My Exit: Zan & Ben

my exit zan ben

Zan and Ben

This week, WEXT has two listener DJs on My Exit, and the music takes us from French Cartoons to sitars to Aretha Franklin.

After the jump, more about DJs Zan and Ben and their upcoming show.

About Zan
I'm Zan Strumfeld -- a local Zealous Scribbler, a.k.a. reporter-singer-songwriter enthusiast. I've spent the last 23 years creating a complex music collection that often corresponds with the weather. My taste ranges from the depths of rock n' roll to the comfort of folk to sultry jazz and blues and everything in between. I've even dipped my toes into quite a bit of punk and I'll never regret my Backstreet Boys CD purchases.

Teaming up with Ben Himmelfarb for a very special "Our Exit," I was limited in selecting my choices. To make it a bit simpler, I chose some of my most cherished albums and picked a song from each to symbolize the album as a whole.

A few songs from Zan

"Belleville Rendez-Vous" - Triplets of Belleville Soundtrack
The Triplets of Belleville, a French animated silent film, is one of the best movies I've ever seen. It's filled with mainly gypsy jazz tunes and this particular song makes me feel so ... alive.

"At Night Trees Aren't Sleeping" - of Montreal
While of Montreal is now known for its psychedelic, colorful catastrophes, the very first album -- my favorite -- is raw and delicate. It was hard to pick one song from this album, but this track really makes you sit back and hear the beginning stages of what would become crazy and busy songs in the future.

"This Side" - Nickel Creek
Before there was Punch Brothers, before Chris Thile became a MacArthur fellow, there was Nickel Creek -- a progressive, pop-bluegrass trio. They're so '90s, but in the best way. "This Side" holds one of my favorite lyrics ("only the curious have something to find") which I've always thought of getting tattooed; unfortunately, I have commitment issues.

"Exactly Like You" - Aretha Franklin
I really love the Queens (i.e. Joni Mitchell, Queen of Folk). Aretha is the everlasting Queen of Soul and she really knows how to get you to feel everything, move your body and take a step back and breathe, all at the same time. I saw her last year at Radio City Music Hall in this gold, glittery mu-mu and it was the greatest two hours of my life. I cried the whole time, so I really couldn't tell you what songs she sang.

"I'll Be Your Lampshade" - Beulah
Beulah is best heard while driving with your windows down on a sunny autumn day. I'm one for lyrics, especially ones that tell stories. This tune proposes some sort of odd infatuation with someone. "I hope you know you'll always be the life of the party" - rings through the entire song until the last line when - ah! - it's revealed: "there never was a party at all." What the hell could this mean? Looks like the person is the party of ... life.

About Ben
I am Ben Himmelfarb from Albany, New York. I am a graduate student in information science/history and work at the Albany Public Library. I spend most of my time thinking about music -- listening, playing, writing, recording.

I like soulful, rootsy music. My current listening runs from American folk anthologies to Ellington jazz to Ali Akbar Khan to honky tonk.

A few of Ben's selections

"Old Time Religion" - the Staple Singers
The loose-but-tight harmonies moved me so much when I first heard this that I listened to the first 1:30 over and over again for days, listening to Pop Staples sweetly bend his notes.

"Lover's Prayer" - Van Morrison
Van Morrison's blend of soul, country, and Celtic folk hits the sweet spot for me and the lyrics of this song are charmingly homey and honest.

"Svara Mantra" - Ravi Shankar
I always loved the sounds of Eastern musics and when I heard this song and learned it on guitar I was amazed to find the overlap between the licks Ravi Shankar was playing with licks from the Allman Brothers.

"Beautiful Thing" - Eric Clapton
Richard Manuel of The Band composed this song and plays on this track. He is an overlooked talent whose sensitivity and vulnerable performances are some of the most heart-wrenching in recorded music.

"Meeting Tonight" - James Cleveland
Cleveland is a giant of American gospel music, responsible for amazing arrangements and powerful performances that anyone interested in going deeper with gospel music should listen to.

You can hear Zan and Ben's My Exit show Monday night at 11 pm on 97.7, Saturday at 8 am, or at

Here's how to schedule your own My Exit show on WEXT.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

Morning Blend

Gubernatorial election The USA Today Network Albany Bureau after reviewing $100 million in campaign contributions to Andrew Cuomo since 2010: "... Cuomo's campaign coffers are... (more)

Today's moment of bird

Margaret sent along this pic: "I saw this on Lark Street [Tuesday] between Clinton and Sheridan streets. Awesome urban hunter. Poor squirrel." We've been surprised... (more)

A year later I'm still using a bike to get around town -- here are a few thoughts about how that's worked out

About this time last year I shared how I ended up becoming a person who uses a bike as one of my primary ways of... (more)

1000 miles on an e-bike

Check out this interesting post written by UAlbany climate scientist Brian Rose about using an e-bike to commute between Delmar and the UAlbany campus. He... (more)

Now is a good time to get a flu shot

So, now is a good time to get a flu shot. Maybe seem a little early? It's not, really. And even if it was, getting... (more)

Recent Comments

Giving out odd candy like Charleston Chews and Mallow Cups to confused trick or treaters and hoping that they try them and learn that they're awesome.

A year later I'm still using a bike to get around town -- here are a few thoughts about how that's worked out

...has 8 comments, most recently from Mateo

Now is a good time to get a flu shot

...has 3 comments, most recently from bb

Today's moment of bird

...has 2 comments, most recently from ethan

1000 miles on an e-bike

...has 1 comment, most recently from Emma

Drawing: Historic Haunted Pub Crawl of Downtown Albany

...has 48 comments, most recently from acw