Round VI - My Continuing Adventures As A San Francisco Rock Journalist


This Month:


A travel diary of my journey to and from "The Now Smaller Apple"

August 24 - September 4, 2001 and some thoughts about what it all means...

(Do the math, folks - I'm a lucky girl...)


"Unsung Heroes"

Some "un-signed-to-major-label" artists I've uncovered coast-to-coast who deserve some major attention...


"Local Color" -

Various Bay Area Musical Happenings I happened to stumble upon


A Concert Review of :



at Shoreline Amphitheater !!


All interspersed with even more outrageous tales of my "Almost-Famousness"...



I made it back. Back to where I left my heart (half of it, anyway, I took the other half with me). Safe and sound - exactly one week to the day the world as we knew it would change : forever in a day, in ways we couldn't have imagined in our wildest dreams or worst nightmares, and trust me, I have plenty of both. There has already been so much written and shown and discussed about this THING - this unspeakable horror that no language can truly express. Ultimately, we are only left with our own individual reactions and experiences to determine what really matters in the grand scheme of life, the ones of us that are fortunate enough to still have one. A life. And as devastating and terrifying as this tragedy began and is continuing to be, for some so much worse than others, the most we can do is to look around and see the big picture. Let love in. Give it. It's out there, it's in you, but you gotta be brave and you gotta pay attention. Whether it's a terrorist attack, a car accident, a parent's last dying breath or a lover's last angry word, don't wait until it's too late. If you love somebody, let 'em know. They may not know - and may need to. Yesterday is definitely over and tomorrow may not arrive - but regret is the gift that keeps on giving, my friends. Be kind. Find some gratitude, humility and appreciation for what you do have and get busy. Let go of the past. Wipe the slate clean and start from right now and give the world the best stuff ya got from here on out, folks, 'cause this is IT. And "it" could end in the next heartbeat. Like my prophetic songwriter buddy Don Henley said over a decade ago, "Everything can change in a New York Minute"...


Start Spreadin' Da News...

The way my trip to NY first began on Friday, August 24, 2001 is a perfect example of a) something that could NEVER happen again after Sept. 11, 2001 and b) why I will never have to write fiction because the truth in my life is infinitely stranger. I embarked upon this journey, as I do every time I attempt to board a plane with my guitar (which is every time I board a plane), hoping for the best, but poised and ready to do battle with the flight attendants. In my many years of traveling minstrelhood on coach flights, (Where the hell's MY Lear jet - wait, I better heed my own sage advice and get over myself this month, huh?) I have NEVER checked my guitar or had to get off the plane because they couldn't find a safe place to store it. Would you check your child? Sometimes the flight attendants and/or the other passengers are eager to help because they seem to get a kick out of musicians, especially female ones and/or they happen to be genuinely nice people.


But more often than not, they try make me store it in the overhead bin and I have to watch everyone boarding like a vicious mother hawk guarding her nest against stupid people trying to pile stuff on top of it and I have to jump over everyone to stop them from crushing my baby (No, I will NOT carry a hard case, it's too damn heavy, I carry it in a soft gig bag and that's the way it is!). Or they tell me the flight is overbooked (as this one was) and I have to play good cop/bad cop with them until we figure it out. That was exactly how this ATA flight-or-fight party started, until a guardian angel steward pulled me aside and said, "I'm a singer, I understand. Just wait till everyone is seated and I'll help you." Right before take-off, he said, "Okay, the pilots said you can store your guitar in the cockpit. But only if you'll play for them later. And you have to go say thank you to them first." I was like, "Yeah, right. Cool." Sure, whatever. I went up to the cockpit and stuck my head in and thanked these smiling, friendly pilot dudes, and settled in for a bumpy ride. Meanwhile, my new best friend, Sean the steward and I chatted about music and what artists we were into in between him serving drinks and passing out peanuts. We stopped off in Chicago and got back on the same plane and as soon as we took off again, Sean approached me and said, "Okay, the pilots want you to play for them now."


