We’ve reached the end of our countdown. I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to these songs as much as I have selecting them for you over the past few weeks. “Oh Come Divine Messiah” by Robbie Seay and Jennie Lee Riddle … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 12
Today’s song is the anthemic “Cinnamon & Chocolate” by Butterfly Boucher. It’s part of the Ten Out of Tenn Christmas Sampler. This is the first song of hers that I’ve heard. But if the rest of her music is half … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 10
I had never heard of the band Bensonwells prior to downloading their Christmas EP on Noisetrade. But when I heard the bridge on their version of “White Christmas” I knew it was a strong contender to make this year’s countdown. … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 9
Folk Angel formed in 2009 when four friends decided to “write and rearrange traditional Christmas songs, and through that creative process we retell the Gospel story.” Each year the band releases a new album of Christmas tunes. This version of … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 8
This has definitely been a coming out year for The Civil Wars. Their debut album Barton Hallow is near the top of several year end “Best Of” lists and they’ve played some prestigious gigs including The Tonight Show, Austin City Limits, … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 7
Today’s “12 Tunes” song features three brothers ages 9,13 and 14 who are already better at playing bluegrass music then any of us will ever be at anything in our lives. It’s been a big year for this trio of … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 6
Alright, I’ll admit it, I have a soft spot for Michael Bublé. My wife started listening to him a couple of years ago when she heard him crooning away on some old Sinatra tune on our local jazz station. His … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 5
For many, the word “Christmas” is synonymous with “love” and “redemption.” In our home those words are also synonymous with the music of Over the Rhine. Each year I share a holiday tune from our favorite songwriting duo. This year … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 4
I’m a sucker for lighthearted Christmas songs. Especially those songs that paint a picture of jovial winter scenes that conjure up feelings of love and happiness. It is Christmastime after all. That’s why I immediately took a liking to this … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 2
Every year there seems to be one holiday album that I discover early on that really helps put me in the Christmas spirit. That album this year was A Very She & Him Christmas by Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, the duo … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 1
Though I’ve possibly made you believe otherwise with the HO-HO-HORRIBLE CHRISTMAS SONG COUNTDOWN I actually do really enjoy Christmas music. Each year I do a “12 Tunes of Christmas” countdown on my blog featuring some of my favorite Christmas songs … Continue reading 12 Tunes of Christmas – Coming December 13th!
It started with a simple question on Facebook, “What’s your least favorite Christmas tune?” There were so many great suggestions that I decided it would fun to put them all head-to-head in brackets and see which one truly emerged as … Continue reading The Ho-Ho-Horrible Christmas Song Countdown!
The NFL season kicks off on Thursday night as the New Orleans Saints take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Each year we invite people to participate in our Pick’Em league on Yahoo! Sports. This is our ninth … Continue reading It’s NFL Pick’Em time!
You have to give the kid credit for following instructions. And never questioning authority. (ht: failblog.org) Continue reading Connect the dots.
We’ve had plenty of beautiful white snow this December. This song is more about those feelings than it is about Christmas. Here’s Fleet Foxes with White Winter Hymnal. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 8
There are an estimated 250,000 women incarcerated in the United States. In this tune Sara Groves sings a gorgeous rendition of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear to a beautiful handful of them. You can download this entire live album … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 7
The boys have really enjoyed the Christmas album by The Chipmunks this year. Though, I can’t bring myself to post it on the countdown. So here’s the best song from that album, from one of my favorite Christmas albums instead. … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 6
This past year we elected a new governor here in NY. Much to my dismay it was not Jimmy McMillan. I have no idea how this guy got on the ballot, but he was so completely crazy I couldn’t help … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 3
The Genesee Brewing Company has been making beer at the same High Falls location since 1878. It withstood Prohibition, numerous ownership changes and the more recent consumer trend toward “craft” brews. Through it all it has dutifully rolled out barrel after … Continue reading Genesee Beer
“Hey, you! Can I have your autograph?” A cluster of children had gathered down by the visiting team’s bullpen. Everyone who came through the turnstiles at Colburn Park that day was given a souveneir baseball with our home team’s logo printed on … Continue reading The one that never faded
Dear Genesee Brewing Company: Congratulations on the recent news that you’ve created a few production jobs and are adding a third shift. Had your Buffalo-based marketing team not been asleep at the wheel, there could have been a few of these billboards along the 490 corridor to coincide with the announcement. It might have provided a boost to local morale, as well as local interest in your product. Regards, Shane Continue reading Manufacturing Jobs.
