Category Archives: blue grass

Cleveland R & R Hall of Fame: Musical Notes

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Oh, how my brothers and I wished we could have gone to the excellent musical

tribute to the Everly Brothers on October 25, 2014. It was called, “Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame’s 2014 Music Masters.” There were so many famous musicians and

music industry ‘captains’ there that it would have been so amazing to listen to

the tribute for this iconic sibling combination who inspired everyone that followed

them.

Revelry included a large group of musicians from the genres and roots of blue grass,

jazz, country and rock and roll legends. I will give you part of the ensemble list here.

Emmy Lou Harris who paired up with Alfred Lee (Everly’s lead guitarist) to sing the

trademark song which is recognizable across the world, with memories mentioned

by British icons and Irish singers, too: “Bye, Bye Love.”

What brought the audience to tears, Chuck Yarborough of the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

mentioned in his article and the evening news the next day also repeated, was Don

Everly, aged 77, coming up on stage to join them in harmony.

Who else was there, you may ask? Graham Nash, Keb’Mo’, Ledisi, Peter Asher, Waddy

Wachtel, Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer, Alison Krauss, J. D. Souther, Bonnie

“Prince” Billie and Dawn McCarthy.

The lovely song, “Lonely Island,” was given a special tribute from the Secret Sisters,

Laura and Lydia Rogers all the way from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. T-Bone Burnett,

musician and record producer had insisted they include this song in their most

recent record.

Keb’Mo’ and Ledisi performed, “Let It Be Me,” which meant adapting the vocals

to their unique talents.

Vince Gill and Graham Nash, (Nash started out in the duo, The Hollies but is more

known and recognized for his contribution in another ‘combination’ band, Crosby,

Stills, Nash and Young.) They sang a great duo together.

Rodney Crowell (musical director) and Keb’Mo’ sang “Wake Up, Little Susie,” which

is an Everly’s favorite. Keb’Mo’ has included this memorable song on one of his albums

and spoke about his affection for the warm and friendly Everly Brothers.

Greg Harris, Rock and Roll H. of Fame Pres. and CEO, mentioned when he toured in

Ireland in the 80’s everywhere he traveled, when a guitar was pulled out to play,

whether in a kitchen with a grandfather and grandson, along with Pubs, Everly Brothers

were being played.  He mentioned a tribute to Phil Everly who had passed away earlier

this year, just days before he would have celebrated his 75th birthday. It was a moment

of bittersweet memories, allowing the audience to again mourn the loss of a ‘brother.’

Emmy Lou Harris’ soprano voice joined Rodney Crowell’s in a poignant song, “Love

Hurts.”

The night of duets continued with Peter Asher (who had been formerly part of the duo

“Peter and Gordon,” which is still considered a great part of the British Invasion)

and Graham Nash soaring voices in harmony in “Hard, Hard Year” followed by

“Claudette.” Wow!

Peter Asher later paired with J.D. Souther in the song, “Crying in the Rain.”

Are you like me? Do you remember the continuous variety of the Everly Brothers’

song and playlist?

When Vince Gill joined Graham in Everly’s huge (most sold songs) “Cathy’s Clown,”

both using their natural tenor voices to blend into a beautiful tribute to the Everly’s

I would have loved to be there but I bet Youtube has captured this. I will hope to

find a disc of this fine duet.

Vince Gill and Allison Krauss performed together, “When Will I Be Loved?” The song

is one I could sing all the words to, since it is a classic and never to be forgotten. It

has been sung by musical artists everywhere, including a few of my college buddies.

 

This is the point I wish to make, there are few people who have not been moved,

touched and honored to have listened to an Everly Brothers song.

 

Just a side note:

Did you notice that Jack Bruce passed away over the weekend?

The days when ‘rock and roll were young’ include Cream band,

where Jack Bruce was ‘big time’ in the 60’s and 70’s in England

and the U.S.

Cream had its own sound, a psychedelic combination of blues,

rock and part of the “Flower Power” age.

Jack studied music while a child in Scotland, became a cellist

and symphonic musician before he turned to rock and roll.

Jack Bruce’s solo albums, after Cream ‘broke up’ were covered by

everyone from Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Ella Fitzgerald.

“Sunshine of Your Love,” is one of the many Cream and Jack Bruce

songs that come to my mind. On the album, it featured Eric Clapton

playing the guitar, while Jack Bruce played the bass and sang along

with Ginger Baker on drums. Worth checking out, if you were not

part of this generation, or worth listening to, just to have that

wonderful flooding of memories that may be associated with thie

period of music.

“Wheels of Fire” spent time on the Top Ten Best Songs for quite

some time, Cream sold 35 million albums in two years. It became

the World’s First Ever, Platinum disc! Wow!

 

As a soloist, Jack Bruce developed a combination of blending

jazz, rock and blues, with less of the psychedelic renderings.

He was successful and toured from the 80’s until 2005, when

Cream came back together to tour and help those who were

part of the generation of “Flower Power” to reminisce, dance

and sway along to the music.

 

One Cream song, “I Feel Free,” will be one that makes me smile,

since Jack Bruce, aged 71 succumbed to cancer, is probably part

of that Heavenly Band, feeling free of the pain he suffered in his

later life.

 

Musical Eclectic Tastes: A Quartet of Choices

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When you hear this comment, “Life is sweet,” I bet you would not have pictured it

coming from Billy Idol. He showed gratitude for his family, roots and his fans. I was

in awe of the interview, felt I finally understood him. I remember when I first saw him,

on MTV, seeing his punk hair style and his sneer. I never was repelled by his appearance

and every one of his 14 major hits were beloved by me. I did not see him as ‘sinister’ or

mean looking but saw him as confident and defiant.

I am grateful that Billy Idol lived to reach age 58, which is what I am for another month.

I am so happy he is exploring a ‘comeback,’ which is not quite true, since he never left

the musical scene totally.

Billy Idol was born to middle class roots, in England. He respected his parents but he

could not follow their paths of being a professional, his mother was a nurse nor a

businessman selling power tools, like his father. Instead he decided to chase his dream

of being in a rock band. His comment, which is a little ‘explicit,’ but true of his tastes

goes like this, “If you cross rock and roll with punk rock, you get a cross-pollination

bastard type of music: mine!”

Bill Broad, Senior died in August, they had made peace and there was no animosity

between them. He had not financially supported his son, Billy, but he did love him.

It was mutual respect, shown in the interview, which captured my interest. Also, his

mentioning the power of what a teacher said to him, negatively, that impacted his

famous name, “Billy, why do you have to be so idle?” He just changed the spelling,

with a positive twist, becoming an ‘Idol’ in more than name only.

My favorite song is, “Eyes Without a Face,” since I could slow dance to this, while

thinking about its meaning. The other ones you will recognize, include:

“Rebel Yell”

“White Wedding”

“Dancing with Myself”

Re-make of “Money, Money” which he made his own a great rendition.

What happened to him during the 90’s?

He had a serious motorcycle accident in 1990.

This brought him down. Far down.

In 1994, he overdosed at a night club. This bad action on his part, saved his life, ultimately.

It brought him back on the path to recovery. It made him want to have purpose.

I will look forward to hearing new songs, since Billy Idol has always been in my eyes,

a True Showman.

 

 

Another person who has caught my interest lately, is Jenny Lewis. She is age 38, many of

you have already heard of her, let alone heard her unaware it was she delivering the music.

She has a fun style, light-hearted style of singing. She is familiar in many ways, since she

has been around for awhile. One recent radio song, “Just One of the Guys,” makes me smile.

It became a big hit almost instantly, according to a DJ on my way to Cleveland over Labor

Day weekend.

Her life has been all about music, being a ‘backstage daughter’ to a group that performed

in Las Vegas, “The Voyagers.”

When she was young, she was the cute, attractive girl who had her first kiss in a movie

called, “Wizard,” with Fred Savage. She admits, they were just kids and grew up together.

 

When you used to hear the song  for Toys-R-Us, there was a popular upbeat lift to the song,

with Jenny Lewis singing that she was a Toys-R-Us ‘kid.’

In her live shows, she likes to build rapport, she has a lyrical tone to her voice, reminiscent

to some of my all-time favorites like Carly Simon, Carole King and Joni Mitchell.

Jenny sings like popular and current,  beautiful voices found in Colbie Caillat and Ingrid

Michaelson.

In Jenny Lewis’ ‘wheelhouse,’ there will be one you will relate to. I liked “She’s Easy, But

She’s Not Me.” It is not the way you think of ‘easy,’ she is defining it as not very deep.

So Jenny is saying in her lyrics, ‘I may not be easy to understand but I am worth it.

The other girl may be easier to figure out; but she’s not Jenny.’

Her album, “The Voyager,” is worth a peek. Here are the two rcent girls

I recommend, “Colbie Caillat’s songs, “Bubbly” and “Try.”

