Category Archives: music chicks

Callin’ Out Beyonce’…At Last


Etta don’t play, baby.  Evidently, she also doesn’t care much for Beyonce’ either.  Even though Beyonce’ Knowles (has everyone forgotten that she has a last name) played Etta James in the recent Cadillac Records and they played nice on the red carpet at the premiere in December, Etta told a Seattle concert audience (Colette, were you there?) that she “can’t stand Beyonce'”.

Beyonce' as Etta James

Beyonce' as Etta James

Now, that’s interesting, but I find the reporting a bit more interesting.  Here is the USA Today’s published quote:

You guys know your president, right?” she began. “I tell you that woman he had singing for him, singing my song — she’s going to get her a – – whupped. . . . I can’t stand Beyoncé. She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol’ president day, gonna be singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.”

Now, here is the total quote, via MTV, that USA Today conveniently edited:

“You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears?” began her rant, a recording of which was obtained by TMZ. “Wait a minute, he ain’t my president. He might be yours; he ain’t my president. But I tell you that woman he had singing for him, singing my song — she’s going to get her a– whipped.

“The great Beyoncé,” James went on. “Like I said, she ain’t mine. … I can’t stand Beyoncé. She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol’ president day, gonna be singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.”

To hear the audio for yourself, click on TMZ within the second quote.

Of all the media outlets carrying the story, only MTV publishes the whole quote.  Now, just why was the great Etta James edited so?  Is it because she isn’t lock step with the legions on “The Great O”?   At least MTV has some journalistic integrity.  (Never thought I’d type THAT.)  

I’m with Etta, however.  I can’t stand Beyonce’ either.  Totally overrated and overhyped.  Jennifer Hudson put her to absolute shame in Dreamgirls.  If not for her stage father, Beyonce’ would be singing back up somewhere.

As for who “owns” At Last, I’ll let you be the judge….

  Beyonce’ in character, paying tribute to Etta James at Fashion Rocks

ETA: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that The Obamas and Beyonce’ are “stung” by Etta’s remarks.  They also indicate that planners of the Inaugural Ball didn’t even know Etta was still performing and many of the younger people likely didn’t even know she’s alive.  I’m sure that makes Etta feel better.

However, they add this last tidbit:

•    As for James’ biting remarks, a couple of family members have been quoted as saying they may have been the result of ”over-medication” for an undisclosed ailment.

Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire.  Even if Etta was “out of her mind” (which it certainly doesn’t sound so in the audio), perhaps her true feelings were revealed?   But certainly ETTA couldn’t be vocally in discord with The Great One OR Beyonce’, right?  No, she’s just either senile, over-medicated, or a “bitter old woman”.

**/sarcasm off**

ETA ETA:      The backtracking has begun.


Posted by on February 6, 2009 in divas, Etta James, music chicks, music legends


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Grace of the Sun (Studio Sessions)

Somebody gave me a heads up that Grace Potter & The Nocturnals were kicking off artist sessions from the famed Sun Studios in Memphis, TN.


Now I’ve been to Sun Studios several times. It’s located at 706-710 Union Avenue, right in the heart of Memphis. It’s known as the birthplace of Rock & Roll, where Sam Phillips discovered the Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins, widely known as Phillips’ Million Dollar Quartet.

Here’s a recording of a jam session when all happened to be at the studio one day….you might recognize the tune.

But, I digress.

Sun Studios is a very simple place. It was never about the surroundings, acoustics or fancy mixers…it was (and is again) about the music.

I think it’s appropriate that Grace Potter kick off these sessions, as she is surely “about the music”. The sessions are designed to highlight up and coming talent, both known and not so well known. They will be featuring new artists each Monday, Wednesday and Friday through the blog, Live From Sun Studios. I’ve added it to the Blog Roll here, so make sure to check them out. If the upcoming sessions are as good as Grace’s inaugural contribution of Mystery Train, then we’re all in for a treat.

As for Grace, my friend John Furnari informs me that Grace’s train just keeps running. The young Ms. Potter is gaining wide acclaim, recently jamming with The Meters on JamCruise. It’s also just been announced that GPTN will be performing on the bill with Tom Petty, Radiohead, Ben Harper, Steve Winwood, Wilco, Jack Johnson, Drive-By Truckers, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Regina Spektor, Donovan Frankenreiter, and MANY more at Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Fransisco, August 22-24. All you West Coasters need to make this one a priority.

For all the latest on GPTN, make sure to stop by Somebody’s always glad to see you there.


In My Own Eyes…More Brandi Carlile

Another Brandi song that shows her writing and singing prowess is In My Own Eyes.

Again, the lyrics are very powerful and so insightful.  Most of her music is just so substative and interesting.

Hold me down lift me up
There’s someone on the bedside waiting there for me
I hear my name, turn around
There’s gotta be a downside, something I don’t see
Around me
Hide me
Dying in the light of the room
Blind side please
I don’t really want to be seen
In my own eyes

Something’s wrong
Awake all night
‘Cause I can feel the dark side
Closing in on me

Do you see me
As I see myself?
I promise there’s a downside
Something you can’t see

Hide me
Dying in the light of the room
Blind side please
I don’t really want to be seen
In my own eyes

Lost in translation
Free to fall
One situation
And lose it all

Hide me
Dying in the light of the room
Blind side please
I don’t really want to be seen

Hide me
Dying in the light of the room
Blind side please
I don’t really want to be seen
I don’t really want to be seen
In my own eyes

Again, I can do relate and identify.  Like most music that I love, her lyrics hit the mark and strike a chord.


Posted by on March 11, 2008 in brandi carlile, Good Stuff, music chicks


Brandi on Mayercraft

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Brandi’s most righteous cellist, Josh Neuman.  You can check out Josh in my Flickr photos.


If it wasn’t enough that I absolutely love Brandi’s voice and musical style AND that she’s a disciple of Ray LaMontagne, all my musical worlds collided when I discovered that Brandi recently participated in Mayercraft, John Mayer’s musical cruise.  Some of you will recall JM’s lovely “suit”

Here is Brandi and Josh doing a lovely, late night rendition of Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright:

Man, I love that…It’s amazing how she can make music with just a guitar or with a full band.

And how about this little diddy from the Lido deck:

  The Weight

And you got to love a Freddy Mercury sing along:

  Bohemian Rhapsody and Love Songs

If the fates weren’t strange enough, also performing at Mayercraft was new sensation, Colbie Caillat.  Here’s a little Bubbly from Colbie on the cruise:

and surprised by The Man hisself, with a little guitar accompniment on Battle:

Of course, it’s apparent that a good time was had by all.  I would have loved to have been up on deck in the hot sun, sipping a Pina Colada and being seranaded by one John Mayer.  Belief IS a beautiful armor.


Viral Listenitis: Brandi Carlile


Every once in a while, I stumble across music that leaves me gobsmacked. Generally, when this happens a period of viral listening follows in which the newly found gems are listened to incessantly until I get tired or another viral listenitis germ is caught.

This happened with Ray LaMontagne and then Amos Lee, shortly followed by John Mayer’s Continuum and then Sara Bareilles. However, it’s been a few months since I’ve had a real “favorite” that commanded my attention. I certainly wasn’t expecting to find my new obsession at The Indigo Girls concert. After all, Mr. D and I only attended The IG concert because I wanted to explore more music and we had great seats.

We always arrive a little early to enjoy a cocktail before the show and to take in the opening act. You just never know what you might discover by doing so. On this night, I discovered one seriously talented artist that I just can’t put down. Ladies and Gentlemen, Ms. Brandi Carlile.

Brandi grew up in Washington State, out in the country where she practiced music to pass the time. She is heavily influenced by Elton John, Patsy Cline, Queen, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. Her mother was a professional singer and her grandfather a yodeler. In the never-ending circular nature of music, she has opened for Ray LaMontagne and Chris Isaak.

Here is Brandi and Chris on Love Me Tender:

The pureness of her voice was so mesmerizing. She’s a bit Joni Mitchell mixed with Patsy Cline, with something about Karen Carpenter. You may have heard of Brandi from her highly acclaimed song The Story, which was featured on Grey’s Anatomy. The title track to her recently released CD that was recorded by producer T Bone Burnett in his private studios with vintage instruments.

The Story on Grey’s Anatomy

Almost all of her songs are self-composed or by one of “the twins” Tim & Phil Hanseroth. This duo is also extremely talented and is a great compliment to Brandi Carlile.


For me, the lyrics to these songs are seriously profound and the melodies haunting. Take for example the song Turpentine from The Story CD.

These days we go to waste like wine
That’s turned to turpentine
It’s six AM and I’m all messed up
I didn’t maen to waste your time
So I’ll fall back in line
But I’m warning you we’re growing up

A song that is reportedly about her tumultuous relationship with her brother, Turpentine strikes a chord:


After investigating Brandi and her songs over the last few weeks, I found that a few of her songs are credited to being about her relationship with her brother. In much of her lyrics, accompanied by powerful melodies, I can relate. In this performance, she identifies a young fan who “knows all the words”. Precious.

Wasted, with Zoe

These lyrics speak so strongly to me…

If you had eyes like golden crowns and diamonds in your fingertips you’d waste it
If shining wisdom passed your lips and traveled to the ears of God you’d waste it
And so I hate that your overrated most revered and celebrated cause you’re wasted

Then again it’s good to get a call
Now and then just to say hello
Have I said I hate to see you go…hate to see you go

Every time you close a door and nothing opens in its place you’ve wasted
And when you speak the words you know to those who know the words themselves you’re wasted,
You’re such a classic waste of cool, so afraid to break the rules in all the wrong places

Then again it’s good to get a call
Now and then just to say hello
Have I said I hate to see you go…hate to see you go

This song is one of those that builds like a crescendo, until you can’t wait to hear it again. I now know every inch of this song.

There were several watershed moments of this concert, but perhaps the most dramatic, show-stopping moment was when Ms. Carlile and the “twins” approached the front of the stage. After quieting the crowd, she explained that the wonderful old Saenger would provide the natural acoustics to perform their next number without amplification, if we all kept the noise down. It was pure. And, I love pure.

What Can I Say?

Ms. Carlile then pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat with a rousing rendition of the great Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues:

Folsom Prison Blues

One of my favorite songs of Brandi Carlile’s is Cannonball. Perhaps it’s because I’m a sucker for three-part harmony, or maybe the Civil War feel of the song, but this song just speaks to me. Oh, and as an aside, The Indigo Girls actually provide back-up on this song on the CD.


As most of you remember, we had quite the Hallejuah discussion back at and even here. Brandi closed her set with a strong, Jeff Buckley-like rendition of Hallejuah. It was absolutely incredible.


I promptly purchased both the self-titled, Brandi Carlile, as well as The Story. Both CDs are superb. I have not been this excited about an artist since Amos Lee and the Viral Listenitis that overwhelmed me over a year ago. Do yourself a favor, go to iTunes and download The Story CD. If, like me, you like what you hear, purchase Brandi Carlile. I promise, you will not regret some investigation into this extremely talented musical artist.

Electronic Press Kit on Brandi Carlile


I Want You Back

Just had to share this wonderful K T Tunstall find.

There’s some real crap out there in music today, but there’s also some real talent hiding in the weeds.


Posted by on January 2, 2008 in music chicks, Music Today


Where I’m From


There’s not many songs, particularly of the pop or country variety, that I am not at least acquainted with. However, when I first heard Taylor Hicks singing some song about Alabama, my ears perked up from curiosity. It was from one of those “sessions” before AI. After a bit of research, I found out that the song, Where I’m From, was written and performed by Shelby Lynne, who is labeled a Country artist.

Amazingly, I also found out that Shelby grew up in Jackson, AL, just north of Mobile. Her backstory is quite compelling. She grew up with a musical family with her father being a musician and her mother, a music teacher. At 17, her alcoholic father shot and killed her mother and then himself, rendering her and her little sister Allison, to the custody of relatives. After a brief marriage at 18, Shelby set out for Nashville and at 20, ended up recording a duet with Country Music icon George Jones, If I Could Bottle This Up, in 1988.

While success seemed inevitable, Shelby didn’t seem to “catch on” until her breakout album I am Shelby Lynne in 2000. This album, a rebellion from her label over artistic control, ended up winning her a Grammy for “Best New Artist”, although she’d been in the business over 10 years. This CD has a variety of styles and genres, but Where I’m From, is clearly an acoustical country gem.

I love this song and love the instrumentation. Violins and steel guitar. The bridge towards the end kept evoking a familiar tune to me that took me a while to pinpoint, but I finally got it.

Sleep Walk, Santo & Johnny Farino

Back to Where I’m From. When I attended the Taylor Hicks concert in Mobile, back in February, he included his version as an encore.

Taylor butchers the lyrics in several places (as usual), but when I first heard the refrain, I thought it was some kind of pig latin. Once I looked up the lyrics, I recognized it as French, although the lyrics are listed phonetically. Evidently, Shelby Lynne has some Cajun in her somewhere because that refrain is in the French of my ancestors.

Elégamment les bateaux passent en banc, On la flotte avec du vent

Which translates loosely to: “Elegantly the boats pass the bank, They float by with the wind.” Now, I don’t know about you, but that French phrase is not remotely close to what I hear Taylor saying. I give him an A for effort, though, and an A+ for great taste in tunes that kun-NECKS.

This song particularly resonates with me because I live in Alabama and can relate to all Shelby sings about but the French verses are what reels me in. I’m a sucker for my heritage and all that entails, particularly the wonderful Cajun French language that I was raised with. I thought you all might like to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak….so here it is.

Anyway, pay some attention to Shelby. You might recognize her as Carrie Cash (Johnny’s Mother) in Walk the Line. She has rebelled against the music industry a number of times and is currently working on a tribute CD dedicated to Dusty Springfield (produced by Barry Manilow).

I Only Want to Be With You

Her sister is Allison Moorer, a Country artist who had an Alabama song of her own. Allison is married to Steve Earle. (yes, we’re all related somehow down here.)

Alabama Song

and she sings a tune that might be a little familiar:

A Change Gone Come, Allison Moorer

Lastly, here’s another Shelby Lynne song off of the I Am Shelby Lynne CD that is primo.

Your Lies

Shelby’s an original and definitely NOT a one-trick pony. Here’s a recent collaboration with the band Live.

Run Away

These two Alabama ladies are extremely talented.

Shelby Lynne’s MySpace

Allison Moorer Website




Posted by on November 19, 2007 in acoustic, Country, music chicks, taylor hicks


Collette’s Corner: Lady at the Ivories

She’s back and she’s kickin’….Colette has a great post about some wonderful ladies tickling the ivories.

There’s something about a strong, vibrant woman at a piano that just makes me happy.

It looks easy, but it isn’t — playing the piano well, while singing well.

But just try it sometime. The hand-voice coordination is no big feat, perhaps, when you are using simple chords and few pianistic frills or vocal embellishments. But being a double virtuoso really takes some serious musical talent, and the kind of mind that can handle two daunting tasks at once.

Here are prime videos of some women who are their own perfect accompanists — even if they don’t always back themselves up, they got the goods to! Maybe you know some others to add to the mix.

Always, when she’s in the pack, I like to start with Aretha. Schooled in her daddy’s prominent Detroit church, Ree was tearing up the keyboard during Rev. Franklin’s services and singing her heart out at a very early age. (Mahlia Jackson was a mentor.) On her very first recording, in 1960, she played piano on four tracks. (Interesting footnote: the wonderful bassist Bill Lee, father of filmmaker Spike Lee, played bass on the album.)

Aretha’s piano style is gospel-fueled, but it isn’t simplistic. She can really pump it up, with some marvelous flourishes. Here she is performing one of her hottest piano-vocal arrangements, of the great, sexy blues “Dr. Feelgood,” recorded live in Amsterdam in 1968 — “ohhhhhhhhhh, when me and that man get to lovin’……”

— Aretha Franklin, “Dr. Feelgood” live

On an uptempo note, during a 1970 TV show, the Queen of Soul plays rollicking back-up for her incomparable singing of the tune “Don’t Play That Song:”

— Aretha Franklin “Don’t Play That Song”

Aretha is always hot as a pistol in her playing. But there are some wonderful Queens of Cool working the ivories lately too. I think there are a lot of reasons why Nora Jones, for instance, has come out of nowhere (actually the alt-jazz club scene in NYC) to sell so many records. Her tunes (self-written and otherwise) are memorable, she’s so beautiful (without a lot of makeup and glam stuff), her voice has a soft and tender swing to it. But also, she’s a very tasty back-up musician for herself, never doing too much or too little to frame a song. Her gazillion seller always sounds good to me, no matter how often I hear it:

— Nora Jones — “Don’t Know Why”

I also love this mysterioso Nora Jones tune, which begins with spooky, dissonant piano chords and acoustic bass, and moves in such a sinuous direction:

Nora Jones — live in New Orleans — “I’ve Got to See You Again”

It took me a while to warm to this cool kitty, but I finally have. Diana Krall was “packaged” as a sexy, come-hither babe early in her career, with glam fashion shoots she was reportedly very uncomfortable with. She’s really a shy, smart, dedicated Canadian musician who has a dash of great Peggy Lee-type style and a very ingratiating piano gift. And she must be good people, if ELvis Costello hooked up with her! (They just had twins, by the way.) And Tony Bennett adores her (they toured together and sound great as a duo). Love her on a golden Sinatra oldie like this one:

— Diana Krall — “Fly Me to the Moon”

Here’s a somewhat surprising and really enjoyable trio of Diana, Willie Nelson & D’s husband Elvis Costello performing Willie’s classic tune “Crazy.” Her style lends itself especially well to this song, on piano and vocal, and it’s a thrill when the guys join in:

Back a bit, here was a woman who could run a cold fever with her piano playing and shamanic vocals. We’re talking the late, great Nina Simone, who studied classical piano and really knew her way around the instrument. Her arrangements were very inventive for pop music of the 1950s, and they hold up. Here she is on The Ed Sullivan Show, prefacing a very swinging “Love Me or Leave Me” with jazzed-up classical piano settings. Clearly, she knows her Bach and Rachmaninoff:

— Nina Simone — “Love Me or Leave Me”

No one was better at turning a song into a novella than Ms. Simone. She always located the heart and soul of a lyric, and her arrangements were amazing. Here she is in the 1970s, on two entwined songs from the era: from the musical “Hair,” here’s “Ain’t Got No/I Got Life” (she also had amazing hair in this period!):

— Nina Simone — “Ain’t Got No/I Got Life”

Oleta Adams had only a brief flaring of big fame, which is a shame. I hope we hear more from this gal, because she can really project so much emotion with her two instruments. This was her big single, which she also wrote — it’s still a joy:

— Oleta Adams ‘– “Get There”

Let’s bring up the tempo up again, with one of my favorite Louisiana piano gals. You must know her, MM: the first time I saw her perform was at a great bowling alley/nightclub in New Orleans and the joint was really jumpin’. Here Marcia Ball shows Clint Eastwood a thing or two:

— Marcia Ball, “Red Beans Blues”

Here she is rockin’ out with her band, Big Easy style, on a really fun tune about a pooch….or is it?

— Marcia Ball — “Play With Your Poodle”

Regina Spektor can be very charming with her rich piano work, and little-girl voice. She reminds me a little of Nina Simone, just in the way her obviously classically trained piano weaves a spell. I’m most taken with her magical cover of this sweet John Lennon ode about “real love.”

Here she is at Lollapalooza in 2007:

— Regina Spektor, “Real Love”

I have to end this tribute with a divine artist singing with the angels now. Her exceptional voice, songs and spirit were inseparable from her piano. She channeled some psychic force no other pop singer has. Here’s the great Laura Nyro singing and playing her still-apt song, “Save the Country”:

— Laura Nyro, “Save the Country”

And rare, rare video of a very late appearance by Laura, at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival in 1994, on one of those great old ’50s pop tunes she just loved, Phil Spector’s “Maybe Baby.. This was three years before her very untimely death at 49 of ovarian cancer. (Her mother died of the same disease, at the same age.) She sounds fantastic, and I hope her legacy inspires many other women to follow:

— Laura Nyro, “Maybe Baby (The Heebie Jeebies)”

Someone reminded me last night what a fine pianist Joni Mitchell is, and then I found this gorgeous version of her playing “For Free.” Joni studied classical piano, and that has really strengthened her musical chops. She composes a lot of songs on the piano, and her best album in my book (“Ladies of the Canyon”) is full of piano. I adore this tune, on a rare live performance on British TV:

— Joni Mitchell, “For Free” (on the BBC)

While I thoroughly enjoyed Colette’s “ladies”, there are a couple of newer artists that provide some excellent music from behind the box. One of my favorite new artists is Sara Bareilles. <—–Click here for more Sara. She has toured with Marc Broussard and her song Gravity is one of my current favorite songs:



And then there’s this fabulous piano performance by Cat Power:


Remember Me


and lastly, one of my all-time favorite songs:


Angel, Sara McLachlan

p.s. Marcia Ball RAWKS! She loves playing music and “passin’ a good time”. Here’s a recent tune from Marcia:

Party Town

BTW, The Rock and Bowl is still a rollickin’ good time….my podnuhs, The Boogie Men, play there a lot.


Posted by on November 5, 2007 in music chicks, piano