Music Jam Session While Working in Nerd Cave

I have been working in the Nerd Cave trying to declutter and organize. I need to get rid of some stuff that I have piled all over that I never use. The goal would be to build a little makerspace in the office but in order to do so things gotta go. I started pulling out CD’s(remember these?) from my collection and as I was listening I thought it would be fun to do another music review as I have not done one in a while.

Amos Lee: Amos Lee

This is one of the best albums in 2005 if not that decade. This is an album that you listen to from start to finish.

  1. Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight
  2. Seen It All Before
  3. Arms Of A Woman
  4. Give It Up
  5. Dreamin
  6. Soul Suckers
  7. Colors
  8. Bottom Of The Barrel
  9. Black River
  10. Love In The Lies
  11. All My Friends



Aerosmith: Pump

What a great intro song with Young Lust. One cannot but want to rock to this opener to a great album. I have not listened to this record in easily over 15 years. Right away I had to get up and shake it a bit with my three year old!

But….. then jam #2 came with FINE and I was swaying just like Steven Tyler.

And then one of the best songs of their career, “Love In An Elevator”. Enough said about this track.

4. Monkey On My Back is a album filler. Not bad, not great.

5. Janie’s Got a Gun – Not going to lie this was the song that hooked me on Aerosmith as a kid. I think it was the video, but it was my gateway song to a collection that rocks.

6. Dulcimer Stomp is just a build into….

7. The Other Side – another classic. Man, I forgot how many jams were on this song. I really dig the rhythm of this song. It just flows. It is a nice bridge between songs on the album, but it is more than a bridge. Once again, it is a song you cannot help but sing along with and wish you could play guitar like Joe.

8. My Girl is another fun romp, but nothing that will stand out.

9. Don’t Get Mad, Get Even – I love the drums and vibe of this song. I really like this jam.

10. Voodoo Medicine Man – Another great little jam that is just fun to turn the volume up and rock. Simple as that.

11. What It Takes – Holy cow! I did not recognize the title until it came on and I was instantly singing along like a trip down memory lane. A classic Aerosmith ballad that just grabs you and does not let go. You know you want to sing along or maybe grab your lighter if you remember those day!


Chris Duarte Group: Romp

I needed some good old blues and Christ Duarte is one that I enjoy. I have not listened to him in a long time. I actually have never listened to this album so it was nice to mix things up a bit. After listening to a blues band on Navy Pier this weekend I needed a blues fix and this album did the job.


What are some jams that you have been listening to this summer?

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Coffeechug views Stories We Tell from Sarah Polley

Rarely do you find something in the middle of an intense bike workout with tears in their eyes. The tears were not from the being out of shape and challenging my legs, but from an intense moment in this documentary created by Sarah Polley.

Sarah Polley creates a very intriguing documentary based on her family. She digs into the truths and stories we tell ourselves to get through life. What we find out when we start to look at the big picture with various perspectives can open up channels of truth that you might never expect.

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 10.30.36 AM

I rarely do movie reviews. This one I felt needed to be shared. We all have family. We all have stories we tell one another. What I found really moving about this video is the power of love and family. Despite mistakes and decisions there is no stronger bond than family.

On a deeper level it reminds me that often times when we look for inspiration or fresh perspective we often look outside of ourselves. Watching this video made me realize that we have the best right here inside all of us. We don’t need to look outside ourselves or our immediate circles of loved ones. We have all we need. We have all the stories we could ever ask for in addition to learning.

As I work through writing a book and struggling time and time again it reminded me that I have all that I need. I have the ideas, insight, and information to make it happen. I need to quit wasting my time looking elsewhere.

The whole documentary is a series of interviews so it is not like it is an action packed visual creation. Rather, the story grips you and you just have to watch. Such a great story.

This one worth watching.

To track it down here is the link for Amazon or simply click the picture above to the main website.

