Friday, June 08, 2018

Music Friday: Ryan Adams Likens Glorious, Sunny Day to 'Pearls on a String'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you uplifting songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, alt-country rocker Ryan Adams compares a glorious, sunny day to June's official birthstone in his 2007 ditty, "Pearls on a String."

The song, which appeared as the ninth track on the artist's ninth studio album Easy Tiger, is a celebration of all the wonderful things life has to offer — with a special emphasis on nature's beauty and the joy of music.

He sings, "Blue eyes for miles / Pretty as a peach / Glorious kind and always on time / Never far outta reach / Tomorrow's on it's way / And there's always new songs to sing / Glorious kind, always on time / Pearls on a string."

In an interview with Australia's Herald Sun, Adams explained that the songs featured on Easy Tiger are "strays" that arose from a writing project that was originally intended to go in a different direction.

"They are very, very simple, very easy songs that, in my opinion, were written on the periphery of some more complex work," he said. "These were the tunes around them that just kind of happened. It's shocking to me how they happened."

Easy Tiger made its debut at #7 on the U.S. Billboard 200 list and charted in 14 countries. The 43-year-old Adams has released 16 albums as a solo artist and three with his former band, Whiskeytown.

Born in Jacksonville, N.C., Adams described his childhood as "dysfunctional." His father left the family when Adams was five, so he, his mom and siblings had to move in with his grandparents. At age eight, Adams began writing short stories and was inspired by the work of Edgar Allan Poe. At 14, he got his first electric guitar and soon joined a local band named Black Label.

Adams dropped out of high school as a 16-year-old and performed with a number of local bands. He eventually earned his GED and built his reputation as a singer-songwriter, musician, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and poet. He's been called a "new Dylan" and "the Kurt Cobain of alt-country."

In 2009, he famously married singer-actress Mandy Moore in a secret ceremony. They were divorced in 2015.

Please check out the audio track of "Pearls on a String." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Pearls On A String"
Written by Bradley Smith Pemberton, Jonathan Graboff, Neal Graeme Casal and Ryan Adams. Performed by Ryan Adams.

One, two, three
Blue eyes for miles
Pretty as a peach
Glorious kind and always on time
Never far outta reach
Tomorrow's on it's way
And there's always new songs to sing
Glorious kind, always on time
Pearls on a string

Soft, precious and easy
Under the sea
If you dive down far enough to the bottom
Look around and you will see
Tomorrow's on it's way
And there's always new songs to sing

Glorious kind, always on time
Pearls on a string
Glorious kind, and always on time
Pearls on a string

The sun shinin' down
The children laugh and play
Glorious kind, and always on time
Out there in the day
Tomorrow's on it's way
And there's always new songs to sing

Glorious kind, and always on time
Pearls on a string
Glorious kind, always on time
Pearls on a string
Glorious kind, always on time
Pearls on a string

Glorious kind, always on time
Pearls on a string

Credit: Screen capture via

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Dance Superstar tWitch Helps 'Ellen' Fan With Flash Mob Surprise Marriage Proposal

Dance superstar Stephen "tWitch" Boss helped choreograph an elaborate flash mob marriage proposal that Austin natives Patrick Barker and Johanna Alvarado will never forget.

Barker had met tWitch on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where the former So You Think You Can Dance alum has become the resident DJ. The break dance and hip-hop specialist just launched a new web series called "tWitch, Please... Help Me Dance!" — so when Barker hinted that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend, tWitch had the perfect plan.

tWitch's ultimate surprise proposal takes place on the back lot of Warner Bros. studios. Alvarado believes she's taking a standard studio tour, but the scene quickly morphs into an elaborately choreographed flash mob — starring her boyfriend, tWitch and a troop of professional dancers.

The "tWitch, Please... Help Me Dance!" video shows Barker working on his dance moves under tWitch's tutelage. tWitch tells the groom-to-be that learning the moves will not be easy, but the end result will be well worth it.

"After this work, they'll be stories you can tell for years and years to come," tWitch says.

