Lou’s Alternative Routes Used For Driving Down to Sea Isle City vol.1: 55/347

Lou’s Alternative Routes Used For Driving Down to Sea Isle City vol. 1: 55/347 Route

One thing I never take for granted is toll-less routes to Sea Isle City. For many years it was the Black Horse Pike. If you ever want to depress yourself, take a ride down the Black Horse Pike. It contains enough bits and pieces of a broken dream to cloud your brightest day: abandoned whack shacks in the middle of nowhere, foreclosed shrub yards not good enough the be considered forests, diners with no entrances, farms with no fruit, and roadsides that are so dilapidated they’ve started to collect rust. If it wasn’t for the fact that a washed-up theme park aimed towards children younger than 7 was enough of a ruse to entertain my sister’s boys for one summer day a year you could probably have a hard time convincing me that I’m not driving thru hell.

If you know me personally, the decision of choosing the road less traveled should come as no surprise. Over the years, every possible route to Sea Isle has been taken. On days when I’m jonesing for some greased chicken parts slathered in hot sauce it’s a ride down 206 for stop at the Pic-A-Lilli, on the days when you’re in a hurry outside of the rush hour it’s the Expressway, if you’re hungry for some Mexican a ride down 30 (aka the White Horse Pike) has some hidden gems near Egg Harbor, and on days you want to feel thankful for whatever morsel of jubilation can fortunately be squandered in your often monotonous life you’ve got the Black Horse Pike. They are each tangents representative of the wonderful mysteries of Southern New Jersey. Since I’ve made residence in Philadelphia, 55’s become my route of choice. A toll-less, flat, and often soul-lacking 30 mile strip nestled between a sports diner in Runnemede and the entrance to Garden State swampland is all it takes to stamp my ticket to paradise. It ends at my personal gateway to Valhalla, 347, a road where you’d be blind or lying if you fail to acknowledge all the folklore around this path to the ocean.

If you ever have the opportunity to find yourself near the edge of the various creeks and lakes that occupy this swampland, follow the moonlight. I’ve been lucky enough to catch a vision in twilight. For me that’s all I need, a brief hint of reassurance from Mother Earth. It’s a much better fortune than running into an axe-wielding dwarf on a gryphon or a lone porcelain doll left astray amongst what is now an abandoned early 20th Century Polygamist Colony. She may help you fix a flat tire for no rate. Or she may be heading to the state school up 55 to teach a course on Creative Writing before instructing a yoga class in a South Philly gym. She’s worth acquiring a freshwater fishing hobby in exchange for an opportunity to meet especially if any roadside antics fail to illicit her response. Who would’ve known she’d follow me back home and onto a piece of paper. I’d dedicate this one completely to her if it weren’t for the road less travelled always getting in the way.

PaganFantasy

You’d be another
Pagan Fantasy once they
Start working again

Over time. Prayers,
No more sorted by the Lord
Than fondled. “Not I!”

Said a demon once,
Trapped in its favorite layer:
Eternal twilight.

Free of guarantees (yeah)
If only we’d be lucky
Running into each

Other when we’re not
Running close to the sound of

Music together.

Lou’s Silver Anniversary Since Death Legends vol. 1: Stevie Ray Vaughan

Lou’s Silver Anniversary Since Death Legends vol. 1: Stevie Ray Vaughan 8/27/90

Long commutes to nowhere are the bane of my existence. Road life gets tiring. Spending copious amounts of time driving not only wears down your personal vehicle, it wears down your awareness. Speed often becomes independent of its limits. Other local laws also get disobeyed. Turn on red? Always. Accelerate towards the yellow light? Why, sure! Waiting until absolute night falls before turning on your headlights? It’s not that you forget to as much as you want to be the last car on the road that conforms to the surrounding darkness. Life’s more fun in the dark, it’s more dangerous. This danger needs a soundtrack and the tone of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar provides the most genuine one.

Stevie loved playing with fire. Coke and Whiskey simultaneously for many years volunteered to ignite his flame. A fire he fought so hard to overcome and was victorious in the end considering he got away from ever having to pay their final fee. The world, or so he may have thought, was spared this particular fore-warning. It swapped it out for a more sudden conclusion on board a Bell Jet Ranger (one of four) after a performance at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin. He was only 35 when he passed into immortality. ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ was the last song he ever performed. The Windy City was his next destination. He never made it there.

