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Marshall Pierce
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Kitty Dunn

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Rock Hall gets it right, honors Stevie Ray Vaughan

When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2015 inductees this morning, I was very happy to see one of the names on the list: Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Even though the late Texas guitar slinger has been eligible to get in since 2008, this is the first year he was even nominated. I'm glad they didn't put him on the also-ran list for 2015! I'm also pleased that he's getting in with the other two-thirds of his band, Double Trouble.

According to the Rock Hall's criteria, they honor those artists who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development, and perpetuation of rock and roll. Since Stevie Ray Vaughan single-handedly re-ignited the blues, and influenced a generation of guitar players, he fits the bill perfectly.

Others making the list this time around include Green Day (getting in in their first year of eligibility), Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bill Withers, Lou Reed (as a solo artist), the 5 Royales, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Ringo Starr is also getting a special award for musical excellence.

The induction ceremony happens in Cleveland in August.

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Kitty's Top Ten albums of 2014, Part One

What was your favorite album of 2014? I found a lot worth listening to. Here's the first half of my Top Ten list. Part Two coming soon.

10. George Ezra: Wanted On Voyage
This 21 year old sings, writes all his own songs and plays guitar bass and keyboards. And his music is beautiful, haunting and old beyond his years. In addition to the hit "Budapest", I loved the haunting "Did you Hear the Rain?" I played that track over and over and over again. His voice reminds me a little bit of Brad Roberts from Crash Test Dummies, with a whole lot more soul.

9. John Hiatt: Terms of Surrender
When did John Hiatt turn into an old blues singer? On his 22nd album, he's slowed down the pace from his "Perfectly Good Guitar" and "Slow Turning" days. Listening to this album is like sitting on the porch with an old grandfather of the blues, strumming his guitar and complaining about life's problems. "Old People" seems like Hiatt's answer to Randy Newman's "Short People," which includes this line: "Old people are pushy, they're not mushy, Old people are pushy, 'cause life ain't cushy." He's just about the only guy that could get away with a lyric like that.

8. The New Basement Tapes: Lost on the River
What a lineup! Producer T-Bone Burnett got Elvis Costello, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons, and Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops together to work their magic on song Bob Dylan wrote but never finished. Nobody tries to sound like Dylan, they all put their own spin on the songs. It's a mishmash of styles, but somehow it works.

7. Gary Clark Jr: Live
I first saw Gary Clark, Jr. at Farm Aid in Chicago in 2010, and he blew me away. At the time, the Texas guitar slinger didn't even have a record contract. That soon changed. He was signed by Warner Bros and released the album Blak and Blu. It was quite good but didn't capture the magic I witnessed that day when he was playing among the likes of Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. This live album does. If you love the blues and have been waiting forty years for the next Jimi Hendrix, you'll love this album.

6. Hozier (self-titled debut)
I was transfixed by the first song we started playing, "Take Me To Church." I am a sucker for minor chords, and I like the imagery the song conveys, comparing a romatic relationship to going to church. Hozier is a young Irishman who is wise beyond his years, with a soulful, eerie quality to his songs. Rolling Stone gave the album 3 ½ stars, and offered this comparison: "(he) channels Van Morrison's Celtic R&B, Southern soul and Black Keys-style garage blues." No wonder I liked it so much!
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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Birthday Boy Neil Young

Happy 69th birthday to my favorite self-proclaimed "rich hippie,"  Neil Young.  I remember when I was a kid, I hated Neil's voice. I didn't even particularly care for his songs CSNY albums, but the guy grew on me, and he's now one of my favorite artists.  One of the things I admire most about him is that he never gives a crap about what anyone else thinks, and just goes where the music tells him to go.

Sometimes that's into the ditch, in my opinion, but I still love him!

Here are 5 things you may not have known about this Canadian curmudgeon.


1. Neil is especially creative when he's not feeling well. He wrote "Cinnamon Girl," "Down by the River" and "Cowgirl in the Sand," on the same day, with a temperature of 103. (That's Fahrenheit, or for you Canadians, 39 Celsius).

2. He thought it was "pretty great" that Lynryd Skynyrd mentioned his name in the song "Sweet Home Alabama."

3.  Another member of Neil's family is very highly respected in Canada. There's a grade school named for Scott Young, who was a highly revered sports writer.

4.  He was in a band called "The Mynah Birds" with future super-freak Rick James.

5. He says he composed most of his best songs, while in bed, stoned.

(Above photo credit, Kitty Dunn @Farm Aid 2010.)


 
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Freebies for Veterans

Today's the day to thank a vet! Many restaurants are doing their part to say "thank you" by offering free food items.  Since restrictions vary depending on where you go, you may want to call first to make sure you understand what you need to do to prove veteran status.

Free meals are offered at Applebees, Chili's, Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse, T-G-I-Fridays, Red Robin, Famous Dave's, or Hooters.

You can get a free pint of beer at Old Chicago, 50 percent off a meal at Sprechers, a cup of coffee at Starbucks, a Bloomin' Onion at Outback Steakhouse, some fro-yo at Menchies or Orange Leaf, free appetizer at Longhorn Steakhouse.

Getting the award for "absolute least you can do to honor a veteran" is Doubletree Inss and Suites. Vets who stop by today can get a free chocolate chip cookie.

I'm thinking vets would rather have good jobs and access to quality health care than a cookie. But maybe that's just me.
 
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Topics : Hospitality_Recreation
Locations : Chicago


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Kitty's night in a haunted house

Before Friday, my only experience with a haunted house, commercial or otherwise, was at the Recreation Department in Stevens Point when I was a teenager, and as I remember I was FREAKED out.

So I was a little nervous when Jonathan and I were asked to be part of the scare team at Wisconsin Scaryland, a Hollywood quality haunted house located on Highway M and 113. Somehow, I mustered up enough courage to go through with it, and joined the other actors that were doing the scaring.

I can't tell you exactly what my job was because I don't want to give away any of Scaryland's secrets. But I will tell you I startled the living daylights out of a lot of people! I feel kinda bad because a teenage girl had an asthma attack in the room I was stationed in!  The pros at Wisconsin Scaryland got her out of the building quickly, and she was okay.

I never thought I would say this, but I would like to go back and try it again sometime!
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Finally, recognition of Stevie Ray Vaughan by the Rock Hall

The new list of nomines for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is out, and finally they give a nod to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The Rock Hall has passed Stevie by for the more than ten years that he's been eligible, causing me and other blues fans much irritation. One of the criteria the Rock Hall uses for induction is the contribution they made to rock and roll. I believe he's responsible for the resurgence of blues rock in the early 80s and 90s, and his influence on guitar players continues to this day. (How many Stevie Ray Vaughn-a-be's have you seen?)

Others on the list of nominees this time around:Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A., the Smiths, Loud Reed, Sting, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Kraftwerk, Chic, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Marvellettes, the Spinners, War, and Bill Withers.

Sting is already in as a member of the Police, and Lou Reed as a member of the Velvet Underground, but their inclusion as solo artists is ineveitable. Green Day should make it in as well without any problem.

While I see no real problem with this list, I am still waiting for recognition for some deserving folks including Warren Zevon, Al Kooper, and Gram Parsons.

One of the inductees will be chosen by fan vote. You can make your feelings known here.

The list of inductees will be announced in December, and the ceremony will happen in the spring at the Rock Hall in Cleveland.
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You might want to see "Once" twice

I had the opportunity to go see "Once" at Overture Hall last night, and I guess the two word summary of my review could be "weirdly awesome."

The story isn't too complicated, which is good because I sometimes had a hard time understanding the dialogue because of the Irish and Czech accents that were used, but I got enough to be able to follow along.

According to the Overture Center's website, "Once" "tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs."

I loved the mirror filled set, the staging and the seemless way they went from one scene to another. And of course the music!  It was fantastic--with the actors performing their instruments live on stage.

I had never seen the movie, but now I feel I should go rent it so I can make some comparisons.

"Once" runs through Sunday at Overture Center. Ticket info here.

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Topics : Entertainment_Culture
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Locations : Dublin


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In honor of National Punctuation Day

Today is National Punctuation Day! It's a day to geek out about exclamation points, semi-colons, ampersands and commas.

It's also a day to go back into the Radio Way-Back Machine, and listen to this song by Dan Baird.

It was a minor hit in 1992 for the lead singer of the Georgia Satellites.

Wait. What? 22 years ago?

(Sigh.)

 

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People : Dan Baird


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5 Things You Probably DIdn't Know about Bruce Springsteen on his 65th birthday

Bruce!!! 

If you've seen pictures of Bruce Springsteen with his shirt off lately, you might find it hard to believe that he's a senior citizen. He turns 65 today!

Here are a few things you may or may not have known about that guy who doesn't really like being called "The Boss."

1. Bruce has never had a number one single. That is unless you count Manfred Mann's cover of "Blinded by the Light."  That made it up to #1.

2. He has a comet named after him.

3. He was once visited backstage by Dr. Ruth Westheimer. She reportedly suggested he work some lyrics about contraception into his songs.

4. After a 1976 show in Memphis, he jumped the gates at Graceland, hoping to meet Elvis. Even if he got past the guards, that wasn't happening as Elvis was in Lake Tahoe at the time.

