May 25,2015: Cas Haley


Cas Haley has spent his life developing a sound that is truly original, combining classic influences from Bob Wills to Bob Marley.

With a powerfully soulful voice and prolific talent for song writing, Cas has spent the last 7 years with his band, Woodbelly. His evolved style compliments a solid funky rhythm section with addictive hooks and age-defying vocal displays that captivate a growing legions of fans and fellow musicians. They have played hundreds of shows from California to New York. Cas has shared the stage with UB40, Burning Spear , Blues Traveler, Soulive, Mofro, Jah Roots, and many more.

In the summer of 2007, Cas took an unusual opportunity to appear on NBC’s hit show “America’s Got Talent” and then took the national audience by storm, with his incredible rendition of Sting’s “Walking on the Moon.” Cas continued to gain notoriety with each performance and finally finished runner-up, enabiling Cas to release and promote an independent album with great success. His self-titled album, released on February 14, 2008, has consistently remained in the top ten reggae albums on iTunes and on the Billboard charts, finishing 2008 as Billboard’s #8 top selling reggae album of the year. Cas is set to release his new album “Connection” in Spring 2010.



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May 24,2015: X


The punk scene of Los Angeles in the late 70′s saw its share of great acts rise up out of the streets, but few were as talented and durable as X. They were the quintessential L.A. punk rockers that have become a world-class, live, rock roll band. Now, X is back out on tour in 2008 with something really special; the original line-up of John Doe, Exene, Billy Zoom, and D.J. Bonebrake are set to rock again.

Formed in 1977 when Billy Zoom and John Doe placed virtually identically worded ads in the same paper on the same day looking to start a band. Exene soon followed and once DJ was found the band complete. Discovered by ex-Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, the band went on to record such landmark albums as Los Angeles in 1980, the similarly punked-up Wild Gift in ’81, while their ’82 album, Under The Big Black Sun began what would be a long career in merging hard rock, country, Americana, and folk into their fiery mix. Building on the success of their last national outing, the As the World Burns Tour in 2006, X is starting off the first leg of their 13 – 31 Tour in March 2008 at the famed SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. A specially selected show will be taped for a 1-hour special on DirecTV.

The members of X have been working hard in their own rites and are incredibly relevant in today’s music scene. Doe tours constantly. Yep Roc Released his A Year in the Wilderness June 07 and in between recording and touring he manages to have an acting career. Exene fronts her band, the Original Sinners, as well as extending her voice into the spoken word performance world. D.J. keeps his days filled as a recording session musician and heading up two bands, while Zoom produces recordings for other bands, designs amps and guitars.



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May 23,2015: Trevor Hall, Dustin Thomas and more


Trevor Hall’s self-titled Vanguard debut embodies a soulfulness, depth and passion far beyond the artist’s 22 years. His youthful exterior belies the depth and intensity of an old soul. Trevor’s music is an unconventional mix of acoustic rock and reggae that serves as a vibrant landscape for his thought-provoking, inspiring lyrics. Produced by Marshall Altman (Matt Nathanson, Kate Voegele, Marc Broussard), Trevor Hall encompasses the entire cosmology of this one-of-a-kind young artist, from the opening “Internal Heights,” with its sitar-accented electro-groove, which recalls Peter Gabriel at his most expansive, to the meditative and intimate closer “Many Roads,” in which Trevor seems to be channeling his primary inspiration, Bob Marley. Indeed, “Many Roads” could stand as Trevor’s “One Love.” “We’ve heard there are many paths, but it turns out they all lead to the same place,” he says of the song’s ultimate point.

“These songs are not all where I’m at presently,” Trevor explains. “Many of them are where I aspire to be. With some of them, I feel like it’s somebody else talking to me. When I sing the line ‘Maintain internal heights,’ for example, people might think I’m talking to them, but I’m also telling myself to remember that. ‘Internal Heights’ came about because I have a lot of Rastafarian friends, and they’d always say ‘Maintain internal heights’ as a pick-me-up or a greeting. I really thought about that, because it’s the sum of everything, really, in my life: to try to maintain that internal place where you’re very light, very high on spirit. So I took that idea and went with it. The demo I recorded was very calming, but when I brought it in to Marshall, it went in this uptempo, rocking direction, which I hadn’t expected, but I love it in this form. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the record. It’s also the calling for the record. Every song points back to that one line: maintain internal heights.”

