Thursday, September 24, 2015

A musical dream come true

Yes, it's another post about Home Free. What can I say other than my name is Kim and I am a Home Freeaholic. Not only can I admit that, I do so with pride. Good thing too since I'm pretty positive that there is no cure for this. Now, I first wrote about these guys back in March. You can read that post in its entirety here if you wish, but here's a rather pertinent excerpt:

"Home Free is also like Little Big Town in that they favor more intricate harmonies over basic ones and said harmonies are rock solid. Neither of these groups would work anywhere near as well if anyone was missing. Each person is great on their own, but their true strength lies in the combined sum of their parts. I truly believe that if you like one of these groups, you'd probably like the other as well. Especially if you enjoy any of the LBT albums that Wayne Kirkpatrick produced. Just because Home Free sounds closer to how LBT did then. I also believe that Home Free needs to cover at least one Little Big Town song at one point. I'm just saying.

Well. Guess what? Turns out Cinderella was right when she sang that "If you keep on believing/ The dream that you wish will come true." That's right. Ladies and gentlemen, Home Free has covered a Little Big Town song! Okay, so it's not the entire song and it is mashed up with another song. Namely "Fishin' in the Dark" by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. But even still. Home Free has covered a Little Big Town song. Dreams can come true, y'all. I'm not sure I can adequately describe how thrilled I am about this, but I am sure going to do my darnedest. In doing so, you'll also get an idea of what exactly both of these groups mean to me. As such, with absolutely no disrespect to Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, I'm not going to be focusing on "Fishin' in the Dark" other than to say that I really like the way Home Free blended these songs together. They work so well together! 

But first, I need to clear something up that has been driving me insane. This mashup is listed as "Fishin' in the Dark/Down in the Boondocks". So many people seem to be under the impression that Little Big Town remade a song by Billy Joe Royal that *is* called "Down in the Boondocks" and that *that* is the cover. Those people are wrong. That is another song completely. Little Big Town doesn't even have a song called "Down in the Boondocks". Their song? Simply called "Boondocks". Just "Boondocks". It is not a remake; it is an original Little Big Town song. Not only that, it is their signature song. Seeing it referred to as "Down in the Boondocks" makes the LBT fan in me twitch a little. Now, it's important to note that Home Free is aware of the mistake, but by the time anyone realize it, the liner notes had already gone off to the printers. These things happen. In the meantime, just remember: "Boondocks". Just "Boondocks". 

Whew. I feel better now. So without further ado, take a second and watch the awesomeness that is "Fishin' in the Dark/Boondocks".

"Boondocks" just got funky. Let's talk about it.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Lullaby of Broadway

September 17th, 2014. Unbeknownst to me, a group that I had never heard of uploaded a video that I wouldn't come across until sometime in January of this year. The group? VoicePlay. The video? Their ACA Top 10 Broadway countdown. Confession: I originally started this about a month or so ago and was going to use it as a way to explain my love of musicals. Upon realizing that the one year anniversary of its release was approaching, I determined that this would become more of a tribute. One in which I'm going to dissect a bit in an effort to explain why I like it so much. Now this countdown was not my introduction to VoicePlay; that was "Survivor", their collaboration with Home Free. That video made me like VoicePlay enough to watch their other videos. Starting with this one. The one that made me love them. It remains my favorite of all their videos, which is saying something since I like all of them. Seeing it performed live was worth the price of the tickets to the Sing Off tour. I'm serious.

Why do I love it so much? Three main reasons and they are as follows.

Reason #1: it's a fantastic piece of music, plain and simple. Everything works. It shouldn't; I knew all but one of these songs prior to watching this and they shouldn't fit together this well. This is what great arranging looks like, folks. This is how it sounds. I have no idea how long it took Layne Stein and Geoff Castellucci to arrange this, but it had to take a fair amount of time and thought. If it didn't, well, these guys might just qualify as musical genuises. Which they might anyway. In any event, they picked great songs, stuck them in the right order and chose the perfect guy to sing lead on each. Every member of the group gets their moment to shine and they all take advantage of it. If you've never heard them before, this is a great introduction. You get a good feel for what they can each do individually and what they can do as a group.

Reason #2: it hits me on a surprisingly personal level. I've seen versions of all but two of these and multiple versions of a couple. I do have cast recordings of each though. I've been moderately obsessed with a couple of them and others were live versions of movies I loved as a kid. Listening to this countdown has brought back a lot of memories. It puts me in a happy place. Largely due to the songs and shows themselves, but also due to VoicePlay's performances. They're always entertaining, but they take it to another level here.

Reason #3: it does a pretty terrific job of summing up what's so great about musicals. All while helping me notice some similarities between them and the country music genre. See, they both revolve around people and their stories. People tend to write them off without ever having actually seen or listened to them. People seem to believe that once you seen/heard one show/song that you've seen/heard them all. The reality is that just like there are various sub-genres that exist under the country music umbrella, there are all kinds of musicals out there. Every show is not Oklahoma. Not trying to knock Oklahoma here; the point is that different shows use different styles of music. They speak to different kinds of audiences and do so in different ways. Don't believe me? Watch the countdown. No, seriously watch it.

Watch it so you have a frame of reference when I dissect it after the jump. Here: