at www.RARWRITER.com      

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Volume 1-2016






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


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.


(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"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




"Music Hot Spots"




























Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page


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.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel











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.



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.








The Amazing Mizzones

The Mizzone family has three talented sons and a clear star player -- 9-year-old Jonny Mizzone, who looks like a Newsie and rocks the banjo like he's out to upstage Bela Fleck. In this video, Jonny strums his impossibly fast fingers to Ralph Stanley's' "How Mountain Girls Can Love," alongside his brother Robbie, on fiddle, and Tommy on guitar, who are very good, too, but have the disadvantage of old age (12 and 14, respectively). The three call themselves the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, and they're no amateurs -- the boys have their own fancy website, a CD and appeared on Letterman last year, performing "Flint Hill Special." Catch them at bluegrass festivals this month and get a preview below.




James Lee Stanley & Cliff Eberhardt Classic Doors Tracks

James Lee Stanley is a singer-songwriter who, outside of performing as a Chinese Linguist in the United States Air Force, has been on stage his whole life from the age of 14. He does 300 shows a year, year in and year out, most often with co-writer Cliff Eberhardt. Eberhardt is a fellow Pennsylvanian who also found his calling early and has spent his lifetime nurturing his musical inclinations in the folk geocenters of the U.S., eventually "finding himself" in New York. He became a Windham Hill artist, releasing his album The Long Road in 1990, which featured a duet with Richie Havens.

Somewhere along the line, Stanley apparently hatched the idea of doing album-long acoustic versions of classic songs by a particular artist. The cynical and urbane readers of RARWRITER.com may be tempted to say, "So what - we got a guy at our local bookstore doing that, and we always have to ask him to turn it down..."

Anyway, Stanley's first tribute was to the Rolling Stones (All Wood and Stones, 2007), which he recorded as a duet with fellow folkie John Batdorf. That featured a high-profile studio band that has become the basis for a second album of Doors covers (All Wood and Doors, 2010), in duet with Eberhardt: Peter Tork (The Monkees), with whom Stanley toured in 2000; Timothy B Schmit (Eagles); Laurence Juber (Paul McCartney & Wings), Paul Barrere (Little Feat), and Scott Breadman (Rippingtons, Lindsay Buckingham). Also in these sessions have been Laura Halland and Chad Watson (David Arkenstone, Janis Ian), and for the All Wood and Doors LP founding Doors members John Densmore and Robby Krieger.

There is, of course, no money to be made touring talent of that caliber and vintage - just the assisted living costs would kill the deal - but Stanley and Eberhardt tour their acoustic interpretations steadily, and there is a video example of them at work below. This one features their take on "Light My Fire", which is distinguished by a brief mid-verse modulation, but is otherwise reflective of the original. One of the problems one might expect with doing the Doors acoustically is that the Doors were a notably non-acoustic act, driven by Ray Manzarek's Gothic organ sound and Robby Krieger's innovations on electric guitar, which continues to be one of the most under-recognized stretches of player/composer brilliance in all of rock history.

The synchronicity those two guys achieved with the sensual and poetically crooning space cadet Jim Morrison and the ultra-sensitive drummer John Densmore was propulsive and distinctive in spirit and sound. It has never been replicated in any original way since the death of Morrison, its human voice, not even in the sound of the musical expression, though Manzarek and slide guitarist Roy Rogers had a successful album together last year (Translucent Blues, Blind Pig label) in which Manzarek sounds a lot like the guy we knew in the '60s, sometimes even imitating his deceased soul mate.

The sound of the Doors was a brief shining nugget in music history, but if one strips away the inspiration of these tunes' originators, what do you really have?

"Light My Fire" is in a minor key and moody, and acoustically fit nicely under the spell of Jose Feliciano, who may have done is most universally appreciated recording with that song, so where does one go with it now? Stanley & Eberhardt do a professional if somewhat uninspired version that ends really strong, to the point that one wishes they had started there and backed all that atmospheric stuff back into the tune. But watch the video below and judge for yourself. - RAR




Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Ragbirds

By Ami Heinrich

After a highly successful 2011 The Ragbirds are kicking off a new year with the release of their 4th studio effort, Travelin’ Machine on January 1st, 2012. In this exciting new album the band has seamlessly blended a wide palette of musical genres into a fresh and cohesive 10-track package that is full of life and energy.

It’s rare to stumble upon a band that brings as much joy and creative flare to their music as the Ragbirds. Led by the energetic front woman, Erin Zindle, the band tastefully unites multi-cultural rhythms with a roots rock flavor that is as captivating and flirty, as it is smart.

The five-piece project is clearly built around the multi-talented Zindle, who is not only the singer and songwriter for the project, but also is proficient in a range of stringed instruments. This classically trained violinist can aptly pluck the eight-stringed mandolin, wield a wild accordion and rock the banjo while maintaining lead vocals. Surrounding Zindle's earthy-sweet voice is the whirlwind of a guitarist T.J. Zindle, dynamic bassist Brian Crist, drummer Loren Kranz and standout percussionist Randall Moore.

Chock-full of radio-friendly material, Travelin’ Machine showcases the band’s skills with adventurous lyrics and a unique blend of styles. The album kicks off with the contagious opening track “Six Wheels” - an energetic song with Afro-Cuban rhythms and a frisky pop melody that manages to linger in your head all day long. The second track, “Following You” has obvious bluegrass influences with just a charming wink of country twang.

Sweeping throughout the album is a breezy quality that makes you feel like celebrating. Tracks like “Silence is Everywhere” and “Moribayassa (I’ll Fly Away)” highlight the percussive prowess of the group with layers of thick drums and sounds reminiscent of an African village. In “Learn to Shine” Zindle’s beautiful voice leads a soaring reprise you will want to hear while you’re driving towards a mountain sunset, while the lively Cajun-Zydeco-inspired “The Bully” seems straight out of the bayou. The bands diversity shines in the unique “Acrobats” – a Circus-waltz with haunting accordion undertones, while “Mercy of the Sea” is a rock Sea-Chanty with a classic swagger. All and all the album takes the listener on a great musical journey that is as inspiring as the world landscape from which it is drawn.

Beginning January 1st Travelin’ Machine will hit on-line stores and boutique music shops around the country. A bright and diverse addition to any music collection, the album provides charming, danceable songs that will be embraced by listeners of all ages.

For more information about the band or their forthcoming release, Travelin’ Machine, check-out their official website at www.theragbirds.com .


Hydroglide Dingy...

