How To ” Arrive “

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 31, 2015 by damngoodtunes

Spoon-fed, silver-platter baby or did you work for it?

Editorial Opinion by Bruce J Maier

I know that seems to be a bit bold of me since I’m always so passive, never wanting to upset anyone with my own opinions on politics, religion and sexual orientation. And I’ve remained that way happily for years and this magazine continues to grow just by being good conductors, not leveraging ourselves into the carnage of gladiator journalism. That said, I’ve decided to open up a discussion if you will, on the merits of those who have become so incredibly popular and wealthy in the music industry. Hopefully it will shed some light on where you, the Indie artist must chose your own path and build your future upon.

Picking on the Beatles for example, Sir Paul McCartney might have wound up working at the foundry just like his father did. He even tried it for a while when the future fab returned from Germany and the eight hour sets without a break, disillusioned and saddened by George being forced to leave for being underage in the clubs. But the music the boys were creating was so powerful as was their friendship that they never gave up. Instead they loaded up their crude amps and PA into old trucks and cars, cabs or whatever and went and played every possible gig they could find. Eventually rehearsed and sharpened by the keen fashion eye of Brian Epstein, the group pressed a few demos which would later become the fuel of genius for Sir George Martin. They made history before they ever really saw cash in their hands but they worked hard for every penny (Lane) they ever made! Years later Paul, upon quitting the Beatles set out once again to build a whole new band, Wings, with his wife Linda.  While starting up they bought an old delivery van and once again moved all their own amps and drums while keeping it ever so stealth that it was he, Paul McCartney who the schools, colleges and pubs had booked in. Sure he had the dough and could have hired people to move the gear but the band wanted to actually go out and earn their money and see real Pounds for a change. Could have taken the easy was out but this I believe is some of what makes Sir McCartney the most recorded and distributed songwriter in the history of modern music and publishing.

Elvis Presley was a poor young man who had to drive a truck every day to help his mom and dad pay the bills and keep food on the table. Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, BB King – the list and the stories go on forever about being humble and one day making it to the top. Modern acts like One Republic’s Ryan Tedder worked as a waiter and at the pottery barn while honing his skills and securing a position with DreamWorks SKG in Nashville. As a producer of demo records he was able to earn a living but knew that all his efforts even since he was seven years old – singing at least two hours every day and practicing the piano would help him to get to that place he now occupies and deserves. Nobody gave him a record or publishing deal, Tedder earned his place and by now you may have surmised where I’m going with this.

Nashville and Los Angeles are magical places and dreams really do come true there. But much of it is fabricated and paid for, bartered and even blackmailed when necessary. It’s the only explanation when some young hunk or gorgeous little gal with mediocre karaoke competition talent suddenly has a top ten single on Billboard. And it’s not genre specific either. All types of music from Hip Hop to Country seem to be coming out of the vending machine and digitally being spun on the Big Heart network. And so we ask, “I thought payola died in the nineteen fifties “!  No it hasn’t and it’s not exclusive to the music industry either. It’s rampant in the sports world and movie production. Ask any of the independent producers and directors at Sundance Film Festival how hard they have worked, how many barriers were placed in the way to keep their films from being seen and noticed. And were it not for these types of outlets for film makers, and the Independent music festivals all over the world there would be less hope for a writer, artist or band than there is today.

Now rather than me starting to sound like a Rant against the recent iHeart music awards and it’s plethora of no-talent cupie-doll cutout kids….( I know, I said I wouldn’t go there ) that was so much like all the other ho-hum awards shows, I think you’re all adults here reading this and you know in your heart of hearts what is good, what is real and what is fabrication.  So lest we be judges and stone throwers, let us be creators and developers who can right what is wrong and correct the imbalance so that every little boy or girl throughout the world will have an equal opportunity. One that says no matter your language, religion, color or belief – no matter if you are a serious poet-rapper with a message to tell, or a Strat-slinging hard rocker or a real life country artist from the farm or the projects, your voice will be heard and your story listened to.

In conclusion I have to also admit that it’s not the fault of the rich privileged kids who do have plenty of talent but have had favors granted because of daddy’s connections. They deserve a chance just like the rest of us, but let’s not be making up tales about our rough childhood and how much mommy didn’t love me and that’s why I had the Blues every day laying around the pool eating hors d’ oeuvres  with our morning champagne. Work for it, stay humble and inspire others!

