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Acoustic Artists

Acoustic artists, well thats what i want to talk about. Mostly i’d like to introduce all who read this to some new acoustic music thats awesome and that perhaps you’ve never heard of. To start i’d like to name a few artists that i’ll be discussing, those being: Iron and Wine, Matt Costa, Ari Hest, Damien Rice, and Jaymay

Jaymay. Now not alot of people if anyone has heard of Jaymay. Here is a link to my favorite song “Sea Green See Blue” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTY0z8l7k7E. I’d definitely recommend listening to Corduroy and “Gray or Blue.” One thing i love about Jaymay’s style is that shes almost too cliche with her stories that she tells through her lyrics, which makes it appeal to a lot of people allowing them to connect on an emotional side to the stories she tells with her lyrics. While on the other end, I find some of her wording and the way she goes about portraying the consistent cliche situations is definitely quirky and different, which is what brings so much appeal from me to her music (not to mention her voice).

Iron and Wine. Iron and Wine is the stage name of an artist named Samuel Beam. Although not well known, one song did land a spot on the Twilight Soundtrack with the song title of “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” and another hit “Naked As We Came” was featured on Numb3rs season 3 episode, Grey’s Anatomy season 2 soundtrack, and plenty of other TV shows. These are the main songs that have brought Iron and Wine out into what I’ll call “the musical playing field.” Although these songs are the most known and most recognized, i personally prefer “Boy With A Coin” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHw7gdJ14uQ) and “Carousel” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFBHGlBnsaM) as a better showcase of the full potential of Iron and Wine. Another song that portrays the amazing finger-picking style of Sam, is “Communion Cups and Someones Coat” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HND2P_ezkag) which is one of my favorites by them. I definitely enjoy the live versions of Iron and Wine more than the album versions, seeing that he is normally accompanied while performing live instead of harmonizing with himself he has another to do the harmonizing, which in my opinion sounds much better. The live at Bonnaroo 2005 series has a great song lineup.

Ari Hest and the 52 project, let me expand. Ari Hest did something called the 52 project that included of a full year of him writing one song per week and posting this song up for download on the internet accompanied with an explanation on how the inspiration for writing the song came about. He ended up letting the fans choose their favorite 12 songs and made an album called “Twelve Mondays” making reference to the day of the week he put out the songs to be downloaded. 2 of my favorites, which does include many of the 52, are “Reason To Believe” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTY0z8l7k7E and “Cranberry Lake.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTY0z8l7k7E “Reason To Believe” is a simple song, but has a depth behind it when the story is known. It long, but if you want to learn more about it look up the 52 project on his website Arhiest.com. The latter, “Cranberry Lake,” has a good flow given from a different rhythm from the guitar. I also am a great admirer of both genders in one song and sometimes harmonizing, it adds almost another dimension to the music.

Matt Costa. I came across Matt as an artist while listening to Jack Johnson’s “Let It Be Sung” in which Matt Costa stars as one of the 3 artists. “Sunshine” by Matt Costa is one of my favorite upbeat acoustic songs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O9GoqsvuA8 It displays Matt’s great vocal range and ability to keep good tone. Another great upbeat song by Matt is “Yellow Taxi.”

Last but not least Damien Rice. I don’t even know where to start with Damien Rice. Well first off, i’d definitely say that his music is more of an “acquired taste” as they say. He has a wonderful control and usage of dynamics in his music, which sometimes can make his music almost drag on, but on the other hand gives his music much more depth. His voice is definitely different and was hard for me to like, but as I’ve given him a chance and payed more attention to his music I’ve grown to love his music. His lyrics are also superb. In “Cannonball” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJbz5HaKCJc (keep in mind i was between two different videos, this video is much more entertaining to watch than the official video, and has no drums in it which i prefer, but definitely give the original version a listen) it has a great showcase of his lyrical ability. Another song “Eskimo” while completely lyrically incomprehensible, for me at lest, the song is definitely a good example of something a little more out there. The song has a slower beginning and midway through has an opera singer belting the words, some in English and i think the rest in Finnish.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7cx1UKmzR8 Here is another version with not such a crazy “mid-song crisis” haha but if you’d like to her the real studio version just click on the side to listen, its definitely worth it :)

Hope you enjoyed and picked up an artist to help you relax and enjoy life.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Not Hoping Happiness Passes By

