Live from the Artists Den – Squeeze

Lawn at Bryant Park, New York City
Image via Wikipedia

Last night we watched Live from the Artists Den on PBS, Channel Thirteen WNET. We couldn’t wait for this broadcast to air because we attended the show live and for free last year. It was fun to look for ourselves in the audience throughout the show. We popped up a few times in various shots ūüėČ

It was beautifully filmed and edited in Hi-Def.¬†It brought back the sweet smell and essence of the summer air in Bryant Park. The weather was picture perfect that night. We stood real close to the Southwest Porch, right in front of Chris Difford‘s mike stand. Squeeze was straight on that night, brilliant in their execution.

It was a thrilling evening, as double-decker buses rode past us on the  right along 6th Avenue. Off to our left was the lush green meadow of Bryant Park and the expanse of the back of the New York Public Library building.

I first posted about Squeeze, Live from the Artists Den on my other music blog,

This is that link


Bill Ortiz – Soulful Communicator

I am excited to share my first national magazine music article with the readers of this blog.  I was approached by Steffen Franz , CEO of Independent Distribution Collective, a couple of months back to write an article about our mutual friend, trumpet player Bill Ortiz.

The article is published with Churn Magazine, an arts and music magazine from San Francisco that is moving to a national distribution model.

Here is the cover of CHURN’s Spring 2011 issue along with the three page article. I hope you will enjoy what is written and published about Bill Ortiz, Soulful Communicator.

Copyright Churn Magazine

Astral Weeks – Van Morrison

Cover of
Cover of Astral Weeks

As I drive through the the early morning ¬†fog, the mystical sounds of Van Morrison‘s¬†Astral Weeks¬†carry me along to my final destination.

“If I ventured in the slipstream, between the viaducts of your dream…”

To lay me down, in silence easy, to be born again”¬†¬© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

I never tire of this album no matter how often I hear it performed.

Phoebe Snow Joins Her Angel

I was deeply saddened to learn of Phoebe Snow‘s death today. I was moved beyond measure by her devotion to her daughter, Valerie Rose, who was born with severe brain damage. Snow decided to care for her at home and not place her in an institution.

“She was the only thing that was holding me together,” she told the¬†San Francisco Chronicle¬†in 2008. “My life was her, completely about her, from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed at night.”

The last time I saw Phoebe Snow was live at Jazz at Lincoln Center on December 12, 2007 where she sang “Lonely Ol’ Night” for John Mellencamp as part of his ASCAP Champion Awards event. She was so eloquent that evening in The Allen Room as she sang against the tapestry of the Columbus Circle panorama.

I see her holding Valerie Rose in heaven now as I wipe away tears in celebration of their blessed reunion.

'70s singer/songwriter Phoebe Snow dies aged 60

What recording to buy next?

Easter 2011 has come and gone. My Lenten promise was not to buy any new music recordings. If you know me at all, I trust you’ll agree that was not an easy 40 day sacrifice for me. ¬†I buy 70+ recordings a year between CD, vinyl and digital download ūüėČ ¬†I was only able to honor Record Store Day 2011 in¬†principle, not practice. ¬†This was the biggest Record Store Day yet!

I am looking at my short list for what recording I should buy first. My short list of recordings includes:

  1. Paul SimonSo Beautiful or So What? (We are scheduled to see him at MGM Foxwoods on May 29)
  2. Foo FightersWasting Light (Heard Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins on the Howard Stern Show)
  3. RadioheadKing of Limbs
  4. Steve EarleI’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive (Available tomorrow April 26th, which is when I am hoping to listen to it on Zune).
  5. Ray DaviesSee My Friends
My next step is to give each of these a listen on Microsoft Zune. The beauty of a Microsoft Zune subscription is that I can listen to any recording available on Zune. Each month I get to¬†download¬†10 tracks free.¬†So it’s time to start listening and making a selection ūüėȬ†Teeing up Paul Simon first…

Roger McGuinn at Infinity Hall Reviewed

Last night Rosemary and I saw Roger McGuinn at Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Ct. It was the perfect venue to witness this legendary guitarist and music historian.

Roger McGuinn began the evening by playing “My Back Pages” from behind the stage. That Rickenbacker signature sound filled the hall and we were immediately brought back to that¬†halcyon era of the sixties, when the radio airwaves were filled with the sounds of The Byrds and Bob Dylan.

Roger McGuinn informed and delighted us for 90 minutes. He served as a music historian. He treated us like guests in his living room

What I like about Roger McGuinn is his dedication to his craft. He brandished several musical instruments. A banjo, a 12 string guitar (Martin D12-42RM), a 7 string guitar (Martin HD-7) that he got an amazing sound with and of course his Rickenbacker guitar which is his most famous sound.

File:Roger McGuinn - Natick, MA (2011).jpg

Roger McGuinn told of us his early days in New York City, with the Chad Mitchell Trio, then being offered double his wages to play for Bobby Darin.

I especially liked his recollections of the early days with The Byrds. It was cool to learn how he met David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Gene Clark and Michael Clark. I loved hearing about their début at The Troubadour in West Hollwood, CA in 1965.

File:The Byrds Logo.jpg

The story we liked the most was how Peter Fonda approached Bob Dylan to write a song for the movie Easy Rider. Bob Dylan wrote the first verse on a napkin and told Fonda, “Give this to McGuinn, he’ll know what to do with it.” So Peter Fonda flew the holy grail napkin back to Roger McGuinn in Hollywood and¬†viola, we get “The Ballad of Easy Rider” the best track on the soundtrack ūüėČ

The river flows
It flows to the sea
Wherever that river goes
That’s where I want to be
Flow river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town

I was pleased that Roger McGuinn played two tracks from The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” ¬†by Bob Dylan and “Pretty Boy Floyd” by Woody Guthrie. When I first read about this album in Rolling Stone in 1968 it really hit me what The Byrds had accomplished with the first country rock album. ¬†This album also brought us the raw genius of Gram Parsons who only recorded this one album with The Byrds. I could feel McGuinn’s pride in making this seminal recording.


We picked up this autographed 8×10 black and white glossy photo of Roger McGuinn at the merchandise table in the lobby before the concert. I collect autographs and this was a very reasonable item for $5.00.