Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Skippy Harris "I Like The Movies"

Every town has it's local celebrities.

Lake Wobegon has Garrison Keillor.

French Lick has Larry Bird.

And Falmouth has Skippy Harris.

Who is Skippy Harris?

We're not sure.  Though he could be a Mo Cheeks impersonator.

Perhaps the great local journalist Chris Kazarian will investigate and find out.

We may not be sure who Skippy Harris is, but one thing is for certain.  He likes the movies.

See the video on Youtube.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Jack Johnson "Friends"

There is no hard and fast rule about what makes a song appropriate to add, and what makes it inappropriate to add to rotation at MVY.

And that makes it hard to win an argument with my wife.

When she hears a song that she really likes, and finds out the MVY isn't playing it for one reason or another, she'll ask "Why?" then "WHY?" then "WHY?!?!" followed by, "That doesn't make any sense."

There is no hard and fast rule . . . there are a hundreds small and somewhat malleable rules.

The latest one we bumped up against had to do with Jack White.

The song "Friends" is a popular one around our house, in part because it plays in a promo during PBS' Kids programming, so my 5- and 3-year olds think its super-cool.

I love Jack White.  My wife loves Jack White.

Why doesn't mvyradio play Jack White?

Well, I think most listeners, and my wife, would agree that texturally and tonally, songs like "I'm Shakin'" or "Icky Thump" are just too rockin' and raucous for what we do.  A little too raw, a little too rackety, compared to the rest of the station's sound.


"But what about songs like 'Friends'?  That's not loud.  It sounds just like other songs you play."

Recently, one of the independent promoters who calls me, said something really insightful about the station:

"You're really brand conscious."

At first, I thought she meant that we were careful about the mvyradio brand.  But no.  She was talking about the brand of a band.

"Even if it's a good song, if it's the kind of band you wouldn't play, you won't play it."

There are lots of band who are not "MVY" type bands, who do record songs that wouldn't sound out of place on the station.  But if most of the time, the band's sound is outside of the station's scope, we won't play them.

The theory is this:  If we throw the station behind an artist, isn't not just because they have one good song.  It's that we believe that our listeners will like the band in general (not just one song), and that we'll be following this band for years to come.

Sometimes that theory works out.  Sometimes it doesn't.  Bands that you think are going to be good, or make records our audience will like, don't. 

We try to avoid one-hit-wonders, and really commercial artists who try one stripped down folk song, and hard-rocking bands that pull out a great acoustic number.

So yes, I went through this whole explanation with my wife and still got, "That doesn't make any sense."

There are plenty of examples of mvy-exceptions to the rule, inconsistencies she could point out.  But in the end, as much as I love him, we're unlikely to play Jack White regularly, even though "Friends" is a great song.

"Then why don't you play the Jack Johnson version?"

Well.  I couldn't argue with that.

We play load of Jack Johnson songs and his take would fit in nicely to the mvyradio mix.

So expect to hear this one on mvyradio . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Super 8 "King Of The World"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Another song that had completely escaped my memory, but was actually a good sized alterna-hit . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Possum Dixon "Watch That Girl Destroy Me"

Here's another Weekend Post:

A while back, my friend Lori TB sent me a link to a site that has archived old playlists from "120 Minutes," the Alternative Music Video show on MTV that hit its peak in the 90s.  I go trolling their on occasion when I need a good Weekend Post.

I assume it is a function of my age that there are bands that I have totally forgotten about.  I mean, I looked at the name Possum Dixon about a dozen times, thinking, "Do I know who that is?  I don't.  Do I?  It sounds vaguely familiar."  Finally, I looked up the video, and yeah, I remember this.  This was a minor hit.  Like it might've even approached the Top 40.  But I'd totally forgotten it.  Maybe you never heard it.  Or maybe you've forgotten it too . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Moden Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mike Doughty "Song For The 10th Anniversary Of iTunes"

Here's a "I Looked At The Internet Today So You Don't Have To" feature (subtitled: "I Looked At Jesse Barnett's Facebook Feed Today So You Don't Have To").

It's hard to believe iTunes as been around for 10 years.

Why it seems like just yesterday that I was helping Barbara set up iTunes on her laptop.

She brings the moment up frequently.

I was talking about how easy it was to use, and how the 99 cent threshold made it really attractive to just go ahead and buy something.

She was excited, because during the Lunch Hour, she'd often have a very specific thought ("So-and-So just passed away?  I want to play this certain track"), but would realize that the song was something from her CD collection back at her house.  Or that she didn't know if she or the station owned it at all.

Now she had most any song she could imagine, right at her fingertips.

I said, "Pretty soon though, you'll find yourself saying, 'Oh, that CD is out in my car?  I'll just by the track I need on iTunes rather than walk out to the parking lot.'"

At the time, she laughed at the utter absurdity of the idea.

But it wasn't too much later that she admitted to the reality---that often it was easier to spend 99 cents, then search for the needle in the haystack that is our messy station.  And every time she buys something that she probably already has somewhere, she reminds me of that first conversation.

Who among us has not grabbed a song on iTunes as an impulse purchase?

For its 10th anniversary, Mike Doughty wrote this really fun song about drunken iTunes splurging . . .

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Civil Wars "The Violet Hour"

The day before I returned from vacation---one that had kept me out of State and out of touch during the Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing manhunt---Barbara Dacey sent me a message to let me know that many of the local TV and radio stations would be observing a moment of silence on Monday afternoon  The moment would happen at 2:50pm, the exact time of the first explosion, one week earlier.

This meant it would happen during my airshift.

It wouldn't be the first time I was on the air for a moment of silence.  I was working mornings in the early 2000s, when September 11th anniversaries would be marked in the mornings, at the time the first plane crashed.

Every time it comes around, you realize that it's not such an easy task, to program around a moment of silence.

If we were in TV, or Talk Radio, you'd talk up to the moment, let the silence happen, let the pictures tell the story.  Then you could pick up with more conversation, or an interview or something that tonally fit.

But because we're a music station, you'd expect us to play a song.  And you'd think it would be easy.

Surprisingly, picking the right tune is a bit of a challenge.  Mostly because you're trying to complete the impossible task of picking something that is not cliche or overused, but strikes an emotionally correct chord with the listener.  All listeners, in fact.  And everyone has a different feeling/threshold for what works for them.

In the studio, Barbara asked me what songs I was thinking about.  I tossed out a few old standby ideas, including "Imagine" and "Hallelujah" and Willie Nelson's "America The Beautiful."  It had all been done before, though.

My next thought was to pick something Boston-y, for the moment.  I think we have all been struck, surprised even, about how much this event and the City's reaction to it elevated our collective identity.  And while "Sweet Caroline," "Dirty Water" and "Roadrunner," all crossed my mind for a moment, ultimately, none of them seemed appropriate.

Great songs, all of them.  But they didn't speak to what the moment was about.  And on the scene, in the City, the silence was actually going to be followed by the sound of church bells tolling.  A rock song on the radio wasn't going to be analogous.

But the mention of church bells gave Barbara an idea.  She pulled out The Civil Wars debut, and cued up track number 8.

"The Violet Hour" is an instrumental.  Beautiful and thoughtful.  And it both starts and ends with the sound of church bells.  While it was a wholly unfamiliar song, because it was wordless, it left the interpretation of its meaning up to the listener.

So I went with it.

And I followed it up with a suggestion from Jess.

Last week she wrote about her feelings toward the week on her own blog, and posted the song "You Are Not Alone," a song written by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco for Mavis Staples' most recent record.

Boston's strange duality was in full display last week.  It is both a tough, unfriendly place, while simultaneously being a clannish, fiercely loyal City where your neighbors know when to flip the switch from nearly beating your ass over a parking space, to literally giving you the clothes off their back.

Last week, the switch was flipped, and it was a reminder that we are not alone in this world.

With just a few minutes before 2:50, I had one more thought:  What comes before kinda matters too.

I might not sound right heading into a moment of silence with "Good Day Sunshine" or "Whipping Post" or something else upbeat.

Fortunately, I had been planning on playing Tuck & Patti's Jimi Hendrix medley that afternoon, and it jazzy laid back nature, and Hendrix' ruminations on mortality . . . and just the beauty of the singing and the playing, turned out to be just right.

The final piece of the puzzle:  Don't suck.

I carefully thought out a very brief, contemplative introduction to the segment, asking folks to reflect on what was lost, and what we discovered about ourselves, and did my best to deliver it.

You can play the songs below, and recreate the moment for yourself . . .

Hear "The Violet Hour" on Youtube.

Hear "You Are Not Alone" on Youtube.

