Magnolia Boulevard’s debut album, “New Illusion” is contagious with its bluesy, soulful flavor and grooves that jam effortlessly. I listened to the Kentucky quintet’s last track, “Sister” first. Maggie Noelle, lead vocalist, wrote the song in honor of her best friend. It’s the record’s standout. The gentle picking guitar and rumbling bass, that is almost meditative, initiates its heartfelt sentiments. The tribute is captivating both in its lyrics and accompanying instrumentals.

The Georgia Thunderbolts just released their debut, self-titled record. It’s pure rock and roll, mirroring sounds of bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and ZZ Top. Rock and roll plays an important function within society, influencing attitudes and developments. It’s also an art form that celebrates as well as encourages self-expression, diversity and individuality.

The term ‘reckoning’ is defined in multiple ways. It is the process of calculating something. It refers to a judgement, opinion, bill or settlement. Front Country wrote “The Reckoning” a year prior to the pandemic, social injustice movement and pre-election, Post Office debacle. Nonetheless, the song impeccably defines this bizarre moment in history, providing confidence there will be a final reckoning.  

I had originally started this review with a cute anecdote. It’s kind of my thing, and everybody else’s. But I’m going to cut straight to it. This was fucking insane. Oh. Was my use of fuck in the fourth sentence a bit too much for you? Then why in a flying fuck would you be reading a review of Andy Frasco and The U.N.? I ask again, why in a flying fuck? Keeping you from feeling comfortable comes as easy to Andy and his band as it does to a leather couch on a humid day. So, don’t come to me looking for a run of the mill review of a run of the mill show. Andy Frasco and The U.N.

It was sooooo good to hear live music again! Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brought their dance-inducing swing revival sound to Ventura's hometown audience for three nights, August 17-19th. The shows were part of the Rubicon Goes Retro drive-in concert series. The summer concerts, which continue through September, feature the latest fad in live music, concerts in your car.

Russia and China are interfering with our election. The GOP campaign is engaging in frivolous lawsuits to stifle negative ads and there is now proof they are responsible for rallying support around a deranged, (as if the current one wasn’t damaged enough) third-party candidate. I’m enraged by all this revolting behavior. Yet, what makes me the most irate is the mucking about in the mechanism needed for us to vote safely since the pandemic is out of freaking, control. (I whole-heartily acknowledge The United States Post Office isn’t a sexy nor exciting topic.

Corey Harper is more than just a pretty face. His music is endearing, authentic and touches on difficult but far too familiar emotions. At just 25 I’m impressed with his depth. (I am also saddened he has already had to endure so much heartache. Although, ultimately it makes him a great artist.) Harper’s album, “Overcast” has an ethereal feel not just in sound but also in look which complements its overall intensity.

In honor of Jerry Garcia’s birthday (8/1/42), Poolside released their cover of “Shakedown Street.”  The song’s meaning has been notoriously vague, stumping Deadheads. Some speculate the famed, 1978 tune is about Club Front, the Grateful Dead’s, San Rafael recording studio and all the drama that ensued there. Others attribute the lyrics, as perhaps, focusing on the decay of inner-cities. Of course, as any fan knows, the title came to refer to the parking lot scene before and after shows. Poolside’s accompanying music video spotlights the setting well, sparking fond memories.

The Drive-In style set up at the ranch was in the same fashion as going to the movies, except this movie theatre had a real PA system. Cars were parked in rows and the social distance tailgating was highly successful. There were limited VIP tables set up in front of the stage for a bit more intimate viewing. Robert Randolph started the show with some of the members and introduced Devon and Duane a few songs in. At that point, the musicians on stage were from five different bands.

Do you dance when you stream a show? I can’t do it. But I’ll admit, as the stage lights came up, replacing Billy Strings’ concert poster, I could feel the gooseflesh on my arms perking up. What is a full concert experience right now? Interactive? Maybe. Original? Definitely. Happening now; unfolding with, or in spite, of me. The energy on stage must be manifested in a different way. So, what is the place of the viewer? We no longer are wrapped up in the vibe we are helping to create.