I just had a flashback

I’m in the midst of an online debate with some old friends from various parts of the US and Europe about “production” vs. “song” as those things relate to mainstream acceptability – and radio airplay.  While adding an IMO to the thread, I begin listening to the songs posted on the Jonny Woodrose & The Broken-Hearted Woodpeckers Myspace page.  Jonny Woodrose had emailed me a few days ago to invite me to listen.  The first song shocks me.  It’s one of those moments when you sit and think, “is this something great or something horrendous?”  I’m maybe four songs into “Live From The Garage” and I’m sold.

I’m old enough to remember some of the weird experiments of the 60s and 70s when every single rule was broken and then broken again, just to see how many rules could be broken.  This “album” is a riot in the grandest lyrical traditions of Shel Silverstein’s “Freaking at the Freakers’ Ball,” with a hit and miss vocal performance and lo-fi garage production quality to match any early Dylan record… you can throw in some early Bright Eyes recordings for some modern relevence if you want.  This is not to say that I like everything here… as is the case with so many band Myspace pages, there’s some stuff there that I do cringe at – especially the instrumental “Broken Hearted Assholes,” the epitomy of a garage band jam, which brought an end to my listening… with one exception… I went back and relistened to the “Curse of Luann Lilly.”

Maybe it’s because of the alternative country rock vibe emoted throughout the album that this song would bring comparisons to some of the more experimental Wilco stuff…  but really – it’s much more like what I remember as a teenager in the late sixties when so many garage bands experimented with mind expanding drugs, three major chords,  layers and layers of noise and distortion, along with whatever vocal expression came along.  Take that, adding in healthy doses of tongue in cheek political psychedelic country-folk-rock of bands like Country Joe & the Fish, and you get pretty damn close to the flashback I just encountered.

This is raw, unaffected, noisy music with plenty of witty adult sophisticated humor and spirit … and it has perfectly abducted my ears, brain, and heart from listening to anything more mundane and properly produced for this cloudy Sunday afternoon.

Songs of the day – Wed. March 10

Gabrielle Louise – Strange Summer Snow – new single that she has made available for free download on her site http://gabriellelouise.com/albums.html.  In her email this morning she says she’s hitting the studio in April to record a new album.  She’s been down in Argentina the past few months, so it’ll be nice to hear some new material from Gabrielle.  Enjoy.

Tage Planetell – Don’t Worry About Me — See Tage’s website at http://www.tageplantell.com/ to download this single for free from his new album.

New Video “Don’t Worry About Me”

I first heard of Tage Plantell back when he was in the band On Second Thought.  That band called it a day in 2004.  He was also doing some solo stuff back then – kind of a Keller Williams hybrid thing w/ looping and all that — the one chance I did get to see him do this live, at the old Soiled Dove in LoDo when I was hosting an acoustic music night, he was stunning!  He just released a new album today.

Okay — for some odd reason I cannot embed a Vimeo video here … I will continue to work on that … in the meantime, here’s the link to the new video for the first single from the album, “Don’t Worry About Me.”  Enjoy.

Don’t Worry About Me from Tage Plantell on Vimeo.

Edit:  March 17 — figured out how to embed stuff here

So What’sup with CPR?

I got a very interesting email from a long time friend in public radio tonight.

Here it is … I’ve elected to not disclose the author, unless he wants to come on here and do it.    But his email to me does present some interesting issues that those of us involved in ANY kind of radio should pay attention to — public radio or otherwise.  We’re not in radio-Kansas anymore Toto….

Here’s the email:

Chris and friends in the Fort:

I’m not sure if you’ve seen this, but if you haven’t, you should:
Rating Outlook On Colorado Public Radio s Series 2002 Revenue Bonds Revised To Negative

8.2 million dollars in debt.  With a bond rating downgrade, all they can seem to do is re-finance their debt.

I hope the impact on community radio stations around the region will be minimal.  With the economy in terrible shape, Colorado Public Radio’s (CPR) need to sell their Ruby Hill property (the old KVOD location) in today’s real estate climate, and a years-long attempt (with no takers) to sell-off their 1340 AM signal in today’s radio world (CPR bought 1340 for 4.2 million dollars), there’s no place but DOWN from here for CPR.   The downturn goes to the core of operations as CPR staff morale is reportedly down.   Recently, staff began meeting with senior management to discuss items such as “benefits”; items that once seemed untouchable.  Beware of the possible fallout.

Why should everyone else in the public radio world in Colorado be concerned?

CPR is the largest public radio entity in the Rocky Mountain West, a prestigious distinction which can also translate into something much less attractive when finances start to fall apart.  The negative CPR bond rating blowback could make it more difficult for (smaller) public radio entities in the region, when they attempt to secure funding for larger ticket items (capital expenditures for equipment, etc.).

Questions can arise, such as:

–  If the region’s largest public radio entity is a financial risk, why should major lenders or investors (of CPR bonds) invest in smaller budgeted stations?

