Well I have been back from Paris together with a few days in the London area for almost two weeks now. It was a good trip, marred only by a train strike which prevented a planned trip to Versailles, and a few Paris thunderstorms. Otherwise it was great to be there. It was also great to have a few days just outside London with my cousins. Its a long story, but I never knew them growing up, but with the aid of social media, and more trips across the Atlantic we are making up for a lot of lost time. I love them all dearly, so any time spent with them is a real treat.
In a way this post is a summary of several previous posts, because the entire trip seemed to intertwine in a unique musical sense, culminating with meeting some really special people. I’ll leave that for the end of the post though. I thought it might be fun to share with all of you how such different styles of music makes its way into my head (and on to these posts). I would not quite call it a ‘best of’ Soundtrack Of A Photograph, but maybe a cross section of the way my brain is wired to music instead, and how I bounce around so much. That is actually a question I get often! What often starts off innocently enough with playing one song, leads to a 5 day marathon of soul music, classical, vintage country or folk. Maybe some blues, maybe some jazz, maybe some world music. What follows is an example of how that sometimes comes to be. I encourage you to click on the links in red and at the very least, play the music to hear for yourselves. Continue reading “The Music In My Head”→
I love accordions. There I said it. In all honesty though, I have never understood why the instrument has been subject to such hostility from some corners. It is an extremely versatile instrument, and a key ingredient to a range of styles, from folk music across Europe and Latin America, and right here in the U.S. with Cajun and Zydeco music especially. Be it a piano accordion or some degree of button style it can do so much as an instrument and I have always enjoyed what it brings. It is a good solo instrument capable of subtle nuances, makes great dance music, and can really rock when it wants to. Yes, I said that too. Accordions rock.
I love accordions so much I could make you a long list of my favorite players, mostly from English and Celtic music, with others from Cajun and Zydeco. But it would also include a fabulous musician and singer I am happy popped up today here on Photo Shuffle. Her name is Ginny Mac, from Fort Worth, Texas. I first became aware of her a few years ago, watching her perform with the band Brave Combo at a festival. They were a band I had been familiar with for years but never managed to see. A great party band with an astonishing repertoire of music from around the world. You have never heard the Hokey Pokey until you have heard their version! Much as I was enjoying Brave Combo’s set, when Ginny stepped up to the microphone to sing I realized she definitely had something special going on.
So I did the usual social media thing and began following her musical activities since leaving the group not too long after, as well as backtracking to her older material. Ginny is just an incredible talent. Versatile in both voice and her playing on both accordion and piano. Capable of rocking out to a Chuck Berry song, or singing the Cajun standard Jole Blon, followed by a Patsy Cline number for good measure. I absolutely admire musicians who are versed in so many styles. A big part of that for Ginny I suspect is the versatility of the accordion and what it can actually do. Make sure you watch the clip at the bottom of the post with Ginny explaining that herself far better than I can.
Much as I thoroughly enjoy all those styles, I found myself particularly drawn to Ginny’s interpretations of some of the old standards. Take ‘On The Street Where You Live’ for example. Originally from the musical My Fair Lady, it was covered by the likes of Dean Martin, Vic Damone, Nat King Cole and dozens more. It is not really a type of song that I normally listen to, but I realized something awhile back. Where once I used to automatically dismiss much of this style, probably a result of some of it being ‘inflicted’ on me as a youngster, I can now appreciate the songs themselves more. So while I do not see rushing out to buy the complete works of Vic Damone in the near future, I can at least acknowledge that a good song is a good song. Groups like Hot Club Of Cowtown and singers such as Ginny Mac have made me realize that with their interpretations.
‘On The Street Where You Live’ is actually a great example of this. I have been familiar with this song of course, almost certainly because of My Fair Lady which my parents had the soundtrack for. Listening to Ginny’s cover of it though, the dreamy words really come through. Though the street where I live (seen in the photo above) is not so dreamy, and definitely not filled with larks and lilac trees or enchantment pouring out of every door, it is home. Where my beautiful wife and I live with our two cats. I realized that I missed all this imagery in the more schmaltzy versions of the song, Ginny Mac’s accordion driven re-working really fits the song. But that accordion being such a versatile instrument, somehow also captures the feel of those versions with a full on orchestra. Which makes me thankful for such talented musicians as Ginny Mac constantly thinking and working on their music. Finding ways to reinterpret music and going back to basics. And using an accordion to do it is icing on the cake! Please check out her website and social media for more clips-http://www.ginnymac.com/
On The Street Where You Live-Music By Frederick Loewe, Lyrics By Alan Jay Lerner