Excuse me?? This is a joke, right? "C'mon, I'll get you a glass of wine, do you want red or white? And let me listen to something on your CD, I'll sing some back-up. You have to do it, that's the deal." Hey, a deal's a deal, right? So I went up to the little area behind the cockpit and got out my guitar that they had waiting for me and tuned up - cracking up and thinking this was so crazy , but who gets to play music at 30, 000 feet, what the hell, why not?? Sean dialed the phone that he said was just for the pilots to hear, and we jammed on three of my tunes, "Sycamore Street", "Till We Meet Again", and "When My Eyes Met You"!!! And Sean the Steward sung some cool background parts, while another steward, Robert, took these pictures on his digital camera, and was so excited when I told him I wrote for the SF Herald. Little did I know that the whole plane was in on the deal, whether they wanted to be or not!!! Several people came up front to check us out! Everybody applauded! The president of "Meals On Wheels" in White Plains, NY gave me his card and invited me to stay at his house with his family and somebody put some money in a cup! (I gave it to Sean). Sean promised me he would learn all my songs on the CD and come into the West Village on September 3 for my gig at the Bitter End and sing background for me - he wrote down his numbers in Philly on a napkin that said, "I love your voice!!" It was absolutely hilarious - and a blast!! Then one of the pilots tried to get me to join them after we landed: at a cheesy kareoke bar across the street from La Guardia Airport!! Tempting, but I politely took my leave...


And sadly, ladies and gentlemen, this is a rare, little slice-of-life pie that no one will get a taste of in this lifetime again...



Other NYC highlights (and celebrity sightings)...

Saturday, August 25: Stayed with my good friend Lucy the first couple of days in Astoria, a charming little part of Queens. The weather was perfect, like in the fall, warm and sunny, not humid at all! Took the train into Manhattan and checked out SAM ASH ( a music store, not a guy) on 48th St. and played my first Taylor 12 string guitar. I now feel closer to God. "Oh Lord, won't cha buy me a Taylor 12 string guitar?..." (or find me a used one? Retail price listed at $2296.00!!!)...Sunday, August 26: Very sad morning: 22 year old R&B singer/actress and Brooklyn, NY native Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash. It was all over the local news, she was very loved here. I remember when she first got signed when I was working at the record labels in NY in '94. Shades of things to come: how quickly a bright candle can be snuffed out...Brunch on the Upper West Side at ERNIE's (a restaurant, not a guy)) and shopping at the flea market. Seen strolling down Columbus Avenue on a Sunday afternoon by himself, his big hair, perfectly coifed: Dustin Hoffman...Walked through Central Park, (where I used to play music and trade tunes for portraits with the artists and cartoonists) and all around mid-town Manhattan for hours...Monday, August 27: My birthday!!


Received phone calls and e-mails from my buddy and subletee' bass player Keith Golden from Dido's band, guitar player Steve Conte from Billy Squire's band, drummer Simon Kirke from Bad Company (none of whom I got to see , unfortunately) my illustrious publisher, Gene Mahoney, and my mom, Doris, among many others. Schlepped from Queens to East 34th St.. in Manhattan to stay with my cousin Nathan and his wife and kid and two cats in their loft above a bike shop. The first view of the Manhattan skyline crossing the 59th Bridge still takes my breath away Got taken to dinner downtown at the TRIBECCA GRILL, ( and wore my famous SF Herald Night blue fishbone dress) which is owned by Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn, who obviously were not informed of this important event and neglected to make an appearance! The nerve! Very expensive, boys and girls. Drinks later at a cool little bar in midtown called ZANZIBAR, where some friends showed up to wish me many happy returns. A low key, but pleasant affair...Tuesday, August 28: ran along the East River, which I haven't done since I used to live on 14th St. between 2nd and 3rd, back in 1990! Man, has it changed! Had a meeting with my NY ASCAP rep, English bloke Michael Stack, who suggested I get my song "Sycamore Street" (SF Chronicle Film Critic Mick Lasalle's favorite) over to then A&R rep at RCA/BMG, and fellow Brit, Dave Novik, someone who has given me the runaround since 1991, for Natalie "Torn" Imbruglia's long delayed second record.


Dave told me her record was finished and she'd co-written everything, but grudgingly said I could drop it off, if Michael thought it was that special. Thanks, Dave. Hey, "Torn", her only hit song, was written by outside writers, thank you very much! He e-mailed back me weeks later that "Sycamore Street" 'didn't hit him' - and shortly after , was ...laid off!!! Now isn't that special?? Gotta recognize a hit when it hits ya, Davy! I'm sure he'll resurface at another label, where he can duck out on me in the elevator...After eating at my favorite funky, cheap, healthy eatery, DOJO's, across from the famous nightclub, THE BOTTOM LINE, I went shopping downtown in some hip Village store and found the coolest red, white and black little halter top covered in newsprint, with the names of every major city around the world in different languages!! For seven bucks, man!! Being the "Almost Famous" journalist I now am, it was screaming my name. I was hoping to go to John Waite's CD release party for his new CD "Figure In A Landscape" at the MERCURY LOUNGE, but his bass player, Mark Meadows had another chick this time, and my buddy Joey Sykes couldn't hook us up. Busy guy, that Mark...Wednesday, August 29: Almost went down to HMV records down by the World Trade Center to see John Waite at noon, but never made it. Wish I had now... Hooked up with my old buddy, soap opera actor Nathan Purdee, who plays "Hank the DA" on ONE LIFE TO LIVE on ABC, and who I haven't seen since before I moved to Nashville in '95. Nathan and I met in a Video performance singing class in LA back in 1981!! Nathan is one of the few people in my life I can count on one hand, that has gone to bat for me when they had the chance, because they genuinely love my music and believe in me. Several years ago, he took OLTL's music supervisor out to lunch, just to pitch one of my songs, "Promise", for his story line. I think they changed the story - (I'd like to change this damn story!!) or some 9000th excuse of why it didn't get through, but my buddy Nathan came through !! And still does. After playing him my newest song, "Silver Lining", a song about coming home to take care of my dear, departed Dad and the unexpected gifts that came from it, he teared up and said "Now it just doesn't get any better than that, does it?


There isn't a soul who can't relate to that lyric. You still got it, girl." Aw, shucks. He took my new CD and promised he would pass it along to the current music supervisor. Nathan is also an extremely talented photographer and has a very cool, unique studio on Riverside Drive...Thursday, August 30: Got a call from Gabriel Byrne's congenial new assistant, Christine, who had become a fan of a my music and is now a very cool, new friend. Even though I hadn't heard from Gabriel since our meeting last year (see "Almost Famous III -July issue) I had sent him a letter letting him know I had sung the song I wrote for him, "Rope Of Faith", at my Dad's memorial service and sent him a copy of the April issue that contained my Dad's tribute, "Art For Art's Sake". A month later, I received a brief letter of condolence with his signature that had Christine's contact information on it, and I called to see if this was, in fact, from Gabriel, or just a fan letter response. She couldn't have been sweeter, and assured me that it was very important to him that I receive this letter and any correspondence to him could now be sent to her directly and she would get it to him. So I sent her my CD and a thank you note and she called and left me a message saying that she loved my CD, played it every single day in her office and couldn't wait to meet me. Folks, I can't make this stuff up! So I did an Irish jig to the subway and headed over to her office way the hell over by the Hudson River in the Irish Arts Center. A very low key, modest, yet oddly charming place for a famous actor to conduct his business affairs, but that's the kinda guy Gabriel is. Christine, an attractive, 30-ish, energetic, full-of-life, New Jersey native, greeted me with a big hug and we had a great visit, like old friends. We had coffee in her office, and traded stories.


She told me how she'd gone from being a bartender, which she couldn't stand for one more second (I can relate) to becoming a hard working production assistant in commercials, TV, and film, and quickly developed such a great reputation as a go-getter, that before she knew it, she was getting referrals as a personal assistant to the stars, which led her to working for Gabriel, and she was so great at it, soon his other assistants were gone and she was running the show! Being around her now, it was easy to see why. This chick has her shit together, big time! I told her the story of how Gabriel and I connected over the years and she was utterly fascinated "It was karma that you two met!" and was very surprised to learn we'd only really met in person that one time. She assumed we knew each other well and I was a friend of his. She told me he is extremely picky about who and what he listens and responds to and I must have made quite an impact on him. Even though I never heard from him again, after I sent him music he asked me for. Do I understand any of this??? Maybe more will be revealed. Someday. More likely, not. She told me he was visiting his kids and was leaving for Toronto to shoot a film the day I was going back to San Francisco, so she didn't even tell him I was in town. Whatever. But I made a very nice new friend - and she likes me, and my music. So who the hell knows?...I walked all the way back to 34 St. on the East Side pondering all of this and just as I was about to step back into Heaven, I mean, Sam Ash, to play that Taylor 12 string guitar again, my cell phone rang. It was Steven McClintock, my friend who runs, the site I have a bunch of my songs on, to tell me some independent film called "Thank You, Good Night!", starring Mark "Star Wars" Hamill and Sally "The Way We Were" Kirkland, wanted to use this crazy punk song trashing everyone in the pop music industry, that I stuck on there as a joke called "What's In A Name" (getting the most attention of my entire catalog - go figure) and I had to run back to my cousin's and get him my co-writer's publishing company information immediately!! This was cool!


What wasn't cool, however, was that I spent the rest of the afternoon on my cell phone back and forth to my co-writer in Nashville, the producer of the movie, and my friend who runs the site, hammering out a "deal" that contributed to a bill I just received yesterday that is more than what I'm going to make from this film!! What's wrong with this picture??...Bid adieu to my cousin's little nuclear family and schlepped back uptown in style, thanks to my dear friend and kickin' bass player, singer/songwriter extraordinare, "Double Z" and her beautiful car. You can catch her and her funky, funky band every Friday night at GROOVE in the Village. Check her ouuuut! We cruised back up to my old neighborhood and building, the Dexter House on 86th Street between West End and Riverside where my former building manager and permanent surrogate father figure and fan of mine, Maurice, welcomed me with a big hug and hooked me up with a killer room. If you ever need an inexpensive, modest place to stay in the most beautiful neighborhood in NY, right across from my favorite place in the universe, Riverside Park, call Maurice at (212) 873-9600 and he'll take excellent care of you! Say hey to Keith and Alex, Dido's bass player and drummer (if you can find them). "Z" took me to a lovely post birthday dinner at an Indian restaurant on Columbus Ave. and then we hung out with friends at a sidewalk table at THE SALOON, across from Lincoln Center, and watched the world walk by on a perfect late summer night...Friday, August 31: Got up and took a run in Riverside Park, reconnecting with the people, boats, water, flowers, trees, sky and everything glorious that was once such a spiritual part of my daily routine. Walked all around the neighborhood and felt soooo at home again. Spotted walking up 86th St.: Scott Winters, the long-haired real life and TV brother of Dean Winters, of the HBO prison drama, OZ.


Walked, walked, walked: everywhere, down to mid-town again, and hung out with my old friend Rich Appel from Sony Music, who listened to all my new songs (and commented that one, "Just a Guy", sounded like "Jewel, if she had a sense of humor") and told me that he had never really cared about going to see Sade in concert till he read my review in last month's issue. Why, thank you! Hey, that's why they pay me the big bucks, man! Walked all the way back up to 86th St., feeling melancholy and lonely and free and alive and a million things that only walking in NYC can make you feel all at once...Saturday, September 1: Schlepped back out to Queens to visit my friends Nadine and Andy, who got married last year after meeting on the Internet. She lived in NY, he was in England. She dragged me over there from Nashville and I was there when they first laid eyes on each other. I wrote the song "When My Eyes Met You" for their wedding present. Got to see the video where I sang it at the reception! I was "verklempt"...Took my guitar down to Riverside Park and sat on the hill overlooking the water, like I used to do when I lived there and played for whoever felt like listening. This remains my sanctuary, my church, and all are welcome to attend free of charge. A couple of little kids that looked like angels, a blond girl and a mulatto boy, sat down right in front of me, mesmerized - and put their arms around each other, while their mothers looked on from a blanket below me. This is the stuff that transcends all the bullshit...


Some guy on a bike sat down, listened to a few songs from a distance and then approached me and gave me his card and said he had just finished his first movie and was looking for songs and did I have a CD? He'd already licensed a Cowboy Junkies and a Dire Straits song and wanted unsigned artists for the rest (cheaper, I'm sure). Of course, I gave him a CD and invited him to my gig on Monday. Hey, ya nevah know. Never made it to the gig, but he's e-mailed me that he loves the CD and will be in touch. Such a NY moment, who cares?? Ran around downtown later that night to several of the new, hip, "underground clubs", like Double Happiness, The Hanger, and Luna Lounge. Ah, ya seen one, ya seen enough... Forgot how much I hate being around smoke!...Sunday, September 2: My dear departed Dad's first birthday as a resident of the great beyond. I thought about him as I ran along the water in the park. Happy birthday, Art. I miss you a lot...Grabbed my guitar and headed down to 49th Street and 11th Ave. to rehearse for this gig I was doing the next night with my dear friend Michele Yules. An "etched-in-stone" New York native singer/songwriter inexplicably now a Nashvillian transplant, she has a very cool band called Twisted Gypsies that I played rhythm guitar and sang background in until I moved home to take care of my family last October. This was our first reunion - she was in town for her mother's birthday - and my first time being the only guitar player for someone else besides me.


Scary - but really fun, because a killer piano player named Paul Weiss joined our little last minute music jamboree and it clicked !! Ironically, her mom lives in the same building of an old drummer boyfriend from hell back in 1991, who now lives in Nashville, too! Who knew?? Weird...Monday, September 3: My last full day and night in my beloved NYC! Last run in Riverside Park, last songs played on the hill. Bought some really cool, low-slung printed pants on sale on Columbus Ave, to wear for the gig, man! Sean the Steward called to say he was gonna be there to sing with me, but alas, he got called to fly at the last minute and never made it. Spotted in Midtown that afternoon: Dean Winters, the short-haired brother of Scott Winters in the afore mentioned HBO show OZ... The gig was at the BITTER END on Bleecker Street in the West Village, a place I used to play and go to frequently when I lived here. Even though it was Labor Day, we had a respectable turnout, including my good friend Lucy from RCA and my great friend and unofficial manager Jeff Birnbaum,(who deserves a purple heart medal for how many times he's gone deep into the many trenches of the ridiculous music industry to push my music - can someone give me a break so this man can make some money off of me??) both of whom had never seen me play live and were happily blown away, so they said! Jeff told me I was "such a star". God bless that man. And his wife and kid , who also came, for tolerating the grief I cause! I opened the show with a solo set, which I dedicated to my father, and debuted "Silver Lining", for which the audience remained hushed throughout and then cheered for - they totally got it, which really got to me - and sang "Sycamore Street" to my friend Lucy, for who the song was written about, and just had a blast!


And the Twisted Gypsies set was a gas, we had so much fun! I was "Rockin' Guitar Player Woman" and I ruled! My songwriter friend Billy Lee, who looks and talks exactly like a younger version of Danny Aiello, gave me a giant bear hug after the set, and exclaimed, "You fuckin' rocked! You're like fuckin' Pete Townsend with tits!" That's the sweetest thing anybody's ever said to me. Turns out the guy in the front who was sitting with Michelle's mother, and who I kinda flirted with during my set (hey, girls just wanna have fun, like Cyndi Lauper and Sheryl Crow) was a co-writer on one of the songs in the Twisted Gypsies set, "Grace", one of my favorite songs in the set, where I had one of my "Pete Townsend" moments. Look for his CD review coming up. ...So we all went across the street to celebrate with food and drink at an outdoor Mexican restaurant. I had to be on a plane in 7 hours and was floating on a surreal, post-gig cloud, when a guy walked by and somebody called out to him and he stopped to let them take his picture and began to walk away. Someone at the table goes, "Look, that's Robin Williams!" Without missing a beat, I grabbed the last issue of the SF Herald (which of course I had a copy of on me) stood up on my chair and jumped over the railing onto the sidewalk and yelled, "Hey Robin!" and ran up to him. He turned around and I said, "Kimberlye Gold, San Francisco Herald, the Rickie Lee Jones show at Bimbo's in June!" (He was seated next to me and I chatted with him after.) He goes, "Oh my God, it's YOU!" in mock (I hope) horror. "I wrote about you, it's right in here!" I exclaimed and handed him the issue. He took it and said, "Great! Thank you for this!!" and walked away, waving back to me, "Thanks again!!" I think he was genuinely amused.(God knows everybody else was).


