Jon Foreman On Unknown Sundays Part II: The Wonderlands 15-2016

I see no reason to avoid any type of musician or music in your traversing of the musical multiverse. In fact, I see that as an even bigger crime than musicians who choose to use their talent as a soap box for some position, be it political, religious, or whatever. If I was that narrow minded, I would probably be listening to classical music with Tipper Gore or some Gregorian Chant streaming station (which probably exists by the way, and there’s nothing wrong with that). Or, maybe better put, I would be listening to some South Park-ian nondenominational humming noise created randomly by computer, so that there was not a solitary moment of it that was somehow made under the human influence. Oh dear, #od!

I love it all, and you should, too, when it’s done right–when it means something–or feels like something. There’s no fault in foot stomping to a Bob Dylan protest song, or singing along while Neil Young barbecues Republicans for farmers in his backyard. Get your groove on to Ray or swerve on to Marvin. Turn up the volume as Megadeth thrashes and pontificates on the state of the symphonies of suckitude around the world, or better yet…Rage Against the Machine, because their name says it all, right! And, that is why–my free musical travelers–that you should not be afraid, put off, or dissuaded by a simple scene of a baby in a manger, or a dove, or for that matter the bald head of a Buddhist monk (Corky and the Juice Pig reference, or am I talking about Ed Kowalcyk), if you’re truly a music lover.

So now to that “unknown” part of the story, which is The Wonderlands by Mr. Switchfoot himself, Jon Foreman. Jon, as you might know, is a nondenominational Christian. If you were a big fan of Switchfoot, and never realized this, sorry to spoil it for you–but really, did I spoil anything? No. Jon Foreman’s talents have their root in his passion for life and the pursuit of love and understanding of the nature of all things. It’s a lovely place to be, and he certainly shows it in his collaboration(s), as we stated in Part I of this “Unknown” Sunday, where he met up with Sean Watkins, among others. His biography is worth the read, and so are his contributions in books New Ways To Be Human and The Art of Being, but let’s move on to The Wonderlands.

24 songs, one for each hour of the day. The Wonderlands (EP)s are Sunlight, Shadows, Darkness, and Dawn, and so we start with Sunlight, Foreman’s take on the early hours of the morning. “I have a really hard time writing about light. I have a much easier time writing about darkness, because darkness, it grabs you. It’s more lyrical somehow… Sunlight, when you’re happy, it’s hard to write songs. You just want to go surfing with all your friends.” And, where does he start, as he stated, with a hint of darkness, “Terminal.” The light is just beyond the darkness, in a Coldplay-like melody, and lyrics born bright, lead into a musical, soul-filled journey. Sunlight is the start, the realization of how beautiful life is, and you as yourself within it. Now, what you gonna do with the light and time given?

 


Shadows
and Darkness come in, like it does for all of us. It puts us on notice that we’re fragile, yet capable, skeptical yet hopeful, driven yet accountable. We must battle, forge and make our path in the often heavy and relentless environments that surround us. It kind of goes back to our Part I article, about “What to fear?” Foreman does a very good job delivering earthy music wrapped in simple honesty and harmonies, even withing complicated metaphor. This honesty of music and lyrics is where each of the albums finds its own beauty. So, sincere, we’re being all honest at this moment…Darkness has 7 songs (Beyond Your Radio cannot explain why, our opinion is either “June and Johnny” was meant to drift into “Inner Peace”, or that it might have been over the time creating the albums Jon Foreman realized there actually was a time when we had to set the clocks back–which added that extra hour).

Finally,
Dawn, where we all all come back again, waiting to try it again. A new beginning, which is where we all want to be, but with more experience, with more belief and hope, and a clearer purpose. In a way, you feel uplifted, and Jon might get carried away for one song, but you respect the journey, especially on the closing song, “Before Our Time,” as Foreman leads us to the simple truth that it is going to “run out” eventually, so why not have at it? And that comes right back, when you think of the lyrics in the first album, “Don’t let your spirit die before you body does.”

I find it interesting how I got here to The Wonderlands. It started with a solo career of a Nickel Creek musician and his collaborative side show cravings. Then, I find, in one of his collaborators the opportunity to see beyond a genre into the depth and creativity of a singer-songwriter sojourn of sorts. Each unique in their own rights and talents, describing the world in different shades and shadows, but equally telling, inspiring and interesting. It’s a great thing to be able to try something, take a bit of side trip, or journey down a road that you’ve maybe never thought to travel. You never know who is going to be that next inspiration.

Where will the next “unknown” take me? Wait until next week–I’m still reeling about this last journey still.

SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

Jon Foreman’s The Wonderlands Collection Albums in my collection:   Unfortunately I have not secured any

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on April 10, 2016, which I will point out made reference to that which is now happening in the music industry, which is the use of AI to make a song and or album without the use of human talent.  Scary to think, and certainly way beyond the lack of humanity, thought process and Christian type themes being exampled here in Jon Foreman’s wonderful Wonderland series.  This having been part II, looking back, the idea was to showcase a journey out of one’s musical comfort zone to realize the scope of the music multiverse and how any type of musician in race, creed, genre or place in the music industry (known, somewhat known, or completely unknown) can leave a lasting impression and bring you to some magical musical places.  – Mark Kuligowski  [July 30th 2023]

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 19

Album Review Saturdays is all about the new releases, and we grabbed three to showcase that are in a variety of spectrums. The long awaited album from Blur, “The Ballad of Darren,” which is eight years since their last, which probably has to do with all the projects that Damon Albarn seems to be involved in. He’s like the Steve Wilson in his band (Porcupine Tree). Let’s stay in England with a female singer-songwriter that could obviously not use her real name (you’ll see why), and she even decided recently to throw caution to the wind and disguise herself to win The Masked Singer. She did put out an odd vocal showing which seemed to satisfy the masses. so I was extremely interested to see how her EP would do on Album Review Saturdays. For the final pick, I go at Greta Van Fleet, as I have never truly been that impressed, but that might be different now, as their latest has something that has me more interested than before. So what do you say we get down to it and check them out?!

 

Click here for our YouTube Channel “Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 19” which features discussion on these albums, as well as two (2) more album reviews not in this article.

 

Blur – The Ballad of Darren

While I have every Blur album, and I probably listen to one of them a year (maybe one more so than others), there’s a professionalism in their development of albums that’s always an amazement when it first gets spun, entered into the CD player, or recently — digitally played through my Air Pods. This is probably a concept record considering the title, but no — it’s not (surprise, after review it’s apparent that Darren is their bodyguard)! So nothing to worry about on that front. It seems the band is just going to deliver on a song finalization promise, and that they do! I just love the creative flow, melodies, hooky and grooves that Damon has floating around in his head. “The Ballad of Darren” is definitely, exactly where Blur is was an every shall be! What you’ve ‘Beetlebum’ -ed about, taken ‘Coffee and TV’ over, or clicked ‘Song 2’ over three thousand times over is all there! There sonic layers, groovy moments, and the hooky lyrical propensities that you catch more and more as you open your ears beyond the instrumental deliveries and clever production techniques that have continued to astound as Blur has grown since the 1988 in London!

They are nearly everything modern about a London rock band these days, as well as a ting into Indie-Rock if you follow (check out the Bowie feel on ‘Goodbye Albert’). The nearly four decades — what! It’s true! In five more years, they’re forty years in! They are always absorbing the culture and climate of the music environment, while still inventing and re-inventing sounds that work on their scale. ‘Russian Strings’ is a beautiful example of how this band can morph, deliver and surprise their own melodic development! They don’t shake off their Brit-pop past, but they don’t dwell there. Blur fans will enjoy every inch of the record, and newcomers are going to love the catchy variety, the awareness in the lyrics, and of course the signature, easy clear vocals of Albarn and the backing harmonies that will definitely get them into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

The Band

  • Damon Albarn – Vocals, Keyboards, Piano
  • Graham Coxon – Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Alex James – Bass Guitar
  • Dave Rowntree – Drums

The Ballad of Darren Tracklisting

1. “The Ballad”
2. “St. Charles Square”
3. “Barbaric”
4. “Russian Strings”
5. “The Everglades (For Leonard)”
6. “The Narcissist”
7. “Goodbye Albert”
8. “Far Away Island”
9. “Avalon”
10. “The Heights”
11. “The Rabbi” [only on Deluxe]
12. “The Swan” [only on Deluxe]
13. “Sticks and Stones” [Japanese Deluxe – Colton lead vocals]

 

Bishop Briggs – When Everything Went Dark

When the ‘River’ single went out across the music-multiverse Ms. Briggs had a great hit single, no doubt! Her vocal pattern was a hint unique and the way in which it was delivered had you thinking this female singer-songwriter gets that modern alternative environment.  Two albums deep, here comes “When Everything Went Dark” [EP], but that’s while and after she put on a Medusa mask over her face and went and won The Masked Singer! Okay, so what is Sarah Grace McLaughlin, up to!?  Now you see why she’s known as aka Bishop Briggs.  Now, the question is did the time on a wild television show where she let her raw vocal range and un-tempered passion just release without the protection of studio?  Well, while an EP is not fair to the finality of what’s probably to come, I would say that Bishop Briggs has maintained the rawness she has in signature, but I’m still feeling it’s detrimental to the overall delivery of the songs here.

Let me explain my ear on this, as I do like her and what she’s accomplished and attempting to do!  “Church of Scars,” her debut, still resonates with me, and I feel the the level of attachment to the lyrics and her vocal match wonderfully in that alternative-flex, which is the beat drops that accentuate that experience and energy she brings. “Champion,” the follow up, I liked, listened, and I’ve somehow forgotten (that’s not saying it’s a forgetful record). What it means is that it was more about the single(s) really than the overall album, right!?  I have to be right, as the two singles alone gathered 50 million streams, and the album didn’t reach anywhere near that.  So, where am I with this EP?  She still maintains that gospel, alternative, beat-drop studio produced musicianship, which is the really catchy part, but the delivery flows in and out of issues for me. What?! That’s everything…isn’t? No, I think in some cases she’s over powering the songs with maybe too much vocal fluctuation from high to low, losing my appreciate for the lyric, and maybe over-stepping a bit to the flow of a track. ‘Superhuman,’ where the gospel of her vocal hails much more gentle revealing an easier connection to the melody and music is an example of an execution that I enjoyed tremendously. ‘Bad’ is a better example of the way I’m torn between the love of the clever music, the emotion and then sometimes caught off balance with the vocal. Is it too much, or overstated? I’m still going with it as a good thing, and I am looking forward to where the final album will fall.

Fans of some of Kesha, Billy Eilish and K. Flay are going to like a lot of this, and of course anyone who’s followed Bishop Briggs is going to find a lot to work with in just a 16 minute EP, but they’ll be Jonesing for what’s on its way, like I am.

The band

  • Sarah Grace McLaughlin – Vocals, Keyboards, Piano

 

When Everything Went Dark Tracklisting

  1. Reborn
  2. Baggage
  3. Cherry on Top
  4. Bad
  5. High Water
  6. Superhuman

 

 

Greta Van Fleet – Starcatcher

While I have never disputed that vocals of Josh Kiszka, what I’ve always had an issue with was the wheelhouse that they stay in to accredit those vocals. While the range it’s in matches an era of rock that’s probably the most coveted by people in my over-middle-aged bracket, I keep wondering would they ever be able to find something modern, lower register, or even bass driven. In comes what I feel is an album that does a few test here and there to reach out to those minded like myself. Again, I want everyone to be assured, that if (that band I will not mention) had not existed, we would not be having these reviews, but the fact is — it did, and it was tremendously larger in scale, blues composition, and ultimately in delivery song to song, and obviously album to album. Let’s also be real that the production of this band is much easier than that of the 70’s era, and I do hear a lot of intentionalism that I’m wondering (Chef Jeff saw them this year in Las Vegas with Rival Sons, review coming on our show: Beyond Live) might not translate as evenly in a life performance.

Starcatcher is by far my favorite of the albums. The maturity in lyric and flow of the songs has a very good grip on my ear, which is obviously led by those vocals soaring as they do. I feel that the musicianship surrounding that is doing a better job of melody and arrangement. However, after my fourth listen, that’s where I again come back to the unfair comparison to “that” band. There are some keyboard, harmonics, but beyond that there is no solo that demands attention. There is no entry that give you that wow factor, except maybe that of the vocal, or a fast starting ‘Runaway Blues,’ but that goes right back into their wheelhouse. I would love to hear some breath between the vocals — larger stints, and let’s give the drummer some kick drum power while the bassist grooves more (hear the ‘Indigo Streak’ track…as this is what I’m sort of talking about). It’s the last half of the album that seems to understand what saving rock might sound like, as there is a good guitar solo in ‘Frozen Light.’ It’s the ‘The Archer’ that grabs me the most, letting me know that they’ve got some progressive opportunities. There is a way to make the vocals stick the lyric without over singing, letting the band develop the emotion in riff and hook. That’s where it is for me, and I have a suspicion — or hope, that they find a way to take their sound in that direction, as it was the most compelling for sure, for me!

You probably know this band, so for me to say, if you like Led Zeppelin (there I said it), Journey, Deep Purple, and Cactus to just list a few 70s. I also understand the Rush vocal moments as well. If you’re a 70s rock lover, you should be all over this, if you haven’t already. I’m in there with you — THIS TIME MORE THAN EVER. I’ve got a better feeling on this Detroit rock band now, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing them soon, as well as what they do next to become their own masters! (you see what we did there).

The Band

  • Danny Wagner – Drums
  • Jake Kiszka – Guitar
  • Sam Kiszka – Bass, Keyboards
  • Josh Kiszka – Vocals

Starcatcher Tracklisting

1. “Fate of the Faithful”
2. “Waited All Your Life”
3. “The Falling Sky”
4. “Sacred the Thread”
5. “Runway Blues”
6. “The Indigo Streak”
7. “Frozen Light”
8. “The Archer”
9. “Meeting the Master”
10. “Farewell for Now”

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 18

Welcome to another Album Review Saturdays! There was instrumentation heavy in the air for most of this week! Without really realizing it we allowed percussion to drive two of our selections! The great Stanton Moore, and if you don’t know his musical escapades it’s a great rabbit hole to go down. Then there’s the legendary Keith Carlock (Steely Dan, Toto and Sting) utilizing some new influences to kickstart a familiar formula into a slightly modern ear.  And then, we step into an extremely interesting psyche-stoner rock blues with a dynamic female vocalist that we had somehow missed for ten years?!  Yeah, you can’t believe it right?!  Well believe that and in these three well crafted albums for review on this Album Review Saturday!

 

Click here for our YouTube Channel “Album Review Saturday 2023 Episode 18” which features discussion on these albums, as well as two (2) more album reviews not in this article.

 

Galactic – Tchompitoulas

This ever-growing, ever changing progressive New Orleans Jazz band always has a unique percussion system that drives them in and out of fusion into contemporary pieces to modern hip-hop flows and diabolical instrumentalism that plays wonderful tricks on the ear.  This EP, which looks great in album cover, is another continued example of that which makes them unique and great to listen to, although a pretty good departure from their earlier records, which we here at Beyond Your Radio hold in very high regard.

As is always the case, it seems, there is heavy, cool collaborations that leads to fine tuned genre switching funk and groove that fits into perfectly tiled songs that share what Stanton Moore is laying down, but the rest of the musicians and vocalists around him takes it into fantastical musical places that only has a slight crime of being an EP.  But, like eating in a New Orleans restaurant, even the smallest of portion can pack the biggest flavored punch as well as satisfy the palette and belly.  In this case, it is the ear that’s licking its lips and your mind is kind of wondering just how this might have all come to be, which is a very cool thing in the music multiverse these days.

The Band

  • Anjelika “Jelly Joseph” – Vocals
  • Stanton Moore – Drums
  • Rob Mercurio – Bass
  • Jeff Raines – Guitar
  • Richard Vogel – Keyboards
  • Ben Ellman – Saxophone, Harmonica
  • Shamarr Allen – Trumpet

Collaborators:

Eric Biddines
Glen David Andrews
Cimafunk 

Tchompitoulas Tracklisting

1 . Big Whiskers
2. Making Cents (Feat. Eric Biddines)
3. Tchompitoulas (Feat. Eric Gordon)
4. Float Up (Feat. Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph)
5. Ready For Me (Feat. Cimafunk & Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph)
6. NY to NOLA (Feat. Glen David Andrews)

 

 

 

Solstein – Solstein

When you have the massive fusion jazz and even progressive rock drumming talents of Keith Carlock (of Steely Dan, as well as, Toto and Sting) there’s probably an ease of which you can form a band, not a question of how to put together a tremendous song palette, but probably just where to throw it down at.  Studio, Live, or maybe a unique location?  Or, apparently a dude ranch (no kidding there). Solstein (Norway – US band) arrives wherever this was done like you’ve landed in a musician’s playground, and we’re fortunately along for the ear-filled ride of an all in, all over the place progressive fusion of mass proportions no matter who has the reigns of this bad boy!  There’s the funk jazz, and the Herbie Hancock keyboard vibe. There’s also some really fine jazz-prog in the mix for those fans of Happy the Man, as well as Steely Dan!  And, there’s even some wilder elements but all against the canvas of fabulous guitar playing, and did we mention those drums! Although, there was a moment where I thought one song might have had programmed drums, but I’ve been told otherwise (just another sign of the greatness of Keith Carlock).

The Band

  • Keith Carlock – Drums
  • Jacob Holm-Lupo – Guitar, Multi-Instrumentalist
  • Stian Larsen – Guitar
  • Brynjar Dambo – Keyboards
  • Bill Bressler – Keyboards, Multi-Instrumentalist

Solstein Tracklisting

1. Intersection (Holm-Lupo/Larsen/Carlock)
2. Oriental Folk Song (Wayne Shorter)
3. Southwester (Holm-Lupo/Carlock/Dambo)
4. The Night Owl (Holm-Lupo/Larsen)
5. Siriusly (Holm-Lupo/Larsen/Carlock/Dambo)
6. February 9th (Holm-Lupo/Larsen)
7. The Creeper (Holm-Lupo/Larsen/Carlock)
8. Hamada (Holm-Lupo/Larsen/Carlock/Bressler)

 

 

 

Royal Thunder – Rebuilding the Mountains

What we have here is a straight up rock band with intense hard rock and an incredible hard blues female vocals that are at the heart of it all, allowing all kinds of passionate playing to swirl about, snarl when needed, startle in subtle brilliant moments, and with a hint of psychedelia — throw down a real rock contender in 2023!  There are areas where you might say it could be a bit of grunge, but I’m really following a vocal delivery here that has the range and power that you rarely associate with grunge.  The threesome is considerably tight in their power and ability to work their hard rock magic in the studio, so it’s a very accessible sound and production quality, as it does feel like they spent some attention to the flow of the songs and the wanting reach of these crafted lyrics, which (after a third listen) are woven well, matching the depth of the melodies, riffs and edgy raw blues range of Miny Parsonz.  What I truly have enjoyed about this band is that they have a real grasp on laying down rock but in mood and layer that’s so gripping yet not slaying or over the top.  They seem to completely grasp that hard doesn’t necessarily have to mean speed, pulse or pounding.  Sometimes the riff can be done subtle, the fading guitar can be as effective as a screaming solo, and the drums can hold or rumble or crush with soul and grit.

This is a first listen for this Atlanta band for me, and they have released CVI (2012), Crooked Doors (2015), and Wick (2017).  This is an example of that statement I keep making that you can’t listen to everything, but damnit I try, but I failed here.  This is very good rock trio, that apparently didn’t start as three but has found considerable comfort in where they were and where they are today.  I have to start rolling back to the other albums because I have a feeling there are all kinds of fantastic!   If you like the voices of Ann Wilson, Janis Joplin even Pat Benatar within a stoner rock blues that has that Zeppelin like range and production that mirrors Shinedown, this should fill your ears immediately…if not sooner!  Here’s hoping that there passion and signature (which very few bands rarely find and embrace) continues so we can see them work this magic live, as well as on albums to come!

Band

  • Mindy Parsonz – Vocals, Bass
  • Josh Weaver – Guitar
  • Evan Diprima – Drums

Rebuilding the Mountain Tracklisting

1. Drag Me
2. The Knife
3. Now Here – No Where
4. Twice
5. Pull
6. Live to Live
7. My Ten
8. Fade
9. The King
10. Dead Star

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 17

This Album Review Saturdays has a band from 1988 that’s really reminded me just how much fight they had and apparently still have in them.  Then I took an unusual, interesting and international detour in the progressive metal-rock scene to explosive ear delights.  Trying to round out the threesome, there was no question that we needed a refresher or vintage, so we head over to the legendary Village Gate in Greenwich Village, New York for a heaping portion of American jazz with two just as legendary!  So, we’ve got grunge-punk, tremendously gifted Polish progression, and a trip into 1961’s Village gate for this our 17th post of 2023 Album Review Saturdays!  Sounds like an interesting threesome.

 

MudhoneyPlastic Eternity

Okay, so it’s been a long while since I had put on a Mudhoney record. It surprises me to be honest with you because of my 90s indulgences, but there was probably a little bit too much punk in their grungy garage. Albums really never held my attention like they should have, but that was probably more on me than on them. The production was always a hint on the intentionally raw in my memory, and this one has that haze (as I call it), too, but it’s just — well there’s just something that I can’t put my ear on, but that “effectiveness,” whether it’s drums or the holding sonic rhythm (if you will), has kept this band in the music multiverse since 1988!

We’re not going to light the vocal lamp on this album, but what we are feeling is that grunge and punk attitude delivered because the lyrics fit so freakin’ well. Oh come on! Cascades of Crap is so well howled against driving sonic guitars that you realize it’s great to be in the cheap seats, and then you go through it again with Severed Dreams in the Sleeper Cell and Human Stock Capital. Dark, moderately angry garage punk lovers unite! Calling all Headstones, Screaming Trees, Tad and The Afghan Whigs followers give this a decent spin, it’s got bite!  Why?  Simple!
It’s not the dog in the fight — it’s the fight in the dog!

The Band

  • Mark Arm – Vocal, Rhythm Guitar
  • Steve Turner – Lead Guitar
  • Guy Maddison – Bassist
  • Dan Peters – Drums, Percussion

Plastic Eternity Tracklisting

  1. “Souvenir of My Trip”
  2. “Almost Everything”
  3. “Cascades of Crap”
  4. “Flush the Fascists”
  5. “Move Under”
  6. “Severed Dreams in the Sleeper Cell”
  7. “Here Comes the Flood”
  8. “Human Stock Capital”
  9. “Tom Herman’s Hermits”
  10. “One or Two”
  11. “Cry Me an Atmospheric River”
  12. “Plasticity”
  13. “Little Dogs”

 

 

AvkrvstThe Approbation

So you’re craving some Polish progressive rock?!  You should be, as the Avkrvst, while they’re lacking a vowel, they are not lacking in anything instrumentally in their rich, deep and completely complex progressive metal-rock extravaganza “The Approbation.”  The only set back here is that opening track entry, but after that they’re on fire with every instrumentalism, twist, turn, shred, and surprise they can muster.  This concept album, which you knew it had to be the minute you’re engaged into the second track is about some bleak soul who is left solely with his thoughts, isolated on a cabin deep into the dark forests, far away from civilization, struggling toward something not so good.  While the vocal is not a prominent weapon of choice here, it is less complex against the rest, so totally befitting to the overall.  There should be no question that in the progressive environment this year they are the absolute favorites of those that enjoy Procupine Tree, Opeth, Dream Theatre, Cynic, and maybe even a little Univers Zero?!

PS:  We linked to the band’s website.  Good luck getting around it, so if you figure it out hit us back!  Otherwise click here for Season of Mist Shop!

 

The Band

  • Martin Utby – composer, drums, synths
  • Simon Bergseth – composer, guitars, bass and vocals
  • Øystein Aadland – bass, keyboards
  • Edvard Seim- guitars
  • Auver Gaaren – keyboards

Approbation Tracklisting

1. “Osterdalen”
2. “The Pale Moon”
3. “Isolation”
4. “The Great White River”
5. “Arcane Clouds”
6. “Anodyne”
7. “The Approbation”

 

John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy – Evenings at the Village Gate Live 1961

What it must have been like to be at the height of the music community surrounding the legendary Village Gate in Greenwich Village in New York City?  Well, if there’s a recording that can capture that via the sound and feel, incredible improvisational depth, love, and intensity for the avant garde jazz maximists of the time, John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy certainly obliged!  This is a completely submersive collection that astoundingly converts 1961 into a you’re there in the moment!  Piss on the fact that during that time Coltrane was getting shit for being “anti-jazz” according to purists, who probably now hail him.  I’m still not sure how it’s even possible, but I don’t care, and you shouldn’t either.  Set aside all, and just revel in it, and just picture as your listening to it all else surrounding you!  While you missed out, like many of us, on the actual lifestyle and times, at least we can be transported into the reality of audio, as it makes us all crave our next trip to that intimate club, right?! The tracklisting, while common, is far from it.

