Posts tagged American Idol

Why Paul McDonald Is Great For American Idol

If you have written off American Idol because your tired of the same old singing competition, with the same mediocre songs, it’s time to tune in… because the times they are a changing.  And it starts with Paul McDonald.  Each week Randy Jackson has said how good it is for American Idol to have Paul on the show.  Paul is bringing so much that hasn’t been brought before.  But I’m seeing a lot of talent I haven’t seen on this show before.  So why is it that Paul is so great for the show?

His voice is so unique in the mainstream world, most just haven’t heard it.  Here he is on national television, on a show that gets millions of viewers each week, and he’s single handedly going to be bringing the sounds of Ryan Adams, Mumford, and Wilco (and hopefully Wilco is in the AI catalog because Paul would do Jeff Tweedy proud I’m sure).  Now is the perfect time for Paul to be on American Idol, this music has been just waiting to break through, the amazing response to Mumford and the Avett Brothers at the Grammys this year shows that people are feeling this genre.

Last night he performed “Come Pick Me Up,” by Ryan Adams.  Brilliant song, Ryan Adams is an artist that makes you feel something.  How sad is it that Jennifer Lopez had never heard of him?  I guess too often I am stuck in my music bubble that it’s hard to believe someone that’s in the music industry hasn’t heard of people like Adams.  It was like after the Grammys… and people were saying, “who is Arcade Fire?”  That killed me.  AI’s viewers need Paul, and he said after his performance last night that, “he hopes we get it.”  I get it, I love that song, I feel that song in the pit of my stomach, deep in my heart.  And I guess I realize that not everyone is going to get it but it’s just so refreshing to hear him on the show.  I have a feeling that more people will get it when he pulls out his guitar and sings.  I cannot wait for that moment.

With Paul it’s really a win-win.  For the show its wonderful to bring in this entire new catalog of music and cater to a larger audience.  On the flip side, for the all of the artists that he’s covering its great exposure.  Paul has selling power.  As of 11 PM last night Ryan Adams was the second most searched topic on google.

Paul was in two bands prior to American Idol, “Hightide Blues” and “The Grand Magnolias.”  Both bands have had albums on sale on iTunes.  The Grand Magnolias have sky rocketed to the top of the Rock Charts on iTunes since Paul’s appearance on American Idol.  Interesting to note that when I went to check the chart position today, I was unable to find them on iTunes.  There’s a strong possibility that it has been removed due to legal issues with the show.  I will keep digging for information and keep you updated as I find out.

I’ll be writing every week about American Idol.  Early front runners in my mind are Pia and Casey.  Pia definitely has the look and voice for an Idol.  She is the more obvious choice in my mind. Casey, I love him.  He reminds me of the guy next door, jamming on his guitar, the kind of talent that is generally overlooked.  You can feel the music and his passion when he sings, I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch him perform live.  I love Scotty too, such a strong country voice.  I don’t even like country music that much but I do really like him.  Personally I love Paul, no surprise here.  But I’m not confident he can win the entire thing, nor do I think it would be good for him in the long run.  He needs his artistic freedom and I’m not sure that he would be able to accomplish that as the winner.  It will be interesting to see how this season pans out, I definitely would recommend people try watching American Idol this season… there’s sooo much talent this year, if you love music you have to see it.

Street Home Chicago

One of the best things about Chicago is the fabulous street performers.  You can find them sharing the gift of music all year long but there is an excitement in the air as the weather warms up and they come out of the train stations and spill onto the streets.  It’s truly the music in the summer that I believe electrifies the city.

There are many days that I will leave for work early or walk out of my way to see if my favorite guitar player or drummer is playing in their usual spot.  I love taking time out to show my appreciation for their gift.  I stumbled upon an amazing article in the Chicago Reader last week that introduced me to a not for profit organization supporting the street performers in the city.  The website launched a year and half ago and is gaining recognition quickly.  It is run by commuter, Gabriel Chapman, a musician himself, who started CSM to raise awareness of the performers talent and get them some club gigs.  Chapman’s story alone has been inspirational to me but the message he is trying to spread is larger than life.  This campaign launched with a showcase video featuring 16 musicians, most notably is likely to be singer Crystal Bowersox (prior to her audition at American Idol she was sharing her talent freely on our city streets).  This video shows everything that is unique and beautiful about this city.

Watching the street performers as a kid is one of my first memories of the big city and it is such a big part of how I fell in love with Chicago and why I live here today.  Tonight many dreams are coming true at House of Blues Chicago.  You can catch the talented street performers playing on stage live at their first ever “Street Home Chicago” concert.  Tickets are 10 bucks and the show starts at 9:30.  This is a great organization to support, hopefully they get a good crowd, they deserve it.

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