Tag Archives: music

Good Days Call For Happy Songs!

You ever have one of those days where it is just almost too perfect that you just feel the need to break out into song?

I have had a few of these days in my short 21 years and they always take me by surprise.

You see, today was one of those days, but I didn’t see it coming at all. I didn’t get enough sleep, I woke to a needy kitten meowing at 6 am for food (he’s cute in pictures, but oh-so-demanding) and I had a full day ahead of me school-wise. But today actually was that day. Today my caffeine level was exactly on point, I actually played a sweet little solo in guitar class, engaged in discussion in my biology class, shot a easy and relatable story for my TV News class and got the email that I’m officially approved to graduate this semester! Not to mention I made a killer sandwich for lunch, high-fived quite a few people, wore my favorite sunglasses, and came home to one of my oldest friends, Emily, in town for a little surprise visit in my living room! The combination of all this simply made me feel incredible. Seriously, I feel like I could do a backflip off the Eiffel Tower!

(please note how excited Arlo is to be in Paris with me)

(don’t worry, Mom, I’m not going to actually try)

The only thing that could make today better? A soundtrack, of course! And so, in case of great-day emergencies, I present you with my list of:

EMERGENCY OH-SO-GOOD CELEBRATION SONGS!

If I was going to break out into song today, it would have been one of these tasty tunes!

Need to celebrate at this very minute? Need an instant pick-me-up? Play these! It’s good to have a list of happy tunes ready at all times in case of the sudden need to party in honor of wonderful things!

6. How You Like Me Now? – The Heavy (I totally feel like I could dodge a bullet to this song. It’s that empowering!)
5. Crazy In Love – Beyonce with Jay-Z (If you know me at all, you know I love B. She could sing the phone book and I would pay money to see it and dance, yell, and cry during her performance. This happens to be my all-time favorite Beyonce song and I can’t NOT dance when I hear it- although Countdown is becoming a close second!)

4. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates (It’s mentionable because it’s so unashamedly HAPPY! And because even if you weren’t a major H&O enthusiast prior to seeing (500) Days Of Summer, this scene should have made that change instantly!)

3. Twist & Shout – The Beatles (Yes. Just one big yes. When it’s a song this good, it will never go out of style. This song can make everyone from your 15 year-old cousin who is going through a teenage angst phase to your 88 year-old grandma who has had hip replacement surgery get down and shake it to the beat. Plus, Ferris did it, what better reason could there be?!)

2. Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen (This one really shouldn’t need any explanation besides the lyrics. I mean, he’s literally going to explode at the 1:48 mark! Freddie Mercury, you will always be a shooting star leaping through the skies like a tiger defying the laws of gravity in my heart. I will never stop you.)

1. September – Earth, Wind & Fire

(It’s so important that yes, I’m posting the video for the second time. A lot of songs could have been Number 1, in fact, I hate countdowns, but if you cornered me and asked point blank what my favorite song in the entire universe is, 9 times out of 10 it would be September. The joy I feel when I hear this song is unparalleled. I think this is what heaven’s gonna sound like, only ten times louder. I can’t stay still when it starts! Play on, EW&F, play on!)

Honorary Mentions: (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher by Jackie Wilson (a fantastic sing along and bonus points for Motown goodness!) and Any Way You Want It by Journey (classic!)

Now, get out there and be happy!

And of course, I’m always open to suggestions. What songs do you use when you need an instant declaration of happiness?!

Likes Lately; October 2011

Here’s an original post for blogging:

HEY INTERNET, I LIKE THESE THINGS, They make me happy, AND I HOPE YOU LIKE THEM TOO!!

But seriously, is a happy-list a cop-out? Am I denying you my words and rambles to put in little pictures and captions of precious items? Am I trying to brainwash you to like all the same things I like?!?!

Ehh, probs. But, who cares! It’s time for another installment of:

LATELY, THIS LION LIKES…

So what do I like right now? Try to hold back your excitement and let’s find out!!!

Nicole Atkins & The Sea

I’m admittedly pretty picky when it comes to girl singers, but the pipes on this lady are incredible! She’s got such a dark unique sound, and I’ve been a fan ever since a good friend of mine played me this song:

From then on, I was hooked and played her old record all the time whenever I wanted to feel like I was in a smoky old club listening to a lady sing the blues. She released a new album at the beginning of this year that is amazing, and of course, I’m a sucker for FREE music and so the fact that she just released a live EP for free online? Makes my heart even more happy. You can download it HERE ; you’ll be oh-so-happy you did.

The Volkswagen Van Tent!

Yes, this is a real thing.  I absolutely love camping and I absolutely love Volkswagen vans/buses. I would very likely live in this creation. What else is there to say about it besides “perfection?”