As the couple rides onto the Warner lot in a tour cart, the guide tells them and the other passengers that they need to be extremely quiet because they are about to witness the taping of a commercial.

Just then, she hears the opening refrain from Bleachers' "Let's Get Married" and the other passengers — actually professional dancers — take their places on the set.

Barker hands Alvarado of sunflower and joins the dance troop.

Alvarado is overwhelmed as a storybook flash mob marriage proposal plays out in front of her eyes.

The future bride gets even more emotional when her parents and Barker's parents make a surprise appearance.

In the final scene, the bride is led from the tour cart to a gazebo, where her boyfriend has completed a costume change and is ready to propose.

Says Barker, "This is for you. This is for us. I love you so much and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

"Yes, of course," she answers.

Alvarado is so excited, bouncing up and down, that Barker has a hard time trying to get the diamond ring on her finger. Finally, with the ring securely in place, the couple embraces, the music resumes and the dancers celebrate by doing what they do best.

When asked by an interviewer how she felt about the flash mob proposal, Alvarado commented that she was "beyond happy."

"It was magic," she said.

Check out the full segment of "tWitch, Please... Help Me Dance!" (Episode 2) at this link...

Credits: Screen captures via

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Celebrating June’s Official Birthstone With Hollywood’s Most Legendary Pearl – La Peregrina

The precious pearl — adored by the world since the ancients — is June’s official birthstone. Today we’re featuring one of the most celebrated natural pearls, La Peregrina, whose history is steeped in both legend and lore. Meaning “pilgrim,” La Peregrina was considered a treasure for Spain, and has been called the largest, finest example of a teardrop-shape natural pearl, weighing in at 55.95 carats.

After its discovery in the Gulf of Panama in the 16th century, King Phillip II of Spain gave the pearl to Queen Mary I (Mary Tudor). It has also been owned by Spanish royalty, the Bonapartes of France, and the British Marquis of Abercorn. In 1969, Richard Burton spent $37,000 (outbidding a prince at Sotheby’s) to buy La Peregrina for Elizabeth Taylor as a gift for Valentine’s Day.

La Peregrina, which sold at auction in 2011 for a record $11.8 million, was rumored to be nearly eaten by Taylor’s dog shortly after she received it. In a Caesars Palace suite, Taylor was wearing the pearl on a delicate pearl and diamond chain. She suddenly realized it was gone. She looked down and saw her dog happily chewing on something, and in a split second, reached down and pulled the pearl and diamond pendant out of the dog’s mouth. The pearl was unscathed.

Taylor then asked Cartier to reset La Peregrina with pearls, diamonds and rubies. She wanted the necklace to resemble the painting of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was wearing it as a choker. The pearl’s original setting can be seen in Taylor’s cameo in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) – and the new, more exquisite setting in the films Divorce His — Divorce Hers (1973) and A Little Night Music (1977).

Interestingly, the close call at Caesars wasn’t the only near-misfortune for La Peregrina. According to legend, it was once lost in a sofa at Windsor Castle – and a duke’s wife once misplaced it at a family wedding and later found it in the bride’s train.

Natural pearls like La Peregrina are exceedingly rare and treasured because they are created by mollusks randomly, without human intervention. When a grain of sand or similar irritant sidles between the mollusk’s shell and its mantle tissue, the process begins. To protect itself, the mollusk instinctually secretes multiple layers of nacre, an iridescent material that eventually becomes a pearl. Cultured pearls, by contrast, are created when a bead is embedded inside the body of the mollusk to stimulate nacre secretion.

In 2005, La Peregrina was one of 12 rare pearls featured during a six-month exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History called “The Allure of Pearls.” Other specimens included the Hope Pearl, the Drexel Pearl, the Black Beauty, the Pearl of Kuwait, the Queen Mary Brooch with two large natural pink conch pearls, the South Sea Drops, the Survival Pearl, the Pearl of Asia and the Paspaley Pearl. La Peregrina was loaned for the presentation by Elizabeth Taylor, of course.

Credits: Images courtesy of Smithsonian/NMNH Photo Services.