Musicology, Song Lists
As far as television shows go, HBO’s True Blood is bloody awesome. In its seven season run, the show combined a mix of sinister, sexy and silly into a hit show that I was sad to see end, so much so that I’ve begun watching it all over again, and it’s just as fun as the first time around in every aspect… particularly the music.
The Music Supervisor (and team) for True Blood did a phenomenal job overall on the entire soundtrack, and music was such a big part of the show that each episode is actually named after a song title that was used in that particular episode. As a music person myself, I was especially impressed by the shows use of cover versions of popular songs (versions by artists different than the artist best known for that particular song).
The eight covers listed below – which you can listen to if you scroll to the bottom of this post – represent only a few of the songs used in the soundtrack, but more specifically some of the cover tracks used on the show. They are all edgy and different, yet hauntingly familiar, and although many of them are not available on official True Blood soundtrack compilations, I hunted down the hard to find ones to put together my own custom compilation True Blood’s crypt-kicking covers.
“Just Like Heaven” by The Watson Twins
Featured in Episode 7, Season 1
The first of many artists on this list that hadn’t been on my radar prior to watching True Blood, these two identical twin sisters refer to their style as Indie-Folk, and from the style of this cover I’d have to agree. Their cover of “Just Like Heaven”, originally written and recorded by The Cure in 1987, is a fresh and more tender interpretation of the original.
“Trouble” by Jackie DeShannon
Title track from Episode 5, Season 3
I had to track this tune down as it wasn’t available online, but on a rare compilation CD I had to order through my local record store. Elvis Presley recorded and charted with this tune in 1958, and Jackie DeShannon a year later in 1959. Admittedly, I like this version better than Presley’s, and recognized it immediately during the end credits of episode five in the third season.
“She’s Not There” by Neko Case and Nick Cave
Title track from Episode 1, Season 4
“She’s Not There” was the debut single for the British Rock band The Zombies in 1964, and although that version would have been perfectly suited for the True Blood soundtrack, the great music minds opted for this unlikely duet cover, which, like many of the other songs from the show, has an eerie and sinister feel. Yet another great cover, well suited for the supernatural.
“Burning Down The House” by The Used
Title track from Episode 10, Season 4
With its borderline maniacal lyrics, this tune was originally written and recorded by The Talking Heads in 1983. This cover by The Used, a Punk/Alternative/Hardcore band out of Utah, sounds perhaps even more maniacal with a hard, edgy, industrial sound, is again another perfect choice for a vampire show. It was also featured in the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
“Turn, Turn, Turn” by My Morning Jacket
Title track from Episode 1, Season 5
Written by Pete Seeger in 1950, and adapted almost word for word from Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes, “Turn, Turn, Turn” became a major hit for the Folk-Rock band The Byrds in the mid 1960s. The cover used in True Blood by the Louisville, Kentucky based band My Morning Jacket is one of many covers of this iconic song, but this version has a subtle edge, making it perfect for the show.
“Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Care Bears on Fire
Title track from Episode 9, Season 5
Care Bears on Fire are a Brooklyn based Pop-Punk all-girl band with the edginess of L7 and the bounciness of The Go-Go’s. “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” was originally a mega-hit for the Post Modern 80s band Tears For Fears in 1985, but this cover is much more upbeat, while retaining a retro sound thematically well matched for the True Blood soundtrack.
“You’re No Good” by The Plasticines
Title track from Episode 3, Season 6
This was easily the second hardest cover to track down, unavailable online the CD had to be ordered from The Plasticines native country, France. This French all-girl rock band delivers a naughty little version of the #1 Linda Ronstadt 1974 classic (although originally recorded by Betty Everett in 1963). The title of the song alone makes this yet another perfect fit (cue “Bad Things”) for a show about vampires and the supernatural.
“I Wanna Be Your Man” by Mobley
Featured in Episode 9, Season 6
Major kudos to the Music Supervisor for squeezing in a Lennon/McCartney tune, originally recorded by The Rolling Stones and then by The Beatles themselves (click here for a great article on the subject). Mobley, an Austin, Texas based Indie-Rock band hits a home run with this classic, reworking the sound into something nefarious and eerie, another home run choice for the soundtrack.
Whether you’re a fan of True Blood, vampires, the supernatural or just great cover songs, these eight tunes should really hit the spot. The show did feature endless originals that had the same je ne sais quoi, like “That Smell” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, “In The Evening” by Led Zeppelin and “Spellbound” by Siouxie and the Banshees just to name a few. All of this great music combined made for a perfectly crafted and truly remarkable soundtrack.
Bravo to the Music Supervisor of True Blood, and to HBO.
Cutting Edge @ October 31, 2014
On May 31st, 2014 I was at the North Hills Country Club in Glenside, PA to rock out the wedding reception of Molly and Michael. In my line of work, I meet a lot of couples in love. I could tell right away that Molly and Michael cared very much for each other (and no, I don’t always say that). In our meetings prior to the wedding, the bride and groom would constantly exchange smiles, winks, and I even caught them playing footsies underneath the conference table. The bride and groom were excited and their eyes lit up as we sat and discussed the dance music we would play during the wedding reception.
Molly and Michael are definitely both party animals, and they really wanted all of their guests to have a great time. They picked the right DJ for the job, because getting (and keeping) people out on the dance floor happens to be my specialty. I played everything from “Runaround Sue” by Dion & The Belmonts to “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, and everyone had a blast. One thing remained the same. It didn’t hurt that this crowd was ready to go as soon as dinner was over, and did not stop until the reception came to a close.
Now, of course, I can’t take all the credit for the success of the party. The staff at the North Hills Country Club did a magnificent job. There was constant communication between myself and their staff, which enabled us to work together toward the overall success of the event. I also had the chance to work with Kate from Kate Madell Photography. She took amazing pictures and was very kind to let us feature some here on our blog.
In conclusion, everything could not have been without the bride and groom. The wedding was amazing and I was so glad to be a part of it. I wish both Molly and Michael the best in the start of your new life together, and I hope to see you both at future events. Thank you for choosing Cutting Edge Entertainment.
Images courtesy of Kate Madell Photography
North Hills Country Club
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ October 22, 2014
This past spring, I had the pleasure of DJing Harlan’s Bar Mitzvah which was a great time had by all. Harlan was one cool kid and I knew from the start he was going to be a lot of fun. The party was held at Jose Garces’s “Distrito” restaurant located in the vicinity of Center City Philadelphia. This is by far one of the coolest places I have ever had the opportunity to perform. The moment you walk into the restaurant you are in awe, as the décor and colors help to set the ambiance for the evening and – in this case – didn’t disappoint.
Harlan and his family were amazing. Jen – the event planner who put it all together – is amazing at planning all aspects of her parties. I knew the kids were ready to let loose and have fun from the moment cocktail hour began. While the adults enjoyed their cocktails, the kids started dancing and partying with my staff and myself. We jumped right into a few line dances and the kids came right out on the floor. As cocktail hour ended, we gathered everyone into the room for our grand entrances and then we could get the party going.
Once we brought Harlan into the room, we packed the dance floor, with all of the kids and adults joining in for the Hora and other dances. As we sat everyone down, Harlan’s father sang his toast. He wrote his own version to “Like a Rhinestone Cowboy,” called “Like a Bar Mitzvah Boy.” Family and friends loved it as they began singing along with the chorus, and admittedly, I was quite impressed as well.
As the evening continued, the party only gained momentum with Harlan’s friends rotating from playing games, to dancing, to singing Karaoke in the lounge area. When the kids were gone, the adults were on the dance floor dancing the night away to the sounds of Motown, the 70’s and 80’s, all the way to the current dance hits. The evening ended perfectly, with all of the adults and kids coming back out on the dance floor to do more line dancing and partying. It was a great time had by all.
Kudos to Jen Angelo for planning yet another amazing event! She seems to always have a knack for finding amazing venues (and amazing clients). Mike and his staff at Distrito were on top on everything the entire night, so much so that I was so impressed with their work I referred my own my family who recently booked an event there. A big thank you to my DJs and dancer staff as well. and of course thank you to Jackie Bayne from Love Shack Photo for the amazing party shots.
Mazel Tov to Harlan and his entire family. We had an amazing time partying with your family and friends. I truly love what I do – a sentiment shared with my staff – and working with such great folks makes my job all the more rewarding.
Images courtesy of Love Shack Photo
Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
MC, DJ and Dancers
Cutting Edge @ October 15, 2014
All events have a memorable moment, most events have several worth recalling, and others have a section that is full of moments that help define my role as a Wedding DJ. The wedding of Anna and Joe Nardozzi on August 9, 2014 began with one vibe and ended with another. It was a pleasure working with this particular bride and groom cause all they wanted to do “was have a good time”, which –at Cutting Edge Entertainment – is our specialty!
Although I have worked numerous events at the Mendenhall Inn, I have never had the opportunity to work in the smaller of the two ballrooms. As a proponent of “intimate spaces”, smaller spaces create closeness for the guests that allow everyone to take stock in the events of the day. A relaxing cocktail hour led into a romp of an introduction; the parents entered to the classic Santana and Rob Thomas track “Smooth”, the bridal party jammed into “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas and our Bride and Groom rocked into “I Believe in a Thing” by The Darkness (…this may be one of favorite intro songs…).
Anna & Joe were dressed in very classic attire; a high-back dress for our bride and a black bowtie for our groom were ideal for the throwback first-dance, “True Loveways” by Buddy Holly. The night continued with some Louis Armstrong for our Father-Daughter Dance and The Archies for our cake cutting, leading many to believe the evening would keep an “old-school” status quo! Boy, were we mistaken…
After the pre-requisite oldies and “timeless” dance sets, the evening went into a completely different style of “old-school”. Most DJs are thrilled to play a few hip-hop tracks that remind us of our high school and college days, no DJ would argue getting to play over an hour of it! From the bride’s request of “Country Grammer” by Nelly to the block of late-90s and early-2000’s hip-hop (“Love Like This”, Faith Evans; “Yeah”, Usher; etc) it was a booty-shaking bash.
That, and I’ve never had more requests for “The Thong Song” by Sisqo than I did on this night…that is not a complaint, either!
Thank you to Tina Heinnickel of Tina Jay Photography for the awesome images and thanks to the Mendenhall Inn for helping make the evening perfect for Anna and Joe!
Best of luck, Anna and Joe, on your adventure in love!
Images Courtesy of Tina Jay Photography
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ October 8, 2014
Client Testimonials, Weddings
I am very grateful to get the opportunity to work with so many awesome people – weekend after weekend – just like Briana and Eric, the bride and groom from this wedding. Briana and Eric were laid back and their primary concern was with making sure that their friends and family had a great time at their wedding reception. At our wrap up meeting, prior to the wedding, we spent a lot of time going over the music for the ceremony, dinner, and dancing. We sat together for close to two hours just listening to music and looking for the perfect grand entrance, cake cutting, and parent dance songs. The best part of my job is getting to know my clients and share in their excitement for their big day, and sitting down with them face to face really gives me the chance to do just that.
The wedding and reception were held at the Pen Ryn Mansion on the beautiful Pen Ryn Estate in Bucks County, with the ceremony held outside and the Delaware River as the backdrop. We provided all of the music for the ceremony, as well as a microphone for the Officiant. When the ceremony concluded, the guests entered the house for cocktail hour. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and drinks, while we provided background music from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald. After this hour was up, the ballroom doors opened and guests took their seats. Just outside the room I quickly lined up a very excited bridal party, going over how they would make their entrances.
Once we introduced everyone, the bride and groom took the center stage for their first dance as husband and wife. After the formalities ended dinner was brought out by the staff. As the DJ, I’m always please to see well-fed guests, as this group was going to need their energy, because once dinner was over it’s time to celebrate. Like most of my weddings, this was a great group who were out on the dance floor all night, singing along while I played “I Want You Back” by the Jackson Five, and twisting the night away with “The Twist” by Chubby Checker, and pumping their fists in the air as we went into “Feel This Moment” from Pitbull. A great party, with one negative outcome… lots of sore feet; not uncommon when dancing for two hours straight.
The wedding would not have been as successful without the staff at Pen Ryn Mansion. It is one of my favorite places to work, and a lot of it has to with the people that work there. The staff did an excellent job and I know the bride, groom, and their guests would all agree. I also worked with Juliana from Juliana Laury Photography. Juliana is a very friendly person and as you can see by some of these images, a very talented photographer who can really capture the moment.
Thank you to Briana and Eric; I had a blast being your DJ. It was great to be a part of your wedding celebration, but even more it was great to get to know you both and I wish you both all the best in your future together as husband and wife.
