Friday, April 21, 2017


Somehow I missed this last week...

Allan Holdsworth, a self-taught guitarist whose protean, virtuosic style was a source of amazement even to his more famous peers, died of a heart attack on Saturday at his home in Vista, Calif. He was 70.

Mr. Holdsworth forged a relentlessly exploratory approach to harmony, which he brought to bear on both the guitar and the SynthAxe, a guitarlike synthesizer that allowed him added control over his tone and flow. He had his own vocabulary of unorthodox chords, often involving far reaches across the fretboard. As a soloist, he executed lightning-fast melodies with remarkable fluidity.

Mr. Holdsworth played in a number of seminal ensembles throughout the 1970s, including the Tony Williams Lifetime, Soft Machine and U.K., but he never seemed to arrive at any band’s moment of peak popularity, or to stick around long enough to accrue a major following.

Sadly, Mr. Holdsworth’s financial situation was not good at the time of his death, but a crowdfunding campaign to cover pioneering guitarist Allan Holdsworth‘s funeral expenses has been closed after just three days, with thousands of fans chipping in to raise nearly six times the target amount.

A family friend sought to help defray the looming financial burden of laying him to rest by launching a GoFundMe campaign asking for $20,000. That goal was met within hours; by the time it hit the three-day mark, more than $114,000 had come in.

Understandably overwhelmed, Holdsworth’s children Louise, Emily, and Sam have passed along a message to fans, writing that in the midst of the “never-ending nightmare” of their father’s passing, they’ve been overcome with “emotions and gratitude” in response to the campaign. “Without all of the love and support we have received we would be completely lost,” reads the note. “We are doing our best to fulfill the wishes of our beloved father.”

Adding that they plan to put together a public memorial for Holdsworth after laying him to rest in a private ceremony, the message thanks donors for “the huge stress that has been lifted from our shoulders” and notes their reasons for ending the campaign early, concluding, “We have decided, as a family, to close the GoFundMe campaign. It has more than exceeded its purpose. We cannot express our gratitude to you all enough, it has been overwhelming.”

Holdsworth fans who still want to make a contribution in his honor are urged to donate to their local pitbull rescue organization. 

As the Holdsworth children joked, “We often teased him that Daisy, our pit mix, was actually his favorite child.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


John Warren Geils Jr., better known as J. Geils, the guitarist of the the J. Geils Band, was found dead in his home in Groton, Massachusetts Tuesday. He was 71. 

According to Groton Police, "a preliminary investigation indicates that Geils died of natural causes."

"At approximately 4 p.m., Groton Police responded to a home on Graniteville Road for a well-being check," Groton Police said in a statement. "Upon arrival to the house, police located a man who was unresponsive. He was declared dead at the scene ... The Groton Police Department is investigating the death, as is standard procedure in all unattended deaths, however foul play is not suspected at this time."

The J. Geils Band released a slew of albums during the Seventies and early Eighties. With vocalist Peter Wolf at the helm, the band became best known for singles like "Centerfold," "Love Stinks," "Come Back" and "Freeze-Frame," which have since become rock radio mainstays.

On Facebook, Wolf shared a short message about his former bandmate, writing, "Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P. Jay Geils."

Formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1967, the J. Geils Band became fast local favorites and released their self-titled debut in 1970. They broke through on the Billboard 200 in 1973 with their record Bloodshot, and over the course of the next decade honed a sound that blended blues rock, R&B, soul and pop. 

During the Seventies, the J. Geils Band would release eight studio albums and two live records while touring relentlessly – but they wouldn't hit their commercial peak until the beginning of the next decade.

In 1980, the J. Geils Band released Love Stinks, their first platinum-selling record, while the following year they notched a Number One with their 12th album Freeze-Frame

That album featured the group's only chart-topping hit, "Centerfold," while its title track also reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

However, the band began to fall apart in the aftermath of its success. Wolf did not appear on the J. Geils Band's final album, 1984's You're Gettin' Even While I'm Gettin' Odd

The J. Geils Band officially split in 1985. Outside of the J. Geils Band, Geils remained busy as a musician. In the mid-Nineties, he released two albums with his band Bluestime and during the 2000s, he returned to his jazz roots with three solo records. 

