News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Equalizer: Cool Music
BY JONAS BEALS
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Well, folks, it looks like summer is finally here. Don’t expect too many of those comfortable 50-degree nights for the next two months. It’ll be 90-degree days and sweaty evenings from here on out.
There are the traditional methods of beating the heat: air conditioning, swimming pools, giant trash cans filled with ice, lying on the basement floor. And then there are the more experimental methods of cooling off: meditation, dressing as a penguin, swallowing ice cubes, listening to cold music.
I’m no doctor, nor am I a scientist of any sort, but if I were, I would say that it is a medical certainty that the right songs can cool you off like a hug from a yeti. For example:
“Ice Cold Daydream” by Shuggie Otis
Funk is a genre normally associated with heat and sweaty, dancing masses. But this song is a crisp, refreshing blast that should inspire your internal thermometer to drop a few degrees.
“Cold Shoulder” by Garth Brooks
Aside from having “cold” in its name, this is a good song to help idle your overworked motor. A slow tempo coupled with allusions to snow-swept highways make this the perfect love song for putting a welcome chill on the evening.
“Snow and Lights” by Explosions In The Sky
There are some seemingly hot, high-energy moments on this instrumental track, but there is also an insistent chime of sleigh bells and some plodding passages that bring a sufficient chill to the atmosphere.
“Cold Beverage” by G. Love & Special Sauce
Perhaps the most famous song from this Philly funk–rap–rocker, the goofy lyrics are pure torture for the parched. On the other hand, nothing beats the heat like a cold one.
“Life in a Northern Town” by The Dream Academy
Not only does the title suggest cool grass and chilly breezes, there are actual winter wind sound effects in the track. Far from being dreary, this is a sunny song with the just enough of an icy edge.
“Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” and “Nanook Rubs It” by Frank Zappa
The famed arctic dream sequence makes up the first third of the “Apostrophe(’)” album. Once again, cold wind sound effects play a role here, but nothing takes your mind off the heat quite like a confrontation involving lead-filled snowshoes and dog doo snow cones. Great googly moogly!
“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
Oh come on, you knew this one was coming. Nothing’s colder than being capsized and freezing to death in a winter blizzard on Lake Superior. Add to that the fact that Lightfoot is from Canada, and you have the perfect recipe for a 6-minute respite in Davy Jones’ icebox.
“Iceman” by Albert Collins
Bluesman Collins and his guitar are treading traditionally “hot” ground here, with sexual innuendo and bluesy electric licks. But he makes it clear, this is cool music that guarantees grace under pressure from a man who knows how to beat the heat.
JONAS’ IN-TOWN PICK: Singing Ladies of the ’Burg at Colonial Tavern. A whole gaggle of Fredericksburg’s leading lady singers keeps getting better with each performance. Friday at 9 p.m.
OUT-OF-TOWN PICK: Sonny Landreth at The Birchmere in Alexandria. Parrotheads probably know Sonny as an occasional stunt guitarist in the Coral Reefer Band. He also happens to be a killer slide guitarist and a formidable solo performer. Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
LISTENING TO: “California Stars” by Billy Bragg & Wilco. From “Mermaid Avenue,” an album with lyrics written by Woody Guthrie. It’s an effective trifecta, and gets my vote for Wilco’s best album.
Jonas Beals: 540/368-5036