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Music Journey: Dave Matthews Band – Live Trax Series 1 Review

As you may or may not know, I love Dave Matthews Band. I have set out this summer to listen to and review each of the 20 Live Trax concerts. You can read more here.

Here is the first review:

I forgot how much I dig this Live Trax. Being the first one it had to be one of main reasons that I have continued to buy almost every single Live Trax(all 20 of them) over the course of the last few years when this all started.

According to Wikipedia:

Live Trax Vol. 1 is the first release of the Dave Matthews Band‘s Live Trax series. This two-disc set was released on November 2, 2004 and features the band’s live performance at the former Centrum Centre in Worcester, MA on December 8, 1998.

The show featured songs from all of the band’s four albums at the time: Remember Two Things, Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, and the most recent Before These Crowded Streets. The five members of the Dave Matthews Band were joined by guitarist Tim Reynolds and keyboardist Butch Taylor throughout the duration of the show. Songs such as “Don’t Drink the Water”, “#41”, and “The Last Stop” featured guest banjo player Béla Fleck in addition to the rest of the band. During “#41,” saxophonist Jeff Coffin from Béla Fleck and the Flecktones guested with Béla and the rest of the band for a 20-minute jam which featured an interpolation of the Flecktones’ song “Sojourn of Arjuna” off the album Left of Cool.

I am more of a DMB fan without Butch Taylor on the keyboard as I like the rock vibe and louder feel to the shows since his departure, but listening to this Live Trax and recently listening the deluxe Weekend On the Rocks 8 CD three night show I have forgotten how he brings a great vibe to the band.

Live Trax brings me back to the days of Leroi and Butch and the vibe is so much more chill and I love it.

Here is the setlist of the show
1 Seek Up
2 Linus and Lucy
3 Pantala Naga Pampa » Rapunzel
4 Satellite
5 Don’t Drink the Water
6 Jimi Thing 7 Stay (Wasting Time)

Disc 2
1 #41
2 So Much To Say » Anyone Seen the Bridge?
3 Too Much
4 Drive In, Drive Out
5 Tripping Billies
6 I’ll Back You Up
7 The Last Stop

This show starts off with Seek Up which is an 18 minute jam to start the show. What an opener! A great start to the show that really gets things going in the right direction.

However, the one downer to this show is the Linus and Lucy jam that follows. I like the little Charlie Brown solo, but not 7 minutes of it. Give me a about a minute or two and then move on to the next song. This is what I don’t miss about Butch Taylor. To me this was 7 minutes of concert time that could have been added to any of the other great songs or more jam time with Bela Fleck.

I like the recovery of PNP into Rapunzel. I know it has been done over and over, but I love this combo and don’t think it will ever get old to me. It just has a great summer vibe. I always sing at the top of my lungs to this one. The drums make me do that dumb finger drum playing thing that we concert goers do when jamming. The little Dave scream at the ~3:50 mark I love! It is the small things that make me love a show.

Satellite is Satellite and you know what you are getting with this song.

However, when he moves into Don’t Drink the Water with Bela……WOW! Love it. Great jam with Bela on the banjo. A great pick up to the show. This is a great song without any guests, but having Bela just makes it better. Then he moves right into Jimi Thing which is a great transition. A 13 minute Jimi Thing jam works at this point in the show. My man Boyd tears up the violin on this song. Not only Boyd, but everyone in the band has their moment of glory to show off their skills. Timmy on guitar, Leroi, and the rest of the crew just jam this song out. I forgot how great this version of Jimi Thing really is. I am moving that song version to my DMB Fave playlist right now.

The show just does not slow down when from Jimi Thing it slides right into another favorite of mine, Stay. But, I must straight to the jam of all jams and of course I am talking about #41.

