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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Colors Of The Day: Blue On Black

More proof of the great musical talent found in the south.  Louisiana guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd has been ranked by Guitar World as the number three guitarist, right behind B.B and Clapton.  Nice company to hang with.  While the taste today was indeed a number one hit, it's just so damn good...why not.

This selected video is a bare-bones version of  "Blue on Black" with just Kenny and Noah Hunt playing guitar and Noah as usual singing lead. Pure, simple and perfect.

So smooth, so tasty.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Long Time... No, Short And Sweet

Recently, I’ve started reading the newsletter by music analyst Bob Lefsetz.  He gets it, I swear he does.  In addition to great music insights, he can explain complicated issues in a way that is both understandable and relevant.  He also bares his soul in a way that at times, has me re-reading a sentence or three…over and over.

A recent post called Rhinofy-Keith Urban, gave a great analysis of some songs by the country artist.  Since Keith Urban has never topped my playlist, I thought I’d give it a taste.  While I still don’t think I’ll be following the singer on twitter, Lefsetz was correct on several points.  Bottom line: Keith Urban puts out some kick-ass music…great guitar work with some plain old good rockin’, and if you watch some of the videos…he’s kinda easy on the eyes.

But the most interesting part of the post was how he related the songs to his personal history.  Never have I known a man to so fully dissect the ending of a relationship, the different ways men and women cope with it, and describe how keeping an open mind to new love is still worth the risk.  Amazingly, he conveys all these things in just a few sentences.  Such an outpouring of raw emotions has made me curious and determined to explore the man versus woman version of crawling from the wreckage.  Sometime soon on Kat's Theory of Life, we will do just that.

“I’ve got wounds that never heal
But I’m beginning to think that maybe they will.”

So, in keeping with that theme, today’s lick is a song about wanting to give it “one more try”..even though the broken heart has not yet recovered. 

“Never thought, never thought I’d see the day
Ooh girl, you take my breath away.”

“Long Time” is not “Layla.”…it doesn’t need to be.  Simple and to the point, it’s an easy listen with some poignant lyrics.  The band is “One Man’s Trash,” featuring Jimi Jamison and Fred Zahl.  This video was recorded New Year's Eve at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

A Monday morning treat...tasty as that first cup of coffee.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Killing the Blues: Live and Breathtaking

A quick revisit today.  Couple of days ago, in a post titled "Rock It Or Roll It: Taste Both,"  I wrote about how a different arrangement can change everything about a song.  One of the tastes that day was Robert Plant and Alison Krauss singing "Black Dog."

Because the duet of Plant and Krauss is just so damn great, today's flavor is another collaboration of the two.  If you can, hook up the HDMI cable and play this through the best speakers you have.  Or headphones do a good job as well.

"Killing the Blues," live...just breathe in the effortless harmony and the singing from the soul.  Now think about what you hear on radio today.  Something like this you will never hear...and you really should.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Letting It Loose: Melissa Etheridge

"Go on and close your eyes, go on imagine me there
She's got similar features with longer hair
And if that's what it takes to get you through
Go on and close your eyes, it shouldn't bother you."


That is the first thing I ever heard Melissa Etheridge sing.  I don't know if I was more excited by the lyrics or that voice.  The power and the pure rawness of the vocal absolutely knocked me out.

"Now you keep running down the road in your midnight state of mind,
Curiosity kills if you can't read the signs."

Seeing her live is seeing energy unleashed.  Today's taste is "Similar Features" from 1988 CD Melissa Etheridge.

Somebody bring me some water.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rock It or Roll It: Taste Both

Arrangements...they can make a song speak softly or come at you full balls on.  Today we taste one song with vastly different flavors.  Up first, let's visit Led Zeppelin doing "Black Dog"...Robert Plant young, shirtless, very tasty...Jimmy on fire with those familiar riffs.

Doing a complete turnaround...many, many years later, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss starting out acoustically with  "Black Dog", then bringing in a little electric.  Vocally, I think the acoustic version though not as intense, is a sexier, sweeter version.

Now, for an daily listen, I would still go with Zep, but it sure shows how far musical vision can take a tune.

