Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas mash-ups and a gift mix you can download last minute

Christmas music gets under my skin. It's everywhere for a month, then it vanishes faster than your resolve to keep a New Year's resolution.
Of all things to breathe new life into a tired and annoying musical genre, would you believe song mash-ups on TV commercials? I know, DJ mash-ups -- soooo 2006, right?
But I'm talking about the three Verizon commercials that somehow manage to connect Earth Wind & Fire's "Shining Star" with "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," Young MC's "Bust a Move" with "Deck the Halls" -- and the one that seems to air the most -- "Our House" by Madness and "Jingle Bells." That's quality, imaginative stuff!
By the way, try to avoid scrolling down to read the comments on the YouTube links I inserted. People are so ridiculously uncouth on YouTube, which is why I don't spend gobs and gobs of time there.
Yes, Virginia, there is more to the Christmas music genre than the same chestnuts (roasting on an open fire) that never die!
Target has 14 original Christmas songs you can download for free that are very much worth checking out, and would make you a hero for compiling them onto a CD as a gift:
  1. Toy Jackpot by Blackalicious
  2. Tiny Tree Christmas by Guster
  3. Snow is Falling by Darker My Love
  4. Perfect Gift by Natalie Hemby
  5. 10,000 Watts by Crystal Antlers (!)
  6. You'll Never Find My Christmas by Bishop Allen
  7. Get Down for the Holidays by Jenny O.
  8. Mrs. Claus Ain't Got Nothin' on Me by Little Jackie
  9. Electronic Santa by Blazer Force (Flight of the Conchords)
  10. It's Christmas by Coconut Records
  11. Party Hard by Little Isodore
  12. Super Mama by The Pinker Tones
  13. Got Something for You by Best Coast Wavves
  14. Un Regalo Para Mi by Ceci Bastida
Just click on the "Target" link above to get started.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kids *still* play Pokemon? Yeah, apparently.

If you missed the Thanksgiving edition of The Reporter's "Go," you might have also missed news of a Pokémon Trading Card Game City Championship Tournament in Blue Bell on Black Friday.
Just got word that Lansdale’s own Geoff Sauk, 15, was crowned City Champion after placing first at the City Tournament Championship in New Holland last weekend, Saturday, Dec. 11.
Congratulations to Geoff on his win and good luck at the upcoming State Tournament in March.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The greatest in this world, the next world ...

This image, taken by Linda McCartney, has shown up in the Beatles iTunes TV commercial.

Because I've been an ardent devotee of The Beatles for almost my whole life, the news that their songs are now on iTunes is rather ho-hum. I mean, if you already have "The White Album" on vinyl and CD (you can rip CDs to iTunes and Windows Media Player), what does it matter? Now if bootleg recordings that didn't show up on the Anthology series made it to iTunes -- like they did in the free for all days of Napster -- then they'd have my attention.

Here's something more significant than the iTunes announcement! WMGK-FM is bringing The Beatles -- well, their artwork anyway -- to the Montgomery Mall from Dec. 8-24. We're talking signed pieces, photos, animation, plus related Rolling Stones, Elvis and Bob Dylan memorabilia, and more. "The Art of the Beatles" is free to look at, and all for sale, on the lower level of the mall next to JC Penney from 10-9, 11-6 Sundays.

As my public relations friends Leah Rice and Scott Segelbaum pointed out, 2010 has been an active Beatle year, with Paul McCartney playing two sold out shows in Philadelphia and announcing an appearance on an episode of "Saturday Night Live"; Ringo's All Starr Band making tour stops in Easton and Atlantic City; a Ringo Starr star on the Walk of Fame; the remastering of John Lennon's sometimes maddeningly uneven solo catalog in honor of his 70th birth anniversary; the word that Martin Scorcese is making a film about George Harrison ...

The opening date, Dec. 8, is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's murder.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One of 2010's memorable discs

It's early yet to be doing best-of countdowns for this year, but I would like to nominate "Wake Up!" by Philly products John Legend and The Roots for consideration. While it breathes new hip-hop life into forgotten soul/R&B nuggets of the '60s and '70s, it also shines a spotlight on the inspiring, articulate, generational social consciousness of that era that Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, The Black Eyed Peas, etc. sorely and distinctly lack.
This album hits a home run just by putting Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes' "Wake Up Everybody" and Les McCann and Eddie Harris' "Compared to What" on the same disc.
Marvin Gaye gets the remake treatment on "Wholly Holy," ditto on Donny Hathaway's "Little Ghetto Boy" and Nina Simone's "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free."
The tricky part with soul is there's a fine line between emoting, and over the top hamminess. Legend crosses that line on an overlong version of Bill Withers' harrowing and heart-sinking yarn about a war wounded veteran, "I Can't Write Left Handed."
Legend's song "Shine" from the "Waiting for Superman" soundtrack closes the album, and ends with a spirit of optimism to maybe get the current generation thinking more in terms of unity. It's still not as good as those old school songs though.
No doubt about it -- The Roots are more than just the Jimmy Fallon houseband! And although Legend's a Grammy-winner, this might be the most interesting thing he's done.
The album was conceived in the summer of 2008 before Obama got elected. For whatever reason, they sat on it till this September. The release of an album like "Wake Up!"would have been much more appropriate during the Bush Administration. has a nice performance of "Hard Times" (originally by an act called Baby Huey and the Babysitters) which features rapper Black Thought.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Can't wait till February

