Music Friday Blog

  • Americana blues rock from Nashville to Detroit

    JillJack-byMichaelHacala0_300_sq.jpgI am so looking forward to this Friday.  We are back from our Christmas vacation in Mexico full of salsa and cumbia and tequila and ready to get back to the basics of MusicFridayLive - blues, rock, folk, jazz, Americana, bluegrass (next week we will return to rap and hip-hop and metal and all that other good stuff.) The guests this week are both old and new to us.  jill Jack has been on the show twice before and I have seen her live twice.  She is the electrifying country blues-rock queen from Detroit (yes, Detroit has country music).  And up from Nashville is one of the most interesting and enjoyable folk rock bluegrass groups I have ever heard, the husband and wife duo Mare Wakefield and Nomad. Get ready for down-to earth lyrics, heart-piercing melodies and a great accordion.





    Music FridayLive! and MusicaFusionLA radio have teamed up with the UK’s online magazine and radio network, Artistic Echoes, to recognize indie artists from around the world whose music inspires and moves us. Here are the winners for 2017.

    The 2017 Awards

    Best Album, Male goes to The Simpkin Project for their album,  for Beam of Light @SimpkinProject

    Best Alt Rock Band goes to The Rigs.  @TheRigsOfficial  

    Best Metal Artist/Band Award goes to Militia Vox. @MilitiAismyname

    Best Rock Artist, Female goes to Doña Oxford @donaoxford  

    Best Album, Female goes to ARI for Tunnel Vision @iamARImusic

    Best Live Performance Award goes to The Earth Harp.  @theearthharp

    Best Rock Band Award goes to Los Hollywood. @los_hollywood

    The 2017 Song Of The Year award goes to “Reckless”  by Eric Zayne.@EricZayne  

  • Steve McCormick is out of this world.

    I have known about Steve McCormick for some time, but I had not seen him live until last week.  He has played behind some of the biggest and in the country, he has provided the music for movies and TV shows I watch, and he is known for putting on a great show.  Despite all of the this, I almost missed the fact that he would be appearing at the Santa  Monica Playhouse last week, with my good friends We Are The West.  So I was delighted when I got in and looked at the program and there was the Steve McCormick that I had been listening to for years.  And did he put on a show!! I booked him for an interview before he even got off the stage.  This week.  11 am PT.


  • Humbled by this Friday's guests

    Shelly_P_300.jpgI am so proud and happy to talk with two remarkable people this week. Grammy nominee Shelly Peikin who has written top hits that we all know and love, and Blake Morgan, a visionary and artist who manages to be a sell-out entertainer while managing one of America's most innovative music corporations. Both of these talents have earned their spurs in a very tough industry and both have compelling stories.  Shelly especially humbles me with the multiplatinum songs she has written, the stars who rely on her for songs, and her book  - yes, a book - she thinks about what she does.  And being a mom, and wife and whole person. Wow!

    Blake Morgan is not only a headling singer/songwriter, but a champion for the rights of musicians - musicians must get paid is his principle.  He founded the ECR Music Group, a global music corporation that works on that principle.  All artists under contract to ECR own 100% of their masters.  Plus Blake and ECR are fighting for a law to change the rates that artists are paid for streams and downloads so they can make a living.

    This will be a great show.

  • From India and Brooklyn to LA: Akshara and The Rigs

    Rigs_W._300.jpgThis week we really look at the extremes.  Akshara combines classic carnatic Indian music with its modern cousins and western instruments for a taste of South Asia you have never heard before.  Then The Rigs show up and blow your minds with pulsing beats, whispered vocals and it country?  Is it roots? Is itg Americanan?   I am anot sure, but it sure is fun.

  • We leave the planet this Friday. Ari and Sluka

    ari_arm_up_300_stripes.jpgBoth of this week's artists have a knack for taking you to other worlds, some of them heavenly, some of them in your mind where you determine their ratio of light to dark.  ARI explores the human mind both in joy and in deep trouble. A psychologist by training, as a musician she creates cinematic sounds, swirling images, and lyrics from the interior recesses of minds both free and troubled.  Christopher Sluka shoots for the stars with uplifting sound that soars and grins and carries you beyond the Van Allen belt, beyond the asteroid belt and even beyond the solar system.  They both join us this Friday. 


  • We are back with two wild bands

    trouble_bus_300.jpgThe instability problem with Blogtalk Radio has been solved and we are staying with them. Whew!  I really didn't want to move, but as I understand they are merging with their major competitor - where I was thinking of moving to - it all worked out.  We are back on the air and things are running smoothly.  Actually, our Wednesday bilingual show, MusicaFusionLA never went off - the problem only affected Friday shows.

    We are rescheduling the shows we had to postpone, this week William Close and the Earth Harp and Trouble in the Streets.  We have a list of great artists lined up for booking through November, so don't miss a single show.  This Friday, William Close talks to us about building and playing the world's largest musical instrument, the Earth Harp, which is several stories high and fills canyons with wonderful melodies. He is an installation artist, as well as a musician, so the conversation should be very interesting. Trouble in the Streets, a new Electro TGribal R&B funk band is up next,  They are known for incredibly wild shows with costumes, funky bets, dancing, and a frenzied crowd.  We don't plan on getting frenzied, but who knows.

  • ¡Pá rriba! in an art museum

    LA/LA LAND WEEK OF 9/23/17

    ¡Pá rriba! in an art museum

    lido_snip_1JPG.JPGI am not much for art museums.  I am in no way anti-art; it’s just that walking around in white-walled rooms looking at drawings or sculptures or even installations eventually puts me to sleep.  I like my art loud and moving, preferably with a guitar and drums. So I was a bit hesitant about the invitation I got to the Hammer Museum near UCLA Friday night for the opening of  Radical Women: Latin American art, 1960 -1985, a three and half month- long program of paintings, drawings, videos, discussions, and installations by Latinas.  What attracted me was the music element, Latinas Out Loud”: ¡Pá rriba!  that opened the exhibition. I expected a short set of songs, a lecture about the artwork, and then background music.

    How wrong I was! Next time I will pay more attention to the Spanish.  ¡Pá rriba! means “Get up!” and that is what I and several hundred of my closest friends did in between stops at the two large and fully-stocked bars and the food trucks dispensing Korean bulgogi and other delights. The Hammer is not your father’s art museum and I was never sleepy.

    The Hammer Museum, known in LA as “The Hammer”, is a blocky edifice that could be an office building.  Other than the word “Hammer” on the side in large letters it is pretty much like the office towers around it. Opened free to the public in 1990,  The Hammer was founded by Dr. Armand Hammer, the late Chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation for his collections of old masters plus traveling exhibitions. Four years later everything changed.  UCLA took over management and operations of the museum and launched programs that encompassed the entire Los Angeles Community with film, theater, music, and dance as well as static art.  Latinas Out Loud is part of The Hammer’s involvement in the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA art extravaganza and the museum’s programmers held nothing back.  The music and the art were loud and full of Latinas with attitude.

    The Hammer is built around a spacious internal courtyard used for sculpture, playful art or just plain contemplation.  Friday night it was a venue. At one end were a full-scale stage and first-class light and sound setup, a very hot DJ – The Chulíta Vinyl Club – and full light and soundboards and computers staffed by three people, augmented by another nine guys and gals working back and onstage.  Two massive bars had been set up with multiple bartenders shaking and serving like the pros they were. At the back end of the courtyard were glass doors that led out to food trucks parked along the curb.  Plus, all the galleries upstairs and around the courtyard were open and well-attended. Now, that is how an art museum should roll.

    But it was the music that blew me away.  This was a full concert, not an adjunct to the galleries. It kicked off with Sister Mantos, the wild LA-based psychedelic improvisational funk, punk, pop Latin dance band founded by performance artist Oscar Miguel Santos. The nine-piece band belted out lyrics of female and queer empowerment in English and Spanish with beats that did exactly what the posters said –¡Párriba! – got us on our feet. Song after song rolled off the stage with singing, clapping shouting and most of all dancing that turned the courtyard into a noisy writhing mass that itself could have been a dynamic art installation.

    It took a half hour to reset the stage for Lido Pimienta, but the Chulita Vinyl Club turntables kept rolling and the crowd kept dancing, even while they waited at the bars or the food trucks or wandered the art galleries.  It was a three-story party.  Young museum volunteers roamed the floor signing up new members and a museum information table was crowded with bowls of free buttons from bands and local organizations and music posters.

    When the courtyard lights came down, signaling the next act, the art lovers drifted out of the galleries to the catwalks over the courtyard and stage and the writing mass reassembled itself from the bar and food trucks and tables to the dance floor in front of the stage. They knew what was coming.

    What was coming was Lido Pimiento, a small hurricane of music, anger, joy, humor, and audience love. Encased in a silver hoodie suit over black and white prison stripe wide pants, she strolled onto an empty stage chanting Spanish. She moved to stage front center stage where a voice-control pedal box allowed her to distort, modulate and multiply her bell-clear voice.  Her band – a drummer, a synth controller and a female dancer, came out behind her and began building a wall of synth and percussion while the dancer undulated to the lyrics, alternating between Spanish and English, singing the praises of women.

    What followed was part bilingual performance art, part rap, part opera, part synth-punk, part stand-up comedy, part political statement  (“you don’t understand Spanish and you live in Los Angeles? – get with the program!”). She moved constantly, backing up across the stage, sauntering over to the synth table and adjusting the controls, leaping, spinning and hopping. She moved to the edge of the stage and reached into an adoring audience, slapping hands and stopping for photos, then charging to the other side and putting her foot on a monitor in a classic rock pose.  At some point, Lido shed the silver suit to reveal the striped pants, a brilliant flowered shirt, red track shoes and pigtails tied off of with huge flowers.  She was joined onstage for a back and forth duet by Francisca Valenzuela, the Latin Grammy-nominated American-born Chilean singer, poet, and multi-instrumentalist and platinum recording star.

    The beer, wine, and tequila flowed. The lights flashed and strobed and most of downtown Westwood echoes with Latin rock, punk, funk., and people – including me – looked at great art.  I can hardly wait for the next art opening at the Hammer.  I will be ready to ¡Pá rriba!






  • #AyudaCDMX

     Help Mexico City. 

    The many heroes now unearthing people from the rubble of CDMX (Mexico City) need your help.  Here are some placed to donate.  UNICEF Mexico, the Mexican Red Cross and Brigada de Rescate Topos, a local disaster relief volunteer organization, are looking for monetary donations. You can also donate to groups using crowdfunding sites, including Global Giving and GoFundMe. Nonprofits on the ground in Mexico City will need supplies, including water, batteries, medicine, food and canned goods. Groups and locations that are accepting all types of donations include: Oxfam MexicoSave the Children MexicoLa Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Project Paz.

  • Guy's day Friday. Simpkin Project & the Voodudes.

    voodoodes_washboard300sq..jpgWe have a lot of women on the show, and for good reason - they lead bands, play drums, bass, hot guitar and sing, sing, sing.  Plus they also run record labels and produce ( check out Francisca Valenzuela).  But once in a while, I like to have the guys, on and this week we have two all-guy, very guy bands - although neither is what you would call macho.  Actually, you would call them good.  Simpkin Project somehow manages to combine Americana, reggae, blues, and rock together so that it is infectious and so, so danceable.  Voodudes (how's that for a guy's band name?) is solid Americana, folk, gospel and even a washboard.  Should be a lot of fun.