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ABOUT RAR: For those of
you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher
of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites.
Use this link to visit the
RAR music page, which features original music
compositions and other.
ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance"-AVAILABLE
NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM
CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects
the building of America in a trilogy of novels
collectively called ATWOOD. Book One explores
the development of the American West through the
lens of public policy, land planning, municipal
development, and governance as it played out in one
of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of
the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious
and cultural traditions that imbued the American
Midwest with a special character that continues to
have a profound effect on American politics to this
day. Book One creates an understanding about
America's cultural foundations that is further
explored in books two and three that further trace
the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one
isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as
an icon in the development of a certain brand of
American character. That's the serious stuff viewed
from high altitude. The story itself gets down and
dirty with the supernatural, which inATWOOD
- A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance is the
outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the
monumental to the sublime.The
book features the epic poem"The
well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard
Meets Larry McMurtry
I am offering another
novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service.
Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its
sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado,
1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm
equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of
individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and
distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.
It is a ripping good yarn, filled
with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to
pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950,
when the story is set. Richard Padilla
has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of
a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The
whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on
Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little
of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns.
Use this link.
EXPLORE THE KINDLE
If you have not explored the books
available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing
division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You
will find classic literature there, as well as tons
of privately published books of every kind. A lot of
it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published
books are awful, but some are truly classics. You
can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works
for two bucks.
Amazon is the largest,
but far from the only digital publisher. You can
find similar treasure troves at
Barnes & Noble site),Lulu,
H A P P Y H O L I D A Y S
B E S T W I S H E S
P E A C E
Thank you to
Lisa Papineau who wrote and recorded
this beautiful track, and to artist Betsy
Kenyon for creating such an imaginative and wonderful video.
It seems almost like a Christmas present, though it would be an early
one, coming from Papineau's album "Oh Dead On Oh Love", which is
expected to be released in February, 2019.
has quite a back story. She lives with multiple sclerosis, has been
battling cancer, and for the last five years has been earning a black
belt in karate.
She has long histories of collaboration
with Tyler Bates (composer: Guardians of
the Galaxy, 300, Atomic Blonde, Watchmen, etc),
Juan Alderete (The Mars Volta), and Koool G
Murder (Eels). She once fronted the band
Big Sir and she has further worked with Air
and M83. Oh Dead On Oh Love is an album of
lush arrangements fusing traditional instrumentation (strings, brass,
woodwinds) with ambient tones and mold-breaking vocals. It will be out
Feb 15, 2019 on new label Team Player.
is a new collaboration of a familiar, and talented trio of artists:
Roy Rogers, Badi Assad, and
Carlos Reyes. This brings Rogers, who is most closely
associated with Delta Blues, together with Assad and Reyes, who are
Latin virtuosos. From the sampling heard so far, it sounds like Rogers
is stretching out to meet the Latins, and the result is authentic,
exotic, and seductive.
A Bay Area native, Rogers is respected as a producer
(John Lee Hooker, Ramblin' Jack Elliott), and a musician, having worked
with Ray Manzarek, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Steve
Miller, Sammy Hagar. and others.
The Brazilian Assad, who comes from a world-renowned
musical family, has been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the
world's great guitarists. She is also an accomplished vocalist. Reyes is
a master of the Paraguayan stringed harp and the violin, and his
collaborations have ranged from Steve Miller and Arturo Sandoval, to
symphonic orchestras. The trio is just starting to play their
first dates together, but check out this videoL
Winters (American Idiot, Mamma Mia) has been playing
the NYC area with a top-flight band, including
John Gallagher, Jr. This has come in a couple forms,
including her Fleetwood Mac cover band, which satisfies her Stevie Nicks
obsession. The video at right, captured from an unfortunate angle and
providing few sonic advantages, captures a recent performance at
Winters first came to the attention of
the CCJ as a member of the New York party/show band
The Fabulous Entourage. That was a project
headed by Kyle Jarrow, the talented
singer-songwriter who is a luminary in New York's Off-Broadway theater
community, and most recently has been the show runner for Valor,
a television drama series he developed on the CW Network. Jarrow now has
another theatrical rock band, Sky Pony,
with his wife, the Tony-nominated actress/singer
Lauren Worsham (A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder).
