Carmen Ohio kickstarter.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Kg2GPjN0SY&w=560&h=315] My favorite national anthem. ^^^

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I was all set to dig into “Why hasn’t Alex Mack been signed” today but when I found myself mixing it up with Brent Sobleski on Joe-Banner-is-getting-too-cute-with-Alex-Mack, I decided to a step back and reflect.

Nope,, still think Banner’s playing chicken with his pending UFA center who has started 48 consecutive games and who seems to be well respected in the league and even in Berea.

But that’ll keep.  Let’s go in a different direction altogether today.

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What the hell is pop culture anyway?

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 8.10.06 AM

Click me.
R.I.P. Earl.

I chuckle when I see sports blogs branching in ‘pop culture.’  You all know Grantland does that to get more page hits right?  It’s a business decision aimed at bringing non-sporty types to a particular website.  It’s not illustrative of any paradigm shift representing the convergence of sports and music and movies… sorry it’s not.  Or maybe it is, I don’t know.  Don’t care.  I do know it doesn’t generally speak to me and that’s fine, I know I’m not the target demo.

That’s not to say it can’t be worthwhile.  Occasionally, I’ll be turned on to something I wasn’t hip to.  For example, Art Brosef‘s fondness for bluegrass prompted me to dig in and led me to OCMS to Earl Scruggs to Doc Watson to Maybelle Carter to Sleepy Man Banjo Boys.  For that tip I am still grateful.

But instead of categorizing this piece as pop culture, let me just call it what it is:  a point of personal privilege to offer up something of interest to me in the hope that maybe you’ll be interested in it too.

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One man A capella.

Julien Neel (aka Trudbol) is a talented singer who lives in France.  That’s all I know about him.  I can’t remember how I stumbled onto his work.  I’ve always had a fondness for Barbershop, have a good friend who’s in a superlative chorus, and was probably clicking around looking for the Family Guy Vasectomy song, when I stumbled onto this.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzGgjFmJW7U&w=560&h=315]

Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie.  Love that song.  I’m a sap, can’t help it.  Love his version of it and I think he does a superlative job on it.  Now I’m a subscriber to his YouTube channel and if you like chorus, barbershop, A capella, you might want to subscribe too.  His work is for sale here.

You see something like this the first reaction is:  I’d love to hear him do ____.  You want to make a request.  This presents a problem because Julien’s time costs money and the internet is free.  How does the artist gracefully ask for support?  How does the requester get his request on the artist’s radar?  There’s no easy solution to this problem but it starts with a level set on the age-old ‘even though this is internet, it ain’t free’ conundrum.

I contacted Julien, he wrote back (He’s a good guy.), and it’s interesting what an internet artist has to work through.  For example, a ‘PayPal Donate’ button might be perceived as a turn-off so the ‘fund-me’ dance plays out with deep subtlety.  He is ramping up a patron site where one can offer some support.  (He hasn’t promoted it yet,,, I’m sure he’ll gain more patrons than he has currently.)  Here’s what Julien says about his productions:

I do my very best to release a new a cappella video every week / every two weeks.  A typical video takes about 20 to 25 hours to make, and, as you can imagine, there are various fees involved (arranger fees, copyright fees, distribution fees, etc.) for which your support is appreciated. Anything that is left helps me buy spaghetti (food, rent, you name it…)

I would love to be able to continue crafting free a cappella videos for you guys on YouTube as long as I can. This site is an opportunity for YOU to help me make this sustainable and preserve an art form that isn’t mainstream pop music. Let’s keep a cappella alive & kicking!

Where am I going with this you ask?

His O Canada production got me thinking again because, well, it turns out maybe I do have a request for Julien.

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Carmen Ohio by Trudbol.

I happen to think Carmen Ohio is the best alma mater there is.  No, I haven’t heard many others; yes, I’m from Columbus.  Doesn’t matter.  Objectively it’s a beautiful song with meaningful words for anyone from Ohio.*

But finding a decent version of Carmen Ohio online is surprisingly challenging.  OSU’s glee club seems to try to protect their work behind paywalls.  And when you do find their version, they insist on shouting TIME AND CHANGE.  Meh, not a fan of that adaptation.  Cie Grant did nice work with it after the championship… and still does good with it.

Here’s a site with a version with all three verses embedded within it.  Probably the best video I’ve found is this phone recording on The Oval.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIqYc4ZyOWE&w=560&h=315]

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What if we could get Julien Neel to do a version of Carmen Ohio?

I’m in.  Anyone else?  Let me know in the comments if anyone else can pony up some cash — $10, $20, whatever.  If we get some critical mass, I’ll ask Julien how he’d like us to proceed.  (I don’t want to set up a gofundme.com for this as he may have some other ideas on this.)  $500 is the target and I guess it sounds like a lot until you realize there are 465,000+ OSU alums out there.

I’m tellin ya, it’d be a homerun.  If you don’t believe me, I leave you with this:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSAWtWTUrhE&w=560&h=315]

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(Carmen Ohio is one of the main reasons I just laugh at the Browns’ attempts at changing-their-culture/improve-the-fan-experience via dachshund races and laser shows.  They so don’t get it.  The Browns are more than that.  They are inter-generational familial bonds.  They are the anchor that keeps ex-Clevelanders attached to Northeast Ohio.  They are the home team of professional football. /end rant)

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  • Gary Collins

    Yeah, I know this is a football blog, but I have a Cleveland Sports question, involving basketball, not barbershop.

    Does anyone think the Cavs would have been better off with Igoudala and Noel as opposed to Bennett and Bynum?

    I don’t, but I can’t hit the B over Middle C regularly anymore.

    • not me.

      first, not an apple-apples comp. iggy got a 4yr/48m deal… if next year’s cap flexibility was a goal, iggy kills that.
      second, im starting to think noel’s knees were really bad. bynums are too of course, but he only costs you 6m to find out. paying a #1 to find out about knees is a a lot more expensive.
      last: whatever chris grant says, man.

  • Love you blog. This might be my first comment, but I couldn’t see banjos and not say something on the music front. For local listening, I suggest you head out to Burton, Ohio, next month for the Raccoon County Music Festival: http://www.raccooncountymusicfestival.com/. You’ll see some live bluegrass and old-time music for cheap, including NPR’s Paul Brown, who is a fine fiddler and banjo player, and Cleveland’s own Mark Olitsky, one of the best old-time banjo players around. Cheers!

  • I discovered Julien’s work last summer searching for Beatles stuff – his version of “With a little help from my friends” and “Blackbird” are awesome. I’d kick in $10-20 to support an artist who is passionate about his craft.

    • yep.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBKwcjeftnA&w=400&h=225]
      .
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SPK58-8LXk&w=400&h=225]
      .
      and this one is neat. it must have been one of his firsts, almost five years old.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeGO8zqLyLM&w=400&h=225]