Baroque February

I have no formal education in music, just a keen interest. Anything I know about classical music I have gleaned myself over time, and I’m learning as I go.

The Baroque era was an early part of that self-lead musical discovery. Many works of classical music that I encountered early in my adulthood came out of the Late Baroque period.

The Baroque was both a long and significant era in western music.

It’s broken into three parts, conveniently named Early (1550–99), Middle (1600–49), and Late (1650–99), with 50 transitional years on either end to stretch the entire era to 250 years. Modern composition styles that many would most easily identify as classical music, like the concerto, sonata, and symphony, originate in this period. Given the length and influence, I feel like the Baroque deserves it’s own blog series, separate from other classical music.

Below are some February born or baptized Baroque era composers whose works I’ve come across.


Biagio Marini    

Michael Praetorius  

Francesco Maria Veracini

Stefano Landi 



Giovanni Battista Vitali   

Johann Philipp Krieger 

Francesco Cavalli 



Johann Adam Birkenstock

Francesco Maria Veracini

Nicolas Chédeville 

Pietro Gnocchi 

Georg Friedrich Kauffmann 

Johann Melchior Molter 

Giacomo Facco 

Louis Marchand 

Johan Agrell 

Arcangelo Corelli 

George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel 







She wrote the songs – Moy Motown

It can be so hard to find information about women in music. Unless it’s made explicit, cultural assumptions have tended to credited the creation of music to men. Women are more likely to be given credit performing music than creating it. If you look hard enough though, there are women behind some of the most powerful and enduring popular music.

That’s the case with Sylvia Moy. She was an American songwriter and record producer, most famously associated with Motown Records. It’s hard to imagine some high profile Motown artists without her.


Take Stevie Wonder for example:

Or Martha and the Vandellas:

Or Marvin Gaye:

And maybe you haven’t heard of The Velvelettes, but you need to hear them now:



My Edmonton Folk Music Festival dozen

I’ve been attending the Edmonton Folk Music Festival for years now, rain and shine.

The quality of music I’ve heard over the years is consistently high, no matter if there is a big name headliner or  not, the quality is always exceptional. It would be way too much work to ran the artists and make a playlist based on my preferences – since they shift daily anyway. So below is a random sampling of a dozen songs by a dozen artists I look forward too seeing at the Folk Festival this year. Could I have included more? Sure. But then what would you have to look forward to?

  1. 100 mile houseHiraeth
  2. AltamedaQueen Of The Street
  3. Amadou & Mariam feat. Manu ChaoSénégal Fast Food
  4. Birds of ChicagoBarley
  5. Cécile Doo-KinguéAnybody Listening
  6. The DecemberistsDon’t Carry It All
  7. Valerie JuneShakedown
  8. Tim WilliamsNobody’s Fault & Poor Boy
  9. Shakey Graves (he was one of my hubby’s favourites when we saw him a couple years back) – Roll the Bones 
  10. The Jerry CansUkiuq
  11. La Santa CeciliaCalaverita
  12. DarlingsideThe God of Loss

I can’t wait to be on the hill again this August.

Women classical composers – the June edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are two female classical composers whose works I have encountered, with links to music samples for each of them.

Judith Bingham is an English singer and composer.

  • Find some links to her music here.

Helen Tobias-Duesberg was born in Estonia but lived in the US until she passed away in 2010.

  • Find some samples of her music here.

April earworm roundup

I wake up almost every morning with an earworm. Some fade quickly, other last for days. Sometimes they make me happy, sometimes they make me doubt my own sanity. They come from all genres. I can rarely know what triggers them. The only thing I do know and that they do without fail is reinforce my belief that all music is connected and good music never goes out of style.

Here’s a roundup of my April earworms.


Chuck Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017)

The world lost Chuck Berry this weekend. The man was mortal, but the work is immortal.

I’ll go. And my house will fall away
While the mice by night and the moths by day
Will nibble the covers off all my books,
And the spiders weave in the shadowed nooks.
And my dogs . . . I’ll see that they have a home
While I follow the sun, while I drift and roam
To the ends of the earth like a chip on the stream,
Like a straw on the wind, like a vagrant dream;
And the thought will strike with a swift sharp pain
That I probably never will build again
This house that I’ll have in some far day
Well . . . it’s just a dream house, anyway.

