Editor's Note: Congratulations to Valerie Simpson for her Honorary Doctorate in Music bestowed by the Berklee College of Music! Valerie performed in the Berklee Pre-Commencement show that was held by students and faculty to interpret the songs of the honorees and elite guests. It was a privilege for BBR to provide footage for the 2014 Berklee College of Music Commencement Ceremony the next day. All events were closed to the public. Jimmy Page called Valerie Simpson's performance, "Superb." When we heard of this fabulous event, we asked Motown drummer, producer, writer, Drew Schultz, to take some time from his busy performance schedule, and post an in depth article on Valerie - now known as Dr. Simpson.

Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, and Thara Memory receive Honorary Doctor of Music Degrees

Page is Commencement Speaker at Berklee

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
~ Berklee Student Speaker, Drew Krasner, quoting Howard Thurman on Commencement Day, 2014. 

May 10, 2014 was a Celebration Day for the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, and Thara Memory received Honorary Doctor of Music degrees as presented by Roger H. Brown, Berklee President.

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, now Dr.James Patrick Page, was the key note speaker to graduates at the Agganis Arena. The private Baccalaureate ceremony, open to only graduates and their families. was held to bestow degrees such as professional music, music business management and performance.

Experience Langhorne Slim as you've never seen or heard him. Langhorne Slim and The Law hit you with the raw sounds and literally sharp edges of unconscious symbols, direct lyrics of strength and exploration, as they make you face yourself. Out of touch with reality is never the case. Crazy in a good way is the vibe here. Get ready for the screams. Langhorne's music is always evolving, pushing ideas into the exosphere, making it easier for the rest of us to find our ways home again. Are you a long time Langhorne fan? Listen for the references to his back to the wild themed lyrics. He also seems to be digging deep into earlier inspirations of experimentalism.

Warning: expect to be exhausted after viewing this video.

For years, Berklee has bestowed doctorates of music on honorees to address the graduating classes and infuse hope of artistic success to guide their next steps. Ahmet Ertegun, Steve Winwood and Aretha Franklin, are among a few of our favorites followed in the ranks. This year, Bluebirdreviews is honored to be in attendance when Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, and Thara Memory will be presented with honorary doctorates in music from Berklee.

Bluebirdreviews has posted articles on many bands from New England and around the world. The possibilities for listener exploration through the different genres are endless. As reviewers, we listen to the music first, and ask about roots later. Many of these bands happen to be from the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Some musicians from the school are shy about their degrees from Berklee. We think they should be proud of their hard work, education and training. The program is rigorous, intensive and releases the artist at the start of their potential. How do we know this? We've been listening to their music and attending their live shows for years.

Whether it's pop explosions from Gentlemen Hall, contemporary jazz elegance via Esperanza Spalding, folk rockin with Langhorne Slim, hip-hop Gli, or the experimentalism of Ali Amr, we think the Berklee program has inspired musicians with creativity and freedom.

Every Spring, BBR writer, Al Whirly sends in a collection of up to date folk, pop, and indie songs that he thinks are stand outs from the prior year. Sometimes he is right on the money in predicting listener bliss and other times, the spins could very well be a quick frisbee. Let's take a listen to the Whirly picks for 2013.

Deer Tick

The Dream's In The Ditch


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