We have come to accept mass shootings as routine in America. Mark Erelli is so livid he wrote a song about it

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The Case Of The Boiling Frog

Allow me tell you about an experiment with a frog. Scientists placed a live frog in a large container of water. Then they put the container on a stove. Next, they slowly turned up the gas flame. The water heated so slowly that the frog didn’t notice until it was too late to jump out of the water that was nearing the boiling point. The frog could have escaped from the container had it not adapted to the hotter water.           – E. Allan Campbell, DeVry University

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This darkness growing so familiar;
I can’t recall what came before 
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You can learn to live with anything/When it happens by degrees
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I’ve seen talking heads shout back and forth/across a great divide
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Against a map of red and blue/Points of view so cut and dried
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When you look into the mirror/What kind of country do you see?
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Where you can learn to live with anything
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When it happens by degrees
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@markerelli has made By Degrees a free download. Share it.

Hello Adele: Meet some other folks who sing about telephone calls

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Adele released the first single from her new album 25 this week, and it didn’t even take the full week for Hello, a power ballad about calling up an old boyfriend, to become the fastest selling single of 2015. No surprise from the queen of blue-eyed soul, who’s previous album 21 dominated pop music for two years.

Will we become as obsessed with Hello as we were for Rolling In The Deep (We could have had it allllllllll) and Someone Like You? Probably…I didn’t even need operator assistance to add it to my list of favourite songs about a telephone call.

A musical accompaniment to the #BlueJays Game 5

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Game 5 #MLB ALDS  #Jays vs #Rangers

Modern LoversRoadrunner (Revere)

EurythmicsHere Comes @BringerofRain Again (Donaldson)

blue-jays-637x358George Thorogood – Ride On @Joeybats19 (Bautista)

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Double E Trouble (Encarnacion)

Tom Morello – Saint Colabello or Deep Purple – Smoak On The Water (Colabello/Smoak)

Darrell Scott – It’s Tulowoski That Eases The Pain (Tulowiski)

Anni Piper – The Dream Catcher (Martin)

Kinks – (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman (Pillar)

Chuck Brown – It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Don’t Have The Go Go Swing) (Goins)

Belinda Carlisle – Marcus Is An Ace On Earth (Stroman)

Baseball Project – The Closer (Osuna)

Review: Come to America Case Hardin and turn Colours into Colors. It’s what Pete Gow’s songs deserve

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Case Hardin – Colours Simple  (2015)

case hardinIf Jason Isbell had written Colours Simple it would be top of the charts by now; Pete Gow‘s thoughtful, crafty songs are that good.

Alas Gow is in a semi-pro ‘Americana’ bar band in London, a UK anomaly – roadside bars? In England? – with four DIY albums in eight years, gigs here and there, and day jobs.

Now on a (small) label, armed with character sketches as good as the next guy’s, well seasoned and with plenty of good musical ideas, it’s fair to ask – are we playing for keeps, or playing for tips?

Still-life songwriting: Jamie Lin Wilson has a house full of memories to share

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Jamie Lin Wilson – Holidays & Wedding Rings (2015)

jamie lin wilsonAfter a decade or more on the road with Austin country outfits, Jamie Lin Wilson invites you into her big old sprawling Texas home alone. She sets you down with an iced tea, tucks herself into the big comfy chair by the window and starts to show you around the room, telling stories and sharing memories.

Lori McKenna is the undisputed queen of ‘still life’ songwriting; using wallpaper, a whiskey flask, a kitchen table, an old car … to convey a life story in a couple hundred words that rhyme.

She may soon have an heir apparent.

Monsanto Years review: Neil Young makes ‘Big Business’ his business

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Neil Young + Promise Of The Real – The Monsanto Years

neil young the hand MonsantoAnger at a world he sees driven by corporate needs fuels some catchy and crunchy guitar from Neil and Willie’s son Lukas Nelson (the band is his).

The lyrics are either forthright or trite, depending on your world view, but this is Neil is at his confounding best – having a laugh, firing darts.

Do people just want to hear silly love songs? Or equally vacuous protest songs?

REVIEW: Lianne La Havas is not Unstoppable; she is much, much more than that

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Lianne La Havas – Blood  (2015)
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nufoto.nl photo

Lianne La Havas’s English grandparents raised her right. She is an independent young woman of the world, mindful of her Greek-Jamaican bloodlines (hence Blood) and determined to deflect any hijacking of her sweet, neo soul voice for profit.

A lot of big names can be bandied about in describing Blood: Beyonce, Sade, Lauren Hill, Florence Welch, Adele, the lesser known Diane Birch. That’s not wrong, but what separates her is a Hepburn-like grace audible in the quiet spaces, like a more assertive version of countrywoman Corinne Bailey Rae.

La Havas sought an allspice of collaborators to flavour (doo wop, funk, gospel, rock) the follow up to her triumphant 2012 acoustic jazz/folk debut, Is Your Love Big Enough? Her new collaborators range from pop hitmaker Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence), who co-wrote the single, Unstoppable, to Jamaican reggae legend Freddie McGregor’s son Stephen to the underappreciated Jamie Lidell’s experimental urban sounds of London and Nashville.

The result is breathtaking; sensual, aching but hopeful. The folks will be proud.

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