I recommend, “Girls Chase Boys” and “The Way I Am.”

 

With the name of “Keb’ Mo,” you could possibly mistakenly picture a rapper or a

younger man, but this man is a three time Grammy winner who plays the Blues!

What inspired his newest album, at the age of 62? Marriage counseling! He and his

wife were going to therapy and he realized, while thinking on the way home from

a heavy session, how love is a struggle and you have to keep putting work into it.

In his deep thought, you can find his heartfelt passion for his wife. He feels that

love is important after all to fight for, continue but it is typical blues material,

when you hear that “Love hurts.” Marriage has been a ‘battle field’ subject matter

before but this man’s interpretation was ‘new’ and interesting to me.

Keb’ Mo and his wife, Robbie Brooks Moore live in Nashville. They participated

in an intense weekend of counseling. This became the theme for his new album,

“BLUESAmericana.”

He addresses commitment, love, pain, changes, and forgiveness. Relationship

‘stuff’ that he admits they had avoided for years, in an “AARP Magazine” article.

When Keb’ Mo started out singing, he used the name of Kevin Moore. He adopted

his bluesy stage name in his early 40’s to allow listeners to see his dedication to

the subject of the Blues. He is not changing hit style, just created a whole new

batch of songs with, “If Somebody Hurt You,” a gospel-driven tune with zappy

sound and divulging roots of pain.

In “Move” and “I’m Gonna Be Your Man,” you will see how love made him a

renewed and changed man, with upbeat tempo, good lyrics. These songs

include Moore playing a variety of guitars and includes some organ ‘grooves.’

Sam Chamon’s song, “That’s Alright,” will be familiar to you. The rest are all

new and exciting. I have to laugh at his attitude, when his wife worried what

“people might think.” He said so aptly, “Honey, this is not a business for caring

what people think!” Humor, gospel, upbeat, sad and you have Keb’ Mo’s music.

 

If you don’t know Patty Griffin, you need to listen to her! She has a relatively

new album called, “American Kid,” on New West Records. She is one you can

easily listen to again and again. I am confident, if you are like me, who embraces

a wide variety of musical tastes, you will enjoy this one! Patty is bluegrass and

country, a combination that is a pleasure to listen to.

You also have heard of her long-time boyfriend, Robert Plant. He is embracing

his “mountain roots,” while accompanying Patty Griffin on this album. Plant

co-wrote, “Highway Song” and added musical touches and arrangements to

“Ohio.” This is a great combination of two musical talents. (If you wish to

listen to Robert Plant check his popular songs, “Net Worth” and “Rainbow.”)

If you want to know a song that is unique and has a lot of character, try:

“Wild Old Dog.” It is about the sad story of someone dropping off a mangy

old dog on the side of the road. If he had turned around and looked at the

car leaving him behind, it may have reminded you of “Old Yeller,” Chuck

Yarborough, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, music critic fame says. No,

instead there is a different way of taking this song:

“He tore off running

Like we’d set him free

And just disappeared right in front of me.

God is a wild old dog.”

(Which reminds me of an English high school teacher, weirdly enough, who

had us write a poem about dogs and God.)

Can you believe this prolific artist, Patty Griffin, probably already has another

album out called, “Silver Bell?”

 

Dave Mason played with the group, Traffic. In 1967, the band was formed with

Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. Dave is a songwriter/artist whose

song, “Only You Know and I Know,” for his newest album. In the old days, he

had written, “Feelin’ Alright” for Joe Cocker. What a great song that was!

He has played with Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix, among many other

legendary musician icons.

His group while recently featured on a talk show includes first name basis

singers, he introduced simply as, “Debby, Bonnie and Friends.”

Check out the songs, “Sad and Deep As You” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy.”

I enjoyed this philosophical perspective in his saying, (I did not use a tape

recorder, so this is the ‘essence’ of what I heard him say):

Quite simply, the songs are about human relations and that’s never going to

change. Colors change, seasons change, clothing styles and time passes.

This changes, that changes.

But leave that shirt in the closet long enough, it’ll become fashionable again.”

 

What are you listening to, lately?

 

Music goes ’round and ’round

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I was so excited to have a great First Friday with my best guy

friend, Bill! You can check out probably over a dozen stories

about the ‘Man Who Knew My Daughter First!’ We have good food,

deep conversations and ‘pick up where we left off’ thoughts,

at our monthly gatherings. We had poor weather, gusts of up to

37 miles an hour (meteorologist, supposedly, “fact”) so we did

not go walking around downtown Delaware, Ohio.

