…And a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas (Almost)!

If you don’t celebrate Christmas then I hope you have a happy holiday season :) 

Once more this year I’m making my Christmas Albums (all three of them!) available for whatever price you’d like to pay, even if that’s zero dollars.  Any proceeds I generate from the sale of Christmas Albums/Songs gets donated to Child’s Play - a charity that provides games to children stuck in hospitals with serious health problems.

So have a happy winter, tell your friends and family you love them, and smile at a stranger why don’t you?  It might make their day.  Hope to see you at a show soon – lorenradis.com/shows

Thanks,

-loren

In Honor Of… Queen!

Hey friends,

It’s the 15th and this month’s In Honor Of… EP is a tribute to the music of Queen!

Didn’t see that one coming, did ya? ;)

First off, go ahead and listen or download it right now FOR FREE at – music.lorenradis.com/album/queen  Enjoy!

I’ve loved Queen since before I can even remember, my parents love to tell the story of me riding in the carseat in the back of the minivan when I was 2 or so singing along to “A Kind Of Magic”, and how I’d look from side to side when the voices sang in stereo.  They’re one of the most talented bands of the glam-rock movement of the 80s, and since technical talent was such an important facet for those types of bands, that’s really saying something.

You might notice I’ve changed the songs on a structural level, it’s not that I feel my changes improve the songs on a fundamental level, I just feel my changes improve my version of the song, you know what I mean?  If I didn’t remove the first chorus from “It’s Late” or take a few extraneous bits out of “Radio GaGa”, those songs would really start to wear on your ear.  They’re great when there’s a full band playing with incredible guitar solos and bass lines and drum fills and all that jazz, but when it’s just guitar and voice, some things need to be sacrificed to keep it snappy enough.

Well that’s a lot of setup, have a listen and see what you think for yourself, I hope you love it.

music.lorenradis.com/album/queen

-loren

In Honor Of… Gospel!

So, Gospel Music!  Yes, I know it’s kind of a cheat, as I said I’d be honoring the work of singer/songwriters, but I can bend the rules, because it’s my project :)

Before we continue, go listen to and maybe download this month’s “In Honor Of…” EP right here! – music.lorenradis.com/album/gospel

So hymns/gospel/worship music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember and it’s always been important to me because a) I’m a Christian, b) a lot of them are gorgeous songs and c) for the first dozen years that I played guitar, the only time I played in front of other humans was for worship at youth group.  Without playing at church I might (see: most likely) never would have had the confidence to start playing my own concerts in front of people, I met almost all of my good friends through playing music at church.

Religious music is also cool to me because, like a lot of other art forms, the majority of examples we have of very old music are religiously based simply because the only demand for music and art was in relation to the church.  Some of the most enduring pieces of visual art we have are things like the Last Supper, the various artist’s statues of David, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, all of them religious, and all of them windows into what the art and attitude of the day was like.  So while I identify with the songs I’ve chosen on a personal religious level, there’s also a whole nother level of the simple value of a piece of history preserved in musical form.  Anyway, I hope you like the songs, talk to you later,

-loren

In Honor Of… Paul Simon!

This Month’s Release is In Honor Of Paul Simon! Yay!

Get it here, quick! – music.lorenradis.com/album/paul-simon

Paul Simon is … well, first off, he’s super awesome. We can all agree on that right? He amazes me because he’s been writing music for, nearly 50 years! And he’s been popular and relevant that whole time and has never really lost his artistic integrity in the eyes of his fans (like me).

Graceland is one of my favorite albums and still kind of held up as the perfect pop record. 2 of this month’s songs are from that album, so that says something. The music Paul is writing today is just as honest and beautiful as it ever was, and he’s never felt stagnant, he’s always changing, growing, evolving, and it’s fascinating to be along for the ride.

Other artists from his era are still writing music (I’m looking at you Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney) but they’re not – in my opinion – acheiving the same level of re-invention and relevance, they’re more cashing in on their previous success and kind of phoning it in. Paul Simon’s got his fair share of misses mixed in with the hits, but I feel like he’s never been one to phone it in, and I respect the hell out of that.

So, go grab your free copy of my tribute to one of the true greats, Paul Simon, over on the music page right now, enjoy, and thanks! – music.lorenradis.com/album/paul-simon

-loren

In Honor of… The Beatles

So!  It was probably pretty obvious my first “In Honor of…” EP would be the Beatles.  I can’t say enough how much I love them and their music, and it can’t be overstated how influential it’s been on me.  I might not be a musician at all if it weren’t for the Beatles.  The first time I ever heard anything by the Beatles was their live set before the Queen of England from the Beatles Anthology.  They played “She Loves You”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “‘Till There Was You”, and “Twist and Shout”, and it isstillthe most impressive live set I have ever heard.

My 12 year old brain couldn’t even begin to understand how and why they were so awesome, I just knew I loved it.  The Beatles weren’t just incredible songwriters - they didn’t even write two of the songs in that set – although they were that.  They were near flawless performers, knowing how to work the crowd, whether it was a bunch of sweaty youths in an underground bar or the elite of Britain at a high class event.  Their performances were so in sync, so tight, so energetic.  You can tell that they’ve already played literally hundreds of shows together and they’ve gotten better with each and every one.

Anyway, the three songs I’ve chosen to cover in honor of the Beatles are: “Revolution”, “I Should Have Known Better”, and “I Will”.  You might notice that I’ve only chosen songs written by Lennon/McCartney.  I only had three slots to work with and, come on, who are we kidding?  If John Lennon and Paul McCartney went off on their own and George and Ringo went off on their own and both duos recorded their own music, whose do you think would be most like The Beatles’?  George and Ringo were integral to the Beatles, but John and Paul were the Beatles.

The Beatles’ songs were about a lot of things.  Their first few dozen were about love, then they branched out into things like politics, drugs, religion, all that jazz.  I feel like the core theme that resonates through nearly every song though, is love.

“Revolution” is a song that says “Yes, we need a better world, it sucks the way it is, but hurting other people isn’t the way to make it better, we need peace and love”.

“I Should Have Known Better” works on a really superficial level as a song about young love, being surprised how deeply in love you’ve fallen with a girl who was just a crush.  Maybe the author thought it would be a short relationship, a one-night stand even.  But he’s surprised to find he can’t pull himself away.  For a long time that’s all the song meant to me.  It’s pretty versatile though; my wife and I just had our first child, a little girl.  And when I think of this song in relation to her, well, I never knew I could love a girl as much as I love my daughter.  I love everything that she does, and even though it’s so vastly different from the romantic love the song was probably written about, it fits perfectly.

“I Will” really embodies Paul McCartney’s style of songwriting.  It’s in the same vein as things like “Yesterday”, “Blackbird”, “Some Days”… It’s simple, sweet, and absolutely gorgeous.  Paul McCartney has a way with melody, I don’t know how or why it works the way it does, but his melodies, even if there were no words, just sound like love.

So those are the three songs you can download for free on the music page – music.lorenradis.com –  right now, I hope you like my take on them.  Check back next month on the 15th for your next batch of covers, and thanks a ton!

-loren