Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Worth Another Listen - The Alarm

the alarm

Back in the day [as the kids say], I wanted nothing more than to rock out with some sanitation-challenged Brits. Yes, a dirty Brit-boy with a guitar made me stop in my tracks. A group of those would be The Alarm, with lead singer Mike Peters. They played flat out stadium Rock, anthems for the ages. These days, I feel like it might be more 'anthems for the aged.'

mike peters,the alarm

Yes, back in the days of big hair and a bigger selection of products, I wanted nothing more than to follow those bands, and work my hair up into a frenzy. Gels, mousse, and Spritz sprays, you name it, it was in my bathroom. And they rocked the music as hard as they rocked the hair. I loved The Alarm. When I saw the video for 68 Guns and for The Stand, I loved them. When I saw Strength, I knew I was in love. My own hair, cut at the Astor Place Barbers, did some wild things.

Last fall, The Alarm put out a new CD, Guerilla Tactics. Old habits die hard, so I had to buy it. I like it, and the boys can still rock it out. I will say when I saw pictures of Mike Peters, I was sorta depressed. He is just a year older than me, and he looked old. Damn the passage of time! Anyway, for the release of the CD, Peters showed up at Times Square in NYC with an acoustic guitar and a videocam, and played some of the songs. I happen to like Love, Hope and Understanding.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Music Video - Better by Boyzone

Boyzone Naked

Sure, one of the things we can thank the British for is boybands, and one of the big ones that never made the trip across the ocean was Boyzone. The Irish boys were wildly successful for a few years before breaking up in a bit of turmoil. Prior to the bust up, Stephan Gately came out just prior to being outed in the tabloids. After they broke up, singer Ronan Keating went on to success in a solo career, as well as helping to direct the careers of others in British music, including Westlife, a favorite of mine. Stephen Gately had some minor success, especially with the theme song from the movie, Billy Elliott.


A few years ago, there was some interest from the British music industry and fans for a Boyzone reunion. The boys patched up old differences, and come back together, releasing a couple of new singles for a Greatest Hits collection. One of those was Better, a sweet love song with a really good video that created some waves with the depiction of a romantic gay male couple. I can't imagine that happening in the US, even if it were the Backstreet Boys or N'SYNK [yes, that means you, Lance Bass]. Way to support, boys! Credit should also go to the record label for not shying away from controversy.

You can get more information on the Boyzone reunion at their website.

New Video - Gene Dante & The Future Starlets

gene dante

Gene Dante and the Future Starlets are set to release their first CD, The Romantic Lead. The band came together in 2007, formed around the talents of lead singer Gene Dante. He is not only the nucleus of the band, but also the songwriter behind the endeavor. Lyrically, the song is smart and real.

The music is definitely current, but presented with a definite nod to the past. On the first single, A Madness to his Method, Dante's vocals harken to those of David Bowie, circa Thin White Duke era, crooning in that over-the-top style, but they are layered over music that is very now. His performance style seems an homage to Freddie Mercury, an in your face confidence which exudes, unlike the Thin White Duke's aloof coolness. He is no reluctant frontman, that is for sure.

gene dante gene dante

A Madness To His Method, the first video release, is an anthem for the ages, the outcast giving the finger to the world. 'There is nothing in this brave new world wrong with me,' the chorus tells us, while be watch a young man apply makeup to his flawless skin. Dante himself is singing in the video in a tuxedo and full warpaint, eyes well painted and his lips a deep red, even while his bow tie dangles and the collar lays open. He's not diseased, not broken, just different. 'I am gorgeous, I am finally free,' he tells us, not letting society hold him down.

There is also C Star, which starts with a scorching guitar lick reminiscent of the pop rock of the 80s and Pat Benatar, only followed with the voice of Bowie and the phrasing of Lou Reed. This song would be toying with an 'X' rating, but the intelligence and humor might deliver the 'R.' The video, however, is not safe for most office situations, but well worth a look once you get home. Click HERE to see it.

