Our very own Mike Arnopol, bassist for Stitely Orchestra, turned us on to this amazing funk and R&B musician, Jon Cleary.

Cleary is an accomplished pianist, vocalist, and song-writer, and is currently playing with The Absolute Monster Gentlemen. He was born in England and bred in New Orleans, where he spends most of his time performing, save for the occasional tour of Australia or gig in Paris, France.

We at Stitely aren’t the only ones who think he’s amazing. His performing and recording credits also include work with B.B. King, Keb Mo, India Arie, Ryan Adams, and Bonnie Raitt. Cleary was a touring member of  Raitt’s band since 1999 and appeared on the albums Silver Lining and Souls Alike on which Raitt covered several of Cleary originals.

Even Rolling Stone Magazine think he’s the jam, saying “Cleary can be an absolute monster on his own, but Cleary’s full combo R&B is as broad, deep and roiling as the Mississippi river, the combined swinging product of local keyboard tradition, Cleary’s vocal-songwriting flair for moody Seventies soul and the spunky-Meters roll of his Gentlemen.”

Check out this clip below of Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen live, recorded at The Basement Night Club in Sydney Australia. It’s funkalicious!!

Oh man, I sure could have used this list for my wedding. The list below was taken from an article on Huffington Post. They have an entire section devoted to weddings, which isn’t surprising; as of June 2013, American weddings are a $51 billion industry.

My favorite quote from this article is “try not to be too hard on yourself; after all, the most important thing is that you both successfully complete your vows. Everything else is just icing on top of the cake, as far as I’m concerned.”

Amen, sister.

10 THINGS BRIDES FORGET TO DO

1. Bring Your Marriage License

2. Vendor Meals

3. Favors

4. Guest Book and Pens

5. Invitation suite

6. Cake Knife and Toasting Flutes

7. Tech Chargers

8. Passport and Identification

9. Thank You Notes

10. Online Reviews

For more details on each of these items, check out the article HERE.

Jason Derulo has given the world its next top wedding song: “Marry Me.” Not to be confused with Train’s “Marry Me,” or Bruno Mars’s “Marry You,” or Paula Abdul’s “Will You Marry Me Boy” (OK, you probably weren’t thinking about the last one), it is the second single released from his third studio album Tattoos (2013).

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Jason wrote the song for longtime girlfriend Jordin Sparks about his intention to marry her… so that should tide her over for now, right?

I first heard this song on satellite radio while cruising down the highway. It didn’t strike me as anything special musically, but when I saw the title “Marry Me,” I stayed tuned in. Being in this industry, it seems like a no-brainer that this song will be requested. After listening to the lyrics, it doesn’t really seem that ideal for a wedding, in my humble opinion. I mean, he hasn’t actually asked if she’ll marry him yet, he’s talking about doing it in the future when he’s set financially, so there’s no need to rush (as if Jason Derulo doesn’t have enough money). Romantic? Meh.

Sometimes we get requests for songs, where the chorus or most high-profile part of the song seems romantic or appropriate when it’s really not. We always encourage people to put a lot of thought into their song choices, to listen to all of the lyrics, especially during a special dance when their guests are paying close attention.

This is just food for thought. At the end of the day, it’s ultimately about what makes the bride and groom happy. It’s their day after all.

Check out the song below:

Today Jeff shared with us one of his favorite albums: Timeless by John Abercrombie. Recorded in June of 1974 with John on guitar, Jan Hammer on piano and organ, and Jack DeJohnette on drums, it was a lovely, peaceful soundtrack to the snow falling outside our office window.

When naming the album “Timeless” Mr. Abercrombie really hit the nail on the head; nearly 40 years later it more than holds up. We particularly enjoyed “Love Song, a beautiful and soulful, improvised tune. Check it out below.

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and it was my first genuine laugh out loud of the day. Enjoy, my friends.

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Full props go to : http://themetapicture.com/when-the-husband-is-in-charge-of-the-wedding-invitation/

Formed in 2002 by singer Grace Potter, drummer Matt Burr and guitarist Scott Tournet, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals began their career as an indie band. They got their start in Vermont, self-producing their own albums and playing as many as 200 gigs a year in the jam bands and music festivals circuits. They started gaining traction, and in 2005 they signed with Hollywood Records.

They started gaining commercial success, especially in 2007 with the release of their album, “This Is Somewhere.” That year, the band appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Furthering the truth that you’re nobody ’til you’re on TV, GP&TN continued to rise when their songs were featured on All My Children, Kyle XY, One Tree Hill, Brothers & Sisters, ER, and Grey’s Anatomy.

In 2010, Grace re-wrote some of the lyrics to the song “Something That I Want,” and Disney chose it to be featured during the closing credits of their animated feature Tangled,” which Potter sang by herself. Potter has kind of a Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt thing going on, and it’s definitely working for her and the band.

Check out their single Low Road, the clip our lovely Peggy introduced us to.

In the spirit of continuing to be inspired by re-imaginings of popular songs, I give you the group Lake Street Dive. Jeff introduced us to their rendition of Michael Jackson’s “I Want You Back” this morning, and we were tickled pink.

Lake Street Dive first got together when they were students at Boston’s New England Conservatory. The group is made up of drummer Mike Calabrese, bassist Bridget Kearney, vocalist Rachael Price, and trumpet-guitarist Mike “McDuck” Olson.

