Ringing In My Ears

I have suffered from Tinnitus since I can remember. Silent rooms force me to have background white noise to help.

Unfortunately I love to listen to music as well as often as possible. In our home I have speakers set up everywhere. When I play music, it follows me around the house. When I’m alone, it’s usually pretty loud as well.

My cars have always had loud stereos as well. Only on bad tinnitus days do I crank my music while driving. Otherwise I listen to news radio. But I have to have something going in order to remove the ringing in my ears.

My tinnitus probably stems from the ear infections I suffered as a child. Or over the years from the music I listen to. So far I haven’t had any significant hearing loss according to my hearing tests. So that’s a good thing.

Let the music play!

Dark Clouds

Two lovers in a cage,

Trapped and ever so afraid

To step outside;

From the world we hide.

The street life

And the bright lights

Blind their eyes;

And send us running to obscurity-

We need to break free.

Trapped you see.

Trapped here in mediocrity.

Don’t ever trust a soul on planet earth.

Dark

Clouds

Drift away

To reveal…

Sunshine.


These are song lyrics from a mid-nineties British group called “SPACE“. The CD was titled “Spiders“. I loved the style of this band back in the day. I even had the opportunity to see them perform at a club in Vancouver way back when.

This particular song has been stuck in my head since I took the above picture yesterday morning on my drive home. It’s not just the lyrics, but the instrumental parts as well that ring on in my mind. I like the final line in the song.

Dark clouds drift away to reveal sunshine.

That’s what I work towards every day. A bit more sunshine and lot less gloom. Go give Space a listen to. I’m going to dust off my cd and listen to it later on.

Vivaldi

The past few days I have been enjoying listening to Vivaldi: La Cetra, 1-7. It has made my drive to and from work a bit more pleasant and calm. There’s something about hearing stringed instruments as they eloquently form each piece. As I listen to La Cetra I can also pick out the piccolo and harpsichord. Two very unique sounds that work well together.

Many know Vivaldi as written Four Seasons which is also a fantastic piece. I’m a huge fan of classical music and the variety of styles that come with each composer. Next week I am planning on listening to another composer as I travel to and from work. Perhaps Mozart, Bach, Handel or Beethoven. Whichever suits my fancy on my first day of commuting.

Do you appreciate classical music?

Who are your favorite composers?

Let me know.

All That Jazz

This weekend there is a Jazz Festival going on in Fort Langley. I won some tickets to my choice of performances over the weekend. Hooray for those Instagram contests! I chose to go on the Saturday night to the “Frank Sinatra Big Band Swing Dance” located at the Fort Langley Community Hall. I’m a fan of swing music and Sinatra, (I blogged about him earlier this year: Sinatra as a Mentor) so it made sense for me to attend this show.

My wife and I started our date night at the Trading Post Eatery. One of our favorite places to dine in Fort Langley. Afterwards we wandered over to the Community Hall and found a great spot to watch Steve Maddock and Swing Aggregation perform. The band was tight and energized. The crowd they played to ranged in ages from early twenties to late eighties.

The band had everyone toe tapping and smiling. Especially when the Suburban Swing Dancers– a professional group of dancers- began to show off their skills. And show off they did. By the end of the first hour these dancers had broken a healthy sweat. It also got more people from the crowd up dancing.

The music was great and the dancing was fast. I think that next year we will most likely partake in more of the free events and the stages setup all around the community. There’s still one more day to go- so I recommend taking a lazy Sunday out to Fort Langley and enjoy some Jazz.

Queen + Adam Lambert

Yesterday for our 18th Anniversary, my wife and I took the kids to see the Queen + Adam Lambert Rhapsody Tour. Since I’ve always been a huge Queen fan, and the show was on our Anniversary, we had to check it out.

I haven’t been to a concert since my wife and I married. So spending $1000 on tickets was a shock to the bank account when we bought the tickets back in December. But as a coworker said to me, it’s the experience that the kids will remember for a lifetime. And she was right.

The show was amazing. Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen still rock after all these decades. Adam Lambert was an excellent addition to the group. While he is still no Freddy Mercury- Adam Lambert is a showman all unto his own and respected the group’s iconic style.

Here’s a clip of how the show began:

Because this was Queen- the crowd singing along with almost every song was astounding. Myself and family included. From Radio Gaga to the encore of We Will Rock You– the venue was energized. My favorite part was singing Bohemian Rhapsody with the crowd.

We left the show with ears ringing and hearts pounding. I loved the experience and would easily wait another 18 years if I could see a concert like that again.

