The Bunka Log
RSS Feeds

The Friday Refrain: Christmas Playlist

So until Big Freedia released an album on Friday, I created a pretty sedate playlist. I tried to include one song from every release. But I probably forgot some because there were so many this year...

Hello again RSS Feeders by the way. Sorry about disappearing. I don't do well with nebulous non-concrete tinkering, and accidentally changed my blog url. But I figured that out eventually, and I'm back. Apologies for the disappearance and then the possible barrage of posts when I reappeared. Yep, still here. Listening to too much music and blathering on about it. Anyhoot!

Ho ho ho, it's the Christmas List! And a few bonus lists:

Making a Christmas Album List? Better check it twice

Wonderland - either you'll end up with Sarah McLachlan or Marika Hackman

Tis the Season - Jimmy Buffett or Jordan Smith (given, the former's album is technically Tis the SeaSon)

Acoustic Christmas - You'll end up with Neil Diamond or Kevin Williams

And don't think you can just waltz in to a store and say, "I know it was like the artist's name Christmas..." because you could end up with A John Berry/Kenny Lattimore/Pentatonix Christmas

And now for some stats...

Of 44 albums, "Silent Night" is the most common song on 16 of the albums on my list. "O Holy Night" comes in 2nd with 15 versions. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is 3rd with 13, "The First Noel" was 4th with 12 and "White Christmas" tied with "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" at 11. "Winter Wonderland" landed on 9 albums while "What Child is This?", "The Christmas Song," "Jingle Bells," and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" all tied with 8 album representing them.

I'm a bit surprised at "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," "What Child Is This?" and "The First Noel." I guess for Adeste and Noel, it's just their time to be in fashion again but "God Rest" is one of my favorites and not many people recognize that one. "What Child Is This?" I get because I associate it with velvet and stirrup pants, so right on schedule. "Last Christmas" and "All I want for Christmas is you" had only 1 album listed, different artists. Same with "Frosty the Snowman!" I love Frosty, come on people, step it up next year. Anyway, I got curious when I kept noticing 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" kept popping up, so I tallied up all the tracks. Pretty fun to do and I hope you found it fun as well Maybe next year I'll keep track of how everyone lists "Oh Come All Ye Faithful:" do they use Oh or O? Add the comma or omit it? Or is it Adeste Fideles?

Oddities: "Coventry Carol" and Cohen's "Hallelujah" appear on both acapella albums. No surprise really, but if you're delivering a serious album or want to have a powerful song, "O Holy Night" is most likely on the album as well. "Mele Kalikemaka" appeared on more albums than I expected - 4 in total.

Overall there were at least 99 unique cover songs between all the albums, not to mention some albums boasting several originals (Jane Lynch and R. Kelly to name a few).

Bonus stat: "Jingle Bell Rock" has been a trending favorite among my students for two years now.

So there it is. Happy Christmas Listening my friends!


The Friday Refrain: A bit of what's new in music...

Friday Friday Friday... Sorry for the erratic posting. My work environment is not conducive to working essentially. My only promise is that somewhat weekly I will post about the new music out and about in the world. And you can bet I am still listening. I'm thinking about doing a year-end tally. Though I think that might scare me and cause me to curl up in a dark cave with wide wondrous eyes fearing the music bats flitting about me. While that may seem as odd as the brightly colored sheep opening from last week, that's only becuase I forgot to add the picture to last week's post. Of the brightly colored sheep and one pig. Maybe I'll get to that this week. Ha... As if.

It's a good week in the rap/hip-hop category as J. Cole, Ab Soul, and Post Malone all have albums out. Still waiting on that next Drake compilation just so you know. He's going to drop something this month. Sometime. Maybe he'll do it right now so that I am a dolt. Beyond all that, it's all small potatoes this week. But small potatoes are good potatoes, so I'm not saying there isn't anything good out there. Really, the small potatoes are more expensive. More desirable. Take that small potato albums this week. You're desireable and expensive.

Ding dong merrily on The List.

Christmas Albums 2016

So much later than I try to post this, but I tried to get all I could of the Christmas albums this year.

Children's Album: Caspar Babypants, Winter Party! - This is one of the dudes from Presidents Of The United States of America doing kid's music and it's got a bit of that "kid music" sound attached to it but better than most with that sound.

Crooner Jazz: Brett Eldredge, Glow - classic jazzy implications with some strings too.

New Age/Contemporary Adult category: David Arkenstone, Winter Fantasy

Female Jazzy Album: Elizabeth Chan, Five Golden Rings - I like her version of Deck the Halls, it's sassy and fun. Also Lauren Daigle, Behold is a good album for a simplified modern jazz feel.

Country Christmas: You could go more modern with Chris Young, It Must Be Christmas; John Berry, John Berry Christmas and Rascal Flatts, The Greatest Gift of All. Or go old school with Loretta Lynn, White Christmas Blue. And don't forget Kacey Musgraves, A Very Kacey Christmas. (the last two are definitely on my faves list)

More Jazzy: Jane Lynch got together with a couple people and created A Swingin' Little Christmas. It's got some great fun arrangements plus 5 original tracks. Definitely worth checking out. There is also Kurt Elling, The Beautiful Day.

