Monday, April 28, 2008

June Christy- Lucky In Love

Luck's run out.

I began rifling through my West Coast jazz collection after hearing that Jimmy Giuffre passed away Thursday. He didn't turn up on any of my Chet Baker, Jack Sheldon or Zoot Sims discs. Knowing that he played on a few June Christy sessions, I checked this set of radio shots. Giuffre's not here either. But boy, was Christy ever delightful! Her warm, inviting voice never fails to charm. In lieu of an official recording, my friend BGO recommends this Giuffre performance video.

Tech N9ne just keeps getting better. My review of his homecoming show Friday is here.

I tossed together a Muxtape of Kansas City jazz artists' free downloads.

Kanas City Click: I'll join Heet Mob at Mic Check Monday at the Embassy if J Lee lets me pretend I'm a member of La Coka Nostra.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Noel Gourdin: Exclusive Interview

Noel Gourdin's MySpace, Facebook and home page. Gourdin's Epic Records debut is tentatively scheduled to be released in August.

Not only is Noel Gourdin's "The River" the best new song of 2008, the ballad merits a spot alongside the greatest soul classics by Aretha, Otis, Al and Sam.

Gritty yet smooth, traditional yet comfortably contemporary, "The River" recently received a major boost with the enthusiastic endorsement of syndicated radio host Steve Harvey.

Opening with a reconstruction of Millie Jackson's "How Do You Feel the Morning After" and set to a backdrop of Mississippi's "dirt roads and Confederate flags," Gourdin's silky voice weaves a tale of lost love, faith, death and rebirth.

There Stands the Glass spoke to the Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter Thursday. Our wide-ranging discussion touched on Gourdin's fresh sound, the NBA playoffs and the artist's seemingly imminent stardom.

On the daring nature of "The River":
We felt we were taking a chance on a song like this. It's so different and so rich and so deep with meaning and expression. It's reminiscent of old soul.

On being told that "The River" is an instant classic:
You know how good that feels coming from someone like you who appreciates the old-school soul? That's incredible. For you to say "The River" is a timeless record means a lot to me.

On being on the verge of stardom:
It's surreal. It's been tremendous to see how fast we've been moving up the charts and how everyone's embracing "The River" after Steve Harvey started playing it and blowing it up. It's overwhelming.

On his Southern roots:
Ever since I can remember we would head down to Mississippi every summer because that's where my family is originally from. We'd go down there for family reunions.

I used to sit up underneath my aunts and uncles and grandparents and listen to stories about the pain and the suffering and the tribulations of not having equal opportunities back in the day like it should have been.

Every summer we'd go down South knowing that we were going to see family we hadn't seen all year, run in the watermelon patches, play with cousins and just hang out- that was a big part of my life.

On his place in today's scene:
I want to fit in where I can reach the most people. I don't particularly like to be put in a box or a category. I like to keep it wide open. This music is for everybody. There's something on the album for everybody. It's not necessarily all soul, but the whole undertone of the album is soul. Because that's what my voice is and that's what I came up listening to.

On his uncommon display of sensitivity:
There comes a time that you say what you have to say. I'm not going to hold no punches. "(As in) because I love you so much that it's just not enough- I need more."

It's unusual for a man to put that in a record. Because it's usually a woman saying that kind of thing. I'm not afraid to be vulnerable. I'm not afraid to say what other men in the industry won't say.

I'm not afraid to show my emotional side or shed a tear. If you're secure in your manhood and what you are, I have no problem doing that. I've cried on my mom's shoulder many nights-my pop's as well.

On touring:
We're definitely hitting the road in the next month or so. We're trying to make sure we have the right artist to go out with. If budgets allow, we'll have a band. My ideal thing is to have a band up there. That's how you can really touch people.

Kansas City Click: This town is truly standing on the verge of getting it on. Tech N9ne, Paul Wall and Ill Bill infiltrate the Uptown tonight.

George Clinton cooks a "Cosmic Slop" at Crossroads on Saturday.

On Sunday night, the Record Bar hosts an intriguing hip hop bill topped by Chicago's Lord 360.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Doc Cheatham and Theo Croker

Theo Croker- John Coltrane (MP3)

Butch Thompson and Doc Cheatham- If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight (MP3)

In one of those serendipitous discoveries made possible by MySpace's artist search directory, I discovered that a grandson of trumpet legend Doc Cheatham resides in Shanghai. And he's amazing. Just check out the Dean Benedetti-style boot posted above for confirmation. More material can be downloaded at Croker's MySpace page. Croker's grandfather had a much different sound. "If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight" is from Cheatham's utterly charming 1994 Butch & Doc session with Butch Thompson. If the 88-year-old's performance on the suggestive ballad doesn't make you happy, well, I'm afraid you're a lost cause.

Tom "Papa" Ray of St. Louis is one of my favorite people. The Riverfront Times conducted a painfully awkward video interview with the retail legend on Record Store Day.

I spewed a mouthful of coffee across my breakfast table this morning as I read that Von Lee Smith was working with Akon. A more unlikely pairing is hard to imagine. A good-looking Kansas City kid with a big voice, Smith seemed destined for success by following in the footsteps of Clay Aiken and Josh Groban. Shows what I know. Here's Steve Penn's shocking column in the Kansas City Star.

Al "Show and Tell" Wilson died Monday.

Kansas City Click: Star-in-waiting Erin Bode buckles knees at the Blue Room tonight.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Don Patterson- Under the Boardwalk

The boardwalk is closed.

Ozzie Cadena is one of those names only familiar to obsessive readers of liner notes. The longtime industry professional's name appears on hundreds of titles, primarily on dates for the Prestige and Savoy labels. Originally released in 1964 as Hip Cake Walk, this Cadena production is available on an excellent reissue. (Thanks to BGO for the tip.)

Oh no! Sean Costello died earlier this month. He was 28. I may have this all wrong, but I recall seeing him share a stage with Hubert Sumlin and Elvis Costello at Antone's during SXSW three or four years back. Costello was also booked to perform at Kansas City juke joint Knuckleheads next month.

I'm having a blast watching vintage videos by the likes of Slick Rick, De La Soul, Coolio, Queen Latifah, NWA and Common Sense on this month's rebroadcasts of Yo! MTV Raps.

Tech N9ne is giving it away here. (Kind of.)

Kansas City Click: Good ol' Tater & the Gravy Train serve as a premium honky tonk jukebox at Harry's tonight.

Monday, April 21, 2008

An Education In Jazz

Class is over.

The following essay was posted earlier today at Plastic Sax. The YoungBlood Brass Band represent a viable alternative for scholastic jazz ensembles. Note the crowd's reaction to the hip hop elements of the Madison band's sound.

As I attended the MCC-Penn Valley 18th & Vine Jazz Festival last Friday afternoon, word was spreading that the International Association of Jazz Educators intended to file for bankruptcy.

According to a memo posted at the Manhattan, Kansas-based organization's site, IAJE "as it presently stands will no longer exist." The board president claims that the organization was "blindsided last fall with the discovery of the extent of the accumulated association debt."

Regular Plastic Sax readers already know that I'm not an advocate of the jazz education establishment. Friday's festival only solidified my stance.

The students could play remarkably well; that's not at issue. It's the distressing absence of passion and fire that's alarming. As if to confirm the event's lack of relevance, the audience consisted almost exclusively of supportive parents. I suspect that many of the teenage musicians applied their talent to ska, hip hop and rock bands later that night.

Why not allow these kids to make the music meaningful to themselves and their classmates during school hours? It's cool that high school marching bands play versions of Outkast's "Hey Ya!" and Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." But I'll bet they'd prefer to arrange and perform Green Day's American Idiot or Dr. Dre's The Chronic.

It's an appropriate time to reevaluate the status quo. The question must be asked- "Why jazz education?" If there's no satisfactory answer, perhaps jazz programs should be abandoned in favor of popular music departments.

I would rather hear an inspired cover of a Rick Ross hit than a desultory rendition of a Billy Strayhorn chart.

Kansas City Click: Lyfe Jennings croons at the Beaumont tonight.

(Original image by Plastic Sax. The inclusion of the YoungBlood Brass Ensemble suggested by The New Low Down.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Danny Federici & Chris Gaffney, 1950-2008


An eerie symmetry connects the untimely deaths of Chris Gaffney and Danny Federici.

Both roots-oriented American rock musicians were 58. Both died on April 17 from forms of cancer. Both were accomplished accordionists. Both were "musicians' musicians"- respected artists without huge name recognition among the general public.

Federici is best known for his association with Bruce Springsteen. Kevin Gordon was one of a handful of additional musicians with whom Federici worked. He added organ to Cadillac Jack's #1 Son, a very fine Garry Tallent production. It suggests that Gordon merits a place alongside John Hiatt and James McMurtry among today's elite realist songwriters. Besides, any song with a Back In Black reference is automatically cool.

