Category Archives: influences

Razor – Foo Fighters cover

I’m part of this wacky group of musician on Facebook. And they do a cover challenge every week. This past week the category was one word song titles beginning with the letter “r.” It was easy for me to find this one.

And having watched all of the Sonic Highways broadcast on HBO, I’m feeling pretty close to Mr. Grohl. So I was motivated to finish the track. Here’s my quickie cover of Razor.

Be Rockin!


Influences and Musical Arcs – XTC

english settlement by xtc1982 – Waterloo Records, in Austin Texas, was south of the river and allowed for returns on vinyl records “just because you didn’t like it,” Louis was great at helping introduce you to new music. And XTC’s English Settlement came out, changing my musical trajectory forever.

Here’s the amazing opener, Runaways. If you don’t know XTC, this is nice gateway track. If you only know their three radio tracks (Generals and Majors, Mayor of Simpleton, and Dear God) you’re in for a treat. The entire album cuts fantastic jags through what had come before and defines the new XTC sound.

And though my son, Jason, was not named for the Jason and the Argonauts track on this record, it was definitely a factor.



In a Google hangout yesterday, I was chatting with some folks about music and the term power pop came up. I was describing a genre that seems to be semi-defined within my social circles. However a woman in the hangout, from a Thailand, asked,  “What is power pop? What does it mean? Can you give me some examples?”

My first two examples have more to do with some music I am working on myself, but they did seem to capture the idea.

The two songs that came up immediately, The Knack’s My Sharona, and The Romantics’ What I Like About You.

In the BAND category I was also struck by the immediate identification, in my mind, of two contemporary artists that represent power pop to me. The Fountains of Wayne and Cheap Trick.

So what are your TOP POWER POP associations? Put them in the comments and I’ll post the Youtube videos of them and create a playlist for our mutual enjoyment.





For the Summer (cover) Ray LaMontagne

John McElhenney ( does a simple rendition of For the Summer by Ray LaMontagne.

“I’m falling in love with the idea of falling in love. The Ray LaMontagne song For the Summer just kicked my ass all day. I had to learn and record it. Sometimes music just touches me that way. You?” 2-17-13



Frampton Comes Alive – 1976

1976 Frampton Comes AliveWhat was it about “Frampton Comes Alive” that blew us away in 1976? Were we ready for a blitzkrieg of a live tour de force? The crowd interactions that made Frampton seem like a rock god, when his first 4 solo records had actually not done all that well. What was the formula?

I was 14 years old and about to leave for prep school up East. Leaving everything I knew behind. Leaving for the unknown. And yes, at that moment, I DID feel like Peter did. Was he openly saying he was getting high? Yes, yes, I believe that’s what he was saying.

And aside from the still-alive classic rock tracks “Do You Feel Like We Do?” “Show Me The Way” and “Baby I Love Your Way” there are some other great songs. Songs that more typify my fall into rock fantasy. We all wanted to BE Peter Frampton. 8th graders, with long hair and a subversive attitude. I did not even own a guitar at that point. I had played flute in band. BUT I COULD SING. Choir was my strength. And Frampton’s massive album had a lot to sing along with.

My stand out tracks, listening to the album on Spotify at the moment, would have to be:

  • I Wanna Go To the Sun
  • All I Want To Be Is By Your Side
  • Baby, I Love Your Way

and of course

  • Do You Feel Like We Do?

Which became kind of an anthem for my generation as we grew up trying to push the envelope of what was legal and illegal, of what was acceptable vs. what was fun. And during Spring break that freshman year in high school I visited my sister in NYC and bought a cheap electric guitar.

Let’s put this in context by looking at the top hits from 1976 and see what was playing on the radio.

The Top Hits of 1976


Yeah, I’d say Frampton was in a class by himself. And I was in his army of followers.

We owe a lot to Mr. Frampton.

This cover sort of changed his image

Frampton said he regretted the (RS shirtless) photo because it changed his image as a credible artist into a teen idol. [And I bet he wishes he had a bit more of that hair these days.]

And there was even a bit of contraversy that surfaced about the phenominal Comes Alive album later.

“Because “Show Me the Way” had not yet been released in any form, the audience response was less than more familiar numbers. On the original album, Frampton added more audience response to make it appear that it was as recognizable to the audience as more familiar material.” They enhanced the audience tracks.

My hat’s off to you today Mr. Frampton. In all you still do, you are still showing the way to the sun.