Over the past year I’ve listened to more Stevie Ray Vaughan than at any other time in my life. It’s guided myself through life’s more contemporary plots like wondering why I run all my automobiles to the graveyard. You really can’t foster a true appreciation for his playing unless you appreciate live music. One does not have to be a fan of the blues although if there’s any type of genre ready to welcome new fans with open arms, it’s the blues. It has that element of danger we all need to have in our exhausted lives every once in a while. It won’t break your heart however it might get you pulled over. Or carried out of more than a few fine drinking establishments. Even if none of this was your original intention in the first place. Below I’m assorting a couple choice Stevie Ray Vaughan videos to honor 25 years since the Legend’s passing. Don’t hesitate to let this music guide you to your next destination.

Live at Monteaux (1985)

Lou’s Classic Albums Celebrating 40 Years vol.1: Born to Run

Lou’s Classic Albums Celebrating 40 Years vol.1: Born to Run

Everybody knows somebody from Jersey. Whether they like it or not. It may not be a large state but never underestimate its reach. Many people label it the armpit of America. It looks like it is on a map. Parts of it are quite ruggish. And I’m not talking about its vast array of crime-ridden cities that season its land. There’s some pretty rundown suburbs that are in desperate need of a makeover. Maple Shade and Browns Mills come to mind.

One of the traits many non-Jerseyans claim is unique to being a Jersey guy is being able to tell a story. I have a lot of friends from out-of-state who have no problem identifying this one similarity between me and my fellow Garden Staters. We all have stories we like to tell and we all have our own way of telling them. After all, we were groomed with one of the greatest American tall tales, the story of the Jersey Devil from a very young age. And even before our time, Jersey story-tellers had set a high benchmark. It was a Jersey cartoonist (Thomas Nast) that came up with the modern American Santa Claus myth and when Orson Welles broadcasted an alien invasion over radio airwaves it landed in none other than Grover’s Mill, New Jersey. So it is only suitable that New Jersey is the home to one of the greatest storytellers in all of rock music, the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.

Today is the 40th Anniversary of Born to Run. This album is on many ALL-time Top 10 lists. Its influence spans as far if not farther than New Jersey. And its author, favorite New Jersey son Springsteen, hails from its heart, Freehold. If you break down the lyrics to the album, you’ll hear the kind of tales only a Jersey guy could be best suited to talk about. Tales of lost love, muscle cars, pimps, drug addicts, and even the tale of how the E-Street band came together in my personal favorite, “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.” You would think that in celebration of this monumental representation of the New Jersey spirit as well as its place in the American Rock Canon that today would be some kind of a celebration day. But unfortunately, dear readers, I am sad to say that this album has never done it for me.

There is something missing with how this album hits me and I am still trying to figure out what it is. I think Bruce Springsteen is a wonderful artist however in my own personal rankings of Bruce studio albums this only cracks my Top 5 and that is mainly because if you don’t have Born to Run on your Bruce Springsteen Top 5 people may question whether or not you are actually qualified to make a Bruce Top 5 list in the first place (a note: The River and Darkness at the Edge of Town do a better job of accomplishing what Born to Run starts).

For anybody still reading this that hasn’t written me off, here are my Top 5 Bruce Springsteen albums (please feel free to bash)

1. Nebraska (only album of his I really enjoy listening to quite often)

2. Greetings from Asbury Park (I never knew why this album never took off)

3. Born in the USA (evokes memories of my childhood)

4. Tunnel of Love (ditto: I’ll probably get crucified for this since it’s not an E-Street band album)

5. Born to Run (you could easily insert The River or Darkness here and I wouldn’t bat an eyelash)

And yes, Streets of Philadelphia is my favorite Springsteen song.

