Bill Graham – Rock Impresario

“Concert promoter and artist manager Bill Graham forever changed the way rock and roll is presented.”

March 2007 – Arcade Fire

This month’s artist of the month is an indie-rock art band from Canada,

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire was featured on the April 4, 2005 cover of Time Magazine’s Canadian edition, and hailed as a band who “helped put Canadian music on the world map”.


I read their first interview in Mojo Magazine and became solidly intrigued with their potential without even hearing their music. Arcade Fire is on the launchpad for a significant breakthrough. Neon Bible is the name of their sophomore recording to be released next week. It is dark and well crafted, another masterpiece.

Arcade Fire was adopted by several music luminaries. Coldplay’s Chris Martin called Arcade Fire “the greatest band in history” while performing at a concert in Ottawa, Ontario. This seven person inferno machine creates a very sustainable frenetic energy, which engages the listener and the viewer. Watch Arcade Fire’s video of Wake Up performed with David Bowie. They will hopefully enchant and motivate you with their passionate musicianship.

Seek out Arcade Fire. Let me know your thoughts on this month’s artist.

Innovation Incubator

The Living Room is tucked quietly away in an alcove of New York’s lower east side. This club has fostered a whole new cavalcade of acoustic artists. This post millennium bohemia flourishes with rich talent. I a liken The Living Room scene to the jazz period of 52nd Street NYC during the 1950’s.

Norah Jones has been calling The Living Room home base for several years now. She experimented with her new songs for her 3rd recording, Not Too Late at this intimate club.

The proximity of her luxury NY City apartment building made this an ideal locale for Norah to commune with her community of artists.

Pour through the Links section on Norah Jones website to get a fuller appreciation for the acoustic artists on the rise.

My favorite artist in the series that Norah Jones is also quite fond of is M. Ward. I just got his 2002 recording Transfiguration of Victor and I am totally hooked after several listenings. M. Ward will be the opening act for Norah Jones Spring Tour(I am ticketed and will be attending). Give him a listen and go see them at a tour stop if you get the chance.

If you want to hear more about The Living Room acoustic music scene you can plug in via satellite radio with From the Living Room to the Loft on XM Radio

Rock and Roll Never Forgets

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Face The Promise Tour
Madison Square Garden, New York City

It was a cold, windy day in the Big Apple. Our hearts were warm with anticipation as we filed into the world’s most famous arena. We found our seats as Madison Square Garden filled up with fans of all ages. The lights went down as shouts and applause electrified the moment. The song, The Boys Are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy ushers the musicians to their places. Bob Seger waves to the audience as he strolls to center stage. Grabbing the microphone, he greets the Garden crowd with a hearty, “Hello New York”. Bam we’re off as The Silver Bullet Band revs their engine with Roll Me Away.

We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally feeling free

There’s something to be said about attending a no frills, straight ahead rock and roll concert. Bob Seger delivers the goods with his poignant lyrics accented by those growling, raspy vocals. He engages us with an immediate stage presence which is positive and infectious but never overpowers you. He comes across as the happiest of souls within his element. We dance along sharing in the festivity his spirit manufactures inside of us.

Face The Promise is the both the title of Bob Seger’s latest CD and the theme of his 2006-2007 tour. The first selection of six songs from that CD he played that night is the rocker Wreck This Heart. It’s the song that grabbed my attention when I saw Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band perform live on the David Letterman Show. That was the night Bob Seger stated publicly there would be a Face The Promise tour. Bob, you so made the right choice!

We are treated to a healthy sampling of the Face The Promise CD continuing with the first hit single, Wait For Me. It’s a riding song that bridges the musical era of Against The Wind to present day Bob Seger. Bob Seger then tells us we can sit down as he has some ballads to sing. His strongest one-two punch unfolds, first with the romantic classic, We’ve Got Tonight. The arena goes wild, couples hold each other closely, singing in unison as Bob serenades them.

Second, Alto Reed steps to the corner of the stage then kneels bathed in spotlight. Alto wails the signature opening notes
of Turn the Page slicing the air like a knife. There is, bare none, no autobiographical rock song better sung live than this all-time standard. Turn the Page validates Bob Seger as the pre-eminent American rock music singer, songwriter.

We start singing low, one step behind Bob Seger as he leads us through his saga. I still recall how hauntingly beautiful it was to stand in the dark of that arena and join one’s voice in harmonic cadence with 18,000 echoes.

On a long and lonesome highway, East of Omaha.
You can listen to the engine moaning out as one lone song,
You can think about the woman, or the girl you knew the night before,
But your thoughts will soon be wandering, the way they always do,
When you’re riding sixteen hours and there’s nothing much to do,
And you don’t feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through.
Here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage.
Here I go, playing star again. There I go, turn the page.

My second favorite moment of the night happens a little later. One I have been waiting to witness for a very long time. Bob Seger reaches back to perform his first commercial hit, Ramblin Gamblin Man from 1968. This is the song that turned me on to Bob Seger’s music when I was in high school.

C’est La Vie (You Never Can Tell) by Chuck Berry follows next, “Taking us even further back”, Bob states. Many critics have said that Bob Seger borrowed heavily from Chuck Berry’s sound. It’s only fitting Bob Seger pay homage
to Chuck Berry by returning to the roots of his rock and roll idiom. Fans of the movie Pulp Fiction movie fans may recall Chuck Berry’s rendition of C’est La Vie was the backdrop for the infamous dance sequence by Uma Thurman and John Travolta.

Sunspot Baby, Horizontal Bop and Katmandu are strung together and end the regular portion of the show. Bob Seger plays sing along leader as he points the microphone out to the audience for the response line, “Everybody wants to do the Horizontal Bop”. I must admit Sunspot Baby takes on a new dimensionality when performed live.

Bob Seger treats us to two distinct encores saving his biggest hits for the end of the night. The first encore features Night Moves, then the visual movie epic Hollywood Nights. I flashback to a night in my past in the Hollywood hills at night driving back from Burbank with the lights of L.A. across the valley below us.

The second encore commences with Against The Wind, a rich, musical tapestry written with several members of the Eagles.

The night is capped off with the best loved rock and roll song of Bob Seger’s repertoire, Rock and Roll Never Forgets. We all join in as we shake em down, a little bit older and a lot more bolder than we used to be.

So you’re a little bit older and a lot less bolder than you used to be
So you used to shake em down, but now you stop and think about your dignity
So now sweet sixteens turned sixty-one, you get to feeling weary when the work days done
Well all you got to do is get up and into your kicks, If you need a fix
Come back baby, Rock and Roll Never Forgets (Thank God!)

Thank you, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band for coming to New York City and playing for us. We had the absolute best time ever singing and dancing for two hours straight. Please come back soon!

Set List:

Roll Me Away
Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You
Wreck This Heart
Old Time Rock and Roll
Wait For Me
Face the Promise
No Matter Who You Are
Betty Lou’s Gettin’ Out Tonight
We’ve Got Tonight
Turn the Page
Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser

(8 Minute Intermission)

Ramblin Gamblin Man
C’est La Vie (You Can Never Tell)
The Answer’s in the Question
Sunspot Baby
Horizontal Bop

1st Encore:
Night Moves
Hollywood Nights

2nd Encore:
Against the Wind
Rock and Roll Never Forgets

Chanson & New Orleans: The French Connection

Chanson (French for “song”) refers to any song with French words, but more specifically classic, lyric-driven French songs, European songs in the cabaret style, or a diverse range of songs interpreted in this style. A singer specializing in chansons is known as a chansonnier.*

Coincidentally in early 2007 we discover some radical departures recordings from two major popular male and female artists that intersect at the point of chanson. The first artist, Belinda Carlisle, formerly of the 80’s female group the Go-Go’s and then a varied solo career has released a chanson recording entitled Voila on Rykodisc.

Belinda has been a 13 year resident of France, where we learn that the culture permeates her muse. Her first solo recording in 10 years is a tribute to the greatest French male and female chanson artists such as Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg, Francois Hardy and Edith Piaf to name but a few on this winning experiment of style and substance. If you add the genius touch of Monsieur Brian Eno on keyboards you begin to fully decipher what magic is transgressing here.

The second artist to be on the listen for is Harry Connick Jr. Harry has been majorly involved in the resurrection and preservation of his beloved home town, New Orleans, Louisiana. The French Cajun stronghold of this beloved Crescent City holds the key to an additional experiment in historical culture. Chanson du Vieux Carre on Rounder Records. It was conceived as a companion recording to Harry Connick Jr.’s Oh My Nola, which contains the beautiful song , “All These People”. (Hear it here, you will be moved,

“The song is all about the people who were left stranded at the Convention Center, with the verses describing what I saw as I was taken through by a kind fellow I had met on the street earlier that day named Darryl.” Harry Connick Jr.

Chanson du Vieux Carre is a celebration instrumental recording. The album presents twelve big band tracks, including three penned by Connick, that effectively explore the diverse tapestry of New Orleans’ native music.**

(A portion of all proceeds from the album will be donated to New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village, a wonderful giving project established by Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis to provide affordable housing for displaced musicians and other families)


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