Volume 3-2014

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Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publishing Group mailing list for updates on activities associated withthe Creative Culture and Revolution Culture journals, and other RARWRITER Publishing Group interests.

New RAR Songs

What began as a composition exercise in chord substitution – what I think of as being in “Donald Fagen’s house” – ended up being a story about social mobility, or lack thereof, unobtainable dreams, and grand larceny. Use this link or click on the photo above to stream "Donald's House".

 

Just playing with a Phrygian scale can take a person to a dark place, witness this cheerful ditty about the death of a relationship and a wishful release from suffering. Use this link or click on the photo above to stream "Phrygian Dominatrix".

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.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.

RARADIO

(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock

 

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Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page

ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance" -AVAILABLE NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM AMAZON.COM. Use this link.

CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. 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 in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

 

EXPLORE THE KINDLE BOOK LIBRARY

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.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.


 

 

ARTIST NEWS

The Deafening

Broadway Spills Into NYC's Rock Clubs

This video features the NYC band The Deafening, playing live at Webster Studio, and most especially the band's singer Lena Hall (Celina Carvajal), whose day job is being a Broadway star. She originated the role of Nicola in Kinky Boots and won a Tony Award for 2014 revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Her band The Deafening released an album (Central Booking) with original songs in 2012. Hall got her start in San Francisco, at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, where she first studied dance.  Success on Broadway came pretty quickly, as she made her Broadway debut in 2000 in Cats, taking over the role of Demeter after first performing in the national tour. She next took over the role of Ann "Anytime Annie" Reilly in 42nd Street. In 2004 she was in the original ensemble of Dracula, the Musical and was the understudy for Kelli O'Hara as Lucy Westenra. In 2006 she was in the original ensemble of the musical Tarzan, and was also the understudy for Jennifer Gambatese as Jane Porter. This week The Deafening is on a double-bill at Mercury Lounge October 5 with another Broadway coupling, Sky Pony, which is the rock club side of Broadway star Lauren Worsham (nominated for a Tony for her work in the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder) and Kyle Jarrow, who for years has been among Off Broadway's most audacious songwriting playwrights.  It may be too late to catch the show at the Mercury Lounge, but watch The Deafening's website and that of Sky Pony for opportunities to catch these high-energy, highly theatrical rock shows.

Sunshine Underground

It Turns Out Early MTV Planted Roots

One can hear a lot of bands in the sound of the Sunshine Underground, and they all date back to early MTV. You hear the The Police, Talking Heads, New Order, Petshop Boys, David Bowie, others whose names have slipped from mind, but somehow still reverberate in our sonic consciousnesses. The Leeds-based poppers are all over the map with their influences, but their attitude is so upbeat and their delivery so tight that they are sort of irresistible. They have three full length albums to their credit, and they are about to hit the tour trail again, which has been their road to success. Visit their website to learn more.

A Single Frame Passing Through the Light

Jason Sees' Bold Exploration of Mortality

 

There are just so many ways that Jason Sees (The Jason Sees Band) new album, A Single Frame Passing Through the Light, could have gone all wrong. “This album chronicles my journey with my wife. From our ‘honeymoon phase’ though her initial cancer diagnosis, to the last eight weeks of her life, and after she died,” explains the Seattle-based songwriter.

Imagine that's your pitch to your record label: you want to produce a musical docudrama featuring one of life's most painful storylines, the way too early death of a loved one.

As a creative exercise, this is not a path pursued by many people, so one's models are fairly limited to Erich Segal (Love Story), Edgar Allan Poe ("The Raven"), and a handful of others. Your approach in writing can either be philosophical or an exposé on emotional devastation, because either way the death of a loved one is going to feel like something personal, happening to you. And in a way it is, because we humans live on hope and faith that somehow things will always work out, and the death of a loved one kills a little bit of that optimistic spirit in everyone it touches.

There is a more than even chance that listeners will not happily follow the grieving troubadour into any choice he makes unless he presents some sort of alchemy in music composition and wordplay matched to some uncanny knack for delivering salve for the soul.

My take on Sees' effort is that he has done a remarkable job of walking this tightrope, of being authentic and insightful while steering the ship away from the rocks of self-indulgence, and their beckon call.

Sees' greatest strength is probably his voice, which is soft and gentle and sometimes brings to mind young Paul Simon. (Unfortunately, from my perspective, he may also sound a little bit like John Mayer when he's pretending to sound sensitive.) As a writer, Sees is a dreamy dude who seems to appreciate the sounds beaming in from outside our universe, for lack of a better way to describe his floating esoteric expressions. Some of it is quite beautiful, and the spaciness of the whole affair feels right given the context of the album.

“This whole thing is to honor her life, and I knew this one had to be done right,” Sees says. “My prior two albums I wrote, recorded, and mixed myself in my own studio. I’m very proud of those albums, but If I had done this one like the others it would not have been even close to good enough to be worthy of Zandy's memory.”

Sees enlisted the help of noted engineer/producer Joe Reineke of Orbit Audio and, along with the help of his band - Shaun O'Neill (bass), Dave Campbell (drums), Alex Willson (lead guitar), and Julia Sarewitz (vocals/keyboards) - the Jason Sees Band set out to make a record that would honor Sees’ wife Zandy’s memory, but also chronicle themes of struggle, loss, and the desire for hope at the other end of the tunnel that everyone can relate to.

“Writing and recording this record was therapy for me, but it also helped me prove to myself how much Zandy meant to me,” Sees says. “Everyone endures loss in their life, so I think this album will resonate with a large number of people. It would be great if this music helped people who are struggling. It is always therapeutic to see something positive come out of tragedies.”

This album is well worth checking out, not because it contains radio hits but because it feels like the work of someone who is attempting authentic artistic expression. Doing it rather well, too. - RAR

Daria Going Beatle

Jazz singer Daria, who fronts a few of her own jazz units while also working with Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, is doing a Beatles show. Daria is a great singer, but this "Strawberry Fields" deal she is doing took us a little by surprise. Obviously adoration of The Beatles remains universal decades after the band's final performance. They continue to be the only band that ever really mattered. You can use this link to check out a little sample of Daria's "Strawberry Fields" cover, which is all jazzified. Beatlemania is still going strong, even in the most unlikely of places.

Hall of Fame Material

Gretchen Peters Honored for Songwriter Achievements

It is really kind of an awesome experience, for those of us who happened to know Gretchen Peters back when she was a kid winning her first songwriting competition, to follow her through the years and witness the success she has had. That first songwriting competition, recognizing her talent, was sponsored by KBCO radio in Boulder, in 1977, and who could have imagined that this sweet kid was going to go from young promise to acclaim as one of the top songwriters of her generation? She will be playing the Grand Ole Opry stage the night before the Hall of Fame induction ceremony the next day.

Gretchen writes this in her most recent newsletter - "In a few days I'll be sitting with my family and a few thousand others at a banquet in Nashville, having the surreal experience of hearing my songs sung to me by a handful of renowned performers. In the midst of all the preparation for induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, I've been busy readying a new album, Blackbirds, and rehearsing some of the new songs in preparation for the touring that will begin shortly after its release. As honored and humbled as I am to be inducted into the NSHoF, I'm glad there's something new on the horizon to focus on. I'm going to try and be as present and 'awake' (in the Zen sense) as I can for the induction ceremony, and savor every second of it. I know how lucky I am, and I know how special this night is. But the best reward for past work is to be given the chance to do more."

Gretchen's song "Independence Day" was a big hit for Martina McBride in 1995, when it was the Country Music Association's "Song of the Year". Gretchen was nominated for Grammy awards in 1995 and 1996, and a Golden Globe for "Best Original Song" in 2003. It is pretty impressive stuff.

Gretchen Peters' new album, Blackbird, will release in February 2015. The new studio album, coproduced with Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin, John Hiatt) & Barry Walsh, features guest appearances by Jason Isbell, Jimmy LaFave, Jerry Douglas, Kim Richey, David Mead, Suzy Bogguss, Matraca Berg and more. A UK tour in March has been announced; US and European tours are in the works.

NOTE: Those KBCO competitions in Boulder, Colorado in the late '70s surfaced some true songwriting talent. Besides Gretchen Peters, Michael Woody was also a winner of one of those events. Michael scored a #1 hit with Desert Rose Band with his tune "He's Back and I'm Blue" (co-written with another KBCO winner, Robert Anderson), and a #2 with Barbara Mandrill and "My Train of Thought". - RAR

Ami Heinrich and the Truth About Music Publicity

It’s important to remember that a number of factors contribute to your teams ability to drive placement including location, relevance and timing. Just like the seasons, there is a time and place for a new album release, a tour and an event announcement. For example, mid-summer album releases tend to fall on deaf ears. Why? Well most of your best music journalists are out there taking in all of the live music that is available to them. They are seeing festivals, attending music conventions and experiencing the power of music performed live.
Consider the colder seasons for your next release, and you may find a lot more people available to take the time for a review.