Don’t tell my dad this, but when I was a kid I would occasionally go without food at school so I could spend my lunch money on baseball cards. With the money my mother gave me for lunch each day, I could buy three packs of 1987 Topps cards. At the time it seemed like a pretty sweet trade in exchange for some lousy cafeteria food. I was obsessed. I just loved holding those cards in my hands and reading all the stats. I would spend hours learning all the players names, what teams they played for and what town they grew … Continue reading Countdown to “Opening Day”
Dear Ford Motor Company: Please feel free to use this as your next billboard campaign. Free of charge. Please remember me the next time you have an opening in marketing. Sincerely, Shane Continue reading No Bailouts. No Recalls.
Closing out this year’s countdown we are reminded of the why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. With the Man in Black paying tribute to the Man from Galilee. You can find this track on The Christmas Spirit by Johnny Cash. Merry Christmas everyone. Johnny Cash – Here Was a Man Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 12
Ex Nihilo is the worship band at Mars Hill Church in Seattle – where Mark Driscoll is the pastor. This year they re-recorded seven classic Christmas songs for a release titled Silent Night: Seven Old Songs Made New Again. This dramatic version of “What Child is This?” is available as a free download. You can purchase the rest of the album through iTunes. Ex Nihilo – What Child is This? Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 11
Well, we’ve come full circle. First Ray LaMontagne covered Ray Charles, then Ray Charles covered Charles Brown. Charles Brown played one of his own. It seems appropriate that we carry our theme into a song from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. You can find this track on the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. The Vince Guaraldi Trio – The Christmas Song Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 10
Ray LaMontagne covering Ray Charles. Ray Charles covering Charles Brown. I think we’re onto something … Here’s Charles Brown, with the unequivocal Dr. John, performing his hit song “Come Home for Christmas” live on David Letterman. You can see the performance here. Charles Brown (feat. Dr. John) – Come Home for Christmas Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 9
I couldn’t possibly include a Ray Charles cover in the countdown, especially one of his most famous Christmas songs, without offering up one by the man himself. Here’s Brother Ray doing a cover of “Merry Christmas Baby” by Charles Brown. It was recorded at a performance in The Monastery Of Ettal in Germany in 1979. You can watch the video here. Ray Charles – Merry Christmas Baby Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 8
If there was one voice that was sorely missing from my Christmas music collection in years past, it was that of Ray LaMontagne. Thankfully that is no longer the case. Here he is performing a live rendition of “That Spirit of Christmas” by Ray Charles at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. You can watch a video of this performance here. Ray LaMontagne – That Spirit of Christmas Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 7
Alright, time to lighten up a bit. I stumbled across this song randomly on the internet. I don’t know anything about Thea Gilmore other than the fact that I really dig this tune. You can find it on her new Christmas album titled Strange Communion (Note the free download of this track.) Enjoy! Thea Gilmore – That’ll Be Christmas Continue reading 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 6
It wouldn’t be a “12 Tunes of Christmas” countdown without a song by Over the Rhine. This live version of “Snow Angel” can be found on their Live From Nowhere – Vol. 3 release. Christmas can be a bittersweet time of year for many people. The beauty and joyfulness of the holiday season often comes with a tinge of pain, particularly for those who have lost someone dear to them during this special time of year. I remember, as a young boy, being in the room as my grandfather breathed his last breath on Christmas Eve morning. Last Christmas Day … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 5
When I credited Jack Johnson with this song last year I was pretty embarassed to learn that it was originally a Stevie Wonder tune. Apparently I was the only person on the face of the planet who had never heard it before. So I figured this year I had better make ammends by posting Stevie’s original – and superior – version of “Someday at Christmas.” This song can be found on Stevie Wonder’s 1967 Motown Records release by the same name – Someday at Christmas. Someday at Christmas – Stevie Wonder Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 4
