Wednesday, June 30, 2010

School of Rock All Stars Recreate Live Aid

The 25th anniversary of Live Aid is celebrated by the School of Rock All Stars as they tour the country, recreating the multi-city, multi-venue event of July 13, 1985. The All Star band is comprised of “the best students enrolled in the 58 School of Rock locations across the US. Ranging in age and background, these amazing all-stars play over 60 dates a year at theaters, festivals and the nation’s top music venues.” Not a bad gig if you can get it!

Stops on the Live Aid Remade tour:

7/9 – Cascade Locks, OR – Cascade Locks Park

7/10 – Seattle, WA – Sea Center Skate Park

7/11 – Seattle, WA – West Seattle Summer Fest

7/13 – TBA

7/14 – Boise, ID

7/15 – Houston, TX

7/15 – Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue

7/16 – Oklahoma City, OK – 66 Bowl

7/16 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater

7/17 – Memphis, TN – Hi-tone

7/17 – Boulder, CO

7/18 – Cincinnati, OH

7/19 – Cleveland, OH

7/20 – Detroit, MI – Smalls

7/21 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall

7/21 – Las Vegas, NV – Area 702 Skate Park

7/22 – St. Paul, MN

7/22 – Bakersfield, CA

7/23 – Kansas City, MO – Unwind

7/23 – San Francisco, CA

7/24 – Frisco, TX – School of Rock

7/24 – Reno, NV

7/25 – Austin, TX

7/25 – San Jose, CA

7/26 – TBA

7/27 – Los Angeles, CA – Whiskey A Go Go

7/28 – Phoenix, AZ

7/29 – Vista, CA

7/30 – TBD

7/30 – Miami, FL

7/31 – Corona, CA – Fender Museum

7/31 – Orlando, FL

8/1 – San Diego, CA – Queen Bee’s

8/1 – Atlanta, GA

8/3 – Raleigh, NC

8/4 – Baltimore, MD – Bourbon Street

8/5 – Westchester, NY / Fairfield, CT

8/5 – Ft. Lauderdale, F:

8/6 – Boston, MA – The Arlington Center for the Arts

8/6 – Coral Springs/N. Palm, FL

8/7 – Long Island, NY

8/7 – Tampa, FL

8/8 – Charlotte, NC

8/10 – Norfolk / VA Beach, VA

8/11 – Richmond, VA

8/12 – Washington, DC – Jaxx Nightclub (Springfield, VA)

8/14 – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory

8/19 – New York, NY – Blender Theater

Contact venues for times and ticket prices.

About School of Rock: School of Rock is the national leader in music education for kids. Our mission is to inspire kidsto rock on stage and in life. Our proprietary performance-based curriculum teaches kids to playrock music in a unique and interactive way, which is changing the way kids learn to play musicacross America. Professional musicians teach students of all levels, developing both their musicskills and confidence. School of Rock operates 58 schools in 23 states and has developedan aggressive growth strategy seeking franchise partners throughout the United States. For more information about School of Rock, please visit

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two-fer Tuesday – Honeyboy Edwards

Since yesterday was Honeyboy’s 95th birthday, I figured it was appropriate to post a couple of his videos for this week’s Two-fer.

(grooveEday – Honeyboy Edwards, “Mother-in-Law”)

(antennerotterdam – Honeyboy Edwards, “Catfish Blues”)

Monday, June 28, 2010

David “Honeyboy” Edwards – A Legend Turns 95

Not many people in existence today can say they were friends with blues legend Robert Johnson. Guitarist David “Honeyboy” Edwards is one of them (pianist Pinetop Perkins is the other). Also notable is that Edwards, along with Perkins, is one of the last remaining Delta blues pioneers still touring.

More than a friendship with Johnson accounts for Honeyboy’s rightful place in blues, and rock ‘n’ roll history, though.

Born June 28, 1915, in Shaw, Mississippi, Honeyboy learned to play guitar from his father and later refined his technique by watching other musicians, amongst them Peetie Wheatstraw, Charley Patton, and Robert Johnson.

And while Johnson is often credited with writing “Sweet Home Chicago”, Edwards has laid claim to the iconic song as well. As is often the case with early blues music, ownership can be a muddy area. Honeyboy recorded with Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1942. It would be almost a decade before he recorded again, during which time many songs had made their way through the music community and whoever got their name on a record with that song claimed authorship.

During the pre-war period, Edwards was a travelin’ man (which accounts for the gap in recording history), spending time riding the rails, walking dusty roads, and occasionally benefitting from car ownership. His autobiography, The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing, recounts his adventures, along with many misadventures. One fateful tale included is the night Robert Johnson was poisoned. Edwards’ recollection of the care available to ailing blacks at the time leads directly into the horror of the slow, agonizing death of his friend. Things weren’t much better for those who were young, healthy, and black — if the law didn’t like the looks of you, they could detain you without reason, which led to Honeyboy spending some time on “the farm” (prison farm). When you take into consideration all that Honeyboy Edwards has seen in his lifetime: racism, the civil rights movement, air travel, television, and computers to name a few, it becomes apparent that he’s more than just a 95-year-old musician — he’s the best link to our history as a nation we have!

It’s taken far too long for Edwards to receive recognition for his contribution to the American songbook, but on January 31, 2010, he received his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Just two years prior, he’d also received a Grammy for Last Of The Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live In Dallas album he’d recorded with Henry Townsend, Robert Lockwood Jr., and Pinetop Perkins. He’s performed several times at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame as others have been inducted but still has not been inducted himself. He was, however, inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1996.

You can learn more about this legendary performer by visiting his website. And if you’re curious, you can check out his performance in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. As well, he has his very own movie, entitled Honeyboy. Even better, if you have the opportunity to see Honeyboy perform, I highly recommend it! I’ve been to several concerts and am never disappointed. There are ten scheduled tour dates listed on his website at the moment, not including this weekend’s performance at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival.

Happy birthday, Honeyboy!

(deltamediaproject – Honeyboy Edwards, performance)

My son, Spenser Hunt, then just 11-years-old, interviewed Honeyboy Edwards in 2008. A few questions cut to the heart of an amazing man:

The world has changed a lot since you were born. What are some of the most significant changes that you have seen?
Some of the stuff you don’t want to know about. There were plantations and Jim Crow laws, you know. There were people leaving the Delta; but now some of them are going back. Now there are casinos in the Delta and many other things have changed as well.
What is your favorite song that you wrote?
“Drop Down Mama” because it was my first hit and “Take Me Home” because that was a hit, too.
Does it get harder to play a show as you get older?
A little bit. I have a little bit swelling in my joints, but I am still as fast as I was when I was twenty.
What group of people do you like to play for, and why? (Like an older group vs. kids, or at a night club.)
It makes no difference as long as people like it.
Do you still play the Blues harp?
Yes, sometimes, but not usually in concert.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival

World-class festival fights hunger – join blues fans from around the world at the 23rd Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, July 2-5, 2010

Taj Mahal * Little Feat * John Mayall * Booker T. * Bobby Rush * Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen * Curtis Salgado * Galactic with Cyril Neville * JJ Grey & Mofro * Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue * Walter Trout * Baskery * Michael Burks Band with Lucky Peterson * Chris Thomas King * Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm * Moreland & Arbuckle * Super Chikan & the Fighting Cocks * Mingo Fishtrap * porterdavis * Norton Buffalo’s Knockouts * Janiva Magness * Paul Cebar * Kara Grainger * Sultans of Slide * NW Women in Rhythm & Blues * Zydeco Swamp Romp with Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble * Donna Angelle & Zydeco Posse * Corey Ledet & his Zydeco Band * Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic… and that’s just to name a few!

PORTLAND, Ore., – Imagine grooving to the best blues in the world while relaxing on the grassy banks of the beautiful Willamette River, viewing the glacial peaks of Mt. Hood to the east and the stunning Portland skyline to the west – all the while smiling at the thought that you are helping to fight hunger.

No wonder more than 100,000 blues fans from throughout the world will head for the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, presented by First Tech Credit Union, July 2 to 5, 2010, in Portland, Ore.

Now in its 23rd year, the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi and the second-largest blues festival in the nation.

Blues fans will enjoy more than 120 stellar performances on five stages, plus artist interviews and workshops, five Delta Music Experience Blues Cruises on the Willamette River, activities for kids, dances, after-hour events, fireworks and more.

Touted as one of the best-run festivals anywhere, the Waterfront Blues Festival remains a grassroots festival, produced and operated by Oregon Food Bank, a nonprofit, charitable organization, with the help of a thousand volunteers. The festival raises food and funds to help people who are hungry throughout Oregon and southwest Washington.

“The need for emergency food remains at alarmingly high levels. The magic of this festival is that it brings people together from throughout the world and from all walks of life to not only enjoy great music but also to create hope for people in need,” says OFB CEO Rachel Bristol.

Daily entry is a suggested donation of only $10 plus two cans of food per person, making this festival one of the great entertainment bargains of the summer.

Tickets and more information are available at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival website.

Two-fer Tuesday – Doug & the Slugs

Back in 1980 or 81, my boyfriend and I were cruising Sears (or KMart), making our favorite stop at the bargain tape bin (tapes were what we crazy kids listened to back then when we weren’t hauling out the vinyl). Our prize discovery of the day was Cognac & Bologna by Doug & the Slugs. I fell in love with the band instantly.

A little quirky, but a whole lotta great hook-laden music poured forth from the speakers for the next year or two, which was quite a feat back then because most tapes had a shelf-life of six months or so. Anyhow, I’ve never forgotten the band.

Lead singer Doug Bennett died in 2004, leaving Canada and the rest of the world a little poorer without him. Just listen to his opening comments on the following tune. And seriously? Who else could get away with a song called “Chinatown Calculation”? Who wouldn’t love a guy like that?

(furrydrummer – Doug & the Slugs, “Chinatown Calculation”)

You may recognize the song in this last video as the theme song from the Norm Show.

(thecatkeaton – Doug & the Slugs, “Too Bad”)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blues Blast Music Awards Nominees Announced

Blues Blast Magazine has announced the names of artists nominated in the following eight categories:

Best Contemporary Blues CD

• Joe Louis Walker – Between A Rock And the Blues

• Mike Zito – Pearl River

• Nick Moss – Privileged

• Sean Costello – Sean’s Blues

• The Holmes Brothers – Feed My Soul

• Tommy Castro – Hard Believer

Best Traditional Blues CD

• Dave Riley & Bob Corritore – Lucky To Be Living

• David Maxwell & Louisiana Red – You Got To Move

• Eddie C. Campbell – Tear This World Up

• Fiona Boyes – Blues Woman

• The Kilborn Alley Blues Band – Better Off Now

• Mississippi Heat – Let’s Live It Up

Best Blues Song

• Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers – How Much Woman Can You Stand?

• Joe Louis Walker – I’m Tide

• Mike Zito & Cyril Neville – Pearl River

• Pete Anderson – Still In Love

• Quintus McCormick – Hey Jodie

• The Kilborn Alley Blues Band – Better Off Now

Best New Artist Debut Release

• Alabama Mike – Day To Day

• Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers – How Much Woman Can You Stand?

• Marquise Knox – Man Child

• Quintus McCormick – Hey Jodie

• Shaun Murphy – Livin The Blues

Best Male Blues Artist

• Bobby Rush

• Joe Bonamassa

• John Németh

• Magic Slim

• Nick Moss

• Tommy Castro

Best Female Blues Artist

• Candye Kane

• Fiona Boyes

• Janiva Magness

• Ruthie Foster

• Shemekia Copeland

• Zora Young

Best Blues Band

• Magic Slim & The Teardrops

• Nick Moss & The Flip Tops

• Rick Estrin & The Night Cats

• The Holmes Brothers

• The Mannish Boys

• Tommy Castro Band

Sean Costello Rising Star Award

• Cash Box Kings

• Damon Fowler

• The Insomniacs

• Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers

• Joanne Shaw Taylor

• Marquise Knox

In early May, a group of Blues music industry professionals including music writers, managers, musicians, Blues Blast Magazine staff and other industry professionals nominated the best of 2010 Blues music in eight categories. Complete list of nominees is below.

