“Christmas Morning” (Original Christmas Song by Jim Fusco)

By Jim Fusco:

The second half of my “Original Wednesday” kicks off the holiday season with an original Christmas song!

I wrote this song at least five or six years ago, probably more.

I could never play it right on the piano, so when I learned guitar, I switched the main instrument. I’ve always been proud of the repeating chorus at the end. You HAVE to hear the version I did with MoU bandmates Chris Moore, Mike Fusco, and Becky Daly on our album, “Our Christmas Gift To You”. You’ll love it- we all sing on the chorus at the end and it sounds great! Check it out at http://jimfusco.com

Anyway, I’ll be adding many more Christmas songs over the next few weeks, so if you have any holiday favorites, please drop me a line or leave a comment and I’ll be glad to fulfill the request!

Christmas time is my favorite part of the year. This week of Thanksgiving is so exciting, and it seems like every day there’s something to do. For instance, tomorrow, I’m having “the guys” over late at night. Then it’s Thanksgiving. Then I’m waking up incredibly early to go Black Friday shopping with friends. Then my cousin Sarah is sleeping over at my condo on Saturday, ready to watch multiple Christmas/Jim Carrey movies. Then after that, I’m finally free to listen to all my favorite Christmas radio shows I’ve done with my best friends of all time on WCJM.com Free Internet Radio.

Well, enough of my Christmas rant- I’m just looking forward to everything!


Bob Dylan FREE mp3! – “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” from his forthcoming album, Together Through Life!

For the lyrics, chords, and cover song music video, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hurry!  Don’t wait!  There’s only three more hours to surf over to bobdylan.com and download the free mp3 of the new Dylan song “Beyond Here Lies Nothin.'”  It’s track one off of the upcoming release of Together Through Life, an album that will hit the shelves on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009.

When I woke up this morning to an email from Bob Dylan’s official website, I was pretty excited.  After all, this is a sneak peak at the album a full month before I thought I would hear any of the new songs.  Of course, there are other ways to find previews, such as searching YouTube for live versions of the new songs.

But I’d rather wait and be surprised.

The best part of this track is that, as the first song on the album, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” will be the first song you hear on the new album when you put the CD in (or download the album), then the rest of the songs will be brand new.  If it were track five, for instance, you would listen to several new songs and then come across a song you know before getting back to more new ones.

Anyway, get yourself over to bobdylan.com and check this song out before it’s too late.  This is a deal that only comes around for 24 hours…  Well, until April 28th, of course!

Buying Music in 2010: Mp3s (Digital Downloads), CDs, and LPs (Vinyl Records)

By Jim Fusco:

Hello everyone, I’m back with another article, as I still don’t have my HD camera (that’s what happens when you order internationally) and I’m still inundated with work here at FMP Studios.  The Traveling Acai Berries are hoping to get a two-song recording session in on Thursday night, but we’ll have to wait and see.  Those, unless I get the camera tomorrow, would still be in standard definition.

Anyway, onto tonight’s article:

Today at lunch, I told my colleagues at work (who are all much older than me) that I’m loving using my turntable.  A turntable, for those of you who either don’t know or have forgotten, is a record player.  And a record player is a machine that plays 12″ vinyl discs with grooves on them, producing sound.

Everyone at the table looked at me like I had four heads.  I heard, “He isn’t 25 years old- take off the mask, Scooby and reveal the real killer old man.”  But, I told them how much fun it was- having these great collector’s items and being able to just sit back and listen to some great music of yesteryear.

Then, you should’ve seen their faces when I told them I had bought new albums this year on vinyl.  They all couldn’t believe vinyl record albums (or long-players, LP) were making a small comeback.  Most of them had gotten rid of their collections or even their turntables.  What a shame!  I know they take up room, but I’m really loving them.  I thought I would write tonight about the options of purchasing and listening to music in 2009 that led me to my old-fashioned choice for music.

Let me start off by saying that, no, I do not believe that they are somehow superior in sound quality.  For years, it was all I could do to reduce as much hiss as possible from my own music recordings and I love the sound of clean, digital recordings.  I even love when companies remaster albums and take away all the hiss, like they did with Elvis’ #1’s album from a few years ago.  Listening to the remastered, cleaned-up version of “Heartbreak Hotel”, you feel like you’re in the room with Elvis.  And that’s a place I want to be. 🙂

So, albums are all but dead now.  I am in the vast minority of people that purchase full albums rather than individual singles.  And, that cross-section gets even smaller because I’m also the type of person that purchases physical albums rather than digital downloads.  You see, I’m a person that wants something for his money.  And purchasing an album online for ten dollars (from iTunes or wherever else you may buy them) just doesn’t seem right to me- you get a FILE?  No jewel case?  No CD?  Nothing you can put in your collection?  Let me tell you something- my father’s vast CD collection is a heck of a lot more impressive than the 10,000 digital songs I currently have on my iPod.

