Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Comboland Radio New Music for June 30th

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Got busy this past weekend and a bit caught up on adding new music to Comboland Radio, most from artists/bands new to the station.

I freely admit that I am not an expert of any sorts about all of the different bands/artists in North and South Carolina. What little I do know is from the time I spent going to see bands in my High School/College years and for a period of time thereafter. And those years were some years ago: let's say 1973 through about 1990. Even then I focused on the bands I liked so I missed a bunch even then. So trying to catch up on this ever changing music scene is challenging! People seem reluctant to make suggestions... except when I see them in person somewhere. Then I will get a few suggestions. But that is rare too as the day job keeps me busy and away from the places most of these bands are playing. So, again, if I am missing a band/artist that would fit on Comboland Radio please make the suggestion!

It is fun discovering artists that are new to me. It's seems a bit weird how and where you find them these days too. I have found quite a few by mining the Myspace friends and seeing who I con connect with. I found several current bands through Jason Adamo's friends, a couple from Parmalee's page... you know... their friends who are also bands/artists. I also like to search by location at CD Baby. The downside to that is there are 5149 Cd's available from North Carolina artists!!! They are categorized but still appear in no particular order in the search results. Some newer Cd's may be at the top of a search but other new releases are mixed in all the way through. I probably miss a lot of music that would fit on the station! But eventually if it fits I seem to find it.

James Deem would fit into that "I finally found it" category. He released the 10 song collection titled "jamesdeem.com" in 2007. He recorded it at Jamie Hoover's studio with Jamie producing and plying some of the instruments and singing background vocals. It's got a nice Power Pop feel to it with some neat songs that sound great in the mix on Comboland Radio. I am a bit embarrassed because I just noticed today that James is a Facebook fan of Comboland Radio. I've got 3 cuts from it in active rotation now on Comboland Radio.

There is a cool blog some of are are no doubt aware of called Power Pop Criminals. So much of the music that comes out of the Carolinas get classified as PP I have had good luck finding bands I missed along the way on blogs like this. This guy WOULD be an expert... unlike me! I found several nuggets on this site including Bullwinkel Gandhi. Produced by Mitch Easter this CD came out in 1996 and is out of print but absolutely worth tracking down!!! I have put 6 songs from this CD in active rotation. Now that is a bunch of tunes from 1 CD... and I may cull a couple out later but this one great PP CD!! They also have a 1994 release which I will begin tracking down.

Bullwinkel Gandhi spwaned several other bands which shared members here and there. Poppy Nosh, Clone Farm Carnival and Wonderwall are 3 which I have Cd's from and need to process and get into my system. I'll try to get them in this week.

Yet another spin-off band is Stratocruiser. This is where I sort of say to myself how did I miss these guys!! More on that in a minute. Some really fun tunes, good melodies and hooks... what's not to like!?! They have a newer single aimed at the "Guitar Hero" "Rock Band" crowd called "Kids Today Hate Rock And Roll". Love it!!! What WOULD those kids do with guitars with strings?!? (I've been told that those who actually play guitar do terrible at these games. True or not?) Another more recent single release is "Crazy Horses". Both of those go into Current rotation with a slew of their older tunes going into active rotation, with another one of their Cd's yet to process.

I already had cuts from The Saving Graces second CD in rotation but had somehow missed the earlier EP release called "These Stars Are For You" Some good stuff here with three cuts from it now on Comboland Radio!

Mark Kano popped up while doing one of those CD Baby "By Location" searches narrowed to Power Pop. He is no stranger to the music scene having had some success with his band "Athenaeum" which some of you will remember from the late '90's. Well he's back with a solo release "Walking On Broadway". This is a CD with several hits on it, 2 of which I have put into Current rotation: the title cut along with "Sad Songs". listen for them on Comboland Radio. You will like them and then want to go buy this CD. You could just go ahead and buy the CD... but why not listen to Comboland Radio anyway. You might discover some tunes you have missed!

In many ways the Internet has really helped independent artists. However there is so much out there it is also hard to sift through all of it to find just what you are looking for. It is challenging for an artist too as with so much out there it can be difficult to break through. That was part of the original mission for Comboland Radio; To give a voice to the local scene in the Carolinas and a place for fans to listen to and discover new music.

I have had questions about the difference between "Active" and "Current" rotation. Newer releases are played more often, older tunes less often. It is one of those old radio equations that has always worked. The question is how often to rotate new music? Current Hit Radio stations (CHR... today's Top 40) varies from once every hour and a half to once every 45 minutes in some cases. The turnover on the currents on Comboland Radio is a bit longer that 45 minutes! On Comboland Radio each artist in the two current categories has 2 songs in the rotation. One category allows 3 plays per day for each song, the other 2 plays a day for each song.

For example The OAK Team's "Goin' Or Comin'" (which is on as I am writing this) got played 23 times in the past seven days. "Indy 500" also got 23 plays. That's 56 plays for those 2 songs alone. Terry has a bunch of other OAK Team and solo songs that are in the other active categories so in total The OAK Team got 104 spins last week! And that doesn't count the Woods, Knobs and Yayhoos tunes.

104 spins is a bunch for sure but there are a ton of tunes here from 6 Cd's. A newer band like Hammer No More The Fingers would obviously have fewer as there is less material to choose from. However HNMTF got 52 spins for their 2 currents, "Shutterbug" and "Nobody Knows", plus 12 spins from cuts from their first CD. Where else did they get their songs played 64 times? It does benefit bands and artists included on the station to support it. It also helps the region as a whole. Everyone benefits!

I chose those 2 bands as examples because both have been supportive of Comboland Radio. Terry has gone as far to include links on his blog and on the Doublenaught Records website. I assume both believe a venture such as Comboland Radio is not only beneficial to them but to the scene as a whole. And as the regional scene as a whole is successful all of the bands/artists benefit. If you're an OAK Team or Hammer fan you are likely to find other music on the station you like enough to go see the band or buy a download or two. That is what a radio station like Comboland Radio can offer. If you are one of the bands/artists being played on the station I hope you will help promote this effort. Tell folks at your gigs, give it a link on the social network page of your choice, anything helps. Help spread the word about Comboland Radio! The more you help the station the more the station can do for you!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Comboland Radio Remembers Michael Jackson

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I can vividly remember the first three LP's I ever purchased with my own money. The first was Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced". My dad drove me the the Eckerds Drug Store the the Henderson, NC Mall... yeah they sold records back then. My dad was NOT happy with my purchase! I bought it just about the time he died which would have made me 13 years old.I was just beginning to explore music seriously. I was totally hooked on Jimi!

The second LP I purchased was "Let It Be". I had other Beatles albums and bunches of 45's but most were given to me. Many were half worn when I got them too! I still love that album. I was too young to know that Phil Specter had, in the eyes of many, ruined that record.

The next LP was the "ABC" album from the Jackson 5. I told people about these LP purchases and most laughed at the J5 purchase. It was a great pop album! I'm not sure my dad liked that one either, if for no other reason than I played it over and over and over... as 13 year old kids are want to do.

As much as I was becoming engrossed in the world of "Acid Rock" I have always loved pop music. Blame that on the transistor radio my grandfather gave me when I was almost 5 years old. I listened to it non-stop!! I always got batteries from somewhere... the battery fairy? I grew up listen to all of the great Top 40 stations from Raleigh when I was at home in Henderson, in Winston-Salem and Greensboro as a young kid before we moved, and all of those stations that would boom in at night. So no matter how deep I got into hard rock I would always keep up with and enjoy Top-40 pop music.

Once I decided to try radio as a career I went to work at the local Top-40 station WHNC in Henderson, NC. I was a baby DJ at the same time Michael Jackson was enjoying his huge rise to solo stardom so I played all of those monster hits on the radio then, and continued to play them through the years. I couldn't help but be a fan. Those songs were great pop songs.

While at that first radio gig I did a parody of "Do You Wanna Be Starting Something" call "Do You Wanna Be Crappie Fishing". While I was working briefly at Reflection Sound Studios in Charlotte Don Dixon found a tape of mine that had that song on it. He thought it was funny so he made copies and passed them around to I don't know how many people. Marti Jones was recording her first LP, "Unsophisticated Time" at about the same time and she and Dixon gave me a blurb on the album credits. I have had several people request a copy of this song in the past few years so with the greatest respect to a great musician I post it here.

Do You Wanna Be Crappie Fishing - Moose

The man had his issues and became downright strange. Nevertheless he was a talented artist who made many people happy with his music. RIP Michael.

More new music this weekend on Comboland Radio!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Comboland Radio New Music for June 22nd

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I added couple of new bands to Comboland Radio this week. They are "The Comas" from Chapel Hill and "Airiel Down" from Raleigh. Both have been around for a few years. But as I have mentioned in previous posts I am still (probably always) trying to fill in the blanks with the bands/artists I have missed. It is difficult to follow the different music scenes from afar. But that's the way is is. And few others seem to want to build a radio station to promote the great music coming out of the Carolina's (and a little bit of Virginia!)... that geographic musical region known as "Comboland"! So I fill in where I can and when I discover bands that should be included. Check out the Band List page at Comboland Radio to see just who is on there. I may be missing some but check out all of the bands/artists that ARE there!!

The Comas have been around for over 10 years!! I just discovered them for myself last week. Three of their Cd's are available for download from the usual sources. Tunes from all three will start playing this week on Comboland Radio and I will be searching out the first release from the band to add as well.

The other band hitting the Comboland Radio airwaves this week is "Airiel Down". They've been around for a while too releasing their first CD, "Vision", in 2005, with a new one, "Shine" out now! I found out about these guys from a club owner who is booking them at his place, Levels in Elizabeth City. They have a bunch of shows coming up so go to their MySpace page for all of the dates and go see them!

A cool aspect of this process is that I personally like all of the music played on Comboland Radio. So discovering a "new to me" artist is a bit exciting. I get to listen to some cool new music then turn around and give it some exposure so others who may not be familiar can discover it for themselves. The artist then has another avenue of exposure... another place where their fans can listen to their music along with that of other similar artists. The fan of one band then finds a few others they like and the whole scene benefits. Exposure for all grows as the current fan base brings in their friends and gets them exposed. Everybody wins! So pass the word about Comboland Radio. And if you know of an artist/band from the Carolina area I am missing let me know about them!!

A band that found me and actually sent me a copy of their CD to play on Comboland Radio is playing at The Pour House in Raleigh on Monday, June 29th. Go see Nova Stella!!! They have also helped to spread the word about Comboland Radio by adding a link to their MySpace page and including CR as one of their top friends!! Thanks! You can hear Nova Stella on Combolad Radio and you can buy their CD here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Combolnad Radio Review: Don Dixon at Papa Mojo's

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This was the first time I have seen a Dixon show since the early 90's. I had seen him with Arrogance quite a few times since then but this is a totally different show. Don has had a prolific solo career releasing 9 solo Cd's plus a collaboration with Jamie Hoover and Jim Brock as "The Jump Rabbits", and a collaboration with wife Marti Jones, "Lucky Stars: New Lullabies For Old Souls". Not to mention all of the producing and song writing, acting... this is one multi-talented guy. There is so much material for him to choose from when compiling a set list for a show. Then again... I'm not really sure there was one.

The show started out with "Praying Mantis" which everyone in attendance at Papa Mojo's seemed to know and they responded as soon as the opening bass lick had been played. It's nice nice to play in front of a "home" crowd! The first set featured plenty of tunes from the "Jump Rabbits" "The Nu-Look" CD but also nuggets from Dixon's other CD's... songs like "Kitchen", "In A Politician's Bed", "Secret Room", again... there is so much to choose from. Dixon and crew sounded fabulous! Jamie's guitar work is impressive and Jim Brock is truly a world class percussionist. The three work together exchanging subtle cues and performing these songs superbly! Young artists could take a lesson from these guys and this performance on how to do a rock show! It moved along nicely, great song placement within the set. 40 plus years of performing for each of those guys provide the experience to do a great rock show. Plus they have the chops to pull it off. A couple of times Dixon would say "I'm tired... Jamie sing one". I don't know if that was planned or not but it did give the audience an opportunity to hear a few recent tunes from the Jamie Hoover/Spongetones repertoire. What a great show!!! As they stopped Dixon said they were taking a brief break but were going to play another set and there was a lot more to come. Boy was there!

The crowd thinned out a bit during the break. Man... those folks don't know what they missed. As a young musician Dixon was heavily influenced by Soul/R&B and Blues. You can hear it in his songs and in his vocal stylings. The second set of the night was a bit of a blues review with the owner of the venue, Mel Melton, joining the "Jump Rabbits" on stage and playing some incredible blues harmonica. Mel has had quite a bit of playing experience and fell right into the groove with the Blusey Rabbits as they played some fab Blues and R&B classics! Dixon had told me during the break to come up and remind him during the set to give Comboland Radio a plug. There was not one place during that set I dared to interrupt the flow. It was awesome!! More so because it was unexpected. A great treat to all of those who were still in attendance at Papa Mojo's. It was also further proof (as if we needed it!) of the depth of musical knowledge of Don, Jamie and Jim, and of their musical chops. It also showed how much the enjoy being on stage. Dixon did give Comboland Radio a plug at the end and I was thankful for that. He said "I told you to come up and remind me!!" "You know I forget!" I really couldn't do it. I was enjoying the show way too much.

I wrote a blog in response to Dixon's blog on MySpace about the April shows. His blog gave many, myself included, the impression that he was getting tired and may be slowing down. He said that was not his intention at all and that he was not "retiring". Well THAT was certainly some great news to hear, both as a fan and a friend. He certainly proved (again, if any was needed!) that he still has the playing chops and the ability and desire to entertain an audience. Let's hope he continues to do just that for a long time to come.

Papa Mojo's is a nice venue for an intimate show. And the food ain't bad either! Mel is a affable host who made folks feel welcome. We got there WAY early and had dinner. As we left our table so they could get a few more diners in he was concerned that we had been rushed but we assured him that was not the case. In fact the wait staff and hostess were great, as was the food. I would definitely go back... and if I lived there I would be a regular! At the end of the night we realized that there had been no smoking in the room. WOW! That was nice!

At this time Dixon only has one gig, June 28th in DC, on his site. I do know there is an Arrogance Birthday show coming up on Sept. 19th at the Cat's Cradle. So make sure you check his website and MySpace page often for updates and future gigs. Also buy a copy of the "Don Dixon & The Jump Rabbits" CD, "The Nu-Look". It is a great CD! Dixon's "Songs 101 - The Lyrics Of Don Dixon" is available too. I got my copy!

Have you gotten yours? Go to to Don's site now!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Comboland Radio New Music for June 10th

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More new music has found it's way to Comboland Radio!! Two bands from Chapel Hill, North Elementary and Embarrassing Fruits, have recent CD releases. So a couple of tunes from each go into the "new music" rotation.

I'm still filling in holes in the playlist too, especially from the past 10 years or so. If you have suggestions please email me. The Comas will be added soon, maybe by the end of the day tomorrow.

Heading inland to catch Don Dixon on Friday night. Maybe I'll see you there!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Holsapple & Stamey "hERE aND nOW", OAK Team on the road!

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I re-connected with an old college roommate yesterday via Facebook. He was an upperclassman at East Carolina University during my freshman year. We were both music majors and at the time shared some musical interests. I remember he had a Monkees Model Gretsch that I wanted, plus a silver face Twin-Reverb and a very nice Guild acoustic. Mike is an excellent musician... sax and clarinet, guitar too when he used to play it... I think he gave it up. I should have! He spent quite a few years touring with "The Dukes Of Dixieland" (2nd incarnation) and lived in New Orleans until he and his wife decided to have kids and thought there might be better places to raise them. He eventually got back to North Carolina and is still here, on the coast in Wilmington.

So I was checking out his profile and in the box where some people put a phrase or a quote Mike wrote "I miss the days when we listened to complete recordings & absorbed them over time." I made me think about where "music" is today as an industry and how people get their new music and how they listen to it. I know myself that I rarely do that when I get an MP3 download. I'll skip around, find the tunes I like and forget the others. The ability to do this has always been around but with a computer it is so easy. Maybe there is a time aspect to it too. Everyone is so pressed for time that maybe the opportunity to sit in one place for 45 minutes or so and focus on an album isn't possible. In my case I have been spoiled by "the hits" as that is what my industry, radio, focuses on. I thought about "The Wad's" quote a few time. I even mentioned it to my wife. Now we did sit and listen to the entire OAK Team CD "National Champions" all the way through the day we got it. But I can't remember another one in a very long time. I made a mental promise to do that more often. Then I walked to the mailbox where a surprise was waiting.

I had pre-ordered Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey's CD hERE aND nOW a few weeks ago but wasn't expecting it until June 9th or later as the receipt plainly stated it would not be shipped until then, the official release date. But here it was... sitting in the mailbox. Did someone make a mistake? Did I get it early because of the little Internet radio station? Am I special? Probably yes, no and NO! Nevertheless I had it and it was the perfect night to put it in the CD player, sit on the deck and listen to the whole thing.... Which I did.

It should be noted that any thing I write about members of Arrogance, The Fabulous Knobs/Woods/OAK Team or The dB's and their music might ought to be taken with a grain of salt as I have always been huge fans of all three. However if something REALLY sucked I would probably point it out.

This was the perfect setting to listen to hERE aND nOW. A nice late spring night on the back deck as the sun was setting... and a cool old tune by "Family","My Friend The Sun", kicks off this CD. The recording is very open from a production standpoint. Very nice to listen to. Some great hooks and lyrics. The musicianship is fabulous. Then again I would expect no less from these two. A REAL reviewer, Fred Mills, commented the that harmonies were "Everlys-Worthy" and I couldn't agree more. However Peter and Chris always have always had great harmonies. Their voices compliment each other nicely. The record has an acoustic feel to it but is not totally acoustic. Very tasteful!

Track 2, "Santa Monica", does feature all four members of The dB's. Branford Marsalis plays on a couple of tracks, "Here And Now" and "Begin Again". A nice addition, especially on "Begin Again", Track 8.

This is a nice CD. Even though tempo wise I usually prefer up-tempo songs this has a nice balance. Just when I was ready to hear the pace pick up it did. There is something to be said for sequencing a record. I'm not sure some of today's artists and producers get the concept sometimes but these guys definitely do. It's helps to have good songs to sequence and they certainly do on hERE aND nOW.

So I got two nice surprises with "Big Easy" connections on the same day!!

Order this CD today. You won't be sorry. And if you do get it before the June 9th release date please don't tell me. That way I can feel special for a few more days!

Hey... speakin' of the Oak Team they are hittin' the road for Kentucky and Ohio so go see them if they are playing near your town. The new CD is getting some great reviews which Terry is posting on his blog. I'm telling you... If you don't have this CD you are missing some great tunes.

As always cuts from both of these Cd's are playing now on Comboland Radio! Listen and please tell AT LEAST 5 people you know.

Addendum! There is a great interview with Peter on the Lehigh Valley Music Blog.