“Princess Of China” by Coldplay & Rihanna

November 6, 2014

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It’s Throwback Thursday! Today’s #tbt song is by one of my favorite groups and is the perfect song for today in China!

I am feeling very lucky to get to be with my Princess in China, and today we are off to see the jewel of China.

We are heading out to hike the Great Wall of China. We are not going to the refurbished, tourist section of the wall, but instead we have hired a guide to take us out climbing and hiking in a much more rugged area. I did a lot of research and our guide came highly recommended by many people who I spoke with from all over the world. (That, in itself, was fun! I reached out to people from all over the world regarding a shared experience and we instantly connected. Friends are everywhere!) Anyway, this sounds like the perfect adventure for me and my daughter. I am so excited and imagine I will have some great pictures to share.

Today’s song just resonated with me for an adventure day in China. I am so excited to be here and the video is an awesome look into the romance and allure of China. “Princess of China” is from Coldplay’s 2011 album, Mylo Xyloto. We saw Coldplay in concert following this album. It was the second time the entire family went to see Coldplay in concert – the first time was at Wembley Stadium in London in 2009 and the second time was in Dallas in 2012 – and so Coldplay is always at the top of my list as a family favorite.

Off to conquer the wall and marvel at a wonder of the world. I am feeling blessed today.

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“Worry” by Jack Garratt

October 7, 2014

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I just got home from visiting my son in South Carolina for a few days for his 16th birthday. It was awesome to get to spend time with him! I have been trying to decide if I came home less worried or more worried about him. Haha!

It is such a strange feeling to go visit your teenage boy in his “apartment” and say “yep, that is how I would keep my space.” Yikes! Teenage boys are messy. He keeps reminding me that his apartment was one of only two that passed house inspections … so I should be pleased. Hmm …

Anyway, he is doing incredibly well at his new school and loves it. He is happy, settled, social, and motivated! As much as I miss him, this makes me very happy. I am very proud of him, even if I do worry about him and miss him every day.

The alligators down there also worry me! 🙂

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I have been wanting to post this cool new song and I thought the title was just perfect today. Jack Garratt is a young artist from London, England who just released his first EP, Remnants, a few months ago. His music is very unique and is difficult to box into a genre. He has an incredible amount of soul and emotion in his music. It is an interesting song to add to my playlist, but I think Jack Garratt is extremely talented and creates incredibly interesting music. Listen to the unique beat, rhythm, and lyrics that he uses in his music. I hope that you enjoy this new song by a young, rising artist. I am sure we will hear much more from him in the future.

“Show Me Emotion” by The Dunwells

October 1, 2014

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I am posting a song today by a band that I have posted from before – the English, folk-rock band, The Dunwells. I saw The Dunwells perform live back in 2012 while living in Dallas, and I immediately liked them. They have a great sound, wonderful song-writing, fantastic harmonies, and just a cool vibe.

The band is made up of brothers David and Joseph Dunwell, and cousins Robert Clayton and Johnny Lamb. (The band used to be five members, but guitarist, David Hanson, left the band to start his own band.) They just released their second studio album on September 8, 2014. The new EP is entitled, Show Me Emotion and it does just that. It is a different sound than their first album and I loved their old sound … but, I also really like this new sound too.

The Dunwells just finished touring in the UK in September and are headed to California this month. They are great live performers, particularly in an intimate setting where you can really hear those incredible harmonies. If you get a chance to see them, take it! I am hoping they make it to the east coast and will be keeping my eye out for them.

Sometimes at the end of a long day with a lot of moving pieces I do feel overcome with emotion for some reason. Sometimes I feel incredibly happy and other times I feel on the verge of tears. Today has been one of those days. This song just seemed like a perfect fit, just enough emotion to let me settle into my end of day. I really hope you enjoy this new song.

SONG OF THE DAY – “SCREAM (FUNK MY LIFE UP)” by Paolo Nutini

September 23, 2014

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Last night I made a  very spontaneous decision to attend a concert. I love being spontaneous!

