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Jennifer Grassman

Recording Artist + Author + Mommy

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Lovely: “Amazing Grace” by Condoleezza Rice & Jenny Oaks Baker to Benefit Wounded Warrior

This is lovely! I must admit, I had forgotten that Condoleezza Rice played the piano, and I hadn’t heard her play before today. She is extremely talented! In this beautifully choreographed and produced video, she’s joined by violinist Jenny Oaks Baker.  All proceeds for the song benefit The Wounded Warrior Project. Enjoy! Continue reading “Lovely: “Amazing Grace” by Condoleezza Rice & Jenny Oaks Baker to Benefit Wounded Warrior”

Rest in Peace Sir Christopher Lee: Actor & Symphonic Metal Artist

Actor, singer, and symphonic metal artist, Sir Christopher Lee, has passed away. He was 93 years old, but remained active in his art – his acting and his singing – to the end.

Many know Christopher Lee for his unparalleled theatrical performances and voice acting skills. Jason and I, however, also know him as an incredible operatic vocalist, both narrating story lines and singing epic melodies.

His award winning concept album, which released in 2010, is titled, Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross, and tells the story of the First Holy Roman Emperor, King Charlemagne. A heavy metal follow-up album, titled Charlemagne: The Omens of Death, was released in 2013. Lyrically and musically, Lee’s music is very dramatic, and his deep rich voice provides an impressively theatrical power. Continue reading “Rest in Peace Sir Christopher Lee: Actor & Symphonic Metal Artist”

Billboard Magazine Recognizes Todd Oxford, Saxophone Artist

My good friend, Todd Oxford, has been featured in the April 4 issue of Billboard Magazine as Emerging Artist and Global Music Awards Gold Medal Winner.

As anyone who has heard Todd’s work knows, he’s such an incredibly talented musician and composer, that this is a drop in the bucket compared with the recognition he deserves as an artist. Continue reading “Billboard Magazine Recognizes Todd Oxford, Saxophone Artist”

Happy Birthday Judy Garland (June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969)

She would have been 92 years old today. The theatrical songbird’s fairytale princess voice and classic beauty made her an icon for many an aspiring singer and actress. Yet Garland’s legacy – like that of so many child film stars – is bittersweet.

Her biographers have written, “Despite her professional triumphs, Garland struggled immensely in her personal life, starting when she was a child. Her self-image was strongly influenced by film executives, who said she was unattractive and constantly manipulated her onscreen physical appearance.”

Judy was divorced four times, battled drug and alcohol addiction, and she died of an accidental overdose when she was only 47.

With a desire to recognize the sadness, and also pay tribute to Judy, I have arranged Somewhere Over The Rainbow in a minor key. If you read the lyrics, the sorrow in them almost makes the original major melody seem ironic. “Birds fly over the rainbow; why, oh why, can’t I?”

So here it is – Somewhere Over The Rainbow – in memory of Judy Garland, in recognition of the depression and sexism she suffered, and in celebration of her incredible talent.

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow, Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops, that’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why can’t I?

If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?

Blog Highlight: Artist Melody Pilotte {AKA Le Bas-fond} Features Jennifer’s Music

The following is a blog by artist, painter, illustrator, and recording artist Melody Pilotte (AKA Le Bas-Fond) recently published this lovely blog on her website highlighting my music. Enjoy! And don’t forget to visit her site, leave comments, and like her page on Facebook.

Avoiding finishing my record, to highlight another one of my favourite artists and friend, Jennifer Grassman. Jennifer is one of the most wonderful people I have ever known: incredible artist, loving mother, amazing writer. I truly admire her and her craft. She knows what she wants and goes for it. She’s genius. I have nothing but profound respect her on a professional and personal level. My favourite album of hers is Serpent Tails and Nightingales.  Not to say that I didn’t like her first album, because I am obsessed with it. Obsessed. The title track is a George MacDonald reference. She had me at hello. Dusty,Haunted, Victorian Southern Gothic. Perfection. Continue reading “Blog Highlight: Artist Melody Pilotte {AKA Le Bas-fond} Features Jennifer’s Music”

Reclusive Artist Kate Bush Announces First Live Concert Series Since 1979

Photograph: Trevor Leighton/PR

THE GUARDIAN || After a 35-year absence, the singer makes her long-awaited live return with 15 London dates for her Before the Dawn series. Kate Bush will play her first series of shows since 1979, performing August and September in the UK.

