Walk Off The Earth does it again

Walk Off The Earth released a homegrown video without much fanfare this spring, featuring a duet by Gianni Luminati and Sarah Blackwood, followed by an announcement of the due date of their next child.

It’s a must-see clip, which teaches us some simple truths. It shows how a minimalist, lo-tech production can be remarkably effective in an era of blow-your-mind visual gimmickry. It also demonstrates how powerful a gentle tug on the heart strings can be in communicating a message. You’d have to be catatonic to not be moved and inspired by the performance below. Whatever they want to sell me, I'm buying.

The song is Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe”—which was released 50 years ago tomorrow and quickly became a million-seller. But it's never sounded so fresh—with such heart-melting charm—as it sounds here. Catch the blend on Gianni and Sarah's harmonies, even when they're not singing words. This is Simon & Garfunkel quality.

This vid confirms my long-held belief that Gianni is a flat-out genius as a musician, arranger, and producer (of music and video). Meanwhile, Sarah may be the most adaptable and versatile singer on the alt-rock scene today. She has that in-your-face 'tude and swagger when she needs it, but she can also be sweetly understated in her vocal delivery, especially when adding harmonic lines. (How many female rock singers today are known for their understatement?)

But wait! There’s more!

Walk Off The Earth released another homemade clip last week, this time covering OMI’s international hit “Cheerleader.” Here we have the complete WOTE package at its wackiest and most innovative, performing on their tour bus, using mostly makeshift instruments. Marshall, as usual, contributes a strong lead vocal halfway through the song.

Lots of business lessons to learn from WOTE, which I’ve enumerated before (e.g., here and here and here). I’ll put my money on any team or organization that’s uniquely distinct, boldly innovative, joyfully exuberant, defiantly independent-minded, and driven to make a difference.

There aren’t many business teams—including bands—that meet all those criteria. Walk Off The Earth does.

They got me babe. And I'm their cheerleader.

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  1. That song has always been a guilty pleasure, but this version involves no guilt.

    Love the key changing capo bit.

    I'm realizing our business doesn't involve enough fun for our clients. Or with them. Or something.

  2. Yeah, I meant to point out the capo bit. Those little things Gianni does are a WOTE trademark.

    I always have mixed feelings when a relatively unknown band that I've loved for years finally breaks through internationally and I have to share them with the world. (It's been happening for me for years.) I think that time has come with WOTE, given their recent Today Show appearance. I gotta let them go.

    1. how magnanimous of you!

      the original 'i got you babe' is a very decent piece of work that catapulted sonny & cher to fame and glory.

      1. Yes, it's not a guilty pleasure for me to listen to the original. I can skip some of S&C's repertoire but this one is deservedly a classic. Sonny Bono was no dope. He wrote the tune and produced it exquisitely. I just watched a clip of them singing it (lip-synched): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BERd61bDY7k It's even better than I remembered it. The oboe part was a brilliant addition.

        I may do a future post on this fascinating duo. Sonny & Cher rode the roller coaster of success and failure as singers and as variety show hosts. Then while riding high their marriage fell apart (very publicly) and they divorced in 1975. Later Sonny went into politics as a member of the US Congress. Then he died suddenly in a skiing accident in 1998. S&C had reconciled as friends by then and Cher was inconsolable afterwards. A pretty touching story.

        1. [insert psychobabble about the phrase "guilty pleasure" arising from childhood emotional issues related to music and two much larger brothers here, and then, move on]

          Sonny's brilliance raises an interesting thought: he, Tommy Smothers, and to some extent (I know less of them) Stan Laurel were the minds behind their respective duos' brilliance, yet all three played the fool rather than the "smart" partner.

          Some connection to the idea that every dreamer needs an implementer, a Woz to the Jobs or Ballmer to Gates?

          1. Wow, Joel, that's a great an idea for a future post. Yes, Sonny — from what I've read — created and scripted that whole TV routine whereby Cher made him look like an idiot. Great comparison to Tommy Smother. (Incorrigible name-dropper that I am, I have to add that I got to open for the Smothers at the Hollywood Bowl with my band a few short decades ago. I *LOVED* that duo.)

          2. As a kid, I didn't see through the charade and thought Dick was smart, Tommy dumb. But listen to interviews, and Dick sounds the same as always, and Tommy sounds like some great philosopher and business manager, but with a delightfully twisted sense of humor.

            Drop all the names you want. I love hearing how I'm one step removed from all these famous folks. Except for, y'know, the fact that you and I have never actually met. (That will change within the next couple years.)

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