The Young Starlets are comprised of drummer Tamora Gooding, bassist Jim Collins, and guitarist Scott Patalano. You can find out more about Gene Dante and the Future Starlets at their website.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Great Music - Jay Brannan

Jay Brannan

I have been a big fan of Jay Brannnan for a bit now. His voice is just beautiful and his songs are smart and often funny. Who could ask for more? Oh, yeah, he is also a handsome man. Jay is a singer/songwriter/actor based out of NYC, and has made a name for himself by taking his music to the people, performing his own music in YouTube videos and garnering a fanbase. His music is unlike anyone else I listen to, so I have no comparisons to make. Jay is about to release a new CD next month, In Living Cover, a followup to the fantastic Goddamned CD. He also released the EP Unmastered. He currently has The Freshman out on iTunes, where it debutted at #2 on the Folk charts, behind the seemingly unstoppable Tracy Chapman.

He is currently touring, and will be appearing in Philly at the World Cafe Live! on July 10th, and I am hoping to make it there. There is also a show in Annapolis on the 9th that is a possibility. I had seen Jay in Philly last year, and he was brilliant. He has sold out shows all across the globe, including recent trips to Australia, Europe and the Middle East. He has been known to learn a new language or a song, singing a lovely Molly Malone in Ireland, Housewife became Femme Au Foyer in Paris, and so on.

Jay Brannan

Jay has appeared in the movies Shortbus and Holding Trevor. Much like his music, his characters have been smart and amusing. In Shortbus, he sang the charming Soda Shop, which can be seen here.

You can find out more about Jay at his website. Go there and buy his music, or get it from iTunes or Amazon. It will be worth it. There are also some fun t-shirts to purchase.

Friday, June 26, 2009

June 27, 1967 - Stonewall Riots

stonewall riots Pictures, Images and Photos

Lucian K. Truscott IV offers up his first-hand account of what went on the night of the Stonewall Riots. The writer was on his way to the Lion's Head, a hangout for journalists just a few doors down from the Stonewall Inn. You can read his account from the Thursday New York Times. There is also a copy of the article he wrote in the Village Voice from 1969.

Post adapted from 365Gay.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Great Music - Adrianne


OK, I have to be honest here - I haven't purchased You Me Lonely yet, but I do have two previous releases, 10,000 Stones and Sweet Mistake. She has an amazing voice, and a wicked musicality and phrasing. So I will be purchasing it soon and will be able to speak about it. In the meanwhile, I will share a video from an earlier CD, the song is Burn Me Up. This hot and spicy lesbian Latina can knock you out with her music.

You can find out more about Adrianne on her MySpace page.

A King Remembered - Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was an incredible talent, and his talent as a singer, dancer and writer will live on for generations. While he is the antithesis of what I am covering here, the King of Pop versus the indie folk/pop/rock singers. But I have heard many of them covering his music live, and can hear their respect for his gift.

One of my favorite covers has been Chris Cornell's version of Billie Jean. It is the performances of Jackson's music by others that will prove to be his true legacy, the celebration of his talent by others.

Jay Brannan put out a tribute via his YouTube channel just now. It is wonderful.

Man In The Mirror

Christopher Dallman - Human Nature

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Eric and the Adams - Summer Tour Video

eric himan,eric & the adams

Eric Himan tweets: Check out our new video (it took me a bit to make!)

They have also launched a new website. If they are playing in your area, go see them. I will be jealous until they make it to the East Coast and I get to see them live!

Great Music - Aiden James - On The Run

aiden james

Aiden James is another of the singer/songwriters who opened for Eric Himan that I immediately knew I would be following for some time. His voice is like honey to me, pure and smooth, and just pours over your senses. He was recently chosen to play at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival as part of the Emerging Artist Showcase. He will be playing alongside such notables as Ani Difranco, Shawn Colvin, Dar Williams and others next month.

