“Christmas Morning” by Jim Fusco – FREE mp3 Download! – Day 14 of 14

By Jim Fusco:

And here it is- the end of the line.  I can’t believe we’re already through all 14 days of my Rock’n’Roll Christmas celebration!  Remind me to never do this again. :-)

Today’s song is my original Christmas tune, “Christmas Morning”, that I wrote back in high school!  I personally think every artist has ONE good Christmas song in them.  And, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure that I’d ever be able to come up with another one as catchy as this one, so I don’t think I’m going to try!

I recorded this song for the first time back in 2004 for our Christmas album, “Our Christmas Gift To You”.  At the time, I was just getting used to playing the guitar and recording with my digital 24-track.  I had basic microphones, too.  Now, I have a Cab Clone to record my guitars, various tube amps, high quality mics, compressors, preamps, and…the same 24 track mixer.  But, if you’ve heard both versions, you can really tell a big difference.  I’ll probably end-up recording this again in the future after my equipment gets even better!

My wife Becky helps me sing on this tune, too.  I was going to have my brother Mike help out, but he was sick when he came home for Thanksgiving, so he couldn’t sing on it.  Next time, though!

I hope you’ve had as much fun reading and listening to these Christmas songs as I have making them.  It’s a pretty big accomplishment for me to do all of this while being so busy otherwise.  I hope I can maybe just do one song a year from now on, just to keep me into the recording process.  Enjoy “Christmas Morning” and have a Merry Christmas!

“How Good It Can Get” (Wallflowers Cover)

Originally posted 2008-04-12 15:44:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Saturday edition of The Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!

Today, I join the Wallflowers group with Chris and Jeff (who’ve done quite a few already) and do one of my favorite tunes, “How Good It Can Get”.

This song has one of the best hooks I’ve ever heard, plus it was my “anthem” song during my trip to Italy last year. I remember one night, after an amazing Tuscan dinner, walking through the streets back to the hotel. I was singing this song at the top of my lungs. Clearly less-than-level-headed, I kept also yelling out that I was still on key!

Well, this was recorded long after that night and I was STILL on key! I hope you enjoy today’s Session and make sure to keep checking the blog at LaptopSessions.com for exclusive videos from our first ever LIVE concert tonight!



“It Ain’t Me Babe” (Turtles & Bob Dylan Cover)

Originally posted 2009-08-26 00:06:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hey hey, everyone!  Time for another Laptop Session acoustic cover song music video from yours truly, Jim Fusco!

Tonight, I bring you a song that I’ve known for a very long time- “It Ain’t Me Babe” by the Turtles.  Of course, it took until Chris became interested in Bob Dylan (sometime around 2000) for me to realize that he actually wrote this song.  So, why did I come back to it tonight?

Well, I love the Turtles version- it’s a great rock song that has slow parts on the verses and faster rockin’ parts on the choruses.  Plus, it’s short and just has so much energy packed into it’s two minutes.

But, I also thought of covering it because I was just listening to “The Bob Dylan Show”, which is a radio show on our own WCJM Radio.  This really isn’t a great show in terms of execution- Chris and I did it on a whim and Chris just wasn’t on his “A-game” when it came to on-air chatter.  For the most part, the show seems forced and that’s probably why I kept it offline and in the archives since the summer of 2001 when it was recorded.

Actually, an interesting note- Chris talks about looking forward to when Dylan’s new album at the time, “Love and Theft”, would be released- he says he can’t wait for September 11th to get here.  Little did we all know…

But, I digress.

The show actually redeems itself because of the music (which is surprising when talking about a show with all Bob Dylan music).  The covers of his songs from Manfred Mann (“The Mighty Quinn”) and George Harrison (“I’d Have You Anytime” and the co-written “If Not For You”) are great additions.  I actually listened to the show twice this week (putting up with the really poor dialogue- I’ve had better conversations with myself!) because I wanted to hear those great cover versions of Dylan’s songs again from the likes of Eric Clapton (“Born In Time”), Jimi Hendrix (“All Along the Watchtower”) and, of course, the Byrds.