“Trevor’s musical perspective is really his emotional perspective,” says Altman. “Hope, positivity, persistence, faith, joy, love for his fellow man, kindness and a beautiful sense of reckless abandon all embody him as a person and as an artist. Musically, Trevor Hall spans several genres—soul, reggae, pop, electronica, folk—yet the record feels singular in its origin, really. It’s not a sum of its parts; it’s the sum of Trevor.”

He infuses his songs with a deep sense of spirituality, as evidenced in the lead single “Unity,” written and performed with his friend (Hasidic reggae artist) Matisyahu. The two artists were on tour together when news of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India hit the media. Trevor had made two trips to India, one a pilgrimage with two monks from a Southern California temple where he still lives, the second on his own in celebration of his 21st birthday. But the sectarian violence hit closer to home for Matisyahu, who knew some of those who’d been murdered in a synagogue that had been targeted by the terrorists.

“On the external level, it’s obviously about the unity of all beliefs,” Trevor says of the song. “We call it by many names but there’s only one truth. But on a much deeper, internal level, it’s about the mystical place in your own heart where all these things merge into one thing. So the song works on both levels. Matisyahu is Jewish, and here’s this incomprehensible incident that happened in India. So we were talking about it, reading about it and meditating about it and writing lyrics back and forth. And the last night of the tour, I’d just come up with the chorus to the song and was playing it in my dressing room. His dressing room was right next door, and when he heard me singing the part—‘I just wanna melt away in all Its grace, drift away to that sacred place where there’s no more you and me, no more they and we, just unity’—he came in and jokingly said, ‘Where’d that come from?’”

The album contains one captivating song after another. “The Lime Tree,” a serene ballad that has become a fan favorite, features a guest vocal from Trevor’s friend Colbie Caillat, while “Where’s the Love” marries a buoyant midtempo groove to a call for people to cast away the prejudices that divide them and come together in a global community. At the other extreme is the blazing rocker “Volume,” which turns out to be about meditation. “Sometimes when you’re playing music, there’s a silence in the sound,” he points out. “Even when it’s externally really loud, internally it’s very still.” The summery, easy-going “31 Flavors” is the closest thing here to a traditional love song. “It was inspired by an old crush,” he says. “I used that juice to write it.”

Trevor spent his first 16 years in Hilton Head, S.C., and started playing music early on, with his parents’ encouragement and support. “My dad was a drummer and a musician himself,” he points out. “For my 15th or 16th birthday, my dad got me some time in his friend’s recording studio. I made my first record, which was mostly sold to my friends and family. In 10th grade, Trevor headed to California to attend the Idyllwild School for the Arts, an international boarding school in the mountains east of Los Angeles, to study classical guitar. Trevor soaked up everything in this rich new environment. “I was craving a higher taste, and the food was there for me,” he says.

Before graduating from high school, he was signed to a record deal with a major label. The companywent through a reorganization and only released a sampler EP. Trevor who had already toured extensively with many artists including Steel Pulse, Rusted Root, Matisyahu, Colbie Caillat, Stevie Nicks, Ziggy Marley and Keb Mo, never stopped touring. He also never stopped writing and during this period he wrote some of his best work. After being released from his contract, Trevor and his touring percussionist / drummer, Chris Steele, recorded 14 of these new songs, and self-released the resulting album, which he titled This Is Blue and an accompanying live album entitled Alive On The Road. “It was a wonderful, liberating experience,” he recalls.

Not long afterward, Trevor brought his acoustic guitar to the Vanguard offices in Santa Monica and played some of his new songs for the staff. It was love at first sight…and first listen. “I really liked the vibe there,” he says. “It was so different from what I’d experienced.” So Trevor signed with Vanguard, and label head Kevin Welk suggested he check out Altman. They decided to work together, and Altman helped him shape the material into its present form. “Marshall was able to take what I had and make it more accessible,” says Trevor.

It’s fair to say that every one of these dozen tracks conveys a message, but Trevor’s only agenda is the desire to express the sheer joy of being alive and on a journey toward wisdom. The message of “Sing the Song,” in which jubilation is cranked up to 11, could represent the album as a whole. Trevor describes the lyric as a call to “Wake up, join in and celebrate. It’s a song of life.” So are they all.

Hall’s previous recordings have appeared in numerous films and television shows including his recording, “Other Ways,” which was in the Shrek the Third feature and soundtrack. Trevor also covered the Band’s “Life is a Carnival” for the star-studded tribute album, Endless Highway: The Music of the Band.



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May 23,2015: Roses and Cigarettes

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AmericanTown’s Heroes: Clara Vanni is a VA Volunteer Hero

Clara Vanni is a volunteer extraordinaire. Her energy and vitality are an inspiration to others. At 91 years young, she is still ready, willing and able to give to others, driving herself twice a week to spend the day helping the veterans at the Veteran’s Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

According to her daughter, “Clara works from 8am to 3pm every Monday and…

Read more Clara Vanni is a VA Volunteer Hero.



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May 22,2015: John Brown’s Body


In 2006, John Brown’s Body found itself at a crossroads, when the death of bassist Scott Palmer broke the band’s heart. After the tragedy, several longtime members left the group. But, a strange thing happened to the band staring at its own mortality: somehow, JBB emerged transformed and inspired.

A vital, creative energy sprang from the band’s new dynamic and new members. JBB found itself pushing more at the edges of reggae. New songs incorporated slinkier bass lines, denser instrumentation, less predictable rhythms. Beats became funkier, more drum-and-bass inflected.

JBB realized it was at a turning point: keep playing the same style of music, or follow the new sound and see where it leads. It was the same way the band members felt about reggae: how do you break rules and create something unique while still honoring the music that came before?

The answer is that it’s possible (and ultimately necessary) to push forward. “Future Roots,” which the band began using to describe its sound as far back as its 2005 Pressure Points release, took another step forward. The current evolution builds on a reggae foundation, incorporating elements from different genres. The new songs are timeless and futuristic all at once, anchored and exploring simultaneously.

These explorations are instantly evident on Amplify, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Reggae Chart in October 2008, and its remix follow-up EP, Re-Amplify, released in March 2009 also debuting on the Billboard’s Reggae Top 10 Chart.

“Amplify is the sound of a band recreated, retooled and refreshed,” writes Canada’s Exclaim Magazine, and other reviewers agree: “Amplify has a forward thinking, fearless approach to tempos, beats and feel that expands the genre of reggae as a whole.” [Amazon].

While Amplify showed the world the fearless new directions JBB’s music is headed in, Re-Amplify took it even further by putting the band’s songs into the hands of outside remixers for the first time. Working with Gym Class Heroes’ Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo, Juno-Award-nominated producer Dubmatix, dance floor pioneer Tommie Sunshine, Australia’s urban roots powerhouse Blue King Brown and others, the band’s songs were stretched every which way, resulting in an EP that pleased fans and opened the band up to even further possibilities in their musical approach. How open? The band liked Dubmatix’s remix of “The Gold” so much, they switched to playing that version in their live sets.

JBB’s live show has the kind of organic, body-rocking sound that’s only possible with an 8-piece band where air tight drum and bass, a three piece horn section, and “the most gorgeous melodies in all of modern reggae music” [All Music Guide] meet a dubbed-out sound engineer. Where will JBB head next? The near future includes first ever tours of the UK, and New Zealand, as well as initial work on the follow up to Amplify. What direction will the music take? Who knows, but whatever it is, it is sure to push boundaries.

John Brown’s Body’s “Future Roots” uses reggae as a foundation, but incorporates dub, drum and bass, and electro to create a sound both timeless and forward. Described by LA2DAY as “delivering the most forward-thinking reggae music in the world today” the 8-piece band’s killer live show has super heavy rhythms, a three piece horn section, air tight drum and bass and “the most gorgeous melodies in all of modern reggae music” [All Music Guide], all backed by a dubbed-out sound engineer. However it’s defined, it’s got people buzzing about this progressive band from Boston and Ithaca, NY who’s latest album, Amplify, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Reggae Chart.



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May 21,2015: Eric Gales

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May 20,2015: Rebirth Brass Band and Blue Rodeo


Blue Rodeo is a Canadian country rock band formed in 1984 in Toronto. They have been signed with Warner Music Canada since their debut album Outskirts in March 1987.

The band consists of original members Jim Cuddy (guitar/vocals), Greg Keelor (guitar/vocals) and Bazil Donovan (bass) plus newer additions Glenn Milchem (drums), and multi-instrumentalist Bob Egan. Keyboardist James Gray recently left the band and was replaced with the newest member of the Blue Rodeo family, Bob Packwood. Drummers Cleave Anderson and Mark French, keyboardist Bob Wiseman and multi-instrumentalist Kim Deschamps (Cowboy Junkies, Andrew Walker, Charlie Robison) are also former band members.

Blue Rodeo is one of the most successful and well known contemporary Canadian bands, having released 10 studio albums, one live album, a greatest hits collection and a DVD which have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. In addition, both Cuddy and Keelor have released solo albums. Blue Rodeo members have collaborated extensively with other notable Canadian artists, including Sarah McLachlan, The Tragically Hip, Burton Cummings, Great Big Sea, Jann Arden, The Sadies, Skydiggers, the Cowboy Junkies, and Kathleen Edwards. They have won many Canadian music awards, including 7 Juno Awards and 7 SOCAN awards.

Blue Rodeo’s new album, Small Miracles, will be released on September 25, 2007.



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EarthTalk: Where will be the best places to live if global warming gets the best of us?

Dear EarthTalk: Where will be the best places to live if global warming gets the best of us? ­-- C.M.
 
If temperatures around the globe continue to rise in the face of human-induced climate change as climatologists expect, some of the world’s most populous areas could become uninhabitable. Rising sea levels will flood out coastal areas, while increasing drought will make survival in already arid areas difficult at best. While we may have at least a few decades of runway to prepare ourselves for the worst, advance planners might want to think carefully about where to put down roots now.

 

 
According to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN) that measures and ranks 175 countries based on vulnerability and readiness to adapt to climate change, Scandinavian countries—Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark—just might be the safest spot in the carbon-compromised world of the future.

 

 
ND-Gain researchers stress that residents of just about any developed country (including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, China and most of Europe) will likely be fine staying put given the fact that better-heeled governments are already gearing up to adapt to warmer temperatures, more intense storms, rising sea levels and other expected changes. On the flip side, the worst places to be may be mid-latitude developing countries, including most of Africa and South Asia. The countries ND-GAIN predicts will be hardest hit by climate change include Chad, Eritrea, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Niger, Haiti, Afghanistan and Guinie Bissau.

 

 
Americans looking for the best place to live domestically as the world warms should also look north. Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, both blessed with plenty of water and plenty of terrain well above sea level, are generally acknowledged to be the best parts of the country to be in under a new climate regime. In fact, University of Washington atmospheric science professor Cliff Mass believes the Pacific Northwest will be “a potential climate refuge” in coming decades. He writes in his popular weather blog that Washington State could soon become the nation’s premiere wine production region as California’s vineyards continue to be slammed by years and years of drought.

 

 
Meanwhile, UCLA environmental economics professor, Matthew Kahn, says that otherwise fading cities like Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Detroit will become more and more attractive as their counterparts to the south (Miami, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego) take the brunt of global warming’s fury. In his 2010

 

book, Climatopolis, Kahn predicts that Detroit will be one of the nation’s most desirable cities by 2100. Other climate change winners could include Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Colorado.

 

 
Not everyone agrees that Detroit will be the golden city of our future world. Author Giles Slade contends in his 2013 book, American Exodus, that we all may be heading for northern Canada when global warming’s fury really starts to kick in. “The safest places will be significant communities in the north that are not isolated, that have abundant water, that have the possibility of agricultural self-sufficiency, that have little immediate risk of forest fires, that are well elevated, and that are built on solid rock,” he writes. “Our northern lands are our Noah's ark—a vital refuge against the moment of mankind's greatest need.”

 

 

CONTACTS: Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN), www.gain.org; Cliff Mass Weather Blog, cliffmass.blogspot.com.

 

EarthTalk® is produced by Doug Moss Roddy Scheer and is a registered trademark of Earth Action Network Inc. View past columns at: www.earthtalk.org. Or e-mail us your question: earthtalk@emagazine.com. 

 



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May 19,2015: Manhattan Beach Farmers Market

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