April 2007 – Umphrey’s McGee

The Music of Our Heart Artist of the Month for April 2007 is Umphrey’s McGee.

Sci Fidelity Records will release Umphrey’s McGee ‘s 4th studio recording The Bottom Half as a double disk on Tuesday, April 3rd. Umphrey’s McGee is a superlative Jamband with a intensely loyal following. The Bottom Half is an eclectic set of songs that transfer readily to your psyche and rest royally within your soul. You can sample two of the songs from The Bottom Half at Umphrey’s McGee’s MySpace.

The Bottom Half is Storm Thorgerson’s second compelling artwork design for Umphrey’s McGee. Safety in Numbers was their first collaboration. 


Carmine Appice Coming At Ya!

Carmine Appice continues to be a significant driving force in rock, flourishing at the age of 60 . Carmine’s musical heritage as a drummer includes such luminary bands as Vanilla Fudge, Cactus (who are also on the comeback trail after 35 years), Beck, Bogert & Appice, Rod Stewart and Ozzy Osborne. (A trivia note, Carmine Appice co-wrote with Rod Stewart, the song, Do You Think I’m Sexy.)

Carmine at his drum kit

Vanilla Fudge is still active and will be celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. The group will mark that landmark occasion with two new recordings. The first CD is due out shortly, Out Through the In Door a Led Zeppelin tribute. I saw Vanilla Fudge feature several of these songs live at Toads Place in New Haven last year. I was impressed with the interpretation intermixed with Vanilla Fudge’s classic signature rock sound.  The Led Zeppelin songs obtain new textures as the evolution is sewn with new thread. Led Zeppelin was once the opening act for Vanilla Fudge way back when it all began. Carmine Appice took John Bonham under his wing and helped him shape his sound. We all know the monster drummer Bonzo became, due in large part to Appice’s mentoring.   

Rhino Records will release a four-CD retrospective box set to celebrate in fine style, Vanilla Fudge’s 40th anniversary as a recording group.

If you are a Cactus fan there is plenty of new music for you to assimilate. Cactus released a studio recording last year, Cactus V that’s a real barn burner. Cactus consists of Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert (Always a commanding, melodic bass guitarist), Jim McCarthy, lead guitar and Jimmy Kunes on vocals. If you missed their reunion sets live last year not to fret. Cactus will be releasing a two-CD live set of their performances on Rhino Records sometime this year.

Please stay tuned to the MusicOfOurHeart blog as I plan to review both the Vanilla Fudge 2007 releases and the live Cactus recording.

I encourage you to pick up the April 2007 edition of Modern Drummer magazine. Carmine Appice is the feature artist for this issue. The feature article by Robyn Flans was my inspiration for this music blog post. You can read a portion of Robyn’s article here: http://www.moderndrummer.com/updatefull/200001549

Rock On!

Jorma Kaukonen – Stars in My Crown

On Tuesday March 13, Jorma Kaukonen and Red House Records will release Jorma’s latest acoustical gem, Stars in My Crown. Jorma cultivates a time honored set of personal spiritual tunes that are each uniquely reflective and reverent. His guitar mastery fosters a renewed interpretation of old time blues classics as well as leads us to new songs and revelations. I loved when Jorma crafted a tribute to American country blues heritage on his previous recording, Blue Country Heart. The tradition is furthered happily with Stars in My Crown. We are gifted to Jorma’s keen jeweler’s eye as each track becomes a fine cut diamond. Jorma carves out for the listener an instinctual sound that enlists our trust and builds a mutual affinity.

Jorma’s maturity as an artist combines intuitive depth with a focused simplicity. There are several new enchanting songs that will engage you such as Late Breaking News and Heart Temporary. I have yearned to hear Jorma Kaukonen to record more Reverend Gary Davis songs. He appeases that need handily by including two of Davis’s songs on this CD, There’s a Table Sitting in Heaven and Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown. Another new song, Living In The Moment places us on the Fur Peace Ranch back porch rocking alongside Jorma in our easy chair.

Jorma, thank you for an insightful series of spiritual tunes that deepens our awareness and embellishes the music of our heart and souls!


Graphic Design and Dark Side of the Moon

Graphic design is the process of communicating visually using text and/or images to present information, or promote a message.

Graphic design is compelling when blended with the right music to form a harmonious audio visual experience. A major tipping point in the intersection of art and innovation is the classic work, Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (1973). Hipgnosis (1968-1983) was the British design firm who created stimulating album art for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and other classic rock groups. The Hipgnosis design team broke new ground constantly with their unique mind’s eye visual rock art packaging.

