Wednesday, December 19, 2018

My Top Tune of 2018: There From Here (Phosphorescent)

I always find it hard to put together a "best of the year" music list because my listening habits jump all over the map, through different years and eras. When I look through my listening history this year on, I see some great new stuff: Paul McCartney's Egypt Station, Parker Millsap's Other Arrangements, the great new Tom Petty collection An American Treasure...

But when it comes down to it, it's Phosphorescent's C'est la Vie that takes top billing, and in particular, the song "There From Here" - a song that I immediately loved. I won't go into it too much, but in essence, I recorded myself messing around on guitar on my birthday this year (Aug 3rd). I sang a few made up lyrics, and really liked the melody and chord changes I had come up with (some sadness, some beauty, some bitter-sweetness). Fast forward a couple months later to the release of C'est La Vie and my first spin through the album. When I heard "There From Here," it felt awfully familiar. Listening back to my noodling in August, there were a lot of similarities in the melody and feel of the songs. I felt like Matthew had written the song I had bouncing around in my head. It was sort of a surreal moment, honestly.

I said hello to Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck before his Phoenix show back on November 12th,  and got to tell him how much I loved the album, and especially the song. During the show, he dedicated the tune my way before playing it.. 

Anyhow, I'm so thankful for artists like Matthew - artists who have the talent to take the melodies bouncing around our heads and are are able to bring them properly into this world. 

Take a listen...

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones

Does anyone come here anymore? Well I don't really know, but I do know that I scored tickets today to see THE ROLLING STONES in Phoenix this May. I saw them once as a single guy in the not so cozy confines of Sun Devil Stadium back in ol' 97 during their Bridges to Babylon tour. This time around, I'm taking my wife, high schooler and junior high-er to the not so cozy confines of State Farm Stadium so Dad can see Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie again, and the girls can check a big one off their bucket list. Suffice it to say I can't wait.

It's going to be a hell of stretch in 2019. Within a few months, I'm seeing the Stones, McCartney, and Mark Knopfler (front effin' row!). Yeah, pretty stoked.

This Keith tune from Bridges to Babylon jumped out at me recently:

Friday, August 17, 2018

Some People

Heard this a while back on Elton John's Rocket Hour radio show on Apple Music. It quickly turned into a favorite of mine, and some friends too. Killer moment when the bass and drums kick in. Great, talented artist, this Parker Millsap.

Friday, April 27, 2018


Nestled into Dexys Midnight Runners hit 1981 album Too-Rye-Ay, which included their smash single "Come on Eileen," was this gem - an ode to the elderly, an acknowledgment of their wisdom and experience. With its slowed down tempo and beautiful melody, it really made my ears perk up when I listened to the album a while back. What a great message, similar to John Prine's "Hello in There" in its very human message: respect, appreciate and learn from your elders!
Old have memories to keep the cold away. What is that you say? No sense to dwell. Old, are you ridiculed and turned away, No attention paid? I thought as much. Yes and the dumb patriots have their say, Only see their way. Nothing to sell. And then from us, so obvious, Preposterous, when you think Of the time that each has spent. Words heaven sent and truly meant to show Old, may I sit down here and learn today? I'll hear all you say. I won't go away.
And by the way, it was my brother who introduced me to Dexys very excellent, soulful 1980 debut album Searching for the Young Soul Rebels. Go check it out.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Angels Olsen on ACL

I need to do a better job of posting the new tunes that hit my radar and give me all the feels. A couple months ago I was watching a new episode of Austin City Limits, and I was introduced to Angel Olsen. "Sister" was my favorite tune of the set, and wouldn't you know it, ACL has offered it up on their YouTube channel. Be mesmerized like me...

Friday, February 9, 2018

40 Years in the Wilderness

I discovered Bruce Cockburn’s music in the summer of 1994 - the year that his great album Dart to the Heart was released. I was in my mid-20’s, lacking any real focus or direction in life, and I immediately connected with his music as a calming and fulfilling presence in my life. When I’m full of angst and anxiety, feeling the weight and responsibility that comes with being a father and husband and provider - coupled with the awful news cycles of our present day - I can “go to the well” of Bruce’s music to ground me and put everything in perspective. “40 Years In The Wilderness” is one of Bruce’s new tunes, released on 2017’s Bone on Bone, and has that subtle spirituality you’ll often find in Bruce’s music. There’s an obvious connotation to Jesus, who spent 40 days and nights in the Judean desert, tempted by Satan. Bruce compares it to his recent move to San Francisco with his wife and young daughter, and his return to church after a forty year absence:
After I wrote my memoir [2014's Rumours of Glory], I hadn't written a song in four years. I started going to church again, after not having gone for decades. There was a sermon about Jesus being baptized, which is when he really figures out who he is. He's shocked, and he runs out into the desert to figure it out. That struck me with considerable force. I felt like I'd been struggling with that issue for 40 years. I'd started to identify myself as a Christian in the 1970s, and here I was, 40 years later, back in church. And I'm living in San Francisco now, with my wife and child. I never would have imagined myself living on the West Coast. But it was an answer. I went with it. I went west in another one of those cosmic moments. This song is about accepting those invitations. [1]
It’s really a gorgeous song, with a chorus that will stick with you after a couple listens. You'll hear Mary Gauthier singing background vocals here too. Lucky for me, I’ll be seeing Bruce in concert this Tuesday in Tempe (with a band, [!] which I haven’t experienced since February 2000).


 Here's a live acoustic version too:

Thursday, January 11, 2018


I don’t recall what triggered it, but I fell into a YouTube rabbit hole last night, zeroed in on First Aid Kit. For those that don’t know, First Aid Kit is made up of two sisters from the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden - Klara and Johanna Söderberg. They’re in their mid-20’s and are a week away from releasing their fourth album, Ruins (January 19th, Columbia/Sony Music). Their M.O. is Harmonies, and my God can these girls sing. Simply flawless, organic beauty. If you were watching David Letterman’s final Late Night shows a couple years back, you may have caught First Aid Kit singing Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” (dedicated to Dave’s son Harry). In 2010, they caught the eyes and ears of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst at the Austin City Limits Music Festival (I was there!). Conor and his Bright Eyes buddy Mike Mogis were at the festival with their awesome little folk supergroup Monsters of Folk (with Jim James, M. Ward). Conor and Mike, along with Jack White, helped get the ball rolling stateside, with Mogis actually producing First Aid Kit’s next two albums, The Lion’s Roar and Stay Gold. Well, here we are in 2018 with album 4 about to drop. I’m not able to find who produced this one, but the three songs that are available now are great. And what spurred me into writing this post was hearing “Fireworks” for the first time this morning. You know the feeling, the kind of song that puts everything else on pause for a few minutes . I get a “The End of the World” vibe from it (which, by the way, check out Sharon Von Etten’s version). Ah, the heartbreak songs... Pre-Order Ruins.

Memories of a Prince Fan

In the late summer of 1984, I saw Purple Rain for the first time. I was 14. Adolescence had arrived, and was about to be taken for quite a s...