Martin Sexton on the Lake

As he readies to release a title track single from his new EP Fall Like Rain, and prepares to launch a January-February bus tour - and who but a snow-experienced upstate-New Yorker would really do that? - Martin Sexton is regaining a low-voltage spotlight that has been on him for almost 20 years. Back in 1992, Sexton put himself on the map by selling 20,000 copies of his self-produced demo album In the Journey. Since then, he has released studio LPs, most recently 2010's Sugarcoating, an LP that NBC anchor Brian Williams became sufficiently enamored with to seek Martin out for an interview backstage at New York’s Beacon Theatre. That interview is featured on MSNBC’s BriTunes.

When the assets and characteristics of an artist don't fall into standard descriptions of styles and types, but somehow still work, these people are often described as "forces of nature", and Sexton is one such. Watch the video below and this comes through loud and clear; a sort of effortless expression that mixes innate rhythmic sense with an elevated capacity for breathing life into a song. Close your eyes and listen to this live performance, the back half of which is dusted with the kind of magic that you've heard in certain Van Morrison or Cat Stevens songs of yesteryear, or perhaps more recently from the likes of Sean Hayes.

Billboard called Sexton’s version of “Working Class Hero” for the Lennon tribute/benefit in 2010 “chill-inspiring.” Released this November as part of The 30th Annual John Lennon Tribute album, the track is available on iTunes. The New York Times noted that this artist “jumps beyond standard fare on the strength of his voice, a blue-eyed soul man’s supple instrument,” adding, “his unpretentious heartiness helps him focus on every soul singer’s goal: to amplify the sound of the ordinary heart.” Billboard called Sexton “The real thing, people, a star with potential to permanently affect the musical landscape and keep us entertained for years to come.”



The Devil Makes Three

Amazing claw hammer-and-harmony with a distinctive lead vocal...

Over the past 7 years, The Devil Makes Three have garnered fans the old school way - playing a city, making friends, conquering fans and moving on. When they hit the next town, venues are packed with folks that heard from a friend in a city that the band had played before. Because of this, The Devil Makes Three have established thousands of die-hard and devout fans. The Devil Makes Three are songwriter, guitar and vocalist Pete Bernhard, banjo player Cooper McBean and stand-up bassist Lucia Turino. All three members migrated to Santa Cruz via New England. Fellow Vermonters, Bernhard and McBean played in punk influenced bands back home but found a common ground in acoustic, country and bluegrass inspired music. When they met New Hampshire native Turino out west, she taught herself the stand-up bass and a band was born. 

RANDALL BRAMBLETT, pictured above, is the multi-instrumentalist leader of the Steve Winwood band, though his professional associations are many and varied, and he has a career as a solo artist. The former vocalist for the Capricorn Records' jazz-fusion band Sea Leavell (guitarist Davis Causey was also in that band), Bramblett toured with Gregg Allman on his first solo tour, and presently opens for Winwood and Bonnie Raitt, while also playing with Widespread Panic.

Writer/photographer Bill Thames describes Bramblett's most recent solo album, In The Meantime, as "a real change of direction for Randall...he usually plays with a pretty high powered, extremely tight, professional band, but this is just him on a grand piano, standup bass, and drums with brushes...like I said it's a real change, but he decided to put together some music that he's written over the years that doesn't really fit a 'band' album."

Bill Thames has a big array of photographs of prominent musicians at his MySpace site, which is worth a visit. Great pics.

We also have a Randall Bramblett video streaming from RARadio, which is well worth checking out.

The Explorers Club


The Explorers Club, a band hailing from Charleston, SC, will be releasing its sophomore set, “Grand Hotel,” in early spring 2012, with Mark Linett (who just finished the mix on Beach Boys’ “SMiLE” for Capitol Records) mixing the release. In advance of the release of “Grand Hotel,” the band has readied three EP “suites” that will each feature one cover song not on the album, bundled with two early “under-construction” (pre-Linett) mixes of tracks from the forthcoming set. The second of the three suites, “The Carolinian Suite,” will be available exclusively at Amazon MP3 for free on November 22, 2011. The remaining Suite will be available in December, also for free, exclusively at Amazon MP3. The first suite, “The Californian Suite,” went to #7 on the Amazon free downloads chart.

The “Carolinian Suite,” which comes out next week, reprises the Classics IV hit, “Stormy,” along with originals “Sweet Delights” and “It’s No Use.” The “Californian Suite,” which is already out, features the Burt Bacharach standard, “Walk On By,” along with two Explorers Club originals (“Weight Of The World and “Summer Days, Summer Nights”). The “New Yorker Suite,” which comes out in December, will feature the Explorers Club’s take on the Vanity Fare opus, “Hitchin’ A Ride,” and it will be tied to “Anticipatin’” and “Run, Run, Run,” the latter of which will later be released to radio as the lead track from “Grand Hotel.”

“Grand Hotel” is the long-anticipated follow-up to the band’s close-your-eyes-and-you’d-swear-it-was-the-Beach Boys debut, “Freedom Wind,” and was produced in Atlanta by band member Jason Brewer, along with co-producer Matt Goldman. It features fifteen tracks that once again take listeners back in time to a period when radio was laden with songs by Burt Bacharach, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and pop mainstays like The Grass Roots.

The Explorers Club is: Jason Brewer (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Dave Ellis (guitars, mandolin, accordion, percussion, vocals), Wally Reddington III (bass, vocals), Justin James (guitar, steel guitar, vocals), Paul Runyon (keyboards, vocals), and Kyle Polk (drums). - Krista Mettler

More on The Explorers Club at www.explorersclubmusic.com


Tangent Arc

Whoever came up with the name "Tangent Arc" may have been a little too smart for the room. A tangent arc is a generic name for several types of halo arcs that form as loci tangent to other halos; the halo of 22° occasionally exhibits the horizontal and vertical tangent arcs, and the halo of 46° exhibits the infralateral tangent arcs and the supralateral tangent arcs. I had to look that up, but I love what is implied by the name. The quintet Tangent Arc is comprised of young folks from the Lawrence, Kansas area, three of whom are siblings, the children of former trucker-philosopher Don Benda, whose writings have been featured on this site. They were raised with some pretty strong religious beliefs, including this idea that energies may react with other to create things new and profound. Wade Kelly (second from the left) is the nominal front man of the group, the male vocalist. His half-brother John Benda (middle) is the power drummer who adds the foundation to the band's harmony vocals and grunge pop. In Rachel Anderson, Kelly Heiman and Lilly Guy, the boys have some high-end support on the vocal and the rhythm front. John Benda is a standout drummer, but the real kick in this band is its writing skills, which are melodically sophisticated and play slick with time signatures. There is a lot going on here in a young band from the oasis that is Lawrence. Keep an eye on Tangent Arc and check out their sound at http://www.myspace.com/tangentarc. - RAR




BIGFORK, MT – Out of the “Big Sky Country” comes the new release from Mad Buffalo, Red and Blue, which is being distributed nationally by Burnside Distribution. Red and Blue follows the band’s critically-acclaimed 2008 CD, Wilderness, which No Depression called “beautifully fleshed out, with stellar performances;” while Gritz said of the album: “This is a CD that begs to be heard over and over again ... In a five star rating system, this one gets six stars. Six stars beside a full harvest moon hanging over a bison filled prairie. Good stuff.” And Honest Tune summed up its review by stating, “Wilderness is an outright jewel that gets better with every listen ... one of the best roots-oriented releases of 2008.”