Reference: Peter Frampton (wikipedia)



Buzzie Loves Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers – VAN SESSIONS (highly recommended)

I Can't Go For That - Hall & Oats cover, by Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers

Wow. Not very often you are blown away by a music video. Maybe it’s a crush on the lead singer, but I think it’s the whole presentation. A great song. (Just how I’m feeling right now.) Wonderful harmonies. And the sly joy of knowing they are doing something bad ass.

Watch directly on YouTube:  I Can’t Go For That (Hall & Oats Cover) Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers

And two more Van Sessions classics:Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy and Linda Ronstadt’s You’re No Good

And here’s an original, that really shows Nicki’s range and rocker/hippie chickness.

Watch directly on YouTube: Jetplane by Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Here is the Buzzie Video Playlist on YouTube if you want more.

Other buzzie links of interest:

Buzzie Loves WILCO

Holy crap! I’ve been a little slow on the uptake for Wilco’s new CD.

Here’s a cut from their David Letterman appearance where they show the power that they wield. Notice Wilco go from a band with almost no guitar sounds, even the guitarist is messing with Radiohead-ish effects. We have two full-time keyboardists, Tweedy with no guitar… and by the end of the song we have three guitarists and a bass player rocking hard.

All I could say after this one was WOW!

Watch directly on YouTube: Wilco’s The Art of Almost

And also from the Letterman show, this rocker that has a real Joe Jackson/Elvis Costello feel. I Might.

watch directly on YouTube: Wilco’s I Might

Brilliant. Some of the best music today. Tweedy and company truly cutting their own path, and doing it well.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Here is the Buzzie Video Playlist on YouTube if you want more.

Other buzzie links of interest:

THE PERFECT ALBUM through the years (my life in music)


I’ve been thinking of this little experiment for a while. Go back in your history and recall all the MAJOR ALBUMS of your life. No googling, memory only. And share the list in chronological order from the earliest major love affair to your current FAVORITE. (do this from memory as best you can, this is not a reference but a survey of your memories)

First Known Crushes

  1. James Gang – The James Gang Rides Again
  2. Peter Frampton Comes Alive
  3. Boston – self titled
  4. The Beatles – HELP

High School Begins

  1. The Talking Heads – ’77
  2. The Cars – self-titled
  3. The Ramones – self-titled
  4. Foreigner – self-titled
  5. ACDC – Back in Black
  6. Led Zepplin – Houses of the Holy
  7. Kiss – Destroyer
  8. The Who – Tommy (rock opera)
  9. Robin Trower – Day of the Eagle
  10. Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bullocks
  11. Steely Dan – Countdown to Ecstasy
  12. The B-52’s – self-titled
  13. U2 – Boy
  14. Jean Michelle Jarre – Oxygene
  15. The Romantics – self-titled
  16. Icehouse – self-titled
  17. The Knack – Get the Knack
  18. Van Wilks – Bombay Tears
  19. Def Leppard – High and Dry
  20. Rush – 2112
  21. Judas Priest – Hell Bent for Leather
  22. Utopia – Ra
  23. The Beatles – The White Album
  24. The Who – Quadraphenia
  25. The Kinks – Sleepwalker
  26. Styx – The Grand Illusion
College Begins
  1. Mr. Mister – Welcome to the Real World
  2. Level 42 – World Machine
  3. Saga – Heads Or Tails
  4. Pat Methany – Off Ramp
  5. Robert Plant – The Principle of Moments
  6. The Church – The Blurred Crusade
  7. The The – The Soul Mining
  8. Larsen/Feiten Band – self-titled
  9. Del Amitri – Twisted
  10. REM – Murmur
  11. INXS – Kick
  12. XTC – English Settlement
  13. Yes – Big Generator
  14. Rush – Signals
  15. Bruce Cockburn – Stealing Fire
  16. The La’s – self-titled
  17. Michael Hedges – Aerial Boundaries
  18. The Tubes – The Completion Backwards Principal
  19. The Goo Goo Dolls – A Boy Named Goo
  20. Eric Johnson – Ah Via Musicom
  21. Kazumi Watanabe – Mobo I and II
Post English Degree from UT
  1. The Grays – self-titled
  2. Doyle Bramhall II – self-titled
  3. Vertical Horizon – Everything You Want
  4. The Cure – Kiss Kiss Kiss
  5. David Gilmore – About Face
  6. Imperial Drag – self-titled
  7. Wilco – Summerteeth
  8. King Krimson – Three of a Perfect Pair
  9. Brother Cane – Seeds
  10. Southern Culture on the Skids – Dirt Track Date
  11. World Party – Private Revolution
  12. The Weakerthans – Fallow
  13. Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason
  14. William Orbit – Strange Cargo (new age)
  15. Dog’s Eye View – Happy Nowhere
  16. Radiohead – The Bends
  17. Alanis Morrisette – Jagged Little Pill
  18. Semisonic – Feeling Strangely Fine
  19. Third Eye Blind – self-titled
  20. The Blue Nile – Hats
  21. The Cult – Electric
Next Wave
  1. Black Grape – It’s Great When You’re Straight
  2. Toy Matinee – self-titled
  3. Self – Subliminal Plastic Motives
  4. Silver Jet – Pull Me Up, Drag Me Down
  5. The Lemonheads – Car Button Cloth
  6. Sheryl Crow – C’mon C’mon
  7. Tears for Fears – Everybody Loves a Happy Ending
  8. Cotton Mather – Cotton is King
  9. Kowanko – self-titled
  10. Joe Satriani – Flying in a Blue Dream
  11. P Hux – Deluxe
  12. Tahiti 80 – Fosbury
  13. Deep Forest – self-titled (new age)
  14. Suzanne Vega – 99.9 F
  15. The New Radicals – Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too
  16. Kevin Gilbert – Thud
  17. Extreme – III Sides to Every Story
  18. The Sugarplastic – Bang, The Earth is Round
  19. Soundgarden – Superunknown
  20. Josh Rouse – 1972
  21. Collective Soul – self-titled
  22. Stereophonics – Performance and Cocktails
  23. Fountains of Wayne – self-titled
  24. Goldfrappe – Felt Mountain
  25. Jason Falkner – Author Unknown
  26. The Doves – Lost Souls
  27. Jet – Get Born
  28. The Wannadies – Bagsy Me
  29. Grandaddy – Sumday
  30. Monte Montgomery – 1st and Repair
  31. Simple Minds – Good News from the Next World
  32. Pete Yorn – Music for the Morning After
  33. Rhett Miller – The Instigator
  34. Echo and the Bunnymen – Evergreen
  35. Gay Dad – Leisure Noise
  36. Coldplay – X and Y
  37. Kevin Gilbert – Shaming of the True (rock opera)
  38. Poe – Haunted
  39. The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
  40. Eels – Daisies of the Galaxy
  41. Garbage – Beautiful Garbage
Current Wave
  1. Nada Surf – The Weight is a Gift
  2. Metric – Fantasies
  3. The Shins – Shoots Too Narrow
  4. Pedro the Lion – Achilles Heel
  5. Liz Phair – self-titled
  6. Muse – The Resistance
  7. Ken Andrews – Secrets of the Lost Satellite
  8. Bernard Fanning –  Tea and Sympathy
  9. Jets to Brazil – Orange Rhyming Dictionary
  10. Citizen Cope – self-titled
  11. Gin Blossoms – New Miserable Experience
  12. Dada – Puzzle
  13. Grant Lee Buffalo – Jubilee
  14. Radiohead – OK Computer
  15. Mark Kozelek – What’s Next to the Moon (Amazing ACDC acoustic remakes)
  16. Black Crows – By Your Side
  17. Radiohead – In Rainbows
  18. Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong
  19. Ludovico Einaudi – Divenire (classical)
  20. Mutemath – self-titled (a 2012 discovery for me – blown away by all mutemath cds)

The 15 Albums that Define You (from facebook)


No checking your iPod for reference, no taking more than 5 minutes on this exercise. Name the top 15 most influential cds in your life. “If you were stuck on a desert island… blah blah blah” NOTE: I’m only sending this to YOU because I actually want to hear what you think is essential listening. You can write a note of your own and then TAG me back along with people you would like to know more about, musically. That’s it. Rock On!

1. U2 – Boy
2. Led Zepplin 2
3. Coldplay X and Y
4. Radiohead – In Rainbows
5. ACDC – Back in Black
6. The Guess Who – Best of
7. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
8. Steely Dan – Can’t Buy a Thrill
9. The Who – Quadraphenia
10. Led Zepplin – Houses of the Holy
11. Collective Soul – Collective Soul
12. The Beatles – Revolver
13. Mr. Mister – Go On
14. Level 42 – World Machine
15. Eric Johnson – Tones



The Orchestra Moment: What’s It Take?

I’m watching Collective Soul playing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. WOW.

Hits like GEL and SHINE are pretty stunning. The city of Atlanta is proud of their hometown boys. So what an amazing adventure to imagine. Getting big enough to play with the big band behind you. A frackin conductor!

We can dream, yes we can dream.