GOING GA-GA OVER GAGA !

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2017 by damngoodtunes

 

photo credit for the featured picture of Lady Gaga and James Hetfield by Kevin Winter – courtesy of Getty Images for NARAS

 

 

OK so why does a 60+ year old man who publishes a web magazine and gets CD’s sent to him every day to review go out and actually buy new music? Very simply that I am a huge fan of great song writing and production, engineering. With a strong and beautiful voice to go  with the songs she writes Lady Gaga is a clear choice for me and that’s why I own “Joanne” and ” Born This Way ” both. When some of my die-hard Blues and Jazz friends snicker about all the gaga-isms going around I point out unhesitatingly that I am a fan of Gaga, as I am of Adele and a few other current songwriter female talents including Taylor Swift and without shame. Lady Gaga wrote over two-hundred songs for this latest album and then selected the top tracks to release. Just the thought of that is exhausting isn’t it?  Recently the Lady G stunned the world of sports with her incredible half-time show at the Super Bowl and then just a few weeks later Rock-Shocked us all with a Grammy awards television special and command performance with the one and only Metallica. The duet between James Hetfield and herself will undoubtedly go down in History as one of hard Rock music’s greatest moments, but this is all delivered by the same fine woman who sang a duets album with Tony Bennett. This writer believes that there is nothing Lady Gaga can’t do well and that although she’s amassed a fortune of hundreds of millions and is revered the world over – we are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg!  Go out and buy your own Lady Gaga album or downloads and don’t forget to put some Metallica in your full metal basket while you’re at it !

Bruce J Maie

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IT’S EITHER GOOD, OR IT’S NOT

Posted in Billion View Music Videos, Great Music, Uncategorized on April 29, 2016 by damngoodtunes

Wille-and-Carol

So it’s been a few months now and Adele’s album, 25 is still soaring above the clouds with the smash single “Hello “. It’s no surprise to me. The lady can sing, perform, write songs and look marvelous in a video.  It would seem that her absence from the business and having a child didn’t hurt her a bit, as over one billion unique views to her YouTube video for Hello would suggest.

I make it a point to watch music videos which have over 999 million views for a reason – it’s what people want to see and hear and I want to know why that is. I usually enjoy or an flat out crazy for some of the songs which make it to the top in any genre, but I’m fascinated by the large numbers. And sadly I notice many incredibly popular artists who maybe land at 1-2 million views, such as Sir Paul McCartney’s last release, “ New “ which had this crazy-good song called “ Early Days “ which knocked me completely over with how well it was written and the great story in held within. Yet, there were like 400k views and I thought it was absurd that a billion music fans didn’t agree with me.

Then we examine Country music superstars like Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Florida Georgia Line only to notice a trend; country music fans who go to the concerts don’t seem to get into YouTube and Vimeo anywhere close to the way that Pop, R&B and Hip Hop fans and buyers do. But when we see the Grammy’s or such awards shows it looks like everyone from Country to Rap are equal in the audience appreciation.  And then I suppose that’s where organized hype comes in. The media which is backed by the record industry and mainstream radio want to make us think that all is well in the business but it’s just not so.

Recently I had a conversation with a marketing guru for a major foreign management company and I was informed that the music industry in North America is dead – that other major markets have been targeted in Asia and Europe. People just aren’t spending, buying the music in the states and Canada like they were just a few years ago. Vinyl sales however have tripled in NA in just one year! There haven’t been more turntables sold in the USA since the sixties!

But then the bottom line is Adele has sold 16 million copies of her latest album – many to the Americans and Canadians who love her. It’s a really great record in every aspect from the writing, singing, musicianship and especially the production and engineering. Everything is top tier like things used to be in the 60’s and 70’s. Carole King’s “ Tapestry “, The Beatles “ Sgt. Pepper “ and Pink Floyd’s “ Dark Side Of The Moon are still selling 40 years later. So are Willie Nelson records.  So I’d have to say that the problem isn’t record sales are slumping, there’s just a lot more music being produced and a lot of it just can’t stand up. Not now, and certainly not decades on. It’s either good or it’s not.

