Okay, so they might not be household names, but Jim Fusco’s acoustic cover song music videos have gotten some pretty interesting comments over the years. Here’s an ever-growing list of notable people that have become fans of Jim’s videos:
Geoffrey Cushing-Murray: This late-70’s Beach Boys lyricist wrote “Goin’ South” with Carl Wilson and even “Love Surrounds Me” with Dennis Wilson, which appeared on “L.A. (Light Album)”.
I enjoyed seeing this very much. It’s gratifying to know this song still has a life. Carl and I were very proud of it and hoped it would find an audience over time. Thanks again and good job. Geoffrey Cushing-Murray
Greg Douglass: He wrote the music to the #26 hit “Jungle Love”, made famous by Steve Miller in the late 70’s.
Wow. I co-wrote this tune, and this is impressive. Works well unplugged! Good work, dude…Wrote the music & played guitar on the track, as well as touring with Steve for a few years. Again, cool job. Always fun to see something I’m involved with re-interpreted.
Hello and welcome to a very special Monday edition of the Laptop Sessions! What makes tonight so special, you might ask? Well, for the first time in months, I’m bringing you a cover song music video of a song that has yet to be released. No worries, though — if you like this song, then you’ll be able to buy it in stores tomorrow.
The song I’m bringing you tonight is “Who Says,” the first single from the forthcoming 2009 John Mayer studio album Battle Studies. There’s a little bit of a story behind this one, so here goes…
I first learned about this album when I happened upon Mayer’s video blog established to document the recording sessions. The first video was a tour of his newly designed and built home recording studio. Do I even need to describe it? Believe me, it’s drool-inducing. Although a couple of the entries were only jams or just a bit weird, I ended up searching YouTube for some of the new songs. As I expected, most were available as live concert performances that someone videotaped and uploaded. I listened to a couple, including “Who Says,” and I started to get excited about this release.
I have a general rule against hearing too much of an album before it comes out. After all, it’s more than half the fun of buying a new album to be able to get in the car, put it on the CD player, and discover the music for the first time. Sometimes this is an exciting, expectation-defying journey (a la last week’s Echo & the Bunnymen album The Fountain). Other times, it can be just as disappointing an experience as one can have (i.e. U2’s No Line on the Horizon deluxe edition CD).
I should also comment on my recent opinion of Mayer.
As I wrote in my review of Where the Light Is, I am a big fan of Mayer’s first three releases — the independently released EP Inside Wants Out, his debut Room For Squares, and his follow-up Heavier Things. And yet, just as he gained “credibility,” I lost interest. Yes, his third album Continuum offers some interesting guitar parts and melodies, but I resented the idea that he needed to become a blues afficionado in order to be accepted by those outside his stereotypical audience of young girls. In my mind, this was a step backward in his songwriting. Did no one notice or appreciate the effort he put into the album design for the first two albums, or the backing vocals in “Your Body is a Wonderland” that echo the chorus lyrics of “My Stupid Mouth”? There was so much care taken with those releases that the minimalism of his last release was disappointing. From the title of Heavier Things alone, one could imply that Mayer was interested in tackling more “important issues” and being taken more seriously.
But, even in Heavier Things, he retained his sense of what was important — interpersonal relations, perspective, ambition, etc. On Continuum, political and social issues apppeared as the subjects for his songs, which always seemed out of place to me.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have an intense sense of loyalty, sometimes to my own detriment. But I had told myself I wouldn’t buy future Mayer releases to spare myself further disappointment, as I did with Where the Light Is. That being said, I can’t deny that this single “Who Says” sounds more to me like the John Mayer that I enjoyed listening to on earlier works. It’s simple, catchy, and tackles the same desires that my favorite John Mayer songs always did — namely, the desire for freedom from personal and social expectations (think: “No Such Thing,” “Not Myself,” “Bigger Than My Body,” and others). I don’t read the reference to marijuana as a literal desire to get high, but rather as a symbol for what society or one’s friends and family members think you shouldn’t do because “it’s not like you.”
So, I’ll give the album a try.
And you better believe there will be a review forthcoming.
Until then, I hope you enjoy my video tonight. I’m not sure what came over me, but I made this one a real production. I tacked on a purposely goofy intro and follow-up documentary that I hope you laugh at — either because it’s funny or because you’re laughing AT me, as long as the result is the same!
And I know that I have other news and ideas on my mind that I wanted to share tonight, but I can’t remember what they are. So, for now, I hope you enjoy this video and hurry back tomorrow for an all-new Jim Fusco Tuesday, then later this week when I post another music review.
It is my pleasure to welcome you once again to a brand-new week of all-new acoustic cover song music videos here at the Laptop Sessions. Following up my version of “Just Breathe” from Pearl Jam’s new 2009 album, I’m happy to present to you a new band to the blog and a new 2009 single.
If you’ve visited our site before, then you know that “New Music” is my niche here at the blog. I get a great deal of direction in terms of what to learn, record, or write about from the new music that I’m listening to, week by week. Up until last week, it had been a while since I delved into the new release racks for a session, so I’m attempting to make up for that tonight and later this week.
