Don’t rush out to a big box store to get William Shatner’s latest CD. The music fan in your life may prefer Ferron’s Girl on a Road DVD or some great indie music from CD Baby. Here’s my completely biased opinion of gifts you might consider. Click on the retailers name to get to their site.
It’s one of my favorite sites for music and I’m not just sayin’ that ‘cause they carry my CDs. Simply enter the genre of music your recipient likes and see what comes up. Be sure to check out the sale CDs – most are only $5.
Don’t want to buy a hard copy CD? Download a few songs on a USB drive or burn a CD. If you really want to get crazy, buy them an MP3 player or phone and load it up with cool tunes.
Have I mentioned that they’re an independent and that they only carry indie recordings? You’ll have to go elsewhere for that Shatner CD.
I adore this indie bookstore. They have an awesome selection of books, new and used, including some great books about music like The World in Six Songs, by Daniel J Levitin, a fascinating tome about the origins of music. Don’t expect a dry academic text full of twenty-five dollar words. It’s very readable. I can also recommend Keith Richard’s biography Life. I know, you may think a feminist like me would rather stab myself but it’s well written and offers proof that zombies roam the earth. Check out their music instruction books too – everything from playing the ukulele to guitar scales.
Oh and their employees are treated well, unlike an unnamed mega store where the working conditions were so horrible that they had paramedics stationed outside their warehouse last summer. Don’t believe me? Check out this article from the Vancouver Sun.
While we’re talking books, don’t forget to check out women’s bookstores. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town with one, go there. If not, many of them mail order. You might want to check out Charis Books and More or Antigone Books.
Need a book suggestion? I loved Alix Dobkin’s My Red Blood. It’s not just a biography but a wonderful collection of stories — from her early years as the daughter of communists to hanging out with Dylan and others in the 60’s Greenwich Village folk scene.
They’re my favorite place for recordings by women. Check out new recordings from Melissa Ferrick, Catie Curtis and the Indigo Girls. They carry DVDs too including the excellent Radical Harmonies, about my favorite topic, women’s music.
Who’s playing in town soon? A pair of concert tickets is a great gift and a great date. While the big music hall in town is a good place to look, don’t forget smaller venues. Folk coffeehouses, jazz clubs and comedy clubs often offer stellar entertainment.
For the musician
My last blog, Great Gift Ideas for Musicians, has lots of ideas, from straps to strings.
Local music stores
Please buy local whenever you can. My favorite local music stores in Ottawa (that’s Canada y’all) is Steve’s Music and Spaceman Music. In Durham, NC, it’s High Strung and in Carrboro, NC, The Music Loft. Chances are there’s a great Mom and Pop music store in your town too.
Women’s Music Calendar
The National Women’s Music Festival is selling a limited edition 2012 calendar featuring your favorite women’s music performers. It includes great photos by Janice Rickert and Irene Young. It’s just $15 plus shipping. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get yours.
They’re an awesome folk label with a variety of music, from The Wailin’ Jennys to Eliza Gilkyson. And speaking of the latter, her latest release Roses at the End of Time is amazing. She pours that sandpaper edged voice over heartfelt ballads like “Vayan al Norte”; it sounds like a classic Mexican folk ballad with a mournful guitar and beautiful harmonies. In the more light hearted “2153” she sings about those who waited in vain for their god — knowing the secret handshake was not enough.
If you really want to go nuts, check out this celebrity auction site – it has everything from a guitar signed by James Taylor to a bowling date with Cyndi Lauper. One of the coolest things is a guitar signed by the cast of GLEE. As I write this, the bidding’s at $500.
If you want Stevie Wonder’s piano, it’s only $23,000. If you’ve got that kind of money, I could use funding for a new album. Just sayin’.
William Shatner’s CD
Speaking of celebrities, if you really want to go where no man has gone before you can get an autographed copy of that Shatner CD for a mere $94.95. At the very least, it would be a unique gift. Mom, this is NOT a hint. I would much prefer a Ladyslipper gift certificate.