Monday, August 7, 2017

1967-1968 and two albums

Fifty years ago in 1967 was the "Summer of Love." During that time, I was about to enter Fesler Jr. High in Santa Maria, California. My next door neighbor, Ron Zieman was one year ahead of me and about to enter the 8th Grade. My family had moved to Tunnell St. when I was in 5th Grade, so by 1967 Ron and I were fast friends. I would have to say, Ron was my first mentor. As both of us wanted to be hippies, Ron actually set course to accomplish this mission by growing his hair a little longer and wearing his Levi's a lot looser. His mother Ruth, would have none of this, but Ron fought the good fight in rocking our conservative christian upbringing in our little but growing farming town, starting with the dress code.

Another pillar to fall our way was music. In both of our houses, we were not allowed to mess with the stereo console in the living room. Ron lead the way with getting a portable record player for his room and by starting a record collection. Anyway, sometime in 1968 Ron came up with the idea for us to join the Columbia Record Club. (The Columbia Records manufacturing facility was actually only several blocks from our house.) As mentioned in an earlier blog, I had only one record at that time, The Beatles Hard Days Night, which I had clipped from my grandfather.  He for some reason had gotten it in his Columbia Record Club subscription as it probably got included with him buying so many records. My grandfather passed away in 1967, and I like to think he was giving Hard Days Night to me in a gracious posthumous gesture.

So I think Ron's scheme was- we join the Record Club and get several free records by just joining, and then, we quit the Club... like nobody ever thought of that before. I don't remember as Ron was the brains of the operation, but I do remember (with his help) the first two records I ever purchased, (or think I purchased) - Buffalo Springfield Again and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced, which were both released in 1967. Fifty years later, I'm looking back to listening to those two records with Ron in his room and I'm thinking, "If you had to pick two records that hold the test of time, these two make the cut."

This past week, I'm on my trail run with my Amazon Music shuffling the songs on my phone and Expecting to Fly comes on. It made me think of what you're reading right now. A couple of nights ago, I'm flipping through the channels on TV and the Showtime documentary, Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church comes on. Electric Church is Jimi's performance at the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1970 with 300,000 people. I've watched this documentary two times already, and you know Jimi never gets old and it's always a good place to come back to. Jimi Hendrix and Buffalo Springfield forever! In 2017, my summer of love includes upcoming concerts with Tom Petty, Eric Clapton and the Eagles. This time around, I get to be part of the crowd, even if it's a hair shade of gray. Happy summer my friends!


Monday, July 10, 2017

River of Streams: New Music January - June 2017



I haven't posted since my June 5th blog on Ryan Adams, but I'm now back after listening to a ton of new music that has come out from January-June of this year. I've been gathering, shifting and putting together a playlist of now 73 of my favorite new (or newly recorded) songs to share with you from a core list of artists. Growing up in the 1960's and 70's, the album was king and I want to still embrace that. Here are my Top 5 mid-year picks.
  1. Jason Isbell - The Nashville Sound
  2. Ryan Adams - Prisoner
  3. Dan Auerbach - Waiting on a Song and,
  4. Natalie Hemby - Puxico
  5. Sheryl Crow - Be Myself
If you follow my blog you know you're going to get a good dose of Americana music (as reflected in my picks above), but I've got rock, pop, blues and jazz gems to share in this blog as well. I like to think I've developed an eclectic palette for music over the years and I guess that goes along with my indulgences with food and drink as well. I'm banking that you also like to mix it up and not just listen to one genre of music like all the narrow programmed radio and streamed stations out there. Beyond NPR and some college stations , I just had to let radio go...


This leads me to my latest listening habits from the DELIVERY side of the music industry and thoughts of my convenience and dealing with CD's and MP3's from buying, ripping and even storing music. You see, I want the technology to work better for me on my ongoing streaming quest for easy access to music. So, In the last six months I've developed two priorities for my music listening pleasure.
  1. I want any song or album available to me on all my devices anywhere, anytime; and,
  2. I want to save money with my music dollar.
In the past, I've tried and dropped iTunes, Pandora, Spotify and Sirius. I then started creating a MP3 musical vault of all my CD's and new purchases on a backup hard drive and loaded them all onto my phone for offline listening in the car or on a jog. Not a bad plan, but a bit of a hassle to get everything to my phone. What I discovered was that it wasn't enough. I didn't have to listen to FM radio in the car, but I (only) had about 3000 offline songs. I had essentially created my own narrow band music station and found myself hitting skip, skip, skip on the car steering wheel button! What I needed was at least 25,000 songs to get to that wide and endless river of deep music cuts. Believe me, when you get into your 60's you want to hear songs that you've never heard before.


So last Christmas, Mary Kit got me/us the Amazon Echo. We are already Amazon Prime members ($99 per year) and decided to get Amazon Music Unlimited. If you are an Amazon Prime member, Amazon Music Unlimited is $79.00 a year or $6.58 a month. I buy at least one CD a month (say $9.99) so, if I started using Amazon Music Unlimited and stopped buying CD's, I'd be ahead money wise. Not only that, For the price of one CD, I really get unlimited music (Amazon says, "tens of millions" songs) on my computer, phone and Echo and that meets my two requirements above!


