Sixth Grader Performs Killer Cover of Lady Gaga Song

“Greyson Michael Chance stupefied his classmates and stole at least one girl’s heart (check out the blonde in the black top, especially during the big finish) when he performed a rousing piano cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at a recent school festival.” – Yahoo

Try to ignore the vomit-inducing camera work at the beginning (yeeesh!). The kid has some serious chops – maybe we’ll see him on American Idol in a few years…

Favourite Songs: “Come On Get Higher” by Sugarland

Before hearing Sugarland cover this song, I’d never heard the original by Matt Nathanson. Between the two, I prefer the Sugarland version – there’s something about hearing a female voice sing lead – and a male voice accompanying her – that makes it even more powerful. It’s such a beautiful song; the melody, the emotion, the mood of it – Matt Nathanson wrote an incredible song. I can listen to this song for hours on end; I’ve literally had it on loop for an entire day. It’s incredibly fun to harmonize along with as well. Unlike my two previous picks, When You Call My Name by Paul Brandt, and World’s Apart by Jars of Clay, the lyrics of this song don’t speak to me in a particularly powerful way…but it’s still a beautiful love song worth having in your collection.

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[click here to listen to a 30 second sample of the song]

“Come On Get Higher”, Sugarland/Matt Nathanson

I miss the sound of your voice
And I miss the rush of your skin
And I miss the still of the silence
As you breathe out and I breathe in

Continue reading Favourite Songs: “Come On Get Higher” by Sugarland

John Mayer Live in Calgary

On April 3rd I had the pleasure of seeing John Mayer rock out live in Calgary, and I captured a bunch of video, assembling it into a mini-concert, and I also took a bunch of pictures. I was shooting with my little Panasonic ZS3, so the quality isn’t great when you look at the full-sized images – but it sure was good to have the 12x zoom! We were in row 24, so anything less than 12x wouldn’t have cut it. The opening band was Michael Franti & Spearhead.

John Mayer Live Calgary

Michael Franti & Spearhead, Live in Calgary

I shot this at the John Mayer concert last night; this was the opening band, Michael Franti & Spearhead. Not really my style of music, but really tight musicians. Good stuff. Be sure to look at the girl on stage using her phone – likely texting – while the fun is going on all around her. If there was ever an indicator of the problems some people in our society have of disconnecting and living in the moment, this is it.

Watching True Artists at Work is Wonderful

True artists – people who create something from nothing – are amazing to watch. The ability of a musician to pull notes from the air and combine them into a unique melody is fascinating to me. Marie Digby is one of my favourite artists, and watching her creative process is inspiring.

“I really wanted to put up a video for an original song because I’ve done a few covers for the last videos. Then I thought to myself, I’ve never put up a video as to how I write songs. There’s no magic to it really but I thought some of you may find it kind of interesting to see how it goes. This was one inspired by my incredible grandmother who has been ill but has been fighting to stay alive…This song is actually not a downer! It’s supposed to be inspirational and recognize how strong the human spirit can be…”

Jackson 5 Medley: I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save

Michael Jackson, regardless of what he had become in the latter years of his life, was a talented performer – this medley of several Jackson 5 songs shows just how talented he was, even at a young age.

One Reason Why I Like John Mayer

He doesn’t take himself too seriously. I dig that. Life is too short to be a prima-donna musician.

Favourite Songs: “When You Call My Name” by Paul Brandt

Paul Brandt (Wikipedia) is a country artist, and for many, many years I really disliked country. I probably even said that I hated country music when I was in my 20’s. Sometime in my early 30’s, I started to enjoy some country music. One of the key artists to re-shape my feelings about country music was Paul Brandt. I really liked his music because it wasn’t the twangy “My dog got run over by a truck” stuff I thought of as being typically country. The first album I bought by Paul Brandt was This Time Around, his 2004 release. I liked it, and picked up a few more of his albums – and I discovered a song that blew me away, completely and totally: When You Call My Name.

To quote from this song, “the way that it moves me, it’s simply amazing”. Just like “World’s Apart” by Jars of Clay, this song impacted me in a big way when I first heard it, and it still does today. First, it’s live – the whole album it’s from, Small Town and Big Dreams, is live. Live music has a…realness that studio music can often lack. It’s raw, it’s pure, and it’s real (assuming there aren’t a rack of pitch-correctors back-stage). Paul Brandt’s voice is powerful, pure, and very real. I’ve heard him sing live (sadly, not this song), and his voice really does sound that good. Next, layer on some great playing/singing by the band, especially the background vocalists – one of which I think is his wife, Elizabeth. There’s also a male background vocalist that adds some great texture to the song. There are wonderful harmonies layered everywhere in this song – it’s amazing to sing along with – and some phenomenal mandolin and bass playing.

