Memoirs, Nonfiction

So Much Music, So Little Time

Throughout my school career in middle school, high school and college I enjoyed singing in various choirs. What’s unique about singing, unlike playing an instrument, is that you don’t have to know how to read music. That skill set has eluded me, yet I was, and still am, able to positively contribute to choir. Through singing, I was exposed to different genres of music that I wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to had I not had the pleasure of singing in so many different choirs.

March 16 – 22 marks the 6th annual International Teach Music Week. During the third week in March, free music lessons are offered by musicians, music schools and music stores for new students of all ages. The goal is to expose people to music for educational, therapeutic and social benefits. For more information, visit TeachMusicWeek.org.

I’m always looking for ways to explore new music. Did you know that you have access to tons of songs through Hoopla and Freegal? You can borrow 5 titles per service each month, and you can even keep the ones you get on Freegal forever!

Here are some biographies and autobiographies of musicians that are available at GPL:

Unfaithful Music by Elvis Costello 

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink provides readers with a master’s catalogue of a lifetime of great music. Costello reveals the process behind writing and recording legendary albums like My Aim Is True, This Year’s Model, Armed Forces, Almost Blue, Imperial Bedroom, and King of America. He tells the detailed stories, experiences, and emotions behind such beloved songs as “Alison,” “Accidents Will Happen,” “Watching the Detectives,” “Oliver’s Army,” “Welcome to the Working Week,” “Radio Radio,” “Shipbuilding,” and “Veronica,” the last of which is one of a number of songs revealed to connect to the lives of the previous generations of his family.*

Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn 

In this, the definitive biography of an American legend, Robert Hilburn conveys the unvarnished truth about a musical superstar. Johnny Cash’s extraordinary career stretched from his days at Sun Records with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to the remarkable creative last hurrah, at age 69, that resulted in the brave, moving “Hurt” video.

As a music critic for the Los Angeles Times, Hilburn knew Cash throughout his life: he was the only music journalist at the legendary Folsom Prison concert in 1968, and he interviewed both Cash and his wife June Carter just months before their deaths. Drawing upon a trove of never-before-seen material from the singer’s inner circle, Hilburn creates an utterly compelling, deeply human portrait of a towering figure in country music, a seminal influence in rock, and an icon of American popular culture. Hilburn’s reporting shows the astonishing highs and deep lows that marked the journey of a man of great faith and humbling addiction who throughout his life strove to use his music to lift people’s spirits.

Miles, the Autobiography by Miles Davis

Universally acclaimed as a musical genius, Miles Davis was one of the most important and influential musicians in the world. Here, Miles speaks out about his extraordinary life.

Miles: The Autobiography, like Miles himself, holds nothing back. He speaks frankly and openly about his drug problem and how he overcame it. He condemns the racism he encountered in the music business and in American society generally. And he discusses the women in his life. But above all, Miles talks about music and musicians, including the legends he has played with over the years: Bird, Dizzy, Monk, Trane, Mingus, and many others.

The man who gave us some of the most exciting music of the twentieth century here gives us a compelling and fascinating autobiography, featuring a concise discography and thirty-two pages of photographs.

Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism by Thomas David Brothers

Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism blends cultural history, musical scholarship, and personal accounts from Armstrong’s contemporaries to reveal his enduring contributions to jazz and popular music at a time when he and his bandmates couldn’t count on food or even a friendly face on their travels across the country. Thomas Brothers combines an intimate knowledge of Armstrong’s life with the boldness to examine his place in such a racially charged landscape. In vivid prose and with vibrant photographs, Brothers illuminates the life and work of the man many consider to be the greatest American musician of the twentieth century.

Decoded by Jay-Z

Decoded is a book like no other: a collection of lyrics and their meanings that together tell the story of a culture, an art form, a moment in history, and one of the most provocative and successful artists of our time.