Stephen Webster’s ‘All About Eve’ Ring

Yes, it’s $29,000. Yes, it’s a little tacky. But I’m a sucker for anything that references old films and anything sparkly and/or serpentine. Sue me.

Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Iced Coffee

I’m a self-admitted caffeine ADDICT, and I don’t mean that lightly. I take my coffee seriously and love everything about it, from the slighty-bizarre culture of coffeeshops to the way a warm mug feels in my hand. Plus, it’s a natural, delicious, pick-me-up, (especially if you’re feeling down, ladies)! However, I’m sitting pretty in Texas, where the weather is still in the 90s in October, so hot coffee isn’t always the most appealing in the heat of the day. I’ve been drooling over the pictures of iced coffee over at The Pioneer Woman’s blog for far too long to not make it myself.

Impromptu Rope Light Photoshoots!

I used to take more photos of my everyday life and document it all, but I get into lazy spells sometimes. Right now I’m attempting to do a much better job. The solution to this? Cute friends (like C, Z, & J!), cute cat , ropelights. (Substitutions for the last 2 could include: puppies, christmas lights, sparklers, bunnies, streamers, cupcakes, balloons, etc.) Add all these and you simply can’t snap a bad shot!

So, that’s my list, but what do you like lately, internet? What’s making you happy? I love hearing good recommendations!

(You can see all the past installments of Likes Lately here!)
Photo credit: 1,2,3,4  5- me!

Updates and ACL. Wait, what?

Dear Internet,

My head has been in 563 different places at once for the past few weeks and I have barely had time to sit down and even string together more than 140 character updates, but I thought I’d fill you in…yes, all 4 of you reading. I’m horrible at consistently blogging so here’s a quick little list (!) –

I’m back in TEXAS! Aka the promised land. Nuff said.

I had an AMAZING summer with one of the greatest internships in the world at SiriusXM Nashville, specifically, The Highway (holla!). I left a big part of my heart in Nashville and I revitalized my love for country music. Judge me, but it is the greatest.

I moved! My lions den is now in a different apartment, still living with C– one of my great roommates and playing in a little band with her called Olive & Chuck. Other roommate, S, is still closeby up the road and is starting a style blog that I’m excited about and will be sharing soon!

I’m graduating in December! WHAAAAA?!! Yeah, I don’t know where that came from either, but graduating early is happening. What am I doing after I graduate? HAHAHAHAHA…yeah. Ask me tomorrow.

My best friend got published!!! I can’t even tell you how excited I am that my boy Z got to write HERE for Dark Horse Comics. From one Whedon/Buffy nerd to another, I am so proud. He’s got such a way with words!

I turned 21! Big deal. If you’re wondering – Shiner Bock. Please and thank you.

And last but not least, as I type this, I am sitting in the Moody Theater waiting for soundcheck for Arcade Fire to start for the Austin City Limits TV taping tonight. I tried to say that in the least-obnoxious way I could, however, I’m now interning with ACL TV and I couldn’t be happier. I am so thankful, so grateful and seriously appreciative to work for such a great program. I feel super lucky and am already 2 tapings in and obsessed. If you want more minute-to-minute updates, you can always follow me; @kelseyrmanning !

I promise a longer more coherent post with photos and flashing lights eventually, internet. For now, here’s a photo of me that I literally took 5 minutes ago, continually freaking out with Win Butler & Co.’s 4853957394583 instruments on the stage behind me.

what’s up, floating head?

xoxo!

My Two Cents on The Big C

Kevin posted something a lot like this entry HERE, and I actually have him to thank for even getting me on my Springsteen kick, PLUS, his post is a lot more put together and lovely, so I suggest reading it instead, ha, but I have had this post sitting in my drafts for too long and needed to hit publish! SO, onward-

I know this is late and lame, but I have to say a little something.

I’m not a seasoned rock and roll music critic and there are plenty of people that know more about Bruce Springsteen than I. However, Clarence Clemons was my favorite member of the E Street Band and I got to see him twice live on two different tours.

Put simply, the man was amazing. My concertmates and I were on the front row both times, but it was clear that from any place in the arena, you could just feel the energy from this enormous man; all his laughs and smiles and dances were such a joy. He wailed that saxophone almost like it was a weapon, and his parts of the song were always electric. He just had this fire, ya know?! We cupped our fingers and held up C’s with our hands through Born to Run and Livin’ In The Future and Badlands and most of all, JUNGLELAND (!) and he saw them and let out this enormous grin and I couldn’t help but grin as well. It was infectious. He loved what he did, he loved making music, and for those two nights, we got to send him a little love back.

He and Bruce were in sync at those two shows, which are only, of course, two tiny snapshots of forty or so years of friendship, playing in a band, surviving a band breakup and coming back to tour- all to make great music together. This band’s ‘legacy’ or whatever you want to call it is so much bigger than me, bigger than a fanbase, bigger than a few (great) records. I don’t know any of my favorite musicians personally, but if I had the right stationery to send to the Big Man, (and his address in Saxophone Heaven) I’d have to pen a thank you for the music that provided the soundtrack to me growing up. The music that I could listen to on both sunny days and dark nights. The songs that stuck with me and seemed to resonate like no other. The songs that made me dance and wanna shove the accelerator on my car hard and just GO with them! The songs that I could drop my turntable needle onto, skip my cd towards and shuffle my ipod with and it would just fill me with that little musical spike-happiness-feeling when you realize something is wonderful.

So thank you, Big Man. It might take me a while to tell people why I love you and they might still cock their head when I list you in my favorite musicians.

I didn’t grow up in Jersey.

I didn’t go to years and years of shows.

Being only 20, I didn’t get to see you back when the magic began.

So, I know you mean a lot of things to a lot of people and nothing to some people, but you gave this blonde-haired wide-eyed girl who stumbled upon a now-lifelong love for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band a bunch of songs that she’ll never get over or tired of.

And if I get a little misty or this big grin on my face when I hear a sax solo, you can be sure it’s because my heart’s still happy from hearing the Biggest Man in the world show me how it’s done firsthand.

(Photos provided by the lovely, wonderful Katie Darcy, as taken at the greatest concert of my life!)

Time To Ramble On?

I have been searching on eBay and Craigslist for a Volkswagen Bus for years now.

You see, I have a dream of packing up my life into a Volkswagen bus or an airstream trailer and taking to the open road. I’d still call and write and send picture messages, but the freedom of the open road is so tempting. Plus, I love small towns, breakfast foods, people who can play the heck out of instruments and historical landmarks, and I have a feeling that there are so many of these things out there that I haven’t seen yet!

Miranda Lambert’s ‘Airstream Song’ always hits truth with me. “Sometimes I wish I lived in an airstream, homemade curtains, lived just like a gypsy- break a heart, roll outta town, cause gypsies never get tied down.” Maybe it’s the escape of traveling that I love so much; kicking up dust and never looking in the rear view mirror. Maybe it’s because the music closest to my heart and my style from decor to clothing always points to the fact that I always wanted to be a carefree child of the 60s and 70s, rolling down the highway with my little hippie caravan family along for the ride. Blame my gypsy soul. Blame it on my wild heart, even. Whatever it is, it remains at the back of my mind and gets stronger every time I take a road trip or when I watch the Discovery Channel or even when I hear an especially good Led Zeppelin song and want to start ramblin’ on.


For a time I always thought it would just be me on this trek, but more and more I think I’m gonna need someone in the passenger seat. I don’t often get crushes (we’ve been over this before) so it wouldn’t have to be romantic. Just someone to switch off driving shifts with, take pictures of scenic moments, sing along to classic rock (the official soundtrack of the open road!) and share waffles when I order too many of them. That’s not so much to ask, right?

I mean, sure, if it was all cute and crush-y, I’d be all sorts of lovey-dovey. Is it too hippie of me to want to spend my first years of marriage (if in fact I do get roped into gettin’ hitched) on the road? How perfect would that be? Just exploring the countryside and wearing out the radio with great music for miles and miles, and of course, make the goal of getting at least one kiss in every single state, because well, IT’S CUTE. And the pictures would be cute and true love travels miles and documents these miles and you know, while I’m daydreaming I might as well daydream sickeningly-cute goals, right?!! Thousands of miles, hundreds of diners, one bus, two of us and at least 48 kisses. Not too shabby.

Oh- what’s that? Is that you calling, real world? What’s that you’re asking? What will I do for money on the road? You mean no one wants to pay me to blog and stargaze and picnic and come up with puns and amateur-ly play my guitar and ukulele yet? Really?

Guess I’ll have to hold out a few years.

(Airstream Picture Link, Volkswagen Picture Link)

Hello, Dolly! (Literally!)

(Note: I highly suggest you read THIS POST to get a better grasp on just how much I am trying not to use a ton of exclamation points in excitement after every sentence in today’s post.)

Dolly Parton and I were in the same room.

I met my idol yesterday and I’m still not over it!!!!!

Since interning for SiriusXM, I’ve been around several musicians, all of whom have proved talented and generous and for the most part, personable, and I’ve gotten over being ‘starstruck’ to a certain extent. However, I’d be lying if I said that my heart didn’t soar and my hands didn’t shake a little bit when we got the news that my favorite female country artist was going to be waltzing into our studio.
In case I haven’t made myself clear, I absolutely LOVE Dolly Parton. I wrote extensively about my love for her HERE and well, my intern desk has been displaying the inspirational message, “W.W.D.D.?” for a while now:

  • Did I spend more time than usual picking out the perfect outfit and accessories Tuesday night?

  • Did I proclaim the day to be a holiday that we would refer to as “D-Day”?

  •  Did I freak out slightly when I remembered that my current ringtone is “Jolene”?

  • Did I run down Broadway and dash into several record stores searching for vinyl and books by Dolly herself the morning of?

  • Did I send my mom and best friend text messages with waaaay too many exclamation points describing what was happening?

Shamelessly, all of the above!

I’ll admit- I was afraid that maybe she just wouldn’t measure up. I didn’t think she’d be horrible but with so much publicity, you never really know how an artist will be in person. But I’m here to tell you that if I didn’t already love Dolly, I do now, tenfold! She was gracious, quick-witted, excited and well-spoken and the whole time I kept trying not to bust out into a huge goofy grin. However, ‘trying’ is the key word in that last sentence, because when she’d start to talk about her songwriting, I’d just beam in the corner. She spoke about her new album and her inspiration behind it, but then she started to tell stories about the songs in her catalog and I think I may have done a little somersault in my seat. The stories behind I Will Always Love You, Love Is Like A Butterfly, Two Doors Down, Coat of Many Colors, Light of a Clear Blue Morning and MORE graced my ears. I know I’m just a little intern in a big pond and while I didn’t conduct an interview with her myself, sitting in and hearing one was like the answers to my own little fan questions. She talked and joked, but the best part was these little moments when she’d sing the first line of a song when talking about it and her voice would fill the studio for just a few seconds and I got to hear the woman I’ve idolized perform a few words in the closest makeshift concert setting I could imagine. And yes, of course I started smiling again like a goofball.

(And now- I’ll do a little plug and tell you that this Dolly goodness will air on SiriusXM’s various channels, specifically The Highway! Don’t miss out!)

You know, I would have told you that you were crazy if you had told me that the woman I described as “Queen Of The Lion Hair” would be standing right next to me, a self-described lion-haired fangirl, but for good reason, I was proven wrong.

And for the record, yes, she smelled like sunshine and dreams that have come true!

George Michael Might Not Approve

If you’ll allow me two seconds of name-dropping- I had a ticket to the CMT Music Awards last week! This, of course, was courtesy of the internship I’m enjoying this summer, blah blah blah, I know, just get to the picture already-

(HI MOM!)

Not surprisingly, I’ve never been to an award show before, so the format was super interesting. The crowd was taught line dances during commercial breaks, encouraged to applaud every five seconds and most of the ‘stars’ weren’t even in their seats for more than 5 minutes and were instead running around the arena the whole time with far-too-large entourages. It’s sort of crazy but subdued at the same time. I mean, all the dialogue is scripted and read off teleprompter, all the set pieces are moved around in a choreography that has been rehearsed for weeks and every joke or ‘surprise’ moment doesn’t really all seem that suprising. I mean, growing up in the generation that sees second-graders carrying and using iPhones, I guess ‘tv magic’ not being all that magical doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me anyway.

However, what does come as a surprise to me is Kid Rock.

Did I miss something big? Because for some reason I cannot see much to any appeal in this man. He was the host for the evening and I kept wanting someone with a cane take him offstage. I don’t think he’s a horrible human being or anything, but I just think as an entertainer, he fails to do just that; ENTERTAIN. The hats, the almost-inappropriate jokes, the goatee that refuses to leave his chin- all of it just confuses me. When was all of this combined supposed to make a satisfying end result? He’s not rebellious enough to be edgy but not safe enough to seem particularly family-friendly, and that place is just not suitable for most anyone. It’s…..kinda sad. He’s like a rodeo bull that used to buck everyone off and now he’s been tied to fence post and subjected to just eating grass all day.

(….was that last simile too “Texas” for you? Apologies. Anyway, moving on-)

My debate with Kid Rock, however, does not involve his music. While this may seem like the easiest battle to pick, if he wants to be all over the map, I completely support it! If he wants to make several duets with Sheryl Crow and call them ‘country’, I say go for it! If he wants to make explicit angry rock, then give him a microphone! I don’t have to like all or even any styles that he tries his hand at, but I do get a kick seeing artists trying something new that might be out of their comfort zone. It seems weird to make this point now, but I think that experimenting with different instruments and genres is important, and usually yields interesting results. I say ‘interesting’, but they might even end up spectacular! I mean, who knows, maybe if we handed Kid (is the proper title ‘Kid’? ‘Rock’? ‘Krock’?) a saxophone, he could put his own spin on “Careless Whisper” and as much as it pains me to admit this, that might actually be something I’d pay attention to……if only to provide sarcastic commentary.

And yes, internet, someone, somewhere is shedding a tear right now because of me comparing Kid Rock to the incomparable George Michael, but it simply had to be done. After all, you gotta have faith.