So with the Amazon Music app, you can do the following.
  1. Listen to the web app @ https://music.amazon.com/home
  2. Download the computer app to you Mac or PC
  3. Download the iPhone and iPad App @ iTunes or the Android Phone and Tablets App @ Google Play
  4. With Amazon Echo, you just ask, "Alexa, play Jason Isbell, The Nashville Sound." Alexa then plays the whole album. You can tell Alexa to "skip" and it goes to the next song, something my 5 year old granddaughter does all the time with her favorite movie soundtrack albums. Get the larger model ($179) shown here, it has a better speaker.
What is really cool about the iPhone/Android Phone Amazon Music app is that you can download songs to your phone and play them offline without using any of your data minutes from your phone carrier (thank you Shawna McIntosh for that tip)! The Amazon Music app stores the downloaded song in the app but just to let you know, it is not a MP3 or music file that you can then download to your computer hard drive. However, I've been doing a test by watching my data minute use while in the car or on that jog and so far, see no need to even download to the phone app as I've got plenty of data minutes left at the end of the month, yippee!


Here's a little brief of my music listening process these days and how I sometimes turn that into a blog.
  • I think about an artist or band I like and search that name in the Amazon Music app whether I'm using my computer or smartphone. Say it's, The Plimsouls. I view all their albums and hit the + sign to add an album and all its songs to MY MUSIC. As of this writing, I now have 250+ artists and comedians, 1868 albums, 25,061 songs in 46 genres. (I did it!)
  • For new material, I go to the HOME screen and go to NEW RELEASES and NEWLY RELEASED ALBUMS. Then, it's about how much time do you have?
  • For a blog, I usually search and listen to an album's songs in Amazon Music. Do I listen to every song start to finish, are you kidding? I probably listened to 50+ albums for this blog, it does take time, but for me, it's a treasure hunt. When you find a song or better yet, a new album with a bunch of good songs, I stop and smell the music, take it in and + it. 
  • For the album songs that make the cut, I then often go to YouTube and search for the artist and song. If the artist/band has a high quality audio recording video or better, a high quality session or concert song video, it then goes into my YouTube Playlist for the blog. Also, go to my blog about how to block YouTube advertisements just because you can!
So you're thinking, "dude's got a lot of time," maybe but it's a passion and hey, you took the time to read this, now maybe make the time to listen to my Playlists. At the least, I saved you some time with some excellent sorting and shifting of what I believe to be some damn good music and thanks for being a Monday Monday Music reader.

Now this particular Playlist below is a big one (multiple hours in the making), but I DON'T have crazy expectations that you're going to listen to every song. May I suggest my little technique for each song before you skip: play the beginning 15-20 seconds, if it hooks you continue listening, if not skip to the middle and then the last third of the song. You know what you like, but sometimes give a song a chance. For example, I've never been into fast and loud 3-chord headbanging rock, but bands like Japandroids are turning my ear their way. 

Enjoy this new music including several old songs newly recorded by different musicians! And, a special thank you to Glen Campbell for some really memorable songs!

Oh and one last thing, I'm thinking about buying a new turntable and starting to purchase a very "fine wine" collection of vinyl records again for that special sit down "smell and taste the music" time. I was reading somewhere that Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection had just been re-released on vinyl. I was telling my friend Mark this past week how I wore out Neil Young's After the Goldrush in my bedroom in 1970. I'm thinking I kind of want to come back around to that pure analog experience too!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ryan Adams | Prisoner Tour - Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA, June 1, 2017



As date nights go, this was a big one. MK and I celebrated our 44th anniversary of our first date way back on June 1, 1973. I recall that we went to see Bloom in Love starring George Segal, Susan Anspach and Kris Kristofferson at the Peppertree Plaza Theater in Santa Maria, CA. This time around, we got to see a great live rock 'n roll show with Ryan Adams at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara with our good friends Paul and Jane Hobbs and Ken and Vicki Forman. It's always great to be back on the Central Coast with my old friends who most likely had a date night themselves back in the day at the Peppertree.

In beautiful Santa Barbara we met at Carlito's Cafe Cantina on State St. for dinner, which is only a block away from the Granada and I highly recommend it to anyone. By the way, the halibut tacos were muy bueno!

Purchase @ Amazon (Deluxe Edition)
Anyway, Ryan Adam's first solo album was Heartbreaker back in 2000 that Paul's daughter, Meredith gave him at some point. My daughter, Shawna has also been a big Ryan Adams fan and so our kids kind of turned us on to this great artist. I can't speak for Ken and Vicki, but know that Dave Rawlings co-wrote, To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High) on Heartbreaker with Ryan, so with Ken and Vicki being big Dave Rawlings fans, that's got to figure into the mix somewhere. Gillian Welch and Emmy Lou Harris are also on Heartbreaker and it's just "a must have album" for any Americana music fan.

