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Showing posts from 2016

My Favorite VoicePlay Videos from 2016

Once again I've gone and saved the best, i.e. my absolute favorites, for last. If I were to make a royal court out of my favorite artists, VoicePlay would be King. Given the way that they have catapulted themselves into that position this year, it seemed only right to end 2016 with them. After all, I did write about them 22 times this year - this post included. Granted, some of those weren't exclusively VoicePlay, but still. I think it's safe to say that my love for this group is pretty well documented!

One of my favorite parts of 2016, aside from the guys themselves, has been the friendships that I've gotten to make because of them. I'm slowly getting to know more VoicePlayas and I know I've said it before, but this is a wonderful group to be a part of. We might be different in many ways, but we can bond over a love for a group. This love is always supportive and fun and it doesn't just extend to the guys, but also to anyone who considers themselves a fan.

My Favorite Home Free Videos from 2016

Continuing my little series on my favorite music videos of the year, we have Home Free. It was a good year for Home Free, albeit one that came with a brief period of uncertainty as we adjusted to the revelation that Chris would be leaving and Adam Chance would be coming in. But as I've said on here more than once, this worked out about as perfectly as it could have. Chris is doing great things and Chance fits in seamlessly. I say this with absolutely no disrespect intended towards Chris, but in a way it feels like Chance has always been there. That's how well he fits in.

The men of Home Free definitely gave their Home Fries a lot to be happy about. All of the videos they released were wonderful. So much so that trying to narrow it down to five felt pretty impossible. So, what did I end up doing you ask? Narrow it down to seven. Which is almost half of the videos they put out in 2016, but no matter.

How about we get started?

My Favorite Hollens Family Videos from 2016

After deciding that I did not want to do a best albums of 2016 post after all, I knew that I still wanted to do something to commemorate the year. I first came up with the idea to highlight my favorite music related events from the year and you can find that post right here. While working on that, I realized that I wanted to do something else. But what?

Finally, it hit me. 2016 was a terrible years in some respects, but a great one in others. For instance, it was a great year for me musically speaking. I learned about some new acts that I've come to love. What's more, I ended up becoming a bigger fan of some acts that I loved coming in. So, why not find a way to honor those acts? And why not do so by highlighting some of my favorite videos of theirs from the year? After all, 2016 was the year that I decided to launch my video spotlight series. In fact, it was my love for the music video that first inspired me to start this blog in the first place.

The decision was made. Aside…

My Top 10 Live Music Experiences of 2016

This year I decided against picking my favorite albums from 2016. The truth is that I have way too many albums left to listen to and didn't feel like trying to do a mass listening of them all like I did last year. Instead, I've decided to pick some of my favorite music related things - starting with this. My top 10 favorite live music experiences from 2016. Some of these are regular concerts and some aren't. I will say that while there were a few other great shows I went to this year, it was actually very easy to narrow it down to my ten favorite experiences. These were all shows that just stood out to me. I went through and made some photo collages of some of the pictures I took at most of these events. Six, to be exact. Out of the remaining four, two of them were musicals I saw. One was a show where I only got a few pictures that were, frankly, terrible. The last was a show where I could have taken pictures, but was too caught up in the show. Although looking back, I wi…

Video Spotlight: O Little Town of Bethlehem by VoicePlay

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful day, whether you celebrate or not. 
I am now more convinced than ever that the men of VoicePlay do in fact possess some sort of magical powers. Today's video is their most recent. Part of their Partwork series, this video features everyone but the Tony. One of the best perks of being a VoicePlay patron is that we get to see their videos a day or two sooner than everyone else. On the day that this video was released, I was chatting with a fellow VoicePlaya and friend about how ballads aren't really their thing. Then, later that day, an email arrived from their Patreon. Sidenote: their messages to their patrons are the greatest. They have a way of giving me the feels. Warm and fuzzy feels, to be specific. The one that accompanied this email legitimately made me "aw". 
A new video - this video - was posted. I couldn't tell you what song I may have been anticipating, but seeing that it was "…

Video Spotlight: This Christmas by Two Story Road

If you've never heard of Two Story Road, you're in luck because this is the 3rd time I've written about them. You can check out my review of their great self-titled EP right here and my video spotlight on their a cappella version of their song "Arson" here. But the quick introduction to Two Story Road is that they are the talented husband and wife duo of Brandon and Jamelle Fraley.