Voting to determine the winners begins July 8th, 2010 and continues until August 31st, 2010 on our website at Voting is open to anyone who is a Blues Blast Magazine subscriber. Subscriptions are FREE and you can sign up as part of the voting process on our website.

The 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards ceremonies will be held at Buddy Guys’ Legends in Chicago, Illinois on October 28th, 2010. The awards ceremony will feature music by some of the artists nominated. Tickets for the event will go on sale in mid August at Blues Blast Magazine.

The 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards are presented by Blues Blast Magazine. Blues Blast Magazine is the fastest growing FREE weekly internet Blues publication with over 15,000 Blues fan subscribers located in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries.

Our partner public radio station WGLT has set up a web page where you can play music samples of the 2010 Blues Blast Music Award nominees. To hear these great Blues artists on GLT’s 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards Artist Listening site visit

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father’s Day!

Hope everyone got Dad some music (much better than a tie, don’t you think?) for Father’s Day.

(8ballmusic – Alain Clark, Father & Friend)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blues, Brews & BBQ at The Cannery, Las Vegas

The Cannery has planned a night of blues entertainment like you wouldn’t believe for Saturday, June 19, 2010. Featuring Janiva Magness, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Curtis Salgado, and Ironing Board Sam, the event begins at 5pm and tickets are $5. Yes, just five bucks for an evening of incredible entertainment.

The Cannery is located at 2121 East Craig Road, North Las Vegas, (702) 507-5700, (866) 999-4899. All ages are welcome.

Be sure to check the Cannery’s website for information on other upcoming shows.

California Tradition - Julian Blues Bash, June 19

Nestled in the mountains east of San Diego, the beautiful town of Julian is about to be rockin’ again when the 12th Annual Blues Bash kicks into gear on Saturday, June 19.

The Blues Bash takes place out at Menghini Winery. Headlining the event this year is Rick Estrin & the Nightcats. Other great entertainment include Ruby & the Red Hots, Bill Magee Blues Band, Road Dogs featuring Josh Gooch (who played Las Vegas recently), Robb Bower & Co., and Bubba & the Big Bad Blues. Other guests will perform on the Backporch Stage between main stage acts.

Tickets will be available at the gate on the day of the show and run $25 for adults, ages 13-17 $5.00, ages 12 and under are FREE. Parking is free. Gates open at 10:00AM and the festival runs from 11:00AM to 7:00PM.

The gorgeous setting, fantastic entertainment, and the promise of Julian apple pie are all the enticement anyone should need to prompt them to buy a ticket.

Cheap Trick Resumes Performances of Sgt Pepper Live

“Sgt. Pepper Live” featuring Cheap trick runs through Saturday, July 31, 2010 at Paris Theatre in Las Vegas.

Tickets are priced at $75-250 plus applicable tax and fees and may be purchased at the Paris Las Vegas box office or online at or or by calling 1.888.727.4758.

Touted thusly:

A celebration of The Beatles’ influential album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the show is an energetic performance that features an orchestra and a captivating experience of light and sound as Cheap Trick perform the entire album live as well as select Cheap Trick songs that lend themselves to orchestral arrangements. At the helm of the production is Geoff Emerick, the renowned engineer of the classic 1967 album. Never performed in its entirety by The Beatles due to the complex studio technology of the day that was employed in the making of the album, “Sgt. Pepper Live” allows Cheap Trick to incorporate their brand of power pop into the classic songs while paying tribute to music legends in an unforgettable musical experience.

Love the Beatles, love Cheap Trick. This show is on my list of must-see entertainment. With any luck, it’ll be a refreshing break from the overblown spectacle of the Cirque shows that populate the Strip.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – <i>Mojo</I> is On Shelves Today

Tom Petty’s latest album, Mojo, is 15 tracks of awesome. Seriously. Today’s the official release date and, hell, it’s the middle of June. What better way to celebrate?

Check out some of the videos available on YouTube and whet your appetite. Then go order your copy of the CD. It’s listed on Amazon for $9.99 (don’t even bother with CD Universe, where it’s listed for $15.99).

I’ll be running this one through the stereo a few hundred times before I give it a review, but I can tell you now…it’s worth your money to get it.

Two-fer Tuesdays: The Skooners

As I am wont to do, I’ve changed things up a bit for Two-fer Tuesdays. I’ll get back to movies with great music next week. This week needed something more awesome. And awesome it shall be.

I caught this great indie band, the Skooners, during First Friday about ten days ago and I’ve not been able to shake the feeling that these guys are on the brink of something very big. They’re part The Cure and part The 88; a mix of the old, the new, the known, and the unknown. They’re melodic and energetic and their music is infectious.

My first encounter with the band was when I complimented bassist Max Supera on his dynamite feather boa (the band, dressed in vintage clothes from the Gypsy Den, were appearing as the Ladyboys, if that makes any sense). Then Adam Yarbro (keyboard) came by with his very sparkly Dynasty dress and knit hat. I was enjoying this. Maybe a little too much. Drummer Jake Farmer had been wandering around in what looked like an old striped two piece mens swimsuit. While cooling off in the gallery behind the stage, my friend and I talked with lead singer Blair Dewane. I mentioned his super short shorts were reminiscent of northern East Coast 70s/80s cutoffs and suggested he tuck the boxer briefs up so as to give the fans a cheap thrill at the possibility of catching a glimpse of the boys. I laughed as he did just that, remembering all too well this fashion disaster and how many times I saw things I’d rather not have seen. Later, I spoke briefly with Ian Dewane (guitarist) and gave him pointers on how to crouch down in his lovely green frock in a more ladylike manner. Hey, I’m not an expert on etiquette or anything, but I at least know that much! I’m happy to annouce that Ian was very proper while the band finished setting up.

Watching the Blair spin and dance as he sang up a storm, I realized I was experiencing something special. In my first seven months here in Las Vegas, I’ve mostly seen blues, rock, country, acoustic folk, and acts performing standards. Never did I imagine that I’d find myself standing in front of a stage on a very warm night (still over half a million degrees at 8pm), dancing along with an alt indie pop band, feeling 15 years old again. I was having more fun than I’d had in a very long time. If I’d known the Skooners had a CD release party later at the Bunkhouse later that evening, I’d have insisted we go. I wouldn’t have cared if I was amongst the oldest people in the crowd either. The band is fun! And they know quite well what they’re doing as songwriters and performers. Their act is as tight as Blair’s shorts and they bring unbridled energy to the stage.

After listening to anything and everything I could find online, I’m declaring my undying love for “Ha Ha Ya Lie” and “All I Want”. I’ve ordered my copy of their CD Grow a Mustache, Change Your Name and you can bet your ass I’m going to keep an eye on their schedule so I can catch them again. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll take them the friendship bracelets I’ve been making for them over the last ten days, into each I’ve woven “BFF!” Maybe. Not so much.

(Jazoof – The Skooners, “Just Right”)

(Mojorepublik – The Skooners, “Sweet Marie”)

Check ‘em out on their website and Myspace.

Photos of the Ladyboys, aka the Skooners, from First Friday:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bascom Hill’s “My World (Sucks to be You)” Video Debuts on YouTube

Bascom Hill’s new video debuted Wednesday, June 9, on YouTube. The hook-y, party vibe tune features Lou Ferrigno as a fairy godfather of sorts. Fun, inoffensive, and all of 3:45 long, it’s worth a look. Watch for this song to top the charts this summer as it’s the perfect feel-good tune for warm days around the pool, at the beach, or even if you’re stuck working at Hot Dog on a Stick at the mall.

Bascom Hill is Charlie Victor, Lead Vocals; Tom Reschke, Drums; Quin Stickler, Bass; Jason Sheridan, Acoustic Guitar.

[Bascom Hill - "My World (Sucks to be You)"]

Chicago Blues Festival

From June 11 through June 13, some of the biggest names in blues will gather at the Chicago Blues Festival, easily one of the best events of its kind. This festival has long been on my dream list. You better believe I won’t miss this next year.

Even though the festival planners have scaled back the number of stages and artists appearing over the past couple years, there’s still plenty of blues to go around.

A schedule of performers and stages can be found on the Chicago Festivals website. Missing, however, is the Windy City Blues stage. Be sure to check out the Windy City Blues Society website for their schedule. Take special note of any performance featuring Chris James and Patrick Rynn who’ll soon be featured here on SoundLust.

W.C. Handy Blues Festival

If I had a car capable of such a journey, you’d find me on the road this week heading east to Henderson, KY, for the W.C. Handy Blues Festival.

With major talent and great BBQ awaiting blues fans from all around the world, the festival promises to be a great time. Best of all, it’s free. F. R. E. E. that spells FREE. Check out the line up listed below and then go hit their website for more information.


All Events in Central Park

9:00 am-7:30 pm Taste of Henderson Barbecue with local barbecue cooks selling a variety of barbecue (pork, beef, mutton, chicken) for carry out or eating on-site

10:00 am William Branaman Street Strut People’s Parade

11:30 am-7:30 pm Live music, including Bob Minnette and the Dixieland Society, Blues 4U, Velveeta Jones and Albert Castiglia


Audubon Mill Park

4:30 pm Alias Jones

6:00 pm Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm

7:30 pm Shirley Johnson

9:15 pm Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers


Audubon Mill Park

4:30 pm Zydeco Night, theme food sales and music by Doug MacLeod, Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble, and Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band


Audubon Mill Park *except where noted

Noon Hog Maw Blues Band

2:00 pm Bryant-Stevens Band

3:00 pm Workshop with Doug MacLeod at Riverbend Academy*

4:00 pm StellaVees

6:00 pm Albert Castiglia

8:00 pm Kenny Neal

10:00 pm Tab Benoit


Audubon Mill Park

Noon Doug MacLeod

2:00 pm Kilborn Alley Blues Band

4:00 pm Otis Taylor Band

6:00 pm Magic Slim and the Teardrops

8:00 pm Shemekia Copeland

10:00 pm Joe Louis Walker

For festival locations, area info, maps and more, visit!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Two-fer Tuesday – Musical Movies Part I

Some movies are propelled by a good story. Some rely on music to set the theme. And some manage to weave the two together. Back in the 80s, two movies relied on music to tell the story, to hell with a decent plotline. Both starred Michael Paré.

First up is “On Dark Side” from Eddie & The Cruisers, with the music provided by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. Any decent cover band for the past twenty-some-odd-years had to know this song. I believe it was required by law.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’d seen the movie enough times to know every line by heart. Almost. Hey, I worked in a video store and the music helped pass the time. Besides, my co-worker would have killed me if I’d played the Fleetwood Mac Tusk video again.

The second song is from Streets of Fire, a lamentable flick to be sure, but who could resist the beautiful Diane Lane and sexy, but oddly pornstar-moustachioed Michael Paré as former lovers in peril because nasty biker boy Raven Shaddock (played by Willem DaFoe) kidnaps the fair Ellen Aim (Lane). I don’t recall if there was ever any reason given for the kidnapping, but it’s not really important, is it? The soundtrack was what made the movie, thanks to Ry Cooder, Dan Hartman, and Jim Steinman, amongst others. If “Nowhere Fast” and “Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young” sound familiar it’s due to Steinman’s tried and true rock operatic approach that worked so well for Meatloaf.

