Behind The Song: Billy Joel, “New York State of Mind”

Written by Billy Joel

New York City has a charm all its own. Legendary singer-songwriter Billy Joel had been living in Los Angeles for a few years back in the early 1970s, but he felt the east coast city gently tugging on his heart. Once he moved back home, he was inspired to write a dedication amidst the city’s own turmoils with crime and drugs.

“A lot of bad things were happening in New York then. There was a lot of crime. Drugs were out of control. The city looked bad; it was really dirty. It almost defaulted, financially,” he told Newsday in 2015. “It really needed a boost, and I wanted to write an anthem for it.”

Joel was literally taking a Greyhound on his way back to Highland Falls, which lies roughly 90 minutes north of the city, when he began jotting down the song’s initial barebones. “It’s the one I wrote in like 15 minutes,” he said in a Howard Stern interview during his 2010 promo stop. “It was the day I moved back from California to New York. I’m sitting on the bus… and I started scribbling in a notebook. I got to the house where my wife was waiting. I said, ‘I got to write this song right now.’”

“New York State of Mind” was not the only song to be inspired by his cross-country move. Much of his 1976 studio album, Turnstiles, harkened to the rejuvenation and thrill of returning back home after time away. Sultry saxophone and the swell of piano and strings work to evoke a sense of intoxicating whimsy for simpler, more grounded times of home and what that means in adulthood. “It was so easy living day by day,” he croons. “Out of touch with the rhythm and blues / But now, I need a little give and take / The New York Times, The Daily News / It comes down to reality / And it’s fine with me / ‘Cause I’ve let it slide.”

Of course, over the decades, the song has taken on various meanings. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the ballad became an anthem of patriotism. “When we did [the song] at that telethon immediately after 9/11 [The Concert for New York City], everybody was just about in tears trying to get through the song,” he said in the same Newsday story. “We did it as blues, rather than doing it as a standard. We played it kind of downbeat and soft and slow, almost like an elegy. It was difficult to get through.”

He added, “I just kept staring at the fireman’s helmet on the piano, and I just kept thinking, ‘Just look at the helmet, just look at the helmet. Don’t think about what you’re feeling right now. Think about the guy who wore that helmet and do the song.’”

“New York State of Mind” was never released as an official album single, but it has become one of the most enduring classics. The song was later re-recorded for Joel’s Greatest Hits: Volume 1 & 2 (1985 and 1997) with the iconic saxophone solo (originally played by Richie Cannata) swapped with a new sax line. Reportedly, there are three versions of the saxophone part.

Definitive Version:

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Honorable Mentions:

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Elvin Bishop To Be Honored And Perform At Arhoolie Awards Show

2019 Shaun Murphy 2

Legendary guitarist, singer, songwriter, Blues Hall of Fame inductee and Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Famer Elvin Bishop will receive the Chris Strachwitz Legacy Award from The Arhoolie Foundation at the second annual Arhoolie Awards And Benefit Show in San Francisco on Friday, November 22. Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio (Elvin on guitar and vocals, Bob Welsh on piano and guitar and Willy Jordan on cajón and vocals) will headline the event which will take place at The Chapel, 770 Valencia Street, in San Francisco.

The honor, “recognizes exceptional musicians, teachers, community organizations, documentarians, and individuals working creatively to help keep tradition-based styles of music alive and moving forward. Nominations are made by board members, friends, and experts in our field. Winners are chosen by Chris Strachwitz and the Arhoolie Foundation board of directors. This award is simply meant to encourage, support, and shine a light on extraordinary individuals and organizations, and to help them continue their good work.”

Bishop’s latest Alligator Records release (and second with The Big Fun Trio) is Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here. American Blues Scene described the trio as “Bishop couldn’t have put together a better group if they’d been handed down from heaven on a silver platter.” Both Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here and their previous self-titled album, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, received Grammy Award nominations. According to Bishop, “With a trio there’s no place to hide­—you’ve got to be pourin’ everything you got right out front. You need to be totally into it all the time. It’s really cool to see how people react to the goin’-for-it feel of the music.”

Ever since Bishop first hit the scene with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band back in 1965, he’s blazed his own musical trail. Whether he was playing raw, eye-popping blues, or penning the evergreen radio hit Fooled Around And Fell In Love, or touring the world for decades delivering his original, good-time countrified blues, Bishop has always inspired his fans with his rowdy guitar playing and witty, slice-of-life songs. Rolling Stone calls Bishop “a legendary guitarist” whose playing is “impeccable and spirited…a distinguished American player.”

