Jeff Keith’s Country side project

It’s like he’s gone to the dark side – at least for this project.

You rockers out there know what I’m talking about. You listen to hardcore rock while those “other people” listen to that country music stuff, and now it’s invading the pop-music scene thanks to the likes of American Idol.

You make sure everyone around you knows how much you hate it too! When Carrie Underwood comes on the radio and starts tearing up that pretty little souped up four wheel drive, you dive (rocker style) for the radio to change the station. But secretly, when no one is around, you start tapping your toe and daydreaming of riding that bucking bronco down at your local country bar – not that you know where the country bar is, let alone if it has a bucking bronco.

But wait!! Don’t touch that dial. The next song you hear could be one of your bestest most favoritest rockers of all time. No not Steven Tyler, that other rocker guy Jeff Keith, lead singer extraordinaire from one of the great rock bands of all time – Tesla.

Yes! Jeff Keith has come out of the country closet, as he’s set to release a brand spanking new album of nothing but country songs due out this Friday November 9th. This isn’t country rock either, this is the bonafide real McCoy, so hold off from changing that dial and have a listen to what he has to offer.

The Album, Jeff Keith and Country Music Friends, is the result of a side project of Keith’s and his country music friends Kent Goodson and Pat Boone from The George Jones band. I should put a disclaimer here that Pat Boone is not the really old guy who likes to drink milk, but the not-so-really old guy who likes country music.

Jeff Keith goes country – click for more images

Apparently they met after a Tesla concert in Canada and the next thing you know, the three of them are paddling around in a pontoon boat somewhere in the middle of Nashville, slamming down sasparillas, and singing country songs.

So how’s it sound?

The album starts off with a nice ballad, “Same Ol’ Cowboy,” complete with violins and steel strings. As most of the songs on the album, this song is old style country music complete with violin, steel string guitars, and a whole lotta twang.

“Life’s Just a Roller Coaster Ride” has a good strong country beat with Keith hitting his country stride as he dials in the twang and cranks up the beat.

Restraining himself from belting it out like a rock-star, Keith shows off his vocal prowess with “Can’t Let Go,” as he slows it down country style. This one is another winner.

“Life on the Road” reminds me of the Waylon and Willie days with a more upbeat tempo and a great storyline.

Cowboy up!

“Oklahoma Bound” is another ballad, and wrapping up the album with my favorite “Oh Hell,” which is an awesome little diddy.

When you purchase the CD you get a bonus track of interviews with the boys.

Bottom-line: This is definitely worth a listen. I really enjoyed all the songs as Keith and company take it old school country. For those of you faint of heart, start with “Can’t Let Go,” and work your way through the list, ending with “Oh Hell.”

For all you Tesla fans out there – no worries. Jeff isn’t quitting his day job.

I’m off to shine my boots and take in a couple of re-runs of Hee Haw.

Jeff Keith Country

Song Samples

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Frank Hannon’s Six String Soldiers

Frank Hannon

Frank Hannon – Click for more images

Tesla’s Frank Hannon has proven, once again, that he has complete command of all things guitar.

Hannon’s last album, Gypsy Highway, took the listener on an acoustical journey through the heart, as he stepped outside the world of rock and introduced us to his folksier side.

Hannon’s latest creation, Six String Soldiers, is nothing short of rock legend, as he builds on his foundation of hard driving rock, bringing a few of his friends along for the ride. His army of soldiers include 3 time Grammy winner Rick Derringer (Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo), Pat Travers (Boom Boom, Out Go The Lights), Dave Meniketti (founder of Y&T), and Dicky Betts (“‘Ramblin” Man).

Lending his vocals to the album is Jeff Sandoval, who does a commendable job with his smooth vocals on songs such as “Cross Your Mind” and “Love, Life, and Beauty.” Drummer Cortney DeAgustine even jumps into the fray on “Redemption,” as she provides backing vocals for Sandoval.

Leading the charge is the bluesy  “I’M Alive,” featuring Pat Travers, followed by my favorite “Set Me Free.”

“Lipstick, Smoke -N- Gasoline” featuring Dave Meniketti deserves a mention for its over-the-top riffs and overall tune as it insinuates itself into every fiber of your being, driving you to nod your head to the beat – for the true rockers out there that would be banging your head to the beat.

Six String Soldiers is what rock is all about!

Track Listing:
1. I’m Alive (feat. Pat Travers)
2. Set Me Free
3. Six String Soldiers
4. Lipstick, Smoke and Gasoline (feat. Dave Meniketti)
5. Invincible
6. Cross Your Mind
7. Touch the Ground (feat. Dickey Betts)
8. I’m Just Sayin’
9. Love, Life and Beauty
10. To the Light (feat. Rick Derringer)
11. Redemption
12. 12.21

Amnesty International releases Chimes of Freedom

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On January 24, Amnesty International USA released Chimes of Freedom, a 76-song collection of Bob Dylan covers by a very diverse group of artists from a generational as well as musical perspective.

The performers include many of Amnesty International’s longtime supporters, and range in age from Miley Cyrus, 19, to folk music legend Pete Seeger, who, at 92, records Dylan’s poignant “Forever Young,” with a children’s chorus.

The diversity of the musicians and musical genres — from rock, rap, hip-hop to pop, folk, country, jazz and blues — attests to Amnesty’s depth of support in the music community, the universal appeal of the core message of human rights, and the breadth of Dylan’s impact on culture. Almost every track on the album is being released for sale for the first time – except for the title song, Dylan’s original 1964 recording of “Chimes of Freedom.”

One of the tracks I wanted to highlight is my girl Ke$ha’s take on “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” While some may say you can understand Dylan’s version better than Ke$ha’s, I believe she brings a whole new level to the song.

Ke$ha went out on a limb on this song too. It’s been covered by everybody and their brother. Let me see, there was Peter, Paul and Mary, Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Burl Ives, Waylon Jennings, Flatt and Scruggs, Joan Baez, Indigo Girls, and even Cher. Oh – let’s not forget Clapton too!

Ke$ha kills this song ““ in a good way. She proves that she’s more than an entertainer with a little glitter and sleaze, but a true singer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the glitter and sleaze, you kidding me?

Take a listen for yourself and you’ll quickly realize that this is one helluva a tear jerker.

Read about Ke$ha’s visit to UC Davis last year.


CD Review – Nathan Dale’s “Major Keys Parade”

Nathan Dale is a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Sacramento. Some locals may remember Dale as the founding member of Sweet Vine back in the 90’s. The band went on to sign with Columbia Records, recording their self-titled CD at the famed Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, New York.  The band toured nationwide before separating in the late 1990’s.

Dale currently tours with The Jackie Greene Band and has recently release his own CD Major Keys Parade.  After listening to his new CD, it became quite obvious that Dale is an extremely diverse musician. The CD has a little something for everyone including a little rock, folk, and even a tad bit of an Hawaiian sound.

The CD starts off with “Him” a brief instrumental with the sound of an old style film projector being turned on. As it happens, the last song, appropriately named “The End,” is another brief instrumental which winds down with the sound of the same old style film coming off the reel and being shut off. Nice touch.

As you get into the meat of the CD with “Ten Tiny Fingers ,” you feel like you just walked under the big top. Sounding more like a circus waltz, this song might have been better off being played on a calliope rather than a piano. I didn’t care for the circus beat, but about half way through it faded into the background. And what’s up with the ten tiny fingers? I’d prefer to think of them as ten very large and impressive fingers, and yes, I only have 8 large fingers and a couple of thumbs ““ sorry my lame attempt at humor.

Next was “Major Keys Parade,” which has an awesome driving beat with some equally awesome guitar riffs, couple that with some great background vocals playing off of Dale’s chorus, and you have one pumped up song that is deserving of the title slot.

“My Wonder Girl” is a great tune that really brings home the folk rock, weaving a tale of a young boy in love with a young girl followed by “Oh Messiah,” both great folk style tunes.

The CD takes a turn to the darker side with “One Bad Day,” followed by an even darker tune, “Way Down.” “Way down” has some really awesome guitar riffs bringing out the hard-rock side of Dale. This song reminds me a lot of some of Alice Cooper’s work . . . yes it’s that dark – exquisitely so.

“With the Sea,” is an Hawaiian style tune that really rounds out the CD, showing just how diverse of a sound Dale has.

Using his music as his canvas, Dale paints his heart and soul into everything he writes, each song painting a story for all to hear. His latest CD is worth a listen. It’s a great album with some very diverse songs, leaving you wondering what other sounds Dale might have up his sleeve. I guess we’ll have to wait for his next CD to find out.

You can find out more about Dale’s latest projects at

Catch Nathan Dale at Naked Coffee in Sacramento on January 4th at 8:30. They are located at 1111 H Street.

Alice Cooper’s Back!

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The founding father of modern horror rock music exploded onto the Billboard 200 this week landing at #22. With a music career that started more than 42 years ago, Alice Cooper shares the charts with artists such as Lady Gaga, Primus, Bush, and Beyonce. This is an amazing achievement for Cooper who is one of the most influential artists and proves that he is still a force to be reckoned with.

This debut marks Cooper’s highest charting release in over 20 years. The album also debuted on SoundScan’s Hard Music Albums chart at #6 and Rock Albums chart at #11.

Welcome 2 My Nightmare was released on September 13, 2011 and is the long awaited sequel to his 1975 classic Welcome to My Nightmare. From the opener, “I Am Made Of You,”through the already established live favorite and first single “I’ll Bite Your Face Off”(which is currently #2 at Classic Rock Radio),to the surprising duet with Ke$ha, “What Baby Wants,” this album is a testament to Cooper’s ability to incorporate various musical collaborations into his own unique musical style.

His duet with Ke$ha, “What Baby Wants,” is a catchy tune and I’m sure you’ll see that hitting the charts in the very near future. Scroll down the list below and click play to give it a listen.

Cooper just recently embarked on his worldwide tour “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. Currently he is touring overseas and will be returning to the states in November, so keep an eye out. It’s sure to be quite a show. Cooper could have picked a better name for the concert. Let’s face it, he was never known as Mr. Nice Guy. How about Alice Cooper Re-Twisted?

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