Archive of ‘music’ category

Album of the Week 002 ~ A Very Kacey Christmas by Kacey Musgraves

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Album : A Very Kacey Christmas by Kacey Musgraves

Release Date : October 2016

My Favourite Tracks : Present Without a Bow, Ribbons and Bows, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Album Notes

A Very Kacey Christmas is actually the album that gave me the idea for doing this album a week blog post – I saw that she was releasing it and I saved it for the last week in November to listen to it!

It’s an excellent addition to the plethora of Christmas albums that have come before it. From the seasonal standards like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Let It Snow and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, to the original songs written by Kacey herself. These are some of my favourites on the album – I love the classics but the new songs are great. Present Without a Bow features Leon Bridges, a gospel and soul singer whose voice is just a delight (I’ll be exploring his albums throughout the year, I’m sure). A Willie Nice Christmas is a fun track featuring Willie Nelson, while Christmas Makes Me Cry is a more melancholy look at the festive season. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is the earworm from the album, and it’s a lot of fun!

Kacey Musgraves is a country singer, but to me, this isn’t a country Christmas album per se. It seems to be just be a collection of songs that Kacey loves, along with those she has written for the album. It’s helping to get me in the festive spirit, and I know that some of these tracks will be upgraded to my regular Christmas playlist for many years to come.

Album of the Week 001 – FMA by Grace

As part of my 35 Before 35 challenge, I am listening to a new album a week, and blogging about each one. 

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Album : FMA by Grace

Release Date : July 2016

Singles : You Don’t Own Me, Boyfriend Jeans, Hell of a Girl

My Favourite Tracks : You Don’t Own Me, Boyfriend Jeans, Church on Sunday, New Orleans

Album Notes
I chose to listen to FMA for the simple reason that I really love You Don’t Own Me, as featured in the House of Fraser advert last Christmas. I had no idea that it wasn’t an original song, though I’ve since learnt that Lesley Gore recorded it in the 1960s.

This is an album that seems to cover many different musical genres, with the first half of the album veering more to towards the poppier sides of things, and the later tracks feeling a lot more soulful. But the jazzy tones pervade throughout, and there’s no denying that Grace’s voice bears a striking similarity to the late great Amy Winehouse. However, where Amy’s voice betrayed the pain and turmoil of her private life, while Grace has a beautiful voice, it lacks that same authenticity.

That’s not to say, however, that this isn’t an enjoyable album. The songs are catchy and fun, and it only took a couple of listens for some of them to become real earworms for me!

Mix CD swap

Mix CD swap

I’m like most bloggers; I love getting post, and I love a blog swap. Ages and ages ago, I joined in with a Mix CD swap through a US blog that I can’t remember the name of, and it was such fun, that I did it a couple of times subsequently with a lovely blogger from Texas. This is my attempt to set up something similar, and see how many people are interested in joining in!

I don’t know how many people actually make mix CDs any more, but I love the idea of making someone a CD with songs on it that I think they might like. Obviously the tradition goes back to mix tapes, and there’s something quite touching about someone taking the time to make something like that!

The basic idea of the swap would be thus; you sign up by leaving a comment with your name and a brief outline of your musical tastes. I pair you up with someone, and then you make a CD filled with songs you think they will like!

I’m thinking that it would be good to have a theme, so I’m going with autumn. Of course, as a theme it’s quite broad, and there are probably hundreds of songs that could work for it.

So, if you are interested, please leave a comment with the following information:

  • Your name and email address (if you’d prefer not to make your email address public, just email me isthatyoudarling@hotmail.co.uk)
  • Where in the world you are, and if you would prefer to swap with someone in the same country (I’m not sure how international this is going to be, but just in case!)
  • Your favourite genres of music
  • Your favourite all-time song

If I get enough interest, I’ll email everyone with their partners the week beginning 28th September. Please spread the word; if you know anyone who might be interested in joining in, please let them know!

 

Homegrown Tour ~ The Shires and Ward Thomas

I’m a big fan of the current crop of UK country acts, and top of the ever-growing pile are Ward Thomas and The Shires. These are two bands that have got a lot of airplay on Radio 2 recently, and I was lucky enough to see The Shires earlier this year at The Water Rats in London, and then I saw Ward Thomas in Hyde Park in September. When I found out that they were touring together, I was desperate to go, and I was lucky enough to get some tickets. I went with Hannah, Jen and Anna; Hannah came with me to The Shires in July, and Anna saw Ward Thomas in September, but Jen didn’t really know much about either band. As it was, everyone had a fabulous time, and we even got to meet the bands!

We tried a lot to get a decent selfie of the four of us, and it wasn’t easy! I think this was the best of a bad bunch, so I made it black and white to give us a helping hand! Now that I have a selfie stick, bad selfies are a thing of the past!

My gig photos aren’t great, because my camera isn’t great, but I managed to take a few this time, so I wanted to include them! The support band we saw were Taylor and Marie, a folk/country duo who have a really lovely sound. They started with a rendition of Bad Moon Rising, which is one of my favourite songs, so it was great to hear a new spin on it. They also played a song called I Got Moved, which I loved! It’s a shame it’s not their EP, Tilt the Moon, because I want to listen to it again!

Ward Thomas came on next, and they are just the cutest girls ever. They are so fun to watch; aside from their fantastic music, they just look as though they are having so much fun on stage, and they really engage the crowd. Their album, From Where I Stand, is just fantastic, and I have barely stopped listening to it this week! They released the single, Push for the Stride, earlier in the year, and it’s a really stompy, fun, country tune, but the album is full of so much more; catchy songs you can dance to, and really beautiful songs that showcase the sisters’ fabulous harmonies. They did a really full set, even including a cover of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, during which they warned us that they would attempt the rap (and they weren’t half bad!). One of my absolute favourite songs off the album is Way Back When, their latest single, and when they finished it off by mashing it up with Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson, I was amazed – it was so good!