Today in honor of Born to Run I am going to do what I do best and that is to dream about what life would be like if my situation was better. And I’m going to do this dreaming while I’m driving around in my car. The Boss wouldn’t want it any other way. Maybe I’ll even come up with a good story to tell my friends in the interim. It’s what makes a Jersey guy a Jersey guy, it’s what we do best. While he may not be my favorite artist, I’m definitely proud he also calls New Jersey home. Enjoy this video of what many people consider to be the greatest song ever written: ‘Thunder Road’

Thunder Road

most Jersey guy line in the song? “show a little faith there’s magic in the night;)”

 

Lou’s Movie Reviews vol.2: Straight Outta Compton

Lou’s Movie Reviews vol. 2: Straight Outta Compton

It Ain’t EZ bein E

It’s not a myth that artists get screwed. They’re artists, not business people. The best ones become so focused on their art that making money off it, in most cases, is the last intention behind the creative process. At least that’s how true artists function. Any true artist reading this should agree with me. A true artist does it for love. Genuine art comes from the heart and soul. Many times when money becomes a factor it loses direction. Unfortunately we all have to eat. While all artists dream of making a living off their art, they would be foolish to think that when money is involved it does not affect their voice.

‘Straight Outta Compton’ (the N.W.A. biopic) showcases the classic case of artists being manipulated and screwed-over by the entertainment industry. The hero in the movie is EZ-E. When you think about the structure of the film, he follows the classic hero archetype Joseph Campbell talks about in The Hero With A Thousand Faces. He’s the Orphan that brings the seminal rap group together, the Wanderer who gets sucked into a bad contract at their expense, the Warrior who tries to make amends, and the Martyr who sacrifices himself for the ultimate good of his friends. In this case you can interpret this in how the careers of Ice Cube and Dr. Dre take off in retaliation to the bad contract with its life lessons propelling them into becoming two of the most successful businessmen moving forward in the rap game. A theme that is important when you see how young inner-city black rappers could be so susceptible to being taken advantage of by the industry.

While he may not have been the best of what he did, he was the first at what he did which was being the Original Gangsta rapper. His life story is the most important one out of any of the members of rap’s most important group. I recommend my readers to give this film a shot. And for my fellow artists? Always remember that the intention of art for the creation of delight trumps money any day of the week. Never lose sight of the passion!

 

Lou’s Poems Dedicated to People He Has Met But Doesn’t Really Know vol. 1: ChinlessGirl

Lou’s Poems Dedicated to People He Has Met But Doesn’t Really Know Vol. 1: ChinlessGirl

There’s a young woman that lives across the street from me that doesn’t have a chin. She’s not obese. Her body is perfect. She walks her dog everyday around suppertime. When your social life showcases the same type of excitement reserved for staring down a plain bowl of oatmeal, waiting to check out your neighbor every evening as she bends down to collect her dog’s poo carries more meaning even though the angle from my front stoop to her dog’s favorite fire hydrant is usually an obstructed one. If I only knew the breed it would probably be enough knowledge to get an invite into her apartment building.

The first night we met was about a year ago. She talked my ear off. It felt good to see somebody so physically engaging show interest. When two people discover they share the same passion in writing poetry, the limits begin to appear endless. Having a woman give me the time of day is my code word for motivation in life even if she is mistaking me at the moment for an online suitor. Women showing interest happens more infrequently as I age. I’ve tried dating apps in the past but failed to match with anybody. The only conclusion worth drawing from this reality is my photographic features do not present the proper push for the button disguised as the female libido in the 5 mile vicinity of where I’ve been over the recent years. I’m what you call someone that never matches or what I like to deem myself, the right guy who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This evening was no exception; I was off the app and just so happened to be talking to my feminine chinless fantasy at the end of a local bar in our neighborhood. I actually let her read some of my poems. She wouldn’t let me read any of hers. Intimidation is the first thing that came to my mind. She may feel a hint of nervousness in the presence of what may one day be a future literary giant. At least that’s how yours truly enjoys tooting his own horn. It’s imperative to have confidence these days especially when you’re a man written off as morbidly obese by the physically superior brand of woman that constantly invade his personal surroundings. Sometimes having appreciation for the finer things in life can be a bitter pill to swallow.

Even worse, it’s the access to men who know how to use the Internet to their advantage that can ruin a perfectly fine conversation. On this particular evening, a fedora wearing gentleman who my chinless maiden had met on one of these mobile apps had all but swept her away before even introducing himself to her in person. That was all it took. A low down dirty swipe. One of many that have gotten in the way of a pleasant conversation which, I may add, is not the easiest thing to come across in the first place.

That next morning I noticed bruises on her inner bicep and one on the back of her upper thigh while she was taking her dog for a morning spin around the block. She must have made a new acquaintance with her fedora wearing friend who, for some odd reason, I never saw her with again. Luckily she has more than her fair share of suitors willing to take his place. It’s not uncommon to see her plotting with whatever flavor of the week she has on dial to temporarily end her solitude for an evening. Two of my favorite things to do in life are honoring women and writing poetry. As a first for this blurb…I am going to honor my neighbor in the form of a poem. I may not be good enough to be a lucky suitor but that doesn’t mean I can’t piggy-back my expectations of being so lucky into the form of poetry. Hope this is the first of what may become many opportunities to showcase one of my hidden passions…enjoy!

ChinlessGirl

I live close to a
Chinless girl. I wanna rock
In her chinless world

While she screams for the
Rising sun. I’m gonna be
Her chin-full one.

Holding doors open
Sheds little light when you’re the
One never swiped right.

Kind of wish I knew
Her dog. Kind of wish she knew
My hog. Now both of

Us have it all, me
All of nothing, her most of
Everything without

Meaning. At least it’s
Better than dreaming, this life
Living recklessly

Through another one’s
Breathing so heavenly close
Oh! words without reason.

Lou’s Reviews Vol.3: Aquarium Rescue Unit

Lou’s Concert Reviews Vol. 3: Aquarium Rescue Unit

“Lead Us Not Into Temptation”

Colonel Bruce Hampton…or the Colonel to be exact. I remember the first time seeing the Colonel. It was at the first Bonnaroo festival (the only one I ever attended). His band at the time, the Codetalkers, were the the first band I saw on that June 2002 humid Saturday Tennessee morning and if you asked me what they played the answer would be it doesn’t matter. Anybody that knows anything about or has had the great opportunity to witness the Colonel live knows what I’m talking about. With musicians like the Colonel, it’s not what they play but rather it’s when and where are they playing. Last night at the Howard Theatre, I had the opportunity of catching Colonel Bruce Hampton and his classic outfit, the Aquarium Rescue Unit (ARU), play an outstanding show at the beautiful historic Howard Theatre In downtown DC. I laughed, I danced, and I was literally blown away by a band I was too young to see in their touring days. The mere fact that I can actually sit here and write about seeing them is all it really takes to render a brief moment of joy. What I witnessed on stage tonight is the kind of stuff the casual music fan will probably refrain from shelling out good money to see. It’s far from ordinary, which is enough of a reason why when bands like this come around I know that the night of music on hand will be nothing but special.

The Colonel doesn’t walk out to the stage with the band. If I had to bet what he was doing, I’d say he’s probably pacing in the back room and wringing his hands in anticipation but only because that’s what I’d be doing if I was the Colonel. Drowning in excitement. You kind of have to be when your art borders on the absurd. He has said in the past that he is more of a curator. The brains behind the legendary Horde tour of the early 90’s, he’s the man bands like Phish and Widespread Panic owe credit to for helping them garner national exposure. When the band comes out onto the stage, they plug in and immediately start a free form jam. This particular band, the one that went on the road during those Horde tours, showcases original members Jimmy Herring on guitar (he also happens to play lead for Widespread Panic), Jeff Sipe on drums (from Leftover Salmon) and the man himself, former Allman Brothers now new Grateful Dead side project anointed bassist, Oteil Burbridge. As the music starts, one of the employees from the venue will welcome the audience with an introduction written by none other than the Colonel himself. Upon first hearing stories about ARU, I’d relate the Colonel to being a Captain Crunch type figure, wearing some obnoxious hat and carrying a baton. It’s kind of hard not to envision some type of caricature. After all, the guy did play with Zappa in the 60’s. His instrument of choice also happens to be a ‘quazoid’ or dwarf guitar. However he appears as plain as they come. A short stout older gray haired man with clothes looking like it had been purchased from the men’s section at Macy’s 20 years ago. His demeanor suggests he’d be better off working the layaway department at Radio Shack or performing utility maintenance at a local high school rather than being the living legend he really is that even had famous DC guitar maker Paul Reed Smith, founder of PRS guitars, running giddy onstage all night bringing the Colonel some of his finest axes to sample.

Song-wise the only two songs I recognized were Good Morning Little School Girl and Fixin to Die, both covers, but they could’ve played ‘ring-around-the-roses’ for two hours and I would still be proud of making the decision to be there. The musical improvisation on stage is one of a kind and it owes everything to the comedic atmosphere the Colonel brings to the show. Switching instruments at the request of napkin butterflies, musicians soloing other musician’s instruments while standing behind them, and lots of moments where the Colonel’s robotic mannerisms orchaestrate the theatre of the absurd that tend to go hand-in-hand with it. These theatric mannerisms make me feel like I’m a kid again watching the Three Stooges early on a Sunday morning. You don’t know what’s going to happen next but whatever it is you know there’s going to be a good pay-off. Thinking of the Colonel pretending to smoke a cigarette while diving into an insane guitar solo or instructing his troops to solo like it’s the last solo they’ll ever play leaves a big ear-to-ear Kool Aid smile on my face. I felt like being in high school back in the mid-90’s, when I first discovered this type of music, until realizing 20 years later that tonight I was actually discovering the music because it had been lost from my life for so long. By the end of the show I was a little sad that it was finished. Sad not as a result of the show actually ending but more so about the fact that after wanting to see this band for over 20 years there’s a strong possibility I’d never see them again. They don’t tour and the Colonel has always been elusive. Especially up in my neck of the Northeast.

Aquarium Rescue Unit has an important place in the live music world. Go to any show at local venues that cater to jambands and you can witness for yourself the Colonel’s influence on improvisational rock and roll. Below I’m going to post a set from Archive. I also want to let anybody reading know that I’m fully on board with Dead and Co. They made a great choice in letting Oteil anchor the ship on bass. He played at an exceptionally high level last night; it was his hometown show and he really kept the crowd on the edge of their feet. For any of my jamband loving readers skeptical over the Dead and Co. announcement I’m especially urging you to give this band a listen. After the show Oteil was there to shake everybody’s hand and I wanna say he is one of the nicest and most positive people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Along with his ARU bandmates he is a true musician’s musician and I could not think of anybody more deserving for the chance to step into Phil Lesh’s shoes.

Here’s a stream of their show from Ram’s Head Live back in early June. It was a free show celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Paul Reed Smith Guitars. Don’t be afraid to get a little weird once in a while!

ARU Ram’s Head Live 6-5-15

 

Lou’s Concert Experience To-Do List vol. 1: Phish

Lou’s Concert Experience To-Do List vol. 1: Phish

By making this statement, I may be losing the respect from several of my dear readers: Phish is the greatest live band in the world right now. There, I said it. They’re not the only band I listen to and there is most certainly many bands out there that put on a great show but no band exists currently making music today that can match the sonic consistency constantly left on display night-after-night by ‘the boys from Vermont.’ I’ve tried to avoid writing extensively about Phish, their passionate fans seem to devote enough energy on forums like phantasytour and phish.net. This week, I am hitting up the shows in Philadelphia and down in Maryland. It’s Phish week. While it is fun posting about all the random things I post about, on this week it is hard to avoid the band that I dub “the purple humpback whale” in the room that is the current state of the music industry.

Last night I attended my first Phish show in over a year. As usual, the band continues to razzle my senses with their generous mixture of audio-visual proclamations that keep fans like myself constantly wanting to come back for more. While good times were to be had by all, I realized that I wasn’t properly prepared to “blast off” with Phish on their musical journey. This morning ,after waking-up, I decided to make a to-do list covering essential things I need to have with me at the next couple of shows. Hopefully this list may aid some of my readers in taking the proper precautions to enhance their own concert-going Phish experience.

1.) A mini bottle of water reserved for pouring over the top of your head

Water, in general, is essential for any concert-goer in the summertime. Most venues will let you bring a sealed water bottle inside. I tend to get-away with having a mini-bottle to accompany a bigger water bottle for drinking. While the bottle may be mini, it serves a bigger purpose than the big bottle to me. It should only be opened and used in the midst of or following the most insane jams. Basically, a mini bottle is essential in helping you to realize that you are not asleep and dreaming during these musical odysseys that Phish routinely takes their fans on. You may also actually be sleeping so having one handy and in the presence of any neighboring spectator can aid in bringing the most faded fan out of the deepest, most nocturnal trance.

2.) An extra pair of underwear

I’m not ashamed to admit in wearing two pairs of underwear to the Phish shows I attend. For one, it’s a great place to store things if you’re running low on pocket space but most importantly you never know when you may be summonsed to help a friend in need. The Phish community takes pride in being there for the fellow fan and nothing can make or break a show more than the presence of clean underwear. These exchanges tend to go down more often than not right at set break. I can assure you that after last night’s rockin ‘Ghost’ to end the first set there was more than a few handfuls of Phish phaithful in dire need.

3.) Q-tips

Phish is legendary with jamming in different measures and layering these extensive jams with a complete spectrum of auditory soundscapes. It’s not uncommon to feel like they’re taking the audience down into the depths of the ocean or out through the constellation of stars. One effect this may have on the casual listener is a rapid buildup of earwax. It’s not uncommon to have trouble hearing anything near the end of the second set of the show. I’ve discovered that a couple handy q-tips are essential and handling this build-up of wax. I tend to store them in the packs of the next item on my to-do list…

4.) Gum…more specifically Orbit soft packs of gum

Some people chew gum because they like having that “just brushed clean feeling” in their mouth. Others enjoy blowing bubbles and making weird clicking noises with their gum by rite of habit. I prefer chewing gum at a Phish show for one reason and one reason only: to help my body “surrender to the flow.” It all starts with the drum beat and while I can’t comment on the personal habits of Jon Fishman (Phish’s namesake and spectacular drummer), I do know that many drummers like chewing gum when they play. It helps them carry the beat. Relating this to my own experience, gum helps me register the beat. The pace of my chewing sends signals throughout the different parts of my body which respond in the form of a free flowing dance, the type of dancing that is the spark of energy for the Phish crowd.

5.) Fabric softener (for my feet)

As the show goes on, damp feet can disrupt the rhythm spawned through “sharing in the groove” with fellow phans. Damp feet also makes the skin more susceptible to blistering and there’s no bigger buzzkill than going to a show and not being able to letting the music take control if you can’t bear standing on your feet. I’ve discovered that putting fabric softener in my socks help to maintain aridity down in my shoes. It also keeps your feet smelling like a baby’s teddy bear, a smell strong enough to ward off the early signs of developing nasty toe fungus (if you haven’t already developed toe fungus to begin with).

6.) A sharpie

One of the great things about Phish is the cult following. Sometimes at a Phish show, everybody knows your name (or codename) and they truly are really glad you came. I tend to keep a sharpie on my shirt collar or belt buckle just in case anybody wants me to sign anything. The Signature Collector is more of the rarer breed of the Phish cult but nevertheless it’s always good to let them know there’s somebody out there that appreciates their penchant for collecting signatures at shows.

7.) A collection of post-it notes pin-pointing my most negative thoughts in the 20 days leading up to going on a run of shows

We all know that life can be brutal. As quoted in the classic Phish tune Roggae: “If life were easy and not so fast/ I wouldn’t think about the past.” What better place to not think about the past than being at a Phish concert. I tend to let the negativity of my life actually build-up a little more aggressively in the 20 days leading up to my first show of the year. I’ll illustrate these negative thoughts in the form of words on post-it notes. As Phish guides my soul into their darkest jams it is very customary for me to take out one of these thoughts on paper and rip them to pieces as the music begins to steer its way towards the light that is the peak of the jam. Sometimes I wonder if the band is privy to this. If you’ve ever seen Phish on New Year’s you’ve witnessed an audience being covered in confetti. That confetti may as well be the myriad of negative thoughts being ripped to pieces from the old year making way for the clean slate of a new one. If there’s one thing Phish is great at it is using their music to wipe the listener’s palettes clean. They will take you to that other world but even more importantly, they always remember to bring you back home.

One more important disclaimer, when you first get to a venue make sure you know where the EXITs are located. I know this sounds a little absurd but some of these venues can be tricky to maneuver. I’ll always remember my last show at SPAC in upstate New York where I made the mistake of leaving from the opposite end of where I entered the venue. Let’s just say after crawling though barbed wire, climbing useless stone walls and running into what looked like a handicapped werewolf not knowing where the exits of a venue lead to is no longer an option in relation to my spectating. Below I am linking a pro-shot vid of Phish Mt. Rushmore song recipient ‘Tweezer’ from the 8.1.15 Lakewood show earlier this tour so some of the doubters can get a taste of Phish’s magic. And for the lucky readers that may be attending any of the shows during the remainder of the tour…”whatever you do, take care of your shoes;)” See you on lot!

Atlanta Tweezer

 

 

 

 

Lou’s Great Songs of 2015 vol. 2: ‘Wonderful’ by Lianne La Havas

Lou’s Great Songs of 2015 vol. 2: ‘Wonderful’ by Lianne La Havas

Sleepless nights. We all have them and we all have excuses for them. Last week I had several sleepless nights. Let’s just say: “it was a bad week at work.” By Friday, the irritability had reached its apex. Everything in my world was slowly starting to become draped with negativity. Nobody likes being around a negative person. It’s contagious. After a long day to end what seemed to be a week that would never end…I got home and passed out right away.

Saturday morning I awoke and the first thing I did was head to my favorite coffee shop. It was the crack of dawn. The remnants of a wild Friday night in the city littered its streets: used condoms, empty beer bottles, cigarette butts and sanity. It was that peaceful point of morning. Right before the dump trucks trudge down the block waking up the light sleepers. Not even the coupon papers have been delivered. Everything was at that weekend morning standstill. A moment of peace. Could this moment be any more perfect. Especially for somebody that has recently been under so much mental anguish.

When songs like ‘Wonderful’ by Lianne La Havas come onto the radio the world becomes a gentle place. This song is an audio hug. The golden voice of La Havas hits deep down inside the heart “that’s grown a little bit harder” in a world that’s grown “colder” and “older.” I’m not going to lie, when I first listened to the song, I shed a tear. I really thought Miss La Havas was singing this song to me. It felt very comforting. It puts the emotions on a gentle rocking chair.

“From here there’s nothing but horizon/ Near dawn, I’m searching for the sunrise/ Remember when you put the stars into my eyes”

Miss La Havas reminds us how good it feels to love somebody else in this very selfish world. It’s ‘wonderful.’ People write books in search of that feeling. They may also go to war over it. Needless to say those words made my day. I ended up having a sense of comfort that has been lacking for some time and I owe it all to this song. Feel free to check out the other great tracks on her new album ‘Blood’ which was released less than 2 weeks ago. Enjoy!

Wonderful

Lou’s Classic Posts vol. 1

Dear readers,

I’ve been writing posts for a number of years. Today is the 20 year anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death. In honor of the legendary musician I am posting a blurb I did on him one year ago. Hope you enjoy!

yours truly;)

We’ll Get Back On Our Feet Someday:

Nodding to Jerry on the Days Between and Beyond

A couple days ago, I wrote a fog-headed, sloppily pieced memoir about the closest I ever got to rock icon Jerry Garcia. Talking about the Summer of ’95 like it opened some great box of mystery that was the key to leading a wonderful life. Mentioning my own Bildungsroman that is learning to deal with bad news in some now extinct seasonal shoretown greasy spoon but leaving out other little details like the first time I smoked pot, cursed out a girl while drunk, or began going down a road feeling bad which were all the result of that fabled summer. You see, with all the peace, love, dope that hippie merchandising coerces young people to stamp their ticket towards as some sort of Valhalla; the true fact of the matter is, in this day-in-age, post-Jerry, it’s becoming (for the most part) another notch in the belt of this country’s self-destruction, at least when you look at the world as a global competition.

For one, there’s nothing worth fighting for anymore. Or at least it seems that way. Thanks to technology, we kind of all already know our place in life. God is dying and sadly so is the hope for upward mobility (the American Dream) my grandparent’s generation (the Greatest Generation) took pride in fighting for. In fact, the people we’ve spent so much time fighting for over the years have done nothing but take advantage of anything just as much as their predecessors. You know why? Because they are human like their predecessors. And humans are inherently greedy pleasure-seekers when given the opportunity. All may deny this and many won’t act upon hedonistic tendencies for fear of God, shame, or public reputation. But deep down inside, nestled lost in many a mind, lives our own personal gilded palaces of sin. You can say that when Jerry died 19 years ago, the dark star officially crashed, leaving behind a flock of sheep with no direction home. The result were things like the modern day Grateful Dead Family (the GDF) which floods the current music scene with bad drugs and prides itself on dishonest non-tax paying capitalistic tendencies that is quite the opposite from the ‘free love’ era where it initially was born.

