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:
“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
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
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,
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?