Country Style Somewhere Over the Rainbow, by Ian Tyson

I’ve heard the famous song, (Somewhere) Over the Rainbow, in many, many styles, but not country… until today. I found out about this very moving rendition by Canadian country legend, Ian Tyson, via a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation series called Rainbow Battle pitting different renditions against one another. Ian’s performance completely took me by surprise and entranced me, I must say! Have a listen!

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Guitar and Ukulele Tabs for It Ain’t Me Babe, by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

The printable guitar and ukulele tab PDFs below work for many versions of this Bob Dylan classic because they’re rather similar except for speed, phrasing and accompaniment.

The most famous versions of this song are between Bob Dylan’s original* and Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash’s swingin’ country jig version.

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Obama’s 2011 Barackets Now Ahead of 99.9% of ESPN Brackets After Round 2!

President Barack Obama

Please click here to see how President Obama’s ESPN Barackets are doing after the Sweet 16.

Despite some major upsets like #1 Pitt going down, President Obama’s 2011 NCAA March Madness Barackets is now ahead of 99.9% of ESPN brackets after two rounds!

That is behind 7,548 entries, but ahead of about 6 million others!

That’s also a gain of 0.1% from Round 1. Not much, maybe, but it’s not like da Prez had much room to progress standing at 99.8th percentile after Round 1. To gain against the best of the best is outstanding!

Da Prez really has his March Madness mojo going this year! See his Barackets after Round 2 below.

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Which Nations Had the Best and Worst Uniforms for the Winter Olympics?

There were a lot of really nice and some pretty ugly uniforms seen during the 2010 Winter Olympic opening ceremonies. There are way too many countries to take a complete poll with a list of them. But I am curious what views thought were the best of worst uniforms?

Unfortunately, I don’t have an online guide to direct you to to review. You’ll just have to recall if you watched the ceremonies… unless someone can provide me a link?

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BESTEST

My vote for best was Montenegro, with their bold red and yellow, with subtle designs within each colour and some black trim.

Romania gets second place with their red, gold and blue on white top, and chic black pants. Simple but bold. It’s hard to mix that many colours in elegantly, you know!

Poland was pretty nice with the red, silver and white and lots of details on the silver and white.

The flag bearer from Mongolia, who was very ornately and elegantly dressed, gets honourable mention. She was chosen to encourage more participation in sports by women, which is nice, but so long as they keep them in the image of traditional dress, the young girls and women there won’t have that “acceptable” vision of themselves in a track suit or athletic dress, just the traditional stuff they’re “supposed” to be in.

Special kudos to the Indian uniforms, which were provided by the local Indo-Canadian community in Vancouver when the team came with uniforms that did not match. Who missed that boat???

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BADDEST

The United States gets my vote on this one. It looks like something you buy in a cheap store, dark blue with a few strips of red that don’t seem to have any strategic placing, and a giant USA on the back. It was also baggy like the inside lining of nicer ski jacket, which makes you look like the Pillsbury Doughboy in shape. And the slim fitting white pants to go, or rather contrast, with that? That uniform was most disappointing, even more so in light of the fact the United States has a lot of innovative fashion designers.

As a Canadian, I’d have to comment on Canada and it was OK. Not great, but not ugly, either. Typical apathetic Canadian reaction, I guess, eh?

Ugliest uniforms might have gone to the Germans, in my opinion, as it looked like an advertising board the likes of NASCAR advertising. But the brightness wasn’t bad.

The poor guy from Ghana didn’t look like he was wearing enough to be warm.

Your vote for the best and worst uniform, or any other considerations? Please do share in a comment.

p.s. Good thing they held that ceremony indoors cause it’d have been ugly outdoors with artificial snow melting in the warm weather. I think the biggest winner at this Olympics will be El Nino!

