In The Stacks – LONG LIVE ROCK & ROLL!

Hello again, dear readers. It is no big surprise that I am a huge fan of music. Not just one particular genre either, I try to be open to all types of music from various times in history. I figure in any one genre of music, there is some song, style, artist, etc. that was good and you would enjoy. So why hate? Embrace your eclectic side!

I have constantly been amazed by the CD selection available through the library. And honestly folks, our collection gets more eclectic over time. That’s not even just factoring in our general CD collection, either. I know I have written a couple of different blogs about Freegal. Freegal is our online database where you can download up to 6 songs every week per library card, and can now download music videos as well! Also, we have once again uploaded the database so you may now also stream hours of music from your computer. Let me tell you guys, I have seen some music featured on Freegal that literally blows my mind as to how we ever thought to order such songs and artists. Continue reading

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Spotlight On THE BEATS: A Blog Straight Out of the Mind of Steve

ontheroadbookI am embarrassed to admit this… but I was never assigned to read Jack Kerouac’s legendary novella On the Road. Also, over the years I never had the self-control to make special time to read it of my own free will. I know it’s insane! I do have it marked on my ever growing bucket list, but until then, I do have to say I have never finished any complete works of Kerouac’s. However, I have recently acquired a newly found interest on the subject that is widely known as “The Beat Generation” to which Kerouac is largely attributed to. And the reason I have decided on expanding my knowledge on this matter is all thanks to my love of music. To be more specific, my liking of the alternative rock band Death Cab for Cutie.

Benjamin Gibbard (the lead singer of D.C.F.C.) has had himself a strong appreciation for Kerouac’s literary talents for many years. Gibbard has used Kerouac’s words as a source of inspiration on many songs he has written in his music career. This love of Kerouac’s writing was culminated in 2009 when Gibbard and fellow Kerouac enthusiast Jay Farrar (of the alt rock band Son Volt) got together to record an album solely based off of Kerouac’s novel Big Sur; The album is called One Fast Move or I’m Gone. The novel Big Sur is a fictionalized autobiography of Kerouac about a newly popular writer named Jack Duluoz who takes refuge at a friend’s cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur. The novel also highlights on a strong friendship Duluoz has with a man named Cody Pomeray and his mistress. Cody in real life was Kerouac’s longtime friend Neal Cassidy to whom On the Road was attributed to as well.

As soon as I saw this musical gem in our library catalog, I ordered it. Once I checked it out, I listened to every track straight through to the very end. This album is absolutely the musical epitome of Kerouac’s writing style. Within the lyrics of the songs you can hear the embodiment of all the themes that were scattered throughout the poems and stories told by the brilliant minds which formed The Beat Generation.  All the topics are right there to be heard; the importance of friendship, traveling the gronefastmovecovereat American frontier, the bittersweet nostalgia of life, and also all of the sex, drugs, but not quite Rock & Roll of those writer’s generation.

The musical style varies a bit through the album. There are elements reminiscent to that of indie rock; but also thanks to Farrar’s musical background there are strong components of country and folk as well. If you have ever read the likes of Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, or any of the notable “beat” writers and wondered how their words would sound to music, than this album is for you. It is truly a hidden treasure within the CDs at the library, and it is well worth a listen. On a side note, I am eagerly waiting to pick up my hold copy of Big Sur and start reading, as well as listen to some Son Volt CDs we have in the Library District.

Spotlight On Seth MacFarlane: A Blog Straight Out of the Mind of Steve

It would seem that if anyone heard the name Seth MacFarlane, the first thing that would come to mind is Family Guy, or perhaps American Dad. For me, I’d have to say it would be Gangnam Style on Saturday Night Live, but that’s just me! Either way, it’s safe to say that even though Seth MacFarlane is debatably a genius in terms of modern day animated television shows, he also has quite an impressive singing background.

Seth is very well-known to incorporate a lot of musical theatre and various song & dance numbers which are either performed, parodied, or referenced at random intervals within his many shows. Clearly, Mr. MacFarlane has a strong affinity to that type of entertainment. Actually, MacFarlane has stated that he is greatly influenced by the likes of the old Rat Pack alumni of Las Vegas (which would make a great deal of sense since Frank Sinatra, Jr. has made numerous appearances on Family Guy), as well as many of the great crooners out of that era. As for modern day music… not really his forte.

So, what I wanted to highlight on today isn’t his acting or vocal work on TV, nor his strong beliefs in the Democratic Party, gay rights, or even his being an atheist. It would be about his singing talents. And here in the Library District, you can hear it for yourselves.

For all of you Family Guy fans, Seth MacFarlane released an album back in 2005 titled Family Guy: Live In Las Vegas. It features him and the whole gang (Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis, Seth Green, etc.), as well as a few noted celebrities like Jason Alexander and Haylie Duff. The album is brought together with music by Walter Murphy and His Orchestra (that would be the composer for the music on Family Guy). The CD definitely carries with it all the humor and enjoyment that you can see on the TV show.

And to show just how much Seth MacFarlane favors the old hits from what he calls “the great American songbooks particularly the early- to late-’50s era of orchestration”, in 2011 Seth released an album composed by Joel McNeely called Music Is Better Than Words. It is a true homage to the singing icons he loved so much growing up and also features wonderful duets with the likes of Norah Jones and Sara Bareilles.

You can check out both of these CDs from the library and to any true fans out there, it is well worth a listen.