The Arts section of Orient Lodge

Music Monday - Jared Costa

I don't like comparing emerging performers to famous musicians unless the performer is clearly trying to cover or mimic the famous musicians. It seems like cheating, a short hand that a reviewer uses so they don't have to say anything interesting or new. I also like to hope that emerging performers are seeking to find their own voices and not simply be reflections of someone else. It is also dangerous to use this short hand. Dedicated fans will say that the emerging artists in nothing like the original.

That said, let me start off by comparing Jared Costa to Bob Dylan. Costa plays a mean harmonica, a hard driven guitar all as the background to some great lyrics that he delivers forcefully. Really, there isn't a lot more to say that than. Costa is great.

Okay, that is based on the nine songs that he has in his Sonic Bids Electronic Press Kit. He sings about tambourines and revolutions, love and perdition.

If you want to get a real flavor for his music, I suspect there is no better place than at the Manayunk Outdoor Stage of the Philly F/M Festival. He will be playing from 2 until 2:45 on Sunday the 26th.

If you can't make it to Philly, check out this video:

Well you can't look down on another man unless you intend on helping him up/
And the Lord above says a window's always open whenever the door is shut/
Well I don't mind spending my time/
Talking with the angels, drinking their wine/
It all comes down to be/
You gotta have sympathy/
So get up, get up, everybody say/
Get up, get up, there's a better way/
With Love
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Music Monday - David Silva

What I like best about David Silva is that he is a story teller. His song, Guitar's And Shady Ladies starts off

I wrote a song while watching a movie starring Marilyn Monroe
I wrote a poem with my feet in a river that flowed into Mexico
I wrote a tune once on an airplane, but I've forgotten how it goes
And there's a song in that bottle of whisky
And I'm going to find it if it takes all night

Well, it seems like he's spent many a night with that bottle of whisky, since he's found many great songs. Whether it be a song about an old girl friend that put garlic in her peanut butter or a song from the view of a battered wife,

Dinner's almost ready, I got your love songs playing too
I got the flowers that you sent, that was a loving thing to do
The pictures are all straightened; clean sheets are on the bed
As I close my eyes and think about the better times ahead
In just a couple minutes you'll be coming through the door
And it will all be perfect baby, please don't hit me any more

Yet in all of these songs of hard lives, there remains hope. His song Blessings captures it nicely:

Everybody on this world has had a hard life
A life that they begin and end alone
Everybody needs a friend, every now and then
Everybody has more blessings than they know

So David Silva continues singing his songs. His album Moorpark Oasis gets some airtime every now and then on WCNI and WWUH here in Connecticut. You can see his song September Bride on Youtube:

Returning back to his song Guitar's And Shady Ladies, he has this section:

And now I'm almost 51 and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up
If I grow up
I'm not growing up
I'm singing this song for 26 years and still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

Well, I'm 51 now and some would question if I ever grew up or what I'll be if I do grow up. One thing is clear, I'll be a fan of David Silva. He writes some good music about good people in hard lives. We need to hear more voices like his.

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Music Monday - Reviewing Sonicbids Submissions

Last May, Orient Lodge entered into an agreement with Sonicbids to use Sonicbids’ platform for handling electronic press kits (EPK) for review. Musicians wishing to present their music to Orient Lodge have submitted their EPKs for review to Orient Lodge Music Review Page on Sonicbids.

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Music Monday - The Codgers

When I initially set up the Orient Lodge Music Review to accept Sonicbids submissions, I had no idea how many people would submit their music for review, or for that matter, how many I would manage to get a chance to adequately review. For the first three month period, I agreed to review at least five performers. The three month period is over, and I've received 71 submissions for review. As a general rule, I've reviewed one a week. Some weeks, I've skipped because of writing about other music. Other weeks, I've reviewed more than one performer at a time. Today, I am reviewing an eclectic mix of four different musicians, bringing my total to thirteen. I'll try to schedule a few more for review over the next few weeks, and then probably start another cycle again soon.

As I listened to several of the submissions a logical, at least to me, grouping of musicians occurred and I thought I would highlight a few of these musicians together. No, The Codgers isn't a new folk group. Instead, it is what I'm calling the four musicians that I am reviewing this week. Each musician is, generally speaking, and older man singing songs about their lives and the regions of the country they love.

At the top of the list is Doug Spears. Doug is from Florida. Doug wrote,

It seems to me that Florida gets overlooked as a source of Americana / Folk / Roots music and artists. Overshadowed by the neon of Disney and Margaritaville, Florida's position in the southern music tradition gets largely ignored.

Doug writes about moonshine, hurricanes and houses that have been in the family for generations. His music reflects the complexities of a simple life and is well worth listening to.

While Doug writes about the way things used to be in Florida, Chris Morrisette is perhaps best know for his Ballad of Greg Oden, a song about a basketball player in Portland Oregon. He writes of the stuff of daily life, including concern about becoming "Someone's Creepy Ex-Boyfriend". Now, he drives a school bus which inspires his writing of kids songs.

Our next stop on the list of musical codgers is Lloyd Mac Hardy. Lloyd is from Nova Scotia. He doesn't have a website that I can find, however, you can find him on YouTube. He writes songs about union dues, bureaucrats, and psychiatrists and seems to follow nicely the works of Doug and Chris.

Rounding out the list is John Tango Iversen. He describes himself as "the only Northamerican singing tango in Buenos Aires". He has a new CD, "El Norte Americano que Canta Tango" coming out on September 5th, which he hopes to have on hand for the Oakland Pride Celebration. He is also in the process of making it available online. The few songs that I listened to from the upcoming album are a truly enjoyable addition to my normal diet of more folky singer/songwriters. Johnny Tango joins a long list of musicians singing the classic, "Blue Moon" and adds several other tunes that I don't know.

Doug, Chris, Lloyd and John provide a wonderful exploration of music from several different settings and when mixed together make a great virtual music journey.

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#FringeNYC The Maid of Orleans

When is the last time you got a chance to see a production of one of Friedrich Schiller's plays? It has been a long time for me, so I was glad to get an opportunity to see the Demimonde Theatre & Opera Company's production of this masterpiece.

The new translation was very accessible and the acting was okay. However, the real shining moments came during musical pieces sung by Gudren Buhler as Johanna d'Arc Calncia, Valencia Pleasant as the Senator of Orleans, and Dylan Bandy as Lionel. The scenes between Buhler and Bandy were especially powerful.

This show is well worth the trip if you are looking for a clean traditional production of a great play or some wonderful singing.

Yet as I watched the play, I could not help but wonder what someone like emerging director and adapter James Presson, who put together the post apocalypse, Richard 3, could do with this show. I would love to see the classic Schiller play, recast from the Battle of Orleans to the Battle of Seattle during the 1999 WTO protests, with Johanna cast as a unknown punk rocker from Seattle's grunge scene. Another interesting mashup might be the Hurricane Katrina Comedy Festival, perhaps with a little of Presson's influence, doing The Maid of New Orleans.

Well, Richard 3 closed last night, but Maid of Orleans has two more shows, one next Tuesday and one next Friday. Hopefully, some of James and his friends will make this show. Hopefully other fringe attendees will catch this show and brush up on their Schiller, and hopefully there will be more productions like this at FringeNYC XV.

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