Tag Archive: music review


Blind+Melon

What the hell was I thinking back then in the good old 90’s?!?!?!  I was in high school and college during this great transformation of rock music that many forget about now.  “Alternative” and “Grunge” were new labels then,  and I was a true believer in anything from Seattle and this new music movement.  Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam led the pack on the radio and MTV, but us cool kids rocked Alice and Chains and Soundgarden just as much.  You knew about Mother Love Bone and the tribute that followed in Temple of the Dog.  But one band and album that slipped by my ears unfortunately until now is the one and only self titled album Blind Melon.

This album is a monster of goodness.  Back in the day it was overshadowed by the lead singers death, and was tied to the one huge hit song it had “No Rain“.  I remember even buying this album but couldn’t understand or get its vibe.  I honestly think I wanted everyone to be this Nirvana/Pearl Jam thing, even though I loved classic rock and had an appreciation for different music….I think I must have been thinking “Your a new band, sound like everyone else and if you sound classic I don’t like you…..Hendrix does it better then you so don’t do that”…..I’m trying to examine my own actions years later and still,  no clue.

“Soak the Sin” starts the album with a nice twangy riff with Zepplin like shifts that make this a good roller coaster of ups and downs. The mix puts rhythm guitars panned left and leads right,  making the jam in this song super sweeeeeet sounding.  In fact much of this good sounding mix is heard throughout….Great production and sound on this album.  Second song “Tones of Home” highlights lead singer Joe Smiths unique voice and vocal style over a very pop rock progression, but again has a loose Zepplin feel. Little solos in and out very cool interplay from the guitarists keeps the momentum up and make this song a unique treat.  “I Wonder” starts with a slow piece, but after a minute turns it up.  Twang but its not country.  Its such a cool sound.  Then it goes into Grateful Dead territory….and back out again….WHO DOES THAT?!  Cool solo at the end and of course, and I’m loving this.

“Paper Scratcher” continues Blind Melon’s style of cool twang with guitar solos panned left and right, but forget all that and seriously, just listen to Joe Smiths voice!!!  How smooth and good does he sound?!  Amazing!  “Dear Ol’ Dad” is a funky kind of rocker that is the first song to change up the style.  They get funked up and Joe Smiths vocal melodies are sweet.  Add an acoustic guitar for a weird little solo and its back to the funk to the end.  “Change” continues with an acoustic guitar playing a little campfire intro,  heading into a swamp boogie including some cool dirty slide guitar and some more sweet solos!  Short but sweet solos=perfection.  Having such a unique sound as a band=Priceless.

The big hit “No Rain” comes in half-way through the album as the seventh song, and is a pretty unique sound.  You either like it or don’t.  “Deserted” shows Joe Smith changing his voice up even more and this is like an early Maroon 5 jam.  These guys can funk/rock/twang it up so good.  SO sick.  Its no wonder then the next song “Sleepyhouse” sounds like a Black Crows jammer.  Its super chill and continues this overall cool vibe of the album that is heard throughout.  “Holyman” starts to reveal almost every Blind Melon song starts with a one minute intro that misleads you to where its really heading!  The song keeps the good vibes up for sure, but this and the next song “Seed to a Tree” are the least desirable on the album compared to the other fantastic songs on the album.

“Drive” and “Time” both have that end of album, slow it down a little  experimental feel to them.  Great way to finish up this cool album that keeps up almost an hour of great music.  Fans of the 90’s probably already have this, so its more of a reminder for them to check out Blind Melon again and for newbies its a definite must have!  If your like me and happen to be both a music lover and a musician, this album will blow you away on its unique, yet hard rocking and soulful sound.  A sound that’s like no one else.  And when your a musician, that’s the best compliment you can get.  Much love to Blind Melon, much love.

“All I can say Is that my life is pretty plain”

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Inspiration.  Where does it come from and what does it really mean?!?  Well obviously its going to be very different for everyone, but I thought I’d share where inspiration sometimes starts with me.  In this musical moment, I’m on a high after meeting and seeing Paul Gilbert perform at Guitar Center in San Francisco a few months back.  If you didn’t know, Paul Gilbert is a highly accomplished guitar player that has been on the music scene since the early eighties.  His blistering guitar work with Racer X gave him his “shred” status as a guitarist,  and soon after led him to start and  join one of the most successful 80’s bands Mr Big.  Gilbert still performs with Mr Big as well as being a solo artist, and recently has started a online music school.  All of these accomplishments are great, but the most inspiring thing about Paul Gilbert is his amazing attitude and demeanor.  The guy is just the nicest and coolest musician you could meet.   That’s just the icing on the cake for the inspiration.

The real inspiration for me took place during his 2 hour performance and clinic.  It was a perfect mix of Paul performing songs live and answering questions from the audience about music and his career.  One of the first things we all saw, was that Paul was not joined by professional musicians in his band, but by the guys who work at the local SF Guitar Center….how bad ass is that!  The drummer and 2 different bass players that rotated got to have a once in a lifetime  jam with Paul Gilbert….What a cool and   professional musician that has no pretensions about playing with new musicians he just met for a performance of his own…..Inspirational.

Now as Mr Gilbert went into his performance, some interesting things happened.  Most people were there thinking he would perform all his “shred” stuff,  which they assumed wrong!  He did the opposite.  Almost every song had lyrics, and whether it was classic rock or Steely Dan, the lesson here was about feel.  It was about being a complete musician.  To point out the mentality of the audience, they started laughing as Paul went into his Steely Dan song.  All the little minds were thinking “This guy is supposed to shred not play slow stuff and sing” and I was quite the opposite.  He was showing what its like to be a complete musician, doing what inspires him, and trying to get all the guitar players that sit at home and go “look at me” to think about what playing guitar and music really means.  Instrumental guitar player that performs Beatles and Steely Dan songs during his guitar clinic…..Inspirational.

For me, this inspiration started a flood of new music and creations.  As I write this, my debut album “Olympus Rising” is getting the art work/legal stuff  finished up and will be out soon at the beginning 2013.  I can’t wait to release it as its taken many years to get that up and out, but already I’m amazed to say I have 2 more albums almost completed.  I’m working on a new genre of music.  I’m working on the coolest stuff.  And its getting done nicely.  And since I found someone to mix the new albums, I’ll be able to focus on music and less on production stuff which suits me much better.   So the last few months have been super great from my artist’s point of view.  Sometimes its as simple as seeing a movie, a song, or hearing a phrase.   This time it was a once in a lifetime experience that gave me some MAJOR inspiration.  Thank you Paul Gilbert. You truly are……Inspirational.

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Here come those Santa Ana winds again”