Saturday, January 31, 2015


Whenever Taylor Swift does anything it creates a lot of hoopla. Awhile back it was announced that she was pulling all of her music from the streaming music service Spotify. Whatever her reasons, OK. Do what you have to do Taylor.

Spotify actually pays artists for plays on the service. It's not much, but at least it's not "stealing" music. I use Spotify, and love it. I pay for a premium subscription so I can download and escape the ads.

I find a lot of new, cool stuff on Spotify. Artists I never would have heard otherwise. Of course, that is not a problem for Miss Swift. She's pretty well known as it is. She'll be OK.

Yet artists seem to be OK with fans posting crappy, distorted video shot with their smart phones on youtube. Whatever.

Which brings me to this. I'm sure other artists have done it, but this is the first one of which I've been aware. Jana Kramer released her latest single, "I Got The Boy", exclusively to Spotify. No official youtube video, no Vevo, just Spotify. I don't know, maybe she has a deal with Spotify.

It will be interesting to see where all of this goes in the future. It seems like people are picking sides right now and Spotify seems to be at the fulcrum.

In the meantime, I'll be searching out good music.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Stuff: Striking Matches and Houndmouth

Just a couple of good new singles put out before the full album releases.

First one is "Missing You Tonight" by Striking Matches. The album, Nothing But The Silence, comes out in March.

Next is "Sedona" by Houndmouth. Again due out in March, from the upcoming album Little Neon Limelight.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saraya: When the Blackbird Sings

Sometimes stuff gets missed for whatever reason. The second album by the band Saraya was missed by me and apparently 99.99% of the world's population. And that's a shame.

Saraya was a hard rock band named after lead singer Sandi Saraya and had couple of minor hits from their self-titled debut that came out in 1989. I bought the cassette (yeah, I'm that old) for the first album based off "Love Has Taken It's Toll", which I still love. Great hard rock song.

The rest of the record, along with the other single "Back To The Bullet" was even more pop metal than this song and not near as good. One good song, I thought. Therefore, I kind of forgot about the band.

Saraya's second album, When The Blackbird Sings, was released in 1992. Classic case of bad timing. Nirvana and the Seattle grunge movement was in full force. This fantastic record fell through the cracks, and that's unfortunate.

This record is over 15 years old and I just heard it for the first time a few days ago. And I must say, it's one of the best hard rock albums, cover to cover, I've heard in a long time. Sounds fresh and not dated. If you like Lita Ford, Queensryche, Whitesnake, Badlands and Halestorm, then you just might find something here for you.

Unfortunately there are no videos, but here's a youtube audio of what I think is a great representation of the entire album.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Michael Bolton, Bruce Kulick and Blackjack

Blue eyed soul crooner Michael Bolton and former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick were once in a band together. I did not that know that until today. And I find that fascinating.

The short-lived band Blackjack released a self-titled album in 1979. Along with Bolton and Kulick, the band was made up of bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Sandy Gennaro. What a lineup. Had they stuck together through the MTV era, who knows what might have happened.

I dug up an old video of Blackjack via youtube. The band's sound is a bit reminiscent of Bad Company. And if you watch the video, I would swear that Harry Shearer based his look in Spinal Tap from Haslip's look at this time.

This is interesting to me. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Stuff: Like It Used To Be by Allison Moorer

Found this via a post on Farce the Music. Never heard of Allison Moorer before. I will say that "Like It Used To Be" does not suck. In fact it's a pretty darned catchy song. I like it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Stuff: First Kiss by Kid Rock

Kid Rock has released the a new single from his upcoming album. The song is called "First Kiss". At first listen is sounded to me like a combination of Bryan Adams and .38 Special. It still does, but with a healthy dose of Bob Seger thrown in as well. I don't know where it fits into the 2015 musical lexicon, but I like it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Everybody Is From Somewhere

I stole the title of this post from Scott Van Pelt, SportsCenter anchor on ESPN, co-host of the SVP & Russillo Show on ESPN Radio.

That's what Van Pelt says: "Everybody is from somewhere." What does that mean? To make it personal, it means that I'm from Texas, closer to Dallas than Houston. So my teams are the Cowboys and Rangers and to a lesser extent the Mavericks, Spurs and Stars. I didn't go to an FBS college (Division II for me), so I gravitate towards Big 12 schools. I have a rooting interest.

You know what? People in sports media are also from somewhere. They all have teams they grew up rooting for, colleges they attended. Pretty much all are fans first. That's why they got into the business.

That's why it amuses me when they are called out for supporting their teams. Especially when they are not involved in the broadcast of the game. And just throw out something on social media. I think we should all be amazed that they are able to keep their rooting interests in check when it matters.

I actually enjoy knowing who these sports media personalities root for. It makes them more human/approachable. I know that Mike Greenberg is a Jets fan. I know that Linda Cohn is a NYRangers fan. I know that Brad Gilbert is a Raiders fan. I know that Charissa Thompson is a Seahawks fan. And you know what? That's alright.

And you don't think Kirk Herbstreit is a Buckeyes fan? Or Danny Ka
nell a Seminoles fan? Or Jesse Palmer and Tim Tebow Florida fans? Laughable.

We are all from somewhere. Embrace it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What I'm Looking Forward To Musically in 2015

There might be some really cool music coming out in 2015. There is going to be some surprisingly good stuff. There are going to be some duds.

Whatever happens, there is going to be some really good stuff that nobody knows about.

Here is what I'm looking forward to in 2015. Some may not live up to what I expect, but there will be plenty more to take their places if it doesn't live up.

Halestorm is counting down to the release of their third album. If it is anywhere near as good as The Strange Case of.... it will not disappoint.

Blackberry Smoke is another band with another album in the can and Holding All the Roses is another release that I'm looking forward to. If you're a fan of Southern Rock, Blackberry Smoke is your band. Along with Whiskey Myers, they are doing it right.

I don't know any details, but Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are poised to release an album in 2015. Kind of eclectic, they rock. I have high hopes for this one.

This one I am most excited about. Richie Sambora and Orianthi are going to release an album together. Check out each of their solo work and then search youtube for some live collaborations. I'll admit, this one may let me down the most if it isn't great. But I'm optimistic.

When it's all said and done at the end of 2015, none of these may have resonated with me. But I'm hopeful that they will. If not, there will be something else that comes out of the woodwork. It always does.

Monday, December 22, 2014

What Music I Take From 2014 Into 2015

I've always been a lover of music. Guess I always will be. In the last 18 to 24 months I've really gotten into discovering new music. And I'm pretty pleased with what I have found.

Thanks to sites like Saving Country Music, Farce the Music and Bring Back Glam my interest in new music has been rekindled and I'm no longer just relying on the classic stuff.

There are plenty of lists about the best of 2014, the worst of 2014, etc. My take is a bit different. I'm going to give you the five albums that I discovered (not necessarily released) in the past year that I'll be listening to going into 2015 and beyond. Because that's what really matters.

I'm not saying they are the "best" records, but the one's that resonated with me that I will continue to listen to going forward. In no particular order:

Night Ranger - High Road
This is probably the best record of their career and will get no airplay or recognition. It's also the most diverse and heaviest record they've recorded. The guitar work by Brad Gillis and Joel Hoekstra is unbelievably good. The songs are good. It's the kind of record you listen to in your car with the windows down (top down, preferably) blasting for all nearby to hear. Good 80's-style hard rock.
Here's my favorite track from the album, as will be the case all the way down:

Whiskey Myers - Early Morning Shakes
If you like your Texas Country to sound like Southern Rock, Whiskey Myers delivers. Along with Blackberry Smoke, they are keeping the tradition of Southern Rock alive and well. They're not Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, et al. They are Whiskey Myers. And they are good.

Orianthi - Heaven in this Hell
This was released in 2013. I discovered it in 2014, so it makes the list. This native Aussie is a guitar-playing genius. She was plucked to play on Michael Jackson's last tour that never happened. She has been in Alice Cooper's touring band. She has recently hooked up Richie Sambora. That's a good resume, but irrelevant to this discussion. The album rocks. So many textures and nuances in the guitar work. Plus the songs are good, which is paramount.

Koritni - Welcome to the Crossroads
Another Aussie entry, this one from 2012. This band sounds a lot like 80's hard rock. A lot. They have the chops and the hooks. I find myself going back to this record time and time again. It's an easy listen.

Sunny Sweeney - Provoked
Or maybe this album should be called Breaking up the Sausage Party. She had the first single to reach the top of the Texas Country charts by a female performer since, I don't know, a very long time. And the single that charted was not one of my favorites on the album. Poignant and sarcastic and at times funny, this record has something for everyone. Unless you just can't stand anything county, because it's definitely country.