I’ve never been very quiet about the Great Blue Heron Music Festival – I’ve loudly proclaimed it’s my favorite weekend of the year. A weekend of self
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-discovery, a weekend of new music, a weekend of freedom. With this year’s 2011 line-up posted, I thought I’d introduce you to some of the artists that will be bringing in fans from hundreds of miles to gather under the sun in Sherman, New York for culturally rich, musically diverse weekend in the woods.
Slow Mo (featuring Mic Wrecka)
The Philadelphia based, steel guitar pluckin’, rhyme-spinning tag team of Slo-Mo and Mic Wrecka will be lighting up the stage again this year! Somewhere stranded in the void of genre specificity between Robert Randolph, The Roots, Cake, and Big Audio Dynamite, the team of Mike... Read More
Slo-Mo - County
The Town Pants - Come With Me
Donna the Buffalo - Family Picture (live)
The Sim Redmond Band - Life Is Water
David Bromberg Quartet - Last Song for Shelby Jean
The Horse Flies - Baghdad Children
The Roots - Guns Are Drawn
Dear Black Thought
writing my essay
, ?uestlove, Kamal Gray, and all members of the Roots,
My global contempt for the hip-hop music community has always been deeply ingrained within my taste in music. It’s always been a driving element in my rip-tide repulsion to popular culture. Even during the foundations of the genre, groups like Run D.M.C. and N.W.A set an expectation deep within me that shouting poetry to the beat of music probably wasn’t going to be my thing.
I’ve long condensed hip-hop as simply a sub-culture that represented little more than the glorification the performer, not the performance; acts that were focused on image and dominance in lieu of creativity or musicianship. It felt like every song I heard was banality of synthesized looping beats as the foundation for poorly executed shouting... Read More
Tremors rumble through my body as one side of my brain flagellates the other. “Nick, there can’t possibly be even a diamond in the rough in this unholy landscape of electronic banalities and... Read More
Cee Lo Green - I Want You
Cee Lo Green - Bright Lights Bigger City
Generally, hip hop is not a genre that I'm disposed to in practice. Personally, I blame my middle-class whiteness. In theory, the concept of urban poetry delivered atop a bed of meticulously crafted drum and bass rhythm is one I can never really discount (though that may be related to my white guilt).
These things being the case, the majority of hip hop contains nothing that I would describe as technically poetry, unless there is a missing draft of Aristotle's Poetics that includes references to ass cranking and dope running or whatever the kids are doing these days. Of course, it's worth noting that this isn't simply a hip hop phenomenon, but it doesn't help me to bridge the gap, here.
Saul Williams, however, is a different story. He may not be the best rapper in the world, but his lyrics are... Read More
Nine Inch Nails - Gunshots by Computer (Saul Williams)
Don't waste your time reading this post. Go buy Wake Up! and we'll talk when you get back… mmkay?
64 funky minutes later…
Back yet? Good. How do you feel? Little sweaty, perhaps? Sorta dirty maybe, but somehow it feels sooooo good, eh?
Don't worry. It's not you, and it's not the thermostat: it's the funk.
More than digestible (delicious, in fact), Legend and the Roots have pulled a broad sound palette from 60's and 70's soul to send us on a funk-a-fied journey. John Legend infuses his velvety tenor voice into the Roots' funky flavor of hip-hop to record this neo-soul album with grooves so thick, you can cut them with a knife.
This album is even better than I expected, and I admittedly already had high hopes. The Root's extensive catalog has proven them as one of the... Read More
John Legend and the Roots - Wholy Holy
John Legend and the Roots - Compared To What
John Legend and the Roots - Hard Times (feat. Black Thought)