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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Slide on Down with Ry Cooder

Time to feature a little guitar work, specifically a little slide guitar. Today we have a few tastes from The Slide Man...

Mr. Ry Cooder began his career playing with the likes of Taj Mahal, Randy Newman and a band you might have heard of ...The Rolling Stones.  The slide guitar on "Sister Morphine," yeah that's Ry. He has written soundtracks, produced, recorded his own albums and been a studio musician for...well everybody.

His music has transcended all genres. Pulling influences from American roots, soul and gospel...over the years his music has had more global influences. African, Indian and Cuban rhythms can be felt in his music. And throughout, you have the guitar...usually playing slide.

Just some delicious work.

"Crazy About An Automobile" the man says, it's a car song
"Smack Dab in the Middle" slide, just a whole lotta fun
"Jesus on the Mainline" there's some sweet sliding
"Maria Elena" ...stay with this to enjoy the wonderful accordion and trombone
"Just a Little Bit" ...sitting in with some friends

No slip sliding here...just some sweet guitar.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Please Forgive Me...Just One Song Today

There is no denying Bryan Adams can write/co-write/sing a great love song. And the ballads..."Heaven," "Everything I Do," "Do I Have To Say The Words," all beautiful, each an anthem to love.

Today we are going to taste one in particular, my favorite ballad by Bryan Adams..."Please Forgive Me."

In an interview with Carl Wiser on Songfacts, Adams said this about the song:

"We needed a song for the greatest hits album, which was entitled "So Far So Good." Mutt Lange came up with the idea for the song and we wrote it while working in France in 1993. it was the first time we had recorded with a whole band in the studio, some of the musicians I'd never worked with before like David Paich on piano. Before this band session, we had recorded the album "Waking Up The Neighbours" instrument by instrument. It was good to be back with a band.

Yes it was one of the first songs I agreed to use a modulation in as I never liked modulations in songs unless you were modulating from verse to chorus like I did on "One Night Love Affair." I don't do the modulation in "Please Forgive Me" when I sing it live."

Take a listen and read the lyrics...

"Please Forgive Me", the song starts by looking back...
"It still feels like our first night together
Feels like the first kiss
It's getting better baby
No one can better this
Still holding on
You're still the one
First time our eyes met
Same feeling I get
Only feels much stronger
I want to love you longer
You still turn the fire on"

A strong chorus starting with reassurance and moving into the real guts of the message.
"So if you're feeling lonely, don't
You're the only one I'll ever want
I only want to make it good
So if I love you, a little more than I should
Please forgive me, I know not what I do
Please forgive me, I can't stop loving you
Don't deny me, this pain I'm going through
Please forgive me, if I need you like I do
Please believe me, every word I say is true
Please forgive me, I can't stop loving you"

Second verse starts with re-enforcing the feelings..

"Still feels like our best times are together
Feels like the first touch
We're still getting closer baby
Can't get close enough
Still holding on
You're still number one"

And here's where it gets real...

"I remember the smell of your skin
I remember everything
I remember all your moves
I remember you yeah
I remember the nights, you know I still do"

I remember the smell of your skin...just the thought of a man thinking back and whispering that line to a woman, well it just knocks my socks off. Seven words with incredible impact.

"So if you're feeling lonely, don't
You're the only one I'll ever want
I only want to make it good
So if I love you a little more than I should

Please forgive me, I know not what I do
Please forgive me, I can't stop loving you
Don't deny me, this pain I'm going through
Please forgive me, if I need you like I do
Please believe me, every word I say is true
Please forgive me, I can't stop loving you"


"The one thing I'm sure of
Is the way we make love
The one thing I depend on
Is for us to stay strong
With every word and every breath I'm praying
That's why I'm saying,

Please forgive me, I know not what I do
Please forgive me, I can't stop loving you
Don't deny me, this pain I'm going through
Please forgive me, if I need you like I do
Babe believe it, every word I say is true
Please forgive me, if I can't stop loving you
No, believe me, I don't know what I do
Please forgive me, I can't stop loving you"

Please forgive me, I can't stop loving you...It's hard to find fault in that line, in that feeling, or in the song. Beautifully written, beautifully sung. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

An Easy Ride Today...Just A Little Traffic

Forty-five years ago today, one of rock's most interesting, talented and influential bands made their first live appearance. On September 24, 1967, Traffic played at the Saville Theatre in London.