We started right into Bill’s favorite subject, Music!

I am a rather musical person, a mediocre history of attempting

to play the clarinet for over 8 years, in all forms of ‘bands.’

I was a member of the Pep band, Concert band, Symphonic band,

Bay High marching band and both North Olmsted’s elementary and

Bay’s middle school bands. I know music, can “Name That Tune,”

many times over, but I have a ‘tin’ ear when it comes to

actually playing the clarinet from memory or using my left

hand on the piano!

Bill introduced me to a bright and witty singer from Australia.

On Youtube, on his cell phone, sitting in his car, that is!

Her name is Courtney Barnett. She has a huge following from

the UK and America, but is an international ‘star.’ She is

funny, irreverent, including lyrics that are just so far out

you may burst into laughter. She uses a ‘dead pan’ voice,

seemingly without any energy, but her creativity makes it

exciting, anyway! Bill was sitting in my parking lot a half

hour early, never letting on he was there, listening to her

song called, “Avant Gardener.” This young and talented singer

was born in 1988. She has been ‘around’ the musical circuit

since 2011. I feel her cleverness outweighs my ‘need’ to hear

a beautiful voiced song of perfection. Her lyrics included

her yard being a mess, supposing neighbors may think they run

a ‘meth lab,’ all in a video you may find on youtube with a

group of tennis players lobbing balls all around her.

When we got on the road to dinner, we talked about work. I was

disheartened by a really ‘poor monthly review’ at my dear old

Advance Auto. It all arose from my saying three weeks’ ago,

as I was leaving, off the clock, to a manager who exclaimed,

“You are leaving at only 8:30 A.M.!” (We usually work, while

it is a regular schedule, four nine hour days and a four hour

Friday. I had worked only from 6 a.m. until then. Two and a

half hours.)

I exclaimed, using what I felt was a rather light hearted tone,

“Yeah! I have to go to the bank and withdraw savings lately to

pay my bills.”

But, really, this is considered the slow period, where we work

less. I know this, going on six years there… I was not

really complaining! I like our slow times, since if you have

followed me since last summer, we usually work 10-11 hours in a

grueling hot, non-air-conditioned warehouse. I store up my extra

overtime money. I save it like a squirrel and his ‘nut’ but I

don’t like having to dip into it so regularly.

At my monthly meeting, I heard that this said manager had gone

into his Friday meeting complaining that he needed people like

me to work with his department. Why didn’t I volunteer to help

them out? Why wasn’t I a “Team Player?” They are ‘cheap’ at my

company and don’t hire temps in receiving area, where they

are scrambling to add merchandise, preparing as they annually

do, to get ready for the Rush Season! Cars are repaired in the

Spring, Summer and Fall!

But our Winter has held on to us, this year, particularly.

I have only been asked once to work over, personally, for the

department of receiving. I told them that I had a special once

a week lunch waiting with my best girlfriend, Jenny, who is a

retired teacher. I even go so far as to add, that I get treated

to crab salad on croissants or German Chocolate pancakes with

a gooey, delicious cream cheese ‘syrup’ concoction. I could

NEVER give up my afternoons with Jenny, (unless heading North

to Cleveland over Easter weekend to see my Mom, for example.)

In my review, prepared by my boss’ boss, I was given ‘average’

scores almost all the way down. The only compliment given,

despite my ‘production rate’ of 106 % and my quality control

‘score’ of 100 %. (Where we can get a 95 % in the first area

and a 98 % to be “acceptable” and get our raise.)

I was quite dismayed to see my monthly review was not present

on my boss’ desk, where I make between a 2.8 to 3.0 (perfect

‘score.’)

I read aloud, “2.2? Why?”

He said, I was not volunteering for other areas of overtime,

I was not volunteering to be one of the two positions on the

safety committee, and that I had been ‘complaining’ to someone

recently.

This was not like my best two young bosses in my lifetime

history of reviews.

Jake would have said, “You do an awesome job of going wherever

we tell you to go!”

Katrina, (whose grandmother passed away so that is why she was

not here to do this monthly review, one on one…) said just

last month,

“You are a positive person who helps others and keeps us all

feeling better being here.”

I had never heard quite these simple, but encouraging words in

my very positive years of teaching annual reviews. I had told

first, Jake, who was in his twenties, my first boss at the

warehouse, meaning every word:

“You are the best boss ever! I love the idea of potlucks and

your monthly meetings are very short and helpful.”

