Al Scorch’s Winter Slumber

Have you ever seen a bluegrass band that includes cello? How about a French horn? If that concept catches your attention, you’ve got to check out the music of Al Scorch.

Al and his band played an afternoon gig last Sunday at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, a monthly winter series dubbed Al Scorch’s’ Winter Slumber. It’s free, it’s fun and if you’re in the area, highly recommended.

Scorch’s music is bluegrass at its core, but driven by the energy of punk and the courage to mess around and see what works. Scorch dubs his ensemble as “country soul,” and that works, too—these days it’s tough to classify music. The point is, there was a tone of soul and spirit driving the show we saw on Sunday.

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New Discoveries: Woodkid’s ‘The Golden Age’

I just spent several hours going through a list of this year’s GRAMMY nominees, finding videos, for each nominated song, a task associated with my day job at Radio.com. It was at times tedious but also, in many cases, fun and eye-opening. There’s a lot of, shall we say, less-than-inspirational music on the list, especially among the categories that wind up on television. But dig deep and you’ll find some gems.

For instance, I knew nothing about Woodkid, a French singer-songwriter and director (real name Yoann Lemoine) who’s probably best known for the video work he’s done for artists like Katy Perry, Pharrell, Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. Woodkid was nominated for Best Music Video for his song “The Golden Age” (featuring Max Richter).

Taken from Woodkid’s 2013 album of the same name, both the song and the black-and-white video are quiet, dreamy and melancholy, sharing nothing much at all with the pop of singers like Perry or Swift. Carve out a few minutes (OK, actually more like 11) and watch it below.

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