About a month ago I wrote about the hard time I was having in deciding what the populist song of the summer might be in 2014. I'm still unsure of that song but I have decided on mine.
Actually I have two candidates for my personal song of the summer. Both fit right in my wheelhouse. Musically they have great melodies and hooks. Lyrically they are what I'd call motivational, which I tend to gravitate toward.
The first one, First Aid Kit's "My Silver Lining" came out in the spring and I've listened to it more than any other song over the past few months. The two Swedish sisters create a breezy summer feel.
American Authors had a huge top 40 hit earlier this year with "Best Day Of My Life". They seem to love writing motivational music since their new single "Believer" has that same positive vibe. The song is in your face and catchy as hell.
When LeBron James, with the help of Lee Jenkins at Sports Illustrated, announced to the world that he was coming home it was hard for me to concentrate on work Friday afternoon. When I did clear my desk for the weekend I headed downtown to join in the celebration.
I went directly to a couple of friend's bars, Moriarty's and AJ Rocco's, for a congratulatory toast. It means quite a cash influx for them and their staff. The streets were full of smiling faces. Car horns were blaring. Some kooks even rented a strech Hummer limo just to be driven around downtown as they hollered their delight out the windows.
In fact, everywhere I went this weekend, including the new Platform Brewery on Lorain and W. 41st, the Groove N Brew Festival in Tyler Village at Superior and E.36th on Saturday, a high school grad party in Westlake that night and a Tribe game on Sunday, there was a palpable joy in the air. And in every conversation I had the mention of LeBron elicited responses like "still in shock" to "this is so great for Cleveland". There wasn't a negative comment to be heard in my circle.
There were a few cranky people on my Facebook feed who had to take a dump on everyone's party. I just don't get that attitude. They whined about the misguided priorities of people. There's so much wrong with Cleveland that we should be focusing our energies elesewhere, they prescribed.
Really? Do they not think that the estimated 500 million dollar influx to the local economy is real? Are they blind to the heart-felt essay that LeBron and Jenkins wrote? In it James says it's bigger than basketball. He wants to come back to northeast Ohio because he feels that he can make a difference in kid's lives. If you don't believe he has that power you're very wrong.
LeBron James return home is inspiring for us all here in Cleveland and Akron. And if his presence can steer one kid away from taking a path which leads him to killing someone like Jim Brennan, well, that's quite an accomplishment off the court.
Cavs fans cruising down Huron celebrating LeBron's return in a rented limo.
I spent some time last night beginning to sift through the massive collection of mostly live performances that Music Vault has uploaded to YouTube in the past couple of weeks. Here's the story from USA Today, Music Vault unleashes 13,000 videos on YouTube today.
The variety of the artists ranges from the relatively current like Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros to classic Aretha Franklin. It's fairly mind blowing.
The best way to search is to subscribe to the Music Vault YouTube channel. They break down the videos into categories like best live performances, legendary drummers, leading ladies of rock, and the like. Some are single songs while others are full concerts.
Typically on Tuesdays I'll post a group of new albums released today that I am excited to hear. Alas, we're in the summer doldrums when it comes to new music. Oh, there's the new Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 1974 live set but it's not on Spotify yet.
I do have one highlight to share though. My band The Harmony Rebels have released our first ever summer single "Time is-a-wastin". We're thrilled with the response after it's release yesterday. Here's what fans said.
"I listened and love it! For me it is modern yet vaguely reminiscent of The Mamas and the Papa's 'People LIke Us" or later Spanky and Our Gang. Very unexpected and refreshing and so cool."
We're running a contest too. If you're on Facebook simply post the SoundCloud link to your wall and whoever has the most "likes" by next Monday wins this groovy T-shirt.
The single is available for free download for a week or so until it hits iTunes. We hope it brightens your summer.