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 9, 2013

Addiction, Obsession: It Ain't Healthy But It Sounds So Good

Oh sweet addiction. There are all kinds, I myself have a fierce one for chocolate, but this week we are talking about Love baby. As in addicted to your love. That is the theme for this week's Twisted MixTape from my pal Jen over at MySkewedView.

So many to chose from, virtually every genre has a ton of them. So I'll just pull one from here and there and back again. So here we go, a little addiction, a little obsession, and everyone goes home happy.

Starting out with a song which is really not in my regular go-to zone, but there's something about the desperation in it, well, that I like. Toni Braxton's hit.

"Unbreak My Heart"

One of Jersey's best, and one great showman. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes are as tight a band as you can find, and so much fun live.

"I Played The Fool"

It seems Melissa Etheridge shows up often in my mixtapes, but really, how can you complain when she can write a song like this. Live, unplugged and intense.

"Like The Way I Do"

Oh yes, I'm going back to the 80s for a video that I must say I enjoy watching from time to time, and not only for the music. It's a song that fits the theme perfectly, and really if you have the chance how can you not showcase a song that has the line "and now the skyline wears a shroud, I hear your voice in every crowd." Survivor.

"I See You In Everyone"

Let's finish it up with the man. Smokey, with a little help from Sheryl Crow. It there anyone smoother than Smokey?

"You've Really Got A Hold On Me"

Done for another week. Fun party as always.

My Skewed View

Friday, December 6, 2013

Screaming Trees, Screaming Kids... Must Be Christmas

It's December, time of holidays, carols and ho ho ho's. Time of my birthday too, but that's a story for another day. Tonight we tell a short story, just 100 words. Lance from Myblogcanbeatupyourblog let Melissa @realgirlmelissa pick this week's song choice.

Screaming Trees started out in Washington just about the time when the music scene was getting hot. Grunge was the rule rather than the exception, and the Trees incorporated a little of all the sounds coming out during the early 90s. From their album Sweet Oblivion came the successful single "Nearly Lost You," which happens to be the pick of the week.

Here's the rule, simple really. Use the song as some sort of inspiration and write exactly 100 words.

"Nearly Lost You"

All arms and legs. Slippery for such a small one. He looked at me, eyes a mixture of bewilderment and terror. It’s natural, yes, but after waiting a whole year, he's still not ready for his moment to shine.

Scanning me left to right, then up and down. Is he real, he seemed to be asking? But he didn’t say the words. Actually, it’s my job to ask the question.

Before I can, he starts to slide off my lap. “Careful, nearly lost you.”  Pulling him back up, I smile and say “And what would you like for Christmas?”

This little bundle of sweetness is in direct response to everyone who bitches that I write too dark in these little exercises. So just like last year at this time, this one is all sugary and shit. Don't get used to it.

bah humbug.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Hey California" by Applegate Nance

Ok kids, gather round. New music to be heard today.

At Earth Hertz Records, we have been waiting for this video to finish being edited. It was worth the wait.

Applegate Nance are two very talented guys living in Nashville, but dreaming of heading out to the West Coast. Their first release from Earth Hertz is that story.

"Hey California" is just fun. I heard Arlo Guthrie say that California is a giant magnet for young men, especially musicians. He said men hit a certain age, and the west coast starts calling. I have a feeling Mike Applegate and Kyle Nance will make it out there before too long.

You can read their story on the Applegate Nance bio page. But for now, time to relax a bit and enjoy the video.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Twisted MixTape: Don't Get Caught

It's been a busy week for all of us I would think. Getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday, cooking, cleaning, writing. It's too much before stuff and too little during stuff. It's over before you know it, and then it's cleaning and cooking and getting ready for the rest of the holidays.

So before we all head into the turkey coma zone, one last party over at Jen's. The theme for this week's Tuesday Twisted MixTape is songs that can send you to jail. How damn tasty is that?

Time to start the party. How about lighting up?

Brewer and Shipley had a hit song about, well inhaling deeply. Funny story about this song, in fact I wrote a blog about it a while back. You can read it here "Toking with Lawerence Welk." So, inhale deeply and enjoy this and the rest of the tunes.

