The piano is a versatile instrument. For years, I doubted my ability to perform — until now. After studying music by Michael McDonald and others for the last fifteen years, I’m pleased with my progress as a musician. I’ve always loved music. I enjoy hacking the piano even more.
Enjoy the live performance of ‘Knock on Wood’ by Michael McDonald and Phoebe Snow from 1990′s Rock & Soul Revue — Courtesy of Lala.
Note: The sample MP3 is embedded at the end of this entry. You may also download it here.
I am not a singer, however, I do enjoy goofing around with different concepts like vocal phrasing and such. While living in Nashville, I did take a few singing lessons, where I was told I had ‘something’ (I think she was just trying to make me feel good). My love for music came from a variety of people, including my Grandmother (who once played piano), Mom (she has a beautiful voice when she’s serious) and my Dad (I recall him belting out tunes as a child). My most profound influence is Michael McDonald. I’ve spent many years and hours studying his live and recorded vocal techniques, analyzing every phrasing and breath. You could say I received an education in the ‘theory of singing’ from the man.
Usually, I’ll sing to get a feel for a song I’m writing — It’s my way of capturing what I hear in my head (you won’t believe how often I hear music) to gain a better understanding of the song’s structure, mood, energy, etc.
The little vocal I recorded here is from Michael McDonald’s ‘Peace‘. It’s a beautiful ballad co-written by McDonald and Beth Nielsen Chapman. The phrasing is a lot different from Michael’s — In fact, I didn’t have anything in particular in mind, it’s something I blurted out while being ‘In the Spirit‘ (which is actually the title of the album this song is from).
Anyway, you must promise me that you won’t tell anyone you heard this, okay? This is the first time I’ve ever shared my amateur music adventures in the public. I’ve got years of recordings, unfinished music and a lot of other crap. It’s only a hobby to tinker and learn new things. My only interest in any mainstream success would be as a songwriter and maybe a background vocalist / gabber.
Walmart just issued this e-mail statement regarding the closure of their DRM servers for customers who purchased protected music via their online digital music store:
NOTE: This is a follow-up to our email titled “Important Information About Your Digital Music Purchases” from 9/26/08.
Based on feedback from our customers, we have decided to maintain our
digital rights management (DRM) servers for the present time. What this
means to you is that our existing service continues and there is no
action required on your part. Our customer service team will continue
to assist with DRM issues for protected windows media audio (WMA) files
purchased from Walmart.com.
While our customer support team is available to assist you with any
issues, we continue to recommend that you back up your songs by burning
them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you insure
access to them from any personal computer at any time in the future.
We appreciate your support and patience as we work to provide the best
service possible to you. As we move forward with our 100% MP3 store,
we’ll continue to update you with key decisions regarding our service
and your account via email.
Thank you for using Walmart MP3 Music Downloads.
The Walmart Digital Music Team
Essentially, the consumers won! Bark loud enough and people will listen. Good news for the millions of DRM protected music downloaded from Walmart.
See EWF at Red Rocks on June 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm!
On September 23, music legends Michael McDonald and Earth, Wind & Fire stopped here in Denver at Red Rocks to perform their greatest hits and latest music before thousands of appreciative fans. It was my first concert at the famed amphitheater and let me tell you, it was beautiful! Prior to the concert, I decided to hike a trail behind Red Rocks to discover a hidden utopia of nature’s most beautiful creations. I was in awe and it reminded me of all the reasons why I chose to relocate to Denver two years ago. Michael McDonald opened the show at 7:30 and played through the Doobie Brothers hits, his own and material from his latest CD, ‘Soul Speak’. It was a real treat to hear his latest single from the album, ‘Enemy Within’, performed live. I’m quite amazed by Michael’s evolution as an artist. I recall hearing his music all over the radio in the 80s as a child and I eventually ventured out to acquire all of his recordings for my personal enjoyment. The Red Rocks concert was also a special moment for me: It marked 10 years to the day when Michael and I first met in 1998 at Pine Knob in Clarkston, Michigan. Michael has been one of many heroes and role models that I’ve admired most of my life. I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to enjoy friendship and conversation with many of them over the years. Michael and I laughing about being silly Michael and I catching up backstage at Red Rocks Meeting my favorite male vocalist, keyboardist and songwriter for the first time Here’s a picture from my first Michael McDonald concert in 1998 in Michigan. I had just turned 18 and recently graduated from high school. I had also just recently lost 75 pounds after I decided I had enough of being a fat teenager (I was about 240 lbs). The concert was a birthday present from my Mom. Little did I know that Michael already had plans on meeting me as I discovered in a local newspaper interview a day after the concert. Michael and I became acquainted through fans, friends, tour promoters and others as word traveled back to him in the latter part of the 90s about a web site I maintained covering his career and music over the years. It was the first of its kind in the U.S. I was truly a kid at heart that night. Red Rocks showing Michael a lot of love Hiking behind Red Rocks before Michael McDonald’s performance
Earlier today, a great, new idea was born. It’s not complex, nor hard to implement. Of the many ideas I’ve generated and tested over the years, I can’t believe how this one came to me in a matter of minutes. What have I discovered? A clever and ingenious way of helping record companies sell more music CDs.
It’s a very elementary approach — Which makes it so attractive — Because the most clever ideas are the simple ones. Now you’re wondering, ‘How will you sell more CDs’? It’s simple: Inspire more people to make a trip to their favorite record store. It’s a unique approach that will change the image of the industry, improve buyer confidence, enhance financial performance and more.
Let’s get started, shall we? Please use the ‘Call Me’ button on the right hand side of your screen, or write me an e-mail with your contact information.
I just learned yesterday that Universal Motown, Michael McDonald’s current label, is shipping McDonald’s original track, “Enemy Within”, to AC radio on July 14. “Enemy Within” is a refreshing rock track from his latest release, “Soul Speak”, which is sure to melt the AC radio waves.
I am very excited about this development. This marks the fourth single from “Soul Speak”. The previous singles are “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher and Higher)”, “Love T.K.O.” and “Walk On By”. All three singles debuted simultaneously on AC, Urban AC and Smooth Jazz, giving McDonald a rare accomplishment in the most singles to debut at radio.
On March 4-5, Michael McDonald will perform at the Blue Note in New York to celebrate the release of his new album, ‘Soul Speak‘. It’ll be a wonderful day for Michael, but will it be for the ‘Blue Note’?
The ‘Blue Note’ just blogged about Michael’s David Letterman performance which includes an ‘embedded’ YouTube video of the gig. There’s a ton of irony in this: Will technologically incompetent lawyers representing Michael threaten the venue with a “cease and desist” letter laced with false accusations like I received last July?
What the ‘Blue Note’ has done here is no different than several videos I’ve posted to my own site which were ‘embedded’ from YouTube. Unfortunately, I was chastised and chewed up as being the perp who uploaded the videos in question that I ‘embedded’ to my site (There’s a huge difference between ‘linking’ videos and ‘uploading’ them).
The hypocrisy — and ignorance — of an industry that is littered with far too many egos and often bemoans accountability to the very people which make the industry what it is (without ‘fans’, there’s no livelihood for the industry) is more than obvious here.
Chances are, the ‘Blue Note’ won’t be chastised for embedding this video, as they are a paid gig for McD.
To date, I still haven’t received an explanation on the mixup, how I was chosen and how my e-mail address was even known. The last thing in the world I’d do to a friend is cheat him of his rights or harm his brand, product or service by distributing unauthorized works w/o permission (and, no, ‘embedding’ is not ‘distributing’).
Personally, I believe an apology from Vector Management and Michael’s lawyer is long overdue — Michael needn’t be the janitor cleaning up the actions of others (and I did mention this incident to him, and of course, he apologized — But, again, it’s not his doing), for our friendship has been nothing but inspiring over an almost 10 year period.
My only desire is that those representing him should take better precautions to avoid the possibility of alienating those who are friends and supporters of Michael. The music industry continues to demonstrate that they are not in the business of listening — Just dictating (and bullying).
Don’t forget to pick up Michael’s new album, ‘Soul Speak,’ on March 4th: