Friday, February 19, 2010

LEONARD COHEN, elected into Songwriters HOF & Stunning! Debut Novel by Robert Jackson Bennett

Congratulations, to Leonard Cohen, one of the finest living songwriters of our time on his induction into the "Songwriters Hall of Fame". The 41st induction ceremony & the awards dinner will be held on June 17th in New York. Mr.Cohen was already a previous inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was fortunate enough this fall to catch his latest tour at The Fox Theatre in St. Louis. It was a terrific show and one I won't soon forget, especially his live version of my favorite tune, "My Secret Life".

I just finished reading Robert Jackson Bennett's stunning debut novel, "Mr. Shivers". I found it intriguing & gripping on many levels and at times I was reminded of the classic, "The Grapes of Wrath" and the non-fiction title "Worst Hard Time". It's a tale of murder, good versus evil,and with a touch of the supernatural set in the The Great Depression. A time when thousands of men roamed road the rails in search of work and garnered the name of "Hobo's". It was obvious to me that Bennett had done his research into the Hobo world. He got it right in his descriptions & details of the those times. I had a dear friend, named Ramblin Rudy Phillips, now deceased, who was a deprssion era Hobo who rode the rails from (1925-32) and loved to regail stories of those days to me. Bennett's voice rings true here. The tale does have religous undertones and will make you ask yourself, to what extremes would you go to preserve and protect your own family or way of life? Would you literally sell your soul ? It's a real page turner & will stay with you after your done. If it ever gets made into a film, Tom Waits would make an ideal Mr. Shivers.

"Preservation Hall" in New Orleans,La.......real jazz.

A new CD that deserves your attention is called "PRESERVATION", and it contains 19 songs (25 on the deluxe edition) recorded by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, along with a host of accomplished musicians as varied as Tom Waits, Pete Seeger and the Blind Boys of Alabama. The proceeds from the album will go to help the struggling New Orlens icon survive. Located a couple doors down from Pat O'Brien's in the French Quarter, Preservation Hall is limping along on it's last leg. I've spent a couple of wonderful nights inside that tiny venue, cramped but happy, sweating profusely, and listening to some ageless New Orleans classics such as "The SAINTS GO MARCHING IN" . This isnt some pre-fabricated Disneyland, Preservation Hall is about history & keeping its storied past alive. The venue was first opened in 1961 and only has room for a couple rows of wood benches and does not contain AC. It is music at it's most primitive and it is a must see when your in the Big Easy. yourself & Preservation Hall a big favor, run out & by the CD and then head to New Orleans and catch the PHJB in person and help preserve an American icon.