5. Bruce's kids used to burst into tears whenever they saw his bandanna-wearing guitarist, Little Steve Van Zandt, because they thought he looked like a pirate.

and one more, even though you already probably know about this one

6. At a John Kerry for President rally in Madison, he accepted some college kids' invitation to come up to their balcony and have a beer.  He was joined by Tom Brokaw and his wife Patti.  I'm pretty sure the beer was from Capital Brewery!

(Picture above taken by me at a rally for President Obama in 2012.)
 
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Like WifeSwap, only different

BandSwap is back in Madison!

The Madison Arts Commission is supporting this event, in which bands from different cities change places. This time, a band from Fort Collins, Colorado is heading to Madison, while Sexy Ester from Madison will be hitting the stage in Colorado.

The Madison Arts Commission is making a day of it this Saturday, with other opportunities for you to catch local music, and a way for musicians to network as well.

You can find all the info you need about Saturday's activities right here.

More info can be found on the BandSwap website.

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Locations : Colorado


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Marshall's Top Albums of 2014
1. U2- Songs of Innocence: One of my favorite English poets is, William Blake. Jim Morrison of the Doors was so inspired by Blake's poetry, he used one of Blake's lines, "the doors of perception," to name the Doors….the Doors! So, this U2 album,...
Read More
World's Worst iPod: Carl Douglas "Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting"
It's hard to believe a novelty song like this went all the way up the charts to number one---but it did, and actually stayed there for two weeks! It seemed most everyone, excluding our meteorologist Brian Olson wanted to hear this song, which came...
Read More
Kitty's Top Albums of 2014
10. George Ezra: Wanted On Voyage This 21 year old sings, writes all his own songs and plays guitar bass and keyboards. And his music is beautiful, haunting and old beyond his years. In addition to the hit "Budapest", I loved the haunting "Did you...
Read More
Rock Hall gets it right, honors Stevie Ray Vaughan
When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2015 inductees this morning, I was very happy to see one of the names on the list: Stevie Ray Vaughan. Even though the late Texas guitar slinger has been eligible to get in since 2008, this is the...
Read More
Discover & Download: Elle King
This Week's Discover & Download...Elle King - Ex's and Oh's!
Jeff the Promo Guy's Top 2014 Picks
2014 had a ton of great new album releases, and I easily came up with more than 10 to reference. I would have loved to include The Fray, Angus & Julia Stone, Bleachers, Alt-J, and George Ezra… but they just didn't make it on my Top 10 list. Here...
Read More
Kitty's Top Ten albums of 2014, Part One
What was your favorite album of 2014? I found a lot worth listening to. Here's the first half of my Top Ten list. Part Two coming soon. 10. George Ezra: Wanted On Voyage This 21 year old sings, writes all his own songs and plays guitar bass and...
Read More
Discover & Download: Bad Suns
This Week's Discover & Download is: Bad Suns - 'Salt'
 
Recent Blog Posts
Marshall's Top Albums of 2014
1. U2- Songs of Innocence: One of my favorite English poets is, William Blake. Jim Morrison of the Doors was so inspired by Blake's poetry, he used one of Blake's lines, "the doors of perception," to name the Doors….the Doors! So, this U2 album,...
Read More
World's Worst iPod: Carl Douglas "Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting"
It's hard to believe a novelty song like this went all the way up the charts to number one---but it did, and actually stayed there for two weeks! It seemed most everyone, excluding our meteorologist Brian Olson wanted to hear this song, which came...
Read More
Kitty's Top Albums of 2014
10. George Ezra: Wanted On Voyage This 21 year old sings, writes all his own songs and plays guitar bass and keyboards. And his music is beautiful, haunting and old beyond his years. In addition to the hit "Budapest", I loved the haunting "Did you...
Read More
Rock Hall gets it right, honors Stevie Ray Vaughan
When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2015 inductees this morning, I was very happy to see one of the names on the list: Stevie Ray Vaughan. Even though the late Texas guitar slinger has been eligible to get in since 2008, this is the...
Read More
Discover & Download: Elle King
This Week's Discover & Download...Elle King - Ex's and Oh's!
Jeff the Promo Guy's Top 2014 Picks
2014 had a ton of great new album releases, and I easily came up with more than 10 to reference. I would have loved to include The Fray, Angus & Julia Stone, Bleachers, Alt-J, and George Ezra… but they just didn't make it on my Top 10 list. Here...
Read More
Kitty's Top Ten albums of 2014, Part One
What was your favorite album of 2014? I found a lot worth listening to. Here's the first half of my Top Ten list. Part Two coming soon. 10. George Ezra: Wanted On Voyage This 21 year old sings, writes all his own songs and plays guitar bass and...
Read More
Discover & Download: Bad Suns
This Week's Discover & Download is: Bad Suns - 'Salt'
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