Gems General

A New Place For Gems

If you have enjoyed the gems that I’ve posted on this blog, you’ll be happy to hear about a new site I started today. is where I’ll be putting the gems from here on out.

You can check out the site here. And sign up for updates by email here.

I hope that some of you will come by and hear the good music and comment on the ones you like.

Gems General

Rudolph Redone

I have featured Jack Johnson in my Gems a few times before (1,2), but I can’t help it. He is absolutely one of my favorite artists.

You can imagine how excited to I was to hear that Jack Johnson will be doing the soundtrack for the upcoming Curious George movie. You can see the trailer (with some of the music) here. This will be double sweet for me because Curious George books were may FAVORITE books when I was growing up. My middle name is George and I always felt a little connection with that monkey.

The reason I like Jack Johnson so much is them same reason that I like a lot of my favorite artists. They have an original sound and they put their own magic on whatever they play. I can immediately pick out James Taylor playing the guitar, even if it is as a back up. I can quickly identify a Norah Jones drum rhythm. An I can certainly hear the smooth groove of a Jack Johnson strum. All of these sounds are hard to duplicate.

As an example, let me give you the gem this week. Since this is the first day of Decemeber, as a christmas gift I present a classic Christmas song with a Jack Johnson twist. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. This was recently posted on iTunes and I was alerted of it. If you’ve never checked out Jack Johnson on the iTunes store, you’re missing out on some of his best music that is only available there. A lot of great live stuff.

iTunes Link: (iTunes Originals – Jack Johnson)

Gems General

John Mayer Trio Sings The Blues

I am a big fan of John Mayer. I also like the blues. That is why I was quite exctied to there that John Mayer was forming a new trio that would focus on Blues songs. Well, the John Mayer Trio has recorded their first album. (Interesting to note that it is a live album.) It is mostly new music, but in the encore he does play two of his older songs with a Blues twist. (“Daughter” and “Something’s MIssing”)

This morning I heard an advance of the album and it is really great. My favorite of the new songs is Vultures. The album is released on Nov. 22 if you want to pick it up.

Gems General

Time To Change the Way of The Weatherman

I was watching TV last night, and I was bothered with the network’s plug for their 11PM news. It started off the normal way, promoting the lead story. That is fine. But then the absolutely annoying weatherman gets on and says something like, “We’ve had rain all day today. What will the rest of the week look like? I’ll tell you, tonight at 11.”

Have they thought that this just doesn’t make sense anymore? They no longer have an edge on the rest of society because they know what the weather is going to be like. Without even moving from my couch, I could have checked the updated weather forecast in two different places. (phone and computer)

How come TV networks are so slow to adapt to new technology. If I was in charge of that news channel, I would use those 30 second plugs as a chance to inform my audience, as opposed to plug the news show later that night by using a “tease.” I’d tell them, “We had rain today, but the rest of the week looks great with sunshine and no wind. I’ll tell you more at 11.” They should do the same with sports scores. Instead of, “The Rebels played the Wolf Pack tonight. I’ll tell you how they did at 11”, I’d say, “The Rebels had a victory tonight over the Wolf Pack. I’ll show you highlights at 11.”

I’m just saying, that i would be much more satisfied with a news channel that was informative ALL the time. (Also, if I was in charge of that news channel I’d fire that annoying weatherman. Mr Pfister, you’re not funny.)

(The Gem for this week is Naked As We Come from Iron & Wine. The whole album is great. (iTMS link)

Gems General

Brian Stucki Photoblog

Some of you may have noticed the new feature in the sidebar that points to my photoblog. ( A photoblog is a blog that is regularly updated with photos.) I recently got my first DSLR camera and I really like it. The photoblog will be some of the pictures that I take. (With the most recent one being in the sidebar of this blog.) I have some neat trips coming up to Nauvoo, Chicago and San Francisco so I’m hoping to get some great pictures.

There is an RSS feed for the photoblog here. Also, there is a place (in the top left corner) to leave comments. But be kind. I’m still a beginner with this camera. I hope that I will get better as I get more skilled in using it.

You can get to the photoblog by clicking on the picture in the sidebar or by going to

PS, By popular demand (meaning one request) I thought that I would include a music gem. This one comes from Kings of Convenience and is called I’d Rather Dance With You. I especially like it when they bust into the chorus.

Gems General

My Own Genre of Music

When I was in high school, my two favorite styles of music were Country and Hip-Hop/Rap. I liked most of the music that came thru in those genres. However, both have gone down in quality. My two complaints:

Country music has become a contest of cliches. This makes for very shallow songs.

Rap music seems to be on one subject: Money…and how much rappers have of it. If you aren’t well versed in jewelry and automobiles, you can become very lost in their lyrics. It especially bothers me when new rappers talk about these things. To me it seems wishful thinking on their part because they were writing these “lyrics” even before their first album was released. I wonder how many artists wrote about lots of money and then had a bad selling record. Ironic.

So, considering the spotted saturation of popular genres, a while back I decided to create my own genre. This genre is “Smooth Groove”. I enjoy this because I decide who is in and who is out. James Taylor, John Mayer, Pharrell, and Norah Jones are in. Any country stars debuting after 1999 are out. Joshua Radin, Willie Nelson, Kalai and Teitur are in. Clay Aiken and most “American Idol” contestants are out. (Clay Aiken is very, very, very, very out.)