It is also important to note that while most music blogs and newspapers are looking for new music and artists to break into the mainstream, the truth is that if they haven’t heard of you and they do not believe your article will create viral results — then they may not consider publishing an article about your music, no matter how much they loved the album. They too are looking for reputability that will create results for their media source. So be patient. Your team may have to approach their pitch from many angles before it sticks. In fact, we tell artists that it can take up-to-four months before our publicity efforts start to come into fruition. I can tall you, it’s not from the lack of trying or the lack of pull we have with the media, it has everything to do with whether or not the media believes that article will be a success for them.

Ami Heinrich is Principle of Tsunami Publicity. Use this link for more.

Ugly Kids Club

Perfect Pop Confection

The name of the duo is almost enough to win a person over. Then there is the letter perfect production and songs that seem tailor-made for those Kids Bop albums so many of today's kids grew up on. The Nashville-based duo has released a really excellent EP, Mind Games. There is more on them on the Music page.

Hail, Hail Steve Berlin

The Quick & Easy Boys

Turn the Wheel Over to a Pro and Release a Superlative Album

Have you heard the new album from Portland's The Quick & Easy Boys. It is their fourth full-length album release, and most certainly their best. The songs are great, the delivery powerful, and the focus is tight, which the Boys seem quick to attribute to the guiding hand of Producer Steve Berlin (saxophonist for Los Lobos).

“A major factor in this album was the inclusion of Steve Berlin as producer,” says bassist Sean Badders. “In the past, the albums were produced by us and our engineers - and we love how those came out -but this was the first time we really let an outsider really shape what was happening, and honestly it made a lot of things way easier.”

“We gave Steve Berlin forty demo tracks that ranged from home demos done by Sean and I (some of which made it on the album), recordings of us practicing/improvising, and songs that we had previously worked out together,” recalls Russell. “Steve whittled the list down to his favorite eighteen and we cut a few, and ended up with fifteen.”

The sound they produced is muscular with a touch of funk feel, and it comes across with a contemporary urgency.

Jack Hadley Releases His St. Louis Blues LP

In some future life, I hope to be as cool as Colorado-based blues man Jack Hadley. Read more about his new blues LP on the Music page. - RAR

Music As Sacrament

Bono Doesn't Believe in "Free Music"

So What Has U2 Given Us?

The last reports I heard were that only five percent of iPhone users had the free U2 "Songs of Innocence" album downloaded onto their phones. The news story was that Apple had done this in most cases without being asked to, so people who didn't want the U2 album viewed the download as a virus. In fact, the app it rode in on was unpopular enough that instructions for removing the U2 product from an iPhone soon began springing up on the Internet. It is almost exactly the type of marketing news one would have nightmares about prior to the release date of a product: a horror come to pass. What I have heard from "Songs of Innocence" sounds just like every other song U2 has put out for as long as I can remember, so perhaps the audience of iPhone users are either not of their generation, or have just grown tired of their sound. Even a great band has the capacity to produce boredom if certain magical elements don't happen to come together to breathe life into their performance, and Bono doesn't seem that magical these days.

Worse than that is the extent to which he is full of "himself", referring to music as a sacrament. While touching in its devotion to his own enterprise, it is a complete misuse and misapplication of the word "sacrament", which is a Christian rite, and as a Christian Bono should know better. He no doubt references the Eucharist or Holy Communion, whereby the blood and body of Christ is ritually joined with the blood and body of his devoted followers thereby elevating their mortal lives and consciousness of holiness. "Songs of Innocence" must be a bowl of wafers in Bono's bogus analogy. His insight elevates music while puncturing the supposed sanctity of religious ritual, which is probably not his intent, though he's a rebel so who knows. He is attempting to create a defense for something he really shouldn't even have to defend, which is a new anti-piracy music format being developed by Apple.  He says the new format will emphasize "the visual element of music, including lyrics and photography, and is aimed at big-screen consumption". Otherwise, it will be YouTube except that you can't copy it as a digital file to your hard drive.

