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, 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.