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.

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.

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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"

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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 onstagemagazine.com

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Joan Jett Honored by Little Kids Rock

What would you do if you’re an elementary school teacher and you watch funding for music education decrease year after year? If you are David Wish, you basically say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.”He initiated local after-school music classes, but soon realized the need was larger than his immediate area. At that point, he founded Little Kids Rock, a national not-for-profit organization which offers schoolchildren access to music classes and instruments at no cost.

Each year the organization holds a fundraiser honoring a “Rocker of the Year,” and at the same time showcases some of the extremely talented kids who have benefited from the Little Kids Rock program. This year Joan Jett was honored for her work with the ‘Modern Band” program which teaches kids different musical styles.

Produced by Maureen and Steven Van Zandt, the event held at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom, featured a silent and not-so silent auction, speeches detailing the work of the organization, an impressive list of rockers who stopped by to sing a song from Jett’s extensive catalog, and a group of kids who sang from their hearts and blew away the room with their talent. And even though the pros all brought their “A” game, this night was about the kids.

For the rest of the story please jump over to "Joan Jett Honored by Little Kids Rock" at Onstage Magazine.

Monday, October 20, 2014

CMJ Music Marathon Opens in NYC

As if the New York City music scene wasn’t already in overdrive, 1400 band performances are about to drive the city’s noise ordinances into the red zone as the CMJ Music Marathon opens its five day run beginning tomorrow. In over eighty venues spread out across Manhattan and Brooklyn, CMJ will host artists from every musical genre.

After picking up a press pass and checking out the press party at the CMJ Penthouse, it will be time to get to work. With an overwhelming amount of music from which to choose, figuring out a game plan is the hard part. The mobile CMJ Music Marathon app has been extremely helpful, searching by artist, venue, or date brings up all the info you could need. While not every band I’ve been listening to has been exciting enough to check out their show, I’ve found more than enough music to keep me busy watching and writing about for the entire five days of the marathon.

I’m looking forward to a couple of interviews set up through Big Picture Media, the official media company for CMJ. The first is with a bluesy band out of Dallas, Somebody’s Darling. With the release of their third album, the band is fast becoming a favorite in the neo-blues tide rolling up from the south. Another band I am excited to talk with and watch is The Suffers, a wild ten piece band out of Houston. Behind the huge vocals of Kam Franklin, are horns, percussion, guitars, and keys, all throwing down a rock-soul-r&b gumbo. So much fun to be had, and that is only part of one day.

OnStage will be covering the CMJ Music Marathon and reporting on what’s good and what’s not. It’s now 34 years running for CMJ, which is not only a music party of epic proportions, it’s a meeting place for people within the industry to get an intense primer into what is happening right now. Starting on Tuesday, each band in the CMJ Music Marathon lineup has a chance to be the one everyone talks about. OnStage will have ongoing reports on which bands are worth a listen.

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