Friday, January 31, 2014

The Week According to My Twitter Timeline

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Good Music on a Saturday: Richie Sambora and Orianthi

Sometimes what you can find on radio, or even satellite radio, or Pandora, etc. just isn't enough.  That's when I take to the internet to find interesting stuff.

This is Richie Sambora (on hiatus from Bon Jovi, which I won't get into) and Australian guitar chick Orianthi at the Midnight Mission Benefit concert doing a couple of Bon Jovi songs with a little Allman Brothers thrown in.

Personally, I love the version of "Living on a Prayer".

Hope you enjoy.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Roger Federer and Tom Brady

Is Roger Federer the tennis equivalent of Tom Brady?

Before you dismiss this, let me explain.

Federer and Brady both illicit visions of high-class living. Both live a life that we might envy. Both are incredibly good looking (yeah, I'm comfortable saying that). Both seem to give off an aura of superiority. Both have been at the apex of their respective sports. Both are loved by many, hated by some but respected by all. Both have a nemesis (Rafael Nadal for Federer and Peyton Manning for Brady) that are in some respects their antitheses.

Here's the thing though. Both are incredible competitors. Both love the game that they play. Both are in GOAT discussions of their respective sports.

I'll admit, I'm a Federer fan and have not been a Brady hater, but not much of fan either. As I get older and get more perspective, I appreciate Brady more for what he has accomplished.

That being said, I'm rooting for the Broncos this weekend against the Patriots. And I'm rooting Federer in the Australian Open. While I can appreciate greatness, I'm still a fan at heart. And I still have my rooting interests. But I still want to see the best perform at their best.

So here's to greatness playing out on the biggest stages.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fed and Venus, Play as Long as You Want

Sports are cruel. And unforgiving. You lose a step, lose some power, lose...whatever, you're done. Washed up. Time to move on. You're shelf life is remarkably short. At least at the top of the profession.

Most careers, the more experience the better. And this is true of sports to certain degree. But the life span is so much shorter.

This brings me to tennis and more specifically Roger Federer and Venus Williams. And even more specifically the 2014 Australian Open. The fun slam.

Venus exited in a tough first round loss to Ekaterina Makarova in three sets. Now this was no upset by any means. Makarova is the number 22 seed and Venus was unseeded.

Venus has some health problems and is but a shell of her former self when she was queen of Wimbledon.

Federer is not the Federer the past few years. He many not even really be a part of the Big Four now. Age has caught up with him. And the likes of Rafael Nadal , Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have passed him by.

But he's still Roger Federer. Still moves elegantly. Can still pull off shots that others don't even think of.

What do these former champions have in common?

Both are asked when it will be time to hang up rackets (at least on the main tour). For Venus it's quite obvious why. Her health is preventing her from attaining the level in which she was once accustomed. She can still play at a high level, in spurts, but consistency is a problem.

For Federer, he is no longer the dominant player he once was. One who could be counted on to reach the semi-finals of every major. The player for whom winning only one major in a calendar year was ho-hum.

But, you know what? Both of these players love to compete. And I, for one, think they should continue to do so as long as they want.

Sure, both are in the twilights of their respective careers. Venus can still win some singles matches and along with her sister, Serena Williams, form one of the most formidable doubles teams in the world.

Roger has flashes of the old Federer. As long as those flashes are still there, hope remains for one more major title.

Until the day comes when these two decide to retire, just enjoy. Let them go out when they deem it the right time. It is not ours to decide.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Orianthi

I'm not a critic. I will only post stuff about music that I enjoy. Is it critically celebrated, panned, indifferent? I don't know and more importantly, don't care.

Sometimes you just find something totally by accident and it strikes a chord within you. Such is my current obsession with Orianthi. My daughter is calling me a fangirl. I prefer fanboy. Semantics. But I get what she is saying.

When I find something new (to me) that I like, I need to immerse myself in it for a few days. Just to make sure it's not a fly-by-night infatuation but something that I really enjoy. So, Orianthi, I enjoy.

I don't know a whole lot about her, and I'm not an investigative reporter. But here's what I do know:

Her full name is Orianthi Pangaris and she can shred on the guitar. She's 28 years old and from Australia. She was pegged to play guitar on Michael Jackson's tour before his untimely death. She has played guitar with Alice Cooper's touring band. She has recorded a song with Steven Tyler.

That's enough right there to give her credibility. And all that means squat if the songs don't hold up, right?

Well, the songs hold up. But where they fit is up for debate.

Let me put it this way, Orianthi's solo work is part Taylor Swift, part Grace Potter, part Lzzy Hale, part Katy Perry*, part Eric Johnson, part Jimi Hendrix, part Journey, part Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), part Lita Ford.
*I picked Katy Perry because I'm not that familiar with current pop music and she was the first one that came to mind. Could be Demi Lovato. The "Call Me Maybe" chick. Whomever.

I have really enjoyed her latest album Heaven in this Hell. Save for a couple of ultra-poppy tracks, It is very good start to finish. Although, if you get the CD, get the one without the bonus tracks.

The 12 tracks on the non-bonus song CD are mostly quite good. The first three songs on the album all have a bluesy feel to them. As do several other tracks. The blues-based tracks are my favorites.

The song, "How Does That Feel?" could be at home on one of Foreigner's later albums. A couple of songs, if recorded by the right artist (Carrie Underwood? Taylor Swift?) would be a mainstay on current country music radio.

The song "Sex E Bizarre" featuring Steven Tyler would be right at home on any Aerosmith release post Done With Mirrors.

Here is some straight up pop:

Here's the title track from her latest album:

And here she is doing Voodoo Chile live:

Friday, January 10, 2014

Musical Reasons to be Excited About Early 2014

There are two very different albums coming out in early 2014 in which I am very excited to hear.

The first, by release date (January 28) is Jake E. Lee's new band Red Dragon Cartel.

I realize some people don't have a clue as to who Jake E. Lee is. Let me give you some history.

Jake replaced the immortal Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne's band after Randy's tragic death. Jake played guitar and wrote most of the songs (though credit is not given in the re-issues, thanks Sharon) on Ozzy's Bark at the Moon and Ultimate Sin albums Then he went on to form one of the most underrated bands of all time in Badlands with singer Ray Gillen (RIP), bassist Greg Chaisson and drummer Eric Singer (now playing the part of Peter Criss in KISS). Here is a sample.

After a 20-year hiatus Jake E. Lee is back with a new band, new album. I've heard a couple of tracks from the new album, and it sounds just like Jake E. Lee.

The next album is scheduled for a February 4 release date. That is Whiskey Myers' Early Morning Shakes.

Whiskey Myers made their name with constant touring on the Texas Country music scene. But to me they are pure, straight up Southern Rock. Along with Blackberry Smoke, they are keeping Southern Rock alive and well in 2014.

Whiskey Myers have already released a couple of singles off of Early Morning Shakes, the first one being Home.

Pure Southern Rock from some East Texas boys. I'm excited to here the entire album.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Album Spotlight: Stryper - No More Hell to Pay

This is something new I'm doing: Album reviews. Only I wouldn't exactly call them reviews, I'm not a music critic. So it's more of an album spotlight of something I find good. So that's what I'll go with: Album Spotlights from the Cheap Seats.

I grew up on 80's hard rock. Call it Hair Metal, Glam Metal, Pop Metal, whatever. Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Poison, Cinderella, etc. I still like that type of music. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of good stuff out there.

When I find some, I will let you know. And now is the time.

Stryper was right in the middle of 80's pop metal, sans debauchery. Yes, that Stryper, the Christian hard rock band. The yellow and black attack.

Being a Christian and also a fan of heavy metal/hard rock, I really wanted to like Stryper when they emerged in the 80's. But, their music just lacked something that I was looking for. Listening back to the old records and comparing it to their new release, I know what it is. They lacked musical direction. Lyrically, they were always on point, musically, not so much. The older records waver from Journey to Motley, from schmaltzy power ballad to Iron Maiden-type galloping. And the vocals never matched the harder stuff.

With the release of No More Hell to Pay, Stryper has finally nailed it. From the fantastic cover art -

- to the music. It rocks and rocks hard.

They are playing tighter than ever. The entire album is very focused musically. There are a couple of slower songs, but not of the power ballad type.

Singer/guitarist/chief songwriter Michael Sweet's vocals sound better than ever and match with the music so much more than in past recordings.

This album has everything I loved about 80's hard rock, but does not sound dated. The more I listen to it, the more I like it.

This video is from the new album. Listen to the song, the video, not so sure about. What is up with the drummer? Can he not figure out how to put his kit together?

And the other single from the new album. Enjoy.

If you're a fan of Stryper and/or 80's style hard rock, this record is definitely worth checking out.