Thursday, July 8, 2010

Give a Listen: Landfill

27115_388015218999_5961498999_3743405_7920463_n My musical horizons can use a little expanding. If you find yourself, as I did, shopping and singing along to the piped in 70’s bubblegum and realizing “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head? Really? Get a life, Renee!” Where to go for help? Kids of course. Actually in this case not only did I get a bona fide musical treat from my kids’ library, but made a new friend in the process. Maryanna Cannon Sokol used to live in Houston and used to go to church with my oldest and his wife. Our paths kept crossing until our whole family – those launched and those still at home – found ourselves attending shows, watching the progress of her first CD, and saying goodbye as she left for New York City. In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that we M’s acknowledged in her liner notes. How cool is that? I always read the notes to see if I know anyone and if you peruse “Landfill”, well there we are!
Thanks to the magic that is the internet, I don’t have to describe each song. You can go here and have a listen. Some general impressions?
“Two” is ripply and skippy….reminds me of sprinklers and popsicles. Many of the songs just have this happy vibe. I can understand them, hum with them, stay happy in Houston traffic with them.
“Pentameter” -  I teach English. How can I not love a song with lyrics like this? “In my head I play around with words and try to rhyme them in some clever phrase. If I spoke in iambic pentameter would you begin to hear me then?”
Maryanna wrote all the words and music. In “real life” she’s a music therapist, musically trained, and the daughter of musical parents. Is this a case of art imitating life? You decide. Her lyrics speak to regret, loss, love, and friendship.
Of course she’s in a class by her musical self, but if you enjoy Ingrid Michaelson, Jenny Owen Youngs, & Regina Spektor, you’ll feel right at home. These are folksy ballads, not whiny protests but thoughtful observations. She knows how to turn a phrase but don’t let the delicate vocals lull you into complacency. Her moons-and-junes-and-ferris wheels come with a double shot of caffeinated commentary.   Listen to how the simple guitar beginning on “Home” gives way to soaring strings and the reminder that change might be hard, but home can be found in the midst of it. 
While Maryanna’s sweet clear soprano doesn’t get tripped up over the high pretty notes, she can also be a little scary-edgy. Life’s not all sprinklers and popsicles you know.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

10 Reasons Why Nashvillage Is My Favorite

(No, I am not going to post 10 pictures of the world's cutest grandbaby. But I could...)
Spending last week in TN gave us more opportunities for exploring. Although we didn't see evidence of the flooding, the spirit of the city is cheerful and the people as friendly as ever. I'll post links so you can see for yourself.
1. Chihuly at the Frist. If you think art museums aren't "your thing", then give Mr. C a try. If you hear "glass blowing" and think of unicorns and carousels, then prepare yourself for "mind blowing."

2. Couture at The Frist. (Yes, we had a wonderful day at the museum!) Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga...beautiful clothes and beautiful designs.

3. The Firefly Grille: In Green Hills, near the mall, this is one of those fun and funky places where the chef does a seasonal menu. Out of this world! I had blue corn crusted fried shrimp with a tasso beurre blanc, served over creme fraiche mashed potatoes. The salad featured a basil orange vinaigrette. (I'm headed for the kitchen to see if I can recreate.) Our waiter was a drummer, in town to make it big. How local color is that?

4. Monell's: Ever heard of a "meat and 3"? Monell's is a 3, and 4, and 5, and....  The meals are served family style. You get in, get seated, and the bowls and platters start appearing. No menu and no wait. This is a hungry person's southern food dream!

5. Cupcake Collection. Although Monell's desserts are nothing to complain about, we couldn't pass up this little gem just 2 doors down. Wedding Cake, Sweet Potato, Lemon, Cookies and Cream...these folks know their stuff! The Community Coffee was a nice surprise. Guess where the owners are from?  
6. Local Taco. Sylvan Park is another neighborhood worth exploring! Best Tex-Mex we've found in Nashville. Red AND green salsas, fish tacos, cozy outdoor setting. Great place to relax and enjoy lunch. Recommended: green chile mac and cheese, BBQ tacos with chipotle slaw, fish tacos. The Cuban corn was sold out and I want to go back to try it! 

7. The Willow Tree. Next door to The Local Taco on Murphy Rd. When is the last time a store owner introduced herself, gave you a warm welcome, and made you feel right at home? If I hadn't already exhausted my shopping budget, I would have been in serious trouble with these unique gifts and decor items! Only open for 1 week, Lisa Quinn had to find a new location as a result of the flooding at Opry Mills. If you're in town, pay her a visit! There are items here for all ages: babies -to- grandmas. Katie told Josh "You could buy me anything in this store and I'd be happy." Jewelry, florals, frames, art, you name it... I can't wait to go back! 615-383-5639.

8. The Produce Place. Whether you are in the mood to cook (gorgeous fruits and veggies!) or pack for a picnic (smoked chicken salad...pimiento cheese), this little neighborhood market has something for everyone. From ready-made to raw ingredients, you'll find it tucked away. The fresh samples were a nice touch too! Ever had apple pie flavored popcorn? This place is locavore heaven!

9. Sweet Ce-Ce's Frozen Yogurt. The Franklin location is the girliest, cutest, pinkest and greenest shop I've ever been to. Didn't seem to scare the guys off. What's not to love about a self-serve, self-topped dessert extravaganza? Grab a dish, choose a flavor, and go topping wild!

10. Fido it any secret that we love our coffee around here? Yes, I'm a proud gold-card-carrying member of a certain worldwide coffee chain, but sometimes local is better. Way better. Coffee plus dessert (we had a raspberry cayenne layer cake. To die for!) plus lunch (fig-feta-shrimp-bacon pizza. Wow.) plus a fun, hip, college crowd. When it comes to Fido... Sit. Stay.

How did I get to 10 already? I may have to do Nashville - part 2!