From NBC News: "Bono lamented the state of the music industry, saying it's harder than ever to make money from album sales, and rejected the popular notion these days that music should be either free or subscription based. 'I don't believe in free music,' he told Time. "Music is a sacrament."

This commitment to capitalism is from the same guy who famously boasted, "My God isn't short of cash", so while Bono's idol is apparently sitting pretty and probably has the new iPhone, Bono and U2 may need some quid.

Equally unhelpful to the U2 album release is that the ad campaign for the "Songs of Innocence"  iPhone product is the same tired visual concept that Apple has used for what seems like ever. (Have you noticed the ubiquity in television commercials these days of quick cut shots of people running, jumping, jabbing, flashing a satisfied smile, or otherwise equating the product they are selling with energy?)  It is branding at its most repetitive and tedious, and that in U2's case it is a bunch of old men who are jumping around and jabbing is just stupid. This probably doesn't help U2 to seem relevant in today's youth market. It is also a little creepy how much this U2 song sounds like Chris Martin and Cold Play, which when you think about it is creepy enough in its own right.  - RAR

"What U Hear"

Music Pirating and the Technology Squeeze

Does it seem to you that Internet technologies are now evolved to take from users certain of the functionalities that have made the World Wide Web so insanely popular in the first place?

The one that hits the low budget music community the hardest is the elimination, in Microsoft Windows OS 7 and later, of the "What U Hear" recording option. That was a staple of earlier operating systems (XP, Vista, etc.) and for people (like myself) who have digitally-based home recording studios it was critical to the mixing down of audio tracks. You could record any number of separate instruments as .WAV files on individual tracks, mix them to your liking, play the mixed version, and record the mix you were hearing through your soundcard: your master mix. Once you had that recording of that final mix, that could be formatted as an MP3 file for portability purposes (like attaching to email messages).

After court actions more or less killed the large file-sharing operations, like Napster, that allowed people to share music files in batch processing operations, the way most music was being pirated was through the use of the "What U Hear" function. It seems like any piece of music you might want to hear can be found from some source on the Internet, so if you could hear it (streaming, for instance) you could record it to your own hard drive. This meant that any poor kid with Internet access could have all the same music that rich kids with Internet access were getting. At the same time, it flooded the world with a massive supply of in-demand products, offered free or at low cost, thereby killing any significant profits to be appreciated by the manufacturers of the music product.

This development created the sorry state that Bono alludes to in the story above on the U2 iPhone album: that nobody is making money selling "records" anymore. This is why ticket prices for live performances are so high, and why "artists" rely heavily on the sale of "merchandise". This includes CD sales, which for the vast majority of the professional and semi-professional musicians in the world have been savaged by the piracies of Internet commerce. The irony, of course, is that marginal acts never made any money on their music in the first place. The Internet, for a time, promised to be a marketing and sales Nirvana, where little guys would achieve parody with the big boys, but more and more the World Wide Web has become the showroom of the same gigantic media operations that have always controlled the marketplace.

Net neutrality is already going the way of the dinosaur, and so it is also with aspects of the Internet that initially lit the world afire with open access to every kind of information. Microsoft has decided to remove that recording function that allowed you to hold on to a piece of audio information that some creative person wanted very much for you to hear, or in the case of the home creator, information that you created and wished to reproduce. It appears that from here on out, gaining access to even your own information is going to cost you. - RAR

Home Studio Workaround

One Way to Manage the Loss of the "What U Hear" Recording Function

As mentioned above, the "What U Hear" function that was native to earlier Microsoft OS has been removed (or made next to impossible to access) from Windows OS 7 and later, which has created problems for musicians with home Digital Audio Workstations. If you are wealthy and happen to own the entire ProTools package, you likely have some better way to create a master mix than what "What U Hear" provided in the first place, but for amateurs such as myself, who use more affordable DAW like Cakewalk Sonar Producer, Cubase, or other, the "What U Hear" function was indispensible. Who ever dreamed that Microsoft would remove access to what is a truly vital and widely used function? It goes against the laws of natural evolution, though in the S-curve of technological developments the retraction of some benefit that users once derived from familiar products has only just begun. The game industry has been an early adapter of this strategy and now sells what used to be parts of gaming packages as ancillary products. If you buy Electronic Art's golf game, for instance, you get a small range of courses on which to play, and any others you may wish to play will be sold to you, though in earlier versions of the game all of those courses were available for the price of the game, no additional purchases necessary. The commercial tech world is becoming more sophisticated and more rapacious. The plan is to create a condition of continual obsolescence for every consumer's computer equipment - operating systems, applications, hardware - to force you to buy new products that are vital in our technological age. And in the course of re-versioning the user experience, the technology companies are stripping out some of the best of what they once had to offer. A golden age of computing has come and gone, almost before most of us even realized it once existed!

