Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New: On the pod

New: On the pod

Andy Timmons – Resolution
Andy Timmons – That Was Then, This Is Now: The Best of Ear X-Tacy
Andy Timmons – And-Thology: The Lost Ear X-Tacy Tapes
The Cardigans – Super Extra Gravity
Chris Botti – December
Dweezil Zappa – Automatic
Dweezil Zappa – My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama
Elizabethtown – The Original Score by Nancy Wilson
Halo – Original Soundtrack
Homeworld – Episode 01 Game Soundtrack
Homeworld – Episode 02 Game Soundtrack
Jack Caldwell – As Sweet As I Remember You
Joe Satriani – Satriani Live
Richard Cheese – Silent Nightclub
Soup’s On – A Benefit For The Shoreline Soup Kitchen


Augusten Burroughs – Sellevision

News: On the pod

If you managed to catch my Thanksgiving post about the Shoreline Soup Kitchen, the information below is directly related. I pulled this post from www.shorelineacousticunderground.com!

Soup's On! The Concert

On Friday December 1, 2006 7:30 PM at Andrews Memorial in Clinton CT, The Shoreline Acoustic Underground will present an evening of music to benefit The Shoreline Soup Kitchen in their ongoing efforts to provide food and fellowship to members of the community in need.

Also on sale at the concert will be the newly released benefit CD "Soup's On!" featuring acts performing at the concert.

The concert will be sponsored by AcousticMusic.org of Guilford, Neri Lutherie of Clinton and Wall Street Gallery of Madison.

All proceeds from the event and CD sales will go to The Shoreline Soup Kitchen.

Appearing will be:

Paul Neri.
Chuck E. Costa
Jack Caldwell
Sandra Lauren Lichter
Kailin Garrity -
Rod Washburn
Ian Charles
Lara Herscovitch
Other Acts Be Confirmed!
Running sound for the evening will be Jeff Stielau.

For information call 203-458-2525 or 860-669-3351.

Refreshments will be offered at intermission.

A minimum donation of $10.00 per adult and $5.00 per child is requested.

Additional donations will be welcome.

Just like the CD, this is for a great cause. Come on out and hear some music and help some people at the same time. It should be a great time.

In other news, I’m still working my way through my homemade Star Wars Audiobooks, so I don’t anticipate getting to Sellevision or any other Audiobooks anytime soon. I apologize for the lack of new Audiobook reviews lately and in the near future.

As far as upcoming music releases, there’s not too much that I’m aware of on the horizon. As it is, the Joe Satriani live disc kind of snuck up on me. I do know that the Wailin’ Jennys were set to record a show or two on this tour. Who knows, maybe a forthcoming live album from them. I did find this link to Billboard’s new release schedule:


I’m headed over there now to check out what’s on the way.

Hope your Thanksgivings were excellent and as always, keep listening.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Andy Timmons Band – Resolution

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Andy Timmons Band – Resolution

When I was in college, I took a semester of guitar lessons with Nick Bagnasco at the University of New Haven. One of the first things he did was ask me which players I liked. After some thought, I answered: Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Steve Morse and Eric Johnson. It’s been a long time since any guitar players have really impressed me to the point I’d include them on my list, the last was John Petrucci from Dream Theater. However, I’m pretty confidant in saying that I think I have a new favorite guitar player.

Not so long ago, I found a video of Andy Timmons on YouTube playing his song Farmer Sez…and I was just blown away. The song itself is a cool little “Chicken-Pickin” piece, but he and his band manage to play it way over the top by accelerating the tune to match how loud the audience gets. I just kept watching this thing, thinking that eventually someone had to screw it up. But no one ever did, it just kept going faster and faster.

I first heard of Andy Timmons in 1989 when he played on Danger Danger’s self-titled debut album, so I was kind of surprised that I had missed out on whatever had gotten him on stage for that performance. As it turns out, Andy Timmons had released several albums by that point, and his most recent, Resolution, was just released on Favored Nations (Steve Vai’s record label). I happened to see Resolution at my usual music spot on the web a few weeks ago, and decided it was about time to check out Andy Timmons a little more closely.

So, what did I think? Like I said, I think I have a new favorite guitar player.

As a player, Andy Timmons manages to take the familiar aspects of the Instrumental Guitar genre and mix it with the structure of a more commercial band setting to actually write songs. His leads are lyrical in their melody, finding both verse and chorus as opposed to one blaring solo track. On Resolution, Timmons’ tone is also outstanding, with a really crunchy and fuzzy voice that manages to still be cutting and clear at the same time.

As a whole, Resolution is an outstanding guitar album with eleven tracks that just rip from start to finish. I, personally, didn’t find one weak track; they were all unique and ranged from the bombastic to the delicate while holding on to their feeling. If guitar acrobatics are your thing, you won’t be disappointed…there is more than enough “Shred” on Resolution to make your technique loving head spin, however I didn’t feel that any of the songs were overplayed. All the lines were tasty and fit the moment they were written for. For the times on Resolution where speed is at a minimum, Timmons shows that he’s more than capable of restraint and a subtle hand.

I found Resolution by the Andy Timmons Band to be a near perfect album for the genre. It’s loaded with feeling, technique and speed; not to mention a great sounding and playing band with cool songs. What more could you want?

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Soup’s On: A Benefit for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen

Soup’s On: A Benefit for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen



Ok, so I’m mere minutes away from putting a serious hurting on ye olde Thanksgiving turkey just like a lot of us are going to do. I actually wanted to say like we’re all going to do, but that wouldn’t exactly be true…and that just goes to how easy it is to forget things you don’t see (or choose not to see) every day. All of that leads me to this…

My friend Jack Caldwell sent me a brand new CD recently. It seems that Jack along with the Shoreline Acoustic Underground and a group of friends and fellow musicians got together to donate their time, talents and resources to recording a benefit album for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen. What/Who/Where is the Shoreline Soup Kitchen you ask? Well, in their own words…

“The Shoreline Soup Kitchens’ mission is to provide food and fellowship to those in need living on the shoreline. Founded in 1989, at the Baptist Church in Essex, Connecticut, the agency continues in its mission to feed the hungry in body and spirit. In 2003, 257,852 meals were distributed to individuals and families during The Shoreline Soup Kitchens programs. This included 243,756 meals from our grocery distribution sites; 5,268 heat-n-eat meals; and 8,828 meals served at area soup kitchens.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens offer food and fellowship to the communities of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Our family oriented meal sites serving hot, nutritious and delicious food are located in Centerbrook, Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Old Lyme, and Old Saybrook. And, our grocery distribution sites where participants receive enough food for three meals for three days are located in Clinton, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Also, provided to those who have limited cooking facilities are frozen heat-n-eat meals that can be picked up at any of our pantries.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens accomplishes its goals with the help of over 750 volunteers, who provided over 17,600 volunteer hours in 2003. We provide those in need with food and with fellowship, responding to all with humanity and respect.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens had its origin at a “Vision Day” at The First Baptist Church of Essex, Connecticut. To determine the need, an “experimental” soup kitchen meal was held on the Saturday before Easter, 1989, in the Fellowship Hall of the church to see if anyone would come to such an offering. Nine people came that Saturday and 14 people came the following Saturday. On that basis, it was decided to open on every Saturday thereafter.

Since that time, we have continued to grow. Eight meal sites and four grocery distribution sites throughout the Shoreline and Lower Connecticut River Valley are now provided by The Shoreline Soup Kitchens. Each meal site serves one meal each week. The grocery distribution sites provide families with groceries on a weekly basis for meal preparation at home.”

What about the disc, you ask? Well, the disc features 16 tracks by area musicians that range in styles from folk to hard rock and everything in between. Basically, Soup’s On! has at least one track that everyone can get into. In my case there were several that I found outstanding. With so many artists and styles in one place, it’s kind of hard to characterize the album as a whole, but as far as quality goes Soup’s On is excellent. All of the captured performances are great as is the individual track production which lends to the enjoyment of this varied and worthy listening experience.

So say you happen upon this disc in your retailer of choice and you wonder what would happen if you actually bought it. Well, if you read the back cover of the disc, you would find…

“By buying this CD you are making a ten dollar donation to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen…The need for this service on the shoreline might not enter your field of vision, but it is very real. This eclectic mix of songs, all done by shoreline artists, is sure to appeal to everyone’s musical tastes. 100% of all proceeds raised from the sale of this CD will go directly to The Shoreline Soup Kitchen. All of the artists have donated not only their musical talents, but the money it took to produce this CD you are holding.”

Did I mention that Soup’s On is for a good cause? I did? Well guess what, it’s still for a good cause and with each disc being a ten dollar donation, you get to feel good about yourself while getting to listen to new music to boot. To me, that’s a pretty good way to spend a Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone…now go buy a copy of the disc!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Finer Things Magazine Reviews: Part I

What follows below was my submission to Finer Things Magazine for their Fall Issue. It's reproduced here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

Finer Things Magazine Reviews: Part I

Hi everyone, I’m Joe from On the pod.net and welcome to the first in what I hope to be a long series of music reviews for Finer Things Magazine. For our first time out we’ve got three discs for your listening pleasure. First, we’re going to start off with something a little heavy, Phobia, the new album from Breaking Benjamin. Second, we’re going to find out about “Texican Style” with the sophomore effort from Los Lonely Boys, Sacred. Finally, to cap it all off we’re going to get ready for the new fall TV season with a look back at volume one of the Scrubs soundtrack series…and away we go.

Breaking Benjamin – Phobia

Breaking Benjamin first showed up on my radar when they contributed the song Blow Me Away to the soundtrack for the amazingly successful Xbox game Halo 2 in 2004. Now, two years later they have returned with their third studio album, Phobia. Made up of thirteen songs plus an acoustic version of the albums first vocal track, The Diary of Jane, Phobia is full of heavy guitars playing intricate rhythms, a tight rhythm section and vocals that, as a rule, remain melodic over the alternative metal underpinnings that comprise the sound of Breaking Benjamin. While heavy, the album as a whole hangs in the mid-tempo range with the occasional burst of speed as dictated by the material. If you’re a fan of Breaking Benjamin or the alternative metal genre as a whole, Phobia is definitely worthy of a listen.

Los Lonely Boys – Sacred

If you think you’re not familiar with the work of the Garza brothers, you probably just don’t know who plays that song Heaven you’ve been humming to yourself for the past two years. Sacred, the second album by the San Angelo, Texas trio Los Lonely Boys picks right up where their 2004 self-titled album left off. Stylistically, it’s a seamless blend of Latin inspired rhythms, blues, pop and just a dash of the Spanish language thrown in for flavor. Musically the album is excellent. Henry, JoJo and Ringo Garza (guitar, bass and drums respectively) can, in a word, play. When artists try to blend styles, rarely does it work at all much less work so well. The difference with Los Lonely Boys is that they don’t have to try. They so obviously live the music they make, that they can draw from a seeming endless well of influences to express themselves in what can only be called, as one of the songs on Sacred is so aptly titled…Texican Style.

Scrubs Soundtrack: Volume One

The musical interludes during the sitcom Scrubs were always striking to me for their choice of music, so…I was thinking that since Scrubs is going to be starting its new season soon and they just released the second volume in their soundtrack series it might be fun to go back to where it started for the show musically. The Scrubs Soundtrack: Volume One is led off by the show’s theme, Superman by Lazlo Bane. It’s definitely interesting to hear Superman, the song, in its full and unedited state as opposed to Superman, the Scrubs theme song, in the bits and pieces you hear over and over again each week. The orchestration of Superman is eccentric, containing all the usual instruments you would expect, but topped off by a Banjo and what sounds to be either a Theremin or Tannerin playing those lovely woo-woo-woo-woo-woo sounds you hear in the chorus of the song, ala Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys. You could, if you were so inclined, actually use Superman and its instrumental eccentricities as a good read of the remainder of the soundtrack and, by extension, the show itself. The Scrubs Soundtrack: Volume One album plays home to fourteen other entertaining and very listenable songs from the Eels and The Shins to the Butthole Surfers and Colin Hay, best known for fronting the 80’s band Men At Work. The mix of artists is eclectic, but the material included is all similar enough in feel so as to not be overpowering…just fun.

So there you have it, your first three reviews. I hope you found them helpful and that they gave you a couple of new listening ideas. If you liked them and can’t wait for the next issue of Finer Things Magazine, check out all of my other reviews at www.onthepod.net.

Until next time, have fun and keep listening.


Finer Things Magazine Reviews: Part II

What follows below was my submission to Finer Things Magazine for their Winter Issue. It's reproduced here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

Finer Things Magazine Reviews: Part II

Hi everyone, it’s Joe from On the pod.net again. Welcome back to Finer Things Magazine music reviews. This month we’re hitting Pop, Folk and Rock for you with three new albums; Ta-Dah! by the Scissor Sisters, Despite Our Differences by the Indigo Girls and The Open Door by Evanescence. Here we go…

Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah!

Ta-Dah! by the Scissor Sisters is like stepping into H.G. Well’s time machine and dialing yourself back to the VIP lounge of Studio 54 in the mid 70’s to go wild for a little over three quarters of an hour. If you’re still having a problem picturing the vibe of this album; think Roller Skates, Afros, The Bee Gees, ELO, Elton John in costume and even a bit of Queen. Ta-Dah! takes the term retro to a whole new level, and in doing so ends up feeling like an entirely authentic album with a funky rhythm section, falsetto vocals and a definite sense of humor.

Indigo Girls – Despite Our Differences

In ten albums and nineteen years, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have gone from acoustic to electric and back again, covering everything from social issues to the internal dialogue of love. Despite Our Differences marks the Indigo Girls tenth foray into the studio since 1987’s Strange Fire and continues down the well worn path of their career to date. It doesn’t break any new musical ground for the duo, but it does harvest the fruits of their talents in a way that makes the thirteen tracks on Despite Our Differences seem more fresh than rehashed. As always, the lyrics are elegantly crafted and the music follows in similar fashion. While Despite Our Differences wouldn’t be my first choice as an introduction to the Indigo Girls, fans will recognize it for what it is…the continuation of a conversation with an old friend.

Evanescence – The Open Door

Love them or hate them, it’s undeniable that when Evanescence hit the music world with their first album, Fallen, they hit it big. The album’s first single, Bring me to Life was everywhere in a big way. Fallen kept producing a seemingly endless stream of singles, all of which found their way into heavy rotation over the airwaves. Three years later, everyone’s favorite Goth Girl, Amy Lee, is back with Evanescence’s second major label release, The Open Door…it also marks the band’s first album without, Evanescence co-founder and guitarist, Ben Moody. Amy Lee fills The Open Door with her trademark ethereal, operatic vocals on top of the counterpoint of distortion and heavy rhythms…and if this were a debut album, it would be enough. However as a sophomore effort, The Open Door, while staying true to the feel laid down by Fallen, does not move beyond it. That is not to say, however, that The Open Door isn’t a solid album. The opening track, Sweet Sacrifice, and the first single, Call Me When You’re Sober, are both bright spots on the album with the remaining tracks filling the remainder The Open Door nicely. That being said though, I think fans of Evanescence will draw more from The Open Door than the casual listener.

So, there you have three new discs for you to check out this month that should broaden your aural horizons, especially if you’re a fan of the Indigo Girls and Evanescence. If you liked the reviews and can’t wait for the next issue of Finer Things Magazine to decide what else to listen to, check out all of my other reviews at www.onthepod.net.

Until next time, have fun and keep listening.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Guest Reviewer: Erik Remec & Queensryche

When I started On the pod.net almost a year ago, I mentioned that I envisioned having “Guest Reviewers” write for the site as well as myself. It’s taken some time, but what follows below is the first in what will hopefully be a long line of Guest Reviews.

The account of Queensryche, live at the Moore Theater in Seattle, Washington and all the accompanying photographs were graciously given to us by my good friend, fellow musician and Heavy Metal connoisseur, Erik Remec.

So without any further delays…

Queensryche: Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA

Queensryche: Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA

Friday - October 13, 2006
Saturday - October 14, 2006
Sunday - October 15, 2006

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Welcome to my first concert review for Onthepod.net so many THANKS! to Joe for the opportunity to post my little concert review on his site.

All I can say is that as I’m writing this, it’s been over 2 weeks since I saw Queensryche play three nights in Seattle and I’m still wired. The band has been on a nationwide tour performing their two concept albums (1988’s Operation:Mindcrime I and it’s sequel, 2006’s Operation:Mindcrime II) in their entireties back-to-back. When I heard they would be playing three nights in their hometown along with getting an opportunity to meet the band at a Fan Club Brunch, I jumped at the chance and made the 2,500 mile trek from Connecticut. Hey you only live once, right?!

Like a heavy metal Broadway production, the band along with singer Pamela Moore (reprising her role as Sister Mary), and a small group of actors brought the tragic tale of Betrayal, Revenge, and Redemption to life. The story centers around Nikki, a politically disillusioned heroin addict, who is lured into a conspiracy led by the mysterious Dr.X. Nikki is groomed by Dr. X into becoming an assassin for his cause, eliminating prominent political and religious figures. Nikki’s new life collides with Sister Mary, teenage runaway turned prostitute, who is saved from the streets by an abusive priest linked to the conspiracy. As they both get deeper into the plot, Nikki and Mary find that they are the only ones who can truly trust one other. Sensing the threat, Dr. X gives Nikki the order to kill Mary and the priest. After trying in vain to convince Mary to leave the life with him, Nikki finds her dead. Nikki is arrested for the murders and ends up being imprisoned (straight jacket and all) at the conclusion of Mindcrime I.

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With no opening act, the band started at a relatively early time. After the classic dialogue from the hospital that opens the first Mindcrime album “Sweet dreams…you bastard” and “I remember now …” the band launched into the song “Anarchy-X” from Mindcrime I, complete with marching drum line band Blue Thunder. For the next hour with set and costume changes, we were immersed in the story of Nikki’s indoctrination and descent into the conspiracy. For the entire Mindcrime performance, lead singer Geoff Tate (as Nikki) and Pamela Moore (Mary) did not break out of character.

There was a brief intermission before the band continued with Operation: Mindcrime II. The story for Mindcrime II picks up 18 years after Mindcrime I ends as Nikki is released from prison and he sets out to take his revenge on Dr. X. Mindcrime II centers on what toll revenge has on someone & the emptiness it brings once that revenge is satiated.

I can’t tell you how blown away I was with the band’s performance, especially by Geoff’s and Pamela’s vocals and acting. The band just CRUSHED! Did I mention how amazing Pamela looks dressed in black leather?! Although her vocals appear only on one song (“Suite Sister Mary”) from the first Mindcrime album, her role has been greatly expanded in the live performance, adding background vocals to a number of the songs including some lead vocals on “Spreading the Disease”. For Mindcrime II, Pamela is back as Sister Mary, both as Nikki’s conscience and as ghostly apparition in the live show.

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Bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield added the crushing rhythm section and guitarists Michael Wilton and Mike Stone guitar work was fantastic. As the newest Queensryche member, guitarist Stone’s lead playing has now gelled quite nicely with the band’s sound and there was some cool twin lead guitar harmonies from the two guitarists.

I was able to get some incredible seats for all three nights including FRONT ROW for Sunday night’s show. This was the first time in my nearly 20 years of going to shows that I was able to be in the front row for any concert and I’m still speechless. You really can’t describe the feeling, especially for a show like this.

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For the encores, the band played some non-Mindcrime QR classics including “Walk in the Shadows”, “Take Hold of the Flame”, “Jet City Woman”, and “Empire”.

After Friday night’s show, I ended up at a bar across from the Moore with fellow Ryche fans in attendance. After quite a few beers and some great metal tunes from the DJ, I staggered back to my hotel truly satisfied.

There was a buzz before Saturday night’s show as we learned that Saturday and Sunday night’s shows were going to be filmed for an upcoming DVD and that the legendary Ronnie James Dio might be performing live. Dio (as Dr.X) appears on the song “The Chase” from Mindcrime II in a duet with Geoff Tate (as Nikki) as the two characters finally confront one another. Probably due to scheduling conflicts, Dio couldn’t make it to Seattle to perform live so they showed a video sequence of Nikki and Dr. X as the band played the song. Dio was able to perform live with the band in L.A. so we’ll see if they edit in his performance for the DVD.

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The Fan Club Brunch (with proceeds going to charity) took place in the Olympic Ballroom at the Edgewater Hotel in downtown Seattle. There were Queensryche fans both at the brunch and at the shows from all over (including Japan, New Mexico, California, and Canada) and I got to meet lots of great people. All the fans at the brunch were treated to something really special. Each member of the band came by everyone’s table and spent time talking, signing autographs, and taking pictures with the fans. MANY THANKS to Anita & Susan at Queensryche.com and the rest of the band for treating their fans to such an incredible experience and acting so graciously. I had a nice chat with each member of the band. I got to talk to Michael Wilton about some new guitar equipment that he’s using these days (being a guitar player myself) and had a quick chat about vocal instruction with Pamela.

For the final performance at The Moore, as I was basking under the stage lights in the front row with video cameras filming, I just had to think … what more could you possibly ask for?!

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See you on the road …


© 2006 Erik Remec

Friday, November 03, 2006

The On the pod.net Fall Music Special:

The On the pod.net Fall Music Special:

Well, it’s Fall again and I wanted to share some of my favorite albums of the season with you. Mind you most of these have nothing to do with fall, they’re more winter/holiday albums, but this is usually when I feel the need to listen to them. I don’t know why exactly, but I guess to me, they all seem to share a similar underlying feel of nostalgia mixed with a little bit of longing and…well, that will be enough of the psycho-babble. In no particular order they are:

David Lanz – Christmas Eve
Liz Story – The Gift
Jim Brickman – By Heart
George Winston – Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi
Jackson Browne – The Next Voice You Hear

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, “Four piano albums and Jackson Browne...how’s that work?” I’ve already said, I didn’t know. Music isn’t necessarily the most logical thing in the room you know, at least not always. Now, I haven’t dug out the Brickman disc yet this fall, but I am listening to Liz Story as I write this.

Piano For The Holidays:

David Lanz – Christmas Eve

Liz Story – The Gift

The album that has been influencing my Autumns the longest is Christmas Eve by David Lanz. I owe this all to my father actually. I think he bought this album the year it came out, back in 1994 and I promptly began to steal it earlier and earlier every year after. Christmas Eve, along with Jim Brickman’s By Heart, became staples to all of my studying for Midterms and Finals when I was in college. As an album, Christmas Eve is David Lanz interpreting the Holiday experience through music. He plays both traditional and original pieces for the season, arranged for solo piano. The solo piano manages to strip away all the things that clutter up the Holidays and gets to the heart of the season.

The Gift by Liz Story is similar to Christmas Eve in the sense that it is a (mostly) solo piano telling of the Holiday experience. However, even though there is occasional overlap in content, all similarities stop there. The differences in musical interpretation are limitless and The Gift could not be more different than Christmas Eve. Story is another gifted pianist with several solo albums and collaborations with her husband, and bassist, Joel Di Bartolo to her credit. The Gift gives a slightly more traditional treatment to the customary songs of the season she covers, but by presenting them in the solo piano setting they have a vastly different feel to them.

Both Christmas Eve and The Gift exemplify the quiet and reflective essence of the Holiday season for me.

More Piano, Less Holiday:

Jim Brickman – By Heart

George Winston – Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi

Jim Brickman’s By Heart was given to me as a gift by one of my oldest friends, Dan Milewski. Dan’s an engineer by trade and has an innate gift for music. He noticed that I was so taken with By Heart and sent it to me a short time after I first heard it at his home. By Heart held a certain sense of peace in its solo piano work that made it very influential as an album and also in my own "noodleing" on the piano. While the abilities needed to pull off this album were no doubt staggering to achieve, Brickman makes By Heart seem simple and pure. By Heart was also the beginning of his collaboration with vocalists, as is evident by the albums closing and title track, By Heart…but one song does not a vocal album make, or an instrumental album rune.