 

 

Gold Dust Woman: A Biography of Stevie Nicks by Stephen Davis

Gold Dust Woman gives “the gold standard of rock biographers” (the Boston Globe) his ideal topic: Nicks’ work and life are equally sexy and interesting, and Davis delves deeply into each, unearthing fresh details from new, intimate interviews and interpreting them to present a rich new portrait of the star. Just as Nicks (and Lindsay Buckingham) gave Fleetwood Mac the “shot of adrenaline” they needed to become real rock stars – according to Christine McVie – Gold Dust Woman is vibrant with stories and with a life lived large and hard.

*Book blurbs are taken from GoodReads.com

Nonfiction

In the Mood for Music

I usually don’t do posts like this on my blog, but I wanted to share this post that I did for my work blog at Greenburgh Library.*

I have been singing in some type of choir since I was eight years old. I started out in my church’s children’s choir, and continued with my elementary school up through college. When I was little, my mother signed me up for every extracurricular that was available, from t-ball, gymnastics, ballet, tap, violin and singing. Singing was what stuck.

Over the years, I have sung in the All-County Chorus, in the youth choir at the Music School of Westchester, and even at Carnegie Hall – twice! I sang there with the youth choir on my sixteenth birthday, and in January 2019 with a choir of 250 people backing the singer Lauren Daigle for her concert.

Nowadays, I sing in my church choir and also in the Mamaroneck Chorus, a group that was started in 2018 by my elementary school music teacher. It is an all ages group for amateurs and professionals alike.

Here are some music related items (besides our extensive CD collection!) that we own at the Greenburgh Public Library:

Score Reading: A Key to the Music Experience by Michael Dickreiter
Call Number: 781.4 D
Score reading provides insights into the musical structure of a work that are difficult to obtain from merely listening. Many listeners and amateurs derive great pleasure from following a performance with score in hand to help them better understand the intricacies of what they are hearing. This guide includes practice examples of increasing difficulty taken from scores of well-known works from various periods.
The Best Broadway Songs Ever
Call Number: 782.14 B
The 5th edition of this bestseller has been updated with an even stronger song list. 85 Broadway standards, including: All Good Gifts * All I Ask of You * As Long As He Needs Me * Bring Him Home * Cabaret * Climb Ev’ry Mountain * Don’t Cry for Me Argentina * Getting to Know You * Hello, Dolly! * Hey There * I Don’t Know How to Love Him * I Dreamed a Dream * I Got Rhythm * I Wanna Be a Producer * If I Loved You * The Lady Is a Tramp * Mack the Knife * Mamma Mia * The Music of the Night * My Favorite Things * My Funny Valentine * Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ * Ol’ Man River * On My Own * One * People * Popular * Seasons of Love * September Song * Seventy Six Trombones * Somewhere * Sunrise, Sunset * The Surrey with the Fringe on Top * Tomorrow * Try to Remember * Unexpected Song * What I Did for Love * With One Look * You’ll Never Walk Alone * and more!

La Rousse Encyclopedia of Music by Geoffrey Hindley et. al.
Call Number: Q780.3 L
A pictorial spectrum illuminates the vast domain of the musical world, focusing on its history, lore, traditions, personalities, and major composers.

The Book of Rock by Philip Dodd
Call Number: 781.66 D
Lyrical genius can touch an emotional nerve—and so can the pages of The Book of Rock. In the most comprehensive encyclopedia of rock and roll to date, guitar heroes rub shoulders with tortured geniuses, and the flamboyant masters of showmanship receive the same treatment as reclusive poets. Showcasing a gallery of 500 saints, sinners, and martyrs of rock history, The Book of Rock provides a fresh, provocative guide to the world’s most influential singers and musicians. Each artist is given equal deference—500 pages, 500 defining photographs, 500 defining quotes, with text that highlights their achievements and their influence, along with essential biographical information, critical comments from the artists themselves or fellow musicians, and a selected discography. The Book of Rock pays tribute to the artists that imposed an indelible mark on the half-century of musical extravaganza we call rock and roll. Selections include Aerosmith, Beastie Boys, Eric Clapton, Dead Kennedys, Eurythmics, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Gabriel, Buddy Holly, INXS, Judas Priest, Kinks, Little Richard, Midnight Oil, Nirvana, Sinead O’Connor, Pavement, Queen, Ramones, SoundGarden, 10,000 Maniacs, U2, The Verve, The Who, X, Yardbirds, and ZZ Top.