Which brings me to my next misconception of the hippie era, the price of freedom. I know it sounds crazy, yet it’s a question worth analyzing: how free are we? I can guarantee most that are reading this (if not all) are shackled toward some kind of debt whether it be credit cards, school loans, or a mortgage that keeps you grounded like it’s sort to be some kind of a good thing. And the ones that aren’t are either filthy rich yet bound by self-loathing as a result of having little to struggle for or chained to working some kind of job they hate. Or they are homeless which, ironically, may mean they are more free than us all because of having absolutely nothing. Sometimes you look at the world as a whole and see it as one big institution of slavery, however these institutions aren’t in the way we’re accustomed towards viewing it in history. The Grateful Dead themselves, with all those kindred spirits that called themselves family, were forced to tour non-stop for years (like over two-thirds of their existence) due to all the mouths to feed that they brought along with them for the long strange trip.

Another thing that irks me with this modern day hippie movement that erupted after Jerry’s death is the political brainwashing that now somehow seems to go hand-in-hand with it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having a political point of view, but it does get in the way of the actual music. Back then, in the time of JFK’s and MLK’s America, there was a purpose worth fighting for. Those were tumultuous times of change especially when you look at footages of Vietnam, the urban riots, and college students being shot at by ‘the man.’ But is it really worth it in these digital days. Can’t we at least acknowledge that the two parties are essentially in bed with one another in some shape or form because they have all the funding, or are we truly that blind.

Jerry’s death, while tragic, spawned most of this. You think Jerry Garcia would have been a founder of Headcount? Think again. The only thing that counted for him was the music. He’d probably even turn in his grave if he knew that his estate makes more money in a year now than he did in his whole lifetime. He was beyond being a rock star. If anything he represented more of a classic bluesman or even a jazzman and he shows it in the later years where he poured more of his soul into the Jerry Garcia Band than the Grateful Dead. No knock on the Dead but I’ll love to hear anybody’s argument that post-91 Dead showcases his talents better than the JGB.

In the end there’s always the music, and we should be thankful that it never stops. Despite all the woes that may come during the process of grasping the sound, life will always deliver a vicious round of curveballs. The music serves as nothing more than the ideal escape to forget about them for a while. So on the anniversary of Jerry’s death take a moment to look at yourself and realize how whacked we’ve all become and once you can come to peace with that conclusion, honor the man by playing a mix of his best songs from his other projects (specifically the Melvin Seals JGB). And at that moment, hopefully you won’t be asking yourself was it all worth it because you’ll know that anytime you put on any of his live performances, for that very instant, you’ll know that it is. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll even shed a tear, which is the most honest nod to one of the most significant musicians that ever lived.

Check out this video to witness Jerry pouring out his soul in his later years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4savDBbzzew
Sent from my iPad

Lou’s Mixes: Vol. 1 “Friday Night’s a Picture Show” Mix

Lou’s Mixes: Vol. 1″Friday Night’s A Picture Show” Mix

1.) Stay in My Corner—The Arcs

Stay in My Corner

2.) La Femme D’Argent—Air

La Femme D’Argent

3.) Blind—The Talking Heads

Blind

4.) Summertime Thing—Chuck Prophet

Summertime Thing

5.) Hey-Hee-Hi-Ho—Medeski, Martin, and Wood

Hey Hee Hi Ho

6.) Second Hand Heart—Dwight Yoakam

Second Hand Heart

7.) Cruel to Be Kind—Nick Lowe

Cruel to be Kind

8.) Ship to Wreck—Florence and the Machine

Ship to Wreck

9.) Shout—Tears for Fears

Shout

10.) The Moment—Tame Impala

The Moment

11.) Long Hot Summers—The Style Council

Long Hot Summers

12.) Pretty Pimpin—Kurt Vile

Pretty Pimpin

13.) Intro/Sweet Jane—Lou

Intro/Sweet Jane

Putting a mix together can take as much effort as any other blog post. This collection of songs (a little over an hour long) goes hand-in-hand with the common theme of past mixes. A little old, a little new, a little obscure…a lot of fun! Hope you enjoy and if you wish to listen to it un-interrupted, search me on spotify.

Have a nice weekend:)