at www.RARWRITER.com      

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Volume 1-2019




What happened to the list?

As the CCJ transitions to a model better geared to leverage social networks, we are moving away from our past use of email notification services. If you would like to be added to our internal email distribution, please send your request to Rick@RARWRITER.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, which we will use to keep you notified of new features and news articles.


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.



Use the RARADIO link to go to our radio page, where you will hear songs you are not likely to hear elsewhere.



"Music Hot Spots"




























Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page


CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively called ATWOOD. 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 Deliverance is 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.



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 at NOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.




Lisa Papineau

Thank you to Lisa Papineau who wrote and recorded this beautiful track, and to artist Betsy Kenyon for creating such an imaginative and wonderful video. This is from Papineau's album "Oh Dead On Oh Love", which is expected to be released in February, 2019.

Papineau has quite a back story. She lives with multiple sclerosis, has been battling cancer, and for the last five years has been earning a black belt in karate.

She has long histories of collaboration with Tyler Bates (composer: Guardians of the Galaxy, 300, Atomic Blonde, Watchmen, etc), Juan Alderete (The Mars Volta), and Koool G Murder (Eels). She once fronted the band Big Sir and she has further worked with Air and M83. Oh Dead On Oh Love is an album of lush arrangements fusing traditional instrumentation (strings, brass, woodwinds) with ambient tones and mold-breaking vocals. It will be out Feb 15, 2019 on new label Team Player.


Stringshot is a new collaboration of a familiar, and talented trio of artists: Roy Rogers, Badi Assad, and Carlos Reyes. This brings Rogers, who is most closely associated with Delta Blues, together with Assad and Reyes, who are Latin virtuosos. From the sampling heard so far, it sounds like Rogers is stretching out to meet the Latins, and the result is authentic, exotic, and seductive.

A Bay Area native, Rogers is respected as a producer (John Lee Hooker, Ramblin' Jack Elliott), and a musician, having worked with Ray Manzarek, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Miller, Sammy Hagar. and others.

The Brazilian Assad, who comes from a world-renowned musical family, has been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the world's great guitarists. She is also an accomplished vocalist. Reyes is a master of the Paraguayan stringed harp and the violin, and his collaborations have ranged from Steve Miller and Arturo Sandoval, to symphonic orchestras.  The trio is just starting to play their first dates together, but check out this videoL



Music Sales

The trend is clear. Music has been redefined as something one streams. That is making it much harder to understand how a "unit sale" is now defined in the context of traditional business accounting.

Here is an interesting way to understand that chart, that is, the explanation from Statista: In the first six months of 2018, Nielsen counted 403 billion on-demand music streams (incl. video and audio streams) in the United States. That equates to nearly 270 million albums sold, assuming that 1,500 streams are equivalent to buying one album. As our chart illustrates, streaming now accounts for 75 percent of music consumption in the U.S. when compared to physical and digital music sales using this method, up from 50 percent in the first half of 2016.

Hunt Sales

The song may not be great, but the authenticity of the balladeer is not in question. This "One Day" video is a kind of a step-out-front for the 64-year old Hunt Sales, who has made his professional mark as a drummer for David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Todd Rundgren. He is an honest-to-god musician, and of that he is his own exhibit. Gruff, blunt, and a lot wounded, Sales has been a decades-long heroin addict who somehow survived to feel regret, and he apparently has a suitcase filled with songs on the subject. He seems to have that chip on his shoulder you sometimes get with side men, and he has an old man's growl. That said, I look forward to the LP of his own material that he has coming out in early 2019. It is titled "Get Your Shit Together". Hunt, by the way, is the son of Soupy.


For Those Who Believe

Pop Music Has Gone Downhill

Here is a "scientific" analysis that tells long-time music listeners what they already know.


Okey Dokey

Out of Nashville comes Okey Dokey, which is Tennessean Aaron Martin, and Texan Johny Fisher. They have a pop sound and a sweet sensibility, which they deliver on synths and guitars.

Roberta Donnay and the Prohibition Mob Band

Marin County jazz chanteusse Roberta Donnay is suggesting that, as we are nearing the 20s in the 21st Century, that we bring back swing music and jazz attire. In truth, I thought she was already doing that.

Donnay was in the last incarnation of Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, and this holiday season will carry on a tradition of Christmas with Dan Hicks, though Dan is no longer with us, presenting "Holidaze In Hicksville" featuring his material.

Donnay is a dynamite singer who seems to get more powerful with each passing year. She will be playing around the Bay Area (Berkeley, San Rafael) in the next few weeks, but has also been in New York City, touching down at The Green Room 42, and at Birdland. She has been supporting fellow jazz artist Eve Marie Shahoian, an Oakland native who has been getting attention for her vocal chops since she was a kid. Shahoian had a period when she was red hot, appearing on The Tonight Show, The Mike Douglas Show, Just Kidding, San Francisco Press Club, French Club, and Circle Star Theater, and she was a featured guest on TV and radio stations KGO, KPIX, KRON, KTVU, and KEMO. Shahoian has performed as a soloist several times with the Oakland Symphony. As an adult, she has performed at the Rrazz Room in San Francisco, and of course recently did a one-night show in NYC titled "Broadway Bebe". She continues to compose, perform, and teach music in the San Francisco Bay area.