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Columbia Theatre Longview Washington Blues Show

Posted in Blues Music, Karen Lovely, Lisa Mann, Lloyd Jones, Longview Washington, Louis Pain, Portland Oregon with tags , , , , , , on February 22, 2015 by damngoodtunes

By Bruce J Maier – damngoodtunes founder

 

On February 21st I attended a concert in the city of Longview Washington which lies just west of Interstate 5, about forty miles from Portland Oregon. The show was presented by the historic Columbia Theatre and co-produced by drummer Willis Moss and Gian Paul Morrelli, the Theatre Director.  There was an incredible lineup of talent including three of the top Portland Oregon area Blues and R and B artists, the first being Mr. Lloyd Jones. Jones has become synonymous with the Blues who’s – who of the entire region for many years, and is always writing new material and releasing CDs when he’s not traveling the seas for a Blues Cruise or touring Europe.  Lloyd Jones is an outstanding guitarist and singer but it’s his personality on stage that I’ve always liked the most. Over the past few years I’ve been to about a half-dozen of his performances and have enjoyed each and every one. Once I was in a very small club and yet when Jones grabbed his guitar and stepped up to the mic, it was as though he was playing a stadium with fifteen thousand fans. Makes no difference, Lloyd Jones gives his one hundred ten per cent at any venue. If you get a chance to see him at a festival on a sunny day he makes everybody dance, even the little children and their grandmas. He’s a real “peoples “entertainer! Always two thumbs up way high for Lloyd Jones!Lloyd Jones plays

On Bass and also starring the incredible Lisa Mann, who proved to be everything that the press has been saying about her all over the net. She is a talented musician and a rhythmic Bass player who danced around the stage in a classy evening dress with leopard-pattered high heel shoes while delivering soulful, bluesy vocals on top of her Bass lines, something that not all Bassists are able to do. Though my first time seeing her in person it will not be my last – this young woman has something to show and offer to the world in the line of sublime talent and a charismatic  though gentle command of the stage. The way she interacts with the others shows experience and craftsmanship without a hint of over-indulging ego. In my estimation would be a great candidate on my personal bucket list to perform with or even work in the studio for the respectful attitude with which she displays to the other musicians. I doubt there is a style of music she could not play or a suggestion she would make that would not completely enhance anyone’s musical project. Of course, with several CD’s and numerous awards to her credit, the rest of the world already knows this Lady is on a great course with her music career without me to tell them. I could see her music making a rare cross-over into mainstream Blues-edged Pop as easily as the success came to the now legendary Bonnie Raitt.

Lisa Plays Bass

 

The third superpower of the evening was the very electric and powerful soul-singing, rocking and jumping Karen Lovely! Again I was at a bit of disadvantage and felt badly that I had personally never heard Karen before and, living so close to Portland Oregon I fail to see how I missed her. That said, by the time Lovely came onto the stage to join the crew, there were large shoes to fill and man…she filled them up, grabbed the audience right out of their seats and took control of the theater!  Karen Lovely has been talked about, written about across the country and into Europe, where she is scheduled to tour again in early June 2015. She has recorded multiple CD’s and received many awards for her songs and shows. Karen has this beautiful smile and warmth when you meet her, and I can immediately see how things get to be real fun on stage when she starts this high-jump dance that she does in time with the music which just fuels the already “on-fire “musicians at her side. I love to see real energy like this where it’s not contrived, just a natural pulse reaction to the feeling within, which some artists, and certainly the three here being mentioned are all blessed with.  During the Intermission I got to spend a few minutes with Karen in the green room and I immediately was put at ease, as though I’d just met up again with a long lost friend. She’s just that way and I cannot wait to see her perform again in the near future.