Christmas Albums from Music Legends:  Sarah Maclachlan (Wonderland), Amy Grant (Tennessee Christmas), Neil Diamond (Acoustic Christmas) and Jimmy Buffett (Tis the SeaSon) released albums this holiday season.

R. Kelly made an album of original songs entitled 12 Nights of Christmas. I just thought it was important enough to point out. Also, I legitimately love the album. I've listened to it in its entirety more than once.

Featuring a singer and an acoustic guitar: Tommy Emmanuel, Christmas Memories

Latin Christmas: Laura Pausini, Laura Navidad

Let's Go Crazy: You want harp music? Erin Hill, Christmas Harp. You like Celtic music? Natalie MacMaster, A Celtic Family Christmas.

Strong singers Christmas: Jody McBrayer, Christmastime; Jennifer Nettles, To Celebrate Christmas; Jackie Evancho, Someday At Christmas; Jordan Smith, Tis The Season

Acapella Christmas: Straight No Chaser, I'll Have Another... Christmas Album; and Pentatonix, A Pentatonix Christmas

Acoustic Guitar: Kevin Williams, Acoustic Christmas

Playground of Rock Christmas: Gary Wilson, It's Christmas time With Gary Wilson; Marika Hackman, Wonderland (favorite); She & Him, Christmas Party; David Bazan, Dark Sacred Night and Christmas Bonus.

Also of note: Jospeh Washington Jr, Merry Christmas To You; Andra Day, Merry Christmas From Andra Day; and Christmas on the Lam by various artists.

There it is! The Christmas Roundup. I apologize for anyone I have missed. there were more albums than I originally thought and I really had to dig deep to get through. I did full listens on most of the albums this year. Phew. It was something. Anyway, there is something for everyone this year and it is a strong slate of releases I might add too. So go out there and Happy Holiday Listening!

ps. spotify playlist will be added this weekend. I'm tired. I met Santa tonight. It's just... a long day.


The Friday Refrain: Saturday Edition!

Do you ever feel like the red pig in the midst of the shockingly bright plastic sheep? Yeah, me too. And then on the flip of that - are you recovered from November yet? Yeah, barely me either. Thankfully it's December when you can just relax about all that planning stuff.

I've been making my Christmas Album list and checking it twice, but I'm afraid it will be next week before I can share it, with bonus Spotify playlist. (it's the playlist's fault really, and my laziness) But what came out on this first Friday of the last month of 2016? I'll tell ya! Rolling Stones are back with Blue & Lonesome. Smooth singing John Legend released Darkness and Light. Childish Gambino is back with Awaken My Love! Neil Young released Peace Trail. (and hey, his stuff is back on the streaming sites, so have it at it folks!) And that's the big ones I believe...

Deck the halls with last week's release list

As for picks for last week, I think it's best if you just tune into Half Pints once Josh gets it posted. The week slipped away from me and I had a hard time getting listens in. Only hit up like 20 albums thus far. Thank goodness it's December and the releases will start to taper off and I can catch up before trying to wrap my mind around the vast collection of amazing music that 2016 has given us. Yeah, things sucked in the world, but man we got some great music. At least there's that. So keep your ears and eyes at attention for that Christmas Album list and in the meantime, Happy Listening!


Simply Thanksgiving part cuatro

Here's what you got to do today:

Thaw out your veggie stock!

- Don't forget to turn on Turkey Confidential as you're doing your cooking, with the Macy's Day Parade in the background.

- Double check cooking time and when you need to start your turkey. Take out of fridge 30 minutes before roasting.

- Get your pies out of the way this morning. Nothing like pies baking in the morning to get those stomachs growling.

- Get a 9x13 or pan big enough for how much green bean casserole you're making. If you want no mushrooms, blend your cream of mushroom soup - but remove the bay leaf first! Remove the bay leaf anyway. Then pour into pan, add about 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan, a handful of fried onions, and then your green beans. It's ready to go in the oven whenever. 30 minutes cooking, add french onions on top and finish another 15 minutes.

- Stuffing: You can do it two ways - 45-60 minutes, or in a crockpot. Regardless of which way you do it, right before you're going to start cooking it, get a big bowl out. Pour in your stale bread stuff, add your veggies, and then add 2 cups stock. You can add more stock as needed, I recommend using your hands to mix so you know how the stuffing's feeling - too wet, too dry, just right? And this is all your preference because some people like crunchy, some soggy, some just right. There's not correct answer.

- Sweet potatoes spread in a casserole and top with marshmallows they'll be about 25-30 minutes at a 350 degree oven to finish

- You can use a double boiler to heat up your mashed potatoes when it gets to be showtime.

- Make that veggie plate! And stir that dip together if you haven't already.

Well that's it. I realized halfway through that this was probably not the year to continue a timeline of what to do for Thanksgiving because we're hosting and going to a thanksgiving not even a week after hosting 30 people for Prethanksgiving... Oy. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!


