Boston’s Boston… A Perfect Album Out Of The Gate

I long for the day of the album… and I don’t just mean vinyl, which is back in a BIG WAY…
I mean the days when artists came up with CONCEPTS… THEMES… COHESIVENESS…
Where ALBUM ART tied it all together, was thought out… and actually meant something. (Though follow that link for a most interesting and ironic read!)

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Top 40 radio is all about the single… the one hit they can play over and over… and that one hit can sell an entire record… or maybe not. Spotify and iTunes has enabled us… yes, ENABLED… to buy one or two songs… to not listen from start to finish… or, in the case of Spotify, to not buy at all.

So while records are back, record sales are not. Most artists, it seems, now make their money on the road. And major stars… most of them… are involved with major money grabs. I cannot tell you how many concerts I would have to loved to have seen, but had to sit out due to ticket prices. Yes, I am talking to you Sting and Peter Gabriel… and Rush

I get it… grab it while you can, but really??? Concert going has, once again, become a rich man’s sport… and music for the masses is no longer the rallying cry of the day. For those of us with a limited concert budget, it is much better to see three or four shows at smaller venues than one at a stadium or arena…

And yes, perhaps I am being hypocritical with my multi-Bruce shows, but that accounts for the majority of my budget and is most definitely by choice. There are not too many artists out there whose live performances actually infuse you with life and joy and energy and spirit. I was not happy that Bruce upped his ticket price by almost 50% since the last time around… but I went… and I am happier for it. Poorer, but happier.

Thanks to Al Gore (Ha!), the internet has also given the power back to musicians. You no longer need a major label to promote you. You can put out a record and sell it yourself. Easy? Hardly… but it can be done.

However, this too is an embarrassment of riches. There is SO MUCH amazing music out there, it is hard to discover all of it. It takes public radio stations like KCSN (Hi DJ Julie Slater!), KCRW, WXPN, etc. to hear new music on the airwaves… (And also a shout out to Christian James Hand’s great new show on 100.3 The Sound) and a whole lot of word of mouth and discussions with friends to tap into a new band. But we do what we can…

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Last week I had the opportunity (thanks, Brad) and the privilege of seeing Dennis DeYoung (founder of Styx)… and Boston, a band I had never seen live. A friend of mine calls them fake Boston, which I get, as the only original member is founder and principal songwriter, Tom Scholz… who also happens to be an MIT grad and a genius on many levels…

Lead singer Brad Delp sadly killed himself in 2007… a whole other discussion, right there… So sad…

But, the band is what the band is… and while they will never be the same without the searing and soaring vocals of Brad… they were quite amazing and fun… and, to a person, a truly wonderful group of people. This is an old, classic stage show… the lights… the lasers… the videos… the stage poses… and the incredible onstage charisma… THIS is Rock n’ Roll!

Gary Pihl on rhythm and lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals.

Jeff Neal on drums, percussion, backing vocals.

Tommy DeCarlo on lead vocals, keyboards, percussion.

Tracy Ferrie on bass guitar, backing vocals.

Beth Cohen on keyboards, vocals, rhythm guitar.

Okay… Fine!!!  I have a little crush on Beth! And I loooove that this is Jeff’s “summer job,” as he is a teacher in Maine the rest of the year. And yes, I told him I would love to have this kind of summer job!

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The concert was so enjoyable, in fact, that it had me go back and pull all my Boston albums out… Okay, CDs… my albums are in my parent’s basement in Jersey!

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I have not stopped listening since then. From the brilliant, opening fade in of “More Than A Feeling” to the closing of “Let Me Take You Home Tonight”, this is an iconic, time-defining, life-defining, eight song, perfect album.

Yes, I know many people who did not like “Arena” or “Stadium” rock bands… who dismissed their music as being nothing more than loud anthems… but anthems bring people together and on to their feet… anthems bond us and get us to see the similarities in all of our lives…

But Boston is really quite more than that… If you take the time to really delve into the lyrics, you’ll find a deep humanity… a yearning… a rebellion… and THAT is what Rock n’ Roll has always been…

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“I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away

It’s more than a feeling (more than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling)
And I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)

Till I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin’ away.”