Karen Lovely sings

Rounding out this terrific band of friends this evening were Keyboardist Louis Pain and Willis Moss on drums and vocals. Louis Pain is affectionately known as King Louis as well as Portland’s Best Kept Secret of the Northwest. Well schooled in the vanishing art of the Hammond B-3 and the modern-tech NORD keyboard systems, Louis and his authentic “ Leslie “ speaker system talk, I mean sing to the band in a tone and texture that you really either know, or have to experience for yourself or you’ll be clueless to my reference. The B3 sound has been around since the nineteen-forties, decades before Louis Pains’ time, but thanks heaven he took a path in music that is void of the millions of players, like we (dime-a-dozen lol!) guitar slingers! A person who understands the B3 can make up a wall of sound all on their own with precise control of volume, dynamic key articulation and variance of the rotation in the Leslie. It’s a superb sound and addition to any music but lends itself well to Blues, Jazz and of course Gospel music. Louis is a fine player and my observation is that he, like each of the players in this lineup was equal on all levels.

Louis Pain plays B3

Now, for my dear friend Willis Moss; as I mentioned last week in the promotion for this show, Mr. Moss is one of the rare ones who has walked through the fires of life and came out a new and reinvented soul. Plagued by diabetes and related ill-health for a lifetime, Willis received both a donor pancreas and a kidney and has been doing very well for going on ten years now. He appreciates life and has dedicated himself to promotion of music and the artists who play with passion. Moss surrounds himself with the best of the best as evidenced here in this show with the great Lloyd Jones, Mann, Lovely and Pain. Willis is a very talented drummer who is right there in the pocket, solid but never getting in the way of the music, rather driving it forward just as a great drummer should do. On top of that, he’s one of the best Blues singers in the business, looks good in a hat and is just a damn fine human being who is relentless at promoting regional music events and encouraging everyone around him to live life to the fullest.

Willis-Moss-drums-in-desert

This review would not be complete without a mention of the man at the helm of the Columbia Theatre, Gian Paul Morrelli, without whose help and love for music and the arts none of this would have happened in a place called Longview Washington. I spoke with Mr. Morrelli in his office prior to the show starting and came away convinced that this is a man with great ideas who just wants to bring good music and entertainment to the people with no agendas of his own. In the coming months there will be many more great shows at the Historic Columbia Theatre which Gian will be producing with a full lighting and amazing sound system in place. The building itself is warm, comfortable and a work of architecture and pure Art. A bar is available for your favorite beverages during the intermissions and there is plenty of safe, well-lighted parking adjacent to the theatre.  Watch for the updates and upcoming shows all about the Columbia Theatre right here in DGT!

The Columbia Theatre – Longview Washington Presents

Posted in Columbia Theatre, Karen Lovely, Lisa Mann, Lloyd Jones with tags , , , , on February 16, 2015 by damngoodtunes

Columbia Theatre poster 2

 

As the downloadable Hi-Res poster  explains, three incredible artists on one stage for one night will appear at the historic Columbia Theatre in Longview Washington this Saturday evening. I have had the pleasure of knowing the show’s producer and drummer, Willis Moss for about ten years and have been his guest at many great Blues and R&B events, several involving the amazing Lloyd Jones who I believe is the underestimated secret Blues weapon of the entire Pacific Northwest. Lloyd surrounds himself with the finest players and it  doesn’t matter where he is, a Blues Fest with thousands of fans or a small bar in Portland Oregon,Longview-Kelso Washington state – Lloyd delivers the package! And, from the moment he takes the stage, Jones shows the crowd that he’s there to entertain and give them their money’s worth. And, in less than two minutes people are already up on their feet groovin’ to the soulful tasty guitar work and the gritty-smooth dynamics of his vocals. He barely takes a real break when doing a four hour gig and I think it’s because he really loves putting on a show for his fans. When people say they are not into the Blues when I talk about Lloyd, but then we go to his shows they realize this ain’t your daddy’s Blues; there’s R n B, Funk and all kinds of style in his music.A man to investigate, you can find Lloyd Jones’ multiple albums for sale throughout the net on all popular sale sites and select record outlets.

Lisa Mann and Karen Lovely are only new to this writer but each of these powerful Ladies are rising stars who have achieved tremendous accolades.Lisa Mann has recently received a Blues Music Award and is the recipient of three Muddy Waters Awards as well. Her song called ” Move On ” knocks me totally out with it’s Funky Bass chops interlaced with those fire-soul vocals! It’s no wonder that Lisa is being noticed on a national level in my opinion. Karen Lovely is also a Blues Music Award nominee who has four of her own records out, ” Still The Rain ” and ” Prohibition Blues ” join her LIVE in Los Angeles and her 2008 release – ” Lucky Girl “. ,Like Lloyd Jones and Lisa Mann her CDs are available wherever quality music is found on the Internet and Northwest record outlets.In conclusion I’d like to go back to Mr Willis Moss and mention that over the years he has shown me such passion and love for the art of music and introduced me to the Blues – the New Blues that’s hotter than the proverbial firecracker and turned me back on to the genre like never before. A few years ago Moss was fighting for his life after many years of illness and a failing pancreas until an incredible thing happened; he became a double recipient of a pancreas AND a kidney! Recovering well, Willis saw this new opportunity for a full life and has since dedicated his talents to promoting the best music of the Northwest, particularly from Portland Oregon to the Longview and Kelso areas of Southwest Washington. And vocals? Are you kidding me? Willis isn’t only the main drummer that all these great artists want to have backing them, he’s a great singer on top of it! But it’s Willis’ effervescence and natural smile that folks love. It takes real people to promote Real Music, and this event produced by and partially performed by Mr Willis Moss will be a huge success. So I would humbly suggest you call the number provided in the event poster and reserve your tickets now!

Special mention goes out to the Columbia Theatre Buildings management, Gian Paul Morrelli, whom without his shared love for the Arts, none of these events would be taking place.

Bruce J Maier
Publisher

Here are these three artists web addresses:
http://karenlovely.com/
http://lisamannmusic.com/
http://lloydjonesmusic.com/

Charlie Hebdo Tragedy

Posted in assault, Charlie Hebdo, freedom of speech, murder, Paris, Peace, Uncategorized, victims of violence with tags , , , , on January 9, 2015 by damngoodtunes

It is with regret and sorrow we must acknowledge the senseless murders of twelve people, some of whom were journalists who were executed while at work this week in Paris France.  These, our fellow journalists were killed with other innocents and eleven others injured, along with two police officers who gave their lives trying to protect them all. Among the dead were Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski, Bernard Verlhack, Philippe Honore ,Bernard Maris, Elsa Cayat, Mustapha  Ourrad, all employed by Charlie Hebdo working with Stephane  Charbonnier, who was the Editor of the organization. A visitor was killed, Michel Renaud, who was there from another city with a colleague who survived the shooting.  A caretaker, 42 year old Frederick Boisseau just happened to be in the lobby at the time and lost his life with the others. French Policeman Ahmed Merabet lost his life as well as Security Officer Franck Brinsolaro.

Some of those who perished at Charlie Hebdo were editors, cartoonists, economist and one a trained psychologist who wrote a column favored by many intellectuals. Some were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but all were human beings who should not have had to lose their lives because of someone else’s idea that a religion, faith or whatever it might have been were being exploited, mocked and jeopardized.

Charlie Hebdo had been around since 1969 poking fun at everyone including the Pope, Presidents, Kings and many Muslim and extremist leaders usually with their outrageous cartoons. In much of the west there is freedom of speech and freedom of the press. In America we have tolerated our leaders’ images being characterized each and every day in the newspapers. It’s part of who we are. Some laugh, some get irked by the cartoons of their favorite politicians, personalities and sports stars but all in all we have developed a thick skin for pundits and writers. In conclusion though, as I have always maintained we need to work more together as a human race to eradicate prejudice and malice towards others. We need to learn to be kinder to one another, brother to sister, nation-to-nation.  May these twelve souls lost in this vicious attack be one with God.  Peace to All.    Bruce J Maier / editor

Rest In Peace Joe Cocker

Posted in Joe Cocker with tags , , on December 22, 2014 by damngoodtunes

Please read our story in Damn Good Tunes ( Here )

 

 

 

joe-cocker

The Greatest Christmas Album In Decades!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 30, 2014 by damngoodtunes

Tim Rushlow

The Best Christmas Album In Decades!