I've come to like these two a lot. They make great music and they're so entertaining to watch, as you're about to see. As soon as I watched this, I knew I was going to have to feature it. They're not afraid to be silly and those of you who know me know that I love that.

So here's their fun version of "This Christmas".

Video Spotlight: The First Noel by VoicePlay

Guys, I think we need to talk about Patreon. Specifically, VoicePlay's Patreon. Quick explanation for those of you who still aren't familiar with Patreon - it's a crowdfunding website designed to help creators create content over time. Unlike other crowdfunding sites (like, say, KickStarter), Patreon is an ongoing relationship between a creator and their fans (i.e. Patrons). As opposed to only raising money for one big project (like an album) over a specified amount of time. Patreon is one of the best things to happen that's happened to creators in a long time, in my opinion.

Being a patron allows you to support your creators in a way that essentially makes you a small part of their creating process. Whether you donate $1 or $100 per creation, you are helping your creator(s) do what they love to do. You are helping them make their content. Every little bit helps. 
Here's what's been driving me crazy about VoicePlay's Patreon. The website allows creators to…

Video Spotlight: Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer by Home Free

Ah, you gotta love the men of Home Free. One day they might bring you to tears with a gorgeous, heartwarming arrangement full of those luscious harmonies of theirs. The next they come out with something like this. I know many of the people reading this will have already seen this video, but for those of you who haven't? Given what song it is, it will not surprise you to see that this is a funny video. One that managed to keep my giggling pretty much the entire time.

Before we get to it, though, I want to take the opportunity to talk about their Christmas tour, a Country Christmas. I got to see it when they came to the TPAC here in Nashville and it was great. As expected. This was the fourth time I've seen them, but two of those times were sets at CMAFest that only lasted for roughly 40 minutes or so. I also got to see their Grand Ole Opry debut where they, like everyone during their Opry debut, just did two songs. Making this show the first full length Home Free concert. They …

Video Spotlight: Wookiee for Christmas by VoicePlay

If you happened to read my album review of ECHO's self-titled album, you know that I declared Geoff to be the Obi-Wan Kenobi of a cappella music. Not even a VoicePlay post and he walks away with a new title. That's because Geoff has played an integral role in this, my aca-addiction. Or, if we're going to go full on ridiculous (and we are), we could also refer to him as Geoffobi-Wan Castenobi. Castellunobi? Or...maybe we'll just stick with Geoff. That might be best. 
In any event, that declaration paired with the recent release of new Star Wars movie, Rogue One,  made the choice to write about this particular cover next pretty easy. Although VoicePlay, in true VoicePlayish fashion, almost made me change course. Again. How? By releasing a Partwork that I think is the prettiest thing they've ever done. Rest assured, a spotlight on that in more than likely coming. In fact, there's also a chance of a spotlight on their version of "The First Noel", but I d…

Album Review: It Must Be Christmas by Chris Young

Every time I listen to Chris Young sing, I wonder how it's possible for all of the country music award shows to ignore him. Oh sure, he has been nominated a few times, but he gets snubbed more often than not. I'll never understand it. He is one of the best male singers that the genre has to offer and all of his albums to date have been wonderful. He's a great performer and as nice as they come. So what gives? 
Of course, when all is said and done, Chris is doing very well these days. His popularity has grown so much since I first saw him on Nashville Star and it's been fun to watch. It Must be Christmas is his first Christmas album and it's a great one. True to form. That wonderfully warm and rich voice of his is on full display. He doesn't take too many risks on this, choosing to go with a more traditional approach. It suits him well. Very well indeed. 
So let's talk about each of the tracks. 

