Sunday, April 5, 2009

Raising Money to End Hunger

A couple of friends of mine are taking part in a walk in NYC on April 18th to raise money for Concern Worldwide. Here's the letter from one of them (Gary) with links:

Another day like any other day and there are people starving in the world. Thousands of them. Did you know that a child dies from hunger-related illnesses every five seconds? Go ahead. Count. 1…2…3…4…5. There’s one. Every five seconds.

Concern Worldwide ( is a non-governmental, international, humanitarian organization dedicated to the reduction of suffering and working towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries.

To that end, they hold a hunger fun run/walk in Central Park every year in April. This year, I’ll be taking part in the event to raise money for Concern Worldwide and their American affiliate, Concern USA. My wife, Nancy, and my friend, Jim, and I have formed a team, Running Down a Dream, and we’ll be walking (or slowly running) the 4 miles through Central Park to raise money and awareness of this organization and the great work they do.

The economy hasn’t made giving very easy and no one expects anyone to give a lot. But even if you donate one dollar, it’s something. If you can give more, $5, $10, $20 or even $50, that’ll go a long way to helping Concern Worldwide continue their mission throughout the world.

We’re all on this planet to help each other, to make a difference, to do something greater than what we believe we’re capable of. We can end hunger and the suffering going on around the world. We just need to reach out and give a little.

Thank you in advance for any donation you can afford. Please pass this letter and these links to everyone you know and together we can end hunger.

Thank you for your time. We now return you to your normally scheduled reading.

Gary . . .

If you’d like to join our team, you can get more information on the Hunger Fun Run/Walk here:

My personal donation page is

Information on Concern Worldwide (USA) can be found here:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Songs of the Year, 2008

Let the lists begin.....

Keane: "Perfect Symmetry" Sweeping and soaring, the title song of Keane's third album, has a memorable keyboard riff, philosophical musings about humanity and is infectious in its melancholy epicness. When singer Tom Chaplin lets loose with the phrase "wrap yourself around me" at the song's middle eight, you can't help losing yourself in the music.

Coldplay: "Viva La Vida" Seemingly ubiquitous this summer, Coldplay's string riffed anthem is one of the band's best. About a fall from power and grace ("sweep the streets I used to own"), the song is gorgeous, melodic and as with the rest of the album, with a dash of the unexpected and surprising.

The Verve: "Judas" Continuing the theme of "melancholy epicness", this song from the Verve's reunion album contains the usual Richard Ashcroft theme of searching, "I keep seeking, cause I gotta know" and "For a dream to happen, you gotta let it go" amid a swirling soundscape that is pure Verve.

Vusi Mahlasela: "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" An exquisite cover of the U2 song. Stripping the song of bombast, the South African singer makes it his own and delivers a powerful reading of Bono's lament for his father.

Last Shadow Puppets: "Standing Next To You" The best track from Arctic Monkey Alex Turner's project with Miles Kane , is a seemingly lost song from the sixties, all strings and echoed vocals delivering more "epicness" but in just a little over two minutes.

Vampire Weekend: "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" The first song I heard from the Columbia grads terrific debut. Afro-pop meets preppy and musical magic is made.

The Fireman: "Sing The Changes" A fine moment from Sir Paul and Youth's side project which now comes with vocals. Soaring and anthemic and a perfect soundtrack to the Obama victory.

Will Young: "Let It Go" From the pop album of the year, this British singer comes into his own with the album and its title track, which yearns to let go of what we can't control while affirming that "I've only got one life/Heaven knows what I'm stressing for".

Honorable Mentions to:

Paul Weller: "Cold Moments"
REM: "Hollow Man" and "Supernatural Superserious"
Kathleen Edwards "Buffalo"
Elvis Costello "No Hiding Place"
Goldfrapp "A&E"
Lindsey Buckingham "Treason"
Billy Bragg "I Keep Faith"

Monday, December 22, 2008


Sorry for the lack of posts lately...but we shall return soon with a roundup of the best music of 2008 as well as some film, book and other tasty recommendations. You know how music fans just can't resist lists.

Until then have a joyous, peaceful and happy holiday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


(Red)Wire will launch on December 1, World Aids Day, with its first selection of music that will benefit the (Red) organization, which though the Global Fund helps HIV infected people in Africa. Bob Dylan, U2, R.E.M., Coldplay, the Killers and Elvis Costello are among the first artists signed up for the initiative. For both creativity and humanitarianism (and some potentially great music) this is a terrific idea on many levels. Oh, and this holiday season you'll also be able to help the Global Fund through Starbucks by drinking some of their holiday coffees.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A new day breaks...

For today only, Bruce Springsteen's new single, "Working on a Dream", will be available as a free download from iTunes and the official Bruce Springsteen site. (The digital single will go on sale beginning tomorrow). The song is a preview from the album of the same name, which will be released on January 27. So, 2009 will start off as a banner year with a major new album from Bruce, the follow up to last year's terrific Magic. The new single is a gently swaying pop tune with some sunny and hopeful lyrics and was first performed live by Bruce at an Obama rally just a couple of days before the election.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sing the Changes

As we transition away from the campaign to the Obama presidency, it seems that it is about time to address some other issues that this blog is intended to address, namely: music! and film! and books!

This seems a perfect time to transition on the blog and mention the imminent release of Electric Arguments from the Fireman. Who are the Fireman you may ask? None other than Sir Paul McCartney and the DJ Youth, who first and anonymously released two albums in the nineties. Now, with anonymity long gone, the duo are set to release their third album; and this one from what I've heard is basically the McCartney follow-up to last year's terrific Memory Almost Full. Unlike the previous albums, which were experiments in dance and electronica, Electric Arguments boasts lyrics and song structures, albeit not quite what we would expect on a traditional album from Sir Paul. I first heard the brilliant song "Sing the Changes" with its soaring melody and almost otherworldly backing vocals (compliments of Sir Paul himself) a few weeks before the election, and I thought it would make the perfect song and anthem for an Obama victory. I think it beautifully captures what came to pass on November 4.

You can hear the song at the Fireman site as well as stream the entire album on NPR's site. Electric Arguments is released on November 25 and we'll be putting a full review of the album up soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Yes we did. November 4 truly brought change to America. Hope is alive and the work is ahead of us, but this is a truly inspiring and wonderful moment for the United States.