His first CD, Have You Ever, had just one heart-felt song after another. From the first cut, James, to the last cut, Moonlight, there is one gem after another.

aiden james aiden james

Last fall, he released On The Run, an introspective and seemingly personal offering that is again filled with amazing songs. My favorite from the CD is My Oh My, a folky bluegrass song that is all about love. The music and vocals are perfect. There is also the achingly bittersweet Satellites. And the unforgettable You And He, a story about friends having a cup of coffee.

He doesn't have any videos, so that was a collection of pictures I have taken of Aiden at various shows set to his music. But he will be releasing a video on August 7, and I will put it up once it is released. You can find out more about Aiden at his website.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Defying Inequality - The Cast of Hair

In February of this year, there was a fundraiser in New York City to raise money for Defying Inequality: A Celebrity Benefit for Equal Rights. They raised over $400,000 for five separate groups promoting marriage equality in New York, California, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Jersey. In the following amateur video, Tony nominee and out star of Broadway's Hair, Gavin Creel, sings The Flesh Failures and is joined by the cast for Let The Sun Shine In.

Countless stars as well as the cast of about 15 shows performed in concert to raise the funds. Gay, Bi and Str8 alike, performers came out to raise their voices for marriage equality. Well done!

New Music - Gregory Douglass - Battler

Gregory Douglass

How funny is it that I lived in Vermont for a couple of years, and didn't find out about Gregory Douglass, a Vermont resident, until I had moved away? Go figure. So, I moved back to Delaware, and discovered this talented guy, someone who has put out 7 CDs and a couple of EPs since 1998, when he put out his first at the age of 18. He is an amazing musician, amazing on the keyboard and strong with the guitar.

Gregory Douglass

His latest is Battler, which features twelve layered and texture-filled cuts, mostly piano and guitar-driven. Unlike his earlier work, which was more in the pop/rock vein, the sound is more textured and dramatic, with greater nuance and dark edges. Broken Through was the first single, showcasing the range and emotion of his voice. The latest single is Cathedrals, which opens with an A cappella choral chant, and picks up a strong guitar.

There is also the song Sadly, featuring a beautiful guest performance by Anais Mitchell, a brooding ballad with strong jazz influences. And Ordinary Man, featuring Grace Potter, a nice pop tune with some soaring vocals. No Apology is another number that starts off with no instrumentation, which is only used sparsely in the final quarter of the song, and it is just beautiful.

The following is I Wanted To Run, a song from his 2003 release, Pseudo-Rotary. Funny, if I had known Gregory's music when I lived in Vermont, I would have been able to catch him live in Burlington, and now, he is still on the list of performers I have yet to catch live.

You can find more on Gregory and his music at his website.

Movies - 9 Dead Gay Guys - A Comedy

OK, for a change of pace, I thought I would occasionally throw in some of my favorite movies. I will start with 9 Dead Gay Guys, a movie that still makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch it. It is irreverent, politically incorrect, and laugh-out-loud funny.

It is the story of two Irish guys who go to London, thinking the streets would be paved with gold, and they would be able to drink to their hearts content. The next thing you know, members of the community around them starts dropping like flies, and the movie plays out. Outrageous doesn't begin to describe it.

I will admit it won't be for everyone, and was not particularly well-received when first released. But I just don't care - it made me laugh.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Great Music - Adam Joseph - How I Seem To Be

Adam Joseph

Adam Joseph is another of those MySpace finds I made - damn, I think I might spend too much time online. The first song I heard was Flow With My Soul, and while I am not a huge R&B/HipHop fan, this pulled me in. Yes, I bet no one is surprised I am a Pop/Folk/Rock guy, just from what I have covered so far. But I really like the music of Adam Joseph. But this song really got my attention, and the solid melody and strong vocals sold me. I went out and immediately purchased How I Seem To Be.

The CD also had You're Mine, and 2 Brothers, both very romantic R & B ballads. His voice and styling is so smooth, so heartfelt, just lovely.

Adam Joseph

However, he is not always so sweet and endearing. Adam did some work with comedian/singer Jonny McGovern of LOGO's Big Gay Sketch Show and the romping, stomping Soccer Practice. And there is Faggoty Attention, a ribald and naughty little number about picking up some str8 trade and making it all work out - 'You can get rough. Boy, I ain't a girl - I can take it like a man.' This video might not be all that safe for the office. LOL

You can find out more about Adam on his MySpace page.

Live Music - Tom Goss & Jake Walden - Artists Inn Residence

Jake Walden,tom goss,DVD Shoot

Saturday night, my niece, her visiting friend and I drove to Washington DC to catch the show. I have been been excited about the show for weeks because: 1. it's been a while since I have gone to some live music, 2. I love me some Tom Goss, and 3. It felt good to get out.

Artists Inn Residence is a beautiful piece of architecture which has been beautifully preserved. In the 'lobby' when you walked in the door, we checked in and then saw a spread of some food and beverages set up for the concert-goers. As we moved around toward the food, up comes Tom, who greeted us and gave big hugs. He seemed very relaxed, and was making some jokes. I didn't see Jake, and supposed he was preparing to go on.

Jake Walden,tom goss,DVD Shoot Jake Walden,tom goss,DVD Shoot
Jake Walden,tom goss,DVD Shoot

Tom started out with a brief overview that the show was being taped for a possible DVD release this winter, and introduced Jake. Jake came out to a round of applause and started joking about the fact that the piano was set up so he would have his back to the audience [making for few picture opportunities for me], weighing the pros and cons, less nerves vs unusual situation. Once he started playing, it was all good. Jake played songs from his CD, Alive & Screaming. The highlights included the title song, The Storm, and the moving For Someone.

There was a bit of a break, and then it was time for Tom to perform. He is based out of DC, so the crowd was made up of fans and they were quite receptive. He started out by showing us the set list, pointing out the large gaps between songs intended to plan what to say to avoid rambling. He didn't have time, so there would be rambling, which was cheered by the crowd accustomed to the charming between-song banter. Tom played songs from his 3 CDs and an EP. Early in the set he played Rise, the first song of his I truly just fell in love with when I first heard it in Philly a couple of years ago. The video reached the top spot on LOGO for a couple of weeks running.

Tom went on to play several other favorites, including King of Something Right, Legacy of You, Down The Mountainside, before ending with Back To Love, his latest single and title cut from the new CD.

Jake Walden,tom goss,DVD Shoot Jake Walden,tom goss,DVD Shoot
Jake Walden,tom goss,DVD Shoot

Both Jake and Tom were in fine form - the best I have heard them. It was a great show. As I have said before, I have an unending need to support indie musicians to make sure they can continue entertaining me. So after the show, I purchased Jake's CD and he was kind enough to sign it. I have all of Tom's merchandise - the CDs and t-shirts, so Heather, Mandy's friend and new Tom Goss fan, purchased Back To Love and I purchased Rise and gave it to her, and she had them signed by Tom. Tom and Jake were gracious enough to chat for a while, and then get a few pictures taken before it was time to hit the road and drive back to Delaware an over 90 minute trip.

tom goss,DVD Shoot tom goss,me,DVD Shoot
Jake Walden,tom goss,DVD Shoot

So, if you enjoy their music, consider buying their music at iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, or your favorite music outlet. Supporting indie musicians is so very important. Also, try to catch them live when they tour near you.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Great Music - Garrin Benfield

While I get my stuff together about the live Tom Goss/Jake Walden show last night, I thought I would drop another post in here. After the show, a guy walked up to me to ask me about Garrin Benfield [since I was wearing a GB shirt], and I was more than happy to tell him how much I loved his music.

Garrin Benfield

Several years ago, I read an article that spoke of a young guitarist named Garrin Benfield, so I sought out his music to see what the superlatives were all about. The San Fransisco based artist is an amazing guitarist - I could listen to him play instrumentals all day. But he can also sing, a point made clear in the first song I fell in love with, What You're Hiding, a song dedicated to the memory of Matthew Shepard

I have purchased all I could find, and think I have a complete collection of his discography. What is missing from the puzzle for me is seeing him perform live. He mostly plays in Northern California, and I haven't had the chance to catch him. Recently, I was excited to see some East Coast dates on the schedule. However, once I really looked at those, it coincided with the 10 days I was going to be watching my niece and nephew, and wouldn't be able to make the shows! Argh! Yes, I have almost gotten over it, but sure hope I get the chance again soon.

Garrin Benfield

It is tough to say which is my favorite CD, but if pressed, I will most likely say August Live '03 by The Garrin Benfield Band. His style is this interesting combination of West Coast folk and jazz, although there are times when rock and country find their way in. The CD is a great combination of original music and interesting covers. There is a smoking version of the gospel song Children Go Where I Send Thee and the 19th Century classic, Hard Times. There are also the haunting melodies of Unbound and Hungry Ghost. This is I Let You Go.

Well, my West Coast friends, I might just be showing up on your doorstep one day, asking to use your sofa for the night, because I made the cross-country trek to see Mr. Benfield live. You can find out more about Garrin at his website or on MySpace.

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the Daddies out there!

Part of my celebration will posting a couple of pictures of me with my own father, taken a very long time ago.

My First Day Home
Me with Dad

My First Pony Ride (that is my father's arm)
My first pony ride.

Thank you Dad for everything you have given me.

Live Music - Tom Goss & Jake Walden

Just getting in from the show. It was a great time, both men in top form. Will recap later but just wanted to put something up, so here are some pictures.

Folk/Rockers with Attitude - Tom Goss & Jake Walden
tom goss,Jake Walden

Tom Goss & Jake Walden Performing
tom goss,Jake Walden,DVD Shoot

Heather, Tom & Mandy
tom goss,mandy bundek,heather

Tom & Me
tom goss,me

The hall - Artists Inn Residence - a gorgeous space. The boys - Tom & Jake - just as gorgeous, and in fantastic voice. The company - Mandy & Heather - fun and fab. Time to sleep.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

STR8 Boys Need Love Too - Travis Howard

Travis Howard

I came across the music of Travis Howard on MySpace a couple of years ago, and liked it. I purchased an EP he had for sale, and it immediately moved on my iPod. His style of country-fried rock is cool and sexy, and the lyrics tended to be rather intelligent. Oh yeah, and he is good-looking, too. I haven't been a huge fan of country music, although do have people like Dwight Yoakam, Lyle Lovett, Dolly Parton, Big & Rich, and Emmylou Harris in my collection.

Travis Howard

The other day I was cruising around, and heard a new song, The Life of a Driven Man, on his MySpace page, and tried to buy it, but couldn't find it anywhere. So I dropped a comment on there asking where I could. I got a message back from Travis, asking for my email address, which I sent. Soon, I got two emails with songs attached: the song I was looking for, and Come Before The Lightning, a working demo, along with thanks for listening to his music. How freaking kind and cool was that!

One of the things [besides the music] I have enjoyed about Travis are his blogs. He is smart, articulate, and funny - always a great combination. He seems to be gay-friendly, politically aware, and just a great guy. He has written with the exciting Miranda Lambert. I would love to see him perform live sometime, and from the YouTube videos, it looks like those live shows are rocking!

Travis Howard

You can find out more about Travis at his website.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Live Music - Tom Goss & Jake Walden

tom goss,Jake Walden

I am near giddy at this point, getting ready to go hear some live music. Tonight I will be going to a show in Washington DC to see Tom Goss and Jake Walden. Feels like it has been so long, but it has only been a couple of months. In fact, Tom was the last two shows I attended. I love that guy.

tom goss,Blog

I am going with my niece and her friend. Mandy often joins me in these adventures, whether it is to see Tom, Eric Himan, Nickelback, Stain'd or The Cure. Yes, are tastes our somewhat eclectic.

Jake Walden

I saw Jake on tour last fall, part of the Rock The Folk Out tour with Tom and Stewart Lewis. That was a great show, and I bet tonight will be a great show as well. I am bringing the camera, so I hope to have some pictures to share.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Great Music - Eric Himan

Eric HIman,Blog

I have mentioned Eric Himan a couple of times, and so I thought it was about time I stepped up and talked about him. Eric is an amazing artist I have been following for a couple of years. I followed his music long before I caught my first live show, and that just sealed the deal. He is amazing live, sounding every bit as good, if not better. He also has such charm with the crowd, always with a funny tale or a heartwarming story.

Eric Himan,Blog

I was hooked early on by the song, One Night Stands, a poppy song about the search for love. There was something in his voice, in the phrasing that just grabbed me and has never let go. He has put out seven CDs and an EP of which I am aware, and own them all.

Eric Himan

Some of the highlights include for me, from the eponymous first CD, Pull, owing a debt to the folk roots while adding a healthy dose of the blues. And from I Go On, there is I Ain’t Done With You, a flat-out blues song. Aside from One Night Stands, the Folk/Rock song A Good Good Cry could be found on All For Show, a love song. Dark Horse was full of good stuff, including an incredible cover of Holding Back The Years. One Night Stands is a collection of live performances. On Everywhere At Once, there was the searing rocker, Heart/Clean, offering up the sage words, ‘I’m after a genuine love, so don’t kiss my ass to get my pants undone.’

Next came the EP There’s Got To Be Something, with the song of the same name. Last year, Eric released Resonate, which featured the first release Little Boy Blue as well as The Protest Song, an unapologetic Gay rights anthem.

In the past year, Eric has been doing gigs both as a soloist and as a member of Eric and the Adams, working with an electric sound with the brother/sister duo, Angel and Jimmy Adams.

eric himan,blog

As I have said before, Eric has introduced me to many artists I still support. The list of his opening acts that I loved include Aiden James and Tom Goss. He is a gift that keeps on giving. You can find out more information at Eric’s website.

Great Music - Andy Moore

Andy Moore

Andy Moore is another musician I can thank Eric Himan for an introduction. Andy is an out and fabulous lesbian whom I saw while she was touring with Eric a couple years ago at the World Cafe Live! in Philadelphia. I was thrilled that she was on the bill with Tom Goss in a show at Nellie's Sports Bar in Washington, DC, earlier this year.

Andy Moore

Andy is a wonderful mix of the Indigo Girls, Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, and Bob Dylan, with an order of soul and a dash of sarcasm sometimes added to spice things up. She has released two studio CDs, both of which I own. Dig Right In was released in 2004, and Shifting in 2001. I like 'em both, but if I had to choose one, it would be Dig Right In.

Andy Moore

It offers 11 songs, and all are extremely good. Her voice is gorgeous and full, and so damn expressive. The song Desire is just amazing, perfectly describing the burgeoning feelings affiliated with love and, well, desire. There is also Forgiven, a song she wrote and duets with Eric Himan. I can't say about how their voices harmonize perfectly together. 'You should see, how I've forgiven me.' Wow, that is good stuff.

Andy Moore

Slip Away is a lovely folk ballad, with Andy's crisp and clear tone never faltering. Sobering is some old school folk, and emotional gift about love and life. Long Before Goodbye opens with 'You left me long before goodbye, I could feel it in your cool green eyes.' We've all been there, haven't we? Her guitar playing certainly doesn't take a backseat to a strong voice. The girl can play, and not just strum. There is such an honesty in her voice and performances.

Unfortunately, there are not any videos available of Andy, so I have to make due with one I made myself following the Nellie's show. My pictures roll to the song Uncomplicated from Dig Right In.

I bought her stuff from CD Baby, a great resource for indie music. You can find out more information about Andy on her website.


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