Thursday, December 29, 2016

Launching January 1, 2017: 365 Days of Dylan

Prince, Bowie, Merle, Jim Harrison, Carrie Fisher, Guy Clark, Muhammad Ali, Ralph Stanley...Sadly, this is to name just a few. Twenty-Sixteen was a tough year for my music, art and cultural heroes.

So for 2017, I'm taking a cue from Slate's celebration of legendary artists who are still living (See Wonder Week). I'm going to celebrate 365 days of Bob Dylan, his music, art and influence. I'll highlight one of his songs a day and share news, stories and other content throughout the year. I'll be curating a list of Dylan songs on Spotify and I've even launched an Amazon store featuring some of my favorite Dylan music and books.

This project is as much for me as for anyone who happens upon this blog, Spotify playlist or tweet. Bob Dylan's music, more than any other artist, has followed me, inspired me and influenced me throughout most of my life. This is a way to say "thanks" and share my love for Dylan's music while he's still on his endless tour.

Please share your Dylan memories. I'd love to hear how his music has matter to you.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Dash Rip Rock at the Continental Club, Mojo's Mayhem 2016

Couldn't resist posting one more, this collage I put together for Instagram this morning. Such a great set of live music. Still zooming of its fumes.


You can follow me on Instagram at @mjbarz78 
Music. Food. Nature. And lots of dog photos.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dash Rip Rock at SXSW: Best of 2016

I first saw Dash Rip Rock with my friend Kevin when the band opened for The Beat Farmers at Canal Street Tavern in Dayton, Ohio, July 1986. My adrenline surges and smile widens thinking about that show.
Dash Rip Rock, Mojo's Mayhem 2016 at the Continental Club. (Mike Barzacchini Photo)
It was amazing when Kevin and I had the chance to see the band again at SXSW 2016. I spoke briefly with Bill Davis after DRR's Saxon Pub showcase. He not only remembered the Canal Street show, but told us that after the concert, Dash Rip Rock and the Farmers went bowling at a local lane. That would have been something to witness.
DRR's Bill Davis with the Butter-Spray Slide (Mike Barzacchini Photo)
Bill Davis' Gator Guitar (Mike Barzacchini Photo)
Long live Dash Rip Rock. Long Live Rock and Roll. Which is kind of saying the same thing.


Dash Rip Rock at SXSW 2016
More photos on my SXSW 2016 Dash Rip Rock Gallery on Flickr.

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Harts at SXSW: Best of 2016

Another great Aussie BBQ memory from SXSW 2016, Harts sending out sonic guitar riffs to a sunsoaked beer-blissed crowd.
Harts at SXSW 2016 Aussie BBQ (Mike Barzacchini Photo)

Harts at SXSW 2016
View my Harts SXSW 2016 Gallery on Flickr.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Stonefield at SXSW: Best of 2016

Sorting through photos, notes and memories from some of my top live shows of 2016. When I'm in Austin for SXSW, I try to not miss the Aussie BBQ. The event introduces me to new bands and sounds and the overall vibe in Brush Square Park is festive and fun.

My Stonefield gallery from the Aussie BBQ at SXSW 2016.

Stonefield at SXSW 2016

One of my favorite 2016 Aussie BBQ bands was Stonefield, four sisters who play beat-heavy, guitar-driven psychedlic influenced rock and roll. The band tore through a blistering 30-minute set, thrilling a few faithful fans and quickly converting the rest of the crowd.  Stonefield's music has a great summer festival feel. Hope they make many return visits to the states.

I make a small commission for purchases made through the above Amazon Associates links.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

River Whyless at SPACE in Evanston: Best of 2016

River Whyless at SPACE
A great live-music memory from 2016 -- River Whyless at SPACE in Evanston in August. They opened the show with a stirring cover of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe." The band's "We All the Light" is one of my favorite album's of 2016.

Check out upcoming shows at SPACE, one of the best live music venues in the Chicago area.