Then somebody got us started singing songs with the word "love" in them and changing it to "lunch", like some psycho choral group. "Stop, in the name of lunch." ..."What the world needs now, is lunch, sweet, lunch"..."Tainted lunch, whoa, oh, tainted lunch."... "I'm all out of lunch, I'm so lost without you". No one could breathe, we were laughing so hard, and when we ran out of songs we started stopping people on the street to think of new ones. And they totally got into it, it was hysterical. Try it! Guess you had to be there. - G.M. Tuesday, September 4: Too soon, it was time to head back uptown to the Dexter House, pack my bags, and get into the Super Shuttle pumpkin that whisked this reluctant West Coast Cinderella to La Guardia airport at 4 a.m. for a 6:15 a.m. flight...It was a great trip, and I had a lot of things back home waiting to be dealt with, hopefully with a renewed outlook. But nothing could have prepared me - or the rest of the country - for the reality check exactly one week later. Timing really is everything, isn't it...


"Unsung Heroes"

(the musical ones, not the firefighters)

Originally, I was going to make this new section the focus of my column, (instead of the signed acts I usually cover) but given the current events of the last month, I opted to make NYC itself the star of my show. And of course, the NYPD and NYFD are the real heroes, but they need (and loved, those who are no longer with us) good music, too! So here is an abridged, but heartfelt version of some talent worthy of your attention. Witness how the story unfolds right from where it left off...


Jenna Mammina - CD release party at Yoshi's, Oakland, September 4, 2001

The reason I planned my itinerary to come back home to San Francisco (and got home safe and sound, a week to the day, thank God - and Jenna!) is because I wanted to show up for Jenna Mammina's release party for her new CD, "Meant To Be." Jenna is one of those vocalists - "song stylists", if you will, that can sing any page from the phone book and make it sound like her own private piece of the sky. She can take a room of any size and hold the entire audience captive, barely raising her voice above a whisper. Like a devious detective, she can look around that room and use those gifts to make up a song on the spot about the people in it, to the delight and amusement of all in attendance, including her band: mainstay Andre Bush on guitar, and the nuanced rhythm section of bassist Jon Evans and newcomer Rob Rhodes on drums. Talking to the audience between songs, like she's holding court in her living room for a group of close friends, one can't help but want to be part of her "in-crowd." So when she takes a great song, whether it's Elvis Costello's "Watching The Detectives, or a jazz standard like "Fly Me To The Moon"and puts her own "Billie Holiday meets Betty Carter and they gave birth to Natalie Merchant" spin on it, there just isn't anything else like it, ladies and gentlemen. This is the show I do my best to catch whenever I can - and the one I flew home just in time to see was probably the best one yet. Looking beautiful and regal in a long maroon gown and red flowing scarf, she was definitely holding court at Yoshi's. Her unique style is an acquired taste and may not be everyone's cup of tea. But it certainly is her own "Cup of Sugar" and there are plenty of us who have developed a sweet tooth for Jenna. Order both her CD's and check out her upcoming shows "Under The Influence" and "Meant To Be" at


John Eddy - "Happily Never After"

CD available through

This guy's publicist sent me his CD right before I left for NYC - to cover a show he was playing at Slims in SF on Tuesday, September 11. The show was cancelled, due to the events leading up to what looks like the beginning of WW III. "Happily Never After" for 7000 people and counting... But the good news is a) this is one of the best records I've heard in a long, long time and b) he's opening for John Hiatt at Slims on October 17 and I'm gonna be there! John Eddy's career resume reads like an epic version of my "Almost Famous" column, what, with two major label deals that fell through, and enough big names involved to drop kick Barry Bond's homerun record (a metaphor only a true non-sports fan could make) ! An appealing blend of New Jersey and Nashville, John Eddy brings to mind Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe's sense of irony and caustic humor, Rockpile and Dave Edmunds rockabilly energy, Chris Issak's wistful romanticism, the Eagles skillful storytelling with healthy doses of "Springsteen-esque" passion. Life and love have dealt this guy some serious cards and he's been through some shit, but he's not afraid to wear his beat -up heart on his sleeve, feel deeply, hope for more and still make fun of it all. Throughout, you hear the pure joy of a true artist, singer and songwriter, who's assembled the cream of the crop of musicians from the North and the South to perfectly wage his internal Civil War , dressed up in songs that are catchy as hell. Yours truly can relate to each note and every syllable on this CD and I bet a lot of you out there will too.


William Brooks - "Silent Wings"

CD available on, and CD

I met this guy my last night in NYC, even though I'd been playing on his song "Grace" in Twisted Gypsies for 2 1/2 years! This CD is timeless - a throwback to early Elton John, CSN&Y, Bob Dylan, with a bit of Little River Band for fun. (His voice reminds me of the singer from that band, too. Hey, I liked them!). There is a majestic quality to it, particularly his vocals, but his use of organic instruments, like Hammond B3 organ, mandolin and harmonica keep the overall feel grounded and unpretentious. Lyrically he reaches down deep, serious at times, pontificating about the world and his place in it, at times bitter and others hopeful about loss, love and the grand scheme of things, but he's still trying to have some fun. He's been around the block a time or two, and haven't most of us? Blink 182 you can get all over the place, music like this doesn't come around too often.


Twisted Gypsies - "Peace, Love, and a Little Sex In Between"

Available on and

This is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Michelle Yules, a NYC alternative/folk rock girl, now residing in Nashville, with a lot to say and an always captivating, sometimes brilliant way of conveying it it. Yeah, I'm a bit biased: I played rhythm guitar and sang background vocals in her band (and covered most of the background vocals on this CD) but I didn't write any of the songs and by God, I wish I did. There's just not a less-than-killer one in the bunch. Somewhere between the smoky, vulnerable and passionate sides of say, Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde, lies a completely original voice that defies comparison, unpredictable and arresting. Kind of like the artist herself. Check it out and draw your own conclusions.


Local Color - a few fun things in town I stumbled upon...


Ross Common Singers in concert, September 8th, at the Tam Valley Community Center, featuring my cousin, Adele Oppenheimer.

A delightful choral presentation, with fine harmonies, costumes and choreography, of popular songs from the '30's to the '70, with performers spanning that age group as well. Kinda like "Waiting For Guffman", but really well done. All I know is I had a giant grin on my face from start to finish, and it felt good to be around people that just wanted to celebrate great music, for the sake of performing and hearing it .


The Clarks, September 22, at Edinburgh Castle, featuring my co-worker, Peter Weldon. Acoustic guitars, some bass and piano, and the most beautiful three part harmonies since the Beach Boys, this Burt Bacharach meets The Beatles confection of perfect little gems of songs made my heart skip a beat. Haven't heard anything this good since I left Nashville and bands like Joe Marc's Brother, except when Rodney Crowell came to town a few months back.


Redwood Symphony, September 23

Canada College Theater, Redwood City, featuring our illustrious publisher, Gene Mahoney's friend, Jennifer Lawry, on violin ( and the most attractive woman in the orchestra, according to me - and it's my column)!.Directed by the spirited Eric Kujawsky, it was an eclectic mix of Beethoven, Ravel, Prokofiev, and a stand-out contemporary piece called "Conga Line In Hell", by South American composer Miguel del Aguila, who was in attendance. Kind of like the overture from "West Side Story" run amok, it was very exciting, even to these non-classically trained ears. A nice change of pace on a lovely Sunday afternoon.


"No Troubles In This Shangri-la"

STEVIE NICKS live at Shoreline Pavilion, September 30, 2001


A mix of young and not-so-young, straight and gay (!) fans (does anyone recall Stevie Nicks or Fleetwood Mac having a large gay fan base??) piled into the South Bay venue to welcome back their beloved gypsy. Still in tow: dozens of 30/40-something women donning the "Stevie Nicks Gypsy Garb Look", long, lacey dresses, with flowing sleeves, top hats and tall boots and long, curly perms, an old-fashion statement tribute to the woman herself. Since canceling her original August 14 and 15 dates for reasons unknown to this reviewer, we were more than curious to see and hear the most successful member of Fleetwood Mac's re-emergence as a solo artist. After a very public recent "Behind The Music" confessional about her years of addiction to cocaine, prescription drugs and weight gain troubles, Stevie has come back seven years later with a stellar new CD, "Trouble In Shangri-la", chock full of instant classic hits that are memorable after one listen, like the title track, and "Fall From Grace", guest appearances by contemporary stars like Macy Gray and Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks, and most prominently, admitted protégé of sorts, Sheryl Crow, who produced, played and sang background on five of the tracks. It's a triumphant return, which is what Ms. Nicks made when she took the stage Sunday evening.


Opening the show was John Gregory and California, a mediocre bar band with a reasonably attractive lead singer who, although seemingly earnest, fancied himself a big rock star with great songs. Neither attribute was evident, too much volume and posturing was. Who finds these opening bands? Stevie Nicks set began with an ear-splitting loop of Destiny's Child's hit "Booylicious", which had publicly sampled Stevie's solo hit "Edge Of Seventeen". It was a clever beginning, although I don't think many folks in this audience got it. With veteran guitar player Waddy Wachtel at the helm of a band of very seasoned super-pro musicians, including Lenny Castro on percussion, Stevie Nicks took the stage to an immediate standing ovation which remained so throughout most of the two hour set. Wearing a trademark black gypsy dress, with scarves hanging off her microphone, looking healthy and happy, if not as svelte as in her heydey, Stevie opened with "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" (Waddy took the Tom Petty part) and performed solid versions of Fleetwood Mac classics like "Dreams", "Gold Dust Woman" and "Rhiannon", doing slowed down versions of her "gypsy spin dancing" here and there, which she wisely didn't attempt to do too much of, since she didn't really look like she could. Her voice, although without as much upper range as in her younger days, was as strong and rich as ever and her low end has an almost tenor quality to it now, adding character that suits her.


She seemed so happy to be back in the South Bay Area, where she told us she and Lindsey Buckingham first began, and this audience was thrilled to have her. Very exciting, fifth song into the set and sprinkled throughout, was a special guest appearance by Sheryl Crow, looking svelte and sleek and played guitar and sang on cool new songs like "Sorcerer" , "Too Far From Texas" and the rockin' "Fall From Grace". Stevie gracefully stepped back (and sung back-up vocals) while Sheryl performed two of her hits, "Favorite Mistake" and "Everyday Is A Winding Road", although the sound guy had her vocals sounding rather washed out and muddy in the mix, unfortunately. (Not terrible, just not nearly as good as I've heard her in her own concerts.) What was fortunate, was getting to witness the undeniable chemistry and admiration these two women have with and for each other. It was obviously a thrill for them both. A musical big sister/little sister love thang, and it was very cool to watch. The high point of the set was an extended and high energy version of "Edge Of Seventeen", where both band and audience were electrified and rose up to that moment together. A woman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I want you to write 'It's like we're all visiting an old friend and we're so happy she came to see us'". Who am I to disagree with the fans? For her encore, Stevie and the band did a rockin' cover of Tom Petty's "I Need to Know" (Stevie has credited him with inspiring her to write most of this record by herself, and even wrote a song about it, "That Made Me Stronger"). She then came back in a big costume hat and sung a sweet lullaby, accompanied only by piano, to tuck us all in and bid us goodnight. And it was....


Correction: Last issue I mistakenly reported Journey's new lead singer , Steve Augeri, was discovered in a Journey cover band. He was, in fact, in a band, Tall Stories on Epic Records. Sorry, dude.



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