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, July 22, 2013

Knocking Off The 90s: Twisted MixTape

While I haven't had a lot of time for writing my blogs as of late, there's a good reason. The project I've been waiting to start is about to explode. It's about as an exciting opportunity as I've ever had in my life, and at the same time, it's overwhelming and scary. But good scary.

My input into this new venture won't be visible here on my blogs, so I'll try to keep them going as often as I can in the short run. In the long run everything should balance out, and hopefully things will get back to normal... or there may be a new normal. As soon as this project launches, I'll give you an update to explain where things are headed. But for today, I promised Jen I would deliver the second part of the Twisted Tuesday MixTape for the 90's for her blog hop. I'm using all live performances for his MixTape and they're really good. So let's do it.

Coming out of Pittsburgh in 1990, Rusted Root combines a staggering number of influences to produce one of music's most unique sounds. Truly one of the best groups of the decade, this song was a hit and was eventually used in a commercial... but don't hold that against them. This live performance captures everything that is special about them,

"Send Me On My Way"

Dear god do I love this next song. I've used it a few times already, and if I feel like it, I'll use it again. It has everything, great guitar, power vocal, a chorus which is one of the best EVER, and between Kenny Wayne and lead singer Noah Hunt, two of the more insanely hot men on the planet. Did I mention they were hot?

"Blue on Black"

I first saw Amanda Marshall when she opened up for John Mellencamp at Madison Square Garden. I fell in love with her voice from the moment she started to sing. Her self-titled debut album doesn't have a bad track and is still in my rotation. Deciding which song to choose wasn't easy.

"Last Exit to Eden"
I couldn't pull in a couple of the videos I wanted, so here's the link. Check it out, it's wonderful.

Rites of Passage by the Indigo Girls is another one of those special albums that never get retired for too long. While "Galileo" is my favorite song on it, I used that not too long ago when I picked the song for Lance's 100 Word Song Challenge.  Next best choice...

"Jonas and Ezekiel"
Again, couldn't pull in this video, but it's a great version.

Not sure why I'm going with this last pick. It's not one which I owned or would search out, but I've always liked it and it was what seemed to be the last gasp for a heavy rock sound that wasn't metal. Lenny Kravitz and...

"Are You Gonna Go My Way"

Thanks for having me over again Jen, sorry I forgot the chips. Hope to make it to your place again next week.

Jen Kehl

Monday, July 15, 2013

Just Before it Goes Downhill: MixTape Tuesday Hits the 90s

The 90's, Part 1. The decade when music officially started going down the shitter. Radio was the first. Slowly but surely any radio station that had programmers who thought outside the box, was either devoured by corporate chains and told what to play, or succumbed to low listenership, as pop and techno along with some grunge took over. Please hold your emails, I fully admit I do not worship at the altar of Curt Colbain. I'll grant he was good, but was his best behind him when he killed himself? We will never know. For my money, I'll take Michael Stipe anyday.

This was the decade that gave us such truly memorable crap such as the Macarena, MMMBop, U Can't Touch This and Whomp. I rest my case.

Anyway, I hadn't started getting heartburn from listening to the music just yet, that really began as the decade ended, but it was a decade where you had to really look for good music instead of just being able to hear it every time you turned on the radio.

So for Jen's Twisted MixTape Tuesday, Part 1 of the 90's, I've come up with what were some of the best of what was out there.

"I like a good beer buzz, early in the morning." How can you not love a song with a lyric like that? Sheryl Crow broke out with a song which could basically be a Mission Statement for a lot of us.

"All I Wanna Do"

R.E.M. were brilliant. End of story. Take your pick of seven or eight possible choices, but I'll go with what I think is the strongest.

"Losing My Religion"

At the age of forty, one of my favorite female singers showed all the boys how it's done, when in 1990, she won three Grammy awards for what would be considered her comeback album.  In 1989, Bonnie Raitt released Nick of Time... which was and is still totally kick-ass. Hard to choose which song to go with, so let's just go with something called...

"Love Letter"

Time to have a little fun. If you're looking for an earworm along with some real fine harmonica playing, and who doesn't want that... I give you John Popper and Blues Traveler with...


Over the years Carlos Santana has had many vocalists. In 1999, Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 was the front man on a song he co-wrote. It was a huge hit, winning three Grammy Awards and was Billboard's #1 song for twelve weeks. Deservedly so, it's a great collaboration.


