Archive for March, 2012

critic's pick 220

There are upsets and then there are upsets. When jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding was awarded the Best New Artist trophy last year in a Grammy Awards field that included platinum selling pop star competitors Justin Bieber and Drake… well, that was more of an earthquake than a mere upset.

Was it is a fluke or did the Grammys, a governing music enterprise that has long favored commercial visibility over artistic achievement, simply had enough of manufactured celebrities like Bieber?

In the end, we can only be thankful for the exposure the unexpected Grammy win brought Spalding, because with Radio Music Society, we now get to witness the fruits of that success. But within this immensely enjoyable album, Spalding, 27, reflects a level of performance and compositional confidence that suggest her new tunes were in stylistic place long before the Grammy upset. They move effortlessly from the largely acoustic framework that cemented the music on 2009’s Chamber Music Society into more pop-centric, electric settings. But the overall sound – summery, fresh faced R&B laced with strong undercurrents of jazz – is remarkably unchanged. In fact, Radio Music Society, despite several highlights, flows with a spring-like grace and consistency.

In some ways, the album is a song cycle that shifts thematically but continually immerses itself in light soul-pop settings underscored by Fender Rhodes-style piano, the beautiful duality of Spalding’s vocabularies on acoustic and electric bass and, of course, an immensely inviting vocal approach that glides over the songs with airy elegance.

The album’s beautiful set-up is Radio Song, a tune built around a wordless, almost child-like vocal melody before it blooms into bountiful jazz-pop sunshine. From there, the bright vibes ignite with Cinnamon Tree and City of Roses, songs packed with a soul sound that reflects worldly lyricism (both reference bop and Brazilian music without bowing completely to either) while Let Her flirts with leaner, after hours funk and Steely Dan-like jazz-pop.

Several of Spalding’s high profile jazz and R&B pals offer assistance, although they discreetly blend into the arrangements. Joe Lovano (whose outstanding double drummer quintet Us Five includes Spalding) offers golden tenor sax accompaniment for a smartly propulsive cover of the 1979 Stevie Wonder nugget I Can’t Help It while veteran drummer Jack DeJohnette anchors the breezy finale tune Smile Like That.

More obvious are the vocal foils, like Algebra Blessett, who fortifies the joyous Africa heritage celebration Black Gold, and Lalah Hathaway, a dazzling soul-pop presence on a striking new arrangement of a forgotten ‘90s fusion piece by Wayne Shorter, Endangered Species.

In short, Radio Music Society beams with music so smart and accessible that you forget where the jazz intellect stops and the sunny, but very genuine pop appeal begins.

It’s Called a Deed of Trust — but Verify

The Washington Post April 5, 2003 | Benny L. Kass QWe recently went to settlement on our first home, and the person conducting the settlement had us sign a number of documents, including one called a “deed of trust.” I asked the settlement officer what that was, and he said it was the mortgage on our property. Why is it called a deed of trust? What’s the difference between a deed of trust and a “deed”? this web site deed of trust

AWhether you are a first-time home buyer or an experienced professional investor, you are entitled to get all of your questions fully answered when you go to settlement. There are too many settlement officers — including lawyers — who treat a settlement as if it is just a routine procedure that is required by the lenders.

That is not the way it should be. A settlement is, in effect, both the end of the buying process and the beginning of homeownership. As a buyer, you should fully understand each document you sign. You should not be rushed through the process just because there is another settlement waiting in the reception room.

At settlement (called “escrow” in some areas), the buyer signs a number of legal documents. Each of these documents is significant, and can have a major effect on your life and your home in the future. While there are a huge number of papers you have to sign, the most important ones are the promissory note, the settlement statement (called a HUD-1) and the deed of trust.

The seller will also have to sign a number of documents, most notably the deed and the settlement statement.

The settlement statement is a summary of the transaction that lists the amounts of money being paid by whom, for what. Review it closely to make sure there are no surprise charges or anything else you weren’t expecting. Keep your copy permanently; you need it for tax purposes. Actually, you should keep a permanent file of all the papers you receive at the settlement.

A deed is the document that legally conveys the property to you. The seller should read it carefully, and confirm that the legal description contained in the deed is correct. The buyer doesn’t sign the deed, but should review it anyway, because it will be recorded among the land records in the jurisdiction where the property is located.

There are three important things in a deed that a buyer should review:

Is the legal description correct? Ask the person conducting the settlement to compare the legal description in the deed to the description in the title binder that the settlement company got when it obtained the title search from land records. I would rather catch mistakes now, before that deed has been recorded.

Are the names spelled right? The seller is the grantor, and the buyer is the grantee. Titles are searched in what is known as a “grantor” index. If a name is misspelled, there will be problems when you sell or refinance your house.

How are you taking title to the property? This will be spelled out in the deed. If you are purchasing your house in your own name, the deed will state “as sole owner.” If you are taking title with your spouse, the deed will usually state “as tenants by the entirety.” If you are taking title with a friend, the title will either be held as “tenants in common” or as “joint tenants with rights of survivorship.” It is important to discuss how you are going to take title with your own lawyer, before settlement. Unless the person conducting the settlement is your own lawyer, that person should not give you legal advice. If the settlement officer does offer legal advice, you should not rely on it. deed of trust

The promissory note is the IOU; you agree to pay the lender the full amount of the loan, at the interest rate stated in the note, for the number of years that you obtain the loan. This is a very important document, and you should not only read it carefully at settlement, but also get a copy of this document before you leave the settlement office.

And how about the deed of trust? The settlement officer was correct: It is the mortgage document. My legal dictionary defines it as follows: “An instrument used in many states in place of a mortgage. Property is transferred to a trustee by a borrower (trustor), in favor of the lender (beneficiary), and reconveyed upon payment in full.” Although the laws on deeds of trust vary from state to state, here is an oversimplified explanation.

In the early history of mortgage lending, lenders used only a mortgage document. This was recorded among the land records, and if the borrower defaulted on the mortgage payments, the lender had to go to court to foreclose. From the lender’s point of view, this was time- consuming and expensive.

Accordingly, many years ago, some imaginative lawyer (or lender) conceived of the idea of the deed of trust. At settlement, the seller would convey the property by deed to the buyer. The buyer would simultaneously convey the property — in trust — to one or two trustees selected by the lender. In effect, legal title (in many states) would be transferred to these trustees. The trustees would hold this legal title until one of two events occurred:

The loan was paid off in full. Then the trustees (usually at the expense of the borrower) would convey the property back to the borrower, and release the deed of trust from land records.

The loan went into default. Because the trustees owned the property, and the deed of trust contained language giving the trustees the power to sell the property upon a default, the trustees would arrange to have the property foreclosed upon by a private auctioneer (or the sheriff in some parts of the country, on the courthouse steps). If the borrower objected to the foreclosure, and believed he had legal defenses, the burden to go to court to stop the foreclosure shifted to the borrower.

Thus, a deed of trust is an important document. It will usually contain such important provisions as:

Due on sale clause: If the property is sold or transferred, the loan becomes automatically due. In other words, the loan cannot be assumed by a subsequent owner.

Prepayment penalty: Will you be charged a penalty if you pay off the loan before its due date? This is especially important in today’s market, because many people are refinancing as often as once a year to take advantage of lower mortgage interest rates. Before you decide to refinance, make sure that there is no prepayment penalty included in your deed of trust.

Books can (and have been) written about deeds of trust, and there are literally thousands of court opinions interpreting the language of these documents. You don’t need to know all that detail. What is important is that you understand all of those documents you signed, and get copies before leaving the settlement office.

Benny L. Kass is a Washington lawyer. For a free copy of the booklet “A Guide to Settlement on Your New Home,” send a self- addressed stamped envelope to Benny L. Kass, Suite 1100, 1050 17th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Readers may also send questions to him at that address.

Benny L. Kass

the CEO of TSO

trans-siberian orchestra founder paul o'neill.

 Ever one to throw curve balls as the expectations of his music industry brethren, Paul O’Neill had a few especially grand surprises in store as his Trans-Siberian Orchestra set out on the road this winter. And they all had to do with timing.

First, there was the time of year. Typically, TSO – the epic prog-pop ensemble that O’Neill founded nearly 20 years ago – tours in November and December with selections from their multi-platinum selling holiday recordings. But as the band’s newest album, Night Castle, steered clear of Yuletide inspirations, performing during the other 10 months of the year became an option.

Still, when time came for a post-holiday tour this year, O’Neill put Night Castle on hold in order to spotlight a 12 year old, self-described “rock opera,” Beethoven’s Last Night. That’s right. The focus of the tour that brings TSO back to Rupp Arena for its first non-holiday related concert is a complete performance of a record that was released in 2000.