Purchase @ Amazon
For me, I didn't really start following Ryan Adams until his 16th studio album and latest release, Prisoner which came out in February. This is what I love about writing a music blog as it constantly pushes me to listen to new music just like I did when I was a kid. Now its been reported that Ryan wrote up to 80 versions of songs for Prisoner based on his recent divorce from singer-songwriter and actress Mandy Moore. As you listen to the songs on this album, you really do feel his pain, but as they say I guess that's where great art comes from. Moore is currently dating Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes and if anything, Mandy's got a great ear for picking bands.

Here is the SetList from last Thursday's night show as I will include several of the videos that I shot from yes, our third row seats. We got these tickets by just sheer dumb luck off Stub Hub (no plug here as all these ticket brokers are just money-sucking agents of the devil, sorry just had to add that). Anyway, I had been using my phone all day walking around Santa Barbara and it died during the concert while videoing a pretty funny monologue by Ryan after a fan shouted out to him, "Tell them to stand up Ryan." Ryan follows by saying, "No I'm not going to tell them to stand up because it is a theater, why stand when you can sit down, this is a movie" [big laughs]. He goes on and is great but I just want to say THANK YOU Ryan Adams for speaking to all the decent people of the world who have paid for a ticket at a seating venue and are stuck behind some assholes who stand up and block your view all night. Thank you so much for saying that!

Ryan and the band were fantastic as I was lucky and kind of honored to be up close to see this guy for the first time and also see his very witty personality! Ryan walked out in the beginning, bent over plugged in his guitar and said, "Let's do a rock show" I loved that and he lived up to that in every way! I don't think this will be my last Ryan Adams show and my daughter Shawna will clock me if she's not invited next time. Or, she will at least have to invite me if she finds out first about the next Ryan Adams concert in San Diego!

Here is my Ryan Adams YouTube Playlist with my standard 25 video compilation that I have also broken out individually below with some of my favorite Ryan Adams songs with a few clips from last Thursday's performance. I also added the Marc Maron Podcast with Ryan Adams from Feb. 2017. And just found out that Ryan is on Jimmy Kimmel tonight.

Also, pardon my four fuzzy videos that follow of the Prisoner Tour @ the Granada Theater. I was more interested in watching than taping but I think Ryan's voice and humor shines through.

And thanks Mary Kit for the fun times yesteryear and today!



















and Shawna's request






and my favorite...

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Waits, San Pasqual Winery - April 29, 2017

On Saturday night, Mary Kit and I had the pleasure to see The Waits at San Pasqual Winery in La Mesa, CA. The acoustic band is Mark Hunter on guitar and vocals and Peter Lauterbach mandolin and vocals. Last night, Mark's brother, Dutch Hunter joined in as a special guest with the band and played harmonica and also backup vocals.  Dutch lives in Nevada City, CA and came down to visit Mark in San Diego this past week. MK and I were thoroughly impressed as Dutch with just one practice with The Waits did a great job of improvising with harmonies and harmonica! I love this band not to mention they cover songs that every boomer knows. Pete is fabulous on mandolin as both he and Mark do great interpretations of mostly 60's-70's songs with an Americana flare. A younger couple sitting up front were very quiet and enjoying the show and I think Dutch asked them if they even knew who Herman's Hermits were?

Back in the day, Mary Kit and I met Mark almost 42 years ago at the dorms at San Diego State in August, 1975. We were all community college transfers, Mark from Millbrea, CA and Mary Kit and I from Santa Maria, CA. Mark and I were in the same hallway in Toltec dorm and bonded as friends for life during the first episode of Saturday Night Live. I remember they had a big box console TV in the lobby/social gathering area of the dorm and we just started talking and laughing at this crazy new wonderful TV comedy. The next year, Mark and I moved in as college roommates and lived in a couple of different apartments together. We also were camp counselors up at Palomar Mountain for children and adults with disabilities through ARC of San Diego.  It is still known to this day as Camp-A-Lot and Camp-A-Little. I have great memories of Mark playing his guitar and singing songs around the campfire with all the campers and staff. We had the pleasure to enjoy the summer mountains together while being paid $10 a day to work at the camps. Mark and I would later become teachers for students with severe disabilities as both of us had a variety of experience as teachers in San Diego County. Last night in fact, a group of Mark's old teacher friends showed up to listen to the band.

