School Of Rock

School of Rock — Winter Season 2014

by Robin Shaye, Reviewer

I attended the School of Rock Winter Season Performance of Music by the Doors on January 11, 2014. The performance was held at the South Shore Music Hall in Quincy. I expected a traditional performance space, and was surprised when I entered the hall, I was pointed downstairs into a bar type room, complete with small tables, raised platform, and wooden bar carry a traditional selection of barroom beverages. Accompanying me was my 15 year old daughter, who thought she would enjoy seeing a group of young musicians. I have to say it was surreal sitting at a bar with her, listening to music I enjoyed long before she was even a tiny glimmer in my mind.

The School of Rock is a music school that teaches music while incorporating student jam sessions, culminating in live performances. As a former piano teacher, I felt this approach is fantastic, as it offers the opportunity to learn another side of the music industry. As a lifelong musician, I began my own piano lessons at age 8, hoping to learn the popular songs of the time. I was unintentionally swept up by an affinity for classical music, which remained my focus. Although it was satisfying, I did not have the opportunity to share this love with other students, or perform in a public venue. School of Rock provides not only a way for students to express their own preferences, but allows peer support, which is a huge part of performance.

Opening for the group of young musicians performing material by the Doors, was a group called the Showteam. This was a group of the best students in the school, and they were accepted by audition only. The Showteam was nothing less than impressive. Their music was fairly tight, the vocals excellent, and the creativity superb. Their rendition of Frankenstein, by Edgar Winter was phenomenal in it's originality by a group of students so young. Their enthusiasm was evidence, as well as sometimes over-the-top youthful exuberance, which I am sure will be conveyed productively when each musician is ready to go off on his/her own.

Following that, was the featured group of obviously less experienced musicians performing cover songs by The Doors. Although their instrumentation was quite good in general, it lacked in some important area, primarily the signature intros, cadences and riffs. This part of each song should have been much stronger, both instrumentally and vocally.

The vocals were traded off by a few young men and a young girl with red hair who bore an uncanny resemblance to the late Jim Morrison's late girlfriend, Pamela Courson. The only other similarity with Jim Morrison, was one of the young men who shared the deep tone to his voice, as well as the stance, with a strong performances during the ballads, but lacked in the more upbeat selections. With all the young vocalists, some of the timing was off, melodies fell short, harmonic accompaniments were sung instead of the main melody, words were forgotten, and their nervousness was palatable. Yet, this group had to be commended by their willingness to bring it in front of a live audience.

The audience was supportive in providing reassurance, as their role was almost as important to help these students gain the confidence, and build their skills. Although the performance was lacking, these young musicians were certainly outstanding role models for any future aspiring music student.

(My Grade: 3)

The School of Rock is located at 12 Elm Street, Watertown 02472. For additional information please contact at 617-923-3434. The next performance will be in Somerville and Cambridge the weekend of January 18 & 19th with a Funk/Reggae theme.

New England Conservatory

New England Conservatory Hosts Legendary Songwriter Elvis Costello and is Presented Honorary Doctor of Music Degree from NEC

I was fortunate to attend an appearance by Elvis Costello at the New England Conservatory of Music on October 25, 2013. My knowledge of Mr. Costello was limited to my earlier years listing to him rock out to one of my favorites "Pump It Up". Years later, I was somewhat surprised to hear him singing "But Not for Me", on a compilation of Gershwin covers. I had always thought of him as a rocker. His rendition of Gershwin was lovely, yet there was little else I knew about Mr. Costello, nee Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus.

Yet, here he was receiving an honorary Doctorate of Music degree. Upon reading the press release, I commented that I was trying to find where he had received his music education. One of his colleagues was seated in front of me, and informed me that he had left school at age 16 and began working in a bank in West London.

Upon introduction, Elvis appeared on stage wearing his signature "Buddy Holly" glasses. Clad in comfortable black jeans, a conservative jean jacket atop a suit vest, and a new signature fashion statement hat, his large smile and infectious repartee made him a very real person. His tremendous wit was displayed upon being hooded as he received his honorary degree. Also given was a very timely Red Sox hat.

His interview session was moderated by Boston Globe pop music critic Sarah Rodman. He sat and drank tea on the stage, as he answered questions about his beginnings, influences and collaborations.

Elvis did not learn to read music until later in life. He felt that the rules of music were a hindrance on creativity. I remembered my college musical training and struggling through counterpoint, wondering why all these rules were needed, and I felt a comradery, at least in musical expression. Elvis shared his musical beginnings by discussing his upbringing and listening to his father who was a jazz trumpeter. Elvis took his pseudonym from a combination of his father's stage name of Day Costello, and Elvis Presley.

Rodman went through several of his songs, playing snippets of each. Each song was the next step in the way that Elvis evolved into the musician of today, with very candid stories as to his thought process and final product. It was interesting to hear how his skills and knowledge as a musician evolved as each song also became a learning experience.

Elvis talked about his confusion with his telecaster guitar as he wrote "Alison". Influenced by rhythm and blues, the song initially failed until Linda Ronstadt recorded it. Elvis expressed heartfelt thanks to Ms. Ronstadt during her medically trying time, revealing he had not done so at the age of 23, when he was unhappy that someone else version of his song surpassed his success.

Elvis revealed that Nick Lowe had actually written "Peace, Love, and Understanding", as a tongue in cheek depiction of the flower child generational songs, yet equating it to a similar style at Bruce Springsteen's' E Street Band. He found it more palatable when performed as a ballad.

"God Give Me Strength" was a powerful and beautiful collaboration with Burt Bacharach, and the first of a total of 12 collaborations. Elvis talked about working with him via mail, each sending their ideas and additions. There is a possible stage production in the works with additional collaborations with Mr. Bacharach.

The lighthearted "Veronica" was collaboration with non other than Sir Paul McCartney. However, Elvis was very humble in retelling the simplicity of their meeting, via a run in with McCartney's young children. They went on to collaborate on 12 songs. Elvis laughingly admitted that some of their duets paralleled the same tonalities as the Lennon/McCartney duets, which he found slightly "spooky".

In general, Elvis felt all his collaborations were unplanned accidents, which made them more real, and less commercially generated. This appeared to be the general theme, as he reminisced and reviewed his musical history. He reiterated this with his own personal advice he shared with the audience of fans, older musicians, and budding music students. He stated that anyone pursuing a music career should be doing so for the love of music and creating, and not in an attempt to seek superstardom. Personally, I found this to be very profound and logical advice. As I followed that path as well, I never dreamed of any kind of stardom, as it was always the love of creating or performing, as well as honing my ability. Any superstar talent will emerge without cognitively chasing the star, as is clearly proven by the musical journey taken by Elvis Costello.

(My Grade: 5)

Ernie & The Automatics
(Open E Records)

Review by Mark Snyder,, the Internet's Entertainment Superstation

Low expectations? Not sure what expectation I actually had when I received the new Ernie and the Automatics CD. I'd known Car Czar Ernie Boch, Jr. for years, and thought of him as a sales executive and pitchman. Of course, I was a big fan of Boston, owning copies of their first three albums (yes, records!). So, when I noticed that Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau and drummer Sib Hashian were part of the project, my expectations went up a notch.

But, here's what really grabbed my attention: the first song. Right off the bat, "The Good Times (Never Last)" had me. A good time anthem, mixing the best elements of Boston, J. Geils Band, and a sixties rock sound, this song has "hit" written all over it. With enough airplay, it breaks the Top Ten. "Good Times", written by Goudreau and Brian Maes (who produced the CD), could be an ode to the late Boston singer Brad Delp, with it's lyrics, "I used to have an old friend that I met way back in school. Ya know he was his own man. Well he played by his own set of rules. Now he's no longer with us." The title song, written by Maes, is a smooth low key rock song, with it's hook "I guess the best thing I got goin' for me is low expectations," is a pleasant one. But, "If I'd Let You", which gets back to the band's hard rock roots,and includes a nice sax piece by Joe "Klem" Klimek, is another potential hit. Loved Maes' lyrics, that included, "If I had let you, you would have flipped through me like the songs in an old time jukebox."

For those of us over 50, "Tappin' On An Empty Head" is a familiar refrain. "What am I trying to say? I can't remember yesterday" begin the Brian Maes-penned lyrics. Good old rock and roll! Many of us seem to be unable to remember what we did yesterday, but can still come up with the names of members of an obscure sixties band. It's weird the way our brains work! Switching to a bluesy sound, the band goes next with "Blues Town."

Following that is another of my favorites, "I'm Gonna Haunt You." Co-writer Brian Maes nails the vocals exactly, and the music is just perfect. Maes' tune, "Back Around" has that blues-type sound, reminiscing the New Vaudville Band of decades gone by. Ernie Boch, Jr. and Barry Goudreau's guitar's shine, as does Tim Archibald's bass, and Sib Hashian's drums. Then, it's a trip to the Far East, with the dazzling instrumental, "Hong Kong Shuffle," co-written by Boch.

"Let it Go" has a familiar ring to it. Sounding a bit like classic Huey Lewis, this song features the vocals of Michael Antunes and Maes. It was co-written by the six key players, including Boch. This song is also a commercially viable one---with each play it resonated in my head, and had me muttering, "let it go, go, go."

The next tune probably won't help the depressed. "Dead Man" isn't exactly uplifting, but it is a nice musical adventure. "The Best Is Up Ahead" could be a foreshadowing of the future. It features an amazing guitar solo from Ernie Boch, Jr. The instrumental "Fly In The Milk" closes out this excellent compilation of different types of sounds. If this is the band's debut CD, then good things are certainly in the forecast for Ernie and the Automatics. Special kudos to Brian Maes for his harmonica and keyboard work. We're talking top notch here.

Ernie Boch, Jr. may be known as the face of a billion dollar car business, but he can also play a mean guitar. He told me he took up guitar at 14. Boch is also a big musicologist and fan of the 60's rock, and writes a column in the Herald about the music of long ago, and today. He hooked up with Hashian and Goudreau in 2006, and this album, and the ensuing concerts are a culmination of that initial meeting. "It's amazing playing with them," he told me. A portion of the profits of all shows, Cd's, T Shirts, DVD's "and anything else" goes to the Boch Family's Music Drives Us non-profit foundation. The Music Drives Us Foundation is committed to preserving Music Education, Preservation and Awareness throughout New England. The Foundation supports organizations and individuals who are interested in using music as a tool for all segments of society and for all ages.

From Barry Goudreau to

"I wrote The Good Times (Never Last) about a year ago when I felt as though I was being bullied by a former band member. The last verse is a tip of the hat to Brad Delp. Although Sib and I have kept in touch over the years, this is the first time we have worked together since my solo record in 1980. It's like putting on an old pair of shoes, since Sib and I have played music together since I was 15. It's great and very comfortable. Sib introduced me to Ernie, since then Ernie has become a close friend. It's Ernie's drive and enthusiasm that has gotten us to where we are now.

Ernie started Music Drives Us after contacting VH-1 Save the Music and getting a lot of red tape. He decided to start his own charity. MDU gives money to support music in the private and public sector. So far the foundation has awarded over $600,000. Sib and I are on the Board of Advisors and we help decide where the money is awarded. MDU is a very worthwhile charity. Check it out at"

Rated *** (3 out of 4)   VERY GOOD


Vanilla FudgeVanilla Fudge, the legendary 60's & 70's rock group, plays live at the Kowloon Restaurant on September 25. Concert is set 8:00pm and tickets are $35 each or $60 for reserved seating/and an exclusive meet & greet. The Kowloon is located on Route 1 North/948 Broadway in Saugus. For tickets call 781-233-0077.

Vanilla Fudge is the iconic American psychedelic band with a score of albums produced from 1967 to 1970. Original band members Mark Stein, bassist / lead guitarist, and Vince Martell perform live at the concert.

The band had a score of hits, including, "You Keep Me Hangin' On," a slowed-down, trippy, hard rock cover song originally recorded by The Supremes, and "Take Me For a Little While," which put them on the charts. Their rendition of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" was featured in the 2007 film Zodiac.

A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to Ernie Boch Jr.'s Music Drives Us Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting music throughout New England and focuses on music preservation, Education, awareness. For more info-go to

For more information and tickets, call the Kowloon at 781-233-0077.


Friends & Legends


Review by Mark Snyder,

Canadian songbird Morna Anne Murray came to the attention of Americans late in the summer of 1970. The country-pop star hit the Billboard Top Ten with "Snowbird." Her career has spanned four decades, but the blue-eyed blonde is seemingly getting better as the years pass.

I am a huge fan of the Nova Scotia native. I didn't think I'd hear anything better than Anne Murray belting out tunes like "Danny's Song", "You Needed Me", and "Daydream Believer", but I was wrong. On her new CD, Murray sings these tunes, and others, with some of the biggest names in music. So, "Danny's Song" becomes a masterpiece with Martina McBride. "I Just Fall In Love Again" just gets you falling in love with the song all over again with Dusty Springfield chiming in. "Daydream Believer", a hit for the Monkees as well as Anne, takes on a new life with Nelly Furtado pitching in. I can't tell you which tune I like the best.

This compilation has 17 wonderful songs, with guests artists that include Emmylou Harris, Carole King, Olivia-Newton John, k.d. lang, Shania Twain, Amy Grant, The Indigo Girls,Sarah Brightman, and Celine Dion. If music has ever produced a perfect disc to relax and excite the soul at the same time, this is it!

Rating: ****(Excellent)


The Complete Motown Singles
Volume 8: 1968

Review by Mark Snyder,

This amazing 6 CD set---packaged like your grandpa's old 78-RPM albums---comes with an actual 45 RPM Record in the front sleeve, a 132 page picture-filled book stuffed with rare photos, memorabilia, and chart information on each of the 144 songs.

For those who own Volume 7 (which finished with "I heard it through the grapevine" by Gladys Knight), the segue is very cool. This package opens with the same song, but by Marvin Gaye. There are too many great tunes in the set to pick out just a few. But, offhand, I'd have to mention some you may not hear so much: "The Impossible Dream" by Diana Ross, The Supremes and Temptations; "Without You" by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas; "My Girl" by Stevie Wonder; "Walk Away Renee" by the Four Tops; "Take Me In Your Arms (And Rock Me A Little While) by the Temptations; and "For Once In My Life" by the Four Tops. There are dozens of tunes that will take you back to the Renaissance of Soul in the late 60's. Buy this--then buy all the other ones you missed. It's less than $1 a song---beats itunes!

Rating: ****(Excellent)


Review by Dede Tanzer

I found out something I never knew last night at North Shore Music Theater. Everything old is not new again. Sha-na-na not only had nothing new, their old stuff was as dusty and creaky as Grandma's attic. The first time I saw Sha-na-na was in 1970 at the Boston Tea Party. They were full of life. Their music made it impossible to just sit and watch. My feet were moving before the first chorus. Last night, the only time I got to my feet was when the group had the audience stand so they could get us all moving. What did they have us groove to? The Hokey Pokey. Nuff said? Don't waste your time or your money going to see grandpa in a purple suit with a silver star sewn on his butt. I wouldn't even hire this group for a Bar Mitzvah because the kids would think they were totally lame. But if you still must see them you'll have to check your local paper because luckily they were only at the NSMT for one night. * (Poor)


The Monkees and More of the Monkees CD
Review by Mark Snyder,

To anyone over 45, "Hey Hey We're The Monkees" conjures up the TV smash series of the Monkees, which debuted in September of 1966 on NBC. The show, which featured Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith, became a smash with youngsters (like me). I used my first allowance money to buy "The Monkees" and "More of the Monkees." The show, which featured free-form music videos with some small plot lines, was inspired by the Beatle's film "A Hard Day's Night." The Complete Directory of Prime Time TV Shows says, "The Monkees was unconventional, utilizing surrealistic film techniques like fast and slow motion, distorted focus, and comic film inserts, and one-liners all delivered in a fast pace."

For those too young to remember The Monkees, Rhino Records has released Season One (six discs) and Season Two (five discs) of the series in beautifully mastered DVD. Each boxed set contains every episode of the season, plus commentaries by the cast and directors. There's also vintage commercials, the pilot (in Season One), and a Monkees TV Special (in Season Two). Each is packaged with the same beauty, quality and "collectability" that is the hallmark of all Rhino products. For those fans of my age, buying them and watching the shows brings you back to your childhood. It's a nice ride. For youngsters who've never seen the show, the simplicity of the comedy hooks their interest.

In a musical vein, those two albums I purchased have been released in Deluxe (Two Disc) Editions by Rhino. The Monkees first album includes the theme song, the tender ballads Saturday's Child, I Wanna Be Free, and I'll Be True to You, the big hit Last Train to Clarksville, and the comical Gonna Buy Me a Dog. The original mono versions are on one disc, and stereo versions on the other. Bonus material includes a Kellogg's jingle, a TV version of "You Just May Be The One", and an interesting interpretation of the Turtles "So Goes Love" from Davy Jones. The "More of the Monkees" 2 CD Deluxe edition includes the hits I'm A Believer and (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone. It also includes some of my favorite Monkees tunes, including When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door), Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow), Carole King's Sometime In The Morning, and The Kind of Girl I Could Love. Bonus material includes the first recorded versions of Valleri, Words and Hold On Girl.

Also available is The Best of the Monkees, featuring 25 of their biggest hits, and a bonus CD of Karaoke versions of five of their top tunes.

RATINGS:   **** (EXCELLENT) (4 out of 4)

A MUST Purchase for fans!


LEONARD COHEN---Still Going Strong
by Larry LeBlanc

For 50 years, over 14 albums, 9 volumes of poetry, and two novels, Leonard Cohen-- poet, novelist, troubadour, songwriter, spiritual tourist, social provocateur, and ladies man---has shared his romantic vision.

It's been good honest work.

A major writer of the English language, Leonard-- inducted into the Juno Hall of Fame in 1991-- gives importance and dignity to songwriting. His songs are discussed, analyzed, agonized over and made love to the world over.

They have been recorded by acts as diverse as Rufus Wainwright, Jeff Buckley, Sting, Elton John, Jennifer Warnes, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, R.E.M, and The Neville Brothers.

"Songwriting is very compelling," Leonard once remarked. "One of the reasons it's so compelling is that there is a financial pay-off —and I have many dependants—and secondly, it does get you out of the room."

Leonard has written of love: random love and hate; slaves and masters; saints seduced by the evil and sordidness of lechery; as well as war, slaughter and the harsh light of the existential furnace. And a real Suzanne—but not (in this case) a lover-- did take Leonard to her place by the river (the St. Lawrence) and did feed him tea and oranges (actually, orange-flavoured Constant Comment).

Of course, his language, the clarity, daring, and passion of his imagery, and the open-hearted approach to his life has touched and inspired fans, writers and musicians the world over.

"I would not know how high to jump or how far I was falling without Leonard Cohen,'' says U2’s Bono. "His songs are conversations I have been trying to have all of my life with some of the same people….. Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot, Yahweh, all the women in the world, Buddha."

Canada first met Leonard as a brooding young poet of the 1960s--"flourishing dark and magnificent as Othello"-- to quote the self-penned blurb on the jacket of his 1966 novel "The Favourite Game." His first book of poetry "Let’s Compare Mythologies" was published in 1956, while he was still an undergraduate at McGill University in Montreal. It was followed by "The Spice Box Of Earth" in 1961 that catapulted him to international literary fame.

In 1968, with the release of the anthology "Selected Poems: 1956-1968," Cohen was awarded the Governor-General’s Award, Canada’s highest literary distinction. He declined the honour, stating "The poems themselves forbid it, absolutely." In 2003, however, he agreed to accept the Companion of the Order of Canada, our country’s highest civil honor for achievement in the arts.

Yet, it is apparent that there’s no measure in Canada’s culture to absolutely guage Leonard Cohen. His staggering command of several genres places him alongside traditional giants of each while his ability to amalgamate art and popular culture has made him an icon of popular culture.

Born in Montreal Sept. 21, 1934, Leonard is the son of an engineer who owned a clothing concern, and who died when Leonard was nine. A great-grandfather was the first Zionist in Canada; a grandfather was a Hebrew scholar; and a great uncle was Chief Rabbi of Canada.

Leonard still calls himself a Montrealer though he is a man forever on the move. He has lived in New York, London, Nashville, Los Angeles, and on the Greek Island of Hydra. From 1994-1999, he lived at the Zen Center on Mount Baldy in California, and was ordained as a Zen monk and given the Dharma name of Jikan (Silent One).

"For the writing of books, you have to be in one place," he said in 1988. "You tend to gather things around you when you write a novel. You need a woman in your life. It's nice to have some kids around, 'cause there's always food. It's nice to have a place that's clean and orderly. I had those things, and then I decided to be a songwriter."

He was raised in Westmount with a governess and chauffeur, and attended public schools. He graduated from McGill University with insignificant standing, He dropped out of a Master’s program at Columbia University in New York. He also worked as an elevator operator in New York but was dismissed because he wanted to run the elevator attired in civilian clothes.

Leonard was touched as a child by the music he heard in the synagogue. The first singers he listened to with genuine pleasure were the American folksingers Pete Seeger, and Josh White and American country stars George Jones, and Johnny Cash that he heard on radio station WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia. And he once thought of Elvis Presley as the first American singer of genius.

Leonard started playing guitar at summer camp in 1950. He wasn’t attracted to the instrument so much as for a musical reason. He used it as a courting tool. But he also thought one day he’d become a singer, however. He used to stand and sing in front of the mirror to see how he looked.

At McGill University, he began writing poetry, and formed the country and western trio, The Buckskin Boys. He also worked in a nightclub above Dunn’s deli called Birdland. He’d read poems or improvise them while Maury Kaye and his bebop group played.

After he dropped out of a Master’s program at Columbia University in New York Leonard obtained a grant, and was able to travel through Europe. He eventually settled on Hydra, staying on and off for seven years. He wrote two more collections of poetry, "Flowers For Hitler" (1964) and "Parasites of Heaven" (1966) there; and the novels, "The Favorite Game" (1963), and "Beautiful Losers" (1966).

As he finished "Beautiful Losers," he realized he was full of music (if only because he’d written the book to the accompaniment of the American Armed Forces radio service). He decided to go to Nashville, and become a country songwriter. On his way there, he met Toronto-born manager Mary Martin who persuaded him to stay in New York.

Leonard was soon swept into a circle of folk musicians hanging out at the Chelsea Hotel including Phil Ochs, Judy Collins, Tim Buckley, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. When he heard Bob Dylan, he knew he didn’t need to journey any further. "It wasn’t his originality which first impressed me, but his familiarity," Leonard recalls. "He was like a person out of my books."

In March 1966, Leonard made his public debut as a singer at a poetry reading at the New York YMHA. He sang "Suzanne" and "The Stranger Song." Later that year, he toured western Canadian colleges, doing readings and singing.

In 1967, Leonard played 15-20 concerts, including the Newport Folk Festival where he stole the audience cheers from established stars with the Mariposa Folk Festival in Toronto; and two concerts with Judy Collins who recorded "Suzanne" and "Dress Rehearsal Rag" on her 1966 album, "In My Life."

A few months after Newport, Columbia Records released his debut album, "The Songs of Leonard Cohen." It had such signature Cohen songs as "Suzanne," "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye," "So Long, Marianne," and "Sisters of Mercy."

Since then, despite several sabbaticals from the musical wars, Leonard has continued to stretch the borders of the pop music landscape with such songs as "Bird On a Wire, "The Song of Isaac," "Joan of Arc," "Famous Blue Raincoat," "Hallelujah," "First We Take Manhattan," "Tower of Song," "Ain't No Cure For Love," "Joan Of Arc," and "Death of a Ladies Man."

In early 1999, Leonard came down from Mount Baldy armed with new lyrics and poems. He settled in Los Angeles where he released three records, the live album entitled "Field Commander Cohen - Tour of 1979," the collection, "Ten New Songs" and "Dear Heather" in 2004.

Today, Leonard Cohen is at work on songs for his next album for a possible mid-2006 release as well as co-writing with singer Anjani Thomas for her upcoming album "Blue Alert," also to be issued this year. CD REVIEW
by Mark Snyder


Some people just sound natural when they're on the stage warbling show tunes. Others sound forced and phony. The music of theatre fits Ingrid Saxon in a way that the leather gloves didn't fit O.J. Her melodious voice and fresh personality shine like a giant smile through the many show tunes on this CD. She opens with a Jean Lenox tune called "I Don't Care" and powers it to take the listener by the ear on a wonderful journey. Her take of Melissa Manchester's "Come In From The Rain" would bring a smile to the author, who has quite a set of pipes on her as well. The title tune, "Feelin' Too Good Today Blues" (with the cute little Annie reference tucked secretly at the end), and Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" are standouts. However, none of the tunes is weak. The CD is a strong statement on music interpretation, and the ability to convey a unique impression of a tune. The New Yorker is obviously influenced by her father, David Sorin-Collyer. He was a famed performer and music teacher (counting Liza Minnelli among his students.) Saxon is also a teacher. Listen to this CD and learn about the proper way to deliver a tune.

*** (Three Stars out of Four)

Brian Wilson Presents SMILE
DVD/Rhino Home Video

Review by Mark Snyder

For Beach Boys fans, the release of the SMILE CD was a time to rejoice. The CD had dated back decades, and had featured such amazing songs as "Heroes and Villains", "Child Is The Father of the Man" and the legendary "Good Vibrations." This video release from Rhino goes above and beyond the CD's auditory experience. It features, in its entirety, the Showtime documentary Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of Smile. It also includes a live performance of Smile in its entirety. On top of this (which is really worth the price of the two-disc package, you'll find nearly two hours of bonus footage, including never-before-seen interviews, performances and recording session footage. Beat a path to your neighborhood store and pick up a copy! Grade: Documentary *** Concert **** Extras: ****

WIN A COPY of the DVD!!! Listen to interviews on for details. No Purchase Necessary.

Johnnie Johnson Dies

Rock 'n' Roll piano legend, Johnnie Johnson, died of natural causes at his home outside of St. Louis, MO this morning. He was 80 years old.

Johnson began his career in 1952, when he hired the then-unknown guitarist, Chuck Berry, to join his St. Louis-based band. Berry eventually became the frontman of the group and the two collaborated on some of Rock 'n' Roll's most seminal recordings, including "Maybellene," "Roll Over Beethoven," and "Sweet Little Sixteen."

Johnson stepped into the spotlight later in life, releasing his first solo album in 1989. His star continued to rise, especially among his fellow musicians, who lined up to work with the icon. In the last decade, Johnson performed and recorded with an amazingly diverse array of artists, including Eric Clapton, Aerosmith, Keith Richards, The Kentucky Headhunters, Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead, Susan Tedeschi, NRBQ, Buddy Guy and Styx.

In honor of his contributions to the genre, Johnson was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 by his friend and supporter, Keith Richards. He continued to perform and headline at concerts and clubs around the world until earlier this year. His last performance was with fellow Rock 'n' Roll originator, Bo Diddley on February 9, 2005. "It was so much fun to play with Johnnie," Diddley said upon hearing the news. "The world has lost a great man and a great musician. He will be missed but his music will live on."

Johnson is survived by his wife, Frances, 10 children and many grandkids.

Crosby Stills & Nash
Greatest Hits

by Mark Snyder


You got to love Rhino. They take the finest music ever produced and make it better. They improve the sound quality of the old recordings that many of us have in our record cabinets. Rhino always has some of the most well-written liner notes, and scores of photos in their booklet that accompanies the 2 CD package. Some of the trivia you'll discover in the liner notes is worth the price of the recording. You'll look at Cass Elliot in a different light. The way the group came together is even more intriguing, as was the late addition of Neil Young to their lineup.

Every big hit is in the set. Many are favorites of mine. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, the ode to Judy Collins is the first cut. But you'll never want to skip a track. Loaded with amazing tunes like "Long Time Gone", "Our House", "Teach Your Children", "Wooden Ships", "Wasted On The Way (my old college themesong!)", and "In My Dreams," the CD just blows through your mind like a locomotive memory train.

TOP RATED **** (Four Stars out of Four)

WIN A COPY FOR YOURSELF! SEND AN EMAIL WITH YOUR TOP FIVE FAVORITE CSN TUNES. Winners will be chosen at random from all entries. No purchase required. Limit one entry per person per day. Send your email to:


Rap Turf War Erupts with Death Threat on 11 year-old White Pop Rapper Girl

Marty Bronstein has seen death threats in the music industry before. But when the
music industry consultant discovered a death threat made to his client, 11 year-old
white pop rapper girl Dahv, he was completely shocked-especially since the threat
came online on the website forum, and was able to be traced. "I've seen
this happen before.turf wars between Tupac and Big, but this is an 11 year old

As with most online discussion forums, people have to register on the forum
in order to post and reply. The threat came on a Saturday in December, and
Bronstein's World Class Media which manages the forum-was able to trace the threat
back to an IP address in Lakeview, Iowa (rap isn't confined to urban areas anymore).
Bronstein called the Lakeview police, provided all the registration information and
the Internet assailant was apprehended two days later.

According to Lakeview law enforcement officials, the death threat came from an
under-age Caucasian known to local officials (his name has not been released and
County Attorneys are trying to decide on appropriate charges, either stalking or
assault). A Lakeview law enforcement agent characterized the youth as a "future
highway sniper."

Dahv, the 11 year-old white female pop rapper, had no comment on the threat, but a
lot of people are commenting. Since the incident, traffic to the Dahv websites
rocketed from 300 people a day to 15,000 people a day and still rising.

Multi-platinum rapper Lil Troy, who performed with Dahv this past summer at
Crunkfest, called it "a bit scary.but when people see a new artist that starts to
catch on like wildfire, they act out and do stupid stuff. Just look at the Vibe
Awards stabbing. Dahv's unique, different, and probably making a lot of up and
coming rappers nervous.but come on, she's white, she's 11 years old, and she's
hitting a much younger demo with this new pop rap, not gangsta rap."

Dahv began performing this summer at rap events like Crunkfest as well as Radio
Disney concerts, and recorded her first original six songs with music industry
moguls like Gary Carolla (songwriter for Backstreet Boys and Nsync) and Chris
Rodriguez (Paulina Rubio producer).

And rap is getting hot and crowded. 6 of the top ten singles on Billboard this past
week are rap. And urban rappers like Nelly are branching out into new demographic
channels, like country, as evidenced by his duo with Tim McGraw. When rappers like
Nelly are reaching out to appeal to country fans-you know the rap scene is getting

Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem) came into his own in the late 1990's by hitting a
young white male demo, being the only young white male rapper on the scene (also
creating a lot of controversy). It may be that Dahv has cracked the right
demographic code.a younger demo looking for a young female white rapper with a pop

Bronstein said that appealing to an 8-13 year old demo with pop rap wasn't by
design. "I've been working with Dahv as a consultant since she was nine-we tried a
bunch of different things, and Dahv just liked the rap singing style. She is the
demo. She likes what other girls her age like. Her friends like pop rap, and she
gets booked at Radio Disney concerts. I think kids are looking for something new
besides Hilary Duff."

Internet forum threads both made fun of the death threat, and dissed the newcomer
rapper, Dahv. A forum poster on called Dahv,"Like Avril, Only More
Street and Less Punk.she be bustin' rhymes like tha' LAPD be bustin' heads..atcha
wit' a funky fresh teenbeat style an' jammin' joints about grade school an' slumber
parties.They dope!"

Another forum poster from called her a pasty white girl with,
"forgettable pop numbers. a handful of hilarious inappropriate rap gems. Song
("Daddy Don't Trip") secretly about her "daddy" Jon Voigt. She's just horrible
enough that I think you can expect to see her playing at next years Nickelodeon
Kid's Choice Awards. It will be further proof that kids have some f**ing s**tty

But Dereck Morris, publisher of 3rd Coast magazine said, "she gained the respect of
over 4000 during Crunkfest and at the after party - all of the performers felt that
she had a better chance of making it then most because she's hitting a new demo with
a different sound. Take a little Avril, mix it with some Eminem, and you got

Producer Chris Rodriguez said "She may be the next female Eminem. The market and
demo is looking for something different than Hilary Duff. My daughter is 9 and she
loves Dahv's new pop rap style. I like it because it doesn't have the gangster
element, and it's something that parents will play in the car."

The 11 year-old Dahv from Boston is a little overwhelmed. Rumors even circulating
that she is the daughter of Jon Voigt, and both good and bad posts are swirling
around the message boards. The family has decided to hire security detail for tour
performances. County prosecutors aren't sure exactly what to charge the assailant
with, but are at least glad this turf war is unfolding over the Internet with
kilobytes versus on the streets with bullets for now.


A Totally New Sensation
Josh Zuckerman
PLH Records

Review by Mark Snyder,

I really like this kid's music. Zuckerman's sound harkens me back to the smooth rock of
the mid-1960's through early 70's. The title track opens the CD with a bang. Echoing the sentiments of the Beatles "All You Need Is Love", but with a heavier beat, the tune clicks on all cylinders. "Some like to dream, while others make their dreams reality", just one of the opening tunes lyrics. I liked the second tune, "Been Thinking" even more. "I wanna live the crazy life with you, before I start getting old" resonates for most of us.

This St. Louis native has received a lot of notice in the gay press. But he transcends the "gay artist" label and is a very talented singer-songwriter in any venue or market. I expect him to garner more mainstream notice, and--if stations can start to play his music--he may have a hit or two in him.

Other tunes I dug included Karma, When Love Comes Back Again and Circle of Friends ( a profound take on what friends really are and could be.) The only "miss" on the CD I found to be the only song Zuckerman didn't write-- a remake of Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia". Forget about country, Josh. Stick to rock.

On a scale of 5 stars, I give this effort a 4.5 Nice work.


Ray Charles: Live In Brazil
(Rhino Home Video)


O-Genio translates to "the Genius". Ray Charles has proven to be a genius at providing music that transended generations of music affectioniados. This live performance, caught in concert from San Paulo, Brazil in 1963, provides a glimpse at Ray at his absolute best.

The DVD, as always when Rhino is involved it's a gem, inlcudes two rare concerts and an even rarer studio rehearsal, along with the complete Brazilian commercials that aired with the original program. Listen to Ray sing his classic tunes like "Hit The Road Jack", "What'd I Say", "You Are My Sunshine", "Take These Chains From My Heart", and "I Can't Stop Loving You". This one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. We give it **** (out of four)

(WIN A COPY. Listen to the interviews on Live Channel 1 and 2 at for your chance!)


Kenny Chesney Awarded Entertainer and Album of the Year
NASHVILLE - The music community spread the honors around during "The 38th Annual CMA Awards" to the array of superstars and newcomers that have contributed to a stellar year in Country Music.

"Country Music's Biggest Nightâ„¢" hosts Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn picked up their 12th Vocal Duo of the Year Award. The pair sang their upcoming single "It's Getting Better All the Time" from their second Greatest Hits CD.

Kenny Chesney picked up his first two CMA Awards with the coveted Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year for When the Sun Goes Down, which was produced by Chesney and Buddy Cannon.

"I am so proud to be in Country Music," Chesney said. "I love it with all my heart. I stay up at night thinking about how to make my show better. Thank y'all very much."

Kicking off the three-hour broadcast on the CBS Television Network was Entertainer of the Year nominee Tim McGraw, who performed the rocking "How Bad Do You Want It?" complete with pyrotechnics. McGraw's No. 1 hit "Live Like You Were Dying," a tribute to his late father Tug McGraw, won the CMA Award for Single of the Year."The song came to me around Thanksgiving," McGraw said backstage. "That's when we sort of learned that Tug didn't have a chance. We cut the song three weeks later and it wasn't sad. It was something special."

"Live Like You Were Dying" also nabbed the Song of the Year Award for songwriters Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman, which was the first CMA Award for the tunesmiths. I want to have Tim McGraw's baby," joked Wiseman. Nichols added, "The day Craig and I wrote this song, it started like it was any other day, now its been like no other day."

Even though there were close to 4,000 people in the Grand Ole Opry House and millions more watching at home, Shania Twain had a "Party For Two" with duet partner Billy Currington as they performed their hit from Twain's Greatest Hits album, released today.

Other collaborations during the broadcast included Alan Jackson with Patty Loveless performing "Monday Morning Church" and Jimmy Buffett with "parrotheads" Clint Black, Chesney, Jackson, Keith and George Strait. Strait also performed his hit "I Hate Everything," while Chesney waxed nostalgic with "I Go Back."

Martina McBride added another Female Vocalist of the Year Award to her collection, tying Reba McEntire's record of four. McEntire, who was also nominated in the Female Vocalist category in 2004, still holds the record for most consecutive wins in the category with four (1984-87). McBride performed the poignant "God's Will" from her RCA Records album Martina."When I was a little girl in Kansas, I had some big dreams," McBride said. "I don't think I ever dreamed this big." Backstage in the pressroom, McBride was presented with a one-of-a-kind signature necklace from Johnathon Arndt Gallery of Jewels valued at more than $100,000.

Consummate entertainer Keith Urban had the audience singing along with his live-for-the-moment anthem "Days Go By." A few moments later, Urban picked up his first Male Vocalist of the Year Award. "I am so dumbfounded, I don't know what to say," a stunned Urban said. "I am so glad my mom and dad are here tonight. I thank Nashville for letting me come and make music because it's all I ever wanted to do anyway."

"Whiskey Lullaby" picked up two CMA Awards for Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, who performed the hit during the broadcast. The song won the Musical Event and Music Video of the Year Awards. "I want to thank Country radio for playing this song," said Paisley. "It says a lot about our format when they'll take a chance on a double-suicide drinking song."

Director Rick Schroder shared the Music Video honor with Paisley and Krauss, making it the first CMA Award for the former "NYPD Blue" and "Silver Spoons" actor.

Horizon Award winner Gretchen Wilson toned down her "redneck woman" persona for the ballad "When I Think About Cheatin'," which she sang into an antique 1949 Neumann Telefunken M49 microphone. "I came here last year and sat way back there in the back and dreamed of standing up here one day," said an emotional Wilson said about her Horizon win. "I never dreamed it would have happened this soon."

Rascal Flatts picked up their second consecutive Vocal Group of the Year Award after singing their new single "Bless the Broken Road." "We just wanted to be a part of Country Music," Rascal Flatts bass player Jay DeMarcus said. "This makes all the hard work worthwhile."

The CMA Awards was a family affair for Toby Keith, who sang "Mockingbird," the 1974 hit for James Taylor and Carly Simon, with his 17-year-old daughter Krystal. The new single is available on Keith's album Greatest Hits 2 released today.

Unscrupulous duo Big & Rich lived up to their motto "Country Music Without Prejudice," performing "Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich)" with hillbilly rapper Cowboy Troy and Two-Foot Fred, who both appeared in the duo's video "Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)."

Female Vocalist of the Year nominee Terri Clark, backed by an all-female band, performed her No. 1 hit "Girls Lie Too," while fellow Female Vocalist nominee Sara Evans offered "Suds In The Bucket."

The Horizon Award nominees made a strong showing, including Dierks Bentley singing "How Am I Doin';" Julie Roberts performing "Break Down Here;" and Josh Turner offering "Long Black Train."

Vocal Duo of the Year nominee Montgomery Gentry kept the momentum moving upward with their rocking single "Gone."

Guitarist and producer Dann Huff picked up his second Musician of the Year trophy.

Country Music Hall of Fame 2004 inductees Kris Kristofferson and Jim Foglesong were honored during the broadcast. Willie Nelson and Faith Hill saluted Kristofferson, performing "For the Good Times" and "Help Me Make It Through the Night," respectively. Randy Travis performed "Sunday Morning Coming Down" before Kristofferson took the stage to sing his hit "Me & Bobby McGee" with Nelson, Hill and Travis. Reba McEntire introduced a taped segment on Foglesong, a former record company executive, highlighting his many achievements in Country Music.

Country Music Hall of Fame member Dolly Parton presented the Entertainer of the Year Award. Earlier in the night, Parton was honored with the CMA International Artist Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement by an artist who contributes to the awareness and development of Country Music outside North America.

Presenters at "The 38th Annual CMA Awards" included Trace Adkins, Lisa Hartman Black, Pat Green, Lonestar, Joe Nichols, Jamie O'Neal, "CSI: Miami" star Emily Procter, LeAnn Rimes, SHeDAISY, Blake Shelton, Phil Vassar and Darryl Worley.

The industry professional members of the Country Music Association vote to determine CMA Awards winners. Balloting is officiated by Deloitte & Touche The CMA Awards was produced by Walter C. Miller, directed by Paul Miller and scripted by David Wild. The event was broadcast live on the CBS Television Network from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn. MJI Programming, a division of Premiere Radio Networks, is the official radio packager of the CMA Awards, which included Red Carpet coverage and a stereo-radio simulcast of the event. American Airlines is the Official Airline of the 2004 CMA Awards.

The Winners of "The 38th Annual CMA Awards" are:







ALBUM OF THE YEAR (Award to artist and producer)
When the Sun Goes Down
BNA Records

SONG OF THE YEAR (Award to songwriter and primary publisher)
"Live Like You Were Dying"
Warner-Tamerlane/Big Loud Shirt

SINGLE OF THE YEAR (Award to artist and producer)
"Live Like You Were Dying"
Curb Records

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR (Award to artist and director)
"Whiskey Lullaby"

"Whiskey Lullaby"
Arista Nashville


by Mark Snyder

The Beegees Number Ones --a compendium of the greatest hits of the Brothers Gibb, including their "disco" era, the early years, and the latest salute to their departed brother, Maurice.

Jusy Collins Sings Leonard Cohen: Democracy --Judy blue eyes does her best with the great material of songwriting legend Leonard Cohen. Includes hits like Suzanne, Sisters of Mercy and Bird On A Wire. I never liked Cohen's voice, but I loved his songs. Judy does them justice.

Hey, That's Funny! Comedy's Greatest Hits--This yuckfest brings together the greatest funnymen of all time! Unreal compilation actually had me laughing out loud. EVERYONE is here, from Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby, to Rodney Dangerfield and Woody Allen. Includes Robin Williams, Ray Romano, Billy Crystal, Albert Brooks, Cheech & Chong, Dennis Miller, Redd Foxx, Sam Kinison, George Carlin, The Jerky Boys, Flip Wilson and a TON more. Must have for Comedy Lovers!

Ray Original Motion Picture Soundtrack--So, who doesn't love Ray Charles? His velevety voice, bold songs, and soul feel stand up to time quite well. Jamie Foxx does a great job playing him on screen in this film, but the real star is Charles and his music. The original soundtrack includes 17 classics from the film, including What'd I Say, Georgia On My Mind, Hit The Road Jack, and Unchain My Heart. Gotta love it!

Fahrenheit 9/11 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack--I'm not a fan of Michael Moore. This film was a piece of propoganda, like the kind used by Hitler in World War II to demonize the Jews. In this film, Moore takes poetic license to fashion the facts to demonize Bush. But, the soundtrack is great. It features such great tunes as Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World", Eric Burdon's "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place", J.J. Cale's "Cocaine", "Aqualung" by Jethro Tull, and even the theme from the lame TV show, "Greatest American Hero" from Joey Scarbury. Love the CD, hate the film.

Lori McKenna Bittertown---This unassuming housewife and mother of four from Stoughton, Massachusetts has garnered a few Boston Music Awards for her songwriting and vocalizing of songs that have meaning to all. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful, matching the lyrics of her tunes. Bittertown was produced by Lorne Entress, who accompanies her on many of the tunes. "Mr. Sunshine", "one Man", "Stealing Kisses" and "My Sweetheart" are my faves. (can be ordered from

Crystal Gayle Heart & Soul---The beautiful blue-eyed singer, noted for her ankle length hair and shining voice, has hit gold with this recording of Hoagy Carmichael tunes. Her melodious voice is an excellent match for his signature tunes, including, "Heart & Soul", "Stardust", "Lazy River" and "Georgia On My Mind."

THE WHO--Then and Now (Geffen)
Review by Mark Snyder

Universal Entertainment has given me a dose of great memories with their newest CD, The Who-Then and Now. This single disc compilation goes through all the best songs of the Who, like "My Generation", "I Can See For Miles", "Magic Bus", "Pinball Wizard", "Who are You?" and so many more! Some of their newer material, like "Real Good Looking Boy" and "Old Red Wine" make us miss the original band even more.

As Matt Kent writes in the liner notes, "For 40 years, The Who have written music for numerous generations, continually reflecting their audience." Whether you're listening to the Beatle-esque "The Kids Are Alright", or the heavy rock of "Won't Get Fooled Again", this exploration of the music of The Who will leave you asking for more!


What was your favorite Who tune? Send it to Winners will be chosen at random.

by Mark Snyder

From the tips of their beards to the points of their boots, the legendary ZZ Top are Texas' musical titans. Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and the appropriately-named Frank Beard are a rock-blues juggernaut with over thirty years of hit-making experience. Twelve years ago, a ZZ Top Greatest Hits collection was released. It was an excellent CD, and went triple platinum to a grateful audience.

Now, comes ZZ Top's Rancho Texicana, a delicious two CD set that trumps the effort of 1992, and covers everything of note that the band has done. As if that wasn't enough, Warner Brothers Records is also releasing Greatest Hits: The Video Collection on DVD. You can watch the legendary ZZ Top videos, featuring some of the foxiest women ever on tape! Remember "Gimme All Your Lovin", "Sharped Dress Man", and (especially, my favorite) "Legs"?

The CD features ZZ Top takes on The Stones "Brown Sugar" and the Elvis tune, "Viva Las Vegas". The two CD set also includes my favorites, like "Tush", "La Grange", "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers", "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Legs", "Sharped Dress Man", and another of my faves (and haven't we all been there) "Woke Up With Wood".

The 38 tune CD is well worth the purchase! Buy it today. And, has a few to give away. Send us your favorite ZZ Top song, and we'll pick winners from all entries! Email to, and put ZZ Top in the Subject Line.

Rating: **** (4 stars out of 4 EXCELLENT)


New York, NY - For recording artists Mudvayne, being name-
dropped on an episode of The Sopranos was an unexpected
plot twist in the band's evolution.

The episode—which premiered Sunday, March 28—featured A.J. Soprano, played by actor Robert Iler, going to a Mudvayne
concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. Singer Chad Gray, guitarist Greg Tribbett, bassist Ryan
Martinie and drummer Matt McDonough were surprised when they found out that Mudvayne was mentioned on HBO's
popular mafia-drama. "We heard that Robert likes Mudvayne
and is the one responsible for bringing us into the show.
It was really cool of him to do that," says Tribbett, who
is a fan of The Sopranos. "I was watching the episode and
couldn't believe it when I saw Robert walking out of the
Hammerstein Ballroom past a bunch of Mudvayne posters. It
was like a pop culture stamp of approval on the band, " he added.

What is especially gratifying for Mudvayne, McDonough
says, is that the band was not looking for recognition.
"We've been asked to be on television shows before but
we've always said no because we don't want to debase our
music by making a spectacle of the band," he explains. "It's
much more satisfying to creep into public consciousness
this way – on our own terms."

But don't expect Mudvayne to go Hollywood any time soon,
Gray assures. "The glitz and glamour is the exact opposite
of what we're about," he says. "We went to the premiere of
Ghost Ship a couple of years ago because our song Not
Falling was in the movie. It was a surreal, out-of-body
experience standing on the red carpet talking to people
like Paula Abdul and Entertainment Tonight."

In addition to a recent tribute album to the band,
Mudvayne's music was also the subject of In the Chamber
with Mudvayne. The album features a string quartet
interpreting the band's catalog including Dig and Death
Blooms from L.D. 50 (2000); Some Assembly Required from
The Beginning of All Things to End (2001) as well as
Silenced, Not Falling and Trapped in the Wake of a Dream from The End Of All Things To Come(2002).

Hearing Mudvayne's heavy riffing take a classical turn was
flattering Martinie says. The band agrees that 'World So
Cold' is the album's best track. "The way the musicians
interpret Chad's vocalizations is pretty interesting," he
says. "When it comes to people covering our music I'm a
stickler for accuracy, but I thought these musicians did a
great job. Our music isn't easy to recreate and you can
tell they did their homework."

Mudvayne recently rented a ranch in Northern California
where the band is writing and rehearsing songs for the
band's third, as-yet-untitled, Epic Records release due
out this Fall.

New Music Weekly released it's list of nominees for the NMW Awards, which will honor all the nominees and winners alike. This spectacular event is an exclusive event for music industry personnel, radio and celebrities. The NMW Awards will be held on Saturday, June 26th, 2004 at the famous Key Club Theater in Hollywood, CA. The awards ceremony and show will begin at 6pm with an industry pre-cocktail party. Here's the nominees:

Top 40 Single:

"Hey Ya" -Outkast

"Here Without You" -3 Doors Down

"Bring Me To Life" -Evanescence

"Ms Independent" -Kelly Clarkson

"Invisible" -Clay Aiken

"Perfect" -Simple Plan

"With You" -Jessica Simpson

TOP4 0 Male Artist

Justin Timberlake


Chubby Check

Jason Mraz

Clay Aiken

Enrique Ingelsias

JC Chasez

TOP4 0 Female Artist


Stacie Orrico

Kelly Clarkson

Jessica Simpson

Hillary Duff


Liz Phair

TOP4 0 Group/Duo

No Doubt



3 Doors Down

Sugar Ray

Max Meyer Band

Sheer Bliss

TOP4 0 Radio Station

KLDR -Grants Pass, OR

WBNQ -Bloomington, IL

WXXP - Garden City, NY

KVHT - Yankton, SD

KFMI -Eureka, CA

WEZB -New Orleans, LA

Top40 PD

Randy Hammer (KVHT)

Dave Brokesh (WXTQ)

GC Kincer (WIFX)

James White (KYEE)

Chad Hannon (WIVQ)

Jeremie Hughes (WKIB)

Top40 MD

Bobby Dee (WELT)

Don Watzel (KWYR)

Hellen Bertrand (KBCQ)

Brett Miller (KLBQ)

Beth Valiant (KVTI)

Mark Reid (KQKY)

Top40 Promotion/Company

Bill Jerome (Jerome Promotions & Marketing)

Lynda Tice (TJ Promotion)

Scott Fink (Hollywood)

Ken Lucek (Maverick)

Jason McFadden (Virgin)?

Steve Bartles (Arista)

Gary Lefkowith (ADD Promotion)

Top40 Label






AC40 Category

AC40 Single

"With This Ring" -Kenny Loggins (All The Best)

"Unwell" -Matchbox 20 (Lava/Atlantic)

"First Cut Is The Deepest" -Sheryl Crow (A&M/Interscope)

"Can't Live Without Your Love" - Kelly Moneymaker (Midnite Sun)

"Fallen" -Sarah Mclachlan (Arista)

"The Voice Within" -Christina Aguilera (RCA)

"Breathe" -Michelle Branch (Maverick)

AC40 Male Artist

MCT (Coast)

John Mayer (Columbia)

Josh Groban (Reprise)

Bruce Sudano (Purple Heart)

BK Diaz (Gem Star)

Seal (Warner Brothers)

AC40 Female Artist

Sarah McLachlan (Arista)

Clear (Raw Naked)

Sheryl Crow (A&M/Interscope)

Holly (Holly & Lilacs)

Debbie Hennessey (Squeaky Cat)

Ellee Ven (Hot Sauce)

AC40 Group/Duo

Maroon 5 (Octone/J)

Coldplay (Capitol)

Simply Red (Red Ink)

Matchbox 20 (Atlantic)

Fleetwood Mac (Reprise)

Hypersimon (Livengood)

AC40 Radio Station

WCMT (Martin, TN)

KRAJ (Ridgecrest, CA)

KGY (Olympia, WA)

KLSY (Seatle, WA)

KHMX (Houston, TX)

WAJI (Fort Wayne, IN)

WJST (New Castle, PA)


Ben Cunningham (WCMT/WTNE)

Billy Coble (KTRN)

Todd Dering (WFDL)

Justin Riley (KQMB)

Stan Barnett (WQXQ)

Mike Blankenship (KWAT/KIXX)

Kevin Peterson (WMEZ)


Eric St. John (WJER)

Carol Murphy (KIXR)

Ray Bartley (KLOG)

BC Corbin (KRAJ)

Nick Parker (WAJI)

Laura Dane (KRWM)

Brian Brawner (WWIS)

AC40 Promotion/Company

Jack Ashton (Ashton Consulting)

Tom Mazetta (Mazetta Promotion Inc.)

Mike Martucci (Tooch & Associates)

Linde Thurman (Curb)

Pete Cosenza (Columbia)

Jerry Lembo (Lembo Entertainment)

AC40 Label


Vellum Entertainment




Rolling Cloud

Country Category


"Old Friends" -Anthony Micheal James (Lofton Creek)

"I Can Only Imagine" -Jeff Carson (Curb)

"American Soldier" - Toby Keith (DreamWorks)

"Walking In Memphis" -Lonestar (BNA/RLG)

"Paint Me A Birmingham" -Ken Mellons (Home)

"Brown Eyed Girl" - Tony Brantley (Oak)

COUNTRY Male Artist

Toby Keith (DreamWorks)

Darren Holden (Doubledee)

Buddy Jewel (Columbia)

Tim McGraw Curb)

Dierks Bentley (Capitol)

Billy Pierson (Oak)

COUNTRY Female Artist

Martina McBride (RCA/RLG)

Reba McEntire (MCA)

Chely Wright (Vivaton)

Sherrie Austin (Broken Bow)

Patty Loveless (Epic/Monument)

Wendy Manley (White Water)

Faith Hill (WB)


Native Mind (Rolling Cloud)

Blue County (Asylum)

Big & Rich (WB)

Emerson Drive (DreamWorks)

Montgomery Gentry (Columbia)

Rushlow (Lyric Street)

COUNTRY Radio Station

KIOD -McCook, NE

KZKS -Grand Junction, CO

KFAV -Warrenton, MO

KTTI -Yuma, AZ

KHKX -Midland, TX

WDMS - Greenville, MS

WHIM - Providence, RI


Mike Reece (WIFE)

Thom Watts (KKOW)

Mike Thomas (KFAV)

Sheila Kirsch (KGRT)

Tex Carter (WTDR)

Ross Carpenter (KGWY)


Sherry Kelly (KYXK)

Jerry Wilson (WTRB/WTBG)

Michael Johnson (KZKS)

Marie Fair (WNRG)

Lynn Thomas (KMCO)

COUNTRY Promotion/Company

Alan Young (Advantage Promotion)

James Williams (James Williams Promotions)

Bill Wence (Bill Wence Promotion)

Regina Rowley

Jerry Duncan (Jerry Duncan Promotion)

Lisa Owen (Dreamworks)

Rob Dalton (Curb/Asylum)


Lofton Creek

Broken Bow




Universal South

Album Mix Category

Album Mix Radio Station

KTBG (Warrensburg, MO)

KARZ (Marshall, MN)

WQAK (Union City, TN)

WQNR (Auburn, AL)

KGRG (Auburn, WA)

Album Mix Promotion/Company

Jon DeLange (Tinderbox)

Bryan Farrish (Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion)

David Avery (Powderfinger Promotion)

Randy Sadd (Protocal Entertainment)

Crossover Category

Crossover Artist

DK Davis (Route 66)

Shania Twain (Mercury)

Cerrito (Checo)

Vincent James (DiPop)

Tim McGraw (Curb)

Wynonna (Curb)


The 45th Grammy Awards Results courtesy of PMP Network


Dicky Barrett frontman for the legendary Boston band the Mighty Mighty Bosstones may be the alternative to Ed McMann, Jack Parr or Guy Pardo as he joins the ranks of ABC's late night hit Jimmy Kimmel Live as the shows announcer.

Jimmy Kimmel Live is not the only thing that has kept Dicky busy during this BossTones hiatus - He has a cameo role in the soon to be released and just premiered at Sundance independent Film 'Home Of Phobia,' he and fellow Bosstone Lawrence Katz, Kay Hanley (Letters To Cleo) and a few members of American Hi-Fi have joined forces to contribute tracks to the films soundtrack. Dicky has also recently contributed his time to help with the charity releases The Santa Cause and Peter Gammons Hot Stove All-Stars and if the rumors are true Dicky may soon be starting work on a solo release. Recommends:

Once In A Lifetime---Talking Head's amazing four CD set. This boxed set, produced by Talking Heads (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth & Chris Frantz) is amazing. Featuring
incredible artwork and all of their best music , it is a MUST HAVE for any Talking Heads fans in! It includes a full-length photo-filled book as part of the package.

Concerts for George (DVD-Warner Strategic Marketing)--Close to FIVE HOURS of incredible concert film, honoring the music of George Harrison. Includes an amazing concert (filmed in London's
Royal Albert Hall in November of 2002) that features some very funny stuff from Monty Python (including my favorite, "The Lumberjack Song"), and performances by Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Paul
McCartney, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Billy Preston, Ringo Starr, and many more. The first DVD is strictly the entire concert. The second is the theatrical release in its entirety. DON'T
MISS IT!'s Recommended List

"The Very Best of the Grateful Dead" (Warner Bros./Rhino)
Rod Stewart: Encore: The Very Best of Vol. 2 (WB)*
Rachel Guadry: Leaving Traces (Virt)
Peter Frampton: Now (Bayside)
Beth Boucher: Mess You Up (Virt)
The Doors:Legacy-The Absolute Best (Elektra/Rhino)*
Rachel Farris: Soar (Big3)
Cheap Trick:Special One (CCU/Big3)
Siedah:Self Titled (OM)
Eva Cassidy: American Tune (Blix Street)

*Denotes CD's that you can WIN by listening to!!!


Mark Snyder,


Blanchard's Tavern
Route 28
98 North Main Street
Avon, MA 02322
( 508 ) 587-2884

Review by Mark Snyder

I'm almost hesitant to write about this jewel nestled on the Randolph-Avon line. An authentic tavern of 1780 (built in 1748), it is the only operating tavern of the Colonial period north of Williamsburg, VA, devoted to drinks, snacks and entertainment of 1780.

This delightful chunk of history is comfortable, friendly, and a lot of fun. The night we visited talented tenor troubadour Larry Carlson was entertaining with songs of the sea, bawdy ballads, and a great voice. This Carver resident, and history professor at Thayer Academy, was delightfully entertaining with his renditions of songs over 220 years old.

Blanchard's Tavern is run by the Blanchard Nonprofit Trust and is ALL volunteers. From the bartender, who serves English, Irish and American Beers, hard and mulled cider, mead, colonial wines, General Washington coffee, and Colonial tea; to the friendly helpers who offer food like pork and beef pies, Brunswick Stew, Vermont Bread with Harvarti Cheese, and Syllabub, Blanchard's Tavern is a place you will want to return to again and again!

Like Cheers in the late 1900s, it's a place everybody knows your name. We met some of the most interesting, warm and friendly people in just a couple of hours at Blanchard's, and look forward to going back.

Blanchard's offers different entertainment and specials on Saturday nights starting at 8 p.m. For information on specific offerings, call 508-588-1620, or visit their website at

The facility is available on a limited basis for rental. But beware: a ghost (possibly a Revolutionary soldier) named "David" lives in the house. From the days of locals ducking Indians, to the Underground Railroad, the secret passageways and the quaint elegance of days gone by still reside at Blanchard's Tavern!

Rating: 5 (highest)
Best Bets: Try it!


NOW (That's What I call Music) Volume 6
(Epic Records)
Review by Mark Snyder

Do you remember back in the late 1960's, when TV was saturated with commercials for Ronco and K-Tel's music collections? They were albums of various artist's greatest hits, released months after they had topped the musical charts. I remember one titled "Dynamite" from K-Tel. The records quality was not very good, but it was a veritable goldmine of top 40 hits. K-Tel has re-released the series on CD. They sound much better, and are now "Golden Oldies".