Elvin Bishop

2019 Arhoolie Awards and Benefit Concert



The World Is Full Of Great Guitar Solos

The World Is Full Of Great Guitar Solos

Do you have a favourite guitar solo? You know, one that sends a cold chill down the back of your neck? One, that for some unknown reason seems to fit the song so perfectly that you couldn’t imagine any other guitar solo being played in that song? I bet you have a few you could mention. I’m going to list five all time classic solos that influenced me when I was starting out. See what you think.
Something by George Harrison – A beautiful solo for a beautiful song. I heard a story that the final solo used on the Abbey Road album was actually a mix of a few solos George had recorded. There is no doubting that he excelled himself on this song. It just goes to show that sometimes the simplest of licks will suffice. Thanks for the memories George….
All Right Now by Paul Kossoff – An absolute classic rock solo!!. A composition within itself you might say. This solo features no right hand tapping, no full throttle speed licks and no wammy bar heroics. Instead we have a brilliantly constructed solo with a definite beginning, middle and end. Check out the way Paul gently pulls the listener in by using a couple of licks to introduce the solo and then builds up to a fantastic ending. This solo is a prime example of how to play a great rock solo.
All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix – Jimi plays Dylan. This is probably one of my all time favourites. This is one of those solos that I really do not want to analyse. I just want to sit back, listen and enjoy. To be honest, there are many of Jimi solos I could have included in this but, to me, this one is simply outstanding. It’s one I never, ever tire of listening to. Each and every time it just blows me away. The whole feeling of this track is just amazing.
Cliffs Of Dover by Eric Johnson – This is a prime example of great technique being mixed with a great feel for the music being played. As with Jimi, there are many Eric Johnson tracks I could have chosen. I decided on this one because it was the first thing I ever heard Eric Johnson play. Back in the mid to late 80’s Guitar Player magazine included it as a freebie flexidisc in one of its issues. I loved it then and I love it now. If you haven’t heard this track check it out as soon as you can.
I’m Goin’ Home by Alvin Lee – A song by helicopter! This is just plain old rock n’ roll from the wonderful Alvin Lee. I’ve chosen this one because it was a big favourite of mine when I was first starting to play. It is raw, exciting, and it makes you want to play. I remember being knocked out by the sheer speed of Alvin’s fingers when I first heard this one. A gem from one of the greats.
Obviously there are many great solos I have had to miss from this list. Who could forget, Django Reinhardt’s Nuages, Larry Carlton’s Kid Charlemagne, Elliott Randall’s Reeling In The Years, Brian May’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Eddie Van Halen’s Beat it, Albert Lee’s Country Boy, Bert Jansch’s Angie, David Gilmour’s Comfortably Numb, Jimmy Page’s Stairway To Heaven, Steve Vai’s For The Love Of God, Eric Clapton’s Sunshine Of Your Love, Brian Setzer’s I Won’t Stand In Your Way, Mason Williams’ Classical Gas, Jimi’s Little Wing, Chet Atkins’ Yakety Axe, Scotty Moore’s That’s All Right Mama…..etc…etc….etc…. The list goes on and on.
The five I chose were important in my early years as a player. If compiling the same list next week, I might come up with something completely different. My tastes have changed over the years and I am sure they will continue to do so.
What five guitar solos would you list and why?
www.jack-sky.com



Rhiannon Giddens Triumphs in City Winery Chicago Debut

2019 Shaun Murphy 2

Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi brought their extensive tour for the new album there is no Other to City Winery Chicago on Oct. 26 for the first of two sold out nights. Backed by bassist Jason Sypher and billed as the Rhiannon Giddens Trio, they curated an engaging musical journey across centuries and cultures from Africa and the Mediterranean to the Americas.

The ensemble opened the intimate concert with the haunting “10,000 Voices,” “Inside Me Is Heaven,” and an upbeat instrumental piece that highlighted Giddens’ violin skills. She responded to the audience’s vigorous applause with a warm “Thank you. Hey, y’all” that reflected her North Carolina roots.

Giddens and Turrisi are both classically trained, multi-instrumentalists who are deeply immersed in the history, traditional music, and instruments of their respective cultural backgrounds. They first explored the nexus between American minstrel banjos and traditional Mediterranean hand drums while scoring Lucy Negro Redux for the Nashville Ballet. To perform “Following the North Star” from that effort, Giddens switched to her 1858 replica banjo and Turrisi traded the accordion for a hand drum from his collection.

