Monday, January 31, 2011

Trip to York

Todd and I took a trip to York last Thursday and had a nice day walking around the city. We visited the York Castle Museum, York Minster and had lunch at Bettys.

The only part left of York Castle is Clifford's Tower, named after a man who was hanged for treason from its walls in 1322. Beside the tower is York Castle Museum that depicts what life in England was like over the past 400 years.

We went to Bettys tearoom for lunch and though we didn't have "afternoon tea" we had some really yummy food!

Our favorite place on this trip was York Minster. We were going to pay the 9GBP to get in, but Todd in all his wisdom asked if there was a clergy discount and they let us both in for free!! In the under croft we saw old Roman walls that were built 2000 years ago and interesting sculptures that were found near the building in a recent dig. Outside sits a modern statue of Constantine, the Caesar who allowed Christianity in his empire in the first century. The church is really beautiful inside and out.

Below are some more pictures I took of the church:

This last picture is of the Quire Screen that has sculptures of 15 kings from William I to Henry VI. A very impressive wall of the church.

We were touring the church when the choir was rehearsing for the next service. Though the video below is sideways, the voices made the tour that much more enjoyable!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On my iPod

I don’t consider myself a music guru. I’m not the person who knows the newest bands and I usually find my favorites by accident a few years after their albums come out and everyone else has since tired of hearing them. So I write this post humbly, not with the intention of waxing eloquent about the voices I’ve heard, but to write about what I’m currently enjoying in my day. Todd explains my music taste as “soulful female vocalists” which doesn’t narrow down my genre too much. And while I enjoy Amos Lee and Ray LaMontagne, Brandi Carlile and eastmountainsouth will always be on any created playlist of mine because I have a deep appreciation for beautiful folksy female vocalists.

We’ve been living in England for nearly 4 months, so let me share three recent singer/songwriter album releases that I’m currently in love with from this side of the pond. And yes, they are all female vocalists.

Eliza Doolittle, the daughter of a theatre director and an actress/singer, born in London. Her grandmother was the founder of a theatre school in London, so really it’s just in her blood. Her music is poppy and fun. Her album was released here in June and on all the UK charts, but still has a TBD album release date in the states. I tend to stay away from buying “Top 40” albums since I can hear them on the radio, but this one I found too late and has the added bonus of being an unknown in the States. Here’s a video of my favorite song “Rollerblades” from her album:

KT Tunstall, a scottish singer/guitarist, I’m proud to say I’ve been listening to for years. I had her first album before 2006 American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee sang her song on national television and the general public began noticing, but I must confess that this album was a random grab from a Starbucks in Philly when they first started selling new music along with overpriced coffee. KT Tunstall was probably the only stamp of approval of my music I got from Todd when we were dating because she is a very gifted musician/writer. Her music is of the alt rock persuasion and her album “Tiger Suit” (released in October) is on par with her first brilliant album. Here’s a live version of one of my favorites from this album:

Adele, London born with an amazing soulful voice, released her new album on Monday Jan 24th. I’m sad to say that I didn’t find Adele until Spring of 2009 when a friend posted a video of Adele’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “To make you feel my love” on their blog. I was hooked from the first few notes! Her new sophomore album is just as lovely as the last (which I think it pretty brilliant since second albums tend to disappoint) and includes a beautiful cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong”. It’s a little bit Susan Tedeschi and has a hint of country, but what’s not to like about that. Here’s my current favorite from Adele’s new Album “21”: