1994 Articles

by Tim Van Schmidt

Tom Prasada-Rao

Singer-songwriter Tom Prasada-Rao is not just an up and coming acoustic star. Rao is coming and going, going, going. Just take a look at his most recent newsletter. Inside is news of Rao’s triumphs at music festivals and showcases all over the country, including the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Kerrville Folk Festival, the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin and the BMI New York showcases. It also charts Rao’s sensational performance and workshops at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons this last summer- playing and teaching with such respected names as David Wilcox, Peter Rowan, Janis Ian and Patty Larkin. Add in the news of other traveling showcases, Rao’s music being included on several compilation CDs and upcoming tour dates that stretch from New York to Louisiana and Texas to Virginia and you have a very active artist.

But, of course, activity alone doesn’t make for a respected, sought-after musician and that’s why the biggest news about Rao is his brand new release, “The Way of the World” on the independent Ahimsa Acoustics label. The album indicates clearly what all the fuss is all about. On “The Way of the World,” the tone is light, sensitive, yet passionate and the sound is crisp and clean. Rao’s vocals are pure and direct and his guitar work is infectiously rhythmic. His original songs carry a great deal of soul made exotic by tasty tabla work, background vocals and a touch of strings. This is progressive music at its finest- robust and delicate at the same time. This all makes Rao’s opening set for the upcoming Michael Hedges show on Sunday all the more exciting. But don’t worry, premiere guitarist Hedges won’t be upstaged. He’s got a new release himself, titled “The Road to Return” on High Street Records and he’s bringing bass guitar hero Michael Manring onstage to make things even more interesting.

Willie and Lobo: It was the summer of 1993 and a small audience gathered at Avogadro’s Number to check out a new acoustic music duo named Willie and Lobo. What those lucky few witnessed was music full of rhythmic excitement and soaring melody, mixing Latin, gypsy, Middle Eastern and Cajun stylings with just a fiddle and a guitar. Only shortly after that performance, Willie and Lobo’s debut album, “Gypsy Boogaloo” on Mesa/Bluemoon Recordings, soared to number two on the Billboard world music chart, spending eight months on the chart and selling over 30,000 copies. Willie is violinist Willie Royal, who has played with some of the finest musicians in the southeast including Gregg Allman, Dickie Betts and Neil Larsen. Lobo is Wolfgang Fink, who developed his flamenco guitar technique while living in the caves of Spanish Sacomonte, Spain, studying under the gypsy masters of the region. The two met in the resorts of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where they are still based, making music and surfing. Now, the duo is touring to support their new Mesa release, “Fandango Nights,” another spicy take on international sounds as captivating and fresh as “Gypsy Boogaloo.”And, as though to give Fort Collins audiences a second chance, Willie and Lobo are scheduled to appear at Avogadro’s on Thursday.

Rene Heredia

The art of flamenco isn’t just one thing, it’s three. But when you speak with guitarist and teacher Rene Heredia about it, the lines blur between flamenco singing, dancing and guitar playing until the three things become one. There are clear cut components to flamenco that can stand on their own, but the art does not come to full bloom without all three parts.

“To have all the flamenco is like seeing a movie in cinemascope or 3-D. It’s like seeing the whole panorama,” Heredia said in a phone interview recently from his home in Denver.

Heredia should know what he’s talking about because he has had a long and colorful career that has seen him perform internationally with some of the world’s finest dancers and musicians. He teaches both flamenco dance and guitar and is considered the only active gypsy flamenco guitarist left in the world. For Heredia, born in Granada in the south of Spain, flamenco is not just a passion, but also a very natural part of his life.

“It’s part of my life, it’s part of my lifestyle because I was born into it,” Heredia said. “It wasn’t something that I learned when I was eighteen or nineteen or went to an academy to learn it. It was show and tell. My father taught me. He said ‘now here is the guitar, this is what you do. Here, now do it.’ We had one guitar- his guitar- so we had to switch back and forth.”

Heredia learned flamenco guitar from his father and learned the dancing from his sisters who also sang and played guitar. Flamenco was in his blood and through early concert and television appearances, he came to the attention of Carmen Amaya, considered to be the best dancer Spain has produced in this century. Amaya enlisted a young Heredia, at the age of sixteen, to be her lead guitarist as have other dancers since then including Jose Greco, Maria Rosa and Anotinta Moreno. Heredia studied with master flamenco guitarist Sabicas and has performed for such dignitaries as Prince Ranier and Princess Grace of Monaco and Armand Hammer. His album, “Alborada Flamenca,” was awarded the Grand Prix de Disque of France and Heredia has appeared on numerous national radio and television shows including the Ed Sullivan Show, the Steve Allen Show, the Art Linkletter Show and the N.E.T. concert specials. Just recently, Heredia joined drummer Stewart Copeland, formerly of the band the Police, in an internationally composed band called the Rhythmatists for a tour in the United States. Heredia’s success denies the popular concept most of society has for those who choose to make music for a living. But that denial has not been without some cost.

“They say the definition of a musician is never give up your day job. Well, I’ve never had a day job in my whole life. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always played the guitar and I was always good enough to make a living on the guitar because I used to study ten and twelve and fifteen hours a day for many years,” Heredia said.

The result is a wealth of experience that he passes on to his audiences at his concerts and to his dance and guitar students.

“I like to educate my audience as I’m playing,” Heredia said.”I tell them a little bit about where the music’s coming from, what the background of the music is and how and why it is incorporated into flamenco so the people get a little more of an education out of it. It’s more interesting to them because you know, in America, flamenco is a foreign music.”

When performing a solo guitar concert, as he is scheduled to do at the Sunset Jazz Club on Saturday, he uses his experience to try to bring out the full flavor of the art of flamenco while really only presenting one facet of it.

“I do a lot of tapping on the guitar to imitate the foot work of the dancer and I do a lot of slurs to indicate the singing and the falsetto of the singer, so I try to encompass it all in the guitar,” Heredia said.

Even though Heredia keeps busy playing solo guitar concerts, engagements with his group Rene Heredia and the Flamenco Fusion or his dance company, the Flamenco Fantasy Dance Theater, as well as teaching, he still finds new angles to his art.

“I’m always learning new things about the music and about the guitar itself because the guitar is a never ending process. You’re always finding new chords and new ways of doing things and new ideas,” he said.

For Heredia, the path of the flamenco artist has not been so much a way to make a living, but a way to share and pass on the culture he grew up with. And a way to touch immortality.

“Literature, architecture, painting, music- these are all the forms that can make a man immortal. Nobody remembers the bankers of Rome, they remember the poets and the artists. So you can make a lot of money, but money is only relative. If you’re a true artist, you’re dedicated to your art no matter what happens,” Heredia said.

Heredia is currently at work on a new album project with a mandolin player, a bassist and a drummer that will explore not only traditional flamenco music, but also music from South America and the Caribbean.


It was sometime in 1992, and when harpist Magic Dick and guitarist Jay Geils looked at the clock, it said “blues time” to them.

Since the 1984 breakup of the J. Geils Band, the pair had been working in different directions. Geils had built an automotive restoration and maintenance business and Dick was working on a U.S. patent for over two hundred harmonica tunings. It took a fledgling blues band in Massachusetts to coax Geils back to the stage.

Meanwhile, artist Peter Pontiac invited Dick to front a Dutch blues band at a three-day cartoon festival in the Netherlands. When the two compared notes, it became clear that they both wanted to play some more blues. Dick and Geils then formed a new band with veterans of the American blues scene and called it Bluestime. Their mission is direct and clear- play the blues, a roots music that much of contemporary music owes its life to.

“Those musics that have really cut through with wide popularity have significant elements of blues in them, even though people don’t think of them as blues. Blues is really basic to music in this country and around the world,” Dick said by phone recently.

Of course, the blues is not new to Dick and Geils or their Bluestime band mates. In the early days of the J. Geils Band, they regularly jammed with the likes of Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker. The blues, in turn, highly influenced the J. Geils Band’s white-hot rock that kept them playing together for fifteen years and fourteen albums.

The new band’s music is mature, classic blues on their recent first release, “Bluestime,” on Rounder Records. With the help of vintage instruments and a lifetime of experience, the group powers through tunes by Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters and B.B. King. The music swings, rocks, moans and shuffles with the best of them, proving that it isn’t just what you play, but how you play it that’s important with blues.

“Skill enters into it a great deal, but skill really means the ability to convey, to communicate. That’s what technique is all about is to be able to communicate ideas and feelings,” Dick said.

While the album reveres the past with spirited and infectious performances, it also may point to the future as well. On the original tune “Full Court Press,” Dick debuts two of the new harps that he developed with partner Pierre Beauregard. The harmonicas, based on new carefully plotted reed tunings, are only still in the prototype stages, but have already earned the name “magic harps” as a result of their revolutionary design.

“I call them ‘magic harps’ because they have magical qualities. Every harp player who’ve ever played them, their minds are just totally blown like they’ve never been before,” Dick said.

But despite the inventions and the history, the important thing for Dick, Geils and Bluestime, who will be appearing at Fort Ram on Monday, is to bring the blues to the people. And playing the club circuit is the best way they know of to communicate the blues to an audience.

“The audience is very, very important in a blues communication. I try to communicate with individuals. That’ why it’s good that you can actually see people. You can see their reaction and you can touch them,” Dick said.

David Lindley

From the awful polyester clothes he is famous for wearing to the mix of fun and great technique in his guitar playing, David Lindley is a jumble of influences.

Lindley has played rock ‘n’ roll and reggae at the helm of his own band, El Rayo-X. He has also been a popular session man, famous for his work with Jackson Browne and diverse enough to record with many other artists including Taj Mahal and Lyle Lovett.

But currently, Lindley is playing with Jordanian percussionist Hani Naser. As a result, the music Lindley and Naser are making may be quite different from the sounds Lindley fans may be used to- the slippery reggae of “Quarter of a Man” or the heavy rock ‘n’ roll of “Mercury Blues,” for instance. Instead, they mix music and cultures, acoustic Hawaiian guitars with Middle Eastern hour glass drums, in a music with open horizons. But don’t worry, the characteristic humor that inevitably turns wacky tunes such as “He Would Have Loved You More Than Eva Braun” and “Tiki Torches at Twilight” into good natured bonding experiences Lindley-style are still part of the show.

Only now, Lindley’s funky sense of rhythm and twisted worldview are accompanied by exotic acoustic instruments that often blend into a sum beyond the two musicians’ parts. Lindley and Naser will be making a rare appearance in Fort Collins tonight at the Sunset Jazz Club.

Bill Staines: A Bill Staines concert is a journey through the back roads of America, with stops at a Wyoming rodeo, a Montana campground, an Alaskan glacier and a Texas roadside cafe. A New England native in his fourth decade as a folk artist with an international reputation, Staines performs with an engaging voice, precision left-handed guitar work and a sense of comic timing to match the best stand-up routine. Staines is also a national yodeling champion and his songs have been recorded by Nanci Griffith, Jerry Jeff Walker, Grandpa Jones and Mason Williams. His travel-oriented tunes are the contemporary version of the old-time troubadour’s work-bringing news and views from afar to all willing to listen to the singer’s tales. Staines will be playing tonight at the Docks with Fort Collins singer-songwriter Barbara Rose opening.

Fretblanket: Formed in 1989, when each of its four members were only 14 years old, British alternative rock band Fretblanket has used the time since to craft a tough, electric rock that balances melodic pop hooks with a loud, thick guitar edge. The results of a pair of UK indie releases are on the band’s debut on the Atlas/A & M Records label, “Junkfuel.” The album demonstrates Fretblanket’s uncanny knack for catchy rhythms and easy melodies, while maintaining a fully electric, almost abrasive sound. The music is like a summit meeting between the Psychedelic Furs, the Godfathers, the Clash and Camper Van Beethoven. Fretblanket is currently touring to support “Junkfuel” and will be bringing their “Fabulous Multi-Media Free-For-All” featuring “Freaks on Film” to the Fox Theater in Boulder on Tuesday.

Hot Dates: Monkey Siren is at the Ale House and the Bob Hollister Band is at Linden’s tonight. Dread Zeppelin is at the Ogden Theater in Denver and Col. Bruce Hampton and the Fiji Mariners are at the Ale House Saturday. Eric Clapton and special guest Jimmie Vaughan open a two night stand at McNichol’s Arena and Blues Traveler does two nights as well at the CU Fieldhouse in Boulder, both starting on Sunday. Widespread Panic will be at CU on Thursday.

The Cramps

Halloween isn’t over.

In fact, it’s just begun for twisted rockabilly band the Cramps.

The Cramps have only just started their first United States tour in three years and their second date on that tour is on Saturday at the Ogden Theatre in Denver.

The Cramps are the high-camp rulers of the art underground, applying over-indulgent electric guitar to roots rockabilly sounds. The band, lead by vocalist Lux Interior and guitarist Poison Ivy, manipulates image and attitude as easily as they twist the primal music of rockabilly into something that you can’t hear anywhere else- a hedonistic celebration of deviance and excess all their own.

Of course, the band is also celebrating the release of their new album, “Flamejob” on the Medicine Label. “Flamejob” continues the saga of the street that the Cramps have become experts at expressing. Grungy, gut-wrenching guitar pushes the basic rhythms while Interior growls and snaps out stories about cars, gangs, sex and rock and roll. Everything in the Cramps’ world is inspected with a cynical eye that loves ugliness and revels in a lifestyle of excess and it’s all moving to a deep rock beat.

The Hatters: Having come up through the same club circuit as Blues Traveler and the Spin Doctors, the Hatters have developed a high-powered, blues-influenced brand of rock laced with funk and folk textures.

On their Atlantic Records debut album, “The Madcap Adventures of the Avocado Overlord,” the influences are clear- mostly the Allman Brothers. The Hatters’ music swings wide between jamming rock and introspective folk material, and the band approaches the same dramatic heights that the Allman Brothers are famous for achieving.

But the Hatters’ music isn’t old music. This is a contemporary band offering a jamming intensity that should make veterans like the Allmans or the Radiators stop and stare. “The Madcap Adventures…” is an upbeat, powerful beginning for a band that is likely to be rocking for years into the future.

The Hatters will be in the Front Range area for several shows including a date at Herman’s Hideaway in Denver on Thursday and at the Fox Theater in Boulder on Saturday, November 12.

Hot Dates: Eddie Palmieri is at the new Bluebird Theater in Denver and Luka Bloom will be at the Fox Theater tonight. Arlo Guthrie is at the Boulder Theater and Samiam will be at the Gothic Theater in Denver on Saturday. Widespread Panic and the Freddy Jones Band will be at CSU on Sunday. Hootie and the Blowfish are at the Fox on Monday, Auburn will be at Fort Ram on Tuesday and Jeffrey Siegel will continue his “Keyboard Conversations” at the Arvada Center for the Arts on Wednesday.

The Starry Night Coffee Company is now bringing in jazz music on Wednesdays, featuring Max Wagner on sax, Marc Sabatella on keyboards, John Johnson on bass and Oscar DeSoto on drums. Shows start at 7:30 pm. The same musicians also play the Sunset Jazz Club every first Thursday of the month.

Also remember to catch Ani DiFranco at the Fox Theater in Boulder and April Wine at Fort Ram on Thursday.

KCSU editorial

Without a doubt, I love music.

That’s why I have served as a music journalist in Fort Collins for the last six and a half years. I interview musicians from all over the world for a weekly column. I review and photograph concerts all over the Front Range. And I collect and listen to records of all genres and from all time periods.

My love of music is also what lead me to first tuning in and enjoying KCSU-FM, and then to sponsoring, writing and producing a concert preview program for the station. A natural outgrowth of this involvement has also been the creation of the Northern Colorado Musicfest, an all-local music festival designed to showcase the incredible talent we have in our own back yard and to directly benefit KCSU with the proceeds from the event that has been held the first weekend of March for two years.

The format change that KCSU underwent in July 1992 was directly responsible for my interest in the station, which until then, had been a non-number on my radio dial. The AAA format that KCSU adopted had the broadest scope of music of any radio station in the region, using diversity and eclectic taste to its best advantage. I couldn’t believe all the good music I was hearing on KCSU and became excited enough to become personally involved.

But more than just playing a wide variety of music, KCSU demonstrated a true interest in the music of our community. Music from local musicians such as Bob Hollister, the Atoll, Kevin Jones and more could be heard on KCSU right next to tunes by musicians such as Nanci Griffith, the Grateful Dead and Richard Thompson. Early on, KCSU recognized that good music is just that- good music, whether made by a platinum selling recording artist or by one of our neighbors.

In this way, KCSU has done more than just respond to our local culture- it has nurtured it and helped give it much needed exposure so that it can grow and thrive. The Northern Colorado Musicfest became the local music community’s way of thanking KCSU for its support and encouragement.

Now, change is once again in the air. After attending the recent public meeting at the Lory Student Center about the proposed changes for KCSU, I came away with a great deal of concern for what will happen to this very valuable cultural resource that the radio station has become in our city.

It seems that a very vocal segment of the CSU student community have decided that KCSU does not serve their best interests and are working to restructure the station in a way that will put programming and the actual operation of the station into the hands of students. While I am in favor of hands-on education and would like to see more student involvement in the real world, I feel that KCSU is something more than just an educational tool. KCSU is a living, breathing part of our community, something that not only offers a service, but also helps our city to grow in a healthy and positive way.

To me, this indicates an important responsibility that both students and the university administration must recognize. What is at stake here is not just control of a laboratory of learning, but something that reaches far beyond the borders of the CSU campus. With this perspective, I am not sure that a completely student-run station is wise for the university’s reputation or for its mission of properly educating students with respect to the world beyond the halls of academia.

Changes at KCSU seem to be inevitable at this point, but I would like to remind those who are charged with drafting this change and the university in general that running a radio station is not just a matter of playing the records you want and holding administrative positions for a semester or two. KCSU is an important public media entity that should be run professionally and with respect. Take those things away and you do the students who wish to participate in radio a major disservice. Certainly give students every chance to participate in something that they help pay for, but also keep in mind that beginners are not equipped with the training and sensibilities that turn a radio station from a joke on the dial to an important cultural resource. I urge the university to maintain KCSU as a professional entity that serves both the students and the community, which should be one thing anyhow.

There will be another public meeting concerning the future of KCSU on Thursday, November 10 in the Clark building, room C142 on the CSU campus. The meeting is scheduled from 5-7 pm and I urge all concerned citizens to go to the meeting and voice their opinions on something that affects us all.

Trout Fishing in America

Trout Fishing in America is a duo that likes doing things together.

They tour all across the country together, playing their widely diverse acoustic music for both kids and adults. They record eclectic, upbeat albums together that they release on their own Trout Records label. And they give interviews together.

When you get Trout Fishing in America on the phone, you get both guitarist Ezra Idlet and bassist Keith Grimwood, and the conversation never gets dull. That’s because the pair that named themselves after a Richard Brautigan book really like their work- playing music and entertaining people wherever they go.

Their enthusiasm is a breath of fresh air in a music scene that sells more mayhem than merriment to mainstream music audiences.

“If you look at a lot of the music coming out today, the MTV-type stuff, a lot of these artists are really suffering to bring you their music. They’re in a lot of pain and it really hurts them to sing the songs that they sing. You can see it in their faces,” Grimwood said in a Trout interview recently. “We don’t happen to feel that way. We like playing music. We play music about stuff that feels good. We’re enjoying life so our music lacks a lot of that horrible pain that these other guys are going through.”

The duo’s attitude toward music is very clear on their recordings. Their latest release on Trout Records is “Who Are These People?” an album that remains positive and light while wheeling through a variety of musical styles. Their penchant for keeping the music menu lively dates back to the pair’s beginnings as a duo- playing the streets after a tour they were on with another band went belly up.

“We were all left to fend for ourselves in foreign country and Keith and I ended up in Santa Cruz, California with no money,” Idlet said. “We decided at that point to open up the guitar case, pull out the upright bass and acoustic guitar and play on street corners.”

“We found very quickly that if you were not entertaining or interesting, people just walked by and didn’t drop a quarter in. Being the kind of guys that wanted to eat, we rapidly developed a really intensely engaging attitude towards entertainment and that really has stuck with us.”

Entertainment to Idlet and Grimwood meant being open to new avenues such as singing for children, thanks to the urgings of certain members of their adult audiences.

“Teachers would come out to our regular shows and they’d say ‘man, my kids would love this stuff. Why don’t you come play for the kids?'” Grimwood said. “We went to elementary schools and we played songs for kids. But we didn’t know any kids’ songs. It didn’t matter- they liked it anyway.”

Since first playing for kids, the Trouts have had kids of their own and have penned some original kids’ tunes. In fact, along with release of “Who Are These People?” came their latest kids’ album, “Mine.” The ten-song collection takes on such poignant children’s subjects such as swimming pools, wishes, dancing and boiled okra and spinach. Trout Fishing in America doesn’t mind working several different markets or playing a variety of musical styles because first, it interests them, and second, they get to keep their jobs.

“We want to be able to play all kinds of jobs so that if one of these things go down, our ship won’t sink,” Idlet said.”Because we do like playing together and we like being able to play the kinds of music that we play. By playing a lot of different kinds of music, we’re pretty much insured employability. We’re lifers.”

George Thorogood

Back to the basics.

That’s the healthy new recipe rocker George Thorogood has come up with to continue the saga of his sixteen year old band, the Destroyers.

Thorogood is back on the concert trail to record a new live album and what he plans on serving up is the gritty guitar basics that he started with at the beginning of his career.

“We’re trying to get refocused on what we were heralded as in the beginning. It was a guitar band. That’s supposedly what we were noted for. People would say ‘you’ve got to see this band. You’ve got to see this guy play guitar. You’ve got to hear this guy play the slide.’ That’s what we built our notoriety on,” Thorogood said by phone recently.

Thorogood put the fun back into his music with last year’s EMI Records release, “Haircut,” playing nothing but roots-basic rock and roll and blues mixed with a lot of good-natured attitude. He pared down his band from five pieces to four and results are positive- good news for Thorogood fans.

“It’s almost like we just started a new band,” Thorogood said. “We have a different approach and we’re working on different material. We’re getting closer to ourselves, which is really good. We kind of wandered away from each other for a few years there, even though we were still a group and we were still performing. The unity that we have now is stronger than ever.”

Also stronger than ever is Thorogood’s commitment to offering a good value for his audience’s entertainment dollar.

“I hope they would at least say that was twenty bucks well spent. That’s my starting point. I want to start with that and build on top of that, so when they come out (of the show)they say ‘twenty bucks, I would have paid forty bucks. ‘That’s my goal,” Thorogood said.

Part of Thorogood’s concern for his audience comes out of being realistic in a world where the horizons of entertainment are so much bigger than they were for even a generation ago.

“Entertainment being what it is today, you have to deliver,” Thorogood said. “You have to do better than you’ve done before. You have to do better than the guy sitting next to you to just keep your head above water.”

“Look at how many stations there are on television. Look at how many movies are out. If a kid gets bored with a record, he goes up the street and rents a movie. It’s not like 25years ago when there were three stations on TV and that was it. There were no video stores. There wasn’t Nintendo. You have to be realistic.”

The realism that Thorogood adheres to is part of what makes him a popular figure on the live music scene. In what Thorogood describes as a “working class following,” he finds fans relating to him because he is more or less just like one of them.

“George drives a Chevy, I drive a Chevy. I never went to college. I’ve got to get up and go to work. George is up there attacking his guitar the same way I change tires down at the bus station. You don’t want to get fired, man. He wants to come back tomorrow. He’s trying to keep the gig,” Thorogood mused about the thoughts of his audience.

“If I’m a hero, I’m a guy that made it. I got out of the 9 to 5 hum-drum. I escaped and the guitar was my weapon of escape.”

And with his guitar, Thorogood hopes to find that one moment of pure escape that only rock and roll can give.

“I want to be like the guy blowing Gabriel’s horn, looking for that one note, you know, that one level of badness,” Thorogood. Thorogood will be at Fort Ram tonight and at the Ogden Theater in Denver on Saturday.

Vince Neil

What hard rock singer Vince Neil got out of being terminated in 1992 by his longtime band Motley Crue, wasn’t disaster.

Instead, Neil got freedom and a fresh start from a career twist that might have left others lying in the dust.

“It’s like the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Neil mused about his new solo career from a recording studio in Chatsworth, CA. “I mean, it’s a lot more work, but it’s more fulfilling. In Motley, you had four guys sharing the responsibilities for everything. Now, everything’s on my shoulders. But that’s the way I like it.”

Neil has just completed his latest recording, tentatively titled “Pirate Radio.” The new album, which follows up on the million-selling success of his first solo album, “Exposed,” was written with and produced by the Dust Brothers. Consisting of production team John King and Michael Simpson, the Dust Brothers have also worked with the Beastie Boys, Tone Loc and the Buck Pets and have introduced Neil to a whole new world of recording technology.

“This is the first time I’ve ever recorded onto computers where instead of having 24 or 48 tracks at your disposal, you have literally an endless supply. Like on one song, we have50 guitar tracks on it…you can do so much more. You’re not limited in any way,” Neil said.

Neil describes the new material as being “bass/drum-oriented rather than guitar-oriented” and characterizes it as “really cool stuff.” But despite an increasing ease in the studio, Neil looks forward to taking the music on the road.

“The songwriting process is a lot of fun and recording is a lot of fun, too. But then the frosting on the cake is going out and playing those songs for people,” Neil said.

Performing, then becomes the natural end of a cycle that perhaps makes too big of a deal about records, charts and numbers.

“When I was sixteen, I didn’t get into music to go record. I just wanted to play and sing. That’s it. That’s where it all starts and that’s ultimately where it all ends,” Neil said.

Despite a passionate love for high performance auto racing and business opportunities like his own line of swimwear, the bottom line is concentration and focus on whatever it is he’s doing. Right now, that’s making music.

“You really have to be focused on what you’re doing to be a success at anything,” Neil said. “Music will always be number one in my life because that’s what I’ve always done.”

Guitarist Brent Woods will be joining Neil and band mates Dave Marshall, Robbie Crane and Vik Foxx for several dates in the area including a show at Fort Ram tonight and at the Ogden Theater in Denver on Saturday.

Hot dates: Singer-songwriter Jeffrey Gaines will be playing the Bluebird Theatre in Denver along with Paula Cole on Saturday, the same day Tom Rush and Maura O’Connell play the Temple Events Center. Boulder public radio station KGNU will be hosting a fundraiser for the station with a “Western Roundup” featuring Sawyer Tom Hayden, Mad Jack Hanks, Liz Masterson and more at the Lincoln Center on Sunday. The Grateful Dead begin a three-night stand at McNichol’s Arena in Denver on Tuesday.

John Stewart

Literally mixing old with new, singer-songwriter John Stewart is poised to release 13 new recordings in a larger collection to celebrate his 30 year music career.

Tentatively titled “Johnny’s Music Box,” the collection features new recordings of Stewart classics such as “Gold,” “Daydream Believer,” “Armstrong” and “The Reverend Mr. Black,” where Stewart is accompanied for the first time in years by original Kingston Trio members Nick Reynolds and Bob Shane.

The celebration is about a career that has seen Stewart rise from being a member of the Kingston Trio, where he composed and recorded songs such as “Road to Freedom” and “One More Time,” to a successful solo career that has seen his album, “California Bloodlines,” chosen as one of the “200 best albums of all time” by Rolling Stone. His song “Daydream Believer” was made a hit by both Anne Murray and the Monkees and his 1979 release, “Bombs Away Dream Baby,” became a top ten album with the song “Gold” reaching the top five.

Stewart’s songs have been recorded by the likes of Nanci Griffith, Roseanna Cash and Joan Baez and in the early 1990’s, he signed to Shanachie Entertainment and has released a new collection, “Bullets in the Hourglass” and re-released his critically-acclaimed album, “Punch the Big Guy.”

“Johnny’s Music Box,” slated for release in early 1995, will not only include new recordings of old songs, but will also contain three new Stewart originals. In advance of the album’s release, Stewart will be performing at the Lincoln Center Canyon West room on Thursday and at the Mercury Cafe in Denver on Saturday, December 10. Fort Collins singer-songwriter Kevin Jones will be opening for both

Robin Trower: Tired of the interference of record company executives and the corporate rat race, famed power guitarist Robin Trower has formed his own record company, V-12 Records, and has released his first independent album, “20th Century Blues.”

Trower’s new album has the elements of the deep blues in it, but most certainly made with Trower’s own unique style. At the heart of “20th Century Blues” is the scorching power-trio sound of Trower and his new band mates, bassist-singer Livingston Brown and drummer Mayuyu. This is the same band context that produced Trower’s classic albums, “Bridge of Sighs,” “For Earth Below” and “Robin Trower Live!”, all of which hit the top ten in the mid-1970’s.

The searing intensity of Trower’s new material has been thoroughly tested before live audiences and the album was recorded live in Sun Studios in Palm Springs, CA. “20th Century Blues” follows on the heels of Trower’s production work on two Bryan Ferry albums and signals a return to the spotlight for one of our time’s most unique guitar stylists.

Trower will be making a rare appearance in Fort Collins on Sunday at Tangz. Fort Collins-area power band Fourth Estate will be opening.

Sloniker/Wind Machine: “On a Winter’s Eve” is a special evening of original and holiday music set for Saturday at the Lincoln Center to benefit Fort Collins ReLeaf, a non-profit organization dedicated to citizen forestry and environmental education.

This third annual holiday concert will this year feature the lively, upbeat instrumental music of Wind Machine, a band that mixes self-invented instruments with guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, bass and drums. Local keyboard favorite Mark Sloniker will also be playing in advance of his fourth recording due soon on the Farenheit Records label. Sloniker will be joined by Mitchell Long on guitar, Mark Raines on drums and Kerwin Brown, whose recent Farenheit CD has been nominated for a Grammy award, on bass.

“On a Winter’s Eve” is scheduled for 7:30 on Saturday and tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for students with children under 12 admitted free with a paid adult. Tickets are available at the Stone Lion Bookstore and at the Lincoln Center box office.

Hot Dates: Intense vocal group Sweet Honey in the Rock return to Colorado after a lengthy absence tonight at the Paramount Theater in Denver. Chuck Pyle will be at the Swallow Hill Music Hall in Denver on Saturday. Sugar is scheduled for the Ogden Theater in Denver on Monday and Joe Jackson will be at the Paramount Theater on Thursday.

Art Garfunkel

When singer Art Garfunkel hits the stage, he’s well prepared.

No matter where he’s performing, Garfunkel maintains an artist’s regimen that begins many hours before show time in a sound check with his band.

“We run through some of the tunes. We make the house feel familiar sound wise,” Garfunkel said recently by phone from his home in New York City. “We joke with the guys to make sure we keep the sense of camaraderie and looseness that goes with music making. After all, we’re not making shoes. We’re trying to bewitch the atmosphere with our notes. So we have to shake out any of life’s earthbound stickinesses so we can take this musical transcendence together and get loose.”

At sound check, Garfunkel works out any kinks that might have developed in his previous show and then takes a break to collect his thoughts about the upcoming performance.

“I avoid food. The guys stay and eat because they’re not making music from their throats,” Garfunkel said. “I go back to the hotel; I take a bath. I think about the specific audience I’m working for. What can I say to these people particularly that’s real and grounded and engaging? I run through the show. Are there any changes tonight? Do I want to substitute anything? I usually think about what I’m going to talk about at that point.”

Soon enough, however, it’s time for the singing star and his co-vocalist and wife, Kathryn Cermak, to head back to the venue to do his personal warm-up exercises, get dressed and go to work.

“I have made a cassette for myself years ago of the tunes that work best for me in the warm-up sense. It begins with lows, notes that are very easy to sing, and then climbs with more intensity, with higher pitched songs in a higher key. As I run through the cassette, singing in unison with the tape, using the tiles of the bathroom in the dressing room to get a sound, I start getting a heart going, get the goose bumps going and feel the singer that I am,” he said.

Add together the time Garfunkel spends at sound check and doing his own vocal work in his dressing room, and he’s already clocked a hefty amount of singing before the audience has even been seated. All the work allows Garfunkel to offer his best when his concert finally begins.

“By the time I’m going to do the show, I will have sung two hours in the sound check and another hour and a half or two in the warming-up sense. So when you hit the show, you have a whole vocal momentum going with the day. You’re definitely lubricated. There’s oil in the machinery. I’m climbing the hill to get to this plateau called show time all day long, “Garfunkel said.

Whether singing in the Far East- Bali, Hong Kong and Japan-in Europe, or America, Garfunkel applies the same care and attention to the pure, clear voice that has been making melodic and emotional music for over thirty years- first as half of the quintessential 1960’s vocal duo Simon and Garfunkel, and then as a successful solo artist. Though Garfunkel has been on stage plenty both in his Simon and Garfunkel years and on his own, the singer still considers his role as a touring musician as something new.

“As a singer who has always been centered in the recording studio, this is like a departure, after thirty-something years, to be a concert artist primarily,” Garfunkel said.

The fact that he is on his own, now sufficiently distanced from his famous singing partner Paul Simon, has given Garfunkel a new sense of satisfaction when it comes time to perform.

“When I was in Simon and Garfunkel, I was so much in the half-light, so much behind Paul, that it’s a kick to say ‘this is the Art Garfunkel concert tonight and I can finally let you know how I talk, what my idea of a concert is, and how I pace things.’ I feel very pleased and proud of my strengths as a musician as if they’ve been saved behind Paul all of my musical life,” Garfunkel said.

Of course, singing is only one of several other outlets Garfunkel has found for having a healthy creative life. After Simon and Garfunkel split up, for instance, Garfunkel took up acting in feature films such as “Catch 22” and “Carnal Knowledge.” Most recently, Garfunkel had a part in the Jennifer Lynch film, “Boxing Helena.”Garfunkel has also taken up the project of walking across America in installments that have taken him from New York to the state of Washington in the last ten years. The walking tends to help everything else he’s doing, including his singing.

“It affects my music in the sense that I feel my soul has been refreshed. The keenness or the appetite that I bring to anything has been approved. It’s just a good health shot to be out there…I feel like I’m adding years to my life, “Garfunkel said.

Garfunkel’s latest record release was last year’s collection of hits and other gems, “Up ‘Til Now,” on Columbia Records. The singer says he has put recording “on the back burner” for now in order to concentrate on touring. Garfunkel begins a three-night stand at the Lincoln Center on Monday with his five piece band that includes guitarist Eric Weisberg and Craig Doerge on keyboards.

Liz Story

Composer and pianist Liz Story loves her instrument.

In fact, the instrument itself somehow supersedes the musician keeping Story on the bench creating delicate, purposeful music.

“When I look at a piano- now there’s a piece of architecture,” Story said recently from a road stop in Ann Arbor, Michigan.”It just begins there. I look at the instrument itself and it’s like if you’re going to build something, if you’re going to take a tree down, having a piano come out of it is pretty wonderful. I really feel an interaction with the instrument. In fact, I wouldn’t be playing music at all if it wasn’t for pianos.”

Story’s love of the piano has resulted in a music career that started with classical training and then expanded to include jazz and improvisational playing. Story has since recorded five albums for the Windham Hill Records label and two more for Novus/BM.

Story’s most recent release is “The Gift,” a solo piano collection of Christmas music that ranges from the sacred to pop tunes, all presented in a uniformly inspired manner. What Story is looking for in the familiar melodies of songs such as “We Three Kings of Orient Are” or “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is a mixture of magic and joy.

“Of all the liturgical events, the event of Christmas is to express joy and the joy can only be justified in the sense of something truly magical,” Story said.

“The Gift” is not only the result of a rich body of material, but also the product of a curious intellectual mind that went beyond the melodies and chord structures to research into the meanings behind the songs. As a self-described “research freak,” Story wanted to mean what she played.

“Ultimately, I can have fun, I can play the music, I can mean it if I feel fulfilled in the questions that I’ve asked. I had to ask the questions,” she said.

The effort Story put into “The Gift,” is only one example of the energy Story puts into other subjects such as astronomy, physics, theology and philosophy. Story maintains her connection to a dizzying number of overlapping interests while she is on the road by visiting local bookstores wherever she goes.

“I am an avid reader. I have hundreds and hundreds of books. My one danger point out on the road is hitting too many bookstores,” Story said.

Story is currently at work on a music project stemming from her interests in astronomy and she is out on the road with the sixth annual Winter Solstice Concert, scheduled at the Lincoln Center on Thursday. The tour highlights the current work of Windham Hill Records artists in a holiday setting, this year featuring Story, the Modern Mandolin Quartet and one of the true masters of the Trinidadian steel drum, Andy Narell. The Modern Mandolin Quartet’s latest recording is “Pan American Journeys,” featuring works by 20th century American composers.

Hot Dates: The Atoll starts a two night stand at Linden’s tonight, while Zuba plays Avogadro’s Number. John Stewart is at the Mercury Cafe in Denver with Kevin Jones on Saturday. Avo’s is sponsoring an “Alternative Crafts Fair and Music Extravaganza” on Sunday featuring five hours worth of regional bluegrass. Danzig, Type O Negative and God Flesh are at the Paramount Theater in Denver on Monday and Tony Bennett plays the Paramount on Thursday.

90.5 Studio Live Benefit for KCSU

The holiday times are traditionally the time of year when friends and relatives get together.

That’s most certainly the theme for the upcoming “90.5 Studio Live” concert planned for Wednesday at Linden’s. This special second annual event brings together many of Fort Collins’ finest musicians¬ in¬ a¬ warm,¬ friendly atmosphere that will not only celebrate the season, but also benefit public radio station KCSU-FM.

“The show is a mini winter fundraiser for us as well as a great cabin fever-reliever,” said KCSU Development Director Kellie Straub. “Naturally, it’s also to celebrate the music of Fort Collins. That’s what it’s really all about- to showcase our town’s music all in one evening.”

While it would be nearly impossible to survey the entire local music scene in one night, this particular show is going to come close. Musicians already confirmed for the concert include the Subdudes’ John Magnie, the Bluegrass Patriots, Kevin Jones, Cary Morin, Bob Hollister, the Better Half and many more.

Last year’s show was sold out and left both the musicians and the radio personalities at KCSU wanting to do it again.

“I’m proud to be asked to perform to help benefit KCSU,” said bluesman Russ Hopkins, who is also scheduled to appear at this year’s show. “It was great fun last year and I’m honored to give them my support.”

“The 90.5 Studio Live show last year was one of the top five live music events I attended in 1993,” KCSU Program Director Deni La Rue said about the event. “A lot of that had to do with the warmth and connection between local music and local radio in a true holiday spirit.”

The connection between local musicians and the radio station actually comes alive on stage for the 90.5 Studio Live event. As musicians take the stage and offer one or more songs to the audience, KCSU on-air personalities such as LaRue, Straub and Dani Cook pull them aside to do short interviews in the midst of the program in what is truly a unique live music experience.

“We’ll have an interview station on stage and do 3-4 minute interviews with some of the musicians, talking about what they’re doing and how it’s going. It can give the audience an idea of how our interviews are done in the studio at the station,” Straub explained.

The 98.5 Studio Live concert was the brainchild of local bassist and songwriter Tim Cook, who this year has worked with Lindens’ manager of in-house promotions Max Wagner in putting together the concert lineup. For musicians like Cook and Wagner, the event is a chance to help support a media outlet that has seen the value of supporting not just local music, but music of all kinds.

“KCSU is absolutely the coolest radio station in the universe because of their commitment to diversity,” Wagner said. “But not just diversity of style, but also in musical eras. It’s a big, wide musical world. There’s so much stuff to hear that it’s a shame to get stuck in any particular niche.”

Just the starting time of the event alone- 7:30 pm- is an attempt to reach out to a more diverse audience, hopefully attracting music lovers who find usual nightclub hours prohibitive considering their lifestyles.

“This gives people who don’t go out to late shows an opportunity to enjoy some great live music,” La Rue said.

Getting so many musicians together, however, is not only an opportunity for the audience to catch up on their listening, but it gives the musicians a chance to play.

“By the end of the night, everybody is jamming together,” Straub said. The concert is being sponsored by Linden’s and Bourbon Street restaurant and will feature a special Cajun food buffet before the show.

Creighton Holley

What you get when you put on Creighton Holley’s album “Survivor” is lots of horns, wailing vocals, thin, sinuous guitar runs and a good, funky beat. It’s upbeat, driving R &B through and through.

But what’s on the album is only part of the story. When the Creighton Holley Band plays out live, audiences are treated to a whole spectrum of music that the band can only described as “funky R & B delta reggae bop.” There’s so many adjectives added to their music because they play so many musical styles in the course of a night’s work. The reason for their musical diversity is clearly the result of the varied backgrounds of the band members.

Guitarist and vocalist Holley grew up to the sound of Philadelphia soul and played with organist Jack McDuff. Holley and drummer Kyle “Big Chief” Roberts played together in Rufus Thomas’ band. Saxman Max Wagner has played with Gatemouth Brown, John Lee Hooker and the Kingsmen. And the whole band, including bassist Mike “Jackpot” Reed, backed Bo Diddley.

Before dropping down to the current four piece band, Holley and his compadres spent seven years working with trombonist JD Kelly as JD and the Love Bandits. Together they recorded and released the “Mad Man From the Heartland” album. Since then Holley released his own album of original material in 1993. Recorded at the Eye in the Sky Sound studio in Laporte, the collection features guest appearances by Wagner, Kelly and other regional musicians such as Tim Glesman and Brad Huff as well as some rough and ready music.

While Holley’s “Survivor” remains rooted in the energetic side of the blues, the album is only the beginning for a band that has so much more to offer including New Orleans rhythms, bebop horn and guitar lines, reggae and even some gospel. The Creighton Holley Band is scheduled to play tonight and Saturday at Linden’s and are currently at work on a new album that has already stirred up the interest of Boulder-based Hurricane Records.

Diana Castro: More R & B is on its way to Linden’s on Thursday when Denver-based band Diana Castro and the Big Time return to town. Castro and the Big Time began to explore and develop their talents in 1985 on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. After leaving Bourbon Street, they became the house band for Downtown West End Market Place/Dallas Alley in Dallas, TX. A year later they arrived in Denver and have been entertaining audiences in the area ever since.

If there was a need to describe her music in terms of other kinds of music, Castro would call her sound “rock funk,” mixing the funky feel of Bonnie Raitt with the sassy rock of Tina Turner. But Castro has an even better way to describe it.”The best way to describe our music is that we are the most energetic ‘people’s band’ you’ll ever hear. That’s our biggest draw, that it’s like one big party. We interact a lot with our audiences and cross a lot of boundaries. If we were to change our name, it would become ‘People’s Band,'” Castro said by phone recently.

Castro and the Big Time mix original tunes with familiar songs from such diverse directions as the Neville Brothers, Bob Marley, Prince, Eric Clapton and Arrested Development. But the bottom line is clear when the band takes the stage and everyone- including the audience- gets down to doing their jobs.”If they’re doing their job, which is to party and have a good time, then I can do my job, which is entertainment,” Castro said. Diana Castro and the Big Time are scheduled to play at Linden’s on Thursday and next Friday.

Hot Dates: Cowboy poet and humorist Baxter Black will be at the Lincoln Center tonight to benefit the Northern Colorado Intertribal Pow-Wow Association. The Rainbow Chorus will beat the Lincoln Center on Saturday. Marshall Crenshaw and Andy York will be doing a special acoustic show at the Fox Theater in Boulder on Sunday.

Big Mouth

Fort Collins-based band Big Mouth doesn’t just want to play a fresh and lively electric rock. They want to make a full-time career out of it.

That’s why guitarist and songwriter Brian D. Jones used his two college business degrees to put together a business proposal, find some investors and get the band recorded.

“We used a business angle to get a little further ahead quicker,” Jones said recently. “I had the business degrees so I figured I may as well try to use them.”

The effort has produced Big Mouth’s upcoming debut album release, “Very First Taste.” The 10-song collection was recorded live at Kiva Recording in Fort Collins and reveals an energetic mixture of funky rock and melodic electricity. Jones and both of his band mates, drummer Casey Milner and bassist Stowe St. Pierre, write the original music Big Mouth plays in a clear group effort.

“They’re all band songs. But one guy is the idea man and if you write it, you sing it. The others then can do what they want as long as it fits into the song,” Jones said.

Big Mouth’s music throws together influences as diverse as punk, funk, groove rock and power pop. Catchy hooks and strong melodies are propelled by driving rhythms and a thick, electric sound making the band’s first recording fresh and active. For Jones, whose personal influences range from Van Halento Duran Duran, the most important part of Big Mouth’s music is quality song craft.

“I need melody for my own good,” he said. “I’m big into melody and cohesive songwriting that flows from beginning to end. But it also has to have this energy.”

The hard work is already paying off for Big Mouth. The band is not only playing in local venues such as Tony’s, the Ale House, Linden’s and Tangz, but also in clubs in Vail, Steamboat and Laramie. Big Mouth has also garnered airplay on KTCL-FM and KCSU-FM in Fort Collins and on KRQU-FM in Laramie. But the goals of this band are much bigger than that.

“We want to be the best we can be. Obviously we want to attract a big record company and become rich stars and that makes us hungry for it,” Jones said. “We’re hungry to be a good band not just here but anywhere. We want to make our skills something to see.”

Big Mouth will be hosting a New Year’s party at Tony’s on Saturday, December 31.

Hot Dates: Other New Year’s Eve action in the area includes the Bob Hollister Band at Linden’s. The Rock Hounds are at the County Cork. The Termites are at Tangz, Lazy Bones at the Ale House, the Resurrected Swing Big Band at the Sunset Jazz Club and Cowtown Boogie at Avo’s. Big Head Todd and the Monsters end a sold-out three night stand at the Paramount Theatre in Denver on New Year’s Eve and Robben Ford and the Blue Line will be playing the Boulder Theater on New Year’s Eve.

Top Ten Concerts of 1994

When the Rolling Stones set out on their 12th tour of North America, the jokes about their age were rampant. But when the band hit the stage for the American leg of the “Voodoo Lounge” tour, there was no doubt about why the Rolling Stones have been called “The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.”The Rolling Stones’ performances at Mile High Stadium in Denver and at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas proved that the band still delivers the best in rock showmanship and topped the list of a great year of live music. Here are my top ten concerts for 1994:

1. Rolling Stones September 15, Mile High Stadium, Denver and October 14, MGM Grand Garden, Las Vegas- It was all there-attitude, volume, spectacle, sex and gritty rock and roll when the Rolling Stones kicked off their “Voodoo Lounge” world tour with a string of American dates. In Denver, the imaginative stage setting and state of the art video system helped fill the arena with some new music and updated versions of classics like “Brown Sugar” and “Honky Tonk Women.” The stage gear seemed superfluous in Las Vegas for the smallest and only indoor venue on the tour. The Stones took the opportunity to become the ultimate lounge band, fronted by a master entertainer, Mick Jagger, who Ron Wood rightly called “The King.”

2. Rickie Lee Jones May 17, Paramount Theater, Denver- Rickie Lee Jones wields her vocal talents like an artist lost in her painting. Her solo acoustic performance at the Paramount Theater was masterful work, Jones playing with her breath, her voicing, the dynamics of the material and even her approach to the microphone.

3. Ozric Tentacles April 26, Fox Theatre, Boulder- English band Ozric Tentacles and cohorts Fruit Salad Lights brought their frenzied, jamming rock and visual hypnotism to the Fox Theater in fine form on their first North American tour. Fruit Salad pounded the stage with oil effects, fractal images and strobes while Ozric burned liked a furnace.

4. Richard Thompson March 25, Fox Theatre, Boulder- A sold-out crowd jammed into the Fox tighter than sardines in a can to see one of the finest songwriters and guitarists on either side of the Atlantic. Richard Thompson obliged by streaking through a hefty survey of the penetrating acoustic ballads, searing rock ‘n’ roll, riveting instrumental breaks and the happy, tongue-in-cheek stage attitude that has endeared him t a growing legion of loyal fans.

5. Grateful Dead November 30, McNichols Arena, Denver- There’s a reason why fans keep going back to Grateful Dead concerts. It’s because show after show, year after year, the Dead consistently deliver their goods- mellow, funky country blues, rock ‘n’ roll, avant-garde space music, and an audience that thrives off of all the good vibes. Let’s not forget their gentle yet creative lighting either. The band’s recent show at McNichols was no exception and all you can say is, to quote their tune, “Loose Lucy,” “Thank you, for a real good time.”

6. Steely Dan September 6, Fiddler’s Green, Denver- With thirteen players in all, including three singers and a vibraphonist-percussionist, a newly reformed Steely Dan offered a thick slice of their cool fusion of funk, jazz and pop at Fiddler’s Green. A slick, smooth presentation helped update the Steely Dan catalog and matched the weather on a perfect summer’s evening.

7. James Brown July 30, Lodo Music Festival, Denver- The “Godfather of Soul” showed Denver how funk and soul are supposed to go- bump and grind and shake and jump. Still fronting a driving band with both singers and dancers, Brown delivered a set of good-time, get-down music made of sweat, sex and rhythm. Brown capped off a day of music that also included Marcia Ball, War, and the Radiators.

8. David Wilcox March 23, Lincoln Center- David Wilcox proved to be a gentle genius at the Lincoln Center, mixing humor, sensitivity, crystal clear guitar work and an easy, warm stage manner. The pleasure was doubled with an excellent opening set by the Bob Hollister Band.

9. Edgar Winter February 16, Linden’s- What do you get when you put Edgar Winter into a trio format with drummer Carmine Appice and book them into an intimate nightclub? You get an unforgettable night of classic rock- hard, heavy, dramatic and loud.

10. Magic Dick and Jay Geils with Bluestime October 24, Fort Ram- Only a small crowd showed, but those lucky enough to see Magic Dick and Jay Geils’ new band Bluestime at Fort Ram were treated to a full plate of nothing but tasty, seasoned blues. The band could swing, get low-down and then blast out some screaming hot licks in a show that demonstrated what only years of experience can add to the blues.

Honorable Mentions: Big Head Todd and the Monsters with the Samples at Moby Arena on February 27. Patty Larkin at the Lincoln Center Mini Theater on March 17. E-Town featuring Michael McDonald, Maura O’Connell and Hazel Miller on April 22. Mick Fleetwood’s Blue Whale at Linden’s on May 5. David Lindley with Hani Nasser at the Sunset Jazz Club on October 28. John Prine at the Lincoln Center on September 30. Have a happy New Year! May it be full of lots of great live music!