Happy Thanksgiving Day Everyone!!!

Share Button


Sea Of Sound – Criavia. The Album Review.

Share Button

Well, I haven’t done an album review in a very long time, so I’m overdue. And since I haven’t recorded anything in a year, but these guys have, I figure this is as good a place to resume the act of trying to be a music critic.

Criavia is the self produced debut album by the Fresno based  trio Sea Of Sound. The music is, what us older eared people would classify as modern pop / rock. To some, that might be the excuse to skip listening to this album. But there is more underneath the hood with these guys than one has come to expect from this genre. There is some real song writing and musicianship here.

The first track “Rogue” lets the listener that they are going to have a happy upbeat experience. The mixing and production choices reminds me a little of the 80’s band “The Church”, except, well, much more up beat! We are introduced to the drumming skills of Seth Jordan and tasteful expressions of Warren Whitehurst on guitar. Zach Schuh provides a strong voice that matches the strength of the lyric and song writing. His delivery is sure and deliberate, and he avoids the trap of push his voice too hard. His ability to shift from regular voice to falsetto and back again is impressive.

Dear Lavender Skies” is again upbeat. The chorus is an interesting confection, not what you would expect in a typical pop song.

Blush” shows the band in a Dave Mathewsish contemplative mood.

The fourth track, to me, is the standout. “Blue In A Red Room” is pure soundtrack material. So may dismiss this as critical, but seeing that I had a one time in my life wanted to compose soundtracks and even wrote my senior thesis on contemporary TV and film composers, this is a high compliment. The song has a wonderful build to it. Warrens performance during his guitar solos are note-for-note perfect.

Lost Boys” is a Seth Jordan showcase on drums. It’s reminiscent of some of the work by Oasis, with a touch of U2 guitarist Edge thrown in.

Fire And Dust” is the most acoustic affair on the album. This is a very nice song, and provides a nice change of pace you don’t always find with a band as young and new as this. One thing I really like here is they avoid the temptation to take a pause in the middle of the song and then come back in with a huge instrumental avalanche, a la Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”. Nothing wrong with doing this, but it’s refreshing they refrained from doing it.

The final song “Stardust“, in the short time I’ve lived with the album, is my favorite on the lyrics side of the music ledger. It’s another acoustic guitar based song.

I’ve poured my soul
into this Earth,
And as the dust swirled around
I wonder what a man is truly worth

That is a nice piece of contemplation put into song! I’m a song writer, and I can say that this is as good as anything I’ve ever written, if not better.

On the production side of the ledger, the only thing I’d change is to bring up the drums just a hair in the first couple of tracks. Other than that, this is a very well done album on all sides of the glass, especially when you consider it was produce in a garage converted to a make-shift studio.

Well done guys. Looking forward to the sophomore effort. (and find yourselves a permanent bass player before I threaten to join the band!  🙂  )

Here’s the CD Baby link if you feel the urge to buy the album.

YouTube Banter…. 2112… Or Not.

Share Button

As is often the case, the comment has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the video.

The comment:

“Sodomize yourself with a cactus. ”

The video:

Don’t ask why. Just marvel at the disconnect!

Is The Reagan Era Coming To An End?

Share Button

In the history of the Presidency, there have been Presidents who have left a huge mark on the office for decades after their tenure ended. The third President of the U.S., Thomas Jefferson, was succeeded acolytes James Madison and James Monroe, both of whom served for two terms. Though John Quincy Adams was a member of the same party as his predecessors, seeing that his dad was John Adams, the guy who preceded Jefferson, he probably would not be considered a Jeffersonite. That said, there is no reason that a Jeffersonian couldn’t have risen to the highest office in the land… Save one.

The seventh President of the United States, General Andrew Jackson.

Jackson’s two term Presidency would leave a new mark on the office, and also leave a long shadow. Jackson was succeeded by his own acolyte Martin Van Buren. Due to a drawn out economic depression during his tenure in office (a consequence of monetary policies undertaken by his predecessor) the “Little Magician” was voted out after one term. Thought the new Whig party did capture the White House a couple of times between 1841 and 1843, the Jackson stamp on the Democrat party reigned supreme, as Democrat Presidents Polk and Pierce fit to some degree in the Jacksonian mold. By the time James Buchanan was elected in 1856, Andrew Jackson’s long enduring influence on the party had faded.

The next President to leave such an extended mark on the way candidates ran for President would be Mr. Republican, Ronald Reagan. George Herbert Walker Bush, being the Vice President under Reagan, of course ran on and won based on Reagan’s legacy. He did lose four years later, but his competitor was the superior politician by the name of Bill Clinton. And even though the next election saw the defeat of the next-in-line Republican Bob Dole, the Reagan imprint on the Presidency was far from dead. Dole lost because he was not a very good spokesman or candidate, but also because Clinton had positioned himself as a Democrat heir to Reagan. George W Bush ran as a Reaganesque type guy, a likeable fiscal Conservative.

The next Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, had two obstacles. One would be dislike engendered from his own party based on his former status as “The Maverick”. A great many within the Republican party did not trust him based on his former willingness to cross the isle and bash fellow Republicans when the opportunity arose. The other obstacle was the feel good juggernaut that was candidate Barack Obama. I don’t care who the Republicans would have put up in that election, even a clone of Reagan himself would have lost!

And still, as McCain’s defeat was a referendum on his political positions and lack of Conservative purity, the Reagan legacy survived.

Which brings us to last Tuesdays defeat of Mitt Romney. Unlike four years ago, the idea of the first black President had lost its luster. It’s already done. He was already President, and his tenure in office a difficult and tumultuous one. A good majority of his accomplishments are not exactly super popular, and he is saddled with a sluggish economy with chronic unemployment just below 8 percent. That and the recent Benghazi mess and muddled foreign policy objectives should have made him easy pickings. Due to some flip-flops, and his RomneyCare experiment in Massachusetts, Romney was not a “perfect” candidate for the right. Never the less, the party had come to embrace him in a way they never did with John McCain. Because of his successful business background and impeccably clean image, Romney certainly did have the street cred to be the torchbearer for the Reagan philosophy on issues such as taxes, fiscal responsibility, and being all around business friendly. He adopted a foreign policy stance that was Reaganesque. Romney was, as his predecessors before him, running as the next Reagan, against a President who is seen by may as the next iteration of Reagan’s defeated foe, Jimmy Carter.

And yet, Romney lost.

Is it possible that we are seeing the end of the Reagan era? That his shadow is just too distant to be able to win the day anymore? There are, after all, a good many voters who were either too young to remember the man, or, were not even born when Ronald Reagan was in office. Could it also be the judgement of a new generation that the 30 years of Reaganesque economic policies just didn’t seem to work all that well when all is said and done? Some of my Conservative friends will bristle at this notion. “Obama is a socialist” they’ll say. OK. But how many economic policies has the Obama administration actually changed? Yes, he did bail out the auto industry using government as a tool. But in the grand scheme of things, the auto industry is only a very small part of the over-all economy. Quantitative Easing? That will place a burden on the future economic situation, but it doesn’t stymie growth in the hear and now. Dodd-Frank? Wall Street and Company had figured ways around any legal road blocks created by this bill long before it was ever signed into law.

For the sake of argument, lets say that we have strayed too far from the Reagan economic model. Doesn’t this make my argument for the demise of the Reagan era even more evident? The re-election of Barack Obama may very well be a referendum against the economic policies made popular with the advent of the election of Ronald Reagan, and may indicate that his legacy just doesn’t hold the sway on the public that it used to.

Note: As I finish this post, I noticed that Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast is thinking along similar lines.

Open Mic / U.S.S. Titanic Update. Part 1

Share Button

It’s been a busy week, what with the surprising election results and all. I do have one more political idea to finish up and post this weekend. But I think it’s time to write an update on music stuff.
I played the open mic at Audie’s Olympic Tavern on Tuesday night, and followed that up with the Full Circle Brewery the following evening. This post will be focusing on the Tuesday night activities.

I’ve lately been bringing both the acoustic guitar and my Cort 4 string bass to the open mics. Seeing that I’ve been playing the thing for God knows how many years, playing the bass and singing is much more comfortable for me than the newer guitaring thing.

At Audie’s, I played a couple of songs on the guitar. First up was the Paul Simon song “Me and Julio”.

(music starts at 2:09)

Normally, as seen above, I play this bass-style with my Taylor Martin bandmate Jim Rust. The song is actually a holdover from the days when Jim shared guitar / singing duties on my band Acoustic Highway.. But since Jim broke his shoulder we’ve been on hiatus for the last couple of months. Well, I love playing this song, and I really really wanted to give it a shot, so I went for it. I pulled it off.

I also played the Tim Finn / Richard Thompson song “Persuasion”.

That is one of the oldest songs in my set; one of the first ones I set out to learn to play. It turned out pretty good. It could use more practice though. I’ve realized for a while that my habit of continually learning new songs means that I don’t take the time I should to polish and perfect the ones I already know. Case in point. When I switched to bass to play a couple more songs, I played “Driven To Tears” by the Police. Now, due to the disjointed rhythm of the lyrics versus the bass line, that is a tricky song to play. I did it OK, but, because I haven’t been practicing it much, I messes up the last verse and totally forgot how to play the middle 8…. But I have so much fun figuring out new tunes, it’s just hard to stop and focus on the older stuff.

Back in the day, when I way playing in my San Diego band Rare Form, I used to play a song by the Rembrandts from the 80’s called “Just The Way It Is Baby”.

It’s a nice simple song and I miss performing it. I’ve toyed with it on guitar, but the chords for this one are pretty difficult for me. This is one of the reasons I started bringing the bass out to open mics; so I call perform songs like this. And as a bonus, my open mic friend Randy McDonald joined me on stage and played some really sweet sax accompaniment. Before the night was over, i hoped up on stage and played the bass line to a few other songs, including Sublime’s “Sangria” (which I found I don’t know nearly as well as I should), and got to rock out playing Green Day'”Welcome To Paradise” with Metalachi rocker Estiban (Ramon Holliday)! I hadn’t play that for a very long time, but remembered how to play it just well enough to not completely screw up the bass riff in the middle of the song. Man! That is so fun to play!!!!

Closed out the Tuesday open mic playing a few tunes with Professor Charles Tenney. He’s more in the same folk / roots style that my band Taylor Martin plays. Since a play version of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is playing here in town, we’ve been doing a song from that called “Science Fiction / Double Feature”.

Hell! Why not!

We gave the audience their final request of the night and played “Freebird”…. No, just kidding! They wanted “American Pie”… The song, not the movie! We were happy to oblige.

When The Name Doesn’t Represent The Content….

Share Button

I don’t like the title I just came up with, and I don’t feel all that comfortable being critical of bloggers who I also consider friends. But Bruce… Dan… The name of your blog is “Gay Patriot“. It’s been 4 days since the election, and you’ve written nothing about the success of the four pro same-sex marriage initiatives that were voted on on Tuesday.

I recognize the Romney loss is a very important topic for a site dedicated to defending Conservative ideals. But I would think that a blog with the term “Gay” in its title would have had something to say about the successful passage of the gay marriage amendments by now.

Mark Levin – Purist…. Confirmed!!!

Share Button

For years, I’ve been railing on the GOP for its ideological purging of moderates from the party. Not that I need any confirmation from Mark Levin on this, but here’s a statement he made concerning the defeat of Mitt Romney in the Presidential race:

We conservatives, we do not accept bipartisanship in the pursuit of tyranny. Period. We will not negotiate the terms of our economic and political servitude. Period. We will not abandon our child to a dark and bleak future. We will not accept a fate that is alien to the legacy we inherited from every single future generation in this country. We will not accept social engineering by politicians and bureaucrats who treat us like lab rats, rather than self-sufficient human beings. There are those in this country who choose tyranny over liberty. They do not speak for us, 57 million of us who voted against this yesterday, and they do not get to dictate to us under our Constitution.

Because of course all 57 million who voted for Romney share Levin’s hyperactive views of the world…. Not.

We are the alternative. We will resist. We’re not going to surrender to this. We will not be passive, we will not be compliant in our demise. We’re not good losers, you better believe we’re sore losers! A good loser is a loser forever. Now I hear we’re called ‘purists.’ Conservatives are called purists. The very people who keep nominating moderates, now call us purists the way the left calls us purists. Yeah, things like liberty, and property rights, individual sovereignty, and the Constitution, and capitalism. We’re purists now. And we have to hear this crap from conservatives, or pseudo-conservatives, Republicans.

The very people who keep nominating moderates, now call us purists the way the left calls us purists.

Mitt Romney got the nomination because the party favors the moderate?


He got the nomination because he was the only moderate competing against, at one point, five Purist Conservatives, all splitting the Purist vote amongst one another. If you take the vote count for Romney vs the combined Gingrich and Santorum totals through the March 3’rd Washington primary, their combined popular vote totals beat Romney 2,099,585 to 1,854,670. Adding in the Perry / Bachmann votes increases the purest vote at that point to 2,143,976. Think of what that would mean if Romney were only facing one Purist candidate. In April you start to see the vote totals for the Purists slide as more and more Conservatives shift to the inevitable – Time to back the obvious winner of the process. But it’s clear Romney is not the choice of the majority of the party. He won because the Pruists offered too many choices and couldn’t get out of their own way.

But this is the Mighty Mark Levin, and the majority of the members of the GOP will accept his false narrative and rewrite of history without batting an eye.

And by saying “And we have to hear this crap from conservatives, or pseudo-conservatives, Republicans” by constantly harping on the “pseudo-conservatives” (aka RINO’s) I would say that pretty much does establish that you are, indeed, purists.

And you wonder why I left the party in 2005.

My Thoughts On Last Night’s Elections. *Meme Alert*

Share Button

I’ve come across some analysis of why Romney didn’t succeed in his bid to oust the current President. At Watts Up With That, they are following the FOX news planted meme that hurricane Sandy is the reason for Romneys loss.

Before I make my comment, note that I’m not a supporter of either party. I voted for Gary Johnson. I am not a Barrack Obama supporter. That said, my two cents.

One commentor wrote:

“We need to face the facts, it’s not 47% as Romney indicated, it’s over 50%. We’re finished…

You got the first part right. You and the GOP need to face facts. Many, probably a good 80% of those 47% don’t enjoy the fact they are getting assistance from the Government. They are taking assistance because they can’t find a job, or a combination of two part time jobs, that can pay at least some of the bills, keep a roof over their heads, and feed their families. By adopting this insulting 47% rhetoric, you insult a good chunk of the population who are honestly struggling and make them less likely to vote for you.

But, you might say, the GOP offered better solutions to create more jobs!

You offered solutions, but they weren’t believable. This country, and this party, have spent the last 30 plus years supporting free trade agreements that make it much much easier to export jobs overseas. Hell, part of the reason people still praise Nixon is that he helped open up the Chinese market, which resulted in many many businesses to move to China. How many times have we heard about businesses picking up and going to another country, and then have any number of the Conservatives explain that it’s a part of doing business. Why are Levi’s 501 jeans not made in America anymore? And Wall-Mart is great, except for many it is a reminder that they have no choice but to shop at the cheap store featuring mostly Chinese imports products that used to be made here in America, because they don’t have a good enough job or two jobs that pays enough to be able to afford to shop elsewhere. Now, one can’t blame the GOP exclusively for this of course, the Dems have their hand to play in this as well, but you guys chose a guy who for a good period of his professional life operated a business that actively shipped jobs overseas. So don’t blame 50 + percent of the country for not trusting your party when it comes to job creation.

This is a problem of reality overriding the preferred message. Earning more income from capital gains does not translate into bringing better, higher paying jobs back to this country, no matter who is in the oval office.

Commentor arthur4563 said this:

Since nobody asked, I’ll be glad to give my opinion of why the GOP has lost the last two Presidential elections. Both in 2008 and this year, their nominating system produced a Presidential nominee who did not have the wholehearted support of their own party – neither
McCain nor Romney had more than a quarter of the party’s support. And the reason this came about was because the GOP fielded almost a dozen prospective candidates, all of whom were conservatives except for one guy – in this case Romney – and the overwhelming conservative majority was split 10 or more ways, allowing a guy with less than 30% support from GOP party members to win a lot of winner-take-all primaries and get the nomination. The winner-take-all system is allowing this ridiculous situation to occur and those types of primaries should be banned. The GOP paid the price for using a non-democratic method of choosing their candidate. From my perspective, Gingrich was the only talent the GOP had…

You do realize Gingrich, during the primaries, was so great a candidate, he (along with a couple of others) managed the fun feat of not being properly registered to get on the ballot in his home state during the primaries. That’s called incompetence. The reason Romney won the primaries is that he is a very very good executive. The good ones don’t make stupid mistakes like Gingrich did. He seemed to be the only one who was doing this, running for office, because of a higher calling and not simply to stroke his ego or prove he was the ONE “True Conservative” , i.e. the most bad ass social conservative on the planet.

Here’s the deal as I see it. Did hurricane sandy make a difference in this race. It’s hard to say for sure. Mitts momentum did seem to be slowing before the storm hit. The storm quite possibly helped tip hurricane vulnerable states such as Virginia and possibly Florida in Obama’s favor. But go to the west. New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado were likely affected negatively due to the schizophrenic nature of Arizona and its “True Conservative” solutions to the immigration issue. As a group, Mitt only got, what, 29% of the Hispanic vote? And I’m already seeing several well known and well respected Conservative talking head berating those Latinos who didn’t vote for Obama as either illegals, complicit with law-breakers, or just stupid when it comes to their own best self interest.

That’s no way to win elections, or plant a seed that will contribute to positive electoral outcomes in the future.

I have more to say, but I must go work now.