Volume 3-2015

MUSIC    BOOKS    FINE ARTS   FILM   THE WORLD

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Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publishing Group mailing list for updates on activities associated with the Creative Culture and Revolution Culture journals, and other RARWRITER Publishing Group interests.

 

ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.

RARADIO

(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock

 

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Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page

ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance" -AVAILABLE NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM AMAZON.COM. Use this link.

CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.

 

EXPLORE THE KINDLE BOOK LIBRARY

If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.


 

 

ARTIST NEWS

Morrissey at Madison Square Garden

Back on Top

Morrissey is on the road, doing a U.S. summer tour that started in New Orleans on June 11 and is moving from the east to west coast, culminating in a show in L.A. on August 23rd. He is the headliner for the final day of the two-day FYF Fest. Now in his mid-50s, Steven Patrick Morrissey remains the same challenging figure that he has always been; a big ungainly, somewhat fey, miner type who sings like a 50s-era nightclub crooner, and writes the smartest songs anybody has written in the last 30 years. Morrissey, in all his cheeky dourness, gave hope to the '80s music scene, first with The Smiths, and then as a solo artist. He has never been a compromiser. In fact, he hasn't even been respectful of others, for the most part, though he told a fan site that he is a "humasexual". (He loves people, it is explained, just not many.) Morrissey's sexuality has always been a topic of interest, because he sounds gay, writes with sensitivity about rarely explored issues, including feelings of resentment over being misunderstood. It would take a clever guy - an Oscar Wilde - to do what Morrissey does and not make himself a self-absorbed laughing stock, an object of derision. Somehow Morrissey makes being Morrissey a messy delight for his devoted fans. He is a brilliant emotional expression wrapped in his own enigma, and perhaps the most significant writer of his generation. - RAR

Taking the Piss

Andrew Jackson Jihad

On that day two bill with Morrissey at the FYF Festival is the folk-punk band Andrew Jackson Jihad. This is a duo-led band, distinguished by songwriter Sean Bonnette's voice-breaking vocals and his machine gun guitar strumming style, and bassist Ben Gallaty's rhythm work. They are a little like the Violent Femmes used to be, a challenging alternative music outfit that sounds like they might be trying to be funny, but carries a sneaky lyrical punch. Out of Phoenix, Arizona, they have been around since 2004. These guys are worth watching, not so much as a musical collective but more as a fascinating contemporary cultural exhibit. They represent a relatively recent development in American counter-culture, the troubadour who comes to rat you out for not getting the meme of the moment. - RAR

Rebelution

No Worries in 2015

Rebelution is a UC-Santa Barbara college band that started as an Isla Vista house party in 2004 and over time morphed into a professional unit. On one level, they are a kind of phony reggae act, an outgrowth of youthful California's marijuana culture, but on another they are just a really solid performance outfit with a devoted following. Certainly part of it Eric Rachmany's voice, which is one of the more pleasant sounds available on the current sonic landscape. Rebelution also packs a solid horn section, which adds a lot of punch to their world sound.

Crack in the Boomer's Cosmic Egg

Breaking News: Young People Disregard Old People

By RAR

Yesterday I mentioned, to my 20-year old daughter, some story that I had read on the Huffington Post - something to do with some story of violent expression and social injustice - and her question to me was: "What age group is the Huffington Post aimed at?"

That question struck me as so loaded with information as to be profound, or at least profoundly tied to what people of the Baby Boom generation likely perceive as a fundamental shift in our societal orientations. Not only is yesterday gone, but some of the legs upon which it once stood have been left to rot, like old three-legged stool analogies.

It is everywhere you look: Bill Maher berating a Huffington Post columnist as a "little shit" for daring to put comedy in a newly defined social context, songwriter/producer Linda Perry saying young people aren't interested in "deep" music, and Donald Fagan telling an interviewer that, when he looks into his audience and sees young people staring into their smart phones and taking pictures of themselves, that he wishes they would "just die". (Of course, Fagan also says that when he plays county fair dates that he can no longer discern which of his aging audience are people and which are livestock, so he may just be grumpy. Make that "old and grumpy".)

Young people aren't going to die though - not for another hundred years or so, the way medical technology is developing - though they will be replaced in 25 years, or so, by a new breed of "little shit". People in my grandparent's generation used to call them "whippersnappers", but people of my generation became comfortable with vulgarities, though they still make us feel a little naughty, which is why the mentally addled comedian Maher can get a laugh with a line in which he calls a young person "a little shit". Were the writer only a "whippersnapper" he would be defined as "a young and inexperienced person considered to be presumptuous or overconfident".

That Huffington Post columnist, a San Diego State student named Anthony Berteaux, had dared to confront comedian Jerry Seinfeld for Seinfeld's opinion that young people have become so politically correct in their thinking that they have become an impossible audience for whom to do the kind of provocative humor that has always been one of those legs that support the "comic stool". Aw God! I'm old! Still using that stupid stool analogy, which probably dates back to my grandfather's time, when you had to go out and milk a cow before you'd had your breakfast; except that his generation of milk stool only had one leg, which makes it not a stool at all, but more of a pedestal.

The pedestal on which today's young people are building societal norms are not totally whacked. Here is the logic, written by columnist Berteaux, that got Maher so upset: "It isn't so much that college students are too politically correct (whatever your definition of that concept is), it's that comedy in our progressive society today can no longer afford to be crass, or provocative for the sake of being offensive. Sexist humor and racist humor can no longer exist in comedy because these concepts are based on archaic ideals that have perpetrated injustice against minorities in the past."

In truth, in this exchange the "little shit" Berteaux seems a little smarter than "old fart" Maher. In fact, my 17-year old son likens Maher to "Schrödinger's Douchebag".

Schrödinger's Douchebag: (From the Urban Dictionary) One who makes douchebag statements, particularly sexist, racist or otherwise bigoted ones, then decides whether they were “just joking” or dead serious based on whether other people in the group approve or not. (See Schrödinger's cat.)

So, like, when is somebody going to stand up for the lowly "douchebag"? Not the individual, but the product, which seems to put up with a lot of "bunk"; an old word (from 1900) meaning "nonsense", probably in response to the term as devised in 1758, when it referred to a "sleeping birth", but became an accusation, probably as the grumpy result of the word user's experience with sleeping in attached beds (bunks). "Bunk" is cool now, though, a thing young people call a "low rent apartment".

There was a time when Rock music was still young, but extraordinarily good. Best example: Gypsy. A progressive rock quintet that was, by turns, both fierce and sweet, featuring extraordinary musical compositions, excellent musicianship (featuring drummer Bill Lordan, who would go on to fame with Sly & the Family Stone and the Robin Trower Band), and beautiful vocals, Gypsy lorded over L.A.'s Sunset Strip as the house band at the Whiskey A-Go-Go around 1970. Pure Rock music never really got better than this. Diana Olson talks with documentary filmmaker Aaron Goodyear, who is doing his best to rectify the error committed by history in allowing this stellar unit to slip from its rightful place in the pantheon of musical greats. After you read Diana's piece on the film project, spend a little time listening to the music of Gypsy. It will remind you of how filled with promise Rock music once was, even outside of The Beatles! Go to the Gypsy article.

Colorado: Lenny Charles

Guitarist and Indie News Figure Returns to Boulder for a Two-Night Tavern Stand

 

By RAR

Colorado music fans were treated to the return of guitarist Lenny Charles, who came from his home in New York City to play a two-night stand, June 19 and 20, at the 28th St. Tavern (2690 28th St.) in Boulder. Charles was joined by drummer Billy Hoke, Jamie Polisher (The Lionel Young Band) on sax, guitar and vocals, guitarist Gerard Burk, and bassist Bob Tiger. The group has played together before as The Drunken Bum Blues Band, so this is something like a reunion.

The name Lenny Charles leaped out at me, when I saw this listing, because I knew Lenny Charles back in the early 1980s, when we both lived in Boulder. I have written about this before in a piece on the bassist Jaco Pastorius that spawned a short spinoff titled “The Mysterious Case of Lenny Charles”. (That archived story, by the way, is worth reading as a time capsule piece, not just for Lenny Charles information, but also for an interesting exchange regarding Jaco Pastorius.) That bit of tongue-in-cheek, referencing the "mysterious" nature of the guitarist Charles, turned out to be more prescient than one could have imagined.

Years passed, and I sort of forgot all about Lenny Charles, until one day a few years back I was contacted by an “investigative reporter” named Christopher Bollyn, who had seen my Lenny Charles story, and wanted to confirm that it was the same Lenny Charles who was co-founder of the International News Net (INN) World Report. In truth, this was the first I had heard of INN, which until a year or so ago was a New York City cable and Internet-access independent news service. And, in fact, it was co-founded by Lenny Charles LaBanco – he uses "Lenny Charles" as his stage name – and funded using the inheritance money of a wealthy supporter of the 9-11 Truth Movement. That person was on the Board of Directors of the INN World Report and he put up a considerable amount of money to establish an INN news bureau at 56 Walker Street in TriBeCa. (The photo above was taken of Lenny in his TriBeca building by Dave Sanders, The New York Times.)

Lenny had become sort of an urban legend in New York City through his street-music exploits with Jaco Pastorius. Pastorius, who was an extraordinary physical talent, was a basketball nut and he would regularly hit the streets in the area where Lenny parked his van to get involved in pickup games, in which he excelled. One hears stories of Pastorius and Charles jamming music together on the roof of the van, trading off instruments and just generally putting on a wild piece of street performance art. It is like a "bromance story" that I totally accept based on my own memory of Lenny Charles and his strange powers of attraction.

Lenny was destined to become that special breed of human who, by the force of his own engagement with life, becomes a notable outlier in the world of notable people. Personally, I root for this guy as someone might for the Enrico Salvatore character in Midnight Cowboy. They share an Italian heritage, a New York accent, and a sort of shabby idealism that, under all the rough exterior, is uplifting in its optimism.

Lenny made his living as a jazz guitarist for a couple decades after he was first in the Boulder area in the early '80s. During that period he returned to Boulder from time-to-time and put together a couple bands (Stone Charles Band, Puzzle Palace) with bassist Kim Stone (Spyro Gyra). In those years, Lenny Charles, who could play anything, was a funk and jazz-fusion kind of a guy, and in that he was sort of a traditionalist, using sweet jazz intonations in his playing. Personally, I deeply admired this cool muted thing he would do that was so evocative of Herb Ellis and that era of jazz guitarists. In more recent times, Lenny has embraced the synth guitar and expanded his voice quite a lot.

Around 2000, Lenny experienced a renewed interest in politics. You will recall that 2000 was a special year in U.S. elections history: the G.W. Bush-Al Gore year, when politics fever was at a boiling point. Lenny's financial backer took out a lease on the building in Tribeca, which needed refurbishing, and Lenny imagined rebuilding it as a performance space. After he co-founded INN, the building served as an INN conference center and a studio from which to broadcast interviews with political figures. He showed up on the independent news scene just as history was about to happen. He was at Ground Zero, walking around with a shirt that made him look like a firefighter, and a video camera, covering that extraordinary event of September 11, 2001. He claims to have provided, to CBS News, the first footage of the Trade Center rubble, which was subsequently broadcast around the world. In fact, he claims to have been told, by a firefighter on the scene, in advance of the actual event, that the infamous Building 7 was going to collapse, though it appeared to have suffered no significant damage beyond ordinary office fires.

Christopher Bollyn seemed to have Lenny LaBanco, the newscaster, all wrong. Bollyn had become convinced that LaBanco, who is married to a Jewish woman from Brazil, was working as a mouthpiece to support the notion that the 9-11 attacks were the work of Al Quaeda-associated airplane highjackers. He quotes LaBanco's wife as claiming that those so-called thermate discoveries were in reality samples of paint chips. In fact, Bollyn has accused LaBanco of being an Israeli Mossad agent whose role since the 9-11 event has been to put disinformation into the media.

This is perfectly in keeping with the types of mysteries that have attended Lenny Charles LaBanco, who initially bought into the explanations for what happened on 9-11, but has since become a staunch supporter of the 9-11 Truth Movement. In the video below, taken at an Architects & Engineers for 9-11 Truth rally in New York City in 2013, Lenny LaBanco talks about the accusations of Christopher Bollyn, and he talks about the management of news messages. It is quite interesting and worth a listen.

INN was shut down last year when the funding that had been promised for the refurbishing of the Tribeca building failed to materialize, and the building's owner lost the building to a foreclosure. This may explain Lenny Charles' renewed interest in the music profession. I must admit that my first take at looking at this video below is that he looks younger than he did 30 years ago. How does a guy do that? Whatever, he's a dynamite musician, and a warrior for truth, and if you are in the Boulder area this weekend you should check out The Drunken Bum Blues Band.

The Christopher Bollyn Connection

This story above, with independent investigative reporter Christopher Bollyn contacting me about another independent media figure, Lenny LaBanco, was really the catalyst for my renewed interest in the events of September 11, 2001. Beyond being opposed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, that the Bush administration justified by exploiting the 9-11 attacks, I had not given much thought to the details of what happened that day until I was contacted by Christopher Bollyn, and I started looking into his story. It now seems inconceivable that anyone could have ever believed the official account, in which 19 Al Qaeda-trained terrorists flew stolen commercial airliners into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers. Somehow a suspension of our reference to reality was achieved through media manipulation, which is what Lenny LaBanco alludes to in the video above. Never in the history of steel-frame building construction has a building ever collapsed straight down into its own footprint, creating a pyroclastic cloud in the process, other than through engineered demolition of the structure. And yet it happened three times on 9-11, all at the same place and the same time, and in one instance involving a building that did not suffer significant exterior damage from the plane crashes. It has not happened again since, though skyscrapers do catch fire occasionally, and sometimes more dramatically than what we saw with the World Trade Center on 9-11. The date of the event, and the title immediately bestowed upon it by the media, referencing an emergency call for help, seem calibrated to evoke a fear response, and even a period of disorientation in an entire population. For a time thereafter, the nation fell into a lock step acceptance of the explanation of what happened. There are now loud voices, like those of the Architects & Engineers for 9-11 Truth, who are waking people up to the most important story of any of our lifetimes, and one wonders if it would have happened without independent news investigators like Christopher Bollyn and Lenny LaBanco, oddly matched as they are as a pair. Use this link to go to the stories I did on Bollyn and LaBanco earlier. I now look at those pieces as a starting point in my own evolution of understanding. (See Revolution Culture Journal for more).-RAR

Ike Reilly Assassination

Ike Reilly has a new album out. I agree with Tom Morello: Ike Reilly is one of the best songwriters in the country. Check it out on the Chicago Links.

 

L.A.: Lawrence Novick

Composer-Guitarist Considers Boulder, CO

In keeping with the return-to-Colorado story on the left, regarding Lenny Charles, it is worth noting the interest of another former Boulder, Colorado musician, who left the college town 36 years ago for L.A., who tells me that he is considering a return to the Rockies. What is it with New Yorker's and the Rockies?

Lawrence Novick is one interesting guy. He holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and he is an Aikido master, with a dojo in Santa Monica. His long study of the martial arts, and most notably his commitment to Ki energy training and a concept called Kinesthetic Invisibility, has contributed to his development as a Shaman. He does educational consulting designed to infuse grounded spirituality into his clients' personal, professional, and creative behaviors.

Lawrence is from New York City, but he came to the University of Colorado as a freshman to study creative writing. While in Boulder, around 1974, he was a 19-year old lead guitarist in a band called Slumgullion. They played an eclectic set that ranged from rock to bluegrass, which was somewhat characteristic of bands coming out of Boulder, Colorado at that time. Colorado people might tell you that Slumgullion came on the heels of Chris Daniel's band Magic Music, which is currently the subject of a documentary film production. Slugmallion would have been early contemporaries of Dusty Drapes and the Dusters, which was outside of the norm in its own way, playing Country-Swing using a horn section.

There was a golden period that took place in Colorado music between mid-60s, when The Astronauts put the scene on the map, followed by Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids, and the 1970s, when Firefall emerged as a national act. A robust bar scene flourished at a time when there was an influx of professional musicians moving to the Rockies for its relaxed lifestyle, which at the time included ridiculous amounts of drugs of all kinds.

There was also a robust New Age influence. Boulder was blessed by the influence of Naropa Institute, now Naropa University, which was founded in 1974 with a faculty that included Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, John Cage, and Diane di Prima. This brought a certain vein of musician to the Boulder area, including Californian Robben Ford, in 1976, who for most people had burst onto the scene as the guitarist backing Joni Mitchell on her live Miles of Aisles LP (1974) as a member of Tom Scott's L.A. Express.

Lawrence Novick was among those Boulder guitarists of that time who played with Ford and were influenced by that exposure.

Check out this clip of Lawrence Novick recorded live with his Blues band in Santa Monica.

Lawrence Novick - "Gonna Need Me"

If Novick's guitar skills aren't impressive enough - and if they aren't, you should have your neural receptors checked, along with your ears - check out this orchestral composition, "Coming of Autumn", which is astonishingly beautiful. Have a heart checkup if this doesn't work for you.

Lawrence Novick - "Coming of Autumn".

For you home studio buffs, Lawrence was gracious in sharing that he recorded "Coming of Autumn" on his home PC-based digital audio workstation. The orchestral sounds, which sound great, are produced using samplings of the Miroslav Philharmonik Orchestra. Lawrence should get an endorsement deal.

Lawrence Novick has two albums available: Journey through the Mist and Goodbye Rue St. Marc. Use this link to visit his Website.

"There are many stories from the early '70s music scene…." Lawrence told me recently. "I spent a fair amount of time with Robben Ford when he spent the summer of '76 there, that was interesting…. Boulder has certainly changed, but to me it will always be Boulder…. much better than LA, where I've been for the last 36 years…"

So there you go: Boulder is better than L.A.

I am not sure if these are the bread crumbs of Lawrence's recollections of his youth, or if that's an accurate judgment, but I am absolutely certain that he could do something beautifully musical on the subject either way.-RAR

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Swamp Pop

Use this link to go to the Louisiana Links for a piece on an important sub-group of that state's musical culture.

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Sick of Sarah

Unconsciously Biased - Getting Me Straight

Sometimes life has this way of slapping one across the side of the head so that one can see the corrupted nature of one's own ways. I had this happen this week, when I was reviewing an all-girl band from Minneapolis, Sick of Sarah. I had not known of them before, and my first reaction was that their band name was just so lesbian. I listened to their tunes and watched their videos and they are just as gay as their band name sounds. And so I sort of took them in without really taking them in, because I have been around lesbians only a little, and they never really offered much for me to connect with. So, I didn't really connect with Sick of Sarah and I moved on to another female artist, who I have listened to in the past, and who is thoughtful but not very good. But I find myself listening to her and thinking this girl has gotten remarkably better! Her songs have become real songs and she has become a spot-on vocalist. Where did these pro chops suddenly come from? And then I realized that I was still listening to Sick of Sarah, but hearing them honestly as opposed to through my unconsciously biased mind. Sick of Sarah is really quite spectacular. Check out the Minnesota Links. - RAR

Composer | Musician | Creative

Christof R. Davis

The video below is of Christof R. Davis playing with his band at The 100 Club in London. Born in the early 80′s to musical parents, Davis has begun to make a name for himself composing musical theater pieces, along with film soundtracks. One critic wrote this about his musical direction of a stage adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities": "On first hearing it is more than slightly reminiscent in style musically to some elements of 'Les Mis'." (Editor's Note: English speakers will not dare take up the challenge of voicing the name of that play, not even in print!) Anyway, Christof is an interesting composer, which is evidenced by his live performance video below. "It was pretty much inevitable that I would go into a career in the creative industries," he writes on his website. "I went on to study music at the Royal Northern College of Music and now work as a composer, musician, musical director, educator and creative chap." Learn more about Christof R. Davis by visiting www.chrisdaviscomposer.wix.com You can also find him on the Stage 32 site.

AL KOOPER (a tip of the hat)

Hey, Chris Marshall, Bruce Springsteen Called...

Take a few minutes to listed to the track below, "Feeling Like Running", from Chris Marshall and the August Light's new full-length album, Some Kind of Dream. If you are like me, you hear Bruce Springsteen. This is a well-constructed song, with a strong chorus, and it has the general qualities of late Springsteen, which is really pretty high praise for this Portland, Oregon band. They might want to have their agent place a call.

Some Kind of Dream is produced by Patti King (The Rentals, Radiation City), who is also a member of the band and its musical director. The players include Ryan Reetz on keys, William Joertz on bass, and Joel Swift on drums. The band's publicist describes Some Kind of Dream as "a genre-bending punch that proves Marshall is a songwriter able to meld atmospheric rock, spacious melodies, and folk traditions into songs that are both gorgeous and poignant". Click the link below to stream

"Feeling Like Running" - Chris Marshall and the August Light"

The Walking Guys to Begin East Coast Tour

The Walking Guys (Benjamin Butler, Christopher Kessenich, Will Stevens, and Riley Moore) are set to begin their one-of-a-kind music/adventure tour in Portland, ME on July 8, 2015, with performances that combine original music and stories of their 1600-mile walk. Yes, walk. The four performers plan to walk from gig to gig, sharing their music in venues ranging from highly esteemed theaters to dive bars and around campfires. Representing the best of Southern Folk Americana, the Walking Guys will create a musical experience that will allow fans to join in their adventure of covering miles every day on foot, becoming immersed in the culture of each area they enter, and sharing their story with those who will become the next characters in it.

During their journey, the Walking Guys will rely on the hospitality of strangers, acquaintances, and their camping gear to provide lodging. They will walk 15 miles a day, stopping every three to four days for rest and/or performances. The Guys are especially excited to document their transformation in a web series they will release along the way. The series will allow fans to connect to the tour in (near) real-time. Upon completion of the tour, the series will be released as a full-length documentary along with a complete live album of performances from the tour. The tour will span a four-month period, with dates in many major cities on the East Coast planned. A short break in the walking tour will see the group traveling by car to Appleton, WI for a performance at the Mile of Music Festival in August, with the walking tour picking back up where it left off in New York City several days later.

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The Last Year

The Last Year is a duo from Baltimore, Maryland featuring singer-songwriter Niki Barr and guitarist/bassist Scott Ensign. They do a high energy Pop-Rock that is at the high end of that genre. But they also do intimate acoustic work, so they are a fully developed music machine. Working with Armed Forces Entertainment, they have taken their show to 40 countries and shared stages with artists as diverse as Joan Jett, Paramore, Vice Gill and the GoGos, among many other big name acts.

Ancient Warfare

Ancient Warfare were once the girls who smoked behind the high school gym. They were from distant shores; they spoke in code. They borrowed your brotherʼs Velvets records and talked about bands you wanted to know. They werenʼt going to stay too long. They buried themselves in drones of words and found guitars, mapping an intimate apocalypse along the way.

Based in Lexington, KY, with roots in both Savannah, GA and the California coast, Ancient Warfare are currently promoting their August 11, 2015 Alias Records release, The Pale Horse. Since 2011, they have developed a fierce reputation for hard work and dynamic performance, sharing stages with artists such as The Raveonettes, Richard Buckner, The War on Drugs, Chelsea Wolfe, Scout Niblett, Mr. Gnome, and Lucius. Ancient Warfareʼs live show ebbs and flows from hushed harmony vocals to austere, tube-driven waves of sound.

In the winter of 2010, lead singer/guitarist Echo Wilcox approached Duane Lundy of Shangri-La Productions with a compilation of loosely established songs. At the time a student of photography and motion graphics at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Wilcox's composition process was heavily informed by translating traditional visuals into conceptual soundscapes. Lundy, a long-time friend and collaborator, remained producer/engineer of the project as Wilcox fleshed out her original pieces into a wholly realized full-length album. Over the following few years, the studio became home and haven to the various permutations of Ancient Warfare.

Throughout the bandʼs debut record, The Pale Horse, singer/guitarist Echo Wilcox voices a vast landscape: last trials and bones, visions and paths to golden fields. Her lyrics are shared secrets, fevered dreams – all anchored by multi-instrumentalist Emily Hagihara (Chico Fellini, Jim James and solo work), classically trained violinist Rachael Yanarella (Oh My Me), and recently recruited bassist Derek Rhineheimer (Oh My Me). Ensconced in a place of dynamic artistry, Wilcox and her bandmates were able to develop the distinctly cinematic, genre-bending sound of their debut album.

"The apocalypse seems the most appropriate subject," said Wilcox. "Not in an epic sense, but in a sense that it is all-encompassing." Indeed, The Pale Horse lures the listener into a golden dreamscape only to darkly demand resolution to the inescapable, universal plagues of love and death. This apocalyptic thread running throughout reminds us that everything good and true can end; the wild beauty of a crashing wave will inevitably become the succumbing regress of the tide. Such polarizing themes are pervasive throughout the record; expansive skies versus one small soul, our eternal quest for answers versus a relieved embrace of cyclical, unavoidable truths. Wilcox's yearning vocals fluctuate in kind, emitted sometimes as a howl as on "Dreamcatcher Bull," sometimes as a macabre rollick as on "Gunsmoke." The resulting sound is of a gothic renaissance breed, evoking images of tribal eccentricity and dramatic decay.

Talented Siblings

Tim and Mollie O'Brien

Brother and sister Tim and Mollie O'Brien are about as authentically talented as any singing duo anywhere in the world. Tim has been a Nashville luminary for some time, a founding member of the Colorado-based band Hot Rize, which is one of the premiere Bluegrass and Americana quartets in the industry. Mollie is based in Denver, and regularly tours and performs with her husband, guitarist Rich Moore, as a duo. Together they have released one studio album, Saints and Sinners and a live CD, 900 Baseline. Mollie has regularly appeared on shows such as A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, and contributed vocals to the Grammy-winning album True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe. She is known for her interpretations of classic songs by artists such as Tom Waits, Memphis Minnie, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, Si Kahn, Terence Trent D'Arby, and Kate MacLeod. Searching her out on Youtube and listening to her perfect vocals is a fine way to spend one's time.

ALAN MERRILL (a tip of the hat)

What is Going On with Philadelphia!?!

The City of Brotherly Love has become one of the hottest centers for Rock music in the U.S. Is there something in the water there? Use this link to visit the Philadelphia Links.

Spin Magazine's 5 Artists to Watch

The Amazing -  A Swedish supergroup who sounds like if Fleet Foxes and Foxygen took a weekend stroll through the streets of Stockholm with stars in their eyes.

BØRNS - Garrett Borns recorded in a treehouse-cum-home in the Los Angeles canyons. He sounds like the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack spliced with mushrooms and rainbows. Find his Candy EP.

Eskimeaux - Gabby Smith is an established player in Brooklyn’s DIY community. She sounds like K Records meets Kant, the Blow, Frankie Cosmos. Find her tunes “Broken Necks” and “Littoral Lullaby.”

COLIN JOYCE - Aly Spaltro ia a Brunswick, Maine native currently based in Brooklyn who sounds like Angel Olsen. Find her single “Billions of Eyes”.

Twerps - They are Australian college-rock revivalists who sound like the Bats, the Clean, the Feelies, and the Go-Betweens organized their own School of Rock.

Blinddog Smokin' Carries on the Funk

Blinddog Smokin’s larger-than-life new album High Steppin’ is a kaleidoscopic romp through the wild side of roots music. The disc’s nine songs ricochet from rock ’n’ roll to juke joint blues to New Orleans jazz to raw Americana, all supported by the band’s twin pillars: hot ’n’ greasy funk and frontman Carl Gustafson’s epic storytelling.

High Steppin’ follows 2014’s Decisions, a collaboration with soul-blues legend Bobby Rush that earned a Grammy nomination for Best Blues Album. Decisions includes the song “Another Murder in New Orleans,” which enlisted another legend, Dr. John, to tell its tale of street violence. The tune was widely played on Americana and blues radio, and was used by the New Orleans Crimestoppers organization to raise awareness. Blinddog Smokin’s imaginative video for “Another Murder in New Orleans” mixes performance footage, cartoons and live action actors, and has received more than 110,000 views on YouTube.

All-Time Top Film Composers List

The Sun of Gainesville, Florida recently ran a story that sought to name the 10 greatest film composers of all time. Below is who they came up with. What do you think?

No. 10: Elmer Bernstein
Bernstein makes this list for his work on “The Magnificent Seven”, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Great Escape”, “The Blues Brothers,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Animal House”.
No. 9: Michael Giacchino
Giacchino's breakthrough came with “The Incredibles,”  “Ratatouille” and “Cars 2.” and “Up.”
No. 8: Danny Elfman
Elfman’s best known piece of music is probably the theme from “The Simpsons,” but he’s done consistently great work for movies with Tim Burton’s “Batman,”  “Edward Scissorhands,”  the “Spider-Man” movies, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
No. 7: James Horner
Horner has worked a great deal with director James Cameron, scoring big with “Aliens,” “Titanic” and “Avatar," as well as with "“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Apollo 13.”
No. 6: Howard Shore
Shore showed plenty of promise early in his career with moody, sinister scores on thrillers like “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Seven.” His masterwork is the score for “The Lord of the Rings.”
No. 5: Bernard Herrmann
Herrmann spent much of his career working alongside Alfred Hitchcock. While he did great work on films like “North by Northwest” and “Psycho”.
No. 4: Jerry Goldsmith
Goldsmith's work includes “Planet of the Apes,” “Patton,” “Stagecoach” “Chinatown,” “Alien,” “L.A. Confidential”, and the theme from “Star Trek.”
No. 3: Hans Zimmer
Zimmers scores include “Inception,” “The Rock,” “Gladiator,” “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,”
No. 2: Ennio Morricone
Morricone's Spaghetti Western tracks include “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and “Once Upon a Time in the West”.
No. 1: John Williams
Williams wrote the music for “Star Wars,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Superman,” “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Jurassic Park”, “Home Alone,”  “The Empire Strikes Back”, and “Superman: The Movie”.

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Scruples

Rock Whores and Water Fountains

When Rock music emerged in the 1950s, the best of it dripping with sexual energy and double entendre, it seemed obviously to be a new force for social change. It helped to energize the Civil Rights movement, creating a cutting edge comprised of artists like Little Richard and Chuck Berry, and even Cookie and the Upcakes (see Swamp Pop on the Louisiana Links), that contributed greatly toward bridging racial divides, and opening minds. Out of that sweaty, lustful brew developed some over-arching ideals that, on the high side, found their ultimate form in the "Peace & Love" movement of 1967. On the low ideal spectrum, it produced a nihilism that has been destructive to our society.

For many Baby Boomers, the music of 1967 (the hub of a uniquely messaged era of music beginning in 1964 and ending in 1970), carried an ideal that stamped their souls in ways that would affect the rest of their lives. They were imprinted with a message of universal "love and tenderness" that, in their later years, would cause some to commit themselves to New Age thinking, some to resent the choices they would make in life - for living idealistically in a competitive society pays a low hourly rate - and some to repel from the love ideal, using their evolved sense of the absurd wretchedness of it all to justify their devotion to money and self interests.

Everything in music changed in 1970. The Beatles became legend and myth, as opposed to just being a working band. And that cleavage in peoples' views of life, mentioned above, began to become starkly apparent. The Rolling Stones' Altamont Raceway show in 1969 had been a harbinger of the changes to come. The Stones themselves embraced an "ideal" that was the exact opposite of the "Love & Peace" generation that they had lived through. With Brian Jones, their original leader, dead and gone, their songs turned dark and lurid, filled with hedonism and misogyny. The Beatles were dead and the Stones were the new spirit of Rock'n Roll.

They spawned generations of whores who would do almost anything if the money was right. In fact, they became whores themselves, turning Rock into a corporate enterprise, the mirror image of what the Summer of Love people wanted Rock to be. For years, The Beatles refused to let any of their material be used in commercials and advertising for non-Beatles products. By 1980, when the Stones got tour sponsorship from Jovan, no one was thinking that way anymore. The western world had become populated by "me" types and their lust for riches. That had the affect of galvanizing anti-West sentiment in those parts of the world where gluttony is considered vile.

This all crosses my mind every time I see a story such as the one appearing in the press this morning about water restrictions in Rancho Santa Fe, California. That is a gated community of wealthy people with multi-acre estates, whose properties are plush with green lawns and water features. The average annual income there is $189,000 per year - that's for each adult and child.

California is in deep trouble environmentally. The current severe drought is in its fourth year, and climate experts expect this trend to continue for a long time to come. All of the lawns are burned to gold because water restrictions have limited their feeding to once per week, and now that is being curtailed. The electronic messaging devices on California's highways, put in place for Amber Alerts, now urge people to stop using water. The state's Almond farmers, who require a gallon of water to produce a single almond, are under attack. Farmers with "Senior" water rights, established in the 1800s for central valley farmers, are being redefined, and for the most part Californians are learning to live in xeriscape environments.

That is, everyone accept those types who live in Rancho Santa Fe, who have turned a desert area into an exclusive oasis, and who actually increased their water usage during the last measured period.

Now they are under tight restriction, and some are furious and using spurious logic to justify their irresponsible lifestyles. Here is my favorite, from an interior designer named Gay Butler (and that name is not fictitious): "You could put 20 houses on my property, and they'd have families of at least four. In my house, there is (sic) only two of us. They would be using a hell of a lot more water than we're using."

Otherwise put, Gay feels justified in using all of the water that would be used for 20 families of four people each, if they existed, though they don't because she bought up all the land on which there may have been houses for this community of non-existent families.

That is pretty much the logic of the denizens of these rich, largely Republican, California enclaves. One of them - financier Ralph Whitworth - paid The Rolling Stones $2 million to play one night in a club in Rancho Santa Fe last month.

You are known by the company you keep, and whores will be whores. These are sentiments that don't mean much anymore, other than to those aging Hippie types who still remember the feeling of optimism and hope that once existed, the ghost of our spiritual Camelot, now burned to dry and brittle West Coast gold. - RAR

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Could Facebook Get Any Creepier?

It seems awful enough that Facebook works with the National Security Agency (NSA), providing the largest face recognition database in the world, along with the most ambitious behavioral tracking and data analysis operations known to exist in private industry. All but abandoned by young people, Facebook has become a place where old people go to post messages of conformity to group norms. You get "don't hurt me" messages: photographs of pets and parents and grandparents and children, and for some reason you get pictures of food. People post a lot of pictures of themselves, which they then comment on. And you get a lot of profile picture changing; Facebook pages need to remain active to get anyone to notice them because, other than the activities mentioned above, there is nothing going on with this site. It has become like a Stepford community of old robots, programmed to repeat the same messages over and over, reinforcing belief systems that adjudicate against change. That and data collection are really the only services this social networking provides, and it isn't really something designed for the benefit of its users. - RAR

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BBC Lancashire's Grand Ole Opera (sort of)

The Country Show

While doing serious research on the Internet recently, I came across a BBC Website showing a playlist for "The Country Show" program broadcast from Lancashire. To an American audience, listening to this station would be just like studying a bug preserved in amber. There are a few incongruities, but it is largely the playlist of the country radio stations that U.S. Baby Boomers grew up with. It provides a certain window into what U.K. folks find valuable in America's country music culture:

Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard - Its All Going To Pot
Theresa Rodgers - The Cold Hard Facts Of Life
Niamh Lynn - Sing Me An Old Fashioned Song
Hank Williams - Settin' The Woods On Fire
Derek Ryan - Cecilia
Gene Watson - Cowboys Don't Get Lucky
Eilen Jewell - Worried Mind
Frankie Laine - Moonlight Gambler
Susan McCann - The Old Man On The Porch
Ronnie Milsap - When You Wish Upon A Star
Merle Haggard - The Immigrant
Don Williams - Fair Weather Friends
Sam Hunt - Take Your Time
Kitty Wells - It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell - You Can't Say We Didn't Try
Ferlin Huskey - Wings Of A Dove
Mark Collie - Even The Man In The Moon Is Crying
T.G. Sheppard - War Is Hell On The Homefront Too
Johnny Brady - Something About A Woman
Eric Paslay - She Don't Love You
Lefty Frizzell - If You've Got The Money, I've Got The Time
The Railsplitters - Sweet Little Blue Eyes
Johnny Cash - Forty Shades Of Green
Reba McEntire - That's When I Knew
Nathan Carter - Lay Down Besides Me
John Fogarty + Zac Brown Band - Bad Moon Rising
Raymond Froggatt - Maybe The Angels
Isla Grant - Living In My Mind
Porter Wagoner - A Satisfied Mind
Gary Quinn - I Love To Watch You Leave

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Songbird -

Scarlett Johansson's Cease and Desist Order

I may be the only person in the world who was not aware of actress Scarlett Johansson's singing career. She has actually made several network appearances, performing with the likes of Pete Yorn, and she has occasionally piped up within the context of movie roles. She is no Katy Perry.

In fact, Johansson received some negative publicity earlier this year when she formed a band with Este Haim (of Haim), Holly Miranda, Kendra Morris, and Julia Haitigan they dubbed The Singles. They put out a single, "Candy" and were promptly served with a cease and desist order from the Los Angeles-based band of the same name, The Singles.

Below is a video released by Johansson a couple years ago, a cover of "Boys Don't Cry". It is sort of like a video-selfie Karaoke performance, the merits of which you may determine for yourself.

The Best in Folk in 2015?

Martin Chilton, Culture Editor of the Telegraph Folk Music Facebook Page, chooses the following recordings as the "class of 2015", at least so far. You are encouraged to search these albums out on YouTube and elsewhere.

HARRY HARRIS: SONGS ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE (WILD SOUND RECORDINGS)

FINDLAY NAPIER: VIP VERY INTERESTING PERSONS (CHERRYGROOVE RECORDS)

SAM LEE & FRIENDS: THE FADE IN TIME (THE NEST COLLECTIVE RECORDS)

THE UNTHANKS: MOUNT THE AIR (RABBLE ROUSER RECORDS)

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER TIME: CELEBRATING THE MUSIC OF INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (NONESUCH RECORDS)

JOE TOPPING: THE VAGRANT KINGS (FELLSIDE)

THE DECEMBERISTS: WHAT A TERRIBLE WORLD, WHAT A LOVELY WORLD (ROUGH TRADE RECORDS)

ALTAN: THE WIDENING GYRE (COMPASS RECORDS)

KATHRYN ROBERTS AND SEAN LAKEMAN: TOMORROW WILL FOLLOW TODAY (ISCREAM RECORDS)

TOM KITCHING: INTERLOPER (FELLSIDE RECORDS)

WHO HE? IAN CARR AND VARIOUS ARTISTS (REVEAL RECORDS)

ALAN KELLY GANG: THE LAST BELL (BLACKBOX MUSIC)

THE MOONBEAMS: WATCHING WILDLIFE (MOONBEAM RECORDS)

MATT McGINN: LATTER DAY SINNER (MATT McGINN MUSIC)

FAIRPORT CONVENTION: MYTHS AND HEROES (MATTY GROOVES)

JIM CROCE: THE STUDIO ALBUMS COLLECTION (DEMON RECORDS)

INDIA ELECTRIC CO: THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND ME (SHOELAY MUSIC)

BELLA HARDY: WITH THE DAWN (NOE)

THE F SPOT: FEMMES FATALES (FOLKSTOCK RECORDS)

BALLAD OF CROWS: BALLAD OF CROWS

BRENDAN McCAULEY: THE McCARTNEYS OF PENNYBURN 1865-1912 (COPPERPLATE)

MERRY HELL: THE GHOST IN OUR HOUSE AND OTHER STORIES (MRS CASEY RECORDS)

PAUL BRADY: THE VICAR STREET SESSIONS, VOL1 (PROPER RECORDS)

FABIAN HOLLAND: A DAY LIKE TOMORROW (ROOKSMERE RECORDS)

LUKE JACKSON: THIS FAMILY TREE (FIRST TAKE RECORDS)

THE CHANGING ROOM: BEHIND THE LACE (THE CHANGINGROOM)

NATALIE MacMASTER AND DONNELL LEAHY: ONE (LINUS ENTERTAINMENT)

THE BARKER BAND: THE LAND WE HOLD DEAR (BB RECORDS)

OLIVIA CHANEY: THE LONGEST RIVER (NONESUCH)

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Break Out Acts?

Eighteen months ago, these were among the acts that the music press was watching as possible break out artists. How are they doing?

East India Youth - Eccentric English electro-pop:
London producer/singer-songwriter William Doyle is a rare talent.

Laura Jurd - Minimalist jazz with flourishes of folk, free improv and contemporary classical. Impressive maturity in trumpeter Laura Jurd's debut LP, 'Landing Ground'.

Joey Bada$$ - Hip hop like mama used to make.
Aged just 17, Joey Bada$$ released the '1999' mixtape last year to great acclaim.

Nadine Shah - Glowering piano ballads-cum-industrial rock from a former jazz vocalist of Norwegian and Pakistani parentage.

Night Works - Bassist Gabriel Stebbing does urbane and metropolitan pop – funky like Chic, as soft and catchy as Hall & Oates.

Novella - Thrilling psych-pop with echoes of Can, early My Bloody Valentine and Jefferson Airplane.

Petite Noir - Yannick Ilunga offers a lush electro, slathered in a sultry baritone.

Post War Years - They've been hailed as the future of indie-pop since 2008.

Public Service Broadcasting - Drums and guitar, a whole load of WWII radio samples.

Serafina Steer - Harp-led modern prog-folk from Jarvis Cocker.

Skaters - This decade’s answer to The Strokes. Channeling the Voidoids and occasionally the Velvets, Skaters are garage revivalist.

Theme Park - Summer-themed lyrics and perpetual references to the lands of balmier climates.

Hot in the South

Ten top Southern bands to watch in 2015:

Great Peacock (Nashville, TN) - Arena rock Ryan Adams style. Check out their Making Ghosts LP.

Futurebirds (Athens, GA) - Like R.E.M and Neil Young, with Beach Boys-like harmonies. 

Lilly Hiatt (Nashville, TN) - John Hiatt's daughter just released Royal Blue.

Caleb Caudle (Winston-Salem, NC) - Paint Another Layer On My Heart was one of the most highly regarded records of the last year.

Bohannons (Chattanooga, TN) - “A hotshot Nashville music writer once declared that Bohannons were the ‘best thing to come out of Chattanooga since Bessie Smith.’

Holy Ghost Electric Show (Oxford, MS) - Their debut album The Great American Holy Ghost Electric Show introduced a whole other type of "wall of sound".

Ruby The Rabbitfoot (Athens, GA) - “The queen of Athens, Ruby Kendrick (a.k.a. “Ruby The Rabbitfoot”), released one of the finest pop records of 2014, New as Dew.

Have Gun, Will Travel (Bradenton, FL) - “Florida’s finest are working on their fifth album, Science From An Easy Chair, a concept album that commemorates the 100th anniversary of Sir Earnest Shackleton’s famous 1914-1917 expedition in Antarctica.

Water Liars (Water Valley, MS) - With lyrics that harken Flannery O’Connor and Larry Brown, and a sound that is reminiscent of Neil Young’s Crazy Horse at its loudest.

Blue Blood (Athens, GA) - Critically acclaimed fly-fishing guide Hunter Morris teamed with members past and present of MGMT and The Whigs.

 

 


   

 

 

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