Backing singer/ songwriter/guitarist Randy Riviere on the new album is a stellar cast of Nashville musicians, including legendary guitarist Reggie Young, as well as Jack Holder (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Kevin McKendree (keyboards and vocals), James Pennebaker (guitar, violin, mandolin, banjo), Shane Dwight (vocals), Dave Roe and Craig Young (bass) and Chad Cromwell (drums). The album was produced by Chad Cromwell and Randy Riviere and recorded at Cromwell’s Lamplight Studio in Primm Springs, Tennessee.

Just like its predecessor, Red and Blue paints sweeping and incisive song portraits of characters and stories that are universal in their scope and appeal. As on Wilderness, the music on Red and Blue was informed by the many years Randy Riviere spent as a wildlife biologist working to protect our rapidly diminishing landscape values. Riviere’s musical influences range from The Beatles and Lynyrd Skynyrd to The Band and Neil Young.

Unlike Wilderness, however, in several songs Red and Blue takes an outsider’s view of the political polarization of our country in the last several years. “The title track of Redand Blue is really about the deteriorating political discourse in our country,” says Randy Riviere. “It used to be that we could have political conversations with folks with different viewpoints and go have a beer with them afterwards and continue to be best friends. Now it's kind of ‘my way or the highway’ and only ‘true believers’ are allowed. And it’s gotten really nasty. One side has its own news shows, the other side has its own news shows – there’s just this big dichotomy now. And I think much of this is a product of contrived efforts, mostly by big-money America, to keep us divided and voting in specific ways.

Beyond the political explorations, there are songs on Red and Blue that are influenced by Thoreau’s ideas about the freedom of living simply, which resonated with Riviere and his family, who have vowed to do all they can to live as self sufficiently as possible. On the Riviere farm, you’ll find cows, pigs, chickens, a sizable garden and some horses.

For more information on Mad Buffalo, visit www.madbuffalo.com


Sungha Jung - 12 Year Old Prodigy

Sungha Jung is a South Korean youngster and a gifted finger-style guitarist. His innate sense of rhythm is wonderful, as is his almost preternatural calm, all on full display in his video performances of tricky compositions such as the "Mission Impossible" theme. The links following lead to his MySpace site, YouTube videos, and his official Website.




Young Jung, who was brought to the attention of RARWRITER.com by a high school classmate of RAR's from 1968 - thank you Randy Makings - is endorsed by Lakewood guitars.



Rich Man's War Challenges Bums with Bombs

Atlanta, Georgia – Ruf Records announces an October 7 release date for Rich Man’s War: New Blues & Roots Songs of Peace and Protest, a 12-song CD compilation of performances from a dozen artists that brings the protest song art form into the 21st century. Produced by Kenneth Bays, editor of the internationally celebrated magazine Blues Revue, the new CD includes performances from such established blues and roots artists as Bob Brozman, Guitar Shorty, Norman & Nancy Blake, Candye Kane, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Michael Hill and Doug MacLeod, as well as a number of rising stars in the blues field.  

“The seeds for Rich Man's War came out of the oft-repeated argument that today’s blues music isn’t ‘about’ anything -- that modern blues songs are all either about partying, romantic entanglements, or about celebrating the blues itself,” says Kenneth Bays. “I’d heard several people say that, and I knew that it wasn’t true, that there was more to today’s blues music than just those time-worn topics. 

“In 2004, the progressive political organization MoveOn.org put out a CD called Future Soundtrack For America that consisted of indie rock artists performing songs that were politically themed -- some subtly so, others less subtly. Beyond its message, though, it was just a great, enjoyable collection of music that I found myself listening to over and over again. I’ve always been a fan of the protest song genre, and I thought, ‘Why hasn’t somebody done one of these in the blues world? Is it that there aren't enough great protest songs in blues?’” 

With that idea, Bays began a quest and discovered literally hundreds of recent protest songs from blues artists both established and unknown. He culled them down to those songs that were very clear in their focus, that had an intelligent point to make, that were performed with the greatest passion, and that were just plain good to listen to. Because of space limitations, he wasn’t able to include many of the others he uncovered. 

“It was when I started reaching out to the artists that I knew we had something really good,” remembers Bays. “All the artists I contacted were excited and enthusiastic about the CD, and many of them said they’d waited a long time for a disc like this to come about. New York bluesman Michael Hill called it ‘an important and much-needed project.’ Matthew Skoller said ‘the blues world is frightfully devoid of projects such as this, and I applaud you for doing it.’ The artists were unanimous in allowing us to use their songs. 

“It bothers me when people say that music and politics shouldn’t mix. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have Bob Dylan. We wouldn’t have had Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger. And we wouldn’t have a lot of what we now consider to be classics of the blues genre, either. Blues music was born from a population voicing their frustration with the great injustices perpetrated against them. So it’s only natural that today’s blues artists would want to voice their feelings about the injustices they observe today. It’s part of the tradition. 

“My greatest hope is that blues artists will hear Rich Man’s War and say, ‘You know, maybe it IS okay for me to sing about the things I see going on in the world. Maybe it’s okay for me to write about issues I believe in. Maybe somebody will listen.’”

Complete Track Listing:


1)       Bob Brozman – “Follow the Money”

2)       Guitar Shorty – “We the People”

3)       Norman & Nancy Blake – “Don’t Be Afraid of the Neo-Cons”

4)       Matthew Skoller Band – “Handful of People”

5)       David Evans – “Bring the Boys Back Home”

6)       Candye Kane – “Jesus and Mohammed”

7)       Charlie Wood & the New Memphis Underground – “You Don’t Really Wanna Know”

8)       Pat Boyack Band – “Mr. Wesola’s Lucky Number Dream Book Part II”

9)       Roy Zimmerman – “Chickenhawk”

10)     Michael Hill – “Fear Itself”

11)     Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater – “A Time for Peace”

12)     Doug MacLeod – “Dubb’s Talkin’ Politician Blues”



CD and Memoir:

Juliana Hatfield Does the Indie Walk

Boston, Massachusetts - Were RARWRITER.com to design a flag to symbolize dedication to "the indie ethos", a concept of suspect but immediate coinage, it would likely bear the image of Juliana Hatfield. That's her striding Bigfoot style across the cover of her new LP, the imaginatively titled How to Walk Away (on her label Ye Olde Records). Juliana has been an inspiration to independent types since bursting onto the scene 15 years ago with a string of "modern rock" hits ("My Sister," "Spin The Bottle," "Universal Heartbeat") and establishing herself as an authentic rebel voice. "She was a willowy beauty with charming shyness and a slightly tragic air," writes Boston writer Brett Milano, in his book The Sound Of Our Town: A History Of Boston Rock+Roll.