Kal David & Miss Lauri Bono

Posted in Blues Guitar, Blues Music, Duet, Female Vocalist, Indie Music, male vocalist, new music, Producers, Rising stars, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 6, 2015 by damngoodtunes

2015 DamnGoodTunes Artist Of The Year

kaldavidandlauribonoweb2015Photo by Tom Bombria


We don’t give away a lot of awards here at DGT. This is due to the fact that we talk to hundreds of artists every year and we try to remain un-biased even if we really dig someone’s work.  But each year a few are so outstanding that we just can’t ignore their contribution to music and to the arts. And for that reason, Kal David, with Miss Lauri Bono with their totally insane smash album, “Living The Dream” become our Top Artist(s) of the entire year! 

To say that Kal David is just a great Blues Guitarist would be a shame, although he is. But then again other Blues guitarists don’t even come close to the wide range of his styles, the colors on his palette if you will.  A short while after the fuzzy glow of the British Invasion had subsided a bit, and being a guitar player myself I immediately started listening to BB King, Muddy and one particular English fellow named John Mayall and his band, the Blues Breakers as I was seeking a higher meaning and more depth, feeling, and that elusive element known as “soul “.  The Blues Breakers were home to many great guitar players including Jimi Page and Eric Clapton and one very young and talented Kal David, who was with the band touring and making records for some three years.  Knowing that tidbit of history will make most reviewers pen a pretty convincing argument that Mr. David is indeed a fine and experienced Blues Guitarist, which as I said earlier –  he is. But they’d miss his depth and the mark by a mile!

Kal David is a singer. He is a true vocalist, a professional with way above average vocal chops to be called a Blues singer. Few of the known men and women in the Blues really have much of a great voice at all with certain exceptions. And if asked, they would probably never dispute that claim either. For example, the now very rich and famous icon of Blues-Pop, Sir Eric Clapton who came from the same school of knocks “across the pond “as most of the American Blues legends had done and had to fight his own long battle upward to stardom, but when you talk to people that you think should know their music, they just go on about the old days of Cream and Yardbirds with no talk of the great songs he wrote and sang and earned Grammys on. He too was passed over as a singer by the critics and the media but I’ve always disagreed with that nonsense. Same is true for Kal David, as when I talked to many of my Blues connections and they speak  about his guitar playing, saying how great he was on the guitar years back with little mention about his singing and original songs. Now though, I have re-discovered just what a total “all-around “musician he is and I feel he deserves all the same respect as Sir Eric is accustomed to. And I know that’s a big pill to swallow for some of you but it is this writers’ opinion that the world is about to wake up to a living legend of music, not just the Blues. And then, this is where the road starts to really divide and get interesting….

Miss Lauri Bono, music partner for many years to Mr. David is fully featured in this new record of theirs called “ Living The Dream “ and she is one of the most dynamic and amazing female vocalists I’ve heard in decades!  You know how it is, with all these reality Talent shows on TV these days, with  the seasonal new crop and even some old bloods who come on to compete with their trademark vocal “ gymnastics.  These are the girls who sing a hundred notes a measure just to show that they heard Aretha records and they have something to prove, never knowing that as in the guitar like Kal knows how to play, less is always more.  Lauri sings in a way that she can sound like soft velvet or turn on the gravel and guts – raising the old goose bumps on your arm and then, she pulls you right back into another soft passage of her angelic flute-like whispers of melody and you just say whoa…..and it’s like something spiritual just happened in front of the whole church-audience….yep, someone got saved! Now I don’t know a great deal about Miss Lauri and her own up-bringing or where she studied music but I know it is a gift. A gift that she has chosen to share with Kal David as they traverse the globe making records playing concerts, television shows and major VIP events.  Most acts that consist of two great singers will usually take turns in the spot light but rarely an act like Peaches and Herb, Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, Barry Gibb and Barbara Streisand – all seventies legends I might add – comes along and makes music history together singing as a real duet. Music, at least Pop and Country music has for the most part missed this element of the male-female duets and the power of two to tell a story.  It worked well for Kenny and Dolly on “Islands In The Stream” and also Lionel and Diana with their “Endless Love “, but producers seem to focus differently these days on developing one icon at a time, one song of the week and one flavor of the month than to foster and market the passion and the power of a duet, as evidenced in this incredible new record by Kal David and Lauri Bono and released on Crytone Records.

We’ve been blessed with this(damngoodtunes.com) magazine because of all the amazing talent and rising stars we’ve been able to meet, interview and review. And there have been hundreds of talented bands and singer-songwriters!  There have been Blues artists who are really great at what they do and some of them were already major stars when we met them, and many were on their way to the top but not one of them were anywhere like or on the level of Kal David and Miss Lauri here on their brand new record, “ Living The Dream “ . There’s something so very special about the chemistry between the notes. You can’t just say “Oh Kal is the star here and write a review about him because they are a TEAM. And a team works synergistically toward the greater good of the total performance, the compete record. The members of the team don’t think they are better than the other; they co-exist because of and for each other. Perfect Harmony.

So we give this award whole-heartedly but not lightly. Kal David and Miss Lauri Bono are the  most deserving Artists of the year but if we gave awards for best male-female vocal performance, they would win that one too! Every track of Living The Dream is great and I’ve played it over and over for a month now in my car whenever I travel, so I don’t have a favorite because they are all, forgive the pun….damn good tunes !

Bruce J Maier

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND CD SALES PLEASE SEE
KALDAVID.COM 

CD also available on Crytone Records 

HOW MANY OPEN EYES AND EARS – The Future Of Recognition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2015 by damngoodtunes

Elvis – Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Lennon, Aretha, Janis, Michael Jackson, Jimi, Bono, Whitney and Celine-where will the next bright star shine and how many open eyes and ears will be there to recognize the intensity of their light?

Like many of our readers, this editor-CEO writes songs and has a working band. Kim, who is the singer in the group, suggested that I listen to Amy Winehouse’s song “Back To Black “as a possible number to add to our list of great covers. And so last evening I went to YouTube and watched the documentary on her life and her own emotional acoustic version of the song which impressed me a great deal yet it wasn’t like I needed to write another review about a singer or a band to be fulfilled, but that I came away from the screen with a renewed sense of Art and music in our culture and the need to value pure artistic genius.

There are literally millions of musicians and songwriters, painters and dancers and thousands of future artists being born each day. Most humans though will travel onward toward so called regular life, education and raising families. Some will merely get by and some will rise in their chosen fields. Proportionately I believe that fewer music artists will ever rise to the top of the food chain, and this I surmise is due to the physics of how many outlets, or channels on the radio and television actually exist…how many talk shows and specific programs there are to feature the over abundance of creativity flowing upward, all trying to reach the top few spots. And of course, that was the basis of why we started Damn Good Tunes so many years ago, to try to do our part to level the playing field to give at least some the opportunity for exposure.  But there needs to be more creative outlets for our youth and other serious aspiring artists in which the environment would foster excellence and recognize those who are above the cut, providing them the guidance and avenues on which to travel. And that is my vision and thoughts of this day I would like to share.

In the world of sports we have the Olympics. In technology there is MIT. Harvard gives us law, West Point instills military leadership, and science brings us degrees in medicine and engineering. Music and Art though widespread in the world with conservatories and specialized school is suffering from the blind eye, the minds who just as in Mozart’s time refused to recognize his genius until it was far too late, just as society may have pre-assumed and judged artists like Kurt Cobain because they thought they knew and understood him from a video production the saw one time. He had, as Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin did – something special that would set them each apart from the army of millions of regular players and writers who are mostly happy just to be on stage or being featured at a gallery with a little blue ribbon. Not saying anything is wrong with entering a contest or selling a few downloads here and there, but in order to make it all the way to the top there needs to be people in place who are as passionate about the arts and music, but who have the keen eyes and ears to know who has that magic special something that no one else seems to have. Dylan for his lyrics for example and Miles Davis for his diverted sense of melody and cadence. At one time these men were young boys trying to express themselves and find their own way and they found it within themselves to push hard, keep playing and performing wherever they might. But for each of them there were ten thousand who would not be seen and out of those numbers probably at least a few who might have changed the world as we know it.

What I would like to see is that more of us who have been out there in the world creating and sharing our music and Art for decades would start talking about, creating and building centers for the arts where all young people could go to study and play music, dance and further their skills in painting and sculpture. There will always be a need for visual and broadcast arts and sciences and a need for people running cameras and editing film. And since before a Mid Summer Night’s Dream there has been a need for theater and so there must be a place for all the new Spielbergs  and Eastwoods to practice Directing as well. There too I would also envision a curriculum which includes the Business of Music and Art and the necessity of health and abstinence from drugs….maybe even a class on what to do with your money when the big bucks start rolling in!

I had an advantage growing up where my parents were there to open the door  to  the arts to me, and I had a very dear dance and voice teacher, William Smethers, who saw the bright light burning from my heart for music and show business. I would welcome a hundred thousand thinkers and encouragers like Bill to help us build a legion of open eyes and ears, each ready to recognize the next Elvis, Michael or Amy who might be just now walking onto that high school stage to practice during lunch break.

Bruce J Maier

The Wrecking Crew

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 23, 2015 by damngoodtunes

wc-title-still

In about 2008 I had the fortune of meeting film maker Denny Tedesco in Seattle’s EMP theater along with the Audio Engineering Society, with whom I was an invited guest. Denny was unveiling a film project that had already taken him a decade to bring to this point of near completion. With a few hundred other attendees we were treated to clips of behind the scenes in the music business like no other we had ever viewed before. The dozens of artists who appeared on the screen were responsible for thousands of music tracks on record and in the movies, though  many of them would go on to become icons such as Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine, Leon Russel and  Tommy Tedesco, the former Mr. Tedesco’s father.

After the short feature film was over we gathered in the lobby and met with Denny and a few others involved in the production. Tedesco and I exchanged business cards and I agreed to do some sort of write up about the movie when it was officially released. Not long after, Denny phoned me at Damn Good Tunes and invited me to be his guest at a Vancouver BC premiere, and also to the Hollywood opening. Believe it or not, I couldn’t make either one! I’ve kicked myself in the buttocks a few times over this, believe me! However, there would be an epic saga unfurling and for Denny Tedesco legal battles over the use of some of the music would put his personal life and health on hold for a number of years.

Fast Forward ! It’s 2015 and I’ve just watched The Wrecking Crew movie on Pay Per View with a select number of musicians, producers and friends:

This is the finest music documentary I have ever seen or heard in my life! Not only did it give me the ol’ goose bumps on the arms and a bit of a tear in my eye, but there wasn’t a single part, interview, clip or music piece that was incorrect or out of context. In short, this is a film that every budding musician, songwriter, producer or engineer should be required to watch. All high school and college music programs need to  show this to the students, not only from a historical perspective, as documentaries may lead, but to help musicians understand the kinetic energy, the unspoken communication amongst musicians which is the magic ” pixie dust ” that makes the music real and from the heart, even when reading a chart!

Come back soon for my part 2 opinion and review of ” The Wrecking Crew ”

Bruce J Maier

When A Man Loves A Woman – Remembering Percy Sledge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 14, 2015 by damngoodtunes

When_a_Man_Loves_a_Woman_cover

Percy Sledge, one of the most timeless entertainers whose voice has filled the air-waves for nearly six decades has passed following health complications. Known mainly for the immortal hit ” When A Man Loves A Woman” Percy recalled later that he signed away the rights to the melody which seemed at the time when he was young and green – to be the right thing to do. However, he was constantly reminded that he cut his wife and children out of much prosperity from his ill-advised move. The first song to ever become a # 1 hit for Muscle Shoals Alabama recording studio, it would later become an iconic melody of love and pain, recorded by dozens and also re-made into a number one song again by American singer Michael Bolton. Sledge will be remembered as a gentle man with a big heart and beautiful smile. Always good to work with in the studio, a family man and a true man of faith.

Bruce J Maier – Publisher /damngoodtunes.com

Footnote comment for all aspiring artists, bands and songwriters; Make sure you have qualified advice before giving away the rights to your music.What happened to Percy Sledge, although he had a full and wonderful career might have been greater yet had he been able to enjoy the fruits of his labor and inspirations, thus providing more for his family’s future through the royalties earned from one of the biggest mega-monster songs in the history of Pop music.

Why Bother?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2015 by damngoodtunes

I know there are days when we all want to say screw it, just throw in the towel and be a grown-up. We get frustrated because it seems no one is interested in our music, or at least not enough listeners or dancers came to the club last night even though you publicized it well enough. So what’s the problem?
The answer is that the problem is you ( me ). It’s no one else’s fault things are going the way you want them to really. Maybe something you’re doing just isn’t working…maybe there’s another approach you should take or someone else’s advice you should be open to hear. But whatever it is you’ve got to just get up out of your childish self-pity and write or learn a new song. Get out and play, go into the studio and produce something new and fresh. If you’re in a band get them all motivated by example. Change you, and the fans will follow!