The only way that I have found to create master mixes from my individual WAV. files is to send the signal to an external mixer that then routes the signal back to the microphone input on my soundcard. This, of course, requires that you have a very quiet mixing board through which to route the mix, though even having such a device still adds a bunch of circuitry to a sound that really doesn't need the complication. You find yourself battling a whole new layer of overtones and electronic sounds that have nothing to do with what you wish to accomplish, which is just to get your recording into a cleanly assembled portable format.

There are commercial solutions available, of course. I have been using Wondershare Streaming software, which seems to work well but produces only an MP3 formatted file, versus the richer .WAV format you could get with the "What U Hear" function.

If someone knows of a solution to the loss of the "What U Hear" recording function, beyond what I have suggested, I know myself and many others would love the help. Send suggestions to Rick@RARWRITER.com. - RAR

UC-Denver Music Business Program Ranked Among Top 10 in the Nation

Billboard Magazine recently released a review of the music business programs offered by the nation's universities, and ranking among the top 10 was the program at the University of Colorado-Denver's College of Arts & Media. That program is led by Chris Daniels, an Assistant Professor in the CU system, who began working in that program in 2007. It is impressive how quickly the program has achieved a level of distinction, and it is another feather in the cap of Daniels, who has been a central figure in the music coming out of Colorado since the early 1970s. There is a good Wikipedia site devoted to his career, which besides featuring the band he is best known for - Chris Daniels & The Kings - also details his collaborations with a host of top-drawer talent. Chris writes a column for Colorado Music Buzz (use this link) focused on music business management, and it is well worth following. Use this link to learn more about the CU College of Arts & Media Music Business Program.

For God's Sake, Pastor Richie, Save Us!

Music and God

When Robert Plant mounted the balcony of the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the Sunset Strip in L.A. in 1975 and declared himself a "golden god", it was of a piece with something that has been a part of pop culture, and particularly pop music, since in the beginning...

Music is obviously important to people - to their psyches, their emotional states of being - and so it is a natural extension that some musical performers begin to equate their capacity for exciting audiences with a manifestation of "god powers" (for lack of a better describer). When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar" people unconsciously said "of course". Jesus Christ, as he is popularly depicted, looked like a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd and he sang just like Ian Gillian (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath); in fact, was Ian Gillian on the album that launched the Broadway and London East End Musical productions, and later became an awful movie.

Clearly, if Jesus was here today, he would sing to you. That doesn't make any sense, and yet it makes all the sense in the world if you think about the elemental power of music.

In the R&B and gospel worlds there have always been preacher-singers because so many in the Black community come up performing in their churches, and some of them (e.g., Little Richard, Al Green, who both became ministers at the height of their popularity) return to the church and gospel music at a certain stage in their career. (They may not stay there.) That seems sort of natural, somehow. For reasons unclear to me, you don't seem to get the same spiritual migration among white entertainers. You get Elvis Presley putting out gospel albums, but you don't get Reverend Jerry Lee Lewis. I would use more current references, except that younger people today are less involved with church organizations than ever before. U2 (hardly a current reference) began their musical life as a kind of pro-Christian, if not exactly a "Christian Music", band though I would be hard-pressed to find a religious message extending much beyond occasional religious references in their music. They don't really seem to broadcast faith in anything other than fame and freedom of personal expression. They don't portray as evangelicals. Like Jerry Lee Lewis, they talk a certain talk that they don't actually put much skin into.

NOTE: In Johnny Cash's autobiography, Cash: The Autobiography, Jerry Lee Lewis is described as a devoutly Christian guy "who was also troubled by the sinful nature of his own material, which he firmly believed was leading him and his audience to hell."

