Scott Regan's blog

Best Of 2008

2008 was a rich year for songs. In my last-day-of-the-year retrospective radio show, there was barely time for a third of the music chosen. New groups, seasoned writers, quirky styles and twists of imagination. A select number of these songs were found on albums that were strong all the way through.

What else separated the top ten from the pack...

• Clarity and depth of emotion in the writing and performance of a song(s).

• The obscure fun factor.

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More Harp Guitar

John DoanJohn DoanA few day after Mason Williams visited the studio, John Doan returned for a more intensive harp guitar session. John had accompanied Mason Williams in his studio visit, and on stage that night in performance.

This time John came solo.

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Mason Williams

Mason WilliamsMason WilliamsOn Friday, July 18, Mason Williams visited us in the studio for a live session on Open Tunings. I had been somewhat aware of his contributions to the world of music, both with the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on television in the late 60's and his radio hit, "Classical Gas".

What I wasn't aware of is the range of his career, and deeper contributions to popular culture, and it's evolution.

John Doan & Mason WilliamsJohn Doan & Mason Williams

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Doom and Fate

Two separate conversations. Both on the same day. Each musician independently described their music as "blues based, but not blues".

Phil Marshall has helped shape Rochester's music since playing the perfect guitar foil for magical world of the Colorblind James Experience. Phil is intuitive and sensible, explosive and soft. His guitar can make any song, and songwriter, better understood.

Phil is a form of musical punctuation. Defining what is necessary.

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The Highland Ramble-Levon Helm comes to Rochester

Levon HelmLevon HelmOne of the great surprises of Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble at his home studio in Woodstock was finding Larry Campbell was the guitarist, and (presumably) his band leader.

The other great surprise was that the music was better than I ever imagined.

I'm speaking as of a huge fan of The Band. It never occurred to me that Levon and his band could match the Southern Pine/Canadian rock The Band had at the top of their game. I underestimated Levon, and his band.

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Today's Memory

Bill FrissellBill Frissell
The 2007 Rochester International Jazz Fest had moments that still resonate. Times I actually remember thinking how glad I was to be right there, right then, listening.

It's not a stretch in any way to link Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams, other than Bob has a different last name. Two of the finest, if not the finest songwriters to grace our culture, and one not far behind, slightly more hidden, just as emotionally rich, and from a female perspective.

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Yesterday's Memory Today

downchild bluesdownchild bluesWord was out The Downchild Blues Band had inspired the creation of a well know blues act featured on Saturday Night Live, and later of hollywood fame. The Blues Brothers eventually had enough credibility to share the screen with the likes of Aretha Franklin and Cab Calloway.

I'm not sure Downchild ever got billing with the stars, but they did make it to High Fidelity for the jazz fest this year, and it was actually a lot of fun.

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Jazz Fest 2008

Kevin BreitKevin BreitBeginning with the final show, the final song, of the 2008 Rochester International Jazz Fest, I'll be revisiting some of the more curious and memorable performances from this year's festival. Along the way I'll mix in shows from the 2007 RIJF, as well.

Rochester Radio Chorus of the Air

The other evening I was walking down Park Avenue, it was warm, windows were down in cars going by. Some loud inspired singing broke through the night air, crept up from behind and stopped at the adjacent corner’s red light.

Two young women completely committed to the moment and the song.

The half public, half private world inside a moving automobile has hosted probably more spirited renditions of popular song than any location outside your shower.

What songs inspire you to sing along?

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Time flies like an arrow

Time flies like an arrow…
Fruit flies like a banana Eric Taylor 2Eric Taylor 2

It’s a luxury, both as performer and an audience, when a show stretches out like one long story. Everyone listening. Songs intertwined with tales of the road, lost weekends, lost friends, and lost love.

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