Record Breaking Sound

As I mentioned previously in my blog posts, we listen to a lot of music. We also listen to it in a variety of means. Online streaming to the radio; mp3 to CDs; cassettes and records. All of which have a variance in their quality and enjoyment. My favorite as of late is listening to our daughter’s record player.

First, we started listening to some of my wife’s and my old record collection. Rick Astley, Michael Jackson, ABBA, Village People, etc… Then we moved on to listening to some of our classical music and collections of dance songs. Lots of great stuff.

We have discovered that old records are readily available at our local thrift shops and music stores. Many of these used albums price between $2 and $5. I was happy to pick up an original Star Wars album for cheap. The record was in great shape even if the cover was not. For the price of a couple songs on iTunes- we are now branching out to hear a variety of very interesting renditions of some classic songs.

The current album of choice on rotation at this time is the Mexicali Brass. A truly wonderful style that feels like it belongs on a record. I could not imagine it played through iTunes. Hearing a record pop and hiss adds to the auditory sensations. There’s a certain randomness to the sound you can’t recreate digitally. Every spin of the record is slightly different from the last.

What form of music to you enjoy? Are you an audiophile with some tips?

Let me know in the comments.

Work Tunes

The past few nights at work I have been playing music in my office. From my iPhone I have it connected to a small Bluetooth speaker. This small speaker that can fit in my car cup holder packs a good punch. It is far louder than I expected. A few times I had to turn it down in order to have a conversation.

Mostly I am using Amazon Music and playing a variety of “Radio Stations”. My work environment has become less stressful and more enjoyable. My coworkers have also been enjoying the change of pace. There is more comradery amongst everyone along with more productivity. This happens when everyone has a more pleasant outlook whilst listening to music they recognize.

I enjoy music tremendously. I’m rather surprised at myself that I haven’t been listening to it at work much. Perhaps it’s time to change that and keep those spirits up.

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

Back in 1988, I got a tape cassette for the “Cocktail” movie soundtrack. I had never seen the film- I was only thirteen at the time (I still haven’t seen it). Going to movies at that age were generally comedic or of a family style. But this film had a soundtrack that perfectly summed up that year.

I listened to it on my ghetto blaster over and over. A favorite song being, “Don’t Worry- Be Happy“. I played this soundtrack so much that a couple of years later- when my parents bought their first CD player- I was given the soundtrack again on CD.

To this day, I still like this soundtrack and that particular song. The advice is prevalent even more so in this day and age. So get out there and live life. The best way to do this-

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

April is Here

Somehow I lost January, February and March. Except for a couple of key moments, like my birthday two weeks ago, the past three months blasted by. Ahhh!!!

I need to take it easy a bit more. With a quarter of the year gone, it’s time to reel it back a bit. The first thing I am going to do to achieve this? Change the music I listen to. No more Heavy Metal or Industrial music. I have discovered the joy of Lounge Music.

No joke.

Hearing covers of “Fame” or “Funky Town” or even Pink Floyd’s “Money” brings me joy. We ate dinner tonight on our back beck as the sun set, listening to some amazing lounge covers. Even our kids commented on how it felt like we were eating at a restaurant on a patio as we tried to guess the songs as they played.

Hearing Michael Jackson’s “Don’t stop ’till You Get Enough” covered by Bossa N’ Disco made my busy day at work seem calm and relaxing. I almost completely forgot about work until I wrote that sentence. I’m off to discover some other great Lounge Style Covers before bed.

Music Of The Night

Every so often I throw on one of the soundtracks to a musical that we own. I have always loved show tunes and movies that incorporate music to tell a story. My first memory of enjoying a musical was “Annie” back in 1982. I recall sitting in the back of the station wagon facing the window humming one of the tunes.

The first stage performance I saw was “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. Sometime around 1989. It was grand. I saw it again a couple years later. It was still just as good. In between I saw performances of “Cats” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”. I was on an Andrew Lloyd Webber kick.

My other favorite was “Les Miserables”. This one was darker and not as magical. But the story moved me as a teenager. Years later, I would go to see a live performance again. This time, when my wife was pregnant with our first child. I took her on a date to see this show, again performing at the QE, it was our one and only fancy date that we have been on.

Our kids grew up enjoying Disney movies. Many of which have great musical numbers. One our trips to Disneyland, we almost always went to see “Aladdin” performed live. In October we saw “Frozen”. Our kids love these shows.

I’d like to take them to a show sometime soon that is more Broadway than Disney. I know that they would appreciate it. Especially since our kids attend the Fine Arts School and have an immense appreciation of music and acting and the work that goes into it all. As well as the fact that they know many of the songs already after hearing the soundtracks played.

Just like the main title song suggests from that one musical, “GO GO GO JOSEPH!”