"One Toke Over The Line"

Let's segue from slowing things down to speeding things up with Foreigner. Who hasn't done it? At a red light, you look over at the car next to you, eyeball the other driver and go.

"Rev On The Red Line"

Bob Marley may have been guilty of being one toke over the line, and he may have shot the sheriff, but he swore he did not kill the deputy. How that defense stands up in a court of law is anybody's guess.

"I Shot The Sheriff"

Now you could easily pick a dozen Springsteen songs to fit this week's theme... we're talking Jersey here, but the one I chose is ominous and beautiful at the same time. I used the studio track because I couldn't find a live one where the lyrics are as clear.

"Meeting Across The River"

And to end it off, let's go to the most silly of reasons to be thrown in jail... littering. Yes friends, I'm on a roll with Arlo this week. Had the pleasure of seeing him live last week, you can read the review here "Arlo Guthrie: A Night of Songs and Stories." He was fabulous and what he did in his show was important. AND, it's Thanksgiving week and well, you know... Alice.

"Alice's Restaurant"

Noon on Thursday, tradition says you need to listen to Alice's Restaurant, but there's no rule that says you can't listen to it a little early. Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

My Skewed View

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cheating And It Sounds So Good

Sleep. I haven't slept well decently in three days, and it's one of those nights where I will probably nod off in the middle of writing this post. Started doing what I should have writing earlier, and got to the point where to continue would take more brain power than I currently have on reserve.

So here I am ready to do another Tuesday Twisted MixTape for Miss Jen over at My Skewed View. I liked this week's theme: Cheating Songs. Yeah, time to get down and dirty. So let's not waste any more brain power, here are my picks for the week.

When all else fails, throw on a little Marvin Gaye.

"Heard It Through The Grapevine"

Second choice is quite probably a song based on reality. Way back before she was Mrs. Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa was just a singer in his rock & roll band. He was married (what was he thinking when he married a definitely-not Jersey girl) and she was there when his wife was not. So you do the math on where the inspiration for this song came from.

"Come Tomorrow"

Flat out call it what it is. Lying and cheating. The Eagles laid it all out there. Because I couldn't find a live video from back before Glen Frey looked like a banker, and I can't watch videos with him looking like a banker, so here's the studio track.

"Lying Eyes"

Dark and dirty. yeah. If the theme works, it's fair game to bring in some friends. From Survivor, calling it what it is.

"Backstreet Love Affair"

I think this is probably my favorite cheating song, though mostly because I love the guitar, the tempo, the vocal, the lyrics. "I know her love is true, but it's so damn easy making love to you." hell yeah, that's cheating. But it's so good. Bryan Adams...

"Run To You"

Now don't go doing anything.... oh hell, do whatever you want.

My Skewed View

Monday, November 11, 2013

Talkin' EPIC Twisted MixTape

Well this was a most interesting day. I was privileged to interview one of Rolling Stone's 100 Top Guitarists, and Jen gave a yell for us to join in tonight's Tuesday Twisted MixTape Party. This week's theme is interesting: Epic Songs.

Songs that tell a story, have a beginning middle and end, are epic tales.

Now the first one that comes to mind, will probably come to a lot of people's mind: "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald." Next one that comes to mind is Billy Joel's story of Brenda and Eddie, "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant." Did I ever tell you when that song came out I knew a couple named Brenda and Eddie? Yeah, story for another day.

Another song that pops into my head is one that is truly a great one, so I'll start out with it. For lyrics, it doesn't get much more visual, and great melody and sing-along chorus. Just good songwriting. And, it tells the story of...

"The Boxer"

This is a wonderful live clip, though it ends a little short. But a great vocal and some real pretty guitar work. AND, it has a story... sad though it is. Mr. Robert Cray.

"Right Next Door"

One of Eric Burdon's musical influences was Bo Diddley. They never did meet face to face while Bo was alive, but Burdon attended his funeral. This is that story.

"Bo DiddleySpecial"

Bruce Springsteen has told many stories. One of his best needs no introduction, The title song from his fifth studio album, a song of the promise of a future and the loss of a dream.

"The River"

Final Selection for this week is another song loaded with imagery. And a great vocal. Melissa Etheridge.

