Sunday, August 14, 2011

Indoor Garden Party Videos

With sincere thanks to Lynda at Between The Rock And A Hard Place, I've collected her videos of the Indoor Garden Party and put them all on one page. Just click on the Garden Party Videos tab at the top of the page to view them all, or go to Lynda's Youtube channel BetweenTheRock.  Just to start you off, here's my own favorite song (so far) from The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol. III:  Perfect In Your Eyes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Love Is Impossible Lyrics

Love is Impossible

Love is impossible
and not worthy of my trust
Promiscuous ,facile, confused

Cut many times
And crazy with the Sting

Her middle name
Oh yes Love is to blame
For everything

Fractured by the pain
of its' reality
Battered by the love that waits in you


Graceful and Divine
Love is Time
Brutal and so kind
Love is Impossible to find

It entraps you in the spell
Of possibility
By the things that might come true

Fractured by the pain
Of it's duality
Flattered by the love that waits in you


Love is Impossible
And not worthy of my trust.

I'm adding the lyrics to the songs of The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol. III one at a time in posts, as well as over on The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol. III lyrics page.  I'll also be adding lyrics to earlier songs as time allows.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Indoor Garden Party

I'm trying hard to figure out how to structure this post because there seems to be so much to say while, at the same time, there aren't enough synonyms for 'wonderful' to do the Indoor Garden Party justice.  I'm also writing this in bits and pieces at different times, from notes scribbled while having drinks with my sister, her friend Leigh, and some friends of hers about an hour after the second show.  I wanted to write some things down while they were still fresh in my mind but, at the same time, I was trying not to appear totally rude to these people I'd never met before!  Not sure I succeeded.  So I'll just wade in and, if the whole thing seems a bit disjointed, my apologies. 

From the perspective of a huge fan of Russell Crowe's music, who'd never had a chance to see him in concert before, it was literally a dream come true.  Russell's voice is one of the truly great instruments of his acting and it serves him no less in his singing.  He's a storyteller.  It comes through in his voice, his eyes, his facial expressions, his body language.

The stories he tells on screen, through his acting, are superb.  It's all right there in the body of work he's done.  But put him in front of a microphone with a guitar and those stories are a cut above even his movie roles.  When he sang Bruce Springsteen's Highway Patrolman, he wasn't even a minute into the song before I had to start wiping my eyes so that I would still be able to see him.  The story alone is enough to make me cry, but he sings it with such meaning, such depth, that you can tell he feels it.  The beauty is that he has the ability to make you feel it too--sadness, despair,and the emotion that came through loud and clear to me--the experience of being forced to give someone up and move on with life, even though doing so goes against everything you are.

My apologies for rambling on about that one song, but it's meaning goes deep for me, having lost my brother in a car accident three years ago.  It was highway patrolmen who worked the accident and called to let us know about him.  Even my older sister, who's not a big Crowe music fan, had some tears in her eyes at the end of it and, afterwards, we looked at each other and knew we'd both been thinking the same things.

Now, on...  I would have loved to hear Russell singing alone more than he did, but the songs he does with Alan Doyle and with Danielle are terrific in themselves.  He and Alan dueting on Raewyn, a song from the My Hand, My Heart album, and on Perfect In Your Eyes, are a real joy.  Perfect In Your Eyes is the song that touches me most from this entire collection.  Rather than go off on another long tangent, I'll write about why at a different date.

It was Russell who introduced me to the music of Alan Doyle and Great Big Sea a couple of years ago and I've loved it since.  Sadly, I'm not very well versed in knowing specific songs, but I suspect that's going to change now that I've gotten a more close-up view of Alan and his singing.  Once I get home, I think I'll be listening to them a lot more.

What cemented it for me was Alan's solo rendition of Where I Belong.  Obviously another man who feels the music and who's focused on storytelling as much as Russell.  He just tells his stories in a slightly different way and they complement each other beautifully.  Mother's Cross is another song that makes me cry and Alan did it wonderfully, with just the right touch of reverence for the lyrics.  I owe Alan Doyle a lot more listening than I've done and I promise him and Lynda over at Between The Rock And A Hard Place, who's probably his biggest fan in the world, that I'm going to remedy that when I'm home again.

