The Mid-Week Beat: Paying Tribute This Weekend

elvis-impersonators-590x310As many musicians out there know, a large portion of learning to be a instrumentalist or songwriter is learning to properly steal from your influences. Many musicians struggle to be original but chances are, someone has played the combination of chords and notes that you “wrote” before. That said, if you really get down to it, the actual notes and chords don’t really matter. It’s what you bring to those chords that matters; your unique perspective and individual playing style. No matter what you do to differentiate your sound from sounds of the past, there’s bound to be a little of your influences in there somewhere. That’s okay, as long as you also bring a little of yourself into the mix as well.

With that said, there are two very different ways to approach a tribute show. Some artists attempt to re-create the exact sound of the artist they’re paying tribute to, others choose to re-interpret an artists songs in their own unique way. I find the latter to be more enjoyable because it really distills music down to its pure form and pays homage to the folk tradition, where songs were passed down over the years; constantly changing and being re-interpreted. By interpreting a song in their own voice, a musician ensures that those songs will continue to grow and change for years to come. Songs by revered songwriters like Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen are constantly being changed and re-interpreted by musicians, while artists like Elvis or Neil Diamond often get impersonated, with musicians donning their cadence, look and stage presence.

Today on the Mid-Week Beat, we feature both kinds of tributes: impersonations and interpretations. If you’re a fan of the original artists, chances are you’re going to enjoy hearing the songs you love regardless of whether they’re done straight or in an entirely different style. What matters are the songs.
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Bellevue Jazz Festival Is Coming. Get Your Discounted Tickets Now!

We’ve featured the Bellevue Jazz Festival before on this blog and there’s good reason.  It always has a stellar lineup featuring top-notch talent and this year they’ve outdone themselves once again with headlining performances by the legendary Booker T. Jones (of Booker T and the MGs), the Grammy nominated Clayton Brothers Quintet and Downbeat Magazine‘s 2011 Flutist of the Year, Hubert Laws. The festival takes place on May 30 to June 3 but they’re offering an exclusive presale offer giving you an opportunity to get tickets at 30% off the general ticket price, a full week before tickets go on sale to the public. They’re offering this incredible deal until Friday, April 13 so head right over here, enter “Presale” as the discount code and get yours right away because these won’t last long.

Personally, I’m excited for Booker T. Jones, the creator of the Memphis-soul organ sound of countless Stax Records hits. Not only did he play on such soul classics as “Green Onions” but he also played on hits from Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Johnnie Taylor and Bill Withers. Booker T was only seventeen when they released “Green Onions” so he’d already sealed his place in music history before he’d event hit twenty! Not bad. Since then, he’s earned a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement and has played on records by Ray Charles, Neil Young, Drive By Truckers and even, East Bay punk rockers Rancid.

So, not only do you get to see legendary and award winning national performers but you also get more than forty additional performances by regional talent at bars and restaurants throughout downtown Bellevue.  If I were you, I’d clear your calendar for May 30 to June 2 and get your discounted tickets now! If you love great music, you’ll be glad you did. Remember to enter “Presale” in the discount code box!

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