That is one high-powered operation and you can see a video below from
their recent Halloweeen show.
Jr. is another of this Broadway fold, having come to
prominence in the role of Moritz Stiefel in Duncan Sheik and Steven
Sater's rock musical Spring Awakening. He won a Tony Award for
Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his work in that play, then went on
to play Johnny in Green Day's Broadway musical, American Idiot,
Lee in the 2011 Broadway production of Jerusalem, and Edmund in
the 2016 Broadway revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night. He
portrayed Jim Harper in Aaron Sorkin's drama series "The Newsroom",
starred in the HBO mini-series "Olive Kitteridge", and played Emmett
DeWitt in "10 Cloverfield Lane". Winters, Gallagher and associates are
high-end talent of a particular stripe, the musical theater kind.
Gallagher have a musical unit called "Lakes",
which plays both coasts. This is how Libby Winters describes the band:
"LAKES is Libby Winters' love letter to her 90's rock n roll heroes:
Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Weezer, My Bloody Valentine, The Breeders,
Sleater Kinney and Liz Phair. LAKES has played Mercury Lounge, Rockwood
Music Hall, Pianos, Berlin and The Knitting Factory in NYC. In LA, they
played to a sold out crowd at Hotel Cafe and were featured as part of
'School Night' at Bardot in Hollywood. Their debut EP "Just to Feel the
Feeling" is the subject of an album release party at the Mercury
Lounge December 1st. Sky Pony and a reunited Fabulous Entourage will be
The trend is clear. Music has been redefined as something one
streams. That is making it much harder to understand how a "unit
sale" is now defined in the context of traditional business accounting.
Here is an interesting way to understand that chart,
that is, the explanation from
Statista: In the first six months of 2018, Nielsen counted 403
billion on-demand music streams (incl. video and audio streams) in the
United States. That equates to nearly 270 million albums sold, assuming
that 1,500 streams are equivalent to buying one
album. As our chart illustrates, streaming now accounts for 75
percent of music consumption in the U.S. when compared to physical and
digital music sales using this method, up from 50 percent in the first
half of 2016.
The song may not be great, but
the authenticity of the balladeer is not in question. This "One Day"
video is a kind of a step-out-front for the 64-year old
Hunt Sales, who has made his
professional mark as a drummer for David Bowie,
Iggy Pop and Todd Rundgren.
He is an honest-to-god musician, and of that he is his own exhibit.
Gruff, blunt, and a lot wounded, Sales has been a decades-long heroin
addict who somehow survived to feel regret, and he apparently has a
suitcase filled with songs on the subject. He seems to have that chip on
his shoulder you sometimes get with side men, and he has an old man's
growl. That said, I look forward to the LP of his own material that he
has coming out in early 2019. It is titled "Get Your Shit Together".
Hunt, by the way, is the son of Soupy.
For Those Who Believe
Pop Music Has Gone Downhill
Here is a "scientific" analysis that tells
long-time music listeners what they already know.
Out of Nashville comes Okey Dokey, which is
Tennessean Aaron Martin, and Texan
Johny Fisher. They have a pop sound
and a sweet sensibility, which they deliver on synths and guitars.
Roberta Donnay and the Prohibition
jazz chanteusse Roberta Donnay is
suggesting that, as we are nearing the 20s in the 21st Century, that we
bring back swing music and jazz attire. In truth, I thought she was
already doing that.
Donnay was in the last incarnation of
Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, and this
holiday season will carry on a tradition of Christmas with Dan Hicks,
though Dan is no longer with us, presenting "Holidaze In Hicksville"
featuring his material.
Donnay is a dynamite singer who seems to
get more powerful with each passing year. She will be playing around the
Bay Area (Berkeley, San Rafael) in the next few weeks, but has also been
in New York City, touching down at The Green Room 42, and at Birdland.
She has been supporting fellow jazz artist Eve
Marie Shahoian, an Oakland native who has been getting
attention for her vocal chops since she was a kid. Shahoian had a period
when she was red hot, appearing on The Tonight Show, The Mike Douglas
Show, Just Kidding, San Francisco Press Club, French Club, and Circle
Star Theater, and she was a featured guest on TV and radio stations KGO,
KPIX, KRON, KTVU, and KEMO. Shahoian has performed as a soloist several
times with the Oakland Symphony. As an adult, she has performed at the
Rrazz Room in San Francisco, and of course recently did a one-night show
in NYC titled "Broadway Bebe". She continues to compose, perform, and
teach music in the San Francisco Bay area.
Son of Stephen
Musician/Actor Chris Stills
Born in Boulder, Colorado in
1974, Chris Stills is the son of
Hall of Famer Stephen Stills and
French singer-songwriter Véronique Sanson.
The parents divorced in 1978 and young Chris grew up with his mother in
Paris. He moved to the states as a young adult and worked as a roadie
for his touring father, eventually landing a recording contract with his
old man's label, Atlantic Records. Stardom did not exactly follow,
though since 2006 Chris Stills has worked in various ways with name
acts, including Don Was, Leanne Rimes, Ryan Adams, Government Mule,
Smashing Pumpkins, Lucinda Williams, and Ricky Lee Jones. He has also
gotten traction as an actor, stage and screen. He played Julius Caesar
in the musical "Cleopatre - La Derniere Reine d'Egypte", which was the
2nd top grossing show in France for 2009. In 2010, he played the role of
Alexander Child in the French film by first time director Jerome LeGris
called "Requiem for a Killer".
Stills has a new album out titled "Don't Be Afraid",
and you can learn more about him at
Ways & Means with
Just mentioning NGOs -
Non-Governmental Organizations - is enough to drive some people to
shelter. Having non-profit agencies out in the world acting on behalf of
a sanctioning governmental body sounds like a mercenary operation,
unless those NGOs are doing good deeds. Promoting children's literacy
would likely qualify as such, and the work of NGOs along those lines has
been supported by a publishing project launched by Jeff Antebi, the
founder of Waxploitation Records. Antebi followed through on a wild idea
- what kind of stories would various creative types he knew come up with
if tasked with writing a story from children - and turned it into a book
titled Stories for Ways & Means, "a book of grown-up children’s
stories by some of this era’s most compelling storytellers from the
worlds of music and contemporary art". Organizations supported by
proceeds from the project include Room to Read, Pencils of Promise, 826
National, and War Child.
Antebi now has a Kickstarter fund going to produce audio versions
with famous contributors reading their own stories. Here is
Tom Waits reading his story.
Rauls' 2019 Photo Calendar
Rauls, who was there in the Golden Age of Rock and has the
pictures to prove it, puts out a wonderful calendar each year leveraging
his incredible photo library. Rauls was an A&R man for Atlantic Records
and may well be known by you, the reader. His first person photo
journalism of music celebrities is rich, and with this calendar he is
focusing on photographs from the 1969 Atlanta International Pop
Use this link to order.
Wounded and Righteous: Tom Petty
I was never a Tom Petty fan. His
music seemed to me to be trite and I couldn't stand his voice, which
didn't even strike me as authentic - sort of an imitation of Roger
McGuinn and Bob Dylan, as if everything Petty did was as a member of a
Byrds-Dylan tribute band. Then there was that stupid "won't back down"
song, which I would put right up alongside Neil Young's "Let's Roll" and
"Rock'n in the Free World" as the most annoying bits of jingoism ever
recorded. That said, everybody I know loved the guy, and after watching
this video I understand that much better. -
Did you know that Hollywood Golden Age movie star
Hedy Lamarr and composer and pianist
George Antheil invented a device synchronizing a miniaturized
player-piano mechanism with radio signals to create a frequency-hopping
signal that could not be tracked or jammed? The invention was designed
to counteract radio-controlled torpedoes. Telling that story seems as
good an excuse as any to run this studio publicity shot from 1940.