–  Aren’t smaller public stations naturally a higher risk than an entity the size of CPR?  Or

–  can smaller stations present a “mean and lean” proposal that can secure needing funding?

In this financial climate, it behooves smaller community stations to ask these questions and try to answer them honestly. Stations with solid ties to the communities they serve, with loyal local underwriting accounts, have a good start.  It’s a key part of this puzzle.  Here’s hoping you can move ahead through the financial fog.

Best wishes,

So, where DOES that leave the rest of us?  Do we have a product that people trust, that they want, that the community we live in needs, that creates a sense of urgency to engage in, and that we can afford?

Worth thinking about in this era of media contraction.

Monday Morning Music Meeting (MMMM goood!)

Okay, so it’s Monday morning, March 8. I’m having my coffee and wondering what new feature to add to this here new site… Since Tuesday is the traditional reporting day to the trades, I thought maybe a Monday morning music meeting would be cool. A place to write about new releases that came in during the past week – and that maybe got tested over the weekend. Whatcha think? I can launch it on Monday and those of you who are music directors around the state can post your comments as you see fit during the week? What new Colorado music did you add to your libraries? What releases are impressing your djs? Let’s talk….

New in the RMMN offices this past week.

Tommy Metz aka iuengliss – The Blossom Frontier
Genre/Style: electronica/dance, pop
Website: You’ve got two choices here. You can go to http://tommymetz.com/ and download the entire new album for free, or go to http://www.myspace.com/tommymetz for information and to hear the trax he’s posted there.

Molina Soleil & Aju w/ DJ Icewater – Soulaju
Genre/Style: hip-hop, neo-soul
Website: http://www.myspace.com/soulaju
Notes: Impressive act heavy on multiculturalism (Aju speaks 5 languages). They have an impressive touring schedule that includes stops throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Missouri, Oregon, California to name a few. According to their website: Molina Soleil & Aju are set to release “Soulaju” on March 23rd, 2010. It features the production of DJ Icewater, who has toured internationally with the Pharcyde and Shing02, and has recently mixed albums for artists like Lyrics Born and Jern Eye.

Romano Paoletti – Story of a Lifetime
Genre/Style: Americana, country, folk
Website: http://romanosmusic.com/
Notes: produced by Eric Thorin (Drew Emmitt Band). Features Eric Thorin, Sally Van Meter, Caleb Roberts, Eben Grace, Todd Moore, John McVey and Mollie O’brien and others. His grandfather, “Ragtime” Bob Darch, was the only living inductee of the Ragtime Hall of Fame. Romano’s mother, Norma Jean, was always a singer and was signed by Smokey Robinson of Motown Records.  He spent a lifetime with both of these people learning his craft.  It shows in his performances on the record.

David Williams & The Wildgrass Band featuring Kristina Murray – The Crazy Kind
Genre/Style: Americana, country, folk, bluegrass
Website: The best place I’ve found to sample tracks is at the CD Baby page for this album – cdbaby.com/cd/dwilliamswkmurray or hit http://myspace.com/davidwilliamssongs
Notes: The album features performances by Rockygrass mandolin winner Jordan Ramsey, Rockygrass banjo winner Chris Elliott, national fiddle champion (Weiser, ID) Katie Glassman and renowned Colorado bassist Duane Webster.
From website: David is  the 2009 EMMY AWARD WINNER IN COMPOSITION AND WRITING. Influenced by everything from gypsy jazz to folk, delta blues, swing, rockabilly, bluegrass & folk. As a singer-songwriter, David’s known for his way with words and melodies, which conjure up the American musical landscape.  His songs touch on everything from the difficulties of love to the people and places along old Route 66, or a carnival from his childhood, or swing tunes reminiscent of Tin-Pan-Alley—in a wide range of CDs released over the last 30 years.

As musician, David has recorded and performed with Greg Brown, Dave Moore and others; and he studied and performed with the great Jethro Burns, of Homer and Jethro fame.  He has played at many of the large folk music festivals in North America, such as Vancouver and Winnipeg, where he has been recognized as both a songwriter and instrumentalist.

Recently, he has written a new musical/play about Django Reinhardt.  His group DECO DJANGO specializes in this infectious music from the 1930s.

David has also published a number of books with Alfred A. Knopf and Ghost Road Press, as well as short stories and poems. He holds a Ph.D. in English, and he has been a writer in residence at a number of colleges and universities in the US.  A working cartoonist, his work appears around the world through Carlton Cards and Soultrader of London.

He is an ALA and NAPPA award-winning albums for children and is currently the songwriter for the new PBS children’s show The Big Green Rabbit.  As DIRTY LINEN says, no one else writes kids songs like DW.

The Crazy Kind is not a kid’s music record.  David Williams is most definitely one of Colorado’s most literary country-folk artists.