For the most part, radio in the U.S. plays crap. There's some good stuff out there, but you'd never know it. That ends right now.

From sweet and smooth classics, to new names, to old names with new music...the focus here, is to shine a little light on some damn fine music.

I'll find it. You can listen, review, or tell me I wouldn't know good music if it kicked me in the ass. I personally don't give a shit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lesley Gore: Voice and Attitude

As a girl of not even ten, I remember listening to Lesley Gore and thinking there was something about her attitude that made her different than most of the other girl singers from that time. Though I was years away from heartbreak, even the puppy love kind, I could relate to the hurt she sang about in "It's My Party."

But what I really enjoyed was the sequel where she got back her guy," Judy's Turn To Cry." While I seem to recall thinking that I wasn't sure if I would take the jerk back, the song did have a great "kiss my ass" attitude that was kinda cool.

Then she came out with "You Don't Own Me."

"And don't tell me what to do
And don't tell me what to say"

That was a game changer for me. I wasn't like most of the other girls I knew, especially cousins and those within the family circle. I didn't play with dolls, I wasn't dreaming of the six kids I wanted to have. I didn't know a lot about myself, but what I did know was that no one would be telling me how to live my life. Were there repercussions from that attitude... yeah, many. But I did find my truth, probably most closely related to another song, this one from the 70s and The Animals.

"It's my life and I'll do what I want
It's my mind and I'll think what I want"

My lifetime of fierce independence began with a singer-songwriter from Tenafly NJ. Lesley Gore died yesterday, leaving us way to soon. Her career not only included her singing and writing, but also acting and activism.

Though not as well known as so many of her songs, this was my favorite.

Easy Journey Lesley. I hope her party is still going on.


Monday, February 9, 2015

The Grammys: The Main Event

And it started out with such promise. AC/DC blowing out the hall, devil's horns, and even Blake Shelton singing along to "Highway To Hell."  And truth be told, it wasn't that bad.

A few quick thought on the evening.

Tom Jones. Still has the pipes. While Jessie J was a little over the top, their duet on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" was very strong and a pleasant surprise.

Miranda. Yes you are still winning awards, but it's getting real close to the time when you should be rethinking the Daisy Dukes image.

Kanye. Meh. Nothing. Not good, not bad, kinda boring. And really, stop thinking you have any right to judge who should win an award. Just stop.

Madonna. It may be time to reinvent yourself again. This persona is looking a little...sad.

Hozier and Annie Lennox. Dynamic. Annie just said "bitches, this is how it's done."

I like Pharrell's old hat better.

Would it have killed them to have just a little more Stevie Wonder?

Brandy Clark. Poise and talent. And who is cooler than Dwight Yoakam?

Sam Smith and Mary J Blige. Well worth the wait, but wouldn't a mashup with Tom Petty singing "I Won't Back Down," have been really fun?

"Albums still matter, like books and black lives"... Prince

So is orange the new purple?

The Android commercial was worthy of an award.

Just an idea, but wouldn't it be nice for the Grammy's to take one or two winners from the early show and showcase them on the late show? Let the possible winners in a previously decided category...say the Best Roots Album, or Bluegrass, rehearse once or twice beforehand and let the winner do a song at the main event. Instead of hiding so many talented musicians and music genres under the cover of a streaming only event? Just a thought.

Another year done. Time to make some new music.

For my post on the Premier show which was held earlier in the day, click here: The Premiere Show


Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Grammy Awards: The Premiere Show

Cut me a little slack if my Grammy rant has a few incoherent moments. I've been really sick for the past 4+ days and hadn't really even looked at my computer during most of that time. But watching the red carpet of the Premiere show of the Grammy, better known as the early telecast, well there was a moment I just felt the need to discuss.

As the way too perky British woman interviewer was introduced to the two creators of Best Children's Album nominee Appetite for Construction, a third person, a woman, was added to the group. After the two men answered a question or two, the woman was allowed to introduce herself. She very proudly announced she had been privileged to be the voice in the recorded version of I Am Malala. Wow. As someone who does interviews, my ears perked up and ten questions ran through my mind. Did you meet her? How do you set your tone for your work? What about her words touched you the most? On and on.

So what did she ask her? Nothing. She let her finish her sentence of who she was, then giddily went back to the two men and said "I just have to ask you about the cardboard pocket scarves you are wearing." Cardboard pocket scarves. We really need to get better than this people. We really do.

Once the daytime awards began things were better. If you never seen the early awards, it's just awards and a few musical performances. No commercials, no stupid banter between presenters, no over the top music extravaganza. It's a lot of awards given quickly.

After seeing Mike Farris play in NYC a few months ago, I knew he deserved to win a Grammy, Well, he did. Shine For All The People took home the award for Best Roots Gospel Album, well deserved for his music, even more appreciated for his road getting there.

It was bittersweet seeing Edgar Winter pick up the Best Blues Album award for his brother Johnny's Step Back. Johnny Winter was one of those guys you never expected to live as long as he did, but were still shocked when you heard he had died.

Nice for Rosanne Cash to have her Bonnie Raitt moment and win three Grammys about a hundred years since her last one. And damn, if you haven't seen the Old Crow Medicine Show live, just do it.

It's almost time for the main event to begin. Last year I was in the building, this year I'm in my pajamas. My feet hurt a lot less this year, but it's not quite as exciting.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Deal Casino @ Bowery Electric NYC

Over the past two months, the buzz surrounding New Jersey’s Deal Casino has grown into a low roar. In December, they won several honors at the Asbury Park Music Awards including: Top Pop/Rock Band, Top Live Performance, and Top Male Vocalist. Then last week, named them one of 35 New Jersey Bands You Need to Hear in 2015. After spending the past year playing the Jersey shore/Philly circuit, Deal Casino made their New York City debut on a cold, winter night downtown at the Bowery Electric.

Opening the set with “Tomorrow,” a cut off their second EP, The Runaways, it is easy to see why Deal Casino has been working non-stop; the band is fierce. Not only do they rock it out, they do it with attitude and fearlessness. This night, much of the set list focused on their last two EPs, especially the newly released Heck. Listening to their progression from their first EP Cocaine Love, through The Runaways and now Heck, the songs and the band itself are constantly evolving. While love found and lost remains a pulsating theme, the stories told have become more complex and interesting.

For the full review, jump over to Deal Casino @ Bowery Electric NYC at OnStage Magazine.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Joe Cocker: You Were So Beautiful

Just the other day I was going through some music and came across "High Time We Went" by Joe Cocker. I started thinking about him, and the fact that no one who watched him perform in the 60s thought he would live to see the 70s. Kinda like Keith Richards. Then yesterday driving home, I had my tunes hooked up to the car stereo and "Up Where We Belong" came on the shuffle. I said to myself, if he ever tours again, I need to see him live, something I have never done.

Sadly it seems, I won't get that chance. Word is coming out the Joe has died, possibly from lung cancer. I guess his spirit was bouncing around in my brain so I could get some thoughts together about him.

I've written about Joe before: "Always with a Little Help From His Friends," where I mentioned that he was one of the greatest vocal interpreters of our time. He was. The man could cover a ballad, or a rocker with equal greatness and intensity. And yes, when he was younger, his stage presence was intense. From Woodstock to Mad Dogs and Englishmen to late night talk shows, to the music shows of the era, Joe Cocker made everyone take notice as he gyrated around the stage with his crazed eyes and tie-dyed shirts. But man could he sing.

His "best of" list is absurd in it's length: "The Letter," "With A Little Help From My Friends," "Delta Lady," "You Can Leave Your Hat On," "You Are So Beautiful," "Unchain My Heart," "Feelin' Alright," "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window," "Cry Me A River," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "Hitchcock Railway," and on and on. No one, no one, covered songs with such beautiful passion.

This has been one really bad year in the number of great musicians we have lost. Several have been hard to accept, all have been upsetting. At 70, Joe Cocker lived longer than a lot of others from his generation, but I was still hoping there were more songs to sing.

Easy Journey Joe.

and because...hell yeah more cowbell.

See you on the other side Joe.