Jul 172014


Upcoming Muscle Shoals Sessions To Be Filmed for Band Documentary

AUSTIN, Texas — When it comes to getting their groove on, funk-loving Austinites know there ain’t no party like a Nightowls party. And with several high-profile appearances and an upcoming EP, Good As Gold B-Sides (Sept. 9, 2014), this 10-piece dance band is ready to revive the spirits of James Brown, Otis Redding and other soul brothers for some hot fun in the summertime (and beyond).nightowlsb-sides

The Nightowls will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at Zilker Park as part of KGSR-FM’s Blues on the Green series; the free show, also featuring Robert Ellis, is billed as a preview for this fall’s Austin City Limits Festival. The band will make its ACL Festival debut on Saturday, Oct. 11, the second weekend.

On Sept. 12, the Nightowls will celebrate the release of Good As Gold B-Sides with a show at Stubb’s indoors. Produced by Jake Langley, the four-track EP follows up their 2013 Good As Gold album. It includes “Nobody Ever Wants to Leave,” lead singer/songwriter Ryan Harkrider’s winning entry in the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Austin theme song contest, which earned it designation as “the official theme song of Austin, Texas.” Another Nightowls track, “You Don’t Have to Worry (I’ll Be There),” is featured on ACVB’s just-released compilation, Austin Music Vol. 13.

In August, Harkrider and the band also plan to record new music at Muscle Shoals’ historic FAME Recording Studios, where they will play with members of FAME’s legendary rhythm section and film the experience for a documentary.

Described in Texas Music magazine as “an addictive blend of pop, R&B, funk and Motown,” the Nightowls have been infecting fans with their groovalicious blend of horns, harmonies and dance-happy beats since 2011. And the party’s just gettin’ started.

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Jun 132014

The International Rocky Mountain Funk Out


000000000000000000000000000000011The first ever International Rocky Mountain Funk Out will feature two special presentations!

This two day festival (July 5&6) being conducted in honor of the American Art Form better

known as Funk will delight the attendees with a performance tribute Harold Rhodes who

invented the Fender Rhodes Electric Piano. The Fender Rhodes Piano can be heard on

millions of hit records sold!

The International Rocky Mountain Funk Out

Presents a special tribute to the Fender Rhodes electric piano with …



featuring artists from the hit film & book,

“Down The Rhodes: The Fender Rhodes Story”

Larry Dunn

(Former member, keyboardist, musical director, of Earth Wind & Fire, 6 time Grammy winner,

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Songwriter Hall of Fame Inductee, 4 American Music

Awards, 32 Gold & Platinum/Multi­Platinum Records & Albums, and a Star on Hollywood’s

Walk of Fame). This will be a special “home coming” performance from Larry Dunn!

Also, Rodney Franklin, Ellis Hall, Frank McComb, film producer Gerald McCauley, and

film director Benjamin Bove.

Our second presentation will feature Michael Jackson’s Legendary Guitarist Jennifer Batten and

The Forever Dangerous Tour. Jennifer performed live with Michael for 10 years on 3 of his world

tours. These include The Bad, Dangerous, and History tours, along with performing at the 1993

Super Bowl halftime show which was seen by over a billion and a half people in over 80 nations!

In honor of Michael, Jennifer batten introduces Carlo Riley. His likeness, dance moves, and

showmanship is certain to make for a triumphant tribute to the “King Of Pop!” Don’t miss this

incredible reminder of one of the world’s greatest entertainers!

We will be supporting two non­profit organizations at this event, Food Bank of The Rockies and

The Struggle of Love Foundation.

This Event is produced by Cedric Pride Entertainment & A Funk Above The Rest. Combined, they

comprise a well­ respected entertainment cooperation!

May 152014

MEMPHIS, Tenn., May 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Blues Foundation presented the 35th Blues Music Awards Thursday night, May 8 in Memphis. The event brings together Blues performers, industry representatives and fans from all over the world to celebrate the best in Blues recordings and performances from the previous year. Three awards went to Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks and their band, while a Little Walter tribute featuring five top harmonica players received two awards, including album of the year.  First time winners included Gary Clark Jr., Doug MacLeod, John Németh, Shawn Holt & the Teardrops, Trampled Under Foot and their female bassist Danielle Schnebelen.

The complete list of winners are:

Acoustic Album: There’s a TimeDoug MacLeod
Acoustic Artist: Doug MacLeod
Album: Remembering Little WalterBilly Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia, James Harman
B.B. King Entertainer: Buddy Guy
Band: Tedeschi Trucks Band
Best New Artist Debut: Daddy Told MeShawn Holt & the Teardrops
Contemporary Blues Album: BadlandsTrampled Under Foot
Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Susan Tedeschi
Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Gary Clark Jr.1376985_661526917214037_1837852618_n
DVD: Ruf RecordsSongs from the Road (Royal Southern Brotherhood)
Historical Album: Bear FamilyThe Sun Blues Box
Instrumentalist-Bass: Danielle Schnebelen
Instrumentalist-Drums: Cedric Burnside
Instrumentalist-Guitar: Ronnie Earl
Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Charlie Musselwhite
Instrumentalist-Horn: Eddie Shaw
Koko Taylor Award: Diunna Greenleaf
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Victor Wainwright
Rock Blues Album: Made Up MindTedeschi Trucks Band
Song: “Blues in My Soul” – Lurrie Bell
Soul Blues Album: Down in LouisianaBobby Rush
Soul Blues Female Artist: Irma Thomas
Soul Blues Male Artist: John Nemeth
Traditional Blues Album: Remembering Little WalterBilly Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia, James Harman
Traditional Blues Male Artist: James Cotton

The 35th Blues Music Awards are sponsored by BMI, Catfood Records, Eagle Rock Entertainment, First Tennessee Foundation, Jontaar Creative Studios, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Sony Music/Legacy Recordings.

The Blues Foundation is Memphis-based, but world-renown as the organization dedicated to preserving our blues music history, celebrating recording and performance excellence, supporting blues education and ensuring the future of this uniquely American art form.

Jay Sieleman

SOURCE The Blues Foundation

May 102014

I have always held Oppo in high regard based on their extraordinary Bluray players, I have every reason to believe this new headphone amp/pre-amp with HT bypass will operate at the highest quality level.

From Oppo:

Shortly after the successful launch of its PM-1 planar magnetic headphones, OPPO Digital released another member of its family of personal audio products today – the HA-1 headphone amplifier.

Oppo-HA-1-and-PM-1OPPO Digital is well known for its reference quality universal Blu-ray Disc players, and the HA-1 headphone amplifier builds upon the success of the BDP-95 and BDP-105 audiophile players. Drawing upon the proven circuit design of these award-winning players, the HA-1 combines an uncompromising analog audio section with the latest technology in digital audio.
The analog audio section of the HA-1 is a fully balanced design with an emphasis on keeping the audio signal in the analog domain once it leaves the DAC. The HA-1 is anchored by a hefty toroidal power transformer, and linear power regulators and filters with custom made capacitors ensure that the headphone amplifier has a clean power source with plenty of reserve energy. The fully balanced Class A power amplification section uses hand-picked and paired discrete components to ensure symmetry, and a motor-driven precision volume control knob allows for both manual and remote control volume adjustment while keeping the audio in a pure analog audio path.

The HA-1 is especially suitable for high-resolution digital audio playback. Its digital inputs include coaxial, optical, balanced AES/EBU, and an asynchronous USB DAC. It is easy to connect the HA-1 to digital audio players or to a computer running the listener’s favorite playback software. The USB DAC supports PCM audio up to 384 kHz 32-bit resolution and DSD audio up to 256x the CD sample rate. The same ESS 9018 Sabre32 Reference DAC and output driving stage used in OPPO audiophile Blu-ray players ensure extremely low noise and low distortion performance. The HA-1 is compatible with Apple’s iPod, iPhone and iPad for use as an external DAC, enabling the listener to directly tap into digital music played from these devices. For additional convenience, the Bluetooth audio transport with high quality aptX CODEC sets music free from your mobile phones with a performance boost.

OPPO designs the HA-1 headphone amplifier with the same versatile approach as the Blu-ray players. The HA-1 is a high performance headphone amplifier, and it doubles as an asynchronous USB DAC, a stereo pre-amplifier, a digital audio dock for mobile devices, and a Bluetooth audio transport. Users have a choice of using the 4-pin balanced XLR or the traditional quarter-inch headphone jack. Line level analog inputs and outputs are provided with both RCA and balanced XLR sockets.

The HA-1 sports a classic design with contemporary elements. It is a desktop component housed in an aluminum chassis, and the familiar volume and source selection knobs are complemented by a 4.3-inch color screen for easy operation. While music is playing, the screen can show a classic VU meter, a modern spectrum display, or detailed technical information about the audio signal. A supplied IR remote and a smartphone app provide complete control and convenience.

With its exemplary sound quality, versatile connectivity, and energetic driving power, the HA-1 headphone amplifier is a good match with any high performance headphones or stereo sound system. The black version of the HA-1 is available now directly from OPPO Digital’s web site at a retail price of $1199, and the silver version is estimated to be available in June.

May 052014

Soul singer JESSICA CLEAVES –best known as one of the lead voices in the Friends of Distinction – died on Friday 2nd May in Los Angeles. She was 65.

487px-Friends_of_Distinction_1973Born in Los Angeles in 1948, Jessica was one the original members of the Friends of Distinction along with Barbara Jean Love, Harry Elston and Floyd Butler. Elston and Butler had worked together in the Hi-Fi’s – back up vocalists in Ray Charles’ band – but in 1966 they wanted to work in their own right. Recruiting Cleaves and Love, they formed the Friends Of Distinction and worked the Los Angeles circuit and soon came to the attention of ex-pro football legend Jim Brown. Brown became their manager and soon got them a deal with RCA.

In 1969 they scored with their first single- the still magnificent ‘Grazing In The Grass’. The tune, of course, had been an instrumental hit for South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, but with the addition of Elston’s words, the new vocal version became a huge hit and remains a personification of what some people call “Sunshine Soul”. The soulful follow up. ‘Going In Circles’ became an even bigger hit (check out Luther Vandross’ cover too). Three more hits followed after which Cleaves and Love left the group.

Jessica soon joined an upcoming Chicago band called Earth Wind & Fire, and recorded two albums, (‘Last Days and Time’ and ‘Head to the Sky’) with them. But by the time EWF broke through Jessica Cleaves had moved on to work with George Clinton and various Parliament and Funkadelic offshoots.

In the 80s Jessica fell off the music radar though we’re told that her god son, filmmaker Armand Araujo, begun filming her life story ‘Jessica Cleaves, My Friends of Distinction’ in 2013. There is, though, currently no news on the progress of the movie. Nor is there any news about the circumstances of Jessica’s passing. The great music she made as part of the Friends Of Distinction will forever remain he legacy.