Music Friday Blog

  • AOEDE publishes her memoirs

    Aoede__headshot_300sq.jpgAfter over a decade of fighting a debilitating disease, producing records, writing children's plays, writing songs, producing records and theater, winning global music awards, being up for Grammy consideration, Lisa Sniderman, aka AOEDE, has decided to put it down on paper and tell the story to date.  We talk with her about that story and whey she decided to write memoirs in the middle of her career.

  • The new head of the HOB Music Forward Foundation

    nuirit__head._300sq.jpgThis Friday we get to talk with Nurit Siegel Smith, the new Executive Director of the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, who will tell us about her vision for how the foundation can use its $1 million a year in grants to help music education.

  • From Russia with fun and Little Red Riding Hood

    eva_civic_center_300.jpgEva Mikhailovna immigrated to California  - Riverside, specifically - from Russia with her parents. What as a family entertainment became her career, sing-songwriter.  She creates a mixture of old European stories and tunes with modern beats and fun.  If you go to one of her joyful concerts, you will likely howl as she sings "Little Red Riding Hood".

  • This Friday: LA's Dark underbelly.

    joy_headshot.300sq.jpgI have known about the dark underbelly of afterhours Hollywood parties, drinking, drugs, predation on young musicians trying to make connections and please music executives for sometime.  The children of celebrities, rich kids, older executives who move the party from the club to the pad up in the hills and wake up the next afternoon with whose knows whom.  We will get a closer look at that scene this Friday through the stories and songs of Joy Autumn and new album Midnight.

  • Three Great Women this Friday

    GChavez_CostaRica_SpencerSelvidge_300.jpgOur annual analysis of our guests found that over 60% of our guess are women.  We don't plan that - it just happened.  I guess one reason is that a lot of bands are led by/fronted b y women who are then the spokespersons.  But another reason is the huge numbers of independent women in music, not just singers, but drummers, bass players, lead guitarists,  you name it, they play it.  This week we have three hugely talented women who have collected awards and fans a plenty with guitar playing, singing, songwriting and going above and beyond to help others. Male or female, you will want to hear what these women have to say and sing.

  • Three guests and 2 premiers this week.

    matt_legrand._jeff_smith_phtog.300sq.jpg "NewFriday" this week when we premier new songs and new talent. A new album for NOVALIMA, a new song for MITRE, and new artist MATT LEGRAND 11 - noon PT 9/14/18.

  • Play music on the Porch Day last weekend. Fun!!

    porch_sign_300.jpgLast week was Play Music on the Porch Day, a movement that started in Highland Park neighborhood of LA and is now in 650 cities worldwide.  I attended the Highland Park celebration and was linked to a celebration in Zimbabwe.  One of my favorite local bands, The Mexican Standoff headlined at the Highland Park Senior Citizens Center (don't let the name fool you - it was big community event sponsored by LA City Councilman Jose Huizar).  video at https://youtu.be/UCMr27molTA

  • Two great American women. Electro Pop and Country Blues

    tammie_shannon_300.jpgTwo women from opposite ends of the music world, but with stories of survival and success.  Tammie Shannon sings Southern Blues and makes it universal to everyone. Kim Cameron creates dance tracks that you just cannot sit still to.  And they have fascinating stories to tell.

  • Aretha Franklin. #respect

    650x350_aretha_franklin_young.jpgWe will miss you. 

    You will always have our R.E.S.P.E.C.T

  • Farewell for one of America’s greatest fiddlers: Bobby Bruce.

    BobbyBruce.jpgAlthough you may not know the name Bobby Bruce, you have likely heard his music.  If you are of a certain age you saw him weekly on the Lawrence Welk show, or you swung to his fiddling with bands like Spade Cooley or Asleep at the Wheel. Or you might have seen him perform live with Johnny Cash, Ry Cooder, Charlie Daniels, or Willie Nelson.

     If you saw the movies The Sting or Jerimiah Johnson, that was his fiddle you heard. Or perhaps you saw Roots, for which Bobby won an Emmy for his work with Qunicy Jones. Or maybe you heard him play on the Barbara Mandrell Show, Green Acres, Columbo, or Little House on the Prairie.

    This list goes on, but it ended Feb. 28 when Bobby passed from this world, or moved on to the next band as the case may be.  My wife and I knew Bobby’s family well and hosted him for dinner at our house.  We attended the memorial service for Bobby at LAs Descanso Gardens, a 150-acre wonderland of landscaping, streams and twinkling lights in the dry San Gabriel Mountain foothills.  The family opted for a small service, mostly relatives, and musicians who had played with Bobby over the years.

    And there were many years. Born in Chicago in 1925, Bobby started violin lessons at the age of 6 and by the age of 9 he and his mother and older sister Eileen would do acrobatics, tap dance, sing and play music on stage in a Vaudeville act called the Personality Kids.  He went on to develop his remarkable music skills at the Chicago Musical College,  studying classical violin with one of the finest teachers in the world, Leon Sammantini. But it was the jazz clubs he snuck into on his way home from school that changed his life.  Listening and sometimes playing and improvising in the clubs seeded the versatility that marked his career for the rest of his life.

    When World War II started Bobby joined the Marines and took his fiddle with him, even as he saw some of the Pacific theater’s worst fighting in Guam, Saipan, and Iwo Jima. But the Marines saw his talent and soon he was arranging music and directing 125 men in music ensembles in the islands, keeping morale up in a very tough war.

    His education and experience honed him into an extraordinarily versatile violinist and fiddle player.  Jazz, country, classical, popular music, studio,  live, television, film;   he could do it all.  And he started doing it all when he moved to Los Angeles in the 1950’s.  He played on CBS radio with top country bands like Tex Williams and Jimmy Wakely.  He did solos and live television with Lawrence Welk. He found himself onstage with Dolly Parton and Ike and Tina Turner, among many, many others. And he became the go-to fiddler/violinist for LA’s many recording studios.

    As the years rolled by, Bobby became one of the most prolific studio recording violinists in the industry, as well as an equally prolific musician and arranger for film and television and a mentor to upcoming artists.  In 2014, he was inducted into the National Fiddlers Hall of Fame in recognition of his countless contributions to music and the music world. But he was never too busy to bring his violin to dinner at a friend’s or family’s home and play a few tunes.

    Memorial services for musicians are sweet and sour.  Many of Bobby’s musician friends were there telling stories about his penchant for practical jokes and how he put many of them over on them.  And of course, they brought their instruments and remembered Bobby with notes as well as words.  But between the laughter and tunes, of course, there were the tears.  There won’t be any more practical jokes, all night recording sessions or family dinners followed by a few licks on the fiddle.

    After the service, when the last cookies were eaten, the tea and coffee gone, and the instruments packed back into their cases, many took a walk around the grounds, inspired by the lushness of the oasis in the dry SoCal hills, the burble of its streams and brooks, and the musical notes – not Bobby’s – floating from hidden speakers.  Life goes on and so does music, but it won’t be quiet the same without Bobby.