rawk Archive

Carlos Santana: From Woodstock to ‘Supernatural’ to ‘Africa Speaks,’ Making Music with Intention (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from Part One… Day of Celebration Though Santana has scored numerous awards on his own and with his band – ten Grammys, three Latin Grammys – and sold more than 100 million records across the globe, his commercial popularity has had peaks and valleys. Santana was well into the latter in the late 1990s;

Carlos Santana: From Woodstock to ‘Supernatural’ to ‘Africa Speaks,’ Making Music with Intention (Part 1 of 2)

The venue is packed. The crowd is pumped. They’re here to see and hear guitarist Carlos Santana and his band. As the house lights dim, a giant projection screen at the back of the stage comes alive. It’s showing clips from the 1970 documentary film, Woodstock. The split-screen images are familiar to the older concertgoers;

Eric Gales: Beyond the Blues

A respected electric blues guitarist who first made a name for himself almost three decades ago, Eric Gales has cultivated a career that pushes well past the boundaries of the blues. Once lauded for his technical capability on his instrument, today Gales has a more nuanced approach that shows the depth of his talent and

Don’t Forget All About It: ‘Nazz Nazz’ at 50

Building upon the disparate influences of Philly soul, Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Laura Nyro, Nazz was quite a unique group. Though today the foursome is remembered chiefly as the band Todd Rundgren played in before launching his own idiosyncratic solo career, Nazz can lay claim to being one of the first power pop groups,

Album Review: Aura Blaze – The Sparkling Black

Well, well: this is unexpected. The press on this album suggested something in the vein of Pink Floyd; oddly, one act I don’t hear in this music is Floyd. But as “Overture” Solar Emerge” opens, Aura Blaze sounds more like Caravan. As the song unfolds, the instrumentation reveals hints of National Health and Egg, more

Stranger by the Minute: Porcupine Tree’s ‘Stupid Dream’ at 20

Porcupine Tree began as a ruse; Steven Wilson concocted a backstory for a fictitious band. But the prodigiously talented multi-instrumentalist crafted music to go with the legend, and thus the “group” was born. After a string of albums made essentially at home alone, Wilson put together an actual group and began playing live dates. 1996’s

Mike Mills’ Rock/orchestral Hybrid

Note: I’ve written a number of pieces ( links: [1] [2] [3] ) based on interviews with former R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills. Here’s another. — bk Mike Mills is best known as the bassist in R.E.M. From the band’s formation in Athens, Georgia in 1980 to its amicable dissolution in 2011, Mills sang backing/harmony vocals

Andrew Scotchie: All in the Family

At only 25 years of age, guitarist, singer and songwriter Andrew Scotchie has a thriving music career. A prominent fixture of the Western North Carolina music scene, Scotchie and his blues-rocking band the River Rats started out in 2011 as buskers on the streets of Asheville; today the group has released three albums of original

Your Most Valuable Possession: Ben Folds Five’s ‘…Reinhold Messner’ at 20

North Carolina-based Ben Folds Five came on the scene in 1995 with their self-titled debut album. The Chapel Hill band had been together two years, honing their unusual (in a rock context, anyway) approach: a piano, bass and drum trio with no guitars. The sonic space customarily occupied by lead guitar was filled with Robert

Still Reigning King of the Twang Bar: Adrian Belew’s ‘Mr. Music Head’ at 30

By 1989, Adrian Belew was well into the high-profile phase of his career, one that continues to present day. The guitarist’s star had been in ascension since being discovered by Frank Zappa and added to his band, subsequently joining David Bowie’s band, and going on to work as a sideman for Tom Tom Club and