September 13, 2014 |
The title of Paul Thorn's new album comes from something he heard while growing up in Tupelo, Miss., where he still lives. " 'Too blessed to be stressed' - I got that phrase from an old black woman I used to go to church with, Sister Johnson," Thorn, 50, recalls from a tour stop in Connecticut. "One morning when I was a kid, I asked her how she was doing, and she said, 'Oh, I'm too blessed to be stressed.' "That phrase stuck in my head. All the songs on this record were intentionally put together to make the listener feel good.
September 13, 2014 |
Less than a year ago, the former post office on Collingswood's Lincoln Avenue was an eyesore. It had been vacant for a decade and was becoming increasingly dilapidated. Now, it is the chic new home of Collingswood Music, another business contributing to the evolving hip personality of the town. "It's probably one of the last buildings in the area that hasn't been worked with," business owner Ted Velykis said. Some work remains, including putting up a sign. The borough lost a great deal of business to Cherry Hill Mall in the 1960s, and by the 1990s, Haddon Avenue was laced with vacant storefronts.
September 11, 2014 |
Richard R. Wisneski, 71, of Cape May, a disc jockey and promoter of musical events, died of kidney failure Sunday, Aug. 3, at Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House. Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Wisneski graduated from Edison High School and served as an Army medic in Vietnam and in the New Jersey Army National Guard. "He started out in radio in Pottstown," Phil Pizzi, a friend and business colleague, said. At that time, "he was a DJ, a radio personality. " Mr. Wisneski soon became an entrepreneur.
September 10, 2014 |
Rock-star envy is creeping into the classical world, as artists from Christopher O'Riley to the Ebene Quartet transcribe music conceived for electric pop instruments for whatever they play best - with varying success. Few have hurled themselves into this rock/classical netherworld as fearlessly as cellist Maya Beiser, whose late-night FringeArts Stage concert on Sunday encompassed Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Lou Reed with two rock-based sidemen. No question that she has the chops to make her cello a license-to-kill instrument, helped by a hybrid electric instrument she used intermittently.
September 8, 2014 |
It doesn't take long for Emily Browning to break into song in God Help the Girl . The first scene of Stuart Murdoch's impossibly charming Glasgow tale - of a young woman and the friends she makes and the hearts she breaks - is of Browning's character Eve on the run from a mental health facility. "I look down the barrel of the gun" - that is, straight into the camera - "and I start singing," says the actress. God Help the Girl , opening Friday at the PFS Roxy, declares its intentions immediately.
September 3, 2014 |
SOME PEOPLE, like Andrea Green, never fully grow up. Lucky for her - and for the thousands of others (young and young in spirit) who've been touched by Green's work as a Philadelphia-based music therapist and composer of acclaimed, bighearted children's musicals. Green's organic works aren't just toe-tapping good - chock-full of polished, pop/Broadway-style anthems that get you humming along. These nourishing shows are also good for you - as socially inclusive, thought-provoking and therapeutic as they are entertaining.
August 29, 2014 |
EVEN AVID music scenesters might not know half of the "nearly 50" acts curated by lead producer Shawn "Jay Z" Carter and friends for this weekend's Budweiser Made in America Music Festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. And that's a good thing. Ideally, fests should be about discovery. And if programmed right - balanced for ear-cleansing contrast and maximum sparkle - the talent grab-bags can help un-do long-held stereotypes and musical prejudices. A couple Labor Day weekends ago, the first M.I.A.
August 24, 2014 |
At age 73, George Clinton continues his life's mission to save this dying world from its funkless hell. He and the dozen or so members of Parliament Funkadelic who sprawled across the stage Wednesday night at the Ardmore Music Hall did more than their fair share to fight this good fight during a robust show that stretched on for more than 2 1/2 hours. A packed house that at 10 p.m. was eagerly chanting along with the battle cry of "Give up the funk" was left exhausted a little past midnight, much of the crowd having had their fill of the funk long before the septuagenarian bandleader was through giving it up. The George Clinton that appeared to a rousing ovation on Wednesday was not quite the George Clinton the crowd may have expected.
August 20, 2014 |
THE PHILADELPHIA Folk Festival last weekend wasn't the same without Dante Bucci. Dante, who died last Wednesday, had been taking his unique way of making music to the festival since 2001. His instrument was the "hang," a kind of drum in the shape of a flying saucer, balanced on the lap and played with hands and fingers. The music Dante produced with this odd device, much of it of his own composition, was unlike anything heard from traditional instruments. Its sound is usually described as "dreamlike" and "haunting.
August 19, 2014 |
Robert Harris Zimmerman, 81, of Bala Cynwyd, a lawyer and music lover, died Monday, Aug. 11, of multiple myeloma at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse. Mr. Zimmerman was the son of an immigrant Lithuanian father and an American mother. He and his brothers, Mark and Barry, were raised in Pottsville, Schuylkill County. Though neither parent had attended high school, the Zimmerman boys excelled academically. His brothers earned advanced engineering degrees; Mr. Zimmerman graduated from Amherst College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. While at Amherst, he pledged Phi Delta Theta despite the fraternity's prohibition on Jewish members.