The best thing about having your genre is that you can accept certain songs from artists, but not others. For instance, Chicago is in when the group included Peter Cetera. When Peter Cetera left in mid-1985, so did the band’s placement in the Smooth Groove genre.

I have this genre because when I want good music from all different genres, I play from Smooth Groove. Feel free to adopt the Smooth Groove genre. Customize it to your liking. Let me know who makes it in.

Here are two gems to get your Smooth Groove collections started.

Sleeping In by The Postal Service
Dear Sir by Again and Again

Gems General

Stringed Instrument Gems

I just didn’t like the idea of a ear wax post being my most recent post, so I thought that I would add a couple more musical gems that I have been listening to lately. I like these songs because they are modern acoustic guitar music, but have both been peppered with violins and cellos. When that is done properly, it adds alot of class.

“Morning Watch” by Dolorean. This album has been out for a while, but I just found this song recently. You can listen to it here. Or buy the whole album from itunes here.

The second one is “Somebody More LIke You” by Nickel Creek. This is from their album that comes out in a couple weeks. You can listen to the song here. Or you can pre-order the album from Amazon here. This song gets bonus points because the beginning sounds like the soundtrack from the original Zelda game.

If you don’t like this music, you can go beat up an annoying frog here or see what it would be like to jump into a big bottle of Sprite here.

Gems General

Wiggle Baby (updated)

I know that alot of you aren’t familiar with my family, but forgive me for a personal beginning. It’s about a cute baby doing cute things. (If you don’t like that, make sure you have a heart.) You can skip to the end for a couple gems.

My sister had a baby about 7 months ago and she is becoming more and more fun by the week.


One of the entertaining things she does is the “Wiggle Wiggle Dance”. Last night my mom and I were babysitting her for a bit, and she was in a very wiggle mood. I pulled out my camera and took a short clip of her doing the wiggle, then of course made it in to her first music video. Complete with a nice little “My Little Pony” microphone. You can see it here. (It may take a minute to load. Sorry if you have dial up internet)

UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that we better keep Maddie out of California. In California there was a law created in 1925 that makes it illegal to wiggle while dancing.

Other then that, here is a few suggestions to check out.

The gems of the week are songs that repeat lines over and over. You know you have a good sound when you can repeat the same line again and again and still have a good song. I’m not quite there with my music, but I’d like to be. These two guys are.

The Perishers with “Nothing Like You And I“. Buy it here.

Damien Rice with “The Blowers Daughter“. Buy the album here.

For those of you with itunes on an Apple, you should check out the free visualizer called Fountain Music from the Apple website. It’s easy to install, and gives a cool show when you are listening to music on itunes.

Finally, if you are looking for the coolest desktop picture to put on your computer, look no futher. Get it here.

Gems General

Old Gems Re-polished

It has been a while since I posted some gems so I thought that I’d share a couple. How about a couple remixes that i have found recently?

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy Jack Johnson’s music. He’s got a clean voice and great guitar. Well, I was listening to an advance copy of of the Black Eyed Peas album that comes out in a couple weeks, and they have a song that they did with Jack Johnson. It’s actually a remix of Jack’s “Gone” song. This version is called “Gone Going“. It’s good (as is the rest of the new Album. You can pre-order it here.

Another nice remix I’ve found is part of a project called “Motown Remixed”. They take all of the great motown songs and do them up just right. My favorite is the remix of Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back“. What an awesome guitar redo!! You can purchase the whole album at their website here.

Jackson 5

As always, I am always looking for new music if there are any suggestions of little known artists with big time talent.

Gems General

3 random thoughts

Jack Johnson released his new album today. Jack Johnson is one of my favorite artists. He’s got a surfer feel to him playing the acoustic guitar and steady “smooth groove” beats. He also has a very relaxing voice. This album is called “In Between Dreams.” All of the songs are really good. One of my favorites is called Never Know. I also really like Better Together. Take a listen to these two songs. If you like it, visit the iTunes Music Store and get the rest of the album. You’ll really like it.

For those of you who use Mapquest, I have a better option for you. If you visit, you can just type the address into the search field and Google will give you the option to use Google Maps. (Usually the top link) I really like this map service for a few reasons. The interface is VERY clean without all the ads and banners that you find on mapquest. (someone sold out to corporate America,huh Mr Mapquest?) Also, just like mapquest, you can get driving directions to and from your location. Lastly, they have a cool graphic that points out your place. Take a look. Here is one for the White House.

I have been getting a strange, but powerful, dislike toward people who don’t wave when you let them into a lane. I don’t know why but it has really been bothering me. I just wonder if they think that it was by accident that a perfect sized spot opened up for their car while the rest of the freeway is packed bumper to bumper. I mean, how hard is it to send a little thank you wave after you switch lanes. I do it everytime and my arm hasn’t fallen off or anything. I’m sure it’s not unhealthy. Make a habit to do it from now on. Do it for the bettering of society. Do it for the children.