Category: Music

ARC Review: 12 Notes

Pub Date: 5 April 2022

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5/5

12 Notes: On Creativity and Life by Quincy Jones

Wisdom and musings on creativity and life from one of the world’s most beloved musicians, producers, and mentors, Quincy Jones

12 Notes is a self-development guide that will affirm that creativity is a calling that can and should be answered, no matter your age or experience. Drawing from his own life, and those of his many creative collaborators past and present, Quincy Jones presents readers with lessons that are hardworking and accessible, yet speak to the passion of self-expression. He includes sections as deep as how to transform grief into power, and as practical as how to set goals and articulate intentions through daily affirmations. Weaving his story throughout, Jones lets readers in on his own creative process, as well as the importance of letting honesty, hard work, and good relationships drive your career.

Review

Quincy Jones is a monumental figure in the music world, and being the music lover I am I jumped at the opportunity to read this. First of all, The Weeknd’s foreword was like a red carpet being rolled out for royalty and felt like the perfect introduction. It made me excited for what came ahead. But what I loved most about this work was that it wasn’t a memoir or biography, and every story had a reason, a moral or lesson to be learned. Jones is writing this book at the age of 88 and the wisdom he has to impart comes from years of experience on the road, in the studio, and through the trying times of the civil rights era.

Not only has he worked with greats like Michael Jackson and Ray Charles, but Quincy Jones earned countless awards, many times as the first African American to do so. Despite the many doubters to his career, Q came out on top and writes this book from a place of power. His passion beams through the pages and you can’t help but take that with you after the last page has turned. It was a concise read, every word spoken with purpose, and I truly enjoyed it. Highly recommend for music lovers and creatives who speak from their soul.

Thank you to the publisher ABRAMS for providing a copy of review via Netgalley.

Find 12 Notes: On Creativity and Life on Bookshop.org

Book Review: Set the Night on Fire

A few of my favorite things

Set the Night on Fire: Living, Dying, and Playing Guitar with the Doors
by Robby Krieger with Jeff Alulis

The Doors have always carried an air of mysticism for me. I first heard them as a child through my older sister and her friends, when I knew nothing of them but their haunting melodies and ability to transport you in a single song length. For instance, Riders on the Storm reminded me of the Tiny Toons episode where a family picks up a crazed hitchhiker after a trip to the theme park (the only concept I could conceive for “killer on the road”). The rainstorm is clear throughout the audio, the synth itself feels like raindrops, and Jim’s vocals create smooth, eerie tension. It’s both beautiful and creepy, it feels like a journey you know is dangerous but calls you all the same. That ability to transport is vivid in so many of their songs like Spanish Caravan, Moonlight Drive, and Roadhouse Blues.

As I got older The Doors were prevalent in pop culture, films like Lost Boys, and even though it was an Echo and the Bunnymen cover that spooky and sunny California air is perfectly embodied by The Doors’ classic People are Strange. Oliver Stone’s The Doors movie was one of those films that made the band into rock gods with wild lives that we as teenagers simply ate up. I even happened to stumble on Jim Morrison fanfics, reading an entire series dedicated to the poet and his tumultuous relationships.

So when I saw this book was available, written by Robby Krieger himself, I instantly dove. Once you’ve listened to the music and read the fan writings and the books of Jim’s poems, the chance to read all the Doors stories straight from the source is an absolute must and it did not disappoint.

Krieger breaks the stories down from their humble beginnings and that humility carries through the entire book. You never get the sense that these band members are the Rock Gods you see depicted in movies. All of those wild movie moments are dispelled into their small grains of truth and Krieger tells why there are so many Doors rumors around. Jim especially who’s been conceptualized as a drunken sex symbol is finally given the insight into his character that only someone who personally knew him well could give. There are so many cool stories that I urge anyone who’s a Jim fan (and dabbles in Jim fanfiction) to pick this one up just for that.

I expected to read a lot more about Robby’s own life, but as the title states he commits this book to mostly all Doors talk. He talks about his beginnings in guitar, his jazz and blues inspirations, and you get to follow his whole journey. After The Doors form and begin recording, he goes into detail about studio sessions spilling all kinds of recording secrets, things he wishes he could’ve changed, instances in the studios, and tidbits about how songs were recorded and overdubbed. You get to pull up tracks and listen to these songs in whole new ways.

The writing style is cool and laid back, even funny and very witty at times. It’s obvious that Robby has a gentle soul because even when there are tensions between the band members he never writes with anything like anger or spite. You can tell he looks back on his life with The Doors fondly. The entire work is a labor of love and if you love music the way I do, this book is an absolute must read.

Massive thank you to the publisher Little, Brown, and Company for providing a copy of this book for review.

Find Set the Night on Fire on Bookshop.org

Nick 13: Album on Repeat

Nick 13

In terms of genres, country isn’t one I automatically gravitate towards; but there’s something about the classic country and Americana sound that speaks to me. Psychobilly band Tiger Army has always been a favorite of mine, so when I came across the singer, Nick 13’s, solo album I was hooked. I wasn’t looking for it, but the dark country sound of “Carry My Body Down” showed up on my YouTube feed with the woody bass tone from the upright, the outlaw guitar twang, and Nick13 in a suit looking like a badass.

Every song on the album has its own character: from the upbeat drive on 101, and the elegant versions of Tiger Army’s In the Orchard and Cupid’s Victim, to the melancholic and mysterious All Alone. It’s one of the reasons this album has been on repeat for the past week. Nick 13 also does a fantastic job of storytelling on each track which is essential to a good country song.

Nashville Winter, my darling

Nashville Winter is a personal favorite of mine. It begins bright and hopeful, in a major key, where our narrator is anticipating the kind of journey you set on to find yourself. A bridge in minor begins to sprinkle some doubt when our narrator states he has no reason to leave, but that doubt quickly dissipates because it’s something that must be done. Our chorus chimes in and eases us into a sweet subdominant pocket as our narrator describes his journey. A solo section of surf-toned guitar and fiddle make us want to dance with our sweethearts as a pedal steel guitar segues us into the song’s uplifting conclusion where the narrator returns home to his darling.


Nick 13 is available for digital download and on vinyl, and can be found on all streaming platforms. It’s definitely one you want in your collection and I can’t wait for his next solo release.

Originally posted 17 October 2019