Friday, November 13, 2009

Ode to Sunshine

I noticed that this blog has been seriously lacking in music recommendations lately so I thought I'd take a stab at that again.

I'm currently obsessed with a couple of albums. The first comes from Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of 'Once' fame. The name of their collaboration has always been known as 'The Swell Season.’ They have released a new album called 'Strict Joy.'

I love this collaboration so much. I fell in love with Glen's guttural and emotional voice when I first discovered him through his band, 'The Frames.' The new album is a success in my eyes. It moves in a very different way than their previous work on the 'Once' soundtrack. It’s a much lighter track list this time around and perhaps lacks a bit of the power of their past songs. I am, however, hooked. I love their voices together and admire the lyrics and messages of their new material. Despite the overall theme of ‘joy’ on the album, there are haunting and profound moments within the music. It is folk/rock at it's finest. These two artists are brilliant songwriters and I'm excited to see them continue to do more together.

The second album came as a bit of a surprise for me. I actually discovered it through watching Gossip Girl. Jenny began to toss her clothes furiously around the room. Suddenly, this great voice and unique beat began to underscore the commotion. Blake Daniel was watching the show with me and I started going on about how much I loved the song. We waited for the credits and I immediately looked up the band on iTunes. I had the album within minutes. (I seriously cannot believe how convenient things have gotten.)

The band is Delta Spirit and the album is called 'Ode to Sunshine.' I adore this album and adore this band. The song that caught my ear is perhaps their most popular. It’s called 'People C'mon.' It's a fantastic, foot stomping anthem that is so ridiculously catchy; I haven't been able to stop listening to it. The rest of the album is filled with great indie rock tunes, including a really beautiful ballad called 'People, Turn Around.' Okay…their titles could use a little work…but I'm in love with their sound. It's a unique blend of rock, country, and folk that has some really gorgeous arrangements. The lead singer sort of sounds like Rufus Wainwright gone rocker...if that's even possible. Occasionally I feel like the album leans a bit into 'The Shins' vibe. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but I do feel like too many bands are trying to emulate that sound. That being said, it's a catchy and inspired album. If you enjoy indie rock music (which would be about every Spring Awakening fan that reads this blog), this band is right up your alley.

This week I started rehearsals for the reading of Carrie. The people involved with the reading are spectacular. Sutton Foster is everyone’s hero and I’m no exception. It’s been a pleasure watching her work. On top of that, I’m so happy to be working with Jenn Damiano again. I still cannot believe how far she has come since we met working on Spring Awakening together. She’s also gorgeous! I mean, come on!

The whole experience has been very enjoyable. The writers are extremely passionate about their material and are striving to make it work. Stafford Arima is a fantastic director. I loved working with him this past summer on the reading of ‘Bare’ and I’m so thrilled to be working with him now. He’s such a smart director and communicates his vision so clearly.

Bye Bye Birdie continues to be a blast. Now that we are deep into the run, the backstage antics are growing and the onstage chemistry is developing even more. It feels tighter and more alive now than it did a month ago. It’s a great gig to go to every night.

I’m staying busy this winter and will have another workshop ahead of me as we get into December. I should also have another family member (dog) shortly!

Incase you missed it. You can see a video of the Kerrigan and Lowdermilk I performed this past Monday here. It’s called Last Week’s Alcohol and it’s an incredible song. I love these two writers SO much and had an amazing time that night.