Friday, March 21, 2008

The Local Musician

Yesterday I went out to Jammin' Java to see Celeste Starchild play.

I got there just as she was playing Apple Of My Eye - a great song we just introduced this past week on our show.

I walk into Jammin' Java and there's Justin Trawick - right there.

He was funny - I was so happy to see him I gave him a hug.

He says - hey john! - Ok - we're hugging. Ok.


I was excited to see him and off his right shoulder was Jean - his bass playing, stage sharing, and good friend.

Celeste - was great. And, she had this great dress on. Stunning is a word that comes to mind.

One thing about Celeste is that well - I think red is an awesome color on her so her red and white dress, red lipstick fair complexion and brown hair, just really added to the whole experience of seeing her live.

A chick.
In a dress.
Playing guitar.

It was cool.

And I got to talk with her near the end of the entire showcase of bands.

She's great to talk with and fun - and she's got a full time job outside of music too.

And that leads me to a little discussion here:

Local bands/musicians

Where does your money go when you pay for the show?

- The bands/musicians get paid but usually there are things that come out of their payment:
- Food
- Drinks (so if a musician asks you to buy him/her a beer or one for the band, this is why)

To get the gig that you're paying for, they've typically:
- Driven to countless open mic nights and driven all over creation to play and introduce themselves to other bands
- Paid for their gear - out of their own pockets (That's Guitars, Strings, Amplifiers, cables, mic's
- If they have a CD, they've paid for that cost all up front and, their handing out free CDs to people at radio stations, people in the industry, etc... so they can be heard (hopefully)
- Taken a job they use as a means to an end.
- May not have health benefits - and we all know how much a doctor's visit is.
That's right - the musician's hope is to be seen/heard and become successful.
We have jobs where we want to be seen and heard and move up the ladder and get raises, etc...
But, the musician is taking it on the chin for the love of their craft.

Think about it.

The person scanning your food at the grocery store. The person taking some babysitting gigs. The person you see with their guitar case open in the street somewhere. And, in some places, they PAY for the use of that spot and have to hope that they recoup that money by 'busking.'

And, in other cases, the musician is sitting across from you in a meeting discussing strategy for the company to get $1 Billion in Sales Revenues.

You really never know.

So, I'm rambling here, but, to wrap all of this up:

1. Thanks Celeste and Audrey for the CD for our show

2. Chris from Leaving TX - thanks for the CDs - we'll get your music on the show for sure. Please note this photo is taken from their website at

And, if anyone reads this.

Please support your local musician.

If you want processed cheese-whiz music, just listen to your ho-hum radio station.

But, if you want something different.
Something that pushes the envelope.
A musician or band to get committed to....I ask that you seek out and support the musicians in your local music scene.

Ok - I think I said what I wanted to here, but if I didn't I'll come back.

Oh yeh - and don't do drugs. "just say no"

Monday, March 17, 2008


I walked out from my radio show to this as I left the JC building last night from my radio show - a bit frustrated for my guests and me.

I expected things to go great - and they did - but, I couldnt get the lads from Braintoy on or Celeste Starchild.

And, then, I arrived upon this so i took a picture of it.

While I'm not going to say the war is bad or good/right or wrong I will say, that my frustrations dropped quite a bit after I saw it. So much so that I stopped to take this picture.

And then, I came home, pulled out my guitar and began playing along "what about everything" by Carbon Leaf.

You need to listen to this song.

If you don't own it, go to iTUNES and spend the 99 cents on it. It's more than worth it.

I am not in need.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Record Review - Rebecca Katz

Before you get started on this, you have to know that the request was to review the record - and, I went ahead and did just that. Reviewed the whole thing - hahahahahaha.

BUT, Rebecca was looking for something that was short and I dont know how good I am with that (i'm a big fan of quantity time you know)...but, here's my 2 sentence offer on her record and, I believe it to be true.

Rich with flawed and real characters, Rebecca Katz's first EP 'Spendin' on Today,' invites us all into her living room to sit in that oversized brown leather chair with a cup of warm tea and watch her stories unfold before your ears.

Let yourself be drawn into her music like you would a warm fire on a snowy winter's day.

And, if you want more than continue on down.



So there I was.

Minding my own business - well, not really - I was working on the first radio show I'd done in about 18 years. Getting music ready, gathering information and, I received a friend request for the myspace page from a singer/songwriter named Rebecca Katz.

She put a quick note on the request about checking her music or that this was a great idea for a show.

And - well - I'm sentimental. She took an extra step, wrote some words so I went to her page thinking I was going to get the 'typical' singer/songwriter vocals and songs about chipmunks dancing on pizza which was to represent the scientists doing their work on global warming in Antarctica.

What's great about myspace is that you can try on a song like a jacket in a store and see if it suits you. And, if you like it, you can just keep the jacket on for a little while as you browse thru the rest of the store. Just to make sure you like it.

That’s how I felt with Rebecca's music on myspace.

I can tell you….she DOESN'T sound like other folk artists. And, to me - that's important because it's like Peanut Butter. Peanut Butter all tastes the same to me - unless it's this one brand. And, I'm not a Brand Name Dropper – yet - but, I've settled in on this one because it tastes great.

So, while I'm not saying that Rebecca Katz is that brand of peanut butter, I can say that she is unlike the rest of the peanut butters out there.

And, to be fair, someone doesn’t just join the ranks of my favorite peanut butter in 1 week.

Ok - enough parables and metaphors about peanut butter. Let's get down to the jam!....ommmm…..I meant to say music there.

Let's start with the last song of her record.

Home Again.
Acapella - is not my bag - most of the time. And, when this song first started I was transformed to the records - YES RECORDS - of my youth and the song Cotton fields Back Home - it may have been done by the New Christy Minstrels, but, it's not often that you get a song done acapella and, sadly, I kept anticipating music to come on to join Rebecca and it didn’t come. And, I wasn’t disappointed. I just wasn’t expecting it. Isn’t it funny how my pre-conceived notion of a song involves an instrument playing with the vocals?

I need to remind myself that our voices are an instrument too.

This song is a little gem and not what I expected to hear. I love hearing something I wasn’t expecting to hear.

Kinda like when I go home to my parents' house and I smell fudge brownies from the kitchen.

I'm home again and my life as an adult kinda just morphs back to being their son and they my mommy and daddy.

Kiss Me Good Night

So, I’m writing about this record and, am caught a little flat-footed on this song.

The first things that catch me with a song are the music and the tone and sound of Rebecca’s voice. And, I can’t always keep up with the words and the possible meanings behind the words.
Rebecca knows what these words mean. And, she may not share what they mean – and, as she says – ‘it’s an artist’s prerogative.’ - J

This song is interesting because her request of her man is to kiss her good night, but he doesn’t have to do anything else.

Sadly, when we love someone in a way that we put minimal expectations on them or none, chances are, there has been some activity where the other half – in this case for our song – “the guy” has been exhibiting a behavior of womanizing or plain non-commitment.

And, our poor singer is saying, “Ok. You don’t have to do anything for me except kiss me good night.”

And we know that he can’t do that.

And we also know that she needs more than that kiss good night – she’s just looking for that door to his heart to be open so she can come in and lean like he’s done with her heart.

To Donnie
Now - I think the normal person would not bring up another musician when commenting about their album, but, I'm not someone who can stick with formulas and rules.

I heard this song, and I IMMEDIATELY was brought to - in my mind - the singer songwriter Sabrina Dinan - from Ireland - and her song that's at - you need to check out Timebomb. These are 2 totally different singers with different voices, I just wanted you to know where I was brought upon hearing the opening of the song.

Ok, back to Donnie.

Funny hearing the song - that as soon as he removed his hat everyone noticed him. Hidden. Kind of like the hidden love RK wrote about in Kiss Me Goodnight.

I'm not sure who got the whole first verse last verse thing started - and I've heard it on a number of Vertical Horizon songs….but the good news here is that while Rebecca brings us back to the image of our boy Donnie at the end of the song, it's a little different, a little more breath in her voice a little more longing. How awesome to have a verse-reprise that's different….has emotion… this case….longing for Donnie to come home, and, it's done in a way to make me a part of the group who miss Donnie too.