Rest in peace, Jay!

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Paul O'Neill, the producer/composer/lyricist who founded the progressive metal band Trans-Siberian Orchestra, has died at 61.

University of South Florida police spokeswoman Renna Reddick told The Associated Press that O'Neill was found dead in his room by hotel staff at a Tampa Embassy Suites late Wednesday afternoon.

Reddick said there were no obvious signs of foul play, and a medical examiner is working to determine an official cause.

The band said in a statement on Facebook that O'Neill died from a "chronic illness." The band described itself as devastated by his death.

"The entire Trans-Siberian Orchestra family, past and present, is heartbroken to share the devastating news that Paul O’Neill has passed away from chronic illness. He was our friend and our leader — a truly creative spirit and an altruistic soul. This is a profound and indescribable loss for us all. We ask that you respect Paul’s family’s privacy now."

Friday, March 31, 2017


Dan Baird is best known for his hits "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" in 1986 with the Georgia Satellites and "I Love You Period" in 1992 as a solo artist. 

He is often credited as a pioneer in cowpunk and alt-country music, which combines elements of rock music, country music, outlaw country, and punk rock.

In between some excellent music from his Dan Baird and Homemade Sin project, Baird gives us SoLow, playing every instrument himself (except drums played by Brad Pemberton), which explains the title (sound it out).

The most common themes on the record are aging and death.

"All aboard the cemetery train... let's drive it right into the ground”

"They say these are the golden years, but I have my doubts... my heroes are passing... pretty soon I'm going to do the same."

Dan has made a career playing boogie blues guitar riffs and this record is no exception, although often the guitar riffs are stronger and the melodies more memorable than previous outings. 

Hooks are in abundance, and in a perfect world, all would be huge hits on radio. 

It is not a perfect world, and Baird has remained a virtual unknown in the US since the early 1990’s.

You can be in on the secret-here's a song on SoundCloud.

And here's a video from You Tube:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Todd Rundgren has unveiled official details about his upcoming studio album, White Knight, and as the acclaimed singer/songwriter told ABC Radio a few months ago, the record is packed with guest collaborations.

Among the many well-known artists lending their talents to the project are Daryl Hall, Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, Joe Walsh, Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and rock-guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani.

White Knight features 15 new original songs that were penned by Rundgren, or that he co-wrote with some of the album's guests. 

The record finds Todd exploring a variety of genres, including funk, synth-rock, pop ballads and power-pop tunes.

"It's easy to get used to playing to your own audience, even if you are absorbing and experimenting with new ideas," notes Rundgren. 

"I wanted to collaborate not just for the musical possibilities, but also to play for new audiences and expose my fans to the range of artists I enjoy working with."

Hall is featured on a song called "Chance for Us," 

Fagen appears on the track "Tin Foil Hat," 

Walsh appears on the tune "Sleep" and Reznor contributes to the song "Deaf Ears," as does his frequent collaborator Atticus Ross.

The album wraps up with "This Is Not a Drill," which features Satriani, as well as two longtime members of Rundgren's backing band: drummer Prairie Prince and bassist Kasim Sulton.

Other guests on White Knight include Swedish dance artist Robyn, veteran soul singer Bettye LaVette and Todd's son, Rebop Rundgren. has premiered one of the album's tracks, "That Could Have Been Me," which features Robyn. 

On the preview track, it appears that Rundgren is veering from electronica back to his signature sound, although he has surrendered the vocal duties here.

White Knight will be released on May 12, and will be available on CD, digitally and on vinyl, although the latter version will only feature 12 tracks.

Here's the track list for the CD and digital editions:

"Got Your Back" -- featuring KK Watson with Dam Funk
"Chance for Us" -- featuring Daryl Hall with Bobby Strickland
"Beginning (of the End)" -- featuring John Boutte
"Tin Foil Hat" -- featuring Donald Fagen
"Look at Me" -- featuring Michael Holman
"Let's Do This" -- featuring Moe Berg
"Sleep" -- featuring Joe Walsh
"That Could Have Been Me" -- featuring Robyn
"Deaf Ears" -- featuring Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
"Naked & Afraid" -- featuring Bettye LaVette
"Buy My T"
"Wouldn't You Like to Know" -- featuring Rebop Rundgren
"This Is Not a Drill" -- featuring Joe Satriani, Prairie Prince, Kasim Sulton

Friday, March 17, 2017


Neither Flogging Molly nor Dropkick Murphy’s are new bands, but many of their fans don’t realize that these two bands borrow heavily from The Tossers and The Mahones.

