Reader’s Choice: Song #22/250: The Bliss by Volbeat

Way back in the day when I first put out a call for submissions for my Reader’s Choice series, one of the entries I got back was today’s song, “The Bliss” by Volbeat. The nomination came from a former student of mine. Among the best things about being a teacher are the personal connections that you are fortunate enough to be able to make with students and their families. In the case of Livy Lu (as she is known on social media), I not only got a chance to meet a terrific student and person, but I also got to work alongside her aunt (who was a fellow staff member). As well, Livy’s father, Jay, came along as a parent volunteer on class trips and her grandmother was often the one who picked her up after school, so I got to know most of Livy Lu’s family fairly well. Once I retired from teaching, I came across Livy Lu’s aunt and dad on social media and was encouraged by them to stay in touch. Eventually, Livy Lu, herself, grew old enough to make contact with. I have thoroughly enjoyed being connected to Livy Lu and her family because they are all nice people, but more than that, I like them because they are all into music. Over the course of the past few years, I have had a front row seat to the birth of a new local band. Jay, his brother, his brother-in-law and one other friend named Rocky joined together in Jay’s basement to form a band called Nitetime Drive. In the time since they first started posting their jam sessions, the band has released a CD of original rock n’ roll music, they have played their first paid gigs in small local music venues and now have reached the point where they recently found themselves opening on a bill at the famous El Mocambo nightclub in Toronto. Through it all, Livy Lu has posted her own favourite songs on social media, has learned to play several instruments and has produced several excellent videos that showcase her father’s band. It has been an absolute pleasure to watch Livy Lu and her family grow and develop their love of music, turning it into something tangible like a real live band. And speaking of real live bands, let’s talk about Livy Lu’s nominated band, Volbeat.

Rob Caggiano, Michael Poulsen, Jon larsen (on drums) and Kaspar Boye Larsen (VOLBEAT) at Rock Am Ring 2016 in Mendig (Germany)

Volbeat is a Danish band. They have been together for over a decade now. Initially, the core members of Volbeat were in a Danish death metal band called Dominus. Eventually, the death metal scene grew tiresome so lead singer Michael Poulsen left to form a new band that could play a wider range of music. His new band became Volbeat. Volbeat got its name from the title of Dominus’ final album called Vol. Beat. As Volbeat started out, they played a combination of heavy metal, hard rock, regular rock and some rockabilly, too. Because the members of Volbeat were already familiar to music lovers in the Danish music scene, Volbeat got a boost right off the bat when they released their debut album. Sales were solid for this band who ended the year being named Best New Metal Band in Denmark. Like many new bands, Volbeat paid their musical dues by opening for other like-minded but more established acts such as Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and others as they toured Europe. The connections Volbeat made as a result of these touring opportunities allowed them to grow their own base, and subsequently, it gave them the freedom to experiment with musical styles and broaden the range of music they were writing and playing for audiences. This resulted in a song that was released in two versions. First, it was released in Danish and was called “For Evigt” (which means “forever”). Then, the same song was released in English and was called “The Bliss”.

“The Bliss” is a pure rock song. It has lots of guitars and a strong vocal presence by Poulsen. The song was written by Poulsen about his feelings surrounding his new girlfriend. “The Bliss” speaks to those mysterious powers of attraction that seem to exist between two people that cannot be logically explained. There is a power to the intensity of the connection being made that, at times, can be exhilarating and frightening at the same time. But, one thing for sure, that feeling is always memorable and remains with you forever, which is what “The Bliss” is all about. Volbeat are much loved in their homeland (even a cursory glance at the comments that accompany this song will bear this out). “The Bliss” has become a song that is played for lovers, but, as well, it is played for those for whom a loving relationship exists such as between parents and their family, thus it is not uncommon for “The Bliss” to be played at funerals, too.

Nitetime Drive: Jay, Rocky, Mike and Marc

All in all, Volbeat stands as yet another example of a local band creating music from their hearts and, as a result, they are building strong bonds with their audience. I am grateful to Livy Lu for allowing me to be a fly on the wall of her life and, as part of this, to be able to watch as she and her own family enjoy their own musical journey with their band, Nitetime Drive. 2023 began with an appearance at the El Mocambo. Who knows where it may end up? But, one thing is for sure, as long as they continue to create music from the heart and play with passion on stage every night, Nitetime Drive will discover that their audience will follow them wherever they go, too, just like Volbeat has done in Denmark. A second thing I can confidently predict is that my pal, Livy Lu, will be there to witness it all. I look forward to seeing how it all turns out. Livy Lu, I wish you and your family all the best in the year to come. May all of your musical dreams come true.

The link to the video for the song “The Bliss” by Volbeat can be found here. ***Lyrics version is here.

The link to the official website for Volbeat can be found here.

The link to the official website for Nitetime Drive can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Dirty Little Angel” by Nitetime Drive (their first ever music video!!!) can be found here.

***As always, all original content contained within this blog post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2023

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Honourable Mention Song #10: Patience by Guns n’ Roses (as Nominated by Olivia Day) (KTOM)

This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song and going until I reach Song . When you see the song title listed as something like: Song (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Honourable Mention Song #10: Patience by Guns n’ Roses.

I am willing to bet all of the money that I currently have in my wallet that if you were to poll school teachers and ask them what is the best thing about their job, the vast majority…in fact, almost all of them, would say it was the kids. The kids are what makes being a Teacher so special. It is a statement that is true for me, beyond even the hint of a doubt. I have always enjoyed being around children. Their energy, their enthusiasm, their honesty and innocence, their curiosity and their loyalty are all just some of what they bring to the classroom table each school day. Over the course of my thirty year career, I can say with much confidence that children are capable of so much more than they are given credit for by most adults. I loved being part of their world. It was an honour, actually. Luckily for me, this thing called Social Media came to be, just as my career was winding down and, as a result of them reaching out to me or me reaching out to them, I have managed to stay in touch with many of my favourite students over the years and, by extension, their families. It is sooooooo satisfying to see them growing up, hitting their milestone moments such as graduations, weddings, parenthood, new jobs, travelling the world and so much more. So, with that having been said, please allow me to introduce Olivia Day.

In my mind, I call Olivia my final “favourite student”. I first met Olivia when she was in Grade One at the last school I taught at before retiring a few years ago, if you can believe it. Now she has high school in her sights; in fact, she is hoping to be accepted into the same International Baccalaureate Programme that my eldest daughter, Leah, is currently enrolled in. If she gets in, I know that Olivia will do well. She is a good kid and a hard worker and has a good family support system in place at home; all things that go into being successful in a challenging programme. Anyway, this post is not about writing a new report card for Olivia. It is about music. As I have gotten to be a fly on the wall of Olivia’s life, via Facebook, one of the biggest connections we have come to share is music. She has frequently commented on songs that I have posted but, more than that, she has also shared posts of herself playing hit songs on her piano, some of her favourite rock n’ roll songs (all of which are good rockin’ tunes, if I do say so myself) and, perhaps the biggest ongoing news in her life, that he father and two uncles have formed a terrific sounding band named Nitetime Drive and are about to release their first album and start playing live gigs, now that the pandemic restrictions are lifting. All in all, Olivia is obviously not just a good kid but a very cool kid, as well. Kudos to her family for exposing her to the musical influences that you all have.

Olivia’s song choice was “Patience” by the band, Guns n’ Roses. “Patience” came from their second album, “GN’R Lies”, which was their follow-up album to the monster debut, “Appetite for Destruction”. For album , the boys in the band opted to dial it down a bit and went acoustic for this song that was written primarily by lead singer, Axel Rose, about his girlfriend at the time, Erin Everly (daughter of Don Everly of The Everly Brothers). The message of the song is straight-forward enough. It is about exercising patience when in pursuit of something special and knowing that good things in life are worth working for and waiting for. When I first asked Olivia why this song meant something other, she replied that with our world the way it is…..with wars and pandemic issues and so on, we all….all of us, everywhere…..could stand to use a little more patience in how we deal with each other and resolve our differences. I believe that she is correct. Olivia also said that because “Patience” is an acoustic song, there is less noise to distract the listener from the sound of the voices of the guys in the band. Again, she is correct. While Guns n’ Roses did a few more power ballad-type songs before breaking up, “Patience” was the first time they went acoustic and as such, it gave fans a fresh perspective on their talent and musicianship.

So, in conclusion, I want to thank Olivia for being a good kid, a hard worker, a cool music lover and a wise young woman. I was fortunate to have been her teacher when she was a wee one and now, I remain fortunate to still know her as she grows up into the fine young lady she is becoming. Thanks, Olivia, for all of your comments and stories shared throughout this musical journey of ours. You have made things better and I am most appreciative that you sought to take part.

So, without further delay, here are the toned down, stripped down rockers of Guns n’ Roses, with the song, “Patience”. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Patience” by Guns n’ Roses, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Guns n’ Roses, can be found here.

The link to the video for Olivia’s Dad’s band, Nitetime Drive, can be found here.

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