Now sit back and enjoy The Waits live as MK and I recorded a few songs from the evening on our phones and made them into a YouTube Playlist. Before the first video, The intro is a shout-out to Mark's and Dutch's dad, Floyd who is 91 and a veteran of World War II who landed on the beaches of Iwo Jima. Mark once told me his dad entered the military under age at 17 and was put into one of the fiercest battles in U.S. history. The song that follows, Neil Young's Ohio is a bit ironic from his son's who grew up in a very different era during the Vietnam War near San Francisco. Anyway, Floyd has never seen Mark and Dutch play together at a venue, so Floyd this playlist was made for you! I used to listen to my old buddy sing a lot of Neil Young and all our musical heroes with his guitar on our living room floor with no more than a few dollars to stretch out together and get through the month. This just made me think of the time we were living on College Ave. in 1976 and it had been a hot hot day in sunny San Diego. We had left the front window open and when we both returned to the apartment later that day from classes, my stereo system had been stolen (my high school graduation present). I think we both heated up some tortillas on the stove, had a few peanut butter burritos and then fired up a few that night.

The Waits will be performing next on May 27th at San Pasqual Winery, 8364 La Mesa Blvd. La Mesa 7-10pm.

Link to Complete Playlist - The Waits, San Pasqual Winery - April 29, 2017









Monday, April 3, 2017

alligator lizards in the air..... revisited


If you haven't noticed, I'm on bit of a hiatus from the blog as I've been working on a couple of other projects. My step-daughter and her two daughters just arrived yesterday from Seattle and are enjoying the San Diego sunshine. They love coming to Grandma and Papa's house to go to the pool, zoo and just hang out, maybe watch an alligator lizard sunning himself on the backyard concrete. So, I thought I'd bring back a blog I wrote two years ago around this time of year. I was talking to my good friend Bill on the phone yesterday and he said something to the effect, "No blog this week, come on man." He once said, that when he was going to college during a Minnesota winter he heard Ventura Highway and it made him think of me. Well Bill, thanks for thinking about me over the years and this one's for you, from our junior year in high school.

Here's the link -
https://mondaymondaymusic.blogspot.com/2015/03/alligator-lizards-in-airin-air.html

Monday, February 20, 2017

New Releases Jan-Feb 2017 - My Favorite Cuts

Update Note for Monday, February 27th. I have added two songs from Rhiannon Giddens' new album called Freedom Highway.  Here is the entire Playlist (now 12 songs) if want continuous play.



I'd been waiting for the release of the new Ryan Adams album, Prisoner and thought I'd focus on that this week and then, literally got side-tracked after pouring through the past three issues of Rolling Stone Reviews. Anyway, I've been listening to all of these new albums just released and here's my favorite 10 that made this cut. If you click on the the album titles below, I have linked to their YouTube Playlist (if there is one for that album).

Prisoner, Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams gives me that sound that's just plugged into my DNA. Many boomers may have never heard of Ryan Adams as Prisoner is his 16th studio album, but once you hear him, you'll be hooked. Prisoner seems to have gotten the tag, "break up album" after his divorce last year from Mandy Moore.


To Be Without You, is a great song, I feel I'm listening to a new classic! I guess the best songs are always written from pain.


Near to the Wild Heart of Life, Japandroids. This is why I still read Rolling Stone, I would never have heard of these guys without the RS Review. If you like fast and loud, here you go.


Drunk, Thundercat. Stephen Bruner has that driving bass that I just love. Here he hooks up with a couple of the best for a little old school.


Highway Queen, Nikki Lane  Love the beat and her spunk!


Either/Or: Expanded Edition, Elliott Smith. First heard Elliott Smith through my daughter Shawna and her mix CD's she would make for me. The good die young.


Live in Paris, Sleater-Kinney. And now for a little Pacific Northwest sound.


Process, Sampha - The opening lyric "No one knows me like the piano in my mother's home" immediately got my attention to listen to this song a little deeper. Best line in a song I've heard for awhile.


Puxico, Natalie Hemby. Well, I'm leaving the best for last here if you are a faithful listener to what many would call,"Pure Country". Natalie Hemby is a singer-songwriter who has written many singles for many other country stars and Puxico is her first solo album and every track is a good story and ride.


As I was listening to the Puxico album playlist, This Town Still Talks About You came on and just kind of sent me over the edge. Tomorrow is February, 21st and marks the 14th anniversary passing of my hometown dear friend and buddy, Gary Hill. Since Gary's death in a small plane crash in 2003, another childhood friend, Steve Spencer also passed away this past January 8th, 2016. I spent many of my adolescence, teen years and early 20's with these two homies in my hometown of Santa Maria, California. A core nucleus of young lads formed a strong bond together from our Jr. High days, who were later joined by a host of young ladies and we all had a good time with these two characters. I say characters because they were loved by everyone for their personalities and love of life. You could say that Gary and Steve were often the light and sounds of any party. These two guys could just make you laugh and their spirit still lives within their friends and family who miss them dearly. Well, this song's timing is perfect for my soul and I hope it gives a little comfort and thought to my friends in our once little town.


New Releases Note - Here is the entire Playlist if want continuous play.

Monday, February 13, 2017

My Funny (unconventional) Valentine

The original 1937 My Funny Valentine song was staged in the Broadway musical, Babes in Arms as a woman singing to a man. However, many males from Frank Sinatra, Chet Baker to Sting have sung this song, but listen to the lyrics as I don't think it plays so well in 2017. If you're going to play a tune like this to your love, I would suggest, Just The Way You Are by Billy Joel.



