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Posts from July 2014

Madison has gone beer-crazy!

You could call it Madison Craft Beer Week, part two!

The week leading up to the Great Taste of the Midwest Beer Festival August 9th is chock full of tasty beer offerings all over southern Wisconsin, with plenty of tap takeovers, beer pairings, and other events to get you psyched up for Saturday. Or more likely, allow you to get your fill of interesting new brews even if you couldn't score tickets to the sold-out event.

Isthmus put together an amazing and comprehensive list of events, which you can see here.

If you don't want to do all that scrolling, check out these highlights:

Sunday August 3rd
Arts and Ales Festival at Hydro Street Brewing in Columbus. It's like a mini-Great Taste with beer from half a dozen area breweries, lives music and a homebrewers contest.  Bonus: arts and crafts! (Vendors 9-4pm, beer and bands, 9am-9pm)

Wednesday August 6th
Tap Takeover at Dexters. Try all kinds of varieties from Green Flash Brewing in San Diego and Oskar Blues (the brewery that brought you Dale's Pale Ale).

Thursday August 7th
Beer sampling at Inn on the Park.  Who knew this hotel on the square would get in in the Pre-Party beer action? Venture to Top of the Park for a tape takeover from St. Francis Brewery in the Milwaukee area. This brewery that names its beers after the seven deadly sins will have some special cask ales to try as well as a cucumber saison.  Starts at 7pm.

Friday August 8th
Brickhouse BBQ offers lots of choices in one place. How's this sound--25 different brews from Central Waters, ten from Shorts Brewery, and 12 from Hinterland. Starts at 5pm.

MOB the House Party. House of Brews on Helgesen Drive is having a big outdoor bash, with 20 or more different beers from House of Brews, Karben 4, Next Door, One Barrel and Vintage. Mobcraft, which crowdsources its beer ideas will be introducing another wild one--Rabbit's Bounty, which is made with carrots, walnuts, and brown sugar. Sounds interesting!

Remember, whether you're going to the Taste or not, sample responsibly!  (Above photo taken by me at the Great Taste in 2012.)
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World's Worst iPod: Hall & Oates "Method of Modern Love"

Hall & Oates had a lot of great hits in the 1970s and 1980s, and if you believe a lot of folks, this is NOT one of them!

This song with its amazing spelling lesson hook made it all the way to #5 on the charts in February of 1985.

We're a little surprised they didn't choose to perform this one when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year!

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Will this be Clapton's last record?

Eric Clapton definitely has retirement in mind. He hinted to Rolling Stone recently that he may quit touring and recording, and only play for family and friends.

We can look forward to at least one more new Clapton record before he hangs up his Strat for good. Eric Clapton & Friends "The Breeze: A Tribute to JJ Cale" comes out next week, and is currently streaming for free in the iTunes store.

The album is a tribute to Cale, who died last year and was Clapton's close friend. Clapton had two pretty big hits with the Cale songs "Cocaine" and "After Midnight," so it will be interesting to hear what he does with other songs written by the blues songwriting master.

Collaboraters on the album include John Mayer, Derek Trucks and Mark Knopfler--each who certainly knows his way around a fretboard, so if nothing else this album is sure to have some crazy good guitar licks.  Add to that JJ Cale's top notch songwriting, and this could wind up to be one of Clapton's best records in recent years. (Tom Petty and Willie Nelson also make appearances on the record).

Check out the title track to the new album here.

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World's Worst iPod: Olivia Newton John "Please Mr. Please"

Olivia Newton-John was all over the radio in the 1970s, with hits that included "Have You Never Been Mellow," "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)" and of course those songs from the movie "Grease." 

But not a lot of people had good memories about "Please Mr. Please," which made it up to #3 in the summer of 1975.

I think the biggest question that came out of this morning's offering--was this song ever B-17 on the jukebox anywhere in the world?

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Mayflies: faschinating, or horrifying? You decide.

The mayflies were out in full force over the past couple days. Now I've heard about these insects over the years, but have never experienced a mayfly swarm.  I think I'm pretty happy about that.

Apparently the mayflies were so thick they showed up on National Weather Service radar!  This fact intrigued me, so I thought I'd do a little investigating to learn more about these critters that show up in such massive hordes.

Lo and behold, I found this informative, and creepy, video on youtube.

Sleep tight, and don't let the mayflies bite.

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Topics : Human Interest


Free downloads: The Bayonets

If you were listening to Triple M on the morning of Thursday July 17th, you may have thought somehow we slipped back to 1965.

But it wasn't an old song we were playing--it was a brand new one from the Los Angeles band the Bayonets, called "Crash Boom Bang!"

They don't have an album out, but if you sign up for their mailing list you can get a free four-song EP here.

Crash Boom Bang! by The Bayonets from The Bayonets / Brian Ray on Vimeo.

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Topics : Entertainment_CultureHuman Interest
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Locations : Los Angeles
People : Brian Ray


RIP Johnny Winter--that guy sure could play

"For me, blues is a necessity."

That's a quote from blues guitar great Johnny Winter, who died on Wednesday in Zurich, Switzerland. He came to prominence in the late 1960's after he was featured in a story in Rolling Stone magazine, put out 20 albums and produced some others that were pretty amazing--three for Muddy Waters, and the hit song "Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo" for Rick Derringer.

I got a chance to see Johnny Winter twice--first at the Belleville Blues Festival, where I got to introduce his band (along with Triple M's Gabby Parsons), and again at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2010.  While he appeared to be quite frail on both those occasions, he could still play the hell out of the guitar.

Here he is at Crossroads, playing what might be the BEST version of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61."

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World's Worst iPod: Information Society "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)"

There's something about the allure of Star Trek that made this song by Information Society extra special.

It went all the way to #9 on the charts in 1988 for the band based in St. Paul, Minnesota. According to wikipedia, the band got the permission to use samples from Star Trek in the song because one of the band's members was friends with Leonard Nimoy's son!

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Topics : Entertainment_Culture
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Locations : MinnesotaSt. Paul
People : Leonard Nimoy


Warren Buffett and Paul McCartney: the conversation

By now you've probably seen that "selfie" taken by a kid in Nebraska with Warren Buffett and Paul McCartney sitting on a bench in the background. (No? Click here).

But I have something more exclusive..the transcript of the conversation these two rich guys had after they enjoyed a treat from a nearby ice cream shop.

Here's a portion:

 McCartney:  You never give me your money, you only give me your funny paper.

Buffett: And in the middle of negotiations, you break down. I never give you my number

McCartney: You only give me your situation.

Buffett: And in the middle of investigation, I break down.

(unintelligible garble)

McCartney: One sweet dream

Buffett: Pack up the bags and get in the limousine

McCartney: Soon we'll be away from here.  Step on the gas and wipe that tear away

(Disclaimer:  I listened to Abbey Road A LOT over the years, and this may or may not be part of the Buffett/McCartney chat).

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Locations : Nebraska
People : Paul McCartneyWarren Buffett


The new Pink Floyd album won't be what you're hoping for

A lot of Pink Floyd fans got a little bit excited over the weekend, after the wife of David Gilmour announced that a new Pink Floyd album would be coming out this October.

Even though Roger Waters wouldn't be a part of it, the idea of the first new songs since Division Bell was certainly intriguing. But now a spokesman for the band says, in not so many words, that the new album will be made up of leftovers from the Division Bell sessions back in the early '90s...instrumentals and ambient music.

What?  I guess some never-before-heard jams from that era could be interesting. But let's face it, it's not nearly as enthralling as the idea of brand new songs.

While we wait to see what comes of this new album, enjoy this video in which the band seems to be in an unusual mood.

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World's Worst iPod: Alice Cooper "You and Me"

Can a song be so horrible that it's actually awesome?

Well, if that is possible, here is an example: Alice Cooper's emotional ballad "You and Me" from 1977. I'm not sure we could think up a more hideous lyric than "we shared a bed, some popcorn and TV...yeah."

Alice (aka Vincent Furnier) took this song all the way up to #9. And that's probably the biggest reason that Alice Cooper (the band) and not Alice Cooper (the solo artist) made it into the Rock Hall.

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Johnny Cash/Sheryl Crow duet is pretty cool

Johnny Cash recorded a version of Sheryl Crow's 1996 song "Redemption Day" before he passed away...and now Crow makes use of it in a new video. The song, with back and forth vocals from each of them, is haunting, and made even more so through the images used in the video.

Usually I'm not a fan of resurrecting dead people for new performances, but somehow I think this one works. Do you agree?
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