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Editorial

Music to my Ears


Harry Connick Jr. - Oh, My NOLAMichael Buble' - Call Me Irresponsible


06/01/2007 - Ask anybody who knows me and they'll quickly tell you how uncool I am. In fact, it has been said that if cool is the disease, I am the cure. Anyway, I am the last person on earth to tell you what's cool in any sense, including musical taste.

Here's a case in point: Harry Connick Jr. has been making extremely cool music (so they tell me) for twenty years now, and "Oh, My NOLA" is the first of his albums that I've actually bought. To be honest, before now I was only vaguely aware of his work. He had a song on "When Harry Met Sally" that I thought was um...cool, but other than that, all I knew about him was that he's a good looking guy who sings nightclub or lounge music. As for Michael Buble' (pronounced Booblay) I pretty much rebelled against the notion of checking out his music. I mean, Buble'? Come on.

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Well, I decided to branch out a little this time with the reviews, and I swallowed hard, stretched a nylon stocking over my head, and proceeded to the local record store. I managed to elude security long enough to purchase these two discs from a very confused, frightened clerk, and ran out of the store, furtively looking around, hoping that no one recognized me. This of course, led to a long chase and a lengthy stint in the pokey.

Okay. None of that is true except for the part where I bought these two discs. I can tell you though, that I avoided eye contact with the clerk. Buble'? What would people say? So anyway, I got in the car, unwrapped the discs, and decided to listen to Harry Connick Jr. first, for no good reason. I read the liner notes first, for some background info. I always do that. As I read, I learned that this recording is a tribute to New Orleans, where Harry's from. All the songs originate from that part of the country. There are a ton of musical styles represented on the disc, including jazz, gospel, funk, blues, and country.

It turns out that this last fact is for me at least, a blessing and a curse. I'm definitely eclectic in terms of musical taste, or at least I like to think I am, but I like to listen to albums that flow. I like to eat my music in big chunks. I'm likely to put on a brutally heavy thrash metal album, then follow it up with Hank Williams or George Jones, but I would hate it if they were combined on the same collection. So if this album was all New Orleans funk, or all jazz, I think I would love it. The problem is that Harry Connick's latest offering is a smorgasbord of varying styles, all held loosely together by his incredibly versatile voice, and undeniable piano chops. It's impressive, but to me, not very listenable. I like to set the mood in my house with a certain type of music, whether it be country, bluegrass, jazz, or even stuff like Native American Flute music, and I don't like feeling like I'm on a musical seesaw.

Having said all that, now that I'm personally aware of Connick's talent, I want to go back and pick some of his older stuff that leans more to the jazzy swing stuff I hear on "Oh, My NOLA."

Which leads me to Michael Buble'. Typically, I seem to be the last guy on the planet who hasn't caught up with everybody else when it comes to digging this Vancouver swinger. For crying out loud, the guy sold 11 million records in the past four years! That's insane. It seems the cool train left me in the dust once again. Let me say, however, that I am now on board. Michael Buble' may be the one man who can unite fans of Austin Powers and Frank Sinatra, since he appeals to young and not so young, and those of us in between.

Listening to this disc is like attending a Vegas nightspot in 1965. Just hearing this music made me feel cool. I was able to imagine standing on a yacht in my navy blazer with a martini in my tanned hand (even though I hate martinis, and boats, and sport jackets, for that matter). I saw myself tooling around with my honey (that would be Julie) in my arrest-me red convertible 1962 Corvette (I don't hate those) under the palms on Sunset Boulevard.

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Then I looked out my window and saw a cow looking in at me. Oh, well.

Seriously, though, for a brief, shining moment, I got a pretty good glimpse of cool while I was listening to "Call Me Irresponsible." And I liked it. This one's a keeper. This one is a glass of wine and a cocktail dress. Not on me, on my wife. This one is a slow dance on a balcony on a city summer night. It's Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Mel Torme' and yes, Austin Powers all packaged in a young (31), handsome, modern day crooner with a horrible last name.

So, for what it's worth, this one is definitely worth buying, no matter who you are. It is a lesson in cool, or at least I think it is. It's fun, fresh, and light. Guys, you may want to have your wife or girlfriend go pick it up for you though. Michael Buble'? You don't want to have to go through what I went through when I bought mine.

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