The Shires finished the night, with a set that seemed a bit short by my standards! Maybe I was just spoilt by having heard them sing a lot of songs at their gig in July, but I wanted more! They are really lovely, and they just sound so good together! I am still waiting patiently for their album (January, apparently), but they were selling copies of their new EP, The Green Note, so I bought that (and got it signed!), and that will just have to do for now. They sang their two singles, Nashville Grey Skies and Tonight, both of which I adore, and they also sang their cover that they recorded for the Radio 2 Sounds of the 80s song, Islands in the Stream. I had been waiting for ages to actually hear it played on the radio, and then I finally heard it a couple of weeks ago, but hearing it live was amazing of course.

The two bands came out at the end to duet on Leaving Without Your Love, a cover of the Striking Matches song. It’s not a song I’m that familiar with, but I watched the video they recorded of them singing it a few weeks ago, so I knew it would be the one that they’d sing together, and it’s a great song. They are all just amazing, and to be honest, I’m gutted that the gig is over. I want to go again!

As I mentioned, we got to meet the bands afterwards, and I got my Shires EP signed. I already have the Ward Thomas album, and obviously I didn’t have it with me, so I couldn’t get that signed, but I did get a photo with them, and I had a little chat with Catherine, and told her how much I had loved the Way Back When/Man in the Mirror mash up. I also mentioned to Ben and Crissie from The Shires that I am a bit of a Twitter stalker fan, and he asked what my Twitter name was, and his face suggested that he recognised it when I told him! Argh!

I really did have a fabulous evening, and because it was the night before my birthday, it was a lovely pre-birthday treat!

#fangirl

* Two of the tickets that we used for the Homegrown Tour gig were provided free of charge for review purposes. All reviews on Is That You Darling are fair and unbiased.

The Shires at The Water Rats

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see The Shires in London. Sitting on Twitter one evening, I saw that Bob Harris had tweeted a link to their UK tour, and I immediately took a look. Having ascertained that they were playing a London date, I booked tickets immediately. I didn’t even check that my friend Hannah was free to come, I just thought that I had to have tickets straightaway! As it turned out, Hannah was free as a bird, and we went along at the end of July.

We decided to have a day off work and spend the day in London first, and I took full advantage to go on a Book Bench quest! After we had seen all of the benches that we could find in the area, we were struggling to decide what to do, so we decided to head over the river and visit Tate Modern. I’ve been a couple of times before, but Hannah wasn’t sure that she had been, so in lieu of any other ideas, that’s what we did.

I can’t honestly say that I know an awful lot about modern art. I know what I like – Mondrian, Picasso, Matisse – but I get overwhelmed by most of the art on display at somewhere like Tate Modern. I prefer an exhibition of carefully curated pieces, rather than being left to my own devices to browse. But it was a fun afternoon, and it gave me the opportunity to trot out the anecdote that I visited before it was officially open (and before the Queen), back in 2000.

 

Look, I’m a bloger – I took a photo in Starbucks! I never, ever go in Starbucks. Not for moral reasons, just because I don’t drink coffee, and I don’t really enjoy paying over the odds for an average cup of tea. But we had some time to waste, so I had a cold drink (too much orange, in my opinion), and some fruit toast. I’m always happy to see jam from Tiptree on my plate!

I’ve never been to The Water Rats, but my friend V, who used to go to a lot of gigs in London, had told me that it was quite small. She wasn’t exaggerating; it’s a pub with a back room, and it wasn’t very big at all! It was also the hottest room in the entire world; seriously sweaty and disgusting!

Before The Shires played, they had two support acts. Gary Quinn and Frankie Davis are both country artists, and they played a few songs each. They were both amazing, and I’ve been listening to them on Spotify since I saw them! I really, really liked Frankie Davis, and I’m waiting patiently for her album to come out, as she sang a couple of songs that I thought were really good.

But of course, we were there to see The Shires, and they finally came on. The Shires are Crissie and Ben, and it should be noted that they are both beautiful people. But it’s their music that makes me love them, and I wasn’t at all disappointed; they sang their first single, Nashville Grey Skies, which I have been playing over and over and over for months! They did a really long set, and I think they must have sung most of the songs from their forthcoming album. Their latest single, Tonight, is another great one, and it’s being played all over Radio 2 at the moment! The crowd were divided in two (and Ben looked right at me when he divided – swoon), and both halves had to sing along to different parts. If you’re at all interested, some kindly soul has uploaded the performance to YouTube; I keep watching it because it’s so great!

I tried to take a few photos, but I had forgotten my camera, and sadly my phone wasn’t up to the job. After a couple of attempts, I gave it up as a bad job, and just decided to enjoy the music. I’m now (im)patiently waiting for The Shires to release their album; after hearing so much good stuff at the gig, I want to be able to listen to it over and over!

I bought a t-shirt while I was at the gig, because I had seen some other girls wearing them and was jealous! You can’t be a super-fan without a band tee! I have already worn it a few times, but I’ll definitely be wearing it in November, because I’m going to see The Shires again! This time they are doing a joint tour with Ward Thomas, who are another UK country music duo, and whose album I adore. I think there are still tickets available, and they are all over the country, so book some. You won’t be disappointed, I promise!

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