So, after you’re done watching my acoustic cover song music video here today, you should head on over to WCJM Internet Radio and listen to “The Bob Dylan Show” (or any other show there) absolutely free!  There’s nothing to sign up for or anything like that.  Just click “Play” and start listening.  Click HERE to visit the “Jammin’ With Jim Show” page and click on “The Bob Dylan Show”.

I hope you enjoy both forms of entertainment this Tuesday.  I’m very excited for the next few days, as they’re starting to frame our new home and all employees at work were given a surprise free “Appreciation Day” off, so I get to choose any day in the next two weeks and just not go to work!  I love my job. :-)

Have a great one, and to echo Chris’ sentiment yesterday- please make sure to come back for another great acoustic rock cover song music video from our very own Jeff Copperthite on his “Thumpin’ Thursday” post!  See you next week.



The Top Five Rock Artists of the Decade (2000s): NUMBER TWO is Barenaked Ladies

Originally posted 2010-04-19 14:30:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

This is the fourth in a five part series dedicated to the top five rock artists of the decade, 2000-2009.  The criteria used to determine this list were: (1) Quality of Music, (2) Quantity of Released Material, (3) Diversity of Media, and (4) Roles of Artists/Band Members.  Look for new posts coming soon!

By Chris Moore:

As we close in on my top pick for best rock artist of the decade, the decisions are getting more and more difficult.  In an attempt to be as unbiased as possible, I initially had last post’s honoree — Jack White — in the #2 spot.  Then I started listening to All in Good Time, which led me back to their albums of last decade.  After one listen to Maroon and Everything to Everyone, I knew that the Barenaked Ladies belonged in a higher position.  It should also be noted that while I do believe I made the right choice for the #1 slot, I have been a BnL fan for much longer, and they hold quite an important place in my heart where music is concerned.

That being said, let’s get this party started!

The Barenaked Ladies have distinguished themselves in all four of the categories I’ve established (see above) for this list.  They are a constantly evolving group of songwriter/musicians and performers, not content to rest easy at what worked for them in the past.  Throughout this, the second full decade of their existence, they have been prolific, releasing new material in every year except 2009.  In addition to typical studio albums every three years, this decade has seen the release of a greatest hits collection, a DVD compilation of their music videos, a holiday-themed album, a musical production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It (the one release in their catalog I have yet to set eyes on), their first live DVD, and a children’s album with accompanying book.

Although the decade ended with the oft-noted and overly publicized departure of founding member Steven Page, the remaining four members closed out 2009 by recording a series of eighteen songs, fourteen of which would find their way to 2010’s All in Good Time.

In every way that matters, the Barenaked Ladies have been a creative force to reckon with — and pay attention to — throughout this decade, and despite the criticism of naysayers, they have a very promising future in the next.

POST-STUNT EXPECTATIONS

To say that there was a lot riding on Maroon would be an understatement.

After the breakthrough success of 1998’s Stunt (via the chart-topping “One Week”), BnL’s image and career stood to be reconsidered based on what came next.  While Maroon was successful enough to preclude accusations of one-hit-wonder status, their American audience in particular seemed less and less interested in their work as the years went on.  This much is apparent in the charts, each album topping out further down than the previous one.  (As of this writing, this continues to hold true for All in Good Time, which has peaked at 23; in Canada, on the other hand, it has rightfully marked a comeback, hitting #3 which is the highest chart position for a BnL album there since Maroon.)

But numbers are numbers.  There are so many important aspects of modern life which, contrary to the beliefs and attempts of the powers that be, simply cannot be quantified.

Music is certainly one of those.