You're thinking: Why's this guy eager for the dreariest, coldest part of the year?
Because that's when the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown gets an excellent traveling Smithsonian exhibit, "Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer."
Keep checking The Reporter's Thursday "Go" section for the opening date.
While visiting old friends in Winchester, Va., I caught this remarkable set of spontaneous and candid images at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.
As the story goes, Wertheimer tagged along with the still-not-yet famous Elvis for a week in 1956, and happened to chronicle the Big E on the cusp of fame. He captures the young Elvis' raw star power and oozing sexiness in a context that has never been seen before.
At the time, Elvis could still grab a bite to eat unnoticed. All in that week, he appears on national TV on "Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey's Stage Show" and "The Steve Allen Show" in New York, makes out with a cutie (or maybe more, for all we know), and catches a train back to Memphis. He gets off the train a couple stops early to walk home to his mom and dad's because it saves having to get on a bus, which would make the trip longer. Wertheimer's photographic sequence of Elvis walking to the street, asking a black woman for directions, and going unmolested on his merry way, is priceless.
While he is home, we are told by Wertheimer, Elvis listens to a couple records and smooches with his girlfriend while shirtless. Understand that this is the 1950s, and that young lady was likely feeling most uncomfortable with this brazen amorous advance!
Hard to believe it today, but Elvis' conservative critics back in those days called him a "disciple of the devil," never mind that gospel was probably his favorite kind of music.
There's even video of those iconic TV moments in Elvis' career. Make sure you take the time to watch it.
Like Elvis, this thing is larger than life. Just look at its online presence:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Holy crap! A "Partridge Family" reunion?!

"C'mon get happy!"

Answering a challenge from fellow “Partridge Family” cast member David Cassidy, WYSP-FM morning host Danny Bonaduce will join Cassidy on stage to play bass (which he only mimed playing on the TV show) for one song during Cassidy’s concert at 8 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Keswick Theatre, Easton Road and Keswick Avenue, Glenside. Tickets range from $42.50-$75. Call (215) 572-7650 or go to

For all the freak show antics Bonaduce pulled in his post-“Partridge Family” days, I do have a healthy respect for what he's been doing on air at 94.1. I give the former wise-cracking Danny Partridge props for taking on this "I'd pay to see that" project.
When ABC cast Cassidy as Keith Partridge in 1970, he had already appeared on Broadway and in television dramas. Before the series had even aired its first episode, Cassidy was on the covers of teen magazines throughout the world and had a #1 with "I Think I Love You," followed by the top 10 hit, "Cherish." Ten albums by The Partridge Family and five solo albums were produced during the show's run. Overall, Cassidy has sold 25 million records worldwide.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who are you and why have you stolen my name?

Ryan Bingham - Brian Bingaman.
Almost identical in the way they roll off the tongue.
The difference is the former is playing the North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., Philadelphia. Show time is 10 p.m. Saturday and tickets are $15.
The latter is screaming: "That should be me! He stole my name!"
What if we met and formed a duo? What would we call ourselves?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Coffee = Joe

Nobody in the Alan Segal Quartet is named Joe.
Eddie Etkins plays saxophone. George Sinkler is on piano. Segal is a bassist, and their drummer is Leon Jordan.
So where does Church of the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church's "Jazz and Joe" get its name? Well, when you think jazz, maybe you also think coffeehouse. So that would be a reference to a cup o'joe. From 7-9 p.m. Thursdays Sept. 9, Oct. 14 and Nov. 11, enjoy live jazz by the Alan Segal Quartet, coffee, and potluck refreshments (bring a dessert and a beverage, if you like). An offering will be taken.
The church is at Sumneytown Pike and Barndt Road, Upper Salford.
Jazz and Joe is sponsored by Philadelphia Federal Credit Union and LPL Financial. Ooooooo!

And don't let anybody tell you that the phrase "cup of joe" is named after former Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, who banned the serving of alcohol on ships in 1914. The phrase is apparently older than he is.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Did you know that ...

The Pennfield Middle School Band Outstanding Musician Award was presented in June at the ninth grade awards assembly for the 37th time. Dating back to 1974, this award recognizes ninth grade band students for their outstanding musicianship, leadership and overall contribution to the Pennfield Band Program.
Up until 2008, students received a certificate and their names were engraved on a school plaque. However, 2009 marked a special addition to the award as each recipient also received an individual engraved plaque. The plaques are provided through a sponsorship from the Montgomery County Concert Band. Stephen Frederick, Conductor of the Montgomery County Concert Band, presented the plaques to each student.
This year’s award winners are Zach Travis (french horn and bass) , Alyssa Tate (french horn), Brett Slifer (baritone horn and trombone) and Lauren Orehowsky (clarinet). Each of the four recipients participated in three years of Concert Band and Wind Ensemble and two years of Pit Orchestra and Bux-Mont Honors Band. Travis and Slifer also participated in the Jazz Band for two and three years, respectively. All four students were selected by audition to become members of the 2010-11 North Penn High School Wind Ensemble.
Best of luck to all four as they begin their high school careers when school opens after Labor Day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Live music for this weekend (and beyond)

*Local musician Chet Smith shot us an e-mail to let us know he was playing 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday Aug. 28 on the deck at Pizza Time Saloon, 1900 West Point Pike. He's also going to be across from Molly Maguire's in Lansdale During September's First Friday. I'll take him over the Tea Party any day of the week!

*The former Crazy Carl's, on North Gravel Pike/Route 29 near the Lower Frederick/Perkiomen Township border, now Ringers Sports Bar and Night Club, is the venue for a live music showcase. Proceeds benefit Bikers Against Child Abuse. Starting at 8:45 p.m. Friday Aug. 27, the featured bands are Hiccup Hellen, Peacekeeper, Pollycotton and the Blends (haha), Revel 9, plus three acoustic musicians. Cover is $6. Ringers has a Facebook page, I hear.

*The act I'm most excited about at this year's Allentown Fair is actually one of the openers - The Gaslight Anthem, who are opening for the hopelessly dorky Weezer Sept. 1. Rush has been playing the "Moving Pictures" album in its entirety during their latest tour. They're at the fair Aug. 31. Country crossover stars Lady Antebellum, whose hit "Need You Now" is posted somewhere on Talk about the Passion, hit the stage Sept. 2. And strange as it is that a COUNTRY singer has a name like Keith URBAN, he's in concert Sept. 3. This generation's Davy Jones, a.k.a. Justin Bieber, has Sean Kingston opening for him Sept. 4, and my son has lost all respect for Sean Kingston over it. Another of my kid's faves, Jeff Dunham, will have all his puppet buddies Sept. 5. Didn't care much for his off-color TV show, but people must have liked him because this makes back-to-back years at the fair for Dunham. Since you're already online, go to for ticket info.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Incentive to camp at Philly Folk Fest

Because I should be working on The Reporter's Philadelphia Folk Festival preview for "Go" Aug. 19, I'll keep this brief.
The Folk Fest's annual Campground Concert, an exclusive to the campers, on Thursday night will feature Audra Mae, the grandniece of Judy Garland.

Go to to get your all-fest camping tickets. Hurry, time's a-wasting!

Now, it's extremely unlikely that 2010 Folk Fest headliner Jeff Tweedy (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco) will actually perform Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," but wouldn't it be hilarious if he did?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Legendary guitars ... but EXPENSIVE

C.F. Martin & Co. in Nazareth, makers of handcrafted acoustic guitars for 177 years, will open their famed factory and museum doors to more than 1,400 members of the Martin Owners Club, as well as wave hello at an event organized by the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum (UMGF) this weekend.

Martin Guitar enthusiasts from across the country and around the globe will come together 8-4 Friday Aug. 6 for a day-long event of musical camaraderie, entertainment, exclusive first looks at new guitars and product demonstrations, factory and museum tours, live music, guitar clinics, an open mic staging area and an opportunity to socialize with Martin Guitar employees and Chris Martin IV, the sixth-generation head of the company.

“This annual weekend continues to grow with every year and one day hope to eventually out do Woodstock!,” Martin said.

After shelling out all that $ for a Martin, owners definitely deserve some perks!

Saturday Aug. 7 is the "Martin on Main" event, which will feature an all-day music and arts celebration with more than two dozen performers on stages throughout the city of Nazareth. What exactly makes the UMGF "unofficial" is unclear.

The Martin Guitar factory and museum is at 510 Sycamore St., Nazareth. Even if you don't own one of their guitars, I recommend visiting the museum and taking the tour sometime. Get started at

For all the gorgeous guitars in the museum, ironically, one of the most famous Martin guitars of all is Willie Nelson's notoriously beat-up"Trigger."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And ne'er the twain shall meet


A Laugh Out Loud scheduling convergence at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden:
The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, on Friday July 23, followed just five days later by that "Celebration of Women in Music," the Lilith tour, on July 28.

Can you feel the extreme surges in testosterone and estrogen coming?

Mayhem Festival publicist Greg Cortez noted that the Korn/Rob Zombie-headlined, metal tour and the Sarah McLachlan-founded Lilith kicked off on the same exact day in San Bernardino, Calif. and Los Angeles, respectively.
"The tours seem to be following each other. It's ironic - it's totally ironic," he said.

Imagine the contrasting audiences, and performer/crew member personalities those arena staffers are going to be dealing with in a span of just five days.

Better them than me!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Should've been sung by a woman in the first place

Thanks to a high school classmate of mine for referring me to this performance of "Soul Sister" by Train. This young lady, Keara, is a student at Souderton Area High School, I'm told.
Dig the Seagull guitar, and the natural reverb of the room - like what Elvis did with recording "Heartbreak Hotel" in a stairwell.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tish! You spoke French!

One of the many ongoing gags in "The Addams Family" TV show was that whenever Morticia coined an English-borrowed-from-French phrase, Gomez turned into a lecherous arm smoocher.
That's all I kept thinking about during the performance of this chanson by Cathy Rocher, who came all the way from France for one of the periodic David Ivory/Dylanava Studios showcases at Puck, 1 Printers Alley, Doylestown. The lyrics are about how complicated love is ... and that's good enough for me.
What you can't see is me on the other side of the camera getting those maniacally glazed Gomez Addams eyes!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A lot of cool stuff (too much?)

*Cancer medical expenses benefit party featuring the music of 7 Point Red, 7 p.m.-1 a.m. June 26, VFW, 805 W. Second St., Lansdale. Suggested donation is $15.

*Audio Challenge and Car Show, 1-5:30 p.m. June 27, Bob & Ron's Worldwide Stereo, 754 Route 309, Montgomery Township.

*Sheryl Crow's former guitarist Todd Wolfe, 8 p.m. June 26, McCoole's, 10 S. Main St., Quakertown. $10. Call
(267) 221-8915.

*Pennsylvania Helping Nashville benefit concert will feature a lineup of more than 21 songwriters, artists and bands performing original songs. Performances will take place from 2 to 9 p.m. June 27 at Brownies 23 East, 23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 for adults and $5 for children. Check this link.

*Amy Regan (the girl with the guitar in the Hertz TV commercial), 7:30 p.m. June 25, Tin Angel, 20 S. Second St., Philadelphia, $10 cover. Call
(215) 928-0978.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hail to the chief!

Gwynedd Valley music producer David Ivory, 1999 Grammy nominee and the producer for The Roots, The Manatees, Halestorm, Patti Labelle and others, was elected president of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. That's right - the Grammy people!
At a swank soiree at Puck in Doylestown, whose several high profile attendees included R&B songwriter Bunny Sigler, arranger Lou DeLise and attorney Simon Rosen, Ivory spoke about his ambitious outreach plans to musical artists across Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The first place he advised you to go is You can get a pretty good idea what it's about even if you're not an Academy member.
The party continued downstairs on the stage at Puck with the monthly live showcase of Ivory's stable of recording artists, which this month included the local band I&I.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

X stands for danger

Sure, it's easy to be snarky and make fun of the name Xtreme Folk Scene.

But are you brave enough to come to the Country Creek Winery Friday night the 11th and/or Saturday the 12th to find out what it is at the 10th annual XFest? Well, are ya, punk?
The Berrys should be a good, comfort zone starting point for you. Briana Berry's MySpace has some recognizable covers.
And don't let the name fool you; the West Philadelphia Orchestra is nothing like the Philadelphia Orchestra. In fact, you may have seen them in this area before. The video says it all. Holy crap!
Electric Man has been featured on Talk about the Passion before, but this time I've also provided a link to his Website for you.
Hopefully you're not thinking about heckling me at XFest during Raspberry Tea's set.
Brenda Kahn, who I have heard described as "old school anti-folk," has a new CD in the works. Her songs are kinda seductive, and I hope this veteran performer doesn't put Raspberry Tea to shame too terribly much.
Since the time I wrote a story on the Bucks County branch of the Paul Green School of Rock, they have a whole new set of kids. They were a hit at last year's XFest.
Who could resist a progressive bluegrass band that named itself after the stuffed pig stomach dish HogMaw?! I'm a fan of the songs "The Flood" and "Sauerkraut." There's even an XPN interview with them on their MySpace, if you have time to listen to it.

Chattanooga, TN resident Butch Ross can't do anything right.
  1. He plays the mountain dulcimer.
  2. He plays it standing up like a guitar.
  3. He holds it upside and strung backwards.
  4. And Butch Ross plays rock n roll on it.
His 'While My Dulcimer Gently Weeps' is above.
Psych-A-Billy are nuts. If you dare, download their tunes "If Love is Blind" and "Let's Get Drunk and Break Bottles in the Alley."

Slo-Mo and Mic Wrecka has a truly unpredictable sound. Will they go hip-hop, Americana, somewhere in between?
The schedule and ticket information is all at

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Welcome to The Machine

A wave of Pink Floyd nostalgia is cresting thanks to the 30-year anniversary of "The Wall."
Floyd charter member Roger Waters has concert dates to perform the harrowing rock opera in Philadelphia Nov. 8-9 and 11. The last date was added because the other two sold out. The iconoclastic Waters has a fascinating link to Philly. During a 1977 visit to the Spectrum with Pink Floyd, he became ill before the show. When his medication wore off, he was unable to complete the performance. He left the Spectrum before the encore ("Us and Them") to go to the hospital. Back-up guitarist Snowy White filled in for Waters. Based on his experience that night of trying to perform during his illness he created one of the band’s most popular songs, "Comfortably Numb."
Unencumbered by the clash of the titanic egos of Waters and David Gilmour, the band Beyond the Wall is out to recapture that theatrical sensory stimulation of a Pink Floyd concert Friday night June 4 at Sellersville Theater 1894. Tickets are $21.50 and $26.50. Call (215) 257-5808 or visit
Named for the fabulously depressing track on "Wish You were Here," The Machine, a Nyack, N.Y.-based Pink Floyd show, has been performing the Floyd catalogue for 21 years.
The Machine returns June 18 to one of their favorite places to play, the Keswick Theatre in Glenside. They've even released "Two Nights at the Keswick," a CD and DVD release culled from performances in 2003.
"They're only one of two Pink Floyd tribute bands in the world that travel with a full light show," Machine publicist Michelle Roche tells me.
One time, The Machine performed the "Dark Side of the Moon" album with the video accompaniment of "The Wizard of Oz." In case you didn't know, when the CD of the Floyd album is started at the MGM lion's third roar, there are some coincidental oddball moments when the music and the movie sync up.
No telling what they'll be up to Friday the18th.
Tickets are $27 and $32. Call (215) 572-7650 or go to

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I enjoy sleep like a good steak

Those words were uttered by Bill Cosby, both on album and in an episode of "The Cosby Show." It sets up a funny story that ends in the Coz getting robbed of sleep.
I always found it amusing that there's a sleep research center on Cowpath Road in Hatfield Township. So if you fall asleep there, you're not slacking on the job?
Grand View Hospital invites you to check out a free lecture by national sleep expert (how does one achieve that distinction?) Dr. James B. Maas at Franconia Heritage Restaurant on Route 113 at 5:30 p.m. June 3. Maas is a psychology professor at Cornell University, the author of “Power of Sleep” and has been featured on "The Today Show," "20/20," "Regis & Kelly" and "Oprah."
“To be a peak performer you need to be fully alert, dynamic, energetic, in a good mood, and cognitively sharp,” says Maas. “You must be able to concentrate, remember, make critical and creative decisions, communicate persuasively, and be productive all day long. None of this is possible without quality sleep. Furthermore, healthy sleep has been proven to be the single most important determinant in predicting longevity.”
Strange as this sounds, the doc has strategies to get a good night’s sleep. Among the topics he will discuss are:

  • Why are 100 million Americans sleep deprived?
  • What are the different stages of nocturnal sleep and how important are they to daytime functioning?
  • How much sleep do you need to function well?
  • Can you decrease your need for sleep and remain efficient?
  • Do you need less sleep as you get older?
  • Is napping healthy?
  • What causes insomnia?
  • What are the four golden rules that will assure you a great night's sleep?

There will be appetizers and beverages...y'know, so you don't fall asleep.

Registration is required by calling the Grand View Information Line at (215) 453-4300. Also, visit

FYI, Grand View also has a sleep center. The recently opened Stoneridge Sleep Center, 870 Lawn Ave., West Rockhill, provides testing, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders including sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy and more.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Folk @ Fire

Every Tuesday in May, The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, will be taken over by the Philly Folk Parade, "a sounding bell of human musical freedom." Organized by local 'folk stars' The Spinning Leaves and Hezekiah Jones, the Folk Parade’s residency will provide a rotating cast of seven bands each night, sharing the stage starting at 9 p.m.
Hosting this week is Chris Kasper, and Hezekiah Jones gets the last one on May 25. My boy, Jesse Lundy, will be jamming with The Doublewides the 18th.
Cover is $7.
Click on the link in this post to The Fire or call (267) 671-9298.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stones return to Exile

At 10 p.m. May 17, 93.3 WMMR's Pierre Robert will host a live radio special, with The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, to celebrate the re-release of their oft ballyhooed album "Exile on Main Street." It will air on WMMR-FM, and dozens of stations across the country, and stream simultaneously at
The interview marks the first time since Exile's release in 1972 that the three Stones that were around when Exile was made (Mick Taylor's still going it alone, Ron Wood wasn't yet in the band, Bill Wyman was a party pooper and retired) will talk about the creation of one of the most defining albums of The Rolling Stones' cataloge.
Here's the important part - the re-release includes 10 never-before-heard tracks and hits stores May 18. Get a taste at Amazon here.
Now here's where I'm going to get some hate mail. IMO "Exile on Main Street" has some important and essential songs, but as an album (a two-record set in its original incarnation), it draaaaaags in places. Seriously, I can live without "Ventilator Blues" or "Turd on the Run."
I read some place that Mick Jagger said that he wasn't satisfied with the production on some of the songs. Totally agree with that. "I Just Want to See His Face" comes immediately to mind.
Back to Pierre Robert ... the Rolling Stones special comes on the heels of a trip to Seattle where, at Stone Gosssard's request, he interviewed Pearl Jam for a documentary on the Seattle grunge scene. Pretty good timing to analyze that era considering Soundgarden, for some reason, is back together.
Work that almighty all-access pass, Pierre!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What the heck are they thinking?

Some movies that come out of Hollywood truly baffle me. Couldn't the producers of "The Losers" have come up with A BETTER TITLE than that?
"Uh, yeah ... I'd like one ticket to see 'The Losers,' please."
Hmmm, dude must be a loser. He ain't got no date.
That's like deliberately setting the movie up to fail!

Now "Kick-Ass," on the other hand, is amusing. But it sounds like Beavis & Butthead came up with the name.
"Huh-huh, huh-huh. Hey Beavis, y'know when people go to the movies, they'll have to say 'ass.'"
"Ooooh yeah! Heh-heh-heh-heh - COOL!"

Friday, April 30, 2010

Play harmonica, start your own music group!

This reminds me of how much Ken Kennedy's harmonica adds to our sound when we play together as Raspberry Tea.
A four-session harmonica workshop with Sharon Hunsberger, a member of The Harmonaires, is being offered at the Mennonite Heritage Center, 565 Yoder Road, Franconia Township. This workshop is scheduled for Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 4, 11, 18, and 25. No previous experience is needed.
A press release from the center points out that "harmonicas are a relatively easy musical instrument to play and are used in many types of music, including folk, country, blues and rock and roll."
The group will go through the musical scale, learn notes, and progress to playing simple tunes. Registration is required and cost is $30 ($25 members), which includes a basic, diatonic harmonica with brass reeds. E-mail, call (215) 256-3020 or visit

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blessing of the balls

This is one of a series of video vignettes at that compliments a story I've written for Tuesday April 27th's paper on a day in the life of a rabbi.
I'm very proud of the way the whole package turned out.
Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Universal language

May 2, Congregation Tiferet Bet Israel on Skippack Pike in Whitpain hosts the musical duo Noa & Mira. One is Israeli and one is Palestinian. And whaddaya know, they not only coexist, but they make music together, spreading a message of hope and reconciliation to the Holy Land and beyond.
Bernie Allmayer at TBI, who has been ringing my phone non-stop about this concert, tells me their song "There Must Be Another Way" represented Israel in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Moscow. He also says this is their only area stop on their tour of the U.S.
I'm working on getting an interview with these fascinating ladies. Meanwhile, for ticket information, call (610) 275-8797, ext. 144 or go to
And who knew?! Burning Bridget Cleary, a high-energy Celtic folk band from Harleysville, just won accolades from Their awards include Album of the Year, and song awards in the Jigs and Reels and Contemporary categories.

They will be performing May 15 at DCP Theater, 795 Ridge Road, Salford Township. Tickets are $15. The concert is a very rare music event at the Dutch Country Playhouse, which is a benefit for the community theater.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Talkin' First Fridays in Lansdale

The time for talking about the rather ambitious LCPA First Fridays is drawing short. Because ready or not, it's coming to Lansdale 5:30 to 8:30 Friday April 2.
Checking the bios of the musical performers for the debut of this monthly series, I decided to look up MySpace niches and respective Web sites.
LINDSEY MCKAY, Her debut album of original songs with lyrics written by her manager and mom, JKay, appears to be on the verge of release. Without the day in/day out pressure cooker karaoke contest that is "American Idol," McKay is allowed to breathe and shine. "Wouldn't Change a Thing" and "Broken Vows" are tasty pop nuggets. Brett Kull's production on these tunes makes them special, and I'd like to see if that translates to a live performance. My fear is that she's going to face an uphill climb trying to get noticed nationally because she somehow has to get out of the shadow cast by established "Idol" superstars Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
KEVIN JAMES DEVINE, The dude is brilliant. Hard to believe this guy just picked up a guitar and could suddenly play and sing like that. Dig the tinges of '70s country rock on "Long Way to Go."
MORGAN ASHLEY, Another one that seemed to find an instant passion for playing and performing. She was so much in the zone that she took off right away for the U.K., Italy, Australia and New Zealand and came back with an entire notebook of original songs. Are you kidding me!? M.A.'s MySpace audio is a maddening study in contrasts. The charming, minimalist, low-fi of "All" makes you wish her voice was more to the fore. Meanwhile, the fully produced rock of "Bold" is overkill. Can somebody find this girl a happy medium between the two extremes?
HIDDEN AGENDA, They're a Blue Bell cover band out to "break up the monotony of the cover band scene." Too bad the video clip of a performance of "Shout" suffers from subpar audio. The drunk guy in the audience falling on the floor I could've done without.
ELITE STRINGS, Impressive musicianship. There's performance video of each age group, then one of all the divisions combined.

Friday, March 26, 2010

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

What goes on behind closed doors? OR More than just XFest

From a newspaper/entertainment standpoint, I run into kind of a tough spot with the Xtreme Folk Scene. They offer this series of monthly house concerts, but because they're in private homes, you have to RSVP to to get the address. So it makes them kinda semi-private.
As a card-carrying XFS member, I can tell you that they're fun. Here's some video from the March concert, held in Mt. Airy. There's Electric Man solo doing Diamond Rio's "One More Day," with his trademark mobile amplification system and bag of tricks. Then, Electric Man morphs back into Steve Perlsweig to perform what became an interactive version of Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man" with his wife, Jeanette. Ever heard a WOMAN sing "I'm Your Man"?
BTW Jeanette and Steve Perlsweig are playing their "An Evening of Songs from the Heart" show at 8 p.m. March 27 at Always by Design Gallery, 265 S. 10th St., Philadelphia (between Locust and Spruce streets). Comedian Emily Cohen also performs. Cover is $10 and there's light refreshments after the show. If you're wondering, they do have a CD.
Youngster T.J. McGlinchey was quite the eye-opener! He's a talented player, promising songwriter, and has a whopper of a singalong going on in this video. He says it's about a woman he met at the Philadelphia Folk Festival LOL.
Xtreme Folk Scene's XFest is June 11-12 close to home at the Country Creek Winery! Discount advance tickets are available now at

Monday, March 8, 2010

A coming out party

3/5 of Fish Relics. From left to right: Me, Joe Digney, Paul Saylor.

The Rising Sun Inn on Allentown Road in Franconia Township has a really good assortment of live music. I'm not just saying that because my cover band, Fish Relics, plays there every month or so. The various lineup incarnations of Rollin' & Tumblin' and The Manatees are regulars. On April 23, this group, Planets, is throwing a birthday bash for somebody in the band. Also, this one band called Big Fun, which has been booked for a future date, has a Michael Jackson tribute set within their act (!).
Ladies and gentlemen, a star was born March 6 at the RSI! Hatfield resident Amy Brobst had a band once upon a time, but they never got out of the basement. Her alto (with a detectable country twang) is quite pleasing and she's easy on the eyes. Hers is a talent that I took an interest in nurturing because I saw a performer with an itch overdue for scratching. Turns out all the support she required was someone strumming a guitar and an encouraging attitude.
As the video shot by her husband, John, shows, it looks like I found something promising. Some of our friends call us Kenny & Dolly, as in Rogers and Parton.
There are several '80s songs Fish Relics has wanted to tackle, but shied away from because they only work with a female singer. Amy/Dolly's already-impressive fan group will be pleased to know that the plan is to get her singing with the full band at the RSI Saturday May 15. That particular show will be an '80s party, hopefully with a prize for showing up in your finest period attire.
Save the date and refer to the Rising Sun entertainment schedule at

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Music notes of - um - note

Doreen Taylor in one of the photos from her book, "Coming Home." And I am NOT a chauvinist pig for posting it.

*I've been sorely lacking truly local content on the blog lately. So I'll start by mentioning that Flower Power is playing a free show at the William E. Hare American Legion, 43 W. Second St., Lansdale from 8 to midnight Friday the 26th.
*This is one of those rare weeks when North Penn School District has let me down. For whatever reason, I can't get any information on the Knight of Jazz, which is supposedly happening Friday, or the NPHS Indoor Guard/Percussion Show, which is scheduled for Saturday. Because these are high profile events, I don't like to just put info. in the paper without confirming it first. Can anyone help me on this? Why is this being kept a secret from me?
*Model, dancer and singer Doreen Taylor has recorded a CD of hit songs from the '40s and posed for a 36-page book where she recaptures the va-va-voom of World War II-era pinup girls. Both are called "Coming Home," and part of the proceeds go to help the military troops of today through Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a nonprofit that supports more than 60,000 Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps special operations personnel and their families. What a great idea this is! Although the red carpet release party in Philly Friday night is by invitation only, you can learn more about the "Coming Home" project at
*The British band Muse is playing the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Seriously? I wasn't all that impressed with the song "Uprising," which is a somewhat of a jock jam. Oh, I get it now - they had songs in the "Twilight" movies! Yeah, whatever. I do, however, think their song "Feeling Good" from the film "Seven Pounds" is exceptional. I just can't wrap my brain around this band playing a major arena in the States, that's all.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flirting on the job

So I'm at a media preview for the "Picasso and the Avant Garde in Paris" exhibit Friday at the Art Museum - one of the reasons I love my job - and I find myself unexpectantly smitten by singer/songwriter/cabaret performer Karen Gross.
Karen works for WHERE Magazine and had brought an intern with her to check out the new blockbuster exhibition, which I will be writing a story about (tentative publication date in The Reporter is Friday Feb. 26).
I knew about her cabaret show "Sex and the Single Singer," and had always admired her alluringly full lips in her publicity photos, but did not know she was a writer by trade! That's my heart you hear going pitter-patter.
She introduced herself, and I said: "You're the 'Sex and the Single Singer' Karen Gross."
Karen was so excited that someone knew about that 'other side' of her life, and noted that she was playing the Tin Angel in Philadelphia March 19. She got bubbly when she saw my nametag. She seemed to remember that I had written an article on her (to be accurate, I think it was a blurb of her show in a Valentine's event story in our weekend section).
"It's so good to meet you in person. Give me a hug," she said.
O ... M ... G! Meee-ow!!!
Um, wait ... what was I there for again?
I had only talked to this woman on the phone one time before that day, and suddenly I was having a really hard time keeping my attention on the artwork. And this is Pablo friggin' Picasso we're talking about on the walls!
Now I really want to see Karen's show 7:30 March 19 at the Tin Angel, 20 S. Second St., Philadelphia. Cover is $15 and reservations are required by calling (215) 928-0770. Also, visit

But for now, I must settle for

SIGH! I feel like Marcia Brady in the Davy Jones episode of "The Brady Bunch."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hanky panky through history

I find Valentine's Day to be the most repulsive, made-up holiday of them all. So it's a pretty big deal if one of these "seasonal" events makes me laugh out loud.
The Young Friends of the Penn Museum in Philadelphia succeeded in doing just that with "Cougars, Playas, and Baby Mama Drama in the Ancient World"!
After the latest installment of Snowmageddon, it's been pushed to Feb. 18.
There's mingling and a cash bar. Admission is $10, $5 for museum members (includes one complimentary drink).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"And I hope 'dis jam is gonna last"

Here's a photo from the final jam at the Haiti benefit at Sellersville Theater. Shame to hear that there are still major issues with getting aid to the people, even after all the outpouring of compassion locally.

One of the twits on Twitter recently wisecracked: "So the iTunes store has Bob Marley's 'Legend' on sale for a limited time for $9.99. Doesn't everyone in the world already own this album?"

Oh, but there's a new way to experience it, my friend!

On Saturday, the Keswick Theatre in Glenside is going to have a Canadian outfit called Classic Albums Live performing that essential reggae retrospective cut for cut ... on Robert Nesta Marley's 65th birth anniversary, no less! Tickets range from $19.50-$32.50. Call (215) 572-7650 or visit

Originally released in 1984, "Legend" was declared by Rolling Stone to be #46 on a 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list published in 2003. Listening to the disc certainly brings some warm sunshine, regardless of the season.

I was also surprised to learn that three of Marley's sons were Grammy nominees last weekend, just because it's so tough to follow up greatness.

I can only give you a YouTube link to one of the Marley Classic Albums Live clips because it isn't letting me embed the video itself :(

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rock on, Rob!

Coming Tuesday to The Reporter's Lifestyle section, the intriguing story of 1985 Souderton grad Rob Bonfiglio (bon-feel-e-o), the husband of Carnie Wilson and co-star of Game Show Network's "Carnie Wilson: Unstapled."
The couple's musical passion brought them together, and now you can watch them trying to balance their music, Carnie's TV schedule, their two young daughters, and alone-couple time every Thursday night.
It's downright upsetting that Bonfiglio's band, The Skies of America, didn't hit it huge, probably due to being on the indie label Damask Records. The title song of their disc, "Shine," was on the "Bridge to Terabithia" soundtrack. It also features a cover of Badfinger's "Come and Get It" and a bunch of satisfying Beatles-inspired power pop. It's what Fountains of Wayne would sound like if they stopped screwing around so much with the humor of their lyrics, and got down to business.
Don't get me wrong, I have much love for Sellersville product and FOW singer and songwriter Chris Collingwood. But have a listen for yourself.

In 2009, Bonfiglio put together a solo album called "Bring on the Happy." The title says it all because these are the kind of songs you ought to put on at the end of a hectic day.

Although he likens it to Paul McCartney's "McCartney" album, the only similarity I observe is that McCartney and Bonfiglio played all the instruments and wrote all the songs on their respective solo works. Unlike the hurried, work-in-progress vibe that's present on most of "McCartney," Bonfiglio's songs on "Bring on the Happy" are actually thought out.
Then again, Bonfiglio wasn't bickering with John Lennon and George Harrison at the time he was making his "record."
Here's a link to sample the McCartney disc.

One of the times we really connected in our conversation was when Bonfiglio recalled having a social studies class with Mr. Rossnagel in a migraine-headache-yellow, basement classroom in the 1930s section of the former Souderton Area High School building. Here I thought I was the only one that remembered that dungeon-like classroom.

Friday, January 22, 2010

On my honor, I will do my best ...

Those opening words to the Boy Scout Oath, from my days in Lansdale's Troop 610, popped into my head as I prepare to write a story commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. I have my own standout Cub and Boy Scout memories, but I'm more interested in hearing yours, either as a scout, leader or involved parent. E-mail me at or call me at (215) 412-8905.
As the Scout Motto says: Be prepared.
Meanwhile, check out the alumni link at

Friday, January 15, 2010


The Hooters in a recent performance.

One of the intriguing concert dates of the new year at Sellersville Theater will be Jan. 23. There will be solo performances by members of The Hooters, namely Eric Bazilian and John Lilley.
Among Bazilian's career activities have been writing the Grammy-nominated "One of Us" by Joan Osbourne, "Kiss the Rain" by Billie Myers and "Private Emotion" by Ricky Martin (haven't heard those last two in ages!), and playing guitar on Clay Aiken's debut album.
Lilley, meanwhile, has recently discovered within him "a sleepin' cowboy who has a lot to say and won't shut up." The result is the album "Lucky Kinda Guy."
And I would imagine there will be some old-school Hooters tunes in the mix somewhere ;)
Anybody remember when The Hooters played at North Penn? They were playing in about every high school in the Delaware Valley at that time. I want to say that was 1982 or 1983.
Show time is 8 p.m. on Saturday the 23rd with tickets from $21.50-$33. Call (215) 257-5808 or go to

More links:,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Taking the post-holiday letdown personally

After being saturated by Christmas for more than a month, and then for a week by New Year's, there's going to be a whole lot of nothing going on. It's a classic example of binge and purge.
As the chief content provider for The Reporter's weekend section for close to 10 years, this is the time of year I dread the most -- the winter doldrums. The New Year really is like starting from zero -- waiting for things to start happening again.
Well I'm doing something about it.
My acoustic duo, Raspberry Tea, will be the first act of 2010 for the Indian Valley Public Library's Second Fridays series. I get a kick out of how the library makes sure to mention my name (even though they spelled it wrong on their Web site) in promoting Raspberry Tea ... as if I was a rock star or something.
Ken Kennedy and I will be celebrating the release of a five-song mini-album, "Just Like That!" which showcases our singer-songwriter skills, plus a Bo Diddley beat arrangement of Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."
This being a library, we'll have some other songs among our originals that were inspired by literature.
Admission is free and Raspberry Tea is on at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 8.
February's entertainment (Feb. 12) is Lazy Sundays, featuring Elena Eschbach and Dawn Hunsdorffer, who I know from Church of the Holy Spirit Episcopal. They performed during the Lansdale Center for the Performing Arts open house fundraiser earlier this month.
Now and Then is featured March 12.
On April 9, cigar box guitar/diddley bow specialists One-String Willie and Gerry Thompson will show that sometimes a store bought guitar just won't do.
Keep checking for updates to the Second Fridays series. offers you a sneak listen to track 1 of the CD, "Curly Howard's Blues."