Bob Mosolgo

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Decade of Difference: G. Love and Special Sauce

photo by Kaelan Barowsky

Philadelphia’s G. Love and Special Sauce are a trio that fuses classic R&B and rap into a sound appealing for live performances and MTV. Their first album featured Cold Beverages, a song whose video was in heavy rotation on MTV. It nearly got them Gold sales for their debut.

A spot on the H.O.R.D.E tour brought them to a receptive audience and the band released a followup record in 1995. Disputes over finances almost ended the group and G. Love worked on a solo record with three different groups.

After resolving their dispute, the band released a following record that drew on the bands that G. Love had involved independently.Love and Special Sauce formed in 1993 and it only took a year for their first record to be released. By 2000 the band had settled into a pattern of record release followed by heavy international touring. Albums from the early 200s often featured a bit of everything in a musical kitchen sink, but later in the decade the band settled on an approach that utilized more consistent sounds after moving to the record label headed by Jack Johnson.

Now almost three decades into his career, G’ Love continues to release new material. His latest album The Juice won a Grammy nomination and Love has used the new record as a launching point for a new band, G. Love and the Juice.


2021-12-01T13:56:04-05:00December 2nd, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Corey Harris

Denver, Colorado native Corey Harris began playing guitar as a twelve year old with inspiration from his Mother’s Lightnin’ Hopkins records. Harris honed his skills with the high school marching band and a rock band to go along with his singing in church.

After attending college in Maine, Harris travelled to Cameroon to study African linguistics, and returned again on a fellowship. Influenced greatly by African music, Harris began to busk and play in clubs on his return to the US when he took a Teaching America job in Louisiana. Alligator records signed him to a recording contract and released his first record, a one man effort that demonstrated his mastery of several delta blues styles.

Corey Harris expanded his sound with his second record. Fish Ain’t Bitin’ added New Orleans brass and a greater emphasis on original compositions.  The album won the 2018 W.C. Handy award for best acoustic blues album.

Corey Harris was invited by Billy Bragg and Wilco to participate in the Mermaid Avenue project where the artists added music and performance to lyrics written by Woody Guthrie. Harris appeared on both volumes.

Harris was the featured artist and narrator for the first episode of the Martin Scorsese documentary series The Blues. Feel Like Going Home traced the evolution of the blues from West Africa to the southern US. In 2007 he was awarded a MacArthur scholarship with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation describing  Harris as an artist who “forges an adventurous path marked by deliberate eclecticism.”

With his 20th album Insurrection Blues, Harris has returned to his acoustic blues roots with an album that is relevant to today but steeped in tradition.

2021-11-29T22:16:53-05:00November 30th, 2021|

Decade of Difference: John Mayall

Happy 89th birthday to John Mayall. The godfather of British blues, Mayall has been performing for over five decades. A generation older than the musicians who came of age in the 60s and 70s, Mayall was a mentor to many of the most successful ones, including Eric Claptop, Peter Green and Mick Taylor, along with Jack Bruce, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

Five of Mayall’s first seven albums reached the top 10 in the UK, each of which featured different artists playing along with the Bluesbreakers. After moving to the US, John Mayall continued his collaborative ways featuring numerous veteran blues and jazz musicians on his records in the 70s and 80s.

John Mayall developed his appreciation of jazz and blues as a child. His father was a guitarist and an avid collector of jazz and blues 78s. Inspired by what he heard, Mayall taught himself to play piano, guitar and harmonica.After serving in the military in Korea, Mayall returned to the UK and completed an art degree. Soon he was convinced to give up his day job in favor of becoming a full time musician in London. In 1964 he received a spot opening for John Lee Hooker in London and a record deal soon followed.

Mayall continued touring well into his 80s, but has now retired from live performances. He continues to record new music and his long career has been captured in a mammoth 35 disc box set released this year.

2021-11-24T08:32:49-05:00November 29th, 2021|

Country Feedback Playlist for November 28, 2021

Country Feedback Playlist for                           11/28/2021

Artist – Album – Title – Release Year

Lucinda Williams – Ramblin – Drop Down Daddy – 1979

The Malpass Brothers – Memory That Bad – I’m A Good Loser – 2011


Wild Earp – Dyin’ for Easy Livin’ – I’m Purple – 2021

Jesse Daniel – Beyond These Walls – Drop A Line (Out Her on the Water) – 2021

India Ramey – (Single) 2021 – Cocktail for Christmas – 0

Jeremy Pinnell – Goodbye L.A. – Never Though of No One – 2021


Dori Freeman – Ten Thousand Roses – Appalachian – 2021

Jesse Dayton – The Outsider – Tried to Quit – 2018

Nikki Lane – All or Nothin – Man Up – 2014

Little Feat – Feats Don’t Fail Me Now – Skin It Back – 1974


Marty Stuart – Saturday Night/Sunday Morning – Look At That Girl – 2014

Brent Mason – Hotwired – Hotwired – 1997

Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers – Dead Flowers – 1971

Son Volt – A Retrospective – Tulsa County – 2005


The Damn Quails – Down the Hatch – Midnight Swagger – 2021

Reckless Kelly – The 9/11 Demos – I Hate That Guy – 2021


2021-11-25T18:26:47-05:00November 28th, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Norah Jones

Nine time Grammy winner Norah Jones burst onto the scene in 2002 with Come Away With Me an album that combined jazz, folk and blues into a mix that sold over 27 million copies worldwide.

Jones grew up in New York, daughter of concert producer Sue Jones and Indian musician Ravi Shankar. Developing a love for jazz, Jones attended the University of North Texas, majoring in jazz piano and connecting with musicians who would form the core of her future musical groups.

Returning to New York, Jones recorded with the Peter Malick Group before releasing her Come Away With Me album. Based on that album, Jones received eight Grammy nominations in 2003, winning five.

Norah Jones continued her successful jazz centered career, winning Billboards top jazz recording artist for the decade of 2000-2009. During the same time frame, Jones branched out forming the alt-country group The Little Willies with her University of North Texas friends, and also contributing to the Hank Williams Project, a Bob Dylan led effort to record Hank Williams lyrics for which the author had not completed the music.

Working with two other Brooklyn musicians, Jones formed Puss N Boots as a vehicle to explore different music. Initially intended as a club band, the group has endured with five albums and a song on the new Neal Casal tribute collection.

2021-11-24T08:13:28-05:00November 26th, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter grew up in New Jersey, cultivating her musical tastes in pretty typical ways including listening to her sister’s record collection, which was heavy on the Mamas and Papas and  the Beatles. Although she played guitar  and sang in high school, she never considered performing in public until her father suggested she try an open mic night.

After spending time playing in the DC folk scene, Carpenter landed a recording contract and released her first album in 1987. In 1992 she had her most successful album. Come On, Come On spawned three top five singles and established her as a country artist. Her following album produced a number one song and a Grammy.

Mary Chapin Carpenter has released 15 albums, and her first album of new material just came out. “The Dirt and the Stars” was mostly written at her Virginia farmhouse and draws from her personal experiences. Having won 5 Grammys as well as CMA and AMA awards, Carpenter has plenty on which to reflect.

Carpenter just received a Grammy nomination for her latest release One Night Lonely (Live). It is an unusual concert recording – Carpenter played a solo show to an empty Filene Center captured for a livestream and then released on DVD and in audio form.

2021-11-24T08:28:41-05:00November 25th, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Edgar Meyer

Bassist and Composer Edgar Meyers turns 61 today. His wide range of musical interests has won awards in a variety of genres. Growing up in Tennessee, Meyer learned to play the double bass from his father, a director of the string orchestra program in the local school system.

Meyer went on to study at Indiana University and the Aspen Music School. At Aspen he met Bela Fleck and this would turn into a rewarding musical contact. Fleck assisted Meyer on his first four solo albums and together the pair recorded more albums, with 2001’s Perpetual Motion winning two Grammys.

Edgar Meyer was recognized for his skilled musicianship and gift for composition with a MacArthur Award in 2002.

Edgar Meyer was introduced to Jerry Douglas and Mark O’Connor through his collaboration with Bela Fleck and along with Sam Bush they formed the bluegrass band Strength in Numbers. The band was generally categorized as new grass but drew heavily from jazz influences.  Meyer’s collaboration with O’Connor and Yo-Yo Ma on the album Appalachian Journey won a Grammy in the Classical Crossover category

Later, his  collaboration with those two plus Chris Thile in the Goat Rodeo Sessions produced more Grammys. The group has released two albums separated by about a decade. The term goat rodeo refers to a chaotic event where many things must go right for the situation to work, a reference to the unusual and challenging aspects of blending classical and bluegrass music.