Juliana was and is every nerdish rocker's fantasy, a gravelly intellectual and a disarmingly sexual presence. Her mix of fearlessness and vulnerability, mated to her razor ways with word play, her confessional nature and girlish voice, her churlishness, and her iconic looks add up to an explosive package. RARWRITER.com can't look away.

How to Walk Away was recorded at Stratosphere Sound, the NYC studio co-owned by Adam Schlesinger (Fountains Of Wayne), James Iha (formerly of Smashing Pumpkins), and Andy Chase (of revered alt-rock/pop band Ivy), who produced the album. The LP features guest appearances by another of our favorite voices, Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs, as well as Nada Surf's Matthew Caws.  Other featured guest musicians were Fountains Of Wayne guitarist Jody Porter (some lead guitar); Jeff Hill, of Rufus Wainwright's band, on bass; and Ethan Eubanks of the Grey Race on drums. Tracy Bonham guested on violin, and Jason Hatfield, Juliana's brother, played piano on two songs, which he co-wrote ("Remember November" and "Such A Beautiful Girl").

Juliana has always made MP3s available for download from her site, based on something she calls "the Honor System", i.e.: "When a song is downloaded, you will have an option. You can decide that ownership of this song is your right and freely distribute the files to your friends and to the people who also think it's their right, without payment. Or, you can support the artist who wrote and recorded this song and click the PayPal button at the top of the page and send Juliana a contribution. The iTunes standard of $.99 per song may seem too high for you, in which case you can send $.50 - though there is virtually nothing else you can buy legally for $.50. Alternatively, you can think of the number of people with whom you might share these files and give a multiple of $.99 for each song you download." Go to http://www.julianahatfield.com/downloads.htm.

Juliana has also had her memoir, When I Grow Up, published last year (Wiley) and excerpts from the book can be found at http://www.julianahatfield.com/ch8.htm. True to her songwriting style, her book is smart and free of artifice and makes for interesting reading. In the photo below, she is reading a selection from her book at Book Passage in the San Francisco Ferry Terminal.




Remember that line "you had me at hello?" I think it was dialogue from Jerry MacGuire that morphed into a Kenny Chesney country hit. Well, Juliana Hatfield had me at "My Sister," which I found to be a welcome palliative to the morose grunge of the rock of the early '90s. Then, upon further examination, I learned that the song about a sister she never had only touched the surface of what Juliana Hatfield is about.

The girl-voice could fool you - or convince you to love her - but there is a lot going on with Juliana. Now in her mid-30s, having survived the teen worship that attended her around the time her tune "Spin the Bottle" showed up in the movie Reality Bites, she is a powerful blend of intelligence and experience. By turns insightful, brittle, sarcastic and pained, she writes songs that are ripped from an inner experience. Candid, revealing, to me she is the very voice of girl alt-rock, but she is also far more than. She is a real musician who explores the instruments she plays (guitar, bass, keyboards) and uses unconventional means (odd tunings, innovative playing techniques) to get her layered sound, which is typically coming from a relatively small unit. And she is a skilled harmonist, which is obvious in most every one of her tunes. She beds her soft, sweet voice in clearly conceived harmonies that build to powerful swells.

Juliana came into national prominence along with a wave of girl acts, including Liz Phair and P.J. Harvey. She shows up here on the Links through the work she did at Mark Hallman's Congress House studio.

ABOVE: Exile in the Church of Juliana

Photo: Danny Clinch

Photo: Dylan Long

Photo: Tom Dubé

LEFT: Juliana started her career with a trio - the Blake Babies - and is back to working in another - Some Girls, pictured here, who just released an LP. ABOVE: Juliana on stage with Some Girls. BELOW (counterclockwise from left): Juliana releases include Made In China (2005), In Exile Deo (2004), Beautiful Creature (2000); Total System Failure (2000), Bed (1998), Only Everything (1995), Spin the Bottle (1993), For the Birds (1993), My Sister (1993), I See You (1992), Forever Baby (1992), Everybody Loves Me But You (1992), Hey Babe (1992), and Gold Stars (2002).

Juliana Hatfield MP3s:  






Juliana Hatfield MP3s 
can be heard at her MySpace site at www.myspace.com/julianahatfield   





THE Flaming Lips formed in 1983, coming together rather quickly. Bandleader Wayne Coyne recalls the early efforts. After leaving his $60 a week fish-frying job at Long John Silver's, bandleader Wayne Coyne bought a Les Paul and formed a band. "I learned to play fairly well within a couple of weeks, and everyone thought I was going to be the next Hendrix or something. I never really got much better than I was after those first two weeks..." The Okies started gigging, inexplicably, in a black R&B bar and playing what they thought of as "death rock" before moving on to a transvestite club in Oklahoma City, called the Blue Note. They started veering more toward punk and opening for Husker Du, Black Flag and the Minutemen and began developing an entertaining and energetic stage show that involved a lot of jumping around, lying down to play, and generally knocking things over, then eventually morphed into a costumed act. They remain one of the most outlandish acts in rock.


Nick Pagliari Tours Behind "Mannerly" LP

Columbia, South Carolina – Singer/songwriter Nick Pagliari is touring behind his September release of Please and Thank You, issued on his own Palagreeno Records, distributed nationally by Burnside Distribution.

Born and raised in Memphis and now based in Columbia, South Carolina, Nick Pagliari also lived in Nashville for five years honing his songwriting craft, where in 2003 he was voted Best Unsigned Songwriter in the reader’s poll sponsored by the Nashville Scene weekly. Later as a member and primary songwriter for the band Fairfax, he landed one of his songs on the This is Americana: Volume One compilation CD that included Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss & Union Station and Lucinda Williams, among others. During his stay in Nashville, he signed with Highland Music Publishing (SESAC). Pagliari also had one of his songs, “Safe and Sound,” the title track from his 2007 EP, placed in the major motion picture, P.S. I Love You, which starred Hillary Swank. In addition, 2007 saw the release of Nick’s first full-length album, The Sail.