If you see the one

Anytime I hear a song that starts with the vocals right away with the up or downstroke of the guitar - personally, I prefer the upstroke because it's different - where was I - Oy VAY! I'm A.D.D. on my own writing and am still in the same sentence!!!!! Ok - haahahaha - When a song starts with the vocals right away it makes me think of one of the "Lethal Weapon" movies - I think it was # 3 where Mel Gibson is running right at the start of the movie.

I like that - it's like BAP! - here I am. (I believe ‘BAP’ came from the ‘60s TV show – Batman.)

And, in music, I guess I look for a song to do that somewhere after the first two songs. But hey - that's just me. Rebecca made this song her first song on her record. And, why not? (Rhetorical question ladies and gentlemen). Why not jump out and say - HEY - Here I am?

Her vocals are great and overshadow the guitar playing for sure - especially at the beginning of the song but those first words ring thru my head - If you see the one.

Poor Rebecca's character has so many longings for love in her songs…..I'm thinking we need her to do a cover of Love Hearts - ommm - I was going to fix that word there before publishing, but I believe in Freudian Slips so, it stays….Rebecca needs to do a cover of Love Hurts by Nazareth somewhere in her repertoire.

And, this song is her first song on the record, so intriguingly it points you in the direction of a set of songs about love-gone-bad….

Maybe this is the Conclusion song that ties it together - and, I'm no music psychologist….who wants to be….this is music and Rebecca has crafted a good song for us to listen to with a character and imagery to set up the next songs on her record.

I love it when she says
If you see the one
That I could Love
Just give him a push
In the wrong direction

But let's be honest, Rebecca's character in her songs doesn’t want her friends to introduce her to who they think is Mr. Right. Rebecca's character wants her Mr. Wrong to see the light and become Mr Right. Kinda like Superheroes who are mild mannered by day and Super heroes by night.

The Real Thing
The first thing I thought of when I saw the real thing was the song by Kenny Loggins (which I LOVE!!!!!).

I'm a big fan of building into a song and, while I recognize that the norm is to kinda play 8 measures before jumping into the words, I think if the music here on ‘the real thing’ were a little slower in the beginning and then built into the riff that would be the main one for the verses, it would impact the song a little bit more - but hey - I'm nit picking here on a good song….so I'm going to, as my friends say, "shut the 'f' up and tell you more about it - hahahahaha.

One set of lyrics in this song that just grabs at my own heart are:

Laying Down Warm at the end of it all
With you Leaned into my heart

Obviously I'm going to think this verse refers to the "after some great sex," our character has that 'warm-fuzzy' feeling.

And, "With You Leaned Into My Heart."
What a strong statement of love.
The best feeling.
As if that love is an extension from her character's heart - the home of love for the singer/songwriter. Like an arm or leg to all of us…those are examples of extensions of ourselves, but that's one mighty powerful statement there.

I was actually brought back to my loves and remember the times when I truly felt like someone had leaned into my heart - and, to me, that's the best kind of love. The love you just know without speaking it.

A love that’s natural. A love that feels like home.

It's like sitting on a sofa, and you're both reading books, while your laps to your feet are under a blanket or quilt with a fire going and your feet are touching and every now and again you look up, your eyes missing eachother until that one time when they see eachother, you smile, you close your books, and you sit right next to eachother….safe in eachother's closeness.

Thank God you're the real thing.

A few times in here, you here a little unexpected 'clank' in the guitar playing and, whether done on purpose or not, immaterial because, the real thing is never perfect every day, every minute or every second. Listen to the songs Every Picture Tells A Story by Rod Stewart or I Saw Her Again Last Night by the Mama's And The Papas.

In Every Picture….there's a girl singing and there's a part in there where you hear her breath thinking she needed to go into the song right at that moment……..AND THENNNNNNN….then, all of a sudden, you hear her line "look how wrong you can be."

In I Saw Her…..there's John Phillips - I think - and he sings "I saw her uh…I saw her again last night and you know that I shouldn’t."

The ones that we love are not perfect, but the good ones are perfect for us.

And when we discuss soul-mates or whatever the flavor of the day word that soul-mates turns into, it's really that we're discussing that perfect love. That love that we can give to someone that is perfect for them and the love we receive in return that's perfect for us.

And, the good news… is a topic that can be sung about forever. Even if Twisted Sister sings "love is for suckers." The good news is that I've only been married to that song 2 times in my life. Twisted Sister sang at both of my weddings. They offer a two-fer package because divorce rates are so high, they just naturally expect you to split up and marry again. :) Ok - I'm funny - or maybe not with that one. This paragraph is just me adding humor here.

Ommmm….yeh ok…..Rebecca's Record.


The Story (the maid and the sailor)
What this song needs is a good cello or viola to help attack that bass line a little bit or even an acoustic Bass. Maybe we just need to import an Irishman or Irish Lass to join our girl Rebecca on this song to add a little - Irishness to it.

But aside from that, I kinda went into this song being a song in a musical or stage show. I don’t know why. Maybe the song title or the dut dut dut dut part of the guitar work.

Have you noticed that I have pre-conceived notions? Isn’t it great to have those preconceived notions call me out often!!!!! Good thing I can recognize it – haahhahaaa.

Ok, back to ‘the story’ - I picture 2 folks on stage and Rebecca sitting on the side telling a story with symbolism and imagery made real through the characters on the stage.

And the last line - But He Won't Be Coming Home. Is kind-of a recurring theme here in Rebecca's record.

The song makes me think of Brandy by Looking Glass or the relationships from the movie the perfect storm….or Hard Rain's Gonna Fall as sung by Edie Brickell (hold the new bohemians).

Closing Statement

I like repetition in songs - meaning - The ones I like, I'll listen to multiple times in a row, to hear the music, catch onto the words, catch the chord changes, the mood…..the direction…..etc…

I believe in quantity time not quality time. And, I believe that quality time is just a way for people who want to pretend that they don’t have much time for others justify that little time they spend with the ones they love. “But I gave you ‘quality time.’”

A first record by any good singer songwriter has a lot of soul and emotion and passion that the listeners can hear and feel - especially when they give a record good long listening to.

Rebecca has put her soul out there for you to hear, listen and be engaged.

She's opened her door for you to walk in, but she only wants you to walk in if you want to - so you need to take that step.

So, walk in
Make yourself at home
Hang up your coat
Grab some Hot Cocoa - the marshmallows are on the table if you want to add them
Sit by the fire
And Lean into her music like Donnie leaned into her heart

Monday, March 10, 2008

The David Wilcox Show on Thursday, March 6, 2008

Folks - you have no idea what you're in for here.

I mention the following when sharing David Wilcox's show with you all:

- Twisted Sister
- Happy Days
- Quiet Riot
- Wookie
- and Much Much More

So, give it a read.


Armed with the same excitement as a 17 year old who just got his drivers license and a new car, David Wilcox walked out on stage with a big smile and welcomed everyone in the audience into his home with his music, his stories, and his humor.

It was my 2nd time attending a show at the Barnes at Wolftrap.

My first show was great. I sat in the back for the opening act – Sabrina Dinan – and then was invited up to the front row by none other than Luka Bloom himself.

Now, he didn’t call me by name, but, he did say anyone in the back row who wants to come up front, come on up.

Funny. I was kind of hoping I’d have the same experience with David Wilcox.

But, I didn’t – And that’s ok because, each experience should be different and unique.

David came out laughing and smiling to us all and now that I’ve had a few days to think about what he shared with us about his family, himself, he made a remark that I believe pulls together the experience at the concert.

He talked about being in a national forest and seeing the light in the window of the Airstream Trailer. And, it was his home for 2 years.

I feel like we were all David Wilcox – all of us in the audience…..and he was that light inside that Airstream Trailer that he saw in the distance.

This was my first David Wilcox concert and, I walked in, saw the sign that the show was sold out, and got my ticket that I pre-ordered the week or 2 prior. My seat was in the middle about halfway back.

After getting my ticket, I walked into the area where they were serving some food and some drinks.

I grabbed myself a couple of beers and proceeded to find a seat.


But what’s great about the barnes is that you grab a seat on the floor and there’s other people on the floor.

Keep in mind that there are seats and tables too, but, there’s the floor too.

I kind of felt like Bill Murray in the movie Caddyshack and being told by Chevy Chase that I should swim in ‘the pond’ – hahahaaha – but I digress.

I met a group of 4 people and Jason – if you read this – I had your card. Lost it. Found it again. And then lost it and this time, I really think it’s gone. I put it in the proverbial “place where I know I won’t lose it.”

So, me with my papers and pen, Jason’s girlfriend introduced herself and Jason picked it up by intro-ing the rest of the gang.

We had a nice conversation.

I love meeting new people and this group of 4 were all nice.

After talking a bit, the lights dimmed a couple of times letting us know to get into our seats because David was coming.

Now – I’d read on the internet somewhere that David Wilcox was known to come out sometimes and do tributes to his favorite glamrock bands of the 80s –
- Twisted Sister
- Whitesnake
- Nelson

So, I was thinking – wow! A singer/songwriter who does this stuff. AWESOME!

Ok, that was a joke. Sorry if you bought into it.

Anyway – I was going to write about each song he did, but, that would take away from the experience of seeing David live.

He shared stories about his family and their 2 year trip and at one point pulled out an acapella song about bone mass growing inside Nanc’s leg that had broken in 5 places. And, as he sang it, I started thinking of the song by Potsie when he was in college in an episode of Happy Days called “Pumps Your Blood” – or something like that. But, it was funny. Very funny.

He jokingly referred to himself as a “car whisperer” with his car songs.

He talked about biking in France and coming to a T in the road and for the first time not knowing where to go until a truck moved from it’s spot and he commented that he didn’t know where to go because he was he was at his destination.

Which reminded me of the song by Luka Bloom – where ever you go….there you are.

David finished with 1 encore song – the song that I first heard when Christina Crerar introduced his music to me. Eye Of The Hurricane.

It’s funny, but, he also talked about what a successful marriage is to “Start With the Ending is the best way to begin.”

How great it was to have David to bring me his beautiful music and close with the song that I started to enjoy him with.

Throughout the show David laughed, smiled, and shared himself with us.

And, I started thinking about the Singer/Songwriter relationship with the audience vs. the relationship that a band like Quiet Riot would have with their audience.

It’s definitely different.

It’s intimate.

The audience wants to know what the inspiration is for the music and to learn more about the singer/songwriter to see what makes them tick vs with a band like Quiet Riot, the fans typically want to hear about the drinking stories and the partying etc….. It’s different.

And, I wonder if there’s an anonymity that singer/songwriters throughout the land feel they have to keep sharing and keep sharing and share some more.

I read on David’s face that this is a man happy to do what he’s doing.

He loves his wife and his son Nate.

He loves to play guitar for people and audiences.

He will leave his guitar on the stage for us to see at the end of the show.

He had some writings there – but I don’t know if it was his set list, some words to songs to remind him or just words of encouragement.

If a quarterback can wear a list of plays on his wrist, why not have information taped to an indestructible guitar.

David gave us 24 songs without an intermission and everyone had the opportunity to buy some CDs at the end of the show, but, I was expecting to see him there too.

As a fan, I was a little disappointed, but, I have to remember that going on tour and singing at all these places takes a toll on a voice so, no harm – no foul there David. J

Someone asked me to rate the show for them and…..well……I’m not a big fan of that. You either Liked It or you Didn’t Like it.

I liked it.

But, my friend pressed me for a rating.

So, I told her – “I give it 4 wookie cries” and proceeded to cry like Chewbacca 4 times.

“What was that!?!?!?!?!” – she asked.

“That was your rating for the show.” I said.

Her response was – paraphrased because she just used more words than this review has – hahahahahahahaahah – (I’m funny) – “why can’t you just give me a real answer.”

To which I responded, “Do you want 4 more wookie cries?”


Maybe this was the calm before my impending storm – hahahaahaha.

David – can I grab a ride in the eye of the hurricane?

And, 4 Wookie Cries to anyone who reads this.

** PS **

If you see any typos, or grammar or verb tense issues. It's ok. You don't need to let me know. :)