Category Archives: music

Ben Kweller at Rice University

What a cool coincidence!  I heard an interview with Ben Kweller a couple of weeks ago on Public Radio, whadaya know, he comes to Houston to play for Willy’s Picnic at Rice University (for free!).  (FYI Willy is Rice’s owl mascot.)


There was a good crowd, given that Rice is a small university and it wasn’t advertised except on campus.

Kweller and his band put on a very good show.  They truly enjoy what they are doing.


I bought his current album — and I mean album in the old-fashioned sense (it came with a free CD and poster!  with lyrics!) — it’s songs that he has written over the years and has more of a folk/country flavor than his earlier work.  Some of his videos from earlier CD’s and performances are on youtube.  That stuff reminds me of Tom Petty, but not in a derivative way.

Several of the songs seem to almost end until they don’t, and they use a lot of syncopation.  There were a few times when the rhythm almost seems to skip like an old record player.  It keeps you just a bit off balance and makes you pay attention.

It was fun, and I enjoyed it very much.  It reminded me of the good times I had back when I hung around with local musicians.


Ben Kweller on All Things Considered

On the way home from the grocery store, I heard the part of this ATC interviewwith Ben Kweller.  I’d never heard of him (no surprise, since I haven’t had my head into music for a while), but I thought he was really interesting.  As he was playing a song leading out of the segment, I laughed out loud at his clever and humorous lyrics.  His new CD Changing Horses sounds like something I might buy.  (Maybe I can think of one more thing to buy and get free shipping from Amazon.

My Favorite Musician Played for Obama Today

I had almost forgotten to write about it.  Last week during a piece on Yo-Yo Ma on CBS, I found out that Gabriela Montero was part of the quartet to play earlier today at the moment Obama became president.

Last year, I gave one of her CD’s to a co-worker.  He reminded me today that I had and said that it’s his favorite now.  She is incredible.  She improvises all of the classics and in her live performances, takes requests from the audience (and on her web site, too!)

Even though I missed her performance, I’ll get to see it later, I’m sure.


At one point in the Iraq conflict, I got fixated on Margaret Hassan.  I wanted her to be ok so badly.  I search the internet for news of her life.  In that search, I stumbled upon websites that I wish I had never seen.  What happened to her and what I saw on those websites affected me for some time.  The frustration came to a head at work.  A student worker posted a notice late one Friday that Sheila Jackson Lee was going to head up a peace march starting at my place of employment.  A business prof had a problem with the student sending a broadcast email and with the sentiment of the email.  This business prof decided that a peace march was anti-military and used her son’s service to justify her position.  Over the weekend, I lambasted her about it (but not on broadcast email — I know well enough to reply to a single sender.)

She reported me to personnel and I was on probation for a year.  It was pretty bad.

There was a musical component to my anger and my probation.  I haven’t really listened to much music since.  The only music I want to listen to will only make me remember and that remembering only makes me angry.

It’s something about the protest music of this administration, and the wars it has gotten us into.  It was right on target, but nothing worked.  Just like my protest to the prof — I was the one threatened with firing — not the women advocating more war.  (It happened in early 2006.)


About music — having given up on listening for the past few years — I’ve started noticing the music in commercials.  Since I don’t go out anymore to hear live music, this is where I start — slowly crawling back up to the point where I can evaluate music for what it is.

For me it is odd — I’m looking backwards instead of forwards.  But it is a place to start.

Here’s what I’ve got:

In looking for the origins of the music used for the commercials for CSI, I found one answer that was wrong — but I liked the band — and the correct answer, but didn’t really like the entire song.

Thumbs up: Vaux

Thumbs down: Band of Horses

I’m crawling back up to what’s up with music.

Any help will be appreciated 🙂

Pete Seeger on Leterman

I love it.  He started his song, and then taught the chorus to the audience.  His group members were all smiles while singing a song about Dr. King.

His new CD is Pete Seeger at 89Wiki link.

Letterman also had a tribute to Paul Newman that made me cry.

Capitalism and Hannah Montana Tickets

[I started this post on Saturday evening.] 

It could be about anything — sweet crude, iphones, Walmart Chinese wares, O.J. memorabilia (!) — but today it was about Hannah Montana tickets.  My sis called me earlier in the week about helping her get tickets for my nieces.  She was going to be out of pocket and wasn’t sure if she would be able to try on the phone.  I got up early this morning, not to get the tickets, but because some woman started calling at 7:00 a.m.  She had the wrong number.  However, she was tenacious and kept calling every five minutes.  Nice lady.

Anyway, I got online and got to the Toyota Center’s website.  I farted around online until exactly 10:00.  My first try didn’t work.  I had chosen the moderately priced tickets and they weren’t available.  That took 20 minutes.  I tried again; this time for the lowest priced tickets.  I got all the way to the purchase screen (30 minutes) and clicked Yes!  Thirty seconds later (the quickest loading page all morning) I got:  Sorry!  Too Late!  I tried a couple of more times, but got the same message I did when I looked again tonight:  no tickets.  I found out later that my sis never got through and my bro couldn’t either.  I got the closest.  I was so close to being the Hannah Montana ticket hero.  *Sigh*

The local Fox news station had a piece about it tonight on their newscast.  There were lots of disappointed parents and one scalper.  (He said, too bad bitches!  Not literally, but that was the essense, which leads me to my point — hopefully — we’ll see if I get there.)


Back to Monday — I hadn’t thought about buying tickets to anything for several years.   That is until I had nieces and a sis who wants to get tickets to simply everything they might be interested in.  We’ve gone through this before.  Each time I wonder — what is the point?  The ticket scalpers have it all figured out.  That’s how they make their living.  Just for fun, how many people pay the assigned price for their tickets to these events?  Were I a sociologist, I might look into it.  But I’m not 🙂

Perhaps more tickets will be released later.  I have been instructed to keep checking online.  I’ll do it for my nieces.

My breaking point?  $45 for an Echo and the Bunnymen ticket, back in the late ’80’s.  No thank you.  I wasn’t going to pay $45 for anyone to do anything.  The Toyota Center’s hook?  See Miley Cirus as Miley Cirus AND as Hannah Montana!  w00t!  I heard/saw Echo & the B’s in Cullen Auditorium way back when and IIRC paid less than $10.  Great show.

Taking a turn off this path — I stupidly tuned in to The Tube (bought an HD capable TV)  39-2 (I think) last night.  I stayed up way too late.  But it was like what MTV was in the beginning — I remember from when I lived with my folks.  A Bob Marley vid, followed by an early Beach Boys, then a Police classic.  Perhaps I will see if my turntable still works — this weekend.  Listening to Gloria (U2) on vinyl, or TSOL (crap, do I still have any of that?), or Bowie might be just the thing.

[Hopes Roberto will get his recordings on the web so I can link ’em here 🙂  I’ll halp.]