Video Spotlight: Home for the Holidays by ECHO

In getting ready to write this, I had to chuckle at how Christmasy November turned out what with all the Christmas albums I ended up reviewing. This, from a person who usually prefers to only listen to Christmas music in December. Yet here we are about midway through December and none of the posts so far this month have had anything to do with Christmas. Time to remedy that, I think. What better way to do so by saving ECHO's Christmas for the end of our little ECHO trilogy? The first two installments are right below this one on the main page. But if you're feeling lazy, the first installment about their album can be found here and the ECHO mishmash can be found here.

"Home for the Holidays" is a beautiful medley. The perfect medley to bring us back to Christmas, if you ask me. So how about we get right to it?

An ECHO mishmash

For this second installment of this mini-ECHO series or whatever you wish to call it, we have a mishmash of things. This was originally only going to be a song review, but where's the fun in that? Actually, I was thinking that this would be a good way to cover as many ECHO related things as possible. Because sometimes you need to go all out with something. In this case, that something would be introducing the world (well, my readers) to the wonders of this group.

We have an EP review, a mini-video spotlight and a song review all mixed up together. This is the first time I've attempted something like this, so we'll see how it works out. Go with it.

Album Review: Echo by ECHO

All a cappella roads appear to lead back to Geoff Castellucci.

I say this because it seems like a bunch of the a cappella artists that I've come to love have had something to do with him. Those of you who know the story of how I became such a fan of a cappella music know that it all began with a medley. A medley that was performed by Home Free. A medley that I would later learn was arranged by Geoff and his arranging and rhythm producing partner in crime, Layne Stein. A medley that sparked my love for Home Free which in turn led me to VoicePlay. If you've spent any time on here over the past couple of years, you are well aware that I am a full-fledged VoicePlayaholic. It was through Geoff that I learned about ECHO earlier this year. Geoff Castellucci, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of a cappella music, y'all.
It is here that I feel obliged to offer a word of warning for anyone who may dare to keep reading past this point.  If you choose to proceed, you must do so with the utmost caut…

Video Spotlight: Don't Stop Believin' by VoicePlay

Earlier this year, I wondered if Eli and Geoff were evil geniuses or not. Now, I can't help thinking that the group has some kind of weird magical ability. This year, I've been making an effort to plan things out better in an attempt to avoid having long stretches of time go by without any updates. It's worked out well. Some of the time. The rest of the time? Not so much.

See, I'll have my notebook full of ideas and make up a schedule that makes sense to me. Then it happens. Something great gets uploaded, more often than not by these guys, and bam. Schedule? Out the window. See, once again I was going to wait just a bit longer before writing a new VoicePlay related post. Once again, I had decided what the next VoicePlay post would be. And it wasn't this. I'll give the guys extra credit for this one: they also managed to somewhat change another upcoming post about them. This is, of course, entirely coincidental. It just happens...and keeps happening. Over and ov…

EP Review: Simply Christmas by Rachel Potter

First things first. You may have heard about the terrible wildfires that have been plaguing parts of the South. I've been to Gatlinburg, TN a couple of times and it's such a beautiful part of the country. It's a wonderful place to visit and so seeing all the footage of it burning broke my heart. As of right now, three people have been killed and who knows how many buildings have been destroyed. They could really use our help right about now. If you can, and feel led to do so, here's where you can donate to the American Red Cross: You can also donate to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee who will be giving grants to nonprofits helping out. If you're unable to give at this time, please keep the people of Gatlinburg in your thoughts and prayers. Everything helps.

Now, today's EP isn't new, but it's a good one. I mean, it's Rachel Potter.  I've said it about her before, but Rachel is the kind of si…

Album Review: Full of (Even More) Cheer by Home Free

Leave it to the talented men of Home Free to do something that usually kind of annoys me, but doesn't when they do it. You see, Full of (Even More) Cheer is more or less a re-release of their album Full of Cheer. My issue with re-releases is that most of the time, they throw on a few new songs without doing anything to the rest of the album. In those cases, I'd rather they just put out an EP of the new songs. I do recognize that there are various reasons for doing this and I think a lot of the time, it's out of the hands of the artist. Even still, I usually end up giving your average re-releases the side-eye.

