a simpler sound.

Travel Photography Clean up: a man and his alphorn.

I've done quite a bit of traveling over the last year and a half.  Mostly for family reasons, sometimes just for fun, but regardless, every trip has been a truly one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experience.  I usually go on a photography rampage when I travel, and my little Macbook Pro 13" is getting tired.  I've pretty much maxed her out, and on this most recent trip to Aruba, I had no choice but to go through my 8,000+ photos [this actually being only half of my actual photo collection, since everything pre 2011 is backed up on my external hard drive] and start making decisive cuts.

I get a little trigger happy, especially with the action setting on my SLR, so there are tons of photos that I can part with, since there are 7 or 8 more nearly identical to it.  The other issue is these SLR files are massive.  Gone are the days of my 4 megapixel Canon Elph circa 2001.  I've got to work on continuously editing this opus of photos, but I never seem to keep up with them.  Since I leave for another big trip tomorrow [SO excited for my retirement cruise in Alaska with my Mom!] and I know I'll easily take 500+ photos while I'm there, so I've got to continue the photo purge.  

Therein lies my rediscovery of this Swiss man and his alphorn. I started going through the thousands [yes, thousands] of photos I took while in Europe last summer, and I came upon the day I met my first alphorn player.  This traditional Swiss instrument dates back to the mid 16th century and was used as a mode of communication in mountainous regions throughout Europe.

We had taken a lift up to First Mountain in Grindelwald, and this gentleman arrived right along with us.  We waited in the lodge restaurant, because a heavy cloud cover moved over the mountain, causing nearly zero visibility.  While we waited, I noticed the man pull several wooden tubes out of his small black backpack. I watched as he slowly began to assemble them together. In short order, he  had a nearly 11 foot horn sitting in front of him, right there in the middle of the lodge.  He hoisted this monster horn up and brought it outside, in the thick of the clouds. 

As if by magic, the cloud cover began to dissipate, and he began to play these long, low notes.  I was convinced the vibrations of the horn broke up the clouds and cleared the skies.  A small crowd gathered, and we watched this man create beautiful music alongside the breathtaking mountainside.    It was definitely one of those surreal experiences.  I probably took a hundred photos of the man and his horn, but I saved quite a few, since the intensity on his face was so fascinating.  I love that even years from now, I can still look back at these photos and recall this day.



bands to keep your eye on: milo greene [a concert and EP review].




I saw Milo Greene back in November when they opened for The Civil Wars at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. From top to bottom, that was one of the absolute best [yes, it deserves the double superlative!] concerts I've ever been to.  Although much of that status had to do with The Civil Wars putting on an impeccably moving performance, I left that show discovering a new band that would soon become another favorite of mine.  

I honestly don't know much about Milo Greene, other than that they're based out of Los Angeles, since I recall them mentioning that at the concert. Apart from really enjoying their soothing sound, I was so impressed by the vocal abilities of every member of the band, as well as their individual instrumental prowess.  With every song, the entire band would perform a sort of 'ring-around-the-rosie' dance, almost seeming as if they could grab any instrument on the stage and perform in perfect pitch together. This created such an organic performance, with each song taking on a varied style and tone. They played quite a few songs, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Unfortunately, at this point I don't believe they were officially signed to a label, and were still producing an EP themselves specifically for The Civil Wars tour.  I was able to snag a copy and chat with who I believe was the bassist [but with the tossing around of instruments, it was hard to tell!].


The EP has only three songs, two of which have been very recently released as singles on iTunes.


1. 1957: This song was just released as a single the other week. This is their most upbeat song on the EP and has a great melodic quality to it. I love the tapping of the drumsticks [at least I think that's what the sound is, I could be wrong...] throughout the song. Love these lyrics:


'the scent you wear moves in lines 
from your apartment into mine 
you act like you don't know me 
my god you tempt my anxious mind'




2. Silent Way: This song is my favorite on the EP for so many reasons.  For one thing, for a girl who doesn't love country music, I'm a sucker for the plucking of a banjo. It melds so perfectly with the piano. The slow, melodic pace has a repetition that I really like.  It's mimicked in the lyrics,


'when, when, when we're older
can I still come over?'


The song, whether it actually carries this meaning or not, reminds me of being a kid and how easy it was. I'd just go to a friend's house and we'd make up random, ridiculous games that almost always involved an obstacle course [Legends of the Hidden Temple was my FAVORITE show during this phase].  That might be a slight tangent, but essentially, I just loved how easy it was to have friends and have fun with life.  The lyrics make me think of little Jo, asking her best friend that when they're older can it still be the same, simple friendship they always had.  When you get older, things change and get so complicated. I wish it were as simple as this song, but it's not.


3. Don't You Give Up On Me: I posted a great quality live performance of this song at the top.  The song was actually featured on Grey's Anatomy recently. It has the most commercial quality of the three, and I can see it being used again in anther show or movie. I don't mean that as a negative in any way.  I've found so many great artists on TV shows [my secret dream job has been to be the person who chooses music for movies and TV- I'd LOVE that entirely too much]. It's just such a sweet song:


'I'll go, I'll go, I'll go wherever you go
I would never leave without letting you know'



This EP is my go-to driving CD, because I can listen to it over and over without ever getting tired of it. I sing to it all the time and since I rarely allow people to hear me legitimately try and sing, the car is a perfect venue for my performances. It's also got that great quality that makes driving seem leisurely and enjoyable, and calms my ever percolating road rage [I'm really a very calm, relaxed person- but my inner New York resurfaces every so often...!].


The Milo Greene full-length album has a release date set for July 17th, and they'll be heading to Atlanta shortly after on the 21st.  They're playing at the Drunken Unicorn, which is stumbling distance from my house, and I CAN'T wait to see them.  I'd love to invite them over to my house after the show to hang out and drink on my porch. They just seem like the kind of people I'd be friends with anyhow.