"Six Nights a Week," co-written with Dave Alvin, is an apt epitaph for Gaffey. The unblinking song about a working musician's life, co-written with Dave Alvin, is from the excellent Mi Vida Loca. As with Federici, Gaffney spent much of his life on the road. Instead of arenas, however, Gaffney hit bars and roadhouses. I believe he and the Hacienda Brothers played Kansas City's Knuckleheads at least a couple times in the past year or two.

I feel creepier and weirder than usual. A couple of the bands being touted by the cool kids- The Teenagers and M83- are really resonating with me. I'll never apologize for continuing to adore pure pop music, but it doesn't feel quite right to be down with the overt sexual nature of this material, particularly the Teenager's "Homecoming." It's exceptionally greasy kid stuff.

Kansas City Click: Christian McBride, Benny Green and Greg Hutchinson pay tribute to Ray Brown tonight at the Gem.

Yung Joc, Dolla, Lil Will, Trap Starz Clik and Cash Image are on Saturday's bill at Memorial Hall. (Incidentally, is "My Dougie" or Mariah's "Touch My Body" the most irritating hit of 2008?)

French acts Les Marteaux Pikettes and Les Fossoyeurs join their pal Joey Skidmore at Fred. P. Ott's on Sunday.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Luciano At the Beaumont Club

Can you imagine a country singer with the nickname "Jesus' Jukebox"? How about a blues artist with the tag "Savior's Sentinel"?

Reggae star Luciano is saddled with the sobriquet "Jah Messenger."

While angels didn't descend from the heavens as Luciano crooned at the Beaumont Club Wednesday night, most of the 300 people in attendance would agree that his performance was divine.

With his soothing voice and crossover sensibility, Luciano occupies the space left vacant when beloved reggae legend Dennis Brown died in 1999. Although a large band with three backup singers shared the stage with him, Luciano's vocals and the rhythm section were all that could be discerned in the muddy sound mix. But that was plenty.

Luciano's set was preceded by Mikey General. He spread positive vibrations through the already jubilant crowd.

I arrived too late to catch Seedlove and 77 Jefferson, but I enjoyed Springfield band Jah Roots. Still, every Midwestern blue-eyed reggae band pales in comparison to the great Blue Riddim Band.

The evening was slightly marred by the unlikely intrusion of Jethro Tull. Aqualung blared through the club during an exceedingly long break between acts. Aqualung! The entire album!

"Which Man" is available on Luciano's Ultimate Collection. He's touring behind the excellent Jah Is My Messenger.

(Original photos by There Stands the Glass.)

Kansas City Click: Brandon Draper visits the Blue Room tonight.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I-Roy- Jah Come Here

Only silence now.

Microphone Attack fills me with joy. The insanely wonderful collection of reggae toasting from the '70s has been my personal soundtrack for the past several weeks. It's an essential document for anyone remotely interested in roots reggae and for crate-diggers investigating the various musical strands that contributed to the origin of rap. But mostly, it's perfect for anyone looking to have a good time. Several kind souls keep the memory of I-Roy alive at YouTube.

Sons of a Hoofer is a new documentary about the McFadden Brothers, a Kansas City jazz and dance institution. Here's the trailer.

I'm thrilled with the concept of Record Store Day. Grimey's in Nashville just added an Elvis Costello signing to a live lineup that includes Tim O'Brien, Dan Wilson and Kansas City-area band Drakkar Sauna. St. Louis' Vintage Vinyl and Euclid Records boast several in-stores. So far, Kansas City's stores list no special events at their sites. Guys?

Kansas City Click: Luciano anchors tonight's reggae bill at the Beaumont.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Peter Mulvey At Fred P. Ott's

Road block.

"I don't know much about this kind of music," a man standing next to me muttered. "But he's pretty darn good."

It's fascinating to see how an artist responds to an unusual situation. Peter Mulvey excelled in a performance at a hamburger restaurant for an audience that consisted almost entirely of his extended family and their friends last night. The Milwaukee-based Mulvey mentioned that his uncle organized the event.

Perhaps because it resembled a holiday family get-together, the room overflowed with both warm smiles and uncomfortable tension. A really nasty lover's spat took place two feet away from my barstool. Awkward...

Mulvey displayed a marvelous mastery of the increasingly rare art of engaging stage patter. Mulvey worked references to regional legends and landmarks including Eisenhower, Truman, Billy Butler and Kansas basketball into his song introductions. Of his original material, "Knuckleball Suite" resonated most strongly. Covers of Willie Nelson's "I Gotta Get Drunk" and a Louis Jordan novelty song kept the audience engaged.

"Road To Mallow" is one of three downloadable songs at his MySpace page. It's also the first track on Mulvey's Kitchen Radio.

Kansas City Click: My Chemical Romance headlines tonight at Memorial Hall.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Residents- Untitled 5

Only memories remain.

Are The Residents evil? I've long considered them the scariest act in music.

The heavy Bound By the Road tour I witnessed Saturday did nothing to change my mind. Sure, Invitro makes quite a racket. But DevilDriver would be a lot more disturbing if their singer didn't talk about his wife and kids back home in California between songs. And Napalm Death just made me smile. (My review of the show is here.)

No, metal and punk acts don't hold a candle to the weirdos in creepy costumes known as the Residents. Spoken word sequences are interspersed with a variety of odd sounds on the ghoulish 2002 release Demons Dance Alone, It's essential for "Life Would Be Wonderful," an oddball anthem that sounds as if it very well may have inspired the Flaming Lips' renaissance. A radically altered version can be heard in this live performance video.

You know how there are certain things you swear you'll never do but end up doing anyway? That's what happened at my jazz blog today.

Many people have a hard time grasping how I can love both Napalm Death and Alison Krauss. Listening to a lot of Ornette Coleman does funny things to a guy. Don't miss Gary Giddins' new profile of the great man.

Kansas City Click: How is it that celebrated folkie Peter Mulvey is playing a free show at a Plaza hamburger restaurant on a Monday night? I might have to head down to Fred P. Ott's tonight to find out.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bob Kames, 1926-2008

Closing time.

Are you down with the Chicken Dance? You don't have to ask me twice. I've done it plenty of times at weddings and birthday parties. But never have I had more fun with it than at Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas. The annual polka party is a beer-fueled orgy of silly dances. This relatively tame example makes me smile. Bob Kames, the man credited with popularizing the dance craze, died Wednesday. "Nashville Beer Garden" is typical of the sounds on this collection of polkas and waltzes.

The initial bookings for 2008's Rhythm & Ribs festival were announced earlier today. I'm most excited at the chance to catch Angie Stone, although I hope the festival isn't counting on her star power to draw big crowds. Patti Austin, George Duke, Fourplay and Robert Cray will also perform. It's almost certain that several locally-based artists will be added to the bill, but for now, Oleta Adams is the lone representative from Kansas City.

Kansas City Click: One of my favorite people champions the Neighborhood Bullies as "The Best F*cking Band In Los Angeles" here. I'll make a similar claim for the Architects in Kansas City. Their record release party is tonight at the Record Bar. The Beautiful Bodies open.

DevilDriver, Napalm Death, Straight Line Stitch, 36 Crazyfists and In Vitro crash the Beaumont Saturday on their Bound By the Road tour.

Andy Lee is featured in a free piano recital Sunday at UMKC.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Red Foley- Who? Me? (If You Don't Talk Too Much)

Talked out.

Although I rarely display it in this forum, I'm a sucker for honky tonk novelty songs. It's probably the result of being raised on Hee Haw, trucker anthems and Ray Stevens. The Red Foley mid-50s sessions collected on Stay A Little Longer include many fine Western swing standards, but I can't resist this routine. While I apologize for the ditty's misogyny, I must affirm that I know several guys who fell into the trap the song depicts. As long as I'm offering inappropriate content, here's a link to an obscure video of Foley performing a painfully dated hymn on the Ozark Jubilee.

I don't know why CUG Entertainment is spending thousands of dollars advertising on KPRS. The push promoting their MySpace account isn't garnering many plays.

The death of Cedella Marley Booker at 81 earlier this week accentuates the early demise of her son Bob in 1981. If Bob were to have lived as long as his mother, he wouldn't pass away until 2026. Can you imagine how much unrealized joy and inspiration the world lost?

Kansas City Click: A band very familiar with Red Foley, The Wilders, play an early show tonight at Crossroads Station. Don't miss Tim Finn's feature story about the old-timey/bluegrass/trad country band in today's Star.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Mills Brothers- Smoke Rings

No smoking.

Nanny state interference? Unconstitutional busybody legislation? Casino conspiracy? Maybe, maybe not.

All I know for certain is that my world just got better. Yesterday's election means that soon almost all bars and restaurants in Kansas City, Missouri, will be smoke-free. There is legitimate concern that a few of my favorite live music venues- including Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club, Harry's Country Club, Jardine's, Mike's Tavern and the Record Bar- could lose patrons as a result of the new ban. But really- how many people are going to miss seeing a band just because they'll now have to step outside to smoke?

I'm celebrating with the relaxed brilliance of The Mills Brothers' "Smoke Rings" from the insanely wonderful The 1930's Recordings box. It's more addictive than nicotine.

Can the combined star power of Diddy, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Wyclef, Swizz Beatz, Yung Joc and Busta Rhymes place Elephant Man on airwaves in the the United States this summer? It'd be pretty sweet to hear dancehall reggae sandwiched between Mariah Carey and T-Pain on Top 40 radio as I spend Saturdays in July at my public pool. Elephant Man's new album hit stores yesterday.

Kansas City rock band Red Line Chemistry is receiving prime placement as a MySpace "featured artist" today.

Kansas City Click: I was getting worried about Roger Clyne. After releasing his best post-Refreshments album, 2004's Americano, he seemed to have lost his way. Based on the new tracks from Turbo Ocho streaming at MySpace, he's firmly back in the saddle. Clyne and his outstanding band, the Peacemakers, return to Knuckleads tonight.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Rock Chalk Chant

Rock Chalk Chant

That's right- I live in Kansas. I'm proud of my roots. If you don't follow American college basketball, you owe it to yourself to hear the game's best cheer. This version seems to be done by a rehearsed choir, so it lacks the raucous passion displayed by fans at sporting events. Still, you get the idea. Given the right game scenario, it can last for several minutes. You might also let Luther Vandross sing as you watch a tournament highlight reel.

I was too wound up to sleep well last night. This morning was rough until I heard this remarkable song for the first time on the Steve Harvey Morning Show. Noel Gourdin's old-school R&B song is a socially conscious update of "Midnight Train To Georgia." Is it too early to call "The River" the best song of 2008?

Kansas City Click: Bring the noise. Joey Belladonna of Anthrax is at the Riot Room tonight. It's a gamble- it could either be one of the best shows ever or a complete embarrassment.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass. How do you like my backyard?)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Die Slow: Mac Lethal At the Riot Room

Mac Lethal and Joe Good- The Way We Bash

Men relieved themselves in the bathroom sink. A woman told me to "get your d*ck out of my *ss" moments after she forcefully elbowed her way around me. Another inebriated celebrant spilled her beer into the Riot Room's soundboard during the headliner's set, causing a burst of static to fill the room. "Sorry!" she shrugged.

These are Mac Lethal's people. And so help me Larry Moore, I am one of them.

Securing a drink at the bar was an epic challenge, the club was packed tighter than ticks and the cigarette smoke was so thick that even Mac Lethal complained about it. Yet I stuck it out in spite of the brutal conditions.

There was no way I was going to miss Mac Lethal's unofficial homecoming show, even if it meant getting home at two in the morning. Mac's career is at a critical stage. 11:11, his 2007 release on the Rhymesayers label, is finally achieving traction. He just performed at California's prestigious Paid Dues festival and Friday night at the small Westport club represented the first date of a national tour.

If he was sensing the pressure, he didn't show it. Mac's late night performance was masterful. As might be expected of a guy who insists that "I'm a rapper and I don't really like rap," it was a lighthearted, interactive affair. He may be a dead ringer for Charlie Brown, but the soul of O.D.B. beats inside his stocky frame. Mac has Tupac Shakur's mind and Scottie Wedman's heart.

Although he's only 26, Mac is well on his way to joining Gates Bar-B-Q, Ida McBeth and scorched summers lawns as a Kansas City institution. His raps reference the Royals' futility, local beers and Shawnee Mission West.

While I may never tire of shouting along with lines like "I hate my songs/I hate Mac Lethal/I hate people," a few minor details made my night. Mac picked up on a chant of "Die Slow" instigated by my very loud friend Shannon. Mac addressed accusations of "selling out" before he performed "Sun Storm," the final song of the night. It's a good thing, Mac insisted, that viewers of MTV's America's Best Dance Crew heard "a song about Kansas City" every time a contestant on the show lost.