Maroon is BnL’s most fully-realized, cohesive, balanced album; it is serious, yet entertaining — fast and slow, loud and quiet.  The first half is populated by equally single-worthy rockers like “Falling for the First Time,” “Too Little Too Late,” and “Pinch Me,” the latter admittedly seeming like a wanna-be follow-up to “One Week.”  The second half of the album stretches out a bit, unwinding hauntingly gorgeous ballads like “Off the Hook” and “Helicopters.”  I haven’t even mentioned some of my favorites — “Baby Seat,” “Go Home,” and “The Humour of the Situation.”  This is a true five star album.

Although the album and singles performed well, it was apparent that they were all received with a bit less interest than Stunt‘s material had been (or, more accurately, its lead-off single).  I, for one, think that it is no coincidence that this was just about the same time that I began to lose interest in popular radio and music television.

BRILLIANCE IN RELATIVE OBSCURITY

To avoid going into painstaking detail about every track that the Barenaked Ladies have released since 2000, I will begin by saying that there is a vast sea of reasons to be interested in and entertained by this band.  As much as I felt people should have been more receptive to Maroon, I was flabbergasted at the apathy that 2003’s Everything to Everyone.  How an album that could so masterfully run the gamut between silly and serious, all the while being consistently brilliant — both lyrically and instrumentally — is beyond me.  This album is composed of some truly killer tracks: sardonic songs like “Celebrity” and “Second Best,” upbeat rockers like “Testing 1, 2, 3” and “Unfinished,” a love song like “Maybe Katie,” the oddly foreboding “War on Drugs,” and the stereotypical BnL knee-slappers “Another Postcard” and “Shopping.”

A lack of public praise never slowed them down, as 2006 saw the recording of 29 new tracks.  Where the band went wrong, in this writer’s opinion, was in deciding to release one album that year and a second album the following year.  What ended up happening was the most outstanding tracks were split between the two discs and, with a lack of cohesion between the two discs, the Are Me/Are Men project was simply not as good as it could have been.  Even Wikipedians are uncertain how to classify these selections in their catalog — either as the seventh or the seventh and eighth albums of BnL’s career.  Still, these releases saw the unveiling of a new era for the band — one of independence from major labels and of stretching their musical sensibilities.  Kevin Hearn’s contributions demonstrated the potential that he presented not only as an instrumentalist and singer, but also as a songwriter.  Jim Creeggan’s beautiful vocals also showed significant promise, even if they were only showed off on a silly number.

These three (or four?) albums would be reason alone to consider BnL one of the best bands of the decade.  And yet they didn’t stop there.  In the past ten years, the band has released some amazing work, not the least of which are their holiday album and children’s album.  The holiday album, Barenaked for the Holidays, brilliantly blended Christmas, Hanukkah, and winter-themed songs in one very characteristic collection (think: “Elf’s Lament,” “Green Christmas,” and others).  The latter, Snacktime!, swung far enough to the silly side of the spectrum to be largely ignored by “serious” music critics.  That being said, anyone who takes a moment to listen to the harmonies and instrumentation will realize that Snacktime! is a masterpiece unto itself, two of the best tracks — “Pollywog in a Bog” and “Louis Loon” — being penned by the unusual collaboration of Creeggan & Ed Robertson.  And it saw the lead vocal debut of Tyler Stewart on the rocking “Allergies,” a song that almost makes me feel cool for having season allergies myself.

AN ARREST, A CRASH, A BREAK, A VOW

Far too much has been written about the moments of crisis and tragedy in the personal lives of the Barenaked Ladies these past few years, so I’ll be especially brief here.  If you’ve kept up with music news, you know that Steven Page was arrested on charges of drug possession, Ed Robertson crashed his plane (fortunately with no serious injuries sustained), and Page’s departure was announced in 2009.  All in all, not a wonderful end to the decade.

That being said, the four remaining members — Robertson, Hearn, Creeggan, and Stewart — have vowed to continue recording and performing as BnL.  How well is that going?

One listen to All in Good Time is all you’ll need to answer that one on your own.