I make a small commission for purchases made through the above Amazon Associates link.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Your Saturday Lonnie Mack Playlist

Spring is finally making some headway, at least here in the middle States. Soon it will be the season of backyard BBQs and patio parties. You may have missed or forgotten Lonnie Mack's music while he was alive. But trust me, it sounds great on any party playlist. So fire up the grill, light the Tiki torches and turn up the Lonnie Mack tunes.
Find Lonnie Mack's Music on Amazon.

With Albert Collins and Roy Buchanan

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince's Best TV Moments (Entertainment Weekly)

What's your favorite Prince TV memory?

Prince: His 10 Best TV Appearances (EW)

Cheers and Farewell to Lonnie Mack the "Wham!" Master of Rock and Roll Guitar

First Prince, now Lonnie Mack. Maybe the two don't equate, but Lonnie Mack was a rock guitar pioneer in his own right. Saw him live in 1987 in a hockey rink at Ohio University. May as well have been an Arkansas roadhouse. With his Gibson Flying V he put the Wham! in rock and roll. Rest in peace Mr. Mack. Read the Alligator Records press release


Where were you the first time you heard Prince?

(Updated 4/21/2016)

Where were you the first time you heard Prince? Do you remember?

I'm not certain where I was, but I know it was 1979. It may have been summer on an asphalt basketball court in Richmond, Indiana, "I Wanna Be Your Lover" echoing from the open window of a passing car. Or later that fall on the campus of Ohio University, "Why You Want To Treat Me So Bad," blazing through the noise of a crowded Crook Hall dorm party.

But even before I heard Prince, I saw Prince. His face on the cover of his self-titled second album.

I remember thinking, "What's going on here?" This was something different. Something new.

And those sentiments would only be repeated throughout my 37 year adoration of Prince and his music. I remember wearing out my copy of 1999, flipping from side to side, wanting to hear all the songs at once again and again. Isolating the iconic guitar open to "When Doves Cry" and wondering aloud "how does he do that?" And I confess to many lip-sync rehearsals of "Kiss."

"I just want your extra time and your...Kiss." 

Then came the summer of 1989 and the release of Tim Burton's Batman. I was volunteering at camp for children with diabetes. Prince's songs from the movie blasting from a boombox served as our soundtrack, with dozens of purple-clad, bat-insignia-wearing campers dancing their way through the week like some deep-woods mash up of Paisley Park and Fame 

Prince's music has never been far from my listening and my life. Yes, I'm most fond of those first dozen albums, but I've also lost myself in "Musicology" and most recently "Hit n' Run" Phase One and Two.

From standing in line to see the movie Purple Rain on opening night to witnessing the best (go ahead, argue with me, I dare you) Super Bowl halftime performance now or ever, Prince has struck many magical chords in my personal music history. And with his deep catalog this will only continue.

Not to mention I was blessed to marry the biggest Prince fan I've ever met. If nothing else, I'm certain Susan will keep my purple flame blazing brightly for years to come.

My undying musical gratitude to an original. I'll never see or hear the likes of him again. But I'm glad I had the opportunity to catch his brief, bright, shining purple star. Shine on, Prince, shine on.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Happy 101 Hound Dog Taylor

Hound Dog Taylor would be 101 years old today. Here's a tune guaranteed to light at least that many candles #LetsGetFunky

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Who has more fun than Steve Poltz?

Steve Poltz at SPACE
Steve Poltz at SPACE in Evanston, June 19, 2012

I don’t remember my Grandpa Fred. He died when I was young. Though I understand he had a saying, one my dad would repeat after I’d come home from a long night of misadventure and have to rise and shine the next morning:
“Who has more fun than you?”

It’s become a mantra question for me. One I routinely ask my wife, my son, other family members and friends as we continue on this messy adventure called life. Usually, I don’t get a verbal response. Depending on the circumstances, I may come away with a smile, grimace or groan.

Now, after almost 56 years of searching, I have my found the answer:

“Who has more fun than you?”

