music

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The name "Grateful Dead" got ironic indeed after the death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia. 

The remaining "core four" of the band could not decide on an appropriate legacy for the band or its most famous, and now missing, member.  And it took 20 years for an agreement to emerge, and the "Fare Thee Well" tour was the result. 

The tour gave a title to Joel Selvin's book, Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter of the Grateful Dead's Long, Strange Trip

Lulu Vision

You see an orchestra assemble, and you expect to hear a piece like Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, or a prelude, partita, or concerto. 

But Friday night, July 27, the Britt Orchestra will perform a new piece called simply emergency shelter intake form.  The lack of capitals is intentional. 

The piece, by Gabriel Kahane, is meant to focus attention on housing insecurity in the region. 

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It's really not that long a stretch from "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" (Elvis Presley, 1961) to "I'm a sucker for the way that you move, babe" ("Never Be The Same", Camila Cabelo, 2018). 

They are both songs of love.  There have been many through time, and the history is really interesting. 

Love songs truly challenged their cultures when they first appeared.  This is one of many things Ted Gioia reveals in his book Love Songs: The Hidden History

Siskiyou Music Project

Wes Montgomery is a big deal to jazz musicians.  Pat Matheny once said he learned to play guitar by listening to "Smokin' at the Half Note," by Wes Montgomery with the Wynton Kelly Trio, recorded in the mid-60s. 

The sounds are recreated in an offering from the Siskiyou Music Project, featuring pianist Thor Polson and the Ed Dunsavage Trio, with Ed on guitar. 

Thor and Ed agreed to get up early to share some of the sounds of the session in our studio. 

thejoshgross.org

Josh Gross is a musician, but we dare not ask who his influences are.  We might be listening all day. 

Safe to say that Josh loves music in many forms, and he gets to demonstrate it by making his own AND by covering the music of others in his writing. 

We plug Josh into the Exchange once a month in a segment we call Rogue Sounds. 

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Silent since her death in 1959, the voice of Billie Holiday still echoes for generations of Americans. 

The story of "Lady Day" has been told many times, but author Tracy Fessenden tells the story of Holiday's music with a religious focus.  Fessenden's book is Religion Around Billie Holiday, and it explores religious influences ranging from Holiday's time in a convent as a child to the Jewish predominance in the Tin Pan Alley pop music culture. 

Each helped shape the work of the singer who flamed out too early at age 44. 

siskiyousingers.org

They may be beautiful, but they came from ugly circumstances.  Spirituals are, at heart, songs from slavery in America. 

And Ashland-based Siskiyou Singers present a program of them in two concerts this weekend, "Who’ll Be a Witness: The Power of the American Spiritual." 

Performances Saturday and Sunday will be narrated by Eileen Guenther, who wrote In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals

JPR

Elias Alexander traveled a long way to end up playing a gig in his home town.  Elias is from Ashland and a musician... he went to college in New England and began his musical career in the Boston area. 

Elias fronts two bands, the afro-celtic "Soulsha" and the "Bywater Band." 

He returns to Ashland for a concert of his new song cycle "Born Outside: Songs of Struggle and Hope." 

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Any choral group can fill a concert, or a series of them, with works by the old masters. 

But there are new masters, too, and Southern Oregon Repertory Singers intend to showcase them in "First Light: The James M. Collier New Works Festival," this weekend in Ashland. 

SORS musical director Paul French gathered choral works new and nearly-new for the concerts. 

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We have yet to find a musical genre that Josh Gross does not like. 

His enthusiasm for music in all forms is infectious, and reflected in his music columns and articles in the Rogue Valley Messenger

So we borrow that enthusiasm once a month, for our own Rogue Sounds segment.  Josh Gross returns to talk about the works and local appearances of a handful of bands. 

SOU Percussion Facebook page

Be prepared to stretch your definition of music.  Because a recently released CD features Southern Oregon University's Percussion Ensemble performing a piece by the boundary-stretching composer Mark Applebaum

And the piece includes such exotic instrumentation as bubble wrap.  That's right, the stuff that you use to pack fragile items into boxes.  Popping the bubbles makes a sound, a percussive one at that. 

Terry Longshore directs the Percussion Ensemble. 

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Is it possible the phrase "cry me a river" became common because of Julie London? 

She's the one who made the song by that title famous in the mid-1950s.  And Julie London's sultry style gets a tribute from vocalist Tiffany Cooper, in a new album called "Satin Mood." 

The Siskiyou Project hosts a CD release party on Sunday (February 11) at Paschal Winery near Talent. 

stevesmithdrumart.com

The Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'" is a rock anthem, one of the most famous songs of recent history. 

A guitar-driven song, sure, but the drums matter, too.  And the guy who played them lives in Ashland, where he'll play this weekend at the Ashland Jazz Festival

Steve Smith still tours with Journey, but his jazz-fusion group, Vital Information, still records and tours. 

AND Smith creates visual art, too, using his drumsticks to paint a picture of motion. 

RV Peace Choir

Music can bind us together at a time in history when we can easily find reasons to disagree. 

Peace choirs sing to enhance the sense of shared humanity. 

The Rogue Valley Peace Choir is the host organization for a joint concert of peace choirs from both sides of the state line, coming up February 11. 

Heart and Hope Music

It's not generally considered a medical device, but the guitar does have some healing properties.  At least that's how it's used by Rogue Valley musician Donny Roze. 

As the founder and executive director of Heart and Hope Music, he and his guitar go where they are needed to bring a little cheer... to adult foster care homes and assisted living facilities and other places where aging people congregate. 

And they don't just listen; they sing and play instruments, too.  More such sessions will be possible with recent grants from the Oregon Community Foundation and other organizations.

northstatesymphony.org

Ravel.  Berlioz.  Pinkston.  Pinkston?  Yes, he is among the composers whose works will be performed by the North State Symphony in concerts this weekend (Nov. 11 in Chico, Nov. 12 in Redding). 

Dan Pinkston chairs the music department of Simpson University in Redding, and is the composer of a concerto for violin and symphony premiering at the concerts. 

It is the latest in a series of Pinkston works performed to acclaim around the world. 

danbertnobacon.com

Maybe the band name "Chumbawamba" rings a bell. 

Try the lyrics to the group's best-known song: "I get knocked down, but I get up again..."  You can take it from there. 

Danbert Nobacon (not his birth name) was a key figure in Chumbawamba, but an outspoken believer in anarchy and ecology before and since. 

He's also an author, with works including 3 Dead Princes: An Anarchist Fairy Tale.  Nobacon visits Ashland for words at the Ashland Literary Arts Festival and songs at a pair of Rogue Valley venues. 

Kevin Delaney, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10677432

American children born the year the Rolling Stones first recorded music got their invitations to join AARP this year. 

Somehow, the band keeps going, after more than half a century.  But its composition has certainly changed over time, and in one case, tragically. 

Guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones died young in 1969, but he left a distinctive stamp on the early group. 

Paul Trynka wrote a book about him, Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones, and joined us in 2014. 

yakattackmusic.com

If you want to start a conversation that you know will last a while, ask Josh Gross about favorite bands. 

He loves music, and across a wide spectrum of genres and styles. 

Josh makes music, and writes about music for the Rogue Valley Messenger.  And once a month, he visits the studio with "Rogue Sounds," a compilation of musical samples and news of coming band dates. 

Tristan Loper, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48424363

Dar Williams is one of a kind, so a little hard to categorize.  Sure, she is a singer and a songwriter, and highly regarded for her pop/folk work. 

But she's a writer, too, with a new book out called What I Found in A Thousand Towns.  It details the changes she sees in communities she has visited in years of touring. 

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