My video tonight is the mid-album cut “Cornerstone” from the Arctic Monkeys’ 2009 release Humbug. Previous to hearing this record, I didn’t know all that much about the Monkeys, and frankly, there wasn’t much that I found appealing. Since their rise to fame via the Internet in 2006, their work has been praised by some — Rolling Stone, for one — as outstanding, and it has also been disparaged as overrated. In addition, they received a backlash of criticism upon releasing their Who the Fuck are Arctic Monkeys EP merely three months after their debut album. Some called it a greedy move, while the band maintained that they wanted to release new material that they would be adding to their live shows. Now, I’ve certainly never been one to defend EP’s (Ben Folds and the Supersunnyspeedgraphic nonsense, anyone?), and I don’t plan to start here. Still, one should keep in mind that an album is typically recorded a significant time before its actual release — in this case, the EP was released seven months after the band finished recording their debut album.
Anyway, this album was recommended to me by a former student and friend who has tuned me in to some great material from Beck, Cold War Kids, and Harvey Danger — in other words, bands that I wouldn’t have listened to on my own. He described it as being more “slow and contemplative instead of just in your face punk music” which, for anyone who knows me, immediately got my attention!
While I rated this album as a “Maybe So,” it really is one of my favorites this year. It’s the type of album you can listen to again and again without it getting old. I love their style here: the songs are unique, and yet reminiscent of some of the greatest rock of the sixties, and their lyrics really make the music stand out to me.
Which brings me to “Cornerstone.”
I will never forget driving to school, listening to this song for the first time. I had been enjoying the album, but this song really made me stop and take notice. There is this devious tone in Alex Turner’s voice as he sings the story of a man searching for a girl who has left him. Did she break up with him? Has she died? Regardless, he is prowling the dirtiest-sounding dives, flirting and engaging with women of whom he soon makes an odd request.
He asks if it would be acceptable for him to refer to them by the name of his ex-lover.
No big deal. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right? Well, that’s not the case for most of the song. But you’ll have to listen until the end to find out how he fares.
In other new music news, I’m excited about picking up Bob Dylan’s first ever Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart. Of course, this is a mixed bag. After all, contrary to the fact that several holiday albums are coming out tomorrow, I think that it’s far too soon to start listening to Christmas music. I’ll probably end up listening to it once before I tuck it away for the day after Thanksgiving… The other question in my mind is whether or not the deluxe edition is worth the extra money. From what I can tell from the limited descriptions I’ve been able to find online, there are some greeting cards attached in the special edition. Well, how many? Do you save them or do you send them? How many people would truly appreciate a Bob Dylan Christmas card? Is his face on the cards? Could be scary to small children or residents of small New Jersey towns…
Well, that’s enough for tonight. I hope you enjoy my video. If you like it, you should mark your calendars for October 15th when the official music video for “Cornerstone” is set to be released. It has also been scheduled to be released as the second single from Humbug about a month after that.
Welcome, welcome to yet another Jim Fusco Tuesday here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog. Actually, tonight, you get two for the price of one: I have Chris Moore with me to record this session! And boy, did it come out great. If your connection can handle it, click the “HQ” button and listen to the better audio feed of this one. It’s in full stereo (I LOVE my microphone) and the levels are perfect!
And tonight debuts my brand new 12-string electric guitar! And what a way to bring it in. I knew I had to do a Byrds song. No, it’s not a Rickenbacher. Who can justify spending literally 8 times more for the same essential thing. My version is from Dean and I love it. It looks great and plays even better. The sound is there, too- just like all my favorite 12-string songs. Look for more in the future. I can’t wait to bust out my new lap steel guitar, as well. In a couple weeks, I’ll be getting an HD cam, so all my Laptop Sessions will be in high definition. How cool is that? At that point, I’ll be able to start my new mini-series entitled “Jim’s Guitars”- stay tuned.
Gene Clark wrote tonight’s song and it was off of the Byrds first album, “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Now, this isn’t the greatest album, but it really could have been. That is, if half the album weren’t Bob Dylan covers and other cover songs. Not to knock cover songs, but the songwriting of Gene Clark (and in the future, the rest of the band) was so far ahead of its time and his songs are simply timeless. This song takes me back to when I was at Wesleyan for 5 weeks in the summer of 2000. I was at a program called “CCY”, the Center for Creative Youth. Good fit, eh?
Anyway, those five weeks seemed like a whole lifetime at the time- everything that happened in one day seemed like a year. So, even not seeing someone for two days made it seem like you were living “here without you”. Needless to say, this song was all I listened to when I got back that summer.
I have to keep tonight’s post short because of my marathon video editing job last night. I need to catch up and this is my only opportunity. So, without further ado, I hope you enjoy the great effort put out by Chris and myself tonight on the Byrds’ classic song, “Here Without You”. You won’t be here without us for too long, as Jeff will be back on Thursday for another great cover song music video. Until next week!!