I’m here to let you know that Black 47 was doing the whole punk-Celtic rock thing before any of them. 

This Irish-American band’s name invokes the Great Famine that killed one million Irish people and forced a million more to emigrate between 1845 and 1852. 

Founder Larry Kirwan imparts a powerful storytelling quality to their songs that recalls Irish literary traditions.

Don’t get me wrong-Black 47 owes their sound to The Pogues who started in the early 80’s. 

They also owe more to that band, as they were discovered and signed by Pogues manager Frank Murray.

The band went into the studio in 1993 with Ric Ocasek producing, and recorded Fire Of Freedom, an album that still holds up today.

From the first notes the album pulsates with Celtic flavor and energy. The portraits that emerge from this powerful and evocative album are of wounded people who are part Irish and part American, and yet are not wholly at home in either country.

Many songs on the album tell stories of an Irish-American protagonist having a great deal to drink and then behaving in a socially unproductive manner.

Musically, the songs benefit from the hip-hop quality of Kirwan’s vocal delivery, and from the melodic saxophone and trombone riffs that predominate throughout.

The album’s common theme (people of two countries who feel like strangers in both) almost creates a concept album about the modern Irish and Irish-American experience. 

While the band created a lot of fine records prior to their break up in 2014 (25 years to the day after their first gig),  Fire of Freedom  is still the band's best work.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 13, 2017


I'm sorry, but Pledge Music and other crowd funding sites used to be about bands that needed money to fund the recording of their music a way to connect with their fans to accomplish it.

Long time readers may remember my post some years back speaking to Marillion's early use of the model, their first crowd funded event having been organized by their fans.

Marillion are a prime example of the need for the crowd funding model-they may have called it quits two decades ago had it not been for a fan base that is willing to prepay for music almost a year in advance.

Many bands do not have record labels supporting them, and do not have the funds to pay for their studio time (let alone pay their rent while writing and recording).

But when your band is a household name selling out stadiums at $300 bucks a head....for example THESE GUYS:

Well sadly, it means that Pledge Music is no longer about the music it's about the

Do we really need to give these greedy pricks an interest-free loan?

Friday, March 3, 2017


Human, is the debut album from global phenomenon Rag 'N' Bone Man, whose real name is Rory Graham, a singer songwriter from East Sussex, England. 

The album's title track is an emerging worldwide hit that has achieved # 1 chart status and gold certification in several countries. 

Rag 'N' Bone Man's sound begins with the blues, having discovered that genre as a child. The rhythmic troubles that rang out from his parents' record player planted a stubborn seed in his head.

It wasn't long before Graham was venturing through classic realms of soul, jazz and folk, attending local club jam sessions, and finally one night, after one pint too many, he got the courage to jump on stage and sing. And then he knew making music was what he wanted to do.

His sound is a perfect mix of old and new.

Friday, February 24, 2017


Tift Merritt is probably best unknown for penning “Bramble Rose,” covered by Don Henley.

Stitch Of The World, Merritt's sixth studio album was written on a friend's farm in Marfa, Texas, at Merritt's California cabin, and in New York City in the wake of several major changes in her life. 

The result was an album of songs that are thoughtful and sensitive and personal.

Merritt work-shopped the songs on Stitch Of The World with longtime friend Sam Beam of Iron & Wine and recorded the record in LA.

With modern production and gorgeous melodies, the songs are stylistically grounded in Americana, roots and country with a lyricism that resonates carried by an emphatic but nuanced voice. 

Folksy with hints of Emmylou Harris and Ryan Adams thrown in, and the collaborations with Sam Beam are a welcome touch.

A limited edition initial pressing contains two acoustic bonus tracks.