 

The Band

 

Evenings at the Village Gate Live 1961 Tracklist

  1. “My Favorite Things” (Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers)
  2. “When Lights Are Low” (Benny Carter)
  3. “Impressions” (Coltrane)
  4. “Greensleeves” (traditional)
  5. “Africa” (Coltrane)

Sean Watkins On Unknown Sundays Part 1: The Lead In 14-2016

A Little Context for this Two Part – Unknown Sundays from 2016

This Unknown Sundays is part one (The Lead In) of two (The Wonderlands) from our archives back in 2016 that ran back to back Sundays to explain the whole picture as the glorious unknowns that have the wild talent and range to affect all kinds of bands, musicians, and albums in the music multiverse.  Enjoy part one, here, and then we will finish it up next Sunday.  We also apologize that we were unable to post this yesterday, due to our travel schedule with two teenage daughters in a great Lacrosse Tournament this weekend in Ohio.  We’re working on our remote efficiencies and timing…
There is nothing probably “unknown” to most that follow music about the folk band Nickel Creek, or the alternative-contemporary rock band Switchfoot, Fiona Apple, and these other names associated with fantastic recordings; keyboardist Benmont Tench (of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and bassist Sebastian Steinberg (formerly of Soul Coughing). One might think they have absolutely nothing in common, but they do. They know, share, and collaborate with a particular creative singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with several other bands; Fiction Family, Work Progress Administration, and The Watkins Family Hour (not to be confused with something out of Lawrence Welk, I assure you). He is Sean Watkins, and it appears to me through his endless musical biography that he is a desperate collaborator extraordinaire, and emotional soloist that totally gets emerged in the idea of living outside the self-centered creative vacuum.
Need a point of reference to categorize this musician? I’m going to go with Marcus Mumford, as he also shares that multi-instrument collaborative dynamic (as he did on the wonderful New Basement Tapes band, which consisted of the varied talents of Jim James of My Morning Jackets, Elvis Costello, Marcus Taylor Goldsmith of The Dawes, Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops, and even Johnny Depp under the careful ear of legendary T-Bone Burnett). Sean’s contribution started with the mandolin in Nickel Creek’s folk-blue grass sound, and then grew outward to guitar, piano, ukulele, and a Greek form of guitar/mandolin called the bouzouki (pronounced, buzuk-eye–maybe the plural of bubble gum or what you say after someone sneezes while holding a chainsaw).
Sean Watkins has a carefully crafted solo career that seems to gather up the emotions and talents of those around him that either share recording studio time and or local surprise performance stage time (enter the likes of Fiona Apple, Benmont Tench and Sebastian Steinberg who frequent the Largo Nightclub in Los Angeles with him). Let It Fall in 2001 was his technical blue grass pluckin’ debut that will certainly astound in the variety of tempo, emotion, and deep instrumental areas of delivery close to Nickel Creek with an Oh Brother Where Art Thou background. Blinders On from 2006 moves completely away from blue grass to a country-alternative–pop blend that begins to speak in volume and volumes of the other collaborative influences. “Happy New Year” being the most diverse track, which really deserves that four minute listen to grasp the variety and reach of Sean’s ear. There is plenty of excellent diversions and provocative balance on Blinders On to make a believer out of any music lover, and that would have to do until 2014’s All I Do Is Lie. The return to the folk sound with a huge hitting slice of Americana in triumphs and tribulations, like “The God You Serve” carefully placed deep into the album’s flow. Which brings us up to date with the new release What to Fear, and the razor sharp opening title song, which gets you ready for his lyrical ability to ensnare characters, wrestle with realities and tread lightly the trampled soulfulness of life’s journeys from different people and angles (as Sean has the keen ability to draw empathy instead of always bearing his own soul, which is the very craft of great writing, in my humble opinion).
There’s an endless amount of catalog on an ongoing career from his solo albums, to Nickel Creek, as well as others you should check out; Mutual Admiration Society (with Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket), Work Progress Administration, Fiction Family (which is Sean’s collaboration with Switchfoot’s frontman, Jon Foreman), and the crazy variety of styles from folk to jazz and blues in The Watkins Family Hour. As it states in the very opening of the video from Sean’s title track, “Are you ready for what comes next?” I’m now going to be anticipating that’s for sure.
Which leads us to why this is Part I: The Lead In. So it starts with Sean Watkins’ new release, which then connected me to all those bands listed above–especially, Fiction Family. So, next week, we are going to explore the “unknown” of Jon Foreman of Switchfoot in Part II: The Wonderlands. Until then…”What to Fear?”
SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

Sean Watkins Albums in my collection:   What To Fear (2016)  WPA (2009)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on April 3, 2016, which is the last time Sean Watkins has had a solo record.  That’s not surprising considering the Watkins Family Hour realeases in 2020 and 2022, an album “This is Who We Are” with the Bee Eaters, as well as Nickel Creek’s recent release “Celebrants” (2023), as well as the touring and Pandemic.  There’s a lot of folk-rock or alternative-folk music to explore in the various rabbit holes of Mr. Watkins.  I haven’t even explored half of it yet, so help me out okay?  – Mark Kuligowski  [July 9th 2023]

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 16

Well, let me first thank the crew at Midas in Wilmington, Delaware [Reese, Mark and crew] for fixing my bad thermostats otherwise this Album Review Saturdays would probably not go off in time!  We talked music for just about the entire time that I was there waiting for them to work their auto mechanic magic on my otherwise unreliable vehicle.  Speaking about new music, as Reese was a very interested party, since he produces and DJ(s), let me tell you a few of new albums that I talked about! We got one the howls the darker blues to takes us (well me) on my first journey with them; we got a band of “the cloth” (wink) that have a thunderously catchy presence, and an always avant garde solo artist that over the last few albums has shimmered in exquisite production accomplishments with her newest being right in that harder listen wheelhouse that always pays off!  Let’s take a ride!  After all, that’s why I got my car fixed — gotta get back out there and put the rubber to the road!  So put you ear to headphones – here we go, again!

Click here for our YouTube Channel “Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 16” which features discussion on these albums, as well as additional album reviews not in this article.

High Priest – Invocation

This cover, their name (and of course it’s of a high nature for a reason), the album title are all clear indications that you’re going to be blasted with some very heavy rock, doom or psychedelia, and the only thing you might not have expected is just how intense the delivery is here.  Don’t worry — it’s a damn good thing, as they put the pedal to the guitars, the drums, vocals and anything else in the studio, which one can assume is a Vatican wall of amplifiers!  High Priest not only have the production chops on this record from start to finish, it’s also extremely rifftastic against the fierce stoner-doom rhythms that bring this album so wickedly close to a sense of easy accessibility.  That’s a lie, somewhat, because if you’re not in this realm often — you might easily dismiss, but you definitely should not!  This record is deeper and deeper than you can imagine and each listen reveals true craftsmanship in pushing doom heavy rock into a space that’s inviting without losing any edge or vigor!  If you love Earthless, Hail the Void and Black Sabbath you’re going to want to douse yourself in this unholy water!  You may also want to consider them for 2023’s best 23 albums, I know I am!

The Band
  • John Regan – Guitarist
  • Justin Valentino – Vocals and Bass
  • Dan Polak – Drums
  • Pete Grossman – Guitars

 

Invocation Track Listing
  1. Invocation
  2. Divinity
  3. Ceremony
  4. Cosmic Key
  5. Down In The Dark
  6. Universe
  7. Conjure
  8. Heaven

 

 

King Howl – Homecoming

Okay, so now we’re going to enter a heavy doser of the blues, but it’s going to be shocked with older style play, wonderful slide guitar and not so common harmonic accompaniment that’s going to showcase one of today’s way better blues experiments in the music multiverse, King Howl.  Hey, great freakin’ band name!  About time someone nailed their signature sound and their name in one awesome swoop.  Love that they are from Cagliari, Sardinia (no not Calgary Alberta).  The greatest thing about this band on my first ever listen is that there’s a common place to start where you’re safe and then that kind of ends and the vocalist, the harmonica and even slide guitar take over in the most impressive and demandingly original way!  If St. Anger was a blues record that tilted into heavy stoner doom rock – this is one that teeters into that brink!  It’s delightful and spiteful, demanding your attention.  It’s a glorious all-kind-of heavy blues ride and complete story that never leaves you thinking, “well that was a little common.”  Trust me, even the lyrics and the pronunciation (ie: From the Cradle) are impeccably done to drive home every single inch of blues.  I really have to hand it to these guys, working in such a way and genre and truly and honestly making a hard hitting, darker blues album that still feels, acts, and spits the blues but also with some psychedlia and stoner amplifications!  They even manage to pull off an interesting cover of The Rolling Stones and end the record at ‘Home’ where you kind of wonder – how did we really get here?  Such an interesting pay off!  “Homecoming” is more than that, they make it into a reckoning with hope in mind but with smashingly excellent reality in lyrics, vocals, and production no matter what the scope of the track is!  This is another year end contender for top 23 albums of 2023.

The Band
  • Diego Pani – Vocals, Harmonica
  • Marco Antagonista – Guitars
  • Ale Cau – Bass
  • Aggeo Solinas – Drums
Homecoming Track Listing
  1. The Rooster
  2. From the Cradle
  3. The Train
  4. John Henry Days
  5. Motorsound
  6. Slowly Coming Down
  7. Tempted
  8. Jupiter
  9. The Great Blue Heron
  10. Gimme Shelter [The Rolling Stones]
  11. Home

 

 

P J HarveyI Inside the Old Year Dying

Ms. Harvey has been fantastic at this kind of record mostly her entire career, and that’s even when she was writing deliberately eerie radio hit songs at the probably request of record label.  “I Inside the Old Year Dying” must be a reference and a record built around the effects, thought process, and pure avant garde emotion from her book of poetry, Orlam.  The poems are in native tongue from what I read, and since the songs on this album have a hint of that, and Ms Harvey doesn’t exactly sound exactly like herself, I’m going to stick with that theory.  In fact I’m going to think it might be purposefully done vocally.  Hell, I’m not going to even attempt to site anything, as now with three listens into this record through devoted, noise cancelling ear buds, I’m still trying to reckon and grapple with the lyrics.  But, I am, as always, amazed by her production quality and the masterful sounds and instrumentations (which she is proably responsible for over 80% of I’m sure) that are so background deep in this record that there’s a faint drum tap that almost songs like it’s in a distance that could never have possibly even been recorded. I’m not going to tell you where because it’s something you should experience on your own — once you realize it’s not some ambient surrounding sound from you, your car, or anything around you.

I have always appreciated P J Harvey’s career, her indie place in music, and her ability to envelope guest appearances or co-writers into her catalog within or far from her wheelhouse.  This album is definitely more her, as it has a lot of her heritage within (and as I looked up is primarily about the poems she produced).  While John Parish continues this collaboration, Ms. Harvey is the sure star here and for more than good reason, but the other co-star is the production and musicianship chosen to surround her!  This soundscape has polish, unmatching depth, and a very creative way of approaching foreground and background, teasing ambient, and of course adding momentum and creative whim-like bridges.  P J Harvey fans will be struck by it, and we’re all going to pay closer attention, listen harder, and really absorb it to experience it — but most of us knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as “To Bring You My Love” – not that that’s a bad thing by any means!  P J Harvey is still in a class all her own, and she’s not only comfortable there, but extremely provocatively creative with perhaps a hint more toward the subtle aspects instead of bombasticism (probably not a word). A challengingly good listen that I’m looking forward to diving back into, as well as hearing how it might play out live.  She’s still the post punk, if you will.  But, she has definitely pushed the boundaries in every direction of that marking.  She is a one-of-a-kind artist on so many levels that she should be mandatory listening for anyone in music studies.

The Band
  • P J Harvey – Vocals and more than likely all instruments.
  • John Parish – Guitar
  • Flood – Producer
I Inside the Old Year Dying Track Listing
  1. Prayer at the Gate
  2. Autumn Term
  3. Lwonesome Tonight
  4. Seem an I
  5. The Nether-edge
  6. I Inside the Old Year Dying
  7. All Souls
  8. A Child’s Question, August
  9. I Inside the Old I Dying
  10. August
  11. A Child’s Question, July
  12. A Noiseless Noise

 

Canada Day & 4th of July Private Party on Unknown Sundays

On this the weekend of both Canada Day and the 4th of July (please recall that this was back in 2016), North America as a whole is celebrating with all kinds of music, fireworks, food and beverages. So, I thought I would pick a cross-border line up of virtually “unknowns” from Canada and the United States. Two that are just ramping up, and two that I’m still waiting anxiously for a triumphant, unsuspected reunion of.  A different kind of line up that would have been a lot of fun. Ready for my “Unknown” Private Party!?
Kicking off the show let’s raise some hell! No better way to start it off, and Dorothy, from California has the chops and attention of hell raising, back from the deadness quick-school rock. This is your female lead with Black Keys like attention to detail, and a dedicated crew to pull it off. Rockisdead is a juggernaut and these are openers you want, and that people will remember, like they did Shirley Manson of Garbage. Dorothy Martin personifies a personality that has been missing from American Rock, and it’s not only refreshing–it’s in your face–where it should be! Yes, the Prettyreckless have some competition or admirers–and you shouldn’t care–in fact–I would double book them! Check out “After Midnight” to get a good feel– After Midnight Video — I assure you you will understand the booking note!
Let’s start off the Canadian portion of our program with the band, July Talk! After all it’s July, right! And, they fit the sound and delivery we’re looking for–and the “then some” we have come to expect from Canadian performances! With “Push + Pull” generating so much alternative radio buzz in Canada, and the dueling vocal combat ready dance-pop and Jon Waite raspy growling, July Talk is a band sure to get the crowd mixed into the concept of Ying and Yang, Canada-United States intermingling appreciation for all walks of life and musical interpretation. Check them out!  You will understand where I’m coming from and the locomotive cross-border path they’re most likely on (again, this was back in 2016)!
Okay, it’s time for some throwback-garage blues and funk! Sugartooth. You’re like–who? Let’s pretend you had early Soundgarden in an airplane crash with a bus load of blues guitarist, and a Rage Against the Machine production engineer. Too much carnage, I know! This is one band from California that a lot of us “garage rock appreciators” have never understood how they just faded from radio play. The insanity of riffing, rocking, and rhythm was spot on, and unique and inventive from track to track. “Sold My Fortune” kicked off their me-too sound from 90’s but it was “Booty Street” and “Club Foot” that should have put fannies shaking above rock venue seats for years to come. But, somehow even with David Geffen signing them–the band ended shortly after. Their self-titled debut and The Sounds of Solid are worth the listen or download to hear why it all left such a alt-rock funky impression.
No sense, in my opinion, to take it down any notch! One of my beloved Canadian bands that alas fell to a similar fate as Sugartooth, needs to be there for the sex-driven, inappropriate non-apologetic soul-funk, alt-rock spasm that can get everyone to that fever pitch! Ready?! Bootsauce! The Brown Album continues to be one my favorite Canadian under-rated albums of all time. I compare it’s lively funk and spirit of creativity beyond the compartmentalized music of that time, to De La Soul’s bombastic 3 Feet High & Rising(although not hip-hop, obviously) in scope and relentless pursuits of a unique sound and love. It’s sexy, feel good, romping worthy of a headliner’s opening act. I can just feel them opening their set with the phone message machine “13th Psalm” from the follow up album, Bull, and them plunging into “Scratching the Whole,” “Catastrophe Seas,” “Sex Marine,” “Love Monkey #9,” and then slowing it down for “Payment Time” and “Play with Me” before bass riffing into more–until climaxing with “Masterstroke,” “Big Bad and Groovy,” “Hold Tight” and “Everyone’s A Winner.”
Now, let’s end this before it’s too late for fireworks!
PS: I can’t afford fireworks, so hopefully the bands come back on and play a set all together!
SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

July Talk Albums in my collection:   Touch (2016)  Pray For It (2020)
Dorothy Albums in my collection:   Gifts from the Holy Ghost (2022)  28 Days In the Valley (2018)  Rock Is Dead (2016)
Sugartooth Albums in my collection:   Sounds of Solid (1996)  Self-Titled (1994)
Bootsauce Albums in my collection:   Bootsauce (1994)  Sleeping Bootie (1993)  Bull (1992)  The Brown Album (1990)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on July 3rd, 2016, and I was certainly all in for going to concerts during this time of the year, especially when they were doing things called “Friendship Festivals” between the borders at certain venues showcasing a lot of great Canadian acts.  Those days are long gone, but the cross border musical relationship still continues, and while Bootsauce continues to be broken up with no return in sight, Dorothy and July Talk have made considerable markings on the music world (Dorothy made our top 22 of 2022)!  Now here’s the real shocker — and if I would not have done this, I would not have realized there’s a new album from Sugartooth!  What!?  I was linking to their site — thinking, eh, there won’t be one, and low and behold the site was live.  Heading – NEW ALBUM, Volume 3!  Thank you Canada Day and 4th of July!  – Mark Kuligowski  [July 2nd 2023]

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 15

It’s a very special Album Review Saturdays!  We are big Canadian music fans here at Beyond Your Radio, as is plenty obvious to those watching us and hearing the mix of Canadian bands and artists tossed into our lists, conversations, and general love!  We’ve seen a lot of these bands, as we benefit from being right over the border, Buffalo, New York (a lovely testing ground for Canadian musicians to dip their toes in the potential for the US marketplace.  There’s no question that we’re either charmed by their super-nice ways, or that maybe — just maybe, we’re the key audiologists that can determine the genuine early potential for budding bands and starving socialist musicians (relax, I’m just kidding).  To mention just a few red maple leaf loving bands and artists we’ve seen in small clubs with just a few people; Dayna Manning, Holly McNarland, Finger Eleven, Big Wreck, Our Lady Peace, Junkhouse, Copyright, Colin James, Kim Mitchell, Andy Curran, Default, The Trews, The Arkells, The Tragically Hip, The Headstones, The Morganfields, Elliott Brood, Glueleg, and Moist.

Today’s two albums, are both from long time Canadian musicians that have traversed the music multiverse and have not only lived to tell the tale but to have enough gusto to shake it up and roll the dice with some changes to their sound.  One changed their entire classics into a bluegrass nature and added a couple new tracks to remind us how their indie alternative coolness still has a that catchy sound.  The other, has returned from a twenty plus year mysterious hiatus with a new jacked up, cocky delivery to showcase against her beloved soul and blues pop delivery that was more than all the rage back in the early 90(s)!  All in all it’s Canada Day, and we wanted to celebrate these two new releases, and if you watch our video version I’m also going to lay down 10 albums that are truly remarkable, relatively maybe unknown in the US markeplace, so please click link below for extended coverage!

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 15 Canada Day Special You Tube

The Northern PikesTime To Time

Is this a good starting point for you, you who doesn’t really know this band. I would have to say, “no.” However, I’m comfortable with sharing this with you anyway. Why? The album utilizes a style and picking that uniquely modifies the alternative 90(s) indie-ish swagger this band possessed while still maintaining the engaging and satisfaction of the lyrics and quirkiness the band is known in Canada for.  I thoroughly enjoyed the hits being given a new signature sound, so far removed from the originality, as well as the flow and production details.  It reminded me of a similar record from The Headstones, One In the Chamber.  The additional new songs fit wonderfully into the final three tracks, giving us ‘Northern Pikers’ a full album with a lot to sink our ears into. Should you go back and listen to the album “Snow In June” — damn straight you should!  The 1990 album was alternative rock light hit!  Another spotlight of that year in Canadian music, showcasing a plethora of unique and talented acts utilizing their musical gifts in a variety of tones and music genre bending that was alternatively Canadian.

 

The Band
  • Jay Semko – Vocals and Bass
  • Bryan Potvin – Vocals and Guitars
  • Don Schmid – Drums
  • Kevin Kane -Vocals and Guitars, Mandolin, Banjo

 

Time To Time Track Listing
  1. Dream Away [acoustic]
  2. Love These Hands [acoustic]
  3. Kiss Me You Fool [acoustic]
  4. Green Fields [acoustic]
  5. Girl With A Problem [acoustic]
  6. Snow In June [acoustic]
  7. Only A Lover’s Dream [New Song]
  8. The Things You Saw In Me [New Song]
  9. Taken [New Song]

 

 

 

Amanda MarshallHeavy Lifting

It’s been 23 years since we’ve heard much from the powerhouse female that shook the blues/pop-soul radio waves of Canada and some in the United States (having opened for Whitney Houston at one point), and after some sort of whatever departure, freedom, and legal issues with former manager, she’s emerged with this new release.  I saw Ms. Marshall at The Great Canadian Party (yep, that was Canada Day back in 1992), and the small framed, long curly-haired who was 19 at the time (so was I and my wife) delivered her set like some veteran bluesy soul singer, commanding her mic, and emotionally sucking in every song and the audience along with it.  She’s slaying it, track by track for years and two follow up records later, leaning hard on her voice and giving it her all from the production to lyrical design leading up to an acapella song (Inside the Tornado) as awesome as the likes of Tracy Chapman and Tori Amos in the modern rock world.

Heavy Lifting, while a good title, considering the years between and coming to grips in a two decade change in music, does not deliver the Amanda Marshall that I was expecting.  Don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting the past, which might have been a better option in my opinion, but her vocal powerhouse is reduced to clever tracking, poor lyrical choices that confuse the sincerity or intentions of the song(s).  She such a soulful blues singer with a pop edge, and she can make that adult contemporary lyric real, beautiful and outstandingly textured and bent to her vocal will. While I can hear the power and familiar range and reach, I’m stopped dead in my ears on lines “I hope she cheats on you with a Basketball playa,” “is that your dog he wants a bone” — blah blah blah… “followed me home.” And it get’s worse, as she sincerely delivers “I’m ain’t the dog catcher.”  Wasted rhythm and groove on poor comparison for my music aged years, or is it that I’m just caught off guard?  So I listen on.

‘I’m Not Drunk’ then moves into a speak and singing style, which has me really struggling three songs in, and needing some sort of recovery plan soon, which I’m expect to come.  No such luck as the next song makes reference to “where God split ya.” [yikes].  If you want to depart to fun cocky humor altered blues-soul-pop with a vocal talent that’s suppressing her extra-powerful, emotional God given talent to “just have some fun,” then this is your record!   The band is doing what’s been designed, following a standard music blue print without any type engaging bridge or solos.  For me, this is the Amanda Marshall now, and “I don’t feel so good” about it because it kind of seems disrespectful to her own history and catalog musically and lyrically, and has sucked the soul out of her vocal powerhouse she still embodies, as I’m sure the live sets will accomplish (‘Rainbows and Gasoline,’ ‘Halfway Love,’ and even ‘God Forbid’ will probably fit nicely into historic pieces). The past is golden to the ear, the future is a… “heavy lift” for mine, unfortunately, but I know there’s going to be an audience that will dig it and possibly bring them to her history and find the glories and treasures that put her on the music map.

Heavy Lifting Track Listing
  1. I Hope She Cheats
  2. Dawgcatcher
  3. I’m Not Drunk
  4. I Built This House
  5. Rainbow In Gasoline
  6. God Forbid
  7. Not A Love Song
  8. Half Way Love
  9. Serves You Right
  10. Special
  11. Honest

 

Music Bites Rhythm of the Saints by Paul Simon

Paul Simon and I have had a torrent love affair since I first heard him with the infamous Garfunkel.  His 50 plus years of performing has taken him down many roads.  From pop to soft rock, ballads and southern funk.  He always tried to add an international flair in his songs and style.  This particular album, Rhythm of the Saints from 1990 was hand picked by the creator of Beyond You Radio, Mark Kuligowsk to challenge me.  Little did he know that I love this album with its catchy style and upbeat rhythm that has both African, southern and Latin overtones.  From the spunky “Obvious Child” to the middle’s “Further to Fly” and “Born at the Right Time” to closing title track, the album is a percussive masterpiece along with timely, affectionate and compassionate lyrics that sway magically and flawlessly throughout Simon’s soundscape.  The menu is exactly like that, an upbeat taste with African, southern and Latin vibes. A Perfect meal for a lazy summer evening!  Enjoy this with a fine IPA and you and Paul will be having a mighty fine time!

Chef Jeff [Jeffry Johnson]

 

 

SOUTHERN SHRIMP SALAD

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cooked large Shrimp
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1/4 cup Onion finely diced
  • 1 medium avocado diced
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 red Jalapeño minced
  • Pinch Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red Chili flakes
  • 1 tsp Tabasco

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients above in large bowl
  • Stir to combine well
  • Refrigerate 2-3 hours
  • Serve on a bed of lettuce

AFRICAN CHICKEN PEANUT STEW

Ingredients Sauce

  • 1 – 56 oz canned whole tomatoes ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions for Sauce

  • Combine all the above in blender, whirl at high speed till very smooth

Ingredients for Chicken Base

  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 lb diced chicken breast
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced into cubes
  • 2 cups frozen spinach thawed and wrong out,

Instructions

  • Add oil and onions to large fry pan cook till translucent
  • Add garlic and ginger
  • Continue to cook 2-3 minutes
  • Add peanut butter + stock
  • Simmer for 10 minutes
  • Add chicken simmer for 5 minutes.

Finalizing to Slow Cooker

  • In a large 5-7 qt slow cooker combine sauce and chicken mixture
  • Stir and add spinach and sweet potatoes
  • Set slow cooker for 6 hours and low heat
  • Cook 3 hours stir
  • Cook another 3 hours
  • Serve over Rice

 

SAINTLY CRANBERRY CHEESECAKE BARS

Ingredients Cheesecake Filling

  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • ¾ c sugar
  • ¼ c sour cream

Instructions Cheesecake Filling

  • In mixing bowl with electric mixer beat cream cheese and sugar till light and fluffy
  • Add eggs one at a time till well combined
  • Under low speed add sour cream, corn starch, salt and vanilla

Ingredients for Cranberry Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Instructions for Cranberry Sauce

  • Heat a 2qt pan over medium heat
  • Add orange juice, sugar, cinnamon and salt
  • Cook till cranberry’s are soft and mushy and fairly thick

Ingredients for Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups Crushed Graham Crackers
  • 5 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions for Graham Cracker Crust

  • Place all of the above in a food processor till well combined
  • Spray a 9 x 13 glass pan with non stick spray
  • Dump in cracker mixture
  • With your hands pat out mixture till a thin uniform crust is formed.
  • Bake at 325 for 10 min
  • Pull out of oven and cool

Assembly Instructions

  • Pour cheesecake mixture into glass pan over crust
  • Using a spatula spread mixture evenly crust
  • Dollop 1/2 of cranberry mixture over filling and using a small knife swirl the cranberry into cheesecake
  • Dollop the rest over the cheesecake – don’t stir in
  • Bake at 300 approx 40 minutes
  • Allow to cool
  • Refrigerator at least 4-6 hours
  • Cut in squares and serve