Bush will play 15 shows at London’s Eventim Apollo starting 26 August as part of her Before the Dawn series of shows. Announcing the news on her website on Friday, the singer said: “I hope you will be able to join us and I look forward to seeing you there.” Continue reading “Reclusive Artist Kate Bush Announces First Live Concert Series Since 1979”

Beautiful Irish & Celtic Music for Saint Patrick’s Day & #MusicMonday

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, and of course Twitter’s weekly #MusicMonday trend, here are some of my very favorite Irish and Celtic songs from some of the most beautiful and talented folk artists:

May It Be, from The Lord Of The Rings Soundtrack, by Ireland’s own Enya:

Loreena McKennitt presents Bonnie Portmore, which is a traditional Irish lament for the decimation of forests in Northern Ireland:

Moya Brennan, sister of Enya, is an Irish singer with an angelic voice. This is Hear My Prayer:

How can I leave out Scarborough Fair by yours truly?

The Bedlam Boys have arranged the traditional song, The Queen of All Argyle, which has a quaint Celtic melody:

This is by far my favorite song from Celtic Woman. It’s called, The Voice:

The Barnsley Nightingale, Kate Rusby, covers this exquisitely tragic ballad, I Am Stretched On Your Grave. It’s actually the song that first got me hooked on her music:

Another gorgeous track from The Lord Of The Rings, here’s Into The West by Annie Lennox:

And of course, one of my favorite Irish songs by a rather famous little Irish band. As their lead singer says, “Sing this with me. This is 40.”

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Be sure and share your favorite Irish and Celtic songs in the comments below.

The Highwayman: When Incredible Poetry & Exquisite Music Combine (Alfred Noyes & Loreena McKennitt)

As I mentioned in a recent review of Loreena McKennitt‘s new The Journey So Far ‘best of’ album, I missed seeing The Highwayman included in the track listing. Well, now you can hear why! Below I’ve including The Highwayman as well as Alfred Noyes’ original poem of tragic romance. Happy #MusicMonday!

Download The Highwayman MP3 via Amazon

The Highwayman
Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)

PART ONE

I
THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
Riding—riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

II
He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

III
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

IV
And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—

V
“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

VI
He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i’ the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonliglt, and galloped away to the West.

PART TWO

I
He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o’ the tawny sunset, before the rise o’ the moon,
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
Marching—marching—
King George’s men came matching, up to the old inn-door.

II
They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

III
They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
“Now, keep good watch!” and they kissed her.
She heard the dead man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

IV
She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

V
The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love’s refrain .

VI
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!

VII
Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.

VIII
He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

IX
Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs i’ the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

* * * * * *

X
And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
Riding—riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

XI
Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Loreena McKennitt Releases New ‘Best Of’ Album: The Journey So Far

One of my favorite artists of all time, Loreena McKennitt, has released a “best of” double album. Honestly, picking which songs to include must have been a difficult task, because absolutely all of her works are masterpieces. Most of my very favorites are on here, including The Bonny Swans, The Lady of Shalott, Mummers Dance, and All Souls Night.

A good number of the songs are live versions, which in Loreena’s case is a good thing, because the concert hall is where she truly shines the brightest. Don’t get me wrong – her studio recordings are fabulous – but something happens when she’s on stage that no studio can capture. I got to see her perform at Jones Hall once and was without a doubt the very best, most beautiful, and most inspiring live performance I’ve ever attended. I cannot wait until she tours again!

One song I’m sad to see not included on The Journey So Far is The Highwayman. Based on Alfred Noyes’ romantic and tragic poem, I’ve always found that song absolutely addictive, and one of Loreena’s Top 5 in my opinion. Still, The Journey So Far is a ‘best of’ album chock full of musical brilliance, and every track on it is exquisite, so I shouldn’t complain! Instead, I’ll just encourage you to buy it, and also get The Book of Secrets which includes The Highwayman among other marvelous pieces.

Loreena McKennitt’s Official Website

Jason and I with Loreena McKennitt following her performance at Jones Hall in Houston.

 

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