Who is Gram Parsons…And Why Does Yer Blogger Keep Writing About Him?

Sep 19, 2015 | 1883 Views | 2 Comments

I’ve read six books about a singer/songwriter that some of you may barely recognize or recall: Gram Parsons. Six books. And three more that feature him prominently. I begin each bio hoping to understand how and why such an enormously gifted musical visionary chose, or was predestined, to recklessly self-destruct at such a young age. The biographies present a wealth of information: about how this well-mannered Southern boy pioneered and popularized the merging of country sounds with rock, rhythm and folk...about his influence on artists as diverse as The Rolling Stones and Elvis Costello...about how he... Read More »

Pumpin’ Some Pittsburgh Labor Day Love with The Iron City Houserockers

Sep 7, 2015 | 1620 Views | 0 Comments

There’s no city in America that once defined labor quite like beautiful, hardscrabble Pittsburgh. Our workers produced the big, hard, heavy, clanging things that made the world go 'round: iron, steel, aluminum, glass, massive rotors, giant generators. Nobody worked as hard as Pittsburghers. And nobody wrote and sang about the working class lives and loves of Pittsburghers quite like the fabulous Iron City Houserockers. The band's original lineup included founder, guitarist and vocalist Joe Grushecky, bass player Art Nardini, drummer Ned Rankin, guitarist Eddie Britt, keyboardist Gil Snyder, guitarist Gary Scalese, and harmonica player Marc Reisman. These... Read More »

The Beatles and The Stones: Beasts of Beard-dom

Sep 5, 2015 | 1712 Views | 0 Comments

She asks me why I'm just a hairy guy. I'm hairy noon and night. Hair that's a fright. I'm hairy high and low. Don't ask me why. Don't know. Those words from the Broadway musical "Hair" pretty much summed up the let it all hang out, let it all hang long philosophy of the '60s. When it came to facial hair, The Beatles were always adventurous. At various times both John and George sprouted wild, full-coverage beards. Those two were at their absolute bushiest in the Ethan Russell photo featured on the cover of the 1969 "Hey... Read More »

Roaring Down Thunder Road: Darlin’, You Know Just What I’m Here For

Aug 28, 2015 | 1699 Views | 0 Comments

I took a road trip with "Born to Run" yesterday. It's the 40th anniversary of Bruce's groundbreaking album, and there's no better way to experience it than by blasting it in your car, with the windows open and the wind blowing back your hair. Cars and tunnels and backstreets and highways are just as central to the LP's cast of characters as the losers and loners and tramps. My trip to the South Hills of Pittsburgh lasted the entire length of the album. From Rt. 22 East and the harmonica opening of "Thunder Road," right down to... Read More »

Dancing in a Sea of Love

Aug 20, 2015 | 1698 Views | 0 Comments

Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown…oops, that's the name of a Pedro Almodóvar movie. What I meant was, women on the verge of getting married (I guess they're one and the same) are confronted with many worrisome choices: which gown to buy, which girlfriends to choose as bridesmaids, which obnoxious relatives and co-workers NOT to invite to the ceremony, thus risking eternal damnation. For most, these are choices of dire importance when planning The Big Day. But for me, the issue demanding the utmost consideration involved...what else? Music. I originally wanted a mariachi band to... Read More »