Tim Rushlow and his Big Band Classic Christmas

A review by Bruce J Maier

There was once a time of glory in the music industry and a time of class that only the likes of producer-engineers like Frank Lako of Columbia Records in New York would create on a regular basis. Mr. Sinatra recorded most of his albums there with Lako and it was an environment fine-tuned for the best musicians in the industry. The songs were well crafted and the musicianship the highest available. The music was rich in texture and tone of the vocals smooth as velvet, largely due to a great singer for starters and followed by the best microphones and acoustics and the best analog tape on the planet. But as music aficionados we came to expect great sound, great songs and incredible entertainment. As time went on the industry and accepted forms of popular music presentation changed greatly. But one thing has never changed; the world loves Christmas music. Even though there have been hundreds of Christmas albums produced since the nineteen-fifties there is certainly a void between “ this year’s flavor “ and records that are made to last, until now.

Tim Rushlow, the former lead singer of the super group Little Texas ventured out on his own in the late nineties and has been making great records and performing to sold out shows around the world without ever having to look back. For some though, moving past the success of four top albums, a greatest hits collection and charting fifteen singles on Billboard’s Top 100 – would be hard to part with. Rushlow has proven time after time that he is a progressive man who continues to write, sing and evolve.

Coming from humble roots and being born on a US Air Force base Tim would grow up with an early interest in music and honing his vocal skills in the High School choir. Although he would later earn many accolades and awards in modern Country, he has always had a profound passion for Jazz and Big Band music. Now for the first time in his life, everything he has learned in the music business – every note and scale, every stage he’s performed on has led him to this exciting new adventure   – Tim Rushlow and his Big Band Classic Christmas!

With a nice mixture of time honored classics such as Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells and Oh Holy Night, Tim Rushlow shows us an amazing range of a softer style of singing to an all out Swing-King, finger-snapping swagger throughout this entire CD! When I do a review there is, invariably one or maybe two songs that will stand out or slap me right in the face with “ Hit “ written all over it, and that is the case with “ What Do I Do With The Blue “ and “ A Soldier’s Gift “. The latter is a song that you can’t help but have feelings for, as the lyric evokes how we long to see our loved ones and friends who are serving in the military, protecting the rest of us and it says thank you in a beautiful and convincing, respectable way. It’s such a well-crafted song featuring Bradford Marsalis and penned by Tim Rushlow, Don Poythress and the album’s co-producer Jimmy Ritchey who has done a splendid job with Jeff Huskins to make a great record, one that this writer believes would have made Frank and Frank very proud indeed, as they prove that outstanding recordings and total class have made a triumphant return! Look for Tim Rushlow to be at the top of the charts in the coming years and for this wonderful Christmas album being a cherished classic for decades to come!

Tim Rushlow and His Big Band Classic Christmas

Available now on iTunes for download and on Amazon.com for the CD

Tim Rushlow Wesbsite

See The Original Article Here

A Time For Family and Friends – A Time To Act

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 23, 2014 by damngoodtunes

DGT-Thanksgiving

We know that for many in the USA this week is a traditional holiday and that there are similar such holidays around the world. This particular holiday is usually a great gathering time in homes across America where some of us are able to sit down at the  table and enjoy a Blessing of Abundance. Unfortunately not everyone in the states will be able to fill their bellies with turkey, potatoes and gravy and so many wonderful desserts. Many in our country are homeless and hungry, just like our brothers and sisters in Europe, Asia and throughout the world.

It occurred to me this week that I am truly blessed although I don’t live in a penthouse nor do I drive a new Maybach and spend hundreds of dollars on my shoes. I am lucky to have grown up never to have missed a meal, never had to live on the streets and always had clean clothes upon my back. And yet so many in our country and on this planet are going to sleep tonight without having had breakfast, lunch or dinner at all. So, I started thinking about what I might be able to do with my own music and artwork as a means to bring some sort of hope and dignity back to others. We here at DGT are always volunteering for whatever the good cause is that is before us such as hurricane and earthquake relief and that is all good. But what might I do all year long to bring about change with my music and with the love, energies behind damngoodtunes.com ?  I do not know the answer but rest assured I will seek it out and consult with all of our followers and every musician and band that I’ve come to know.

Perhaps we can all work together with our music, and with our Art and to initiate a new mission – one to help end hunger and homelessness.. A cause which will be driven daily toward a solution. No child, woman or man should go hungry or not have a safe, decent place to sleep, prepare food, to bathe and enjoy a more Human existence. It is our right. We are not primitive animals living in the dark and we must stop the fighting, bring the love and hope to this humanity one meal at a time.

Happy Thanksgiving

Bruce J Maier / CEO