Playing for Change Again
Playing For Change I first wrote about the Playing for Change project over two years ago. The project and the mission are alive and well, uniting a diverse group of musicians from all over the world for a worthy cause.
Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world.
There is nothing that is not absolutely cool about the Playing for Change project. I encourage you to visit their website to watch lots more cool videos, learn about the project, buy a CD or t-shirt, and get involved.

You can watch the original video Stand By Me along with today's post in the big player on my Music Video page.

Click the image to pop, and visit the Playing For Change site here.
It's Been a Long Time
Robert Plant with Strange Sensation I had an eclectic musical childhood. Mom and Dad always had the radio tuned to the country music station. My older brother was into progressive, blues rock, and AOR. In my music lessons I studied Russian Classical composers, polka, film music and traditional folk. I grew up with Waylon and Willie, Geddy Lee, Jameses Paige and Hendrix, Tchaikovsky, John Williams, Lawrence Welk and Mr. Pink Floyd - just to name a few.

Led Zeppelin is one of my first and longest lasting loves. Thanks to big bro and Stairway to Heaven, I was pretty much hooked before I started elementary school. There was a time when I was positively obsessed with them. I owned every album, read every book, saw The Song Remains the Same about a million times, and spent years tracking down the elusive 45 of Hey, Hey What Can I Do.

I never did get to see Led Zeppelin - I was only ten when John Bonham died - but I did get to see Robert Plant. After several years of practically shunning everything Led Zeppelin and acting like he never heard of the group, Robert Plant dramatically embraced his Zep roots on his 1988 album Now and Zen. One track even sampled the old songs! I couldn't get tickets fast enough. Third row center! ROCK!

Over the years, Robert Plant has stepped away but always returned to his roots. His most recent foray into Zeppelin nostalgia is the Strange Sensation, a bunch of hip young guys backing up Robert on his originals as well as some smart and fresh revisits of some great old Led Zeppelin tunes.

The whole show is pretty great, but Black Dog is probably my favorite. Click the image to pop, or watch the video in the big player on my Music Video page along with lots more cool stuff.
I Need to Go Shopping
Esperanza Spalding Esperanza Spalding, my newest favorite musician, appeared on David Letterman's show again to promote her new album Chamber Music Society. The song is called Winter Sun.

One of the first articles I posted to my site was about her performing Precious from her then new album Esperanza. Actually, it wasn't much of an article, just a few sentences to accompany the video. That video is still one of my all-time favorites and the one I watch the most.

She is nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist along with other such "talents" as Justin Bieber and Drake. I am not familiar with any of the other artists nominated in that category, but according to my understanding of the word "best", I'd bet a good sum that Esperanza deserves to win. Too bad she probably won't. "Best" seems to mean "most popular" when it comes to award shows.

Click the image to watch Esperanza's performance or visit my Music Video page and watch it along with gobs more cool videos.

Update: She won! Yay!
Star Spangled Soul
I ran across this clip this morning and I silently cursed myself for not posting this a long time ago. I am clearly not doing a very good job here.

The first time I saw Marvin Gaye performing The Star Spangled Banner at the 1983 NBA All Star Game I thought it was pretty amazing. It was a fantastically cool version but I was a little shocked that he did that to THAT song. It was incredible, not unlike Hendrix's rendition at Woodstock. It wasn't until much later that I learned about Jose Feliciano's "controversial" version.

I find it a little disturbing that anybody would find these performances anything but emphatically patriotic and heartfelt. These guys are pouring out their soul for goodness sake! What is more honorable than that?

Click here to read more about Marvin, Jimi, Jose, and a slew of other controversial versions of The Star Spangled Banner. Click the image to watch Marvin Gaye's performance in a pop up window or visit my Music Video Page to watch it, and gobs more cool music videos, in the big video player.
Eddie Broke a String
The Renegade Clowns are back for part two in our ongoing series of madness and mayhem...

Today's Renegade Clowns performance is called The New One. I couldn't remember the title and had to look it up from the mix down session recordings. It's been a long time since I listened to this stuff. It's shocking how completely different the song is with Buddy's vocals.

I first met Eddie (guitarist) and Buddy (bassist/vocalist) back in high school. I've known Eric (percussionist) since we were in elementary school together, but it wasn't until we all started hanging out in high school that we became good friends.

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