Son of Stephen

Musician/Actor Chris Stills

Born in Boulder, Colorado in 1974, Chris Stills is the son of Hall of Famer Stephen Stills and French singer-songwriter Véronique Sanson. The parents divorced in 1978 and young Chris grew up with his mother in Paris. He moved to the states as a young adult and worked as a roadie for his touring father, eventually landing a recording contract with his old man's label, Atlantic Records. Stardom did not exactly follow, though since 2006 Chris Stills has worked in various ways with name acts, including Don Was, Leanne Rimes, Ryan Adams, Government Mule, Smashing Pumpkins, Lucinda Williams, and Ricky Lee Jones. He has also gotten traction as an actor, stage and screen. He played Julius Caesar in the musical "Cleopatre - La Derniere Reine d'Egypte", which was the 2nd top grossing show in France for 2009. In 2010, he played the role of Alexander Child in the French film by first time director Jerome LeGris called "Requiem for a Killer".

Stills has a new album out titled "Don't Be Afraid", and you can learn more about him at his website. 

Ways & Means with Words

Just mentioning NGOs - Non-Governmental Organizations - is enough to drive some people to shelter. Having non-profit agencies out in the world acting on behalf of a sanctioning governmental body sounds like a mercenary operation, unless those NGOs are doing good deeds. Promoting children's literacy would likely qualify as such, and the work of NGOs along those lines has been supported by a publishing project launched by Jeff Antebi, the founder of Waxploitation Records. Antebi followed through on a wild idea - what kind of stories would various creative types he knew come up with if tasked with writing a story from children - and turned it into a book titled Stories for Ways & Means, "a book of grown-up children’s stories by some of this era’s most compelling storytellers from the worlds of music and contemporary art". Organizations supported by proceeds from the project include Room to Read, Pencils of Promise, 826 National, and War Child. Antebi now has a Kickstarter fund going to produce audio versions with famous contributors reading their own stories. Here is Tom Waits reading his story.

Phillip Rauls' 2019 Photo Calendar

Phillip Rauls, who was there in the Golden Age of Rock and has the pictures to prove it, puts out a wonderful calendar each year leveraging his incredible photo library. Rauls was an A&R man for Atlantic Records and may well be known by you, the reader. His first person photo journalism of music celebrities is rich, and with this calendar he is focusing on photographs from the 1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival. Use this link to order.

Sis Takes Experiment East

San Francisco singer/multi-instrumentalist/lyricist Jenny Gillespie Mason has something special with her band Sis. Read more about them on the San Francisco Links. They are expanding their range with East Coast tours.

Wounded and Righteous: Tom Petty

I was never a Tom Petty fan. His music seemed to me to be trite and I couldn't stand his voice, which didn't even strike me as authentic - sort of an imitation of Roger McGuinn and Bob Dylan, as if everything Petty did was as a member of a Byrds-Dylan tribute band. Then there was that stupid "won't back down" song, which I would put right up alongside Neil Young's "Let's Roll" and "Rock'n in the Free World" as the most annoying bits of jingoism ever recorded. That said, everybody I know loved the guy, and after watching this video I understand that much better. - RAR

Keeping the Blues Alive

Use this link to see bios of the 2019 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards.

Want to Write for Television?

Use this link for information on what showrunners are looking for.

Pianos versus the Torpedo

Did you know that Hollywood Golden Age movie star Hedy Lamarr and composer and pianist George Antheil invented a device synchronizing a miniaturized player-piano mechanism with radio signals to create a frequency-hopping signal that could not be tracked or jammed? The invention was designed to counteract radio-controlled torpedoes. Telling that story seems as good an excuse as any to run this studio publicity shot from 1940.

Thinking about Spencer Bohren

On a personal note: I have been alarmed to learn that Spencer Bohren, who has been a friend to this site, has announced that he has cancer. In a press release, his wife wrote "Spencer doesn’t just have cancer; he has stage IV prostate cancer that has metastasized to his bones."

I don't really know Spencer personally, though I have communicated with him on and off over the past 40 years. He is a talented gentleman, I know that. And he has always been an interesting guy, more than just a musician, though that is the manor to which he was born. We have told Spencer's story before. He grew up in a family of traveling musicians, and creativity came naturally to him. He does these extraordinary art boxes. Use this link and scroll down the page to find the story we did on Spencer more than a decade ago, which includes examples of his art work, overviews his long recording and performing career, and details his career as a music educator.

Spencer and his family are in the fight, and we at the CCJ send our best to them. They have established a GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/spenser-bohren-cancer-fund. "Contributions will go directly to the expenses of healing, as well as covering our basic living expenses during that time," writes Spencer's wife Marilyn.

Spencer is planning to make his scheduled performance dates, and being Spencer he has come up with still another outlet for expression: a new Health blog at https://www.spencerbohren.com/health-blog/ on which he posts his research and his personal medical updates. You have got to love this guy, and it would be great if you could support his fundraiser. Lifetime musicians make a lot of friends. They often don't have the types of medical coverage they would have were they "ordinary" workers. - RAR

Need Some Party Jazz-Funk Served Well?

Click on the record cover to go to the Colorado Links and catch a quick review of the new Groover LP "Why Can't There Be Peace?"


Michael Reese

Groover puts me to mind of prog-rock players, and you can't think about such types and also Colorado without thinking of Michael Reese. A Colorado native, Michael went out to L.A. years ago and stayed long enough to win accolades before returning to the Rockies, where he has held court ever since in a range of musical incarnations. I used to know Michael back in my own Colorado days, and he was generous with his time and musical knowledge, and I learned a great deal from him about how to play the electric guitar. He may have felt that he had to be, given all the times he borrowed my 1965 Fender Deluxe Reverb for local gigs. In this video below, Michael demonstrates his deft touch with a song that's pretty enough for Christmas. - RAR

Corb Lund

Corb Lund, the Canadian cowboy singer-songwriter who has led his really fine band for more than a decade, is an unusual guy, to say the least. He is smart, erudite, and clever way beyond what you expect from your "Guy Next Door" type of creatives. His composition skills are fantastic, his band is great, and he is touring the U.S. in coming months and probably a kick to see. Check out this brand new track, just posted, that has no video to go with. The song is great, like so much of what Lund does.

Rolling Stone Country said of Things That Can’t Be Undone that it “finds Lund flirting in fresh sonic waters, while still keeping his sardonic mix of eerie lyrics and deceptively joyful vamps well intact.” For its part, PopMatters proclaimed, “Things That Can’t Be Undone furthers the case for Corb Lund as one of the best contemporary country songwriters.”

Lund is an award-winning, vintage country performer, who spent his twenties, interestingly, in an indie rock band. He embraces his rich and rustic western heritage with a style that’s unique, honest and resolute, while touching on a range of cowboy themes both past and present — from rough-and-tumble tales of lawless frontier saloons, to the sombre realities of running a modern family ranch. He sings about a life that he and his ancestors have lived themselves, paired with his quick-witted, wry observations of today’s world. As a result, his writing resonates emphatically with rural and urban audiences alike. It’s a classic sound with a twist, something of a rarity these days, but one that evokes the spirit of the American West, winning over appreciative audiences at rodeos, fairs, festivals and other events where tales of fearless explorers, determined homesteaders and committed cattle ranchers still holds a powerful sway.

Backed by his long-time honkytonk band, the Hurtin’ Albertans — Kurt Ciesla, bass; Grant Siemens, guitar; and Brady Valgardson, drums — Lund effectively amplifies those themes and fires up the crowds. It’s little wonder that the Vegas Seven noted, “Like Willie Nelson before them, they bring out the shit-kickers and hipsters in equal measure.”

With nine studio albums under his belt, multiple CCMA, Juno, and international award nomination and wins, Lund is well recognized as a musical force to be reckoned with. His seventh album, Cabin Fever, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Canadian Charts; he has three gold records; and his latest release, Things That Can’t Be Undone, cemented his status as one of the best contemporary country singer/songwriters working today. The press agrees: Rolling Stone declared him one of the “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” and NPR remarked, “The album is a high mark of a long career.”

Rolling Stone Country said of Things That Can’t Be Undone that it “finds Lund flirting in fresh sonic waters, while still keeping his sardonic mix of eerie lyrics and deceptively joyful vamps well intact.” For its part, PopMatters proclaimed, “Things That Can’t Be Undone furthers the case for Corb Lund as one of the best contemporary country songwriters.”


Lest We Forget What Real Talent, Heart and Soul Sound Like...




Going Back, and back, and back...

Use this link to go to the previous edition, where you will find additional links to other archived editions.


Arts & Entertainment News Feed

The CCJ at RARWRITER provides a steady stream of news feeds from a variety of sources. Use this link to visit the Music News page.


Looking for something in the RARWRITER.com archives? Type the item you wish to find in the custom search field below, then click on the magnifying glass to see a list of previously published articles relevant to your query.





Pioneering Guitarists

New on the Music Page


Wild Mountain

Yo No Say


The Galaxy Electric

New York Electric Piano


Beto Hale

Louise Goffin

Oak House

Tyler Stafford




60 Years of Musical Bests




The Science of Choosing Your Keys


Rob Beck, a writer for Beginner Guitar HQ, put together this insightful guide on selecting a digital piano or keyboard. Use this link or click on the photo above to go to

How to Choose a Digital Piano – 10 Factors to Consider According to Science



Interested in Filmmaking?

Use this link to gain insights into the ins-and-outs of preparing your script, producing your film, and getting it into distribution.





Copyright © February, 2019 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)