The classic cover to The Beatles' 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

My love for The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

If you’ve been plugged into any social media the last few days, you probably couldn’t escape the news about the new remix of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.

I’ll be straight with you: I haven’t heard it yet.

My only opportunities since its release on Friday (May 26, 2017) would have minimized it to background music. And that just won’t do the album justice.

The classic cover to The Beatles' 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
The classic cover to The Beatles’ 1967 album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

I want to experience it when I can really focus on it. I want to wear some good headphones, I want to let the sounds wash over me, I want the music to conjure visions and tickle my imagination.

I hope to be transported to the same Neverland (or Pepperland) that a very young me visited when I first delved into the Fab Four’s 1967 masterwork.

Continue reading “My love for The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band””

Roger Waters rehearses for his upcoming "Us & Them" tour. Photo courtesy of his Facebook page.

Enjoying Pink Floyd (and Roger Waters) with my 50 favorites

Hello (hello, hello … is there anybody out there?).

Please forgive the juxtaposition of two songs from “The Wall,” but I couldn’t resist.

I have today off from work, and I’m spending it relaxing. For me, that’ll mean a fair share of music.

I’ve been on a big Pink Floyd kick of late. I wake up with the group’s songs going through my head. I drive to work humming some of them. I’ll find myself pondering the instrumental and lyrical depth of some of their great works while doing my job.

Why now? I don’t know. Perhaps the better question is: Why not now?

It’s been 50 years since Pink Floyd’s first album was released. And in a matter of weeks, we’ll have a new studio album from Roger Waters (his first full studio rock effort since 1992’s great “Amused to Death”). And he’ll be touring again, too!

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for the new Waters album. I’m eager to hear what he has to say, and to immerse myself in the atmospheres of mood and music he weaves to help enforce his point.

A cropped photo of the upcoming Roger Waters solo album “Is This the Life We Really Want?”

In spirit of my day off, and of enjoying Pink Floyd’s music (and the music of its individual members), I feel like writing about some of my favorites. You in? Let’s get this going.

Continue reading “Enjoying Pink Floyd (and Roger Waters) with my 50 favorites”

The cover to Jon Magnusson's "Psalms for Sinners" EP.

Review: “Psalms for Sinners” EP by Jon Magnusson

In my capacity as a music fan who dabbles with the written word (you know, a music columnist / blogger), I often get tunes submitted to me for my consideration.

It’s a great honor and greater pleasure to be able to listen to so much material from so many people from such different countries, backgrounds and genres. Thank you to everyone who reaches out to me, I wish I had the time and ability to write about every artist and submission that comes my way. It never gets boring!

And an EP that was recently shared with me never gets boring, either.

Musician Jon Magnusson contacted me via Twitter (you can find and follow him at @jonmagnussonof).

The cover to Jon Magnusson's "Psalms for Sinners" EP.
The cover to Jon Magnusson’s “Psalms for Sinners” EP.

The four-song EP dabbles in different sounds, making for an enjoyable listen that stands up to repeat airings without overstaying its welcome.

Continue reading “Review: “Psalms for Sinners” EP by Jon Magnusson”

Justin McGuinn (Justin Ploof) is pictured here.

Review: Justin McGuinn’s “Love Songs & Other Strangers”

It’s fair to say that Justin McGuinn (you may also know him as Justin Ploof) knows a thing or two about music.

If you live in or near Central Minnesota, you may have run into this St. Cloud Tech grad at an area festival, or caught one of his shows. And if you love great music from the 1960s and 1970s, you may have caught some of his tribute shows too.

That’s how I first heard him.

I think it was back in 2005 or so, I was invited by good friend Mick Hatten to catch a George Harrison tribute show. It was a stellar mix of Beatles tunes and solo gems, peppered with incredible guitarists and excellent singers (special props to Billy Scherer, whose vocals on the majestic “Isn’t It a Pity” almost brought tears to my eyes and may have been the defining performance of that song for me). Throughout it, Justin and his dad shared stories and kept the mood festive. This wasn’t a night of mourning George, it was a night of celebrating him.

Since that show, I’ve seen Ploof tackle The Monkees and Creedence Clearwater Revival, too.

The dude obviously has range.

But there is more to Ploof/McGuinn than covering the great songs of obviously incredible artists.

He has his own music to share, his own words to sing.

Continue reading “Review: Justin McGuinn’s “Love Songs & Other Strangers””

The recent March 2017 reissue of Paul McCartney's "Flowers in the Dirt" album.

Catching up on recent releases: “Flowers in the Dirt” reissued by Paul McCartney

There have been so many new releases, archival releases, reissues and box sets released since October, I think I could spend my next six paychecks just on music and still not be caught up.

Too much music? What a delightful problem to have!

One recent release I’ve been able to enjoy is the reissue of Paul McCartney’s “Flowers in the Dirt” album, a record originally released in 1989. Noteworthy for its collaborations with Elvis Costello, it’s also the first McCartney disc released during my lifetime where I remember some of these songs as new releases on the radio.

Musicians Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney perform together. (AP Photo/Sean Dempsey, linked from People.com)
Musicians Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney perform together. (AP Photo/Sean Dempsey, linked from People.com)

(I was born in 1980, but I was too young to remember or notice tracks from “McCartney II,” “Tug of War,” “Pipes of Peace” or “Press to Play” … but I do recall the song “No More Lonely Nights” from the “Give My Regards to Broad Street” soundtrack. Songs like “Ebony and Ivory” and “Say Say Say” were on the periphery of my music knowledge, but I can’t say I paid much attention to them.)

Continue reading “Catching up on recent releases: “Flowers in the Dirt” reissued by Paul McCartney”

Starting a new job: A short playlist to get myself pumped up

Tonight I’m starting my new full-time job.

Here I am, today. Ready to start my first shift at my new job. I hope it'll be a good job, and I hope I make myself a valued and dependable employee.
Here I am, today. Ready to start my first shift at my new job. I hope it’ll be a good job, and I hope I make myself a valued and dependable employee.

I’m excited (and nervous) to start something completely new, something very different from anything I’ve done before. I hope I do well (wish me luck).

To get motivated for this first night, this first shift, I’m listening to some energy tunes. There’s no real thread to the choices, these songs aren’t tied to employment or new adventures or anything. It’s just good “keep the energy high” material. I figured I’d share this with you good people.

Let’s dive in.

Continue reading “Starting a new job: A short playlist to get myself pumped up”

On Feb. 9, 1964, The Beatles played The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. The Beatles are pictured here, with Sullivan. From left: Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Sullivan, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

On this date in music history, The Beatles rocked Ed Sullivan

On Feb. 9, 1964, The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and the music world was never the same.

The first music column I wrote for the St. Cloud Times three years ago addressed the anniversary of The Beatles’ appearance on Sullivan’s program. Over the 2.5 years I wrote for the Times, I gave The Beatles the spotlight on a handful of occasions. The group was my first musical love, and remains one of my absolute favorite bands to this day.

I was born too late to be one of the 73 million people who tuned in to watch The Fab Four perform on Sullivan’s stage, but I’ve certainly watched the footage enough to feel almost like I was there. (Almost.)

Continue reading “On this date in music history, The Beatles rocked Ed Sullivan”