He’s writing about how OTHER records and music start his day… How he gets lost in that music… and how it heals and saves us… and yet, in a brilliant twist, THIS song… THIS record is now what WE are…or were listening to… to start OUR DAY! To get lost in… to heal us and save us and give us so much more than a feeling. Boom! The power of music is so visceral… it informs us… every cell and every heartbeat can be matched to the beat of a drum… the strum of a chord. We find commonality in a lyric.

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Universal themes are timeless… hit across all races and creeds… religions and beliefs… They are UNIVERSAL for that reason… because they have tapped into something we can all relate to.

How can you NOT like this record???  I mean really.

My windows have been rolled down for almost a week straight… and I have been blasting this…

The crazy of the world is all around us… Crazies and craziness abound… We all continue to struggle with so much… It hasn’t changed… Music gives us answers… keeps us sane… reminds us that we are in this wild journey together… so lift up those lighters (or dreaded cell phones)… but don’t record… or watch something in front of you from a tiny ass screen…

Put your arms around the person next to you… move and sway to the music… and rock your ass off!!!

“Now if you’re feelin’ kinda low ’bout the dues you’ve been paying
Future’s coming much too slow
And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin’
Can’t decide on which way to go

I understand about indecision
But I don’t care if I get behind
People livin’ in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind”

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Tom Rhodes’ Who You Were – A Beautiful And Musical Legacy

I was sent this album a few weeks ago and have not stopped listening to it since. It comes out next Friday, July 15… and for those lucky enough to live in LA (something you’ll not often hear me say), the album release show is the same night, at the famed and fabulous Hotel Cafe.

4PAN1TWho You Were is immediately familiar… and familiar gives us comfort… it clues us into something we already know. That’s why all that food we grew up with, that sure as hell ain’t good for us, is called comfort food. It makes us feel good and helps us reminisce and reconnect. But if that’s all there is, it’s redundant… It may be pleasant, but there’s no point.

This artist and this album is different. We start off knowing… yes… but by the last note, we may understand where we came from, but we definitely want to explore more and we certainly want to grow. Stellar vocals, impeccable songwriting and expert musicianship make this a true stand out.

The opening track “Crumbling Roads” will have you immediately thinking Ray LaMontagne… that smooth gruff… that rocking “Velvet Fog.” You also get colors of John Hiatt, AJ Croce and Jason Isbell… And yet after a short while you’ll be hearing nothing but Tom.

Singer-songwriter, folk, country, Americana and a bit of alt. country Rock n’ Roll. This is definitely in my wheel house!

Who You Were is the fifth full length record put out by this Oakland, CA musician, and it also happens to be my introduction to Tom. If this is where I am starting, I am happy to go back and listen to more… to see where he came from… And certainly to see where he’s going. He’s been at this for over 10 years, and was even on The Voice, Season 9 last year!

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It was recorded at Gawain Mathews studio in Pinole, CA, the album features:
Oscar Westesson on bass
Andrew Laubacher on drums
Tim Marcus on guitar and pedal steel
And The Lady Crooners, Kyle M. Terrizzi, and Kelly McFarling on background vocals.

The record is a tribute to his father, who sadly passed away last Fall, and while each song may not be about him, it was influenced and inspired by his father’s wisdom and storytelling. The closer “Who You Were” is a loving gut punch… so beautiful and sweet. You can hear the love and admiration, the hurt and loss… but the legacy and torch has clearly been passed… And isn’t that the very purpose of our lives?

“These stories aren’t just learned from my dad, but this is me taking on that role as he passed away and sort of left that role… This is the conversation I would want to have with my kid, if I had one. I wanted to write about the things that a father tells a son or daughter.”

Tom’s philosophy is simple and pure, but something too many musicians forget.
“To me, singing songs is about passionately connecting with the thing I’m talking about, and if you’re singing about something that you actually believe in it’s really easy to get there.”

While I truly love this record, song to song, “Every Damn Day” is easily my favorite track on the album. It so speaks to the journey I am on right now… exploration and self-exploration… looking outward and inward… keeping an open mind, yet balancing it with a healthy skepticism and always asking life’s big questions..

And its message is also so very vital for this crazy world. It’s been another rough week, and another all too vivid reminder that we all need to join arms and hands and hearts… to move forward in peace and wisdom… to be human… to be love. Thanks, Tom!