I just arrived home Sunday night from an incredible hiking trip in Colorado (more to come on that tomorrow) and my husband was going to be gone on Monday night, so I decided I did not want to just sit home alone. I knew that Scottish, Singer-Songwriter, Paolo Nutini, was coming in concert this week, but I had never planned to attend because I did not think I would be able to swing it after just getting home. Luckily, I was able to get a ticket yesterday afternoon for his show at Terminal 5 in NYC. The show sold out and his show tonight at the Apollo Theater has been sold out for quite some time.

The show was incredible. What an amazing voice! He opened up his show with 9 other people on stage with him, including a three-piece horn section, which was awesome. He thrilled his audience and after he opened with “Scream (Funk My Life Up)“, I think it was the most appreciative crowd I have heard in a very long time. There were a lot of very passionate fans at the show and they were certainly eclectic, from young drunk boys to couples in their 50s and 60s. His music obviously appeals to a wide range of people.

This is the second Song of the Day I have posted by Paolo Nutini – I posted “Better Man” on June 10, 2014. His music truly is reminiscent of another time. He referred to one of his guitarists, who was singing backup to “Someone Like You,” as “Frankie Valli” and the song definitely had a 50s vibe. Then when he sang “Cherry Blossom” I felt like I was right in the middle of the 60s or early 70s, complete with strobe lighting. The music on his new album is such a unique sound and different from most everything else out today. Paolo Nutini has a raspy, throaty voice at times, but he also has an incredibly smooth voice and hits those beautiful clear notes as well. I’m not sure that I have ever seen anyone with such passion and emotion in both voice and performance.

Paolo Nutini’s third album, Caustic Love, was just recently released in the USA, but it was released in the UK back in April to strong reviews, debuting at number one on the UK Album Charts and certified platinum in June 2014. I can’t imagine that this album won’t get that kind of attention here in the US, both from music lovers and critics. His fans have been waiting 5 years for this new album and he certainly did not disappoint. I totally recommend that you listen to the entire new album and if you get a chance to see him live, I would highly recommend it.

SONG OF THE DAY – “SETTLE DOWN” by The 1975

September 9, 2014

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Following the song title’s advice today. 🙂

So, in honor of settling down, I am off to the city for a concert tonight. It is going to be fabulous – an artist that I really like giving a private show at Webster Hall in NYC. This will be a new venue for me and one that I have really been wanting to visit. I love these small, intimate, invitation-only concerts where you really get up and close to the artist.I can’t wait to let you know about it tomorrow.

Today’s song is by The 1975, a four-piece, alt-rock band from Manchester in the UK. The group met at school in 2002 and released their first EP in 2012; three more EPs followed. They recently released their debut, self-titled album, The 1975, in September 2013.

The band consists of Matt Healy (lead vocals and guitar), Adam Hann (guitar), Ross McDonald (bass), and George Daniel (drums). They have a really cool sound and are certainly making a big splash. In April of this year they had their first big performance in the US, playing at Coachella Music Festival. I am sure there is much more to come from them and if you have not already explored their music, take time to do it now. They are really good!

Gotta run … I have a train to catch!

SONG OF THE DAY – “I WANT YOU” by Saint Raymond

September 8, 2014

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Well, I have survived my first few days of being an empty nester … an empty nester much too early! 🙂

Last week I dropped my son off at his new high school – a golf academy in South Carolina. I never thought that I would ever send one of my children away from home to a boarding school for high school, but here I am. It was a very quick decision and my emotions have been all over the place the last several weeks. I am sure if you look at the last few songs I have posted, you will be able to tell where my head has been. I really, really like my kids and I love to be with them, so how did I let one leave home at 16 for college and one leave at 15 for boarding school? What am I thinking?

I got home Thursday night and I woke up Friday and told myself that I had the day to be sad. So I listened to all the songs that would let me wallow in my sadness. Just to give you a quick idea of the emotional pit I was digging, the songs included: “Never Grow Up” by Taylor Swift, “Poems, Prayers and Promises” by John Denver, and “When I’m With You” by Ben Rector. That last one by Ben Rector has been on repeat for the last four days! If you don’t think music can impact your emotions, I challenge you to listen to those songs. A friend of mine told me on Friday, “…I think you are going to have to give yourself more than one day to be sad!” Obviously she is right, but I am certainly trying not to be actively sad.

I am happy to report that my son is very happy and the school seems to be a great fit for him. That makes me happy! I am very proud of him and the decision that he has made. I just know that I really miss him and the house sure seems empty without him here. I thought I would have him home with me for two more years, and just like that he is gone.