A key aspect of certain strains of Christianity (e.g., Evangelicals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentacostals) is the concept of bringing others to Christ, "saving them" as it were. That makes everyone in those faiths minions of the Savior, or saviors themselves. Within the core professional music community, and particularly within that part of it that emanates from Nashville, Tennessee, in the heart of the Bible Belt, there is a large contingent of passionate believers in the lord and savior Jesus Christ. And from within that group you get a lot of evangelists who work their peer group for converts, and in the process help to cleave the music world into political camps, liberal and conservative, so-called. If you are a believer, a Christian, there is a greater than equal probability that you will also align yourself with "conservative" political agendas. According to the Pew Research Group, in 2011 70 percent of white evangelical Protestant voters either identified as Republicans or said they leaned toward the Republican Party. (Use this link for detailed survey information.) That trend is growing, with fewer and fewer white evangelical Protestants associating themselves with the Democrats. On the other hand, there are fewer and fewer young people associating themselves with church organizations over all, which means the core Christian group that make up the Republican Party are mostly old and reaching the end of their days. Their numbers are not likely to become replenished, because in the western world general education and the development of critical thinking has eroded the integrity of those religious mythologies that were constructed in relatively recent human history. People have largely jettisoned the dogmas and rituals of organized religion, and laid claim to a search for spiritual awakening and fulfillment, which may mean anything to anybody. We are well into a "new age".

Still, there remain those remnants of current day/old world thinking, and we have an excellent case study in the person of evangelical music Pastor Richie Furay. Furay first surfaced in New York City as a member of the Au Go Go Singers, before making his fame in the latter 1960s and early 1970s with Buffalo Springfield and Poco. He also converted, maybe a little past the height of his fame in 1974, to become a pastor at a non-sectarian Christian Church in Colorado. The story goes that multi-instrumentalist Al Perkins brought Furay to the Lord. These days, Furay drops Old Testament Bible quotes onto his Facebook site every day, many of which feature the most suspicious and judgmental aspects of that old world tract. He has few committed Facebook followers, but those who respond seem like the kind of folks who are tickled pink to have a real rock star as their church pastor. To me it wouldn't feel so bad if the "music" of Furay's religious tracts didn't feel so damningly mean spirited, and right leaning. But then such is much of the Old Testament, which details the violence of a warrior clan led by the general Moses in their quest to conquer competing tribes, and even murder allies, in their desire to lay claim to that area we now know as Israel. The only thing "spiritual" about that story is the claim made by its authors that the entire venture was sponsored by God.

That the actual story depicted in the Old Testament has somehow been cut up into sound bites for context-free modern day consumption, and for Facebook postings, says volumes about the public's connection, or lack thereof, to the principle details of that "old world" mythology. The same could most certainly be said of the Quran. That lack of depth makes hucksterism a pretty easy game to play, and so there are radicals of every stripe.

Not since the Summer of Love have we seen peace merchants such as Donovan and The Beatles. You would need to be a reggae enthusiast to find that vibe now. What we do still have is the Elmer Gantry aspect of religion, i.e., people who are running businesses and using the tax benefits of being a registered religious operation to fund the development of their sectarian fan bases.

In our celebrity-obsessed world, don't you sort of suspect that when the man comes to town, ala the Johnny Cash song, he'll be riding in a tour bus? - RAR

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Flo & Eddie and Music Business Management

Bassist Freebo - remember Bonnie Raitt in her hey day and the wonderful bands she presented? - found this 1990 video of the wonderful Flo & Eddie (The Turtles) doing a little riff on their surreal experience with music industry management. It is pretty funny, if also a little tragic, unless you don't feel that Flo & Eddie should eat. Personally, I loved The Turtles and would feed them, given the chance. - RAR

Obey the Beard - Psychostick

Chicago-based comedy rock kings PSYCHOSTICK are excited to share their latest offering nine months after a successful crowd-funding campaign to build a studio with a promise of new material. Now that day has come and the humorecore masters are ready to unleash their 4th full length installment, IV: Revenge of The Vengeance, due out on November 4, 2014.This latest album from the band's laugh factory is the follow up to 2011's Space Vampires VS Zombie Dinosaurs in 3-D and 2013 singles the beard anthem "Obey The Beard" (debut at #14 on US radio metal charts) and "Dogs Like Socks" (over 1 million views on youtube), which also appear on the new album, along with tons of new tracks such as "Quack Kills," "So. Heavy," "Blue Screen," "Bruce Campbell" (a tribute to the 21st century's most beloved action super hero), plus guest appearances by Bill Manspeaker (founder of Green Jello), Neil Patterson and Rob Nichols from Downtown Brown, and many, many more comedy sing-a-longs ready for the road.

