Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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An Ocean of Sound

If there was one singer that captured the fizzy sounds of the 1980s, it was Billy Ocean.

Kristi Kates - August 4th, 2014  

Born in Trinidad and raised in England, Ocean’s mellow, soulful voice captured the ears of pop music fans worldwide.

Now, 35 years after he began, he’s rolling back around with a whole new, yet familiar sound.

COOL COVERS

Billy Ocean’s songs defined the big hair era: “When the Going Gets Tough,” “Suddenly,” “There’ll Be Sad Songs,” “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car,” and “Caribbean Queen” fit perfectly into the adult-contemporary demographic.

His latest album, however, takes a step away from Ocean’s original music, as well as from his pop sensibilities.

For the album, called “Here You Are,” the title track is a statement “of where all of the other songs on this album have taken me to,” he said.

By those “other” songs, he means the range of cover songs he carefully selected, many of which are almost unrecognizable as covers because of Ocean’s unique voice and the striking arrangements.

SUNDAY SINGING

“As a boy in Trinidad, we used to hear calpyso and steel pan music,” said Ocean, whose father was also a musician. “One day he came home with a Philips radio, and I listened to American music for the first time.”

Songs like “Cry Me a River” and “A Change is Gonna Come” were some of the first to make an impression on the youthful Ocean.

His mother, a domestic worker, continued Ocean’s musical education, asking him to sing to her on Sundays while she did the ironing work.

“I would sing songs by Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, and Brook Benton,” Ocean said.

Since those days, he’s wanted to make an album using these songs that first inspired him to sing and helped him achieve his ambition to be a singer.

MUSICAL MUST-HAVES

One of Ocean’s “must-haves” for the album was Bob Marley’s famed “No Woman No Cry.”

Also on the set are Sinatra’s “It Was a Very Good Year,” Otis Redding’s “You Send Me,” and Nat King Cole’s “Time and the River.”

You’re likely to hear most of these tracks at Ocean’s upcoming performance in Manistee, as well as those radio-ready pop songs that fueled his fame.

“I love playing live,” Ocean said. “It’s great after 35 years to be able to play to an audience and have them sing along to all the songs, and to see them having a great time.”

Ocean said that each song means something special to different people.

“I am looking forward to all of us having a party,” he said.

Billy Ocean will perform at the Little River Casino Resort in Manistee on Saturday, August 9 at 8pm. For tix and more info, visit www.lrcr.com

 
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