"You Used To Love To Dance"

Go figure. The happiest song of the bunch is the one about a funeral. Welcome to my world.

My Skewed View

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Above and Below: Or Stuck in the Middle

Sometimes you just don't know where something will lead. 

Yesterday morning quite by accident, I came across a song I hadn't heard before. I thought it was interesting and might be a good suggestion for one of Lance's 100 Word Song entries. So I bookmarked it and went about my day. Later that afternoon I received a message from Lance asking if I wanted to choose this week's song. Ha. I didn't even have to think about it. 

The Bravery is a New York based band who may or may not be still together. Alternative-dance-punk, they released three studio albums. From the second album The Sun and the Moon, this week's song is titled:
"Above And Below."

Take 100 words and use the song as inspiration. That's how we do it. 

"Sometimes it feels like that Steely Dan song “stuck in the middle with you.” Above my head and below my feet, one floor apart and here I am. Stuck.

Ugly people. Ask nicely to be considerate, they laugh in my face. Noise, always noise. Can’t sleep, can’t think.

And Them below. That music. The walls shake. I bang on the floor. They turn it up.
I hate them.

No more.
It all ends.

Blow it all up. No big thing. Learned about it in the Army.
Blow it all up. No more noise. No more pain.

Quiet.  Forever quiet."

Ssshh, zip it.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Perfect Day with Lou Reed

I've been neglecting my friends. But as we are all in the same boat, the one named "too much shit, too little time," they understand. But it's time to slowing get back to paying back, paying forward... being a good neighbor. So I'm back.

Since Lance is in mourning, as am I, over the loss of our writing fun at Sprocket Ink, I thought it would be nice if I jumped back into his 100 Word Song Challenge. The song this week is a good one too.

We lost Lou Reed this week. Not much you can say other than we've lost someone of great musical importance. Someone who provided the soundtrack to a lot of lives. So even though I had my little Lou salute the other day, he is worthy enough to feature him twice this week.

For those new around our weekly fun, you take the song as inspiration and write exactly 100 words about it. Poetry, prose, a honey-do list, just make it 100 words.

The song is "Perfect Day," and I ask "Is it really?"

He’d waited long enough.

Two years to the day; it was time. Ryan glanced over the room. After cleaning the whole day, time was too short to cook. The Thai restaurant delivered; he’d order her favorite.

She’d been preoccupied lately; stress from work, she said. He worried that she gotten too thin. In his mind’s eye, he could see her smile as he gave her the ring. Ryan could see nothing to ruin this day.

His mind snapped back as Angie closed the door. He saw her red eyes, but before he could ask, she said “I have brain cancer.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

A Trio of Birthdays: Party Time, Turn Up the Music

Quick music lesson today.

On this day in 1939, the musical stars aligned and three babies who would impact the world of music, were born.

Eddie Holland, Otis Williams and Grace Slick.

Eddie Holland of Holland-Dozier-Holland, was to Motown music what Gerry Goffin and Carole King were to the Brill Building. Eddie, his brother Brian, and Lamont Dozier wrote, produced, and arranged hit after hit for virtually the entire stable of Motown talent. Just a few of their hits: "Heatwave," "Quicksand," "Where Did Our Love Go," "Mickey's Monkey," "Baby I Need Your Loving," "Nowhere To Run," "Stop In The Name Of Love"... I could go on and on. Almost every hit by The Four Tops, The Supremes and Martha & the Vandellas, were written by the trio. As a kid buying 45s, I saw their names on almost every single I bought... for years. Incredible talent. If there's a songwriting award they haven't won, I couldn't tell you what it is.

Here's just one of their songs, done way back by the Isley Brothers, it's been covered... a lot. Here's one of the best, by the Doobie Brothers.

"Take Me In Your Arms"

Otis Williams has spent most of his life as the baritone/second tenor for The Temptations. From their first Top 20 hit in 1964, "The Way You Do The Things You Do," through their sixty or so CDs... 60 freakin' CDs, Otis Williams has been part of one of the defining groups of an era. Back in the day there were two musical arguments: Beatles or Stones and Four Tops or Temptations. While the Four Tops were great and had more of the pop sound, The Tempts were smooth as silk, always expanding their repertoire. "Cloud Nine," talking about drugs, "Papa Was A Rolling Stone"... a deadbeat dad. As for pretty... they did that too. Think "My Girl." How to choose? "I refuse to explain."