This album, however, gets a nod of approval from me instead. Partly because I love Home Free too much to ever give them the side-eye. But mainly because they actually changed things up. Bless 'em. The first big change? Well, Full of Cheer came out before Chance joined the group. So into the studio he went so that this new album would reflect the current line-up. …

Album Review: A Little Bit of Christmas by Chris Rupp

I said that I would be reviewing this and there's no time like the present. In listening to this, I've concluded that Chris Rupp is basically the musical equivalent of a chameleon. Especially when thinking about some of the other videos that he's put out this year alone. His taste in music is evidently quite varied and part of the fun of being a fan of his is seeing what he'll do next. He's not one to be pigeonholed into one style of music. This is perhaps an odd comparison, but in some ways he reminds me a bit of Eric Church in that respect. Namely, that he basically makes whatever kind of music that he wants. 
Luckily for those of us who follow him, we live in a time where he's free to do this. Thanks to Patreon, content creators are able to produce any kind of content that they want without needing the support of a major label. It really is a wonderful thing. It also makes you think about how limiting being on a major label can be. Aside from having the fre…

Album Review: Peppermint Winter by VoicePlay

Man, there's been some great Christmas albums that have come out recently. I've reviewed three of them so far. To recap: we've talked about A Hollens Family Christmas - and I've just added in Peter's most recent video from it. I gushed over the gorgeousness that is Voctave's The Spirit of Christmas album and I've raved about Brett Eldredge's Glow. Today's album, however, is from 2012. Sadly, I was living a VoicePlayless existence back then. Now that I've become a full-fledged VoicePlaya, there was no way I could let this holiday season go by without talking about their holiday album, Peppermint Winter. I mean, how could I? It's a great album and one that needs to be heard and purchased.  
No, really, you should buy it. This is VoicePlay doing what they do best. Taking songs - several of which have been done countless times - and making them their own. This collection of songs is so distinctively VoicePlay. It's fun and downright silly a…

Album Review: Glow by Brett Eldredge

I've thought that Brett Eldredge is among the best male singers in country music for a while now. After listening to Glow, my opinion has changed a bit. I think that Brett Eldredge is among the best male vocalists in music, period. Glow is Brett's third album and he's never sounded better. Considering how good he sounds on his other two albums, this is indeed saying something. In case you weren't aware, Brett is a big fan of Frank Sinatra. I've heard him sing some Frank Sinatra before, on his YouTube channel and on his Snapchat Bedhead Jams. I always love when he does, which is one of the reasons why I adore this album.

To say that Brett is channeling Frank Sinatra on this album is an understatement. There's times when you'd swear you were listening to Frank. This is largely due to his vocals, but the fact that he's singing along with a full symphony doesn't hurt. Out of all the different directions he could've gone with Glow, he decided to go w…

Album Review: The Spirit of the Season by Voctave

I first wrote about the men and women of Voctave back in August during my month of Disney. I did a video spotlight on their beautiful "Disney Love Medley" that featured Kirstin Maldonado and Jeremy Michael Lewis. You can find right that post right here. I definitely recommend checking that out, if only to watch the video. This is another a cappella group that I've basically fallen in love with and one that really makes me miss being in a choir.

Voctave consists of Kate Lott (soprano), Tiffany Coburn (soprano), Ashley Espinoza (alto/soprano), Sarah Whittemore (alto), Chrystal Johnson (alto), E.J. Cardona (tenor), Tony De Rosa (tenor/director), Kurt von Schmittou (baritone), JC Fullerton (bass) and James Ray (tenor/arranger). They're a bigger group than most of the other a cappella groups I listen to and they put out this wall of beautiful harmonies when they sing. Honestly, the word beautiful doesn't even do them justice. They are vocally stunning and captivating…

Album Review: Debut by 7th Ave

This is going to be part album review and part an introduction to a group that some of you might not be familiar with yet. With some videos thrown in for fun. First things first: who is 7th Ave? It's a new quartet founded by one Chris Rupp. You know, as in the guy who also founded an a cappella group that I'm quite fond of: Home Free. Yeah, him. Earlier this year, he announced that he would be leaving Home Free to pursue other musical interests. I'll be honest and admit that this news made me sad at first. It's always sad when someone leaves a group that you love. I've had it happen multiple times.