George Winston is a perennial favorite of “New Age” music fans. Anyone familiar with him may wonder how music from Peanuts gets into a Fall Music Special and not his albums Autumn or December. I guess I don’t really have an answer to that other than they did not have the effect on me that Linus & Lucy did. I guess that in addition to my love of the George Winston album, the material by Vince Guaraldi and the context given most of it by Charles Schulz has to be taken into account. Winston presents very true, yet very modern interpretations of Guaraldi’s compositions in a solo piano format. All of the tracks on the album are outstanding pieces and as a whole Linus & Lucy is just such an entertaining listen. My only wish for the album would be for it to include a rendition of Guaraldi’s Christmas Time Is Here. Who knows, maybe there will be a reissue?

Not A Piano Album…At Least Not Entirely:

Jackson Browne – The Next Voice You Hear

I know what you’re thinking, "Jackson Browne’s good anytime of the year, why is this a fall album." I grant you your point. I don’t really have a reason for this being a fall album, it’s just when I seem to listen to it the most. The entire album is fantastic, spanning his entire career up to 1997 when The Next Voice You Hear was released. My own personal take on the disc is that the money is in the first half, and if I needed to narrow it down even further, I’d feel confident in saying the first four songs. Before an iPod, where else could you get Doctor My Eyes, These Days, Fountain of Sorrow and Late for the Sky back to back. Even then you still have songs like The Pretender, Running on Empty, Somebody’s Baby and Tender Is the Night yet to come. I guess there’s just something about listening to those first four songs with a bit of a chill in the air that fits with me somehow.

Honorable Mention:

K’s Choice – Cocoon Crash

K’s Choice – Almost Happy

K’s Choice is/was from Belgium and featured Sarah Bettens on vocals and her brother, Gert, on guitar. I discovered them on a road trip to New Hampshire several years ago, when, needing something to listen to, I picked up a copy of Cocoon Crash on my way out of town. Cocoon Crash is my favorite of their albums and I could list almost all of the tracks on it as being a great first introductions to the band. Almost Happy comes in as a close second. Think upbeat, but not sugary, alternative sounding with a female singer and you’re in the general vicinity. I would highly recommend picking up Cocoon Crash for a listen, or a road trip for that matter.

So there you have it, my top five Fall albums.

Lots of “New Age-y” solo piano stuff, i know...but maybe it’s that whole "everything is dying" Fall kind of thing. The trees are all loosing their leaves, so stripping music down to one instrument seems to match the surroundings.

Who knows?

What I do know, is that all of these albums are ones that I listen to over and over again...every Fall.

Rosanne Cash - Black Cadillac

Rosanne Cash – Black Cadillac

I was recently watching a Trick My Truck marathon on CMT (What? At least it wasn’t the OC!) after which aired a rebroadcast of a live show they had taped. It featured Steve Earl playing with Rosanne Cash. I watched, somewhat out of character, and was thoroughly impressed, especially by Cash. I was never a fan of either her or her father in the past, having been into Country at seemingly the wrong times, but the name Cash, especially in recent years, has always been popular and respected. Regardless, I found myself drawn to the songs Rosanne Cash sang that day and decided to look for the album.

Having been out for most of 2006, Black Cadillac may not technically be a new album in the strictest sense of the term, but it is one that’s worth listening to. This is a very intimate, emotional and emotionally dark album that revolves around the death of a little girl’s father and her broken heart.

Rosanne Cash worked with producers Bill Bottrell (Sheryl Crow, Shelby Lynne, and Kim Richie) and John Leventhal (Shawn Colvin, Rodney Crowell and Cash’s own husband) on Black Cadillac to deliver an album with production that is transparent, leaving it with a clean and timeless sound. Both Bottrell and Leventhal were multi-instrumentalists on the album in addition to their production duties.

Musically, Black Cadillac works to support the sentiment of the lyrics flawlessly by both complementing and working as counterpoint. The arrangements are mostly sparse and breathy, leaving lots of room for Cash’s vocals and lyrics to float around in and gain even more gravity.

Rosanne Cash made the decision to include short clips of her father speaking to her when she was a child at the beginning of Black Cadillac’s opening and closing tracks. Johnny Cash opens the album saying “Come On” and closes it with “Bye, Bye, Bye.” The two phrases bracketing the life of his daughter, Rosanne, contained within. It’s a haunting reminder of the feelings that inspired this album; which is, in many ways, a fitting tribute to a life lost and a life that carries on.