Chicago, United States
Like Bobby Darin in the late 1960's, I'm an aging MOR singer becoming increasingly incensed at the state of the union and its citizens, a mass hypnotized by religion, Fox News and the latest device with a screen manufactured in China and sold at Best Buy. While much of my music consists of covers, with the exception of the title track on my new CD Americans Idle, the songs are presented utilizing samples or stylistic choices relevant to our country's dilemma. Often the context is obvious. The title track refers as much to a collective consciousness gone reality show as to the lack of massive protest to unnecessary wars and supreme court corporate representation. 1929's Brother Can You Spare A Dime is shocking in its currency, irrefutable evidence of our inability to modify our behavior according to history. Sometimes it is not, as in the challenging (in more ways than one) Death Panel Medley, not merely an ode to faith-based deception but preparation in case I need something to listen to when the Obama administration decides to lay me on the cement slab watching rolling wheat fields and waterfalls in Cinerama. Although I'd rather hear them sung by Andy Williams than by me (who wouldn't?).
Needless to say, my style of singing is going the way of Harry Connick Jr*, rescued temporarily by the more "today" sound assembled by Elliot Ross. What started as a vocal/guitar/keyboard project, with Elliot playing all accompaniment, morphed into a recruitment of local musicians that creates a listening experience unique for this type of music. I didn't say good or bad, but it is unique, and an experience. Have you ever been experienced?
Problem is, I have. Not only by Jimi, but Roger Waters, Jerry Garcia, and yes, even Michael Nesmith**. And then not only by Dean Martin, but by Jack Jones, Andy WIlliams, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and, yes, even Bobby Darin***. In a sense this is the hybridization of these two musical worlds, at first glance distant relatives but in many ways first cousins. A style caught in the twilight zone of MOR and rock from the 1960's and 1970's, and old tyme lounge/bar music-- songs that nobody has recorded for 30 years or more (except for Neil Diamond****). Perhaps there is a reason for that.
*--This is no critique of Harry Connick, Jr. His version of Spiderman is a winner.
**--Michael Nesmith has done six country rock albums, several pop/rock albums, a few symphonic/orchestral albums...he's good.
***--In 1968, Bobby Darin started Commitment Records, which lasted for two albums consisting of socially relevant songs penned by Darin. Rock on.
****-- I was disappointed to see Neil Diamond recording Alone Again Naturally on his 2010 release Dreams, I thought I was the only one who remembered it, but give the man his due. He definitely sounds lonely.
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