2 pointsI love this time of year! The days start to cool down, the leaves start to fall <SCRREEECH!!!> Who am I kidding? Here in Nashville, Tennessee, it’s been hovering in the upper 90’s since August and hasn’t let up—yet! This heat makes a man’s brain cook, and, in doing so, prompts a virtual stew of thoughts. As we do hope for cooler weather, and we are moving into full-blown fall, let me take a moment to say thank you for the fantastic response to the new platform at Harmony Central. People who haven't participated in years are returning to the forums. Having the forums simply work has been refreshing! As Harmony Central is a social forum, we've noticed that musicians like to say what they want to say. It’s akin to song writing in a lot of ways. Musicians can be very outspoken about so many issues. From everything social to economic and political to environmental, musicians are some of the first to pen a song, write a post, and sing out for causes about which they believe. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch the Ken Burns Series, Country Music on PBS for the past two weeks. This brilliantly produced series chronicles the evolution of country music and branches into the crossover influences of gospel, folk, and bluegrass. Musicians sang about things that they needed to say. For example, musicians like Johnny Cash initially did so to the potential detriment to their careers. Even so this path always eventually seemed to work to the artist’s favor. From the lyrical genius of Kris Kristofferson to the straight-laced turned renegade braided super star Willie Nelson, to the racial strife faced by Charley Pride, this series has covered the gamut. The HUGE take-away is that most of this music fell out of story-telling put to song through which people were allowed to say what they wanted to say. What they needed to say. What they wanted people to hear. Where they felt the need to speak out. Where they felt the need to be heard. For some, success came from being “at the right place at the right time.” For others, it was because the words they spoke in song were so profound, they couldn’t help becoming successful! In song, you can temper what you want to say in such a way that it's better received and understood. If you haven’t been able to catch the Country Music series, do yourself a favor. Even if you aren’t a country music fan, you’ll benefit from learning about how country influenced other genres and vice-versa. You’ll also be surprised at the number of artists from other genres are country fans and find influence in the music. The series is available online at the link provided above. So whether you are a musician posting your thoughts on Harmony Central or belting your thoughts in song from the stage, be true and say what you want to say! –HC- Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Executive Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion and music industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.
1 pointA few months ago, I wrote a Dear Musician entitled Involuntary Musical Imagery. In that article I referenced “earworms” of music that can make their way into your head and stay there, seemingly, long enough to drive you crazy. Ironically, sometimes I experience music so good that this earworm becomes an insatiable need to binge listen (or, in this case, watch) the music over and over again. Thanks to technology, YouTube recommended a video to me; and, like a sucker, I was drawn in. However, in this case, I was overwhelmingly shocked by what I experienced. What played was a little band out of Georgia called (at the time) Foxes and Fossils. It’s a father and daughter and the band they formed. I was shocked. I watched it and have been repeatedly drawn back to listen to their unbelievable vocal harmonies as they perform great cover tunes with a direct-to-board feed. What strikes me the most about the group is that they are unknown by the masses — rather, a regional group. It is very obvious that they strive to make better music. What the videos below show is that they are raw and there are even normal “stage” mistakes; but, if you’re a musician, you’re forced to acknowledge the level of effort that went into the preparation of the performance. A little research of their channel shows that the performance was 6 years ago; both the female singers were in high school at the time! Perhaps you’ll disagree with my assessment, but, more than likely, you’ll watch them over and over—as have I. Both songs shown are songs that the normal “bar band” would probably not tackle, simply given the level of vocal skill necessary. It is evident that these guys simply go for it, and it works. What’s my point? I guess there are myriad points here, such as you never know where you’ll find a hot band or music. You never know where a turn may take you in the road of musical discovery. You never can tell when a mix of different voices will simply have the right mix of vocal chemistry, and for these guys…well, it works. The big take-away here is that as musicians our ultimate goal is to make better music and sometimes it can come from the unexpected! It’s my opinion that this band knows what it is to make better music. -HC- Videos: Judy Blue Eyes (Cover) (1) Suite- Judy Blue Eyes (Cover) - Crosby, Stills & Nash - Foxes and Fossils - YouTube.webloc Monday, Monday (Cover) (1) Monday Monday - YouTube.webloc We do not own the rights to these songs performed as cover songs. We imply no ownership by posting them here for educational/inspirational purposes. Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Executive Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion and music industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.