“The refracting glass prism referred to Floyd light shows – consummate use of light in the concert setting. Its outline is triangular and triangles are symbols of ambition, and are redolent of pyramids, both cosmic and mad in equal measure, all these ideas touching on themes in the lyrics. The joining of the spectrum extending round the back cover and across the gatefold inside was seamless like the segueing tracks on the album, whilst the opening heartbeat was represented by a repeating blip in one of the colors.” Storm Thorgerson.

Podcasters Unite! To ‘Bumrush The Charts’

The music documentary film, Before The Music Dies deals with the strangulation effect major music labels have had on the preferences of the music buying public.

We are mobilizing to show the labels that they do not control the charts. Their universe is going to change forever on March 22nd. Support our efforts and purchase Black Lab’s “Mine Again” on March 22nd from iTunes!

“Look whats happening out in the streets
Got a revolution got to revolution
Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers of America


Podcasters Unite To ‘Bumrush The Charts’
2007-03-05 10:39:37.373,
Story by: Kevin Kampwirth

On March 22, podcasters from across the globe will team up in an effort to elevate a song from an independent band to No. 1 on the iTunes sales chart. “Bumrush The Charts,” as it will be known, aims to encourage listeners, through blogs, indie labels and artists, to buy one song by one band on that particular day. The song chosen by the podcasting community for the kickoff is “Mine Again” by L.A.-based Black Lab, former major label darlings-turned-label-less crusaders.

“An important point to make, that some people on forums have not quite understood… is that the podcasting community chose the band—not the other way around,” says Neil Bearse, host of The Podsafe Revolution podcast. “The band has reached out to podcasters by allowing us to play their music, after they were jerked around by two major labels. As the RIAA et al are considering podcasters pirates and amateurs, bands like Black Lab are embracing the technology and allowing us to play their music royalty free.”

The goal of the project, according to their press release, is to “leverage the prominence of the iTunes charts to demonstrate the power of social networking and new media.” A commission from each sale of “Mine Again” will be put aside into a scholarship fund as well, and the Student Loan Network has pledged to match the first $1,000 the song takes in.



Austin – Live Music Capital of the World

Austin, Texas is a wellspring of viable to be heard and experienced music. Austin’s music litany speaks volumes to the listener searching for meaning and revelation.

Austin will be hosting the 20th annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. SXSW is an interactive, film and music festival and conference that has taken place every spring in Austin, Texas since 1987. The music festival is one of the biggest in the United States, with over a thousand performers playing in dozens of venues around downtown Austin for a week in March.

Points of History and Interest

Antone’s, Austin’s Home of the Blues, http://www.myspace.com/antonesnightclub

The film, “Antone’s Home of the Blues” premiered at the SXSW 2004 Conference, chronicles Clifford Antone and his legendary Antone’s music club.


For some thirty years Antone supported the blues with a single minded passion and zeal, treating blues legends like royalty and encouraging a generation of youngsters to carry the torch. Antone died a month before this film was released on DVD and one couldn’t think of a more fitting epitaph. All of Antone’s burning passion and love for the music is brought to life through amazing live performances, photographs and reminiscences all stitched together in this heartfelt tribute.

Clifford Jamal Antone, Godfather of the Blues in Austin. http://www.cliffordantone.com/index.html

Another major venue responsible for establishing Austin as the live music capital of the world from 1970-1980 was the Armadillo World Headquarters. http://www.awhq.com/awhq.htm

Inspired by Austin, Texas’ burgeoning live music scene in the early ’70s, Austin City Limits has featured more than 500 different regional and internationally acclaimed artists on its stage over the years. From B.B. King and Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys to Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ray Charles and Leonard Cohen, each new season presents some of the best original music in every music genre. Its ability to consistently present an amiable mix of musical styles makes it a standout among television music programs.


Austin City Limits Music Festival an annual event http://www.aclfestival.com/default.aspx

Austin Music captured in photos by a great photographer, Steve Hopson


Austin Musicians of Note

By no means complete a list of some of Austin’s influential musicians

Eric Blakely

Willie Nelson

Stevie Ray Vaughn

Los Lonely Boys (They rock! Texican)

Patti Griffin

Lucinda Williams

Where to Buy Music in Austin and Online

A great independent music store to buy Texas music, Waterloo Records http://www.waterloorecords.com/

If you are a music memorabilia collector like me, check out Wild About Music, http://wildaboutmusic.com