Nick Pagliari’s sound is a wonderful mix of his Memphis and Nashville influences, and is a perfect showcase for his powers as a storyteller. “This is a people album,” Nick explains. “It’s about my life, the lives of my friends and the characters I’ve developed to tell different stories about struggle and romance, desire and change.” Please and Thank You rocks and alternately rolls with the Americana sounds recalling such groups as Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, Son Volt and the Old 97’s. The album was produced by Scott Hardin, Nick Pagliari and Jamie Dick and recorded/mixed at 747 Studios in Memphis with the exception of three tracks, which were mixed at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis. Please and Thank You is supported by a Triple A and Americana radio campaign spearheaded by Reid Promotions, along with national touring in such markets as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Atlanta and Nashville. For more information, visit www.nickpagliari.com and www.myspace.com/nickpagliari.


Will Callery's Rider Comin' In

Leitchfield, Kentucky – Feats Records has released singe/songwriter Will Callery’s new CD, Rider Comin’ In, with national distribution by Burnside Distribution.

Born in Terra Haute, Indiana, and raised in Owensboro, Kentucky, Will Callery is a veteran performer and songwriter who in his early career toured with everyone from Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Arlo Guthrie to David Lindley and Taj Mahal. His music has been recorded and performed by such artists as Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Norah Jones. Callery’s biggest break as a songwriter came in 1975 when Willie Nelson recorded one of Will’s songs, “Hands on the Wheel” on his ground-breaking, multi-platinum-selling album, The Red-Headed Stranger, which also went on to earn a Grammy® nomination. “Hands on the Wheel” was also chosen as the title song for the film, The Electric Horseman, which starred Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. Will Callery was later signed to Lone Star Records, Nelson’s Texas imprint for the Columbia label and made frequent appearances at Willie’s annual Fourth of July picnics. He can also be seen in the film, Heartworn Highways, with Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell. In addition to his film work, Will has written songs for such television shows as “St. Elsewhere” and “Northern Exposure.”

Will Callery’s many days on the road took their toll, however, and substance abuse problems led him to withdraw from performing and writing in an effort to heal his heart and soul. After working as a lumberjack in the northwest for several years, he began to regain his desire to record and perform again, settling back home in Kentucky.

Rider Comin’ In reunites Will Callery with many of the musicians he’s worked with in the studio and on tour, including guitarist Joe Forlini, who has worked with Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Other players featured on the new CD include T. Gozney Thornton on harmony vocals and harp, Greg Lowry on a multiple of stringed instruments, Ted Sweeney on bass and Eddy Cantu on drums. Long-time friend Jerry Jeff Walker makes a special guest appearance performing a duet with Callery on a reprise of “Hands on the Wheel,” the song that started it all for Will. Will Callery will tour in support Rider Comin’ In, with booking by Richard Sutton of The Sutton Agency (936-875-5696 – office; 936-414-4380 - cell / rwsutton35@aol.com). Radio promotion is being handled by Bill Wence Promotions (615-776-2060 / billwencepro@earthlink.net). Will Callery is managed by Brian Gavron (615-587-3323 / bgavron@comcast.net). For more information, visit www.willcallery.com.


June of 44



Tucson, Arizona-based CALEXICO has been together since 1996. The band is influenced by sources as diverse as Portugese fado, 50's jazz, gypsy or romani music and its offshoots, 60's surf and twang from Link Wray to country's Duane Eddy, the spaghetti western epics of Ennio Morricone and dark indie rock singer songwriters like Smog, Richard Buckner, Will Oldham and Vic Chesnutt. I had to include Calexico because they have a fresh version out of one of my all-time favorite songs, Love's "Alone Again."



joe lala was a name I used to hear all the time from the Boulder guys I knew, because they all liked and admired him. He was always involved in something interesting, a music, television, movie or theater project. There was always a lot of energy swirling around him, and had been from early in the evolution of rock.

Joe helped put together Blues Image in his native Tampa, Florida before moving on out west where among his compatriots was Buddy Zoloth, who managed the band for a time. Blues Image had a big hit in 1970 with "Ride, Captain, Ride." Joe was the percussionist and lead singer on their song “Leaving My Troubles Behind.” 

Around 1972, when Stephen Stills brought Manassas into existence in the Boulder area, Joe Lala moved to Colorado for a time to be a part of that project. Following the two-album career of Manassas, Joe worked with a string of top bands, including The Eagles, The Bee Gees, Jackson Browne, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Barbara Streisand, John Couger Mellenkamp, Eric Clapton, Dr John, and Herbie Hancock, among others.

"Joe accumulated 32 Gold records, and 28 Platinum records during his music career. He played on the movie soundtracks of “Saturday Night Fever”, “Staying Alive”, “D.C. Cab”, “Streets of Fire”. “All The Right Moves”, “Breathless”, “Defiance”, “The Lonely Guy”, and “Airplane”.

"A severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome ended Joe’s career as a percussionist, but it opened the door to another way of life, acting. I know you have seen him in may projects. His films include "Active Stealth", “Sugar Hill”, “On Deadly Ground”, “Deep Sleep”, “Havana” with Robert Redford, “Out For Justice”, “Marked For Death” “Eyewitness To Murder” and “Born In East L. A.” plus many more.

"Joe has made many appearances on TV shows like “Miami Vice”, “General Hospital”, “Melrose Place”, “Seinfeld”, ”Hunter”, “Who’s The Boss?”, and starred in a summer replacement show named “Knight & Daye”. He portrayed another famous Ybor Citizen Dr. Ferdie Pacheco in “Ali”, and co-starred with Andy Garcia in “For Love Or Country” The Arturo Sandoval Story.

"Joe can be seen and heard doing movies and commercials all over the country, and on cartoons where he voices many characters. He still keeps his barbers license active, “just in case”." - from his website

Click Here To View Larger Version Click Here To View Larger Version
MUSICIAN: (ABOVE) Joe Lala on stage. 


Joe has recently completed recording of an album, which includes session work by Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, who were once together in the legendary band Buffalo Springfield.

Click Here To View Larger Version 

Recording with Crosby, Stills and Nash. 

Click Here To View Larger Version


ABOVE:  In  Miami Vice (right).

Click Here To View Larger Version

FROM LEFT: City of Angels, Joe Lala and Gil Machin, 

on stage with Karen Fineman, Joe Lala

Click Here To View Larger Version


Phillip Rauls PhotoLog


Former Atlantic A&R guy Phillip Rauls has a trunk load of photographs from his days in the record business. The now-Washington State resident has launched a site where he reminisces about his experiences with some of the most well-known talent of the 20th Century and he makes use of his ample photo album. The site is well worth checking out.


FROM RAULS' COLLECTION: Chris Hillman, Joe Lala, Stephen Stills during the 1972 Manassas tour


Touring with Manassas: Aboard the tour plane circa 1972, Phillip Rauls and young Stills Road Manager Buddy Zoloth express disbelief over a bad review.





Back when Firefall was in its glory in the 1970s, the band had two powerhouse players who gave the sound of the band a quality that set it apart from the crowded country-rock field: flash guitarist Jock Bartley, who remains the band’s leader to this day, and multi-instrumentalist David Muse. Georgia-native David was a high school-aged band mate of Rick Roberts, who a decade later would become the songwriting force behind Boulder-based Firefall. It was Roberts who brought David Muse into the band and David’s contributions of depth and texture elevated the unit to an elite musical level that put them on a par with Kenny Loggins and other of their more sophisticated contemporaries.

When the original Firefall disbanded in 1981, David left Colorado for California and became an early contributor to the New Age revolution as defined by such independent labels as Windham Hill, Hearts of Space, and Narada, which were then kitchen table operations. David recorded Tonal Alchemy - “space music” as David calls it. It was a logical extension of the musical therapy he had perceived in early influences of the competitive 19th century modernist French composers Achille-Claude Debussy and Erik Satie. These two were fathers to the New Age sound, though for different reasons. Debussy was a structural designer, working in the Phrygian mode and using whole-tone scales to create lighter than air ambient backgrounds. Satie, who wasn’t even comfortable calling himself a musician, though he was a cabaret pianist, was initially a deconstructionist radical, inclined toward the documentation of “sounds,” though in his later works he became a structured contrapuntalist while remaining decidedly a-formal. All of this seemed to speak to the horizon-gazing David Muse, who saw in New Age

What David has over both of his New Age mentors is great ranging musicianship, and in 1983 he started touring heavily with the decidedly earthy Marshall Tucker Band (MTB), which he has continued to work with off and on ever since, even counting a brief return to Firefall around the turn of the millennium. He still speaks highly of Firefall and considers it his first home, MTB his second. As if not already busy enough, David runs his own unit, The David Muse Band, a five-piece Firefall tribute band that performs the Firefall songbook in clubs throughout the southeastern U.S. He is also headed into the studio in the next few months to record his first smooth jazz CD.

David Muse has performed with the Marshall Tucker Band since 1983


This is a wonderful website. Rob McLerran was a prominent bassist on the Boulder scene, and all the musicians in Boulder knew his kids Joey and Jesse. Joey was a music, and particular a blues, prodigy and as kids he and Jesse were a popular Pearl Street Mall act. Jesse played the washboard, which he picked up from his brother's Godfather Washboard Chaz Leary

The McLerran family left Boulder for Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1998 and after that there transpired a series of events, mournful and tragic and victorious. I would encourage everyone to go to this website and read the beautifully written and touching biography there. This is a great family and Little Joe is the real deal as a roots blues player. His dad is the real deal, too. Always has been.

Writes Robbie Mack: "We are planning a brief tour of the Boulder area in late October.  We hope to see you then.  Speaking of the Audience Magazine, one of my favorite pieces of memorabilia is an Audience cover with Rob, Paula Rangell and Washboard Chaz walking up Spruce Street by the Boulderado. Those were the days.  There are a million stories to tell of those days.  I am still in touch with Chaz, Paula, Spencer Bohren, Rich Fifield and many others."

Little Joe has several CDs available and if you are a fan of Piedmont blues you should have these wonderful releases.

In January, Little Joe and Robby Mack played the 2006 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee


From "Little Joe, Son Piedmont - The Hard Way,": Featuring Little Joe "Son Piedmont" McLerran, guitar and vocals; Ray Bonneville, harmonica; Lloyd Price, dobro and guitar; Robbie Mack, bass and background vocals; David McKnight, drums. Recorded 2005 at Cat House Studios, Fayetteville, Arkansas by David McKnight

No Matter How She Done It

Sailor Blues

From "Son Piedmont and the Blues Krewe": Featuring Little Joe "Son Piedmont" McLerran, guitar and vocals; Washboard Jesse McLerran, percussion and vocals; Robbie Mack, bass and background vocals; Dexter Payne, sax, clarinet & harmonica; Big Mike T. Travelletti, harmonica. Recorded 2003 at World Wind Studios Manfred, Oklahoma by Arron Poulson.

Eagle Ridin' Papa

Suburban Housewife

Terraplane Blues

Copyright © Little Joe Blues/Son Piedmont. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © Joe McLerran, All Rights Reserved
Copyright © Joe McLerran, All Rights Reserved

Robbie Mack, Little Joe's bass-playing father, who was prominent on the Colorado music scene when I was around in the late '70s and early '80s, noted recently that he and I had been leading parallel lives, at least up to a point. Writes Robbie - "One is that my father was stationed at Scott AFB just about the time you were born." I was born on Scott Air Force Base, right outside of East St. Louis in Belleville, Illinois in 1952.  "I (Robbie) spent the 2nd grade in Belleville, IL just across the river from St. Louis. My dad was in the Air National Guard and was called up during the Korean War for stateside service and a Staff Sgt also." My dad was a Staff Sergeant in Air Force, stationed at Scott AFB, and was a radio instructor. "He (Rob's Dad) too was doing something with radio or radar. Two, I married a gal 26 years ago who was from Traer, Kansas about 5 miles from Atwood." I graduated from high school in Atwood, Kansas.  "She is the mother of my children including Little Joe." Little Joe and Robbie Mack were in Memphis earlier this month making a repeat appearance in the International Blues ChallengeWe won the regional competition held in Tulsa this year.  Last year we went to Memphis representing the Oklahoma Blues Society out of Oklahoma City." Voting for the Awards continues on through February, but I'll listen for and announce the results. I'm sure Son Piedmont did well. There is a great website for the Blues Foundation and that event at http://www.blues.org/ibc/. This festival hosts top headlining acts, as well as the competition that takes place among artists sponsored by Blues Foundation affiliates. San Francisco's Tommy Castro has been among the big time acts featured at the festival.

Little Joe Blues Wins in Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee - The ongoing story of "the Blues" is all over RARWRITER.com this issue, as usual, ranging from rumors of its demise to paeans to its inherent cultural value.

One of the nicer Blues stories of this year was the win "Little Joe McLerran" (aka "Little Joe Blues") took home to Oklahoma this February from the 25th Annual International Blues Challenge, held in Memphis. There he competed against 65 entrants in one of the nation's foremost blues events. He took 1st Place in the "Solo/Duo" category.

Little Joe is the son of bassist Rob McLerran, who was a popular fixture on the Boulder, Colorado music scene in the 1970s and '80s. Little Joe is a Boulder native, and the McLerran family story of heartbreak and family devotion is one of the most touching stories on this site.

Little Joe has performed at the Memphis event for a number of years and has always been a popular draw, finishing high in the vote counts. He is to that Blues manor born. Performing since he was a teen, Little Joe has an authentic Piedmont sound.

Learn more about Little Joe McLerran at http://littlejoeblues.com/index.htm .



Joey DeLauro (aka Joe Nelly)


Joey DeLauro is a great performer/drummer/singer whose band The Smoking Section is established in Tucson, Arizona. He has toured with Michael Martin Murphey ("Wildfire"), Jerry Jeff Walker ("Mr. Bojangles"), David Bromberg (renowned guitarist and session player for Bob Dylan), Chris Daniels and The Kings with Al Kooper (founder of Blood, Sweat & Tears), among others. 

CATSEYE: Joey DeLauro was among the original members of the Boulder, Colorado-based band Catseye. The Catseye story is common in a lot of respects - a band comes close to getting a record deal but gets disappointed - but is made different by the situation of the music community in which the band came together. It's an interesting story and you can read Joey's remarks at Catseye on the Archives page.


WARNER LOGAN: Joey DeLauro offered some thoughts on Boulder music store owner and raconteur Warner Logan, who died a few years back after contributing as a foundation asset to the music community for years. You can read Joey's remarks at Warner Logan on the Archives page. Joey was a fixture on the Boulder, Colorado music scene for 30 years. Among the bands he played in was The Cheaters, that included Rich Fifield and Michael O'Niel. With real pro players, The Cheaters was a jam-band that had a lot of good nights, which means something in that genre. There may be a reunion TBA.


Tucson Musicians Show for Mike Tatum

Reprinted from April 1, 2008 Artist News page

TUCSON FRIENDS OF MIKE:  Popular Tucson, Arizona musician Mike Tatum has been suffering from health problems of late. On April 13 some of Tucson's top attractions will gather at the Sakura for a benefit show to help Mike defray medical expenses. Names and band association, standing from left to right: Bin An /Sakura owner, Jeff Shallen /Highrise, John Ankiewicz /Highrise, Kimberley Kelly /KJLL AM 1330, Kevin Hiederman & Jim Holt /Joe Nelly & Friends, Jamie /Neon Profit, Joe "Nelly" DeLauro/The Smokin' Section, Alex Flores, Glen Valardi, Mike Blommer, & Carla Brownlee /The Bad News Blues Band, Gary Roberts/The Smokin' Section Seated left to right: Michael Issac/Mike Tatum Band, Vicki Nelson/VN&Friends, David Dean & Plato/ Neon Profit, Chris Davis/The Rowdies, Randy Prentice/The Smokin' Section.


Mike Tatum, Tucson’s Original R&B Soulman

by John Ankiewicz

Blues, and it's derivatives, R&B and jazz, have been touted as the only forms of truly American music. At about the same time John Phillip Sousa was writing his famous march, "Stars and Stripes Forever" (1896), black slaves were plunkin' banjos and guitars, and beating drums to establish a new genre of folk music which would eventually become knows as the blues. As the blues men moved north to the labor-hungry factories of Kansas City, Chicago, and New York, they brought with them this new form of music.

Several generations later, in the early 50's, the Tatum family migrated from Texas to Tucson. An extremely musical family, 4 of their 5 sons played or sang. The youngest son, Mike grew up in Tucson and learned music from his older brothers. By the 60's, Mike was singing and playing guitar in a family band called "Little Dynamite and the Fuses". Little Dynamite, a.k.a. Mike Tatum was a child prodigy, and by the 70's Mike Tatum was the singing guitar player in the premier Tucson soul band, the "Haze Express". Singing blues and soul, the Haze express provided exciting R&B sounds to the predominantly black air bases and army bases of Southern Arizona, not to mention the juke joints, barbecue houses, and card rooms of Tulsa, Dallas, Mobile, and Jackson in what was then known as the "Chitlin' Circuit".

In 1974, on the cusp of the disco era, this author met Mike Tatum when Mike's older brother "Doc" stepped down from his role as bass player in the "Haze Express". What a thrill and education for a Chicago bred white boy to play bass with the band, and even though the band nicknamed me "school teacher" the real learning came from Mike, who schooled me in subjects like how to dance in rhythm with the beat, play funky licks, and in the principals of being cool. Always quick to laugh and ready to jam, Mike Tatum set the tone for musical success over the next 11 years on the road, where we continued our alliance with groups like SilverTrain and Highrise. With his funky guitar style and his soulfull voice, Mike Tatum was then-- and continues to be-- the total R&B package.

Over the years Mike's versatility led him to expand to a variety of different music styles, but underlying it all, his soulfull vocal and guitar style showed through. As he made the transition to the torrid disco and Latin dance clubs of the Southwest, his musical prowess powered the ever popular "Highrise" band-a band that from 1977 to 1998 set the gold standard for funky R&B, disco, and soul, thrilling mixed audiences in 63 cities across the West, including Juneau, Alaska. These days you will find Mike Tatum performing in Tucson at Sakura's Japanese Restaurant (sushi and soul on the patio) and the casinos, where he typically greets his audiences with his roaring laugh and his golden voice. Mike Tatum is the "real deal", among the last of the true "soul men" who brought R&B out of the churches and into the public waves. Don't miss the "Mike Tatum Band".





After solo efforts and some experimentation with tape loops and odd time signatures, former Uncle Tupelo founder Jay Farrar has reformed his popular group Son Volt and returned to some electric guitar basics.

NPR is offering an MP3 download of a live performance of Son Volt, which is worth getting. Go to http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4961968






These old Tufts University frat boys are Boston-based, but popular in the Bay Area where people appreciate their experimentations. They change the instrumentation on their songs from set to set, use odd tunings including standard six string guitars tuned down to approximate a bass, and the drummer plays even the cymbals with his hands. GUSTER is nutty as a fruitcake, often likened material-wise to Jack Black's Tenacious "D" and they are bright fun. They are politically engaged this election season, driving around this spring on their Campus Consciousness tour in bio-diesel fueled caravans. They are environmental advocates. 

Guster bandmember Adam Gardner has teamed with Dave Scneider of the Zambonis to form a decidedly Hebrew rock band called The LeeVees. They have a CD out titled Hanukkah Rocks.


sarah kelly


Christian blues rocker sarah kelly was recently nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rock Or Rap Gospel Album category for her LP Where the Past Meets Today. She was also nominated for a Rocky in the recent Rock City News Awards in L.A. She is sort of undeniable as a pro songwriter, and she is a strong singer, something of a belter. (Christianity Today says she has a "Joplin-meets-Alanis Morissette growl," which strike me as revealing references. Aren't those guys going to get in trouble for listening to those girls?)

