These days I spend a lot of time on the Internet listening to music, researching articles, reading blogs and just having a great time. I thought I’d share some of the music sites I frequent with you.
I’ve got to thank Ray Scott, deejay at 94.9FM The Surf in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. for giving me a heads up about this dynamic monthly webcast. I love it! According to the site’s home page, musician Daryl Hall came up with an idea to produce a monthly Internet show that featured him, his friends and other players in an intimate setting … his living room. “After being on the road for so many years as part of Hall and Oates, I thought it would be fun to bring the road to my house,” he says.
You should see this house he’s talking about. It’s an 18th century restoration project located about 100 miles north of New York City. Not only is Daryl Hall a singer, songwriter, keyboard player, guitarist and producer, he also preserves and restores historic homes. This one is on the market for a cool $11.9 million.
Live From Daryl’s House first “aired” in 2007. Guests have included Smokey Robinson, Maxi Priest, Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek from The Doors, electrofunk duo Chromeo, Mercury Records group Parachute and more. The current installment, which, by the way, is the webcast’s thirty-first show, features Matchbox Twenty vocalist Rob Thomas.
Past shows are archived, and I’ve been savoring them one by one. Scottish singer/songwriter KT Tunstall blew me away … and don’t even get me started on the Smokey Robinson show (You were right, Ray!).
You’re going to love the energy of this show. And check out mealtime! These guys know how to eat!
I first tripped over Mary Roby on MySpace a few years ago and her website has become a regular stop for me. Mary 4 Music is a treasure trove of information. For musicians and industry folks, it’s full of resources and valuable links. For music lovers, Mary 4 Music offers access to hundreds of bands, clubs and festivals for you to discover.
At the home page, you choose which music portal you want to enter, blues or indie. Just click on the link. The site is straightforward and, given the massive amount of information, quite easy to navigate. You can jump quickly between the two portals by clicking the link under the Miscellaneous listing on the lefthand side of the page.
The blues portal is the more comprehensive of the two. It features listings and links for blues bands, other music links, music festivals, radio listings, publications, blues societies, music reviews and more.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro reviews tunes for the site, and I find his evaluations to be thoughtful and well worth reading. Peter has also written for BluesWax.com, the free weekly blues music newsletter and Big City Blues magazine. He served as president for the Treasure Coast Blues Alliance in Florida and is a founding member of the South Florida Blues Society.
On the indie side, many of the same links apply: indie bands, indie music links, record labels and musician’s resources such as agents and bookings, CD and DVD services, publishing and distribution.
StereoGum is another interesting site I’ve found. One of the very first audioblogs, the site has been around since 2002. Creator Scott Lapatine focused on independent and alternatives music, complete with downloads, videos and news (some might say gossip). StereoGum, which was purchased by BUZZMedia in 2007, became known for featuring unknowns who would go on to mainstream success, most notably N.Y.C.’ s Vampire Weekend. The indie rock band’s recorded-in-the-basement-slash-apartment-in-Brooklyn album debuted in Jan. 2008 at number 17 on the Billboard 200. The album has since been certified Gold in both the U.S. (sales over 500,000) and U.K. (sales over 100,000).
While rooting around the site last week, I found a story on the News tab about voiceproject.org. This is a nonprofit project that features what they call a “chain of songs,” where each artist performs a song which is then covered by another artist whose own song is then covered by another. You get the idea. Anyway, the video is Peter Gabriel discussing In the Neighborhood, which he sings and then Tom Waits covers the same tune. Very heady. And just one of the things I love about Stereogum.
If you’re not used to listening to alt-rock, Stereogum may be a bit of a stretch for you, so keep your mind open and have fun with it.
If you want to know anything about soul music, soul-patrol.com is the place. According to the site, this is the only one hundred percent African American owner and operated Internet resource of its kind.
On the home page, click on the Soul-Patrol Radio link to listen to the radio programs featuring black music from yesterday and today: classic soul, southern soul, jazz, blues, nu soul, funk, Motown, Stax and black rock. Listen to interviews, commentaries and more.
From the home page you can also catch up on the latest newsletters and watch selected videos.
Click the Radio I-O link on the lefthand side for more music. The R&B Mix link features 80s to present day R&B. The Blues category covers the musical journey that began in the 20s and continues today. A link to Classic Hip Hop covers the genre’s evolution, from its funky roots in the 70s to the gangsta rap of the 90s. Other links include Classic R&B, Today’s R&B and Hip Hop and Nu Soul.
The Soul-Patrol website also includes doo wop, blue-eyed soul and funky soul. It links the past to the present.
The face and voice of Soul-Patrol is Brooklyn-born Bob Davis. He created the site with his brother Mike, and it has surely been a labor of love.
There are many more websites I follow on a regular basis. If you’re into roots music and Americana, visit nodepression.com. One of my faves. This next blog has been dark since April of 2009, but there’s some great songwriting information at measureformeasure.blogs.nytimes.com. Another one worth looking into is ted.com/themes/ live_music.html. Pitchfork.com is great for indie rock news and reviews. I’m a blues lover so livebluesworld.com is a no-brainer for me (full story about this one to follow shortly).
And just for fun, log onto midomi.com whenever you can’t remember the title of a tune. If you can’t remember the title of a tune, Midomi lets you hum or sing a few notes (about ten seconds worth, and depending on your performance, up pops the song title! Way cool. One drawback, you have to allow use of your computer’s camera and mic, so you may wind up on YouTube somewhere!
Woo woo! It’s summertime at the beach and that means it’s time for Concerts On the Coast. Every Friday from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. Property Owners Association (with help from some very generous sponsors) hosts a series of free concerts just over the bridge on the Island.
This year, the Entertainers opened the series, followed by local classic rock band, Bailout, and then the Imitations on June 11. If you missed those, not to worry, we’re still got 12 more concerts throughout the summer.
Coming right up on Friday, June 18, will be Legends of Beach. And I’m here to tell you, these guys really are legendary. They’re some of the finest vocalists and musicians in beach music today. Lead singer Jackie Gore was the songwriter for the beach music classic “I Love Beach Music” back in 1979 when he was with the Embers. R. Mark Black (vocals, saxophone), Gerald Davis (bass), Jeff Grimes (guitar, saxophone) and Johnny Barker (vocals, keyboards) were all Embers, too. I saw this group at the Spanish Galleon a couple months ago and they were phenomenal, one of the best in this genre that I’ve ever seen.
The Attractions, known for their monster horn section and their number one hit single, “Zing Went the Strings,” take the stage on June 25. This popular group has opened for the Tams, Clifford Curry, Fifth Dimension and the Platters, just to name a few. This should be another great show.
On July 2, another of my favorite groups will be at Ocean Isle – Mark Roberts & Breeze. Formed in late 2007, MRB was named New Group of the Year at the 2008 CBMA Awards. They rock, they roll, they’ve got soul, and they’re going to get you on your feet. If we’re lucky, they’ll do Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell In Love. If we’re really lucky, they’ll follow it with Gary Moore’s “Still Got the Blues For You.”
The next Concert on the Coast is Craig Woolard Band on July 9. For those of you outside the beach music community, Craig has also been lead singer for the Embers. In fact, he took Jackie Gore’s place back in … what year was it, Craig? Since forming in 2004, CWB has evolved into a powerhouse of a band, combining soulful blues with R&B to deliver one great show after another. Visit cammy.org to see for yourself all the awards Craig and the group have won.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Continental Divide is known for their happenin’ horn lines and professional performances. If you’re into Motown, soul music, oldies and beach music, plan to attend this July 16 show. And wait until you hear lead singer Gene Pharr.
That brings us to July 23, when the big sound of Band of Oz returns to Ocean Isle Beach. Originally from Raleigh, N.C. Band of Oz was born in 1967 as a part time band playing frat parties and proms. Today the’re one of the top bands on the beach music circuit, playing the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia. Boasting a formidable horn section and the not-so-secret weapon of Jerry West’s guitar, Band of Oz draws a crowd wherever they go.
Churning out classic rock and blues, GB4 Band is on the roster for July 30. This is a group I haven’t heard yet, but I’m looking forward to the show. They’re known for playing everything from classic rock to funk, soul and blues. Something tells me they’re going to rock the beach!
Goldrush, in the August 6 slot, will be performing a happy mix of oldies, R&B, blues and beach. Together for 32 years, they are one of the few groups asked to perform at the very first beach music awards show in Myrtle Beach. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Percy Sledge and more.
The next group coming to town is another of my faves. The Holiday Band. So mark your calendar for August 13 and get yourself over the bridge to Ocean Isle Beach. Whether you’re a shagger, a blues mama, a beach purist, a party animal, you just can’t go wrong with the Holiday Band. They’ve played everywhere from Lincoln Center in N.Y.C. to House of Blues in Myrtle Beach. But they’re still a bunch of sweet ole boys. (Okay, sorry, you’re not really ole.) A word to the wise: bring your boogie shoes to this show. You be dancin’!
Here’s another first time group at Ocean Isle! Jim Quick & Coastline will hit the stage running on August 20. For the uninitiated, these are the bad boys on the block. Led by wild man Jim Quick, this rock ‘n’ soul group is known for their hard-drivin’, kick-ass, no-holds-barred brand of swamp funk. Don’t worry about the kids though, these guys have a soft spot for the young ‘uns. Another must see, in my book.
Now, just in case you made the mistake of missing Craig Woolard’s July 9 concert, CWB will be back for another round on August 27. If you’ve never heard Craig sing, make sure you catch at least one of these shows.
Closing out the summer season on Friday, Sept. 3 will be the mighty, mighty Tams of Hotlanta, Ga.! “Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me,” “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy,” “What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am).” Need I say more? Come out to see “Little Redd” Cottle and the rest of this legendary group.
