In 2012, blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy was honored by the Kennedy Center for outstanding contributions to American culture. Buddy Guy was a member of Muddy Waters’ band, house guitarist at Chess Records, and a pioneer of Chicago blues. Check out the album Living Proof to hear his signature sound.
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A teenage girl clambers up a steep embankment and pulls herself over the guardrail of a twisty mountain road. She has awoken from a blackout, and the last thing she remembers is being on a school trip — a trip that ended in a tragic bus crash a full four years earlier. The Returned, a French series which emerges as a masterwork in eerie storytelling, purposely uncoils the accounts of those who mysteriously appear as if they have never been away. Inspired by the film Les Revenants, this fits easily in the current trend of stories which explore the dead returning, but none other does so with the same lyrical melancholy, the effect of which is enhanced by expert framing of tableaus and a haunting Mogwai score.
It’s February, and love is in the air – or, maybe you just need a bit of heat to get rid of the winter chill. Turn up the temperature with Sinatra Love Songs, a gathering of Blue Eyes’ best tunes to Romeo and Juliet to. But there’s more! If you can’t get enough of Sinatra crooning at your heart’s door, try Seduction: Sinatra Sings of Love, too. Good ol’ Frank will sing of how it’s “Witchcraft” that he’s a “Prisoner of Love”. Then, if you still need more ideas of who to soundtrack your heart to, check out the Library’s Music for Lovers list!
Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song is Amos Lee’s fifth studio album. This powerful album is a mix inspired by folksy, bluesy, and even some funky influences. Whatever your mood, there is something to like here. From the title song to “Chill in the Air” you can’t listen to this without big feelings.
There is a beauty that is uniquely winter, whether it be snow-dusted landscapes or the crystallized branches of exposed trees. Maestro Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky was inspired to give voice to the season in the wordless poetry of Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13: “Winter Dreams”. As performed by the Prague Symphony Orchestra, life is given to swirling winds, hushed silver skies, and the brisk exhilaration of chilled temperatures. Certain movements showcase lush, full melodies that create the ethereal mood evoked in the title, while others invite the instruments to playfully dart back and forth like animal tracks in the snow. Warm your ears with music that will whisk away any lingering grumbles about winter ills.
Enticed by a friend’s recommendation, I discovered the operatic group Il Divo. Wow! What powerful voices and what a full orchestral sound supports this talented quartet of male singers. If you like dramatic, deep music like Andrea Bocelli, but also enjoy pop music, try Il Divo, their first, self-titled album.
Researchers have long acknowledged black influence and culture within popular music…but not until recently has anyone studied black presence in country music. Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music is an erudite, heavily footnoted essay collection that demonstrates how country music is not only “the white man’s blues.”
Amadeus centers around the genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 18th century Vienna. It won eight Academy Awards, including that of Best Picture. But you’ve seen Amadeus a thousand times and are dying for another classical music movie…so now what?
Click here for other films that feature classical composers.
No joke, John Mellencamp and Stephen King are friends. They even collaborated on a Southern gothic musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, about two brothers involved in a murder/suicide who haunt an isolated, Mississippi cabin. King wrote the play, Mellencamp wrote the music, and T. Bone Burnett put his haunting, roots rock stamp over the soundtrack, which features a devilish Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and more. Interspersed with dialogue from the play, the soundtrack gathers you into the story of ghost brothers Jack and Andy as they feud, die, and later watch their nephews step onto the same calamitous path of tragic love and family secrets.
Both electric and acoustic strains of the country music scene are showcased in the series soundtracks The Music of Nashville, Volume 1 and Volume 2, and it’s the original songs that make an impact. The best are the sweet yet sultry duets, especially those featuring newcomer Clare Bowen, but there’s something for every mood.