Monthly Archives: October 2011

Song of the Week: “Gloria” – Patti Smith

If I had to pick a list of the greatest opening lines in rock and roll, the opening of Patti Smith’s “Gloria” would be right at the top.  When Smith softly sings “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine,” you know you’re in from something entirely different than the “Gloria” that recorded in the mid-1960s.  Smith’s version of “Gloria” isn’t so much a cover, but rather a re-imagining of the song where she moves through her own lyrics and the original’s famous chorus back and forth effortlessly.

The original “Gloria” (written by Van Morrison) and performed by Them has become a garage-rock classic over the years. The sexual tension that drives the song isn’t so much mentioned explicitly, but rather felt through Morrison’s frenetic vocals. Morrison has never sounded so desperate and hungry. The performance here (and much of Them’s catalogue) is the exact opposite of Morrison’s solo career, where he takes a more soulful approach to his vocals. On “Gloria”, he is unhinged and crazy. When he shouts out Gloria’s name, it’s not just love-  it’s lust.  You almost get the feeling that he wants her to shout out his name in return.

There’s no doubt that Gloria is an easy name to spell out and sing along to. But the fact that the name itself comes from the Latin term “Gloria in excelsis doe” (translated as “glory to god in the highest”) makes Morrison’s sexualization of it all the more disturbing.  Though many of his contemporaries would explore this idea further, Morrison was taking the sacred and making it profane with “Gloria”.

This fact was not lost on Patti Smith, as she dubbed her own contributions to “Gloria” as “In Excelsis Deo”. Having grown up as a Jehovah’s Witness, she channeled all of her frustrations with organized religion into “Gloria”.  The opening line is a direct assault on the very foundation of Christianity, and the philosophy that Jesus Christ died for all of humanity. Smith suggests it may something for others, but for her it doesn’t mean a thing. She has chosen her own life, and her sins “they belong to me.” If the inevitable apocalypse comes and everybody must repent, Smith isn’t buying it. “The words are just rules and regulations to me,” She growls.

Smith takes Morrison’s sexual turn on the Biblical Gloria even further. If Morrison was just after a woman, Smith sees a girl “humpin’ on the parking meter, leaning on the parking meter” and not only finds it attractive, but decides she wants her as well. Morrison’s sexual urges were outrageous, but Smith is more direct and perhaps even more inflammatory.  At this point, the music has been building and building to the point where the “G-l-o-r-i-a” chorus sounds positively cathartic. Everything has been building to this moment. The original recording may have been wild, but Smith’s band raises the stakes even higher. The guitars are louder and faster, and the band seems ready to implode from under itself as Smith demands them to scream Gloria’s name in unison.

A few moments later, Smith recalls “at the stadium there were twenty thousand girls” who either tried to make love to her or call out her name (note: I found two different versions of the lyrics online and it’s hard to tell what she sings there.)  She then mentions two names specifically – Marie and Ruth. Both names refer to important women in the Bible – Ruth is the great-grandmother of King David and Mary is the mother of Jesus. But this being Smith – she doesn’t hear or listen to them. She’s going to take that deep plunge.

When the band comes around again for chorus again, Smith once again cries out the song’s beginning line.  This time, it’s no soft or restrained.  She practically screams that that “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine”.  There’s a slight pause, and the band fires out the final “Gloria” chorus as if the world is really on fire.


Song of the Week: “Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones

Despite however many times it is played or referenced, “Sympathy for the Devil” just like Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” becomes more complicated and interesting with each listen. Sure, there’s shock value. How could there not be with a title like “Sympathy for the Devil”?  The Rolling Stones were clearly having fun with those who viewed them as Satanic at the time. As Jagger sang  a few years before: “don’t play with me, cause you’re playing with fire.”

Rock and Roll was once described as “the devil’s music” but leave it to The Rolling Stones to explore the Devil’s psyche with a tribal beat in the background. Jagger whoops and hollering like a man possessed, even before he’s sung any lyrics.  The music isn’t heavy at all – but it continues in an upward spiral that grows more intense with each second.  By the time the background vocalists start the famous “woo-woo” chant, the song is in full flight. If it weren’t for the fiery guitar licks that come mid-way through the song, the music of “Sympathy” wouldn’t be that out of place in ancient pagan dance rituals.

