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Song Spotlight: Sarah McLachlan and Emmylou Harris - "Angel" (live from Lilith Fair)

Lilith Fair, the groundbreaking all-female music festival, will be returning next summer for the first time in more than a decade.  In appreciation for all of the excitement about its return, its official website is offering a free MP3 of Sarah McLachlan's song "Angel", as performed by Sarah and Emmylou Harris at the 1998 Lilith Festival.  "Angel" is a beautiful song on its own (it has always been a song that I love, even though I'm not a huge fan of Sarah McLachlan), and this duet is a really stunning version featuring some gorgeous vocal harmonies.

To get the song for free, all you need to do is subscribe to the Lilith newsletter, and the link will be sent to you via email.  Happy listening!



Song Spotlight: Trans-Siberian Orchestra - "Child of the Night"

Trans-Siberian Orchestra's newest album, Night Castle, has been in production for a number of years; I think I first heard it mentioned around 2004 or 2005.  Though it didn't take as long to produce as Chinese Democracy did, there were times I thought that the band might be pulling a Guns N' Roses on us, and that my own kids would be grown up before we could hear the album.  Thankfully that didn't turn out to be the case, as the album is finally being released today as a 2-CD, 26-song set.  One of those songs, "Child of the Night", can be downloaded for free from the Atlantic Records website.  The page states that you have until December 31, 2009 to redeem your free download, and an email address is required in order to access it (although the download link just becomes visible on the page - it is not emailed to you).

"Child of the Night" is a very beautiful little song, about as far away from TSO's normally bombastic, guitar driven, operatic rock as they've ever gotten.  After exploring the album's website for a little while, I came across a free PDF of what looks to be the complete liner notes for the album (seriously, go check it out - it's really cool, although I don't think I'll be looking at too much of it just yet, as the storyline is always one of the biggest treats of a new TSO album for me, and I like to experience it as a whole with the music), I learned that the music for the song was composed by Léo Delibes, and is in fact a cover of "The Flower Duet" from his opera Lakmé.

If you enjoy the classical side of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, you may be interested in checking out some of the source music for their Beethoven's Last Night album.  Assuming I can find enough of the relevant music, I'll also be making a similar post for Night Castle (once I get it), and I have already begun tracking down source music for their Christmas albums, which I will be posting about on my Free Christmas Music blog very soon.  Happy listening!

URLs: (liner notes and other information about the album)


Song Spotlight: "Beds Are Burning" (special Blog Action Day '09: Climate Change post)

Today is Blog Action Day, a day when bloggers around the world post about the same issue in order to spark discussion about it.  This year, the issue is climate change.  I thought it might be a fun challenge to take part in this event while sticking to my philosophy of only writing about free, legally downloadable music that I like.  For a while I didn't think I would be able to pull it off, but I'm happy to say that yesterday I managed to find something that fits every one of these criteria.

tck tck tck

tck tck tck: Time for Climate Justice is a campaign created for people who care about climate change to have their voices heard by those who have the power to do something about it; namely, the nearly 200 world leaders who will be meeting in Copenhagen in December for the 2009 United Nations Climate Conference.  This is where the next big international climate change agreement will be decided.  The main features of the tck tck tck website are a video of people saying "tck", a map of the world showing where each of these "tcks" come from, and a countdown to the start of Copenhagen 09.  There is also an upload your 'tck' button which allows you to upload a one second "tck" video of your own (or a picture or a text message if you choose).  The intent here is that the "collective power of millions of tcks will be used to exert pressure on the political leaders attending the Copenhagen talks in order to secure a strong, just and binding agreement to resolve the climate crisis."  I think this is a really cool idea, and I'll be uploading my own "tck" shortly.

("tck", by the way, is meant to imitate the sound of a clock ticking down, both towards Copenhagen 09 and for the world in general)

Beds Are Burning - free download

Now, this is still a music blog, and that is something that will never change.  In fact, what brought me to the tck tck tck website in the first place was music, in the form of a reworked version of Midnight Oil's 1980s hit "Beds Are Burning", which can be downloaded for free.  This is a big, "We Are the World"-style version featuring dozens of musicians and celebrities, including Duran Duran, Fergie, Scorpions, Paul Shaeffer, the All American Rejects, and of course Midnight Oil themselves.  I have to confess that I am not familiar with the original version of this song, but I really like this version.  There is also an excellent video on the site which identifies each performer by name - very helpful if, like me, you don't automatically recognize each of the dozens of voices (the video is actually very stylish and goes far beyond just listing names - I particularly like the last half-minute or so, in which a photomosaic of a world map is created, using pictures of the performers as source images).

So go check the song out, and while you're listening to it, please take some time to look around the tck tck tck website to find out more about the campaign, including how you can contribute.  Happy listening!

URLs: (for more information about the tck tck tck campaign) (for the free MP3 download of "Beds Are Burning")


Album Spotlight: Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (Choral Symphony / Ode to Joy)

This week, the folks at have made Beethoven's 9th Symphony available for free download.  This is one of the most famous pieces of music ever written, so there's very little I could say about it that hasn't already been said.  For such a famous piece of music, however, this is actually the first time I've come across a full version of it for free; even Classic Cat (a site that I've posted about before) only has an incomplete version listed.  Actually, I have to take that back - I'm listening to it right now, and I notice that the fourth movement has been shortened; still, until a more complete version comes along, this is well worth grabbing.

If you're new to classical music, this symphony makes a great starting point, as you're probably already familiar with at least a few parts of it (especially the "Ode to Joy" which forms the basis of the fourth movement).  This version is performed by Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, with Alain Lombard conducting.  As with all free downloads from, this one is available in both MP3 and WMA formats, at 128 or 192 Kbps; more importantly, it will only be up for a couple of weeks, so if you want it, get it while you can.  Happy listening!



Song Spotlight: Allison Crowe - "Creep" (Radiohead cover)

About a month ago, a live recording of Allison Crowe performing Radiohead's classic "Creep" was posted on her website (the link to the MP3 is about two thirds of the way down the page).  The recording is from the start of the millennium and features Allison on vocals and piano, Dave Baird on bass, and Kevin Clevette on drums.  Like many of her performances of nineties alternative songs, this one is very raw and powerful and well worth a listen if you are a fan of Allison, Radiohead, or even cover songs in general.  Much more information about this performance (and about the song itself) can be found on Allison's blog - make sure to read the comments too.

I realize that I haven't updated this blog lately as often as I normally do.  PhD research and a busier than normal month of commercially released music (i.e. new releases from Threat Signal, Megadeth, and Pearl Jam) have left me with little time to listen to and write about free music.  I do have some stuff in the pipeline, but I hope that this will tide you over in the meantime.  Happy listening!