Author Archives: Doug Winters

About Doug Winters

Owner of Doug Winters Music and leader of our flagship band, Best Kept Secret. This blog is dedicated to my daily thoughts about weddings, music, movies, and sometimes sports. Please feel free to leave comments.

Canon in D-Johann Pachelbel

In any discussion of music for a wedding processional, we’d have to start here. Being a “Classical Musician” I have long been aware of the composer Johann Pachelbel and his most famous piece, “Canon in D.” However his name has become synonymous with wedding ceremonies. What makes it so perfect is the slow, regal pace and the majestic simplicity of the principle thematic line. It doesn’t hurt that it’s been used in several movies including the heartbreaking Robert Redford directed “Ordinary People.” Since then, the piece has become as famous as most ‘Pop’ tunes.Then it was used in several high profile TV commercial including  “G.E. Lightbulbs” and Jaguar Cars .

Although the names sound similar, please don’t mistake Pachelbel with Taco-Bell. Johann Pachelbel was a German composer during the Baroque Period, and lived from 1653-1706. Although it’s been used countless times, it should never be dismissed for overexposure. One reason this “canon” works so well as a Processional is that it is really a simple “round” allowing the piece can go on as long or as short as the recession lasts.

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This is the official tried and true classic. You can be comfortable using The Pachelbel in D without fearing of using the same tune as everyone else. It has become the “Go-To” Processional, replacing Wagner’s “Wedding March.”
Try it out and let me know what you think.
-Doug

Baby I-Ariana Grande


I have loved Ariana Grande’s voice since I first heard her sing “The Way” three short years ago. There is no doubt that she has astonishing vocal technique and reminds everybody of a young Mariah Carey. But there is something fresh and exciting about every song Ariana sings. Her videos are alway upbeat, with her showing off her dimples, and proving beyond a doubt that there are an amazing amount of great hip-hop dancers in L.A.

“Baby I” brings her to a new level, by actually adding a genuine jazz-infused, Earth, Wind & Fire orchestration. The way she sings over, around and through these deceivingly complicated chords is extraordinary. And the ease with which she manipulates her voice to reach incredible heights is so effortless, that I am convinced she’s easily got the best voice I’ve heard since a 19 year old Whitney Houston.  

Plus, it’s a great dance song, and a blast for a band to play:
Enjoy

Baby I got love for thee so deep inside of me I don’t know where to start
I love you more than anything but the words can’t even touch what’s in my heart
When I try to explain it I be sounding insane the words don’t ever come out right
I get all tongue tied and twisted) I can’t explain what I’m feeling And I say baby, baby
Baby (baby I)
Oh baby, oh baby, my baby (Baby I)
Oh baby, baby I (baby I)
All I’m tryna say is you’re my everything baby
But every time I try to say it words they only complicate it
Baby, baby (Ooh oh)
This is a great pop song in it’s purest sense. It actually brings comparison to Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be.” But I guess I’m not the only Ariana Grande fan around. The video above has had over 127 million views as of today.
Let me know what you think,

On My Mind-Ellie Goulding

British Pop singer Ellie Goulding (pronounced Gold-ing) has become an international sensation with her third album “Delirium.” The beat of “On My Mind” is completely infectious and never fails to pack any dance floor. After listening to this song for the first time, I couldn’t stop singing “cause I got you on my mind” for days.

Ellie Goulding

At the same time that I instantly fell in love with this song, I couldn’t help but think how influenced it was by The Police. Starting with the incredibly familiar quasi-reggae guitar opening,try singing “Message In A Bottle” along with “On My Mind.” The two are shockingly similar. However, if you’re going to steal from anyone, you might as well steal from the best. But then again, as the beloved Pharrell Williams recently found out, there are definitely “blurred lines” between an homage and a lawsuit. Just sayin’.

Wake Me Up-Avici

There’s something oddly catchy about this song. It starts out with a lazy guitar riff, and sounds like the beginning of a country song. But it gains momentum and by the time you hit the chorus, “So wake me up when it’s all over….”, you’re hooked. And as with any song we use at a wedding or any other party, everybody can sing along. The song really works. Check it out. It’s a really fun song.

What Do You Mean-Justin Bieber

I suppose that it’s time to acknowledge the existence of Justin Bieber as a legitimately solid force in contemporary music. The cover of the March 2016 issue of GQ pronounces “LET US NOW FORGIVE JUSTIN BIEBER.” His song “Sorry” is the first of twenty-five listed on last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine cover story titled “25 SONGS THAT TELL US WHERE MUSIC IS GOING.” The kid is getting harder and harder to ignore. After being discovered singing covers on YouTube, he started a bidding war between Usher and Justin Timberlake over signing this once unmoored but ever-blonde, sweet-voiced (with the face to match) teenager to a label. He really does have a terrific voice, despite spending more time being the lead story on TMZ, intent on fostering his partying, wannabe gangsta’, tattooed bad-boy image than he does in being thought of as a serious artist. But I’m here to praise “The Biebs”… not to bury him.

So… “What Do You Mean?” is a really great, thoroughly pure pop song. So is “Sorry.”  And so is “Where Are U Now”the first three releases off only his third studio album.. It’s no longer an embarrassment to say you enjoy Justin Bieber’s music. Things could be a lot worse. He hasn’t shaven his head like Brittany Spears, or become a complete career-destroying cautionary tale, like Lindsay Lohan. 

