RFN Episode 28: Dr. Mary Crowell

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“This week, Switch learns a little about Filk music from Dr. Mary Crowell!”

Track 1: “Suprema Lex” by Ookla the Mok
Right out of the gate, my expectations for this playlist were shattered by this track. The term “Filk” conjures a mental image of acoustic instruments and quirky humor — which certainly have their place in the pantheon of musical talent and performance — but I was pleasantly surprised to find none of that here. This track is unapologetically rock, and fans of Sci-Fried might want to take a closer look at Ookla the Mok.

Interlude 1 – “Call me Mary”

Track 2: “Midichlorian Rhapsody” by Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff
The problem with parodying a Queen song is that they leave no room for error, and you’ll find few of those here (if any). Regardless of how one feels about the prequel trilogy, music-loving Star Wars fans are gonna want to add this to the playlist for a while.

Track 3: “F is for Fireball” by W. Scott Snyder
Once again, my expectations are shattered by this fun pop-rock track, and I encourage you guys to pay special attention to the excellent background vocals.

Track 4: “Natural 20” by The Blibbering Humdingers
I hadn’t heard of this group until about three months ago, and now I keep bumping into their music in the most interesting places, including another track of theirs I played live at a Harry Potter-themed Yule Ball in December. I’m just wondering why I wasn’t a fan sooner.

Track 5: “Minecraft” by Char MacKay
Mary called special attention to the rhythm pattern in this one during our interview, but what really sticks out to me after giving it a few spins in my office is the creepiness of it. Definitely feels like a handful of Halloween standards I can think of, and that really speaks to MacKay’s ability to draw the listener into that world.

Interlude 2 – “…replacing it with an Overwatch addiction.”

Track 6: “Welcome To Eden” by Leslie Hudson
A swingin’ 16-bar bayou blues about Poison Ivy. I’m so freakin’ SOLD.

Track 7: “1998-073A” by The Scrap Merchants
So here we go … 7 tracks in, and we FINALLY get one that sounds like my idea of “Filk” music. Which is to say that I clearly have A LOT to learn! Also, it’s a good song, a clever premise, and I’m personally drawn to the violin and percussion work here.

Track 8: “We Are Who We Are” by Vixy & Tony
Listen closely, and you’ll hear the raw power pushing Vixy’s vocals through the end of every phrase, offering JUST the right amount of restraint until the chorus where she let’s loose without losing an ounce of control. Also, those hand drums and that background chorus are pretty great too!

Track 9: “Alligator in the House” by Tricky Pixie
This one definitely fits into the “unusual” category, not unlike the “Minecraft” track from earlier. The cello work and the production definitely stand out here. And then theres the vocals … those crazy, fantastic, ridiculous vocals. What’s not to love?

Interlude 3 – “Just a snapshot”

Track 10: “We Want Rey” – The PDX Broadsides
My hometown homies knew exactly what they were doing when they wrote this song, and I couldn’t think of a better group of people to tell the toymakers of the world that it’s time to cut the crap. Also, keep an ear out for the nod to Billy Joel, which works almost too well both sonically AND socially.


My thanks to Dr. Mary Crowell for taking the time to share this with me and help me learn a lot about the “other side” of nerd music. I know I have a long way to go and a lot more to learn, but after a list like this I’m definitely excited to see what I can get my hands on next!  ~ Switch


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