Snack on both.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Roll Me Away: So High

Feeling like something a bit lighter today.
Here's just an infectious rock song by Dave Mason. "So High,"  gives you everything you need...great beat, a chorus you have to sing along with, and a firm vision of the promise of a great first night... all in 4 minutes.

"Tellin' you darlin' we can do it in style
My imagination is drivin' me wild
'Cause the things that you're sayin'
Cuttin' right through me
Way that you're swayin'
Is gonna undo me and I'm...So High"

Dave Mason, originally of Traffic and famous for "Feeling Alright," also had a nice hit with "We Just Disagree." Love those songs, but when I need to get happy fast...I'm going with "So High."

Keep on rockin' me baby.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When Your World Seems Cold, Gotta Let Your Spirit Take Control

Sometimes a lunch is just a lunch.  Sometimes it's a chance to reconnect to times long ago.  If you've had a lunch filled with bittersweet memories, time to let your soul shine.

"It's better than sunshine,
Better than moonshine,
Damn sure better than rain."

A good thought or happy memory can push out the sad ones. Music goes one step farther.  Settle into "Soulshine" by the Allman Brothers, recorded live at the Beacon Theatre NYC in 2003.

Souls fly away, memories live on.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rock Til You Drop: Bruce Is Back

You can take the girl out of Jersey, but you can't take Jersey out of the girl.  Bruce 2012, first leg of the tour...and he's coming home.  That's what I'm talkin' about.

Now, as I've gotten older, I've been told perhaps I'm getting a little long in the tooth for all this rock & roll stuff.   Sorry, just got a new pair of dancin' boots and the foot is still tapping...I ain't dead baby.

So today, in anticipation of Bruce, I give you my own personal national anthem, "I'm A Rocker." from Madison Square Garden 2009.

"I'm a rocker, baby, I'm a rocker - every day
I'm a rocker, baby, I'm a rocker"

No surrender.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sizzlin' Blues on a Cold Day

Rainy, cold day.  Perfect for some hot blues.  When it comes to the blues..there ain't nothin' I don't like. One thing I've always enjoyed about the Blues is it doesn't matter if it's old stuff or new, Memphis, New Orleans, Mississippi, or's all tasty.

I can just put on a blues station and listen all day...not knowing who the artist is, just enjoying the style and flavor of each song.  Spent this weekend discovering an American blues singer/guitarist named Tommy Castro. I gotta tell you, these are some mighty fine dishes being served up here. As a winner of the BB King Entertainer of the Year Award, Contemporary Blues Artist & Album of the Year, TC has proven he got the goods.

Today's taste is "Sho Enough"...I can't get enough of this tune. And you know what I say... If your feet ain't tappin' you're dead."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Giants-49ers: Bring It On  I used to follow football a lot more than I have lately, but today I will be sitting around screamin' at the TV just like all the rest of the Giants fans.  Truth be told, I'm on Spring Training watch...guys just look so much better in baseball uniforms rather than the whole shoulder pad, shin guard thing.  The tight football pants do get my attention from time to time though.  Sorry, lost my thoughts for a second.

You would think the taste of the day would be some type of macho fight song...sorry, no testosterone here.  Instead we will go with just a title and a great song.  From Crosby, Stills & Nash, "49 Bye-Byes" in 49ers BYE BYE.  It's a stretch, but go with it.  CSN live were either on or they weren't, so for this taste we can just use the original album audio track.

Go Big Blue.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Etta: Free..At Last

It seems God needed another blues singer to help out the rest of the incredible choir playing up there, right beside him.  Etta has 'at last' been freed from the suffering she so long endured.

While this blog offered tribute to her in December, in a post titled "Etta James: Let Her Touch Your Heart.", a friend gave me some attitude this morning about not giving her another shout out. And he was right...damn, it hurt to say that.

While another Etta taste is always enjoyable, instead I offer my tribute to her.  A slice of the blues from Elmore James singing what I feel..."The Sky Is Crying."

Easy journey Etta.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Going Off The Rails

Thirty years ago today, someone in Des Moines, Iowa threw a live bat onto the stage, and in what would become rock legend, Ozzy Osbourne bit off its head.  I'm sure most of us would have reacted differently, but that was just Ozzy being Ozzy.

How can you not pay homage to that?