Listen close and you can almost hear the collective groan of record company marketing executives.

“In rock ‘n’ roll, the normal standard is that you tour behind your latest album,” said O’Neill, who composes and produces the ensemble’s music (although he is not a regular touring member of the band). “And, in our case, Night Castle is that album. It came out in 2009 and has gone platinum. As such, Warner Brothers (which oversees TSO’s recordings) expected us to perform that as our main rock opera for this tour. So a lot of the initial feedback from Warner Brothers on what we wound up doing for this tour has been, well, a little weird.

“But so much of what we do is based on timing, which was hard to explain to Warner Brothers. I just felt that even though Beethoven’s Last Night came out in 2000, it was the more timely story to present.”

Long fascinated by the instrumental extremes of prog-rock, O’Neill has been equally taken with the life, times and works of Beethoven and Mozart. In the former, he found a story of perseverance and determination. In the later, he found a kind of grandiosity and audience appeal that translated into the centuries-old equivalent of rock stardom.

“I’ve always worshipped Beethoven and Mozart. But for my whole life, I’ve been in awe of Beethoven. He was born into an impoverished family in Germany, but, through sheer will power, made his way to Vienna. By the time he was 21, he was recognized as the greatest piano player that ever lived by the likes of Mozart. By the time he was 25, he realized he was going completely deaf. He found out he had massive lead poisoning, which caused not only his deafness but depression and manical mood swings. But he fought his way through and wrote the 9th Symphony, Moonlight Sonata and Prometheus.

“This was music that has brought – and is still is bringing – peace and happiness to millions of people. Yet it was music that he himself would never get to hear.”

The storyline of Beethoven’s Last Night seems to borrow a little from the great musical folklore that had Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil at the famed crossroads for the ability to play the blues. In O’Neill’s piece, Beethoven spends his last night alive in a battle for his soul with Mephistopheles. Though not a new work, Beethoven’s Last Night will be reissued this spring as a two-disc set that features much of the narration that colors the piece when TSO performs it live.

Of course, a robust story with music that generously references Beethoven’s compositions is only half of the TSO saga. Onstage, the band is as elaborate and theatrical as they come. Flames, lasers and lights galore with multiple guitarists, keyboardists and vocalists forge TSO into pure, unapologetic performance spectacle. It’s part Kiss, part Queen and part Spinal Tap.

But O’Neill also sees TSO, especially as it tours Beethoven’s Last Night, as something of an introduction, especially for younger audiences consumed almost exclusively by rock ‘n’ roll, to some of classical music’s most recognized and enduring composers.

“So many of our fans are teenagers,” O’Neill said. “They might normally never listen to Mozart or Beethoven. But when they hear a rock band play their music, they might go, ‘Oh, that’s Beethoven? Let’s check that out.’

“I mean, there is no way you could ever convince me that if Beethoven and Mozart were alive today they would not be using electric guitars and keyboards. And for people familiar with the classics, they get to hear some new ideas, fresh arrangements and different instrumentation at our concerts, not to mention some new music of our own.

“Ultimately, TSO is like any other living thing. It’s just that it’s musically driven as opposed to celebrity driven.”

Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs at 7:30 tonight at Rupp Arena. Tickets are $39.50-$59.50. Call (859) 233-3535, (800) 745-3000 or go to

in performance: geri allen and timeline

geri allen.

Geri Allen is a jazz artist who favors specificity. Rather than present anything resembling a career retrospective (or even an overview) last night at the Norton Center for the Arts’ Weisiger Theatre in Danville, she immersed herself in a quartet called Timeline- a piano trio augmented by tap percussionist Maurice Chestnut.

As such, how much you took away from this concert depended on how much you bought into such a distinctive instrumental concept. One perspective had you applauding Allen’s sheer creative intuition. Another, however, made you wish the pianist emphasized her own musical profile more. After all, this was her ball.

Granted, the employment of tap in a purely jazz setting is hardly new. The splendid duets of pianist McCoy Tyner (who Allen brought to mind last night in some of her beefier, more modally minded runs) and tap pioneer Savion Glover (a mentor of Chestnut) quickly come to mind. But there was precious little of Allen and Chestnut locking horns, save for some spirited exchanges in the show opening version of Charlie Parker’s Another Hair-Do. Instead, Chestnut’s wildly physical – but seldom musical – hoofing seemed designed more as a foil for drummer Kassa Overall.

There were some nice contemporary references – a touch of New Orleans funk here, dashes of samba and tango there. But the broader percussive exchanges, like the ones during the show-closing  Philly Joe, left Allen’s piano work out in the cold almost by design.

Indeed, Allen confessed at one point that Timeline is a celebration of drums and dance. Maybe so, but that didn’t explain how bassist Kenny Davis was placed clearly in the driver’s seat for the first half of a show that barely clocked in at 70 minutes.

The problem was not with the players. Davis revealed himself as a first rate instrumentalist with a spectacular tone. Overall was a wonderfully intuitive groove merchant who regularly recalled mentoring drummer Billy Hart. And Chestnut’s appealing stamina made him a solid audience favorite. But there was so nowhere near enough of Allen’s own playing to go around.

Just when you thought you were getting a serious taste of her piano work – and the gliding lyricism and bold animation it contained – in marched the hoofing, jolting the show from jazz subtlety to dance spectacle.

the intrepid bluegrasser

jim by senor mcguire.

Jim Hurst did not title his new album Intrepid on a whim. As one of bluegrass music’s most respected guitarists, he has journeyed in and out of string music traditions, welcoming any artistic challenge that came before him.

Playing country music in the ‘80s and ‘90s with Trisha Yearwood and Holly Dunn? He’s done that. Forming bluegrass-bred alliances with Claire Lynch and Missy Raines? That’s part of the resume, too. And what about newer collaborative projects with such acoustic music pioneers as David Grisman and Rob Ickes? They are all chapters in a career that has been willfully intrepid every step of the way.

“I came up with the title,” said the Middlesboro native, who performs Thursday at Natasha’s. “It takes a little courage and maybe a bit of foolishness to do something like this, especially in the bluegrass genre.”

Foolish? The music on Intrepid sounds anything but. Musically, it boasts masterful flat and finger picking tunes with vocal inspirations that sail through multiple country and Americana music generations. What sets the album apart from the works of numerous contemporaries is that Hurst does it all himself. Save for the closing gospel quartet piece (He Makes You Strong), Intrepid is a one man show. Similarly, most of Hurst’s headlining concert performances these days are also unaccompanied affairs.

“It really reveals who I am in my solo shows,” Hurst said. “A lot of promoters and event producers, they don’t know what to expect unless you can hand them something that can provide a little perspective. I wanted the album to be as reflective as possible of my live solo show.

“(Country songsmith and progressive bluegrass stylist) John Hartford has tried something like this, but I guess there are different conversations as to whether he was bluegrass. So did (finger picking guitarist/composer) Randall Hylton. Both of those guys were pretty successful at it, too. Randall Hylton, though, was all about entertainment when he stepped up onstage. I mean, I try to make my shows real and fun. But I’m not a comedian. I don’t tell jokes. I just try to have a ball with the music.”

While many bluegrass enthusiasts were likely introduced to Hurst through his touring and recording tenure with Lynch, it was the immensely popular duo with bassist Raines that pointed to the kind of technical proficiency and stylistic daring that defines his playing today. While the instrumental make up differs, Hurst also sees a strong link between his duet work with Raines and his newer collaborative music with Blue Highway dobroist Ickes.

“Missy and I worked together for almost nine years,” Hurst said. “To be able to throw ideas at each other night after night onstage and inspire one another to always reach a little bit higher and still maintain the integrity, the essence of a song, was wonderful. With Rob, it’s different only because there is no bass. But we’re up for pretty much anything, from a pretty gospel song or a ballad to going out as a far a song by (blues pioneer) Skip James or even Miles Davis.”

The increasingly visible music Hurst is making with Grisman expands on that idea. His guitarwork augments Grisman’s mandolin leads and bass support from son Samson Grisman. They jointly perform under the banner of the David Grisman FolkJazz Trio.

“We’re doing everything from Stephen Foster to the Rolling Stones,” Hurst said. “We take on a pretty wide variety of music. Last night, we did a little bit of E.M.D. (the lead-off tune from 1977’s famed The David Grisman Quintet album with guitar great Tony Rice and multi-instrumentalist Darol Anger), but did it kind of slow and funky. It was great.

“One thing about David – he is an artist, first and foremost. He has to make money and he has to be a businessman. He knows how to do that. But when it comes to his art, he doesn’t pigeonhole. Playing with him offers a new opportunity to express yourself every night.

“I’ve always loved the variety in all of the music I’ve been able to play. I always knew when I was onstage with Holly Dunn, I was playing her music and when I was with Trisha Yearwood, I was playing her music. But what I like about the diversity I’ve been enjoying these last couple of years is taking on so many different kinds of music on the same stage. I feel that way when I’m doing my solo thing as well as when I’m working with Rob or David. I get such a boost from that variety. I’m thankful for every bit of it.”

Jim Hurst perform at 9 tonight at Natasha’s Bistro, 112 Esplanade. Cover charge is $8. Call (859) 259-2754.

What to pack when school is peanut-free

Post-Tribune (IN) August 2, 2008 | SARA NOEL THIS ELECTRONIC VERSION MAY DIFFER SLIGHTLY FROM PRINTED VERSION Many schools are now peanut-free environments, which can present a dilemma for parents who want to send their children to school with a brown bag lunch. Here are some ways to handle the restrictions: Dear Sara — I have a son in full-day school (snack and lunch needed) and one son in morning preschool (only snack needed). Both are in peanut-free schools. I just found out that they can’t bring anything that has even a generic peanut warning that says it “may” contain nuts. This warning is on everything. I can no longer send granola bars, commercial cookies and crackers, etc. Do you have any ideas?

Dear Nicki — You can find soy butter and sunflower butter in health-food stores. You can also include food items such as yogurt, pudding, applesauce, homemade muffins, fruit, raw veggies and dip, string cheese, chicken nuggets, luncheon meats, pizza, hard-boiled eggs, breadsticks, cottage cheese, macaroni and cheese, soups, popcorn and hummus. Ask the school and other parents for suggestions, too. I realize this can be frustrating, but peanut-free options outweigh the restrictions. Check your local library for peanut-free cookbooks, too. in our site chicken salad sandwich recipe

Dear Lukesmama — Here’s a list of ideas for you to try whenever you are either bored with white rice or have leftover rice.

Cheesey rice: Add butter and Parmesan cheese.

Sweet rice: Add cinnamon, sugar and butter.

Little bit country: Add gravy.

Room for a ‘shroom: Add mushrooms and a sauteed garlic.

Gardener’s pick: Add chopped fresh basil, chopped tomatoes and corn.

Meaty barbecue: Add kielbasa sausage or hot dogs and barbecue sauce.

Italian flair: Add tomato-basil sauce or your favorite red sauce, cooked zucchini and Italian sausage to hot or reheated rice. Top with cheese such as mozzarella or Parmesan.

South of the border: Add diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, shredded cheese, diced cooked carrots, peas and red-pepper sauce, or add cooked beans, salsa and shredded cheese to hot or reheated rice.

In love with rice: Add marinated artichoke hearts and grated Parmesan cheese to hot or reheated rice.

Beef it up: Cook rice in beef broth. Add sauteed onions and mushrooms.

Golden rice: Cook rice in chicken stock. Add sauteed onions and mixed vegetables, such as peas and carrots.

Dear Sara — I’m looking for a new chicken salad sandwich recipe. I’d like to try something different, but I am not interested in anything that has grapes or raisins in it. I love the crunch in my sandwich, but don’t want fruit added. — Cherrie, New York Dear Cherrie — I like the following recipe when I want a crunchy chicken salad sandwich. see here chicken salad sandwich recipe

Crunchy Chicken Salad Servings: 6 * 3 cups diced chicken * 1 medium cucumber, chopped * 1 celery stalk, chopped * 1 small onion, diced * 3 radishes, chopped * 1/2 carrot, chopped * 3/4 cup mayonnaise * 1/4 cup ranch dressing * Lettuce * Salt and pepper Combine all ingredients. Split croissant in half. Place lettuce leaf on half a croissant. Spread chicken salad on the other croissant half and assemble sandwich.


critic’s picks 219

the dark side of the moon

Recorded over a period of roughly 6 ½ years, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall cemented Pink Floyd’s ascension from cultish psychedelic rockers to the mantle of the ‘70s’ top selling artists. Through re-released in numerous versions over the decades (along with the more critically lambasted Animals, which surfaced between Wish You Were Here and The Wall), the newly remastered Experience Editions (part of a massive reissue campaign of the entire Pink Floyd catalogue that began last fall) come to us with some enticing extras.

Specifically, each album is augmented by a bonus disc of unreleased concert and demo material. The original music on these albums is known well to even the most casual of Pink Floyd fans. So let’s focus instead on the newly uncovered treats, which are – on each release – quite extraordinary.

The Dark Side of the Moon’s Experience Edition boasts the biggest delight – namely a concert version of the entire album, performed in sequence at London’s Wembley Pool in November 1974. The original Dark Side album had already been an international hit for nearly 18 months by the time of this performance. So when the faint heartbeat that triggers the opening Speak to Me is heard, the audience erupts as if the Rolling Stones had just kicked into gear. Available as a bootleg for years, this official, cleaned up version boasts a remarkably intuitive feel for an album so labored upon in the studio. The clear highlight: the late keyboardist Richard Wright’s piano elegy The Great Gig in the Sky, which is augmented by weepy pedal steel guitar from David Gilmour and the nuclear gospel wails of Venetta Fields and Carlena Williams.

wish you were here

The bonus disc to 1975’s Wish You Were Here widens the timeline considering. Three more tracks from the same Wembley concert begin the set. The first is an almost processional-sounding version of Wish You Were Here’s centerpiece, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Roger Waters’ trippy requiem to Floyd founder Syd Barrett. Then come Raving and Drooling and You’ve Got to Be Crazy, blueprints of songs that rematerialized as Sheep and Dogs on Animals in 1977. The coup de grace, however, is a funereal reading of Wish You Were Here’s title tune colored by a wildly elegant solo from the great French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli.  

the wall

The experience edition of 1979’s The Wall comes with 75 minutes worth of demo recordings – all fascinating but not nearly as insightful as the ’74 live material. Still, the hazy funk version of Young Lust and a truly haunting draft of One of My Turns surrounded by harmonium-style keyboards underscore the narcissistic cracks in Pink Floyd’s darkest opus.

hall rolls without the rock

the kentucky headhunters: doug phelps, fred young, greg martin and richard young.

All in all, it is a fine crop. The 2013 class of inductees into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, which were announced earlier today, boasted names that have largely been synonymous with the state’s booming country, country-pop and roots music heritage.

Exile, which has been brewing up radio-friendly pop and country seemingly since the beginning of time, was an inevitable pick. The Kentucky HeadHunters deserve induction on attitude alone as they remain as gloriously unspoiled today as when they shook the country charts with electrified Bill Monroe and Hank Williams tunes nearly 25 years ago. Contemporary Christian artist Stephen Curtis Chapman is deserving, as well, but given how his career is still thriving, such a gold watch honor seems a touch premature. But the kicker is the late Skeeter Davis, a true roots and pop music maverick who should have been among the hall’s earliest members.

Similarly, there is little to squabble with in the heritage picks of The Hilltoppers, Old Joe Clark and Emory & Linda Martin.

What is disconcerting, though, is the sort of tunnel vision the hall continues to take with its picks. Country dominates to a point where numerous Kentucky natives that have operated in areas of contemporary rock and jazz – artists that are likely unknown to the hall’s nominating committees – stand little chance of recognition. There have been a few inductees from these fields (Les McCann, Lionel Hampton), but the hall remains predominantly a country club.

Among the decidedly non-country Kentucky born greats that have not been inducted (and, in all likelihood, not considered) are Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club co-founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Chris Franz (of Ft. Campbell and Maysville), keyboardist John Medeski of the wildly popular jazz/avant funk/jam band Medeski Martin & Wood (of Louisville), internationally acclaimed guitarist Adrian Belew, who has toured and recorded with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Talking Heads and King Crimson while doubling as an immensely industrious solo artist (of Covington), punk music pioneer Richard Hell (of Lexington) and jazz saxophonist Marshall Allen, who remains a vital avant garde renegade at age 87 (of Louisville).

Again, hats off to the 2013 inductees. But let’s hope the hall soon opens its eyes and ears to acknowledge the fact that there is more to the music country of Kentucky than Kentucky country music.

concert preview: Cody Canada and The Departed, with Shooter Jennings

Telegraph – Herald (Dubuque) March 27, 2012 | megan gloss Event: Country music, Cody Canada and The Departed, with Shooter Jennings Time/date: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 31 Site: Mississippi Moon Bar, Diamond Jo Casino, Port of Dubuque Cost: $22-$37 All Diamond Jo shows are 21 and older. No refunds or exchanges.

Tidbits * Last year, Cross Canadian Ragweed played to a sold-out crowd in one of its last concerts at Mississippi Moon Bar. Now, in the wake of the band’s decision to part ways, Cody Canada has resurfaced with an assortment of musicians, including longtime Ragweed bandmate, Jeremy Plato, to form Cody Canada and The Departed. go to site cody canada and the departed see here cody canada and the departed

* Along with Canada and Plate, The Departed rounds out with Seth James, Steve Littleton and Dave Bowen. The band’s debut release, “This Is Indian Land,” is set for release this spring.

* Son of legendary country singers Waylon Jennings and Jessie Colter, Shooter Jennings is an acclaimed country artist. He has been active in country music and southern rock, producing three Top 20 country albums since his debut, “Put the ‘O’ Back in Country,” in 2005.

* In 2010, Shooter made his first foray into psychedelic rock, with the critically acclaimed, “Black Ribbons.” * Shooter’s most recent release, “Family Man,” marks his long- anticipated return to the country music genre.

Megan Gloss megan gloss

in performance: lyle lovett and john hiatt

lyle lovett and john hiatt.

Early into a performance of expert song swapping that sailed along effortlessly for over 2 ¼ hours last night at Louisville’s Brown Theatre, Lyle Lovett commented on pal John Hiatt’s businessman-like appearance, remarking that he looked like he “walked in off the set of Mad Men.” Truth to tell, the two veteran songwriters were dressed almost identically in suits and ties. But the given the dark, twisted and sometimes flat out cynical emotive stance their songs took, a better estimation of a fictional home base might be the set of Glengarry Glen Ross.

As they have for several years, Lovett and Hiatt performed side by side without a band, exchanging songs from careers that stem back over 25 years. With very few exceptions, the repertoire revolved around love songs of troublesome – or at least, sardonic – origins. Lovett is a master at this sort of storytelling, mixing comically grim fables (Fat Babies, She’s No Lady, and the hilarious, newly recorded The Girl with the Holiday Smile) with elegantly pensive reflections (a beautifully bittersweet The Road to Ensenada). But Hiatt didn’t miss a step in spinning an askew love song, from the new and unrecorded Come Back Home to the plaintive strains of the 1987’s exquisite Lipstick Sunset.

“People give a bad name to hopelessness,” Hiatt said with a wry smile at the conclusion of Feels Like Rain, though the comment was vastly more tongue-in-cheek that the sobering songs that made up the bulk of the program.

For the record, Hiatt stuck exclusively to his own material while Lovett detoured into cover tunes from fellow Texas songsmiths (Eric Taylor’s lovely Understand You, John Grimaudo’s profoundly dour Dress of Laces) and an unexpected  rock institution (a very Lone Star flavored reading of the Grateful Dead’s Friend of the Devil).

Though they played side by side, the two seldom worked as a duo. Hiatt occasionally offered brittle bits of blues clusters as guitar solos during Lovett’s songs. But the only joint singing came during the encore finale of Lovett’s Church. But that teaming seemed almost superfluous. Given the literate, emotive and stylistic bond their songs shared throughout the evening, Lovett and Hiatt seemed very much of the same musical mind.

the new dillon

mike dillon

Looking for an excuse to stay up late Thursday night that doesn’t involve a basketball tournament? Might we suggest an evening of New Orleans accented funk, fusion and fun courtesy of the Mike Dillon Band at Cosmic Charlie’s.

Last seen here as one-third of the wildly industrious Dead Kenny G’s, Dillon is a versed percussionist whose playing has been featured in Garage a Trois, Billy Goat, Les Claypool’s Fancy Band and Critters Buggin as well as on recordings by the likes of Claypool, Ani DiFranco and Marco Benevento.

When he played here a year ago (almost to the day) with the Dead Kenny G’s, Dillon was pretty much a lord of rhythm and thunder, performing on drums, tabla and, to a lesser extent, vibraphone. The latter takes top priority in the Mike Dillon Band – a quartet rounded out by members of the New Orleans groove collective known as Yojimbo – specifically, trombonist Carly Meyers and drummer Radam G – with Government Majik’s Bru Brusser holding down bass duties.

The Mike Dillon Band has yet to release an album together. But a generous number of bootleg-style videos of the group (mostly taken from a February performance in Texas) viewable on at least give a hint of what we can expect on Thursday – namely, groove accented tunes with the occasional funk and punk flourish propelled with a generous blast of Crescent City soul.

Of particular interest amid the youtube video scrapbook is a tune called Ding Dong the Party’s Over. It recalls the animated, vibraphone-happy fun conjured during Ruth Underwood’s tenure with Frank Zappa – but with an even more playful, New Orleans feel.

Lexington’s own Baja Yetis will open the show with a funk/jazz repertoire that runs from Herbie Hancock and Galactic to Miles Davis and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

Kinda makes you want to kickoff the weekend a little early, doesn’t it?

The Mike Dillon Band and Baja Yetis perform at 9 p.m. March 8 at Cosmic Charlie’s, 388 Woodland Ave. Tickets are $10. Call (859) 309-9499.

critic’s pick 218

“Hard times come and hard times go…,” repeats Bruce Springsteen like a mantra on the title track to his volcanic new Wrecking Ball. With each pass, the lyrics intensify, magnifying an omnipresent urgency until the song reaches its deflating resolution (“… just to come again”).

Wrecking Ball is an album of the times. Its tone is rich but desperate, topical but not political and rocking in about a dozen different ways. Where 2009’s Working on a Dream was essentially a pop diversion, Wrecking Ball is a morning eye-opener, a shot glass full of rock spirits that surveys the crumbling contours of the American Dream so much of Springsteen’s past music celebrated. Here, bankers and powerbrokers run the show as the working class strives to maintain. And that imbalance sets in motion some very uncomfortable sagas.

The ragged hoedown Easy Money, for example, depicts a couple getting dolled up for an evening of casual robbery (“I got a Smith & Wesson .38, I got a hellfire and I got me a taste”) while the far starker Jack of All Trades centers on protagonists hit hard by unemployment but willing to adjust to any labor or skill to survive (“I’ll take the work that God provides”).

Musically, Wrecking Ball in an amalgamation. While Springsteen’s familiar and anthemic E Street Band sound dominates, there are strong references to both the hootenanny folk style of his Seeger Sessions band and the spare, dark narrative sound of 2005’s Devils & Dust album. With a new producer (Ron Aniello in for Brendan O’Brien) and a massive roster of players (most of the E Street-ers along with a string section, brass section and a full gospel choir), the sound of Wrecking Ball is as big as its emotive scope – from the percussive battle cry of We Take Care of Our Own (which opens the album) to the closing, Pogues-style mash-up reprise of the Seeger Sessions’ American Land.

Within these tales of hard times, though, are two bonafide Boss classics.

The first is the aforementioned title tune, which actually takes the demolition of Giants Stadium as its cue. But when placed within the album’s larger narrative reach, it simply explodes. A hoedown tune of sorts, its chorus (“bring on your wrecking ball”) becomes reflective of the faith that remains resilient throughout the album.

The other is Land of Hope and Dreams, which has been an E Street encore tune since the late ‘90s. Here, in studio form, the song is all gospel fury, a journey of salvation filled with sinners and lost souls that finds “dreams will not be thwarted… faith will be rewarded.” Hope and Dreams reaches its zenith with the final recorded sax blasts of the late Clarence Clemons. Talk about a payoff.

ronnie montrose 1947-2012

ronnie montrose.

It’s been interesting to take note of the plentiful online posts in recent days, especially on Facebook, regarding the cancer-related death over the weekend of guitarist Ronnie Montrose at age 64. Sad as it may seem, you don’t fully appreciate the extent of an artist’s fanbase – whether it encompasses full-on worship or simple but devout appreciation – until after that artist passes.

I say that with full respect for Montrose’s work. It’s just that it an age where guitar heroes come and go, Montrose seldom rated much of a mention until this week. Turns out, many still champion his work on 1972’s They Only Come Out at Night, his one and only album as guitarist for The Edgar Winter Group (yep, that’s him hammering out the power chords on Frankenstein and strumming the crisp pop melody of Free Ride). Others favor the early ‘70s albums of his band Montrose (the enterprise that unleashed Sammy Hagar into the world) or the later but equally tough knuckled guitar rock music he fashioned with Gamma.

My favorite Montrose moment came in early 1978 with an instrumental album called Open Fire. It was a record that had it all. There were heaps of glorious chords to excite even the most reserved of air guitarists. But the album also went beyond that into intense fusion territory, approaching in many ways the music Jeff Beck and Jan Akkerman were fashioning at the time. It has been out-of-print for ages.

Montrose would balance instrumental works for the rest of his career with his more commercially directed band projects. But none – at least, to me – matched the invention of Open Fire. I listened to the album again last night for the first time in probably 20 years and was struck by how fresh and vigorous the playing still sounded.

 That was my Montrose moment. What’s yours?

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