KAFM Music Blog
2016 - PJ's Finest Hour
Aspiring on-air programmers for KAFM sit in on an orientation program conducted by our Program Director, Coach. Aspiring programmers get a rundown of the dos and don'ts associated with representing the station on air. Obviously it's not appropriate to rave about the soup at your brother's restaurant, but I was taken aback by one point: Coach was adamant that KAFM is not an oldies station. We want fresh programming he insisted, and said his expectation was that at least 30% of the music we play should be new releases. I dutifully accepted, not realizing that the door to a golden Quick read more or view full article musical opportunity was about to swing open.
Three years later, a Desert Canyon playlist routinely includes nearly 50% new material. Music distributors send KAFM new releases from artists, asking only that that we play them. Given our lack of musical obligations at KAFM such as a requirement to play hits, we are uniquely positioned to support these artists by giving them air time. We like them. They like us. It's really great to be part of such a positive relationship.
To celebrate the work of these modern day artists, I present my list of the "finest hour" of new music added to the KAFM library in 2016. I employed a one song per artist ground rule in developing this list. There is so much material, I only heard some of what was available. Your top hour would surely be different. Here's mine.
15. Waiting for the World to End - All Night Live, Vol. 1 - The Mavericks The spectacular "Mono" CD hit the KAFM new wall in 2015. They went on tour in 2016, and I had the great fortune to catch one of their high-energy good-time shows on the shores of Lake Superior. It is hard to imagine a better summer evening, so I was thrilled when a disk of their live CD showed up at the station. Frankly this recording is a little fuzzy. It is a problem easily remedied by adjusting the volume upward. Do it!
14. The Do Without - Not Gonna Worry - Bob Rasero It's fun to pair Howling Wolf's "Do the Do" with Bob Rasero's "The Do Without." It helps that Bob Rasero is an exceptional acoustic lead guitar player, song writer and vocalist.
13. Afraid - Love and Sabotage - David Star A Cedaredge local artist, David Star played at the KAFM Radio Room in early 2016. His guitar work on "Afraid" is cutting edge both with regard to the acoustic rhythm, the slide, and wah wah lead. JJ Cale would have loved this guy.
12. Find Ourselves - Devin Allman - Ride or Die Greg Allman's son Devin has definitely found himself as a musical talent. I'm sure his name is both an obstacle and an advantage depending on the circumstance, but check him out on youtube and he looks like he was born to play that cherry sunburst Les Paul.
11. Boulevard Six - Jim Duffy - Pale Afternoon This is just one example of a jazz record that is consistently bright and upbeat. I'd like to go to New York with Booker T, and watch Jim Duffy play keyboard.
10. Comes a Time - Coral Creek - Coral Creek Ever listen to a song and think, hey this better than the original? This Neil Young cover is so cool! The song is bluegrass rooted for sure, but with a pleasing drum beat. Try to categorize them and they'll break out a saxophone, or perhaps launch a mean electric guitar solo. Their vocals are always excellent.
9. She thinks I Still Care - Eric Lindell - Matters of the Heart Reminiscent of Eric Stewart of 10cc trying to convince himself he's "Not in Love," Eric Lindell wants us to know he doesn't still care. Of course he does. This is nifty song writing - nicely implemented.
8. Belly of the Sea - Darcy Malone & the Tangle - Still Life Blues rock with a great saxophone, great vocals and unique songwriting make this a special tune.
7. Maybe I'm A Rose - For The Sender - Love Letters From Vietnam The tempo change when this song switches gears is quite the hook. She says, "Maybe I'm a Rose, but first I'm your girl." Lucky guy.
6. Leave This Town - Stewart Lindsey - Spitballin' Stewart Lindsey, the former other half of the Eurythmics, excels in this rockin' tune that showcases his guitar skills more than the heavily produced Eurythmics material.
5. Jacqui Juice - The Jimmys - Live In Transylvania Like the Mavericks, the Jimmys feature an impossible to indentify genre that moves from jazz, to country, to big band swing, then good old fashion rock and roll. It's a sweet niche they occupy together, and they do it with gusto. The all instrumental Jacqui Juice is a round trip through that splendid niche, with bass, drums, trumpet, saxophone, guitar, and keyboards alternating and blending to carve out a wonderful song.
4. Cathy With The Curly Hair - Eleanor Friedberger - New View Eleanor trends toward non flashy, but she conveys a down home groove that really works. This song captures from the outset and keeps me interested until it fades away.
3. Lessons Learned - Three Beards - Lessons Learned At a KAFM music board team gathering in the spring of 2016, I pulled a CD from the mail bag that had this adult coloring book looking skull on the cover. I reluctantly agreed to review it. In my hand was a five song EP that includes three of the best rock and roll songs I've heard in years. Lessons Learned is one of them. Gentlemen, it's time to release another CD.
2. The Pain Around Me - Toronzo Cannon - The Chicago Way I can just feel the personal commitment inherent in this incredible song. Toronzo Cannon still drives a bus for the Chicago Transit Authority. Somehow that fact seems to personify the music business. How could this man possibly still need his day job? I guess that just sums up why I like to play Toronzo's songs on KAFM. They're great, and he deserves to be recognized. It's an honor to have the opportunity.
1. Rita - Gnarly Feat - Gnarly Feat I play a lot of songs for people. Come over to the house and chances are you'll be asked to listen to one. People love this song. And why not? It has incredible guitars, biting lyrics, sweet vocals and a rhythm line that flows like a river. Looking at the videos, I doubt any of these guys are twenty. I can't wait to hear their 15th CD. Oh, and I do have some fatherly advice. If you boys ever write another song as good as Rita, make it longer than three minutes and 20 seconds.