Photo Credit: Jim McGuire

2021-11-24T08:01:44-05:00November 24th, 2021|

Country Feedback Playlist for November 21, 2021

Artist – Album – Title – Release Year

Tommy Emmanuel – Accomplice One – Song and Dance Man (with Ricky Skaggs) – 2018

Asleep At The Wheel – Half a Hundred Years – Marie (with Willie Nelson) – 2021


Waylon Jennings – Honky Tonk Heroes – Slow Rollin’ Low – 1973

Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen – Hold My Beer Vol. 2 – Rhinestoned – 2020

Rosanne Cash – The List – Sea of Heartache (with Bruce Springsteen) – 2009

Sonny Landreth – Blacktop Run – Don’t Ask Me – 2020


Wayne Hancock – A-Town Blues – Miller, Jack & Mad Dog – 2001

Hayes Carll – You Get It All – Any Other Way – 2021

Suzy Boggus – Lucky – The Running Kind – 2014

Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material – Dime Store Cowgirl – 2015


Garrett T. Capps – I Love San Antone – I Like Austin but I Love San Antone – 2021

Webb Pierce – Single – In the Jailhouse Now – 1955

K.C Jones – Queen of the In Between – Heat Rises – 2021

Various – Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine – (Drive By Truckers> Daddy’s Little

Pumpkin – 2010


Marshall Tucker Band – A New Life – 24 Hours At A Time – 1974

Sam Bush – Laps In Seven – New Country – 2006


2021-11-22T10:01:23-05:00November 21st, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Umphrey’s McGee

Formed by Notre Dame students, Umphrey’s McGee fuse various musical genres into a jam band mix. Originally a quartet, the band released their first record in 1998, the optimistically named Greatest Hits Vol. 3. By 2000 the group had grown to six members and expanded their musical catalog with more originals replacing the covers that had been a big part of their shows.

After moving to Chicago, Umphrey’s McGee expanded their touring range to include more of the midwest and occasionally appearing with a diverse set of guest artists including Bela Fleck and bluesman Sugar Blue.

The band has nurtured an enthusiastic fan base through some innovative schemes. They set up programs offering live recordings to fans immediately after their shows and instituted a unique Hall of Fame series in which fans vote on the best performances of the year to be released on an annual live compilation.

Starting in 2008, the band began hosting a Halloween mashup show where they arranged a new composition consisting of 2 or 3 songs and including originals and covers. They eventually released an album of these unique mixes called Zonkey.

In 2010 the band initiated the UMBowl, a show consisting of 4 ‘quarters’ – two selected through a vote by ticket purchasers and the other two created from interactive submissions during the show.

2021-11-18T07:53:57-05:00November 19th, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Hank Ballard

Hank Ballard’s raunchy, earthy style often got him banned from the airwaves, but that just proved to make him a bigger draw on jukeboxes during the 1950s and 60s. Ballard was also an influence on the style of a young James Brown and composed one of the biggest rock and roll hits of the 60s, The Twist as recorded by Chubby Checker.

After growing up in Alabama, Ballard returned to his birth city of Detroit and formed a doo wop group while working on the assembly line at Ford. The Royals included some impressive talents in addition to Ballard, including Jackie Wilson and Levi Stubbs who would go on to greater success with the Four Tops. Ballard’s first record with the gour was 1953’s Get It, and from there the group moved on to Work With Me Annie a song that topped the R&B charts and came close to the pop top 20. At this point Ballard had changed the name of the band to the Midnighters.

It took almost four years for Hank Ballard and the Midnighters to return with a song as popular as their first two. In 1958 Ballard’s label rejected The Twist but he did get another company to release it for him as a B side. Dick Clark was a fan of the song and took it to Chubby Checker who recorded the hit version.

In 1962 Hank Ballard and the Midnighters recorded their biggest hit, Finger Poppin’ time a song that won the band a Grammy nomination. By 65 the band folded and Ballard became a solo act.

Hank Ballard had one more R&B top 20 single in 1968 and had some minor hits during the disco era. Returning too his raunchy days, Ballard had a minor hit with Lets Go Streakin’, a song he recorded in the nude. Hand Ballard and the Midnighters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

2021-11-18T07:55:10-05:00November 18th, 2021|