Gavin Harrison – Cheating the Polygraph (2015)

Gavin Harrison – Cheating the Polygraph (2015)

April 20, 2015

Gavin Harrison’s ‘Cheating the Polygraph’ references Porcupine Tree and big band, but quickly moves well beyond those well-worn tropes.

The Word [Robert Randolph, John Medeski + North Mississippi All-Stars], “When I See the Blood” from Soul Food (2015)

The Word [Robert Randolph, John Medeski + North Mississippi All-Stars], “When I See the Blood” from Soul Food (2015)

April 21, 2015

Robert Randolph helps set a new standard for improv gospel-jazz country blues supergroups. Because, yeah, they’re the only one.

Matthew Shipp Chamber Ensemble – The Gospel According to Matthew and Michael (2015)

Matthew Shipp Chamber Ensemble – The Gospel According to Matthew and Michael (2015)

April 13, 2015

The musicianship gets this improvised chamber jazz concept off the ground, but it’s the bottomless imaginations of Shipp, Maneri and Bisio that make ‘The Gospel According To Matthew and Michael’ fly.

Gavin Harrison – Cheating the Polygraph (2015)

Gavin Harrison – Cheating the Polygraph (2015)

April 20, 2015

Gavin Harrison’s ‘Cheating the Polygraph’ references Porcupine Tree and big band, but quickly moves well beyond those well-worn tropes.

Iron Maiden’s 1988 masterpiece Seventh Son of a Seventh Son changed everything

Iron Maiden’s 1988 masterpiece Seventh Son of a Seventh Son changed everything

April 11, 2015

‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son,’ released on April 11, 1988, started a journey. Iron Maiden is now a part of me, and I am a part of what’s kept them around.

A character from ‘Randy Scouse Git’ almost changed Monkees history: ‘I know that sounds crazy’

A character from ‘Randy Scouse Git’ almost changed Monkees history: ‘I know that sounds crazy’

April 21, 2015

Yes, the Birthday Boy from the Monkees hit ‘Randy Scouse Git’ was real. And his friendship almost sent Micky Dolenz on a far different path.

Rick Danko + Levon Helm, “Once Upon a Time” from Rick Danko (1977): Across the Great Divide

Rick Danko + Levon Helm, “Once Upon a Time” from Rick Danko (1977): Across the Great Divide

April 16, 2015

Rick Danko was the first to start a solo career, but this involving duet with his former Band mate Levon Helm shows a sense of community remained.

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, “What You’re Doing” from Beatles for Sale (1964): Deep Beatles

The Beatles, “What You’re Doing” from Beatles for Sale (1964): Deep Beatles

April 17, 2015

Paul McCartney’s underrated “What You’re Doing” foreshadows how the Beatles would test the limits of rock later in the 1960s.

Bruce Springsteen’s Working On A Dream remains deeply misunderstood

Bruce Springsteen’s Working On A Dream remains deeply misunderstood

January 27, 2015

With ‘Working On A Dream,’ released six years ago today, Bruce Springsteen continued an intriguing journey back to the music of his formative years.

Yes, “Harold Land” from Yes (1969): YESterdays

Yes, “Harold Land” from Yes (1969): YESterdays

April 14, 2015

A promising-but-still-transitional composition from Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford and Chris Squire, “Harold Land” points to bigger things from Yes.

Toto, “You Are the Flower” from Toto (1978): Toto Tuesdays

Toto, “You Are the Flower” from Toto (1978): Toto Tuesdays

April 7, 2015

The music on Toto’s “You Are the Flower” had always been more to my liking that the lyrics. Until I became a father. Then, I got it.

(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.”

The Word [Robert Randolph, John Medeski + North Mississippi All-Stars], “When I See the Blood” from Soul Food (2015)

The Word [Robert Randolph, John Medeski + North Mississippi All-Stars], “When I See the Blood” from Soul Food (2015)

April 21, 2015

Robert Randolph helps set a new standard for improv gospel-jazz country blues supergroups. Because, yeah, they’re the only one.

David Bowie’s Let’s Dance illustrated the durability of Chic’s hitmaking sound

David Bowie’s Let’s Dance illustrated the durability of Chic’s hitmaking sound

April 19, 2015

Credit David Bowie for understanding how to cast his latest iteration. But also Chic for having the goods to make that nascent vision a reality.

Mickey Newbury, “Summertime” (1993): One Track Mind

Mickey Newbury, “Summertime” (1993): One Track Mind

March 17, 2015

When Mickey Newbury covered a song, he did it with such intensity that it’s hard to imagine it done any other way. Here’s another example.

Tommy Roe – Greatest Hits (1993): On Second Thought

Tommy Roe – Greatest Hits (1993): On Second Thought

April 20, 2015

Tommy Roe created pure and natural pop rock songs that were fun to sing along with, dance to, or simply make people feel good.

Fighting Songs by the Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar, the Ramones + others: Odd Couples

Fighting Songs by the Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar, the Ramones + others: Odd Couples

March 20, 2015

Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have finally agreed to fight. Here’s a special edition of Odd Couples to whet your appetite.

Calling From a Star: The Merrell Fankhauser Story, by Merrell Fankhauser (2015): Books

Calling From a Star: The Merrell Fankhauser Story, by Merrell Fankhauser (2015): Books

March 13, 2015

Merrell Fankhauser’s contributions to the music scene are priceless, and I’m thrilled to say his memoir is just as worthy.

The Last Waltz was nearly derailed, time and again: ‘It was like throwing the dice’

The Last Waltz was nearly derailed, time and again: ‘It was like throwing the dice’

April 7, 2015

‘The Last Waltz,’ released as a triple album on April 7, 1978, chronicled a guest-packed Band concert that overcame one complication after another.

Toto IV found Toto at an early career crossroads: ‘We wanted to make something great’

Toto IV found Toto at an early career crossroads: ‘We wanted to make something great’

April 8, 2015

The story of Toto can be divided to before April 8, 1982, and after. That’s when they released ‘Toto IV,’ still the biggest album of their lengthy career.

Percy Sledge may have been a one hit wonder, but what a hit it was

Percy Sledge may have been a one hit wonder, but what a hit it was

April 14, 2015

Percy Sledge has died at 73 having long been dubbed a one hit wonder. But that one hit – “When a Man Loves a Woman” – was a wonder, indeed.