[Vagabond’s House by Don Blanding]

All the Nobel arts

Ill: N. Elmehed. © Nobel Media 2016
Ill: N. Elmehed. © Nobel Media 2016

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 was awarded to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

He is an icon. He changed how we see folk music. He defined the shifting progress that happens between generations for generations that followed.

Though there are some dissenters, I  gather that the net feeling is that this award was well bestowed.

A Nobel prize for poetry makes sense, and it is hard to argue that lyrics are not poems set to a tune. But even beyond pointing out poetry as the obvious written genre, his body of work embodies the art of story telling. It’s prophesy. It’s philosophy, a call to the angels of our better nature and a condemnation of our baser instincts. It’s an outline of the human condition. It’s musical theatre. In some cases it can be seen as investigative reporting, and as social commentary.

It is well reasoned to award the Nobel to a songwriter whose lyrics are the the basis of the song – and be honest, none of us listened to Bob Dylan for the lilting qualities of his voice. In fact I see every justification of this award when I read his words, even if they echo in my head in tune.

Many heavy weight organisations have weighed in: CBC, BBC, NYTimes, Rolling StoneNew Republic.

We may disagree as to whether lyrics are poetry and therefore deserving of this honour, but we must agree that he has been an icon during an era of progress. As our difference of opinion? Don’t think twice, it’s alright.

Listen to some artists who certainly have recognized his influence on their art and on their world.



One step forward and two steps back


This is my earworm for the day. Usually my earworms begin right as I wake, but in this case it didn’t hit me until I sat down with my morning coffee.

The song One Step Forward and Two Steps Back by Dessert Rose came out in 1987. That was the year I turned 19, the year after I finished high school. A year I was doing very little because I didn’t know what to do next.

And, ta-dah. It’s in my head right now as I am at home, unemployed in the last three years having years quit I job that made me sad, went back to school for a year, and returned to work for the same organization I left just in a different capacity and ended up even more sad.

I think this might be my current theme song.


You held me up, held me down
Made me crazy, then you brought me around
Were my darkness and my light
You were my blindness and my sight

Were my shelter and my storm
Made me cold then you made me warm
You were my fever and my cure
Made me doubt then you made me sure

One step forward and two steps back
Nobody gets too far like that
One step forward and two steps back
This kind of dance can never last

You were my hope and my fears
You were my laughter and my tears
Were my destiny and my fate
Kept me movin’, you made me wait

Were my weakness and my power
You were the thorn and the flower
You were my sunshine and the rain
Made me feel so good, brought so much pain

Now one step forward and two steps back
Nobody gets too far like that
One step forward and two steps back
This kind of dance can never last

And we were never really meant for each other
We were never really meant to last
In the years that we danced together
Each step forward we took two steps back
Each step forward we took two steps back

Now one step forward and two steps back
Nobody gets too far like that
One step forward and two steps back
This kind of dance can never last

One step forward and two steps back
Nobody gets too far like that
One step forward and two steps back
This kind of dance can never last

Songwriter: PERRY, LEE


An Alberta Icon

Actually, I started out the day humming ‘I wanna be in the cavalry…’which is really catchy, but I’ve ended up playing ‘Hard on equipment’ about 15 times in row now, just because the song is so gosh darned good.

Listen for yourself:


(Corb Lund)

corb lund

He’s been roundin’ off bolts since the age of fourteen
Was that a five eighths or a nine sixteenths?
He’s got a metric socket that don’t quite fit
Well it’ll wiggle just a little but it ain’t quite stripped
The safety guard’s gone from his grinding machine
He got a stiff paint brush he only sorta got clean
He’s the hired man, my neighbor and a cousin in law
He’s a jerry riggin’ fool, he got the tool for the job

Well it’s vise grips for pliers, and pliers for a wrench
A wrench for a hammer, hammers everything else
It just don’t seem to make much difference
I sure do like him but he’s hard on equipment
I sure like you son, but you’re hard on equipment

His corners ain’t square and his floor ain’t level
And he’s had a little trouble with the old tape measure

His doors don’t close ‘cause the jamb ain’t plumb
And he’s a Goddamn menace with an air nail gun
They love to see him comin’ at the lumberyard store
Fixed the leak in his roof with a two by four
Drilled holes in his boards with the wrong kinda bit
And when they don’t line up he blames the government

He got the whole front yard full of fix ‘em up cars
Three don’t run and the rest won’t start
Everything’s fine with his rebuilt motor
Except of course for the couple spare washers left over
Baler twine tie downs goin’ down the road
On two bald tires and an oversize load
He ain’t never read a manual ‘cause that’s like cheatin’
He don’t mind the grease on his hands while he’s eatin’

He’s got busted up knuckles, his thumb got bruised
Jesus Christ was a carpenter, too

That last line “Jesus Christ” reminds me of my dad.

Picture my sister and I sitting watching TV upstairs, my dad downstairs putting lights in the newly finished basement. All of a sudden we hear “gggggggaaaargh” – then silence. I look at my sis, she looks at me. We spend a moment in silence, then I say “You go down”, she says “No, you go down”. This goes on for another 30-40 seconds. Finally, much to our relief we hear “JEEESUS CHRIST” in my dad’s voice booming from the bowels of the house. So, we figure, if he can curse he’s OK, and went back to the Flintstones.

True story.

Don’t know what you about Corb Lund, but here are a few highlights about this Alberta music icon:

Lund was a founding member of The Smalls ; ( – a hardcore punk band I caught at least once – I think at Bronx. (‘nother fact, Nirvana played Bronx too

Hurtin’ Albertans is Corb Lund’s touring band.

In 2006 Kurt Browning, performed a figure skating routine to “Expectation and the Blues”.

In 2009 Lund signed with New West Records, home of Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson – keeping company with alt rock aristocracy.


Tell me if I start Ramblin’

An oldie but a goodie:

I am not a Ramblin’ Man, but I was married to one, when it came to leavin’ he thought I’d understand…now I am married to a doctor, we have a big house, I have a walk-in closet the size of my former kitchen, a library, an art studio and a BIG BIG smile on my face. No hard feelings and I still like the song.

Ramblin’ Man is an Allman Brothers song from their 1973 album Brothers and Sisters.


This southern rock standard has been featured in in several movies, including The Exorcist, Big Fish, and When Harry Met Sally.

The song was their only top ten single, climbing the charts to number 2 but edged out of number 1 by Gregg Allman’s future wife’s – Cher – Half Breed. There’s a kitchy song if you’re in the mood:


Cher’s chart topping triumph aside, the song made it onto the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of 500 songs that shaped rock and roll.

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

 allman bros

The Allman Brothers’ Ramblin’ Man is based on a classic Hank Williams song of the same name.

Take a listen to both versions below, and remember: it’s a song not life advice.

Allman Brothers Band Ramblin’ Man Lyrics:

Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man
Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can
And when it’s time for leavin’
I hope you’ll understand
That I was born a ramblin’ man

My father was a gambler down in Georgia
He wound up on the wrong end of a gun
And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus
Rollin’ down highway forty-one
Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man
Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can
And when it’s time for leavin’
I hope you’ll understand
That I was born a ramblin’ man

I’m on my way to New Orleans this mornin’
I’m leavin’ out of Nashville, Tennessee
They’re always having a good time down on the bayou
Lord, them Delta women think the world of me

Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man
Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can
And when it’s time for leavin’
I hope you’ll understand
That I was born a ramblin’ man

Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man
Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man
Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man

Hank Williams Ramblin’ Man lyrics:

I can settle dow-own and be doin’ just fine
Til I hear an old train rollin’ down the line
Then I hurry strai-aight home and pack
And if I didn’t go, I believe I’d blow my stack
I love you ba-aby, but you gotta understand
When the Lord made me
He made a Ramblin’ Man.

Some folks might sa-ay that I’m no good
That I wouldn’t settle down if I could
But when that open ro-oad starts to callin’ me
There’s somethin’ o’er the hill that I gotta see
Sometimes it’s har-rd but you gotta understand
When the Lord made me, He made a Ra-amblin’ Man.

I love to see the tow-owns a-passin’ by
And to ride these rails ‘neath God’s blue sky
Let me travel this la-and from the mountains to the sea
‘Cause that’s the life I believe He meant for me
And when I’m go-one and at my grave you stand
Just say God called home your Ra-amblin’ Man.