Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coffee House on Satellite Radio Offers a Tasty Blend

I sat down in my borrowed car yesterday and turned on the audio system. It was tuned to Sirius Channel 30--The Coffee House (also available on XM Radio Channel 51). It was just what I felt like listening to. I've heard this channel before but had forgotten how enjoyable it is.

It's mellow--singer songwriters. That could be anyone from "seasoned" acts like Paul Simon or Bob Dylan or brand new artists like Peter Himmelman (Impermanent Things) or Cas Haley (Better).

Also, you'll hear live acoustic versions of songs that were originally scored for a full band or even an orchestra. I just heard Maroon 5 a half hour ago on my way home doing a song I didn't recognize. I heard Boz Scaggs singing Lowdown with just a couple of accompanying instruments.

What really impressed me was the "Coffee Covers." Think Elvis Costello performing Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire. Or, how about the Rolling Stones' classic Mother's Little Helper by the young Irish singer Eleanor McEvoy?

Of course, there are many young artists just arriving on the scene, which makes it all a real treat. Satellite radio, branded as Sirius XM, is a combination of XM Radio and Sirius--the original two options for getting your radio broadcast from a satellite transmission. The beauty is, you get it every where--you can hear it in New York or New Orleans, Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine.

The only drawback is that you have to pay for it on a subscription basis and it has drop-outs when you drive under an overpass or a thick stand of trees and driving in a tunnel--forget it? You get well over 100 stations, including a wide range of music from Classical to Swing to Hip Hop to Bluegrass. The Rock is separated into multiple categories beyond the 50's (Channel 5), 60's (Channel 6), etc. And many stations have NO COMMERCIALS!

A highlight? Hearing the California duo The Weepies.


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