“We can’t let surroundings control our happiness.” -Anonymous  Although surroundings can play a part in our happiness, we ultimately have control over our own happiness. After hearing a talk in church about how to be happy, I’ve wanted to share my personal opinion and feelings towards the idea of choosing to be happy and understanding how we can be happy. I feel theres 3 general areas of happiness that contribute to our overall happiness, those being: Heart, Future, and Physical.Heart: Spencer W. Kimball said that being loved is something that everyone yearns for. No matter who we are, we all long to be loved by someone. Loving and feeling loved are huge components in being happy. I personally am a huge believer in doing all i can to make other people feel loved, needed, and important, it makes me ecstatic to see other people glowing in confidence and having a heap of self worth. Feeling loved can sometimes be a battle thats hard to overcome. People don’t generally go running around parading their real feelings for you for everyone to hear, so we might not get to hear how much certain people love us enough to please our needs. This part takes a lot of self discipline to be able to overcome. TO be able to recall and remember how people feel about you is difficult because there is something that has a different effect when they actually say it. I remember back a few years my mom was a leader over girls that were my age in a church group, and they had a sleepover at our house. My brothers and I all went to our friends house down the road. When i returned the following day I found tons of little notes with compliments on them all around my room. I didn’t necessarily know who wrote which ones, but that happened around 5 years ago, and i still have those compliments on the little ripped pieces of notebook paper. That is one of the ways i tend to remember is by keeping tangible things that i guess “prove” peoples love and appreciation for me. Now I’m not expert at any of this, so that’s just one of my ideas, but if you happen to have a problem with feeling loved, i hope you’ll find a way to see the many great things about you that you know you have. So the two parts of Happiness in Heart are loving others, and being/feeling loved.Future: I feel this part is the most important parts of being happy. We all know ourselves quite well, what we do, think, and desire regardless of situations, people, or places. A lot of happiness comes feeling that we are worth something. We can evaluate ourselves and see where we are currently. When some of us do this, we feel that we’ve been making progress in our lives, and see the worth in ourselves. Many people tend to look at the other end of the spectrum, the I-keep-on-failing-at-this-this-and-this-Wheres-my-worth?  side. No matter who we are we have this side of the spectrum, whether we focus on it a lot as some do, or whether we tend to ignore it, its there. What worth we measure ourselves to plays a big part in the difference that each person feels with their own set of circumstances. Some use their religion to help measure where they should be at, others use relatives, successful friends, or people portrayed by media influences. This is where a lot of people get mixed up and choose a wrong point from which they judge their personal standing. While a religion is ok to use as a point, what most people get mixed up in is putting themselves up against other people of that same religion. To me, finding self worth in ourselves has more to do with whether we are progressing forward and becoming a better person or not. It doesn’t matter if I’m running a race where I am, if I give up 98% of the way through or 4% of the way through, I still gave up. If im running, jogging, or walking  I’m still getting closer to the end result. Therefore what we need to do to start feeling a self worth is start heading towards the finish line! Doesn’t matter if you’re running or not, before you do anything else, turn that direction and start walking. We gain self worth as we plan for how we can improve and work towards the goals we set. We break unwanted habits, and replace them with better ones that have more worth to us, which in turn helps us feel more self worth. When we lack happiness in this area, I think a lot of it comes from failing our goals and/or not working hard enough towards our goals to feel satisfied, which is a long constant battle we all have with ourselves. Something we’ll deal with forever. Personally when I look back in my life I’ve come a long way from where I used to be, so I can clearly see how I’ve been slowly but surely growing in my personal worth. At sometimes I feel different, but taking the time I realize that I’m still growing and I’m ok with that. We all need to step back and take a look at the big picture sometimes to be able to feel that self worth we all look for.

Physical: As much as I’d like to believe that its all mental and we can control that purely by thinking right, its still got something to do with our bodies. How healthy we are and our physical state can play a big part in our evaluation of our self worth, but that’s why its important to eat well to keep out body working in a normal working state if possible. A lot from this part comes in the Future part and setting goals to fix this category. Another thing that comes into play is that your body actually can do things that produce endorphins which make you happy, such as exercising to relieve stress, smiling, laughing, and being in the sun.

Now although i may not have covered everything or been a perfect fix for your personal problem, I hope that I was in some way able to help you recognize the problem or maybe help is some other way. To end I’d like to leave another good quote.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” - Dalai Lama

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