Forever Young: The Shocking Power of Bob Dylan’s Live Vocal Performance

I had been looking forward to this past Friday night ever since my birthday nearly a month ago.  My wife got me a ticket to see the Chicago performance of the Americanarama tour, which is the heavily touted nation-wide tour that features My Morning Jacket, Wilco, and, of course, Bob Dylan.  I had never seen MMJ before, but I own all their studio albums, and I’ve heard they put on an amazing live show.  Wilco is one of my favorite bands, and although I have seen them live, I was excited to get to see them again.  Both groups easily lived up to expectations, and add in a blistering 30-minute opening set by The Richard Thompson Electric Trio, and you already had a memorable evening. As is so often the case, Dylan was another story.  I had also never seen him live, but my path to his music was less direct than it was with the former two.  It took me awhile to open up to his music, but you don’t go through life as my father’s son without at least developing an appreciation for Dylan’s music.  I have come to thoroughly enjoy Dylan, and I certainly have a profound more »

Two Decades: Differences between 90’s & 00’s rock radio, and what it can teach us about orchestration

Isn’t it weird how pop/rock music from any given decade has such a distinct sound?  Even if I’m hearing a song for the very first time, I can usually guess with reasonable accuracy the year (or, at the very least, the decade) in which it was recorded.  Of course, decades are just arbitrary spans that make it more convenient for us to organize time, but for whatever reason it seems to be a convenient unit for categorizing periods of rock music. Case in point: a couple months back, WXRT (93.1 FM in Chicago) celebrated its 40th year of broadcasting by showcasing a different year from their existence for each of 40 selected days.  Because they only did this for four days out of every week, it worked out conveniently that they would generally feature one year from each decade over a ten-week span. As I would listen daily on my commutes to and from work, I began to get a pretty good sense of what defined each year from within this genre.  In many ways this just reinforced what I had already known.  The 70’s were dominated by the rise in popularity of distortion and sprawling epic rock from the more »