A few weeks after the wedding the bride was nice enough to post the following testimonial on WeddingWire:
Choosing a DJ is a critical decision concerning your wedding reception. Cutting Edge Entertainment was helpful and professional from the very first phone call until our last guest left our reception. We hired Richie as our MC and lead DJ. He was able to answer all of our questions, help us choose certain songs, and arrived promptly on our wedding day. Richie was upbeat and personable. You could tell that our family and friends really enjoyed the music selection. We would definitely recommend Cutting Edge Entertainment for your upcoming event!
Images courtesy of Juliana Laury Photography
The Pen Ryn Estate
home to Pen Ryn Mansion and Belle Voir Manor
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ October 1, 2014
Every event has a theme and every event has a vibe. As couples prepare for their big day I always express that a wedding should be “fun, yet classy”. This is the general theme of most events, “let’s have a great time but keep it family-friendly “. Some events lean toward “silly” fun and others lean toward “classy” fun. Vernard and Terri’s wedding (and reception) at Belle Voir Manor in Bucks County was falling off the edge of “classy”. From the three-piece suits to the sparkler-draped closing, this was one couple who hit all the right notes in “keeping it classy”.
This past summer was one of the calmest and nicest (temperature-wise) seasons we’ve experienced in several years. Our bride and groom picked the perfect venue to take advantage of the perfect weather. Utilizing a blend of piano-covers and pop love songs, the ceremony was a sun-bathed scene of love. Belle Voir allows for a three-room event of elegance; a brick-lined aisle for the ceremony, a classically decorated cocktail room and a crown-molded reception area. The venue only enhanced what was destined to be a memorable evening.
Vernard and Terri’s wedding also presented me with a unique opportunity. I may have twenty years of event experience as a Wedding DJ, but until now I’d never been asked to pick the first dance song for a bride and groom. Torn between a seldom-used, but amazing love song “So Beautiful” by Musiq Soulchild and the newest John Legend song “You & I”, this couple left the decision up to me. In the end, I selected the track by Musiq Soulchild to ensure Vernard and Terri would have a song that would be only “theirs”. Knowing that the John Legend song would likely become the next “great wedding song”, I wanted this couple to have a moment that was only for them to share.
The dance floor rocked for hours to some old-school hits by artists like K7, Marvin Gaye and Soul For Real, and a few choice line dances (The Wobble). The night was highlighted by the sparkler exit from our newlyweds, which has been capture beautifully by our photographer Nicole Leigh. As always, it’s a pleasure to work with great wedding professionals like Nicole, and the superb staff at Belle Voir Manor.
Congratulations, Vernard and Terri! Best of luck on life’s greatest adventure.
Images courtesy of Nicole Leigh Photography
Belle Voir Manor
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ September 22, 2014
Musicology, The Beatles
It was back in June of 2014 that I read a write-up/review in Billboard Magazine about a new book about Paul McCartney titled Man On The Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s authored by Q Magazine’s contributing editor Tom Doyle. Having read somewhat extensively about Paul McCartney and The Beatles, this book seemed unique in that it focused specifically on McCartney’s life and career in the ten years following The Beatles breakup.
The author, is no stranger to Paul McCartney, having interviewed him on numerous occasions, and certainly having direct access to Sir Paul helped to give this book the depth of information that it has in abundance.
The Beatles, both individually and as a group, are easily the most written about music artists of all time, and finding a niche angle for a book is no easy task, yet, to the best of my knowledge, Tom Doyle has done just that by focusing his lens on Paul McCartney in the decade after the demise of the Fab Four.
The book picks up as if it were the morning after the breakup if such a thing could be so specifically pinpointed, and continues on with McCartney finding his sea legs and attempting to re-invent and begin again, as if such a thing could be done. Doyle does an outstanding job of interjecting the other three Beatles when necessary, without getting bogged down in too much back-and-forth covered in so many other books. The author aptly stays the course, telling the story of Paul, Linda, and the ever changing lineup of the band known as Wings, and although this is clearly a book about a former Beatle, Mr. Doyle skillfully makes “Man On The Run” a story unto itself, and this book a treasure for any fan of Paul McCartney; the Beatle, the Wing or the solo artist.
As for my own personal and humble opinion, regardless of the personal turbulence that McCartney clearly went through during this period, his output in the 1970s – whether with Wings or solo – make up some of the most endearing work of McCartney’s career. Whether he was a lost millionaire hippie outlaw or a wounded artist on a soul-searching quest, he was still Paul McCartney, and songs like “Band On The Run”, “Live and Let Die” and “Another Day” stand up to any Beatles song in composition, musicianship and timelessness… Again, in my humble opinion.
