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Jack Ryan- ‘Like a Fire’ – Essentially Pop

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While we can’t yet say that live music is back, many artists have, during the Covid-19 pandemic, found ways to bring their music to their audiences. Since the easing of restrictions, Connecticut native Jack Ryan has been bringing his joyful pop-rock and country-rock songs to outdoor venues, beer halls, backyards, and any where that will let him perform. While we’re still wary about what yet lays ahead, we’re ready to smile and sing and dance again – and thankfully Jack Ryan, with his new single, ‘Like A Fire’, is up for that challenge.

‘Like a Fire’ is the anthem we didn’t know we needed, and with it Ryan is waking us up and calling us, as if to Church; but instead of a bell, he’s doing it with his jangling guitar, clever lyrics, an incredible chorus that hooks us right in, and a soul-filled vocal performance. He calls, and we come running. And it’s not just the music we’re wanting to hear; the song itself is equally relatable, with the inspiration being the frustration of finding an online dating match, only to be ghosted after weeks of texting. Jack Ryan’s fans will be pleased to know ‘Like A Fire’ follows on from his heartfelt 2020 track, ‘Just Want to Talk’, as it expands upon the musical ideas of that song. If you’re not familiar with Jack Ryan’s music however, don’t despair – ‘Like A Fire’ is as good a place as any to start.

Directed by Greg “Lil Goop” Potter, the gorgeous video for ‘Like A Fire’ is a reminder of where we’ve been. He captures Ryan, alone, making the most of a lovely evening by a lake. His surroundings are peaceful: the trees, the lights on the water, the canoe that he rows effortlessly as he sings, running through the trees with his guitar, circling a fire, dancing and singing. His focus is on us, the listener, he’s inviting us in to hear his story. We’re completely alone with Jack Ryan, interrupted only by his dog Arrow, who proves to be just as excited and exuberant as his owner.

Watch the video for ‘Like A Fire’ below, and find out more about Jack Ryan online on his official website.



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Riva Taylor Releases A Timely Version Of ‘7 O’clock News/Silent Night’ With A Nod To Simon & Garfunkel – Essentially Pop

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Back in 1966, Simon & Garfunkel, the legendary American recording artists and songwriters, recorded their version of the timeless classic ‘Silent Night’. This Christmas Classic sold over ten million copies for Bing Crosby back in 1935 but has its origins back in 1816 when Father Joseph Mohr, an assistant priest in Mariapfarr Austria, wrote his German poem called ‘Stille Nacht’. Two years later as the priest of St.Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg, on Christmas Eve, he asked organist Franz Gruber to compose a melody for his poem and the guitar accompaniment he wrote, because recent flooding had damaged the church organ, is a beautiful, poignant evocation where folk song meets poetry. The purity of the melody and the holy words of the poem combine to give us something of hymn like quality that will forever be the simple peace of Christmas that we all yearn for.

Simon and Garfunkel wanted to take this traditional hymn like song and bring it up to date and so what they did, as they recorded the version for the iconic ‘Parsly, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme’ album, was to sing the song in perfect two-part harmony but bleed in the sound of a news announcer bringing news of the day. That news was actually scripted and read by Charlie O’Donnell, a radio DJ who later found fame as host on many US TV game shows, and covered topics which painted the summer of ’66. These included the death of Lenny Bruce in Hollywood, a march in Cicero, Illinois by Martin Luther King Jr., the indictment of Richard Speck for nine murders and allusions to the war in Vietnam. The merging of radical 60’s style with the beautiful hymn like singing of Simon & Garfunkel is haunting and poignant, especially all these years later.

Jump forward to 2019 and indie artist Phoebe Bridgers along with Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger updated the classic ‘7 O’clock News/Silent Night’ only this time the headlines are pulled straight from 2019, with mentions of the abortion debate, sexting and the Trump White House. Apple harmonizes with Bridgers on the ‘Silent Night’ portions, while Berninger plays the role of “the newscaster”.

As with Simon & Garfunkel’s version, the contrast is stark and clear; it’s hard to maintain a still and magical sense of the togetherness of Christmas when the reality of life keeps sticking it’s nose into the proceedings. Or maybe, it’s an ode to the fact that peace and calm can bring us to the light at the end of the tunnel, however traumatic or filled with obstacles the path may be. The way this song is digested is very personal to the listener.

