Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Shots from Saturday Night at the Bar

Went to see a few bands play at the Bank Street Cafe here in New London. Decent stuff, but as I’ve sort of become the unofficial-official photographer of the Paul Brockett Roadshow, I was there to work. See below for photos:

Estrogen and Tonic

(Click to see the full album…)

Nerve Tonic

(Click to see the full album…)

Paul Brockett Roadshow

(Click to see the full album…)

Now with more singing in German!

Got bored. Sat down at the piano and played for a while, then got bored with that. Started playing a piece by Schumann that I like and decided that today would finally be the day that I record it. Did just that.

That’s the short version. :)

Longer version is: This piece is called “Ich Grolle Nicht” (translation available in that link) and is from Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe, and it’s all about how love is a cruel bitch. My kind of stuff.

Ich Grolle Nicht

(Oh, and yes, I’m also playing the piano. It’s a really fun part to play.)

Two new recordings (and a competition)

One of my favorite Broadway composers of the last decade is Jason Robert Brown. I’ve long had dreams of performing in one of his shows, professionally (yeah, right) or even in a local theatre group. In fact, last year I wrote about auditioning for a show (and later about not getting the part). That show was one of his.


Last week, he posted an entry to his blog stating that he had found a few rehearsal recordings he’d made for a production of one of his shows (Songs For A New World, a song from which I sang on my senior recital), and thought that it would be fun to host a little Jason Robert Brown karaoke contest. He posted the recordings of him playing the piano and asked people to record themselves singing the songs.

I decided that this would be a lot of fun.

So here are the two entries that I posted. And here’s the deal: If you listen to these and you like them, then I ask you to send an email (before August 10th, mind you) to, and in the Subject line, put “I Vote For Andrew Coutermarsh”. I don’t hold any delusions that I would win the competition, but it would be nice to be a finalist. It’s hard to tell, with some of the fan clubs that people have online.

The songs:

(If you can’t use the flash player, the title of the song is also a link to the MP3. The flash player is for ease of use.)

She Cries

King of the World

Didn’t Get It.

Well, the theatre just called, and I didn’t get the part. Can’t say as I’m surprised, but I certainly am disappointed.

Oh well.


I had an audition tonight. It was for a show I’ve always wanted to do called The Last Five Years, by Jason Robert Brown. It’s got everything I want in a show: it’s witty, challenging, and absolutely moving.

I think that my audition went very well—as well as could be expected, given the relative inexperience of the teenage rather young accompanist. I sang quite well and felt quite good about the whole ordeal. They told me that I could come back and sing again tomorrow and there will be callbacks later in the week.

Here’s the thing that’ll most likely prevent me from getting the part, though: My looks. That’s not to say that I’m not good-looking enough. It’s simply that the character I’m auditioning for is, well… well, he’s Jewish. And I’m SO not. I don’t even remotely look Jewish, if you consider the traditional stereotypes. It’s not that there aren’t Jewish people who look like me, but the character’s name is Wellerstein, which would imply that it’s a German origin, and I definitely don’t look like that.

But if they can rationalize it enough, I think it’d be a really great opportunity and I know, I just know, that if I get it I’ll absolutely knock it out of the park.

Keep me in your thoughts. I could really use this thing right now.

“It’s a very, very…”

My friend Nichole sent me a link to a video that really caught my attention. Mostly, I thought that the video was very sad and touching, but the music really grabbed me. It’s a cover of a Tears For Fears song called Mad World, by Gary Jules, and it’s a really good one—better, in my opinion, than the original.

Anyway, I had the song stuck in my head all day Friday, and between getting home in the afternoon and leaving for our night of Harry Potter-related festivities (by the way: if I ever say again that I want to go to a release party at midnight for a children’s book, slap me very hard in the face), I sat down at the piano keyboard and the computer and put together my own cover of Gary Jules’ cover of Mad World. Over the weekend I’ve tweaked it a little bit and I liked it enough to show it to the five of you that read this blog all of you.

Comments and critiques are very welcome. :)

I got a halo ’round me

My friend Nick sent me an IM on Thursday, asking me if I wanted to go up to Boston that night to see Porcupine Tree. He had an extra ticket, fourteenth row at the Berklee Performing Arts Center, for face value at forty bucks. I knew I probably shouldn’t be spending that kind of money (plus God knows how much else on food and parking in the city), so even though I’d never seen them and desperately wanted to, I politely declined. He responded that he would see if he could find anybody else to take the ticket and would get back to me later in the day if they hadn’t.

A few hours later, he sent me another message saying that he’d had no takers on the ticket, and it was now selling for the LOW! LOW! PRICE! of just twenty bucks. I reconsidered the idea of going to a concert in Boston on a Thursday night. The travel wasn’t TOO big a deal, although it would be pushing it for me to get out at five and make it all the way to Boston with enough time to get food and hit the theatre by eight, but Nick didn’t have any desire to go see the opener, so that left me with a little bit more time. Staying out late wouldn’t be an issue, because this was my first week of working Sunday through Thursday, so my week was over come Thursday evening and I could sleep in on Friday. In the end, I decided that the price was unbeatable, and fourteenth-row seats to one of your favorite bands in a great-sounding hall was too much to pass up, so I decided to make the trip.

Naturally, though, I didn’t actually get out of the parking lot at work until about 5:30, and I knew I’d be hitting some traffic on the way into the city (and sho ’nuff I did), and then, because Boston is one of the most hellish cities to drive in, I got kind of lost on my way to the venue. I then proceeded to drive for a good half hour looking for a parking space on the street (partway through this, I picked Nick up so that he could help me find a space and so that we wouldn’t be talking it over on the phone), during which time no less than five open spaces were taken by the car directly in front of me. It was becoming positively comedic. Finally, I decided to head to a parking garage near where Nick used to live (I’d stayed there once so I was somewhat familiar with the area) and happened to be just down the street from the venue. It would be $19 for the evening (making me glad that I only had to pay twenty for the ticket) to park, but I suppose in the long run it was better anyway, given that I had my laptop and golf clubs in the trunk.

I grabbed a bite to eat (and answered a long-awaited call from Nature) at a nearby Wendy’s and then we headed to the venue, where they told me I couldn’t bring in the drink I had purchased at aforementioned Wendy’s (I was practically done with it anyway as I’d gotten a good, y’know, two or three sips out of it). It’s a good thing they didn’t allow drinks, too, because we certainly didn’t need liquid refreshment in the ninety-degree heat of the performance space. I think Berklee forgot to pay their air conditioning fixit man.

As for the show itself, I certainly cannot complain. Having never seen this band live before, I didn’t know what to expect, and what I got was far more than I could have imagined. For the first hour, they played entirely new material. None of it had even been recorded yet. I don’t remember much of it except that it was amazing. The rest of the show consisted almost completely of my favorite songs from their two latest albums. The only disappointment was that they couldn’t play their last song because the singer’s voice had started to go out on him and I guess they were running just long enough that they didn’t have quite enough time to do it.

The acoustics were fantastic. The band was just barely too loud, but if I had been smart and brought/bought earplugs, it would have been perfect. The drums were the best-sounding drums I’ve ever heard live of any band ever, and the mix was pretty great except when the vocals would get slightly buried. But my favorite part of the show was that it was a seated venue, so I didn’t have to worry about my problematic feet causing, er, problems. (I’m not sure if this is just me getting too old for rock shows or if I get a pass because of my ankle issues.)

So when they get back to England after this tour, they’re going to hit the recording studio, and then they’ll be back here in the spring, touring again to support the new album. I can definitely say that after seeing this show (and hearing this new material), I’m definitely going to catch them again on the next tour.

And now it’s entirely too late and I need to get to bed because I have to work tomorrow.