“Why Grandpa, that would have to be Steve Poltz.”

I first saw Steve perform a hyperkinetic set at the 2008 Guitartown/Conqueroo Kickoff Day Party. Immediately hooked, I learned that it was Steve’s tradition to play a zillion times during SXSW week. My SXSW experience ended that year during Mojo’s Mayhem where I witnessed Steve nearly get a haircut from the Continental Club’s venerable ceiling fan while surfing the crowd after a graceful stage dive.

I’ve been hooked on Steve Poltz, his music, humor and indomitable spirit since. I followed him around SXSW two more years and witnessed three original and captivating shows at SPACE in Evanston, Illinois

Steve Poltz!
Me and Steve and Jonathan, SPACE in Evanston, Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Even better, through Steve’s Instagram feed, Facebook page, blog and other digital smoke signals, he lets me and all his fans in on his ongoing adventures, including weird signs, what’s for breakfast, freaky-cool socks, insta-songs, unique people met along the way and wholly original insights on culture and life.

So it was with great anticipation in 2015 that I started planning my SXSW adventure by trying to figure out all the bars, hotel lobbies and laundromats where Steve would perform that week.

That’s when I learned that Steve wouldn’t be coming to Austin in 2015. Instead, he’d be in Australia -- for more than a month! I figured SXSW must be cancelled. I mean you can’t hold the festival if the unofficial mayor is out of town.

Because of my selfishness (“Why can’t I see Steve perform in Austin?”), it was temporarily painful to follow Steve on social media that spring. But finally, I figured it out:

Why take over a town for a week when you can charm an entire continent for a month or more? See, Australia loves Steve too. They have for years. And in Australia, Steve has found a land vast enough for the enormous fun he radiates.

Have I missed him in Austin these past two years? Sure, but  here’s the best part: I may never make it to Australia, but through Steve’s messages in various Internet bottles, I’ve traveled along like I’m tucked in a secret side pocket in Smokey Joe’s guitar case, experiencing the people, food and places.

Steve wraps his latest Aussie takeover today with a performance at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne. Up next he’ll sing the National Anthem on Thursday, April 21, at PETCO Park in San Diego before his beloved Padres take the field. 

Welcome back to the USA, Steve. Thanks for taking us along to Australia again this year. Hope to see you at SPACE in a few weeks.

And seriously, “Who has more fun than you?”

P.S: Steve, if you’re reading this, please let me know where I can buy my “El Poltzo for President” trucker hat. There’s at least one contested convention coming up and I need to represent.

P.P.S: If ya’ll haven’t bought Steve’s new CD, Folksinger, yet, I honestly don’t know what you’re waiting on. It’s loaded with heart-warming, -breaking, -persevering songs and a belly full of laughs, too.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

SXSW 2016 Guide to New Artists

Still time to do your SXSW 2016 research? This guide should help. Who's on your "must listen" list? See you in Austin.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

And there's more at Yard Dog during SXSW: Thursday and Friday Day Party Line-Ups

Yard Dog is one of the coolest places to hang during SXSW week. Always amazing music during their two day parties. This year is no exception.

On THURSDAY, MARCH 17 (Happy St. Patrick's Day!) Brooklyn Breweries presents:
The Baby Robot Media/ Smiths Olde Bar/ Plowboy Records/Nine Mile Touring Day Party. See the full line up.

On FRIDAY, MARCH 18, is the Bloodshot Records Annual Day Party Sponsored by Lagunitas, The Loar and Recording King. See the full line up.

Bloodshot Showcase & Yard Dog Party SXSW 2016 Lineups Announced

Both lineups are packed with amazing Bloodshot Records artists. Luke Winslow-King, Banditos, Lydia Loveless, and much more. And of course it would not be a party without Waco Brothers. See you at the Bloodshot Records showcase and Yard Dog Art.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Question of the Week: If you could give a Grammy to any artist this year, who would get your Grammy?

Who would get your imaginary Grammy? What category would you like to see added to the Grammy Awards?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Song of the Day for Susan: I Only Have Eyes for You -- The Flamingos

One of the songs that started it all for us. After 25 years, I still, and will always, only have eyes for you.

The Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes for You

The original will always be my favorite, but I love Art Garfunkel's rendition, too.

And Old Blue Eyes, too.

Song(s) of the Day for Susan: 3 by Jon Dee Graham

I can't get enough Jon Dee Graham on an anniversary playlist for you.

"Why don't you come outside. Get a look at that sky..." Big Sweet Life by Jon Dee Graham

Majesty of Love by Jon Dee Graham

And of course, Best by Jon Dee Graham. Perhaps my favorite love song. Always makes me think of us.

Friday song: Waylon Jennings -- I've Always Been Crazy

We take a brief break from Susan's song of the day for memories of seeing Waylon, Jesse and members of The Crickets in Athens, Ohio, at the Convo in 1979. This song was one of the highlights.

Song of the Day for Susan: Groove is in the Heart -- Deee Lite

Do you remember 1990? That's when this song was released and it carried us into 1991. In fact, it may have been the lead track on the soundtrack of the first year of our marriage. Still makes me smile (and chair dance). "We're going to dance and have some fun."

Groove is in the Heart - Deee-Lite 
"I couldn't ask for another"

Song of the Day for Susan: Be My Wife - David Bowie

"Sometimes you get so lonely. Sometimes you get nowhere."
Thank you for coming into my life 25 years ago and changing all of that.

David Bowie - Be My Wife (Lyrics)

Song of the day for Susan: Lucinda Williams - Passionate Kisses

Lucinda Williams - Passionate Kisses

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Passionate Kisses

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Song of the Day for Susan: Otis Redding - Hard to Handle

Otis Redding - Hard to Handle

Love the incredible Otis Redding and love this song. Interestingly enough, it was the Toots in Memphis version that brought me back to the original.

Hard to Handle from Toots and the Maytals

2016 Chicago Blues Festival Lineup Announced

Headliners have been announced for the 2016 Chicago Blues Festival, June 10-12.

Some year I'm going to get to all three days of this amazing FREE music fest. Plans will keep me away on Saturday and Sunday this year, but I'm looking forward to Friday's line up for the Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Celebration:

  • Shemekia Copeland
  • Curtis Salgado
  • Tommy Castro & The Painkillers
  • Toronzo Cannon
  • Lil' Ed and The Blues Imperials
  • Corky Siegel

Check out all the festival headliners.

Read more about the 2016 Chicago Blues Festival. (Chicago ABC 7)

Alligator Records 40th Anniversary Collection on Amazon.

Alligator Records 30th Anniversary Collection on Amazon.

Blues and the Alligator: The first 20 Years of Alligator Records (DVD) on Amazon.
Shemekia Copeland - Drivin' Out of Nashville

Curtis Salgado - Nobody But You

Tommy Castro and the Painkillers - Greedy

Toronzo Cannon - Live at Southside Festival Grounds, July 18, 2014

Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials - Chicken, Gravy & Biscuits

Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues - Opus 17.3

Song of the Day for Susan: You're the Best Lover that I Ever Had - Steve Earle

Sneaking in on Tuesday with your Monday song.

From Steve Earle's bluesy Terraplane album. Makes me smile and think of you every time I hear it. You may not recall, but this song was in heavy rotation on our road trip to Franklin, Tennessee last year for Pilgrimage Festival.

"You're the Best Lover that I Ever Had."

Buy on Amazon.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Song of the Day for Susan: Whole Wide Word - The Bahamas

Glad we found each other. And we didn't have to go all the way to Tahiti.
Love The Bahamas chill version of this Wreckless Eric tune.

Wreckless Eric's original, with lyrics:

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Song of the Day for Susan: Tugboat - Galaxie 500

That song for when you really don't want to go out. You don't want to hang with a bunch of friends. No crowds, please. You just want to be alone with that one person. Baby, I just want to be your tugboat captain. 