“Find your love and give it away
Work yourself down to bone
Reach inside and turn their lights on

Then do it again
Then do it again
And do it again until every damn day till you find out

You are not alone

Throw yourself into the cold
Forge yourself from smoke and fire
Question everything you think you’ve ever known

Then do it again
Then do it again
And you do it again until every damn day till you find out

You are not alone

Feel your heartbeat slowing down
Let the all be all around
Catch your breath when you lose your way

You’ll find it again
You’re gonna find it again
You’ll find it again every damn day
You’re gonna find out

You are not alone

Know yourself from skin to soul
Forgive yourself the past is gone
Open up your eyes and see that you are home
Because you are home

Then do it again
Do it again
And you do it again and every damn day

Till you find out that you are not alone”

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Live Music As It’s Meant To Be… All Over The World With Sofar Sounds

People ordering drinks at the bar… loudly.
Talking as if they are the only ones in the room… and sometimes actually, shockingly, trying to talk over the music.

What happened to etiquette?  Manners? Civility?

On several occasions I have shot some nasty looks their way… and have even said things like (sarcastically, of course) “I’m sorry, can you talk up, I can’t hear your conversation.”

It makes me feel bad for the artists… the musicians who are giving their all on stage… but it is also a sad state of affairs and says a lot about this internet/cell phone/short attention span society we now live in.

Soap box… stepping off…

Music needs to be listened to… Artists need to be respected.
Get to a show early… give the opening act a shot… Heck, you may find your new favorite band…
And by all means, stay to the end of the show!
Enjoy yourself… immerse yourself. And check out Sofar Sounds!

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Last Saturday I attended my first  show… and it was pretty magical. This is a global, musical community that puts on shows all over the world. And who is going to show up is a secret… a wonderful mystery. Even the hosts don’t know until the artists show up a few hours before show time.

People sign up to be hosts, where their living rooms, or dens or back yards are transformed into a concert stage. (Special thanks to Chris and Monica!)

Guests RSVP and if you are lucky enough to get picked… or willing to pre-buy a ticket, you’re in.

Leon Bridges, Karen O and Bastille have been just some of the artists that fortunate music fans have gotten to see… And there is something pretty cool and exciting about showing up for a show, sight unseen!

On Saturday, June 18, we got THREE, THREE, THREE artists for the price of NONE!

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The first band was Anchor And Bear, a great Indie Folk/Rock act out of Ventura, with great harmonies, strong songwriting and a fun chemistry. Katy Pearson on bass, guitar and vocals, Brian Bringelson on guitar and vocals; Eric White on drums, and Kenny Bringelson on bass, guitar and vocals… though Kenny was not feeling well and missed the show.

I really look forward to hearing more from this band, seeing them live again and watching them grow. They reminded me of a less jazzy, more hazy ’60s Lake Street Dive.

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Up next was the stunning and spectacular, Ayo Awosika.

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She mentioned that she normally plays with at least five other musicians, but if she is this good solo, I can only imagine what the big band experience must be like.

She grew up in a house where Fela Kuti, Michael Jackson, Billie Holiday and Madonna were “weaved into the soundtrack of her childhood and ultimately, into her artistry.”

“She has shared the stage with the likes of Richie Havens, Peter Eldridge (of the NY Voices), members of Tower of Power, has toured internationally and across the US with both her band and as a background singer for several artists, and has also performed on Later…with Jools Holland.”

I would also add into the mix the great Corrine Bailey Rae, one of my faves. Ayo’s performance was mesmerizing and LA (by way of Brooklyn) is now lucky to have her.

The evening closed with the endearing St. Michael, (Sorry… my phone memory was full, so no pictures…) who gave us a taste of rap and R&B and got the crowd up on their feet. His performance was especially sweet, as his wife and daughters were in the house, and he seemed genuinely nervous performing in front of them. He said that it was the first time his two girls have seen him live… and his love song to his wife, “Santa Barbara” seemed to make her very happy. That’s why the ladies love the rockers/musicians… sigh…

If you can get out to a Sofar Sounds show, do it! The crowd is respectful and knows not to speak, and everyone is so happy to be there… so it is such a joyous and amazing way to see live music!

You just need to RSVP… open your ears… and BYOB!

Sofar… So Good!!!

 

 

 

 

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New Music Monday: The Explorers Club Brings Us “Together” With The Super Sounds Of Summer

While the rest of the country and even parts of Northern California still battle the weather, Sunny So Cal is staring to feel like Summer. Okay, that happens a lot here, but still…

The sun… the surf… the smell of the grill… and MUSIC. It’s not Summer without music, sweet music.

Okay, no Season is good without music… but especially Summer… when the outdoor concerts kick into high gear… when people are BBQ’ing and picnicking and partying and just getting together much more often it seems.

Summer… the season of my birth… Maybe that’s why I identify with it on a cellular level. (No, not my iPhone…) Though I will say that Fall/Autumn in NYC or any place back East in the Fall is probably my most favorite time of the year.

But Summer… Cue The Explorers Club and their stunningly beautiful new record Together. And yes, I called it a record! It has that retro sound that just fits in with the whole resurgence of vinyl… Though I’m not sure if they will be doing any vinyl pressings of this one…

Explorers Club Together CD cover HI RES copy

I had the pleasure of meeting Jason Brewer at the rehearsal for the Wild Honey Orchestra’s annual fundraising concert. This year was a tribute to the music of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, so having Jason there made perfect sense. You can read a great review of the show from Goldmine here.

I got to hear him sing… stellar… So when he told me about his band, I knew it would be something I wanted to hear.

Their music is gorgeous. Obviously their inspirations and heroes are clear, with Brian and the Beach Boys at the very top of the list… and while you could conceivably listen to this record and actually think it IS a Beach Boys album, there is a lot more going on here than imitation. Check out their killer new single “California’s Callin’.”

The band also lists Burt Bacharach, Phil Spector, Jimmy Webb and the Zombies as heavy influencers. Burt and Jimmy are, in my humble opinion, amongst the best songwriters EVER! And yes, of course Brian is on that list!

If you are a regular reader of this blog… or spend any time with me and my music collection (house, car, iPhone, etc.) you know I have a deep love for that lush Power Pop sound. To me there are hallmarks of what great Power Pop is… catchy riffs… jangly, fuzzy guitars… great harmonies… but also something that the Beach Boys were absolute masters of… and that is the seeming simplicity of the music and song.

I am not sure how to say this without sounding dismissive… but this is the kind of record you can play in the background of a party… and people will just take it for what it is… Simple… enjoyable… humable… singable…

Though I can guarantee most of them will shortly be saying “This is great” and then asking “Who is this?”

Music operates and works on so many levels… and what I love about this record and their others, as well as the genre in general, is that if you want to take it on face value you can. If you want something great to listen to, without having to think or analyze much, then this is something you are really gonna dig.

But… and this is a big BUT… It is gonna sneak up on you!

This music is sophisticated… the four-part harmonies are gorgeous… the arrangements are complex… and if you start breaking it down, you are going to be blown away by the intricacies and nuances.

So suddenly this record is on at home… in the car with the windows down… sadly no convertible for this guy… yet! It is on my iPhone so I can tell my friends, “Hey, you gotta hear this band”… and it is on my party playlist. I truly love this one, track for track.

My first foray into this genre came from buddies Rob and Alan, which hooked me into one of my all-time faves, The Pearlfishers. That lead me on a backwards, sideways, full circle journey into Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, Trashcan Sinatras, and local LA bands The Wondermints and Baby Lemonade (Yes in tribute to the late, great and very psychedelic Syd Barret). This list could go on and on… but that list always comes back to one major source… The Beach Boys.

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The band formed in Charleston, SC in 2005, and is currently based in Nashville…. the home to so many great artists and so much killer music. They have released two critically acclaimed albums: 2008’s Freedom Wind and 2012’s Grand Hotel… and Together will be out on June 24.

The Onion AV Club called Freedom Wind “…a pretty dizzying technical achievement. Frankly, the album is beautiful-wholly, deeply and truly.”

According to Brewer: “I usually have a strong idea of the musical/instrumentation and looser ideas about how the final vocal harmonies will hit the tracks. Mike Williamson really took my preliminary ideas and turned them into golden masterpieces on this album. The guys sang a lot of the parts around one mic set up together, in the same room.”

Just as the music itself can make one ponder, trying to figure out who is doing what and where, so do the lyrics in terms of that yearning and grasping to understand life and all that it means…

“We are overwhelmed by spiritual questions every day, it’s inescapable… One line Mike brought in was ‘there is a cold wind calling me from a storm out on the sea (sung by John Davis) – it references the balancing act between spirituality and being pulled back to the realities of daily life,” says Brewer.

This record does exactly that… a beautiful balance between the simple and complex… between realities and the dreams we have of how the world or how our lives should be…

And isn’t that what music is all about?