Hear Tuck & Patti on Youtube.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cayucas "High School Lover"

I was on vacation last week, which always provides a nice opportunity to discover music.

While acres of this blog are devoted to "I was doing this thing when I first heard this song," truthfully, these days most of the time I hear a song, it's because I've sat down to listen to a pile of new songs that have been mailed/emailed to MVY and are now living on my laptop.  Not quite as romantic as hearing a song on a date, or while driving with the windows rolled down in summer.

But on vacation, out of state, there a chance to listen to local radio, like the community station in Ocracoke, WOVV.  Similar to community stations around the country, shows were hosted by local folks and depending on when you tuned in, you might be in the middle of a reggae hour or a bilingual show or a run of classic country.

Ocracoke is small.  You can pretty much walk anywhere in town.  And every more we'd amble out of our cottage down to the Ocracoke Coffee Co. for a cup and a sit on their porch.

Much of what they were playing on the sound system was MVY-friendly.  We heard a lot of Avett Brothers and Van Morrison and The Beatles.

My wife started her little chair groove to a song that she realized she didn't know.  "What IS this?"

Hooray for modern technology!  She used the "Shazam" App on her phone.

"Cayucas?  Who's that?"

And here's where the happy pile of new music comes in.

"Oh, I put that on my iTunes before we left.  I haven't listened, but we have this song."

So there you go.  New music, discovered in a coffee shop.  And also right under my nose in the place I go looking for new music, every day.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Richie Havens "Freedom"

The last time I saw Richie Havens, I knew that it would probably be the last time I saw Richie Havens.

I hadn't really even had a chance to hear him perform that day.  I'd been running around the campus of the Newport Folk Festival 2010, working on the station's broadcast.

But mvyradio's tent is located in the backstage area, and just happens to be at the end point where a car and driver who might be picking up a performer, can get closest to the stage.

Richie Havens, so dynamic on the stage (see a picture), was not unlike many performers, who appear larger than life on stage, but recede some in the context of real life.

Havens was somewhat different, in that he didn't shrink in the least bit.  His presence still loomed large as he made his way to his car.  Even someone who had never seen or heard of Richie Havens could have looked at the man and simply felt him.  I'm not a fan of the word "aura," but if anyone had one, it was Richie Havens.

But while he carried tremendous power on stage and off, you could now see the frailty of his 70 year old body.  She shuffled a bit as he walked, and getting into his ride was a most ginger, gentle and even uncomfortable looking effort.

Despite his unbound spirit, his mortality was apparent.

Several of the mvyradio staff went over to the car to say goodbye.  Two years prior, Havens had played at Newport Folk and had come by the house where we stay each year, for an interview with Barbara Dacey.  (Expect to hear that interview on the air soon, or find it in our archives; see a picture)  He had made a powerful, personal connection in that meeting.

For me, my connection was made a decade earlier when I realized that his magic was that everything he sang, became a moving, spiritual hymn.

He died yesterday at the age of 72, but that spirit, that magic, that aura connected with the hearts and minds and ears of the millions he touched during his 50 year long career is not something that could be hampered or diminished by simple mortality.  He was made of something more.

Godspeed, Mr. Havens.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Neil Diamond "Sweet Caroline"

I've been away for the last 10 days, on vacation in North Carolina.  10 days is a looong time ago.

Hell, even as a write this on Monday morning, it still hasn't been a full week since the Boston Marathon bombings took place, never mind the craziness of the manhunt, lockdown and capture in the days that followed.

It was pretty weird to be away from here while all this was taking place.

On the one hand, watching it unfold on TV in North Carolina was almost like being home, because the NC stations often just carried the feed from local Boston stations.  We saw familiar faces and heard familiar voices, talking about familiar places---it was like watching it at home.

And on the other hand, we were removed from it all.  There was a bit of a disconnect, since we weren't among a population that was in the thick of it.

On Saturday morning, we started our trek off Ocracoke Island, and the long drive up the Outer Banks.  The last stop before crossing the bridge back to the mainland is a rest stop at the Monument to the Wright Brothers at Kittyhawk.  While our gang used the facilitites, I took a moment to look at Facebook to see what was going on among my friends.

"Did Papi just drop the F bomb?"

There were a good dozen friends who posted this or something similar, moments after David Ortiz addressed the crowd, the City Of Boston and the World before Saturday's Red Sox game.

We got back on the road, and I found the game on the radio.

