How ‘Jingle Bells’ by the Singing Dogs Changed Music Forever – The Atlantic

This is a fascinating account of the version of “Jingle Bells” recorded by The Singing Dogs. I always assumed this song was from the late 1970s – big deal, someone sampled dogs and made a song. I was shocked tonight to find out it was actually recorded in 1955! I had no idea that this was such a groundbreaking song, launching the arts of multitrack recording and sampling. Who knew?

Let’s, for a moment, consider "Jingle Bells" as performed by the Singing Dogs. With jaded, 21st-century ears, it’s easy to dismiss as Yuletide kitsch. It topped a 2007 survey of most-hated Christmas songs, but there was a time when listeners marveled at it—Dogs! And they’re singing!

It’s time we give the Singing Dogs their due. Created in Denmark in the early 1950s by a self-taught ornithologist and released in the U.S. in 1955, the record marks a turning point in how we listen to music. I’ll explain.

via How 'Jingle Bells' by the Singing Dogs Changed Music Forever – The Atlantic.

New York City and Carnegie Hall

Ligon Middle School performs at Carnegie Hall

Ligon Middle School performs at Carnegie Hall


Wow, it’s been a busy few weeks not just for me but for all of us. Hallie took three days off of school last week to travel with the Ligon Philharmonic Orchestra up to New York to play at Carnegie Hall. Kelly, Travis, and I along with Kelly’s parents joined her after taking the bus up.

We arrived Friday afternoon and had plenty of time to do some sightseeing. First we checked in at the Union Theological Seminary which was to be our hotel for the trip. Then we hit the subway to check out downtown.

Our first stop was the Brooklyn Bridge. I’d seen it from a distance of course but had never walked over it before. It was windy, cool, and very crowded, but it was nice to be able to say I’ve been across it.
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New York City bound

As I mentioned, the Turners are on the move again. And, as usual, we’re all headed in different directions, at least initially.

Hallie left for school at 4 AM for her bus trip to New York City, where she and her fellow Ligon Middle School orchestra members will play Carnegie Hall Saturday night. An hour later, Kelly took Travis to his Conn Elementary school field trip to Fort Fisher. I’m staying here for work before heading to a fundraiser for Kay Hagan this evening.

Thursday night, Kelly, Travis, and I will travel to Kelly’s parents’ home (leaving the Rottweilers to guard the home while we’re away, of course). Friday morning we’ll head to DC to hop a bus which will take us to New York. We’ll stay long enough to watch Hallie’s performance before taking the bus back home.

Oh, and the following week I travel to Sacramento for work: the first business travel I’ve taken in a while. Should be fun.

Now that Little Raleigh Radio is on the online air, what can you actually hear? | Music Feature | Indy Week

Indy Week ran another great story on Little Raleigh Radio, this one focusing on the programming we’ve been “airing” during our preview phase. It feels great to know that people are paying attention!

For nearly five years, Kelly Reid and Jacob Downey had dreamed of and planned for what happened at 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 17.Tucked away in a small studio off of St. Mary’s Street, the pair finally took Little Raleigh Radio—their brainchild of a station dedicated to local news, music and interests—online.

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via Now that Little Raleigh Radio is on the online air, what can you actually hear? | Music Feature | Indy Week.

Kevin Smith describes Prince World

In my reading about Prince’s latest lawsuit faux pas, I found a hilarious video from filmmaker Kevin Smith from his appearance at Kent State University last year in which he describes a week he spent with Prince working on a documentary. Smith spices his talk with plenty of profanity but the story he tells is hilariously funny and quite bizarre.

Smith is an unparalleled storyteller. It’s thirty minutes long but well worth the time!

Prince Sues 22 Fans For $1 Million Each For Linking To Bootlegs In Laughably Confused Complaint

Is it safe to say that Prince is pretty much the music world’s version of Dennis Rodman?

There was a time, not even that long ago, when it seemed like Prince might have been the first musician to actually "get" the internet. He had done a few things that seemed really focused on embracing the internet, spreading his music more widely, and making revenue from alternate streams, such as concerts, sponsorships and fan clubs. But… it quickly became apparent that he was going in the other direction, and in an extreme manner — in part, because it seemed like for all of his ideas, he failed at following through on most of them. Then, rather than blaming his own lack of execution, he seemed to lash out at the internet in almost every way possible. He insisted that the internet was over and that he’d never put any of his music online. He even claimed that digital music was bad for your brain.

via Prince Sues 22 Fans For $1 Million Each For Linking To Bootlegs In Laughably Confused Complaint | Techdirt.

Update: The lawsuit has been dismissed.

Symphony rehearsal field trip

Symphony rehearsal

Symphony rehearsal


Being between jobs has its advantages. I spent the morning acting as a chaperone when Ligon’s orchestra students went on a field trip to Meymandi Hall to watch the North Carolina Symphony rehearse for its upcoming Beethoven performance. It was interesting to watch the conductor and orchestra work out the (barely noticeable) kinks in the performance. The kids were also remarkably well behaved, though I think some were quite restless by the end of the two hours.

One of the highlights of the performance was the pianist, Irina_Zahharenkova. She is a phenomenal pianist, memorizing the music so completely that she could know what to play when the conductor asked to start again at measure 415. She also has 8 fingers on each hand, which is the key to her playing. Ok, I made that part up but she can sure play like she has extra fingers!

I hoped to ride Hallie’s bus the five blocks to the concert hall but the seating arrangements made it unworkable. I opted to let her hang with her friends at the hall, too. With that many kids it was tough finding one-on-one time with her. Even so, we compared notes (ha!) afterward and agreed it was good to have gone.

Rock Band Invites 11-Year-Old Guitarist Onstage

This kid’s got chops. I love how nonchalant he remains.

Fisher and his dad waited four hours to nab seats in the front row at the Midland Theatre. And then during the concert, Fisher suddenly graduated from his spot in School of Rock in Millard, Neb. to center stage at a big-time rock ‘n’ roll show, WOWT-TV in Omaha reported.Steel Panther called him up on stage.The band asked Fisher if he was nervous. In front of thousands of fans, he said no — and with that launched into “Eruption,” the iconic electric guitar instrumental by legendary six-string master Eddie Van Halen.Not more than a few seconds into the flurry of notes the Steel Panther guys were visibly impressed…

via Rock Band Invites 11-Year-Old Guitarist Onstage — What He Does Next Blows Away the Band and the Audience | Video | TheBlaze.com.

Highlanders perform at recital

The Highlanders

The Highlanders

We attended Travis’s piano recital on Saturday. Unlike other performances where we were simply part of the audience, the whole family got to perform as “The Highlanders.” Along with the Cadwells and Schuyler Pettibone, the Turner family played “Bonnie at Morn” and “Goat On The Hill” midway through the recital.

It was quite fun to play again for an audience. Once the recital was over (and no one was really paying attention), the Cadwells and Turners returned to the stage to play a few other songs.

I’ve always loved the art of music but there’s something really great about playing together with others. When everyone’s in tune and in sync it is a magical thing. Our little show was the highlight of my week.