Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas isn't Christmas without Alexander O'Neal

One of my favorite Christmas albums ever released has to be "My Gift To You" by Alexander O'Neal! This is one those albums that can be played from beginning to end. . . the way an album should be played.

Released in 1988, this album has stood the test of time. With iconic producers James (Jimmy Jam) Harris and Terry Lewis at the helm, it has all the makings of an outstanding Christmas albums. It rocks, it bumps, it's classic and classy! Alexander O'Neal is so versatile. He can schmooze and he can be humble, all with his tone. I believe him as he is singing his heart out!

Track List:

My Gift To You

Sleigh Ride
This is Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis all the way!

Our First Christmas
Remember Why (It's Christmas)
The Little Drummer Boy
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
This Christmas
Winter Wonderland
Thank You For A Good Year
Remember Why (It's Christmas) (Reprise)

Allmusic says this album is a "lushly romantic set considerably more thoughtful and heartfelt than your average yuletide cash-in. Half of the album's ten songs are Jam/Lewis originals, and even if none of them emerged as contemporary standards, they do a good job of capturing both the secular ('Our First Christmas') and spiritual ('Remember Why It's Christmas') dimensions of the season. O'Neal also delivers shopworn material like 'The Little Drummer Boy' and 'Winter Wonderland' with conviction, saving his most potent performance for the Donny Hathaway classic 'This Christmas.' There's no getting around the trademark Jam/Lewis production, though. My Gift to You is plainly a product of its era, complete with thick synthesizers and programmed rhythms, and is best enjoyed by listeners still hoping Santa brings them acid-washed jeans and Members Only jackets regardless of the year in question."

This is so true. This album is more than just a bumpin Christmas album. There's the message of hope and thankfulness with The Sounds Of Blackness lending their gospel choir talents to those songs. And considering the state our world is in, I believe this album and it's message is very timely.

I have always stated that if an artist is going to cover a song, it should be done right or not at all. Mel Torme's The Christmas Song sung by the great Nat King Cole, in my opinion could never be covered. And yet, I've always enjoyed Alexander O'Neal's version of the classic song, recorded in the same key with the intro the same as Nat's original. Lovely.

Winter Wonderland is super cool and jazzy. Very classiy "Big Las Vegas of the 60's" sounding!! I love it!!

If you haven't heard this album, it's available all over from streaming sites such as Grooveshark or even to purchase.

Take a listen. Trust me, you are going to love it.
It just might be your Christmas music stable, like it is mine. : )

Thursday, December 6, 2012



Israel Houghton Set To Perform Hit Single, “It’s Not Over (When God Is In It)” During Stellar Awards Taping Jan. 19

Following four back-to-back GRAMMY Award-winning albums, Israel Houghton returns with New Breed to gather two additional GRAMMY nominations for the first live recording in five years from Israel & New Breed, Jesus At The Center, which was recorded as a joint venture by Integrity Music and RGM-NEW BREED Music. The nominations were announced last night by The Recording Academy from “The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night,” a one-hour CBS entertainment special broadcast live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Receiving a nomination for Best Gospel Album, as well as for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song for the hit AC radio single, “Your Presence Is Heaven,” the latter nod marks Houghton’s first nomination in the category. The awards will be given out during the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards, live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, and broadcast on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

In addition to the GRAMMY nominations, Houghton has been tapped by the 28th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards to perform at their annual awards ceremony to tape Jan. 19, 2013. Houghton will perform his current Top 5 and climbing hit Gospel single, “It’s Not Over (When God Is In It)” from Jesus At The Center.

Jesus At The Center was released Aug. 14 and launched to the top of multiple retail sales charts, becoming Israel’s fifth consecutive Billboard Top 200-selling album and gathering praise from fans and critics alike. Recorded live over four days in front of more than 29,000 worshippers at Houston’s Lakewood Church, the Jesus At The Center double-CD, 18 song album with three additional studio singles features Israel & New Breed returning to their roots, delivering new anthems for the modern day church. (A buy link for the album is http://jatc.tv/LP/.)

After hearing the album, USA Today’s Brian Mansfield calls Israel Houghton “an impassioned worship leader with impeccable pacing” who has “a killer band that blends '80s synth-funk, Latin dance, even arena rock.” Associated Press says the music is “superb praise and worship” as Worship Leader confirms it is “a multicultural, polyrhythmic, choral feast of pop-shaded, rock-informed worship that combines and fuses a universe of musical possibility.” Following more praise from critics, as well as multiple major print and broadcast network appearances, such as ABC’s The View, Los Angeles Times, The 700 Club, BET, WGN TV, Jet Magazine, The Tavis Smiley Show, Gospel Music Channel, Ebony, The Washington Post, GospelFlava.com, San Francisco Chronicle, CCM Magazine, Detroit News and more, Israel Houghton will be featured soon in an upcoming PBS NewsHour story.