The Vibe History of Hip Hop by Alan Light
Call Number: YA 782.421 V
Music, fashion, dance, graffiti, movies, videos, and business: it’s all in this brilliant tale of a cultural revolution that spans race and gender, language and nationality. The definitive history of an under-documented music genre, The VIBE History of Hip Hop tells the full story of this grassroots cultural movement, from its origins on the streets of the Bronx to its explosion as an international phenomenon. Illustrated with almost 200 photos, and accompanied by comprehensive discographies, this book is a vivid review of the hip hop world through the eyes and ears of more than 50 of the finest music writers and cultural critics at work today, including Danyel Smith, Greg Tate, Anthony deCurtis, dream hampton, Neil Strauss, and Bönz Malone.

Rockshow
Call Number: DVD 782.42 R
In 1975 and 1976 Paul McCartney and Wings undertook the epic Wings over the World tour. From this tour came the concert film Rockshow, an originally cut down version of the concert. Now for the first time the complete full length concert is being made available fully restored with remastered sound. This is Paul McCartney and Wings live on stage in a concert that is destined to live forever!

Country Music
Call Number: DVD 782.42 C
Ken Burns chronicles the history of a uniquely American art form, rising from the experiences of remarkable people in distinctive regions of the nation. From its roots in ballads, hymns, and the blues to its mainstream popularity, meet the unforgettable characters and storytellers who made it ‘America’s Music.’ Viewers will follow the evolution of country music over the course of the twentieth century as it eventually emerged to become America’s music.

* Book blurbs taken from GoodReads.com.

Books, Humor, Nonfiction

Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us About Life by Joan Moriarty and Jonathan Kay

Ages 18+

Image result for your move book

The back and forth of the two authors’ analysis of the assortment of games discussed in this book was delightful to read. Each had insight to offer – a lot with a bit of humor – as he or she explained how each game is played and what we as a society can learn from it. What a great book!

Thanks to Netgalley.com for a review copy of this book.

Children, Nonfiction

Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann

Grades 3 – 7

Chock full of facts about Neil Armstrong, outer space and NASA, this book will take readers on adventure to the moon and back. The text explains the history Apollo 11 in terms kids will understand and includes photos of the event as well. Readers will learn about a piece of our history that will never be forgotten and have a blast doing it!  

Thanks to School Library Journal for a review copy of this book.

Children, Nonfiction

Code This Game by Meg Ray and Keith Zoo

Grades 4 – 6

Coding is so important for kids to understand these days, and it is an essential tool for the future. Code This Game teaches kids about Python, a coding language used to develop video games. They will learn to code their own version of Attack of the Vampire Pizzas, and then customize—or break—it the way they choose. Not only will Code This Game be a ton of fun for kids, it will enable them to learn a ton about coding and hacking that they’ll need in this digital age.

Thanks to School Library Journal for a review copy of this book.

Biography, Children, Nonfiction

Counting On Katherine by Helaine Becker

Grades 3 – 5

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13

Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker is a biography about Katherine Johnson, the mathematician who calculated the flight path for NASA’s first moon landing in 1969. The book starts out by telling readers about Katherine’s childhood and her lifelong love of math. It then goes on to explain how she became a mathematician when she grew up, and how she saved Apollo 13.

Children, Nonfiction

The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk

Grades 2 – 4

Chock full of true facts and fun illustrations, this nonfiction book about the sun is sure to be a hit! Did you know that the sun is actually our Solar System’s star? Or that the sun is the biggest thing in the Solar System? The Earth is the third planet from the sun, and it people used to use it to tell time. You can find these and tons of other facts about the sun when you read The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk.