Music Review

Album of the Year: Cameron Blake - Fear Not

Sometimes music can surprise you when you least expect it to... and so it goes that my family and I were driving home from our Christmas visit in Akron, Ohio and I was bored out of my mind on Interstate 80 -- somewhere in the middle of snow-covered Pennsylvania -- when I decided to play a CD from the Michigan-based singer/songwriter Cameron Blake. What is this, I thought? Rufus Wainwright's twin or Scott Walker's protégé, or Tim Hardin's ghost or... you get my musical reference drift, oui? Somewhat lazy, but a starting point. Yet, he is his own poet. And that voice, like Matt Wilson of Semisonic/Trip Shakespeare, or Tim Buckley, clear and pristine tenor, riding his melodies effortlessly. Damn, I wish I had his voice. What it could do with my songs, but alas it is his and his alone and I am thankful that I have found it before the end of 2017 and that I can carry it with me into the optimism of 2018. And his songs make your mind soar, soar all over our uncharted landscape. Yes, these 12  songs are profound. And require repeated listens to allow their poetry to sink in. And I will take his songs and his voice and his undeniable gift and I will use his artistry to fill my half-empty cup and toast this new year, toast the beauty of life with all of its seemingly impossible obstacles. And that is what a true singer/songwriter can deliver -- optimism for the future, respite from the pain, longing for the simplicity that we all strive to maintain, away from the hostilities that try to consume us. Find the joy in your heart, like Mr. Blake's empathetic music on Fear Not. For it is a place to be, a place to explore, a place to find peace. Happy New Year, Dusty

Dusty Wright - "Weather This Storm"


For survivors everywhere... here's the video collaboration of visual artist Ashley G. Garner with Dusty Wright. The song was produced by d. Bindi, mixed by David Lee, and mastered by Alan Douches for West West Side Music. Recorded by Gio Loria at Black Volt Studio, LA & Straus Park Studio, NYC. Co-vocals by Jay StolarRead more »

RIP Ralph Carney

Ralph Carney has left this mortal coil far too soon. He was one of us, a musician from Akron who made it out and had become a much-beloved multi-instrumentalist where ever he hung his hat. (The last two years in Portland, OR.) Carney was also the uncle of Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. He added his brilliance to acts like Tom Waits, The B-52s, Elvis Costello, Kronos Quartet, Jonathan Richman, St. Vincent... basically any band worth their salt that needed some brilliant reed component, whether clarinet or saxophone or some other homemade instrument! Read more »

Legendary '70s Jazz Sessions Reissued

Michael Cosmic: Peace in the World / Phill Musra Group: Creator Spaces (Now-Again)

For fans of avant-garde jazz who like to dive deep into the music's history, this combination of two rarities is the reissue of the year. Michael Cosmic and Phill Musra are twins who were born, respectively, Thomas Michael Cooper and Phillip Anthony Alfred Cooper in Chicago in 1950. Falling under the influence of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians after being recruited as teens by AACM member Roscoe Mitchell, they studied with Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, and AACM founder Muhal Richard Abrams. A year at the University of Wisconsin (1970-71) gave them the opportunity to take Cecil Taylor's class, after which they moved to Boston along with fellow student Jemeel Moondoc. Read more »

The Return of David Broza's Annual Xmas Eve Concert in NYC!

Singing in Hebrew, Spanish, English, and Arabic, singer/songwriter David Broza, one of Israel’s most important living artists, brings the full spectrum of his work to this amazing production with his all-star band and special guests. (I've had the honor of opening fro David, and he is the real deal.)

Israel’s iconic singer/songwriter, guitarist and UNICEF goodwill ambassador David Broza will embark on a coast-to-coast winter tour this December, celebrating 40 years since the release of his best-known song, "Yihye Tov" (Things Will Be Better). The well-known composition was written in 1977 during the Arab-Israeli peace talks between Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, and has become an anthem of the Israeli peace movement. Read more »

Album of the Week: Melanie De Biasio - Lilies

As I mentioned back in June, Miss Melanie De Biasio truly transcends description and/or refuses to be boxed into any one musical genre. Her latest nine-track album Lilies was released last month. This captivating Belgian artist incorporates jazz, classical, nufolk, even electronica into her musically rich vocabulary to create her truly unique and atmospheric sound; imagine Nina Simone meets Talk Talk.  Read more »

Album of the Week: Todd Kessler - About Memory

A dynamically-gentle, compelling folk-Americana album by an earnest singer-songwriter from Chicago. Mr. Kesller once shared his chops on The Voice and that certainly helped raise his profile as an artist of merit and will hopefully afford him a much deserved wider audience for this amazing new album. Read more »

Song of the Week: Sierra Blanca - "Beds"

Some artists are discovered like that perfect shell on a stroll on the beach -- you look down and you spot it, pick it up, marvel over its beauty, and take it home. Nashville-based, El Paso-born, indie folk artist Jethro Gaglione aka Sierra Blanca has a vibe that is so sweet and fine. Utterly undeniable. A true natural talent. The self-taught multi-instrumentalist's new EP Honorable Mention will be released on Nov. 10th. In the interim, check out his single "Beds," a ballad so evocatively engaging and refreshingly simple, inviting the listener to crawl into bed with him while be serenaded to.  And that is why it's my single of the week.

Single of the Week: Morrissey - "Spent The Day In Bed"

Leave it to Morrissey to solve our current political and social dilemmas -- North Korea nukes, Vegas sniper, racial tension, POTUS' misguided bullying, raging hurricanes and fires, et al. -- and help us find respite from the world's insanities with his latest grand single, "Spent The Day In Bed" from his new long player Low In High School (released by BMG on November 17th). It starts with an infectious keyboard hook that wraps his voice around his simple but profoundly wise proclamation: 

"Stop watching the news / Because the news contrives to frighten you
To make you feel small and alone / To make you feel that your mind isn't your own..."

I've been playing it every morning these past few weeks as I contemplate his very inviting and therapeutic remedy before I finally succumb to my morning rituals and log on to my computer to see what calamity awaits me. Thank you, Stephen for at least offering a very solid alternative to combat my spiraling-out-of-control anxiety. peace, Dusty

A Gentle Giant in Captivity - An Interview with Derek Shulman

Recently, Dusty provided me a golden opportunity: in connection with the release of Three-Piece Suite -- a remastering of some compositions from Gentle Giant's first three albums -- their media team offered an interview with Derek Shulman, lead singer for the group, and now a high-level record company executive. Knowing my love of Gentle Giant, Dusty offered the interview to me. There was no constraint on content, only on the number of questions (an even dozen). So, with thanks to Anne Leighton (of Anne Leighton Media), who coordinated, here is my interview with one of progressive rock's most iconic figures, both as an artist and as a rep: Read more »

Chapter & Terse

The Fall - New Facts Emerge (Cherry Red)

For a band that has existed around the spiteful and brooding presence of Mark E. Smith for over thirty albums and forty years another release shouldn't pack many surprises but it does. Many have served under his difficult demands, being in The Fall almost a rite of passage, an induction by fire for many a Mancunian musician. Some never fully recuperate from the experience. Read more »

Tom Petty for President

I became a fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers several years ago by a chance encounter with a friend's iPod. I became obsessed and ended up going through what I thought was his whole catalogue. I classified him as a classic rock artist who was underappreciated, no longer relevant, and patted myself on the back for "getting it." So when I heard that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were coming to Seattle on August 19, I grabbed my credit card and headed to my laptop, ready to buy a general admission ticket to Neumos or the Showbox…maybe the Moore Theater. After all, if the bands that I listened to in high school were playing those venues when they came to town, that's where I'd find Tom Petty. Read more »

Joe Martino's Promise: A Fable Of Lost Folk

The Children of Rain - Red Corduroy (Bad Pressings)

This is a tale with two beginnings that merge revealingly. One is more than half a century old, the other only began at the start of the year. They meld on the account of a single name, or rather the mis-accounting of it, and the fact that it seemed beguiling to this writer on a late at night, nothing better to do trawl for "quality obscure" on auction sites. You are unlikely to have heard of The Children Of Rain. They released one single on Dot Records in 1966, but someone at the label sent the wrong credits to the pressing plant. Although they were the first to get their hands on "Get Together," their rendition tanked, not because it was in any way inferior to the later version by The Youngbloods which became a counter-culture anthem for that turbulent decade of hope and change, and sold! sold! sold! Such is the mysticism and capriciousness of fate, and the fact the song was demoted to the flip-side of their sole release "Dawn To Dusk." It might have had a better run at success had their name been at all visible on the disc, rendered an afterthought after the their lead singer's Pam Meacham, which had been randomly elevated and wrongly spelt in the process. Hence the black hole on search engines. How it appeared was never how it was supposed to but it stands as a portent laden indication of future calamities. Having taken a chance on their eight song acetate I realized I may be buying an expensive relic of little actual worth, but I coughed up the $200 and hoped that my instincts might have unearthed a wonderful curio, and not a batch of best forgotten musings. Read more »

Bass of Bizarre

Primus
Marymoor Park, Redmond, OR
August 15, 2017

Over 25 years after setting sail on the Seas of Cheese, Primus continues to navigate uncharted, musical waters, over running so many younger vessels in a music scene progressively stagnating in the doldrums. This is an act that continues to play music because they love to and it shows. Read more »

Video of the Week: Liam Gallagher - "For What It's Worth"

Some music acts deserve our full attention because of the legacy that spawned them. And so it goes that former Oasis lead vocalist Liam Gallagher delivers his much anticipated solo long player As You Were (Warner Brothers) on October 6th followed by short tour in selecti cities in North America in November. The songs -- "For What It's Worth," "Chinatown," and "Wall of Glass" (12 million streams!) -- are deservedly getting fantastic press from journalists and public alike. When the Manchaster-based anthem rock band disbanded, the Brothers Gallagher seemed destined for the scrap heap. Could the parts equal the power of the collective? Well, yes and no. Neither brother has released a solo album to rival either Definitely Maybe or (What's The Story) Morning Glory?. I certainly prefer Liam's sneering vocals over Noel's comfortable vocals and Noel's songwriting chops over his younger brother's tunes. Yes, together they were a force of nature. Apart...? I liked Beady Eye songs, but didn't love either of their albums. And to be fair, I've not given Noel's solo albums my full attention. Read more »

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