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Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.8

Schedule and Links for Tunes at Noon 2009 in Halifax, with Christina Martin Opening Review

Tunes at Noon takes place every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from Noon to 1:00 pm in Grand Parade in Halifax, till August 28, 2009. The schedule of performers include:

July 15 – Christina Martin (folk/rock)
July 16 –­ Rebekah Higgs (folk-electric)
July 17 ­– Pink Thunder (pop/rock)
July 22 ­– Ian Sherwood (rock/jazz/folk) / Steven Bowers (folk rock)
July 23 ­– The SideCats (roots/world/jazz/blues)
July 24 ­– Marimba Stew (percussive groove)
July 29 ­– Shannon Quinn (celtic)
July 30 ­– Shan Arsenault (jazz)
July 31 ­– Around Town Band (rock) / The Repercussionists (rock) [great name!]
August 5 –­ Fullhouse (Latin)
August 6 ­– Dave Carroll (folk/pop), of Sons of Maxwell and United Breaks Guitar viral video fame!
August 7 ­– The Strangeboys (bluegrass)
August 12 –­ Ryan Cook (country)
August 13 ­– Grassmarket (folk/bluegrass) [nice name]
August 14 ­– Telfer (pop/funk)
August 19 ­– Mary Stewart (pop/folk) / Crissi Cochrane, aka Save September (folk)
August 20 ­– David Myles (folk)
August 21 ­– Ruth Minnikin and her Bandwagon (Americana/folk)
August 26 ­– Kim Wempe (folk/jazz) / Norma MacDonald (pop/folk)
August 27 ­– Mike Trask (rock)
August 28 ­– Kev Corbett (folk)

Christina Martin, photo by Aaron McKenzie Fraser

Christina Martin, photo by Aaron McKenzie Fraser

Summer 2009 unofficially arrived in Halifax today with the first Tunes at Noon 2009 concert, featuring Halifax’s own little dynamo, Christina Martin. Well, I shouldn’t call anybody little being at 5’2.625″ and 108 lbs. But Christina comes with an energetic and vibrant repertoire from some solid award winning recordings. Even with just one acoustic guitar amped up slightly and playing solo, the set was great!

I’ve been meaning to go see Christina play for a while now, more than just a few songs here and there where I’ve only managed to see her thus far. My stars just hadn’t aligned. They weren’t today, either, but I fixed that. On my way home to visiting Mom’s Vietnamese cooking during her last days here, I delayed it when I saw Christina playing at Grand Parade.

“That’s right, I held off Mom’s Vietnamese cuisine for Christina Martin’s music!”

I stayed to watch Christina’s set till the end, with intent of then going home and packing the lunch to take back to eat at my desk after the concert. I even called Mom to join me, but she was out so she didn’t know I was playing hooky with her cooking. So please, don’t anybody tell my Mom! 🙂

Instead of me trying to describe Christina’s music, though, nothing speaks for it like the music itself so I have included three videos below. They are songs from Christina’s sophomore album, Two Hearts, which won her 2009 East Coast Music Award (ECMA) Pop Recording of the Year and two 2008 Music Nova Scotia Awards: Female Artist Recording of the Year & Pop/Rock Artist/Group Recording of the Year. The Tunes at Noon series schedule follows the videos, with links to all the bands for you to preview their music. I hope to attend as many as possible and review some of my favourite ones on the blog. We’ve got a lot of great musical talent in Nova Scotia who deserve a lot more profile than they get. There’s also a lot of diversity in flavour. So if you can come down to watch, or click through on the links above to hear their music and spread the word, I’m sure they’d appreciate it!

The first of Christina’s featured song is the title track from Christina’s sophomore album, Two Hearts. It is my favourite song of hers, and this is the official video.

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The second is a live performance of Cut It Out from Christina’s Two Hearts CD release party at the FRED Whet Salon in Halifax.

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Finally, Christina acoustically performs You Come Home at the 2008 Nova Scotia Music Week Gala Show.

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Tunes at Noon is presented by Councillor Dawn Sloane, the Downtown Halifax Business Commission and the Halifax Regional Municipality. Music Nova Scotia, C100 radio, The Coast and The Centre for Arts and Technology are also supporters.

You know, as I write this, I want to be out there someday performing. Being a singer/songwriter myself (my MySpace page), I don’t devote a lot of time to it due to the many other things I do. These people here have worked hard to get where they are today. Maybe seeing enough of them will motivate me to put on a much bigger effort and make that dream happen. Should do it soon while Dawn Sloane is still my city councillor, though, to increase my chances. 😉

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.2

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