. I have no affiliation with either of these companies.)