Jim Photoglo

The Impact of Music on Young People

Jim Photoglo has a gorgeous voice, and coming from his most recent album (Halls of My Heart) is its title song, with its echoes of Don McLean's "American Pie". "Halls of My Heart" lacks "American Pie's" sing along chorus and general bounce and will never be a hit, but it is touching in a way that anyone who was ever inspired by a musician will appreciate. Photoglo released two charting albums in the early 1980s and had two hit singles, "We Were Meant to Be Lovers" (#31, 1980) and "Fool in Love with You" (#25, 1981). After his career as a pop star, he became a successful country music songwriter in Nashville. He wrote songs for Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, The Everly Brothers, Dusty Springfield, Leroy Parnell, Patty Loveless, Highway 101, The Oak Ridge Boys, Pam Tillis, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Neil McCoy, John Anderson and Kathy Mattea. Four recordings made the Top Ten of Billboard Magazine’s Country Charts, and two went to #1: "Fishin’ In The Dark" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and "Hometown Honeymoon" by Alabama. He released solo albums again in the 1990s and 2000s. Photoglo was also one of four members of a short-lived novelty country band called Run C&W, who recorded two albums for MCA between 1993 and 1995. His most recent folk album, Halls of My Heart, was released July 2014. 

Churchwood

Austin's Top Rock Outfit? Churchwood Rides the Hystery Train

The Doors may not immediately come to mind when you think of Austin's rock band Churchwood. Still, check out this performance from earlier this year and tell me you don't hear Jim and Robbie all over this track. It just needs an organ transplant, called a Manzarek in the business. Cool song from a cool band. That's their new album there to the right. That is either the image of Jesus on the back of a pig - surely no blow-back expected on that - or it could be Ian Gillian, in which case people would just assume the pig was wearing a shirt.

 

 


 

Going Back, and Back...

Use this link to go to the previous edition, where you will find additional links to other archived editions.

Highlights of the previous edition included an interview with Chris Tapp of The Cold Stares.

Double Stops and Joint Pain

Just for the sake of sharing, I wanted to tell you all about this weird experience I had of late using Tiger Balm to address a joint issue.

I had been having a great deal of discomfort with the first joint on the first finger of my left hand. It was particularly stressful to play double stops on the guitar, such as you get with an F chord in the first position, stopping the top two strings, B and E. I suspect that the condition was caused by these double stop actions, and it was getting to a point of real discomfort, to where I would have to stop playing.

One day, for lack of a better idea, I put Tiger Balm around the whole joint and then gently opened and closed my hand to exercise the joint a bit. I just sort of laid off the instrument playing for a day. Then the next day, I repeated the same process. Miraculously, to my mind, by the third day the discomfort had completely abated and it has never returned, despite my returning to my constant state of obsessive string pulling and keys tinkling.

I share this for no reason greater than that I am astounded by the results derived from the use of this substance that has been around since the 1870s. I'm not totally sure how "balm" is produced, but do feel terrible about all of those tigers that must have been sacrificed to create the product. - RAR

Drivin' N' Cryin' Documentary

Atlanta indie band Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, still going strong as they are about to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their founding in 1985 by singer/songwriter Kevn Kinney, guitarist Tim Nielsen and drummer Paul Lenz, are the subjects of the evh pic/Shanzing Films documentary Scarred But Smarter (life n times of drivin n cryin).

The film, named after the group’s 1986 debut album, was directed and financed by Eric Von Haessler, a founding member of the famed Atlanta morning show team of The Regular Guys on WNNX Rock 100.5, who devoted three years of his life to bringing the history of the band to the screen. After rave reviews from various screenings, including the Atlanta Film Festival, the movie will be released on DVD and BluRay in record stores and Amazon.com on November 4th and is available now at www.scarredbutsmarterdoc.com

“I knew Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ were great,” says Von Haessler. “I wanted to know why they weren’t more of a rock ’n’ roll success. What I found out is they are."

Crash Course in Copyrights

It should go without saying that music copyright is a pretty complicated topic. After our recent series of articles on the topic, we received a number of questions from readers asking for further clarification. In light of those requests, we put together a handy little cheat sheet for cover songs and copyright, and we're offering it for FREE on our site.

That's right, you won't have to dig for answers or, worse yet, ignore the issue and wind up in a heap of trouble down the road. The guide will give you a starting point for your cover song and copyright conundrum, regardless of what it is!

 

 

 

 

 


   

 

 

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