If being annoying is the worst thing you can say about him, I’ll give him a pass. The kid from Stratford, Ontario has a great look (he’s actually pretty in that compelling androgynous way) and is acknowledged as a legitimate global sensation. Born in 1994,he won the AMA for Artist of the Year at the age of 16, and did it again two years later, at 18. In 2016, he just won his first Grammy, for Best Dance Recording – “Where Are U Now.”

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While I can’t say I’m a total, true “Belieber” quite yet, I say it’s time to give the kid a chance. I must admit, the first time I really paid attention to him, and genuinely started to like him, was on his two “Carpool Karaoke” appearances with James Corden (who has an uncanny ability to make any performer seem like his best friend.)

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
-Doug

Vivir Mi Vida-Marc Anthony

I have always loved Salsa music. There is so much soul invested in the unique percussion rhythms, the powerful horns, and the stylistic joy that makes “Salsa” almost impossible not to dance to. Even though the only two Spanish words I know are “hola,” and coño, which is a source of embarrassment since I found out what “coño” actually means, although having a good curse word or two can be pretty handy.

I had my band learn the song in its original Spanish and have played it at four weddings so far. I’m pretty sure none of the guests knew the song, but the dance floor was packed within seconds of hearing this incredible beat.

I promise you don’t have to understand a world of Spanish to love Marc Anthony’s “Vivir Mi Vida.” If this is the first time you’re hearing Salsa,,,Bienvenidos Amigos!

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Vivir Mi Vida
Voy a reír, voy a bailar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
Voy a reír, voy a gozar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
 
A veces llega la lluvia
para limpiar las heridas
A veces sólo una gota
puede vencer la sequía
 
Y para qué llorar, ¿Pa’ qué?
Si duele una pena, se olvida
Y para qué sufrir, ¿Pa’ qué?
Si así es la vida, hay que vivirla
 
Voy a reír, voy a bailar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
Voy a reír, voy a gozar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
 
Voy a vivir el momento
para entender el destino
Voy a escuchar en silencio
para encontrar el camino
 
Y para qué llorar, ¿Pa’ qué?
Si duele una pena, se olvida
Y para qué sufrir, ¿Pa’ qué?
Si duele una pena, se olvida
 
Voy a reír, voy a bailar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
Voy a reír, voy a gozar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
Leave a comment, or a request for me to review.
-Doug

Let’s Stay Together-Maroon 5

True R ‘n B devotees might have me kicked out of the “Hipness Club” for daring to play Adam Levine’s delicate version of Al Green’s 1971 “Soul” classic “Let’s Stay Together.”  Green’s original is spectacular, and well-loved, having been viewed over 72 million times on YouTube. However, for a wedding procession, a song has to be stripped down and be able to be played delicately by two musicians, while still honoring the Al Green original. Adam Levine is one of the few male vocalists with the vocal “chops’ to pull off this song without losing any of the soulful simplicity of the original.

My bride for this weekend….well, not my bride….but you get the idea, Alexandra,  and I spent countless hours on the phone and sent each other dozens of emails laughing about which 90s dance hit would/could sound appropriate for a Wedding Processional without sounding goofy.

As a pianist and arranger, I assured her that I could make any song sound melodic enough for a procession.  I’m pretty sure we spent the most time laughing, yet seriously considering TLCs “No Scrubs” the longest.  She finally landed on Levine’s arrangement for the simplicity of the instrumentation, while retaining Al Green’s iconic melody. We both think it’s a great choice. Personally, I’ll always maintain that choosing any song that actually “means” something to you as the bride or the groom, you can never go wrong.

Leave me a comment to let me know how you feel.

Blackbird-The Beatles

 

This is one of my favorite Beatles songs. Sung here by the ageless Sir Paul McCartney, and performed for an intimate audience at Apple Studios, I’m reminded of how many times we’ve used this classic as a Recessional song. Of all The Beatles songs, Blackbird has one of the strongest melodies. When Best Kept Secret plays the music for a wedding ceremony, we invariably use a guitar and keyboard. Using the guitar exactly the way McCartney is playing it in this recording and having the piano take the melody, lends a beautiful touch to your procession.

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Give it a listen and let me know what you think.
Doug

 

Signed Sealed Delivered-Stevie Wonder

Last Sunday, my band, Best Kept Secret, and I had the privilege of performing at a benefit for White Plains Hospital  being joined on stage by the amazing singer/songwriter Javier Colon at a benefit for White Plains Hospital/Mariano Rivera Celebrity Event and Golf Tournament. Javier is best known for winning the first season of The Voice, coached by Adam Levine. When, I asked him what he’d like to sing with our band, Best Kept Secret, he suggested two Stevie Wonder classics,“Signed Sealed Delivered” and “I Wish.” It was an extraordinary experience with Javier singing lead with Best Kept Secret backing him up. Most memorably was the four part harmonies created at the end of Signed Sealed Delivered.

Since everyone has heard the original, I wanted to share this delicate duet by Ariana Grande & Kenneth Brian “Babyface” Edmond. Babyface has written and produced an astonishing 26 #1 R ‘n B hits, and 23 year old Ariana has a remarkable voice that brings comparison to 90s icons Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey

I normally print out the lyrics to every song I “blog” about. But I think it’s safe to say that everyone alive knows, at least, the chorus, if not every lyric. Here’s just a taste…

Like a fool I went and stayed too long
Now I’m wondering if your love’s still strong
Oo baby, here I am,
Signed, sealed delivered, I’m yours

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Stevie Wonder is nothing less than a musical genius.
Leave a comment to let me know what you think.     -Doug