Thinking about Spencer Bohren
personal note: I have been alarmed to learn that Spencer
Bohren, who has been a friend to this site, has announced that he has
cancer. In a press release, his wife wrote "Spencer doesn’t just have
cancer; he has stage IV prostate cancer that has metastasized to his
I don't really know Spencer personally,
though I have communicated with him on and off over the past 40 years.
He is a talented gentleman, I know that. And he has always been an
interesting guy, more than just a musician, though that is the manor to
which he was born. We have told Spencer's story before. He grew up in a
family of traveling musicians, and creativity came naturally to him. He
does these extraordinary art boxes.
Use this link
and scroll down the page to find the story we did on Spencer more than a
decade ago, which includes examples of his art work, overviews his long
recording and performing career, and details his career as a music
Spencer and his family are in the fight,
and we at the CCJ send our best to them. They have established a
will go directly to the expenses of healing, as well as covering our
basic living expenses during that time," writes Spencer's wife Marilyn.
Spencer is planning to make his scheduled
performance dates, and being Spencer he has come up with still another
outlet for expression: a new Health blog at
https://www.spencerbohren.com/health-blog/ on which he posts his
research and his personal medical updates. You have got to love this
guy, and it would be great if you could support his fundraiser. Lifetime
musicians make a lot of friends. They often don't have the types of
medical coverage they would have were they "ordinary" workers.
Some Party Jazz-Funk Served Well?
Click on the record cover to go to the Colorado
Links and catch a quick review of the new
Groover LP "Why Can't There Be Peace?"
Groover puts me to mind of prog-rock
players, and you can't think about such types and also Colorado without
thinking of Michael Reese. A
Colorado native, Michael went out to L.A. years ago and stayed long
enough to win accolades before returning to the Rockies, where he has held
court ever since in a range of musical incarnations. I used to know
Michael back in my own Colorado days, and he was generous with his time
and musical knowledge, and I learned a great deal from him about how to
play the electric guitar. He may have felt that he had to be, given all
the times he borrowed my 1965 Fender Deluxe Reverb for local gigs. In
this video below, Michael demonstrates his deft touch with a song that's
pretty enough for Christmas. - RAR
Lund, the Canadian cowboy singer-songwriter who has led his
really fine band for more than a decade, is an unusual guy, to say the
least. He is smart, erudite, and clever way beyond what you expect from
your "Guy Next Door" type of creatives. His composition skills are
fantastic, his band is great, and he is touring the U.S. in coming
months and probably a kick to see. Check out this brand new track, just
posted, that has no video to go with. The song is great, like so much of
what Lund does.
Rolling Stone Country said of Things
That Can’t Be Undone that it “finds Lund flirting in fresh sonic
waters, while still keeping his sardonic mix of eerie lyrics and
deceptively joyful vamps well intact.” For its part, PopMatters
proclaimed, “Things That Can’t Be Undone furthers the case for Corb Lund
as one of the best contemporary country songwriters.”
Lund is an award-winning, vintage country
performer, who spent his twenties, interestingly, in an indie rock band.
He embraces his rich and rustic western heritage with a style that’s
unique, honest and resolute, while touching on a range of cowboy themes
both past and present — from rough-and-tumble tales of lawless frontier
saloons, to the sombre realities of running a modern family ranch. He
sings about a life that he and his ancestors have lived themselves,
paired with his quick-witted, wry observations of today’s world. As a
result, his writing resonates emphatically with rural and urban
audiences alike. It’s a classic sound with a twist, something of a
rarity these days, but one that evokes the spirit of the American West,
winning over appreciative audiences at rodeos, fairs, festivals and
other events where tales of fearless explorers, determined homesteaders
and committed cattle ranchers still holds a powerful sway.
Backed by his long-time honkytonk band,
the Hurtin’ Albertans — Kurt Ciesla, bass; Grant Siemens, guitar; and
Brady Valgardson, drums — Lund effectively amplifies those themes and
fires up the crowds. It’s little wonder that the Vegas Seven noted,
“Like Willie Nelson before them, they bring out the shit-kickers and
hipsters in equal measure.”
