Inside Zach’s iPod – Vol. 3

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI figured the public is clamoring for another installment of “Inside Zach’s iPod (IZI)”; or I have writer’s block – you be the judge.

To refresh your memory, I currently have 4,077 songs on my iPod and the drill is that I hit shuffle and write about the first five songs that come up.  It is also an observation of how my mind skips around (SQUIRREL!).  I can’t skip songs unless they have popped up before on IZI.

  • Snowblind – Styx.  This Paradise Theater deep cut features both James Young and Tommy Shaw on vocals.  In typical Styx fashion, this song starts out slowly and then kicks into a rockin’ tune by the end.  Saw them perform this one live on the Paradise Theater tour.
  • Love Her and Lose Me – Heidi Newfield.  This comes from Heidi’s solo debut album after Trick Pony’s first break-up.  I received this album as a promo from a record company friend and immediately liked it.  Heidi has one of those voices best described as sultry.  She participated in a couple of JDRF golf tourneys, so that moved her to the “like” column for me.
  • Black on Black II – Heart.  This is a rockin’ Heart tune from Desire Walks On.  I remember they opened with this song the last time I saw them (Wildhorse Saloon).  As usual, Ann voice is very powerful. Speaking of Ann, she is performing a solo mini tour with only seven stops; one of which is the City Winery in Nashville.  She plans on performing a variety of blues and rock songs that she “…enjoys singing”.  I bought tickets and look forward to the show.
  • Ragged Heart – Jaime Kyle.  This tune from her debut album The Passionate Kind (1992) received some local air time here in Nashville.  I first heard her in an interview on KDF around the release of the CD and have seen her several times since then and consider her a friend.  She achieved popularity with later releases in Europe and also songwriting success with Wild One (Faith Hill) and Stranded (Heart).
  • All in How You Say It – Tommy Shaw.  From Tommy’s 1998 solo album 7 Deadly Zins, this song kind of has a smooth and cool vibe to it.  The 7 Deadly Zins album is a nice piece of work.  It is like Tommy invited several friends (Nugent, Allison Kraus, Kevin Cronin, Jack Blades and Michael Cartellone) over and said “hey, come sing on my solo CD”.  Yes, there was one song that Jack, Tommy, Ted, and Michael played on; so you could kind of make the stretch that it was a Damn Yankees song if you closed your eyes real tight.  I saw Tommy on this tour in Knoxville at Thompson Boiling Arena.  He had the first slot in a tour that boasted Tommy, Peter Frampton, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Ironically, Cartellone played with Shaw on that tour and within a year, he was installed as Skynyrd’s drummer -where he is still today.

Well, that closes another peek inside my iPod, as well as my mind.  Hope you visit again soon.  Also, if your area is like Nashville has been lately, the key word is HYDRATE.

Zach – sweating while musing

Jack Blades – Man of Many Faces

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI started out to write a review/musing on the new Revolution Saints (more on that later) album that was recently released, but as usual, the ole brain took me in a different direction. I was thinking about the members of Revolution Saints and the background that I would need to put into the blog when it hit me – Jack Blades is one busy dude.

Jack’s “primary” band is Night Ranger.  Night Ranger first came onto the music scene in the early 80’s with their debut album – Dawn Patrol (1982) which gave us Don’t Tell Me You Love Me and Sing Me Away.  I saw Night Ranger on the Dawn Patrol tour in Huntsville, AL when they opened for KISS and had just heard Sing Me Away on KDF (when  KDF played rock) that day.  However, like many of the attendees, we wanted to see KISS.  I would like to publicly apologize to Night Ranger for being in the crowd that night.  People were booing because they wanted the KISS show to start.

Night Ranger’s next album, Midnight Madness, solidified their place in anthem rock history with When You Close Your Eyes and the monster hit Sister Christian.  The rest they say is history.  Good or bad, they will forever be tied to the power ballad Sister Christian.

Enough about Night Ranger and on to the topic – Jack Blades.  Jack reminds me of the energizer  bunny, not just for his onstage energy (tons!), but for his multiple avenues of getting his music fix:

  • Damn Yankees – this was one of the first “supergroups” and formed in 1988 with Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw (Styx), Michael Cartellone, and Jack.  This band put out some great music and was great to see on tour.  Sadly, after two albums, the members’ priority turned to their individual or band’s careers.  As a side note, read a recent piece on the band at http://ultimateclassicrock.com/damn-yankees-history/ .
  • Shaw Blades – Tommy Shaw and Jack teamed up for two unforgettable albums.  Their vocal ranges complement each other superbly.  Their first album Hallucination was original songs, while their sophomore album, Influences, included covers of songs that influenced each of them growing up.   They didn’t tour a lot, but I did have the opportunity to see Shaw Blades at the Wildhorse Saloon
  • Solo albums – Jack also found time to release two solo albums – Jack Blades (2004) and Rock n’ Roll Ride (2012).  I haven’t heard the inaugural solo album, but love Rock n’ Roll Ride.
  • Revolution Saints – this is Jack’s latest project.  It include Deen Castronovo (drums) from Journey & Bad English, Doug Aldrich (guitar) from Whitesnake.   My lovely bride heard this album and said “it sounds like an 80’s band.”  Yes, it does.  With Deen Castronovo’s vocals, it sounds a lot like Journey.  I didn’t realize how close he & Steve Perry’s vocals are when you listen.  If you want a good solid rock album, get this one.

Well, it is about time to bring this thing back around and close it out.  Thanks for indulging my rambling mind, but that is how it works.  The purpose of this musing?  I guess it is to show appreciation of the versatility and musical talents of Jack.  If you get the chance, go catch a Night Ranger show. You will be glad you did.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Rocks the Ryman

Johnny wants you to know:
“Skynyrd’s in the House!”

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Photo: Zach Clayton

On Monday November 11, the Mother Church of Country Music (the Ryman Auditorium) was transformed into the Mother Church of Southern Rock as Southern Rock icons; Lynyrd Skynyrd shook the cobwebs out of the Ryman’s rafters. Except for a free show on New Year’s Eve about three years ago, it had been a while since Skynyrd played a show in Nashville. I must say the Ryman’s intimate venue was perfect for their return back to Music City.

Ironically, Nashville was the first city the Skynyrd survivors played after the fatal plane crash and the first city they played when they reformed in 1987 with Johnny Van Zandt as lead singer. Johnny now has over 25 years standing in his brother’s spot which is longer than Ronnie had the spot in the first place.  In addition to Johnny and Gary Rossington, Skynyrd is comprised of Rickey Medlocke and Sparky Matejka on guitars, Johnny Colt (Black Crowes, Train) on bass, Michael Cartellone (Damn Yankees) on drums, and Peter Keys on keyboard.  Throw in Carol Chase and Dale Rossington (yes, his wife) and there was a small town on the stage.  While Gary is technically the only remaining “original” member, Medlocke and Cartellone have been in the band well over 10 years each, which makes them “old timers” in my book.

Regardless of the longevity of the band members, the crowd gathered in the Ryman and anxiously awaited the band.  Based upon the age of the crowd, I fully expected an AARP table or leaflet under the seat.  However, when the band came out after AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, the crowd proved that one is never too old to rock & roll.

musings 2The band opened with Last of A Dying Breed which released in 2012, was the only song that the copyright date started with a “2”.  The rest of the set was a stroll down the memory lane of every Southern rock fan.  The band sounded tight and pretty much held true to the original songs.  Medlocke and Sparky employed every stereotypical move ever done by a guitar player while Cartellone brought his large and loud rock drumming to the stage and once again proved that he belongs on the stage with the “big boys”.  Johnny Van Zandt provided strong vocals while periodically proclaiming “Skynyrd’s in the house!”

The band closed the set with Sweet Home Alabama.  During this song, I wondered if the younger members of the audience really knew what Watergate was or did they care.   Leave it to this Tennessee fan to be seated behind an Alabama fan who for some reason would turn and yell “roll tide roll” every time “Sweet Home Alabama” was sung.   Of course, even the Alabama fan could figure out that the Southern rock anthem Free Bird would be the finale and the band didn’t disappoint.  The song came large and loud from a golden eagle statue on the piano to a disco ball the size of Haiti.  When the song finished, I don’t think there was an ounce of energy left in either the band or the audience.  Here is the complete set list:

  • Last of a Dyin’ Breed
  • Call Me the Breeze
  • What’s Your Name
  • Gimme Back My Bullets
  • Down South Jukin’
  • That Smell
  • You Got That Right
  • Saturday Night Special
  • Simple Man
  • Mississippi Kid
  • Tuesday’s Gone
  • Gimme Three Steps
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • Free Bird

For me, the highlights were Tuesday’s Gone (favorite Skynyrd song) and the names of deceased band members scrolling during Free Bird.  Even if the band has only one original member, it seems as if the spirit of the original band lives on 40 years later whenever Skynyrd’s in the house.

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