Jagger’s devil plays a hand in Christ’s crucifixion, rolled a tank in World War II, and stands by for the destruction of the Romanov Dynasty. The moment when he notes that “Anastasia screamed in vain” is positively spine-tingling, as for decades rumors persisted that the Grand Duchess had escaped from the mass-murders the rest of her family met. (As of 2009, Russian scientists have accounted for all of the Romanov children including Anastasia.) While Jagger’s devil has a hand in all of the aforementioned events, these were also atrocities committed by man himself. After all, Jagger asks “who killed the Kennedys?” The explosive answer is of course,  “you and me.”

For me at least, the usage of names throughout the song is one of the most fascinating parts. In many ancient cultures and traditions,  calling someone by their given name meant you have ownership over them.  It’s the reason why God never revealed his name to Moses on Mt. Sinai. It’s also the reason why Rumpelstiltskin loses his power when the Queen correctly guesses his name. Jagger introduces himself many times throughout the song, but always with the caveat: “hope you guess my name.” It isn’t until the song draws to its conclusion that Jagger fully reveals his name: Lucifer. In most Jewish and Christian traditions, Lucifer is the name the devil had before being cast out of heaven.  The devil it seems has finally let his guard down.

“Sympathy for the Devil” remains of the Rolling Stones’ most well-known and best loved tracks. Only a band like the them could make a track about the devil intelligent, frightening, sexy, and even fun.




10 Essential Albums to Listen to in Autumn (Part Two)

Elvis Costello – King of America

Elvis Costello has lots of brilliant albums (too many to name, actually), but King of America is his absolute masterpiece with its foray into country and Americana. If the his early albums were an outright assault, Costello’s low-key delivery on such lines as “She said she worked for the ABC News, it was as much as the alphabet as she knew how to use” or “if it move then you fuck it, if it doesn’t then you stab it” are even more jarring. And putting “Indoor Fireworks” and “Little Palaces” back to back is also a stroke of sequencing genius.

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

This is an interesting pick, I admit.  The very things that I sometimes accuse lots of other 70s band of – indulgent, extremely long songs, and general lacking of any energy – are exactly what I love about this album. The extended intro to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” with David Gilmour’s fluid guitar is perfect for waking up on a chilly morning and staring out the window. And the title track might be one of the best tributes to a fallen friend.

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

If you were to take a piece an Impressionistic painting and put it to music, it would sound something like Astral Weeks. On Astral Weeks, Morrison incorporates jazz, folk and even classical elements that sounds nothing like any other recording. Morrison’s lyrics aren’t direct but rather fragments, which only add even more beauty to the album.  Morrison’s closing vocals on “Madame George” are the stuff of legend.  When he commands you to say “goodbye to Madame George” you feel as if you’ve known the character your whole life.

The Rolling Stones – Beggar’s Banquet

With the exception of “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Street Fighting Man” (the album’s two best known songs), Beggar’s Banquet finds The Rolling Stones truly exploring their bluesy roots.  Many of the songs sound like they could have been recorded by the Stones’ American heroes, and there’s some pretty spectacular slide-guitar throughout.  The closing homage to the working class “Salt of the Earth” features an elegant lead by Keith Richards in the first verse.

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes make a case for the new millennium’s quintessential camp-fire band. Though some of their songs tend to blur together, the lush acoustics and harmonies are a perfect setting for late October nights. It’s an album that sounds like it could have been made by veterans, which makes it beauty all the more intoxicating.





10 Essential Albums to Listen to in Autumn (Part One)

Autumn is my favorite time of the year.  And like every season there are so many records that perfectly capture the feeling and aura of the cool days and chilly nights.  Here’s just a few of my favorites.  Part Two coming soon.

R.E.M. – Automatic for the People

With an album that whose song titles include “Try Not to Breathe” and “Everybody Hurts” you know you’re in for a somber affair. But on Automatic, R.E.M.’s melancholia is backed by lush, acoustic arrangements and numerous strings courtesy of John Paul Jones. Death and tragedy is definitely on Michael Stipe’s mind. This is especially evident  on  “Sweetness Follows”, when he opens with the question: “Ready to bury your father and your mother?” ” The final two songs – the gorgeous “Nightswimming” and uplifting “Find the River” – offer a bit of hope, even if darkness seems to be all around.

Ryan Adams – Jacksonville City Nights

Ryan Adams has made an entire career out of trying different styles, but Jacksonville City Nights is the one album of his where he has managed to keep one persona throughout an entire album. In this case, it’s classic country. It’s an album designed for sipping whiskey on a cool autumn night. For all the introspection throughout, the songs themselves are warm and inviting and Adams’ has never been better especially on songs as “The End”, “The Hardest Part” and “Peaceful Valley”.

