Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Love Letter

My wife Heather and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary last month. Heather and I have been through a lot. Ups and downs, warm days on the beach, and cold nights with no heat. With all we've been through, we've learned to appreciate life, and we've learned to appreciate each other. Our friends say we're 'cute' and call us romantics. And sometimes we finish each other's sentences like in the movies. But, nobody, and I mean NOBODY can get make me as angry as Heather. It doesn't happen often, thankfully. But like all couples do, we have our moments when things are, shall I say.. Less than friendly. And while we don't love each other any less, we don't like each other much at all. But that's what great about the ones we love. They make us feel. Good or bad, they can make us feel our strongest emotions. And when I look at my wife, I can't help but shake my head...

Sam & Ruby
Ain't Love Somethin'
The Here & Now (2009)

This song was in a movie I saw called "Hope Springs" about a couple in counseling. One of the reasons I love music is because to me it is evocative. Emotion, memories. Music always brings something. This song, like a million others reminds me of my sweet wife. "Ain't Love Somethin" is different than a lot of other love songs however. It isn't a fairy tale. "You're the most beautiful ever" kind of song. But it's not 'Why did you leave and break my heart?" either. To me, it captures what love truly is. A mystery. How can you explain how someone can have the secret formula to piss you off in minutes, and yet you'd lay your life down for them without thinking? And yet the people we love, our parents, our children, our friends, our spouse. They drive us crazy, but love 'em to death, don't we?

"It's like the sunshine. And it's like the rain. You bring me pleasure and you bring me pain. I'm in over my head. Got you under my skin. Ain't love somethin?"

I can't put it any better than that.

Ben Taylor
Fire & Vain
Live at the Bing Lounge

So this song is cool, because Ben Taylor covers his own song (Lady Magic) with a mashup of hits from bits and pieces from his famous folk using loop technology. Take the guitar hook from "Fire and Rain" by his dad James Taylor and mash it with the bass line from  "You're So Vain" by mom Carly Simon and you get, (wait for it) Fire and Vain! Ben is a talented singer/songwriter on his own, but seems to have fun with this one, and doesn't seem to mind playing in the shadow of his famous folks. If you get a chance, be sure to check out Ben Taylor's latest album "Listening" available on iTunes and Amazon music

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Seven Day Sample

Day I

In honor of the late great Joe Sample, I'm going to post a mini-post. A sample of Joe Sample, as it were (C'mon, it had to be done)

For Today's sample we have

Viva De Funk
The Crusaders
Rural Renewal - 2003

The song is a re-record from Joe's album entitled 'Did You Feel That?'

The Crusaders' version is a littgle more upbeat and has a lot more of a funk feel than jazz.  Check the other one out, and  let me know what you think. Comments, followers, I need 'em!

Be sure to check out my new YouTube Channel. More great music.
Ideas for a review? Suggestions? Send me an email:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spotlight on Joe Sample

Spotlight on Joe Sample

I was fully prepared to write a review on Blue Eyed soul. Ok, not fully prepared. I hadn't decided whether to write about Paolo Nutini, or Jamie Lidell, but either way, I was ready to get it done. Ready to publish by Monday. But then this morning, Heather told me.. 'Joe Sample Died'

Wait, what? Say that again

If you know who Joe Sample is, you know what a tremendous loss this is to the jazz world, and to music as a whole. If you don't you've missed out on the talent's of one of our time's greatest musicians. Greatest composers. Greatest performers. Joe Sample was simply great. As a founding member of the Jazz crusaders, later shortened to simply the "Crusaders" Sample pioneered the Jazz R&B Fusion of the '70's and 80's. Nicole Kidman sang his song "One Day I'll Fly Away" in the Baz Luhrmann film Moulin Rouge. The very popular "In All My Wildest Dreams", also from the 1978 album "Rainbow Seeker", was sampled on Tupac's "Dear Mama", De la Soul's "WRMS's Dedication to the Bitty" and Arrested Development's "Africa's Inside Me".

Joe's music also had a huge impact on me personally. There were four jazz musicians that really got me interested in jazz. That four that I liked just because I liked them. Two saxophone players (David Sanborn & Najee) One female jazz singer (Diane Scuur) and one Pianist. Mister Joe Sample. His song 'Looking Glass' was playing when my sister walked down the aisle. The ceremony was interrupted by a neighbor who's son would become my best friend Ben... But I digress, either way, Joe was there.

There are three or four songs.. Three or four, that the first time I heard them I was in love.
Oh Atlanta by AKUS Nothing I Can Do by Ben Taylor Who Is He (And What Is He To You) By  Bill Withers

Put It Where You Want It
Live at Montreaux 1997

Joe Sample - Piano
Marcus Miller - Bass
Eric Clapton - Guitar
Steve Gadd - Drums
David Sanborn - Saxophone

Now let me be clear. You don't have to like this. BUT if you're reading this, and you call yourself my friend you will. Or you won't tell me if you don't. I happen to think, regardless of the naughty title "Put It Where U Want It" is one of the baddest songs ever. And it's common knowledge that Steve Gadd the dude who rocked the drums on that track was born and bred in in the Roc. But did you know he now lives in Scottsdale, AZ?

Joe Sample, however was not only a fantasic lead man, he was also a top notch session pianist. He played piano on one of my all time favorite songs. When I was in Jr. High, and High school, I didn't get many dates (Crazy, right?) so I spent a lot of time listening to my mom and my grandmother's old records. By the time I was in 10th or 11th grade, I had a pretty sweet collection going, and me and my gang of misfits got to know some great music. We may not have had dates, but me and my buddies were the only guys rocking to Bobby Womack and Al Green on Saturday Night (Thanks Grandma Betty). But there was one album. One record that I wanted but could not find. I searched the bins at the Record Archive, dug through the piles at the Great House of Guitars, but to no avail. No matter where I looked, I could not find Michael Franks' "The Art Of Tea" Then one day my mom called from her car phone, which in 1994 was pretty cool. "I found your Michael Franks record" It was at a garage sale. My mom found "The Art Of Tea" at a garage sale. And now that I had my Michael Franks record I could listen to

Michael Franks
The Art Of Tea
Popsicle Toes

I didn't know until years later that Joe Sample and the rest of the Crusaders played all the instruments on Michael Franks' album The Art of Tea. I'm a huge Michael Franks fan now, and that's thanks in large part to Joe Sample's contribution.

In the 1980's Warner Brother's music had a whole slew of Jazz artists that I just loved. Al Jarreau, David Sanborn, George Benson, the list goes on and on. This crop of jazz artists change the way I look at music, and Joe Sample was at the center. And you can't look at Joe Sample without looking at his collaboration with Randy Crawford. Joe Sample & Randy Crawford were a match made in heaven. Joe wrote Randy's big hits Street Life, and One Day I'll Fly Away, which Nicole Kidman sang in Moulin Rouge, and Randy Crawford won a Grammy.
Joe Samples solo work is amazing, and on it's own can be spoken about for decades to come, but him and Randy Crawford have an undeniable chemistry. In the studio, on stage, it really doesn't matter. Whenever these two get together you know something wonderful is going to happen.  About 5 or six years back I got Joe Sample & Randy Crawford's CD Feelin' Good for Christmas. I'm not being dramatic, or overstating at all. I enjoyed it more than any gift I got that year. I also got an iPad that year. I know what you're thinking, and trust me. I APPRECIATED the iPad a TON more, and the CD was certainly replaceable. But in terms of hours of use? Joe & Randy won. In the car, in the shower, making dinner. I listened to it everywhere. That album contains one of my favorite covers of my favorite songs

Randy Crawford
Featuring the Joe Sample Trio
Everybody's Talkin'

In a little bit of trivia. Upright bass player Niklas Sample in this video is Joe's son.

Finally, a sad yet beautiful love song, again by Joe & Randy Crawford. Again another absolute favorite. Almaz is quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Joe Sample's music touched us all. In ways you don't know, but certainly would recognize, you've heard Joe Sample. Jazz lovers, piano players, music lovers. We have lost one of our greats today. God Bless you Joe. He certainly blessed us with you

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Spotlight On Ryan Montbleau

 This blog is called 'I love that song' and there are very few of Ryan's that I don't say that about. I play his music often, and if you've spent any time with me you've undoubtedly heard it. In my opinion (and it's my blog, so mine is the only one that matters) as a singer/songwriter Ryan is in the class of the elites. Paul Simon, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder. But Ryan Montbleau is truly at his best in front of an audience. A Ryan Montbleau Band show isn't just a concert, it's an experience. Ryan clearly gets energy from playing in front of an audience, and he in turn shares that energy. In the end everyone wins. The band constantly hones and reinvents their songs, keeping them familar, yet fresh and new at the same time. They've been known to cover artists across various eras an genres from The Allman Brothers to Ween to Harry Belefonte. And we all know how I feel about covers. I've had the pleasure of seeing the Ryan Montbleau Band three times, and I haven't been disappointed yet. Then there are the fans. Once while having casual conversation with a middle aged professional and his wife, my wife got hit on by a very attractive blonde woman. At a different show, some girls came up to me and my buddies and asked if we liked to have our eyeballs licked during intercourse (seriously). Not to mention the glow sticks and hula hoops. LOTS of fans take his recording of 'Sweet Nice 'n High' literally, and are happy to put it into action. When it comes to having a good time, us Montbleau fans don't mess around. I wasn't at Woodstock, but I'm guessing it was kind of like this. My only complaint is that I wish they'd take the stage before midnight.. (This happens when you get closer to 40). Without further ado, on to the review!

Heather and I started making our 'Bucket List' this week. You know, things we want to do before we die. With my current condition(s) we have discussions like that often. We've always wanted to go to Bora Bora and swim in the ocean. Personally, I've always wanted to see the Seven Wonders of the World. But at the top of that list, at least for me; is to see the Ryan Montbleau Band play at Gathering Of The Vibes. Gathering of the Vibes is a music festival in Bridgeport, CT where they literally erect stages on the beach. What better way to spend a weekend than on the beach listening to kickass music with an ocean breeze in your face? The first Ryan Montbleau Band song I heard was the one below. I was in York, PA laying on my friend's parents' sofa at midnight watching YouTube videos because I couldn't sleep. eMusic had recommended Ryan's album 'One Fine Color' in the past, and I never listened to it, but now YouTube was recommending them again, so I figured there must be something to it.

Ryan Montbleau Band
Here Et Al
Gathering Of The Vibes 2010

I loved 'Here et al.' the first time I heard it. And the second. And the third. As I recall I played it three or four times. Just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I searched for another song. I  liked Maroon 5 the first time I'd heard them too, and I wasn't going to make that mistake again. I listened to the rest of the album on eMusic and it was great. Every song. The from introspective 'Chariot (I know) to the reggae infused Songbird, not a bad track among them. I decided the first chance I got I was going to see these guys in concert, and right then and there decided to look up their concert schedule. In a bit of Alanis-like irony, while I was discovering Ryan's band in on a couch in York, PA,  they were playing a show in my home town of Rochester, NY. That very night, that very moment. I just happened to be 300 miles away. In the next few weeks, I started looking for every bit of Ryan Montbleau music I could find, which brought me to...

Ryan Montbleau Band
Electric Avenue
Gathering Of The Vibes - 2008

Some of you fellow childen of the 1980's might remember this one. If not, let me refresh your memory. It too is a reggae song, by one (pop) hit wonder Eddie Grant. I always liked the original, but I never listen to it anymore, and was impressed with my new favorite band's rendition. It's not as much reggae as much rock, and the wah-wah guitar Ryan plays in out of this world. One more fantastic performance. Sadly, the Ryan Montbleau Band wrapped up their final tour in Boston last December so chances are I won't get to see them play at Vibes. But all is not lost. Ryan still tours, and still surrounds himself with top notch musicians.

This year at vibes Ryan's set was titled "Ryan Montbleau & Friends" It was as good as ever, and you can listen to courtesy of the Live Music Archive. The Archive is a completely free, completely legal website where music lovers post (you guessed it) live music from artists who allow taping of their shows.
Ryan also regularly recorded his concerts and sold them after at his merchandise table with the t-shirts and CD's. If you go to the store on his website, you can purchase concerts spanning almost a decades worth of touring. The 'Bleauleg' shows are a good place to start, as well as the final shows at the Paradise Rock Club. The shows can be downloaded for free, or you can make a donation, which I encourage you to do. Ryan spends a large majority of time on the road, and doesn't get some of the superstar tour bus perks that your Katy Perry's and Lady Gagas get. Which is a shame, considering he's so talented, and they're so not. Anyways if you enjoy his music, show him by supporting him.

Monday, September 1, 2014

I love that song!

So, here we go again, another Blog, another post. For the three of you that regularly read Food for Thought, it's not dead, I just can't bring myself to write the social commentary right now. Ferguson, Syria, state of affairs in Washington. So much to say, and everyone's already saying something. I'm sick of hearing about it, honestly. So I figured, I'd blog about what I use to escape from all that crap.. As much of a news junkie I may be, I can stop watching, reading whatever (really I can) whenever I want. Music, however is something I can never escape from.

Music is a part of me. I have bass lines in my veins and lyrics in my bones. My biggest heroes are musicians and songwriters (Sorry King David). If you want me to memorize something, put it in a song. I still remember songs I sang in music class in third grade. (Ever heard about SeƱor Don Gato? Google it.)

Because of my love of music, I'm always looking for my new favorite. I have a new favorite song, band artist every week. And every week or month, or year, depending how much I like them, I play their songs to death. Christine Kane, Dire Straits, Alison Krauss, Forest Sun.. The list is endless. All artists who have ridden shotgun as favorites. Then there are the few that make the permanent list. Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Michael Franks, David Sanborn, and of course the great Ryan Montbleau Band. I found them completely by accident about 6 years ago, but they quickly moved into the favorite spot.

Which brings me to the blog. Whenever I can, I share my new favorite artists, songs whatever with the people around me. So here it is. Every week or so, I'll try to share my favorite song with you, should I find one. I'm also on a constant hunt for covers. A reinterpretation of a song that I know and love or even better a song I hate that now sounds fantastic.

So, without further ado, Here it is.


I don't know why I haven't heard of these guys (and gal) before now, but better late than never right? Both familiar, and new at the same time. sound is just infectious to me. Simply written, and easy to follow the magic is in performance. The lead singer said himself anyone with a basic understanding of guitar playing could play his songs. But playing and performing are two different things entirely.

Wesley Keith Schultz the lead singer has a voice that channels Bob Dylan. While not suited to a Nat 'King' Cole style ballad, as a folk singer, his voice fits the song like a finely tailored suit.The Lumineers are a folk rock band, based in Denver, Colorado. The two founding members and songwriters of the Lumineers are Wesley Schultz (lead vocals, guitar) and Jeremiah Fraites (drums, percussion). Schultz and Jerimiah Fraites began writing and performing together in New Jersey in 2005 after the death of a loved one. Neyla Pekarek joined the band in 2010. Ben Wahamaki and Stelth Ulvang joined the band as full-time members in 2012.

At first 'Dead Sea' sounds ordinary, run of the mill. But it's catchy. I found myself singing it for hours after stumbling across the video on youtube last week. By the end of the week, I'd sought out as much Lumineers stuff as I could find, 'cause that's what I do. The words are simple, and yet full of double meaning and entendre. The I always get a kick out of watching artists who love performing, as these guys (and gal) clearly do. If you like folk rock, or 'Americana' music, I think you'll like the Lumineers

This was recorded in the Bing Lounge for the "KINK Sessions" I have no idea who D. Vincent Williams is, and quite honestly I don't care. The focus here is on his band, and that's clearly for the good. It takes a big set of cajones to cover Stevie Wonder. The Cold Wet Chili Peppers recorded a horrendous version of Stevie's masterpiece "Higher Ground" that makes me want to squash Flea like a bug. But 'Shades' doesn't try to imitate Stevie. He also doesn't try to re-write the song. He takes a really REALLY great song, and knocks it out of the park. At the beginning of the video Williams says That Brown played bass with Curtis Mayfield, which explains a lot. You don't get chops like that backing up Pat Boone.

This is a link to a YouTube search, where you'll find fantastic live music.  It's how I found the two tracks above. Check it out, you can thank me later.

This Is a link to my profile. I always want to hear what others are listening to, If you use Last.FM let me know! You can see my top tracks below