In this next video, you'll see my point exactly from my comments above...


Dan Hicks, the master of satirical country swing. MK played me a couple of Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks albums on our first dates together in 1973 and I guess from my positive reaction, we were meant to be. Dan, you are missed!


Stephen Stills gave us all permission to not be so faithful. I guess this one came to him based on his experience with drugs, sex and rock n' roll.


But Simon and Garfunkel gave the ladies an all is fair in love with this one.


Now for some wedding musical comedy.


And, from marriage often comes the babies in the carriage.


Hey, this Valentine's myth is just getting old and the pressure that we all have to be coupled to preserve some religious plan, screw that.


Can't have enough Dan Hicks today!


Don't got it all figured out? Kacey says you're in good company.


Here's a fun love story song.


and maybe this is how the whole thing goes down in time.


Damn it Paul McCartney, you made me hum this song until I finally caved over the years and liked it! I'll let Kurt Hummel and Glee take us out with this one.


Here's My Funny (unconventional) Valentine Playlist.
Note - For some reason my Playlist would not embed in my blog this week, so I have broken them out in individual videos today.

Monday, February 6, 2017

"Doug's Music Vault" Radio- February 6, 2017

In past blogs I've talked about my general avoidance of most FM radio. For me, the only radio stations worth listening to in San Diego are KSDS Jazz 88.3 (from San Diego City College) and NPR/KPBS (from San Diego State University). Just like the old days, college radio still rocks and now streams on all devices. So for radio in the car,  I have these two great options on the radio preset buttons. But, I also have my third and personalized option, Doug's Music Vault* that resides in my 128GB Micro-SD Memory Card inside my smart phone. With Bluetooth built-into the car audio system, I start my Amazon Music Player- set to- Music Offline- Shuffle All Songs and I'm ready to ease on down the road with Doug Radio.

With MK in the car, it's a completely different experience as she tells me, "skip, no, no, no, yes", as I hit the forward  > button on my steering wheel like a B.F. Skinner behavior modification experiment from the 1950's. With MK, it usually takes several skips before the shuffle comes up with something she likes and the world is again spinning in perfect harmony as we travel together in the car. (The picture above meets her approval as anything by the Eagles gets a play.) We are going on a road trip to Bishop, CA in the near future and I'm anticipating this rhythm as we hit the road with my, or should I say, our tunes. C'mon man, my left thumb is going to get a work out as I wear that button out.

Anyway, here are some of the songs this past week from listening to Doug Radio (solo) in the car and featured here for your listening enjoyment in this YouTube Playlist.



*Footnote - Doug's Music Vault name is inspired by Wolfgang's Vault - I started listening to 60's concerts from the Vault website until like some many sites, became a bait and switch to subscription service.

Wolfgang's Vault was started by William E. Sagan, who purchased a warehouse filled with Bill Graham Productions memoribilia in 2003, including taped concert recordings, for about $6 million. These materials had various owners after the death of Bill Graham, the concert promoter, in 1991. The name Wolfgang's Vault is inspired by Bill Graham's original name, Wolodia "Wolfgang" Grajonca.

The company launched its website in November 2003. Later that year, Wolfgang’s Vault released the BG Archive photography collection, and subsequently added collections called "vaults" for: vintage poster art, rock clothing, vintage audio concert recordings. The Video Vault was added in 2011. On August 7, 2012, Wolfgang's Vault announced to its free streaming service users, via email, that later converted to a subscription based model on August 8, 2012. - from Wikipedia

Monday, January 30, 2017

Our Democracy and Takin' It To The Streets


I came across the above post as I was preparing to write my music blog for this week. Click on the link above to get a
Katie & Shawna marching in San Diego
slice of pure Americana angst and humor as people express themselves during the January 21st, Women's March on Washington and cities around the country and world. The March will go down in history as the kick-off of the Trump resistance movement that will eclipse anything seen in the Tea Party movement after Barrack Obama was sworn into office in January, 2009. Conservatives are saying, "Where were these people during the election?" Well, they happen to be correct about this point and a point well-made of our nation's complacency and detachment towards our issues and elections. Even when the stakes were this high as Trump emerged in 2015-16, an overall majority of American's (excluding working-class white voters) didn't think this election would drive off that cliff until FBI Director, James Comey gave Trump a 3 point bump in the final weeks of the election. By then, it was too late and as a Democrat, you have to hand it to the smaller numbered and better organized Republican's for kicking our ass, yet again despite our larger but sitting-on-our-hands numbers. And all other extenuating events aside, we as Americans all have to take responsibility for this historic loss. Yes, I know this is a music blog but don't worry, I'm getting there...
 