Neil Young – Harvest Moon

On Harvest Moon, Young seems to be looking back. Indeed, the album is seen by many as a sequel to his smash, Harvest.  The album retains much of that album’s acoustic, folk and country elements. “From Hank to Hendrix” uses both musicians and former lovers to reflect on the passage of time.  The title track is one of Young’s most endearing songs and seem perfect for a night by the fire. And just to prove that he’s still got some spark in him, offers a hilarious (and blue-grass inspired) ode to his hound-dog on “Old King”.

Death Cab For Cutie – Plans

Plans brought the band new-found fame but’s it certainly like R.E.M. they still kept their integrity for their major label debut. Sure, the sound is a little fuller and warmer than Transatlanticism, but that actually works in Death Cab’s favor on Plans.  Plans is full of ballads and the inward gaze Death Cab is known for, particularly “Different Names for the Same Thing” and “Your Heart is an Empty Room”.  The album is probably best known for the all-acoustic “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, which seems to have since become a perennial favorite for open-mic nights.

Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours

Frank Sinatra gets lot of airplay at Starbucks, but when was the last time they played anything off of this album? For those familiar with Sinatra’s wide-eyed romance songs, In the Wee Small Hours is anything but. It’s a slow, jazzy and sad album file with songs of heartbreak and loss.  With the exception of “In The Week Small Hours of the Morning”, the album is mostly standards, but Sinatra sings each songs like a broken man. There’s an element of truth to that – prior to the recording Sinatra had separated from Ava Gardner.




Song of the Week: “The Only Living Boy in New York”

Today is Paul Simon’s 70th birthday, so I thought today would be a perfect time to write about one of my favorite Simon & Garfunkel songs – “The Only Living Boy in New York”.  If I’m being totally honest, the first time I ever heard this song was from Garden State.

Simon & Garfunkel known for their harmonies, but this one has always stood out to me with its harmonies throughout the song and eventually close the song.  Apparently both Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel recorded these parts in an echo chamber and multi tracked it 8 times to give it the chilling effect. I’ve always thought that these vocals were reminiscent of the Beatles’ “Because”, and I’ve often wondered whether Simon was influence by that track.

The song has always been one I”ll listen to whenever I’m lonely or feeling down. Even though the mood is somber, it’s still uplifting.  Feeling lost occasionally is a universal feeling and Simon sums it up accordingly:

Half of the time we’re gone but we don’t know where,
And we don’t know where.
Here I am……….



Q&A With Evan, Jordan and Aaron From California’s Jupiter

Jupiter is made up of three brothers from Temecula, California. Having always been songwriters, but never singers, this album has been a creative stretch. After years of being in bands with an ever revolving door of members, Jordan, Evan and Aaron decided to try their hand at singing themselves. Over the next three years they constantly honed their songwriting as they continued to discover their own voices. This album is the culmination of that hard work. Having recorded and produced the album themselves, with the exception of drums, Jupiter is excited to continue touring and see what the future holds.

Jupiter just completed a 15 day tour this past summer, and is currently booking a west coast tour in November.


You guys are all brothers.  Do you guys come from a musical family? When exactly did you decide that you could make music together? 

Jordan: Actually we don’t come from a musical family.  We decided to make music together once we all got a little older and decided that we were done with sports and starting to really find a passion for making music.

You’ve been in numerous bands before Jupiter, but you never sang before. Why the sudden change? 

Evan: The reason we never sang before is we didn’t really think we could.  Really the only reason we started singing is that we had always been writing all the lyrics and melodies for the songs and were tired of trying to explain the vision for vocal parts.  Every time we have stretched ourselves it has been out of necessity.  We started out looking for a singer that could write and ended up writing.  On this new album we didn’t have a bass player so we played bass.  Really it has always been our vision and creation it just seemed obvious for us to take the step into singing.

The sounds of California make up a huge part of your sound.  Are you originally from there?

Jordan: California born and raised.

Aaron, Jordan and Evan you all sing.  Who does most of the leads?  Or do you switch it up? 

 Jordan:  It worked out that the songs are split 6 and 6 between Evan and I singing the leads.  Depending on who is singing the lead the others sing harmony on that certain song.  Our voices are similar, but have different characteristics that suit different parts.  It is always obvious who should be singing the lead even though we fight it sometimes.  The rest of it we piece together depending on what sits best in each person’s voice.

Jupiter sounds like a mix between Crazy Horse-style rock with harmonies reminiscent of Fleet Foxes.  How would you describe your sound?