Flash to 1998 and Epic Record's introduction of the "NOW, That's What I Call Music" CD series. I've bought them all for my kids. You can't beat the combination of the latest hits from Brittany, Christina, *NSync, and the Backstreet Boys, all on one CD. But unlike those old K-Tel and Ronco collections, Epic's effort is different. The quality is excellent, the music is brand new, and the most pronounced difference-- the musical mix. These collections combine the best of rap, hip-hop, rock, pop and hard rock.

Now Six includes megastars like Jennifer Lopez, Destiny's Child, Brittany, *NSync (the ubiquitous BYE BYE BYE), Backstreet Boys and R.Kelly. There's also some nuggets from the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Evan & Jarron's huge megahit "Crazy for the Girl", Samantha Mumba, ATC, and veterans, 3LW.

The NOW series has sold tens of millions of copies. The formula is simple- -new music, great sound quality and hit sounds! With new editions released about every six months,this series (like the old NUGGETS series before it) should be long-lasting and successful. It's guaranteed to keep the music fresh and the customers buying. Count me in. My kids wouldn't have it any other way! Highest Rating.

ALLY McBEAL (For Once in My Life)
(Epic/Sony Music Soundtrack)
Review by Mark Snyder

As all of our fans know, I'm a huge Ally McBeal fan. I'm sure you've all checked out our Ally McBeal page ( that features interviews with most cast members, including songstress Vonda Shepard.

This CD, the latest Ally McBeal soundtrack, includes some of my favorite tunes from the Fox Monday night TV show. Vonda's opening take on Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life" gives it an unmistakeable newness. Every time Shepard sings, she makes the tune her own.

David E. Kelley, the Executive Producer of "Ally McBeal", should thank his lovely wife Michelle Pfeiffer over and over again for his introduction to Shepard's music. She can write, and can she sing! Her songs are an integral part of the TV show's plotline. And when she has no compositions for a scene, Kelley plucks a memory off the musical charts of yesterday, and she makes it her own.

Vonda shines on this CD with versions of Carole King's "Home Again", Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright", Tim Hardin's "Reason To Believe" (yeah, the one Rod Steward made famous), and the Beegees' hit, "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart".

The big surprise on the CD is the great singing of troubled actor Robert Downey, Jr. Downey, recently arrested again for a drug rap, was supposed to actively promote the CD with Shepard. That's been cancelled. But his contribution to the CD is unmistakeable. His duet with Sting on the Police's "Every Breath You Take" (a Sting composition) shows that Downey can sing with the best of them. A duet with Shepard on her tune, "Chances Are" (not the Johnny Mathis hit) hits a perfect blend of solo and harmony. His own composition, "Snakes" shows his talent as a performer and writer. Downey also plays piano and keyboards on the track.

Add to this mix Barry White's "You're The First, The Last, My Everything", and "Love is Alive", the Gary Wright tune, sung by Anastacia & Shepard, and you've got a great CD. As John Cage would say, "take a moment" and buy this CD. I'd be "troubled" if you didn't!

SONGBIRD by Eva Cassidy (Blix Street)
Review by Mark Snyder

Eva Cassidy sang like an Angel on Earth. This CD, a sampler of some of the best tunes from her first three CD's, is just incredible. Cassidy's version of "Over The Rainbow", the Judy Garland-Wizard of Oz tune, is worth the price of the CD. Her voice, which could do blues like Janis Joplin, or ballads like Joan Baez, was like an elastic that could stretch in every direction.

Cassidy, a native of Washington, D.C., preferred her day job of landscaper to her night job performing. A shy, artistic girl, she developed into an accomplished tunesmith. Chris Biondo, who produced and recorded all her music, said she would be shocked buy her sudden popularity. Hearing this CD, I'm just left speechless that I didn't discover her sooner.

Cassidy died of melastatic cancer shortly after the release of her first CD, "Live at Blues Alley" in November of 1996. Since then, her parents Hugh and Barbara Cassidy, have stood behind the release of "Eva By Heart" and "Time After Time". Both are also offered by Blix Street Records. Buy them all. You will hear no better sound than the melodious sounds of Cassidy-- anywhere.

"Songbird" has been the top song in England and Ireland. It offers wonderful versions of Stings "Fields of Gold". Stings called it "a beautiful rendition. I rarely heard a voice with such purity". It also includes such a mega-tunes as Johnny Mercer's "Autumn Leaves", Christine McVie and Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird", Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready", and Pete Seeger's "Oh, Had I a Golden Thread". England knows why Eva Cassidy rules the charts. Is the United States far behind? I think not!

The Monkees Music Box (Rhino)
Review by Mark Snyder
This four CD set is a complete retrospective on a band that was created for a TV series. Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith and Mickey Dolenz owned the music charts in 1967 and 1968. From their first single, "Last Train to Clarksville", through the top song of 1967 "I'm a Believer", through the soundtrack of the Jack Nicholson film "Head", they're all here.

The extensive liner notes, some excellent photos, and of course the music, make this a "MUST HAVE" set for those of us who grew up in the sixties and seventies.

Highlights include a fast version of the ballad "I Wanna Be Free"; and the fun of hits like "(I'm Not) You're Steppin' Stone", "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You", "Valerie", Listen to the Band (A Nesmith hit with the First National Band); "Pleasant Valley Sunday", "Daydream Believer", and their 80's hit, "That Was Then, This is Now".

Personally, I enjoyed many of the "non-hits", songs like "I'll Spend My Life with You", "Forget That Girl", "Look Out, (Here Comes Tommorrow)", "When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door)", "Sometime In The Morning" and "What Am I Doing Hangin' Round?".

It's easy to forget the brilliant group of producers and songwriters who were part of the Monkees success. This box set reminds us of the contributions of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and so many more.

And let's give thanks to Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider who conceived of The Monkees and saw them through to great success. Rhino Records, once again, has let us relive some of our best memories of childhood. Thanks Rhino!

THE CARS "Deluxe Edition"
By Joe Viglione
   In March of 1993 Greg Hawkes, keyboard player for The Cars, brought his copy of the legendary Cars demo tapes to Audio One in Arlington. It was a snowy night, and we were datting them up for airplay on my "Demo That Got The Deal" show on WCGY April 4, 1999. Now, Rhino has released wonderful versions of these classic Car-tunes, the original "Just What I Needed", the original "Moving In Stereo", this is a record you need! 13 demos and one live track ("Good Times Roll", 1978), five of the demos are unissued songs. DJ Maxanne Sartori writes the first page of the booklet, as well she should..."includes the demo that "got them their deal", "Just What I Needed" was originall heard on WBCN in early "77"... Classic Boston Rock on Rhino (R275700)

Janis Joplin "Box Of Pearls" (Legacy)
By Joe Viglione
   This is it, "Featuring Janis Joplin", "Cheap Thrills", "I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama" and "Pearl", all re-mastered with bonus tracks, and a fifth CD if you buy the box, "Rare Pearls." Rare Pearls features two out-takes from the Cheap Thrills Session, produced by John Simon (and engineered, I believe, by one of Berklee's deans, Don Puluse). The additional 3 tracks are live by Kozmic Blues band, an incredible "Maybe" (a hit for The Three Degrees and The Chantels) and a mesmerizing "Bo Diddley". You've never heard Janis or "Bo Diddley" sounding like this, imagine the chaos of The Velvet Underground with Joplin wailing away, this is the most terrific find of the year and should be on modern rock radio all across the country.

Billy Ray Cyrus at Indian Ranch, Webster,MA 8/8/99
By Mark Snyder

   Billy Ray's fans will be sorely disappointed at the news revealed by his handlers at Indian Ranch. Cyrus' contract with Mercury Records is over. In this reviewers eyes, the timing couldn't have been worse.
"Shot Full of Love", Billy Ray's latest effort, is his best to date. At least six songs on this CD could be major hits, with the proper promotion. "Busy Man", the first single,was a big radio hit. The followup, "Give My Heart to You", was released, and given up for dead. It's a great tune, as are "Time For Letting GO" and "The American Dream", as well as the title song. In fact ,the album boasts a hit in virtually every song.
At Indian Ranch, Billy Ray chose to play only three tunes from his new CD. The new single was not included. It was a powerful statement from the pumped-up singer, that he wasn't going to help Mercury make any more money.
He gave "Achy Breaky Heart" a cursery rendition. Played the great "Some Gave All" and a couple of tunes from his first CD. Then he went rock, covering the Stones through the Troggs. He can sing rock with the best of them, but I think he turned off a lot of the country crowd. The music was loud and vibrated through peoples heads.
Indian Ranch is one of the more pleasant places to see a concert. With its lovely lake, you can swim, go boating or enjoy a delicious lunch (I like the bar-b-q chicken sandwiches myself).
Go to their website, for a schedule!

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