Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'Somewhere in the swamps of Jersey..'

Nice story in The Guardian the other day about how Jude Rogers became a traditional balladeer at the Sidmouth Folk Week.

She also wrote a good essay a couple of months ago, "Music is not dead" about the changing musical environment and how we as consumers and music-lovers fit into it. It read, in part:

"..especially in a world in which music is as ubiquitous as wallpaper (..) It is our duty to the music we first loved as young people, and still adore now, to try to live in the moment, and to engage with it properly. The difference is that we have to work harder for it."


In a similar vein, the NYT has a feature about the outlook for traditional record stores and the 100th gathering of Vinylmania.

This gives you a flavor:

"Mr. Martignon said he got a customer or so each day; sometimes they just browse, but sometimes a whale comes along. “I get these Japanese guys that spend a few thousand bucks,” he said. “All out-of-print rockabilly stuff.”


We don't cash checks, you don't sell music..?

While Bob Dylan may have left his fans a little bemused by the announcement of his first-ever Christmas album, now comes news that it will be distributed initially by.. a financial institution?

Citibank said that "Christmas In The Heart" will be available for download to 13 million customers enrolled in the company's rewards program, during the week before it hits stores on October 13.

It's a virtual deal only. The bank also said the album wouldn't be available for sale in its branches.

Dylan is donating proceeds from the album's sale to organizations that work to alleviate hunger and poverty, so much can be forgiven, but I hope he at least negotiated a big pay-off from them. And got the money upfront.


From a music-making perspective, two contrasting guitar-related stories: A good weekend for Paul Reed Smith guitars in Maryland, who held an open house that landed about a million dollars-worth of orders.

Meanwhile, after plenty of online controversy, Gibson may be be back-pedaling on the idea of a Jimi Hendrix tribute model which initial photographs indicated looked very much like Hendrix's signature Fender Stratocaster. Hendrix also played a Gibson Flying V, of course, so I don't know why they didn't just go for a special edition of that model.

We'll see what eventually emerges, I guess.


Reclusive musician Daniel Johnston has had his music turned into an iPhone game. Although he doesn't seem overly enthused by the idea:

"I don't even know what an iPhone is," he said. He did not remember "much" about playing the game. "If they make it into a real video game, [with a joystick,] it might work out," he told the New York Times.


Finally, am off to New Jersey again tomorrow - provided that mythical NJ Transit bus from Port Authority to Meadowlands actually runs - to see the opening night of Bruce's latest stint at Giants Stadium. U2's show last week apparently set a concert attendance record, with 84,000 people seeing the show in the round.

I can't think of anyone more appropriate than The Boss to close out the venue, though. It's being demolished at the end of the football season, and the new structure has already risen alongside.

He'll be playing "Born To Run" in its entirety. We also have tickets for Friday night, when the featured album will be "Born In The USA". A little relieved we didn't get both nights for either album, although you'd figure that the rest of the three-hour setlist will be mixed up to compensate.

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