Traffic was not one of those 3-minute wonder British bands. Their music was diverse, complicated and full of surprises...both melodically and lyrically. Chris Wood, Jim Capaldi, Dave Mason and Steve Winwood...not a bad lineup, don't you agree? Over the years, the line-up changed, but the core four created a legacy which still stands the test of time.

A few tastes today...a bite from a few different albums.

From their first album Mr. Fantasy, reflecting the sound of the time...heavy organ and of course, some cowbell.... "Coloured Rain." 

Off the 1967 release Traffic... "Pearly Queen"

From John Barleycorn Must Die, "Empty Pages"

Low Spark of High Heeled Boys has so many choices, but love Capaldi doing "Light Up or Leave Me Alone."

Ending it off with a little something from Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory. Never afraid to throw in an instrumental, "Tragic Magic" is mesmerizing.

We've lost both Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood, way too young, Finding joy in their music all these years later gives testimony to their talent and vision.

Savor each little trip, with Traffic...the joy most definitely is in the ride.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shemekia Copeland: Rockin' the Blues

While I have featured several blues artists before, most have centered on the songs, guitar work or general sound of the band. Once in a while I like to focus on a vocalist; that's what we're going to do today. A true blues vocalist.

Shemekia Copeland is a second generation blues artist out of New York City. At the age of 8, Shemekia was brought onto the stage of the famed Cotton Club by her father, legendary blues guitarist Johnny Copeland. At 19, her first album Turn Up The Heat was released, and she has never looked back.

She's opened for the Stones, headlined Blues Festivals, shared the stage with everyone from Clapton to Buddy Guy and been certified fabulous from critics all over the world.

She has a great body of work to choose from, but today we will taste a few tracks from her third album, The Soul Truth. Released in 2005, it was produced by Steve Cropper of Stax Records fame. It's so pumped up and full of passion, with the true soul of Memphis blues... totally worth more than a one song sample.

"Who Stole My Radio" ...asking where did the good music go, well it's right here
"Better Not Touch" ...great horns arrangement, such a strong vocal
"All About You" ...feeling the Memphis blues

And just a couple of live tastes, not from The Soul Truth, but worth hearing.

"Beat Up Old Guitar" ...a 2001 sweet biscuit with Arthur Neilson on a not quite beat-up-old guitar
"Dirty Water" ...down and dirty, no doubt, feels so good

Real tasty.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Look Back: No Nukes

In 1979 a group of musicians under the acronym MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) organized a monumental concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City, to support the idea of a nuclear free world. The concert known as No Nukes, was recorded and released the next year as a feature documentary and a live triple album.

The performances from this show are legendary. Springsteen, at this point gaining a reputation for his wild, all-night-long live shows, is finally caught on film. James Taylor singing with then-wife Carly Simon, Bonnie Raitt, The Doobie Brothers, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, John Hall...the list goes on.

Today, we will take a few samples from that great concert.

James Tayor & Carly Simon "Mockingbird" ...just an incredible and joyful performance
Bruce Springsteen "Thunder Road" a little faith there's magic in the night, you ain't a beauty but hey you're alright. yes indeed.
Doobie Brothers "Taking it to the Streets"... with a little help from their friends
Jackson Browne "Running on Empty"...hard to find a better version
John Hall "Power"...the unofficial anthem, with JT, Doobies, Carly etc.

One of the first, but certainly not last time when musicians came together for a common cause. This one was absolutely magical.

If you need to see more, check out TheMusicMan34 on youtube, his channel has the entire concert split into seven segments.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fly On My Sweet Angel: Jimi Hendrix

On this day in 1970, the first of three major musical influences of the 60's died. James Marshall Hendrix exited this life barely two weeks before the young life of Janis Joplin also tragically ended. Jim Morrison would die the following July. All too young, all left with the unfulfilled promise of what might have been.

"Fly on my sweet angel, Fly on through the sky,
Fly on my sweet angel, Forever I will be by your side"

When you can hear a song and know instantly who is playing the guitar, that musician in a distinct and very heady class. No one sounded like Jimi Hendrix. And he played the guitar like no one else. Left-handed, Hendrix took a right-handed guitar, restrung it and flipped it over to play. This changed the sound and was one reason only Jimi sounded like Jimi.

Today, we're just gonna go with some hot licks from the man who changed how things were done. And guess what, I'm not putting on a link to "Little Wing." But don't worry, it will turn up again before too long.

Thought we'd try a few lesser known tracks, just to show off that little old guitar playing.

"Crying Blue Rain"
"Catfish Blues"
"Born Under a Bad Sign"

And because it's just so damn good...

"All Along the Watchtower"

Generations will come and go. Kids will still pick up a guitar, look in the mirror and try to emulate those first few bars of "Foxy Lady."

Standing the test of time, always.
Fly on Jimi.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm Begging...Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

I'm still feeling the effects of the 3 1/2 hours it took to write the last post. Actually to have done a proper job, I would probably be still at it. But there comes a time sometime after one night turns into early morning, when you need to hit "publish." Today all I ask is for a little mercy.

So, I'm just gonna offer a quick shot of an old (how I hate to use that word when I refer to a song I grew up with, but I digress), real tasty treat.

The Buckinghams were a Chicago based band which formed in 1966 and had their first hit a year later with a song called "Kind of a Drag." They were quite the flavor of the month for a while with several songs charting in the top ten.

One of those songs, we will sample today.

Starts with some big horns, a little bluesy, a little soul. Just (as we would say in those days of the British Invasion) fab. A real different sound for the band and the time.

Love this song to this day.

"You see she's got the kind of lovin'
Kissin' and a huggin'
Sure is mellow
Glad that I'm her fellow
And I know, that she knocks me off my feet
Have mercy on me"

The Buckinghams "Mercy, Mercy Mercy"

Just fab.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Just Me and My Tunes...and a Deserted Island

This morning, friends of this blog, rock band Survivor asked a question we've all heard over the years: What album would you take if you were on a deserted island, and it was the only music you could hear for the rest of your life.

When I first thought about this question, it must have been thirty years ago, and I narrowed it down to a few. There were some fun ones like Help from The Beatles, a few like Traffic's John Barleycorn Must Die, which is almost perfect except it's a little short. If I have to listen to it forever...I need more than six songs. The album I chose back then would not be what I would pick today. The reason for that is because it was so popular and it has been played so often, well maybe thirty years is a bit too long to listen to just one album. But my original pick back then was the debut album by Boston. Apparently I was not alone in thinking this was a great album, as it became the highest selling debut album in US history. From the first licks of  "More Than A Feeling" to the end of "Take Me Home Tonight", there is not a bad note on the album.

But for this exercise, here is my criteria for deserted island listening: Good melodies, good hooks, and songs I can sing along with. If I'm alone on this island, I'll be singing at the top of my lungs...and thinking I'm not too bad. These songs wouldn't necessarily be my favorites, just ones I could stomach for eternity.

But back to the present choices. Well I decided to change it up a bit. While I still don't know where the energy for powering the music would come from, I think we have moved from albums to CDs to iPods/iPhones, etc. How many people beside me actually buy albums anymore? Exactly.

So here's my idea. I'm going to narrow my choice down to an even dozen...songs. Not as easy as you might think. How do you choose one Beatles song, or Springsteen? I'm a freakin' Jersey girl for crying out loud. You can't, but I'll give it a shot.

In no particular order:

"Layla"...Original version. Love the acoustic, but the sweet guitar and piano solo...can't beat it. I could listen to Layla every day in my life and never tire of it.

"Mexico"  James Taylor. Has all my requirements and JT is singing. He could sing the Bill of Rights and make me cry.

"Candy's Room" Springsteen. So hard to pick one from Bruce, but Max's drums and the lyrics...try this on:

"She says, Baby if you wanna be wild,
you got a lot to learn, close your eyes,
Let them melt, let them fire,let them burn"

Tension, heat and the drums...perfect.

"Glad" Traffic. The first song I played on the first CD player I ever bought. Nobody does the keys like Winwood and the sax...just a great instrumental.

"The Way You Look Tonight" Sinatra. A girl does not live on rock alone. Balance, baby. You've got to taste it all, and no one did it like the other Jersey boy. It's also perfect for a tropical least I'm assuming it's a tropical locale. It would really suck to be stuck on a cold island.

"Blue on Black" Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Need something a little bluesy. This fits the bill, great music, lyrics, and vocals.

"Blue on black, Tears on a river
Push on a shove, It don't mean much
Joker on jack, Match on a fire
Cold on ice, A dead man's touch"

"Ooh, Baby Baby" Smokey. Picking one from Smokey is like picking your favorite can't. Gotta taste 'em all. But this is just so sweet.

"The Way I Feel" Robert Plant. From Now and Zen, sensuous, mysterious and Plant at a really good time in his career.
"The stranger is too perfect,
take my breath away"

And I love the lyrics.

"Southern Cross" Crosby,Stills & Nash. Also has an ocean theme, but not the reason I picked it. Beautiful lyrics, the harmonies are spot-on and I could sing it forever.

"Eight Days A Week" Beatles. I'm thinking after being alone for a while, I might need a song to pick me up. If I need to pick one Beatles tune, this has harmonies, a great hook and it makes me happy.

"Oh Holy Night" Jennifer Hudson. Since I will be spending  a Christmas or twenty on this island, I need a little Christmas carol. This is my favorite. It makes me cry, which will be what I will be doing if I am spending twenty or so Christmas nights alone.

So as this little exercise began with a prompt from some musical friends, and because I'm the kind of girl who always dances with her date, let me choose one of their songs to come along on the journey. I am torn between two, but will go with the one with the heavier beat, better hook and the one which keeps my feet moving..."Caught in the Game."

As fun as this was, there are still too many artists and genres omitted. If I'm stuck on a deserted island, instead of an album, I think I'd rather have someone else along for the ride. Preferably someone with a guitar...who can sing.

Now all we need are some cocktails.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

John Oates: Mississippi Mile

It's always fun when artists leave their comfort zone and in doing so, come out with something remarkable. Now sometimes it doesn't work that way and it ends up as one of those "what the hell was he thinking" moments.

Today's juicy snack is not one of those.

We all know John Oates...he had quite a run with that other guy, Daryl something. Well last year John Oates released an album straight out of the delta. Mississippi Mile is one tasty collection of covers, including one by Hall & Oates, done up in a blues style. And Oates vocals are quite a departure. Scratchy, raspy and sexy as hell.

Absolutely genius, the lyrics lady, has been getting lost riding shotgun on the guitar ride. Throw in spot-on perfect piano, the right licks on the all adds up to one great big Hell Yeah.

You're gonna know most of these tunes. Listen up, this is good stuff.

Taste it...

"Mississippi Mile"
"All Shook Up"
"Let It Rock"
"It's All Right"
"You Make My Dreams Come True"

Having fun yet...yeah, thought so.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11Music Link Update

9/11 music link if the one in the blog doesn't work.


A Tribute in Lights, A Tribute in Song

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.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Antje Duvekot: The Journey to a New Siberia

Photo Credit: Gregory Worstrel

When your debut album sets the folk world buzzing, and entices music historians such as Dave Marsh, rock critic and former editor of Rolling Stone, to say you are “the whole package," AND he compares you to renowned artist Patty Griffin, well…you'd better keep delivering the goods. As her third studio album is being released, it becomes clear singer-songwriter Antje Duvekot is doing just that.

Antje first garnered attention with her music in 2000 by winning the grand prize in the rock category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Since then, she has continued to receive accolades and high praise for her introspective songs reflecting her personal journey.

Born in Germany, Duvekot arrived in the United States as a teenager. Leaving her father and brother in Europe, she began a new life in a strange country with no knowledge of the customs or the language. Adapting was difficult at best, so Antje retreated into a world which offered her comfort…the world of music.

Her first album, Big Dream Boulevard was followed in 2009 by another highly acclaimed CD, The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer, produced by singer-songwriter Richard Shindell. Her new release, New Siberia, brings back Shindell as producer, and marks the time of transition from an old life to new. A time of looking toward the future with anticipation, while never losing what has brought her here

The week before the release of New Siberia, Antje spoke with me about the journey, songwriting and the life of a working musician.

Kat’s Theory (KT): You came to this country as a teenager, and battled with issues of language, insecurity and a confining family life. Those struggles can create the perfect setting from which a poet can immerge. Looking back, do you think an easier life transition would have made you less of a poet?
Antje Duvekot (AD): That is such a good question; it’s really hard to know. I wonder myself sometimes.  My brain works a certain way and I can’t imagine it working in any other way so if my early life hadn’t been sort of difficult, maybe my brain wouldn’t be so …thoughtful, I guess. When I moved to this country from Germany, at first I was sort of an outsider. I didn’t speak the language, so I spent a lot of time being very shy and just observing people. It’s possible that it came from the ability to pay attention and observe people. But then again maybe I would have been the same way if I hadn’t had such a difficult childhood. 

KT:  Your songwriting style. Because your songs are so personal, does your writing normally begin with the lyrics or do you have a story in mind, and work the music around them or music first?
AD: Kind of separate. The lyrics will come to me throughout my life and I’ll just scribble them down onto whatever I can find…napkins, checkbooks and such. So then I have this pile of lyrics and words, and ideas that came to me. When I think of something I write it down. Then when I structure, when I’m making it into a song, I actually craft a melody entirely, so that it will be ready to go. Then I will turn back to my notes and try to see what fits in nicely.

KT: That’s a very interesting approach, where you have all the music written and you try to find the lyrics that will fit into it.
AD: Yeah, I think that’s unusual, I don’t know a lot of people that do it that way. I don’t think of myself as a writer, I really do love the music component. It’s always tricky to find the right music for the right lyrics, Sometimes you really want to make them fit and you realize the mood is not right.

KT: Your producer for your new album, Richard Shindell, also produced your second album The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer. At that time he said “with songs as good as these, a producer just tries to get out of the way, do no harm and let the artist speak for herself.” Would you say he followed the same approach with New Siberia, or did he infuse more of his vision this time?
AD: Well first of all, I think he was just being modest when he said that, because he did a lot more than “do no harm.” But I think partly why I did want to work with him was that he has a fairly minimalistic approach to producing. I really didn’t want someone to put a heavy stamp on my music. I wanted it to just speak for itself, and he really supported my music very nicely with some of his instrumental choices. But I think it’s a similar production from the last album actually.

KT: I’ve watched some videos of your live performances. Your music at times, comes from such a dark place, and yet there are some songs which are light, for example “A Perfect Date” on this album. But when you are performing live, you are very light, humorous and honest. How do you balance the two, leaving the sadness behind in the music?
 I think when I first started performing live, I did realize that the night was starting to drag with a lot of moody and dark songs, and that I needed to talk in between songs. I needed to get some lightness in there. I found that I enjoyed the banter in between and making fun of myself. In real life I make fun of myself quite a bit, my songs just don’t reflect it that much. Humor is just another way to cope with darkness if you really think about it.

Photo Credit: Gregory Worstrel

"oh amelia, don't i feel like a clown 
oh you went down in history 
well, me, i just went down"

KT: "The Ballad of Fred Noonan". Fred Noonan was the navigator who flew alongside and died with Amelia Earhart. It is a fascinating look at the possible unrequited love he had for her. The song, told from his point of view, relates his love and admiration for her while still seeing her faults. It’s a mixture of melancholy and regret. Where did you find the inspiration for it?
AD: I was kind of interested because I saw a documentary first and it said, in this documentary at least, that she was kind of ego driven and bold, and perhaps she didn’t spend as much time preparing the flight, as she just wanted to set a record. And she was ambitious, and I thought about that part of her personality.

 "oh and the last thing that you said was you were sorry. I did it for love, you did it for glory"

A little bit later, I was listening to a podcast about Fred Noonan and how everyone has forgotten him. He is unknown to history even though he died in the plane with her. And I thought “oh poor Fred Noonan, maybe I should write a song about him.” Then I thought about those two things, ok, I’m going to present Amelia Earhart as ego-driven and narcissistic and poor Fred Noonan. So I guess I painted him in kind of a victim light. It’s just an idea I had.

"I was planted in a flower bed of sorrows, where raven's laughter blew up from the west.
Carried whispers of a dream about tomorrow and my heart it just beat borrowed in my chest"

KT: "New Siberia," the song visits a life’s journey from a cold, dark past to a place of hope and new beginnings. But all the while still retaining the memories and the acceptance that what was, has made you into what you are now. How did you get to that point where you made the concession to your past and found your were able to move forward?
 Yeah, I’m moving forward, but part of the idea of the new Siberia was also to maintain some of my dark core. Because I really had a difficult home life and it really shaped me. I’ve gone on a journey to become a much happier person but I’m always going to have a little touch of that sadness in me. So, I didn’t want to move to some warm place, I’m just looking for a new Siberia. Also, there’s so much beauty and sadness in me that I actually… some of it I revel inside of. That’s the idea of a new Siberia…a better place but still true to myself.

KT: Your first album, Big Dream Boulevard was released in 2006 to a lot of fanfare and critical acclaim. It had to be a bit unnerving as well as overwhelming. 
AD: Yes, that was the beginning of making a true living in music so it was kind of the most exciting time. It was a dream coming true and it was happening. I miss that time because it was so exciting. Now I’m just doing it for a living and it’s more like a job.

Antje with Ellis Paul
KT: As New Siberia, your third studio album, is being released, do you find it is a different type of anticipation with all you have to deal with now; like the interviews and everything that goes along with it?
AD: It still feels new, but yeah, there’s a different anticipation. But I’m still pretty excited about it. I think in the beginning I got to tour with a lot of my heroes, like I got to open for Ellis Paul and the gratifying part was I got to meet my heroes. I’ve met most of them and it’s been really great, but now I’m more focused on my own thing. And I’m looking more towards the fans and the touring.

KT: And when you release a CD, do you start the tour in a different frame of mind, to introduce new music to the people or is it just you’re going out on tour again?
 I think the latter. I mean, I’m always on tour; even I don’t have a new record out. I do have to (tour). At least fifty percent of my living is based on playing live, so it’s kind of an ongoing thing.

KT: Some of your songs have been covered by other artists, most notably by the Irish-American group Solas. And your song "Merry Go Round" was used in a bank commercial a few years back. As an artist, how do you feel when some of your songs grow wings and fly away as someone else interprets them? 
AD: It’s probably one of the best feelings ever. When someone else chooses to cover your song, and you hear them sing it and they make it their own, it suddenly sounds like a real song. Whereas when you’re doing it, it’s just something you made from your head, it doesn’t seem like it’s real. But when you hear someone else interpreting it, then ok, it’s a real song. It’s a great feeling, really honoring and flattering.

KT: For those who have never heard your music before today, describe the journey your music will provide to them.
AD: Well, I think like you’ve already mentioned, it’s kind of honest and a little vulnerable. So, if someone is looking for an emotional experience, and having a deep experience with music, then I think they will like my music. If they are just looking for something to play while they are cleaning, then... maybe not.

The official release date of New Siberia is September 18, 2012. Easy listening to be sure,not recommended for use while cleaning.

For more information on Antje Duvekot and New Siberia, visit her website
New Siberia Official Video

A few morsels of  the music of Antje Duvekot:. Enjoy the tastes.
Into the City
Noah's Titanic 
Sleepy Sea of Indigo and Blue

First published as Antje Duvekot: A Journey to a New Siberia on Technorati


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fun, Fun and More Fun: Tom Rigney

I've have been trying to feature today's taste for several months now. Each time I start listening to the songs so I can narrow down which ones I want to showcase...I get lost in the music and another hour or so disappears. It is just so fun.

Tom Rigney is a fiddler. He plays an electronic violin, composes some sweet music and heads up the band Tom Rigney and Flambeau. Working out of San Francisco, Rigney and Flambeau play some crazy cajun and roots music, featuring everything from can't-stop-your-feet jams to bring-a-tear-to-your-eye instrumentals.

Ranging from traditional zydeco melodies to blues inspired songs to veritable waltzes, this is some interesting and totally enjoyable stuff.

Tastin' time...

"My Babe" ...nothin' could be better than to see her in a sweater and a tight skirt that won't quit.
"Drivin' That Thing" ...all the women uptown talk about him drivin that thing
"The Eyes of Love"... breathtakingly beautiful instrumental
"Party Gras" ...a little funk, a little blues, a little zydeco

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

Monday, September 3, 2012

Got It Covered: The City of New Orleans

New Orleans has been on my mind a lot lately. It's also been in the news. In 2005, Katrina left a scar so severe, the years since have only started the healing process. And just last week, exactly seven years from that disaster, Isaac, another uninvited guest arrived.

No other city in the United States has so rich a culture. Nor has any other city been forced to continually grasp onto the the roots found on the riverbanks in order to survive. The Roots: family, food and music.

While I could spend months featuring the music of New Orleans and in fact many past blogs do, today we will talk about one song. And while it's title is "The City of New Orleans," the song is about a ride through the heartland on a train by the name of  "The City of New Orleans."

Written in 1970 by folk singer Steve Goodman, it became a hit when Steve convinced Arlo Guthrie to play and eventually record it. Just as John Mellencamp has so poignantly described the loss of America's farmlands, in "The City of New Orleans," Goodman paints a sad reflection of the diminishing use of train travel as a means of transportation.

The song has been covered by Guthrie, a Grammy winning version by Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed and many others.

First up is the late composer with his version. Take a listen, read the lyrics and think of when travel included hours of looking out of a window and seeing nameless towns, farmlands and views of nature's delights.

Steve Goodman and "The City of New Orleans"

"Riding on the City of New Orleans
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
Rolls along past houses, farms and fields
Passin' towns that have no names
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles

Good morning, America, how are you
Don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done"

As travel has evolved from trains, to cars, to planes, we have lost touch with what was the backbone of this land. Everyday people with everyday lives, just contributing their portion of blood, sweat and tears. When was the last time kids in the backseat even picked up their heads from whatever electronic device they were using, to see the remnants from where this country came, in order to get an appreciation of all we have today.

"Dealin' cards with the old men in the club car
Penny a point, ain't no one keepin' score
Won't you pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor
And the sons of pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpet made of steam
Mothers with their babes asleep
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they dream"

The romantic view of an overnight train ride disguises the reality that the riders for this journey are slowly fading to black.

"Night time on The City of New Orleans
Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee
Half way home, and we'll be there by morning
Through the Mississippi darkness
Rolling down to the sea
And all the towns and people seem
To fade into a bad dream
And the steel rails still ain't heard the news
The conductor sings his song again
The passengers will please refrain
This train's got the disappearing railroad blues"

And there it is. Only a matter of time before another piece of Americana disappears into obsolescence.

"Good night, America, how are you
Don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done"

Bittersweet, haunting and simple. Wonderful imagery and a melody you can't get out of your head.

A few other versions of this wonderful song:

The version most people remember...Arlo Guthrie
The Highwaymen ...Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson
Jimmy Buffett

Joyful to hear and hard to believe such a beautiful song is an anthem to a train. That's just good writing.