Simply Thanksgiving part three

All right, you've got some tunes, you prepped your veggies, made your stock - what next? Last minute decoration ideas, check out my past Thanksgiving posts. My favorite decoration - I threaded fake leaves from the dollar store onto thread and taped it to the wall. Iit moves gently sometimes, it looks pretty, I just love it. Just imagine it on the wall behind the head of your Thanksgiving table.

And now it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. If you've prepped all your veggies, this will be a cinch. Just sauteing and watching things cook. *you might want to reference real recipes besides my vague descriptions following, just in case. But the idea of cooking and timing the dishes should work out the same.

Essentially: we're making the cream of mushroom soup, sauteing the stuffing veggies, boiling/mashing/seasoning our mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes like so:

1. (preheat oven for roasted sweet potatoes if not, go on to) Saute mushrooms/onions/garlic for soup

2. Saute stuffing veggies

3. Put pots of water on to boil for potatoes and sweet potatoes, if room and/or willing to do all that. (I suggest at least boiling the tubers tonight) if roasting sweet potatoes, get them seasoned and prepped according to recipe. Start peeling the potatoes.

4. Season the veggies.

5. Water might be boiling by now, if you're mushrooms are soft, let the water boil and continue with the soup. If the mushrooms are still cooking, keep working on getting your potatoes peeled and cut so you can boil them.

6. Veggies probably done, turn off and let cool. Make your cream of mushroom soup.

7. If anything, finish up your potato prep while cream of mushroom soup is simmering.

8. Turn off soup once it's simmered enough and finish up your mashes.

9. See you tomorrow for the final countdown.

Now for the detailed instructions:

if you're roasting sweet potatoes instead of making mashed marshmallow yumminess

preheat your oven to 425 or whatever your recipe says. During down time of mushrooms and veggies, get your sweet potatoes  tossed and ready to go in so you can just pop them in the oven it's ready.

Now get your cream of mushroom soup going

First, grab a pot big enough for your cream of mushroom soup. Melt 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, adding the equivalent of olive oil. When it's heated, add the mushrooms and begin sauteing. Add that onion and garlic you chopped yesterday.

Time to saute the stuffing veggies

If possible, heat up a skillet big enough for your stuffing veggies. I do about the same butter/olive oil for my stuffing veggies, once heated, add the veggies and saute. You can check between the two sautes, making sure it's not browning or sticking, stirring occasionally. By the way, I say stuffing, but I never stuff my turkey because you have to be so careful with that - it's technically dressing but that just sounds weird. So I say stuffing, even though I just stuff it into a 9x13 or slow cooker.

Stuffing and green beans continued

As the stuffing veggies are cooking, add the herbs. 2 T. sage, 1 T. parsley, 1/2 t savory, 1 t. rosemary, 1 t. thyme, 1 t. oregano and 2 t. salt. Once the veggies are soft, you are good until tomorrow. Cool and refrigerate.

 Once the mushrooms are soft and cooked turn to a little under medium heat, grab your flour and measure out 2 cups milk - DON'T ADD YET. Stir in 1 T. flour to your mushrooms, it'll get all clumpy and keep stirring until you don't see any powdery flour. Gradually stir in milk, then add 2 cups broth. Toss in a bay leaf and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer 15-20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.

Meanwhile back on the range...

While veggies are cooking, and you're willing to keep cooking, get a pot of water big enough to hold however many potatoes you're cooking and bring to a boil. While it's getting to boiling, and you're watching your other veggies, peel, rinse and quarter your potatoes. The smaller potato pieces you boil, the quicker it cooks, but you don't want to go crazy either. 2-3 inch pieces are about 15 minutes of boiling I think. I always lose track of time. Drain potatoes, turn heat to medium low, add a couple tablespoons butter and add potatoes back to pan, add a bit of milk, and start mashing. Add milk until they reach a good consistency. Immersion blenders not recommended for mashed potatoes because it will get all gummy and you want a little texture to potatoes.

If you're making marshmallow yummy potatoes

and you have enough room, you can put another pot large enough to hold the water covering the amount of sweet potatoes you are boiling on another burner and get the water boiling. Dump in the sweet potatoes and boil until tender. (again depends on how big the chunks you cut are) Once soft, drain, and bring back to pan. Add a little molasses, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, a pinch of clove, a pinch of salt and use orange juice to give it that smooth texture instead of milk. Or a combo of the two. A fun twist, coconut milk and/or orange juice would be fun too. Anyway, now spread in a casserole, cool a bit, cover and refrigerate.

There. You have prepped for Thanksgiving. Do you have your serving dishes and ware picked out and washed yet? Make sure you take the time to at least get a game plan! I'll write another post this evening about what to do tomorrow, and you'll be all set. Just assembly, put together your veggie tray and shabam! Oh, wait, go ahead and whip together that veggie dip tonight if you have the energy, otherwise, it'll take two shakes tomorrow. Let's all go relax and have some tea or wine and watch Home for the Holidays, shall we?

Page 1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 ... 41 Next 5 Entries »