The Taxman Cometh

Well it’s April 15 again. Time to file those dreaded income tax returns. If you are one of those procrastinators who is still working on your tax return, here is a little inspiration.

Taxman — George Harrison and Eric Clapton (live) – YouTube.

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Dimitri Shostakovich

Many artists have claimed to be products of the Bolshevik Revolution, but Dmitri Shostakovich (September 25, 1906 – August 9, 1975) stands alone in level of celebrity and artistic achievement.

In light of the current political events in Ukraine I wanted to post about Dimitri Shostakovich and his fascinating story about living under the Lenin and Stalin regimes. My first exposure to Shostakovich was the the following clip from Disney’s Fantasia 2000.

I encourage you to read the full biography, but here is a sampling of what you will find in the link below.

Russia’s new Leninist government recognized Shostakovich as a valuable political tool. During the 1920s, the Soviet cultural bureau was eager to set new trends and provided him with commissions for the concert hall and stage. By the early 1930s, however, Shostakovich’s avant-grade forms, brash harmonies, and sarcastic idioms brought him into disfavor with the regime then headed by Stalin. Although popular amongst Russian audiences, he was forced to suppress new works and remove others from the active repertoire. For the remainder of his life, Shostakovich bore the weight of a hypocritical order that threatened to destroy his life while at the same time decorating him with awards and promoting him abroad as the Revolution’s musical prodigy.

 Classical Net – Basic Repertoire List – Shostakovich.

If you’re like me, knowing more about Shostakovich’s story makes the music really come to life. I’m in awe of what he was able to accomplish given the microscope under which he lived his life.

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Trailer Trash

In my last post I introduced you to Joseph LeMay, an emerging singer-songwriter from Nashville. My timing was very fortuitous as he is releasing his first EP this week with a debut album to follow in May. Here’s a brief introduction from that website:

Joseph LeMay’s Trailer Trash EP is a good indication of what’s to come from the Tennessee bred songwriter. The live EP, released via Noisetrade, gives us a barebones glimpse of three songs from his upcoming debut album Seventeen Acres performed in the same room in which they were written.

“A few less square feet than we thought it might be, but we give it our damndest and sink in our teeth,” sums up the making of Joseph LeMay’s Trailer Trash EP quite nicely. The 24 year old singer/songwriter gathered up his most talented friends and hauled them from Nashville, TN to his shabby little abode, an abandoned single-wide trailer in the woods on the outskirts of his hometown of Dyersburg, TN. After arriving at Single Wide Farms, the travelers set up their gear and a few mics, hit record, played some tunes, and let the camera roll. The “living room” they crammed into boasts six-foot ceilings and is smaller than most walk-in closets. This closeness resulted in a noticeable intimacy in LeMay’s and the rest of the band’s delivery. “We did the whole thing live, with no headphones or monitors,” Joseph recalls of the recording process for Trailer Trash, “So, we all had to be entirely present and intentional with our playing and listen to one another. As simple as that sounds, people don’t do that like they used to. Taking away the option of ‘fixing it later’ forced us to focus on our performance and dial it all in on the front end.”

For Trailer Trash LeMay used the same lineup of musicians from his upcoming debut LP Seventeen Acres due out in May 2014. Molly Parden graced all three tracks with her background vocals. Caleb Hickman switched between keys and lap steel in addition to singing background vocals on “You Still Do It”. Juan Solorzano played electric guitar and bass pedals, while Noah Denney kept everything in order on drums. Nashville producer Seiji Inouye engineered, mixed, and mastered the project.

Listen to and download the music from Noisetrade here:

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