A few months ago I introduced you to the songwriting and recording style of a duo called Pomplamoose. Their style is unique in that they record video along with the audio and mix both to produce their “Video Songs.” If you hear something in the mix, you see it at some point in the video as well. This song was part of a project titled “YouTube Christmas” where a number of musicians collaborated via YouTube to compose music for the holiday season. They joined up with another YouTube “Video Song” artist named Wade Johnston – who plays a mean ukulele. … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 3
Typically speaking, when I think of G Love I think of summer – cold beverages, care free days and good times. But I suppose that feeling need not be limited to the warm weather months. You can find this track on This Warm December: A Brushfire Holiday Vol. 1. Christmas Baby – G Love Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 2
Last year Rosie Thomas released what has become one of my absolute favorite Christmas albums of all time. This is the song that gets that record started. It just sounds like a warm crackling fire and a big glass of red wine to my ears. Curl up with someone you love. We’ve got all night. Christmastime is Here – Rosie Thomas Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 1
Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if you took some quotes from two of the most brilliant minds ever to grace the face of the Earth (Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking), set it some trippy synth loops and had Jack White autotune the hell out of it? Me neither. But this is oddly fantabulous. Continue reading A Glorious Dawn
Each year two toys are selected for induction into the Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, NY. Toys are nominated for the Hall of Fame based on the following criteria: • Icon-status (the toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered) • Longevity (the toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations) • Discovery (the toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play) • Innovation (the toy profoundly changed play or toy design) The nominees for the Class of 2009 have been announced. Cast your vote to see which … Continue reading Cast your vote for the Toy Hall of Fame!
It looks like the cat’s officially out of the bag on this one. I’m sorry I couldn’t share this with you guys sooner! For those interested in reading the full article, you can do so here. Continue reading “Shane Bertou Co-Authors New Donald Miller Book”
Researchers at the University of Rochester recently discovered that when they injected the blue dye found in M&Ms and Gatorade into rats with spinal cord injuries, the rats were able to walk again with a limp. The only side effect was that the rats temporarily turned blue. There’s no word on whether prolonged treatment will also make them the object of obsession for crazy old wizards and their pet cats. Continue reading Miracle dye?
One of the things I love about Donald Miller’s writing is his off-center sense of humor. On more than one occasion I’ve been known to laugh out loud at something he has written in one of his books. (For example:, his comparison of the Christian faith to penguin sex.) Well, today I was able to return the favor. It’s a long story involving a silly little contest he held on his blog yesterday where readers were asked to look at a photo and try to come up with a funny explanation for it. Apparently I was the big winner. My … Continue reading I just totally made Donald Miller LOL!
The image in the center is an actual photo of me. For the images on the left and right I isolated half my face and mirrored that image to make a complete picture of my head. The one to your left is what I would look like if my head were symmetrical with the left side of my face. The image on the right is what I would look like if the rest of my head were symmetrical with the right side. I find it fascinating how different some of my facial features are in each photo. Particularly, the angle … Continue reading Fun with asymmetry
Do you realize that in two short hours the world is going to come to a grinding halt? Well, maybe not. But here on the east coast the date and time will be exactly 12:34:56 07/08/09. That will (obviously) be the first second time that’s ever happened in history this century today. If it is the end, let’s at least go out with some good tunes. Continue reading 12:34:56 07/08/09
I do believe I just had the perfect lunch break. The weather is gorgeous today so I decided it would be nice to get outside for some fresh air during lunch. The Jazz Fest is going on this week, so when my wife told me about the free concerts at the downtown library it was a no-brainer as to where I’d be heading on my walk. My ten minute stroll took me through Washington Square Park which was particularly peaceful this afternoon as dozens of business people enjoyed their lunches in the shade of the trees that line the park. … Continue reading The perfect lunch break.
I admit it. I don’t hate this song. In fact, when it came on the radio in my car yesterday I found myself turning it up and humming along … a little. Alright, now it’s your turn to come clean. What’s your current guilty pleasure? Continue reading Guilty pleasure