Another duo that I'm going to be listening to more is Size 2 Shoes brothers Eoin and Moley.  After Russell had mentioned them on Twitter I looked up a couple of videos but, time constraints being what they always are, I hadn't done more than that.  Seeing them onstage and hearing the wonderful blend of their harmonies has made all the difference.  I'm planning to download some of their music and give them a much closer listen, as well as looking up some of their lyrics.

As I said on here before, Danielle Spencer is every bit as beautiful as her voice.  I've listened to both her White Monkey album and her latest, Calling All Magicians.  Her pop style has never been my favorite kind of music, but that is no reflection at all on the lady's talent.  She has an amazing voice and it was in top form on all the songs from the Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol III collection--Queen Jane, Angel Of The Cross, The Killing Song, Sadness Of A Woman.  Having heard her voice with Russell's and Alan's and now, having seen her perform these songs, I have a hard time imagining anyone else singing them.

Danielle gets her biggest chance to shine on End Of Story, a song from Calling All Magicians, and shine she does.  Her voice is perfection and the simple piano accompaniment gives her lyrics a great chance to stand out as well.  She won me over there, and my sister wants to borrow Danielle's two CD's from me when we're back home, so she now has a new fan.

I bought Scott Grimes' Drive CD back when it first came out and have listened to it at least a dozen times now.  Scott proved there was more to him than just Will Scarlett (if we needed more) with this CD.  My favorite songs on it are What Love Is and Corner Pub.

At the garden party, Scott was outstanding on From Here To The Ocean.  It was a touch of ginger-haired soulfulness with Scott putting everything he had into it and that being quite a lot.  He also took a bit of a lead when the entire ensemble sang Michael Jackson's Man In The Mirror, again showing off his soulful side.  

Kevin Durand cracks me up.  Literally.  When I first saw a video of Beautiful Girls during the Robin Hood promo tour, Kevin was hamming it up and he was still at it here.  Whenever I need a laugh, I go over to Youtube and watch that first video, because it works every time.  Beautiful Girls was a wonderful part of the show because you could just tell how much fun they were all having doing it.

Here, Kevin's Crazy Song nearly had me falling out of my seat.  He almost whispered "...a love song" and then launched into a recitation that would have left Robin Williams speechless with jealousy.  His facial expressions were a sight to behold.  I hope someone from Comedy Central was in the audience because the man deserves a special there, if not his own series.  During O, Canada he kept (mostly) a straight face, but the man has comedy built right into his personality.  If you read this, Kevin, I promise that, the next time I watch 3:10 To Yuma, I'll try not to cheer so loudly when Ben Wade puts that fork into your neck.

Favorite moments?  It's tough to choose them out of all the outstanding elements of this show, so I'll stick with the one that touched me the most, which was Russell's Highway Patrolman, not only because it gave us a chance to hear him alone, but because of the personal connection it had for me.

One of the best things about the Indoor Garden Party is that the entire show was put together so well.  Everyone who was a part of it got their own chance to stand out.  It also perfectly balanced the music and the poetry, the laughter and the tears.  It truly was a party, an opportunity for friends to get together and have a good time, and the performers really made the audience feel like a part of it.

It took a lot of planning and juggling-of both money and time-for me to get to Canada, but it was worth every penny spent and every minute of effort.  I still have two more days to enjoy St. John's and the beautiful Newfoundland scenery and I'm loving it.  I'll go home with some truly wonderful memories.

After the privilege of hearing all this wonderful music, it's somewhat ironic but nevertheless appropriate that the song title that keeps running through my head is from Dirty Dancing:  I Had The Time Of My Life

The Crowe/Doyle Songbook, Vol. III Review

I'm too exhausted to do much other than yawn right now, but I wanted to share this review of the Songbook by Ryan Belbin at The Independent.  He won me over with the line "...the production and mouthfuls of poetry are what stand out."  It's what this collection is to me.  Pure poetry.

Russell Crowe & Alan Doyle | The Crowe/Doyle Songbook, Vol. III

by Ryan Belbin

It’s easy to take the collaborative friendship of Great Big Sea frontman Alan Doyle and Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe for granted, particularly with the former’s role as a minstrel in Robin Hood last year, and the latter’s highly publicised visit to St. John’s. Outside of the spotlight, however, the two initially bonded over music, writing and recording songs together over the last number of years.