(For those curious: The subject title of this post is a lyric from one of Porcupine Tree’s songs off of their newest album, Deadwing.)

Don’t got much baggage to lay at your feet

I just watched Rent on DVD. Having not had the chance to see it in the theater, I really didn’t know what to expect, and I have to say that as it opened, I was quite skeptical. For starters, they completely ripped apart the opening of the movie. But as it unfolded, I began to understand what they were doing with it and it made more sense.

Thoughts in passing (somewhat chronological, though I didn’t take notes or anything):

  • At first I really didn’t like the opening, but then I realized that there’s just no other place that they could have put “Seasons Of Love.” After all, it’s almost as appropriate at the beginning of the show as it is at the opening of the second act.
  • My God, they REALLY chopped up “Rent,” didn’t they? And what’s up with Mimi already knowing everybody?
  • At first, I was really worried that they chopped up one of my favorite songs, but it looks like “You’ll See” ended up in there, at least in its majority. And just in the right amount.
  • While we’re on the subject of things that made it into the movie, I’ll say now that I was very upset that “Christmas Bells” wasn’t included. I can understand why they cut it: it would have cost millions to film a scene that convoluted. But seeing as I think that “kiss me, it’s beginning to snow” is one of the most romantic phrases ever, I still felt awful at it not being there.
  • Other than that, I was quite pleased with everything, even Rosario Dawson’s performance. From the previews I’d seen, she was much below the ho-hum level, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
  • So I’m watching the bonus features on Disc Two, and I want to notify any of you who were as upset as I was at not having “Halloween” or “Goodbye Love” in the movie have it in its entirety in the Deleted Scenes section, as is a very interesting and much more stage-like alternate ending.
  • Having worked with Wilson, and seen him in the show back in ’99, I knew how his performance could affect me. What I wasn’t expecting was how much Jesse Martin’s performance would affect me. I was ecstatic that they included “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)”, and I just… cried like a little girl.

Overall reaction: Much more pleased with it than I thought I would be. I’m definitely purchasing this one.

I don’t own emotion…

I listened to Rent this morning and did some reminiscing about the show. I absolutely cannot wait for this movie to come out. I think that there are very few ways in which it could be screwed up.

I’m also wondering what they’re going to do about the score. My thoughts are that they’ll definitely cover more than the traditional keyboards/drums/guitars instrumentation. I would love to hear this show done with a full orchestra in addition to a band.

I can’t even begin to express how psyched I am for this movie to come out.

Beautiful song…

I was driving home from work today and, as I usually do in the car when not listening to a CD, I had NPR on the radio. Afternoons mean All Things Considered, and like every news show that’s been on for the past two weeks, they were pretty much covering Katrina and not much else—though over the last couple days I’ve been relieved to hear them start covering the John Roberts hearings.

Toward the end of the show, they played a story about a song by Eliza Gilkyson called “Requiem.” She wrote it last winter, after the tsunami. I was a little skeptical for many reasons, including the fact that I’d never heard of this woman or any of her music, and I was about to write it off as some unknown folk singer writing an overly-emotional song about something with which she had had no experience or understanding. Naturally, they were doing the story on the song because of the rather apropos connection between what happened there last year and what happened on our own Gulf Coast this month. I wasn’t expecting much, but then something amazing happened.

They started playing the song. And God, was it ever beautiful.

It isn’t much—just a piano, guitar, cello and two voices (Gilkyson’s and her daughter’s). But this song just… grabbed me. It’s quite hymnlike, and while its lyrics are slightly overwrought, it’s got this amazing quality to it. I think that ultimately, its simplicity is what draws me in: the song is just two people singing, in what I instantly recognized as that mode that I get into when I’m singing in a church. It’s that feeling you get where you just feel like the music you’re making is going directly out the roof of the church and right to where it needs to go, if you get what I’m getting at.

I just couldn’t stop playing it. I highly suggest you give it a listen at the NPR site. If you like it, it can be bought at the iTunes Music Store.

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