It’s been a pretty exciting year in terms of releases in 2014 – we’ve had a historical release from the contemporary classical giant Philip Glass in the form of his ‘Etudes’, Pink Floyd released their first album in 20 years, relatively newcomer George Ezra dominated with his chart friendly album ‘Wanted On Voyage’, Sam Smith became one of the first male British solo artists to sell 1 Million albums in both the States and the UK in years, choir became cool, Tom Odell continued crooning but this time accompanied by a penguin and the Ukulele went funky.
For 20 years the leviathan of psychedelic prog rock that is Pink Floyd has been lying dormant, but now, with The Endless River, Guitarist David Gilmour has led the charge in creating a brand new studio album that washes over the listener with its superbly ambient instrumental tracks intertwined with those distinctive blues-infused Guitar solos. By resurrecting old tracks from the Division Bell sessions, the band have sculpted a nostalgic throwback to their old style, but have also kept things fresh, making The Endless River a fitting elegy to the late and great keyboardist Richard Wright. Every one of Gilmour’s delicious licks and sumptuous solos can be found in this Guitar Tab version of their newest album – ideal for Floyd fanatics old and new.
‘Did You Hear The Rain?’ George Ezra asks on his bestselling and critically acclaimed debut album. No, you answer, because like everyone else on planet Earth with ears, you’ve been listening to Wanted On Voyage, the precocious young songwriter’s accomplished effort to conquer the charts, and the hearts of the people. With choruses that just belong at summer festivals, verses that exhibit the extraordinary lyricism of a guy for whom Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie are influences, Ezra is a ferocious breath of fresh air for the often stagnant pool of pop music. The album is a joy to listen to, and an even bigger joy to play, especially when, with this Wanted On Voyage sheet music, you can learn the Piano, Vocal and Guitar.
It’s Philip Glass, need we say more? Well, yes, because this book really is something special. Here at Musicroom HQ we’re all quite obviously fans of great books. The feel of the paper, the smell of a publication fresh off the press, it’s divine. What else is divine is when the god of minimalist classical music finally publishes his Complete Piano Etudes, 20 years in the making, in a single, sewn-bound volume on some simply beautiful traditional cream paper. The book looks just lovely and the music’ll soothe you with its swirling harmonies and pretty melodies. Remember to check out our interview with the man himself where he’ll no doubt convince you that this is one book you shouldn’t miss.
The collection of playbooks should definitely be a permanent addition to your music bag. They’re pint-sized enough to fit in the palm of your hand and pocket-sized enough to fit… well, in your pocket. Despite their diminutive demeanour their innards are inundated with a veritable treasure trove of useful, fundamental and quintessential information on a number of topics – from Guitar, Ukulele and Keyboard chords to learning to play the basics of those three and the Harmonica. We’re constantly using the Music Theory one, to look up specific things or just to brush up on some general theory while we’re on a quick break, the content is just so simple to find and learn from. Highly recommended!
After a star-turn on one of Disclosure’s tracks last year, Sam Smith had had a slight whiff of success, only to fully take in the sweet smell of sheer unstoppable triumph over the radio waves in 2014. The incredible voice and heartfelt lyrics coming from this 22 year-old immediately clicked with the entire pop-loving public, and it didn’t take long for his undoubted talent to win over everybody else, too. The songs are genuinely so well constructed, with interesting Piano-led ballads and vocal lines that combine seem at once uplifting and melancholy. As a result, the songs are great to play yourself, essentially being a masterclass in songwriting from one of the best new artists of the past year.
It had to be didn’t it? The soundtrack to that harbinger of Christmas, the John Lewis advert, was Tom Odell’s version of ‘Real Love’. It would be all too easy for us to wax cynical about the sickly saccharine corruption of a great John Lennon song, but that would be cheating. The song itself is an accomplished cover, with interesting Piano chords, wonderful singing by Odell and an uplifting climax with a message that really did instil in us the spirit of the season. The penguin helped, too.
Jazz? You bet. Funk? Oh yes. Soul? Of course! Ukulele?! Believe us, this works, and it sounds incredible. All of the greatest hits by legends like Marvin Gaye, Sly and the Family Stone, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder, and songs you may not yet know by Steely Dan, Womack & Womack, The Brothers Johnson and more, arranged for the instrument that everyone loves. Whether you’re a serious player or just a casual strummer, these tunes are certain to hit all the right notes and get everybody dancing and singing along. This book really shows off the versatility of the Ukulele as an instrument: everything sounds great on one, especially the upbeat rhythms and chords of these timeless tunes.
The fourth instalment of the acclaimed pop-choral series features seven more excellent pop tunes arranged by genius star of popular choirs Mark De-Lisser. With uplifting melodies like ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, the chilled-out ‘Magic’ by Coldplay and the biggest song of 2014, ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams, this book is perfect for getting your choir singing more popular tunes and winning over everyone within earshot. Arranged for Soprano, Alto and Tenor voices, every song sounds just brilliant sung in such a unique and powerful way. With performance tips and a CD featuring backing tracks and demonstrations recorded by the ACM Gospel Choir, this book will easily propel you and your choir into the next level of performance perfection.
This collection of Piano, Vocal and Guitar sheet music is bursting at the seams with star-studded songs, whether you love to play Coldplay or you’re only happy when hearing Pharrell’s ‘Happy’, this book is the one for you. These 20 pop chart-toppers read like a list of the biggest-selling and catchiest tunes of the year: the ones that have been revolving around your head for twelve straight months. If you’re ‘All About That Bass’, or you prefer to just ‘Let It Go’, all of these songs are accurately arranged for pianists, singers and guitarists, letting you learn everyone’s favourite records exactly as you’ve heard them.
This year was full of surprises, not least that the folk songwriting legend that is Leonard Cohen released his thirteenth studio album just the day after his 80th birthday. With a gravelly voice and bluesy guitars that best belong in smoky bars, Popular Problems is one for the new fans and the old. It provides a nice counterpoint to the pop music of today: an old-timer who brings a classy and classic sound to the 21st century, making this an album that pretty much anyone can enjoy. The Piano’s delightful, the vocals are distinctive and the subdued Guitar is just great, with the full lyrics too you can learn the entirety of Cohen’s acclaimed album.
And here’s Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ for good measure:
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