The Crowe/Doyle Songbook, Vol. III is Crowe’s most recent foray into music, since the Doyle-produced My Hand, My Heart in 2005. Whereas that record was clearly based around Crowe’s band, the Ordinary Fear of God, the Songbook is all about the duo.

The album, which exists solely as a digital record, can best be described as a singer-songwriter collection of tunes. Doyle’s band is a good starting place in describing the sound, particularly with its contemporary folk vibes, but that doesn’t quite cut it. There are influences of rock (“Perfect in your Eyes”), old-school country (“Killing Song”), heraldic folk (“Queen Jane”), and even R&B (“Love is Impossible”), but the production and mouthfuls of poetry are what stand out. The nine songs on Songbook are denser in subject matter, music, and lyrics – don’t expect any breezy pop songs, but don’t misinterpret the album for pessimistic or cynical.

Take the chorus from the leading single, “Too Far Gone,” about a doomed relationship: “Your fingers tear at my skin / Release the blood, let the feeding begin / Your intentions will never be blamed / We’re both too far gone to be saved.” The word that immediately comes to mind is sophisticated, and any concern that this project is just a novelty ought to be dismissed.

The two musicians are joined on most songs by Danielle Spencer, an Australian recording artist who also happens to be married to Crowe. With three distinct voices at their disposal, the opportunities for interesting arrangements and nuances are numerous, especially considering that Great Big Sea have turned harmonies into a trump card. However, the performers share the mic more often than not, usually singing the same melody line, reminiscent of a few friends having an impromptu jam. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the lyrics and the music are at such a high calibre that you can’t help but wonder how the songs would have sounded if they had taken the effort to explore the vocal arrangements. There are glimpses of this, where the voices become distinct and offer different perspectives to a single song – the bridge of “Sadness of a Woman” does it best – and they make the melding all the more conspicuous.

Crowe himself has been performing music since the ’90s, but it’s tough to picture the Gladiator with a guitar, and begs the question of whether or not he can actually sing. His growl is so similar to Doyle’s baritone that the two voices gravitate towards a single entity, and when one stands out it’s usually Doyle, so we never really get to hear him alone. Still, he’s not sitting on the sidelines or ridding any coattails (or, even worse, lending his famous name to the project); the partnership demands the two musicians complement each other, and that’s ultimately what happens.

Also noteworthy, The Crowe/Doyle Songbook includes the original demos of all the songs. Although the final versions are stronger, these tracks offer the bare bones of the lyrics and instrumentation, and suddenly the “friends having a jam” image becomes “friends having a jam, and you’re personally invited.” With the release of this album coinciding with Doyle and Crowe’s intimate and informal shows at the LSPU Hall, the duality makes sense: two experienced artists at the top of their games, crafting quality songs that, when the lights go down and they abandon their egos to embrace acoustic vulnerability, are still capable of standing on their own.

By the sounds of it, neither is too far gone yet:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Indoor Garden Party: Russell, Alan, Danielle and Friends

I'm starting this bit at night on very little sleep and hope to finish it in the morning, when I will still likely have gotten very little sleep, because the show left me too keyed-up to be the slightest bit sleepy.  My plan to spend no time at the computer has gone up in smoke, so when I get home I will owe my brother-in-law a couple of car washes for losing our bet that I'd be able to stay off the internet for the five days we were gone.

Just a little about the August 3rd Indoor Garden Party, and I'll do more when my head is clear (whenever that turns out to be):

First, the LSPU Hall is a beautiful place.  Alive with history.  You can touch the wood and feel its memories flowing into you.  And though being so small a venue is not good for the number of fans who couldn't get tickets, it does make it a perfect setting for the show.

The highlights of the show for me were, without a doubt, Russell and Alan's absolutely perfect version of Perfect In Your Eyes (perfect in my eyes anyway) and Kevin Durand and Scott Grimes joining them for Beautiful Girls.  I must have watched at least half a dozen video versions of Beautiful Girls during all the Robin Hood promos, but nothing compares to watching and hearing them do it live.

Danielle Spencer is every bit as beautiful as her voice.  She gave the perfect feminine touch to every song she sang.  Hearing her sing Too Far Gone (To Be Saved) live with Russell and Alan was even better than the tracks downloaded from iTunes.

As much as I loved seeing everyone, there were times when I simply closed my eyes and listened.  This is music to be savoured.   And it wasn't just the music.  The love and friendship were right there to be seen in the stories told, the laughs had by everyone, and the good time had by all--the performers and the audience as well.

I've never had a better time at a concert.  Until tonight maybe...

(Longer post on the Indoor Garden Party here.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Video Link: Russell Crowe on The Rock

I'm supposed to be on vacation and away from the computer, but I just couldn't do it. Too much exciting stuff going on.  Here's a link to a video with Russell and Alan at The Globe and Mail.

Russell Crowe on The Rock

Hope you enjoy it. More later.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Interviews With Russell Crowe & Alan Doyle

Radio station K-Rock 97.5 in Newfoundland hosted the World Album Premiere for The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol. III on August 1st.  Fun interviews with Russell and Alan Doyle and, of course, wonderful music.  You can hear the interviews on K-Rock's website here: 
The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol. III:  The World Album Premiere

Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol III on iTunes

The Crowe/Doyle Songbook, Vol. III is finally available for download today at iTunes.  Here's a list of tracks:

1.   Too Far Gone (To Be Saved) (feat. Danielle Spencer)

2.   Love Is Impossible (feat. Danielle Spencer)

3.   Sadness Of A Woman (feat. Danielle Spencer)

4.   Perfect In Your Eyes

5.   Angel Of The Cross (feat. Danielle Spencer)

6.   Killing Song (feat. Danielle Spencer)

7.  Disappeared (feat. Danielle Spencer)

8.   Queen Jane (feat. Danielle Spencer)

9.   Mother's Cross

10. Too Far Gone (To Be Saved) (Acoustic Demo) [feat. Danielle Spencer]

11. Love Is Impossible (Acoustic Demo) [feat. Danielle Spencer]

12. Sadness Of A Woman (Acoustic Demo) [feat. Danielle Spencer]

13. Perfect In Your Eyes (Acoustic Demo)

14. Angel Of The Cross (Acoustic Demo) [feat. Danielle Spencer]

15. Killing Song (Acoustic Demo) [feat. Danielle Spencer]

16. Disappeared (Acoustic Demo) [feat. Danielle Spencer]

17. Queen Jane (Acoustic Demo) [feat. Danielle Spencer]

18. Mother's Cross (Acoustic Demo)

In addition to Too Far Gone (To Be Saved), my personal favorites so far are Perfect In Your Eyes and Killing Song.  The voices of Russell and his wife, Danielle Spencer complement each other so well.  Absolutely inspiring work by Russell, Alan Doyle, and Danielle.

The download link on iTunes is in Crowe Music Links and here:  The Crowe/Doyle Songbook, Vol. III

The album will be available on Amazon, Rhapsody, and other music sites on August 9th.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Leaves of Russell Crowe???

I'll take a stab here at describing this blog and this title and I'll hope it makes sense to most of you who read it.  Those who know me from my poetry blog, Other Ways of Speaking, will probably already know that the title of that blog comes from my favorite poet, Russell Crowe.  He's inspired much of my poetry and it's he who's inspired me, over the last year-and-a-half,  to write more often and in different ways than I have before.

Although my Other Ways of Speaking blog is devoted mostly to sharing my poetry, I have made occasional posts about Russell there, along with posting links to his music.  I could have written much more about his music and lyrics and how they've inspired me, but some of the people who follow that blog began to tell me that it was starting to feel like a fan blog.  

So, with new songs from Russell being released and so much going on with his music, I decided to start a new blog where I would be able to concentrate on his music and lyrics.  Leaves of Russell Crowe is the result.  It's in the beginning stages and I'll be posting more links, as well as lyrics, videos, and more.  Not that I'll be ignoring his movies.  I'll also blog about his acting projects and other news, but I want to concentrate more on the music.

Talking about the many different facets of the man brings me to the blog title.  Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass is a collection of poetry celebrating nature and man's physical and spiritual connection to nature.  Many of the poems in the collection, such as Song of Myself, remind me very much of Russell--combining romanticism, spiritualism, and realism--and his poetic ways of speaking about nature.  Wanting to give this blog something of a poetic title and thinking of the 'leaves' in Whitman's title as different aspects of personality, it just began to sound right and to stick with me. I hope it's something people will enjoy reading.