Geoff Wilbur’s Music Blog – The First Two Weeks
I have a few album reviews in-process at the moment, as I fit writing time in among the work I do for my “real” career. As is the case with all of the writers who will be joining me (or, in many cases, rejoining me from my days publishing Geoff Wilbur’s Renegade Newsletter), we can’t write as much as we’d like because we have other responsibilities, as well, and do this because we enjoy it. In any case, I thought I’d recap the eventful first two weeks of the site; hopefully I’ll have a new review or two for you by next weekend.
Since the blog is still new and many of you have probably discovered it partway in, I figure a post with links to each of the initial batch of articles may help you find the posts/bands of interest more easily. I know there was a flurry of them surrounding the website launch, though that has now, obviously, calmed a bit.
Obviously, we kicked off with an introductory post.
Though I squeezed in my initial 9-part series in the first week, I launched with the promise that, once established (and once we have some subscribers, which we now do), I’d not publish more than one post per day (and generally, at least initially, much less than that). This is so you can safely subscribe without worrying about an overflowing inbox. (If we ever do gather so many contributors that it’s tough to limit reviews to one a day, I’ll give you plenty of warning, and I’ll still try to space the posts out as much as possible.) And if you’d like to be exposed to great music across all genres, I’d suggest you do. There should be a “subscribe by e-mail” option in the bottom right of your screen when you scroll down, along the right side bar. Or, if you’re on a phone, there’s an option at the bottom of the post. As a subscriber, you won’t have to worry about missing a post announcement on Twitter (or on Facebook which, as we all have been told, doesn’t share posts with everyone who “likes” a page).
My Road Back to Music Journalism (9-part series)
This welcome message was followed by a nine-part series of articles chronicling nine events over the last four years that eventually led me back to writing (and publishing) again after more than a dozen years away, this time in blog format. I’ll add a brief note below each of these links, but know that everyone I wrote about in my nine-part “Road Back” series is a highly-recommended artist. If you want to discover great music, start here.
#1: Milenita – Discovering a New Artist By Picking a CD Out of a Store Rack
More than just the soft jazz vocalist I suspected when picking up this CD, Milenita has pop influence on her tri-lingual (English/Bulgarian/Spanish) CD, Gato.
#2: Van Ghost – Discovering a New Band at a Festival
Van Ghost is a fantastic, vocal-driven arena rock band, though with a bit of versatility, as well. As a band, these guys hit my personal rock ‘n roll sweet spot.
#3: Dr Scardo – Discovering a New Album Through Twitter
Dr Scardo’s Dark Dog Days CD is dark, issue-driven pop music. An interesting combination of styles integrated into each other seamlessly. Absolutely worth checking out, as there’s very little else out there comparable.
#4: Sonya Titus – My First Music Review Tweet
Since I began rediscovering new music again a couple years ago, Sonya’s song “Now” was one of the first songs I felt particularly strongly about. If it had been picked up by radio stations, it could have been the song of the summer in 2013. I’ve heard many more of Sonya’s songs since then. It was no fluke; she really is that good.
#5: Marina V – My First CD Purchase Directly from Artist; First House Concert
Marina V is a singer-songwriter with catchy songs, an identifiable voice, and an engaging public persona. I reviewed both her latest, phenomenal CD and the fun house concert in installment #5 of my “Road Back” series.
#6: Next Stop Atlanta – My First International CD Purchase
Rocking pop-punk band Next Stop Atlanta, sadly, doesn’t seem to be performing together anymore, but their music lives on, and some of their songs are my go-to tunes when I need a little raucous energy pick-me-up.
#7: Danielle Miraglia – My First CD Pre-Order
Rocking, catchy blues singer with an original style and an identifiable voice, Danielle Miraglia is local, so I’ve been able to catch her live three times in the past year, but I pre-ordered her CD before the first of those shows, based solely on her impressive previous recordings.
#8: Bridget Davis and the Vikings Kings – Discovering a New Band at a Bar
Though technically similar to my Van Ghost discovery at a music festival, this time I actually spoke with the artist at the event. Unlike the artists at the other live non-festival events I had attended, I had not communicated with (or even known about) Bridget Davis and the Viking Kings before the show. Perhaps the most unique thing about event #8 was that it was the event that finally convinced me to return to writing.
#9: Ilona – Invitation to a Music Industry Showcase
One of the other singers I’ve tweeted extensively about, London-based pop-rock singer Ilona has some powerful vocal chops that rank with the best. And Ilona showcased her amazing voice at her industry showcase in New York. I’m especially glad I got to the New York show since Ilona wasn’t performing when I was in London recently.
Five Nights in London (5-part series)
Proof that I didn’t spend all my time in London in dimly lit barrooms
I just completed the “My Road Back” series in time for my 6-day, 5-night trip to London. While there, I caught one show each night and blogged about it the next morning. It was an incredible trip, as the London music scene welcomed me more enthusiastically than I could have imagined, leaving me wishing I could stay another week.
Night #1 – Bob Malone at the 100 Club
My week kicked off with a great Bob Malone concert. Bob is the quintessential blues keyboardist and a heck of a songwriter in his own right. Though he plays Boston a couple times each year (and I first wrote about him in 1998), this is the first time I’ve seen Bob perform live. It was a great way to kick off my London series. Openers Amy Eftekhari and Loose Moorings were also a treat.
Night #2 – Blurred Vision at 229, followed by 5 acts at The Bedford
My second night began with a last-minute surprise, as I found myself added to the guest list of Blurred Vision’s London showcase. With an album produced by Terry Brown (Rush) in hand, this Canadian rock band performed an early set before a group of invited guests. Following that set, I headed down to The Bedford for an interestingly formatted evening. Two sets of five acts, each performing two songs per set. The performers were Joel Bailey, Alice Gullick, Velvet Engine, Sherika Sherard, and The Lemmingtons.
Night #3 – Sonya Titus at The Troubadour
This was the first show I added to my itinerary. After a couple years following and tweeting about Sonya’s music (see “Road Back” #4), I was pleased to finally get to see her perform. You can read, of course, about the show in great detail in the article. Her performance was flanked by a pair of other talented vocalists, Saraswati and Bradley.
Night #4 – Tom Lukas at The Distillers
I was having trouble finding a place to go on Friday night. There was a great pop-punk show on the edge of town, but it was going to involve a bus and a couple trains to return. So instead I decided upon The Distillers. More than one top-notch musician I know had played the room, so I wanted to see it. And I checked out singer-songwriter Tom Lukas’ music briefly before deciding that, even though it was a cover song night, I’d like a chance to hear him sing. Turned out to be a particularly friendly crowd that night, and what perhaps seemed like the weakest of my five nights out upfront ended up quite enjoyable.
Night #5 – Bernie Tormé at The Borderline
This show was an immense stroke of good luck. Indeed, while I had the first three nights planned before my arrival, I was in London before I saw a listing for this show. A little web search was all I needed to tell me this was going to be an old-school rock concert featuring a guitar shredder whose name I’m almost ashamed not to have known, given his pedigree. Along with opener Rusty G’s, Bernie Tormé’s gig was a throwback to the concert-caliber club shows I used to cover regularly in my early rock journalist days with hard rock/heavy metal magazine Tough Tracks; this was a great finale to my visit.
I’m working on a few album reviews, still have a little cleanup to do on the website design, and need to reach out to my writers to get them going, too. But I thought that, since the website kicked off with a such a flurry of articles you may have missed some, a recap such as this could help, especially by including hot links to each of the entries.
Also, as I mentioned before, to avoid missing any articles, please do consider signing up to get them via e-mail. There’s a link at the bottom of the right-hand column if you’re online; on your phone, there’s a place to sign up at the bottom of the page.
Cheers, and enjoy!