As a 1955 baby-boomer, I grew up ten years after World War II and through the Vietnam War years. By Richard Nixon's second inauguration, in January 1973, I was a senior in high school as many other young Americans had become seasoned mobilized marchers for minorities and women's equal rights and against, the war in Vietnam. And the just-elected President, "Tricky Dick" Nixon saw the marching demonstrators 100,000 strong the day before the start of his second term.

It is always said, that as Americans, we always respond as a strong united front when things really turn bad. I think as a nation, we hit that point once again in Trump's first week in office. Of all the pictures from the signs from the Women's March on Jan. 21, this is my favorite as it speaks volumes to me as an American who grew up watching big city protest marches from my small town TV set. The Women's March brought together at least three generations of women as grandmothers, moms and daughters all marching together. I'm just so encouraged by the large numbers of women and men protesting together and feeling this is indeed a sustaining movement that is bringing out both younger and older people alike.

For the younger, I personally was inspired by LA singer MILCK and her song, Quiet that she used to rally a group of women together to sing at the Women's March. I love how she took her song to the streets here -


For the older, the Women's March on Washington also got me playing the the Doobie Brothers 1976 hit, Takin' It To The Streets in my head. I also remember Michael McDonald, James Taylor and a host of 70's hit makers singing it here at the 1979 protest concert for No Nukes (MUSE). Below, I'll leave you with the Doobie Brothers doing the song themselves back in the day when Michael had black hair. I've always loved this song and I'm happy to share it with anyone today mad as hell about the daily Trump shit show and needing a little Monday pick up to say a little, "hooray for our side". Signs show us there's going to be a lot of marching in the streets in the days and months ahead, so we better all just put on our running shoes and say, "Game On" for hopefully the short run of one Donald J. "malignant narcissist" Trump.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Game On

Since last Friday, I've been playing in my head, Game On by The Rides with Stephen Stills on lead vocals. I hark back to Stephen's song, For What It's Worth, about the Sunset Strip riots in 1966 and the feeling that LA City Government was restricting young people's rights through a 10 pm curfew on the Strip. However, For What It's Worth, released in 1967 by Buffalo Springfield was often viewed of as a Vietnam War protest song. For me, it was the dawn of a political awakening beginning in 7th grade and a song I never tire of listening to. Anyway, Game On is my new theme song for our current national leadership and government as I go around singing, "Get your game on" as the news plays out on my flat screen. Thanks Stephen, you rock as always!






Monday, January 16, 2017

Have an IPA with your IPA

When one (me) thinks of IPA, it is India Pale Ale. San Diego County is a national leader in the micro brew industry and I'm proud of our West Coast IPA's. So, the other day, while drinking a couple of IPA's, I came up with this blog title as MK and I were playing with our new Christmas present to ourselves. This would be our Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA), otherwise known as the Amazon Echo with the personal aka, "Alexa."

The other night we had our friend, Mark Hunter over for dinner and after a few IPA's (the beer kind), we showed him our current favorite game of, "Alexa, play Seinfeld Trivia." We also jumped into asking Alexa about music. Mark is currently learning the 1965 song (with his band The Waits), You Were On My Mind, by the We Five. So, Mark asked, "Alexa, play You Were On My Mind by We Five." The song comes on and smiles all around.

So I realize as I'm writing this it's probably going to sound like a free advertisement for Amazon; something they really don't need as the Amazon Echo did quite well and in fact sold out during the holiday season.  Anyway, we are having a blast with this IPA as the market continues to grow with these products and is probably the little canary before we get an IPA robot someday off in the future. I can't wait to get "James the Butler" for Christmas in 2020 something.

For music, we also dressed up Alexa a bit by purchasing Amazon Music Unlimited for $79.00 a year if you are an Amazon Prime member. At first, I balked at the price, but after purchasing, it was a smart move for us because now we have unlimited streaming music on several devices: our computers, phones with Bluetooth in the car and of course, Alexa. For the car, I downloaded the Amazon Music Unlimited app for my smartphone and can choose between my extensive Offline music collection on my phone and not eat into my data minutes, or stream any Online Playlist I want to. For the Echo (and I recommend the sound of the Echo vs the smaller Amazon Dot), Alexa is strategically placed on a table that is located by the bottom of our stairs. This is almost the center of our up and downstairs house, where Alexa is in earshot from almost any location in the house. While writing this on my computer upstairs, I asked "Alexa, play We Five," and she responded by giving me a mix of their music, until you simply say, "Alexa, pause or Alexa stop."

Anyway, I hope to tap into a lot of old and new music this year drinking IPA's and using the Echo which may lead to some random Monday Monday Music blog. I leave you with my We Five Playlist.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Timothy B. Schmit and Jack Tempchin at the Coach House, 1/7/17 and Glenn smiling down

MK got us tickets for Timothy B. Schmit and Jack Tempchin last Saturday night at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA. We had never been there before as this venue opens at 6pm for people with reserved seats and general admission walk-in's. The Coach House serves dinner before the show as people come in to sit down at long row tables that are 24" deep. When you sit down, you realize that the two people (typically strangers) sitting across from you are going to be sharing a small space in a very up close meal with probable conversation. You wonder who are these people sitting across from you, but the close proximity forces you to quickly engage in conversation as you literally have to be a cooperative group just to lay the food and drinks out on your little table together.

