Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sweet Virginia Breeze - Robbin Thompson and Steve Bassett

This is probably my favorite song ever ever ever. Every spring this song would be all over the radio. And I can remember riding around with the windows down for many springtime's with this song coming out of my radio, enjoying that "Sweet Virginia Breeze".

 I hear this song and I think of Dogwoods in bloom all over the place, Driving over those bridges on the James, the sun smiling down, not that hot sun in the summer, but that sun in the early spring that just kisses your skin and makes you smile that the cold weather just left. Riding bikes with my friends over on Germain Road. And even those tall trees off of Spring Run drive.

These days I blast this song in my car in San Antonio, Texas. Makes me feel somewhat closer to home. A long time ago I emailed Robbin Thompson and told him that I loved to play his song as loud as possible in Texas, his response was that I wasn't alone, many others had told him the same. And not just those of us that were living in Texas.

Robbin Thompson is no longer with us. He passed away in 2015 after a long battle with Cancer. He was very active on Facebook with his fans, and he loved knowing how many people loved this song and all of his other songs too. He had a long career as a musician starting off notably with Bruce Springsteen, and they were still good friends to the end. Bruce would have him come up on stage for shows.

Co-writer Steve Bassett is still around. They both were so proud of this song.  There is a website out there, www.sweetvirginiabreeze.com they sell t-shirts and other things all Sweet Virginia Breeze. I need to get that license plate cover myself! ;)

Sweet Virginia Breeze is now rightly the Official Popular State Song of Virginia. This was a looong fight coming, as the old State song 'Carry Me Back to old Virginny' was considered outdated and also controversial. Many felt that this song should have replaced Carry Me Back a LONG time ago. The change was instated in 2015 by unanimous vote. I hope Robbin was happy about that. <3

Its not spring. But I love it anyways!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Heart - Dreamboat Annie

Yesterday I talked about Rindy Ross and her Sax.

Today I think I will talk about Ann Wilson, and her flute!!!!

In my Momma's crate of vinyl was the Heart Dreamboat Annie Album.

The album in its entirety is beautiful. There isn't a single song that I like more than another. They flow into and out of each other. I can remember thinking as a kid how cool it was that they did that, running one into the next instead of a definite end as most songs do. I didnt pick up on her incorporating flute into her music until later. Once I really got into it. Again, I love artists who include real instruments in their music. Not just a synthesizer. It adds more depth. There is something to be said for real instrumentation. Sit in the middle of a band or orchestra and you can actually FEEL it. It is amazing.

In high school i was in a very small band. We were close. But I will never forget the first time I sat a REAL band. I believe it was over 100 pieces. Brass and woodwind. It was for Olympic Boxing matches that were happening in Richmond. Only 2 from our band were selected to go, Myself and Rhonda, to play in this group. We had to be in full marching gear, even though we did not march. and it was 2 from all schools in the area so it made quite a large band. We played several Sousa marches and I believe the theme from Rocky. The very first note played by one and all, I lost it. seriously! I had never been in that large a group and felt that buzz, that vibration. Truly an experience, but I have veered totally off of my original commentary. (Including a picture of a warm up from that event that was featured in the paper... as its something I wont ever forget!)

Ann plays flute in 3 songs on this cd. Tracks 3 (Crazy on You) 8 (Sing Child) and 10 (Dreamboat Annie (Reprise)).

What I love most about Heart is their style. they can rock it out in one song and have a beautiful ballad the next. And have you SEEN their beautiful performance of Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven for the Kennedy Center Honors, honoring Led Zeppelin?! I will include it here in case you havent. It was absolutely magical.

So first Dreamboat Annie: The flute is at the end. Lovely song from start to finish.

And then if you have not seen it, or even if you have and just want to watch again. Heart honoring Led Zeppelin with Stairway to Heaven.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Quarterflash - Harden My Heart

When I was pretty young my Momma had a crate full of albums (vinyl). Boston, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Pure Prairie League, Bad Company, Roxy Music, The Beatles, and this one, Quarterflash.

I loved listening to Rindy Ross play Saxaphone on 'Harden My Heart'. We would turn it up loud and it would always sound so awesome. When I started 5th grade I remember going to the music instrument shop because I was going to be in  band. I remember walking in and Momma and Daddy asking me what instrument I wanted to play. All I could think about was Rindy Ross and the sound of that Saxophone. When I pointed to the Sax Momma said, "Uhh, that thing is bigger than YOU!! No!" LOL! In truth she was right, and I ended up walking out with a new shiny silver Emerson Flute. 

Years later one of my band directors in high school had us select a different instrument than our own to learn something very simple and basic on. His reasoning was that we would need to learn multiple instruments if we would make a career in music, whether it be teaching or whatever. I was given a clarinet (meh!). But its a reed instrument, and I learned very quickly that I didn't care for reed instruments. My Momma had chosen wisely for me all that long time ago, whether she knew it or not. I played flute for years and years, and met people that I am still friends with today. Made lifelong friendships! But I always go back to Rindy and her magical Saxophone.

When I got a little older I would find popular artists who would incorporate flute into their music... The Beatles, Heart, The incredible Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull!!! I could spend hours in my parents living room listening to these songs over and over again with my flute and playing them over and over again by ear. My favorite thing to do. Getting that tone and inflection just right as the artist did was so much fun for me. Ann Wilson on a flute = My hero!

Anyways, back to Quarterflash here is Harden My Heart and Rindy Ross!!!

And Live, because its always cool to see someone play!