And with physical albums, you actually own something.  I can’t feel ownership of a file on my computer.  Call me old-fashioned, but I want something I can hold, something I can look at in the future without wondering if it’s compatible with my operating system.

So, there are three main ways you can purchase music in 2009, now that cassette tapes, DVD audio, and Super Audio CDs have bitten the dust.  There are digital downloads (mp3’s, usually), CD’s, and new vinyl albums.  Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of each:

Digital Downloads: Well, the obvious reasons are- they don’t take up any space!  Most people don’t want to search through hundreds of CDs to find the song they want, and I don’t blame them.  These things are portable and even I have fallen in love with my iPod portable music player.  But, for my money, I purchase the physical album on CD or LP and then put it into my iTunes for conversion into mp3 or AAC format.  Then, I have a portable copy to take with me, but I also have the physical copy for both my collection and in case something goes wrong with the file.  Plus, they haven’t perfected sound quality of these compressed digital files.  Sure, mp3s don’t sound bad, but have you ever listened to a song in mp3 and then listened to the CD version right afterward?  You’ll really hear the difference.  And, they’re coming out with new, higher quality codecs all the time.  What does that mean?  It means that every time they come out with a better-sounding way of presenting your music, you’ll have to either convert your CD collection again or purchase the songs again in a higher quality.  I like to do the job one time and that’s it, so no thanks.

CD’s (Compact Disc): The best part about CDs is the sound quality.  They are essentially uncompressed and you simply cannot get audibly better sound quality without moving up to surround-sound audio.  CD’s have been our main medium for twenty years now and there’s a good reason.  They scratch, but not too easily.  They take up space, but about a quarter as much as an old vinyl LP.  And they’re really cheap to both produce and to purchase.  Stores often offer CDs for $9.99 when they come out and still make a healthy profit.  I really have nothing against CDs- they seem to be very archival and I feel great about my collection.  There are drawbacks, though- they can skip while playing them if you’re on a bumpy road in the car, they can have digital “artifacts” from not being produced properly, and they’re just a bit too small to reproduce a beautiful album cover with the same effect on a vinyl LP.  Plus, they’re portable…if you’re carrying one at a time…  You can’t put a CD in your pocket or even dream about carrying 10,000 songs with you at all times.  Plus, CD changers are bulky and outdated.

Vinyl Record Albums (LP): “Everything old is new again.”  Again, I’m a collector.  I really don’t buy too much new music anymore, as my back-catalog collection is essentially complete.  So, when my favorite artists come out with a new album, it’s not a big deal to purchase a vinyl copy.  Buying four albums a year won’t take up much space and I’ll be able to see those great album covers and read liner notes, etc.  Plus, the actual vinyl record albums themselves are a sight to behold.  And there’s something strangely serene about playing one- putting the needle on the record and watching it spin while you listen.  It just calms you down.  Plus, I get a nostalgic feeling when listening to records- like I was alive then.  You’d even catch me listening to stuff I normally wouldn’t, like “Sinatra at the Sands”, that I listened to a couple days ago.  It just felt right.  Of course, records went obsolete for a reason.  In fact, most people that used them long ago really don’t miss them that much.  They complain about the dust, the needle cartridges, the scratches, and how easy it was to make them skip.  Plus, they take up a ton of room when you have a bunch.  So, they’re a nice novelty to me right now.  And, most new albums out on vinyl come with either a digital download code or a copy on CD so you can still have the clean version of the album and keep the vinyl as a collector’s item.

There’s only one recording medium that’s dead now that everyone agrees was a good idea to kill: the 8-track player.  I never had one of these and don’t plan to.

I hope you enjoyed this article and hope that you’ll contribute to the conversation- how do you prefer to buy and listen to your music?  Are you considering the switch to vinyl again?  Do you think they actually sound better?  We’d love to hear from you!

Jim Fusco’s “Halfway There” Album Now on CDBaby!

Jim Fusco’s 2009 album, “Halfway There” is now available on CDBaby for purchase as a physical CD or digital download.

Click HERE to view the album page on CDBaby.com!

In the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing the digital release on such retailers as iTunes and Amazon mp3.  Then, after that, we’ll be submitting “Homestead’s Revenge”, MoU’s classic final album, to digital download sites, as well!