MK and I had the pleasure to sit across and meet Michael and Cindy Langdon who happen to be neighbors of Jack Tempchin in Encinitas. Well that quickly got the conversation going as it was going to be awhile before the show started at 8pm. The food and service at the Couch House were fabulous by the way, in what I was thinking was straight out of a mid-west community tradition of combining food, conversation and music. Anyway back to our evening pairing, Michael Langdon is the wine buyer for Whole Foods in Encinitas and told us how he met Jack, became friends and helped him develop a brand of wine from his most famous song, Peaceful Easy Feeling the monster hit for the Eagles and sung by Jack's old friend and writing collaborator, Glenn Frey. Here is a LA Times article, Peace in a Bottle that tells the whole story as Michael told us on Saturday night. Here are the links to South Coast Winery in Temecula, CA and their Peaceful Easy Feeling Cabernet Sauvignon and Peaceful Easy Feeling Chardonnay.

Here's Jack singing at Whole Foods and Michael Langdon appears left of the screen 
as I'm assuming he organized this event at the Encinitas store.



Now, on with the show at the Coach House. Jack was the opening act of the evening and began his solo set with the same guitar pictured above. He told great stories of writing songs with Glenn Frey and then proceeded to sing them with single acoustic clarity. He also sang a song from a tribute album that is coming out soon of songs Glenn and Jack have written together, including several unrecorded songs. Jack deeply misses his friend. The fans at the Couch House were touched, I certainly was touched as we approach Glenn's passing almost one year ago on January 18th. Jack Tempchin simply belongs to the city (San Diego) and he belongs to our night. Man, I was enjoying this evening and Timothy hadn't even come out yet.

And then he did, with his wonderful band. The Couch House was packed full of hard core Eagles' fans who know this man's history back to Poco. We were altogether on Saturday night, the fans, the people of Southern California who grew up on country rock. We had come to see a native son from Sacramento who helped define an era. But, Timothy B. Schmit is not about the past, he embraces his roots as he crafts new music. His new album, Leap of Faith was selling well in the lobby (MK was all over it, t-shirt too). By the way, does this man look 69 years old to you? Timothy's voice was simply amazing as always as the fantastic sound of the Coach House piped out pure harmonies from the band. Pretty good for someone who battled throat and neck cancer in 2012 and now has a clean bill of health. Let's keep thinking good thoughts for Timothy! As he was the concern of the Eagles and their fans just a few years ago, nobody envisioned Glenn Frey's death. During the set, Timothy sang and played, Tequila Sunrise solo acoustic guitar. The woman next to MK was openly sobbing, my eyes and many others welled up too. I thought of Glenn smiling down on his buddies Jack and Timmy still making fresh new music. As I listen to Leap of Faith as I write this, I feel blessed for the communal experience of Saturday night with the music and the fans at the musical church known as the Couch House in San Juan Capistrano.

Timothy returns to the Couch House January 11th (Sold out) and January 24th at the Belly Up Tavern (Sold out). Here is his current tour schedule.

Here's Timonty B. Schmit's new album on YouTube. Go buy Leap of Faith here. Enjoy my friends!


Monday, December 26, 2016

My Favorite Songs 2016

I have been working on this playlist for several months now as I've been adsorbing the wonderful music of 2016. I'm trying to avoid the very subjective word of Best and stay with an eclectic group of my favorite 50 songs which for the most part, probably gets little to no air play on the radio. The beautiful thing about services like YouTube, Amazon Music, Spotify and iTunes is that we get to make our own playlists and essentially make our own personalized radio these days.

Now I don't claim to have listened to every album recorded this past year, but I've listened to at least 50+ different albums as they were either released, or started to appear on lists like Rolling Stone, etc. If you follow Monday Monday Music, you're going to get a young and old mix of rock 'n roll, Blues and Americana music, so this list should sound familiar if not flipping fantastic!

With the wonderful world of YouTube, I usually can listen (and watch) an artist's entire new album of songs. This kind of gets me back to my roots of listening to entire albums and then naturally experiencing which songs will be short or long-term favorites.

Here is my short list of my top five favorite albums of 2016.

1. Tedeschi Trucks Band - Let Me Get By
This album didn't make any music critics list that I found, so I guess I'm doing something right or at least different. Derek Trucks is my current guitar hero (Gary Clark Jr. too). I got to see Susan, Derek and their wonderful band this year in San Diego and what a show! These guys have the old school rockin' blues full sound of, shall I say, Derek and the Dominoes or a Leon Russell ensemble. I start the playlist with the 2016 Anyhow song/video from Derek Trucks and the band. I end the playlist with Derek Trucks playing with Eric Clapton in 2007 in the 2016 release of Eric Clapton Live in San Diego!

2. Mudcrutch 2
If you love Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with a twist of old school country rock, welcome back to 1970. Mudcrutch is the early terrible name for the original Tom Petty band before the Heartbreakers. Tom brings together the original line up with all the band members that started together in Gainesville, Florida. This is a fantastic album with the best album cover of 2016!

Also, If you love Tom Petty and are doing some holiday couch surfing, catch - Runnin' Down a Dream (4 hour Documentary) on Netflix.


3. Colvin and Earle - When two of your favorite musician's get together and make an album, you want it to be as good as this album. I wasn't disappointed and the first time I heard it, (thanks Ken Forman) I couldn't believe how all the originals and covers sounded. This is an Americana dream album made in heaven, well probably, somewhere around Tennessee.






4. Van Morrison - Keep Me Singing
Again, the first time I heard this album, I keep saying to myself, that's a really good song, hey that's a good song too, on and on. Let It Rhyme is as fine a song as Van Morrison has ever written. This album is so well-crafted as the master continues to produce a batch of fresh songs.





5. Jack White - Acoustic Recordings 1998–2016
Jack is one of those musicians that just grow on you. So what better album to get as your first Jack White than this one. I just loved how Jack White strips everything down to the raw essential heart of the matter. His song writing and playing is pure storytelling in the finest tradition. We're Going to Be Friends is in my opinion, one of the purest songs ever written and he delivers it here in singular clarity.

Go buy this album, hell go buy all five of these albums.

Okay, now that was just the warm up. From good albums, come really good songs. I've picked my favorite 50 from 2016 to share with you today.

Happy New Year!!! I'll be back in 2017 on consecutive or random Mondays, whatever strikes me to put something down in this little blog. Enjoy my friends.



Monday, December 19, 2016

Remembrance 2016

Come together right now over me
                                     John Lennon

December is a time to reflect and remember. I remember December 8, 1980, the day John Lennon was shot and killed in New York City. It was my first year of teaching in a very intense special education class for children with severe multiple disabilities. I believe one of my classroom assistant's had quit and I then had a series of long-term substitutes for awhile. One fellow, (who for the life of me I can't remember his name) was a struggling musician who had various part-time jobs. We had been working together a couple of weeks and often talked about music and bands we loved. As I recall, this really wonderful guy came to work in my class the morning of December 9th and hadn't heard about the shooting. Now, I can't remember his name, but I'll never forget the look on his face and breakdown when I told him that John Lennon had been shot in front of his apartment building, The Dakota and died. In the days following, many news outlets and public mourning activities in Central Park would play, Come Together as John couldn't have possibly imagined this scene and the context of this song being used to actually bring people together over his tragic death. Like millions, I took John's death hard. I was 25 and not too many of my own loved ones had yet died in my first quarter century.

Today, I still take some musicians passing with a bit of a jolt. These wonderful artists have been in our hearts and minds for so many years, they touched us and we shall never forget the impact they had on us. I know older people in especially smaller towns will scan the obituaries in their daily local paper to see if an old friend or acquaintance has died. I guess for music I get a similar experience when my Rolling Stone phone app pops up to tell me this kind of news. 

2016 has been an exceptionally hard as many giants of music have passed this year. I went to this web site, We Heart Music and got the monthly list to prepare for this blog. I like their across the board approach as they acknowledge many lesser know artists in the music business.

As I get older myself, I'm sure this might be an annual blog on my part. At the Grammy's and Oscar's I now always get a bit teary-eyed when they do their annual remembrance segment. The beautiful thing about people in the arts is that we have their performances preserved in various media formats that we can enjoy again and again.

Here, I've embedded a memorable track under each artist.

Happy eggnog and wishing you a healthy year and as Glenn would say, "Take it Easy."

2016 Remembrance

January
1/10 - David Bowie, 69



1/18 - Glenn Frey, 67 (Eagles)



1/28 - Paul Kantner, 74 (Jefferson Airplane)



February
2/6 - Dan Hicks, 74 (Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks)



March
3/8 - George Martin, 74 (Beatles Producer Extraordinaire, "The 5th Beatle")



3/10 - Keith Emerson, 74 (Emerson, Lake and Palmer)



April
4/6 - Merle Haggard, 79



4/21 - Prince, 57



June
6/3 - Mohammad Ali, 74 ("Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee")



6/28 - Scotty Moore, 84 (Elvis Presley's lead guitar player)



July
7/24 - Marni Nixon, 86 (Best known for dubbing the singing voices of the leading actresses in films, including The King and I, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady.



August
8/11 - Glenn Yarbrough, (The Limeliters)



September
9/1 - Fred Hellerman, 89 (The Weavers (Fred on Guitar),
Fred also produced Alice's Restaurant for Arlo Guthrie)



November
11/7 - Leonard Cohen, 82



11/13 - Leon Russell, 74



December
12/7 - Greg Lake, 69 (Emerson, Lake and Palmer)