So yeah, let’s all get Together!

 

ALBUM CREDITS:
Jason Brewer – Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizers, Fuzz Guitar, Rock-Si-Chord, Maestro Rhythm King

Paul Runyon – Vocals, Piano, Hammond Organ, Rock-Si-Chord, Synthesizer, Guitar, Wurlitzer

Michael Willamson – Vocals, Lead Guitar, Fender Bass, Organ, Upright Bass, Acoustic Guitars

Wyatt Funderburk – Vocals, Fender Bass, Rock-Si-Chord

Kyle Polk – Drums and Percussion

ADDITIONAL MUSICIANS:
John Davis – Vocals on “My Friend” and “Before I’m Gone”

Darian Sahanaja – Moog Synthesizers and Rock-Si-Chord on “Don’t Waste Her Time”

Probyn Gregory – All Trumpet and Trombone parts, Tannerin on “Together”

Nelson Bragg & Scott Bennett – Percussion

David Ellis – Percussion

Emeen Zarookian – Synth Bass on “Gold Winds”, additional arrangment on “Gold Winds” Krista Brewer – Flute on “Be Around” Steve Stanley – Bass Harmonica on “Be Around”

Jesse Hansen – Strings on “Be Around”

Brian King – Vibraphone

Mark Galup – Pedal Steel

Rushikesh Badbade – Additional Synth programming

Kevin Crothers – additional Percussion recording

 

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Rival Tides’ New Rituals EP – Rocking Hard And “Mixing Aggression With Positivity”

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That comes from a direct quote from the band’s web site… They are a “Los Angeles-based rock band that thrives on mixing aggression with positivity.”

If you cannot say something better, then don’t! It’s a great way of describing both the band and this kick ass EP.

This five-piece unit was formed in 2012 and my first instinct was old Linkin Park, which I mean as an extreme compliment. Catchy, rocking riffs and songs you can instantly sing-along to… and want to. This definitely has that rolling down the PCH with the top down kind of feel… or windows down for those of us without a convertible.

Check out the video for the second track, “Bleed Me Out.”

The musicianship is fantastic, the vocals soar and the message in the lyrics is exactly as advertised… finding the positivity through hard rock. According to the band, “Bleed Me Out” is about an artist with something to say and limited means. Frustratingly, any number of us living in Hollywood with dreams of using our art to actually say something understand that all too well.

But you know what… you make noise where and when you can. And this album is damn good noise!

I have not heard their previous self-titled EP, so this is my entry to the group… Well, aside from running into Jason (the bass player) socially from time to time.

The band is made up of:
Robyn August – Singer/Songwriter
Jason Friday – Bass
Greg Fulleman – Drums

Spencer Kent – Guitar
Alex von Hollen – Guitar

For tour dates check out their web site.

“I Want More” is the opening track and lights the EP on fire.
“I want more
Telling you that I want more
On the day that I was born
They said I crawled into the light.”

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 “Child”, according to the band is about the dangers of social media, though not in the way you’d think… though as the father of  a teenage daughter I can tell you there are many dangers of this new fangled contraption. This is about “those who believe whatever is thrown in front of them without researching for themselves and who continue to spread ignorance and hate.”

Hmmm… was this written before, after or during this current election cycle. It’s crazy how much ignorance and hate is out on the web.

“Better” is about having a good solid support group around you during tough times… such an important message given what is going on way too much and too often… and a really nice lead into the last track…

“Dark Cloud” kills me… Clearly Robyn and I were both really affected by the loss of Robin Williams (See my post from August 15, 2014) and this song is “dedicated to those who struggle with depression.”

The last chorus says it so well:

“I’m tired of these voices
I want to be whole
“Yeah, I want to break these chains
And take back my control
Take back my self-control.”

The lessons in rock and roll sometimes… often, in fact… apply to real life… and suffering in silence is never the answer! Crank it up… sing it and shout it loud… reach out for help and let your words and music save you.

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From Purple To Blues – More Of Music’s Colors Fade With The Loss Of Lonnie Mack

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I still cannot believe Prince is gone… but even worse, because it is my own personal demon… I cannot believe I never saw him live. This is somewhat tragic for a true lover of music. People are shocked when I tell them… disappointed… surprised. Hey, so am I.

It is eating me up right now… torturing and tormenting me… And it happened with a few artists I had the chance to see… Roy Orbison, David Bowie, Merle Haggard… and now Prince. Heck, if I had been a more adventurous rocker at a younger age, I probably could have seen Zeppelin… and I certainly would have come to Bruce way before the Born In The USA tour.

But I wasn’t, and I didn’t and here I am and so it is.

Regret is a bitch, and yet, too often, we do not learn from our mistakes. Is missing a concert the worst thing in the world? Of course not… but the experience and subsequent memory of such an event is… well… priceless. It measures and defines our time on earth. Concerts and music, that is. Our favorite artists and albums help define our lives… or at least give them meaning and insight… understanding and comfort. They accompany us on our journeys and road trips… our arrivals and our departures.

We dance and sway… we swoon and spoon… Music is our everything.

As I have said many times before… and yes, I will vainly quote myself… Okay, less for vanity and more for posterity and to mark this as mine… “A life without music is a life not worth living.”

Music is everywhere… We just need to open our ears and our hearts. It is in the breeze… the rustling of leaves… the chirping of birds… in a conversation… in a laugh… in words…

We can feel music… the beat of a drum, the strum of a bass… Our chest and core literally shake…

The world is filled with music.

Music is with us from the moment we are born, to our very last breath. My daughter literally came out of the womb to Lyle Lovett’s “Here I Am”.

We can mark time and certainly highlighted events with a song… an album.

From a prom and a first dance…
To a first declared love (Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell)…
To a break up… Genesis’ “Throwing It All Away” was playing on the stereo in the frat, when that same, first love called to say we were done.

To albums so depressing, they would help get me out of my own depression… Tears For Fears’ The Hurting.

To those records who force us to dance and sing at the top of our lungs…

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Damn fine rules to live by.

And to playlists designed specifically to seduce and help members of the opposite sex fall for us… See my series of posts Music To Make Love To… (Started on 9/15/2011).

Music…

In the midst of the world losing one its musical heroes… an icon of music and style and fashion… we lost another legend yesterday as well, but one who will certainly fly under the radar a lot more. Lonnie Mack passed away at the age of 74…

Guitar World pays tribute here.

And while I will let that article put his life and music into context and understanding… I will say that I was lucky enough to see him play live… lucky enough to be in the city of Chicago when the Blues were still filled with stars and legends and the diplomats and musical missionaries spreading the Gospel… the names that put that music on the map.

The Blues and Jazz clubs I once spent so much time in are gone… like my beloved Biddy Mulligan’s, where I saw Albert Collins walk himself and his guitar and his 300 foot guitar chord out of the club and onto the corner of the street without missing a note or a beat.

The musicians I saw live formed a living, breathing book… a book on the history of music.

Albert Collins, Albert King, Lonnie Brooks, Lonnie Mack… Koko Taylor, Willie Dixon, Junior Wells… Buddy Guy… The list is staggering. And how lucky was I? There are shows I missed… yes… But oh man, there were shows I saw… lived… breathed…

I remember when my friend Rachel was working for Alligator Records… she brought me down into the basement… and it was still like a business run out of the house, at this point… CDs stacked on foldable tables… organized by artist and title… and she told me to take what I wanted… Say what? I did some damage, sure… but I was way too polite and held back…

A kid in a candy shop? Better! So much better.

I still have every one of those CDs, including Lonnie Mack’s Strike Like Lightning!

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How I love the blues… it got me playing harmonica… it got me moving… and it got me through.

So while we mourn Prince… let us not forget Doris Roberts… and certainly not Lonnie Memphis Mack (thanks, Patrick).

I guess Stevie Ray Vaughn needed some more tips and influence from you.

Stretch it out in Heaven, boys! Cause the Blues had a baby and they called it Rock n’ Roll!

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And FYI here is the exact quote…
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
                                       ― William W. Purkey

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From Purple Rain Comes Purple Tears… The Royal Court Of Rock N’ Roll Has Lost Its Prince

UnknownThe playlists of my youth are being decimated… The artists I grew up with are being taken way too early… The history of music and Rock n’ Roll is becoming a posthumous endeavor… And time after time, a sad reminder to never put off tomorrow what you can do today… and to always figure out a way to not miss a concert or show because you think there will be another chance… another year… another tour…

Sometimes… Sometimes there won’t be…

If a star can be taken out of the sky… If a true musical genius and icon can be pulled from the stage… then we all better be doing our best every day… to create life and art… music and joy.

I hate writing these posts… Hate it.

And I’ll say it once again… 2016 can suck it. The things my friends have had to endure so far… and the number of artists we have lost is devastating, but it is the fact that so many of them defined my youth… my proms and dances… my parties… my puberty… my growing up… This is what hurts the most.

It is hard to not feel so very mortal… so under accomplished and under achieved… and while I know that I do not and will not ever possess any of the musical genius that was Prince, it is a reminder to live life, to love and to create, for we simply do not know how long or short our time on this planet may be.

When I was young and naive, I was most impressed by Prince’s ability to get the absolute, most beautiful women as girlfriends… And yes, I was one of those who questioned whether or not it was him or his musical abilities and genius.

As I learned more about music and grew up and older and more mature, I was, of course, able to see the genius behind the music… the brilliance… the wide, wide range of music… from Funk, Soul and R&B, to Rock and pure Pop… the skills as a performer and guitarist.

Prince would find his way onto every genre or themed party tape or mix tape I would make.

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If I wanted to dance and sing… If I wanted to think and contemplate… If I wanted to seduce and have something sexy playing in the background… or if I just wanted some of the greatest Pop songs ever written, Prince would get pulled up… Well… pulled off my shelves of albums and CDs… and now pulled up from my iTunes.

That range was evident on the first album of his I heard and embraced, 1999. And yes, this was FIVE albums in… His first record, For You, coming out in 1979.

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Did we dance?  Hell yeah… But his lyrics were equally profound…

“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt U
I only want U 2 have some fun
I was dreamin’ when I wrote this
Forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin’
Coulda sworn it was judgment day
The sky was all purple,
There were people runnin’ everywhere
Tryin’ 2 run from the destruction,
U know I didn’t even care

‘Cuz they say two thousand zero zero party over,
Oops out of time
So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.”
And who did NOT want a “Little Red Corvette.”
Man, I miss the ’80s!
In 1984 came Purple Rain… the album and the film having a major impact on me… and of course on Prince’s meteoric rise. That is one of those rare albums I listen to from start to finish… song for song… never skipping or wanting or needing to.
imagesAnd then in 1985 came a pure Pop blast of joy… I love Around The World In A Day… unapologetically… and “Raspberry Beret” is one of my favorite songs… ever…
I will sing it at the top of my lungs with reckless abandon and the car windows down… or yes… even blasting it from my frat room… I mean… um… in between Van Halen and Judas Priest and Rush of course…
In somewhat typical Prince fashion… it is nearly impossible to find a copy of this video online… he would go after anyone posting it… So just pull it up in your mind… I know for me, I can see it clearly on my TV… as I sat for hours and hours and hours watching MTV.
When MTV started I was, for lack of a better word, addicted… enthralled… captivated… Okay, I just came up with some better words…
MTV was my everything… It was my world of music and rock and videos. It gave images to sounds… pictures to tunes… It was a series of three-minute movies… and what a rotation and movie marathon and festival it was!
In 1987 came another masterpiece in Sign ‘O’ The Times… and another CD purchase… I was a fan.
Album after album… performance after performance…
And yet… another artist I never saw live… And again, I just don’t know why.
I never met Prince, but I will always remember the story my friend and writing partner Josh tells… He was outside of Paisley Park Studios… and accidentally or perhaps not… was leaning against Prince’s car.  Prince walked out… saw him there… Josh got excited for the conversation that would ensue… and in that high-pitched and soft, Prince-speaking voice he said only this: “Hey, get away from my car.”
Bowie… Glenn Frey… Prince… These are the artists who defined my youth… who played in the background and foreground of some my life’s major moments… These are the musicians who helped create the soundtrack of my life.
57 years old, folks. That is simply too young. And yes, his music will live on… that is the power of an album… a song… a video… of a captured image. But 57 years old… and still so much to say and write and sing…
Life is short, make it sweet.
Listen to music, make music, play music, embrace music.
Go to shows, be present, put your phone down… and be a part of the experience.
And if you have a chance to go to a concert or show, go!
Don’t delay your dreams and don’t think it is ever too late to pursue them… There is no time limit on our dreams… but there is a time limit on life… and we are not the one running the meter.
Trend setter, icon, musical genius, and music itself… RIP, Sweet Prince… Your elevator is not bringing you down, but the skies and our eyes are filled with Purple Rain.

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