"I Wish It Would Rain"

And then there's Grace.
If you've read this column long enough, you know Grace was my idol. Talk about attitude, hell she was all that AND she could sing. And I'm not talking about the Starship Pop Grace, I'm talking about the Woodstock Grace, the "tear down the wall motherfucker"  Grace. The Grace who suffered no fools. Really, if you understand my devotion to her, it explains so much about me. While Grace could handle it on her own, think "Somebody To Love" or "White Rabbit," for me it was always her songs with Marty Balin singing lead. They played off each other perfectly. From Woodstock... Warning, some crazy 60s nekkidness.

"3/5ths Of A Mile In 10 Seconds"

October 30, 1939. One hell of a day for music. Party Time.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

One Last Walk with Lou Reed

I only have one Lou Reed story, but it's a memory that makes me smile to this day.

When I was a senior in high school and for a year or two after, I worked at a department store called Grand Way. It was later taken over by K-Mart, and it was basically the same type of store. There were a lot of kids all about the same age working there. It was a time of being able to drink at age 18, it was a time of smoking a joint during break time, it was a time of not much responsibility, it was a fun time.

Anyone who's ever worked in retail knows what it's like. The best time to work in a store is before it opens and after it closes, especially if you worked with a group of people just like yourself. We had a General Manager, Mr. Boyle, with shoe polish hair and not an ounce of humor. And we had an Assistant Manager whose last name I can't remember, but I'm pretty sure his first name was Dave. Well, Dave was the polar opposite of Mr. Boyle. He looked more like David Johansen than Lou Reed, but he was just a few years older than us and he was a cool guy. As soon as the store closed, he would turn the Muzak off and turn on the rock.

One night after closing, as we were finishing up, Dave turned the music on. A few minutes later he was riding the escalator going up. On either side of him were two of our co-workers, One was Cheryl and the other I can't remember her name. They were both black. With Lou Reed blasting throughout the store, he's riding the escalator singing the lead to "Walk On The Wild Side," while the two "colored" girls on either side of him sang "Doo do doo, doo do doo, doo do doo."


Now this was only visible to a small section of the store. I was one of the lucky ones able to enjoy it. Forty years later, I still do.

Easy Journey Lou.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Monday, October 14, 2013

What Am I Doing Here? Twisted MixTape

I am very, very tired. It's been a rough day, so I'm just going to jump into this weeks invite by Jen, for a Twisted MixTape. The challenge this week is to choose five songs outside your comfort zone, stuff from any genre which is not on your usual playlist. The original idea was five from the same genre, but that's not gonna happen tonight, so I'll mix it up.

Now I'm a rocker, don't think there's many of you who don't know that, but the blues always set me free. So I'll try to stay away from those two styles, but no promises. Like I said, I'm really tired.. and cranky, so zip it with the comments.

Let's start with Classical. Yeah, I said it. Now I don't know shit about Classical music for the most part, just a few pieces here and there. This piece is one I first heard a long time ago when "the other" would play it non-stop as he conducted an imaginary orchestra. Oh hell, we've all done it. It's been used for commercials, the Olympics, anytime you need a grand statement. The entire piece was derived from the poems of Benedictine monks in the 11th or 12th century. By the way, most of the poems were a little... erotic. Fun times. Written by Carl Orff, this is one piece of it, don't ask which piece, I'm to tired to go any further with it. Let's just say it's one of the better know sections of the composition.

Carmina Burana

Jazz, not my strong suit. But older Jazz I like. A little something from 1959. Miles Davis.

"So What"

A little country, not old country, but not new country either. Sometime during high school, I got into Kris Kristofferson. Then I got a bunch of my friends into him as well. That guy with the rough voice, who sounded like at age 30something, he had inhaled the fires of hell. Great lyrics and back in the day, not too hard on the eyes. From the album The Silver Tongue Devil and I, an album I may have played the grooves off...

"Lovin Her Was Easier"

Metal, or as far as I usually get into metal. Def Leppard. If they come on the radio, I won't turn them off, but I'm not playing them at home.

"Bringing On The Heartbreak"

Last up, a little country rock. It's fairly new, by an artist I interviewed this year, You can read it here on It's rocking, got some great licks, and is sexy as hell. From the album, The Road Ain't Long, Mr. Dee Rock.

Don't have a video, but take a listen to the audio.

"Ripples On The Moon"

Thanks for the extra curricular workout Jen. Enjoyed tonight's exercise.

Jen Kehl

Friday, October 11, 2013

Down In Lousiana with Bobby Rush

Started out the evening listening to a little Americana. Tasty as hell, but more about them in a week or so. After that little treat was over, some fresh blues came across my computer. And damn it was sweet and juicy.

Bobby Rush is a blues man from the way back. Born in Louisiana in the '30s, Bobby did what all musicians did back then, play enough to scratch out a living. And play he did, and he's still playing twenty-something albums later.

His latest release is eleven tracks of blues, funk, soul, and hot licks. From the first few beats of "Down In Louisiana" off the album of the same name, Rush hooks you. A little funky bass, Cajun accordion, and screamin' B3 organ. Produced by Paul Brown who's also the guy smokin' the keys. Totally on fire.

From start to finish, it's real good, Let's have a little taste of the title song.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Does It Matter That She's White?

Writing a music blog this morning wasn't on my very long list of the written words for the day, but as I glanced at my overnight Twitter timeline, something caught my eye.

On Twitter, I follow a  lot of music people, go figure. One of those musicians is Joe Bonamassa, guitarist extraordinaire. I also follow and am a huge fan of Beth Hart. Joe and Beth have recorded two albums together, tour together, and I would suspect at this point are friends with each other. If you're not familiar with Beth, you should be, she is incredible. I've already reviewed her live show at the NYC Winery, and her latest solo album Bang Bang Boom Boom.

On Hart's and Bonamassa's latest album Seesaw, Hart does a cover of Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits," and knocks it out of the park. When the video of the recording of the song was released, I showed it to everyone I knew. The reaction I received from nearly everyone was one word, "Wow."

This morning on Twitter, I saw Joe Bonamassa retweeted something Gene Simmons (yes, KISS) had tweeted earlier.

Beth Hart's cover of the original, NUT BUSH CITY LIMITS by Tina Turner is surprisingly convincing for a white singer. Check it out

In fairness, Bonamassa replied "I agree, she sang great."
But the tweet by Simmons really bothered me, which is why we are all here today. I thought it might be time to have a little discussion about the inclusion of race in his tweet. While there is no denying there are musical lines drawn in genres of music preferences between races, is it ok to compare an individual voice by race?

Here are the two videos, first the original by Tina, then Beth Hart with Joe Bonamassa. They both kick ass.

What do you guys think?

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hello, It's Me; Twisted MixTape Gets Heavy Man

What music defines you?

Over at Jen's Twisted MixTape, we've gone through the decades and found songs which we feel define decades, or our lives in those decades. But what songs define you or your life? That is the question we need to answer this week. Whose idea is this anyway? Well, that would be Troy from As Long As I'm Singing, one fine writer and man of complex musical tastes. So that's how we got here. Now to look in the mirror and try to identify what, and who I am.

While it's not the first song I remember giving me the feeling of "Hell Yeah," I always recall thinking of this song when I needed a little boost of self-confidence.

"When I'm out in the street
I walk the way I wanna walk
When I'm out in the street
I talk the way I wanna talk"

That's Jersey attitude all the way and no surprise, it's the Boss.

"Out In The Street"

Pretty much for me, it's always been about the lyrics. One of the first songs I can remember actually trying to analyze what the words meant and the message the poet was trying to make was by Paul Simon. His songs would always speak to me. The man is brilliant. I think we knew that as soon as we first heard this.

"The Sounds of Silence"

When I was a young woman, things that are now taken for granted, were the changes we tried to achieve. We were making our own rules and learning about ourselves in the process. Hearing this song made me think of what was, and what could be. It was a coming of age anthem for me. Judy Collins had the hit, but I'll take the writers version for its purity. Joni Mitchell.

"Both Sides Now"

I grew up during a time of conflicts: Vietnam, Civil Rights, Women's Rights, it was a big pile of shit. Protest songs were everywhere and some damn fine ones at that. But the first song that made me think "well what the hell is really going on?" was this one by Buffalo Springfield.

"For What It's Worth"

I'm not a religious person, don't send emails. I know who I am, I believe in the greater good of people and in turn myself. That being said, I'm not a prayer. So I find it somewhat amusing that one of the songs that made a difference in my life is a psalm. Written by Pete Seeger, and taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes, the version by The Byrds was a huge hit. The song speaks of the balance of life... for everything there is a season.

"Turn, Turn, Turn"

Now I've used this song, ok, several times over the life of this blog. It all started with this song and to not include it here would be wrong. It is me. And Dobie Gray.

"And when my mind is free
You know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue
The guitar's comin' through to soothe me

Thanks for the joy that you've given me
I want you to know I believe in your song
And rhythm and rhyme and harmony
You've helped me along
Makin' me strong

Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away"

So that's what brought me here. Yeah, there were a few other twists and turns, but they only rounded out the edges. Or maybe not.

Jen Kehl

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

MixTape Tuesday: Just Chillin'

Chill music, slow jams.. why not? That's the theme of Jen's MixTape Tuesday playalong.  I missed the free-for-all last week, combination of no time and too many possibilities. My mind was spinning just thinking about it. So when she slowed it down for this week, I figured I could jump back in.

Back in the day, yes way back in the day, whether you needed some good road trip music or just wanted to chill out, the band of choice was The Allman Brothers. Many years have come and gone, but that hasn't changed. So let's start this party with what I see as I look outside this morning.

"Blue Sky"

Jackson Browne is chill. Always love his imagery, and this song is no different.

"You Love The Thunder"

Going back to the day. So many evenings were spent at my friend MJ's place. Her and her sister occupied the three room attic of her parent's house, and her parent's never came upstairs. Can you say party time? There was lots of chillin' and lots of party favors of all sorts. This was one frequent tune on the turntable, yes turntable. Santana, from the Abraxas album.

Singing Winds, Crying Beasts"

While it might not be a slow jam, it is chill. Simon & Garfunkel, from the Bridge Over Troubled Water album, it's a song that always puts me in a better state of mind.

"Only Living Boy In New York"

Bringing it home for the last song. Definition of chill: Sam Cooke.

"Bring It On Home To Me"

As usual, a hell of a party Jen. The music can't be beat.

Jen Kehl

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Josh Ayers: "Waste"

Gather 'round Peeps, it's time for new music.

As promised, from time to time I will be featuring new music from the artists at Earth Hertz Records. In full disclosure, I write for Earth Hertz, which means I can tell you about new sounds before most people become aware of them. And that's cool.

The artist I'm debuting today is not only a singer-songwriter, but also a record producer, and host of his own radio show. Josh Ayers hosts a weekly program on WHAY 98.3 in McCreary County KY, where he showcases new music and new artists.

Josh counts Neil Young, Tori Amos and Tom Waits among his influences. His style is take some raw emotion, write some lyrics describing it, and work in the music that fits. His first release from Earth Hertz Records is a song which was written as an exercise between him and a friend, where they decided to write a song a day. This song "Waste," was written on the first day. I think you'll agree, he was off to one hell of a start.

Desperation and self-loathing are translated into poignant lyrics. The emotions may not be pretty, but the song is both introspective and haunting. Check out the Josh Ayers artist page on StreamBeam.Us and his music on  iTunes and CD Baby.

Listen to Josh Ayers "Waste"

Show him some love today, it's his birthday.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Magic Behind the Music

Like many of you, I've been to countless music shows, and have thoroughly enjoyed most of them. I've watched set-up, sound checks, breakdowns, the whole process. Last night, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the spectacle that is sound check, as well as a knock-your-socks-off show. So I thought I'd give you my observations on the evening.

Sometimes, and not always, when you do your job the right way it is appreciated, and trust and friendship develops. Through one of these friendships, I was invited to a private party with entertainment from two classic rockers, still at the top of their game. While I eagerly anticipated the show, I was front and center early to hang with the guys and watch the preparation for the show.

Set-up for a music show ain't pretty. It begins with boxes and cables and stands. Drums kits are pieced together, keyboards are hooked up to the computer, guitars are placed in stands. Then one by one, each piece is plugged in, attached or lined up, until the unit is complete. Now every hall, every venue has certain advantages and limitations, and it's up to the road crew to figure out what they are and make it all work.

Now it's time to tinker. The technicians test everything. When the task is complete, the band steps in to get it all up to their standards. Testing 1-2, is followed by phrases that while are technically in English, seem like they are another language. It's all the technical terms for what works and what doesn't. As the first performer steps in, the adjustments on his vocals and guitar take place. There's grunts and groans and stops and starts. Then through a maze of notes and guitar riffs, the sweet sound of a saxophone brings an instant sense of serenity to the scene.

Time for the second artist to check his vocals. A series of starts and stops, a verse here, a chorus there, getting the sound correct in everyone's ear, you wonder if they will get it together before showtime. While adjustments are made by the sound crew throughout the show, at one point during the sound check, it all kicks in. The stage once again is empty and we await the start of the show.

Hybrid Ice
John Cafferty and Michael "Tunes" Antunes
Jimi Jamison

Seasoned performers all. It was a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, as the performers are well acquainted with both the host of the evening and most of the crowd. It was like playing in front of old friends, and in fact, it was.

While the mood was intimate and jovial, the music was all business. It rocked. A lot.

And it was great.

Thanks guys, it was a blast.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

And She Was...And She Is

So today, Lance over at MyBlogCanBeatUpYourBlog was saying nice things about me, and being yesterday was his birthday and I've haven't bought his new book yet (but I will and you should too) I was guilted into playing his 100 Word Song Challenge.

Seeing as Tara from ThinSpiralNotebook chose this week's song and it was one of my faves, I couldn't resist. The song is "And She Was" by Talking Heads. Now there's a little story about this song and me. A few months ago I was interviewed by It's a blogging platform where I post my Life and Music blogs in addition to my own site. One of the questions they asked was to choose 3-5 songs which define me. One of the songs I chose was "Brave and Crazy" by Melissa Etheridge for obvious reasons. One was Dobie Gray's "Drift Away," and the third was "And She Was." The reason being sometimes in observing people and life in general, I feel like I'm both in the world and above it, looking in.

With that in mind, I decided not to come up with a story per se this week, but rather use the title to tell my story. This being it: I wrote a lot when I was young, then took off about 30 years, then started writing again. Just lately, I began a new career in the music business... writing. About music.YES. Happy ending indeed.

So in exactly 100 words, here's my story.

And she was hooked as long as she remembered.
And she was one with the melody.
And she was inspired by the words.
And she was often moved to tears.

And she was wordless for an eternity.
And she was joyful when her voice was heard.
And she was watching from a distance.
And she was telling all she saw.

And she was learning more each day.
And she was reaching hearts and souls.
And she was offered her dream if she only dared.
And she was ready to take a leap.

And she was able.

And she is fulfilled.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Remembering: A Tribute in Lights, A Tribute in Song

I just didn't have it in me to write about the date this year. I wrote this post last year and nothing much has changed since. The new World Trade Center is now the tallest building in the City, but over 3000 people are still gone. It's easy to be out of sight, out of mind... just don't be that way today.

September 11, 2012
Eleven years ago today, nearly 3000 people woke up and went about their morning. They would not go to sleep that night.

They say time heals all wounds...but maybe it doesn't. Ask most people in the NYC area about September 11, 2001 and you will still see eyes well up with tears as they try to explain what being in, or around the city was like for them in the first few months after.

I watched on TV as the second plane hit. I had a doctor's appointment at 10:15 that morning, not long after the first tower fell. As I drove up the hill in town, I knew I would see the skyline of Manhattan. What I saw was more smoke than I had ever seen in my life. And where there were two towers, there now was one. But not for long.

We all know what happened in the next few days, but unless you were couldn't feel the desperation, you couldn't smell the towers burn, you couldn't taste the fear. The fear of what had happened, what could happen and what we didn't know about what happened. And I was 10 miles outside of the city. For friends and family in the city, it was almost unbearable. Very few people who lived in New Jersey made it home that night...everything was closed down. Everyone who worked in the city walked with friends and co-workers over the East River to Brooklyn or Queens to find a bed wherever they could. Thousands and thousands walking in silence, some still covered in ash...walking to a place called normal.

That place no longer existed.

On the six month anniversary of the attack, two banks of lights were set up near the site of the World Trade Center. From dusk to dawn, they sent beams of light from the ground into the night sky. The blue lights gave an eerie, ghost-like appearance of the fallen towers.

I was in the city that night. As I left Manhattan and came out on the Jersey side, I was able to see the Tribute in Lights. To me it looked like it was a pathway for all the souls lost on that day, to find their way to heaven.

I still try to see it every year and I still feel the same way. It takes your breath away.

In trying to decide on a song for today, I was thinking about the Tribute in Lights and about the families and friends of those who lost loved ones. What do they think of when they see those two beams pointed towards the stars...what do they think of when they look at the sky every night since 9/11?

This is the song I chose. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals "Stars" 

Please read the lyrics as you listen to the song and remember...

"I lit a fire with the love you left behind, 
And it burned wild and crept up the mountainside. 
I followed your ashes into outer space 
I can't look out the window, 
I can't look at this place, 

I can't look at the stars, 
They make me wonder where you are 
Up on heaven's boulevard 
And if I know you at all, 
I know you've gone too far 
So I, I can't look at the stars 

All those times we looked up at the sky, 
Looking out so far, 
We felt like we could fly. 
And now I'm all alone in the dark of night, 
The moon is shining, 
But I can't see the light, 
And I can't look at the 

They make me wonder where you are 
Up on heaven's boulevard 
And if I know you at all, 
I know you've gone too far 
So I, I can't look at the stars 

They make me wonder where you are 
Up on heaven's boulevard 
And if I know you at all, 
I know you've gone too far 
So I can't look at the stars."

Never forget.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Twisted MixTape: Talkin' Beauty Baby

I missed Jen's party last week because there were just too many commitments and not enough hours. And I was gonna bow out this week too, but then she started tweeting "Come out and play," and well you know, I do hate to miss a party when there's good music. So here I am at 6:45 in the morning. For you Jen, for you.

The theme for the Twisted MixTape this week is Beautiful Songs. All righty then, that could be anything.

Let me start by saying, just because it's beautiful, doesn't mean it's happy. One of the most beautiful songs you will ever hear is a heartbreaking song of realization. Written by Eric Kaz and Libby Titus and covered over the years by Linda Rondstadt and Rosanne Cash among others. I first heard it by Bonnie Raitt, it was fabulous then and still is.

"If I could buy your love
Then I'd surely try my friend
And if I could pray
My prayers would never end
But if you want me to beg
I'll fall down on my knees
And ask you to come back
I'd be pleading for you to come back
I'd beg for you to come back to me"

So powerful, so sad, so Beautiful.

"Love Has No Pride"

Next up is a song I used in a blog a year or so ago. It's not fancy or complicated. It's just Beautiful. The band is Railroad Earth.

"Lovin You"

I first heard Judy Collins sing this song a very long time ago. Beyond her voice are the lyrics. Of course they were written by the incomparable Leonard Cohen, and they are Beautiful.

"Now Suzanne takes your hand 
And she leads you to the river 
She is wearing rags and feathers 
From Salvation Army counters 
And the sun pours down like honey 
On our lady of the harbour 
And she shows you where to look 
Among the garbage and the flowers 
There are heroes in the seaweed 
There are children in the morning 
They are leaning out for love 
And they will lean that way forever 
While Suzanne holds the mirror"


Tim Hardin wrote a song which became a Top Ten hit for Bobby Darin in 1966. As a thank you, Darin then wrote "Simple Song of Freedom" for Hardin, and it was equally successful. But the Hardin song is the one that fits in today. I've heard it done by Johnny Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Led Zeppelin and, well there was even an entire album of covers of it released. Those who know me can guess who I've picked.

"If I Were A Carpenter"

Tomorrow being 9/11, and with this country thinking about dropping bombs again, I thought this would be the perfect song to end a Beautiful list. John said it best.

"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace..."

I'll be slithering back to my dark hole now. See you all soon.

Jen Kehl