I came late to Galaxie 500's music. Glad it finally found me. 

(One Day Late) Song of the Day for Susan: Patty Griffin - One Big Love

This song come out in 1998, but the lyrics and freewheeling energy reminds of autumn 1990 when we met, dated for four months, lived in "sin" or a couple of weeks and then got married on February 8, 1991. And it reminds me of all the wild adventures we've had since (and those to come):

"I guess I'm taking my chancesGiving up the ring throwing in my glovesI guess I'm taking my chancesTrading in my thingsFor a couple wings a little white doveAnd one big love..."

Patty Griffin - One Big Love (Buy on Amazon) 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Song of the Day for Susan: Shake Sugaree by Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens wonderful cover of the Elizabeth Cotten song. "Shake Sugaree."

And the fabulous original by the truly original Elizabeth Cotten.

Buy Rhiannon Giddens' version of "Shake Sugaree" on Amazon.

Buy Elizabeth Cotton's music on Amazon.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Two Songs of the Day for Susan: Joe Henry -- Sparrow and Sunday Mornin' Coming Down.

Joe Henry, an artist I admire, but don't listen too often enough. Fixin' to remedy this starting today.

Joe Henry - Sparrow from the album Invisible Hour

Buy on Amazon.

And that was so good, how about one more from Joe Henry, his solid cover of Kris Kristofferson's Sunday Mornin' Coming Down from Americana Fest 2014.

Joe Henry joins an amazing list of artists who've performed this powerful song, including Ray Stevens, Johnny Cash and, of course, Kris Kristofferson. "Sunday Mornin' Coming Down" will also be performed by Kristofferson and Buddy Miller in a cut from the January 29 release Cayamo Sessions at Sea.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Song of the Day for Susan: Brushy One String -- Chicken in the Corn

The best one-string guitar player you'll hear today, or ever, for that matter. Love the energy. Brushy One String - Chicken in the Corn.

Buy on Amazon.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Song(s) of the Day for Susan: Fred Eaglesmith Playlist

Seems like it was about 1997 when I started listening to Fred Eaglesmith. I remember first hearing Fred on public radio, maybe it was Morning Edition, reporting on what it was like to be a traveling musician, living out of a bus. Not long after that, I started hearing his music on WNKU. One listen to "105" from Lipstick, Lies and Gasoline and I was a Fredhead for life. Here's a short playlist of Fred song's for Susan's Saturday.

"Wilder than Her" -- one of the first Fred Eaglesmith songs that hooked me and still one of my favorites.

"Johnny Cash" -- Love the big, crunchy Neil Young and Crazy Horse style guitar work.

"Water in the Fuel" -- Along with rural life, so many of Fred's songs are about the necessity and isolation of being on the road. In one place and wishing desperately you were in another.

"18 Wheels" This may be the same driver as the one in "Water in the Fuel," thousands of miles and dozens of years further down the road, running out of pavement. 

Three of my favorite Fred Eaglesmith releases available on Amazon:


Friday, January 22, 2016

Song of the Day for Susan: Jason Isbell -- 24 Frames

My favorite song from 2015 from my current favorite songwriter. At least 100 listens and it's fresh each time. And each time I listen, I get chills. The fragile, temporary beauty of life. Reminds me I need to be present in each moment, or each frame.

Jason Isbell -- 24 Frames

Susan's song of the day for me: Garland Jeffreys - Love is not a Cliche

Great pick, Susan. I've been all in on Garland Jeffreys and his music since first hearing "Escape Artist" from first cut to last on a road trip from Dayton to Athens, Ohio when it debuted in 1981. Fortunate to see Garland perform at SXSW in 2006 and 2012. Amazing artist and live performer.

Garland Jeffreys - "Love is Not a Cliche"

Garland Jeffreys performs Saturday, January 23, 2016 at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

Garland Jeffreys on tour.