At this point if you cannot acknowledge Brooklyn as a hot bed of creativity then you've been sleeping on Mars. What is so amazing about the borough across the bridge is that all forms of artistic expression are fostered and embraced. Everyone loves DJ's but what happened to good old fashion instruments? Well if you're like us then you look to Brooklyn as the beacon of hope. Isle of Rhodes is one such band that engages with the quirky but cool side of Brooklyn. They have a fun up beat sound that will make any grumpy old man tap his feet. Though it may be apparent from their title, Isle of Rhodes is centered around a rhodes, which is an old electro/mechanical keyboard. The bands lead performer Rob Farren is an extremely passionate musician, whose musical influences ranging from Mozart to Radiohead add to the group's killer sound. Their music is familiar but keeps you wanting more. We were lucky enough to sit down with the band and have a chat about their roots, what inspires them each day, working with Grammy winning producer Jason Corsaro and their latest album "All Rivers and Oceans."
This is the fourth edition of the Experience Hendrix tour which has gone cross-country, playing homage to one of the greatest guitar players ever, Jimi Hendrix. This year's ensemble includes Joe Satriani, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Brad Whitford, Doyle Bramhall II, Living Colour, Double Trouble's Chris Layton, and David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos. Bassist Billy Cox, who met Jimi in the Army and played with him in the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsies is also along for the ride.
After a long, sleep-deprived week, I was readying myself last night for a well-deserved night’s rest before another day of journalistic prosperity here at the joonbug offices. I predicated my slumber with the positive, reinforcing words of Henry Rollins’ spoken word performances; a new personal obsession which, I feel, brings hope and assurance to my often bleak view of everyday life. As my eyes began to involuntarily close, I decided to close-out my session of “youtube-ery” with a video from the site’s side-bar suggestions, namely, a musical performance. I saw the name of a performer I was unfamiliar with and thought, “Why not?” as I clicked on the less-than encumbered thumbnail. In a clip from the former hardcore-singer’s talk-show on cable’s IFC, I saw an exceptionally overweight, middle-aged man in sweat-pants and what looked like a hand-Sharpied t-shirt timidly fist-strumming mangled chords on an acoustic guitar. When he opened his mouth, his nasal, slightly off-key voice began singing a song of love by way of poetic despair that made the world around me float away until all that was left was the music pouring from my computer speakers and my heart that was breaking with each word the man spoke. I replayed the song over and over again, mesmerized at the aural magnetism of the song despite its apparent simplicity. Hours and hours later, early into the morning, I found myself lying on my bed, unable to get to sleep, weeping uncontrollably at the beauty of Daniel Johnston’s music.