Tuneage Tutelage - New Music Monday....

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Monday, January 12, 2009

Welcome to the first edition of TUNEAGE TUTELAGE - NEW MUSIC MONDAY.

Every week we will offer up one or two new artists who are out there struggling to find an audience in this mish-mash musical world.

As I have explained, I am afforded the opportunity to receive CDs from these artists through a Music PR firm who contacted me last year. Additionally, I receive music from SonyBMG on occasion to review and then I will give those away as well.

Last year we gave away upwards of 20 different CDs, including music by Bob Dylan, David Gilmour and some great unknowns.

Remember, your comments are judged when selecting the 'winners'...but in any case, I hope you find something you enjoy over the weeks.

Let's get started for 2009.

First some news about a Couch Favorite, Mr. Josh Charles. I received an email from him yesterday with this exciting news:

"I'm playing the NY Inaugural Ball which will be simulcast to Washington DC where Barack and his guests will see it on the big screen. I will be performing "Healing Time' with the Boys Choir of Harlem"

"Healing Time" is a new Josh Charles composition and it is a powerful song; in its words and in its purpose.

100% of “Healing Time” will be donated to the Make It Right Foundation which helps build green, sustainable homes in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans– one of cities hardest hit areas.

“I had to do something,” says Charles. “The spirit of New Orleans is with me wherever I go. Times are still very hard down there, but together we can make a difference. For less than a cup of coffee you get a song, and all of the money goes to rebuilding homes through Make It Right. It’s a win-win.”

You can help this great cause and also add a very cool song to your collection, by just going to download it HERE. You can check out more information about the song and the organization by checking out Mr. Charles' website HERE.

First out of the box is an artist by the name of Charlie Morris. Mr. Morris actually came to me on his own and sent me two of his CDs. One is his 2003 studio album STILL GOT 'EM and the second is the 2007 release with the Charlie Morris Band WHAT A SCENE, recorded live in Montreux, Switzerland.

From his bio, we learn more about Mr. Morris:
Charlie Morris was born in Miami in 1963, and grew up in Georgia and Tennessee. He's been writing songs, and playing various instruments, since he was 6 years old. As a kid, he played classical piano, inspired by the immortal Schroeder.

Charlie Morris attended Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, graduating in 1984 with a Bachelor's degree in Music. With fellow students Alan Craig, Devin Rice (future St. Pete Mountain Boys), Sue Finger and Dave Bawel (later Dave Fury), he formed a band called Lotus, which gigged steadily on the Florida circuit and released an album of original music in 1984.

In 1992, Chuck went to Europe to seek fame and fortune (or at least, slightly more appreciative audiences and slightly better money), and became a lifelong Europhile. He met his wife, Denise Bonjour (aka The Tigress) in Davos (she wasn't his wife at the time, but later became so). Since then, Charlie and his band have played all over Switzerland, as well as in the UK, Holland, Germany and Norway.

Charlie has played at the Hotel Eiger in Grindelwald every year since 1994 (both solo and band gigs). He's appeared at various luxury hotels, including the Ermitage-Golf in Gstaad, the Schweizerhof in St. Moritz, and another Schweizerhof in Zermatt. He's also done most of Switzerland's top Blues clubs, including the Mahogany Hall in Bern, INOX in Baden, and Le Chat Noir in Geneva.

January saw the release of What A Scene! which was recorded live at the 2007 Montreux shows. This one captures the fun of a CMB live show. Did dual CD-release parties, at the Ka-Tiki and the Dunedin Brewery. Made a major radio push for this platter. To date, it's been played on over 80 radio stations in 10 countries.

On the winter Swiss tour, we had standing-room-only crowds at almost every show, and sold a record number of the new CD, What A Scene!. 11 of the 13 gigs were return engagements. That's a wonderful thing, but it means that we do have to learn a new turn at least every few years. This time we added five new original songs, Markus added a cool new organ to the mix, and Speedy started zydecoing it up on the washboard!

Back in Florida, Charlie gigged it up as usual, doing a couple dozen gigs around Florida, and two in North Carolina. One of the highlights was a mini Florida tour with blues and soul master Darrell Nulisch.

Mr. Morris has the sound that I love. He knows how to pick a guitar and make it sing. There is that down-home blues/rock and roll quality about his songs that makes my feet begin tapping as soon as he hits the first note.

In concert, he and the band have that funky tightness that might remind you of bands like Little Feat. Both of these CDs are hitting my iTouch as I leave on my business trip.

Learn more about Mr. Morris and find downloads for all his CDs HERE. And these are his last US gigs, before they head back for Switzerland 2009 (hopefully, he will get closer to Memphis in the near future):

Feb 5 (12 noon!) - WDVX Blue Plate Special, Knoxville TN

Feb 6 - Brackins Blues Club, Maryville TN

Here is the title track from the 2003 studio album and then "May Not Be The First One", from the live CD.

I have a copy of the live CD and one of the studio CD. So two of you can have the music of Charlie Morris, just by speaking up in comments.

Our second artist today is Sabrina Shaheen. Her influences include Kid Rock, Christina Aguilera, Aerosmith, Diane Warren, Barbra Streisand and Elton John and she has been compared to Madonna, Dido, Enya, Gloria Estefan and Basia.

From her bio, we learn:

Born and raised in Michigan, Sabrina has been immersed in music and the arts for as long as she can remember. Starting on her family’s piano at the age of four, at seven, she began formal piano lessons. At the same time, she was studying ballet (from the age of three through college) and would eventually become a member of the Tri-City Ballet Company while in high school. (Sabrina has studied a variety of dance, including ballet, tap, flamenco, modern and jazz.)

Throughout the challenges of her life, music has been, in Sabrina’s words, “a true, loyal friend – the thing that’s never let me down.” Loving various genres of music – hard rock, jazz, pop, classical and dance, Sabrina channeled her love into an intensive program of music study, all with the goal of becoming a performer.

A performer is what Sabrina has become, playing in over ten musical, dance and theatrical roles for the University of Michigan and regional theaters with lead roles in Kismet, A Chorus Line and Peter Pan, among others. She has sung at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall in Detroit and has performed live at Detroit’s legendary Cobo Hall. She’s been a mainstay in the Detroit music circuit, keeping up a relentless schedule of performing her originals and standards at various clubs, restaurants and parties. Her versatility has also earned her voice-over work and even won her the lead role in the independent film “Rage Of Justice.” And in perhaps her most unusual gig, she sang at a private party for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Amidst her dizzying schedule and accomplishments, over the last few years, Sabrina worked on what she calls, “my labor of love,” her new album, Love Is… Produced by Brian Drago and Sabrina herself, the album is a departure from Sabrina’s history of singing jazz. Instead, Love Is… emphasizes Sabrina’s love of dance and ethereal pop, simultaneously recalling Madonna and Enya. Sabrina says, “The more self-confident I’ve become, the more I wanted to get into various pop styles; some with a dance beat, some with a middle eastern sound. To me, it all blends together into my own style.”

Before listening to her CD, my mind was trying to wrap around that list of influences and comparisons. So, I hit the play button...

Her music is airy in many instances. She certainly has a pleasant voice and the orchestration is full and robust. The CD contains 18 tracks, more than most out in the market today.

I am in the 'not sure' category after sampling the CD. Two tracks for you to make your decision. The first is the title track "Love Is...", which is an example of the sound on many of the cuts. The second is "Get It" and is one of the upbeat songs on the CD.

FInd out more about Sabrina on her WEBSITE or on her MYSPACE.

I have one copy of the CD LOVE IS.... Want it in your collection...let me know.

17 Of Your Sparks

  1. Love the Charlie Morris. The second one seems like it would be right up my alley but for some reason I just felt like listening to Ofra Hazra.

  2. katherine. Says:
  3. I actually liked them both...would love to hear more...throwing my hat into the ring.

  4. DrillerAA Says:
  5. Any other day I might have found Sabrina's music to my liking, but compared to Charles Morris, it is no contest. If here had be a box titled "LOVE this stuff!!!!", I would have checked it.
    Since Blues, Southern Rock are among my favorite genre's, his sound set my feet to tapping at the computer. There is an old Delta Blues quality to his music that just makes you want to stop and listen to everything he does. Thanks for sharing his music. I think I may be headed to his website for more information.

  6. DrillerAA Says:
  7. OK, now I've been to Charlie Morris' website and I am hooked. I don't know which album I'm going to buy just yet, but I will own something of his before the end of the week, count on it.

  8. Both are talented and interesting. But, they didn't do it for me. I think it was more the genre as opposed to the tunes. But, thanks! Love the feature...

  9. Anndi Says:
  10. Maybe someone told you already, but the first link to Josh Charles' song didn't work...

    Ok, with that out of the way, I can totally see myself sitting in a blues club, munching on some goodies, having a tall drink of "make me lightheaded" and listening to this Charlie Morris. Fantastic! You can tell he's paid his dues.

    As for Sabrina, didn't speak to me at all. I went to her website because sometimes I don't like the selections you put up and end up liking the artist after I hear more... sadly, this was not the case with her.

  11. Jeff B Says:
  12. Although I enjoyed them both, I don't think I'd listen to Sabrina's stuff more than once or twice. More of a style thing than a quality thing for me.

    Charlie Morris on the other hand, would fit nicely into the 'long term' listening group.

    Loved Anndi's blues club visual. Now please move over darlin', so I can pull up a chair next to you.

    On a completely different note. . . While listening to these four songs, I was albe to take in the post and comments about the infamous tee shirt. Sorry I missed that one the other day. Great discussion!

  13. Maggie Moo Says:
  14. I voted the I needed to hear more-so I went to her site and the music would not play-which is weird because others do.

    Oh well!

    Have a great day Vinny!

  15. Jay Says:
  16. I think both of them are good, but I agree with Jeff. I would be much likely to listen to Charlie over and over and probably only listen to Sabrina once or whenever her songs came up on my iPod when it's on shuffle.

  17. STARR: I had the same take on Sabrina

    KATHERINE: Consider it thrown

    DRILLERAA: Well don't buy until I decide!

    BUD: Thanks for commenting

    ANNDI: Link is fixed...thanks. Thanks for the input.

    JEFF: Thanks for the insight.

    JAY: Appreciate your comments.

  18. I think it is just that I have heard it before but done better. A bit to derivative for my taste.

  19. Julie Says:
  20. I think you put it best with Sabrina being "airy". I like a good solid lower register female...and this just isn't her.

    Now Charlie...good stuff. Thanks for the links!

  21. Tug Says:
  22. Not able to listen to the music tonight, so good luck to all that comment on it!

    I'm saving the post as 'unread' so I can come back & listen later - just stopping in to say 'hi'!

  23. ...Charlie goes to where I like to call "the groove"...most enjoyable...

  24. Unknown Says:
  25. I seem to agree with the majority. Really liked the Charlie Morris stuff but not so much Sabrina. I think it was more the music than her voice. It sounded like the type of stuff that's been done to death, but she actually has a good voice, just not good enough to pull it off. Charlie fits into that blues/country style that I always enjoy. I definitely feel his Allman Brothers influence.

  26. Dana Says:
  27. Jazz and classical are my two absolute favorite genres, so I was thoroughly impressed with Charles Morris. Sabrina is a little too techno-pop for me.

  28. Tug Says:
  29. I'm in the minority here...I like Sabrina!


Music On The Couch