They are currently on tour in the US – though not in Chicago anytime soon, unfortunately. If you happen to be overseas starting November 22nd, maybe you can catch them in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Amsterdam, Paris Dublin, or the U.K. A bunch of jet-setters they are. They’re on their way to stardom; Katie Couric recently tweeted about them, so you know, it’s just a matter of time before they’re superstars. It would be well-deserved.

 

Check out their gorgeous take on “I Want You Back” right here:

Over the years, Sweden has given the world some killer bands – all to varying degrees depending on your taste in music – Roxette, Ace Of Base, Europe, The Cardigans, and of course, ABBA.

This most recent Swedish group takes the Princess Cake. Ladies and Gentlemen… Dirty Loops.

This trio of young, fantastic musicians is causing a stir all over the world. Millions of fans have discovered them online through their videos and recordings. See, they take songs by well-known artists like Adele and Lady Gaga, twist them, turn them, and make them their own.

I, like most people, first saw these guys on YouTube tearing up a version of Britney Spears’ Circus. Not sure how you feel about the Britney Spears version, but I always thought it was, like most of her music, FINE. I think she peaked in 1999, but I digress. These guys made me love that song. It’s the jam. It’s here.

I titled this post “Cleans Up” because they are finally getting the recognition they deserve – Music mogul David Foster signed them to his Verve Music Group, and last year they embarked on Asia Tour 2012 alongside Chaka Khan and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. With David Foster on your side, the sky’s the limit.

They are currently working on their debut release. It was slated to be released “early 2013.” It’s September. Why do you make me wait, guys? Sigh.

I hope this is inspiring to all you artists out there, vying to become internet sensations and parlay that into legit success. It happens. Not always for the good – isn’t that how Justin Bieber was found? – but this time, the internet got it right.

Here’s another example of musical genius at work:

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Credit: Garbo Productions

Here at Stitely, we can count on our hands the number of times we’ve actually played Wagner’s Bridal Chorus as a wedding ceremony processional. While this is a great choice for the traditional bride, classical-loving couples often opt for other pieces such as Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Handel’s Largo from Xerxes, or even Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1. However many couples are now choosing a more contemporary route, or for eclectic personalities, a mix of classical and contemporary. Here are a few intriguing choices for ceremony processionals and recessional, that with the right instrumentation can create the perfect modern atmosphere for your wedding ceremony.

 

Processionals

“First Day of My Life” – Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes

This acoustic ballad of the highest caliber carries a lot of meaning for many couples, and it’s catchy to boot!

“In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” – Neutral Milk Hotel

Jeff Mangum, frontman of the long-defunct NMH, reveals wisdom on high in this atypical serenade.

“Chicago” – Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens’ signature song lays bare the idealism of youth, so harmful and yet so good.

Recessional

“Theme to The Muppets Show”

A wedding ceremony is a great time for childhood throwbacks!

“Sweet Disposition” – The Temper Trap

This complex tune is just as amazing with an acoustic guitar playing the driving rhythm while a violin or cello plays the lovely melody.

 

Choosing Music for Your Reception

Choosing wedding music that makes everyone happy can be a complicated process. In Parts One and Two of this series we discussed selecting music for your ceremony, cocktails, dinner and special moments. Today we’ll discuss how to create your own musical signature as a couple while satisfying the tastes of your guests during the reception.

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Guests flood the famous Knickerbocker Hotel dance floor at a summer wedding. Photo Credit: Gerber & Scarpelli

So how do you honor your personal preferences while keeping the dance floor packed? The key is considering the music you and your fiancé like, as well as the songs your families and friends will respond to.  People dance to what they know, so if you are not already aware ask your family or friends what artists and genres they like. For example, the Stitely Orchestra played at a wedding where the couple and their friends were Phish heads. They knew that Lady Gaga was not going to get their guests on the floor, so they chose music that reminded them of their shared memories and appealed to their friends. We also played at a wedding where the bride and her family is Bolivian, while the groom and his family is Irish. To satisfy everyone they hired a Bolivian duo and an Irish combo to play during the band breaks; that way their families as well as their friends got to enjoy themselves.

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Guests of all ages enjoy the wedding classics! Photo Credit: Brian Hall Photographers

Often, playing older styles of music like jazz or classic rock earlier in the reception helps to include older guests. However, if you want a more modern feeling right from the beginning there are some ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s tunes that can work great in the first set. Songs like “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green, and artists like Adele, Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, and Taylor Swift appeal to guests of all ages. Avoid songs with a lot of electronic elements in the first set; work up to those auto tune hits that make your booty shake but make your grandparents cringe. Also consider if there are any cultural traditions, songs with special meaning to your group like college fight songs, or sing-along tunes like “Wonderwall.” These songs are great to include earlier in the evening because they keep everyone engaged.

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Great music and a fun dance party will leave a memorable impression of your wedding celebration. Photo Credit: Timothy Whaley & Associates

The final song will cast a lingering impression of your wedding for you and your guests. Consider whether you want to leave with a romantic ballad like “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne, or a rocking anthem that keeps the energy high to the very end. Songs like “Don’t Stop Believing” or “We are Young” are great at creating a musical climax that reflects the fun and excitement of the day.

The process of choosing your wedding music can be as personalized as you and your fiancé want it to be. Put your unique signature on every musical aspect from the ceremony to reception, just remember that music frames memories and creates a lasting impression of your wedding for your family, friends and guests. But more importantly, how do you want to remember your special day?