With nine studio albums under his belt,
multiple CCMA, Juno, and international award nomination and wins, Lund
is well recognized as a musical force to be reckoned with. His seventh
album, Cabin Fever, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Canadian Charts; he
has three gold records; and his latest release, Things That Can’t Be
Undone, cemented his status as one of the best contemporary country
singer/songwriters working today. The press agrees: Rolling Stone
declared him one of the “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” and
NPR remarked, “The album is a high mark of a long career.”
Rolling Stone Country said of Things That
Can’t Be Undone that it “finds Lund flirting in fresh sonic waters,
while still keeping his sardonic mix of eerie lyrics and deceptively
joyful vamps well intact.” For its part, PopMatters proclaimed, “Things
That Can’t Be Undone furthers the case for Corb Lund as one of the best
contemporary country songwriters.”
The CCJ at RARWRITER provides a steady stream of news
feeds from a variety of sources. Use this link to visit the
Music News page.
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It is a
testament to the Christmas season that the holiday touches the
heart of people of all faiths. It has everything going for it,
from flash to cozy sentimentality. And then there are the gifts,
but most of all there is the music! This holiday has inspired
music since 21 AD, when "Angels" became a big hit.
That Christmas has universal
appeal on many levels, it should hardly be surprising that much
of the music that represent the classics of the genre was
written by wonderful Jewish composers. Here is a list compiled
by Steve Kurtz, a producer for the Fox News Channel, who listed
his top Christmas songs written by Jewish writers:
10. “We Need a Little Christmas” (1966)
It’s from the Broadway musical “Mame,” with a
score by Jerry Herman. The original production closed in 1970,
but the song has become a perennial.
9. “The Christmas Song” (1945)
By Mel Torme and Bob Wells, this generically
titled number is perhaps better known for its opening line that
begins “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….” Though Torme was a
famous singer, the most popular version was recorded by Nat King
8. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
By Johnny Marks, whose specialty was Christmas
songs. In fact, he’s got three on this list. Rock ‘n’ roll was
the hot new music of the 1950s, so Marks took advantage of it.
Brenda Lee had the biggest hit recording.
7. “Silver Bells” (1950)
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, the
public got to know it when sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell
in “The Lemon Drop Kid” (1951).
6. “My Favorite Things” (1959)
It’s from the score of “The Sound of Music” by
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. It’s not officially a
Christmas song, but it’s become associated with the season.
5. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Johnny Marks’ most successful song, it was
also cowboy singer Gene Autry’s biggest hit. It starts “You know
Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen….” After this song
became a #1 hit, we sure did.
4. “White Christmas” (1941)
The best-selling song of all time, written by
Irving Berlin, who’s probably the most successful songwriter of
all time. It was introduced to the public at large by Bing
Crosby in the movie “Holiday Inn” (1942). It was so big that
Crosby sang it again in “Blue Skies” (1946) and “White
Christmas” (1954). I often sing it with the introductory verse,
which explains why the singer dreams of a white Christmas. He
lives in Beverly Hills.
3. “A Holly Jolly Christmas” (1964)
Maybe the happiest of Christmas songs, this is
another classic from Johnny Marks. It was popularized by Burl
Ives in the 1964 TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
2. “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It
Words and music by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne.
Another one of those snow songs written in Hollywood during a
heat wave. It makes being snowed in sound so cozy that I almost
miss those long winters I grew up with in the Midwest. Recorded
by a lot of artists, but the biggest hit came from Vaughn
Monroe. You’ve probably heard that version, since it plays at
the end of that great Christmas movie “Die Hard.”
1. “Sleigh Ride” (1948)
Actually, the tune is written by a gentile,
Leroy Anderson, famous for oddball instrumentals such as “The
Syncopated Clock” and “The Typewriter.” But the words were added
by Jewish lyricist Mitchell Parish and are delightfully
“It’ll nearly be like a picture print by
Currier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things we
remember all through our lives.”