Katrina was given the same level of compliments, after I

received hers. It was a mutually beneficial experience for

the two of us.

I was ready to weep at my almost below average review!

Bill told me, in his warm and helpful way, to ignore Mike’s

comments, to move forward, and try to volunteer for something

more. I told him that I had written in the comments’ section

of the review that I was willing to be trained to do “E-Comm”

and to learn how to pick orders in the “Master Mod.”

(E-commerce is one where you pick what someone who logged onto

Advance Auto orders for their home or car. Master Mod is what

we call this new structure that you have to pick specialty

orders in a master module.)

Bill said, “That should do it!”

But, ever the worrier, I told Bill,

“We have our annual review this month! If Mike does it, I

may not get my raise! What should I do, if this happens?”

Bill, who was a bins manager, shipping manager and has

worked there for 41 years since he was only 20 years old,

suggested I just let it go. I would ‘keep my job.’

I wanted to go above him, find someone who would look at

my hard job work record and reward me. He and I hope to

have my immediate boss’ review. But, so far, she is back,

but the other guy is doing them!

Here is another musical connection that we made! We both

used to listen to Nickel Creek. I listened since my kids

were teenagers. He had listened because he had heard a

recommendation from Allison Krauss. This young group earned

five Grammy awards and have five albums out.

I told Bill they have been playing since they were very

young, having been trained in stringed musical instruments

by the same fine teacher. They are now, in their thirties,

but, when they started, were only around 8-10 years old!

Their first ‘gigs’ were playing in a pizza place in Carlsbad,

California.

I would wish you to listen to their earlier, very sweet and

melodic voices that are accompanied by guitars, violin and

even a mandolin! I also encourage you to listen to Nickel

Creek’s newest album, “A Dotted Life.” In it there is a

wonderful song called, “Destination.” Ironically, it was

featured on CBS Today (Saturday, April 5, 2014). You can

watch the show or check out their songs on youtube. I also

liked the fact that they are coming ‘back’ after a seven

year hiatus. They had felt burned out after all the years

playing together. This trio will break your hearts, with

the tugging of the stringed instruments. They will rouse

you with joy, sounding like angels harmonizing. The song,

“Destination” has the only female, featured singing. The

song, “Rest of my Life” has one of the male voices being

chosen to lead the song. The names of this fine group are

Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins and Chris Thile ( The mandolin

player; along with the others knowing all kinds of stringed

instruments.)

In our conversation, Bill and I talked about his friends,

Denny and Rick, who play together with their guitars and

sing. Bill has sung and played since a teenager and got

some of his musical talent from his parents, but also liked

rock and roll in his little high school band. He has many

talents, including art and the ability to understand the

challenging subject of philosophy. He is my ‘zen’ and I

(he says) am his ‘rock.’ Bill told me that Denny and he

were working on some of the popular Everly Brothers’ songs.

He said, “All I Have to Do… (is Dream)” was one they really

harmonized well on. I asked him if the three of them were

going to ‘play out,’ anytime soon? He told me it may just

be Denny and he playing together at local spots.

An interesting set of facts, how our lives have been tightly

intertwined for years is, I have known Bill’s friends forever!

I knew Ricky and Danny first from Denny. Denny and his wife,

Cathy, have a son, Shawn, who I babysat during those ‘stay at

home’ years.

They set me up with a man named “Danny” who I call, “Daniel”

in my month of dating 3 Dan’s. I have known Rick and Danny,

also, through my four years as an Activities Director at a

nursing home. I knew their parents, was there at both their

memorial services and funerals. Interestingly, I didn’t notice,

but Bill was there at them, too. Denny and Cathy’s son, was in

my son’s kindergarten class. Three of Bill’s children have known

two of my children… since the 90’s!

Not only does music go ’round and ’round, but life seems to,

also!

The final song, I wish to impart with you, has been recently

sung on “American Idol” television song, by Alex Preston. He did

an outstanding job in his performance! This is One Direction’s

“Story of my Life.” The words are running constantly through my

head, at work, as I walk and sometimes right before I settle in

to sleep. For some reason, despite the fact that I feel it is a

‘rushed song’ with some lack of real emotional ‘connection’ to

the audience, I love it! The way it is sung, is like a recitation

of life, including a difficult love affair. The Irish-British

band has had the song playing since October, 2013. It resonates

with me, on a deeper level, due to the lyrics.

Does anyone else find this to be true?

What songs are you listening to recently that have touched you,

to the very core?