Listen Up!

One of my writing gigs is reviewing music for the LA on Lock music blog and while some of the tunes I hear in their name are not right for that blog's audience, they are still worthy of a large partnership. Here are a few of those for y'all to check out.

Everyone of these comes with a slightly different sound, but each spoke to me. Hope they do the same for you.

Camille Miller is German born and raised in Canada. This particular song borders on pop and Americana but much of her work leans to a more folk sound.

Berith This single feels like old school Kenny Rogers for the first few measures and it carries that 70 country vibe. Berith is Norwegian and her voice hints at that accent to give it a nice complexity.

V Blackburn V is a track on an EP titled Public Figures and every other song is a fresh take on a celebrity. She has a big voice and a unique approach to songwriting but this song spoke to me lyrically. Sad and hopeful at the same time.

Leeroy Stagger another Canadian offerin…

Recent Finds

There are not enough hours in the day to research and write up everything I would like to post so this entry is basically a song dump for things I think more people need to hear with only a brief comment for each.

Every song noted here can be found on The Feels Official Spotify Playlist which changes and evolves weekly so follow along to discover new stuff all the time.

Where I could, I posted video within the post.

A Few Bad Men - "A Haunted Man" the title track from a new EP. Think Tom Waits meets Jesse Dayton.

Speaking of Jesse Dayton. This bad ass guitar man has played for and with too many musical legends for me to list here and if ever you get the chance his live set is a must see. August 9th his album Mix Tapes Volume 1 will drop with an array of offerings covering some of his personal favorites and influences. Including his cover of The Clash's "Bankrobber" which is already out.

And speaking of Tom Waits ...

Ok, so that one isn't exactly new but stil…

Sam Outlaw - Hat Acts [EP Review]

I was bummed to learn Sam Outlaw recently moved from LA to Nashville. This dismay is multifaceted. The West Coast is lacking in traditional country voices, Nashville has corrupted the sound of more than one artist, and I like the fact Outlaw writes songs about things beyond the country norm. Such as this one from his 2017 album Tenderheart ...

But I get it. Artists have to chase the dream and yes, Tennessee is rife with song factories pumping out Bro-Country pablum to the masses, but it is also home to John Prine, Jack White, Jason Isbell, Sheryl Crow and countless others creating genuine music across many genres.

I hope Outlaw doesn't get swayed by the execs sitting behind the desks. Now on to a closer look at this new EP.

Billed as a six track EP, we are actually looking at a trio of songs with introductory skit before each. But hey, the complete package is clever and funny, though tough to discern the dialogue.

The premise is a night out for a cowboy, looking for love as Johnny…

Cell Block - Songwriting in The Age of The Smartphone

As a fiction writer, I have a love/hate relationship with my smart phone. The power of research is amazing, and I can't tell you how many times I have instantly looked up the info I needed. I can check out a street view to see exactly what my character would be seeing, or order sustenance to keep me hammering at the keyboard all from the same device. These are great things.

But man, what a pain in the ass it is for my characters to have these same conveniences.

No longer can I reliably have characters cut off from contact or rescue, or struggle for answers that are only a Google search away.

Cell phones suck for fiction writers, and songwriters face the same dilemma. Think of all the classic songs that could never be written today.

Sylvia's Mother - Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
Sylvia's mother would not have been involved at all, if little Miss Sylvia had her own damn phone. And in this day and age, our suitor would have his own cell phone as well, so we&#…

Sean McConnell [Concert Review] - Secondhand Smoke [Album Review]


Shut Up and Sing (Op Ed)

We listen to music that brings out our emotions and puts into words how we feel. And we do this at least partly, because we can't always express ourselves.

We stare at art that inspires.

We read words that teach, transport, and enlighten.

We watch movies that make us laugh, cry, hope, and wonder.

And the songwriters, artists, authors, actors, producers, screenwriters that give us these treasures are very all very gifted and talented when it comes to tapping into our emotions.They combine great intelligence, hard work, talent, and a heightened sense of empathy to pour their souls out.

And while taste is subjective, all of us have our favorite singers, songwriters, authors, painters, sculptors, poets, actors, etc ... that we believe speak for a generation or a culture.

We pay money to feel alive, or included, or to simply feel we are not all alone in this crazy, screwed up world. We admire, love, and long to hear and see these artists because frankly, they do what we cannot.

The Graylings -- (Band Review)

I first heard the single In The Night and it came with a vocal sound that immediately put me in mind of Emmylou and Ronstadt.

The soft melody, especially the chorus, reminded me of stripped down Isbelltune and this combination gave the track a retro vibe that hooked me enough to dive in deeper.

I dug into the album titled TELL ME HOW IT ENDS and was surprised by the varied sound of this band led my husband and wife Zachary and Bridget Galanis who take turns handling lead vocals.

The first single, Golden Line carries that power ballad vibe of the 70s, but feels fresh just the same.

However my favorite tracks are scattered throughout this 13 Track album. My favorite is titled Slayer on Cassette. All of the lyrics are published on the band website but here is the opening to Slayer on Cassette.

She's a certain somethin’ at the caffeine dispensary. Pale and pretty, dressed for the 90’s. A transplant angeleno. If you want to go to college you’d better learn to accept a millstone of de…