I give this book five stars, two thumbs up and a smiley face, and highly recommend it to both Wings fans and 70s era fans alike. At just under 250 pages from index to discography it’s an easy and entertaining read while not getting lost in facts, dates, and irrelevant gobbledygook. It’s apparent that the author loves his subject, and while being respectful to McCartney, he delivers a candid and honest biography well worth the read.
Cutting Edge @ September 19, 2014
On Friday afternoon, July 4th of 2014 I had the opportunity once again to MC a wedding at one of my absolute favorite venues, the Cairnwood Mansion in Bryn Athyn, Montgomery County. We have been a part of many wedding celebrations at Cairnwood, and although I have even written other blog posts about weddings I have done there, this wedding ranks amongst my favorites, and for very good reason.
Kortney and Stephen – the bride and groom – were out on the dance floor nearly the entire night. With the bride and groom on the dance floor and participating in the celebration, it makes my job as a Wedding DJ that much easier. Their energy and joy were contagious, and before I knew it, all of the guests were out there dancing and having a blast! Wedding guests always follow the lead of the bride and groom, and when the bride and groom are at the center of the action, the guests, friends and family members are sure to follow.
My assistant and I had a great time at this reception however it would not have been as great if not for Karen, along with the rest of the terrific staff at Karen Spire Catering. The food was amazing, and put everybody in a great mood. Working together with the caterer and coordinating the time line flawlessly helped the party achieve a smooth flow. The photographer for the night was the very talented Nicole Leigh. Over the past few years I have gotten to know Nicole – an awesome photographer – and someone I consider a good friend.
This was truly a great wedding, and one of the highlights of my summer 2014. I thank you for having myself and Cutting Edge Entertainment involved in your party, and I look forward to keeping in touch with you both. Wishing you all the best.
Images courtesy of Nicole Leigh Photography
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ September 17, 2014
Wedding DJ Rich Abrams and Wedding Photographer Nicole Leigh were caught on hidden camera at the Cairnwood Estate doing what seems to be some ritualistic celebratory dance prior to a wedding reception. Experts have evaluated these captured images, and are still yet uncertain as to the specific reason and/or meaning for the ritual. While many suggest it may be some sort of superstitious “success dance”, done to ensure a fun and festive reception with great music and photographs for all, Professor Wilfred E. Goldsteinbergman of the University of America theorizes that it is simply the way they express the love of their job, a joy and happiness that cannot be contained as they await the guests arrival.
An initiative has been launched where hidden cameras will be installed at other unspecified wedding venues in order to further examine this unique phenomenon. In the meantime, there is certainly no denying that these two wedding professionals are ready to party, and from looking at the hidden camera photos from throughout the night, this wedding reception was fun for all who attended.
More on this story as it develops.
Nicole Leigh Photography
Cutting Edge Entertainment
Cutting Edge @ September 12, 2014
Summer 2014 is almost over, but before it turns to Fall, I wanted to post a blog about a July Wedding I had the opportunity to DJ at the Pearl S. Buck Estate in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Stephanie and Matthan – the bride and groom – first contacted us after being referred to us by their photographer. We always recommend to all of our clients that they meet us in person before they make a final decision. Cutting Edge wedding clients have the option of locking in their personnel for no additional fee. It makes sense to us, that if you meet a DJ or see an individual perform at another event, you can lock in that specific Wedding DJ for no additional charge. There is no guessing who you will be matched up with for your wedding, instead, the name of that DJ is on the contract.
Stephanie and Matthan were a really fun couple to work with, and we had a blast at our wrap up meeting a couple weeks prior to the wedding. The meeting we had lasted about two hours and I believe it was good for the bride and groom to get to know me better and gain confidence in my ability to rock out their wedding. For me, getting to know them was more like making new friends than working with a client, and as it turned out we had so much in common.
Their wedding was one of the highlights of my month, and by the pictures featured here you can tell this was one great crowd. Of course when I DJ a wedding I consider it a team effort, and the wedding can not be successful unless all of the wedding professionals work in sync. The photographers for the wedding were Aaron and Bryan from Aaron Mitchell Photography. They did an awesome job capturing the images of the event. Finally, a successful wedding can’t be complete without the bride and groom, and Stephanie and Matthan were perfect.
Images courtesy of Aaron Mitchell Photography
Pearl S. Buck Estate
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ September 3, 2014