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Tag Archives: npr

Take you a-ridin in my car

Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday would have been a few weeks ago.  This would-be event was momentous enough for NPR to have a special feature on his life and music – At 100, Woodie Guthrie Still Resonates.  The singer and songwriter grew up in Oklahoma and was forced out during the Dust Bowl, along with thousands of other displaced Americans. He worked on a farm in California before recording music at the beginning of WWII. He wrote “This Land Is Your Land” among thousands of other songs. In 1943, the folk singer was hailed by The New York Times as a national treasure — “part of the best stuff this country has to show the world.”

NPR’s story was interesting enough for me to search for Guthrie’s music on Pandora, and having a six-month-old I naturally opted for the result that said “children’s” next his name. Within seconds I was caught somewhere in between Santa Barbara and the Great Depression, an illogical time between ipods and old-timey record players, LIDAR-guided autonomous cars and cars that you start with a crank.

As I listened to the first song Pandora threw at me, a tune about Guthrie’s sweet ride, I realized that although horns don’t sound like “a-wooga” anymore, music and cars is a timeless combination.

Luckily for me, Babydyne loves them both. The little guy hasn’t figured out what kind of creature our cat is yet, but he can certainly tell a good road trip song.  We hope that he will someday outgrow his insistent preference for “Wheels on the Bus,” but for now I humor him.  It’s a fair trade to see his face light up and his eyes sparkle as he waits for me to do the “whooshing wipers.”

We really tested this magic of babies and cars and music last week.  We were headed home from our first weekend of camping with Babydyne. It had been a 5 hour car ride and we were less than thirty miles away. I was daydreaming about my bed and a warm shower when all of a sudden we hit bumper to bumper traffic and Babydyne suddenly needed a diaper change. What song would you choose in a moment like that? I can’t say I remember which tunes brought us home that day. But Woody Guthrie would have been a good choice.

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A tribute to the music of Entourage

So, I came across a rerun episode of Entourage over the weekend. It’s one of those shows I can watch over and over again without tiring of it. But it’s not the show itself that I look forward to the most. It’s the music.

I love that each song seems to fit the scene and the situation perfectly. I love that I watch every single credit roll because the last song is always that good. I love that the music of Entourage is as much a character as Vince or Ari.

As I watched my weekend rerun, I wondered who was responsible for all the great music. That dream job belonged to Scott Vener, who is currently the music supervisor for How to Make It in America and 90210. Vener had never worked as a music consultant previous to Entourage. He says it kind of just happened.

Vener was a long-time friend of the show’s creator, Doug Ellin. When Ellin showed Vener the pilot episode, he told his friend he couldn’t pay attention to the jokes because the music was so bad. He pitched a few of his own ideas, which were used. By 2007, Vener was hired as the show’s official music consultant.

The man behind the music of Entourage

How did Vener choose the right music?

“I think when I’m placing music, mostly at the end credits, what I’m thinking in my head is, ‘I have 10 friends who I know love music, and if I can stump five out of those 10, then I won,” he told NPR music’s Laura Sullivan. “Or if I can make them say, ‘Oh my god, I remember that,’ Then I won.”

Vener often chose unknown music to reflect the show’s energy and tone. He became known for discovering new music. But Vener says it’s the music buffs online that really deserve the credit because that’s where he looked to find a lot of the music he used.

And Vener says that HBO gave him a surprising amount of freedom with his song selections. “It’s unique for two reasons: You can use profanity, and HBO spends money on the music. They’re one of the few networks that will pony up and pay, and they stay out of your way and let you do what you want to do…”

One of the most exciting things about the music that airs on Entourage is that Vener  has consistently broken tracks before they’ve been released anywhere else.

And long after the show’s final episode, Vener’s music choices continue to reach the masses. There are an endless number of websites dedicated to the music of Entourage. There is a Facebook profile called, “The Music of Entourage.” It features songs from a variety of episodes over the years.

And The Song Detective Blog states, “It’s one of the most common questions about the show Entourage we have gotten over the years: What’s the song playing during the end credits of entourage season x, episode x”. The blog actually offers a complete list of every song ever used during the closing credits of Entourage.

Vener says he has two personal favorites. The first is “In My Lifetime Remix” by Jay-Z (season six). The second is a song he used that was written by his brother, Josh. The song is called “Phone Bill Money” because Josh wanted to pay his phone bill. Vener says his brother made it on Garage Band on a keyboard and got paid about $250 for it. The song made its debut in season two. Vener says he got away with it because it was good and it worked perfectly for the scene.

For the record, Vener says he has only been turned down once on a request for licensing music to feature on the show. It was for “Lady Madonna” by the Beatles.

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