That said, I think that this departure was the easiest to handle for me. I say this because Home Free is still very much intact and making great music with new member Adam Chance. And Chris has more or less been a music making machine; we never really had time to miss him because he's been producing so much content. Let's recap: he put out a beautiful piano album…

Album Review: A Hollens Family Christmas by Peter Hollens

Something strange has happened to me. I used to have a fairly strict rule about waiting to listen to Christmas music until December. Or rather about choosing to listen to it on my own, since it seems like the stores start playing it earlier and earlier. But generally, I like to save Christmas music for December. Now as you're of course aware, it is definitely not December yet. It's definitely still November. And yet, I find myself writing a review of a Christmas album.

This is mainly for three reasons. The first being that it seems like there's a lot of Christmas albums coming out. I know that I, in all likelihood, will not be able to write about all of them. But there's a few that I'm definitely planning on getting to. Seemed like a good idea to start now. The second reason I wanted to write about this album? It's the first new album that I've listened to in its entirety and it's great. The third reason? Peter has worked so hard getting it right and h…

Video Spotlight: Scars to Your Beautiful by Evynne Hollens

This was originally not going to be my next post, but seeing as how negative pretty much all of my social media feeds have been over the past few days made me want to write about this now. See, this song was originally done by Alessia Cara and it's all about body image and loving yourself. No matter what the rest of the world thinks.

This is an important message these days. Especially lately. I'll be honest and admit that it annoys me that I feel a need to write about this because it shouldn't be this way. But it is. Denying that truth changes nothing. I never wanted to get political on my blog and I'm not. Not exactly. But right now the country is in a state of turmoil. The election is over and the hate is flowing. Friendships are ending because apparently learning someone voted differently than you did means that you're all of a sudden some kind of evil person. At least that seems to be the implication. As if they suddenly aren't the same person that they'…

Video Spotlight: How Great Thou Art by Home Free

After uploading my last video spotlight, I realized that the next thing I posted would be my 200th blog post. I uploaded my first blog on January 6th, 2012. I've gone through periods where I was writing a lot and then there'd be weeks or even months that would go by where I wouldn't write at all. Falling in love with a cappella music near the end of 2014 has done wonders for my writing, as evidenced by all the a cappella related things I've written about over the past couple of years. That love started when I happened across a video by a group that I'd never heard of. The video? The CMA Single of the Year Medley. The group? Home Free.

As soon as they uploaded this on October 28th, I knew it would only be a matter of time before I wrote about it. Because how could I not take the time to write about this one? Upon realizing that this post would be my 200th post, I couldn't think of a more appropriate video to talk about. I mean, it's a video by the group that…

Video Spotlight: Grim Grinning Ghosts by VoicePlay

Happy Halloween, everybody! We're going to kick this one off with what I'm calling Life Lessons from VoicePlay. Because in the time that I've been a fan of theirs, they have taught me some things. Granted, some of these lessons were taught inadvertently, but still. Here we go.

Lesson #1: Eli and Geoff inadvertently taught me that googling things from your childhood is not a good idea (see my write-up of their version of "Love Yourself)". Unless you're in the mood to feel as old as dirt. I feel like this one seems less traumatic as you get older, but I've now reached a point where I can remember things from 20 years ago. I'm not okay with that just yet.

Lesson #2a: Eating and/or drinking with viewing and/or listening to VoicePlay is dangerous, to yourself and possibly any electronics in range. I've warned about this before, but it's important.

