Leslie Mendelson’s studio performance of "Happy New Year" celebrates this important benchmark while providing the optimism we desperately need after a whirlwind of a year. There is both simplicity and complicatedness in Mendelson’s tune. The piano which is the only supporting instrument is straightforward and gentle, creating an underlying, welcoming calmness whereas the intricately resides in her voice and lyrics. She expresses melancholy in each of her notes, even though the song’s words are uplifting.

When I first heard John Hurlbut’s and Jorma Kaukonen’s acoustic album, The River Flows, my being instantly welled up to the sound, welcoming it like an ocean does a river. With tears filling my eyes, the quality of the music made me realize—There’s something about greatness that opens the soul to living. What was it that I was experiencing which caused me to think such things, to feel such sentiment? John and Jorma’s touch begs the asking.

About 40 years after joining the original Jerry Garcia Band, Melvin Seals & JGB delivered on December 20 two solid sets at a private, socially distanced performance. The gathering of a few dozen folks, mostly masked, took place on a bright, sunny afternoon in the small Sierra Nevada foothill community of Auburn, Calif. That the improbable, COVID-era show happened all was thanks to the tireless efforts of local concert impresario Scott Holbrook and his Keep Smilin’ Promotions.

America is unrecognizable. 300,000+ citizens have died in a pandemic that could have been better managed. The government is sitting on a stimulus package that would ignite the economy and save livelihoods. People are refusing to take personal responsibility. Lies and misdirected efforts have derailed our focus. This is not the country I know. It’s humiliating and inexcusable, destroying our ideals as well as forcing us apart.

Reggae-influenced alternative rock band Iration played a sold-out show for the final performance of the Concerts In Your Car Series at the Ventura Fairgrounds on December 4th. Since last June, when CBF Productions launched the first drive-in live music experience in California at the Ventura Fairgrounds, there has been a rebirth of live music events on the south coast.

I adore people like Lilli Lewis. Besides being an extraordinarily talented artist who creates outstanding music, she is a mover and shaker positively influencing the community through her grassroots, social change efforts. Lewis’ single “My American Heart,” off her upcoming album, “Americana” demonstrates a caliber of genius. Lewis’ voice is breathtaking. She launches the song gently, sweetly and then soars effortlessly, displaying operatic qualities.

Lilly Winwood’s claim to fame isn’t simply her iconic father Steve Winwood. The video release of “Few More Records” provides a delectable taste of Winwood’s definitive country style highlighting her rich vocals and ability to carefully craft thoughtful lyrics. The full-bodied, metallic twang of the guitars resonates forcefully, welcoming Winwood’s bright, steady voice.

A little over a week ago, five-member progressive string band Horseshoes and Hand Grenades released their brand-new album, Miles In Blue, and just last night, they performed the album in its entirety via a special, two-hour live-streamed set.

In tarot culture, the number three is often referred to as the “trinity of creation,” which is seen as an expression of the creative power of life itself, tapping into all the resources that manifest through creative actions and processes. It also stands for the duality of the power of two to create a whole — often represented by a triangle — which is one of the strongest structures available.

Tash Sultana’s forthcoming sophomore album Terra Firma, due out February 19, 2021 on Mom+Pop Music takes a mash-up of genres to create a peacefully inspiring album. Its intoxicating grooves and hypnotic riffs are instantly inviting, but with depth that reveals its rewards the more you absorb it.

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