Now in 2021, twenty years after she made her stage debut at a Farm Aid benefit gala at the Royal Albert Hall garnering praise from HRH Prince Charles, Riva Taylor is releasing her version of this iconic take on a Christmas Classic. The acapella rendition of Silent Night will be released today. This time the news headlines come from the year’s top stories and are read by BBC/ITV presenter Yiolander Koppall.

Riva says:

“I’ve waited for the right moment to re-create this concept in my own way. I felt this year was the year with so much news, change globally, and questions being raised about the future of our planet. We wonder what the new normal looks like as we continue to navigate life in the midst of a pandemic.

The festive period and looking into a brand-new year has always felt like a moment for celebration as much as it has, a time for reflection. I hope the song leaves the listener feeling a sense of that, as well as happiness and hope that this time of year brings.”

To accompany the release, Riva will also package up Silent Night as an NFT (non-fungible token).

“I’m fascinated by the evolution of this space. I held my album launch in the metaverse and have already released a few NFT’s in 2021 to accompany my releases, says Riva. “My prediction for 2022 is that we will see more artists exploring creative ways to interact with fans and sell their music through platforms such as Opensea.”

Non Fungible Tokens are very much a thing of the future and to understand them we first have to understand the difference between fungible and non fungible. Fungible means Items or assets that are considered identical. They are directly interchangeable like-for-like, and generally divisible at least to some degree. Whereas non fungible means Items or assets with unique identities. They cannot be interchanged equally or divided. Value and ownership experience of different non-fungible items can vary greatly depending on individual properties. In fact, non-fungible simply means unique. The token acts as a digital certificate of ownership for whatever the creator, in this case a musician, decides to put up for sale. This can be anything from a single traditional album, to a bundle including extras such as gig tickets and exclusive bonus tracks.

Riva Taylor is always exploring new ways to create music and connect with her fans. This is just a step in that direction. Always a huge believer in collaboration, the NFT helps make the music fan the quintessential collaborator as they join their favourite artist on their journey and can directly support their art and creativity. For this I applaud her, and for this beautiful take on a wonderful version of a Christmas Classic I thank her.



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A Musical Instrument Auction To Benefit Music Rising – Essentially Pop

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U2’s The Edge and producer Bob Ezrin, Co-Founders of Music Rising have announced Guitar Icons: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising to take place December 11th, 2021, starting at 10:00 a.m. PST. Hosted by Van Eaton Galleries (vegalleries.com) in Los Angeles, the live and online auction will offer a significant collection of guitars and other music memorabilia by some of the world’s most prominent musicians and friends of Music Rising.  The auction will take the charity back to its roots and help support the musicians of the NOLA region after a long period being without income.

Music Rising was co-founded by U2’s the Edge and legendary producer Bob Ezrin, along with a host of music industry partners in 2005 after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Since its inception, Music Rising has provided millions of dollars in aid to musicians and recipients of music education across the country.

Guitar Icons: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising includes an exclusive collection of important instruments donated by friends of the charity. All of the instruments have a unique and special story and provenance and together make up an extraordinary example of some of the greatest moments in music history.

Highlights include:

  • The Edge’s 2005 Limited Edition Gibson Les Paul Music Rising guitar, often referred to as the ‘One’ guitar given its use on the Joshua Tree tours of 2017 and 2019 during performances of the hit ‘One’.

The Edge also played this guitar on ‘One’ and ‘American Soul’ during U2’s 2018 Song of Experience shows along with their famous 360 tour back in 2010, and serves as a significant iconic symbol for Music Rising, being one of the first guitars produced to benefit the charity at its inception. Of further significance to the ‘One’ guitar, The Edge also played this guitar at the first reopening of New Orleans Jazz Fest post Katrina in 2006 alongside Dave Matthews and during a performance at the Grammy Awards 2006 alongside Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello.

  • The Edge “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” Custom Signature Fender Stratocaster.

Edge took this guitar on the road with him during the period of 2017-2019 and used it for performances of ‘Bad’ and the beloved chart topping hit single from ‘The Joshua Tree’, ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’.

  • Paul McCartney’s Tour and Studio Played Left-Handed “Wings” Yamaha BB-1200 Electric Bass Guitar.

The Cherry Burst BB-1200 was a principal instrument used during his performances with Wings in the late 1970s. He was frequently photographed playing it on stage, during live performances and in the studio.

