Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Speechless, but not songless

Here's a really awful commercial for a Microsoft product called Songsmith. The idea is that you can sing a melody (we hope) and the software finds the right chords to go with it. Interesting idea, but the music they chose is awful, and the whole commercial is hilariously bad. Definitely "sub-prime".

On the brighter side, this software may have some merit. If it gets people to sing, that's good, and I have a hunch the computer will be a bit picky about pitch so you'll be encouraged (forced, actually) to learn how to sing in tune (sorry, Kanye). And the music itself will probably develop if anyone buys this, so that future songs won't sound so much like third-world MIDI karaoke. I understand you can download this software here, but that page is not responding for me at the moment (maybe overcrowded). Let me know how it works for you. (ps, am I mistaken or is that an Apple computer the girl is using? One more chuckle at Microsoft.)

Much cooler is this device from Electro-Harmonix called the Voice Box. It picks up where the vocoder leaves off; it doesn't just superimpose your words onto a musical sound, it actually listens to the notes from the voice and the instrument, and creates the appropriate harmony parts! I wish more musicians could do this.

If you get either of these, tell me more.

"Womanizer" - stupid word

Ever had a word suddenly start sounding strange to you? Neurologists say this is common, a brief glitch in the connections to the language center of the brain. But I think that "womanizer", the title of Britney Spears' current annoyance, stands on its own merit as a really stupid word. (I won't even comment on the waste of Britney's actual singing talent, which her recordings almost never display)

I mean, think about it. According to all other usage, the "izer" suffix means this is something that converts something into a new thing. So a man called "womanizer" would be someone who converts something (probably human females) into a woman. Wow, is he really that good? Or maybe he is a surgeon?

It would be just as stupid to call a female a "manizer", unless she's so talented and instructive that she could truly make a man outta ya. Then again, so could a good drill sergeant, probably in different ways.

Tell me what you think. Who could qualify, and how?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Getting the new year rollin' (and rockin')

(This is a retropost of an email sent out on Jan 8th. You can always find my updated schedule in the yellow widget on the right of this screen)

Well, by this time the holiday decorations have been put away, the relatives have gone, the hangovers have subsided, and it's time to get things going to the extent your resolutions will allow. I've got just the thing - live music.

This Friday (and the next two) John, Jon and I will be performing with Heaven Davis. Our show together at the Peach Drop went smoothly, if coldly (it was 37F when we were onstage, and a cutting wind). Having about 75,000 watts worth of lights on us helped some (so did two layers of thermal underwear), and that along with about a quarter megawatt of sound gear and a huge stage really brought out the show. After the shock wore off (about two songs in), I felt great and could've done the whole night. I hope some of you were out there - probably so, since the final tally was about 175 thousand attendees.

But back to this weekend. We'll be at Jimmy Mac's in East Cobb, workin' it with hot blues and R&B. This is a good venue for our kind of party, so come out and shake your tailfeathers.

Jimmy Mac's
2940 Johnson Ferry Rd
Marietta, GA 30062 (678) 352-9595

Saturday I'll be performing with Rich Tomanio in support of Laura Simon at the East Atlanta Ice House, as part of a festival she's putting together around her CD release party.

East Atlanta Ice House
543 Flat Shoals Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30316

Enjoy the rest of your week, and I hope to see you soon.

PS, if you're lucky enough to still have a job, again I urge you to get a web-based email account such as or Yahoo mail, and move this and all other personal email to that address. Then, don't access that email from work - you're being watched, and the harder times get the harder you're watched. Remember to keep me updated!