Sarah Kelly arrived on the Christian music scene with a Grammy nomination for her first LP Take Me Away, so she has gone right to the top of a niche market. Make no mistake, though, she's a rocker. As is often the case, her blend of faith and gravel has been achieved through some pretty grizzly experience, beyond even those typical of a traveling musician. Again from Christianity Today - "... behind her smile and 
platform of hope in Christ was an abusive past
, including a rape, that she hadn't yet dealt with—until recently."

You can read  an interview with Sarah by going to http://www.christianitytoday.com/music/artists/sarahkelly.html




Sarah Kelly MP3s can be heard at her myspace site at http://myspace.com/sarahkelly


VANDAVEER is the alter-ego of singer/songwriter Mark Charles Heidinger, who is a RARWRITER.com "Featured Artist" this edition.

For Vandaveer, who seems stylistically in debt to actor Jonathan Pryce's stylized persona of Mr. Dark in the 1983 movie adaptation of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, Mark puts aside his alt-rock in favor of a more acoustic-oriented folk sound. Vandaveer has some things in common with '70s-era minimalist Leon Redbone. Where Redbone, however, was all camp with character renditions of early 20th Century Americana, Vandaveer spins grim carnival tales of murdered women and random, suicidal violence, mixed with early Dylan sounding acoustic ruminations.






Vandaveer MP3s can be heard from his MySpace site at www.myspace.com/vandaveer  


Vandaveer's debut album Grace & Speed was released in March (2007) on Washington, DC’s new imprint, Gypsy Eyes Records.


juliejerkoff ha!

juliejerkoff ha! probably belongs on the Los Angeles or San Francisco links, but I'll probably never know. (Ooops! I do now. She's from Ohio, of all places.)


The elusive Internet star doesn't respond to my emails and there's a part of me that says good for her. Better that she stay mysterious. For those of you who don't know, juliejerkoff writes mean but catchy pop tunes, about girls who are too easy and don't clean their pores, and she performs these catchy ditties against a drum machine rhythm track and some minimalist synth beds. She is sort of a guilty pleasure. I had posted some deep insights into what juliejerkoff must mean in a media mad society, and what her music says about 21st century international citizens, but somehow it all got deleted when I fixed the broken link to her site, and I'm not as clever this time around. Go to her site and hear her tunes. She will titillate, fascinate, possibly infuriate, but I like her. She's smart and clever and vicious in a high school "Tina Fey" sort of way. She says she's only seventeen, which makes her a schoolgirl, but on the strength of her bile she may be an acid poll dancer. Or is the joke on us for even noticing? Judge for yourself, I've fixed the link, and I would encourage you to check out juliejerkoff ha!


RAR NOTE: julie jerkoff ha! - and I want a name just like that - doesn't make MP3s available from her myspace site but you can listen there. I would suggest "I Don't Give A" as the definitive track.


jaggedy ann


jaggedy ann is an all girl rock band from Las Vegas who scored an L.A. Rock City News nomination in the girl band category. They are a hard rock band of the kind you hear on the west coast - loud, full, tight, pro. They sound a little like Heart to me.

All four of the Anns come from hard rock backgrounds, and their debut LP was produced by AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd and recorded in New Zealand. They have toured the Asia Pacific rather extensively, playing throughout New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines. 

From their website - "The band consist of Gayla Dawn, with her sensual hard rockin' voice, Leona Sharpe on guitar, with her ripping leads and riffs, Miss Claudia on bass guitar with her characteristic yet unique in the pocket style, and Holly on the drums with her solid timing and versatile charisma."

I bet that "versatile charisma" is a sight to see.



Jaggedy Ann MP3s can be heard from their myspace site.


Jaggedy Ann released Boiling Point in 2006, produced by AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd. The tracks sound alternatively like Heart and a Scooby-Doo soundtrack, neither a bad place to be.




SWIG received a nomination in the 2006 Rock City News Awards in L.A. in the Outstanding New Band category, and for good reason. These guys, really just vocalist Dave Bierman and Glenn Scanlan, who plays guitar, bass and drums, write and perform some catchy rock that has growl, bite and a current punk rock sound. They sound a little like the Clash, I think, as well. I like these guys a lot, don't know much about them. Go to their myspace and listen to their MP3s, which are really cool.



SWIG has MP3s available for download from its myspace site.


Recently RAR was in Vancouver, British Columbia attending an offsite meeting among consultants for the corporation we all work for. There I saw a guy, whom I later came to know as Mark Heidinger, who sort of stood out among the crowd. With frowsy black hair that curled forward around his face and a heavy, full beard that climbed high on his cheeks to frame piercing blue eyes, my immediate impression was that he had the romantic look of a Gypsy and only a musician would look so. Those instincts turned out to be right.

Mark Heidinger is a Lexington, Kentucky native, a transplant to Washington D.C., whose rock ambitions have been on display, and well received, for a while now - certainly since 2003, when he and a quartet of Lexington friends working as The Apparitions released an album, Oxygen Think Tank, that featured Mark's vocals and showcased his songwriting talents. One local critic described The Apparitions as "The Pixies on ecstacy," and the band's tracks started showing up on that year's list of best indie acts.

No sooner did The Apparitions establish a Lexington fan base than Heidinger and his wife moved to Washington D.C. so she could enter a graduate program at Georgetown. The Apparitions became a long-distance romance, with Heidinger bouncing back and forth to work the band's Kentucky fan base and also cultivate new fans on the east coast. 

In  2005 The Apparitions released another well-received LP produced by Duane Lundy and Tony Lash (Elliott

Heidinger wasn't satisfied with the momentum growing around The Apparitions and joined the D.C. band These United States as a bassist, supporting songwriter and band founder Jesse Elliott, in whom Heidinger found a creative partner. Heidinger and Elliott share an odd take on arranging and composition, both partial to quirky, spare melodic romps that are strangely unconnected to any particular music genre. There are times when some of the work of Jack White comes to mind as being of similar cloth, but like White neither Heidinger or Elliott stay dead centered on any particular pop idiom. They are the odd tandem partners exploring different parallel universes. In fact, they have institutionalized the exploration through the establishment, with another creative ally, Chris Walker, of their Federal Reserve songwriter's collaborative. D.C. bands associated with the project include Walker's band Kitty Hawk, as well as Revival, Rose, and Heidinger's solo project Vandaveer (see the Vandaveer profile on the Links at Large). 

Mark Heidinger continues to work with all of these musical units, though his focus currently is his Vandaveer project. See the performance calendar for a listing of his April performance dates.

April 1, 2007 Edition









Copyright © November, 2018 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)