When they brought out Neil Diamond to sing "Sweet Caroline," we turned it up, and I looked over at my wife.  We both had tears in our eyes.


While going through a range of emotions over the course of the week---scared, shocked, saddened, angry, worried, relieved---neither of us had cried.

Why now?

We talked about it, but couldn't quite wrap our hands around the answer.

Was it a release?  Was it a connection to the City as a community?  Was it simply the power of music?

I can't say.

But I watched it again this morning, and teared up all the same.

Thanks Neil.

See the video on Youtube.

Hear the original on Youtube.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Police "Wrapped Around Your Finger"

While PJ is on vacation, he's writing about songs that taught him something . . .

My Dad had studied Greek Mythology so we had a helpful book on the shelvesat home to explain "the Scylla and Charybdis" to me when this Police song came out.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Living Colour "Cult Of Personality"

While PJ is on vacation, he's writing about songs that taught him something . . .

Well, the title says it all.  I'd heard the expression "cult of personality" prior to hearing this song, but I didn't know what it meant.  I found out.

It's also the first place I actually heard the voice of Malcolm X.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Little Feat "Willin'"

While PJ is on vacation, he's writing about songs that taught him something . . .

Like Wednesday's post, "Willin'" provided some geography education for this young music listener.

I couldn't understand what the hell Lowell George was saying in this song, so I went searching for the lyrics.

And in the process, I learned a little about the Southwestern U.S.

"And I been from Tuscon to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonapah."

Someone even plotted out a "Willin'" map

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cake "Sheep Go To Heaven"

While PJ is on vacation, he's writing about songs that taught him something . .

A friend posted this on his Facebook feed last week, and I laughed and shook my head.

Of course, my response to the thread was to write, "Sheep goes to Heaven, Goats go to Hell."  I always thought it was a clever song, with it's use of Carpenter and Pan and Las Vegas images.

I was curious enough about the pamphlet's origins to Google the phrase "Mr Gruff Atheist," and that is when I learned about Poe's Law.

From WikipediaWithout a blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.

Yes, the flyer is apparently the work of Objective Ministries, a parody site Fundamentalist beliefs, that really isn't any more kooky or offensive than many things I've seen in real life that were decidedly not parodies.

A "Poe" is now even used as a noun, to describe a story (like an Onion article that is mistaken for real news) or a person (like Stephen Colbert's parody of a conservative talk show host) that is taken at face value.

So take note . . . I think Cake is being ironic in this song.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

G Love & Special Sauce "I-76"

While PJ is on vacation, he's writing about songs that taught him something . . .

Writing about Philadelphia yesterday, coupled with my family drive down the East Coast for vacation, reminded me of this one.

I've only been to Philadelphia once.  But I know the names of all the surrounding highways and routes, thanks to this ditty from G Love and Friends.

They could try to do a song like this about how to drive through Boston, but as the meme says . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mark Knopfler "Sailing To Philadelphia"

While PJ is on vacation, he's writing about songs that taught him something . . .

While I think most people are familiar with the Mason/Dixon line, and what it represents in America, I bet most people are like I was---I didn't know who Mason or Dixon were, where they came from, or why they drew the line.

Enter Mark Knopfler and James Taylor, to take on the roles of Mason and Dixon, and tell the story of the Mason/Dixon line.  It's like Schoolhouse Rock for Triple A Radio!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jim Croce "You Don't Mess Around With Jim"

A couple of months back, I was looking for an easy hook for a series of blog posts to launch while I was on vacation.  I wrote about words I'd learned from songs.

But my education-via-records wasn't limited to just vocabulary words.  I learned a thing or two about the world, as well.

We had Jim Croce's Greatest Hits in our LP collection, and of course, "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" was a favorite of mine, and of practically any kid who'd ever heard it.

Now, at a young age I understood Superheros.  But not physics.

So I understood that it was rude to tug on Superman's cape.

And you'd ruin his secret identity, if you pulled the mask off the Lone Ranger.

But I had to ask my Dad, "Why does he say, 'You don't spit into the wind.'?"

Dad gave me that look that---now that I'm a Dad myself---I know so well.

It's a look that says, "Are you kidding me?" followed by "Are you an idiot?" followed by "Oh yeah, you're too young to understand the laws of physics."

If you've never done it, and you've never seen anyone do it, and you're 6, how would you know that spitting into the wind will come right back in your face?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Geggy Tah "Whoever You Are"

Here's another Weekend Post:

We're headed off.  It's our first loooong family road trip.  Driving down to North Carolina, my wife and I, with our 5 year old and our 3 year old.

Wish us luck.  And wish us drivers like the one in this 90s nugget.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Belly "Feed The Tree"

Here's another Weekend Post:

This song reminds me of my friend Teri, who was never shy about voicing her opinion.  I remember getting a letter from her that contained the usual, "Here's what's going on in my life" kind of stuff that people used to write in letters.  Then, apropos of nothing, she wrote, "And I can't stand that damn 'Feed The Tree' song!"

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Morphine "Honey White"

Here’s a reasonable request from a music lover:

“How about more Morphine!”

We were big fans of the Boston-based band, and we were pretty excited that this large, family style restaurant in North Carolina was playing something so hip on the sound system.

They’d let the album play through, but by the time our meal was over, the record had ended and the disc player had switched to something decidedly less cool.

Now, just because the person in the kitchen running the stereo is hip, I guess you can’t assume that the waitstaff is, as well.

Because when our server was clearing our plates, she asked:

“Is there anything else I can get you?”

One of my friends said, “How about more Morphine!”

The server started to laugh, then realized that we were not kidding, and got a cloudy look on her face, gave a weak, unsure laugh, and then left the table.

It was only after she walked away that it occurred to me that she probably had no idea that “Morphine” is the name of a band, and that we weren’t requesting that she bring us a syringe of heavy duty painkiller.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Junip "Your Life Your Call"

Have you ever been in a room, and suddenly someone says "Did you hear that?"

And you think, "Hear what?"

And everyone else is saying, "Yeah, I heard it."

And you think, "What the hell are they talking about?"

That's kinda how I feel about Junip.

I like the tracks I've heard.  But I can't muster any passion for the band.

But clearly, I'm the guy in the room who doesn't hear it.  Because the folks at MVY who've heard this song, love it.  And the tune had a great first week on radio---dozen of stations around the country, that play similar stuff to MVY, started playing this one.  The record is being promoted by one of indie promoters who (in my opinion) has impeccable taste.  And the band is widely critically acclaimed.

So I don't hear the noise in the room, but I'm going to trust the ears around me on this one.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Susan Tedeschi "Lord Protect My Child"

Do you know what an Apgar score is?

Thankfully, three years ago today, I did not.

If you are someone who doesn't yet have kids, but are planning on it, maybe you just want to skip clicking through.  I found the ignorance to be quite helpful on the day my boy was born.

I don't want to over-dramatize the story of his birth---I know many, many folks who have gone through much, much worse.  But suffice it to say that his first Apgar score was "1."

Today he is 3 years old.

He is a happy, healthy, feisty thing, that gives no hint of the very narrow line he walked in his first 30 minutes of life.

I'm not religious.  I don't pray.  But I hear this song in my head and I thank whatever fate or good fortune or God that smiled upon him, upon me, upon us to make today possible.

Happy Day, little thing.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Lyrics by Bob Dylan

For his age he's wise
He's got his mother's eyes
There's gladness in his heart
He's young and he's wild
My only prayer is if I can't be there
Lord protect my child

As his youth now unfolds
He is centuries old
Just to see him at play makes me smile
No matter what happens to me
No matter what my destiny
Lord protect my child

While the world is asleep
You can look at it and weep
Few things you find are worthwhile
And though I don't ask for much
No material things to touch
Lord protect my child

He's young and on fire
Full of hope and desire
In a world that's been raped raped and defiled
If I fall along the way
And can't see another day
Lord protect my child

There'll be a time I hear tell
When all will be well
When God and man will be reconciled
But until men lose their chains
And righteousness reigns
Lord protect my child

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tom Jones "Hit Or Miss"

This is one of those tunes I wish I could present to you (and to myself), with complete anonymity for the artist involved. 

I'd love to know what your reaction to this tune would be, if I could tell you, convincingly, that this was a no-name, undiscovered 73-year-old artist who'd made a record worth hearing.

Because seriously, simply by uttering the two words, "Tom Jones" it's hard to see or hear anything but an older man in leather pants singing "What's New Pussycat" and "Kiss."

Neither could I call you up, without you hearing the song, and say, "Would you like to hear Tom Jones do an Odetta tune?"  Just trying to conceptualize it might make your brain break.

And yet, hear it is.  Tom Jones, who, for all the goofiness and cheesiness you can rightly tag him with, has always had, and still has, a powerful instrument.  He does a credible job here.

Hear it, if your brain will let you . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hoodoo Gurus "Come Anytime"

After a summer in a hot, unpleasant warehouse, I knew that I needed an upgrade.  So in the Summer of 1989, I got a job working at a Holiday Inn, in Portsmouth, NH.

This would be the last job ever I would ever hold that would require me to wear a tie on a daily basis.

I worked at the front desk, checking folks in and out.  Typing interminable amounts of information into a computer, while people just wanted to a) go to their room and lie down, or b) leave.

I learned 3 things that summer.

1. It’s lonely on the road.

If I’d ever held any fantasies about the freedom of the road, they were obliterated by the realities of interacting with folks to did it for a living.  We had regulars who’d come through town on business and stay over every Tuesday, or for the last week of the month.  Their itinerant lifestyle didn’t make them free.  It clearly weighed them down.  Meals on the go, strange dark rooms, pockets full of boarding passes and road receipts.  They looked grey and unhappy.  They were not having a good time.

2. Drink it black

I didn’t grow up in a coffee-drinking household, so I had never really had a cup of coffee.  But working long, late (or sometime early) hours at the front desk, landed me in a coffee-drinking culture.  And while my instincts were to load my drink up with milk and sugar, it was the overnight accountant who scoffed at my beverage and sneered, “Candy.”  Sweetening up your coffee was the equivalent of putting fruit and an umbrella in your cocktail.  Not manly.  Not serious.  Learning to drink it black, I avoided years of Coffeemate substitute and stirrer pokes in the eye.     

3. If you’re going to ask for an autograph, know what the person looks like

We were not too far from a venue called The Hampton Beach Casino, and because the hotel was located right off the highway, it was pretty common for the acts to stay with us.  That summer both Meatloaf and Kool & The Gang checked in to our place.

I was pretty excited to see one morning, that The Hoodoo Gurus were to be checking in later that day.  The Casino generally booked heritage acts, but occasionally, they’d have some alternative up-and-comer play.

I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan, but I knew this girl who was.  Wouldn’t I be the coolest, if I scored her an autograph?

Making sure that I would be the one to check them in (the older woman I worked with was happy to let me do it---she asked if the gurus were from India), I readied myself with a good pen and a piece of paper and some fan-boy-like praise.

Things started off fine enough, as the band’s manager came to the desk first, identifying himself as such.  I asked him if I could get a band autograph.  He, I think, was happy to his boys were being recognized.

Here’s what I didn’t expect.  When a band travels, it’s not just the 4 guys and the manager.  It’s all the guitar techs and lighting guys and sound board operators.

And none of them are wearing name-tags.

So as the guys come up one by one to get their room keys, I’ve got my pen and my paper on the counter, awkwardly trying to assess who’s in the band and who isn’t, attempting to indicate with my body language that the paper an pen are for autographs.

Long story short - - - 3 guys signed the piece of paper.  I have no idea if any of them were actually in the band.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Letters To Cleo "Awake"

Here's another Weekend Post:

In the 90s, when I was single/dating, I liked a good Power Pop break-up song, and this was another fave.

I was a little disappointed to find out that she doesn't say, "Baby, I'm leaving out the ironing," which is a great "F-U, I'm outta here" line.

She says she's leaving out the "irony," which is a good line too, and more 90s-ish, I suppose.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Greenberry Woods "Adieu"

Here's another Weekend Post:
Of those lost Power Pop hits of the 90s . . . this is one of the great kiss-off songs of the period.  A very happy sounding F-U.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Soul Coughing "Screenwriter's Blues"

For a good 15 years now, if asked, I'd name "Ruby Vroom" by Soul Coughing as one of my Top 5 All Time Favorite Albums.  It's a record I go back to regularly.

Maybe you've heard it, but wouldn't put it in your Top 5.  Or Top 25.  I get that.

Maybe you've heard it, but didn't like it at all.  I get that.

Maybe you even actively dislike it, and can't possibly see how anyone could like it.

I can even buy that position.

Unless your name is Mike Doughty.

But yes, Mike Doughty, the former lead singer of the now defunct band, hates the music of Soul Coughing.  And he's not shy about saying so.