  • Lou Reed’s Danny Gatton Fender Stratocaster nicknamed “Goldie.”

Reed’s love of this guitar can be seen in the patina and wear throughout and can be seen in videos of Reed playing his rendition of ‘Jealous Guy’, at Radio City Music Hall, as well as on tour during 2005-2006.

  • Bono’s U2 Tour Played Custom Gibson ES-175 Electric Guitar used extensively on tour.

Bono played this guitar on the 1992-1993 “Zoo TV” tour during performances of the songs ‘The Fly’, and ‘Angel of Harlem’. The guitar was painted to Bono’s precise specifications and Bono also added a decal to the body of the guitar reading “I Feel Good”.

  • Slash’s signed Gibson Custom Shop “Victoria” Les Paul Goldtop Model Electric Guitar created to Slash’s specifications and includes an original drawing by Slash of “Skully” on the top of the guitar.
  • Noel Gallagher’s Tour-Played Nash Telemaster guitar which was played on tour with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. 
  • Legendary Producer Bob Ezrin’s Artist’s Proof Custom Frank Brothers Ezrin Model Electric Guitar.

This is a handmade instrument designed to capture the studio sounds of several of the iconic guitar players he has worked with over the years. Numbered “00” this guitar is one-of-a-kind.

Other exceptional highlights include:

  • Elton John’s Signed and Concert Played Yamaha Motif-8 Keyboard;

This was used by Elton John during live performances and on the road for nearly a decade. He also signed the instrument with black felt pen.

  • RUSH’s Alex Lifeson’s Tour Used Signature Hughes & Kettner RUSH Amp and Cabinet Half Stack;

Used extensively on the 40th Anniversary tour “Vapor Trails” and the “Snakes and Arrows” tour, as well as the “Time Machine” tour.

  • Adam Clayton’s Tour Played Fender Standard Precision Bass;

The U2 bassist played this guitar for performances of the song, ‘A Sort of Homecoming’, on The Joshua Tree tour from May-July, 2017. During the tour the bass was also used for the songs ‘Bullet, The Blue Sky’, ‘Running to Stand Still’, ‘One Tree Hill’ and others.

  • Alice Cooper’s Tournament Used “Big Bertha” Golf Clubs;

The music icon’s personal set of golf clubs in a customized “Alice Cooper” bag.

  • Chris Martin’s Tour Played Painted Fender Telecaster Deluxe guitar;
  • Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder’s Concert Smashed Fender Stratocaster;

The Lake Placid Blue Fender American Special Telecaster was decorated by Vedder with an embroidered red/white Chicago Cubs “C” sticker as a tribute to legendary Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton and used by Vedder during Pearl Jam’s August 20, 2018 tour at Wrigley Field and was smashed by Vedder at the conclusion of a cover of The Who’s, ‘Baba O’Riley’.

  • A collection of extraordinary silkscreened Pearl Jam concert posters signed by the band members;
  • KISS’ Paul Stanley’s one-of-a-kind Tour Played Ibanez Custom Shop guitar;

The collection will also boast additional instruments for auction including:

  • Bruce Springsteen’s signed Americana Original ‘50s Fender Telecaster; Joe Wash’s “Bono” Irish Falcon Gretsch guitar;
  • The Eagles Don Felder’s signed Epiphone G-1275 Double Neck Electric Guitar and Signed Art Print; Vince Gill’s The Eagles Concert Played Duesenberg Bonneville guitar;
  • The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood’s Signed American Original 50’s Fender Stratocaster;
  • The Kings of Leon band signed Epiphone Dot Studio Guitar;
  • Steve Miller’s Signed Original and Hand Painted Maccaferri guitar;
  • Halestorm Lzzy Hale’s signed Tour Played Prototype Signature Epiphone Explorer guitar;
  • A Julian Lennon signed Martin & Co. Acoustic guitar;
  • A Green Day Band Signed Epiphone Les Paul Special guitar;
  • Ed O’Brien’s Radiohead Tour Played Signature Fender Stratocaster;
  • Flea’s Red Hot Chili Peppers Band Signed Signature Fender Jazz Bass;
  • Joan Jett’s Signature Gibson Worn White Melody Maker; Johnny Marr’s Signed Studio Played Limited Fender Jaguar guitar;
  • A Dave Grohl signed Gibson Explorer guitar;
  • Tom Morello’s Signature “Soul Power” Stratocaster;
  • Win Butler’s signed Prop Bass Guitar from The Arcade Fire music video “Everything Now;”
  • Zac Brown’s Personally Played Signed Natural Gibson ES-335 guitar;
  • Three additional guitars which were played and used by the late Lou Reed.

