Hambone's Meditations

Luther Dickinson

Released: May 5th, 2012

Songs Of The South Records

Editor's Note About John Fahey (1939-2001):
One of the first things readers should understand about this record is that Luther Dickinson stated it was inspired by John Fahey and The Takoma tradition. I read some fan reviews of the record commenting that Luther wasn't playing 'proper blues' and I think this record should be taken in context of its broader vision. John Fahey, who first presented himself to the music world in part as Blind Joe Death (1959) has had an impact on blues, folk and acoustic traditions for decades of music history. He used non-traditional methods of playing, picking, during the mid-1960s, which included "odd guitar tunings and sudden style shifts, rooted firmly in the old time and blues stylings of the 1920s." The writings that describe Fahey name that he started a new genre of guitar music, known later as "American Primitivism," which combined traditional fingerpicking steel string guitar techniques, and applied them to neo-classical compositions. His record label called him "impossible to classify." "His eclectic music included traditional-sounding folk pieces, Indian ragas, blues, and unpredictable modern works, not fitting securely into any specific category but somehow always sounding personal."  (Sources: AllMusic.Com, Takoma Records/Concord Music Group).

The Jonny Monster Band: Bad Times Before

Genre: Blues: Blues-Rock

Release Date: 2012

Photo Credits: Arius Photography


The Jonny Monster Band: Bad Times Before

Recorded by Rob Kissner at Boom Boom Studios in May of 2012

Album Photo Credit by Samantha June and Dave Wagner

The second album from blues jammers, Jonny Monster Band, Bad Times Before, is a more rock than the raw blues they rolled out with their self titled, debut album (which we loved).

Jonny Monster on vocals, guitar, Pete Newman on bass, Roger LaRochelle on drums.

Influenced by Johnny Winters, Hendrix with rhythmic faster paced riffs and licks, it could fit right in with an SRV follower's collection. And it's got enough rock to have a "Bad To The Bone" Thorogood vibe. The vocals rang in a bit of Paul Rogers as Monster is smoother. The slides on "It's My Own Way" are great and a tribute to blues rock everywhere. Changing up each song with fresh arrangements, the high sticks drums matter, "It's Been So Long" brings it on home with some swank that gets to the point. "Anyway You Want It" has a dreamy, acoustic, "White Summer" (Page) feel. But Jonny Monster makes the sound all his own by his rough whiskey vocals. The tapping, scratching, realness of the production is a live sound that brings you into the real. "I Ain't Gonna Lie" cranks out a high flying riff that underlines a party anthem, down low grinding blends keeps the blues tones heavy on the rock end. "Dreambats" offers warm instrumental ballad tones and slows down the whole process, showing off a thoughtful side of the band, without giving up the creative edges. There's a slow hand Clapton vibe going on that's just real nice for anything you're doing at the moment (including writing music reviews). Mid-set on the record, it gives the listeners a different kind of experience to take in all they've heard so far. I reviewed Omar and The Howlers for the Boston Blues Society and the spirit that Jonny Monster brings to the party is something that is just beginning with this up and coming blues band. "Instead of Hello" nails it with front line vocals, straight on production, timing and overall world boogie. "77 Cornell St. Blues" slows it all down,bringing some acoustics on board to walk beside the storyteller's tale. The black dog of the blues, that keeps us company on the way to the crossroads can't be understated.

Videography by Front Row Dave. Find more FRD videos on his Youtube Channel.

The title track, "Bad Times Before," sweeps into the scene, huddled back into the 8th position of the record, but keeps moving to the front of the mix. It's real honest music, puts the hurtin kind in their place, and then moves on with grit and persistence.  A well done solo that includes the whole band keeps the instrumental pieces engaging without being over-indulgent.  "Ain't Going Back" has a similar theme.

"Human Nature" was a big surprise to hear toward the end of this album. Monster takes risks with the acoustic ballads on this collection by coming out of the jam zone, and that's all right.  

The Jonny Monster Band is already a local staple for quality blues rock in the Hudson Valley and beyond. They are not squandering their good reputation, however. Keeping their heads down and aiming to continue authentic quality recordings, they are a hard working band with a solid focus. This new album is slightly different than their first record, with some acoustic risks and ballad vocals. Change is good to see in any band, as they keep their foundation of rockin party blues, but add life perspective and stories from the road.


The Jonny Monster Band is a rock n'blues power trio from New Paltz, NY. Featuring Jonny Monster on guitar & vocals, Pete Newman on bass, and Roger LaRochelle on drums. Known for their fast take on the blues they are the newest addition to the Cracker Swamp Productions family out of Orlando, FL. The release of their debut album in January of 2011, freshly pressed split record with deep roots blues player Husky Burnette, and second full length album "Bad Times Before" has marked them a staple in the blues scene of their area and others. The band's fresh take on rock n' blues has been heard at such memorable shows & events as The Rosendale Street Festival 2008/2011, 2011/2012 Blues Brews and BBQ and The Stepping Stone Blues Festival in Havre De Grace, MD. They have had the pleasure of opening for Jefferson Starship and the legendary guitarist Johnny Winter at The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY as well as headlining their own shows at such places as The Bitter End, and Arlene's Grocery, New York, NY, Club Helsinki, Hudson, NY, The Oneonta Theater, Oneonta, NY,  and The Beale St Taproom, Memphis, TN. Jonny Monster's high-energy aggressive guitar style captivates audiences and puts the band at the head of the future of rock n' blues music as well as making them a must see live act.

Website: http://www.jonnymonsterband.com/

Purchase: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thejonnymonsterband



Press Release:

Lasorda (featuring members of The Get Up Kids, fun., The New Amsterdams, Kevin Devine and The Goddamn Band, and Ghosty) are currently streaming a new song. "Sleep When You Are Dead" is featured on the band's self-titled debut album, available on 12/11 and available now for pre-order through Clifton Motel, iTunes, and Amazon .


This album is different than the acoustic works of Matt Pryor's solo project  we reviewed earlier this year. Lasorda worked hard to distinguish this debut album  from their bands of origin. Dual vocals with Matt Pryor and Suzannah Johannes add depth to the entire record. Matt's warm, naturally broodingly raw voice becomes a foundational counterpart to the ever-airborne Suzannah mystique. The times of The Sundays, The Cranberries or even the second wave of the 10,000 Maniacs, (post Natalie Merchant, with Mary Ramsey) were not far from my mind. This record is not about the past though, and the sounds are very different.

"The Age of Wonder" opens and Suzannah Johannes' vocals are airy, light - echoing into a chamber, that could have been built by Nick Drake or Bon Iver. "Interlaid" sounds unabashedly retro, with radical pop synths that are upbeat and smooth. Jazzy is "Basque On The Borderline," with some catchy lyrics that stay with you, as you move through the rest of the album. "Fivefivefourtwo," which is heavy on the synths and pops, literally pops in the beginning, making it major techno to start. But the guitar that comes in three quarters of the way through the song, glues your brain back together. The vocals "fit" the arrangements, an effort to create some technical interest with smooth harmonies.

Suzannah has a soft version of Edie Brickell going on with "Is There Anymore To Lose." Special effects mid-song reflect the theme. Lasorda gets a lot done in a few short electronic minutes. The transition to "No Intent To Return" is seamless with leading drumbeats that pulsate into another floating idea that turns out to be a storm of a song surge. This piece, quite sublime, was my favorite meditative focus on the album. There was something about it that pulled me into the story, or encouraged me to create my own. This track is streamed exclusively on Absolute Punk.

"From the wise to the absurd" "Of Little Faith" goes from whisper quiet to blaring metal loud, with drum echo effects. The guitar's highlight of the vocals, underlining, reigned the unstructured nature of the song in and made it rock. Driving music comes through with flying beats and great mixes in "Echo In The Night." I liked the phrasing on the lyrics, they are positive and purposeful, instilling hope and confidence. On "Sleep When You Are Dead" Matt Pryor's vocals push it out, but I wish they were a bit louder. I think this would be very intense to watch live. Clever, inviting concepts of how to get the bad news in any way that you can, gives up a punk type of vibe with "Go On, Give Me The Bad News." Suzannah's voice and the high pitched synths create expanse, which is grounded by the entrance of guitar pieces. Bass laden steadies out the whole track as it marches to a close with duos to bring it on home.

Lasorda is being billed around the web as an "indie supergroup." Given the experience of each member, rather than show off, they settle down and write what they want. The vocals show musical interest and creativity, with duo effects adding dramatic contrast.  You can hear the influences of the run-ons from the Goddamn Band or the guitar work of The New Amsterdams, and the introspection of Ghosty. The songs blend together effortlessly, to accompany any activity, such as driving or meditative work.  Overall, this album is forward moving, but I heard some retro forms too. Sometimes the lyrics are hard to hear over some of the heavier productions. This may have been done for effect or was just a product of my listening. Still, there are stories being told or to be told. Lasorda brings you in and gives you a pen.

A radically new venture for the members of this eclectic group, Lasorda effortlessly blends elements of brooding pop and synth-backed melodies, topped off with a duo of smooth vocals. No strangers to the music scene, this veritable powerhouse of electronic indie rock includes Suzannah Johannes, Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids, The New Amsterdams), Nate Harold (fun., Koufax, The Honorary Title, Waking Ashland), Dustin Kinsey (The New Amsterdams, White Whale, Higher Burning Fire), Mike Strandberg (Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band, Brian Bonz and the Major Crimes), and Josh Adams (Ghosty).







Most music tells a story. Andrew Rosciszewski's latest composition, Fantasie for Rock Band and Orchestra, with the Marimba Trilogy, "IS" the story. Andrew is a double bass player and composer from the NY/NJ area, classically trained, rock inspired. The history of the creation of this work includes a reflection of Deep Purple's, John Lord, the organist and composer of "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" in 1969. Yes and Metallica were also motivators to pair orchestral music with rock rhythm sequences. The unique challenge taken on by Andrew was his wish to completely integrate the rock band with the orchestra, and not just have the orchestra be an accompaniment. (Vincent Livolsi, Drums/Percussion/Marimba, liner notes).  In my listening view, he has done exactly that and it is magnificent.

This is not a blurred, fusion, relax and zone out blend. Andrew and the fleet of talented musicians pull you into their world, wake you up from your indifferent head, and interact. This work keeps the listener engaged with every nuance, which change in the parts and the sums, wondering ... What will happen next?

Rusted Root


Rusted Root is a six piece band from Pittsburgh, PA, that started in the 1990s. Using multiple instruments, they blend rock with African, Middle Eastern and Latin American percussion pieces. With eight albums and over three million records sold worldwide, they've toured with Santana, Dave Matthews Band, The Allman Brothers Band, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page's reunion tour and countless others.


Released October 30, 2012

Rusted Root Band Members:
Michael Glabicki (vocals, guitar)
Liz Berlin (vocals, percussion)
Patrick Norman (bass, vocals)
Jim Donovan (drums, percussion)
John Buynak (percussion, winds)
Jim DiSpirito (percussion)

Dirk Miller (banjo)

Produced and Engineered by Michael Glabicki.

Track by Track:

1. Monkey Pants
"This album is for the fans." "Monkey Pants" is instantly infectious, disables your editor, and really does make you dance with animal like instincts. It is a celebration of our collective human condition. This lead track is the perfect sample of what the record will bring. Fun, cheerful, connectedness, not only to the music, but to the fans. Singing directly to the audience from the stage, the band extends a global invitation to a world party. Once inside, Rusted Root takes this album back to its earlier works by re-introducing raw tribal arrangements, great use of space shifter techniques, and knock out vocal harmonies.

Maine's Stesha Cano has taken the local scene by storm, swarming the hearts and minds of live music fans with her debut album, "Like a Bee." Backed by vocalist Amy Briggs and an eight piece band, this album spans the sounds of jazz, soul, blues and swamp-y swing cabaret music. With honest lyrics that tell story after story of discovering deceit, heartache, heartbreak and personal triumph, the listener is pulled in to real life scenarios, which are handled with grace. Using visual lyrics that create emotions within the audience on the first listens, "Like a Bee" is a walk through nature's garden, complete with scratches from thorns and near miss stings. The band and arrangements wrap sunlight around the words on Stesha's page, streaming in various productions that reflect the mood of each song, projecting its raw beauty.

oglamundingnorthmississippichristmasChristmas with the blues never sounded so good with this four track, easy to download EP from New Orleans singer-songwriter, Olga Munding.

In the true style of the North Mississippi music circles, Jim Dickinson, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, RL Burnside, once you hear this group of musicians, you hope to anticipate what future songs will sound like. Well thought guitar work that is precise and stands alone, unplugged. Vocals that carry grit and wit, yet deliver a message of warmth and hope. Luther's version of Blind Willie Johnson's "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burnin" is an example of this, as is the recent NMA work of The Word.

Olga's North Mississippi Christmas takes the Christmas traditions and makes them her own. She tells new stories through her lyrics and brings inspired images into the set with instrumentals that capture the peaceful calm that we all seek this time of year. "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" has some swamp blues tones going on, better bring out that pudding and a cup of good cheer, cause we won't go until we get some.

O Christmas Tree

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear

Deck The Halls

Olga Munding envelopes the North Mississippi tradition in her prior work and offers a powerful gift for us this holiday season. Regardless of your creed, you will find renewed hope in the light of this music.

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Remember to support your favorite artists through buying their products.
A good place to start is searching BestBuy.com and Amazon.com.