Bob Beucler, The Piper

My high school buddy Russ had a little brother, a tow-headed kid who was happy to play with his Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars while we kept him far away from our explorations with Thai stick in the garage.

Now, some 40 years later, he’s releasing at a pretty good pace songs he’s written on which he plays all the instruments. I’ll always think of him as the kid, but now he is also the kid who shreds.

“Pick On” Pink Floyd

Every week on my show on FNTSY (the Tout Wars Hour, 9-11 PM, ET every Thursday night he plugged shamelessly) I ask my special guest to reveal a favorite album, movie, TV show, athlete to watch, and food and the list, as Fantasy now spreads generations, is big fun.

There are wonderful surprises like Tim McLeod loving Sunburst Finish  by Be Bop Deluxe and Eno Sarris, being a fan of his namesake’s Taking Tiger Mountain by Storm.

A couple of weeks ago my special guest was Jeff Zimmerman, and when I suggested  that basic script for the show that week I also noted that during our final five minute  segment we do indeed review those pop items like players we like to watch and music  we like to listen to.

Jeff warned me in advance that he was not that much of a music person, and I  responded no problem, and there must be a Beatles or Stones or some kind of album or song in his head somewhere he liked and just do the best you can.

But, never, ever, ever, did I expect his actual entry to the list which is a blue grass cover of The Wall performed by Luther Wright and the Wrongs.

So, I went digging a little, and found the album, and during my guitar lesson that same week I asked my friend and mentor Steve Gibson if he knew about Luther and his band’s treatment of the Floyd.

Steve did not know The Wall specifically, but he was more than hep to Nashville musicians gathering and deconstructing famous albums and bands in a phenomenon known as “pick on,” as in “pick on Aerosmith” or “pick on AC/DC.”

I cannot say that this revisionism is totally my cup of tea as much as I like both the Floyd and blue grass. Clearly these guys are knockout musicians, but I think I actually prefer to hear them cover the Carters and Irish jigs, but just discovering this subculture of music was a kick and a half.

This is Luther’s treatment of my favorite tune from the Floyd album. I still prefer David Gilmour’s chorusy guitar ripping through, but this is still pretty good.




The Definite Article

There is a quiz today at Slate called Does This Band’s Name Start With The?

I did very badly on the quiz, but got the last question right, which led to this band that I’d heard of but had never listened to.

This is a San Francisco band from the 90s that I think still mittens on. This clip is the entirety of their seventh elpee, which I’m listening to as I type, and which I’m liking quite a bit. Retro, but also fresh. Good rockin’ sounds that could spiral into dancey camp, like the B-52s, but don’t. Unfortunately cute name, however.

Mainland, Leave the Lights On

Very Strokes-ish, which means it sounds pretty good. It’s two years old, and would be a welcome sound on the radio. On the other hand, could there be a worse band name than Mainland?

Listening to other tunes, they are pretty good at mining the same commercial rock vein as the Strokes, but the rhythm section doesn’t hit quite as hard, and the songs aren’t quite as good. And the arrangements can veer toward, ugh, the commercial crap we try to avoid (and ambitious rockers sell their souls to achieve).

But this one just dropped, and apart from the fake English accent it’s pretty jangly and rocking.


The Traditional Fools, a medley

So, came across this band tonight. A few years old, so not new, and referencing old music mostly, but trying more.

This song, Please, is like a soul cover, but it might be an original.

This is catchy. A real cover.

I like this one because it starts out like a Crystals song, though it goes in a different direction. But there is a lot of music, harmonies and arrangement going on here. And maybe I’m thinking of the Shangri-las.

Chazz Kaster Profile in the Nashville Scene

Who Da Fug is Chazz Kaster? Well, um, the killer guitarist in Hans Condor. The only rock ‘n’ roll band left in this world alive.

Screenshot 2016-06-22 00.13.26Kaster broke up the Condor a few years back because he became a dad, and because he was a dad he became a cop. Weird, eh?

But after some time spent in the Halls of Justice Nashville style, he gave up his badge and went back to bartending.

Plus playing kick-ass guitar in a great rock n roll band with better and cleverer songs than other rock bands.

You can read the profile here.

The odds of me getting to Nashville are slim. The band is in North Carolina this weekend, but that’s no better.

I want to see these guys live. That’s all I can say.

I think you can find most of their recorded work on this site if you search Hans Condor, but here’s a little reprise for those who are wondering what the fuss is about.

Here’s the coda to a tune:

Here’s their excellent music video, supporting their album, with a fine rock n roll song:



Maren Morris, My Church

Lots and lots of music sounds derivative of some other music. Sometimes that’s a bad thing, evoking the thought, Why bother? But other times the song is so right it feels absolutely fresh and absolutely classic at the same, which is the case with this new country song.

What’s extra-funny about this tune is that it is paean to listening to FM radio in the car, which is not the religious experience it once was (unless one finds one of those rare stations practicing the free form format).

Form meets function in My Church. I can’t stop playing this.