“Dee Jay Applebee”

“…imagine my pleased perspective when, while chillin’ at my newest Applebee’s location, a DJ party erupted!”

I am an Applebee’s finder and pretty much love the 38 year-old casual dining franchise chain.

In the several states my radio DJ career took me and since, I always found a friendly Applebee’s Bar and Grill restaurant as my initial watering hole to settle my world and meet new locals, while I got the “lay of the land”.

So, imagine my pleased perspective when, while chillin’ at my newest Apples location, a DJ party erupted! They didn’t move the furniture or rearrange the booths, as a real, live selector set up and began to rock the house!  He calls himself DJ Marc J and I empathize with him taking his blends seriously and using a small variety of today’s DJ tools.  There were only a couple of guys who were dancing in the isles, most just head noddin’, boppin’ to the beats from their seats while sippin’ and kickin’ convo.

Marc J I

Marc J mixes a musical cocktail of uptempo jams.  From R&B remixes to reggaeton, club, pumpin Pop, techno, electronica, hip-hop (without all the cursing and n-words, by the way), with a splash of Chutney Soca, Afro-beat, Reggae Fusion, southern soul, jazzy juice and dance-Pop.  Marc J II

Kudos to this Richmond, Virginia Applebee’s management for always having a nice classic soul, R&B mix playing in-general on the “Muzak” system, friendly waitstaff, bartenders and in-particular for featuring a live disc jockey on Thursday nights!

Marc J IV

 

It was “eatin’ good in the neighborhood, 2.0″   and as a fellow Selector for over forty years, I feel qualified to rate DJ Marc J: The night I listened to him, he was blending perfectly, although I would like to see him mix vinyl, talk on the mic a little bit and run a dance floor club, but at “Club Applebee’s on Laburnum” that night overall, he earned 4.5 stars! download

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pickhit: remember to swing over to my mothership blog for all things mostly not about music, http://www.achilliad.wordpress.com – now going on ten years of blogging this month!

As my years pass, this song stops by sometime for perspective.

“As mortality creeps and years pass, sometimes my jukebox DJ mind plays the last four lines of this theme…”

[With Credit to Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and genius.com]

There was once [circa 1971] a popular Broadway show called, “Fiddler on the Roof” whose most famous song, “Sunrise, Sunset”.  It took place during the wedding of  characters Tzeitel (Tevye and Golde’s daughter) and her childhood friend and tailor, Motel. The whole Jewish community of Anatevka celebrates with them, and everyone watches as the couple have the ceremony.

The first half of the song has Tevye and Golde as they wonder how time flies, whilst the second half has Hodel – Tevye and Golde’s second daughter – and Perchik wonder about their own future, hopefully together.

A beautiful and melodic musical number, “Sunrise, Sunset” encompasses many of the important themes of Fiddler on the Roof: community, religion, time, tradition, family, and, of course, love.  As mortality creeps upon moments and years passing, sometimes my jukebox DJ mind plays the last four lines of this theme.

 

[TEVYE]
“Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?[GOLDE]
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?[TEVYE]
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?[GOLDE]
Wasn’t it yesterday when they
Were small?[MEN]
Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze[WOMEN]
Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears[TEVYE]
What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?[GOLDE]
Now they must learn from one another
Day by day

[PERCHIK]
They look so natural together

[HODEL]
Just like two newlyweds should be

[PERCHIK, HODEL]
Is there a canopy in store for me?

[ALL]
Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

(and here is my favorite lyric because it is relevant, the older we get.)

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears”

[Please be sure to hop on over the my Mothership blog http://www.achilliad.wordpress.com and see what’s hot.]

“Gimme That Wine” (I found this bottle, what kind?)

When I heard this little ditty that I’d never heard previously today on Russian radio, Davidzon WSNR 620AM http://www.davidzonradio.com/    on my way to work, I lol as a wine connoisseur.   I thought it was by some old black American blues dude, until I looked it up on youtube!

My wife got tired of me runnin ’round
So she tried to keep me home
Well, she broke my nose and hid my clothes
But I continued to roam
Then she finally hit my weak spot
Threatened to throw my bottle out
Well, from the basement to the rooftop
Everybody could hear me shout…

Chorus: Gimme that wine (Unhand that bottle) (3 times)
‘Cause I can’t cut loose without my juice
Gotta have hot lucy when I go walkin’ y’know

Well, one day while crossin’ the avenue
A big car knocked me down
While I was stretched out tyin’ up traffic
And crowds came from blocks around
Now the po-lice were searchin’ my pockets
Before they sent me to the funeral parlor
But when one o’ those cops took my bottle
Jack, I jumped straight up
And commenced to holler

Chorus: Gimme that wine (Unhand that bottle) (3 times)
‘Cause I can’t get well without Muscatel
I only drink for medicinal purposes anyway

Well, now, one real dark and dreary night
As I was staggerin’ home to bed
Well, a bandit jumped from the shadows
And put a blackjack ‘side my head
That cat took my watch, my ring, my money
And I didn’t make a sound
But when he reached an’ got my bottle
You could hear me for blocks around

Chorus: Gimme that wine (Unhand that bottle) (3 times)
Beat my head outta shape, but leave my grape
Watch, ring and money ain’t nothin’ but don mess with my wine, Jim

Well one day my house caught fire
While I was layin’ down sleepin’ off a nap
An’ when I woke up everything was burnin’
With a pop an’ a crackle an’ a snap
Now the fireman chopped up my TV set
And tore my apartment apart
But when he raised his axe to my bottle
I screamed with all my heart…

Chorus: Gimme that wine (Unhand that bottle) (3 times)
So I can drink one toast before I roast
No sense goin’ out half baked, Might as well be Alll tore up

You can take all those Hollywood glamor girls
Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth Bridget Bardot, an’ Lucille Ball
And all them chicks ‘n line ’em upside the wall
Put a gigantic jug beside ’em
Tell me to take my choice
Well, there’d be no doubt which one I chose
The minute I raised my voice

Chorus: Gimme that wine (Unhand that bottle) (3 times)
Well those chicks look fine, but I love my wine

Now some folks like money
Some like to dance and dine
But I’ll be happy
If you give me that wine
Gimme that wine (unhand that bottle)”

I laughed out loud several times and vowed to find it.  From the CBS Collection of Jazz Masterpieces, several of the vinyl albums of which are in my library, you gotta get this one!   Impromptu and spontaneous props.

Southern Halo, the sequel: “Just Like In The Movies”

 

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The sister trio who I wrote about in 2016, Southern Halo [Southern Halo Music] , is back with their sophomore effort, “Just Like In The Movies”.   Sibling in-unison harmonies fall into the southern rock, indie and country pop categories, .

Flying high on stages and in-studio, the trio consists of Natalia {“Nata”) on guitar/lead vocals, Hannah on bass and  “Tinka” who really bangs-out the beat on those drums –She is hard workin‘! (Reminds me of  the late John “Jabo” Starks of the James Brown’s band! lol)

All of the lyrics are interesting, true-to-life and written against the prism of them having grown up in Mississippi, while listening to blues, rock and country stylings, which has translated into an initial regional appeal-gone-slightly international.  This is especially accurate on “Anything Is Possible”, which was the first single released.

For best songs, “Tom Girl” is recommended because of its movin’ tempo; if only it had a fade ending like the only cut which does, “Notice Me”, also a standout. Cold endings mostly leave me…”cold”.

Eldest lead sister, Natalia Morris says of the recording, “the most important thing is that it’s a concept album. All of these songs are like pieces of a puzzle that all fit together”. That concept is their fantasy world, born of a dream that they have a successful and long musical career, which may happen, “Just Like In The Movies” has fourteen songs and there is even a title song to go with their “Southern Halo” theme on track one.

I prefer to listen to a couple of these tunes out of the total context for best enjoyment – otherwise it became a bit trite.

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Personally, their sound is not my cup of tea but I appreciate their family-affair effort, which isn’t always easy in life.  Their sound doesn’t groove with my multi-format disc jockey mind – and I dig a lot of country and blues music – it may be that it is too lovely, and I like “bad” girls. Or maybe this is more the “musical” genre of stage.   Regardless, their “movie” is “G”-rated and I prefer at least a “PG’ or an “R”.  My inner “Siskel and Ebert” likes more drama in its cinema and rates the “movie” with two-and-a-half stars. TWO-AND-A-HALF-rating

Having said that, they will likely be the next number one sensation, lol

 

 

 

[Check out my Mothership blog for book reviews and other commentary/random bachelor diary notes and more at https://achilliad.wordpress.com/  ]

 

“Lets Give Them Something To Talk About…”

“…Bonnie Raitt impresses me as a veteran who knows a thing or two, and who music industry types cannot put “something over” on. ..”

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Out of the blue, or maybe her red hair (now with a white streak!), my jukebox-like mind selected this classic 1992 Bonnie Raitt jam on this cold, winter’s night, to keep me warm. I had to write the title down on a sticky because I knew I wanted to blog it here, as my first Grammy winning recording artist revisit post of 2018.  I like this song! It smacks of keeping things going and controversy.  Maybe I’ve played it during my early Top 40 radio DJ days on an overnight stint or two, but it didn’t phase me as much as it does now.  Music is peculiar like that. Like when suddenly, you recognize the words to a favorite song you’ve heard and mumbled through thousands of times!

A cute redhead in tight blue jeans passed me as I was leaving Publix supermarket this afternoon. Her back was to me, pursuing a shopping cart, when I said softly, “Bonnie Raitt”. She caught it; turned and smiled at me.  Maybe I should have taken it further than just a return smile.  Seems like I’m trying to “get lucky” at Publix these days.  Hmmm.  Maybe I can give them workers there somethin’ to talk about, like a love connection! I digress…

In the video below, you can enjoy this confident and talented woman who crosses musical genres like a New York City pedestrian crosses the street.  I didn’t know that she had a guitar named after her, and is the first female guitarist to have received that honor (Fender)! Major props.

Bonnie Raitt impresses me as a veteran who knows a thing or two, and who music industry types cannot put “something over” on.  She’s got that “look” in her eye.  A rock and Roll Hall of Famer, she also reminds me of my musical acquaintance, Janey Street, who also plays guitar.

I would love to interview her and apply my two score in radio as a DJ to a future review.

 

Check her cool website out! https://www.bonnieraitt.com/

Please add your impressions on Bonnie in “comments”. Happy New Year 2018!

Fave Recording Artists Who Passed in 2017

eight_col_2017_RIP

 

The thing about when musicians, singers and recording artists pass away to join that grand band in the heavens is, we mortals left behind can continue to hear them on our vinyl, CD, tape or virtually forever.

Having said that, the following are my notables who I will miss seeing “live” as they left the physical world in two-thousand and seventeen:

 

Chuck Berry – the rock and roll pioneer who I blogged about on the Mothership, www.achilliad.wordpress.com right after it happened.

Fats Domino – American blues pioneer and legend

Al Jarreau – not a personal favorite (his style distracted me) but he was widely popular and always a good request to play on my early Top 40 radio shows.

Mel Tillis – The Country music legend

Gregg Allman – backbone of The Allman Brothers, one of my best rock bands of all times

J. (Warren) Geils, Jr. – of the J. Geils Band, another fantastic rock group.

Tom Petty – What can I say about this favorite who was introduced to me during my early years as a Top 40 radio DJ; Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  The first record I played by them on WFTQ AM, Worcester, Massachusetts was “Don’t Do Me Like That”, followed by the classic, “Refugee”.  Sad irony is that he died during the same hours of that tragic and horrific Las Vegas concert massacre on October 1st.

Joni Sledge – I think the oldest of the hit family group, Sister Sledge (Atlantic Records), one of my all-time favorite female aggregation. In spite of the commercial success and longevity of “We Are Family”, my favorite Sister Sledge songs are the ballad, “How Can I Believe”? and the Chic-produced (Nile Rogers, et al) “Lost In Music”.

Cuba Gooding, Sr. – Last, but not least on this list, best known as the lead singer of the R&B smash hit group, The Main Ingredient.  After I first interviewed him at Manhattan’s Sweetwater’s, he became a friend and hang-out partner at bars and after-hours clubs we frequented back in the 1980s and 1990s. I will write more extensively about him here, once I am reunited with my music library collection.  We have “stories”!  A great guy who I am saddened to learned died where he did. ‘Nuff said 4 now.

 

This is not, by any means, the whole list, but just a few who came to my jukebox-like mind yesterday, New year’s Eve.  Who are your favorite performers who we lost in 2017?  Tell us in “comments”, please.

Happy Musikal New Year, from KratesfullO’Jointz Musik!

Janey Street, “In My Own Skin”

“Janey doesn’t look especially happy on this album cover.  Ummm… So I think I will get under her “skin” to find our why.  Oh!  A musical album again!!

Nashville, Tennessee – August 31, 2017 Naphtali Jimi – Freelance Writer

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Ok, gang…“let’s listen!…”

This twenty-seventeen summer was not a bummer because Janey “Blues” Street dropped some coolness from within, on an album entitled, “In My Own Skin”.  Fresh off her award-winning tour and being voted LA Music Critic’s award “Best Rock, Best CD and an Icon Award in Hollywood, Smooth and easy Janey unabashedly continues to croon and apply a tender touch to her guitar, like she always does, with this fresh set about life, love, sex and music.  I have listened to this CD often during my car travels this summer and apologize for the late write-up, which, however,  is just in time for some introspective, romantic, Autumn leaves listening. Its never too late for nice music.

Janey Street’s latest album is like when you visit a friend’ house to grill and chill many a tasty feast, from seafood to tasty meats.  With just the right spice, a beverage and deep flavors, you will know that Ms. Street can be depended upon to deliver musically.  Upon initial listen, frankly I was underwhelmed until I heard cut number eleven, “Dignity”, with its hip-hop bridge, “Tryin’ to work a 9 to 5 to make a livin’/bills just keep on coming, they keep takin’ with no givin’…” then and there I put the brakes on, as the hairs on my own epidermis stood up.  I had to revisit the album, to hear what I had previously missed.

My ears found that, track two, “When You Are Loved” is the most appealing and heartfelt song on this album.  It brought tears to my lonely eyes several times because of its relatability.  Many hurting humans can relate to it and it would even garner today’s radio program directors’ airplay as the first single, IMO.

The whining, “woooo”, bluesy organ on “Guilty Pleasures” and her Marvin Gaye-ish over-dubbing vamp-to-cold ending vocals make this tune my second favorite one. “Undone” is UNder the radar, not a cover of The Guess Who, (although I wish it were) and the most blusey-County music-leaning tune on the album.      IMG_1732

No track is like another one on this, her sophomore album with Blue Elan, which includes this neat song lyric insert to the right!  There is something for almost everyone. The most fun tune is one from her distant past, Queens, New York City roots entitled, “Under the Clock”. Compare the first and recent videos about it.

Even more entertaining to my double entendre` radio DJ mind from the pre-corporate radio daze, are a few songs like “Sex Is Easy, But Love Is Hard”, “Wrap My Mind Around You” (really?) and “I Wanna Love You Deep”, all of which are getting my brains hard.  I can rework all of those lyrics amusingly, in a sexual healing heartbeat! (towel needed) Get some, Janey!

Bottom Line: Ms. Janey Street can leave a musical legacy like Janis Joplin, given proper promotion and support by great, pro-active public relations, an out-of-the-box thinking label, consistent touring and supportive mass media. Otherwise, her efforts may go down like track nine, “Wreckage”, which is not what I want to see. Therefore, I bestow three-and-a-half out of five, skinny stars for this album.  3-and-one-half-star-rating

We would have liked to have seen her also on this 2017 version for a grownup comparison! Alas…

Please leave your opinions in the “comments” box. Thank you for reading and remember to check in with “the Mothership” at www.achilliad.wordpress.com

Brighter Side of Darkness – “Love Jones”

“Just those first French horny notes, Da-da-daa, Da, da, da,daaa”, would cause men to rush to find that special lady …”

The epitome of a slow jam to me is still “Love Jones” by The Brighter Side of Darkness.

Back when I thought that a career in radio as a DJ would lead me to my promised land, I developed a show concept called “The Pajama Bar”.  I was encouraged to pursue novelty in Top 40 radio as opposed to becoming just one of the bunch in Urban or “Black Radio at the time by my mentor.  In retrospect, I realize that was partly because my expert Mentor analyzed my speaking voice and style, which was not typical (what we now call “Ebonics”) of most Black American guys on the air. Sure, I could and can break-off the slang with the best of my boyz from the Hood, but he heard that what came natural to me, due to my upbringing, was that I “sounded like a white boy” sometimes to the untrained, naked ear.

I specialized in evening and overnight shift radio. Part of my rap on the air was that I brought you music from the “brighter side of the darkness we call ‘night’”.

The Brighter Side of Darkness were four kids out of the “Windy City”, Chicago and were the precursor to the black American kid groups like New Edition, twenty years later. One of the first times a very young boy voice, in the person of 12 year-old Darryl Lamont was a featured R&B lead, reminiscent of The Five Stairsteps and little “Cubie”.

Just those first French horny notes of “Love Jones”, Da-da-daa, Da, da, da,daaa”, would cause men to go rushing across the room to find that special lady that they had their eyes on during the party, in order to catch that up-close slow dance.

I lost this album to the WBLS, New York City music library and then Music Director, Mae James, during my brief days there from 1984 – 1986 because my personal music library was even more deep than theirs and I brought my own records in sometime, to help enhance their sound. I liked Mae, but I shoulda just lent the 45rpm, but they didn’t have the album version, which featured a longer ending with additional monologue, more “ooh-ahhs”” and signature of this song, brassy French Horns and full orchestra in-tow all along to the extended vamp fade to the ending!

Back when groups had strict choreography, this was the same 20th Century recording sound studio and some of the same full orchestra that produced the late Barry White’s legendary hits like “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe”.  The lyrics were almost comical, “What baby? What is a Love Jones?/like last Friday in class, when Mr. Russell was giving us the test. I was sitting up staring at you. I know I failed. Huh, a test paper, with nothing but my name on it?”  but the term “love jones” quickly made its way in the lexicon of romantic dating linguistics.  If you’ve comprehended anything I’ve written then all I want to hear from you in the comments, Doll, is that you too, have a “Love Jones”.

Compare now:

with

Remember, check out my mothership blog for more serious topics at https://achilliad.wordpress.com/

Jeffrey Halford and the healers: Delivering Down-home “Lo-Fi Dreams”

“At the end of the musical day, if I was still a DJ on the radio, this music would be deemed “MOR” (middle of the road) back in the 1970s. Now, I hear it is described as “Americana”? Well…”

jeffrey-halford-and-the-healers-low-fi-dreams-cd-cover-hi-res

 

CHARLESTON July 29, 2017 – I have been having a party recently in my car, listening to “Lo-Fi Dreams” performed by Jeffrey Halford and The Healers [Floating Records] on its CD player.

What is this “Lo-Fi” Dream?

Hi-Fi (High Fidelity) was the 1960 predecessor to Stereo and after that came Quadraphonic audio, so does it follow that “Lo-Fi” might be back to the future after Digital?  If so,then what a groovy journey!

What I like first is that every one of the ten tunes are different.

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Track one is “Two Jacksons” and I challenge you to guess what it is about before you listen or I tell you below (don’t peek!). It is a great, very descriptive lead-off song which helps you imagine letting your mind wander while watching this healing live.  No mention of the background singers much to my lament.

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Track two leaves no doubt as to the subject matter. “Elvis Shot the Television” starts with a Jimi Hendrix playing the Star-Spangled Banner-like guitar riff and then goes on to remind of us a legendary Presley incident.   “Good Trouble” is just that and who of us hasn’t had some of it at one time or another?!   I like “10,000 Miles”, as a good behind-the-wheel tune.  Speaking of relationships one way or another throughout, “Bird of Youth” is a song of irreconcilable differences, again, like we all have experienced at one time or another. This is the music of our lifetime.

Track eight has a smooth country pace and could have been named “Refuse” or the “Diner”. Instead they went with the tale told of “Sweet Annette” which features a succulent solo guitar in the middle of this offering whose lyrics make me want to have breakfast any time of the day!  “Great Divide” is geographically separating love music!

At the end of the musical day, this music would be played on “MOR” (middle of the road) format radio back in the 1970s. Now it is described as “Americana” I guess.  I do not care much about labels, except that my research took me to the definition described by ‘The Atlantic’ as, “slang for the comforting, middle-class ephemera at your average antique store — things like needle-pointed pillows, Civil War daguerreotypes, and engraved silverware sets. In the 1990s, radio programmers coined a new, related usage: “Americana” became a nickname for the weather-beaten, rural-sounding music that bands like Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo were making. It was warm, twangy stuff, full of finger-plucked guitars and gnarled voices like tires on a dirt road.”  Many lyrics feature uniquely different musical takes on love and unhappiness while others celebrate connections and odd circumstances we All have experienced.

Well, not wanting to undo the diversity of this music review but, my elderly mum has similar “engraved silverware” sets to this very day, so what does this say about her “Lo-Fi Dreams”?

Whether Jeffery knows it or not, he has evolved into an entertaining diversity of sound – much like High Fidelity audio was back before “the day”.

Oh, by the way, “Two Jacksons” is about an article of men’s clothing that cost forty dollars and a flirtation situation. “You wear that jacket and I’m yours tonight! Torn and frayed, in need of repair/she was standing right there…” It should become a single hit.  I love the classic hit musik bar X formula bridge solo.

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Four of five steel guitars is my rating.

 Comments please?  Many Thanks.

The Long-Awaited Rick Monroe EP: “Gypsy Soul”

“From one “Gypsy Soul” to another, there is certainly nothing wrong with that theme nor this diverse set of songs encompassing it…”

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June 20, 2017; Nashville, TN.  My man Rick and the band present six tunes that will linger in your musical mind long after you turn your player off. If you remember, I covered his performance in Ladson, South Carolina at the “Honky Tonk Saloon” last February (I still can’t believe there is really a venue with that name! lol)  This CD sampler dropped last month.  I mentioned to Rick that, since I do not have a CD player in my new apartment, that I could only review it while driving in the car and he said the trips might have to be short because it is an “EP”. you know what?  I took many  pleasurable “short trips” to listen again and again…

Here are the tracks. In reverse order, they are:

The bluesy and soulful with Memphis-like horns, “Rage On”; a Country-rocker, the first one I would play on my ‘Pajama Bar’ radio show, “Moment Like This”; a great title song, “Gypsy Soul”; the mid-tempo with sexy-delicious lyrics, “Ease On Down”; another C-Rocker (rock-her) in “Better” and his romantic smash from the winter of 2017, “This Side of You”.

I dig the many metaphors on “Better”!  “She’s like that first sip of coffee/that first drag on a cigarette…”  Great word-pictures! I once had one whose kiss was “like that first sip of an ice-cold Heineken” lol

Cut four is the title track, “Gypsy Soul” and some of those lyrics could be part of my personal theme song; I really identify with it! No non-rebels need apply.

From one “Gypsy Soul” to another, I believe, as a man who is nomadic as a “gypsy”, if you ask some of my peers who don’t know I know how they feel about me, there is certainly nothing wrong with that theme nor this diverse set of songs encompassing it.  I do want to mention the late, great Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions who sang the R&B hit, “Gypsy Woman” because of the title and lyrical neighborhood point of reference herein.

While Rick Monroe’s core audience is Country music, he surly can cross over into other genres.

This is a five-acoustic guitar EP5 gold guitars!  I rage that you bring on the full album, Rick! Safe travels, Pioneer.  Cheers.

(I’ll update the video when he releases the feature-length scenes, K?)

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Please leave your comments! Thank you.

(be sure to check out the mothership, https://achilliad.wordpress.com)