For me, the real power though is in the words. Music is poetry put to melody, and like all poetry, the interpretation is often left up to the reader or listener. When I close my eyes and listen to this song, I hear the cry of the created to the Creator. I hear the ache of a spirit, once broken, made whole.  I hear the gasp of amazement from a soul who hears his name spoken from the lips of Eternity. I hear the tears of joy falling on a face of someone who’s been forgiven, head tilted upward toward Pure Love. When You call my name.

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[you can listen to the entire song here]

“When You Call My Name”, Paul Brandt

Give me a moment
To try and explain it
And how it has changed
The man that I am
Life has a way
When you try to arrange it
Of makin’ a fool
Of the best laid plans

Guess what I’m tryin’ to say
Is you took me by surprise
One word is all that it takes
And forever’s on my mind
It happens every time

I hear the sweetest sound
My world stops turnin’ round
Like I’m on Holy Ground
When you call my name
It sets the sky on fire
Burning with my desire
Stronger deeper higher
When you call my name

The way that it moves me
It’s simply amazing
Yeah somehow it seems
Much bigger than words
When you call my name
Angels start singing
The most beautiful sound
That I’ve ever heard

And it starts all over again
This feeling deep inside
A blessed chain of events
A heaven sent desire
It happens every time

I hear the sweetest sound
My world stops turnin’ round
Like I’m on Holy Ground
When you call my name
It sets the sky on fire
Burning with my desire
Stronger deeper higher
When you call my name

When you call my name
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh
When you call my name
Ooooooooohhhh
It happens every time

I hear the sweetest sound
My world stops turnin’ round
Like I’m on Holy Ground
When you call my name
It sets the sky on fire
Burning with my desire
Stronger deeper higher
When you call my name

I hear the sweetest sound
My world stops turnin round
Like I’m on Holy Ground
(call my name)
When you call my name
It sets the sky on fire
Burning with my desire
Stronger deeper higher
When you call my name

Favourite Songs: “World’s Apart” by Jars of Clay

One of the joys in my life, one of the great blessings, is to discover music that connects with me on such a deep level that I can listen to it over and over again, reading the lyrics and be impacted by them every time. I wanted to share some of those songs with the readers of this blog; to shine the light on some great music that you may not have heard.

One of those songs is “World’s Apart” by Jars of Clay. The first time I heard this song, the lyrics hit me like a thunderclap. The beauty of music, of any poetry, is that the interpretation of the lyrics is left to the reader – but in my case, the fact that the first line is an admission of responsibility for our own actions is powerful. I believe pride, and the endless repercussions of pride, are at the forefront of so many things that are wrong with the world today. People hurt other people because of pride. People refuse to forgive others because of pride. Pride blinds us to our own faults, our own limitations, and our own mistakes. Blinded, we often cause harm to those around us. Pride limits us from learning, from growing. Pride keeps us from admitting when we’re wrong, or admitting when we’ve wronged others. And pride, in so many different ways, keeps us from admitting that we need something bigger than ourselves. In my own life, I often struggle against pride – I strive to be humble of spirit, sometimes succeeding, often times failing. Check out the lyrics to this song below…

jars-of-clay-jars-of-clay-1995

[click here to listen to a 30 second sample of the song]

“Worlds Apart”, Jars of Clay

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die

Continue reading Favourite Songs: “World’s Apart” by Jars of Clay

Bebo Norman’s Song “Britney”

I remember hearing this song on the radio and thinking it was a catchy tune melody-wise, but the lyrics pack quite a punch – I’ve believed for a long time now that the way we treat our celebrities in Western culture is twisted and often-times cruel (and I’m rarely any better). As a society, we hold these famous people to almost impossible standards, scrutinize their every move, and when we finally grind their sanity down to a thread and they finally snap, we all stand and watch shaking our heads and saying “Tsk, tsk, I guess they just couldn’t handle the pressure.” It takes a remarkable person to survive being famous, and with the advent of the Internet and 24 hour news channels, there’s no place for them to hide from their “fans”. I can’t imagine the isolation and loneliness that most famous people must feel.

Bebo Norman’s song really nails the issue, and some YouTubian has put the song to a collection of video clips and included the words to his song. I defy anyone to watch this and not feel sympathy for Britney Spears.