The Best of Hangout 2015

IMG_1106The Best of Hangout 2015

The sixth year of the Hangout Music and Arts Festival is in the books, and while the festival never officially sold out this year, there were plenty of acts to satisfy plenty of fans on the beaches of Gulf Shores. EDM didn’t seem to weigh quite as heavy on the schedule this year as it has in recent years, with the exception of Skrillex, who closed out Saturday night on the Surf Stage. He also joined Diplo for an unexpected set opposite Foo Fighters’ headlining slot on Friday as Sam Smith’s recent vocal cord surgery forced the British crooner to cancel his appearance just before the festival.

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The Best of Shaky Knees 2015

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The Best of Shaky Knees 2015

It didn’t rain. Even a little. Quite the opposite, actually, Atlanta earned its often locally balked at nickname, HotLanta. Saturday and Sunday were scorchers for the third annual Shaky Knees Music Festival, this year at Central Park, but after the downpours of the first two years, sunshine was enthusiastically welcomed. Festival vendors sold shirts this year with a rain cloud on the front and the words “100% CHANCE OF RAIN” emblazoned across the back. I actually recall leaving last year and thinking aloud, “Would Shaky Knees even be the same without the rain?”

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The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME is due June 29

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The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME is due June 29

To celebrate the release of The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME, I’ll be doing a signing at Alabama Booksmith in Homewood on June 29 from 4-6 p.m. There, you’ll be able to purchase a limited edition hardback first edition of the book. If you’d like to reserve one of these hardcovers in advance, you can do so at Alabama Booksmith’s site. Alabama Booksmith will be the only place hardbacks can be purchased. Hardbacks are $27.99.

Live out of the area? I’m hoping that I can make my way to you soon, but in the meantime, you can preorder the book on Amazon.

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Tidal

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I subscribed to Tidal.

No, I did not win the lottery. Third Man offered up a 75% discount to Vault members, so at $5/month, I decided to give Tidal a try. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a Jack White completest, but I’m a pretty big fan, and when Jack streamed his recent acoustic performance on the Jay Z owned music service, I saw a new potential in what Tidal was doing that intrigued me. The coupon won me over. It was an investment in the potential of what that video can be in the future. When Jack goes back on tour eventually? During Taylor Swift’s tour? When Jay Z and Beyonce are just baking cookies at their house? I may be able to watch that? For $5 a month? Okay. I’m in.

As such, here are some early thoughts:

1. Lossless Audio – I can authentically notice a difference in the audio quality. I was listening to Donny Hathaway’s “The Ghetto” on one of Tidal’s curated playlists today and I could hear the distant jangle of a tambourine in my left ear. It’s a really cool sensory experiment when you’ve become accustomed to compressed audio over the past decade. Will most people care or even notice? Not at all. But I think it’s really cool.

2. Tidal Rising – Where Spotify has a “New Releases” section and a “Discover” section, Tidal also has a section labeled “Tidal Rising,” which offers entire album selections from up-and-comers that you may not have yet heard of – and they’re typically great. Tidal’s efforts to lead you to new music seem greater than Spotify’s. I saw my pals Great Peacock topping this section yesterday, and it was super, super, super cool.

3. Curated playlists – Similarly, the curated playlists are really cool, and likely where I will spend a lot of my time. They have very specific themes, and some can introduce to very unique genres. And I suppose this isn’t much different than Spotify, but often, these playlists are created by artists and other pros.

4. The videos – The videos are what grabbed me, and right now, you can watch that entire Jack White set in the archives. Some of it is pointless. As I type this, I am watching a 5 minute video of Beyonce wishing Stevie Wonder a Happy Birthday. I didn’t particularly need that in my life, but I don’t need director’s commentary on DVDs either. It’s paid for, may as well use it.

But most artists have nearly complete music video archives streaming already. Remember MTV? It’s like that, but in your pocket. [Yeah, you can get most music videos on YouTube].

Ok. It’s almost entirely about the potential of the live concerts. And at $20 a month, there’s no way I would invest in it in addition to Spotify. But at FIVE dollars? Why not. If that potential is maximized, you can’t come gather around my iPad and watch the hypothetical series “Bey-kin’ Cookies” that I just made up in my head.

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The Walk of Life

I’ve considered mortality a lot recently. And maybe more importantly, unsolicited kindness. I lost my stepbrother a year and a half ago. I was hit by a car a couple of months later. And it was a series of events that made me think a lot about how we arrived here and where we are going.

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Farewell, BottleTree.

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Farewell, BottleTree.

You know, maybe this is a two part post. I don’t know. Because on Saturday, a lot of things are going to happen. A lot of new memories are going to be made. It’s going to be a big time. But I wanted to share some of the photos that I have dug up before Saturday arrives.

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Broments, 2014.

 

I was hit by a car. I got a book deal (unrelated). I got my first credit card. I visited L.A. and D.C. I became a member of Tigers Unlimited Foundation. I spent more time in my hometown than I have in a decade. I decided that I like tomatoes for the first time in life. 2014, man, it was popping.

I used to wax poetic about my year at the beginning of this annual post, and I’ve slowly done that less as photos can sort of do the talking. Things are good! The leg is fine! I can’t run and it feels weird before it rains, but I’m still kicking (well, not really kicking literally, that isn’t easy anymore either).

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