Chicago Edge Ensemble, “Decaying Orbit,” from Decaying Orbit (2017): One Track Mind

Chicago Edge Ensemble, “Decaying Orbit,” from Decaying Orbit (2017): One Track Mind

March 25, 2017

‘Decaying Orbit’ — the song and the album — fulfills the promise of its members’ respective legacies and furthers the legacy of its worldly leader, guitarist Dan Phillips.

Adam Steffeck, fingerstyle guitarist: Something Else! Interview

Adam Steffeck, fingerstyle guitarist: Something Else! Interview

March 20, 2017

Fingerstyle guitarist Adam Steffeck discusses his new album, and how a family legacy in science influences his future plans.

Roxy Coss – Chasing The Unicorn (2017)

Roxy Coss – Chasing The Unicorn (2017)

March 25, 2017

Roxy Coss shines brightly on ‘Chasing The Unicorn’ because this talented saxophonist and composer shines in so many areas.

Jeff Lorber Fusion – Prototype (2017)

Jeff Lorber Fusion – Prototype (2017)

March 23, 2017

Truth is, funk-jazz keyboardist, composer and producer Jeff Lorber has been prototyping since the late ’70s.

Chicago Edge Ensemble, “Decaying Orbit,” from Decaying Orbit (2017): One Track Mind

Chicago Edge Ensemble, “Decaying Orbit,” from Decaying Orbit (2017): One Track Mind

March 25, 2017

‘Decaying Orbit’ — the song and the album — fulfills the promise of its members’ respective legacies and furthers the legacy of its worldly leader, guitarist Dan Phillips.

Chuck Berry, June 1972: Shows I’ll Never Forget

Chuck Berry, June 1972: Shows I’ll Never Forget

March 20, 2017

I did not know Chuck Berry was a black man until he stepped on that Des Moines stage.

Yes, “Man in a White Car” from Drama (1980): YESterdays

Yes, “Man in a White Car” from Drama (1980): YESterdays

March 21, 2017

Yes’ ‘Man in a White Car’ has new wave edge that made it both a fitting piece for 1980’s ‘Drama,’ and also a weirdly engaging live piece.

Fred Phillips’ Best Hard Rock and Metal of 2016: Anthrax, Testament, Rob Zombie, Dead Daisies

Fred Phillips’ Best Hard Rock and Metal of 2016: Anthrax, Testament, Rob Zombie, Dead Daisies

January 2, 2017

As you go through my Best Hard Rock and Metal of 2016 list, you’ll see why I’m calling it the year of the classic thrash band.

Biscay – Burnt Mementos EP (2017)

Biscay – Burnt Mementos EP (2017)

March 20, 2017

Jazzy, R&B-inflected pop — aka ‘yacht rock’ — is music that had its day in the USA through the 70s and into the early 80s but since then the UK became the main mecca for this kind of music. From the time that

Wilko Johnson – I Keep It To Myself: The Best of Wilko Johnson (2017)

Wilko Johnson – I Keep It To Myself: The Best of Wilko Johnson (2017)

February 2, 2017

This generous two-disc set is packed with recently recorded Wilko Johnson goodies, including re-workings of several Dr Feelgood favorites.

Robert Randolph & the Family Band – Got Soul (2017)

Robert Randolph & the Family Band – Got Soul (2017)

March 2, 2017

Never has anyone made spunky roots rock go down so easy like Robert Randolph and his Family Band. All that’s needed is a heapin’ helping of soul and, of course, maximal pedal steel guitar. There’s plenty of both on ‘Got Soul.’

Mavis Staples goes behind the scenes at the Band’s Last Waltz: ‘It wasn’t rehearsed to go like that’

Mavis Staples goes behind the scenes at the Band’s Last Waltz: ‘It wasn’t rehearsed to go like that’

November 24, 2016

Mavis Staples joined the Band on “The Weight” after their famous ‘Last Waltz’ concert on Thanksgiving 1976 – and something amazing happened.

David Philips, “Home” from Winter (2017): Something Else! sneak peek

David Philips, “Home” from Winter (2017): Something Else! sneak peek

March 14, 2017

Here is “Home,” the advance single from David Philips’ upcoming ‘Winter’ album. Philips might change his tactics from time to time but the overall strategy of delivering quality, hand-made folk music never wavers.

Yes, “Man in a White Car” from Drama (1980): YESterdays

Yes, “Man in a White Car” from Drama (1980): YESterdays

March 21, 2017

Yes’ ‘Man in a White Car’ has new wave edge that made it both a fitting piece for 1980’s ‘Drama,’ and also a weirdly engaging live piece.

Steely Dan Sunday: Katy Lied turns 40 this month

Steely Dan Sunday: Katy Lied turns 40 this month

March 8, 2015

This month, Steely Dan’s ‘Katy Lied’ turned 40 years old. Here are some reasons why it’s good enough to overcome an infamous mixing fiasco.

The Beatles, “It Won’t Be Long” from With the Beatles (1963): Deep Beatles

The Beatles, “It Won’t Be Long” from With the Beatles (1963): Deep Beatles

March 16, 2017

“It Won’t Be Long” once again demonstrates the Beatles’ willingness to stretch the boundaries of conventional pop-song structures.

Bruce Springsteen – The River (1980): Gimme Five

Bruce Springsteen – The River (1980): Gimme Five

October 18, 2015

When Bruce Springsteen issued ‘The River’ in October of 1980, I didn’t like it very much. Time has changed that – and here’s why.

Levon and the Hawks, “He Don’t Love You” (1965): Across the Great Divide

Levon and the Hawks, “He Don’t Love You” (1965): Across the Great Divide

October 22, 2015

The Band, then known as Levon and the Hawks, released a few forgotten songs before heading to that basement with Bob Dylan. Here’s one of the best.

Toto, “Could This Be Love” from Fahrenheit (1986): Toto Tuesdays

Toto, “Could This Be Love” from Fahrenheit (1986): Toto Tuesdays

March 14, 2017

“Could This Be Love” introduced Joseph Williams as Toto’s new lead vocalist, even as it laid the foundation for a return to greatness on ‘The Seventh One.’

(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Offramp” (1981)

(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Offramp” (1981)

June 7, 2014

Some think Metheny is joking around, that he couldn’t possibly like “all of this noise.”

Chicago, “State of the Union” from Chicago V (1972): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “State of the Union” from Chicago V (1972): Saturdays in the Park

March 18, 2017

With “State of the Union,” the train of great Robert Lamm songs just keeps on rolling through 1972’s ‘Chicago V.’

Chicago Edge Ensemble, “Decaying Orbit,” from Decaying Orbit (2017): One Track Mind

Chicago Edge Ensemble, “Decaying Orbit,” from Decaying Orbit (2017): One Track Mind

March 25, 2017

‘Decaying Orbit’ — the song and the album — fulfills the promise of its members’ respective legacies and furthers the legacy of its worldly leader, guitarist Dan Phillips.

Chuck Berry, June 1972: Shows I’ll Never Forget

Chuck Berry, June 1972: Shows I’ll Never Forget

March 20, 2017

I did not know Chuck Berry was a black man until he stepped on that Des Moines stage.

Cream, the Police, Rush, Emerson Lake and Palmer + others: Rock Trio Odd Couples

Cream, the Police, Rush, Emerson Lake and Palmer + others: Rock Trio Odd Couples

February 24, 2017

It seems the magical, minimum number needed to qualify as a rock ‘n’ roll band is three. So, let’s pit some famous rock trios against each other.

Celtic Frost – Cold Lake (1988): Metal Meltdowns

Celtic Frost – Cold Lake (1988): Metal Meltdowns

November 20, 2016

Celtic Frost was one of the pioneering bands of what would become death and black metal. Then came 1988’s ‘Cold Lake.’

Modern Art and the Art of the EP, from R.E.M., Let’s Active, Bangles + others: Shadows in Stereo

Modern Art and the Art of the EP, from R.E.M., Let’s Active, Bangles + others: Shadows in Stereo

March 21, 2017

An EP release has an interesting aesthetic all its own, as shown by key releases from R.E.M., Let’s Active, the Dream Syndicate, the Bangles and others.

‘Rockin’ the City of Angels’: Inside Douglas Harr’s Great New Book

‘Rockin’ the City of Angels’: Inside Douglas Harr’s Great New Book

January 27, 2017

I wrote ‘Rockin’ the City of Angels’ as homage to rock music of the ‘70s — in concert and on film.

The Link Between the Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and Several Legendary Films

The Link Between the Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and Several Legendary Films

February 28, 2017

What does the Beatles’ first film have in common with ‘Star Wars,’ Alfred Hitchcock and ‘The Avengers’? Mike Tiano reveals this surprising link.

Al Jarreau (1940-2017): Our Essential Playlist

Al Jarreau (1940-2017): Our Essential Playlist

February 19, 2017

Al Jarreau’s distinctive singing style crossed boundaries, encompassing jazz, pop, R&B, funk, gospel, and even world music.

Halloween Howlers from Guadalcanal Diary, Joy Division, Jim Stafford + others: Gimme Five

Halloween Howlers from Guadalcanal Diary, Joy Division, Jim Stafford + others: Gimme Five

October 29, 2016

Let’s stalk through the rock ‘n’ roll graveyard and dig up some of the scariest music on this side of the mortal curtain from Joy Division and others.