Co-writing all the songs, except the Bob Dylan cover, “To Make You Feel My Love,” and “You Have Me,” by Michael and Lisa Gungor, Israel says, “The overarching story of the album is that sometimes we can be so ‘churched’ that we can lose sight of the ‘who, what, why’ of worship. This project simply places Jesus where he is supposed to be. We intentionally removed the metaphors and simply focused on his name.”

Taking the message and music on the road, Israel shared the stage for the very first time with peers Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp and Donnie McClurkin on The King’s Men tour that filled 15 major market venues in the US this fall. Israel’s touring continues this month with an event tomorrow in Nigeria, followed by an event in London Dec. 29 before returning to the US for a series of dates beginning in January. For all the last tour dates and news, go to www.newbreedmusic.com.

In 1995, Israel and Meleasa Houghton founded New Breed Ministries, an organization they continue to run and that is comprised of noted musicians and singers who serve within their respective churches and together serve the Church at large. Since then, Israel & New Breed has amassed a legion of followers that crosses generational and African American, Latin and Caucasian listener lines. While blasting down barriers, Israel has been fittingly graced with 2 Gold-selling albums, 4 GRAMMY Awards, 12 Dove Awards, 2 Stellar Awards and a Soul Train Award.

Active as worship leader in his local church, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church (Houston), Israel has served as worship leader at Hillsong conferences and Franklin Graham crusades. He has written or co-written 11 CCLI Top 500 favorites, been featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, accompanied Alicia Keys at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards for a performance of George Michael's “Freedom '90,” and performed at the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards. He uses his own multi-cultural upbringing as a reference point with a desire to draw people of all races, ages and cultures together. More information on Israel & New Breed is available at www.newbreedmusic.com.

About RGM-NEW BREED Music:
RGM-NEW BREED Music was formed by merging Israel Houghton’s NEW BREED and Galley Molina’s RGM (Reverence Gospel Media) to create this new multimedia and music company. In addition to Jesus At The Center, RGM-NEW BREED is getting ready to launch “I’m in Love with a Church Girl,” a feature film set to release 2013. Produced by Houghton, the film marks his first foray in the faith-based feature films genre. See www.rgmusa.com for more information.

About Integrity Music:
Kingsway and Integrity Music compose the music division of David C Cook, a nonprofit global resource provider serving the Church with life-transforming materials. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Kingsway and Integrity Music’s resources are distributed in more than 160 countries and sold worldwide. Additional information can be found at http://kingswayworship.com and www.integritymusic.com.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Andreas Aleman has got the POWER!

I am so amazed by this guy!! Up until recently, I had never heard of Andreas Aleman. But thanks to my friends at Inside MusiCast, I am a believer!! Man, this guy is THE FUNK!!! When I found out he was from Sweden, it completely blew me away!! No disrespect to my friends in Sweden, but the guy sounds like he is from Los Angeles!!! Holy Cow!! What a sound he has!!! He is a huge fan of one of my favs, Michael Ruff, so that could explain it. HA!! : )

Because I haven’t actually had a chance to ask Andreas myself about his background, I found the following bio from one of my favorite sites: bluedesert.

“Andreas Aleman was born and raised in Södertälje (Sweden). He began his musical career at the age of 3 when he started playing accordion and piano. Not long after that he began writing his own music.
He found his musical style early on, largely thanks to his parents’ record collection, which included everything from soul, funk, blues, rock, gospel and country. He listened, studied, and learned these different genres and taught himself how to play in all these styles. This formed the basis of his musical direction. While still in school, he played with various bands, which was where he began to utilize and develop his unique singing voice.”

Andreas and I seem to have a lot in common. . . my musical passions came from my parents, too!! Which is probably why his music has that sound that I grew up with. Very smooth! So funky and soulful! I would say that Andreas is in that club where younger artists, such as Marc Broussard are keeping this style of music alive. And by younger, I mean anyone NOT born in the 40’s through the late 60’s.

I’m in love with Andreas’ latest project, “It’s In The Journey.” This album is confirmation of why I love music so much!! I wanna groove to it. I can’t sit still. I can’t help but think of a warm day, driving in my car. . .windows down and this album nice and loud, but not too loud. Just enough to feel the groove and put a smile on the face of the guy at the signal next to you. : )

As I listen to this album again for review, I hear so many influences, as well as Michael Ruff. I hear Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago, Rufus, Boz Scaggs, Toto and one of my favorites, Paul Carrack. Can I just say, Andreas has a SEXY, SEXY VOICE!! Love the line from Real Life Love. . .”Don’t need a girl in a Gucci suit, Lookin’ cute.” HA! Love it!!

This is truly blue-eyed soul at it’s finest!! If you are into some good funk, soul, Gospel, blues and smooth jazz. . .do yourself a favor. . . Listen to this album!! If you are having a harsh day, LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM!! You will be singing along with him because you won’t be able to help yourself.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Israel & New Breed leaves you SPEECHLESS

What is the objective of a live worship album?

I believe it's to get the focus on the One that is being worshipped. How? By dancing, moving, jumping, clapping and then bringing the crowd, or "church" to a quiet stillness of praise. THE BOTTOM LINE? SINGING YOUR HEART AND SOUL OUT!!!

Israel Houghton has surpassed that with his latest album, "Jesus At The Center."
This 2 Disc album is jammed pack full of funk, hip hop, soul, contemporary worship and CHURCH!!!! Gospel at it's finest!!!

Following two back-to-back Billboard Top 200-selling, GRAMMY Award-winning solo studio albums, Israel Houghton returns with New Breed for their first live recording in five years, Jesus At The Center, releasing Aug. 14 on Integrity Music. Recorded live with thousands of worshippers at Houston’s Lakewood Church, this double-CD, 17 song album with three additional studio singles features Israel & New Breed returning to their roots, delivering new anthems for the modern day church. The recording follows the group’s critically acclaimed, GRAMMY Award-winning, A Deeper Level (2007).

Joining Israel & New Breed to produce the studio version of the soon to be released Christian AC single from Jesus At The Center, “Your Presence Is Heaven,” is hit maker Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Britt Nicole), while acclaimed vocalists Jason Nelson and James Fortune are featured on the studio version of “It’s Not Over (When God Is In It).” Other guest vocalists featured on the live recordings are Aaron W. Lindsey, Michael Gungor, T-Bone, Bishop Michael Pitts, Jeremiah Woods, Daniel Johnson, Charlin Moore, Adam Ranney, Tina Baker, Onaje Jefferson, Krystle Harper and Israel’s daughter, Mariah Houghton.

“The overarching story of the album is that sometimes we can be so ‘churched’ that we can lose sight of the ‘who, what, why’ of worship,” says Israel Houghton. “This project simply places Jesus where he is supposed to be. We intentionally removed the metaphors and simply focused on his name.”

Co-writing all the songs, except the Bob Dylan cover, “To Make You Feel My Love,” and “You Have Me,” by Michael and Lisa Gungor, Israel said that it was time to do another live album with New Breed. “We’ve always been known for what we do live and we felt like we had songs that could serve as a resource to the church worldwide.”

It was that spark that ignited the recording. “The concept started with the title track, ‘Jesus At The Center.’ We felt strongly that it was necessary to make sure that these were all Christ-centered songs that would, for the most part, find a place of effectiveness in the worship experience of any church. ‘Rez Power,’ ‘Your Presence Is Heaven,’ ‘Speechless,’ ‘Jesus The Same’ – these songs accomplish that and resource worship teams and listeners alike,” notes Israel.

In addition to the Jesus At The Center two-disc album, a companion DVD was recorded live in high-definition and features all 17 songs along with behind the scenes footage, story behind the song vignettes and other bonus material. Israel & New Breed will also simultaneously release an exclusive iTunes® LP. The LP follows Houghton’s Love God. Love People. LP that became the first-ever Christian artist iTunes LP and first LP, mainstream or Christian, which included various interactive capabilities. The Jesus At The Center LP will not only include the new music, but also video Work Tapes, a Photo Montage and the “Jesus At The Center” video tutorial.

Israel Houghton will share the stage for the very first time with peers Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp and Donnie McClurkin on The King’s Men tour. The 15-city major market US tour begins Sept. 16

The King’s Men Tour:

Sun, Sep 16, Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre

Wed, Sep 19 Los Angeles, CA Gibson Amphitheatre

Sat, Sep 22 Concord, CA Sleep Train Amphitheatre

Tue, Sep 25 Dallas, TX Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie

Wed, Sep 26 Houston, TX Reliant Arena

Fri, Sep 28 Atlanta, GA Chastain Amphitheatre

Sun, Sep 30 Miami, FL AmericanAirlines Arena

Tue, Oct 02 Tampa, FL USF Sun Dome

Thu, Oct 04 Norfolk, VA Constant Convocation Center

Sat, Oct 06 Washington DC Verizon Center

Sun, Oct 07 Philadelphia, PA Liacouras Center

Tue, Oct 09 Cleveland, OH Wolstein Center

Wed, Oct 10 Chicago, IL United Center

Fri, Oct 12 Detroit, MI Fox Theatre

Sun, Oct 14 Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center

WOW!!! I wish I had been there!

Funny. . . After listening to it from beginning to end, I actually feel like I was!

If listening isn't enough for you, make sure to get the
Jesus At The Center two-disc album, a companion DVD was recorded live in high-definition and features all 18 songs along with behind the scenes footage, story-behind-the-song vignettes and other bonus material.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Watch out! Sara Niemietz is DANGEROUS!

Last year about this time, the world started taking notice of this up and coming teen with a voice like a seasoned blues/jazz singer. Posting her videos on YouTube, she began developing a nice fan base, one of them being Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen invited this teenager to sing on her show and blew EVERYONE away!!! I blogged it here.

Recently, Sara has been puttin out the funk in the San Fernando Valley's "Cafe Cordiale" as part of a righteous group called "Babylon Social Club," featuring some of music's finest!
Snuffy Walden (Chaka Khan,TV shows "The Gifted Man," "Roseanne," "The George Lopez Show," "The West Wing").
Leslie Smith, singer, songwriter, musician and producer,co-writer of "Minute by Minute!"
Herman Matthews (Tom Jones,Kenny Loggins, Tower of Power, Robin Thicke, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow and Richard Marx).
Bennett Salvay,(Composer-arranger TV shows "Full House," "Step by Step," "Family Matters") & Terry Wilson, (Eric Burdon, Kenny Loggins, Juice Newton).

How Sara had time to not only rehearse & perform with the band, rehearse new cover tunes, record her videos, post them on YouTube all while maintaining a 4.0 in high school last year; is baffling!! Her videos are not only amazing, but tasteful and well done. When you see her live, you are in awe that she's so young, so talented. Singing those songs like she lived them out herself!

So I suppose it goes without saying that it seems everything Sara does, she does well.
Including the recording of her new EP, "PUSH PLAY."


1. Dangerous Outside
2. Evening
3. Go to Bed
4. Rooftops
5. Anomala
6. On Your Way


W.G. Snuffy Walden, Glen Ballard, George Doering, Herman Matthews, Bennett Salvay, Aaron Beaumont, Randy Kerber & Andrew Schulman

All grown up, Sara is showing the world a beautiful sophisticated side to her voice, from the moment you hear the first song; Dangerous Outside.

My 14 year old daughter was listening with me and said it sounded kind of sexy, like when two people are going to have private time in their bedroom. That is exactly what I had thought of, too. This song has a very haunting, sultry feel to it.

Evening: The intro in very "tango-ish," indicating to me at least, a hint of intimacy is happening here. Love that West Coast "Lee Ritenour" sound to it. Talaya from L.A.'s 94.7 The Wave needs to hear this one!!! This is their type of song!!

Go to Bed: if those neighbors are bugging you upstairs, then play this one!!! Making the point of "would you please be quiet!" with a cool "Stray Cat Strut" feel. For some reason, I felt like I was listening to a T Bone Burnett production.

Rootops is such a cool song, with it's John Mayer like intro. As a former music student, I learned that how words are enunciated while signing, a listener can tell what the mood and tone are. From the moment she begins this song, Sara sounds like she is smiling, which in turn, made me smile!

Anomala is just a pretty song!!! This is radio quality here, folks!!! So bluesy and easy. The sound is so nostalgic of a 70's tune.

On Your Way has a Sarah McLachlan spirit to it. What a beautiful song!!! This is a great song for a intense TV moment. The movements are so feeling and chilling. I have to say this is my favorite!! I found myself letting it play over and over about 10 times!!! Gorgeous!!!

How can you go wrong when you have good writing, fantastic personnel and a great talent!! Drummer, Herman Matthews said Sara is the real deal. And you know what? SHE IS!!! She has own sound.

This is not a hard rockin' funky album. But it will Soft Rock your face off!!

Check out Sara's new video of Rooftops

You can visit
Sara here:Sara Niemietz
The Official Sara Niemietz Channel onYouTube

Recent comments:

rhorlowski said... This review is right on! Sara Niemietz is amazing. Nothing more to say.
June 15, 2012 2:26 AM

patty said... Agree, Sara is a force to be reckoned with! Shes an amazing performer and a sweet young woman! Love her music! Love her new album, Great review!
June 15, 2012 8:47 AM

Anonymous said... Sara is the absolute BEST! I have at least 150 fav girl singers I admire, and Sara is my #1! Thanks for this wonderful blog! Bobby
June 15, 2012 9:06 AM


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Visual Flight Rules is Worth While

Sometimes you just wanna bring that bar band sound home.

But what to choose.....

I've got the perfect choice for you: "What Are You Waiting For" by Visual Flight Rules.

And if any of you have followed me here and read my reviews, you know I don't review anything I don't like. This was an easy listen.

Visual Flight Rules is Brett Mikels on guitar, vocals, Drummer; Herman Matthews and Michael Mennell on bass and vocals.

This EP is packed with the talents of Jason Orme, David Zemen, Dan Rothchild, Larry Kimpel, Vincent Jones, Michael Hyde, Ned Albright, Theresa James and the amazing Bill Champlin of Chicago.

Earn My Love
Love Says So
What Are You Waiting For
Let It Go
Worth While
Sweet Thing

Brett Mikels tells the stories with that sweet tenor sound that has a hint of Michael Bublé mixed with that Billy Vera and The Beaters sound.

The first track, "Earn My Love" gets the party started with some funky blues! Theresa James lends her sexy vocals, echoing and howling adding to the flavor of this tune.

Love Says So: I can see the video to this being filmed in a Sepia or black and white....nighttime scene, bar...OF COURSE....maybe even an outdoor setting with lots of stringed lights.... guy, girl dancing in that "let's connect" sort of way, with the band playing in the background. The couple seem to be in a world of their own. Very romantic, feel good. I think this is a good radio song.

What Are You Waiting For: Storytelling with some great guitar riffs. Love the feel of Herman's moves on his kit mixed with the sound of the HammondB. The combination is really nice. Man, Herman is a great drummer! Good song with Herman keeping that groove. Nice song.

Let It Go: GREAT INTRO!! I really like this song. The guys set you up with what feels like the objective of the story within the first 30 secords and then Herman gets the tune moving a little more the chorus rocks you out!! This is definitely radio worthy. Solid solo from Brett on guitar merging into a smooth reggae style bridge. The Hammond is just groovin to the mood here. Love the bass here!! Infact, I really like the feel of the bass throughout this tune.

Worth While: Nice easy going pop rock sound. Do whatever you have to do. Find your own way. Don't give up your dream. Its your life, you gotta make it worth while. Give it your all. Know when to take your game face off. Take time to smile! Talk to your dog!!! Good message. Love it! Good song! ; )

Sweet Thing: How ironic that the last song sets us up with that bar scene.
Brett talking about every man's fear of having a gorgeous woman as a girlfriend who turns the heads of all the men there and he feels he is losing her. As a woman I can't help but feel this woman LIKES the attention she is getting. Espe with that black dress she is wearing. Kind of sounds like a black widow. . .
Things that make you "hmmm."

What l like about this EP is that it's solid, from start to finish.
I think a few of these would make good soundtrack/TV songs.
Would love to hear a complete album by these guys. I hope one is in the works.

For more info:
Band site

By the way, I just HAVE to plug some pretty amazing Peanut Brittle! Made by none other than Herman Matthews. "Lil' Herman's Peanut Brittle" will knock you out!! It's so good. And the best of all, it does not get stuck in your teeth which is a huge deal for me. Truly yummy. Check out his website and order some for yourself and your friend's and family.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Switchfoot Remixes Vice Verses

On Record Store Day, April 21, GRAMMY-winning rock band SWITCHFOOT will release a limited edition CD entitled Vice Re-Verses a remix album.

The Best of the Best worked on this project. The EP features remixes of songs from Vice Verses by Paper Route’s JT Daly, Owl City’s Adam Young, Photek, Darren King and DandJ.

JT Daly's two cuts are "The Original" and "Dark Horses."
I love how this EP starts off with a BANG!!!
You just have to turn this up!!!!!

Owl City’s Adam Young remixed "Blinding Light." Totally see this as soundtrack song.

Grammy nominated Photek remixes "Selling The News." I really love this one with it's downtempo. It's very smooth. I like all the songs, but right now at this moment, this is my favorite.

MUTHMATH'S Darren King took his harddrive of what he calls his "fishing pond of stuff" and worked on "Vice Verses" while on the road. LOVE IT!!! In listening to it, I have to wonder if Darren's "fishing pond of stuff" some old sounds from the Earthsuit days. Hmmmmmm. . .

Switchfoot's Drew Shirley and Jerome Fontamillas aka DandJ work on the last song; "The War Inside," which is my favorite songs off the "Vice Verses" LP. I was so fooled. I thought that Darren and Paul Meany of MUTEMATH had remixed this. I can't help but think that DandJ are kind of giving a kudos to their friends!! Even to the last note this has a MM sound. Totally into this track!!!

My only problem with this album is that it isn't long enough!!!
But. . . .A digital version of Vice Re-Verses will be released on May 1 and will include a remix of the band’s new single, “Afterlife,” by the winner of the Switchfoot Remix Contest sponsored by Ultimate Ears (http://www.talenthouse.com/remix-for-switchfoot). “Afterlife” is the follow-up to SWITCHFOOT’s Top 5 Modern Rock hit “Dark Horses,” which was the first single from Vice Verses.

Nice!!! Check it out!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paul Baloche: Singing about The Same Love

Paul Baloche is one of those whose music I'd always loved but never knew him by name.
I only knew his songs whether sung by him or someone else, that is until about 8 years ago. Since then, Paul has been one of my "go to's" for worship. His songs are honest and easy to sing and "most times" easy for me to play. HA!!

Who doesn't remember "Open The Eyes of My Heart" or "Above All," written with Lenny LeBlanc or "Hosanna?" These are all great songs! I can't be sure of this, but I would venture to guess that Paul's songs, whether written by just him or with others, are probably the most songs heard, during a worship service in churches around the world or small groups, etc.

What I find amazing about Paul Baloche, is that he is not stingy with his songs "i-ther." : ) He is quick to share his tips and tricks in workshops, worship magazines, DVD's or his website. Allowing a sometime simple worship leader like me to play these songs like a pro.

The New Album

Paul's latest release,

"The Same Love,"

celebrates 20 years

of music and

ministry for Paul and

his 12th recording with

Integrity Music.

Pretty nice track record!

"The Same Love," is definitely a album of hope. When I think of my loved ones going through battles of various kinds, this album is a comfort.

Several songs have particularly touched me.

The first one; "Just Say," with The Brothers McClurg and written by Paul and Chris & Anthony Hoisington.

"Save me from myself and calm the raging seas
You will be my ark that floats me up above the storm."

"Hear my humble prayer help my unbelief"

These words couldn't be more true in my own life.
Especially when I feel that I've failed the Lord and all I want to do is say to Him. . .

"Just say
Just say the word
Just say the word
Iʼll be made whole."

I can feel that pleading and almost begging tone in the lyrics. Like the woman who suffered her malady for over 10 years and all she wanted to do was touch the hem of Jesus' garment. I can feel that!!!

I'm curious as to what the inspiration was for this song.
In my opinion, this is a a very tender song of love and acceptance.

I also have to say at the bridge, I love that little jazzy piano groove going on. Nice! Love that there is just the right amount of instruments in this and the finality of the piano chord. . . Yes, very nice.

"Your Blood Ran Down" at first listening, was my least favorite, with it's repeat of "Your blood ran down" about 8 times. But then, one day, I listened to it again and was in awe by those lyrics. . .to know that His "blood ran down for me" is very humbling.

This is a very, very beautiful and simple piece. I could see this in a soundtrack.
And maybe the reason I think this, is because Paul wrote this after seeing "The Passion of The Christ." In a video talking about this song, Paul referred to Romans where it says, God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He said he had to get this on an album.

I'm so glad he did. Thank you, Paul.

I love the lyrics of "My Hope. . ."

Nothing will change if all the plans I make go wrong
Your love stays the same
Your light will guide me through it all
I’m hanging on, I’m leaning in to You

Nothing can reach the end of all Your faithfulness
Your grace is with me
Through every shadow, every test
I’m hanging on, I’m leaning in to You

I don't know where You’ll take me
But I know You're always good

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Your great love, Your righteousness
I will not walk another way
I trust Your heart, I trust Your Name
I’m holding on, I’m holding on to You

You are my rock when storms are raging all around
You shelter me God
I’m safe with You on solid ground
I’m hanging on, I’m leaning in to You

Several of my family members are going through what these lyrics describe.
And this seems to be their mantra. . . "I’m hanging on to You!"

Powerful lyrics, and with Kathryn Scott's vocals, it really make this song complete.

Songwriter; Ed Kerr, talks about writing "My Hope," having Paul listen to it, tweak it and putting it on the album. And as you know, I love the background of a great song!! Paul also talks about "My Hope" here.

Look Upon The Lord is like Isaiah standing in the presence of the Lord. Kari Jobe's voice is so angelic, I can see the seraphim and cherabim near by! And I have to say, I would love to see my 17 year old daughter sing this with her worship team. What a gorgeous tune!

The full track with songwriters is as follows:

1. The Same Love (Baloche, Michael Rossback)
2. We Are Saved (Baloche, Ben Fielding, Jason Ingram)
3. King of Heaven (Baloche, Jason Ingram)PPau
4. All Because of the Cross (Baloche, Ben Gowell)
5. Your Blood Ran Down (Baloche)
6. My Hope (Baloche, Ed Kerr, Sheila Rabe, Alyssa Mellinger)
7. Oh Our Lord (Baloche, All Sons & Daughters - David Leonard and Leslie Jordan)
8. Christ the Lord (Baloche)
9. Reign in Me (Baloche, Jason Ingram)
10. Just Say (Baloche, Brothers McClurg - Chris and Anthony Hoisington)
11. Loved By You (Baloche, Lincoln Brewster)
12. Look Upon the Lord (Baloche, Kari Jobe, Jason Ingram)
13. Shout for Joy (Baloche, Jason Ingram, Lincoln Brewster)

Grammy award winning engineer; Chris Lord-Alge worked on this album. You might know his work on U2's Beautiful Day, Switchfoot's "The Beautiful Letdown" and "Nothing Is Sound" as well as others. But for me, I love the fact that he worked on Chaka Khan's 1986 release of "Destiny" which my friend Tony Patler, was co-writer, musical director and keyboardist.

Congratulations to Paul Baloche for celebrating 20 years with a solid worship album.
It's a beautiful piece of work.



Monday, March 12, 2012

Aaron Kusterer is fluent in the Language of Emotion

I love instrumentals!!!

I love that feeling when the music totally moves you from sways to getting deep inside the soul and unleashing emotions buried.

I've no doubt that guitar enthusiasts already know about this amazing guitarist.
And I've no doubt that people like me, who aren't musicians but just love music will know the name "Aaron Kusterer."

Aaron's latest release "Language Of Emotion" is definitely the guitar lover's LP!! Lots of influences here, i.e. Joe Satriani, the "Steves" . . .Lukather & Vai and one of my favorites; Lee Ritenour.

This album, Aaron's 2nd release is a very sophicated effort without being stuffy. This is not a show off, "see what I can do" album. Aaron is definitely fluent in his skills and he just wants to communicate what's on his mind. He's taking us on a journey and he wants you to sit back and take it all in.

Listening to his album over and over, I can't help but think of the scene in "The Benny Goodman Story," where Benny asks his girlfriend to marry him by playing his clarinet towards her while also doing a show. He asks her this way because he can't verbally do it. She understands this and accepts. In listening to track 4, "No Feeling Left," I could totally feel what Aaron was conveying. What a rush!! I've not only been there, but I have some family and friends who are in this moment. "No Feeling Left" seems to describe the problem . . . THAT RAGING BATTLE, but also, I feel, gives the solution. . . HOPE!

Here's the full track list:

1. Tongues of Angels

2. Elysian Dream

3. Throat Full of Nails

4. No Feeling Left

5. Colour of Love

6. Deeper than the Unknown

7. Azure (Acoustic Intro)

8. Azure

I love that Deep Purple "Smoke on the Water" like intro on "Throat Full of Nails" with the heavy Hammond B!! Very solid! Love it!!

"Deeper than the Unknown" has that jazz fusion feel to it with a flavor of George Harrison's sitar. Very nice. Makes me think of Jeff Lorber's early LP's.

MAN!!!!!! I AM IN SHOCK!!!! Azure (Acoustic Intro) takes me back to those early days of record label, Windman Hill with Alex DeGrassi and William Ackerman. I had to listen to this over and over!!! Almost made me cry like everytime I'd hear Alex's "Western." UNBELIEVABLE!!!

And THAT is what I think music should do to us. . . move us, get into those hardened walls of our hearts and tear them down, exposing it and bringing it back to life.

I also have to add that the intro reminds me of a friend who has left us. . . Roby Duke.
He'd like this!

Azure (Acoustic Intro) moves into what I imagine it would be like if Phil Keaggy & Richard Souther got together and recorded Azure.

"Language Of Emotion" is a solid album from a solid artist!!
I can't say enough about it. You just gotta listen.



Monday, February 20, 2012

MUTEMATH Gives us a Show Via "Allies" and Announces Their First Austrailian Tour!!

MUTEMATH released their latest video, "Allies."
Having been to some 20+ shows, I can assure you they and their director; Dustin Robichaux have captured the essence of what one can expect at any one of their shows. . . an AMAZING and memorable experience!!

Watching this, I am reliving their recent show here in Seattle, of which I did a write up on.
It was unbelievable!!


I'm sure everyone of you "Down Under" is saying, "it's about FRICKIN TIME!!!!!"

They will be Groovin The Moo as well as playing in the following areas. . .

Thursday 10 May – Zoo, Brisbane

Wednesday 16 May -Hifi, Sydney

Thursday 17 May – Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Sunday 20 May – Amplifier, Perth

Tickets go on sale Tuesday 28th February 9am.
Get those tickets as soon as they go on sale!! Don't wait!!!

Oh yeah. . .
For tour info here in the U.S., visit their pages.
And for the Canadian fans, MUTEMATH will be doing a tour in the Fall of 2012!



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Seattle FINALLY shows some serious love to MUTEMATH

With an nearly sold out show at The Showbox SoDo on Friday, February 10th, MUTEMATH showed major love back to their fans, old and new by giving 200 percent of themselves and putting on a spectacular show, playing ALL the tracks from the their latest release, ODD SOUL and surprising us with several classic MUTEMATH songs. Their FACEBOOK seemed to indiciate that they might only play about 3 or 4 classics, but I was shocked at how many songs they gave us.

And you could see it on their faces that they were very pleased by the response they were receiving from the crowd.

As a long time fan and supporter of this great band and these guys, I was like a mom. . . proud to be a part of it all!!

The guys


above and beyond

for their Seattle

fans by going for

2 1/2 hours!!!

This reminds me of the concerts of old where bands like Loggins & Messina would continue to play long after the lights were turned off. This was by far a stellar show!!

Highlights were a grand rear entrance like Mardi Gras, lights and drums, an amazing stage show, Paul and Darren's craziness and connection with their fans, either body surfing or just hitting the kit out "ON" the fans, to a double air mattress, all lit up and surfing the crowd with Paul on top!! So funny!!!