1 pointby Anne Erickson From Alice Cooper to Rob Zombie, head-splittingly heavy music has a lengthy history of complimenting all things horrific, and what better time to recognize those menacing musicians than this week? Read on for our list of the Top 10 Halloween Songs of All Time, offering some killer tracks to get you in the mood for Halloween. What are your favorite scary tunes? Give us your picks in the comments area! 10. King Diamond, “Halloween” Who better to craft a Halloween hit than Kim Petersen, a ka King Diamond? “Halloween” is taken from the singer’s debut solo album, Fatal Portrait, and while the track’s music is heavy and dark, the lyrics are what really make the ditty fit on this list. 9. The Misfits, “Halloween” It’s only fitting that the Misfits would unleash a Halloween-themed song, and they did so on Oct. 31, 1981, with “Halloween.” Nobody does Halloween like these guys, and this terrifying track was the band’s fifth and final single to feature guitarist Bobby Steele, making it extra special. 8. The Ramones, “Pet Sematary” The Ramones got it right on this spine-chilling Halloween-appropriate track. Their title track for the Stephen King film is certainly one of the group’s darker sonic endeavors, and it’s a refreshing change from their more well-known sound. 7. Helloween, “Halloween” Our list wouldn’t be complete without adding German metallers Helloween to the mix; the guys who actually named themselves after the holiday. While all of Helloween’s songs would fit the bill, we’re going with the most apparent, “Halloween,” a creepy classic. 6. Iron Maiden, “Fear of the Dark” Man, the lyrics alone in Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark” give us nightmares! The song is a great Halloween track, with its menacing nature and dark textures. 5. Tool, “Sober” Tool’s “Sober” is a classic. The track arrived on the band’s 1993 debut, Undertow, and it took the band from underground metal players to superstars in the mainstream rock contingent. “Sober’s” lingering, wandering beats and Maynard James Keenan’s tortured vocals make this a great fit for any Halloween shindig. 4. Rob Zombie, “Living Dead Girl” Halloween brings zombies and other post-mortem terrors out, and perhaps no rocker is more accustomed to the horror world — and the horror film industry — as Rob Zombie. While many Zombie tracks would fit on this list, we think “Living Dead Girl” is the quintessential Zombie Halloween song. 3. Slayer, “Raining Blood” Are you surprised to see Slayer on this list? We didn’t think so. Aside from its Halloween-appropriate moniker, “Raining Blood” carries one of the most wicked guitar metal riffs of all time. Add to that creepy lyrics and you’ve got a song purpose-made for the Halloween holiday. 2. Pantera, “Cemetery Gates” Metal went through a dark time in the ‘90s, and Pantera’s “Cemetery Gates” is the culmination of all good things metal at the decade’s onset. It’s just the kind of track one would expect to hear on Halloween, with themes revolving around death, inspired by Phil Anselmo losing a loved one to suicide. 1. Alice Cooper, “Welcome to My Nightmare” Any Alice Cooper track could be deemed a Halloween song, but when it comes to the haunting holiday, we have to go with “Welcome to My Nightmare.” With lyrics like “Welcome to my nightmare / Welcome to my breakdown … We sweat and laugh and scream here / 'Cause life is just a dream here” coupled with allusions to Coop’s bloody battles, this classic will always be No. 1 in our book! -HC - ________________________________________________________________ Anne Erickson holds years of bylines in Gannett Media publications, as well as music magazines Premier Guitar, Guitar Edge and more. She also hosts radio shows with iHeartRadio and has been syndicated in Seattle, Dayton, Central Coast California and beyond. Anne is a loyal Spartan and holds a Master’s degree from MSU. She resides in Lansing, Michigan.A