Lesson #2b: You are no match for Earl. Because most of my near-choking VoicePlay induced moments have …

Video Spotlight: Stitches by Evynne Hollens

I was combing through various videos, trying to think of another one I could highlight for these last couple of days before Halloween. There's so many options to choose from that it makes me feel bad that I didn't decide to feature creepy or dark videos earlier in the month. There were some other, more Halloween-y videos I could have gone with, but this one popped up in my suggested videos on YouTube. I'd forgotten this video and thought it'd be a great choice.

 The song is "Stitches", originally by Shawn Mendes. This version is performed by the incredible Evynne Hollens. As I've said, Evynne has become one of my favorite female singers. She might even be my absolute favorite. She has such a beautiful voice and an ability to make it do whatever it needs to do to suit whatever song she's singing at the time. Listening to Evynne singing is always a treat. On top of that, she's a wonderful performer who always makes you really feel the lyrics. This s…

Top 10 Creepy Country Songs

Finally! This post is about four years in the making! We are fast approaching the end of October and Halloween and every year I've wanted to do a post highlighting some of my favorite creepy, dark country songs. And it's never happened. Until now. As I said in my video spotlight on Two Story Road's wonderful a cappella version of their song "Arson", I've always found dark songs to be the most interesting of songs, particularly from a songwriting perspective. Especially in times like this when there's so many party songs out there. I like listening to dark country songs to balance that out sometimes. In fact, I actually have a playlist made up of 59 of these kinds of songs. I know there's a lot more to be found out there.
Maybe it's weird, but I genuinely enjoy listening to these kinds of songs. Not all the time. It definitely requires a certain type of mood. I feel like I always listen to them more this time of year because what better time of ye…

Video Spotlight: Arson (a cappella remix) by Two Story Road

As Halloween is fast approaching, I thought it'd be appropriate to highlight some of country music's dark songs. What do I mean by dark songs? I'm talking about songs about things like deception and betrayal, murder and vengeance. You get the general idea. These, as you may imagine, are not the happiest on songs. Maybe not the kinds of songs you'd want to crank up while driving around with the windows down. Or maybe you do - I'm not here to judge.

Actually, I've always found these kinds of songs to be the most interesting songs. I think it takes a different kind of mindset to write them and I find them important. Because as unpleasant as the subject matters are, the reality is that these things happen. It doesn't do anyone any good to pretend that they don't. With that in mind, this felt like a good time of year to showcase at least a couple of them.

Starting off with "Arson" the A Cappella remix by Two Story Road. If you haven't heard of …

Video Spotlight: I Love Me by VoicePlay featuring Emoni

Let it be known that the men of VoicePlay have a crazy way of making me alter my writing plans. I was going to write a few more country related posts before writing about them again, but then they released this. After watching it for the first time, I knew it had to be my next post. "I Love Me" has already become one of my favorite videos of theirs; in fact, it may actually be my overall favorite. This, my friends, is saying something.

Not having ever heard the song before, I had no thoughts about it going in. That said, there were two things that made me really excited to watch it. The first one being that if you've been paying attention, you'll know that Tony has been MIA from the last few videos. Long enough to send a good portion of the VoicePlay fan collective into a serious case of Wakim withdrawals. Well, let us all rejoice because Houston? We have a Tony!

To that end, if you haven't already been made aware of it, Tony and Layne have started a video produc…

Video Spotlight: Dear Dolly by Ruthie Collins

I first fell in love with "Dear Dolly" when I heard it on Natalie Stovall and The Drive's wonderful Heartbreak EP. Come to find out, Natalie wrote this song with Ruthie Collins and Jessica Roadcap. "Dear Dolly" is an open letter to, you guessed it, Dolly Parton. Because if you were able to get advice from Dolly Parton, well, why wouldn't you want to? If ever there's a woman who has seen everything there is to see in the music business, it's Dolly Parton. How could you not look up to her? Even people who aren't in the music business could learn quite a few things from her. I love this song just as much as I did the first time I heard it. If not more.

Ruthie released "Dear Dolly" as a single back in July, but I somehow didn't come across this video until pretty recently. Making me wonder where on Earth I've been. It's always interesting to hear different versions of songs. Having heard Natalie's version first, I'm hap…

Video Spotlight: Die a Happy Man by Home Free

Considering that it's been over two months since I last wrote about Home Free, this is long overdue! They've put out a string of wonderful videos over the past couple of months. Although, let's be real: I don't know if these guys are capable of releasing a video that isn't wonderful. They give me the same problem that so many of my other current favorite acts give me. Namely, that there's so many great things to choose from that it can be nearly impossible to pick. I'd been leaning towards writing about this one and that decision was sealed after putting up a poll on Twitter.

This is Home Free's cover of "Die a Happy Man" by Thomas Rhett and it's beautiful. Take a few minutes to watch and see for yourselves and then we'll talk more about it afterwards. Deal? Deal.

Video Spotlight: Love Triangle by RaeLynn

I've said it before and will say it again every time that it happens: I love when an artist wins me over. Up until now, I haven't really had much of an opinion of RaeLynn. Nothing against her by any means, but I never took much time to listen to her music. Then I started seeing articles about her current single "Love Triangle". If you have not heard this song yet, it's one that RaeLynn wrote about being the child of divorced parents. The love triangle in question consisting of child torn between her parents. It's a fantastic concept and as odd as it may sound, I was hesitant to listen to it at first.

Why? Because there's so many songs where the initial idea is great, but it ultimately fails in the execution. But I kept seeing people talking about it and it got to where I just had to watch the video. So did it live up to the concept? Yes, it did. You know when a song is great? First, when it's personal to the artist. This doesn't necessarily mean t…

Arthritis Awareness: Music Therapy, Part 4b. VoicePlay

Thinking about what VoicePlay means to me got me thinking that this might be a good time to highlight why I've chosen to support them on Patreon. If you're not familiar with Patreon, check this out because VoicePlay's got you covered. Actually, every creator does an explanation video, but theirs is the most amusing one I've seen. Watch. After all, you wouldn't want to hurt Earl's p-feelings, would you?

Always good for a giggle. Anyway, I love Patreon. It's a wonderful way for fans to support their creators, especially when you can see a difference. All of VoicePlay's videos are good, but there's been a marked increase in quality since they launched their Patreon campaign. So what made me decide to become one of their Patrons? There's several reasons, but I've narrowed it down to the top three. 
First and foremost, it's because of their content. They won over my ears before anything else. If I hadn't liked what I heard the first time…

Arthritis Awareness: Music Therapy, Part 4a. Once Upon an Ever After by VoicePlay

I knew when I decided to dedicate August to all things Disney, that it would involve a write-up of VoicePlay's Once Upon an Ever After album. How could it not? It's a wonderful album and one I've been wanting to write about for a while now. Those of you who've read any of my other VoicePlay posts know that they tend to get pretty silly and even downright ridiculous. They just bring that side of my personality out, which is one of the reasons why I love writing about them. 

That said, this time is going to be a little different. This was originally just going to be a typical album write-up. The format will be the same as all my other album write-ups, but I decided to make this the fourth installment of my Music Therapy series. If you're unfamiliar with that series, it's one I started to highlight one of the biggest things that helps me deal with having rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is the first installment that consists of an entire album. The others have been …

Video Spotlight: I See the Light double feature starring Evynne Hollens & Peter Hollens

Ladies and gentleman, I am pleased to present the very first Video Spotlight Double Feature. See, I knew that I wanted to feature both Evynne and Peter Hollens at least one more time before Disney month ended. Time was starting to run out and I had some other videos I wanted to include and I worried that I would only be able to feature one of them. Then I remembered that they had sung "I See the Light" from Tangled. Twice. One for her channel and the other for his. But which one would I pick? The answer was obvious. Why pick one when I could very easily do both?

As fabulous as they both are on their own, they are so much more so together. Their voices complement each other so beautifully. So take a moment to get comfy and watch this oh-so-charming husband and wife perform their versions of "I See the Light". You're going to like them. I'm sure of it.

