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Audiobook: James Taylor

I just listened to ‘Break Shot: My First 21 Years‘ by James Taylor on Audible. Taylor recounts his first 21 years in very personal and moving terms while interspersing his wonderful music.

The audiobook is only 90-minutes long and worth every minute. Here are a couple of highlights that really resonated with me:

  • “Memory is tricky. We remember how it felt, not necessarily how it was. Songs grow out of memories.”
  • “We want to go back and fix something that has already vanished and can never be corrected. But we can correct it in a song . . . .”

This audiobook is free to Audible members and free with a trial through April 2, 2020. I would have gladly paid for this gem of an audiobook.

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Apple AirPods Pro – First Impressions

The original AirPods didn’t stay in my ears. I returned them to Apple for a refund. Apple AirPods Pro stay in my ears just fine. I ended up with the largest ear tips after running the Apple Ear Tip Test on my iPhone.

The sound is phenomenal. The noise cancellation is impressive. These aren’t just for podcasts. My favorite music sounds like it’s just there.

The AirPods are exceptionally comfortable. I barely feel anything in my ear.

I have nothing but praise for this product. They are, in my opinion, worth every penny. The Apple magic is there. Full stop.

Apple AirPods Pro
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Music: New Johnny Hallyday Album

A newly released Johnny Hallyday album called “Johnny” is out. Hallyday — often called the “French Elvis” — had a 57 year career during which he released 79 albums and sold more than 110 million records worldwide. He died in 2017 at the age of 74. He sang beautifully.

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Music: Oliver Dragojević

In 2019, I visited Croatia as part of a Rick Steves tour and our guide introduced us to the music of Oliver Dragojević , who was a beloved Croatian singer. He was born in Vela Luka on the Croatian island of Korčula in 1947 when it was part of Yugoslavia and died in Split in 2018 in present day Croatia.

Dragojević performed around the world and will be honored with a concert at Spaladium Arena in Split for his birthday on December 7, 2019. 

I love his music and have listened to hours of it. I am so glad I was introduced to this great artist even though I don’t speak or understand his language. The audience in the following video seems to adore him. During my visit to Croatia, Croatians spoke about him with great love and admiration.

2CELLOS & Oliver Dragojevic – Sto To Bjese Ljubav

Apple Music

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Music: Tony Carreira

Portuguese singer Tony Carreira has a beautiful voice. Here he performs with Lara Fabian in a beautiful duet:

Carreira initially made a name for himself as an entertainer among Portuguese immigrants living in France.

iTunes

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Music: Stacey Kent

Stacey Kent is an American jazz singer with a glorious voice. She was born in 1965 in New Jersey and is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. Her paternal was a grandfather Russian who grew up in France and later moved to the United States where he taught Kent French. Once she learned French, it was the only language she spoke with her grandfather. Kent travelled to England after college to study music in London, where she met saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, whom she married in 1991.

I have the impression Kent is better known in France than in the United States. Her album Raconte-moi was recorded in French and became the second best selling French language album worldwide in 2010.

Kent has also faced serious health challenges. In a 2004 interview with Robert Kaiser of The Washington Post, Kent recounted that she’s been in comas three times caused by brainstem encephalitis:

Each time, baffled doctors were not certain they could bring her back. The last coma was in 1999, and Tomlinson nursed her through it. On doctors’ advice, he brought records to her hospital room. When she awoke he was playing Mildred Bailey, one of the great jazz singers of the ’30s. “There’s just so much emotion in that voice,” Kent says. “It’s a cry — even when she’s singing a happy song.”

I love Stacey Kent’s music and recently discovered this marvelous 2018 interview en français with her. It is also available as a podcast on iTunes and Overcast.

You can listen to Stacey Kent’s sublime voice on Spotify or iTunes. She also has a lovely website worth exploring.

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Music: Lara Fabian

Lara Fabian sings beautifully and speaks four languages: French, Spanish, Italian and English. She was born in Belgium to a Flemish father and an Italian mother. I especially love her French music. Fabian is best known for the dance pop song “I Will Love Again,” which was released in 2000 and peaked at number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I saw her perform in Washington, DC in 2018 at the Warner Theater and her voice knocked my socks off.

Her music is in the same genre as Laura Pausini with whom she has performed. Together they are an exceptional treat.

Lara Fabian and Laura Pausini
Lara Fabian TV Interview

Lara Fabian on iTunes

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Music: Shannon LaBrie

Shannon LaBrie is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist from Lincoln, NE. She’s lived in Nashville, TN, since 2008. Her voice is glorious.

iTunes

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Michel Legrand 1932 – 2019

I have enjoyed Michel Legrand’s beautiful music for as long as I can remember.

The New York Times reports that he:

recorded more than 100 albums, with such disparate stars as Maurice Chevalier (for whom he worked as an accompanist early in his career), Kiri Te Kanawa, Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne and Barbra Streisand. Others who recorded his music ranged from Frank Sinatra to Sting.

Michel Legrand, hommage on Spotify