After covering Ola Belle Reed’s “I’m Gonna Write Me a Letter,” Giddens explained how her instrument’s sound and style fit within the banjo’s complex history.  She eloquently described the banjo’s transformation from its African origins to modern country music with the same passion evident in her contributions to Ken Burns’ Country Music docuseries.

Turrisi shared his cultural connections to the Mediterranean while introducing “Pizzica di San Vito” from the new album, There Is No Other. He played the Sicilian tamburello while Giddens sang in a Neapolitan dialect and played banjo on their unique cross-cultural version of the traditional Tarantella trance dance from Puglia, Italy.

Throughout the 90-minute show, Giddens told stories about what motivates and inspires her creativity. After revealing that she considers music an essential balm during troubled times, Giddens sang the hopeful “He Will See You Through,” accompanied by Turrisi on piano and Sypher on bass, to close the set. Minutes later, the Rhiannon Giddens Trio responded to a resounding standing ovation with a charged medley of Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “The Lonesome Road” and the gospel call-and-response number “Up Above My Head.”

A recent performance on NPR’s “Tiny Desk” concert series highlights the songs, stories, and sounds that Giddens and Turrisi will soon take to Europe. Follow Giddens online for details about the tour, related activities, and more.

Setlist:

Ten Thousand Voices

Inside Me Is Heaven

Following the North Star

Gonna Write Me a Letter (Ola Belle Reed cover)

Briggs’ Forró

At the Purchaser’s Option

Wayfaring Stranger (traditional cover)

Pizzica di San Vito (traditional cover)

There is No Other

Black Swan (Gian Carlo Menotti cover with Nina Simone bass line)

Underneath the Harlem Moon (Ethel Waters version)

Beth Cohen’s Set

I’m on My Way

Molly Brannigan (with tambourine solo introduction)

He Will See You Through

Encore:

The Lonesome Road/ Up Above My Head

(Sister Rosetta Tharpe cover)

https://www.rhiannongiddens.com/

https://www.npr.org/2019/09/16/760629694/rhiannon-giddens-tiny-desk-concert

https://www.facebook.com/RhiannonGiddensMusic/



World Premiere Video: Mike Osborn “Family Crest”

2019 Beth Hart wide

Mike Osborn’s new album, Unbroken, speaks of family, love, and personal struggle as he circles back to what matters: his inner peace.

Osborn was born in Illinois and moved out west to California when he was a young boy, did the teenage angst stuff, got married, had kids, and got hurt on the job. That injury gave him some time to sit and practice his guitar and songwriting to pass the time away. Mike got excited once again with his music that he began to pursue it full time.

After several years, he embarked on a lengthy hiatus to raise four children as a single father. He re-emerged first on the cover band circuit, fronting a full-fledged Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute act, before joining the house band of a local San Jose blues club and eventually going on to perform his original music, as a solo act. It was during this time that Osborn honed his skills as a live performer and got the confidence needed to continue. Audiences took notice, and he became a favorite in the local community.

Two well received albums later brings us to October 25, 2019, when Unbroken, his third release hit the streets via his own label, Je Gagne Records. On this record, Osborn defines his continuous journey of self-realization and inner peace. He’s been looking back to figure out where he is going, and with that, he’s careful of each step along the way. The album was produced by Randy Ray Mitchell at Akadack Studios in Van Nuys, CA with musicians Johnny Griparic on bass and Tom Fillman on drums help flesh out the songs.

When you talk to Mike Osborn, who has deep Norwegian roots that go all back to the Viking community, his face lights up because they are about family, honor, and local community which are his core values. He has traced his roots almost 1300 years ago to what is now present-day Edinburgh, Scotland and that’s how the song “Family Crest” was written.

“The song is about the life of my ancient ancestors juxtaposed against my life today as a professional musician,” Mike told us. “The video, I feel, does a great job of showing day to day life today verses then and how the sands of time keep going and, even though many things change, many things also stay the same. It’s my story, but the principles that I try to illustrate here would apply to anyone since everyone has a history. Just change a few details and it’s your story too.”

We’re excited to bring you the world premiere of “Family Crest” from Mike Osborn’s album, Unbroken.

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Mike Osborn



Lee Ranaldo, Rosalia Collaborator Team for New Album ‘Names of North End Women’

Lee Ranaldo had an epiphany about his new album while wandering through a neighborhood in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Each street on his journey was named after a woman — just their first names — and as he walked by Lydia, Kate, Dagmar, Harriett and Juno, Ranaldo wrote those names down. He was fascinated by the fact that the names seemed to come from nowhere, with no explanation as to why each street bore that title.

