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 31, 2012

Turning Up The Heat For New Year's Eve

Another New Year's Eve.

Going out can be enjoyable, but staying in can be more fun, if you know what I mean.

Last year, I set up a nice hot list of songs to get cozy to, and I take no credit or responsibility for any family additions which may have arrived come September.

Let's see if we can continue the tradition this year.

A little slow dancin' to set the mood, and who to better start it off than Smokey...
"You've Really Got A Hold On Me" ...just the right amount of heat to start the night

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes "The Fever" can go with Bruce's version, but I like Johnny's soulful licks.

The Rascals "How Can I Be Sure" ...add a glass of wine and a little candlelight

Springsteen "Human Touch" ...strip down the defenses, raw emotion now

Bryan Adams "Do I Have To Say The Words" ...yes, yes you do

Kenny Wayne Sheperd Band "Somehow, Somewhere, Someday" ...a little bad intent is a good thing

Melissa Etheridge "I Want You" ...let's get real now, turning up the heat

Lou Gramm "Warmest Rising Sun" ...time for truth, it's all that matters

Joe Cocker "You Can Leave Your Hat On" ...c'mon girls, you have to do a little work too

And because you really can't do a getting laid list without the man himself...
Marvin "Let's Get It On" ...just do it already

Ok, everybody feeling better...
Ready for another round? Go with this...

Faith Hill  "Breathe" ... guys, trust me on this

Happy New Year.
Let Your Love Flow.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A New York-Nashville Connection: Marc Scibilia

"So what are you going to do with your life...move to Nashville and write songs?"  Uh, why not. The story goes that a teacher in his upstate New York high school spoke those words to Marc Scibilia out of frustration. Could be he took it as the incentive he needed, because that's exactly what he did a month after graduation. Now, at the age of twenty-six, Scibilia has been writing, singing and recording ever since.

After being featured in the TV show Bones, the first release from his self-titled EP, "How Bad We Need Each Other" has been getting some airplay...and with good reason. It's worth way more than just a listen.

Here's a bare bones version of the song.

And a couple more tasty treats:

Some good stuff from a young talent. 


Monday, December 24, 2012

The Toothpick Leg and the Empty Chair

When I lived at home, I put up the Christmas tree and the Nativity set. My mother did the wreaths and assorted decorating and my dad hung up the bell that played "Silent Night." My brother, well he showed up for dinner.

After I moved out, my decorating duties were handled by my father. Way more meticulous with the tree lights and placement of the balls than I, well my Dad was very detailed oriented, let's just say that.

Now my parents Nativity set is quite old, they had been married for 63 years during the last Christmas season and I think it might have been a second hand set when they bought it. As such, some of the pieces have been replaced or...fixed. For example, if you look closely at the picture of the lambs, you might notice one of them has a toothpick where his leg should be. Apparently, there was a field amputation and the leg was replaced with an ill-fitting prosthesis. It ain't pretty, but after all these years, that sheep is still standing. My Dad and I had a mini tradition concerning the Nativity arrangement. He would always place the cow and donkey outside of the manger. And every year I would come over and explain to him that I thought they should be inside to help keep the baby Jesus warm. It was a silly exchange which both of us knew would take place, and one that I missed very much this year, as I regained my old job of tree decorator and Nativity arranger.

Tonight we will again gather at my parent's home, though the dynamic of the family is no longer the same. My Mom was determined to have this last Christmas Eve dinner in honor of my Dad. It was the one night of the year where he smiled from early in the day until the very last goodbye. He loved Christmas Eve. Tonight is the first time since his funeral that the entire family will be together. While we are all looking forward to seeing each other, we are all painfully aware of the empty chair. The one at the head of the table. At least we know he will be smiling.

Miss you Pops.

Wishing everyone a joyous Christmas. Make memories..they last forever. In honor of my Dad, today's song is his favorite carol. Just ten days after the tragedy in Newtown, what better version of the song could there be than the Saturday Night Live opening from last weekend with the children's choir.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Carry Me Home

Just like most of you, this was a very busy week for me. Lots of work, writing, errands, shopping and even a little partying. But there's still time to get in a 100 Word Song Challenge. This week Kathryn picked the tune for Lance. A new song by an indie band called Hey Rosetta, the song is called "Carry Me Home."  As always, we use the song as a prompt to write a little something in exactly 100 words. This post also fits into the Studio30plus prompt for Headache.

Read the words then listen to the song, or listen to the song then read the words. 

Sonny picked his aching head up for the third time with the same result. The room was still spinning, maybe worse than before. What the hell had happened? Sure drinks were flowing, but booze never hit him like this.

It was Christmas Eve and he shouldn’t be here. He was already skating on thin ice with Celia, and if he didn’t help put the toys together, he might be swimming in cold water come the New Year.

He saw that Charlie and Pete were still standing. “Hey you guys. I gotta get home, even if you have to carry me.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Thursday, December 20, 2012

There's More... Beyond The Sea

When we talk about people who died too young and think of them in terms of  "what might have been," one name always comes to my mind. And while most people have heard the name, most likely they don't quite know just how much talent was lost when he died at the age of thirty-seven.

Bobby Darin was a singer, song-writer, actor and political activist. As a singer, he crooned, he did folk, he did rock, he did country...he did it all. And except for a bad heart which he knew meant he would never be an old man, he could have done so much more.

He had a style and a swagger. Born in the Bronx, his career eventually brought him to Hollywood where he won a Golden Globe for his first major role. The next year, he was nominated for an Academy Award for another film. Ten years later he would not wake up from an operation to repair that faulty heart.

I have loved Bobby Darin for as long as I can remember, if you really knew his stuff, you can't help yourself. Today, let's have a few tastes from a great talent and think...if only.

"If I Were A Carpenter" ...A beautiful rendition of the Tim Hardin song.
"Dream Lover"  ...vintage footage from the Ed Sullivan Show
"Simple Song of Freedom" of his own, spot-on perfect
"Mack the Knife" ...a little Broadway.
"Beyond the Sea"  ...the classic done with a sense of humor.

Yes, different music today. An open mind lets in more joy than you can ever imagine. Try a taste or two.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We're Having a Party: Let's Start the Show

So, Happy Birthday to me.

While I wait to see if I get the present I really want, I've decided to give myself a gift. The gift of music. I'm giving myself a rock concert. Last week's 121212 Concert...ha. I've invited some of the best of all time, even a few who are no longer with us, and yes, they've agreed to sing a song or two for my big day.

Some of these songs have been featured in past blogs. Some are my favorites, some are songs I've enjoyed seeing done live, some are songs by an artist I might have seen, but never heard that song done live. You may also notice that many are sung by hot guys...well, it's my party and there aren't many things I enjoy more than watching a good looking man singing a song. There I've said it. I may be adding another year on my age, but I ain't dead yet.

So in no particular order, mainly because I didn't have time to think about how the line-up should go...

Chris Isaac "Wicked Games" ...ok, so let's start with hot and go from there.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band "Blue on Black" ...with Noah Hunt singing lead...again, hot
Bon Jovi "Dead or Alive" ...I'm a cowboy. Yes, yes you are.
Crosby, Still & Nash "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" ...great clip with Stephen showing how it's done
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss "Killing the Blues" ...breathtakingly beautiful
The Band "The Weight"  ...if only, one more time
Joe Cocker "Hitchcock Railway"  ...start the feet moving
Jackson Brown "You Love the Thunder" ...a hard choice deciding which song by Jackson to use
The Monroes "What Do All The People Know" of my fave one-hit wonders
Meat Loaf "Bat out of Hell" ...11 minutes of theatrical perfection
Tom Petty "Free Fallin" ...always loved the chorus, cause don't we all want to sometimes
Stevie Wonder "Higher Ground" ...also hard to choose with Stevie
Sam & Dave "Hold On. I'm Comin' " ...a no brainer and a great live video
The Rascals "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" hometown boys....SURE
Seal "I Can't Stand the Rain" ...great version of a timeless song
Little Feat "Let it Roll" ...feet don't fail me now
Steve Winwood "Still in the Game" ...another hard choice, but I've never seen him do this live
Tracy Chapman "You're the One" ...the voice, melody, lyrics...excellent
Eric Clapton "Layla" ...electric, it never gets tired...cause uh Layla
Jimi Jamison "When Love Comes Down" ...really, did you think he wouldn't make the list. Never seen this live and I love the vocal.
Bruce Springsteen "Candy's Room" ...Max has to be on drums. And Bruce can do another five or ten songs...his choice, all fine with me.
Dobie Gray "Drift Away" ...cause that about sums it all up and it's the best song ever written about music. Period.

Not a bad night for me. Hopefully the usual suspects will be wearing some leather...a girl gets her wish granted on her birthday doesn't she? There's at least twenty more songs I would love to hear, but I don't have the extra cash to pay the unions for overtime. Listen to as many as you like.

Happy Birthday to me. Who wants to hang out for the show? Bring your own beer, and somebody better bring a cake. Chocolate.

Now where are my dancin' boots...


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown: Can We Ever Go Back To OK?

I wasn't planning on doing the 100 Word Song Challenge this week, or even any writing today for that matter. The week has been a roller coaster of highs and for the past two days...extreme lows. The past couple of posts, on this blog and the Life blog were draining to say the least. I didn't think I had another post in me to deal with Newtown this week. There will most certainly be more to reflect on, but I thought a little time and space might be best for my personal mental health.

Then I heard the story. One little girl had survived as the rest of her friends were massacred beside her. One brave little girl who played dead, I can't even imagine the horror of hearing the gunshots, the screams and finally, only her own heart beating.

I believe it was a member of the clergy who recounted how she ran into her mother's arms, completely covered in blood and said "I'm Ok Mommy, but all my friends are dead."

The song in the 100 word challenge was "Never Going Back to Ok" by The Afters

"As the mother wrapped her arms around her daughter, she thought her heart would surely explode from the emotional dam bursting inside. 
Her flesh and blood alone was the only survivor. 
The mother wept, but could they be tears of joy…no. 
Relief was a closer emotion, for on this day, joy no longer existed.

Covered in the blood of her classmates, the child said 
“I’m Ok Mommy, but all my friends are dead.”  
Ok… the mother knew her little girl would be anything but. 
I don’t want her to just be Ok, I want her to be good. 
But how?"

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tears in Heaven, Tears for Newtown


Our means of communication. Words convey ideas, commands, knowledge and most of all...feelings. Those of us who write, use them to let the joys and demons out of our minds, While there are times when words don't come easily, eventually most of the time, we can lasso them from the spinning vortex of our brains.

Then there comes a day like today. A day where there are no words.

No words can make this better.
No words can offer comfort to the parents of the twenty children whose Christmas or Chanukah presents were waiting to be opened.
No words can explain what went wrong in that young man's mind for him to think this was the answer to his problems.
No words can make you believe that a twenty year old with access to such firepower is acceptable.
No words at all.

This tragedy is already being called the second worst mass-shooting in this country. Do we really need to keep score? Do we need to compare numbers of dead children...maybe if it was only one dead child instead of twenty, it would be ok? No, of course it would not.

Twenty seven families forever changed. Many dozens more traumatized. First Responders who will live with those images for the rest of their lives. And we will never really know or understand why.

A song for the children, from a man who lost one of his own.

Eric Clapton "Tears in Heaven"

There are no words. Only tears.


The Song Remains the Same: Hold On

It's been a bit of a wild week. Stuff, and lots of it happening. Besides the usual list of must-do's, we had a hell of a music night on Wednesday. No way in the world I would not see the end of the 12-12-12 Concert, so I started yesterday on 3 hours of sleep. Throw in a trip to NYC last night for a live show and this morning, a Friday no less, is not all sunshine and rainbows.

But it's still time to get a little music out.

In today's episode of The Song Remains the Same, we have a very popular title. I know of at least ten songs with it, and because the genres are so varied, I'm putting up four different songs with the same title.

Song of the day is: Hold On

First up:

Pearl Jam : "Hold On"
Tom Waits: "Hold On"
Wilson Phillips "Hold On"
Kansas "Hold On"

Cast your vote, suggest another version of "Hold On" or go away quietly. It's Friday, do what you feel.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 A Date To Remember, Especially in NJ

Big day in the music world. The 12-12-12 concert will take place later on tonight. Today is also an important day in the state of New Jersey for two reasons. On this day, one music giant was born, and so was one giant music fan.

I can't even believe so many years have passed since a baby girl was born in a hospital in New York City. A tiny human being who has brought nothing but joy and pride to her family. A child who so quickly grew into a  teenager and now a woman. Someone who has always treasured every one of her crazy relatives...though some more than others, but I won't name names. As she has loved us, we have cherished her. Through movies and dog shows, from carrying on family traditions to creating new ones together, it has been a joy to share them with her. Two of my greatest delights have been taking her to her first rock concert and then to her first Springsteen concert...a mandatory education for a Jersey girl. To you, my beautiful niece, I wish that every bit of happiness you give to others, comes right back to you. Love you MC.

But I digress.

Also born on this day, Francis Albert Sinatra...Frank.
No introduction needed.

A song from Frank for Maria Christina.

"I'm Getting Sentimental Over You"



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bringin' It On Home with Sam Cooke

Sometimes the circle of life is a strange one.  Lately, we've all been inundated with holiday commercials misusing a lot of holiday songs. Most are not very creative and after seeing and hearing them two dozen times in a three hour are sick of them for the year.

There is one commercial though, I just love hearing. It's for Nautica clothing being sold through Macy's. It features a lot of young, good-looking people getting together in a nice house, by a dock, whatever. Not very intrusive, no one screaming about their product, just a song and not even a Christmas song playing in the background.

The song is "Bring It On Home To Me," written and originally recorded by the late Sam Cooke.

Sam Cooke was murdered 48 years ago today. The circumstances of his death have always been fuzzy at best. Rather than think about his death, let's celebrate his remarkable musical career. For today and for always, let Sam bring it on home, one more time.

Close your eyes and just breathe it in.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Otis Redding: Always A Little Tenderness

This morning the world wakes up to the news of another singer lost in a plane crash. Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera, along with members of her entourage and the pilots, died when their private plane went down. Today also marks the 45th anniversary of the death of another singer in a plane crash.

Otis Redding was only twenty-six years old at the time of his death. In his brief time in the music business, he became one of the era's most influential singers, and was one of the music acts responsible for getting the "soul" sound out to broader audiences. He appeared at the legendary Monterey Music Festival in June 1967 alongside, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Mamas & the Papas, the Who and a host of others. After the show, he and legendary guitarist Steve Cropper wrote what would be Redding's only #1 song. "Dock of the Bay" hit the charts after his death, offering a lasting tribute to a man who's influence is still strong 45 years after his death.

Beyond his talent as a performer, he was also a writer of music. "Respect," Aretha made it famous, Otis wrote it. "Sweet Soul Music" was a hit for Arthur Conley and co-written by Otis Redding. But the one song covered the most, covered by every garage band, every R&B band and every soul singer over the years was Redding's signature song..."Try a Little Tenderness."

A few tasty treats today.

"I Can't Turn You Loose"
"I've Been Lovin' You Too Long"
"Dock of the Bay"
"Try a Little Tenderness" ...the day before he died

...and that's how you do it son.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Morning With Motown and Martha

Watching a PBS fundraising special on Motown last night, I realized it has been way too long since we tasted the sweet sounds of the Motor City. Now the talent of Motown was so vast, it needs to be savored one bite at a time.

Today we go with one of the great girl groups: Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Rosalind Ashford, Betty Kelly, Annette Beard and Martha Reeves were the main members responsible for a boatload of hits in the early to mid-60's. The group was always a trio with a few changes in personnel, most notably when Beard left and was replaced by Kelly.

Members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Martha and the Vandellas created a body of work with equal measures of fun and dance-ability. Listening to them, no way your feet aren't moving.

Kick up the volume, kick off your shoes and dance.

"Nowhere to Run"
"Honey Chile"
"Jimmy Mack"
"Dancin' in the Street"


"If your feet ain't tappin', baby you're dead."


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Criminal: What Lies Within

Getting down and dirty for this week's 100 Word Song Challenge. Lance from myblogcanbeatupyourblog, has invited Julia to pick the song this week, and her choice was "Criminal" by Fiona Apple. Rules are to use the song, title or feeling as a prompt and write something in exactly 100 words.

"Foolish girl, that’s what she had been three years or more accurately, a lifetime ago. At sixteen, she thought she knew, at nineteen she knew too much. She looked at him. First as her savior, then as her keeper. Now, as nothing more than a business partner. She took the chances, he took the money.

And she earned a lot of it. She was good at what she did, and there wasn't anything she wouldn't do. Soon it would be time to go it alone and he would need to be gone…permanently. Yes, she knew how to do that too."

...and there you go.


Candles and Cale: Party Time

His songs have been covered by the likes of Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kansas, Tom Petty, Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash and more. A no-flash, just pick guitarist, he began playing what would be known as the Tulsa Sound...a blending a 1950's to 1960's country, rock, blues and rockabilly. The group of musicians creating that sound also included Leon Russell, Elvin Bishop, David Gates and Dwight Twilley, among others.

Today we focus on the birthday boy, JJ Cale.

Back to the songs. After Clapton recorded two of Cale's songs, "After Midnight" and "Cocaine," Cale finally started getting noticed by people outside the music community. Hell, one of his songs, "Travelin' Light" was even played to wake up the crews of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station before one of their spacewalks. The man has played with everyone, and the list of musicians influenced by his songs grows daily.

Let's taste a few.

"Crazy Mama" ...his biggest single, laid-back and bluesy
"They Call Me the Breeze" ...covered by Skynyrd, taste a little JJ with Clapton sittin' in
"After Midnight" ...a songwriter's pure version
"Cajun Moon" ...sweet sample of Tulsa sound
"Down to Memphis" ...delicious track off his latest CD Roll On

JJ Cale. Blow out the candles and play some blues.


Monday, December 3, 2012

You Can Hear The Buzz All The Way From Austin

You know that sound. The whispers, the talk and finally the shouts. It's called the buzz. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it's for a flash-in-the-pan. For the past year and a half the buzz has been growing louder about the taste of the day.

Growing up in Austin, he cut his musical teeth in the same club as the Vaughn brothers...Jimmie and Stevie Ray. Since that time he has played alongside Clapton, Winwood, Guy, Crow, Keyes, Beck and Matthews. I don't think any first names are needed. From Bonnaroo to The White House, Gary Clark Jr. has played with, and for a lot of names.

Playing a blues-based guitar, listen to him slide up and down from straight blues through rock, jazz, soul and whatever else he's feeling. With his latest album Blak and Blu, just released in October, Gary Clark Jr. shows another side of his talent and style.

"Bright Lights"
"Ain't Messin' Round"
"When My Train Pulls In"

Flash-in-the-pan...not likely.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Song Remains the Same...Or Does It?

The other day I thought up another way to either A) excite my readers with a new feature or B) make my readers groan and run away in droves. Hopefully more A than B, but what the hell. As Mr. Fogarty told us...just keep on chooglin.

I give you Kat's Theory of Music's...The Song Remains the Same.

What we're gonna do is showcase two completely different songs...with the same title. Then if anyone chooses, they can rate one, both, leave a comment or suggestion for another go round. See, not that painful.

The opening act for this feature consists of one song from the 60's and one from 1980.
Today's tasty treat is "Anyway You Want It"

First up a typical 60's fast paced, catchy tune by British band the Dave Clark Five, followed by the opening track off the Departure album by Journey.

Take a listen to both, leave a comment or rating, if you choose.

Dave Clark Five "Anyway You Want It"
Journey "Anyway You Want It"

I kinda like it both ways.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Are You Experienced?

Sometimes when you sit down to write something, there's nothing there. My plan was to take up this week's 100 Word Song Challenge mainly because, well it's a Jimi Hendrix song. I first read the other entries in the challenge and maybe because I was blown away by one of them, or maybe because I was exhausted...I could not come up with an idea. So I sat with my laptop and nodded off. Just a few minutes later, I woke up and wrote this in less than ten minutes. Sometimes that's just how it works.

The song this week is "Are You Experienced" and as usual, with the song as inspiration, we write...something.

Maybe I'm finally getting into the spirit of the season.

In his dream, Billy saw the bright colors, the moving pieces, some finished, some not. The stacks went on forever. He watched the workers fit the last minute additions into the correct order. Of course, he thought, there would have to be a system.

His head was spinning as he took in the full extent of the workshop. As he saw the man in charge he couldn’t help but ask “How do you know how to do this?”  The elderly gent stroked his long white beard, smiled and replied “Ho, Ho, Ho…I’ve been doing this for a very long time."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Railroad Earth: A Review

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to see a show at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg PA. It featured Newgrass band Railroad Earth and opening act Yarn. Both were great. For a review of the show, check out my post Railroad Earth @Stroudsburg PA on


A Night To Remember: John Joins John Onstage

"I'd like to thank Elton and the boys for having me on tonight."

So said John Lennon on November 28, 1974 as he intro'ed the last of three songs he sang at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Months before, as Elton John and John Lennon had guested on each other's albums, Elton asked John if he would appear on stage with him in the event that John's single "Whatever Gets You Through the Night," became a #1 song. Lennon, who had never had a #1 solo hit, figured, what the hell, and agreed.

On November 16, the song was on top of the Billboard charts and twelve days later John Lennon would make the last live concert appearance of his life.

Today, let's taste the songs he sang that night, thirty-eight years ago.

"Whatever Gets You Through The Night"
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"
"I Saw Her Standing There"

All these years later, the thought of what might have been still breaks my heart.
But today we celebrate what was.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Starting the Night with a Little Yarn

For the second Saturday night in a row, I found myself travelling for a little music. What could be better than that?

This adventure took me about thirty miles away from the weekend house in the Poconos, to the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg PA. Headlining the night was Newgrass band Railroad Earth. We will get to them another day, but today I'd like to spread the news about the support band that night. Brooklyn NY based Americana-Alt Country band Yarn.

Other than the fact they were great, what amazed me is that until last Wednesday when I was pretty sure I would go to the show, I had not heard of them. Bad job by me. But in researching the particulars of the show, I started to check out their music and their website. As I launched their website's music player, the first song "Fussing & Fighting," a country-style tune with references to listening to Jim Croce got my interest. As fun as the first song was, it's not quite indicative of their true sound.

Saturday night they started the set with the song "Annie," an aching song which starts slowly and builds to include some beautiful harmonies and a catchy chorus. This immediately got me happy. This opening act was gonna be good.

The rest of the set did not disappoint. The six-piece band has clearly worked hard on their craft. Everything in sync, each piece a perfect compliment to the others. Good songwriting, good singing, good musicians. It all added up to a great start of the night.

Check out their music at Yarn

If you get a chance, they are definitely worth a go-see.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving: You Can Get Anything You Want

Thanksgiving. The day to be thankful.

The one day a year, all of us in America are forced to reflect. Something which should come to each of us as naturally as breathing, is a declared Federal holiday..and for that we are all thankful. But, it is that time of the year when we all start to look back, look around and look inside.

While I didn't get what I wished for last Thanksgiving, that this year all the chairs around the table would be filled by the usual suspects, there is still plenty for which I am grateful.

Now, other than food and football, I only have one other Thanksgiving tradition. No, not the parade. I stopped watching it once they retired Bullwinkle. This tradition has been in effect since long-lost WNEW-FM, the greatest free-form radio station ever, started the annual event decades ago. At noon this year, just like every year, it is time for a listen to the unofficial song of the day.

Put it on in the background and start your holiday with a smile.

Arlo Guthrie "Alice's Restaurant"

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Thanks, Arlo.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Today's song was inspired by the 100 Word Song Challenge. This week Lance has chosen the song "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac.  Stevie Nicks wrote that song about her father and though I wasn't really up to doing a song about mine, this being the first holiday without was important for me to do the challenge, and to not write about him.

In a twist of fate, or maybe not, it is also Lance and his wife Deana's anniversary. So I've taken them as inspiration for the challenge. Now, as I only know them online, any resemblance to real people is just coincidence...or maybe not.

"For them, it was always about falling. 

Meeting one November morning, when she slipped on the icy walkway and he caught her before she fell. 

The feeling of his breath falling away, looking into her blue eyes the first time, and every time since. 

Knowing the baggage of their pasts was falling from their hearts…little by little, day by day.

Gracelessly falling out of bed, while making love the first time and laughing ‘til they cried.

Seeing problems in life, once boulders coming toward them, turn to stones as they fought them together.

All this, by just falling in love."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Celebrating with Joe Walsh: Yeah Life's Been Good

Happy Birthday Joe Walsh.

You hear the guitar, you know. He's up there, one of the few whose guitar playing is instantly recognizable. Think "Funk 49", think "Rocky Mountain Way." Good Stuff.

From the early days with the James Gang, through Barnstorm, the Eagles and throughout his solo career, the guitar of Joe Walsh sings, cries and sometimes hits you in the face. Creatively massaging notes, his playing is always interesting , usually taking you on an unexpected ride.

Not gonna do the hits today, instead let's sample a couple of oldies and something new. And if you want to have some fun, go over to Live From Daryl's House and check out last week's show where Daryl Hall welcomed Joe Walsh for an hour of talk and music. Real Good Stuff.

Released in 1985, "The Confessor"
A taste off his newest album Analog Man, "Wrecking Ball"
And one of my favorites... "Turn to Stone"

Blow out the candles Joe, and shred a little guitar.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jimi Jamison Proves It's "Never Too Late"

A little fun today. Today a friend and fellow writer and I are both doing a album review, but we are guesting on each other's blog. So filling up the space here is Jim Wood from Read his take of the CD then jump over to his site to read mine.

Go Jimmy Go!

I have to give a big thank you to Kat for allowing me to guest post on her blog today.

Ironically, it was through a mutual admiration of Jimi Jamison and Survivor that brought us together. So for our first cross-post to be about Jimi’s new album, “Never Too Late” is pretty cool.

Kat and I both have had the pleasure of meeting Jimi on several occasions this past year. But once we discovered he was releasing a new CD, our eyes lit up like saucers.

As most writers do, (and admittedly with a bit of bias towards the subject matter) we both set forth to write a review of the new album. But once we realized just how amazing this new music was, we thought it might be even cooler to “guest post” our reviews on each other’s blog. So, without any further ado, here is my review on Jimi Jamison’s ‘Never Too Late’: the absolute BEST melodic rock album of 2012.

As most of you know, I’m a tried and true music fan of the 80′s. For me, growing up during the age of the Members Only jacket was a great time to be alive (at least as far as music is concerned).

Whenever my favorite bands would put out a new album, it was an event. I remember rushing home from the mall with my new found treasure and making my way to my upstairs bedroom, where an empty turntable eagerly awaited. For the next hour or so, it didn’t matter if the world was ending; the music was all that mattered.

A great album from the 1980′s would typically have at least three hits on it. Songs that would be regularly played on the radio. The remaining tracks were usually just as good, but although these gems would never find a place on the FM dial, they’d still become fan favorites.

Over the years, the “event” of buying and enjoying an entire album went the way of the dinosaur. Today, you’re lucky if there are even two songs from an album that are worthy of repeated listenings. But just when I thought I’d be lost in the wilderness of musical despair, along comes “Never Too Late” by Jimi Jamison.

Fresh off the heels of ‘Crossroads Moment’ and his duets album with Bobby Kimball, Jamison again proves why he’s one of the greatest voices in rock. In joining forces with writer/producer Erik Martensson, he’s given us a melodic rock treasure chest. One that’s filled with enough musical booty to fill the soul and immerse our senses in tasty hooks and melodies and reunite us once again with the voice that defined a generation.

It’s worth noting that all eleven tracks on ‘Never Too Late’ are worthy of a place in any music collection. From the opening piano intro on the track ‘Everybody’s Got A Broken Heart’, the entire album is a cacophony of sonic euphoria.

The standout for me though is the title track. With its multiple hooks and inspirational message, it’s reminiscent of many classic Survivor songs about keeping faith and finding love. A song that will certainly endure the test of time, and one that would surely blow up any arena wherever it’s performed.

On ‘The Air That I Breathe’, Jamison pours out his heart and soul about finding a complete love; even comparing his personal defenses and walls with sand. Brilliant. In ‘Heaven Call Your Name’, Jamison asks the question, Why? An emotionally haunting ballad that could easily be sung without music and still deliver the same impact.

‘Walk On (Wildest Dreams)’ closes out the album with the same power and intensity that began it all, and makes one lament why such a great collection of songs has to end. Fortunately though, 21st century digital technology makes it easy to simply press repeat rather than flipping over a piece of vinyl to Side A. I guess progress is a good thing.

In an age where talent shows give record deals out freely and careers are dictated by how many auto-tuned singles you can release at any given time, it’s rare to find an entire album that can be this darn good. ‘Never Too Late’ indeed.

For the next fifty minutes, I’d like you to conduct an experiment. Hop in your mini-van (or whatever it is we middle aged connoisseurs of real music own these days) and drive somewhere with ‘Never Too Late’ as your soundtrack; preferably through the back winding roads of your own hometown on a beautiful, crisp day. Make sure you play the album from start to finish, and don’t just listen to it; immerse yourself in it.

Do you hear it? Can you feel it?

It’s real music, and what could possibly be better than that?

Track Listing:
01. Everybody’s Got A Broken Heart
02. The Great Unknown
03. Never Too Late
04. I Can’t Turn Back
05. Street Survivor
06. The Air I Breathe
07. Not Tonight

Thanks for stopping by Jim. For Kat's review, go to...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Right Down The Line: Just A Love Song

Over the last few months, I have listened to today's song several times, and every time I hear it, I savor it even more.

Gerry Rafferty was a singer-songwriter from Scotland, who enjoyed a decent amount of fame in the late 70's. First known from the band Stealers Wheel, the group had a hit in 1972 with the song "Stuck in the Middle with You." He recorded a solo album in 1978 which produced his biggest single "Baker Street."

His songwriting was heartfelt and beautifully melodic. His singing was exactly the same. While "Baker Street" told his story of life in the business and the fame which made him so uncomfortable, today's taste is just a flat-out love song. Jerry Rafferty died in January, 2011, his battle with alcohol the main factor in his death.

Another artist who sang with his soul and lost a piece of it with every hit record.

Enjoy a few minutes of what a love song should be...lyrics from the heart combined with a melody to help convey the feelings.

"Right Down the Line"

"You know I need your love, you got that hold over me
Long as I got your love, you know that I'll never leave
When I wanted you to share my life, I had no doubt in my mind
And it's been you, woman, right down the line

I know how much I lean on you, only you can see
Changes that I've been true, have left there mark on me
You've been as constant as the northern star, the brightest light that shines
It's been you, woman, right down the line

I just wanna say this is my way of telling you everything,
I could never say before
Yeah this is my way of telling you that everyday, 
I'm loving you so much more

Cause you believed in me through my darkest night
Put something better inside of me, you brought me into the light
Threw away all those crazy dreams, I put them all behind
And it was you, woman, right down the line

I just wanna say this is my way of telling you everything, 
I could never say before
Yeah this is my way of telling you that everyday, 
I'm loving you so much more

If I should doubt myself, if I'm losing ground
I won't turn to someone else, they'd only let me down
When I wanted you to share my life, I had no doubt in my mind
And it's been you, woman, right down the line"

In this song, Rafferty writes no crazy comparisons or adjectives or claims. He wrote it all simply and matter-of-factly. When he sings it though, it feels true...just as a love song should.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Nod to Veterans, Past and Present

As I would walk into my parent's house every Veterans Day, my Dad would be sitting at the kitchen table. He would glance up at me, look into my eyes and wait.

I would return the look, raise my hand to my eyebrow, salute him and say "Happy Veterans Day, chief." We lost him nearly three months ago and the sadness I feel today is almost unbearable. He was a Navy Vet of World War II, the Seabees to be exact. While living through a time of war for any serviceman is a hard thing, for an 18 year old spending time in the jungle of New Guinea, it was an experience he treasured for his entire life. He never realized his dream to go back, maybe it was better that way.

While I didn't want to do a patriotic musical theme today, I did want to honor our Vets. Those new ones, just home from endless tours of duty, and our older generations of the military from Vietnam, Korea and World War II. And also to those who didn't serve in a conflict zone, but still gave years of their lives to our country. We thank you all.

So, in thinking about my Dad and his generation, the song I've chosen today is from that era. Originally done by the Andrew Sisters, it was later covered by the Divine Miss M many generations later.

From the 1941 Abbott and Costello movie Buck Privates, the Andrew Sisters singing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B"

Happy Veterans Day, thanks.


Friday, November 9, 2012

I Only Wanna Rock and Roll: Uh Yeah

Let's just have some fun today.

It's Friday, the weekend is here and I for one need it.

Out of Pittsburgh, today's taste has just signed with Frontiers Records and maybe that will help to get the word out. I love the video for this song, so very 80's MTV.

Play it loud.

Gene the Werewolf  "I Only Wanna Rock and Roll."

yeah, don't we all.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Little Election Day Music

Election day.

While we may not like the choices before us, either make a choice or keep your mouth shut for the next four years. And since we all know how that will turn out...just pick.  Now today, on today's Life blog if you're interested, I gave my laundry list of what I want in a President. It's very tongue-in-cheek, but there's also a lot of truth in it.

For the taste of the day, let's go back to a quick little song from the 60's

The Lovin Spoonful, 'Did you Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind"

Now, go and VOTE.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Find Fault Somewhere Else

I woke up in a pretty good mood this morning, should have known it wouldn't last.

Going through the overnight news articles, fun stuff, weird stuff...just looking for something to write about. The election is always fun, and I was going to take a day off from Sandy. Then I ran across this clip which appeared on Fox & Friends.

Sandy's Benefit Concert on NBC: Is it a concert for Obama?

In short, the "friends" over there believe since the concert was so quickly put together, and had performers who were mostly democrats, there had to be a hidden agenda into making this a pre-election rally for Obama. Ok, let me try to edit myself as I go.

First of all, dear god I am getting more pissed, anyone with half a brain would realize the sooner you ask for donations after a disaster, the more money you will receive. As time goes by, the mind automatically begins to tune out, as overload sets in. It happened with 9/11, it happened with Katrina. We have all heard the saying, strike while the iron is hot. Nowhere does it mean more than with charity. There is a finite amount of time between empathy and apathy. Life goes on and if you are not directly affected, other things become increasingly more important.

Second, in questioning where were all the conservative performers? With the exception of British born Sting, who has owned a home in NYC for years, all the other performers were from the NY/NJ area. That was the reasoning behind their involvement. And geographically speaking, the fact that both NY and NJ are traditionally blue states, is it so unusual to find the talent on the show to be more democratic leaning?

And for the life of me, I do not understand what the insert of Kanye West idiotic statement against former President Bush during the Katrina benefit, had to do with anything they were talking about.

With a major news network so slanted as to find fault in citizens doing whatever they can to help others out in a time of need, scares the hell out of me. People look to these networks for the news...which should be presented as such. Increasingly, news networks are becoming shills for whichever political party their company's editorial policy dictates.

They...are becoming the problem.

So now, a little music to go with today's rant.
A quick tune from John Mellencamp to calm me down. It also beautifully states my feeling for today.

"Peaceful World"

"Come on baby take a ride with me
I'm up from Indiana down to Tennessee
Everything is cool as can be
In a peaceful world

People know this world is a wreck
We're sick and tired of being politically correct
If I see through it now but I didn't at first
The hypocrites made it worse and worse
Lookin' down their noses at what people say
These are just words and words are okay
It's what you do and not what you say
If you're not part of the future then get out of the way"

It's what you do and not what you say. If you're not part of the future then get out of the way.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: Shelter From The Storm

This week was consumed by dealing with Hurricane Sandy. Though my life was inconvenienced by loss of power only, living through everything else has taken a toll both physically and emotionally. There were many things to take care of, many people to check on. While I've been writing on the Life blog, the Music blog had been put on the back-burner. Next week, things should be back to normal.

Today will be another quickie. This is another round of the 100-word song challenge on Lance's myblogcanbeatupyourblog. As a nod to the Hurricane and all of us dealing with the aftermath, young Lance has chosen wisely. "Shelter From The Storm," by Bob Dylan.

Here's my entry:

"As the blackened flood water rose inside her home, Lila never once thought about why she had stayed. In her mind, whether she drowned like the rat stuck in her deck railing, or swallowed the lethal cocktail she had prepared, it really didn't matter. The rat thing did make her uneasy though.

Drowning would make her death less complicated. Choosing to ride out the storm would be looked at as a bad decision, nothing more. For once in her life, her timing was impeccable.

With the icy water rushing over her, Lila smiled; hopeful she had finally found her sanctuary."

A little dark perhaps, but it's been that kind of week.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

House of Essex: Blending Musical Influences, Creating a New Sound

Learning that Maplewood, NJ had become a hotspot for music and musical talent surprised no one more than this New Jersey native. But apparently, it has. Starting with a two-day music festival called Maplewoodstock now nine years old, the township of Maplewood, located twenty miles outside of New York City, is quietly becoming a landing spot for musicians. This year’s Maplewoodstock provided the debut performance of local band House of Essex, an eclectic, vintage rock band oozing with talent and experience.

House of Essex lead vocalist, songwriter and keyboardist Tim Welch, formed the group, adding each complementary member slowly and methodically. Veteran drummer David Longworth was the first on board, bringing the experience of playing nationally and internationally with renowned artists such as Phoebe Snow, Southside Johnny and Bruce Springsteen. David also can be found playing with LaBamba and the Hubcaps. Bassist Gregory Jones involvement with top tier artists goes back to Sly & the Family Stone. With Brazilian, Cuban, Afro and Funk influences, Gregory adds his unique style with David’s in creating a first-class rhythm section. Guitarist Courtney Sappington does more than just play guitar, he creates punctuation with it. Think exclamation point. A veteran of Broadway orchestras, Courtney has also toured extensively with artists from Garland Jeffries to Bobby Womack. Lora McFarlane-Tazewell brings her R&B, Soul, Jazz and Reggae influences into the band, empowering her rich vocal range.
While each member of the House of Essex equation is a skilled, stand-alone musician, the sum of its parts is absolute magic. The band sat down for a talk about beginnings, creativity and of course…music.

Kats's Theory: You all come from various musical backgrounds with huge amounts of experience. How did you all actually meet?
David Longworth
David: I was doing a local collegiate theatre prep production, I was in the pit and Tim was the conductor. We met at a great time, hooked up and he said “Well, I was thinking, do you do drum lessons? Why don’t you come over and do a drum lesson?” So I said sure. I go over there to do one lesson and he says ”Well I have some original tunes, you want to hear them…maybe you could do the recording on some of my tunes.” I said yeah and we started getting to know each other in a different kind of way. In one of the sessions he goes “Would you know a bass player around?”Gregory is someone I’ve known for years, more professionally than anything else, and I said I’ll give him a call. Greg came over and the three of us for six months every Thursday from 10-12, we got together working out tunes. I mean religiously. And it ain’t about money or anything else, we didn’t even know if we were gonna gig or anything like that. We just really enjoyed each other’s company, musically speaking and personally. We started to form a sort of bond and some of the songs on the CD were from the original trio thing.

Tim plays everything: the guitar, piano, keyboards. We started to think we really had something going here, if we wanted to play live, how are we gonna recreate all the stuff that he (Tim) does? That’s when we started thinking about guitar players. Courtney is somebody I’ve known for decades at gigs, and Gregory has known him too, and they're all Maplewood (NJ) people.

Kat’s Theory: And Lora, when did you come into the group?
Lora McFarlane-Tazewell
Lora: Tim is my vocal coach and I started working with him, I think it’s going on two years. I was working on getting back into singing and I was prepping for a special recording project. It was like a godsend to be able to work with him. Then he started working on this project and asked me if I’d like to be a part of it, because he knew that I really wanted to sing with a band.

Kat’s Theory: House of Essex bills itself as an eclectic, vintage rock band, which I think is pretty accurate. Tell me how you ended up going in that direction. 
Tim: You know it’s funny, our first gig out, we played 15 songs I think, all originals. Now our library of 17 or 18 songs are even more diverse than what we play in our 6 or 7 song set. The songs all came over a time period of maybe five years of writing. They were never necessarily ready for any purpose other than I have a creative idea. I’d be inspired by an artist and write a song

Tim Welch
Then it became a matter with the group, it was sort of “let’s try out these songs” and they really became more of a skeleton, or a template around which this sound that we have now kind of happened. Courtney’s addition was really a huge sonic change to the music. He brings a very specific, unique to his own playing, sort of style of guitar playing that added a thumbprint to the sound. And Gregory has a distinct style of playing; it’s not always straight rock, it’s not always jazz, not always Motown, it’s a real hybrid type of thing. So the songs that were all scattered in the beginning, were thrown into this fusion of whatever harmonic and sonic things that were happening with us getting together. So the sound hasn’t really been a formulated or calculated “let’s go this or that route” per se, because I’ll write a song and drop it into the machine, and out comes whatever House of Essex sounds like now. It becomes its own thing.

Kat’s Theory: "Right to Love You," I love the heavy keys at the beginning, then Courtney comes in with the accent of the guitar. As opposed to most rock songs, with the heavy guitar and the keys come in as an afterthought. Is that a trial and error kind of thing, or just absolute genius on your part?
Courtney: Oh, it’s just trial and error. It’s just accident really. It just comes out. I hope it just sounds good.
Tim: We’re still changing things all the time and it’s very much feeling it out. We’re interjecting ideas all the time. We just changed “Learn From You.” Lora’s going to sing the second half of the verses now, as opposed to me singing all of the verses. We just did that about 20 minutes ago before you called and it was like “that’s kind of perfect.” So it’s very organic.

Courtney Sappington
David: And then we’re trying to find the right key to make the vocals and the song fit and feel the best, so it’s all part and parcel. But I think the overall thing, is there’s an element of trust here that’s a rare kind of quality that allows you to go out on a ledge and still feel like there’s always a safety net around you. It’s because people are going to take your ideas seriously, give their best effort and let the chips fall where they may. And if it sounds good, it sounds good. But we’re really getting to the point where we are really trusting each other along the way. I think that’s one of the essential ingredients to this kind of thing. 

Kat's Theory: Now do you think that it’s coming from the fact that you guys are not kids and have been around the block, or is it that you think you have the exact right group right now?
Lora: A Combination
David: Yeah a combination that’s extremely rare. I can get in the room with four or five other men and women who I might know really well, but we might just not find that kind of quality. It really is almost an unspoken thing. To find it, it’s a really rare quality.

Kat’s Theory: Either during the recording process or in rehearsal, what was that moment like when you looked at each other and said “Yeah, this works. This is gonna be good”
Tim: It was in the beginning, we had a good time playing, getting together and experimenting on things, but I don’t think it was until we actually heard the first rough mix of “Right to Love You.” And we were like “Holy Cow, this kind of sounds cool.” I think maybe that was the moment when we thought maybe we had created something cool.
David: The three of us (Tim, David, Gregory) were all kind of reacting the same kind of way

Kat’s Theory: Tim, how do you do this? You have vocal studios, you teach, you have three bands in progress, you are trying to get a cabaret act going with your wife Elizabeth, and you have a life. How is this even possible?
Tim: I’m not a big fan of sleep and I love coffee. First of all, I have an extremely understanding and supportive wife, that I am happily married to, and she really supports my music projects a lot. As far as my creative time, she’s on Broadway, so she working in the evenings and my daughter goes down about quarter to nine or so. Then until she (Elizabeth) gets home around 11:30, that is a very sort of protected time for me. That’s my creative time: mixing songs, recording, writing music. I also have some time during the day. It’s all a juggling thing I guess like it is with all of us. You’re balancing spending enough time with the family, enough time on this project, that project. It’s the same that we’re all doing. I just drink a lot of coffee.

Kat’s Theory: Gregory, Your bio mentions Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Jazz and Funk among your strengths. I can't think of any better influences for a bassist. Did you naturally drift into those genres or was it a case of being handed an opportunity?
Gregory: In the case of jazz, I grew up in Boston at a time when jazz was everywhere, and very accessible. Funk, and Soul, was the music we all heard on the radio, as well as more sophisticated bands like Steely Dan, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, and the like were played on college radio.

Gregory Jones
Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, African, and various other world music, was the result of being a little familiar with latin jazz through some of my favorite players like Anthony Jackson with Michel Camilo. I could fake it a bit! I got a call to do a last minute restaurant gig with a brother and sister group, Cidinho and Vera Mara Texeira, and drummer Vanderlei Pereira. All from Brazil. I was a really strong sight reader, and could groove. They offered me steady weekends, and proceeded to school me on the vast music of Brazil mixed with their jazz approach. That led to working with bands from Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, West Africa, South Africa, Parisian-Afro scene. It's a lifelong study, as each country, and region have their own rhythms-just the individual islands in the Caribbean alone, one could spend years absorbing. It has also given me a deeper appreciation of our own music, such as soul, rock, and jazz

Kat’s Theory: Courtney, You've done a lot of work in Broadway orchestras, and also touring with some very well known artists. I would think it's a lot easier to have a normal life playing on Broadway but it's probably more fun to be on the road. Other than the economic factor, what would make you choose one over the other?
Courtney: Many factors come into play. The economic factor is very important, but so is the fun factor, the quality of the music, the travel conditions when on the road, the company, etc. And of course, once you have a family, it can be hard to leave home for extended periods.

Kat’s Theory: David, playing drums behind Ben E. King, The Shirelles, Southside and playing at the New Jersey Hall of Fame (NJHOF). Was that two different years you played at that event?
David: They started that four years ago and I’ve been in the pit band there every year. Originally I played with LaBamba & the Hubcaps since 1982. And though they were still located in New York when we did the first year at the NJHOF, now of course they are located in California. But he’s come back each year to do those, and I will still fly somewhere….to do a Hubcaps gig. It’s a great little gig for us to do, it’s a solid packed weekend and we always get to play with some nice people. And to play at that performance center (New Jersey Performing Arts Center) is really beautiful.

Kat’s Theory: Now do you go into it with a different mindset when you’re playing with somebody like Phoebe Snow?
David: Well, I played with her and had done international touring with her before and she was a Jersey girl. Everyone in the band has known her and done some stuff with her, so that was easy.
I will tell you a very funny story about the NJHOF. It was in 2011 and it was all politicians, scientists, doctors and athletes. It’s the governor, Woody Johnson and it’s just to create some publicity for New Jersey, so to speak. They had Susan Sarandon, Jack Nicholson, Yogi Berra, I mean all these famous New Jersey people bought into the concept. So they’re given some sort of award and they have some other famous people introducing them… that maybe have a relationship with them. We start to rehearse during the week because there’s always a special guest,  And Southside was a guest in 2011.

It’s a long day, lots of rehearsing. So we do the show and we’re at the last three minutes of a two-hour show. “We’re Having A Party” with Southside Johnny, and the producer of the whole event is standing in the wings and Joe Piscopo is standing with him…with a pair of drumsticks in his hand. We’re in the last song, the last part of the last song, and the two of them come over to the drum riser and he points to me “Joe sits in.” I’m like“You’re kidding right.” But I didn’t have a choice. All the guests were on stage, like sixty people on stage and so I sort of move over on the drums. So Joe comes up and sits down and I take literally a step and a half and I’m going “Oh my god, he can’t play drums.” He can’t play and we’re in the encore.

It was like a tidal wave from the back of the bandstand through to the front. The groove is destroyed. Joe Piscopo cannot play and I’m pissed and upset all at the same time. So really quickly this tidal wave hits the front of the stage and Southside turns around like “What the fuck?” And it really messed him up, and the gig had gone great. His songs beforehand were great. So he throws the mic down, storms off the stage and there he practically runs into me. We are standing about two inches from each other and he’s spitting at me “How could you fucking do that to me? What the fuck did you let him go up on stage?” “Don’t be yelling at me, I had no choice.” I mean we’re like face to face spitting at each other. And I did eight years with Southside, I know him. So he leaves and the show sort of just collapses at that point in time. We made up, it was fine and everything like that, but to me it’s just another Southside story.

Kat’s Theory: Lora, You step out in the front for “Bright Lights.” Great vocal. How did you approach that vocal and did you have to fight Tim to get the lead on it?

Lora: Actually Tim wrote that for me. Being the amazing vocal coach that he is, he created a song that he thought really complimented my vocal register and helped take me out of my shell a little bit. He really had me in mind with that song and said Lora “I have this idea, can you come over and hear it?” And we went through it maybe five or ten minutes and it was so natural. It was a natural fit. Before I had even performed it or recorded it, it felt like it was so much a part of me. So that’s a very special song.

Kat’s Theory: “To The Bone” You have this big wall of sound that comes at you and it’s just fabulous. How did you come up with huge tidal wave of sound to start it out with?

Tim: Well, as we’re playing out live more, we’re starting to get a feel for how we want to interact with the audiences and what sort of energy to bring. When we did our first gig, our library of songs, maybe half of them are mid tempo, some of them are ballads, bluesy…very much not this kind of raucous, wild, in your face live energy six song, half hour set. Our whole library of music is much wider ranging. Real diverse. So sometimes it feels we need, in a six or seven song set, to bring a little more energy, more punch. Because in the sort of in-and-out half hour set, sometimes the slower songs feel like they dip the energy too much. When “To The Bone” came out, it was like "let’s do something raucous, a little dirty, a little sort of wild" and think of a great opener. That was how that idea started and then the whole lyrical content really came more from the chord progression. Usually the lyrics always come second for me. The chords come and I’ll get the energy of the song.

Kat's Theory: You don’t seem to get writer’s block…
Tim: See, the trick to not having writers block, in my opinion is, to in any moment write a crappy song. And be ok with it. Just don’t stop. I just don’t stop. I try to be very careful at what stage I edit. I’m a big believer in complete, unjudged brain-dumping, look at what comes out and sort of move it around. Turning off that editor for a large part of the initial creation of a song. I haven’t had that (writer’s block) in a while

Kat's Theory: What does the future hold in store for House of Essex?
Tim: We’re just gonna keep playing and trying to reach people that would connect to our music.
David: We’ll see how it goes. There’s going to be bumping and bruising along the way. I mean the gigs we’re doing right now, we just sort of throw ourselves up on stage. At the level we’re at, there’s no sound check or nothing. Just going up and hittin’ and quittin’ and that’s just part of the process. So it’s all good. I know we’re just all excited about keeping our momentum moving forward.

Follow House of Essex:

Twitter @HouseofEssex1

Article first published as House of Essex: Blending Musical Influences, Creating a New Sound on Technorati.