Thursday, July 28, 2011

Don't Be Cruel

if you must get fat
try to do it in Memphis
what a way to go

I'm being sort of cruel to my stomach this week, and my clothes are not getting any looser, but it's all so yummy I really don't care. The staff at the Orpheum theater is providing us with delicious sandwich and various-types-of-salad lunches (someone told the woman who's arranging the food that we like to eat healthy because we're from New York, so I do at least get enough veggies mixed in with Southern deliciousness). Every day, I swear I'm going to take it easy on my digestive system for dinner, and every night, I have a really good reason to forget that foolish midafternoon oath.

Sunday: BBQ chicken nachos on Beale St., at a place that also serves "Big Ass Beer to go"
Monday: pint night at Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
Draught Emporium! $3 pints of GOOD beer!?!? Sign me up! I must really be a Yankee now, 'cause I went for the spinach-artichoke dip and goat cheese pizza, but I did at least try a pecan brown ale from a Mississippi brewery.

Tuesday: Gus' Fried Chicken ...I don't think I've ever bothered to pick the bones that clean. Also, fried pickles.
Wednesday: pizza ... WHAT!?!? I live in New York, and

I came to Memphis and had pizza!? Let me 'splain.

Michelle the Choreographer and I got off early enough this afternoon to go visit Sun Studio, where Elvis was discovered and he and dozens of other important musical figures recorded and still record. We took the tour (highly recommended) and looked at Elvis' cowhide guitar case, social security card, old recording equipment, etc. Awesome. I LOVE ROCK & ROLL. I LOVE AMERICAN MUSIC. THIS IS WHAT I LIVE FOR. You should go there too.

Anyway, I bought some stuff in the gift shop, and as I was paying, a guy walked in with three pizza boxes, from which was emanating the most mouthwatering aroma in the history of BBQ pizza. To paraphrase Liz Lemon, I wanted to go to there. Michelle and I trekked across empty lots and trolley tracks (ok, it was like 2 blocks) to the Trolley Stop Market, where we had some slices, some pale ale from MS, and the best blueberry pie I've had in years.

Tonight, I learned "Don't Be Cruel" on my little 25-key midi controller here in my hotel room, in honor of the King and his city which is making me fat (but very happy).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Memphis - Turn, Turn, Turn

green, green blues city
that humidity's got to
be good for something

In the past week, I've been in Denver, El Paso, my hometown Silver City, NM, Tucson, Phoenix, Atlanta (just flying through), and now Memphis for a week. I think I'm going to like it here.

First time to Memphis, I told the cab driver. She was delighted, in a slow, drawly way, and asked me what I'd heard about Memphis. Well, BBQ, blues, and Graceland, I replied, all of which I hope to experience while I'm here.

The first thing I noticed about Memphis was how green it is compared to the Sonora Desert I had left the night before. Then I noticed how friendly everyone is (you can take the girl out of New York...), and then I noticed how I wanted to take my jeans off after a few minutes walking in the midafternoon sun down Beale St. You can wear jeans in 100-degree dry heat; 100-degree humidity, not so comfortable.

Lately, it's been a time to do things other than learn new songs. It's been a time to celebrate marriages, travel, see family, focus on music that's more directly related to work. Turn, turn, turn. I do it when I can (when I have access to a keyboard) and when I need to (when my family is driving me bananas and I need a little music meditation).

Last week:
"We Are the Champions" (who'd have thought an anthem such as this would have diminished chords?! I love you, Freddie Mercury!)

"Turn, Turn, Turn" - because I was contemplating all the things I want to do w/ my life, and how I just can't do them all at once. Thanks for the wee taste of changing meter, Pete Seeger. Turn, turn, turn indeed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Old Cape Cod

I arrived on the Cape for the first time in my life two nights ago. I'm here for Trish Larose is Bulletproof, and I rode up with our drummer. We drove (well, he drove) through heavy traffic and torrential rain and arrived over seven hours after we'd left my apartment (it's usually a 4.5 hour drive). Luckily, we get along well, so it was a pleasant long drive when it could have been a torturously long ride, and now the Bulletproof crew is teched and rehearsed and ready to open tonight.

Some recent songs (I had aspirations of posting about every one; giving up on that for now): Beyonce's "Ave Maria" (What must Schubert think?), LeToya/"Not Anymore", Cee Lo Green/"F*** You", and of course, 1957 song "Old Cape Cod", written by Claire Rothrock, Milton Yakus, and Allan Jeffrey, and sung by Patti Page.

Charming chromatic harmony & background vocals, and a tempo that matches the pace here. It's a foreign land to me, where people come to relax, and people live who like to have a certain amount of relaxation in their lifestyle. I could get used to this. I mean, I'm from New Mexico; I am well-acquainted with the concept of doing nothing and then resting afterward. This is a lot like that, but with a beach and more humidity.

More later - the world beckons from beyond the cute bedroom where I'm being housed. I'll try to remember to take pictures, but my brain is currently set to "keep warm" when I'm not working, so no promises.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

He Lives in You (06/24/11)

from The Lion King

Today we have a very practical song-of-the-day - I have to play this on Sunday for a rehearsal workshop. An unsuspecting group of travelers who have tickets to see the show will be coming to this workshop. Someone from the show (usually a member of the ensemble) will be there to teach an excerpt of choreography from the show, and I will teach the vocals.

***Note 6/30 - I ended up doing two of these workshops. The first was a group of high schoolers from Australia. The second was a group of bankers, most of whom were from South Africa or Zimbabwe. Yeah. I taught Swahili to Africans. What!?!?!?

Sunshine of Your Love (Thu 6/23/11)

by Pete Brown, Jack Bruce, and Eric Clapton

BPM: 114ish, give or take a few (remember when everything wasn't quantized and autotuned within an inch of its life?)

Left me wondering: how do I really make this sound good on piano?

Geekery: check out the drum part. One of the few songs in the realm of groove/pop music where the high-overtone hit is on 1 & 3 instead of 2 & 4. And awesome fills. Yesssssss.

Fond memory: My best friend from college, Erin, and I lived together for about a year and a half. One of our favorite activities was grocery shopping together. I should mention - I hate to cook, but I love grocery shopping. One time, we were literally rolling in the produce aisle, amusing ourselves by having a puppet show of sorts, funny voices, etc., with an item we had just discovered and decided to call the assquash. Said the assquash: "I refyooooze to let you boss me around!!!" "Hah hah hah..Rah rah rah..."

You had to be there.

Anyway, once I set a just-purchased bag of canned goods on the counter at home, and the cans as they settled played the main riff from "Sunshine of Your Love". We both noticed it and thought it was amazing and hilarious. (This may have been the same trip as the assquash trip. And no, we were not on any kind of mood-altering substance. Our own creative minds were plenty, thank you.)

So yeah. Even my groceries are musical.