Today I give you the Price of Darkness along with the late guitarist Randy Rhoads doing what else..."Crazy Train."

I've heard that bats taste like chicken.  IEEEE.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Choosing A Role Model: It Explains So Much

Growing up, most of my friends wanted to be teachers or nurses... I wanted to be Grace Slick.

The first time I heard "Somebody to Love," I was 'all in.'  My first term paper in high school was about Jefferson Airplane.  It was a subject I knew and I figured if I copied a bit here or there, my English teacher was seriously not going to read a book about a drug  and sex promoting, foul-mouth LOUD rock band.  Apparently I was right, I got an A.

Back then we had Janis and Grace.  While I also loved Joplin...the depth of her singing could only offer a small glimpse into the tragedy of her was Grace who was my role model.  That accounts for so much about me...I can't even begin to tell you.

While Janis seemed so fragile, Grace had the attitude and the vocal chops to back it up.  She was also the first woman to ever scream "MotherF$#^&R" on a record.  If you've ever heard my mouth, the whole role model thing should clarify that.

While she was great singing lead, I always thought she was at her strongest singing behind Marty vocal licks.  Other than "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love", there aren't a lot of great videos for the early Airplane shows.  So today's live lick comes from 1969...Woodstock and a very stoned Marty & Grace singing "Volunteers."

Added treat today is a really nice live audio version of "It's No Secret," from the "Bless Its Pointed Little Head" album.

 Inhale deeply.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It Was 48 Years Ago Today...

On January 18th 1964...yes I was alive back then, The Beatles made their debut on the U.S. record charts when 'I Want To Hold Your Hand" entered the chart at No. 45, just 10 days after its release.  It became the fastest-selling single in the history of Capitol Records, and held the No. 1 spot for 7 weeks.

Another Beatles song you ask...hell yes.  "Help" was always one of my favorite albums and today's treat "I've Just Seen A Face," is as good as it gets for fun pop.

No one alive in the U.S. knew on January 17, the next day music would change...forever.  I couldn't get enough then and still can't even today.

Let this one tickle your palate.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My First Time: Glad

Back in the 80's, I bought my first CD player.  While most music purists bitched that the sound was not as clean as albums, I didn't care.  No more using a record player with a damn stylus.  Never being one of those zealots who had their record collection in pristine condition, I was perfectly happy to take a CD out of its case,  plop it into the drawer, hit close and then play.  No scratches, no clicks, no hissing...just music.  Does it sound the, but for me it was good enough.

What I do miss about the extinction of the record album is the artwork.  From the 60's to the mid-80's, the industry that was cover art, was alive and kicking.  If you knew the artist who did the cover without looking at the credits, there was a sense of being an insider...part of an underground community.

Today, CDs are rapidly going the way of the dinosaur.  Downloads of individual songs are quickly replacing buying entire albums.  Except for an occasional one-hit wonder that entertains me, I still feel the need to pick up a full CD.  I always like to taste just what the musician had in mind when it was recorded.  Some songs you might like immediately, while some take a few listens to enjoy.  While I like instant gratification as much as the next person, there's something to be said for savoring a new lyric or melody...appreciating it more each time.

So, today's tasty treat is the first song of the first CD I ever bought. "Glad" by Traffic, off the John Barleycorn Must Die CD.  I could not wait to get home and hear Steve Winwood pounding on the piano...bring up the sax and whack on that fine.

Feast on it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Civil Rights Movement: The Times Were A Changin'

“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say”...Martin Luther King Jr.

The time of the civil rights movement was also the time of Vietnam war protests.  A lot of the music from that time was interchangeable between the two, in the ideas put forth.

In "Blowin' in the Wind," Bob Dylan wrote "How many years can some people exist before they're allowed to be free. How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see."  The song also contains the line "How many times must the cannonballs fly, before they're forever banned."  

A song that was sung on the steps of the Washington Monument along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., perhaps one of the greatest songs ever written...listen to "Blowin' in the Wind" performed by Peter, Paul & Mary.

For a personal view of a moment from the civil rights movement era, read "Martin Luther King Jr.: Defining a Life" on Kat's Theory of Life.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fine Music, It Can Be Anywhere: Allegria

Sometimes a wonderful taste of music can be found in an unexpected place.  Today's sample comes from Cirque du Soleil's Allegria.  Francesca Gagnon offers a remarkable vocal which, even though most of the song is not in English, transcends all else to take your senses to another level.


Savor it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Voice of a Generation: Lady Gaga

Say what you will about Lady Gaga...the woman might just be the talent to define her era.  While not a fan of the whole performance artist thing...go beyond the costumes, hair, make-up...definitely keep the attitude, and then you have the voice.

Even "back in the day" various artists like Kiss, Twisted Sister, David Bowie and Madonna, re-invented themselves to stand out from the crowd.  Lady Gaga takes it to a new level.  In this wasteland that is music today, I kind of wish her great stuff would have been heard without all the distraction.

Case in point.  Listen to this clip of a live performance of  "The Edge of Glory" on the Howard Stern show.  The power of this vocal is just breathtaking.  Drink it in.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where Has The Music Gone?

The purpose of this blog is to "shine a little light on some damn fine music."  It seems that even the younger generations are looking for some fine music as well.

Reading an article on yahoo this morning, college student Anthony Catassi laments about the vast wasteland that is indeed the state of the music industry today.

In his article "Where Has The Music Gone," Anthony agonizes over what songs will define his generation.  I say that's a great question.   In a comment I posted, I tell him to let the voice of his generation be heard...that's the only way to change it.

For a taste of true musicianship, let's sample "Take A Pebble" by Emerson, Lake & Palmer.  A simply beautiful melody enhanced by the pure vocal of Greg Lake, the understated percussion of Carl Palmer and the genius of Keith Emerson on keyboards.  For those who have never seen him play an organ backwards, or infuse classical music into rock, I suggest you enjoy this lick, then check out "Nutrocker."

It's called learning how to play an instrument..and showing it off.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Clarence Clemons: Celebrating the Big Man

A second taste today.

Being a Jersey girl, today we must celebrate The Big Man.  Clarence Clemons would have turned 70 today.  His passing last June leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of E Street Band fans everywhere.  We await this year's Springsteen tour with anticipation, mixed with of touch of the bittersweet.

This clip from 2001 features not only Clarence on sax, but also the late Danny Federici on keyboards.  Live from New York, an incredible performance of  "Jungleland."

Rest in Peace Big Man.

Stop the Bus...a Taste of Grace

"you are the rock on the river bed, growing smoother every year."

Slow and soulful...kick into high gear.  Grace Potter does things with a style & voice both unique and extremely satisfying.  Step out from behind the Hammond B3 and strap on the Flying V, Grace always makes it interesting.  Hailing from Vermont, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have been playing original songs as well as some outstanding covers for almost ten years.

Take a listen to "Stop the Bus".  

Interested parties might want to check out the band on Episode 45 of Live from Daryl's House webcast,  always a great monthly show from Daryl Hall.  It features great music, behind the scenes talk and a fine meal.

Tasty all around.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rock Meets Classic...Smokin'

Wake up this morning to one outstanding blend of classical musicianship and classic rock.  On tour in Europe right now, is the Rock Meets Classic Tour which combines some of classic rock's most powerful vocalists, the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra and the Matt Sinner Band.

This tasty cut features Ian Gillan leading off on the Deep Purple Classic "Smoke on the Water" and trading lead vocals with Robin Beck, Jimi Jamison (Survivor). Steve Lukather (Toto), and Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann's Earth Band).  Not the greatest video and the sound could be stronger, but still a satisfying blend of master vocalists and master musicians.

If you're foot ain't you're dead.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Battling at the Roadhouse

"Goin' to the roadhouse, gonna have a real...good time".  And we did.

The only thing missing was the cigarette smoke...otherwise the roadhouse ambiance is the same as ever.   Experiencing a Battle of the Bands today hasn't changed much from years back, only the music itself evolves from one generation to the next.

Diversity between bands produces a mixed bag of an audience.  From friends of the bands, to their parents to a few 'just listening to the sounds' types...Round 1 in this particular battle produced the full variety of interested parties.  All there for one communal experience...loud, live rockin' music.  Sometimes life is better than good.

Low ceilings, noisy, crowded... the type of place where you look to see where the nearest exit can be found...just in case.  Not the place for a first date, conversation is out of the question.  Just a place where you can judge just how alive you are.  If your foot ain't you're dead.

Not sure how the band I went to see did in the voting...not really the point.  They will have highs and lows, and success or not, last night they made the rockin' world go round.

No tasty samples today...just a memory to share.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Something About January...Rockin' Live on Sunday

New live licks today.   New Jersey based up and coming band Something About January, with "The Story."

If you're in the Northwest corner of Jersey Sunday night, they will be performing at the Live Nation "The Break Contest"  at the Stanhope House.

Full disclosure:  Whence I rocked it on a much more frequent basis than I do co-rocker at the time is the still-rockin' mom of drummer extraordinaire Mike L.  There's still hope for the next generation.  rock on...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Changed up the design here too.  Looking for a little uniformity between blogs.

I feel fine...listen and you will too

One note of bass, bring in the begins "I Feel Fine" by The Beatles.  Loved that beginning from the first time I heard it.  As my first true musical influence (am I really that old...indeed  I am) The Beatles induced an internal joy rarely matched by other things in life...yes, music.

In January 1965, "I Feel Fine" was Number 1 on the Billboard chart.  While not their most influential, important or celebrated song, it is just a refreshing delight.  Enjoy the taste.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thanks Sam...It Wouldn't Have Been The Same Without You

Happy Birthday Sam Phillips...hope wherever you are, you will be "Moanin' at Midnight."  Never heard of Sam?  How about Elvis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike Turner, Howlin Wolf or BB King?  Sam founded Sun Records in Memphis and was responsible for the career starts of all those artists, as well as many more.  Blues, rock-a-billy, rock and country  were all enriched because of the vision of Sam Phillips.

While a tune from Elvis might be expected, instead let's have a taste of Howlin Wolf doing "Shake It For Me" from 1964.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Music Royalty...I Give You The Queen

Twenty-five years ago today, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted its first woman.  While I have a major problem with the R&R HOF nearly every year, there can be no argument with the first woman...Aretha.

The Queen...seen here at the 25th Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concert.  "Baby I Love You."

As for the R&R HOF, tackled that on the Kat's Theory of Life blog.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Some First-Class Food, Mighty Fine Music...Then Golden Slumbers

A celebratory dinner by definition requires the proper musical background.  Such was my quandry for New Year's Eve.  Depending on my mood, the options are limitless.  We first tried a little classical guitar by Segovia, but somehow it didn't fit with the lobsters, and the definite elation provided by the alcohol of your choice.

Instead, pulled out a little "Abbey Road"...and if I need to tell you who did Abbey Road...sorry it's just inconceivable to me.  Google it and come back enlightened.  If you really haven't listened to the entire album lately or ever...again inconceivable to me, click on the above link to experience an album so diverse...if you took every song on its own, you could never believe they "come together" so perfectly as a whole.

As a side note, after dinner, we threw on the "Doobie Brothers - Live at Wolf Trap" DVD, from which a previous blog referenced the kick-ass version of "Long Train Runnin."  Gotta say, the whole concert was smokin'.  Definitely was one great show to have seen.  Sure worth a look-see if you have a chance.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Toking With Lawrence Welk: The World IS Really Gonna End

New year and still can't figure out how the brain cells actually function.  This morning, somehow the conversation wandered (don't ask) to an old Brewer & Shipley Song, "One Toke Over the Line."  The video I pulled up began with a chat about Spiro Agnew, the vice-president at the time,  followed with the fact that the song had been performed on the Lawrence Welk Show!!!!!  Apparently they thought it was a spiritual song because of the references to Jesus & Mary.

"One toke over the line sweet Jesus, one toke over the line,
sittin' downtown in a railroad station one toke over the line.
Waitin' for the train to come home sweet Mary, hopin' that the train is on time.
Sittin' downtown in a railroad station, one toke over the line.

OK.  Wasn't there anyone at the Lawrence Welk Show to explain that the only spirituallity of the song comes from inhaling deeply?  Or did someone mislead poor Lawrence into featuring an ode to pot, under the guise of religion.   Whatever it is quite funny.

Watch the original Brewer & Shipley version, then just for shits & giggles click on the Lawrence Welk Show version.

Smoke it if you've got it.