Volume 3-2012



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The photograph used for the "Big Rock Candy Mountain" cover above is a 1940 publicity shot of Woody Guthrie and Burl Ives in Central Park. Their casual closeness mirrors the homoerotic storyline of the song, in which a burly bum recruits a young boy into an alternative lifestyle, at least for awhile.  Since first being released in 1928, everything about "Big Rock Candy Mountain" has been controversial, especially its liquor references and its cheerful championing of sloth and laziness. It has been released in many versions, and sanitized as a children's tune. In the bite of its true form it is a true product of the Depression Era, an artifact of a  yearning need to believe in a place of ease and plenty. In that, it is a story type as old as written language, represented by the mythical land of "Cockaigne" in Middle French. This may be why my generation has long wanted to believe that the real meaning of this "children's song" we all grew up with - we got the clean versions on daytime TV - was  that "big rock candy mountain" was code for cocaine. The true concept is far deeper than that, which is why it is this election cycle's offering. U.S. politics is a sort of Cockaigne that is offered up in a presidential election year, with hard choices related to both "the home guard" and "the union card".  Click on the cover above to have a listen and see if you don't think 1928 sounds a lot relevant in 2012.



Memphis Rock'N Soul Hall of Fame - A plea for good intentions

Tim Ryan - Tool Cool for Just One Band

Amy Lavere - Memphis Upright

8 Days to Amsterdam - Memphis Power Pop

Reba Russell - Memphis Queen Rips up "When Love Came to Town"

Matt Nathansan on the SF Links


Building a Cult Following

Were you under the impression that Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, The Grateful Dead, and KISS got to the top on sheer talent? Story on the Artist Management page.

Mawazine International Music Festival -

Do Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey and Jimmy Cliff know anything about the North African regime they are supporting? Story on the RCJ...









Learning from Jimmy Iovine

Interscope Records CEO Jimmy Iovine was featured in a recent piece in Rolling Stone, and it was one of those rare celebrity interviews that actually yield insight and useful information for people interested in music production and engineering. READ MORE...



(Click here)

New Releases on RARadio: "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" from Actress 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




"The Musical Meccas of the World"









Original Musical Compositions and Select Covers

Fiction and Non-Fiction

Special Projects






At the northwest end of the Northwest Passage, rain falls as a constant drizzle in the winter months, adding up to a misty 37 inches per year, while the clouds hang low for over 200 days of every 365. It isn't torrential, and isn't even the biggest rainfall recipient in the U.S., but it factors into the thinking and the lives of the locals. Seattle, along with Portland and San Francisco, ranks as the "Greenest City in the U.S.", according to a Tufts University study reported in June 2012. People in the Seattle area feel in touch with the elements and they adapt their outdoor styles to the natural environment or they stay indoors, either of which tends to push people inwards. It shows in the clothes they wear, like camping gear, and in the scrubby preference in facial hair. It is no accident that "Grunge" emanated from Seattle. It is the "muddy boots" of Rock, the distortion of a perfectly clean space that happens naturally when it is soaking wet outside. The cold moisture seeps through the walls and becomes mold if you don't stay on top of it, and it is dark. Ferns flourish, as if some portal to dinosaur land has allowed in too much low-hanging fog and wood smoke, and god knows what else. Hippies, probably, and itinerates, though why they travel to here is also part of the story. Seattle connects, as could be said of the State of Washington itself, which dictates "Fish Windows" in its winter construction season, when workers in waters around Pugett Sound must step aside for spawning finned species. Of human species, Seattle is a magnet for creative types from this region, who move here to be part of a music community as vibrant as any in the U.S. The sounds range from chainsaw rock to delicate folk, and it tends to be highly literate and predominantly White. There are exceptions to the latter, but relatively few. Jimi Hendrix was a Seattle native, though he exited town early for the service and was not really a Seattle product, such as exists here today. In 2012, Seattle was beginning to replace the image of it being the Grunge Capitol of Rock with something more gentle and thoughtful and a lot woodier. No place in the U.S. seems to be producing more sensitive, melodic voices than Seattle, Washington. Like spaces between rain drops, Seattle music tends to be a delicate mix of shimmering sounds layered carefully so that everything has room. Grunge had that element to it, if you check out most of Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, or Nirvana tunes of yesterday, or the Chris Cornell stuff of today (Audioslave). I attribute this to the influence of the cozy drizzle.  - RAR

Last Year's Best Seattle New Band?

The Head and the Heart

Seattle's City Arts Magazine devised some sort of a way to determine Seattle's best band for 2011, and they came up with The Head and the Heart in a landslide. Music writer Jonathan Zwickel has quite an interview with them, read here. And check out this video for their tune "Down In the Valley".



"Strange Like We Are"

Campfire OK

Here is a Seattle band that puts us in mind of an earlier City favorite, Death Cab for Cutie. Campfire OK does a sophisticated and intelligent thing, and they do the articulate outsider to a "T". City Arts Magazine found them to be Seattle's best new entry of 2011.


Ravenna Woods

From this outsider's perspective, the Seattle bands of 2012 all have an earnestness that is unlike that found anywhere else. Perhaps it is something to do with geography or environment, but whatever these folks perform as if unaware of the harsh glare of critical assessment that apparently doesn't penetrate the mists of Washington. And that's a good thing, as witnessed in Ravenna Woods.



Beard Music

You might find this video, which features Band of Horses doing a really lovely tune, particularly entertaining after first watching the video in the column at the right. Present-day Seattleites have struggled to separate from the Grunge heritage, and have successfully done so by morphing to an alt-rock characterized by a sort of scruffy urban explorer. Is there another music Mecca that is equal to Seattle in its massive shifts of personality? The City that gave the world Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, also gave the world Heart and Alice in Chains and Death Cab for Cutie, each of which pretty much exemplified the "Seattle music" of their eras. Seattle doesn't transition easily, but when it does it goes wherever it is going to go "whole hog". Today it is the look and sound of "beard music" ala the video below.




Amanda Hardy Band

Seattle band plays their original tune "Surface" live from the Showbox Market in Seattle. They opened on 8-3-2012 for The Classic Crime.




The Lemons

The Lemons @ El Corazon Seattle WA 04-28-2012. The four original members of The Lemons - Jimmy Paulson (lead vocals, guitar), Greg Lovell (guitar), Brent Saunders (bass) and Jeff Ramirez (drums) - got together a few times in 2012, including this show at El Corazon. One of Seattle's seminal punk rockers, The Lemons first got together in 1991.



Roger Fisher

Phillip Rauls (pictured left in white shirt with Roger Fisher) - a curator of rock history based on his many years in the music business as an artist & repertoire rep for Atlantic Records, and related labels - brings to our attention this video of Seattle musician Roger Fisher's ambitious remake of the Heart classic "Love Alive". Fisher and his brother Mike were on the Seattle scene as sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson were coming of age, and Roger Fisher was in the founding lineup of Heart. He has songwriting credits on numerous Heart hits, including "Barracuda" and "Crazy On You".


"Up In My Kitchen"

Fly Moon Royalty

Oh-oh, coolness with a dose of fatback. Our girl Adra Boo can flat-out sing and beats producer Action Jackson creates a sound that is irresistible. Check out their MySpace. 11-30-2012


Hey Marseilles

Hey Marseilles came together in 2006 as a duo featuring University of Washington students Nick Ward and Matt Bishop, and has since grown into a seven-piece band. They released their first album, To Travels & Trunks, independently and to good reviews in 2008.  Their next is expected in March 2013. One might put them at the "The Letterman"-end of the new folk revival, Seattle style, where sensitivities are so keen they would be wrapped in nice sweaters were flannel not available. These guys have much in common with Mumford and Sons, not just in instrumentation, sound, and presentation, but in an absurd degree of passion regarding the slightest of things. It is as if they imagine that singing really hard will somehow make it all seem authentic and true. Hey Marseilles and Mumford and Sons would not be the first to be wrong about this.


Curtains for You

Seattle-based pop band Curtains For You, played a sold old show in opening for The Head & The Heart on October 12th in Western Washington University's Multi-Purpose Room. This partial was uploaded from the university's student media group.  11-30-2012


Tiny Vipers

Tiny Vipers play a special acoustic session at Neuer Markt in Vienna in March 2010.


Band of Heathens

The Band of Heathens performing "Medicine Man" - Live @ the Tractor Tavern in Seattle,WA on 8/24/2012


2008 Look at Seattle Music

This is an amazing documentary-style look at the Seattle Music scene from the perspective of Seattle music community members, with particular focus on guitarist Matt Brooke. This appears to have been produced by a visitor (German? Belgian?) to the U.S.. It was uploaded to YouTube in 2008 with the following description, and has received way too few views. This is just excellent.-RAR

Seattle has musically always been more than grunge although it was bands as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains that put the city on the map at thebrginning of the ninties. Bands Of Horses successes with record "Everything all The Time" got the world to face its ears to Seattles musicscene again. The band has today moved from the town, but guitarist Matt Brooke stayed and started up "Grand Archives". Follow Matt into Seattles music scene 2008. Also meet Tiny Vipers and Fleet Foxes. Uploaded by CopkillahP on Jun 18, 2008





©Rick Alan Rice (RAR), November, 2012