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The Hanslick Girls

"Three is company, safe and cheery" -Stephen Sondheim

Category / Music

Brandi Carlile’s “Give Up The Ghost” with Kaysy Ostrom

“That’s how you know it’s on vinyl,” Kaysy grinned. From the speakers, the crackle of the record could barely be heard –– but in the empty room, it was clear as any other voice.

“What’s the typical phrase…” Gwen mused, tapping her chin. “It sounds ‘warmer?’”

“I’ve never understood that,” said Dania. “It’s music, how is it gonna be warm?”

Seemingly in response, the album began just as Dania finished speaking, with a strum across the guitar and an insistent rhythm on the bass string. Before more than a moment had passed, a voice joined the tune and provided the beginnings of a story.

I went out looking for the answers / and never left my town…

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The Television Virtuoso: Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed A Dream”

“Ten years?” Eleanor said, with considerable shock.

“Yep, it was 2009,” Gwen confirmed. She tilted her computer screen towards her friends, showing them clearly the Wikipedia article with the date inscribed on the top.

“Wow,” Eleanor said. “It feels way more recent than that.”

“I’d say it feels longer,” Dania replied. “I mean, when was the last time you thought about Susan Boyle, really?”

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The World On Fire: Haven Theatre’s “The Total Bent”

Compared to the raucous live performances throughout the evening, Dania couldn’t help but feel the slightest tinge of letdown when the pre-recorded 1960s hits came through the speakers as the house lights rose. She longed for a version of the songs with the same raw power as the songs in The Total Bent had possessed –– but admitted to herself that perhaps that was impossible to capture on record.

“What a gutpunch,” Dania said, glancing up to the illuminated cross at centerstage. Around the stage, musicians were just packing up their instruments, scattered around the stage. Only the two keyboard players –– Frederick Harris and Jermaine Hill –– were listed as members of the cast, but it has been difficult to divorce the remaining quartet of band members from the narrative.

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Upright And In Focus: Esperanza Spalding’s “Esperanza”

January was not a time to listen to holiday music. Eleanor knew this, and she impulsively glanced around the room to make sure no one could hear through her headphones.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

The song had been stuck in her head all day at work –– one of those rough repetitions where she knew she just had to listen to the real song once to push the melody out of her system. It was a specific rendition of the carol, the one performed by John Legend on his just-released holiday album, and featuring the guest vocals (and, one presumed, bassline) of Esperanza Spalding.

Make the yuletide gay…from now on, our troubles will be miles…away…

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