Friday, February 17, 2017


Delbert McClinton has always defied classification, toeing the lines between rock, blues and country over a career that has spanned five decades, and charting on the Hot 100, mainstream rock, country and blues charts.

His 19th studio album, Prick Of The Litter (Hot Shot Records/Thirty Tigers), finds the multi-Grammy Award winning artist at the top of his game.

The new offering captures the balance of soulful energy and restraint that the legendary performer has been delivering in his live performances for decades all over the world. McClinton incorporates a variety of styles, and as always, just enough to keep him comfortably outside the traditional marketing categories.


Monday, February 13, 2017


Just days after announcing that he was retiring from touring after being hospitalized for exhaustion, legendary jazz singer Al Jarreau has passed away.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Jarreau’s unique singing style helped to make him one of jazz’s greatest vocalists.

Dubbed “the voice of versatility” by the Chicago Tribune, Jarreau released 16 studio albums, a host of live albums, and several compilations. The consummate performer, Jarreau constantly toured the world, dazzling audiences with his magical voice.

Jarreau passed away at a Los Angeles hospital early Sunday morning. The singer leaves behind his wife, Susan, and his son, Ryan. He was 76.

Most people will remember Jarreau for the theme to the television show Moonlighting-my blog post title borrows from those lyrics..

Jarreau's L Is For Lover CD has been a favorite of mine for decades (one of my earliest CD purchases in 1987).

Rest In Peace, Mr. Jarreau!

Friday, February 10, 2017


Singer/songwriter Brigitte DeMeyer and acclaimed instrumentalist Will Kimbrough have been friends and musical collaborators for several years, working together on and off on various projects and with other notables. DeMeyer got her start in Mojo Nixon’s band prior to venturing on her solo career, and Kimbrough’s resume includes Will & The Bushmen, The Bis-quits and solo efforts as well as production (Todd Snider, Josh Rouse).  His songs have been covered by the likes of Todd Snider, Jimmy Buffett and Little Feat.

Through all of their experience, they have developed the necessary synergy it takes to combine their talents and create Mockingbird Soul, an album that represents a singular vision and their first effort in tandem.

In hearing the way they blend their voices, it’s a little  remarkable that they haven’t embarked on a joint venture before now. The album blends elements of blues, soul and Americana, with nods to the sounds of the Louisiana bayou and the grittier southern surroundings that originally birthed the blues.


Saturday, February 4, 2017


Chuck Prophet describes his new disc, Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins, as California noir. 

The state has always represented the Golden Dream, and it's the tension between romance and reality that lurks underneath the surface in all noir films and paperbacks, and that connects these songs. 

Doomed love, inconsolable loneliness, rags to riches to rags again, and fast-paced violence are always on the menu on the Left Coast. 

Featuring "A Bad Year For Rock And Roll," an ode to all of the great artists we lost in 2016 and a bunch of other (soon to be) classics, the album releases February 10, 2017.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


John Wetton passed away in the early hours of Tuesday January 31, 2017, after a long and courageous battle against colon cancer.

John rose to fame with King Crimson in the early 70s during the iconic Red era and later formed the band UK. 

In the early 1980s he was a founder member of supergroup ASIA which was his biggest commercial success. The band's 1982 self-titled debut album was the biggest selling album in the world that year and gave fans and mainstream radio the mega-hit Heat of the Moment.

John also enjoyed a successful solo career, including the seminal album Battle Lines, and formed iCon with ASIA bandmate Geoff Downes. 

In 2006 the original line-up of ASIA reformed and toured the world several times to promote four new studio albums.

John had been planning to tour with ASIA for the band's forthcoming US arena tour with Journey and following the success of his solo Studio Recordings Anthology, to continue working on the ongoing re-issue programme of his solo albums, via his own Primary Purpose label.

John valued his over 11 years of sobriety and volunteered time in fellowship with other alcoholics to share his experience, strength and hope with them. 

John is survived by his recently wed wife Lisa and 18 year old son Dylan, brother Robert and mother Peggy.

The very last studio song of John Wetton's career was the closing track on the most recent ASIA album 'Gravitas' and included the lyric 'Think the best of me, till we meet again.'

Sunday, January 1, 2017