MUTEMATH posted the making of this tour, which will definitely give you some insight into what I just describe. Alot went into making this tour AMAZING!

Todd Gummerman, the new guy in the band, did an fantastic job and the fans seemed to love him!! And may I add, Todd also tore it up on the Hammond B!!! He's a great musician!And a super nice guy!

This show was more than I expected! They've never ceased to amaze me, but I think this time, they did. When talking with the guys after the show, I commented to Roy that I caught him smiling several times and it warmed my heart to see the smiles.

Roy's response was, "This was the best show on the tour, by far ."

It was good to see them all and spend a few minutes with them. I am so happy to see their success grow!! I told them that I'll miss those old days of them playing at the little clubs in and around Seattle and was surprised that they remembered every place they played!! GREAT!!

For tour info, visit their pages.
And for the Canadian fans, MUTEMATH will be doing a tour in the Fall of 2012!



Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Abe Laboriel: Amazing Fans with His Mad Skills at NAMM 2012

All you have to say is "Abe Laboriel," and people know that you know something about music.

Abraham has been a part of the music scene for over 40 years and has recorded with the best of the best and been on the best of the best albums recorded in history, such as, George Benson's "Give Me The Night," Quincy Jones'"The Dude," Al Jarreau, just about every Lee Ritenour album ever recorded, including with Dave Grusin and many, many others.

Oh and of course

I have to mention

my favorite album:


by Lee Ritenour

So, for me, it was a huge treat to see this man once again live at this year's NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA.

For almost 30 years, I've not only seen Abe perform with my favorite artists, but have gleaned his wisdom in a workshop held at the Christian Musician Summit back in 2005.

What a wise and eloquent speaker.

Abe knows his skills VERY well. But you won't find a more humble human being.
Okay . . . you will, but Abe is up there as far as being humble and kind.

Abe was at the UBass booth performing with six time Grammy award winning recording artist & producer Daniel Ho and fellow bassist, Steve Billman.

Great musicians, every one!

Here is what I captured:

I might be wrong but I believe this was Daniel's "The Dessert Song" they performed.

The trio performed a song of Daniel's found on TV's "Hawaii Five-0" Soundtrack. . .
"Living In Paradise." Great Song!!

The last song was Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo à la Turk"
This was AMAZING to say the least!

Afterwards, knowing that he is not computer savvy, I informed Abraham of the love that his fans have for him. Telling him that they have created "fan" pages on Facebook in his honor. He knows about Facebook and was more than happy to record these messages in English and Spanish.

En español

Abraham is a lovely man.
Can't wait til I see him again!


Monday, January 9, 2012

MUTEMATH Announces Support Band

Well. . . the guys are gearing up for what I believe, will be one INCREDIBLE tour!!

As the time is drawing near for MUTEMATH to hit the road, fans have been itching to know who will be touring with them.

Today they announced that Nashville native, "Canon Blue" will be joining them for their 2012 Spring Odd Soul Tour

The Opening Band. Who are they? Do I care?

I hate going to see my favorite band and not know who the opening band is.
So this time. . . I am getting ready!!

Where have I been that I've never heard of them or

. . . him!!

Daniel James

I am on Canon Blue's website right now and am LOVIN' what I am hearing!!!

MUTEMATH has definitely made the right choice in choosing Canon Blue!!

So all you MUTEMATH fans, prepare yourselves for a fantastic show and go to Canon Blue's site and listen to a few cuts from Daniel's latest release; "Rumspringa."

If you haven't gotten your tickets yet, DON'T WAIT!!!
Their stop in Los Angeles at Club Nokia is SOLD OUT!!!!

Canon Blue Facebook


Tour Dates

01/26 Houston, TX House of Blues
01/27 Austin, TX Stubb’s
01/28 Dallas, TX House of Blues
01/29 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
01/31 Denver, CO Gothic Theatre
02/02 Los Angeles Club Nokia Live SOLD OUT
02/03 San Diego, CA 4th and B Concert Theater
02/07 San Francisco, CA The Regency Ballroom
02/08 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades
02/10 Seattle, WA Showbox SoDo
02/11 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory
02/12 Boise, ID Knitting Factory
02/14 Salt Lake City, UT Club Sound
02/16 Kansas City, MO Beaumont Club
02/17 Chicago, IL House of Blues
02/18 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
02/28 St. Louis, MO The Pageant
03/01 Grand Rapids, MI The Intersection
03/02 Detroit, MI St. Andrew’s Hall
03/03 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
03/04 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
03/07 Boston, MA House of Blues
03/08 New York, NY Best Buy Theater
03/09 Philadelphia, PA Trocadero
03/10 Washington D.C. 9:30 Club
03/11 Norfolk, VA The Norva
03/14 Charlotte, NC Amos’ Southend
03/16 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution
03/17 Orlando, FL House of Blues
03/18 Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle