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, 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

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Got it Covered: It Ain't Me Babe

In 1964 Bob Dylan released his fourth studio album Another Side of Bob Dylan. As he began to explore using his music in different ways, it became clear that he could write biting lyrics about relationships. Today's song is one of his earliest examples. "It Ain't Me Babe"

Covers of this song include everyone from Johnny Cash/June Carter to Joan Baez, The Turtles, The Byrds, Davy Jones, Bryan Ferry, Earl Scruggs and Nancy Sinatra... to name a few.

"Go ’way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Never weak but always strong
To protect you and defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe"

Johnny Cash & June Carter

Before he was a Monkee, Davy Jones

My favorite version, The Turtles

Fleet Foxes

And Mr. Dylan 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Billy David Band: Magic

At the beginning of the month, I wrote about my new gig over at Earth Hertz Records. I also mentioned when new music was released,  I would do some posts to introduce it. So let's talk about the first single released through Earth Hertz.

"Magic" is the new song from the San Diego based Billy David Band. Founding band member Billy David Millican wrote "Magic" as an ode to the allure and power of a woman. Produced by Paul Kastich, Julian Tydelski and Billy David, the quality of the musicians on this album is evident.

With a powerful pop beat tinged with reggae, add in an infectious chorus... just try to keep your feet from moving.

For a limited time, readers of this blog can stream "Magic" at this link:
Magic link

Check out the video:

Lead Vocals: Billy David Millican
Backing Vocals: Quino McWhinney
Live Drums: Paul Kastick
Drum Programming: Julian Tydelski
Percussion: Jackie Bertone
Bass: Othneil Campbell (Taddy P)
Acoustic Guitars: Programming by Julian Tydelski
Electric Guitars: Kyle McDonald, Dylan Keawe
Piano and Organ: Julian Tydelski
Keyboards: Julian Tydelski, Lynn Copeland
Trumpet: Kevin Batchelor
Saxophone: Anant Pradhan

Available now through: