Saturday, 28 February 2009

Joe Bonamassa: free (and legal) downloads

One of the things I want to do with this blog is to give links to free, legal, music downloads so while I am on a Joe Bonamassa kick, I thought I would feature him in this free download post.

Originally uploaded by Joanie H
It is pleasing to see that a number of record companies are seeing the value of offering free mp3 downloads as a way of promoting their artists and driving sales. One such company is Mascot Records who have made a few mp3 files available for download and also linked to some videos on their Joe Bonamassa page.

Of the tracks on offer, I'd say Miss You, Hate You was my favourite along with Merry Christmas Baby (even though it's a bit out of season for a Christmas song). However, they are all good and since they are free, you might as well treat yourself by downloading them all.

Hope you enjoy these free downloads. I'll try and feature more downloads, from a range of artists, over the next few weeks. Let me know if you have a favourite, and of course legal, source of free downloads.

Update: I just remembered an error on the Mascot Records' page. You get a "Not found" page when you click on the mp3 links. This is because they have linked to instead of Oops! I've corrected this in the two links given above but if you want any of the others, you'll have to fix it yourself.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Ballad Of John Henry

When talking about Joe Bonamassa the other day I should have given a link so that you can hear clips from his new album. As with Sloe Gin, there is a mixture of covers and Joe Bonamassa originals. Of the former, I'd say Feelin' Good was the most interesting.

A number of tracks feature horns - giving quite a different sound to his music. I think it is another outstandingly good album from Mr Bonamassa. What do you think?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Joe Bonamassa On Paul Jones' Radio Show

I try to listen to Paul Jones' show on Radio 2 every Monday. Always worth listening to and often someone or something new to chase up after the show.

However, this week's show is especially worth listening to as the last 15 minutes or so features an interview with Joe Bonamassa, a couple of tracks from his new album and a live song - just Joe and his acoustic - brilliant!

The show is available through the listen again service for the next week but there is also a link on the site to an extended interview with Joe that will hopefully be there a good bit longer. However, I would recommend that you and have a listen as soon as possible because it is well worth listening to. :-)

I am hugely impressed with Joe as a musician and in this interview, he comes across as a genuinely good bloke too. If you haven't already discovered how amazing he is, spend some time on his website - particularly JB TV where you can see and hear him play.

I am very much looking forward to his gig in Glasgow this April. Leave a comment if you already have tickets to see him this tour. If you don't have a ticket, leave a comment explaining yourself. :-)

Friday, 20 February 2009

Eric Clapton Drifting Blues 2008 Unplugged Live TV Recording

I got an email from one of the sites that I signed up for while trying to learn to play guitar... The chap sending the email says:'d be surprised how easy it can be to play this way. All it takes is...

1. A little bit of "Blues in E" (lesson 8-1)
2. A little bit of minor blues scale (lesson 15)
3. A little bit of major blues scale (lesson 23)
4. A little bit of secret sauce (lesson 24)
Hmm! This is clearly a definition of "easy" that has thus far escaped me as I fail to learn to play. :-)

However, as Griff says, "it's Clapton... who doesn't have a minute to go watch Clapton do his thing?"

Enjoy... and then check out Blues Guitar Unleashed. Oh, and any suggestions of good online (preferably free) sources of guitar tutorials will be gratefully received.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

MP3 Player from Amazon

Rather than just talk about Rush, I've just realised that Amazon will let you hear clips. Unfortunately Snakes And Arrows is not available for MP3 download but here are two of the albums I mentioned in my previous post.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

My favourite band

Since I'm going to be talking about music, I thought I should say a bit about my favourite band. Favourite album and favourite track is trickier - those tend to vary depending on mood, time of day, weather, ... Favourite band however has stayed constant since I was first introduced to them when I was fourteen - more than thirty years ago!

As far as I'm concerned, the best band in the world is Rush. I was first introduced to Rush by a friend who played me his brothers album: A Farewell To Kings.

I think it's fair to say it made an impression. :-) I bought the album and shortly after, bought tickets to see them in concert at the Glasgow Apollo. There are only three people in the band but when they play together, they sound like there's eighty-three of them! And this is not down to studio trickery - the three of them reproduce the sound live too. Individually they are stunningly good musicians but together they produce something greater than the sum of their parts.

A student asked me the other day what my favourite Rush album is. It was a question I could not answer. Obviously, I have a soft spot for A Farewell To Kings - the album that introduced me to Rush all those years ago but they are not a band who are content to just re-cycle the same sound over and over again. They grow and develop with every album and I like where they went next too with Signals and Moving Pictures being particular favourites.

However, if you want a good introduction to Rush, you could do worse than their latest studio album: Snakes And Arrows.

There are some outstanding tracks on this album. Thirty-five years on and they are still doing new stuff - brilliant!

{Note: I'm experimenting with the Amazon affiliate programme and I'm not sure what the etiquette is. Do I have to say that if you buy stuff after following these links I get some money? Or is that obvious from the link?}

Monday, 16 February 2009

Finding music

I'd like to do a series of posts on where I find music, how I discover new artists to listen to and where I get music from (mostly eMusic currently... but that's a topic for another post). I thought I'd start with

I like for a number of reasons. They have a good range of streamed music you can listen to and a fairly active community of music enthusiasts setting up groups (e.g. Rush, Joe Bonamassa and Blues! to name three I've contributed to) and posting up-coming events (e.g. Rush's Snakes and Arrows Tour will let you see a successful past event and Joe Bonnamassa in Glasgow shows an event I posted). You can listen to streamed audio on the website or you can download the music player (Windows, Mac and iPhone versions are available) and recently it has started offering a few tracks as free downloads (e.g. Discipline by Nine Inch Nails). It also provides useful tools that you can embed in websites and blogs, such as the recently played tracks and favourite artists widgets at the right-hand edge of this blog and the player widget shown below.

A radio station based on the music I play.

However, the feature that really sold it to me is that the more knows about what you play, the better it gets at suggesting music you would like to listen too. For example, suggested I would like Dream Theater and Muse... and it was right! Oh... and you can link your music player (iTunes, Windows Media Player, Real Player...) to so that it can learn what you like to listen to more quickly.

Where do you get your music recommendations? What streaming music services do you listen to?

Welcome to Music Musings

I have a few blogs scattered about here and there but most of them are connected with my work as a teacher educator. However, in this blog I'll talk about about the music I like, link to music sites and downloads I think are interesting and I may even experiment with links to commercial sites and affiliate programs.

My main worry is that I'll find it hard to keep it going. I'll aim low - at least one post a week - and see how it goes. :-)

I hope a few other people find it interesting too but I'll try to keep it going even if it is just for me to try things out. Leave a comment on posts you find interesting or to give suggestions on what you'd like to see.