Though he died in 1990, one year later his album The Sky is Crying was released. On it was one hell of a version of a Jimi Hendrix song, which if you've read this blog long enough, you know I believe it's hard to find a bad version of it. Stevie Ray's is superb.

"Little Wing"

So I'm only one over the official list of five. Thanks Jen, you run one loud and rowdy joint... I feel so at home.

Jen Kehl

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Because We Do

There are a lot of artists I've yet to showcase here on Kat's Theory of Music. Patti Smith is one of them. Poet-Singer-Songwriter, Patti has always been a unique and outspoken voice in the music community. I have always loved the irony of the "Godmother of Punk" having her most commercial success with a rock song co-written with Bruce Springsteen. That song was of course, "Because The Night."

Aside from that tune, one of her best known songs is the one picked by Linda from for Lance's 100 Word Song Challenge this week. The song is "People Have The Power," and you know what... they do.

Using the song and writing exactly 100 words, here is my story for the week.

People Have The Power

“Dad…you were there?”

“Me and a quarter million others. August 28, 1963.”

“What was it like?”

“Son, I’ve lived through war, love, birth and death, but no other moment comes close to what I felt that day. Change would come, and this man would be a major force behind it; that I knew.”


“Looking around, I saw men, women, children… black and white, young and old. Many were crying; most held their breath. We all knew his was the true vision, and in time the people would make it come true. On that day, his dream became our destiny.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Closing Out The 80s: Tuesday MixTape

It's MixTape Tuesday again. This week we are closing out the 80's with way too many choices to cut out. It seems everyone over at Jen's place has broken the five song limit this week, even Jen. And duh, it's the music stupid. An overabundance of great, good and relevant tunes.

It was probably the decade where musically I had the most fun, other than the present. With reviewing, interviewing and just attending the shows I have been lately, this is a whole different kind of fun. But back then there weren't a lot of responsibilities to keep me away and let's face it, less responsibilities means more disposable income. I disposed of a lot of income on concert tickets.

I'm not sure how many songs will be on this list. I'm just looking at the bunch I have written down and will see where it goes. For me this was the MTV era, so I've used almost all of the original videos that appeared on MTV. Cheesy and wonderful.

Little Feat, great damn band. When founding member Lowell George died in 1979, the band took a hiatus. They came back strong with a brilliant album titled Let It Roll. There are easily five songs I could have picked, this album is still in heavy rotation at my place, but because it has style, great rhythm and it just rocks... the title song.

"Let It Roll"

Next up is my nod to the dance era, no not disco. More conga than hustle. I've showcased this on a previous blog as a birthday song to my bestie, but because I can never hear it without having a smile on my face or remembering a lot of champagne induced evening dancing to it... Buster Poindexter.

"Hot Hot Hot"

There were several great groups coming out of Australia in the 80's. One of them made a political statement and drove it up the charts. Their name was Midnight Oil and the song was...

"Beds Are Burning"

Asia had several hits, all really good. Always enjoyed the videos and I was a huge MTV girl back in the day. More about that later. Carl Palmer on the drums, yep worked for me. So did this song.

"Don't Cry"

When I first heard the voice of Mick Hucknall of Simply Red, I was hooked. So different, and so was his look with the wild red hair.  Loved this song the first time I heard it, love it still.

"Holding Back The Years"

While we are holding back, my next pick is a no-brainer for those who know me. Back to the MTV thing. While they had huge success with "Eye of the Tiger," the video age of MTV brought Survivor a new way to top the charts. With a new lead singer, one not exactly hard on the eyes, their video for "I Can't Hold Back" went to #1 in the MTV rotation. The fact that all these years later I would be able to interview, review and consider them friends of this blog is totally irrelevant. Or maybe not.

"I Can't Hold Back"

In 1981, Blondie released a song with something I was totally unfamiliar with. Rap. Sure, not what would become signature rap, but rap nonetheless. It made it to the top of the charts.


Once the 80's started with the techno-pop shit, it lost me for the most part. While there were a few songs which were memorable, most were just annoying. I've showcased this song on an edition of Guilty Pleasures here on Kat's Theory of Music, and I'm throwing it in today. Howard Jones had a few decent songs, this was one of them,

"No One Is To Blame"

Ok, now I feel like I've stayed way past dessert. But there's one more song which denotes for me anyway, the whole MTV era. In fact, MTV is mentioned throughout the song. Who can forget Sting singing on this Dire Straits song, "I want my MTV"?

"Money For Nothing"

I'm just going to add a few honorable mentions because it's my blog and I feel like it.

Prince "When Doves Cry"
Rick Springfield "Jessie's Girl"
The B52's "Love Shack"
Queen/Bowie "Under Pressure"
"Bryan Adams "Run To You"
Cyndi Lauper "Time After Time"

A lot of fun revisiting that decade. Ok, Jen... bring on the 90's.

Jen Kehl

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sure... Maybe Not: Uncertainty

Lots of things going on. Nowhere is that more true than in the writing part of my life. It looks like a project which has been in the planning stage for quite a while, is about to launch, and launch big. While I am more than wildly excited, it's also a whole lot of terrifying.

With that in mind, I'm jumping back into Lance's 100 Word Song Challenge this week. This week Melissa from @accordingtomags picked the song, and as usual we write exactly 100 words using the chosen song as a prompt. This week's song is "Uncertainty" by The Fray.

My entry this week is not a story, and much to everyone's joy... it's not even dark. It's just pretty much the conversation that has been running through my brain, which in itself is a very scary place. Enter at your own risk.


“But it involves things I’ve never done before.”

“It’s more responsibility than I could have imagined.”

“It’s scary.”
“Do you think you can?”

“Do you want to?”

“So what’s the problem?”

“I already have so many balls in the air, something’s got to give.”
“So you drop one or two, you’re already spread thin; it’s probably best.”

“But I like them all for different reasons.”
“You’ll know when the time comes.”

“You think so?”
“Don’t you?”

“Maybe; it’s complicated though.”
“Change always is.”

“It’s a new adventure to say the least.”
“Old dog, new tricks.”


My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Big Hair, Big Music, Big Videos: Twisted Mixtape 80's Part 1

It's Tuesday, time for the first part of the 80's edition of Jen's Twisted Mixtape. A very interesting decade musically. Some of it was really good, some of it was really bad. The bad part has continued ever since.

When I started thinking about music defining this era, I immediately came up with seventeen songs. After thinking a little while longer, I was up to twenty-seven. Needless to say, I breaking the rules again this week. Picking only five songs is just not in the realm of possibility. The only question is how many over the allotment will I go.

Two songs on my list are related in a way. The first is the title track of an album which redefined the career path of a veteran performer. It was influenced largely by the music of Africa and employed many musicians from South Africa, which was still under the rule of Apartheid during its final days. The album was Graceland and the artist is Paul Simon. He took some flack for that, but if you have the opportunity to see the fascinating PBS documentary about the making of Graceland, most of it is explained. Graceland is still on my regular playlist. I could have chosen several songs off the album, but for its place in history, I'll pick the title song.


In South Africa in 1985, there was an entertainment area within a city called Sun City. While it proclaimed itself to be an interracial resort, it was a sham where the wealthy gambled, while the poor outside the walls lived in squalor. Steve Van Zandt of the E Street Band created a group formed by well known artists, where they would spread the word about this stronghold of Apartheid and create a boycott for performers to play there. The video for the song was a virtual who's who of the music industry.

"Sun City"

Let's lighten the mood just a bit. There was this song about a girl and a phone number. It was everywhere, it's still everywhere. C'mon let's sing along.


With some very recognizable opening notes, this song gets new life every spring. Catchy and perfectly evoking the feeling all of us baseball freaks get every opening day. Mr. Fogerty, if you please.


It was the 80's, London was calling, but the Clash song which always made my day went like this:
"As soon as the sharif was
Outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed"

"Rock the Casbah"

Extra song #1. While it wasn't one of my favorites, there was no denying the importance of the song or the album from which it came. The album was Thriller, the song was...

"Billie Jean"

Because I like to push the envelope, I'm going with seven songs this week. And I might do it next week too. So shut up. In 1980, John Lennon came back to the music scene, along with Yoko and created Double Fantasy. Nowhere could you find a more self-defining song than the one Lennon wrote for what sadly would be his last album.

"Watching the Wheels"

So that's Part 1. Jen, I apologize for being a rude guest and highlighting seven songs, but as Eric Burdon sang, "It's my life and I'll do what I want." Hope you invite me back next week.

Jen Kehl