Still, Mac has plenty of weaknesses. It's disappointing that he wastes his razor wit on obvious targets like Fergie, Soulja Boy and George Bush. And no disrespect to the talented DJ Sku, but Mac's shows would be enormously enhanced by the addition of a few live instruments. He shouldn't let the unfortunate set by the night's token rock band scare him off the idea.

While reviving The Tubes' "White Punks On Dope" concept is a clever conceit, it's not at all what I had in mind. I spotted Zach Phillips serving two-dollar draws of Flying Monkey's Mac's Beer. (That's right- the beverage is named for the rapper.) I wished Zach's mighty band The Architects had played instead.

Mac's new protege, a scrawny kid from Seattle named Grieves, put the show back on track. He won me over by explaining his unlikely obsession with Westside Connection's "Bow Down". I also liked that he came to the defense of his impromptu female DJ when a couple of "real" DJs tried to push her aside.

Grieves admitted that "I look like I'm 12 years old," but his gloomy self-loathing is far from immature.

The video for Mac's "Calm Down Baby" premiered immediately prior to his performance. It's certainly good enough for broadcast on MTV, BET and Fuse. For his sake, I hope it brings Mac a massive new audience. But it doesn't really matter to me.

Whether it transpires at the Riot Room or the Sprint Center, I hope to be front and center at Mac's next hometown gig. I just want to be able to wash my hands.

(Image of Friday's show appropriated from a fan at MySpace.)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Otis Rush- All Your Love

Love is dead.

I hate to admit that I've lost my taste for the blues. In the late '80s and early '90s I'd go to clubs to catch artists like Albert Collins, Gatemouth Brown, James Harman, Koko Taylor, Son Seals and Johnny Copeland several times a month. I'm not sure if I've changed or if the music's changed, but I rarely get excited about guitar-based live blues shows these days.

Still, there's no excuse for me to have never once mentioned Otis Rush at There Stands the Glass. He's near the top of the blues pantheon, and his Cobra sides still sound dangerous. This video gives a sense of Rush in his prime. I haven't seen him lately, but he's in great form on this 1977 live date.

I can only hope that guys like Marquise Knox and the new release by The Black Keys get me back on track.

I was delighted to post this humble home movie of Pete Eye at my my jazz site today.

Am I ever impressed with Melody Gardot! I'm distressed that I hadn't heard of the jazz-oriented vocalist until this week.

Kansas City Click: Mac Lethal and Grieves kick off their Rotten Apple Tour at the Riot Room tonight. I'll be there, of course.

Ben Folds plays what I suspect is a students-only concert on the UMKC campus Saturday.

CES Cru will be among the performers Sunday night at the Peanut.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Kissinger- Gold Rush


I spotted members of several Kansas City bands, including It's Over and Bacon Shoe, at last night's Spoon concert. As I indicate in my review, Spoon doesn't even try to conceal their many influences, so it's kind of paradoxical that other acts are interested in checking them out. Austin band Kissinger have also probably picked up a few tricks from Spoon. I picked up a repackaged version of Charm at Target when the retailer was experimenting with a .99 cent budget line. It wasn't quite the deal of a lifetime, but the 2001 recording contains several unpretentious pop gems like "Gold Rush."

While it will take a few days to for me to get my head around all aspects of Jay-Z's monumental deal with Live Nation, it's already clear that as much as any other post-download industry shift, it marks a definitive bellwether.

I'm late in learning that Static Major died February 25. He was 33, and had just added Lil Wayne's "Lollipop" to his impressive list of credits.

Kansas City Click: New York-based saxophonist Rob Scheps hits the Blue Room tonight.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The O'Kanes- This Ain't Love

No more love.

I was really pleased to get the chance to interview John McEuen. A McEuen solo gig at an instrument shop was one of my favorite live shows of 2007. And I feel strongly that the role of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in the development of outsider country and roots music is woefully overlooked. Not only did McEuen and company bring old-timey and bluegrass stalwarts to a new audience, they reintroduced fiddles, banjos and mandolins back to Nashville's mainstream sound. It made the path for subsequent roots-tinged acts like the O'Kanes a lot easier. "This Ain't Love," consequently, includes elements of the Everly Brothers, the Louvin Brothers and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. It's available on an out-of-print 1990 release.

My review of last night's Hotel Cafe show is here.

The new album by third-generation punk band Pennywise doesn't offer anything new, but it's good. Really good. I believe it's still available as a free download at MySpace.

Kansas City Click: Spoon, the Watchmen and White Rabbits are at the Uptown tonight.