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.

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.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Turning Back the Pages

It's my birthday.

Not long ago I saw a wonderful piece of wisdom online somewhere, and we all know the internet is the true source of all wisdom, don't we?

It was a quote something to the effect of "Never complain about growing old because so many people never have the chance." Deep, profound, or far out, as my generation once said. And I agree, except not today, Sorry, today is my day to piss and moan and bitch to high heaven because this isn't just any birthday, Nope, this one really bites because I've turned another decade. Trust me, the last one was a walk in the park compared to this one. It's not pretty and there's nothing good about it as far as I can tell, except that I'm still actually here.

Today I am 60. Sixty. 6-fucking-0. Two years away from Social Security eligibility. A whole bunch of years away from middle-age.

I had a conversation with the Drum Mama a week or so ago about whether to actually mention how old I was in my birthday post. This is important to both of us because as I have mentioned before, she is three months younger than I am, so her time is soon gonna come. In the end we both agreed, fuck it. If you don't own it now, you never will.

So here's what I think about turning sixty. Are they any great things about it? Hell no.

But being alive for this long means I have seen and experienced some wild and crazy stuff. Not all good and not all bad. I'm still having a blast and doing things I never thought would be possible. I also see friends and family leave the table at an alarming rate. And this is why we drink.

Technology has been astounding. Music has definitely gone downhill.

The music. Yes. I was seventeen when I saw my first live show. So for the musical portion of this post let's go back to that first show. February 5, 1972 at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic NJ. Brewer and Shipley of "One Toke Over The Line" fame, opened up for The Byrds. Cost of the ticket: $5.50. Experience: Priceless.

I'll thank Mr. Dylan for the song and remember that "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

Here's to a new decade.

"Crimson flames tied through my ears
Throwin' high and mighty traps
Countless fire and flaming road
Using ideas as my maps
"We'll meet on edges, soon," said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mike Farris @ The Iridium NYC

Sometimes, even if you don’t realize it, your soul needs to be refreshed. Music can do that if it’s powerful enough. The music of Mike Farris is that powerful.

Starting out as a rock singer, the party life took control until nearly losing his own from a drug overdose before he turned twenty-one. While it’s not uncommon to hit rock bottom and find salvation, Mike Farris also found his voice, moving from the rock arena, first into blues and now even more comfortably into gospel. But don’t expect a revival meeting, what you get is more of a spiritual journey, along with some damn fine music.

Mike Farris and band members Paul Pesco (Guitar), Shawn Pelton (Drums), Andy Hess (Bass), Barry Danielian (Trumpet), Andy Snitzer (Sax), and Paul Brown (Keys), recently played four shows at The Iridium in New York City. The third show began with the band quietly taking their places and Farris asking ‘Everybody alright?” Then the service began.

To read the entire review, jump over to "Mike Farris @ The Iridium NYC"  - OnStage Magazine.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Little Talk with Keyboardist and Grammy Nominated Producer Paul Brown

There is no question Paul Brown loves what he does. With blonde hair whirling around his head and a smile emanating from deep within, Paul Brown lets his soul bleed through the keys of his Hammond B3 organ. The result is the most delicious side dish you might ever taste. Watching him play reminds you why that instrument has been included in so much rich musical history since its creation in 1935.

Paul's personal history is nearly as rich. The incredible positive attitude he radiates is in stark contrast with the story of his life. While living in Memphis, at the age of twelve, he and his brothers became wards of the state following the death of their mother. They were sent to live at the Tennessee Preparatory School in Nashville, where the only thing to give Paul hope was an old upright piano. That hope was later destroyed when those in charge took away his privilege to practice music. He soon ran away, eventually finding his way back to Memphis and work on the riverboats. While working as a deckhand, he continued his musical progression, adding R&B, funk, and soul to his rock background.

A chance phone call led to playing keyboards in Ann Peebles ("I Can't Stand The Rain") band and a friendship which endures to this day. Brown has played behind artists of every genre. At the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, Down in Louisiana by Bobby Rush was nominated as Blues Album of the Year and Paul Brown as Producer along with it. After working in the studio alongside The Waterboys, he was invited to tour with them in Europe this past year, and will join them for another tour early next year. He has also been having way too much fun working with Nashville-based gospel-blues singer Mike Farris.

I recently caught up with Paul Brown between Mike Farris shows at The Iridium in New York City, and in a casual stairway talk, I learned about the interesting life of Paul Brown.

Kath Galasso: You and I have something in common, that being the love for the Hammond. Sadly, only one of us can play it. You’ve developed a unique partnership with it. What is it about the Hammond that connects to your soul?

Paul Brown: It’s the colors and the expression. When you get a great singer and you’re playing it, there’s nothing like being able to add those more subtle colors to it. Small things, because it can inspire them, just like their voices inspire me to play in certain ways.  I think that I learned that early on. When I started playing with Ann Peebles, that was really when I connected with the Hammond. She was on Hi Records and all the stuff she did had tons of B3 on it, so I really started figuring it out quick. And it’s funny cause I’m not a jazz guy, like the Jimmy Smith guys, I’ve just got a different vibe. I’m just coming from a different place. I love the more simplistic approach, and there are some things I do on there percussively that just come out of me. And somehow a lot of people have picked up on it. I’m just grateful that instrument is around for me to connect with.

For the rest of the interview, please jump over to OnStage Magazine "Just a Little Talk with Grammy Nominee Paul Brown"


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Somebody's Darling Talks Music, CMJ

Opening up with "Bad Bad," from their just released Adult Roommates album, Somebody's Darling began an afternoon set of a CMJ Music Marathon showcase. The Dallas based band, featuring the bold, bluesy vocals of Amber Farris have paid their dues over the past seven years. With a heavy touring schedule as both openers and headliners, an appearance at SXSW, and now CMJ in New York, Somebody's Darling have followed a path which offers them a sustained shelf life in a business of blink-and-you-missed-it bands.

If the new album has a different sound and feel to it credit the collaborative writing of the band, and the willingness to try every musical suggestion offered in an effort to hit that point of nirvana when you step back and say "yeah, that's it." The process seems to be working.

For some time now there has been a resurgence of the blues, though the form is evolving through the new blood who have taken their influences from other genres as well. Somebody's Darling takes up the neo-blues flag and throws in a ballsy rhythm section, guitar licks refined just enough from a garage band feel to appreciate the skill behind them, and keys that punch in just when you want them to. Mix all that together, throw in those big vocals, and what you end up with is a grinding, no-holds barred southern rocking blues band. Tasty indeed.

Before their afternoon performance, I sat down with Amber Farris and bass player Wade Cofer to talk about the long road they travel.

For the full interview jump over to "Somebody's Darling Talks Music, CMJ" over at