Bela Fleck joins the crew and this is one of the best jams. I cannot remember what other versions are out there in the LT series, but I don’t know if this #41 jam will be beat. Leroi destroys the brass on this song. You also have Jeff Coffin joining which he shows why he is now added to the live crew after the death of Leroi. Adding a little banjo, Dave on guitar and of course the drumming is top notch quality I am not sure if there is 20 minutes of music that gets any better than this. The little banjo/guitar solo after the 8 minute mark is so cool. It almost makes you want to learn to play the banjo! The last thing I can say about this song is the end when Dave sings his little outro, “Maybe I will…..” Words cannot do this song justice. Yes, this song moved over to my ultimate DMB Setlist playlist. Not sure if it will be topped and not sure where it will end up in my setlist, but I think it will last the next 19 Live Trax listens. Tough to outdo this version.

Quickly moving on to the rest of the show as I have rambled on quite a bit already, the band moves right into So Much To Say with an Anyone Seen The Bridge that I live. So Much is standard with every show, the The Bridge was very cool. I would love to hear this version live. They then move onto another standard of Too Much. Then they pack a one two punch with Drive In Drive Out which I just love the emotion followed by a great Tripping Billies.

He then slows things down with I’ll Back You Up which I love this song. However, I would have liked to see him keep the energy level up with another big one, but I enjoy this song so I cannot complain too much. They then close the show with a stellar The Last Stop. A 20 minute rendition that blows the show up and brings everything to an amazing close.

That sums up Live Trax #1 for me. I am out and ready to move on to Live Trax #2.

Have you listened to Live Trax #1? If so, what are your thoughts? Until Next Time……..

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Musical Journey: Stop 0 – Explanation

Alright, so I am working in reverse order here. The other day I posted Stop #1: Frank Zappa – Sheik Yerbouti album. Be sure to check it out as it is a great write up(not trying to be arrogant in any way, I promise). I have received some great comments and emails which is nice because that has been slacking recently. Anyways, I touched on this series a little bit in the post, but thought I would elaborate.

I recently read The Vinyl Princess. This is a YA novel about a girl who works in a record shop. I have written a review here. As I was reading the novel, I wrote down every album mentioned and in some cases an artist or song. I have a pretty massive list. I scanned the list for you here (I am also going after the entire mixtape on pages 246-47, but did not want to ruin the thunder….if only the author posted the final mixtape that was returned?)

So this series of post will be my voyage going through each of these albums and artists and then providing my comments and any other thoughts along the way. I will tell you that I am working on Stop 1.5 as I cannot get enough of some Frank Zappa. I will finish that up when I feel that I have the new purchases all figured out. I also received Joni Mitchell – Ladies of the Canyon from the library. Let the games begin and hopefully you will follow me down this journey of great music that is as wide arrange of music as you can ask.

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Musical Journey Stop #1: Frank Zappa

This is my Spring Break. I have been doing this and that and nothing of any great importance except having a great time with my family. As I continue to work on the cleaning and organizing of my office(yes, this is still ongoing) with the combination of reading a great YA novel, The Vinyl Princess(review coming later) I have journeyed down a new path. Let me back up and bring you up to speed.

One part to the cleaning of my office was the organizing of my cd collection. It is quite extensive. I remember in high school going to the small cd shops around my town with my buddy buying cd after cd. I remember buying ones at random hoping for the next great sound and the anticipation of what would be played from the speakers of our cars. I began to alphabetize my collection. I was successful until I tried to move my cd case(it was in bad shape) and it snapped in half. My hours down memory lane came crashing to the floor. My wife is out shopping in Chicago and she is looking for a new cd shelf unit for me. Anyways, when I was looking at my cd collection it reminded me as to how open I was to all types of music. I have a wide range of musical influences. As I have gotten older I have really fine tuned what I listen to.

I am also reading The Vinyl Princess which is about a girl who works at a vinyl record shop. I will post more later when I review, but I have been compiling a list of the album references while I read and I have decided to try to listen to every album mentioned in the book.

Why? It is time for me to get back to find that great music that I have been overlooking for such a long time. I have just begun this journey and already 1/1. I listened to the album Sheik Yerbouti by Frank Zappa. I am familiar with Frank, but have never listened to his music. WOW! What a album. I am not sure how describe this album. The lyrics have completely caught me off guard. This was a double vinyl LP release in 79 even though the tracks were compiled from 78 and 77. I was caught off guard by lyrics. They are so frank, honest, vulgar, and in your face. This album was first from his break with Warner Bros. I listened to this album and had to call my parents right away. I found out my dad was a huge fan. I brought up that I could not believe how vulgar the lyrics were which blew me away because most music from this time period were not that explicit. You could read into any lyric and find the meaning of what was being said, but Zappa just said it like it was. Today, this is not a big deal as everyone is over the edge and nobody blinks an eye anymore. I keep thinking while listening to this album, “Did he just say that?” I had to read about the album and discovered that the single, “Bobby Brown” was very popular, but banned in the US from airplay because of the lyrics(see, I told you mom!). I also discovered that one song was making fun of a Peter Frampton song and another song that was making fun of disco became another huge hit for him.

I have just put on hold the rest of the Frank Zappa musical collection. I must hear more despite how bizarre his music is. A word of caution that some of his lyrics are not always appropriate so beware, but this musical stop was well worth the visit. I have not been able to move on to my next stop which is great way to start. Thank you Yvonne Prinz for the mention of the album in your novel. I will write again when I move on to the next stop. Now, to only visualize my parents listening to these albums………..

P.S. I am in search of a record player so any good leads please let me know.

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My Wake Up Mixtape

SO in a previous video post I presented the challenge of making your very own mixtape. You can check out the video and mixtape rules here. Here is my mixtape. I will be honest and at first tried to find just clean songs without anything with explicit lyrics. However, I then realized that I would want for anyone who submits their mixtape to be open and honest. I have decided to be true. I have included the songs with some explanations. Take a look at my mixtape and be sure to post yours. Just follow the rules.

1. Kid Rock – Bawitdaba – I start off with this song because the beginning is slow and gradually builds up steam. This is how I am in the morning. My alarm goes off at 4:30. I lay in bed for 5 minutes and then I am up and preparing for my workout at 5. This song would be the type of music I would listen to on my way to the gym.

2. System of A Down – BYOB – This is a crazy, insane song. However, this is how I feel most mornings. I either think I am crazy for getting up everyday to workout at this time or I am really pumped and ready to get after it. On cardio days, I need music like this pumping me through so I don’t quit.

3. M.C. Hammer – U Can’t Touch This – You cannot always have screaming people in you ears. Sometimes you need a little old school music to make you remember the good old days. Plus, when I am lifting..U Can’t Touch This!!!! Just kidding!

4. Outkast – Dope Boys – another classic hip hop song. I love my old school hip hop and it is all I listen to when working out.

5. Mishka – Love and Devotion – When I finish working out I need some really chill and laid back music on my drive home. Mishka provides the perfect vibe.

6. Imagination Movers – The Boom Boom Song – Aiden, my son loves their music so I put this in to represent the time when I come home to wake him up and help him get dressed.

7. Dora The Explorer – Hokey Pokey Song – Same situation only for my daughter who hates waking up as much as she hates going to sleep. She is not fun in the morning.

8. Spongebob Squarepants – Theme Song – This is the only thing my children can agree to watch in the morning while they are in zombie mode.

9. Sean Kingston – Fire Burning – Addy loves to dance in her car seat while driving to the lady who watches my children while at work.

10. Rock N Roll Train – AC/DC – Aiden must have his rock and roll in the morning. Aiden knows almost every single word to this song. We play this song almost every single day.

11. Shade 45 on Sirius Satellite Radio – Once I drop off my children I always listen to my satellite radio and 99% of the time it is the Shade 45 station. I need that little pick me up to get me ready for the day. I need to hear the latest hip hop to get me going.

12. Pearl Jam – The Fixer – This represents me as a teacher when I arrive at school. It is my job to try and fix all the problems presented to me during the day. The joys of being a teacher.

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