“The music of New Orleans has influenced various styles of music borrowed from early traditions. It is the birthplace of jazz and represents a musical culture which bears great significance to most every genre today.  I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose my ability to do what I love – making music. Unfortunately there are many musicians and crew members who continue to struggle since the pandemic. If this multigenerational chain is broken, we lose more than just a few concerts we lose an entire culture that stretches back centuries. Some of the world’s greatest musicians and friends of Music Rising have generously donated their personal instruments to raise money for Music Rising. We hope you have a chance to bid on one or more of the beautiful instruments in the auction. The monies raised goes to musicians and crew. Your support continues to be invaluable to Music Rising.” –  U2’s The Edge

“When we launched Music Rising in 2005 we didn’t have any idea how significant a role the organization would play in helping musicians and music educators for as long as it has. Guitar Icons: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising will be our biggest fundraising opportunity this year. We are working closely with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation in bringing back the bright sounds of the music of New Orleans. We thank you for your support and hope you are able to bid on one or more of the extraordinary instruments offered in the auction. We are thankful for all of your continued support of Music Rising.” – Co-Founder and producer, Bob Ezrin

Music Rising has also launched a new apparel collection featuring limited edition t-shirts, hoodie, caps and tote. All the new apparel can be purchased at www.musicrising.com and benefits the charity. The iconic logo, which serves as the symbol for Music Rising is featured on each item.

The auction will take place at Van Eaton Galleries located at 13613 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks, California beginning at 10:00 a.m. PDT on Saturday, December 11, 2021. The auction will also stream live and be online via various auction platforms all available through https://vegalleries.com/musicrising.  A public exhibition of the collection will begin Monday, November 22, 2021 at the gallery and can be visited by collectors and fans by appointment. Proceeds from the auction will be administered by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation on behalf of Music Rising.

GUITAR ICONS: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising

Van Eaton Galleries

13613 Ventura Blvd

Sherman Oaks, California 91423

PUBLIC EXHIBITION

Beginning Monday, November 22, 2021 10:00 a.m. PDT – 6 p.m. PDT

To confirm your visit please call Van Eaton Galleries at 818-788-2357 or email auction@vegalleries.com

EXHIBITION HOURS ARE Monday-Saturday, Closed on Sunday and Thanksgiving.

To register to bid or to view the online catalogue for the auction please click here.



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Rofi James Want To Get Away From It All With New Single ‘Berlin Wall’ Out Today – Essentially Pop

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Back in 2018 we got to chat to Galway band, Rofi James, when they were performing as part of a showcase set up by Irish Music Party. You can check out that interview here. Now we’re happy to share with you their new single, ‘Berlin Wall’, released today.

Written by band members Ronan Flaherty, Jamie Murray and Joseph Flaherty during Ireland’s first Covid-19 lockdown last year, ‘Berlin Wall’ reflects the desire to get away from it all, and escape the feelings of isolation and seclusion. They’re not referring to the physical Berlin Wall as such – although it could certainly be a place to run to – but it symbolises getting away, and escaping, the mundane monotony of the Groundhog Day existence we all experienced during the Pandemic.

Ireland was especially hit hard by Covid-19 and the restrictions that followed. The country was subject to one of the harshest lockdowns in the world, and arguably the most severe in Europe, with their first lockdown beginning in March 2020, and not lifting until June that year. Music venues were closed, and have only just opened up again in recent weeks. It had a huge impact on everyone, but the entertainment industry was – and still is – massively affected.

Many artists funnelled their feelings about the experience into writing music, and Rofi James’ ‘Berlin Wall’ certainly did as well. Not only are the lyrics about getting away, but the music itself gives the listener the impression of the need to run far from everything. To distance yourself as much as possible from everything you’ve been surrounded by for the past two years. To run as far as the Berlin Wall.

Listen to ‘Berlin Wall’ below, and find out more about Rofi James and their music online on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud, and Spotify.





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