The concerts run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and draw about 1,000 folks from the area. There’s an area for dancing right in front of the stage, and don’t forget to bring lawn chairs. See you there!
Steamboat Springs was a kick-ass electric bluegrass band and if you were around Myrtle Beach from 1974 to 1978, chances are you were one of the thousands who flocked to the Pickin’ Parlor to revel in the music, the camaraderie, the friendships and the life. One of the band’s fastest friends and biggest fans was the late, great Jeff Roberts – former director of South By Southeast and proprietor of the very independent record store Sounds Familiar, as well as its successor, Sounds Better. Myrtle Beach was robbed of this gentle giant in January, when he died very unexpectedly, sending a far-reaching community of music lovers into an emotional black hole that left us angry and hurting and finally grateful that he was part of our lives.
The Steamboat Springs Band is coming back for a reunion concert at Myrtle Beach’s 2001 Nightclub on June 12.
According the Becky Warren, a regular at the Pickin’ Parlor back in the day and now an office manager in Myrtle Beach, who volunteered to coordinate reunion details on this end, “This is the only group of musicians who can bring back all these people. And Jeff knew that. He’s making it happen. I know he is. That’s what this is about. They’re doing this out of love, grief for Jeff. One hundred percent of proceeds are going to South By Southeast and the Hunter Roberts Fund [Jeff’s teenage son]. Big Jeff was their unofficial manager when the band was at the beach. He appreciated their music and who they were as people.”
The band is made up of nine players and all will be coming for the reunion concert. Here’s the lineup: Bill Pruitt is the band’s original drummer. He left in 1977 and was replaced by Steve Wheeler. Les Burnett is the group’s bass player. Joel Ferguson, who played later in L.A. with the very popular Midnight Riders, is on pedal steel and banjo. On fiddle is Willie Royal, now half of world music duo Willie & Lobo. Guitarist Gary Davis is coming from Arkansas. Bob Wharton (piano) and his wife Donna Nash Wharton (vocals) who were later additions to the band will be part of the reunion, too. Roadies Steve Brown and J.T. “Cos” Lewis are expected to be on hand for the show as well. Sadly, original drummer Paul Seagraves passed away in 2005.
Sound man Bucky Ferguson is Joel’s brother. Once plans for a reunion were underway, it was Bucky who listened to all the band’s old tapes, cassettes, and eight-tracks and converted it to digital format.
In a blog post (steamboatspringsband.blogspot.com), he wrote, “For two solid weeks after work and the entire weekend, I listened to Steamboat songs … very old acoustic stuff with the original lead singer Paul Seagraves to the 1980 reunion. Listening to all the old music while converting it to digital has helped me deal with Jeff’s passing. His hand is definitely in this 2010 reunion.”
Bill Pruitt added some history to that same blog, “We played six nights a week at the beach to many thousands of people over the summer and we got so tight as a band we could tell when Gary’s guitar lead or Joel’s pedal steel riff or Willy’s wild leap and frantic fiddle lick would take us down through a six minute jam …. or bring us to end the song in a quick 30 seconds. Sometimes it only took a certain look from one musician to the other and off we went into musical hyperdrive.
“From that first walk across the new concrete floors and pine-bark split boards that decorated the Pickin’ Parlor - through the many miles, concerts, hotels rooms, fast-food dinners, and barrooms – we entertained thousands with a distinct sound and distinct attitude about life and music.”
Bucky adds, “After the ‘Summer of 74’ in Myrtle Beach, Steamboat travelled throughout the southeast opening for acts like Linda Ronstadt, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Wet Willie, Sea Level, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Seger and played most of the big clubs and many of the dives in the southeast. We were always one listener away from “hitting it big!” Playing rockin’ country and bluegrass music in the 70s, before country music was popular, required we have a generous supply of one or more of the following types of people who were either: 1. Drunk, 2. Stoned, or 3. Persons of discriminating tastes but, willing to open the mind to anything that makes you feel that damn good! I remember a guy in Spartanburg, S.C. saying or rather slurring “I don’t even like country music, but you guys are f – - – - – - great!” I don’t remember any country bands other than Steamboat that could open for bands like Bob Seger or Leslie West at Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom in Atlanta but, I also remember playing a converted milking barn in North, South Carolina on Thanksgiving night. Yippee!”
Myrtle Beach first fell in love with Steamboat Springs band during the summer of ‘74. But it was way more than just a summer fling. This is your chance to get yourself some of that love.
Doors open at 5:45 p.m. (time approximate). The show starts at 6 o’clock and runs through 10 p.m. Minimum donation is $20. Jeff’s mom, Miss Montie and his son, Hunter, will be in the house. There will be some touching moments, including a new song written especially for Big Jeff. But this is a celebration. For the music and the man.
This is also being published in Coast magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine, the alternative independent papers in Myrtle Beach, S.C.