Video Spotlight: One Man Disney Movie by Nick Pitera

In the mood to watch a Disney movie, but short on time? I got you covered. Or rather, Nick Pitera's got you covered. If you were around during my Phantom of the Opera week back in March, you might recall his "One Man Phantom (medley)". Well, before he did that, he did this. It's a Disney movie performed by one man and one man alone and it all happens in less than 9 minutes. It's kind of like a Disney movie to-go. He takes songs from multiple Disney movies, namely: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Enchanted, Hercules, Mulan, The Jungle Book and Pinocchio. With a little but of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the very end - seriously, it's like two words.

You have the hero and the heroine, the villain and the sidekick and a couple of chorus members. Check it out.

Video Spotlight: Let It Go by Rachel Potter

It occurred to me that it's been way too long since I've written about this talented lady. This sent me looking through her YouTube channel. This reminded me of two things. The first is that she has multiple videos that I'm going to need to write about at some point. The other is how effortlessly she hits her big notes. I mean, I listen to her enough to know that. I've now gotten to see her perform twice and she's even better live. But it seems like it's been awhile since I've watched any of her videos. Hearing it is one thing; watching it is another. She makes it look so easy, like hitting notes on a piano. If you've never heard Rachel, I assure you that you're in for a treat. Those of you have heard her know what I'm talking about.

Here's Rachel with her beautiful cover of "Let It Go" from Frozen.

Video Spotlight: Cruella de Vil by VoicePlay

Reasons why this video was a given for this week of villains: 1) It's VoicePlay. 2) As said in my ACA-Disney write-up, VoicePlay singing Disney is magical.  3) It's VoicePlay. 4) It's one of the most iconic villain songs. 5) It's VoicePlay. 6) It features their cutest guest star to date. Not knocking any of their other guest stars, but I mean, come on. Just look at that face in the thumbnail. How can you not love that face? 7) Come on, again. It's VoicePlay singing Disney and there's a dog in the video. It's a trifecta of goodness! 
Fun fact: dogs make everything better. The video could've been terrible (it isn't), but throw a dog in there and I'll watch it. And if the video is great (it is), a dog'll still make it better. Guaranteed. 
Clearly, I had no choice but to feature this one. It would have been wrong not to. Especially considering that Disney had them do this in honor of the Blu-ray release of 101 Dalmatians. It's on the Disney…

Video Spotlight: Villains Medley by the Aladdin on Broadway - Disney Sessions

This week is all about the villains so it seems rather appropriate to include a villain medley. Not just any villain medley, but one that is performed by the incredible Jonathan Freeman. You know, the voice of Jafar from Aladdin. He's now playing the part in the Broadway show. I'm not going to lie, watching him do this kind of makes me want to hear him take on even more of the villain songs. This medley starts of with the "Prince Ali (Reprise)" from Aladdin, goes into "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from The Little Mermaid, "Cruella de Vil" from 101 Dalmatians, "Oogie Boogie's Song" from The Nightmare Before Christmas and then go back to the "Prince Ali (Reprise)".

Though before we get to the video itself, there's something else I'd like for you to watch first. I promise that it's related.

Video Spotlight: Poor Unfortunate Souls by Jonathan Young

Okay, we're going to continue the month of Disney and the week of the villains with something, well, a bit different. It's "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from The Little Mermaid like you've never heard it before. It's not just a regular cover; it's a metal cover. I'm going to be honest and admit that I'm surprised by how much I like this. Talk about a style of music that I really never listen to. I think I first came across Jonathan Young when one of his videos was recommended to me on YouTube. I want to say it was his cover of "In the Dark of the Night" from Anastasia and I actually really liked it. It's a great cover. It's also not Disney or I would've included it. Maybe it'll get its own video spotlight somewhere down the road. But it got me watching some of his other covers. He was an easy choice to include during villains choice. I actually thought I'd pick another of his villain songs, but as soon as I heard this, I k…