 

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All organized in his new room.
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Home away from home.
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His outdoor classroom (the indoor one isn’t as pretty)! 😉

I love this song by Saint Raymond and I have been waiting for a day to post it. Saint Raymond is the stage name for Callum Burrows, a very young (only 19!) and talented, British singer-songwriter. Burrows is from Nottingham in the UK. He released his debut EP, Escapade, in early 2013 on Gabrielle Aplin’s (another of my favorite young British artists) Never Fade Records label; two more EPs followed in early 2014. I think we will be hearing much more from Saint Raymond – he has a fabulous sound with great harmonies, cool beats, and interesting lyrics. He is another new artist that has a sound reminiscent of the 80s. Even more exciting, he will be supporting one of my very favorites, Ed Sheeran, on his UK, Ireland, and European arena tour this fall. If there is something that will rocket Saint Raymond onto every playlist, that would be it! I know that you will like his sound.

I have to tell you that the video is the reason that I am posting this song today. It kind of feels like my life right now. Once you watch it, I am sure you will understand. Sometimes I don’t know if I am making the right decision, but when it comes down to it … I have to make a decision and jump. My kids have lived a life full of adventure, change, and challenge and they have risen to all of it. They have a very strong sense of self and embrace life to the fullest. So, how do you say “no” when they are ready for something that maybe I wasn’t ready for … the answer for me was ‘You Don’t.’ My heart is heavy right now, but what a ride as they chase their dreams and I dive in after them as we all enter the next new adventure. 

SONG OF THE DAY – “CAN YOU HEAR ME” by Dan Croll

August 11, 2014

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Can you hear me? What a question! I often find myself asking that same question. In fact, I have found myself asking that a lot over the last few weeks as I have been texting my son in Singapore and only getting one word answers in reply. I may send a text that says something like:

Did you get your laundry done? When do you leave this weekend and will you have wifi?

And the response is pretty typically something like:

No.

NO?! No to which question? And, I think I asked a question that actually needed an answer … not a yes or no. So, then I tried to resend the question and it just would go unanswered, mostly because he thinks he has already responded to me. So I often find myself yelling at the phone, “Can you hear me?!!”

I wish I could say that this only happens with my teens, but alas … my husband is typically just as bad. In fact, this last week while he was traveling, I texted him several times and never got a reply. It often happens when he is busy, so I thought nothing of it. Finally, he called and said, “Have you disappeared or what?” Needless to say, my texts were not going through to him due to a problem with iMessage and both of us had been having one-sided conversations without getting a reply. Obviously, it was more unusual for me not to respond, so he tracked me down. I just figured he couldn’t hear me. 😉

Okay, I am just sitting here cracking myself up with these stories. Let me move on to today’s song …

I actually really like this song by Dan Croll. Dan Croll is another one of those young British singer-songwriters that I seem to like so much. 🙂 Dan is also a very talented musician and plays multiple instruments, including the piano, trumpet, guitar, bass, drums, and organ. He was born in England on July 18, 1990 in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, but moved to Liverpool when he was 18 to attend a music school founded by Paul McCartney – Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts.

Croll signed a record deal in 2012 and released his first full length album, Sweet Disarray, in March of this year. He supported Imagine Dragons on their European tour late last year (which is how I discovered him) and Bastille prior to that. I thoroughly enjoy his very distinctive musical sound – I love the folk sound that he incorporates along with the electronic beats, great melodies and harmonies, and lots of different sounds. He cites Paul Simon as one of his greatest influences. If you don’t yet know Dan Croll, I really think you will like his music. If you already know him, here is another opportunity to listen to a great song.

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SONG OF THE DAY – “I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE” by Sam Smith

August 9, 2014

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It is the end of a great Saturday and I wanted to quickly post a song before the day was over and I fall asleep.

My daughter and I got up early this morning and headed off to an Adventure Park to do a ropes course. We had a fabulous time! We were the first ones there and we zipped through all of the courses with ease. We finally finished up on the hardest route – the dreaded Double Black Diamond – and we were finally humbled. We were feeling so confident and very strong. In fact, we kept teasing each other that we were ready for American Ninja Warrior and then we hit the disk ropes and we both went down. It was so hard! The guy who was working there told us that the next two obstacles were even more difficult and if we couldn’t get through the swinging disks, we might want to take the escape route and so down we went. We were both a little disappointed that we failed and we have vowed to return and master that Double Black Diamond!

Today’s song is by the 22-year-old, British singer-songwriter, Sam Smith. Sam’s music sounds much older and more mature than his age would lead me to believe. His music has so much soul. He broke out in 2012 when he was featured in Disclosure’s single, “Latch.” He was nominated this year for the 2014 BRIT Critic’s Choice Award, and won. His recent song, “Stay With Me” was a huge international success and he released his debut album, In The Lonely Hour, on May 26 in the UK and June 17 in the US. Today’s song is his newest single and it is a very soulful song. The music video had over 2.5 million views in just one week.

“Superheroes” by The Script

August 8, 2014

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How did this week fly by so quickly? It was just Monday … and then all of the sudden today is Friday. Where is the summer going?

It has been a happy week. On Monday, I drove to Washington D.C. to pick up my daughter who was just finishing her internship. We packed her up and drove home the next day. It has been fabulous to wake up in the morning knowing that she is here under our roof … at least for a little while. She will be leaving for China for a study abroad semester in just a couple of weeks, but I will enjoy every minute that she is here at home.

I absolutely love this song today. I am a huge fan of The Script and have been for many years (see Song of the Day – January 28, 2014), since I first discovered them while living in London. This song just tells such an amazing story, particularly when you watch the video. I love songs and stories about people who rise above their struggles and sorrows.

The Script always tells a good story and this song is no exception. I am not at all surprised that this is the first single off their upcoming album. It very much reminds me of their song, “Hall of Fame,” which pretty much became the theme song for the 2012 London Olympics. Both songs are passionate, motivating songs for the masses that tell a story and capture an audience. I hope that you will watch the video as you listen to this song – I found it very moving.

“Superheroes” was just released in July and The Script’s new album, No Sound Without Silence, is out on September 15 in the UK and September 30 here in the US. Although they are just finishing up a huge tour with OneRepublic, they will be performing at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC just one day after the album release here in the US on October 1. I have seen them live in concert three times already and I am quite certain that I will be there for this show as well. I really just love these three Irish guys!

SONG OF THE DAY – “ALL ABOUT YOU” by Birdy

June 17, 2014

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I love the young English singer-songwriter, Birdy. I have been following her for several years now and just find her to be an incredible, young (only 18 years old!), unique talent.

Birdy’s real name is Jasmine van den Bogaerde, but she uses the nickname Birdy that was given to her by her parents when she was just a baby. They began calling her Birdy because she used to open her mouth like a baby bird when she was being fed, and the nickname just stuck. Birdy began playing the piano at age 5 and writing her own music at age 7. Her mother is a concert pianist and music just seemed to come naturally.

Birdy was only 15 years old when she released her self-titled, debut album, Birdy, in 2011. The album was mostly covers, but it did include one original song. The album received rave reviews and went to the top of the charts in many countries. Her first single was a cover of Bon Iver‘s “Skinny Love” which was a remarkable interpretation of the song and became an instant hit. I actually find Birdy’s version much more captivating than the original.

Eighteen months later, at the age of 17, Birdy released a new album, Fire Within, with some amazing original songs. The album was just released in North America a few weeks ago on June 3, but was released in the UK in September of 2013. I bought the song on my UK iTunes account back in September and shared this song as my daughter’s Song of the Day back on September 30, 2013. Because the album is brand new, I wanted to share the song with you on this page today because I think it is an incredible song. I absolutely LOVE the lyrics to this song, and the music is mesmerizing. I also have to say that the live rendition on the YouTube video below is fabulous and you shouldn’t miss it!

Birdy has had a pretty amazing year. She received a nomination for British Female Solo Artist at the 2014 Brit Awards, and she just finished touring in the US as the opener for Christina Perri. I was not able to get to one of the shows this time around, but I am hoping to catch her when she returns … and I am certain that she will return! I think there is much more to come from the talented young artist and I look forward to hearing more new music from her. Speaking of new music … she is featured in three songs on the new The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack. And speaking of music … that is one amazing soundtrack!