Volume 3-2014





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Currently on RARadio:

"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




"Music Hot Spots"




























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.



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.



Alan Merrill

When You Start Big In Japan

What baby boomer doesn't have a soft spot in his or her heart for the '60s tune "Walk Away Renee"? In the video below it is performed by Brooklyn native Alan Merrill, who briefly played with the New York band  (the Left Banke) that had the hit with the song in 1966, before signing with a band called The Lead. They had a record deal with RCA Victor Records, which was pretty advanced in 1968 because The Lead was a Tokyo-based act, though some members of the band were not Japanese nationals. Merrill made the move to Japan, the band had a hit there with "Aoi Bara" (Blue Rose), and then two of the American members of the group were deported. The band died and Merrill was stranded abroad. It was hardly the dismal end for him, but rather the beginning of an extraordinary rock odyssey that included penning one of the great anthems in Rock history - "I Love Rock'n Roll". READ MORE

Fagen and Becker/Steely Dan

Living in the 13th World

If you want to feel Steely Dan songwriters Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, just go to your favorite chord producing instrument and play a 13th, in any key. That chord is a doorway to an alternative understanding, another world if you are not native to its parallel universe. Play it and an immediate change comes over you. Night falls and you are suddenly in a cosmopolitan landscape of glimmering downtown, where moonlight mixes erotically with neon and sodium facsimiles to bathe the world in nocturnal hues. Somewhere out of sight a broken-hearted saxophone player gives life all that he has remaining. It is where life resolves into something dark and maybe a little scary, the world of the cultured introvert and the desperate outsider. It is Jazz world, where you get the bluest blues and the blackest blacks. READ MORE

Guitar Legend/Committed Anti-Terrorist

The Strange Trip that is Jeff "Skunk" Baxter

Hollywood types have had a long history of involvement in government operations, particularly with regard to promoting certain political agendas where their celebrity and status as cultural icons has often made them more effective as messengers than politically compromised elected officials might otherwise be. There have been challenges, however, for the political right of Southern California who have typically felt themselves to be in the minority among a liberal Hollywood establishment. It is an odd sense of oppression, given that it has been within their group that celebrity-based upward political mobility has developed. Notable among their stars, who have stepped forward to promote the interests of the right, are Ronald Reagan, who rode an acting career, involvement in union politics, and finally corporate spokesman duties to the governorship of California and on to the White House. And there was Charlton Heston, of the NRA, and former Mayor of Carmel Clint Eastwood. Other right-wing entertainment industry supporters have included actor James Woods, and musicians Gene Simmons and Kid Rock. Perhaps the strangest case, among the righties, is former Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. READ MORE

Vlad DeBriansky and Jack's Last Dollar








CCJ correspondent Diana Olsen checks in with the guitarist Vlad DeBriansky, who has a new band to support a couple new albums. He also has an excellent video providing background for his new work, which links his Ukranian folk roots to American Blues. His face may be familiar to some. A top-flight player who has had considerable commercial success in Eastern Europe, Vlad is in constant rotation on the History 2 channel, where he portrays the visionary Nostrodamus in "Nostradamus Effect: da Vinci's Armageddon". READ MORE

Where Have All the Heroes Gone?

There is a good chance that you will find them playing an Indian casino somewhere.


As everybody knows, it is hard to miss someone if they won't go away. Or, even more to the point, it is hard to recall them fondly if they keep hanging around and muddying up our memories of them.

Speaking as one who grew up in that first generation of rock'n roll, I have always struggled with recording artists who find fame early, which in the rock era meant successfully selling product to the young people (kids) that were the principal marketing target, and who then over time slid back down the music industry ladder while continuing to hang around. You see them playing casinos and county fairs, or showing up on package tours with other retrograde acts, former stars.

When I was one of those young record buyers, who idolized some of those youthful artists and entertainers of my day (which is a weird euphemism we have invented to describe "lost youth"), it never really occurred to me that these people were going to have to make livelihoods for themselves after their period of fame had passed and the royalty earnings subsided. READ MORE

Brooklyn's Tyburn Saints

With the Night in Our Eyes

With the Night in Our Eyes, the new album from New York band Tyburn Saints was recorded by Ian Love (Rival Schools) in Brooklyn, NY and produced with Grammy award winner Guy Massey (Beatles, Manic Street Preachers, Depeche Mode, Spiritualized and The Chameleons) in London. It will be released by Balaclava Records out of São Paulo, Brazil. Tyburn Saints fully embrace the sonic landscapes of shoegaze and dream-pop, with blankets of warmth ushered in by Cocteau Twins-esque guitars (similar also to LSD and the Search for God or The Bethany Curve) juxtaposed against the intelligible, meaningful vocals of lead singer Johnny Gimenez.

OoN: Bass and Bassoon

Ariane Cap and Paul Hanson

If you can make it through the product demonstration, which goes on for the first half of this video from a 2013 NAMM Convention, you are rewarded with a mighty fine demonstration of tap-style bass playing and some beautiful bassoon. Bassonnist Paul Hanson is well known for his work with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Cirque Du Soleil, DAVKA, St Josephs Ballet, Zenith Patrol, The Klezmorim, Paul Dresher Ensemble, Jonas Hellborg, Dennis Chambers, Eddie Money (sax soloist on "Take Me Home Tonight") and Boz Scaggs . Ariane Cap is a multi instrumentalist, educator and composer. An eclectic and versatile bassist, she has covered many styles, from Jazz, to Folk and Flamenco (Muriel Anderson), to classical music (The Mozart Band), African (The Palm Wine Boys), Celtic (Tempest). Latin Disco (Generation Esmeralda) to Punk Rock (The Sippy Cups), Rock (Keith Olsen), and Cirque du Soleil. Cap and Hanson work together as OoN. Bay Area fans can catch them early in August at the Musically Minded Academy in Oakland.

Richie Blue Band

No Bar Too Far for Richie Blue

Blues guitarist Richie Blue has been a staple of California's Blues circuit for a few decades, beginning with his time with The Fabulous Beaumont Brothers. That band featured Amos Garett along with Richie's slide guitar, and it made Richie Blue a known entity in California. He gigged through the San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento club and festival circuit in a cycle that continues to this day, booking behind his motto "No bar too far". He has released three CDs on the San Francisco Farmboy label. His original song "Rooster" has been performed by the band Zero, Norton Buffalo, Stu Blank, The Sonoma Swampdogs and other Bay Area blues bands. He has worked as a session pro on more than 30 albums and CDs. In the video here he trades blues licks with another Bay Area pro, Russ Perry.

Les Fradkin - Canon in D

Rocking Classical on the Ztar (midi) - Best Classical Recording-Indie Music Channel Awards for 2014. Les Fradkin returns with an Exclusive Single Version of Canon In D.

Reinventing the wheel of sorts, Les Fradkin has done it again! Les recently won "Best Classical Recording" at the 2014 Indie Music Channel Awards for the single "Canon In D"! What makes this award even more impressive is the fact that the song was released five years ago as part of the 'Baroque Rocks!' album. Proving once again that classical & Baroque style music is standing the test of time. Fradkin is a classically-trained artist/musician along with being one hell of a rock guitarist that can play with the best of them. He is also an accomplished composer & producer who knows what sounds good and what doesn't. His winning composition "Canon In D" hits all the right notes and definitely feels right. Paying homage to German Baroque composer/organist/teacher Johann Pachelbel who wrote "Canon In D", Les has given a new zest of life to the original masterpiece. Using his one-of-a-kind Starr Labs Ztar, Les is able to produce an array of amazing sounds from just one unique instrument. Blending rock with classical/Baroque on Fradkin's version of "Canon In D", the mighty Ztar is able to make it all sound so electronic & New Age while still keepin' it classy. Fradkin's innovative approach did not take away from the original score at all because Les was able to have the New World & Old World come together as One. With two worlds colliding, Les is able to combine it all perfectly for the listeners of Today. Coined as a "virtuoso" MIDI guitarist, Les is putting a modern & inventive twist on Pachelbel's classic piece. 

Michael Butler

"Squeeze My Hand"

Quaint and cute might be words one could use to describe the video below, which also features much of what we at RARWRITER love about New York City singer-songwriter-musician Michael Butler. Back in 1998, Michael and his wife Lydia were cast as extras in a CBS TV movie titled "Her Own Rules". It was filmed in Ireland at Leixlip Castle, which is part of the Guinness family empire. Michael and Lydia's parts were not large, but they have been made lovingly memorable through Michael's use of footage from the film in videos he has produced in support of his reggae tune "Squeeze My Hand". He uses it as part of his press package, and it is charmingly effective at showcasing Michael's musical talent, his big heart, the extent to which he adores his wife, and his sense of humor. It's a feel good thing.

Billy Hoke's Percussion Extravaganza!

Drummer Billy Hoke, who operates the Boulder Drum Shop, has a thing for ethnic percussion instruments, and his store offers one of the best selections of such instruments in the area between the Sierra and Appalachian ranges. He is the nexus for a polyethnic infusion of culture that explodes on a regular basis in the form of "Billy Hoke's Percussion Extravaganza". These are hosted at the Boulder Outlook Hotel, known as "Boulder's Home of the Blues, Blues/Greens". No idea what that last part means. On those occasions, a great group of players come together to make really wonderful music. In the video below, which is well worth watching and listening to, the cast includes: L to R - Bill Falconer - guitar, Bob Tiger - bass, Rony Barrak - darbouka & djembe, Paa Kow - kit, Brad Good - trumpet, Mahlon Hawk - bass, Eric Wiggs - guitar, Atta Addo - percussion, Christian Teele - talking drum, Billy Hoke - gonkogwe.

Cool Colorado

Blues at Caffé Sole

Video producer Colin Hartin put together this excellent live broadcast of the Boulder Blues Quartet performing at Caffé Sole in Boulder, Colorado in May 2013. It was broadcast on KGNU. Almost no one seems to have watched this video on YouTube, and more is the pity. It prominently features singer-guitarist Jack Hadley, who for years toured with Trance Bluesman Otis Taylor. Also featured at Boulder-area musicians John March, Robert Johnson, Jay Forrest, Chris Engleman, Bob Schlesinger, Chris Daniels, and Mark Oblinger. This is spectacular stuff, a cool version of "I'll Take You There". These players - particularly drummer Forrest, bassist Engleman, singer-guitarists Daniels and Oblinger, and keyboardist Schlesinger - have been cream of the crop talents on the Colorado scene for decades. They are just freaking great! Boulder's Caffé Sole is operated by a venture capitalist named Suter Du Bose, who is a devoted music aficionado who regularly brings a powerful lineup of Jazz and Blues talent to his Boulder eatery. Really cool venue. The badass on the guitar, other than Jack Hadley, is John March, a more recent L.A. and N.Y. transplant to Boulder, who lives a sort of Buckaroo Bonzai existence as a session guitarist, recording artist, audio technician and Protools teacher, Ted Greene instructional devotee, restaurant operator, and student of Zen Buddhism. Writes March on his website: "My Zen teacher used to say that; 'the quality of your Life is dependent on the focus of your attention.' I am deeply interested in situations and opportunities that move me towards the most creative place and the best possible solutions for each and every project that i work on. I believe that it is within our grasp to create situations and opportunities that transform and re-write the cultural status quo. To re-imagine the global culture as a communal work of Art. The great Zen teacher Suzuki Roshi said things very clearly in his book Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, when he said, 'All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something.'” Clearly there is nothing getting in the way of March's guitar playing.


Our Favorite Song this Week!

Check out  "Todo Menos El Dolor" by Kimono Kult.

Use this link to go to the last edition and other archived pages.

Amoureux Interview

That girl above left, winking at you, is Nicole Turley, who in 2011 founded a record company/artist repertoire group called Neurotic Yell Records. This is a favorite of the CCJ as the label boasts some of the more outrageous acts in the music business (e.g., Amanda Jo Williams). A great deal of what it does, however, is to showcase the talents of Ms. Turley, who happens to be the wife of John Frusciante, the guitarist who made his fame with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and some would say was responsible for that band's special (guitar-driven) sound. READ MORE

Providing services is a risky business. You may get it exactly right 99 percent of the time, but it will be the 1 percent that you screw up that will get you the greater amount of attention. This is especially true in the Internet age, where anyone can post anything about anyone, right or wrong. Nationwide Disc is a small CD services company from Richland Hills, Texas. They have also become a distributor of information on resources available to music industry types and what they have accomplished in this regard is truly outstanding. Use this link to visit their site. Visit the Industry Directory and Opportunities links. There is a great deal of information provided there, plus with their Source site the Nationwide Disc folks have been doing a range of articles about the things one considers while in the heat of artistic pursuit.

Screenwriter's World Conference

The Writer's Store in L.A. is getting set to host the annual Screenwriter's Wrold Conference August 15-17. Screenwriters World is a high-level networking and educational summit designed by F + W Media and The Writers Store to help you learn how to write and sell a screenplay. The diverse schedule covers a wide variety of topics and tactics suitable for screenwriters at every level of skill and career. Design the perfect track for yourself with classes offering you actionable information on everything from the latest screenwriting trends to securing representation to selling that spec! Use this link to learn more.


If you are trolling the Internet looking for Black acts playing all manner of music, there is a great site called AFROPUNK that provides links to several hundred of them. Check it out!

Rolling Funk Future

Chris Daniels and Keys Master Bill Payne

Colorado music stalwart Chris Daniels (Chris Daniels & the Kings, a 35-year Colorado favorite) reports that he recently spent a day recording ten new original tunes with legendary pianist Bill Payne. This will all culminate in a new Chris Daniels album, which should be fascinating as these tunes were all written in 2010 while the resilient Daniels was going through a nightmarish nine-month hospital stay battling acute myeloid leukemia. Titled Better Days, and set to be released later in 2014, Daniels told The Tribune (Greeley and Weld counties, Colorado) that the new album will sound like a cross between Sly and the Family Stone and Chicago, circa 1968. Those two sounding boards have no doubt inspired Chris Daniels & the Kings, which prominently features a horn section, and they do bring the funk. Since the early 1970s, Daniels has performed in company with another Colorado Hall of Fame type outfit, the Freddi-Henchi Band. The Freddi-Henchi bump will be featured in the upcoming Chris Daniels album.

Bill Payne is among the most revered, and most influential, keyboard players to emerge in the past half-century. Along with Lowell George, Waco-Texas native Payne founded the enormously popular band Little Feat, which was largely built around Payne's barrelhouse blues piano stylings, and his mastery of the Hammond B3 organ. Payne was a Laurel Canyon-dwelling studio musician when he met Lowell George, who had been with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Zappa encouraged George to pursue his own sound, and so he sought out the highly-respected multi-instrumentalist Payne, and Little Feat developed from there. Since George, Payne's collaborators have all been music legends, including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Beck, Brian Wilson, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Plant, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Lang, and Leftover Salmon (for whom Bill Payne recently produced an album). There is a good bio of Payne on the Little Feat website. He also continues to work with Little Feat, and he has an album coming out later this year.

East Bay Musicians Who We Have Lost

Heart of Rock'n Roll

The San Francisco Bay Area is fortunate to have among its denizens a fellow named Obert Sonstein, who gives a great deal of his time and energy to recognition of the Bay Area's music community. His beat is not so much the big name stars as lower tier genres like "Garage Bands of the 1960s", which includes production of an ongoing schedule of day-long reunions where old dudes and their old band mates take the stage in back-to-back-to-back performances. These events will occasionally include well-known players who came up among these other dudes who continue to perform out of their love and passion for the music they play. It is an uplifting celebration of something good about human nature.

The other thing Mr. Sonstein does so well is honor Bay Area musicians when they pass away, which is happening with increasing frequency as the Baby Boomer generation becomes a group of seniors. Visit his Facebook site Memorial Page for East Bay Musicians Who We Have Lost to read tributes to a long list of players who have transitioned to the next stage.

Caribou Ranch Closes its Gates

It is likely that the only people outside of the Boulder/Nederland Colorado area who know anything about Caribou Ranch and its recording facilities learned of it through liner notes on Elton John, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder or Joe Walsh albums, among other big stars. The studio was owned and operated by the Jim Guercio, whose fame and fortune derived from the pop band Chicago, along with Blood Sweat & Tears and The Buckinghams. A Chicago native and guitarist, Guercio moved to L.A. to find big commercial success as a producer and songwriter, as well as a session player. He was a Columbia Records staff producer and toured as a musician with the Beach Boys in the mid-70s. His tune "Distant Shores" charted for Chad & Jeremy. Guercio worked with Clive Davis to pair down Chicago's sound from something "experimental" to something more "pop", even changing the name of the band from The Chicago Transit Authority. Rancor ensued between Guercio and the band, which culminated in Guercio's retreat to his Nederland, Colorado recording studio/ranch (there was a working cattle ranch in operation there initially) in 1972. Caribou became a remote isolation station for big name talent, including John Lennon, who fancied the idea of a musical retreat far removed from the pressures of the east and west coast music industry centers.

Jim Guercio, who is now nearing 70 years of age, seemed to lose interest in the music industry years ago, and by the mid-80s Caribou Ranch became kind of a ghost facility in terms of musical energies. The Guercio family relocated to Montana and recently sold the Caribou facility to a tentacle (Indian Peaks Holdings LL) of the Walton (Wal-Mart) family for $32.5 million. The Guercios retained ownership of 40-acres of the former ranch property as well as the Caribou name. They plan to pursue a "lifestyle" business from their Montana retreat, as in suggestions for living to a certain standard. This is a popular trope these days, with celebrity-experts such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Lauren Conrad, and Jessica Alba following a trail blazed by Martha Stewart. Step one is always something like: "Begin by transferring a million dollars, or whatever you are comfortable with, from savings to checking, because you are going to want to buy some things to get started on your new lifestyle."

Things from the old Caribou Ranch lifestyle, such as the piano on which pop classics "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and "Bridge over Troubled Waters" has been donated to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. The curator for that collection is long-time Colorado music writer G. Brown.

Boulder Drum Shop

Billy Hoke and the Caribou Drums

Boulder (Colorado) Drum Shop owner Billy Hoke has been bummed of late because the building he operates out of is part of property recently sold for a Google development. Such is the price to be paid for locals in the Boulder area, which has become a center for information technology companies. Then, to a musician like Hoke, the added blasphemy of the legendary Caribou Ranch property being sold to one of the many arms of the Walton family, of Wal-Mart riches.

Billy Hoke noted another development on his Facebook page, however, that takes some of the sting out of his business displacement:

"yesterday i was going to do a post voicing my displeasure about having to relocate The Boulder Drum Shop due to the hostile takeover of Boulder by everybody's favorite "steal our constitutional right to privacy" corporation Google ($395. Billion) and to acknowledge how bummed & horrified i was to find out that the Walton family of Wal-Mart has purchased the legendary Caribou Ranch Recording Studio property. never did get the chance to make the post but just as i was closing down the shop last night just about the coolest thing happened which has me tickled pink. two massive pickup trucks whipped up in front of the store & out pops Will Guercio, son of famed producer & founder of Caribou, Jim Gercio. Will had with him a landmark piece of rock-n-roll history: the original Caribou Studio's Sonor Rosewood session drum kit & he asked me if i would please refurbish & dial in the kit to be placed in the Colorado Music Hall Famed. wow......i consider it an honor!! back in the day i was the 1st local drummer to get up to Caribou for some session work. i vividly remember when Gerard McMahon ( G Tom Mac ) & i pulling up to the gate and gave the gatekeeper our names & the thrill i got when he said yes you're good to go & opened the gates for us. i just wish i could remember if i used my own kit or if i played this set of Sonors. i'm thinking sense we were up there to help them fine tune the studio that chances are good that they wanted me to play this kit. i'm still pinching
myself & asking.......how cool is that!! pics to follow."

From their website: The Drum Shop offers a comprehensive array of drums from the world over as well as everything the working drummer needs to enhance his or her creative gigging experience.

The Drum Shop is proud to carry the best selection of ethnic percussion in the Rockies. If you’re looking for a great selection of djembes, doumbeks, cajons & frame drums or if you’re not quite sure what you might want, owner Billy Hoke will be pleased to help you find the right drum for you. The Drum Shop is also the home of Tribes Custom Drums; A Boulder company that has made a nice name for itself by providing quality drum sets for a who’s who list of Colorado name drummers. The Drum Shop carries DW, Yamaha, Pearl, Ludwig, Gretsch, Tama, Sonor & Pacific drum sets and hardware. As well, there is a great selection of cymbals from every major brand and some nice smaller companies.

See Billy Hoke's Percussion Extravaganza (left).

Morgana Welch's Hollywood Novel

It was clear all through the book that only someone who lived in Hollywood during the 60s... and 70s could have written such a great story. Morgana gave wonderful attention to details of fashion, attitudes, places and people of the era. Her characters were true to the times and were carefully crafted like a fine tapestry making me feel like I had made some new friends. I can't wait to read what is in store for them next! - Diana Olson  READ MORE





Copyright © August, 2014 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)