Tuesday, November 27, 2012

HEART: 2013 Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Heart was recently nominated (not for the first time) to be inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, along with a venerable group of nominees, including my picks: The Meters, Deep Purple, Albert King, and Rush. All truly remarkable, all memorable, all who have put their stamp on music history. And for the first time in history, fans themselves will have the opportunity to help determine who gets in. 
Between October 4 – December 3, 2012, YOU can vote for the five nominees you believe most belong in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. 
Voting ends December 3. Vote now! http://rockhall.com/get-involved/interact/poll/

Ann and Nancy Wilson
How do you know if a band truly belongs in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame? Is it the number of fans, number of hits, years on the road, recording revenue? Is it the number of tribute bands that have sprung up in its wake? 

Heart in 1977, the year "Dog and Butterfly" put them on The Map

Heart's original members, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Michael DeRosier, Roger Fisher, Steve Fossen, and Howard Leese, still rock on, influencing countless original songwriters, musicians, and tribute bands. The magic and whimsy of their creative songwriting pair with sheer rock chops--and that incredible Voice--powering their music on. Many of their songs are woven into the soundtrack of my life: Dog and Butterfly, Magic Man, Crazy on You, Barracuda, Little Queen…the list goes on. These sisters get my vote!!
The Wilson sisters rockin' out with Fergie. That's Nancy on guitar--and she can really Kick It Out!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Strange Tones Take Port Angeles

Crisp late summer day, perfect for a trip out to the Olympic Peninsula for the Port Angeles Blues Festival. As we cruised through a grove of sunlit fir trees and slid into the parking lot, we could hear the sound of rock music. Oh, I mean Blues, 'scuse me.

Strange Tones do it up at Blues Festival

That's the thing about The Strange Tones. They're one of those hip retro bands that easily moves between genres: rockabilly, blues, rock, pop, even a little country. Playing ALL THEIR OWN ORIGINAL MATERIAL! With so many tribute bands and cover bands out there, it was refreshing and very interesting to listen to a full set of original songs. And they can really write. The husband-wife team of Julie and Andy Strange (easy to name your band when "Strange" is your real last name) write a nice mix of catchy, danceable, and melodic songs that harken back to music you'd hear in those little surfside roadhouses in southern California.

And on top of the great writing, their musicianship is top-notch. Julie plays a rockin' turquoise blue Strat, while husband Andy holds and rolls it on bass, and Suburban Slim growls and scowls a fine rhythm guitar and vocals. J.D. is one of those fine (and rare) drummers who knows dynamics, with that tricky combination of soft hands and a pounding bass, making it look easy. But wait! Remember those Pete Townsend guitar moves? All three (including bass) strut and arch in a line-up, coming at the audience. Love it!!

Their disk "Crime-a-billy," recorded in a secret, under-volcano location "to protect and serve your ears," literally takes control of your shuck and jive dancing feet. I especially like the fun and funny song "Something Stinks" which reminded me of early Brian Setzer material when he was at his finest. Melodic while punchy, the song deserves a better name! Get their "Crime-a-billy" disk on Meteor Sonic Records.

From Portland, Oregon, this band tours from Vancouver to Southern California in the summertime. They're back in their secret studio recording now. I'll be looking for their next gig!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LEED Zeppelin Wows Seattle

Why are there so few Led Zeppelin cover bands? Why are even fewer worth seeing? Because it's virtually impossible to nail Robert Plant's voice.

Enter Brandon Wisley, new lead singer for Leed Zeppelin. Brandon owns the experience with complete authority. With leonine swagger and curly locks, Brandon prowls the stage, waiting for the exact moment to unleash his tremendous vocal fury. Then, with artistry and modulation he woos such emotion out of Led's ballads, damsels beware. Not only does he nail the voice, but he exudes that Sex and Rock n' Roll animal magnetism with which Robert Plant was so mightily endowed.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck as I witnessed sublime and a heart felt renditions of some LedZepII material, which, in my opinion, is their zenith. To pull off a good Led cover, all the players have to be balls-out rock, and this band does it. Jeff Nelson on bass stoically rammed the beat home with Rich Rios and Chris Kiger. They are local boys, mostly from Black Diamond, with one member from another Led cover band called Kashmir, all superb.

Friend their Facebook band page, and check out upcoming shows.