 Evan:  When we were writing this album our main criteria was the song had to be good.  We kind of let the songs produce themselves after that.

Jordan:  As far as the sound goes we would say it is a mix of who we are.  We have a very eclectic taste in music and it seems to come through when we write and produce.  By the way who is Crazy Horse? I feel like we need to check them out.

For not having a label, the songs are pretty atmospheric and have a polished sound.  What was the recording process like? 

Evan:  We realized that we didn’t have the money to record our record in the conventional way and by money I mean we had absolutely no money.  We scrounged up some money and called in a favor from our buddy in Nashville, named Dan Strain, and were able to get our drums done on the cheap, in one day…. Aaron interjects: Yeah, I didn’t really have much time.

Evan: Then a buddy gave us a computer after our computer crashed the first day of editing the drums.  Then we borrowed some gear from a friend, which included two pre’s and a couple mics and we turned Jordan’s room into the control room, my room into the acoustic guitar and vocals room and Aaron’s room into the live guitar room.  We constructed a vocal booth by putting up a mattress on its end and surrounding it with foam.  Basically anything we didn’t own we either borrowed or it was given to us.  It was a lot to handle and taken in such a short span of time.

Aaron: We aptly named our studio the Lions Den, because it was frightening going into it knowing our fate was in our own hands.

You’re planning a West Coast tour.  Any plans after that? 

Evan:  Yeah our plan is more touring and more writing and getting better at making music.

Jordan: Pretty much do what it takes to get our music into peoples ears and make a difference. 


Q&A With Songwriter Anna Rose

The daughter of composer Alan Menken and a ballet dancer, 26 year old singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist ANNA ROSE is currently busy composing the follow-up to her phenomenal 2010 debut album Nomad.  First introduced to the guitar at age 5 during a family gift swap, she has proved her musical prowess time and again with her powerful voice and ability to cross the boundaries of “singer-songwriter” to create a sound fully her own.  Currently ANNA ROSE is in the studio recording her second full length; she recently released a sultry, soulful cover of THE ARCADE FIRE’s “My Body Is A Cage,” which was featured on The Arcade Fire news site and the website “Cover Me.”


You picked up the guitar at 5. Did you think that even then as a young kid, that music would be something that you would ultimately want to pursue?  Or was there any particular moment when you realized this? 

Honestly, I cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to pursue music as my career. I think as soon as I opened my mouth and realized what singing felt like, I was fixated on it. Then, when I dropped piano and began playing guitar, it all started to come together. I use “come together” loosely, accounting for the fact that I was 5 years old.

Speaking of guitar – Nomad is full of it.  It’s not “full on rock”, but the acoustic arrangements are quite complex. There’s also some nice bluesy fills on “Dare” and “Gillian”.  Where you going for that wide-open space sound of early 70s albums?

 Yes and no. I was trying to stay as authentic to myself as possible within the process, so I was initially less focused on what “sound” I was going for, but rather trying to record these songs the way I had always envisioned them in my head. I was going for that sound without really knowing it. I was frighteningly aware that this record would be my first impression and I knew I didn’t want to sound too stylized or trendy. I just wanted to sound like me, but at the same time, one of my biggest influences is the rock of the early 70’s, so that clearly came through. The bluesy stuff definitely shows where I’m heading though, because the new album has a big blues influence.

You’ve mentioned how California has a huge a huge impact on you. There’s definitely a sense of that on Nomad. How did the experience out there affect your songwriting? 

I moved out there at 18 to get away from anything and everyone I knew, honestly. I wanted to wipe the slate clean. I was basically running away but I justified it with college. Then I dropped out of college. California became my mother and my best friend and my worst enemy. It bitch-slapped me with every experience I could have never asked for. Going through the process of becoming whole was what effected my writing.

You’ve stated that you like to go for “full on takes” when recording.  Do you know what you’re looking for when you start, or is a lot of it by feel? (ie– you’ll know it when you hear it?) 

We rehearse a lot before we record. Get every arrangement where we want it. Then perform the balls out of it. I like to capture a great performance, as if you’re at a great show. So I know what I’m looking for most of the time, but the beauty of live takes is that you get these little surprises that are so good you could have never dreamed them up ahead of time.

As a self-proclaimed guitar-head, what type of guitars do you prefer to play? Any guitar-players that inspire you both in terms of songwriting and playing?  

Okay, you’re in for it now. This question could be a whole evening of conversation. We’ll start with the actual instrument. I’ll play any guitar I can get my hands on, but recently I’ve been really working with my Tele and Gretsch. Those are the two most featured on the new material so far. I played my acoustic throughout Nomad and the shows that followed, so I’m finding the excitement of changing guitars throughout a live set and loving how different each song sounds on a different guitar. Being a rhythm guitarist, that’s really important to me. As for players, I’ll just list some because I could go on forever about each: Jimi Hendrix, Lindsey Buckingham, Jack White, Jamie Hince, Chuck Berry, Arlen Roth, Son House, Keith Richards…this list could be endless. Those are just the ones on the top of my head right now.

“Wilshire Boulevard” is probably my favorite song off of Nomad.  I love the jazzy feel it has to it. What’s the story behind this song? 

Thank you! I’m so glad you like it! I wrote that song while I was living in East LA and I would drive up and down Wilshire to get to my gigs to avoid the freeways. I would drive home on that street after shows, thinking about what I could have done differently and which songs came off well that night. “Wilshire Blvd.” became this physical representation of the transformation I was going through.

 You recently received a lot of attention for you cover of Arcade Fire’s “My Body is a Cage”.  What attracted you to that song, and were you expecting the kind of response it got? 

I was definitely not expecting the response! It was so flattering and it made my heart swell knowing that people connected to it. I had been messing around with the cover just as a way to work through some personal stuff and when we were in the studio, my producer, Kevin Salem, heard me playing it and wanted to get a recording. It’s the only time I have not worked on an arrangement in advance of going into the studio. I’ve loved that song since Neon Bible came out, but it took on a new life this year when I began playing through it on my own.

Have you started working on the follow-up to Nomad?  What types of sounds can we expect it on it? 

Absolutely. It’s almost finished and I’m so excited about it. It’s heavier and has more of a blues influence, as well as a 90’s grunge aspect, but I’m sure you’ll find it has the basis in classic rock that Nomad has. I’m curious to see what you think! I really can’t wait to get it out into the world.



Q&A With Singer-Songwriter Laura Warshauer

Singer songwriter LAURA WARSHAUER launched her full-length album The Pink Chariot Mixtape on June 14th, 2011 on Pink Chariot Music. This led to her last single ‘To Will and Kate’ which is one of the four songs produced by Thom Panunzio. Laura recently received the first ever Buddy Holly Singer/Songwriter of the Year Award from the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame and Songmasters. Exclusive interviews and archived footage from Laura’s most recent series of recording sessions was filmed by Michael Lynn (Producer of E! True Hollywood Story). She is collaborating with big names such as Roy Bittan (E Street Band) who played keyboards on 3 songs and Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty, Smashing Pumpkins, John Mellencamp) who played percussion on “Little Lost Girls”. Laura is receiving great reviews from magazines and sites such as Mashable, Pop Culture Madness and The Comet, among others. Jay Z also commented “You are fantastically talented” which undeniably shows the wide audience that she manages to get on her side.

The Pink Chariot Mixtape has a wide variety of songs. “Explode” is a straight-up pop song, “Wishing Well” seems to recall Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, and “Rockstar” has a punky edge to it.  Tell me a little bit about what inspired the different sounds.

I like to think of the diverse styles of my songs as the range of emotions that a person experiences in everyday life. “Wishing Well” is a bit more somber and introspective whereas “Rockstar” is cheeky and brazen. “Explode” feels like it’s somewhere in the middle of the other two. It’s interesting that you bring up Stevie Nicks. As I was writing “Wishing Well”, I felt very inspired by the song “Landslide”. Even more than the song itself, I drew inspiration from where Stevie was at in her life when she wrote “Landslide”. I felt like I was at a similar point in my life and career with my song. “Rockstar” was me trying to reconcile my fascination with “the dark side”. Paying my dues, I was rehearsing and recording in the Music Building in NYC, working relentless hours amongst a strange cast of characters. I was trying to piece together where I’d come from and where I wanted to go, using the “boy across the tracks” as a metaphor for pursuing a life in the music industry. “Explode” is another example of using a relationship metaphor for the everyday struggles of pursuing a career as an artist.

Your song craft is quite sophisticated and you’ve received numerous accolades for it, as well as praises from Jay-Z.  How long have you been writing your own songs?

Thank you! I’ve been writing my own songs since I was 14, the summer before I entered high school. Right away, I felt like I’d stumbled on something that was my own thing, which I really loved. Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” and Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” were two songs that really influenced me early on. 

When you’re writing songs – do you start with lyrics first or melody?  Or do you have an idea of what you would like to say and then go from there?

I feel like I’m writing the story of my life through my songs, where each one is like a snapshot of a given time and place. It’s funny though, my songwriting “voice” is almost like this narrator who exists somewhere in my mind and is sort of separate from the everyday “me”. I sit down with my guitar, start strumming away at my favorite three chords and singing melodies and lyrics over the top. Lyrics just come out naturally and suddenly I’ll have a moment when I realize where the inspiration is coming from. Rarely will I actually sit down to write a song about a specific topic.

You’ve worked with some well-known and respected musicians including Roy Bittan from the E-Street Band, and the drummer of John Fogerty’s band just to name a few.  Did they offer any advice or did they just sit back and let you take charge?

Honestly, Roy Bittan and Kenny Aronoff offered advice without even putting it into words. I learned so much just by being around them. I showed up at those sessions just ready to soak in anything and everything that I could. They were very encouraging to me as both a songwriter and singer, and more than anything, I felt a renewed sense of excitement to keep on building my career after working with such incredible musicians.

Domestic Abuse is an issue, which is close to you.  You wrote “My Fault” for the 2010 iPledge Conference.  When did you first start becoming aware of this issue and realizing that you could play a part in raising awareness?

The song “My Fault” was written from a destructive relationship that I was in where at one point I was even physically pushed. I remember feeling really trapped and like somehow I was the one who was to blame for winding up in that situation. I immediately understood how strong women can wind up in these compromising and abusive relationships. It made me want to become involved with this issue. I performed two years in a row at the iPledge Press Conference and also at a shelter for women and children who had had to leave their homes because of domestic violence. I was humbled and motivated to do what I could to shed light on this important issue and in any way, offer a hopeful voice to those in need of knowing they’re not alone.

You’re also inspired by Bruce Springsteen and U2 in their ability to connect with audiences.  Do you hope for something similar with your shows?

Absolutely! Bruce Springsteen and U2 both establish a visceral connection with their audiences. Any great live performance, to me, is about the willingness to give a piece of yourself at a show and really commit to being in the moment. 

“Sweet Seventeen” sounds a little bit different from the other songs on Pink Chariot Mixtape – it’s more open than the others.  Is it autobiographical?

Yes, “Sweet Seventeen” is autobiographical. I was looking back on being 17 and someone that I had really connected with. It had actually been nothing romantic at the time, but there always seemed to be something there between us. Fast forward a few years later and I randomly heard about another girl that he was dating, who I had also known from before. It inspired the song because it made me think about if different choices had been made, how my life could have been altered.

Now that you’re getting a lot of exposure, what do hope to accomplish next?

I am most excited about touring and feeling these songs come to life on stage. My goal is to share these songs with as many people as possible. I’m looking forward to upcoming tour dates on the east coast with Bob Schneider and performing in NYC at the CMJ Festival!






Steve Jobs: The Man Who Changed the Way We Listen to Music

Despite my grievances about sound quality lost through MP3s and shrinking artwork, there’s no doubt that Steve Jobs and the iPod changed the way the world thinks and listens to music. The man was an innovator in many ways, and the iPod  made it cool to listen music on headphones. And in some cases, cooler to listen to music in general. Perhaps in a way, it’s no longer just for obsessives.

Before the iPod if you wanted to take your music with you on a trip, you had to think about which CDs (or tapes) you would want to bring. In 2003, before going on a trip to Italy, I spent hours trying to figure out which albums I wanted to bring with me. I only had a CD case that fit 48 CDs (not a lot) so it was a process that required lots of thinking. I even made several Mix CDs so I would have certain songs.

By that time, the iPod had already been introduced but not many people I knew had one. When I found out its capabilities sometime later, I was amazed.  The idea that you could carry an entire library of albums on such a small device, blew my mind.  Even today, all of the music you want at the access of your fingers is still an amazing concept.

There are several (if not many) artists who I would have never gotten into without first previewing songs on the iTunes store, or browsing through the recommendations on the store’s homepage. My musical tastes broadened infinity as a result.

Just as shelves of books have become part of someone’s identity, so too has a person’s iPod. What you have on there says a lot about personal taste and preferences. Simply by taking a quick scroll through the library, you can figure out a lot about someone. It’s a lot quicker than trying to flip through CD cases – and is also a great icebreaker.

But when it all comes down to it, the iPod didn’t change the world (and the face of music) it was Steve Job himself. It’s been say by many that he knew what the public needed and wanted before they did. If that’s not the work of a true innovator, I don’t know what is.