Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal is the stage name of Henry Saint Clair Fredericks who is a currently active and world renowned Blues musician. He is probably best known for incorporating many different styles and forms into his blues such African, Carribean and South Pacific themes. Taj Mahal was born in Harlem, New York on the 17th May 1942 the child of a West Indian Jazz pianist father and an American Gospel choir singer mother. This gave Taj his deep grounding in music of all different varieties.

Whilst being a multi instrumentalist Taj Mahal is best known for his distinctive guitar playing where he uses his thumb and middle finger to finger-pick rather than the more conventional use of his index finger or the use of a plectrum.


1. Maestro

Maestro is Taj Mahal’s latest and probably best album and marks his 40 years in the business. Its an all-star album which has guest appearances from luminaries such as Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Los Lobos etc and covers the whole gamut of styles that you would expect from Taj Mahal, ranging from reggae to African music on “Zanzibar”. However there is still enough straight out blues to make this a cracking good Blues album, for instance the opener “Scratch My Back” is straight ahead brassy and soulful and “Slow Drag” burns nice and slow.

2. Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal is Taj Mahal’s debut album and is still one of his best works. This album shows Taj trying to establish himself and his sound and is more out and out Delta Blues than some of his other albums but there is still elements of Country and Rock mixed in to separate this from the pack

His guitar playing is relentless and constantly driving forward yet somehow bare compared to his contempories. His vocals however keep this album right up to date and show a young man starting to define himself whilst still paying homage to the old guard.

3. The Real Thing

The Real Thing is Taj Mahal’s first Live album and was released in 1970. It is a double album recorded live at the Fillmore and covers all the bases from the groove and crowd interaction of “You’re Going to Need Somebody On Your Bond” to a grand finale of “You Ain’t No Street Walker Mama, Honey But I Do Love The Way You Strut Your Stuff”. This stuff is raw Delta Blues with a twist and there’s no bigger twist than “Tom and Sally Drake” where you get a Banjo and Tuba duet.

This is one powerful performance.

4. Giant Step/De Ole Folks at Home

Giant Step / De Ole Folks at Home is Taj’s 3rd studio album and probably his most commercial offering. Originally this was released as a double album and this record gives you 22 tracks separated into two distinct albums. The first album is the most commercial with the full band taking on the blues in full rock style including “Give Your Woman What She Wants” and “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”. The second album is more laid back and features Taj solo with just the guitar, harp or banjo on versions of “Stagger Lee” and “Fishing Blues”.

5. Dancing the Blues

Dancing the Blues is taken from later on in Taj’s career and was released originally in 1993. The album represents Taj Mahal’s homage to classic Blues from the 40’s and 50’s, featuring Howlin Wolf’s “Sitting on Top of the World” along with a tip of the hat to Motown on the Four Tops “I Can’t Help Myself”. Then there’s the slow blues of “That’s How Strong My Love Is” and “Going to the River”. It even features a duet with Etta James on “Mockingbird”.

This is a great album with no low points.

6. Phantom Blues

The Phantom Blues album was released in 1996 and carries on from where Dancing the Blues left off. Here Taj covers more classics from the 40’s through to the 60’s. There’s more of a New Orleans flavor this time with such classics as Jesse Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” and Fats Domino’s “Let the Four Winds Blow.”. Taj Mahal provides one original track which is the country-sounding “Lovin’ in My Baby’s Eyes.”

This album is more straight forward than some of Taj’s other work but certainly none the worse for that.

7. Senor Blues

The Senor Blues album is the follow up to Phantom Blues and continues Taj’s homage to the music of his past. From the first beautiful notes of “Queen Bee”, through the super-tight and mellow “Senor Blues”, through the gospel-drenched “Things Gettin’ Crazy Up In Here”, to the final Otis tribute “Mr. Pitiful”. This record has it all, not a dud track and all played by Taj and his Phantom Blues band with feeling and true understanding and as tight as anything.

8. The Natch’l Blues

The Natch’l Blues is Taj Mahals second studio album and is a worthy inclusion here. As with his debut album this shows Taj finding his feet and his voice and working out what his career is to become.

It is a light and happy album which is more upbeat than your usual blues album and veers off into the country genre quite easily. As with most of Taj’s work there are a whole cornucopia of different influences blended in together but as usual he manages to do this in a seemless way.

9. Kulanjan

The Kulanjan album is a collaboration between Taj Mahal and Malian musician Toumani Diabate.

Somehow they manage to blend their two disparate styles seemlessly, this is best showcased on “Atlanta Kaira” and “Kulanjan” as Toumani’s kora blends perfectly with Taj’s steel guitar. There’s the straight blues with a twist of Muddy Water’s “Catfish Blues” and the straight African rhythms of “Tunkaranke.

The sound of this album is unique, inspiring and compelling.

10. Mo’ Roots

The Mo’ Roots album from 1974 shows Taj exploring his Caribbean roots from his father again infusing it with his own blues roots.

You get Taj singing in Spanish on “Why Did You Have to Desert Me?”, a reggae influenced version of “Blackjack Davey” and a cover of Bob Marley’s “Slave Driver’, all this backed up with “Cajun Waltz”. This is a truly mesmeric album that will constantly give you a lift on each listening.


Voice Works Studio


In the 90’s I built a recording studio called Voice Works in West Palm Beach, Fl recorded and worked with a lot of great musicians. Bob Noble was my producer and I ended up selling the gear to him.  Had a great time!


1979-present Judie Tzuke: 12 albums, 7 tours, including British, European and US.
1983-84 Dexy’s Midnight Runners: 1 album, 1 European and 2 US tours.
1984 Belouis Some: British tour.
1985 Feargal Sharkey: British tour.
1987 Murray Head: European tour.
1987 Bob Geldof: Japanese tour.
1988 Joan Armatrading: 1 album, World tour.
1989-1992 Tanita Tikaram: 1 album, 2 World tours.
1989 Aha: Brazilian tour.
1990-1997 Cliff Richard: 3 British tours, 2 Australasian, 1 South African, 1 European, 1 Middle East.
2000-present Fire in the Kitchen, 1 album,
Also since 1983, albums, sessions or gigs for Nick Kamen, Paul Norton, Do-Re-Mi, Thomas Anders, Elkie Brooks, Whitney Houston, Sheena Easton, Elaine Paige and numerous others.



In 1992 Bob and his family moved to the US (Seattle, Washington), and in 1995 they moved to Lake Worth in Florida (they like heat!). He now has a home studio where he has produced, engineered and arranged several CD’s for local artists, and has also written and produced background music and several adverts for TV. Bob also plays regularly with multi-talented singer and instrumentalist, Bobby O’Donovan, in an Irish duo called Fire In The Kitchenwww.fireinthekitchen.info at different venues in South Florida.

 Tracy Sands- Enchanted


Tracy Sands is a traditional Irish singer and Contemporary Irish Vocalist. She was born in Mayobridge, a small village in County Down, Ireland where she began singing at the age of eight for her hometown. She had the honour of being trained over many years by a well known local teacher, Una McArdle and competed in and won countless local and national singing competitions under Una’s guidance. Her family comes from a long line of Traditional Irish folk music performers, including the very famous “Sands Folk Family”, who are known all over the world. “Tracy has a beautiful voice”, Charles Passey PB Post.

Tracy played at many festivals and concerts in Ireland, including the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, before coming to America, where she was the only woman to be invited as the guest singer for the W.B Yeates International Festival in 1994. She has also appeared at the Fiddlers Green Festival, Rostrevor Co. Down.

Now living in Florida, Tracy has performed on many local stages for over ten years and has participated in the West Palm Beach Irish Festival and South Florida Folk Festival, and the Bad Abbotts Irish Festival, Boston. She also appeared at the hugely popular “Sunfest”, in West Palm Beach. She has taken the stages of Milwaukee, Cleveland, Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Augusta GA at their Irish Festivals.

Her debut album “Voice on the Line” was recorded in Florida in early 1997 and Tracy wrote and produced the title track. The CD is a collaboration of well known Irish songs, and was praised for its “contemporary kick”, as described by Charles Passey, of the Palm Beach Post. Her second album, “Enchanted,” also available gives us those beautiful vocals with Irish ballads and contemporary songs that would warm your soul.
Tracy can be seen performing all over Florida, as well as at venues throughout America.  tracysands.com


1. Life in a Bottle (written by Bob Noble and Judie Tzuke)
2. Enchanted Sight (written by Jimmy McCarthy) [Download MP3]
3. I’m Still Waiting (written by Tracy Sands) [Download MP3]
4. Women of the World (written by Rod MacDonald)
5. A Stor Mo Chroi (Traditional)
6. Falling Down (written by Tracy Sands)
7. For the People (written by Rod MacDonald)
8. One Man Woman (written by Paul Hardy Kennerly) [Download MP3]
9. Twilight Eyes (written by David Schnaufer & Herb McCullough) [Download MP3]
10. He Belongs To Me (written by Rosemary Woods)
11. Lightning Over the Sea (written by Rod MacDonald)
12. All That You Ask Me (written by Kieran Goss)

From today Tuesday’s Newry Democrat 21st August

MAYOBRIDGE ex-pat, Tracy Sands, is .set to make waves in the US with the release of her new music album, ‘Enchanted’. Featuring original songs and guest writers, including fellow Mayobridge native, Kieran Goss, the release has been billed as “an album of more contemporary sound. Expect to hear quieter tones of traditional style…” The record is the second release from the Co. Down artist who recorded her debut album, “Voice On The Line’ in Florida, 1997. The release also marks yet another milestone on the road of Tracy’s musical career. She began singing at the age of eight and since then competed in, and won, many local and national competitions. During her time she has played at Abbey Theatre, Dublin, where she was invited as the guest speaker for the WB Yeats International Festival in 1994. She has also appeared at the Fiddler’s Green festival in Rostrevor, bringing the house down in 1995, Following her move to Florida, she played at events such as the West Palm Beach Irish Festival and the South Florida Folk Festival, for three years running, Last year saw her appearing at the huge ‘Sunfest 2000’ gig on Palm Beach. Her latest offering marks a move towards giving traditional Irish ballads a contemporary kick and, with critics hailing this new album, how long will it be until we see the triumphant return of one of Newry and Mourne’s best success stories?

 Jennifer Licko

JLICKO extra pic 5Jennifer is an exceptional vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who plays the piano, guitar, and bodhrán (Irish drum). By living and touring all over the world Jennifer has not only experienced a variety of cultural traditions, but she has also developed a passion for the preservation of these traditions. When you listen to Jennifer perform, you are reminded of your roots and you feel like you belong. “We all want to belong to something bigger than us” says Licko, “the truth
is that we all DO belong. We just need to stay connected to our traditions. I hope my performances help bring audiences to that place.”  jenniferlicko.com

1 Blacksmith
2 Peggy and the Soldier
3 Fear A’ Bhata
4 Ready for the Storm
5 Lizzie Lindsay
6 Buain Na Rainich
7 Caledonia
8 Uamh an Oir/Amy’s Dance
9 Superhero
10 Wild Mountain Thyme
11 Singing Land

 George E. Manosis – “Love and Other Disasters” 

George-E.-ManosisGeorge is a Singer/Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in South Florida. Currently, he plays guitar and
mandolin in the Celtic rock band ‘Innisfree’, in addition to his solo gigs. George has played repeat engagements at
the annual South Florida Folk Festival, and he and his original songs can be heard at various clubs, festivals


A collection of stylistically diverse songs (Folk/Pop/Blues/Easy Listening/Country)that share a common thread, with tales of love from the innocent to the illicit.

 Track list

Who Cares About Apathy?
Dream Vacation
A Soft Lullaby
What They Do in the Dark
Mom & Dad
Crazy ’bout Each Other
Have a Happy Holiday
A Grand Cayman Wedding
Habanero Hop

 CD REVIEW: George E. Manosis – “Love and Other Disasters” 
CD Review: This CD is recommended as new discovery for any fan of Jimmy Buffet. It’s straight ahead story telling with mellow smooth voice and arrangements, and as you can guess by the title, a good sprinkling of humor throughout.I think he puts it perfectly at the top of his liner notes describing the songs as dedications and observations. The topics are quite varied. He writes observations about love, hurricanes and habeneros. Included are observations about his parents, new love full of hope, and not so new love turning into secrets and lies. The title sums up the way that they all are tied together.Kate Bush fans will also enjoy decoding his song “Kate” because as he puts it, this song incorporates the titles of her albums and contains other obscure references in the lyrics. But for the most part the songs are not puzzles. They are straightforward story songs delivered in George’s smooth voice. The production quality is nice, with a gentle treatment that allows the lyrics and the stories to be in the foreground.

Rod MacDonald– “Into the Blue” 

rod_macdonald_-_rod_photo_8-08_300_dpi-350x462-highresA tenor with a clear voice and wide range, MacDonald is often cited for both his musicality and the content of his songs about political and social events: “Rod MacDonald is a brilliant folk singer and composer. His melodic songs possess words that go straight into your heart and soul.The Press Of Atlantic City….“A poet with a lot on his mind who has never allowed himself to make points at the expense of making music.” The Boston Globe….“True to the folk tradition, MacDonald is not afraid to get political, take chances, and perhaps shock some people….MacDonald’s place in the folk hall of fame is assured by his ‘A Sailor’s Prayer,’ a hymn-styled tune that many people have mistaken for a traditional song.” All-Music Guide.[2]Although usually labeled a folk singer, his musical styles include rock, pop, country, light jazz, and blues. In addition to his work in Greenwich Village, he has written extensively of experiences on US Indian reservations and in Europe, living in Italy from 1989 to 1992.

MacDonald has released 11 solo recordings on several record labels in the US, 8 in Europe on the Swiss label Brambus, and 21 songs with Smithsonian Folkways (through the Fast Folk Musical Magazine), and appears as lead singer of Big Brass Bed, a Palm Beach County rock and roll band, on 3 cds of Bob Dylan songs and originals. As with many independent artists, his recordings are often sold directly at concerts, and at online sites. His current label is Blue Flute Music.

MacDonald has appeared on stage with fellow artists, including Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, Odetta, Tom Paxton, the Violent Femmes, Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Dave Van Ronk, Emmylou Harris, Richie Havens, Ani DiFranco, Tom Chapin, Jack Hardy and David Massengill. He has performed at festivals in Philadelphia, Winnipeg, Florida, South Florida, Riverhawk, Boston, Kerrville, Greenwich Village, Falcon Ridge, New Bedford Summerfest, Port Fairy (Australia) and Trowbridge (UK), and on the radio program Mountain Stage. He was reportedly the first American singer to tour the newly independent Czech Republic in 1991, and has made 35 tours in Europe since 1985, nearly all of them with NYC bassist Mark Dann.

He remains active, touring in Florida, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Pacific Northwest, New York and New England in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In May 2011, Brambus Records and Blue Flute Music released Songs Of Freedom, a collection of 16 previously unreleased songs, in Switzerland and the US; Blue Flute also released Big Brass Bed’s “Dylan Jam + 2”, a new set of 9 Bob Dylan compositions and two originals. In May 2014 Blue Flue Music released a new Rod MacDonald collection, “Later That Night”, as well as “Big Tent”, a new cd by Big Brass Bed; Blue Flute also re-released a remastered version of his 1983 album “No Commercial Traffic.” He appears locally as a guitarist-singer, and with the Bob Dylan cover band Big Brass Bed, with the Humdingers, with Irish singer Tracy Sands, and with songwriter George Goehring’s show “My Life In The Brill Building”. The Palm Beach Post has called him one of the “Ten Magnificent Musicians of Palm Beach County”.[3] In June 2013 New Times Broward-Palm Beach named him #6 of “Ten Greatest South Florida Folksingers Of All Time.”[4] Since 2006 he is also an instructor for the Florida Atlantic University (Lifelong Learning Center), hosting the lecture and performance series “Music Americana”, and was given the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2012

ITB_coverTrack list

Seven Days No Problem
Best Defense
Days Of Rain
Here’s A Song For You
Tough Life 6 Strings & A Hole Big & Round
The Aucilla River Song
Deep Down In The Everglades
Lightning Over The Sea
Into The Blue Fear
Sun Dancer
The Cure For Insomnia

Produced by Mark Dann & Rod MacDonald at Mark Dann Recording, NYC

Additional Recording at Voiceworks, W Palm Beach, FL

HUGH O’NEILL – Searching for Shadows

Hugh O'Neill - Biography

 “Hugh O’Neill is one of those rare discoveries that bring confidence and assurances that great landscape painting is still alive and flourishing” Bruce Helander is a noted writer on art and the former provost of Rhode Island School of Design and a writer for New Yorker Magazine

He is a multitalented artist ‘Grier Clarke, owner of the prestigious Clarke Galleries, Stowe, Vermont, dealers in important American paintings

EPSON scanner image

SS Cover
The Songwriter’s Solstice: “A Celebration of South Florida Songwriters” was recorded before a live audience at the Rinker Playhouse, The Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL, June 21, 1998. Presenting 14 songs from this diverse group of south Florida’s top original artists,

Songs Artists
Step By Step Jim Collier
Lately Box Elder  942014_185705604918035_1071573626_n
I Am Blue Marie Nofsinger  RNC TAMPA PROTESTS\
The Lion’s Den Ron & Bari  r&b
Hustle & Bustle Mad Dogs & Irishman  EPSON scanner image
With You Without You Amy Carol Webb  amy-carol-webb-360x300
At Last Legacy   download
Road Not Taken James London  
Figure 8s Marianne Flemming  press_photo1
Two Of Hearts Grant Livingston  LivingstonPromoPhoto5
The Motto Reads  Bradley Ditto  newguitX2
Days of Rain Rod MacDonald  393312_4586383824636_209486649_n
Stairwell From Heaven Human Beings humabeings
You Are The One Jim Collier & Friend  

By Bill Meredith(Originally appeared in the Free Press, West Palm Beach, FL, 3/99)
Summer in the county

For better or worse, the 1990s made the compilation CD unto an ultra-commercial art form. So it’s not surprising that there’s finally a compilation CD for Palm Beach County. Songwriters’ Solstice is well-recorded, well-produced, and it’s available at a music store near you for $12. With 14 songs on the disc, that’s less than $1 per tune.

Songwriters’ Solstice was recorded live last June at the Kravis Center Rinker Playhouse during a concert to benefit the Connor Moran Childen’s Cancer Foundation in West Palm Beach. The CD sounds like the show (I know, I was there). South Florida singer/songwriter/guitarist Rod MacDonald was instrumental in setting up the event, and his Neil Young-like “Days of Rain” is one of the solo-performer highlights. Others include Marie Nofsinger’s tongue-in-cheek “I Am Blue,” Amy Carol Webb’s soaring ballad “With You Without You,” and James London’s “The Road Not Taken.”

Area duos and trios are also well-represented. Mad Dogs & Irishmen’s “Hustle & Bustle” is traditional rich Irish poetry; Ron & Bari’s “The Lion’s Den” is a biographical tale of the very different neighborhood that used to inhabit the Kravis Center site; and Legacy’s “At Last” wraps expert vocal harmony, guitar, and mandolin playing into the disc’s most upbeat tune.

Two full bands are in effect here: Boxelder shows its unplugged side with the shuffling “Lately,” and Human Beings provide the Solstice centerpiece with their serpentining eight-minute epic “Stairwell From Heaven.” Jim Collier & friends offer an audio snapshot of the crowded cover photo with the gospel-tinged finale, “You Are The One.”

Kudos to recording engineers Marty Gauthier, Duane Engstrom, and the Kravis’ own John Wurm. Ditto for the production by Gauthier, Engstrom and MacDonald. The sold-out concert raised $1,000 for Conor Moran, which receives an additional $1 per retail CD sold. Songwriters’ Solstice is available at all Peaches and Borders locations, and this purposeful compilation is an accurate soundtrack to the lighter side of the south Florida music scene.

(Originally appeared in the Free Press, West Palm Beach, FL, 3/99)

Jody Pollard – Session Musician


Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Jody Pollard has over 30 years experience playing electric, slide, acoustic guitar, bass, mandolin, a proficient song writer and vocalist, He has performed with top bands in Ireland, Britain, France, Belgium, Holland,The Greek Isles,Canada and the US, including Rock Bands’ Skid Row, Elmer Fudd, and Shanty Dam. He has played the famous Reading Music Festival, London’s top venue: The Mean Fiddler and Fleadh Music Festival.

Jody has also performed with famous European acts such as Joe Dolan and Has worked with musicians such as Phil Lynnot of Thin Lizzy, Colm Wilkinson of Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Miserables fame, Sean Keane of The Chieftains,Rob Strong and Enya’s sound engineer Nicky Ryan to mention a few.

He has toured with bands and as a solo artist throughout Europe and North America. Performed on televised venues and supported acts such as Emerson Lake and Palmer, The Who, Genesis, Wishbone Ash, and Argent to name a few. One of Jody’s favourite gigs was playing the Melody Makers poll awards concert to an audience of 30,000+

Since playing in every corner of Ireland, Jody moved to London, England and continued his successful career over there.He moved on to New York for a while but decided that he had enough of big cities and headed further south. Jody always had an itch to live in the sunshine and now resides in Palm Beach County in South Florida, he has played at numerous venues including but not limited to the The Kravis Center, Myer Amphitheater, The Miami Beach Convention Center, The Norton Museum and PGA National. Locally Jody has also entertained audiences at Brogues on the Avenue:Lake Worth, The Irish Times: Palm Beach Gardens, Rooney’s Pub: West Palm Beach, Paddy Macs: Palm Beach Gardens, Abacoa, Sally O’Briens, Fort Lauderdale Beach,Maguires Hill 16: Fort Lauderdale FL. & John Martins, Miami.

Jody’s session work can also be heard on several South Florida recording artists cd’s.

Tracy Sands – Cd……..Voice on the line
Jennifer Licko  – Cd……..Cave of Gold
Songwriters Solstice – Cd…….Produced by Dewey Engstrom
George Manosis – Cd…….Love & other disasters

Mad Dogs and Irishman

Bob Noble…..Keyboards
George Manosis……Vocals / Guitar / Mandolin and harmonica
Jody Pollard…….Vocals / Guitar and MandolinSongwriters Solstice – Mad Dogs & Irishman
A gathering of music talent performed at the Kravis center
Cd…….Produced by Dewey EngstromGeorge Manosis
Cd…….Love & other disasters

100_7518Eamonn Dillon – Session Musician

Born in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, Uillleann Piper and whistle player EAMONN DILLON has toured and recorded both as a solo artist and with a varied group of performers, touring shows and bands. Working between the US, Canada and Europe , his music has been featured on several film and television programs around the world. He has performed and recorded as a featured artist in both traditional , theatrical and mixed genre ensembles, including NEEDFIRE, JOHN MCDERMOTT, (The Irish Tenors,) CELTIC BRIDGE, KING JAMES, SARAH PACKIAM, & PALOMA FAITH amongst others.

Jennifer Licko
Cd……..Cave of Gold


Bobby O’Donovan – Session Musician

hails from Cork City, Ireland, and is a wonderful singer and multi-instrumentalist, playing mandolin, fiddle, bodhran, whistle, bones, spoons – you name it, he probably plays it! He has a long career playing with numerous groups, including, but not limited to, The Irish Rovers and The Sons of Erin, with whom he played on fifteen albums. They had several hits in Canada, and also a television series in Newfoundland for many years.

He has played all over the world, and has just returned from New Zealand, where he played with Scottish singer/songwriter Isla Grant. He has played as a session musician on many, many recordings, including a Jimmy Buffett album, “Banana Wind”. He is also very funny!

Jennifer Licko
Cd……..Cave of Gold



 ShaSha Zhang – Session Musician

ShaSha (nee Sha Zhang), originally hails from the city of Chengdu in the Sichuan province of China.  The Sichuan province is famed for its extremely spicy food, but is rapidly gaining renown for its equally spicy fiddle players!

A mathematics prodigy and student of classical violin since the age of 6, ShaSha was in training to join the junior Chinese Mathematic Olympic Team when she was accepted to the prestigious Sichuan Conservatory of Music.  She opted for music over mathematics, and her decision paid off.  I n 1996, she won first prize at the China University Students Art Festival.  ShaSha would have been content to spend her life performing the works of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, but a summer scholarship to the Dartington International School in England changed her life forever.

Her studies in England initially revolved around master classes with world-famous violin virtuosos Ruggerio Ricci and Kun Hu.  But when ShaSha heard an instructor play through the Irish reel “Drowsy Maggie”, she was captivated.  She spent the rest of her time in the UK immersing herself in Celtic music.

Back in China, she collected whatever Celtic reccordings she could
and continued exploring the musical style that had thrilled her like no other.  She formed the band “Jambalaya” with several of the most accomplished musicians in ChengDu and their mix of Celtic, American Country and Jazz music caught on.  They garnered appearances on Chinese television and radio stations, and enjoyed a steady stream of gigs in the Sichuan province.

In 1999, ShaSha accepted an invitation to America to perform in concerts and on tour.  In the US, she hoped to broaden her horizons and indulge her eclectic musical taste by exploring a variety of Western music styles.  She settled in Palm Beach, Florida, where she performs with the Palm Beach Pops, Palm Beach Opera and the Atlantic Classical Chamber Orchestra.  Her arrival in the US afforded ShaSha the opportunity to connect with the surprisingly vast Celtic music community in South Florida and she was soon gracing festival and pub stages with the best in town musicians, such as former Irish Rovers members, Bobby O’Donovan and Ian Millar.

ShaSha’s uncanny knack for playing by ear astounded her fellow musicians and she quickly made a name for herself.  “I could tell as soon as she picked up the violin that she had it”, says Bob Noble, formerly of Dexy’s Midnight Runners.  Noble and O’Donovan adopted ShaSha as a permanent member of their band “Fire in the Kitchen”, based in Fort Lauderdale, and the press took notice.  The Miami Herald and Sun Sentinel ran glowing reviews focusing on ShaSha’s infectiously exuberant style.

Jennifer Licko
Cd……..Cave of Gold

John Charles “Charlie” Morgan – Session Musician

cm-profile2With 4 decades in the business, much of it at the very top, Charlie’s resumé reads like a Who’s Who of the Music Industry.

Turning “Pro” in the mid 1970’s he soon got into the session scene in the UK, and very quickly became one of the busiest session drummers in Europe, working with such diverse artists as Kate Bush, Tina Turner, Gary Moore & Wham!

In the mid 1980’s he became Elton John’s regular drummer (a post he would hold for the next 13 years), both recording & touring with him.

He has lived in the USA for the past 14 years, working regularly with Classic Rock band Orleans & recording for clients all over the world, including Barry Manilow, Mexican superstars, Manuel Mijares & Uri and Young Latin Grammy nominee, Alexander Acha.

Other credits include touring with Trisha Yearwood, Glen Campbell & Henry Mancini, and playing shows with: Tammy Wynette, Don Henley, Clint Black, The Moody Blues, The Guess Who, Julie Andrews, Lisa Stansfield, Chaka Khan, Taylor Dayne, Bruce Hornsby, and Lionel Ritchie.


Jennifer Licko
Cd……..Cave of Gold

Bill Walach – Session Musician

Bill_WalachBill is well known throughout the mandolin world as a ‘silver
haired innovator’, an old school musician with new musical
perspectives. He draws on roots as diverse as Latin and Irish
folk traditions, “Straight Ahead” jazz, and rythym and
blues. A gifted multi-instrumentalist and composer Bill has
performed throughout New England and Europe in a
myriad of musical venues. The rock festival at Roskilde in
Denmark, Irish festivals in Milwaukee, Pittsburg and
Cleveland, fiddle and folk festivals in New York and
classical concerts at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami to
name a few. He has also opened for Del McCrory, Dave Van
Ronk, Boz Scaggs, Charlie Daniels and Mel Tillis, and has
played with The Morgans, Electric Sextet, and more recently,
Finest Kind in Connecticut.
His personable and easy manner and musical mastery always
generates an enthusiastic audience response resulting in a fan
base from teenagers to grandparents.
A resident of Connecticut, Bill continues to compose, perform
new works and to stretch the boundaries within which
audiences of all ages can enjoy the music of the mandolin.

Mary Jane Alm

I had the fun shooting 2 videos with Mary Jane Alm back in the 80’s


More than just a respected musician, expressive singer, and accomplished songwriter, Alm has become a mainstay in the Twin Cities music scene. When asked about releasing her first new album in 25 years, Alm says simply that she feels that “It’s time.”

“I have had people ask about my music, but I just never thought of doing it,” she says.

 Outbound Train 

Me and theWild Blue

This is my first album in many years. Produced, mixed and mastered by Grammy winner, Steve Hodge. Please click on the photo to download or buy “Me and the Wild Blue”.

Approached by Steve Hodge (who has produced Janet Jackson, Shaggy, Mariah Carey) to help with production and engineering, she jokingly said yes, but realized his sincerity when he stopped by her office the next day to talk about it.

As the catalyst to the project that became Me and the Wild Blue, Steve Hodge guided the album to what it is: a collection of love songs showcasing Mary Jane’s signature voice. On the album, Mary Jane includes some original pieces, interspersed with songs from Pamela McNeill, Kevin Bowe, and a cover of Joni Mitchell’s ” A Case of You.” “I wanted to cover Joni, but didn’t want to put that one in because it’s been done before,” Alm says. “When Steve asked me what is my favorite Joni Mitchell song, I said, ‘A Case of You,’ and that solidified my decision to add it to the album.”


Mary Jane Alm 4.jpgShe has even come full circle in recording with Tom Tucker, who recorded with her on Prisoner of the Heart.
A re-release of my 1985 album, “Prisoner of the Heart” plus previously unrecorded original songs from the 80’s, 90’s and beyond.

Mary Jane Alm 1.jpg

Despite not wanting to label herself solely as a country artist, Alm’s new song “Love Waits” debuted as number 2 in Hot Country on Reverbnation last week. “I didn’t even know what Reverbnation was until a week ago!  This era of the music industry is all new to me; I’ve never had to make a press kit or a Facebook event before,” she says. When asked about what she thought about artists giving their music away to be able to gain an audience, she replies, “I don’t mind giving a few songs away, but I would like for people to pay for my music.  It’s a little appalling that artists have to give their music away; they worked hard at creating that piece of art.  You don’t go into a doctor’s office expecting them to do their job for free.  It’s their lifeblood, and it cheapens their work.”
The passing years have been kind to Alm, though; changes in life have brought out a new side of the celebrated singer.  “I am just more comfortable with who I am now,” she reflects. “When I was younger, I never spoke between songs onstage. Now you can’t get me to shut up.”

Rooted in the Twin Cities music scene since the early ’80s, Alm immersed herself in live music, performing weekly in local venues like Nib’s and building a name for herself.  (Read a show review here from City Pages‘ former music section Nightbeat from 1984.)  “I have been so fortunate that I have been able to support myself with music.  Not many people can say that; I get to do my dream job.”

When she said this to me, it reminded me of a passage written by John Gardner:

There is the puzzle of why some men and women go to seed, while others remain vital to the very end of their days.  Going to seed may be too vague an expression.  Perhaps I should say that many people, somewhere along the line, stop learning and growing.  There are people whose clocks stop at a certain point in their lives. I am convinced that most people enjoy learning and growing, at any time in their life.  If we are aware of the danger of going to seed we can take countervailing measures.  If your clock is unwound you can wind it up again.

With her ever-travailing work ethic, Alm has no chance of going to seed.


John Phillip Sousa Award of Excellence
Twin Cities Reader Best Female Vocalist
Minnesota Music Awards:
Best Female Vocalist (multiple years)
Artist of the Year
Best Country Band (multiple years)
Song of The Year (Prisoner of the Heart)
Emmy Award (Music Workshop For Kids)
Parents Choice Award (All five Music Workshop For Kids CDs)
2007 Inductee Mid America Music Hall of Fame
2013 Inductee Minnesota Music Hall of Fame

The Tex Pistols Band

3 guys I have known for along time Scooter, Dik and Brian and a new friend on facebook Boyd. Great music check them out!

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The Tex Pistols Band couldn’t be much further from Texas, and nobody in the band is from Texas, but that doesn’t stop these four Minneapolis vets of stage and studio from producing some seriously kick butt music. The sound is classic yet new all at once. From Neil Young to John Hiatt, Steve Earle to Steve Winwood, throw in some Eagles and Beatles and stir in a little jam band and you get the Tex Pistols Band.


TexPisFB-PP-5393-X2“I really didn’t think this was any special project at first. Just another group to play with, but with guys I really respect and admire. But early on, and I mean within the first three or four gigs, it started taking on a life. It’s like we all try to impress each other both live and in the studio, and it’s that pushing of the envelope every time that makes it fun for us and I think the audience as well”.- Boyd Lee

TexPisFB-PP-5470-X2“For me it was when we got started on the record. When we started writing for it and recording, I knew we had something. When the opportunity to mix it with our friend, Grammy Award winning engineer Tom Tucker (Lucinda Williams, Prince) came about, I knew it would be “off the hook”. Tom had recently bought “Flyte Tyme” studios and I believe we’re the first record mixed there since the glory days of Jam & Lewis. When it was done and we started getting the first feedback, I knew I wasn’t the only one feeling this way about the band. The CD speaks for itself”. – Scooter Nelson


“I’m in a great band with my three best friends, making and recording the coolest music. The Well runs deep with this combo, everyone brings his own expertise to the table. I get to play my guitars and hang with my buds…doesn’t get any better.” Brian C. Peters


“I have never been involved in a more satisfying musical partnership even after years of producing, engineering and playing on countless projects. The ease and understanding of the process between us can only be described as pure joy. As we went deeper into the recording of “Fully Loaded” I realized this wasn’t just another CD, this was a great opportunity. In the studio or at a live show, the talent and life experience each person brings to the party makes it an ultimate adventure.” Dik Shopteau

Tex Pistols Band-Closer to Nowhere


Country roots – spot on song writing, serious vocal harmonies, gritty and real, with musicianship not often heard these days.
Genre: Country: Americana
Release Date: 2008

The dynamic second release from one of the upper Midwest’s best Alt-Country, Americana groups. Soul touching melodies, fresh pop/rock and killer musicianship-highlighted through emotive vocals, soaring harmonies and smoking hot guitars.
Genre: Country: Americana
Release Date: 2011

Acoustic Key Sunday Night

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We will be playing The 2-disc Deluxe Edition expanded and resequenced the order of the original album. Introductions from the original album were combined with their corresponding songs and the Deluxe Edition added about an hour of extra content, including songs by Leon Russell, Don Preston, and Claudia Lennear. The new edition also added other famous Joe Cocker covers such as “The Weight”, “Something”, and “With A Little Help From My Friends”, all of which were absent from the original release.

Original 1970 double album liner notes

“Music From The Original Sound Track”

Including, for your delight, Cosmic Kiddies, English Roadies, Children with the Answers, Cooking Italians, Presidents of Recording Companies, Acrobatics and Displays, The Odd Sane Dog, The Space Choir, Assorted Sound Freaks, and All Elements of the Truth.

The Mad Dog Diary

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11th March 1970.  Joe Cocker flies into Los Angeles with the intentions of recuperating from grueling months on the road and forming a new band to perform with during the coming summer.

12th March 1970.  Dee Anthony (of Bandana Management) flies into Los Angeles bearing the tidings that a seven-week Joe Cocker tour, to begin eight days later in Detroit, has been negotiated and advises Joe that the Musician’s Union, immigration authorities, and promoters involved should be mightily chagrined (to the point of barring him from performing in America henceforth) should he fail to go through with it.

13th March 1970.  Leon Russell, hearing of Joe’s plight, offers his services in forming and playing in a band for Joe to take with him on his tour.  So great is his prowess on the telephone that, by day’s end, ten musicians have been assembled and rehearsals begun.

14th March 1970.  Some three hundred people turn out to watch the new band (which now includes eleven singers as well as ten players) rehearse for twelve hours on the A&M sound-stage.

15th March 1970.  Another twelve-hour rehearsal is held and a private airplane is hired.

16th March 1970.  Eleven more rehearsal hours are put under the collective belt.

17th March 1970.  Yet another marathon rehearsal is staged, this one recorded in its entirety, with “The Letter”/“Space Captain” single resulting.  The entourage, henceforth known as Mad Dogs & Englishmen, now numbers thirty-six, including the musicians, three sound men, two secretaries, three roadies, managers, wives, lovers, assorted children, and other animals.

18th March 1970.  Someone proposes that the whole tour be filmed.  Another, bigger, airplane is ordered to accommodate the five-man-film-crew supplemented entourage, which now numbers forty-three.

19th March 1970.  These forty-three crowd into the new Super Constellation and wing to Detroit, where their first live performance occurs the next day.

27th and 28th March 1970.  Four appearances later Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs & Englishmen arrive at the Fillmore East, wherein this album was recorded in its entirety, the lion’s share coming from the Friday evening shows.

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facebook linda wolf photography

-Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tour-Photographer: Linda Wolf

16th May 1970.  After playing their last show together (in San Bernardino, California) and then kissing, embracing, flashing back sentimentally, and crying the odd tear, Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs & Englishmen go their separate ways, but not before having bestowed upon each of us who saw them or have heard this album or will see the film of their adventures a generous dose of joy.


– John Mendelsohn
Vendor of the Cosmic Comma

Side One


(Mick Jagger-Keith Richard) Gideon Music Inc. BMI


(Titus Turner-Henry Glover) Tangerine Music Inc. BMI

(Arthur Hamilton) Saunders Publications Inc. ASCAP

(Leonard Cohen Stranger Music Inc. BMI

Side Two

(Dave Mason) Irving Music Inc. BMI

(Leon Russell-Bonnie Bramlett) Skyhill Publishing Co., Inc./Delbon Publishing BMI


(V. Simpson-N. Ashford-J. Armstead) Baby Monica Music/Reneigh Music BMI

Side Three

(Henry Glover) Jay & Cee Music BMI
(Isaac Hayes-David Porter) East/Memphis Music Corp. BMI
(Otis Redding-Jerry Butler) East/Memphis Music Corp./Time Music Corp. BMI


(Bob Dylan) M. Witmark & Sons ASCAP

(Leon Russell-Bonnie Bramlett) Skyhill Publishing Co., Inc./Delbon Publishing BMI

Side Four


(John Lennon-Paul McCartney) Maclen Music Inc. BMI

(Matthew Moore) Skyhill Publishing Co., Inc. BMI

(Wayne Carson Thompson) Earl Barton Music Inc. BMI

(Leon Russell) Skyhill Music Co., Inc. BMI

Musical Arrangements: Leon Russell, Chris Stainton


LEON RUSSELL (Master Of Space And Time) # guitar, * piano

CHRIS STAINTON (The Foxy Prince Of Roll) $piano, + organ

DON PRESTON (The Gentle Giant) rhythm guitar

Carl Radle
CARL RADLE (The Mad Professor) bass

JIM GORDON (The Rock) drums

SNAKEY JIM KELTNER (Floats Like A Butterfly, Stings Like A Bee) drums

Chuck & Sandy
CLOUDY CHUCK BLACKWELL  (Direct From The Taj Mahal) percussion and drums

Sandy Konikoff
SANDY KONIKOFF (Purveyor Of The Sphincter Phone) percussion

bobbie torres

jim price
JIM PRICE (The Price Is Right) trumpet

Jim Horn & Bobby Keyes
BOBBY KEYES (The Ruby Lipped Essence Of Lubbock, Texas) Tenor sax


The Ladies


PRODUCED BY DENNY CORDELL (Lunar Tea Cake Snake Man) and LEON RUSSELL for Tarantula Productions

Recorded on March 27-28, 1970 at Fillmore East, New York
Location Engineer: Edwin Kramer
Mixdown and Master Engineer: Glyn Johns, M.B.E.
Design: Tom Wilkes
Photography: Jim McCrary, Cosmina Andee Cohen
Packaging Concept: Craig Braun
Illustration: Ron Wolin
Leon Russell appears with love from Shelter Records
Don Preston courtesy of Stax Records
Write for a free, full-color catalogue.


A&M RECORDS & TAPES A&M Records, 1416 N. La Brea, Hollywood, California 90028. Mfg’d. by Sound Packaging Corp. Printed in U.S.A.

SP 6002


UCRlogoJoe Cockers Top 10 Songs


 Good Bye Your Music Lives on….

Joe Cocker, who has died aged 70, was a Sheffield-born singer who came to be considered one of the greatest white blues and soul vocalists. With a voice that could rage, bellow, rasp, screech or – if circumstance demanded – be unexpectedly yearning and vulnerable, he was capable of taking any song and making it his own.

Cocker proved this conclusively with his first and biggest hit, a cover of the Beatles’ With a Little Help From My Friends. Replacing the Fab Four’s cheerful, music-hall arrangement with his own tortured reading, Cocker topped the charts and so stunned Woodstock the following year that he established himself as rock’s most incendiary white soul singer.

It was a role for which he was perfectly suited. Honing his voice on a bottle of bourbon and 80 cigarettes a day, Cocker spent much of the Seventies in an alcohol and drug-fuelled haze. He reached the bottom in 1974 when the curtain was lowered on a performance in Los Angeles in which, having appeared in a vomit-encrusted jacket and cast-off jeans, he curled into the foetal position and was unable to continue.

But he was a survivor, for whom hair, sideboards, beard and stomach might come and go while his voice, if occasionally croaky, never let him down. Returning to the charts in 1982 with the Oscar-winning ballad Up Where We Belong, the theme to the hit movie An Officer and a Gentleman, Cocker enjoyed an Indian summer of sell-out tours and renewed chart success.

Cocker lived the stereotypical life of the blues. A wild man who earned – and paid for – his headlines, his career would have ended but for the majesty of his voice. He rarely wrote songs, but had no need. He had his own constituency. As Life magazine observed, he was “the voice of the blind criers and crazy beggars and maimed men who summon up the strength to bawl out their souls in the streets”.

John Robert Cocker was born in Sheffield on May 20 1944. He left Sheffield Central Technical School at 15 to work as a gas fitter and perform as Vance Arnold, in which guise he supported the Rolling Stones and the Hollies at Sheffield City Hall.

As Joe Cocker’s Big Blues he recorded the Beatles’ I’ll Cry Instead, but the record failed to register. After a tour of GI bases in France and another stint with the Gas Board he teamed up with the keyboards player and bass guitarist Chris Stainton, and formed the Grease Band, whose first single, Marjorine, dented the foot of the charts.

It was the release of With a Little Help From My Friends that propelled Cocker into the big time. Claiming that he had worked out the arrangement in the outside loo of his father’s house, his trembling, tumultuous performance invested the song with such poignancy that the Beatles took out full-page advertisements in the music press praising his version.

But Cocker’s signature was not confined to his voice. His onstage mannerisms – legs bolted to the floor while his hands, arms and upper body convulsed – caused him to be likened to “a dancer in a wheelchair”. When he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show some members of the audience found it so distasteful that the singer was largely obscured by dancers.

Despite this, America embraced his furnace-like roar. His first album, With a Little Help From My Friends (1969), consisted mainly of covers bent on the anvil of his voice into personal and definitive readings. Throughout 1969 he toured extensively, appearing at all the major rock festivals, including Woodstock, at which he gave a towering performance, cementing his reputation as one of the biggest voices and most compelling acts around.

Joe Cocker! (1969), which included a turbulent rendition of Leon Russell’s Delta Lady, proved the valedictory outing for the Grease Band, who had become little more than a background to his vocals.

But without a band, and with a touring contract to fulfil, Cocker assembled 21 musicians, wives, hangers-on, managers, roadies, children, a film crew, a spotted dog and a bus driver and set out across the States on the chaotic “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour, performing 65 concerts in 57 days.

The experience, in addition to the cavalier range of substances Cocker ingested, so exhausted the singer that he was forced to return to Sheffield to recuperate. As the album Mad Dogs and Englishmen (1970) and its accompanying single, Cry Me a River, stormed the American charts, a desolate Cocker was dividing his time between his parents’ house and the pub, lamenting “the three o’clock break – that’s the endless gap between lunchtime and the pub opening again at six o’clock”.

His only appearance, as he wrestled with his demons and life-threatening addictions to whisky and heroin, was a supposedly triumphant homecoming at Sheffield City Hall. But, singing alongside the Mad Dogs veteran Rita Coolidge, his performance merely confirmed that his recuperation remained incomplete, and 1971 passed in a haze. On one occasion he met Princess Anne in a nightclub and, temporarily confused, thought she was his girlfriend. It took a pair of policemen to convince him otherwise.

He found the strength to resuscitate his career after seeing Ray Charles interviewed on television. When Charles was asked: “Who are the greatest living blues singers?” he answered: “Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Joe Cocker.” Inspired, Cocker returned to the stage. He toured America and Europe, but was forced to leave Australia overnight with six of his band members to avoid 18 charges, including assault, having already been fined A$1,200 for drug offences.

Rarely uninfluenced by hard-core addictions, and suffering memory lapses, Cocker relocated to Los Angeles in 1973 and – when he could make it to the studio – continued to enjoy periodic chart success. By now completely incapable of writing his own songs, he remained such an idiosyncratic interpreter of other songwriters’ material that the omission was scarcely relevant.

Despite his “foetal” performance before the press in LA in early 1974, Cocker’s voice ensured that the curtain never quite came down on his career. The tumult in his life may even have helped, both in the increasingly ravaged grandeur of his singing and in attracting songwriters keen to benefit from such a uniquely rough-edged, wounded instrument. If his behaviour tested the patience of his record companies beyond endurance, a series of albums – I Can Stand A Little Rain (1974), Jamaica Say You Will (1975), Stingray (1976), Luxury You Can Afford (1978), Standing Tall (1981) – performed creditably, as did the singles culled from them.

And for all his troubles Cocker retained the affection of his industry. When he sang the Crusaders’ I’m So Glad I’m Still Standing Here Today – a song specifically written for him – at the 1982 Grammy Awards, he received a standing ovation and renewed record company interest. It proved a turning point. Up Where We Belong, his duet with Leonard Cohen’s long-time backing singer Jennifer Warnes, was propelled by the success of the Richard Gere/Debra Winger film An Officer and a Gentleman to become his first American No 1. It also won the Oscar for Best Film Song.

On the back of this success he filled large arenas in the US and Europe, especially Germany, where his popularity had never waned. He enjoyed a triumphant return to Sheffield almost 10 years to the day after his last drug-fuelled appearance there.

Joe Cocker at the London Palladium in 1987 (ITV/REX)

Attracting higher quality songwriters, such as Jeff Lyne and Bryan Adams, he enjoyed greater success. Civilised Man (1984), Cocker (1986), Unchain My Heart (1987), One Night Of Sin (1989), Night Calls (1992), Have a Little Faith (1994) and his last album, Fire It Up (2012), all achieved platinum sales.

He also recorded songs for movies, including You Can Leave Your Hat On for Adrian Lyne’s 9½ Weeks, in which he turned Randy Newman’s sly voyeurism into a tidal wave of restrained lust. The singer observed: “I suddenly made a lot of friends. They kept coming over and wanting to see the director’s cut of Kim Basinger stripping for Mickey Rourke.”

Renewed success brought a relative harmony to the singer’s personal life. Supported by his new wife, Pam, whom he had met at Jane Fonda’s house while he was living in Santa Barbara, he rejected heroin, forsook spirits for beer and, after a long struggle, overcame his nicotine addiction. He rejoiced in less turbulent times and bought a ranch in Colorado that he rechristened the “Mad Dog Ranch”. There he raised animals, grew his own food, opened a café and indulged his passion for fly-fishing.

By now bearded, balding and portly, the singer was one of the music industry’s most celebrated survivors and was accorded the appropriate respect. He released occasional albums of “new” material, regular “greatest hits” and “live” collections and even covered his own covers. Capable of filling Old Trafford, he also performed for the Prince’s Trust and the usual flotilla of charity fundraisers.

These included such occasions as Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Concert, the Concert for Berlin after the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the inauguration of President Bush and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. But however civilised the setting, Cocker’s voice remained defiantly and magnificently un-housetrained, and his movements on stage as pained as ever.

He is survived by his wife Pam, whom he married in 1987, and by a stepdaughter. His brother, Victor, was chief executive of Severn Trent.

Joe Cocker, born May 20 1944, died December 22 2014




f you haven’t yet heard about Somebody’s Darling, an inventive rock band from Dallas, Texas, chances are you will soon. The group has played relentlessly over the last five years, clocking in over 500 shows through multiple headlining tours, numerous festival stops and supporting great artists like Shovels & Rope, Lucero and Divine Fits.  The group has gained such a strong reputation across Texas – with their frenetic performances and energetic live show – that they were recently honored by Red Bull Music and invited to become an official Red Bull Sound Select Artist.

SD is spearheaded by lead singer Amber Farris, whose unrefined yet tender vocals belt out blistering songs that command the attention of anyone in earshot. She’s oft-likened to great singers such as Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi and Erika Wennerstrom (Heartless Bastards), but there’s no borrowing, and you can’t really make comparisons.

Adult Roommates, available September 16, is the band’s third full-length release and their first new recorded music in two years. Fans of My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Dawes, and the Black Keys will appreciate the band’s unique sound – with roots in live expression rather than that studio-perfected sort of vibe, drawing on a range of vintage influences.


Amber Farris – Lead Vocals / Guitar

David Ponder – Lead Guitar

Wade Cofer – Bass / Vocals

Michael Talley – Keys / Vocals

Nate Wedan – Drums

The Songwriter’s Solstice: June 21 1998

SS Cover
The Songwriter’s Solstice: “A Celebration of South Florida Songwriters” was recorded before a live audience at the Rinker Playhouse, The Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL, June 21, 1998. Presenting 14 songs from this diverse group of south Florida’s top original artists,

Songs Artists
Step By Step Jim Collier
Lately Box Elder  942014_185705604918035_1071573626_n
I Am Blue Marie Nofsinger  RNC TAMPA PROTESTS\
The Lion’s Den Ron & Bari  r&b
Hustle & Bustle Mad Dogs & Irishman  EPSON scanner image
With You Without You Amy Carol Webb  amy-carol-webb-360x300
At Last Legacy   download
Road Not Taken James London  
Figure 8s Marianne Flemming  press_photo1
Two Of Hearts Grant Livingston  LivingstonPromoPhoto5
The Motto Reads  Bradley Ditto  newguitX2
Days of Rain Rod MacDonald  393312_4586383824636_209486649_n
Stairwell From Heaven Human Beings humabeings

You Are The One Jim Collier & Friend  

By Bill Meredith(Originally appeared in the Free Press, West Palm Beach, FL, 3/99)
Summer in the county

For better or worse, the 1990s made the compilation CD unto an ultra-commercial art form. So it’s not surprising that there’s finally a compilation CD for Palm Beach County. Songwriters’ Solstice is well-recorded, well-produced, and it’s available at a music store near you for $12. With 14 songs on the disc, that’s less than $1 per tune.

Songwriters’ Solstice was recorded live last June at the Kravis Center Rinker Playhouse during a concert to benefit the Connor Moran Childen’s Cancer Foundation in West Palm Beach. The CD sounds like the show (I know, I was there). South Florida singer/songwriter/guitarist Rod MacDonald was instrumental in setting up the event, and his Neil Young-like “Days of Rain” is one of the solo-performer highlights. Others include Marie Nofsinger’s tongue-in-cheek “I Am Blue,” Amy Carol Webb’s soaring ballad “With You Without You,” and James London’s “The Road Not Taken.”

Area duos and trios are also well-represented. Mad Dogs & Irishmen’s “Hustle & Bustle” is traditional rich Irish poetry; Ron & Bari’s “The Lion’s Den” is a biographical tale of the very different neighborhood that used to inhabit the Kravis Center site; and Legacy’s “At Last” wraps expert vocal harmony, guitar, and mandolin playing into the disc’s most upbeat tune.

Two full bands are in effect here: Boxelder shows its unplugged side with the shuffling “Lately,” and Human Beings provide the Solstice centerpiece with their serpentining eight-minute epic “Stairwell From Heaven.” Jim Collier & friends offer an audio snapshot of the crowded cover photo with the gospel-tinged finale, “You Are The One.”

Kudos to recording engineers Marty Gauthier, Duane Engstrom, and the Kravis’ own John Wurm. Ditto for the production by Gauthier, Engstrom and MacDonald. The sold-out concert raised $1,000 for Conor Moran, which receives an additional $1 per retail CD sold. Songwriters’ Solstice is available at all Peaches and Borders locations, and this purposeful compilation is an accurate soundtrack to the lighter side of the south Florida music scene.

(Originally appeared in the Free Press, West Palm Beach, FL, 3/99)

Joss Stone-‘No Man’s Land (Green Fields of France) one of my favorite tunes!


Grammy and Brit Award singer Joss Stone has teamed up with guitar legend Jeff Beck to record this year’s official Poppy Appeal single.

The single is a soulful cover of ‘No Man’s Land (Green Fields of France)’, written in 1976 by Scottish-born folk singer-songwriter Eric Bogle. Reflecting on the grave of a young man (Willie McBride) who died during the First World War, its chorus refers to two famous pieces of military music, “The Last Post” and “The Flowers of the Forest”.

Although the song speaks of the destiny of one soldier in particular, the song was chosen by Joss and Jeff because of the way it honestly reflected the terrible fate of so many.

Joss Stone said: “The song is about a soldier, Willie McBride, but when we started looking into who Willie was, we found no less than three men that it could have been – then we realised that finding him was not actually as important as what he and this song stand for, peace and the sacrifice made by so many.”


The song, which also includes a full gospel choir, has been given a classic Joss, soul makeover and features the legendry guitar of Jeff Beck. The pair will be performing the track in front of Her Majesty the Queen at this year’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 8th November 2014. The Festival of Remembrance will again be televised live on BBC1, following a record 6 million viewers last year.

The Poppy Appeal is The Royal British Legion’s largest annual charity campaign. In a little over two weeks, some 45 million poppies will be distributed by 350,000 dedicated collectors with the aim of raising £40 million.

The Royal British Legion’s Director of Fundraising Charles Byrne said: “The Legion created the Poppy Appeal to help those returning from the First World War. A century on from the start of that conflict, we‘re still helping today’s Armed Forces families in much the same way, whether coping with bereavement, living with disability, or finding employment.

“The Poppy is more than just a sign of remembrance it is a symbol of inspiration and hope. We are thrilled that it has inspired two of our country’s greatest musical talents to produce such a wonderful tribute to the memory of the fallen and help us raise funds for the future of the living”
No Man’s Land (Green Fields of France) was produced by World renowned producers Jon Cohen and Jonathan Joseph. It can be pre-ordered now and will be available to buy from Monday 3rd November.

The Legion have also worked with augmented reality app Blippar to produce an interactive single cover. When the cover is Blipped, additional special features such as behind the scenes footage, the music video and personal messages from Joss appear on the users smartphone.