I never claimed these were the best movies of the 80s, but damn if they didn’t have some great tunes. And damn if they don’t still make me sing along.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

25th Annual Jewish Music Festival – July 11, 2010

Billed as “Ancient Roots, Edgy Shoots”, the San Francisco Bay Area is about to be rockin’ from the best kind of fun around — music, comedy…basically a huge multicultural party!

Rock Paper Scissors sent out the press release and this one looks like a good time for all.

The Bay Area’s Jewish Music Festival marks its two and a half decades with a day of free outdoor festivities for all ages and background at the Yerba Buena Gardens on July 11, 2010, including instrument building workshops, instant choruses, klezmer jams, and performances running from kid-friendly to hip.

The festival runs from noon to 5pm and is free for all ages. The festival website will be posting schedules and tips for making the most of this event.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Taj Mahal Trio at Doheny Blues Festival

Taj Mahal played the big stage with a full band on Saturday, but for me, I much preferred the Taj Mahal Trio on the Backporch stage on Sunday. Here’s a look at what I got to experience!

Best songs of the set were: “Fishin’ Blues”, “Corinna”, and my personal all-time favorite “Queen Bee”, which is just as sweet as honey. Each of these three songs are beautiful representations of Taj’s outstanding country blues. The notes he plays float and flutter through the air, tickling your toes and your tummy.

(Physiks111 Taj Mahal – “Queen Bee”)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Two-fer Tuesday – Cyndi Lauper

As I patiently await the new Cyndi Lauper blues album (due June 22, 2010), I decided to take a listen to the 80s icon’s song library and see if I could spot anything that would hint at her ability to do the blues justice. By now, most of us have seen her performance on Celebrity Apprentice and if you’re anything like me, you’re left wondering if Memphis Blues will remain a curiosity album or if she’ll be able to dig deep and deliver anything gutsy. Again, I went looking and I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple videos that lead me to believe Memphis Blues might not entirely suck.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I came of age in the 80s and was definitely someone who embraced the crazy clothes and big hair. I had my share of “She Bop” moments, indeed. However, there was a point where I grew up and assumed Cyndi had moved on to something else, or at the very least was riding the tide of her success as fully as she could. I assumed as much for all my favorite 80s bands. So, it is with an adventurous heart that I dove in to this challenge to discover what I’d missed out on in the last 20 some odd years.

First up is “I’ll Be Your River” from her 2005 album Body Acoustic. The song and her delivery is heartfelt and earnest in the promise to be there when you “need someone to fall into”. Lauper and co-writer Tom Hammer have crafted one of the loveliest tunes I’ve heard in a long time. And yes, I realize I’m five years late in this sentiment.

(xicopires video for Cyndi Lauper’s “I’ll Be Your River”)

And while “I’ll Be Your River” isn’t really the blues, it does show a depth of vocal talent that transcends genre and hints at the potential for the June release. Even better, I found a video from 2003 with Cyndi’s take on “At Last”. She does the song proud (better than Beyonce, I might add).

(Cyndi Lauper – “At Last”)

Nowhere in either of these songs — nor in the bonus third video for “Above The Clouds” (co-authored with Jeff Beck and Jed Leiber, again from Body Acoustic) — do you find the expected exuberance or what I call the Lauper squeak. Nowhere. All you have is pure vocals that sound more mature than one has come to associate with Lauper. Not that she’s not delightful when she’s all wound up, but it’s a very pleasant surprise to discover her range once she exercises her talents.

(HarroSIN – Cyndi Lauper “Above the Clouds”)

None of this is surprising to Cyndi Lauper fans, but to those of us who mostly remember her as a girl who just wanted to have fun and who believed the Goonies were good enough, these songs are more mature, a bit deeper, and utterly beautiful in their contrast to how we’ve come to see her.

The cuts I’ve heard from Memphis Blues aren’t nearly as restrained vocally as she’s achieved in the past, but I haven’t heard the entire album yet and I’m willing to withhold judgment until I do. Even if Lauper reverts back to her trademark ebullience, I think the blues world should consider themselves lucky to have someone of her caliber coming in to shake things up a bit.