In fact, he hates it so much that he's started a Pledge Music campaign, to raise money to re-record many of the songs from those Soul Coughing records, to put them in a more palatable form.

I am truly, legitimately confused about how to feel.  The creation that I love is hated by the creator.  And in doing so, it seems to cast doubt on my own personal taste

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

U2 "Pride In The Name Of Love"

"Early morning, April 4th, shot rings out in the Memphis sky . . ."

It was really amazing of Bono to turn this tune---which, reportedly had started as a song about Reagan and his take on American pride---into a timeless tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

But how did he get such a simple detail wrong?

King was shot to death just after 6pm, not in the early morning.

It's hardly a big deal, but like a misspelled word on a street sign, it sticks out every time I hear it.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Solomon Burke "Up To The Mountain"

Why is it that we mark deaths, with greater sentiment than achievements?

I mean, its good to have an alarm clock of sorts that rings to remind you of a person.  But stopping down to think about them at the moment of their death doesn't seem like the proper honor.

Same thing with their birth.  Don't get me wrong, I love birthdays.  But really, why are you celebrating my birthday?  I didn't do anything.  If anyone deserves a cake on March 10th, its my Mom.

So, tomorrow, people are going to talk about the passing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was shot to death on April 4th, 1968.

Wouldn't it be better to have your moment of reflection on the man and his message, to coincide with something like his "I've Been To The Mountaintop" speech, delivered on April 3, 1968?

It's uplifting message, it's hopeful nature, it's faith in the divine and the earthly---that is what is worth marking and remembering.

Hear the song Patty Griffin wrote and Solomon Burke recorded, inspired by the MLK speech, on Youtube.

Hear the last minute of the speech on Youtube.

Hear the full speech on Youtube.

And the full text of the speech can be found here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Son Volt "Hearts & Minds"

Sometime shortly after I have become Program Director at MVY, I was down at the Pub where I hung out.  One of my buddies was saying to a third guy:  "Did you hear that PJ got promoted at MVY?"

The third guy shrugged.  "MVY?  I stopped listening to them since they went country."

Went country?

The previous month, we'd done an On The Road trip to Merlefest, the premiere East Coast Americana music festival hosted by Doc Watson.

We gave it massive coverage on the air, playing cuts from bluegrass, country, roots and Americana artists not typically found in large supply on our station.

Was it wall-to-wall country?  No.  But here in the Northeast, a little country goes a long way.

It's always important to keep a good balance, and air only a moderate supply of songs that push away from the center-boundary of what is mvyradio.

If you look back at the old entry about how we choose songs for mvyradio, you'll see that I expressly mention that we're okay when we have a couple of Country-leaning songs.  Anything over that, and we risk sounding "too country."

So what do you do when there's a plethora of great, mvy-friendly country music out there?

We're suddenly deluged with great albums that can't really be ignored, by Son Volt, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, and Steve Earle.  Not to mention the banjo and dobro inflected likes of The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons and Jerry Douglas.

I guess the answer is, you go with it. 

We can't not play the Steve Earle.  Or the Emmylou & Rodney.  It would be weird for MVY, long-time Earle and Harris supporters, to suddenly ignore a critically-praised major release of theirs.  And the curiosity factor of the Steve & Edie record alone is reason to play it---it's the kind of oddball release that listeners expect to have a place on our eclectic indie station.

I say this all the time to listeners who complain about hearing too much of one new song or another:  Songs come and songs go.  If you don't like this one, don't worry, it will run its course and fade. 

Three months from now, many of these songs will be gone from our "current" playlist, and the balance of the station will be restored, or will perhaps lean in another direction that we'll have to course-correct for.

In the meantime, we haven't "gone country."  We're just enjoying the twang.

Hear Son Volt on Youtube.

Hear Buddy & Jim on Youtube.

Hear Emmylou & Rodney on Youtube.

Hear Steve & Edie talk about their record on Youtube.

Hear Steve Earle on Youtube.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Buffalo Touch "Everybody's Polish On Dyngus Day"

Well, you'd be forgiving for thinking that I was pulling some kind of prank, telling you it's Dyngus Day.

It IS April Fool's Day, in case you forgot.

But it's also the Monday after Easter.  And in many Polish-American communities, the Monday after Easter is celebrated as Dyngus Day.  No Fooling!

And just like everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, everyone is Polish on Dyngus Day!  Just ask The Buffalo Touch.

The Dyngus Day promo, on Youtube.