“Somehow it became an impetus for the lyrics in terms of the people that drift in and out of one’s life, some significant, some fleeting,” he said in a statement. “I had this idea of using given names as a device that could inform some of the lyrics. It doesn’t play through all the lyrics, but quite a few employ this idea.”

The result is Names of North End Women, a joint album with Rosalía collaborator Raül Refree out February 21st via Mute. The video for the title track — an edit of Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky’s 1999 film Outer Space — is out Wednesday. Refree previously worked with Ranaldo on his solo album, Electric Trim.

Although both are revered guitarists, the duo opted for a more experimental feel on Names of North End Women, using marimba, vibraphone, samplers, a vintage two-inch Studer tape recorder and a modified cassette machine to weave new tunes. “This record began as playing with samplers and cassette players,” Refree said, “as experimental music, musique concrete, poly-rhythms.”

Ranaldo dug poems out his archives for the lyrics, and repurposed bits and bobs written by author Jonathan Lethem, who also contributed to Electric Trim. The full tracklist is below:

Names of North End Women Tracklist

  1. Alice, Etc.
  2. Words out of the Haze
  3. New Brain Trajectory
  4. Humps
  5. Names of North End Women
  6. Light Years Out
  7. The Art of Losing
  8. At The Forks


MerleFest 2020 Makes Initial Lineup Announcement

MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the initial lineup for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4-day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, Festival Director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2020 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers, and we look forward to another successful festival in April.”

The complete lineup for MerleFest 2020 will be announced over the next few months. 

Today’s lineup announcement includes Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, The Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian, Donna The Buffalo, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Tommy Emmanuel, Shinyribs, Charley Crockett, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Robbie Fulks, Amythyst Kiah, Cordovas, Alison Brown, Andy May, “B” Townes, Banknotes, Bill & The Belles, Bryan Sutton, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Chatham Rabbits, Che Apalache, The Cleverlys, Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt, David Holt, Fireside Collective, Flattop, Happy Traum, Hogslop String Band, InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Irish Mythen, Iron Horse Bluegrass, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jody Carroll, Joe Smothers, Ken Crouse, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys, Los Texmaniacs, Mark Bumgarner, Mary Flower, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan Wernick, Piedmont Bluz, Presley Barker, Rev. Robert Jones, Roy Book Binder, Sierra Ferrell, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman, Tony Williamson, Wayne Henderson, The Moore Brothers, The Williams Brothers, and Wyld Fern. 

Tickets for next year’s festival go on sale November 12, 2019, and may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount.

Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 12 to February 16, 2020; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 17 to April 22. Remaining tickets will be sold at the gate during the festival.

New for MerleFest 2020 is “The Patio at MerleFest.” This ticket-upgrade includes comfortable seating in a covered area with great views of the Watson and Cabin stages, access to the friends and family seating area (formerly named VIP), a deluxe air-conditioned mobile bathroom unit, snacks and beverages, and live video displays from the Watson and Cabin stages. Fans wanting to gain access to this exciting new addition to MerleFest should act quickly, as seating is limited.

?MerleFest would also like to remind potential participants that the entry period for 2020’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is still open. Now in its 28th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale.

Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form at MerleFest.org or by mailing entries to MerleFest/CASC, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC, 28697. All entries received during October and November will receive an early-entry discount price of $25 per entry, while submissions received in December and January will require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must be written in English and no instrumental entries will be accepted.

The deadline to enter is February 1, 2020.



Bob Margolin ‘This Guitar and Tonight’

2019 Shaun Murphy 2

Bob Margolin is best known for his electric guitar work with Muddy Waters, but on This Guitar and Tonight, he pivots to country blues, sounding much more like Waters’ circa Folk Singer (which featured Buddy Guy’s stinging acoustic guitar) than the electrified Waters so many of us are used to.

Waters once told Margolin he preferred acoustic blues to electric, which inspired Bob to unplug here. And Margolin bravely scales it all back to just his voice and guitar. There’s nothing else, save some Bob Corritore harmonica on one track and some Jimmy Vivino guitar on another. It makes for a stark album that in many ways is more a tribute to country blues players like Lightnin’ Hopkins and Robert Johnson, than Waters. The vibe is a lot like Tony Joe White’s 2018 Bad Mouthin’, which was similarly stripped down.

Margolin uses a low-key energy to frame the songs. His guitar sits quietly in the mix, making the album feel almost like a field recording. Similarly to the country blues masters, he’s constantly switching between lead lines and rhythm, even using a slide for both tasks. The challenge of this kind of music has always been making it seem like a whole band is playing when it’s really just one person. Margolin always has something going on beneath his vocals, but isn’t necessarily playing a straight rhythm the whole time. It’s not downbeat-driven blues rock, nor is it the type of blues that sounds like electric blues played with acoustic instruments. The style provides plenty of space for his voice.

Margolin takes a similar approach with his singing. There’s some talking blues. There are some howls. There’s some traditional singing. He obviously went back to the source material and is taking his cues from that.

Given the idea behind the album, it feels a little unfair to spotlight one of the two tracks that isn’t Margolin all alone, but “Blues Lover,” his Corritore collaboration, has an upbeat, infectious energy. Corritore’s waves of harmonica feel like they’re radiating out of the past, but they
partner perfectly with Margolin’s simple guitar playing and a vocal delivery that sounds like Bing Crosby injected with a shot of Mississippi mud.

Bob Corritore and Bob Margolin Photo: Marilyn Stringer

“Dancer’s Boogie” also stands out, with its Django Reinhardt-inspired jazz lines crossed with a ragged blues stomp. Margolin’s voice cries out over it all with a primal urgency. In many ways, it’s the most modern track on the album, composed of parts of older genres in a way that doesn’t feel new, but that I’ve never heard before. It’s a fun track.

It would be easy for Margolin to make the standard blues record that he’s been doing so well for so long. It would also be easy for him to get a bunch of big-name guests on the album to sell more units. So it’s admirable that Margolin’s making an album that speaks to his respect for Waters, rather than something more commercial. This Guitar and Tonight derives its power from Margolin’s appreciation for the blues and that’s always something to applaud.

Artist: Bob Margolin

Title: This Guitar and Tonight

Label: VizzTone Label Group

Release Date: October 25, 2019

Running Time: 41:31

Bob Margolin



Classic Rock Performers Who Have Had A Lasting Influence On Music

Classic Rock Performers Who Have Had A Lasting Influence On Music

Classic rock is a fundamental part of American history. Many of today’s leading bands can trace their styles back to the influence of certain musicians. While every song made available to the world has had an impact on the music industry, there are certain performers who will eternally stand at the forefront of music.

From folk rock to psychedelic rock, there have been many groundbreaking sounds and voices. Here are the top ten most influential classic rock bands in history.

Elvis Presley

While Elvis is not traditionally viewed in the classic rock genre, it is impossible to ignore his influence on the world of Rock-n-Roll. As the first to expose mainstream America to something other than traditional family music, he faced a tremendous amount of opposition from the mainstream.

Despite the extreme racism exhibited during the 1950’s, Elvis never hesitated to give appropriate credit to his inspirations. Mainly African-American performers influenced Elvis’ sound and style. Southern radio disc jockeys originally refused to play Elvis’ singles, because they sounded “too Negro” for white stations to air.

It was not just Elvis’ sound, but also his performance, that drew controversy. The movement of his hips in a suggestive manner sparked an entire decade of debate.

Despite the firestorm of criticism that surrounded Elvis’ reign, his continuing popularity has ensured that Elvis’ crown as the King of Rock and Roll would remain valid for decades, even decades after his death.

The Beatles

As the best selling musical act of all-time, it is hard to deny the influence of the Beatles, not only on the musical culture of America, but also on every aspect of human life. The Beatles included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Star, and George Harrison.

Their innovative style defined the music of the 1960’s — twice. They began their career in England, and when they came to America, they were already a huge success in the United States. In their early years, they had defined pop music for a new generation.

As the hippy days of the late 1960’s began to take hold of America’s young people, the Beatles redefined their music again, with another new style of music lauded by the masses. Their very loud stance on drug use and war made them a controversial group, but their popularity never wavered. Although the Beatles retained the loyalty and admiration of their late 1960’s audiences until the group broke up, the touring days of the Beatles ended in 1966 when John Lennon proclaimed, “The Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ.”

Bob Dylan

Dylan has one of the most easily recognizable voices in the world. Raspy and full of passion, Bob Dylan’s sound is distinctive. His songs are amazing and defined a generation obsessed with the themes of social unrest, an anti-war stance, and encouragement for the civil rights movement.

A traditional folk singer, Dylan’s works transcended all genres and appealed to countless young Americans. His sincere lyrics spoke to many and made it possible to empathize with his many causes.

Jimi Hendrix

As the undisputed master of the electric guitar, Jimi Hendrix is a classic rock foundation. The self-taught guitar player refused to be limited by many of the conventional views of guitar players.

Prior to Jimi Hendrix’s development as a guitar player, the electric guitar was considered to merely be a louder version of the acoustic guitar. Hendrix embraced the uniqueness of the electric guitar and showed his appreciation for it to the rest of the world.

Pink Floyd

Easily considered the greatest band of all time, Pink Floyd’s unique style and showmanship defined psychedelic rock. Their concept albums were thematic masterpieces that appealed to countless audiences. The Dark Side Of The Moon, Animals, and The Wall each still stand out today as great Rock masterpieces.

The Who

Also known for their thematic records, The Who pioneered the idea of rock opera. Most famous for their collaborative efforts with every major musical figure of their time, Tommy The Rock Opera ensured the longevity of the band into the future.

Their success and fame were not limited to their unique approach to concept albums. Their musical skills are still highly regarded in both mainstream circles and in the entertainment industry. Their music is currently being used as the theme song for at least three of the most popular show on TV on the air today.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones have easily maintained their position as one of the longest lasting bands in recording history. Like most popular rock bands of the age, they were an England-based band that was more than happy to take on America.

Their grungy unkempt image became so popular; many artists are still attempting to master it. Their unique sound and high quality lyrics have kept them at the top of the charts for almost 40 years.

Cream

Cream, featuring guitarist Eric Clapton, was one of the most technically advanced music groups of their time. Their instrumental techniques became legendary and paved the way for other bands to focus on developing their instrument techniques, in addition to their lyrics.

The Doors

The Doors have always been one of the most controversial bands that had ever existed. Jim Morrison’s wild behavior set the tone for the countless musical bad boys that would follow in his footsteps.

The poetic lyrics of The Doors, as well as their outrageous behavior, made them a crowd favorite.

Led Zeppelin

The road to heavy metal was paved by Led Zeppelin. Their first album was pivotal in its inclusion of distorted amplification techniques. Over the years, their experimentation included mixing acoustic and electric sounds, with the addition of synthesized melodies. The success of Led Zeppelin helped establish a strong base for the development of metal music.

Few people of their generation or the current generation realize that like Elvis, Led Zeppelin took most of their inspiration from African-American performers. As a lifelong fan of Led Zeppelin, it is was oddly fascinating to listen to some of the not-so-famous African-American rhythm-and-blues performers of the 1930’s, and to be able to hear the Led Zeppelin songs we have loved for years in a whole new way.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, these ten bands had a significant impact on the evolution of Rock-n-Roll music through the generations, but it is more difficult to put them into an ordered list of important groups. Let’s just agree that most of us love all ten bands on this list.



Keb’ Mo’ – Moonlight Mistletoe & You

2019 Shaun Murphy 2

I remember my grandparents always playing some sorta holiday cheer. Whether it was Frank Sinatra or Nate King Cole, we always had some good Christmas music on during the holidays. If we were decorating the tree, baking cookies, cooking dinner, or just spending time with loved ones there was always something good to listen to.

By the time Christmas hits Im usually burned out and sick of the radio playing the traditional holiday stuff. But this year Kevin Moore, AKA Keb’ Mo’, 4-time Grammy Winner, has released a new Christmas album on October 18, 2019 via Concord Records. Moonlight, Mistletoe & You was produced by Moore himself, it’s a keeper.

Keb’ Mo’ just has that gifted voice, mixed with his jazzy/blues style makes this a must
have. Singing about peace and love, this album gets stronger as it goes, ending with a great tune “One More Year With You.” this one will surely set the mood with your loved one. You can’t miss with any of these tracks, “Moonlight, Mistletoe, And You” to “Santa Claus Blues.” There is something for everyone.

This is not just another boring Christmas album, this is one you can play over and over again. Pour yourself a glass a wine and relax, you will not be disappointed. I tip my hat to you on this one Mr. Moore, well done. I am definitely adding this to my collection.

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Artist: Keb’ Mo’

Title: Moonlight, Mistletoe & You

Label: Concord Records

Release Date: October 18, 2019

Running Time: 35:24

Track List:

1. Please Come Home for Christmas
2. Moonlight, Mistletoe, And You
3. Better Everyday
4. Santa Claus Santa Claus
5. Christmas is Annoying
6. Merry Merry Christmas
7. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
8. Santa Claus Blues
9. When the Children Sing
10. One More Year With You

Keb’ Mo’

*Feature image © Rick Scuteri



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