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Chicago concert in Paris (Casino de Paris): pictures and soon video interviews







The concert of the band Chicago on July 29, 2008 at the Casino de Paris, Paris, France was quite exceptional although James Pankow and Walter Parazaider weren't in the band for this European tour (Nick Lane and Ray Hermann replaced them). In The Casino de Paris, the concert was sold out with a real great ambiance and a lot of blasts from the past as well as more recent material (80s, 90s and the latest years). More than 135 minutes for a great gig. Let's imagine Chicago hasn't played live in Paris since 1976!! The audience was fabulous and quite expressive!

If you have assisted to this concert or one of the Chicago concerts in Europe, please put your opinion and reviews in the comments of this message.

More to come : pics of the concert of Chicago in Paris and two exclusive video interviews : Bill Champlin and Jason Scheff

More to come on this blog, albums pics of the concert of Chicago in Paris and two exclusive video interviews of Bill Champlin and Jason Scheff shoot in Paris on July 29 in which they talk about Chicago (especially about the album "Stone Of Sysyphus"), their solo career, new collaborations and projects! Stay tuned!

A very special thanks to Bill Champlin and Jason Scheff for their friendship and for making these interviews possible!

Photos : Copyright J.-L. Raymond.

Crosby Still Nash & Young's "Deja Vu", a film by Neil Young


CSNY provided much of the soundtrack for the antiwar movement of the Vietnam era, and four decades later, they re doing it again. (Variety) In 2006, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunited for the Freedom Of
Speech Tour. In 2008, they premiere CSNY/Déjà Vu, a feature-length documentary based on that controversial tour. But the only place to hear in their entirety the impassioned performances in the film is on CSNY/Déjà Vu Live. A mix of CSNY classics and more recent antiwar material from Neil Young, CSNY/Déjà Vu Live marks the return to the socio-political stage of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young in a musical déjà vu.

Watch the trailer here!

Joel Rafael "Thirteen stories high"


"Timelessness," says award-winning Southern California-based singer-songwriter Joel Rafael, "is a quality that you can't quite place, but it's about something that seems like it's always been there, and always should be there, whether it's an old house, or a mountain or a song." It aptly describes "This Is My Country," the lead track on Rafael's new album Thirteen Stories High, his first set of original material since 2000's Hopper. The disc follows up two acclaimed collections paying tribute to the music of Woody Guthrie.

An affecting and plain-spoken protest song featuring background vocals from David Crosby and Graham Nash, the cut sounds both age-old and clearly relevant to the country's current, war-weary despair. Nash said of it, "I wish I had written this song. So powerful and profound a call from his heart to ours." For all of the different roads that all of the song's listeners may have walked, they'll be in unison with Rafael's blunt and simply worded refrain about the powers that be: "And I know when I say these words that I am not alone/It's time to stop them in their tracks/it's time to take our country back."

Rafael's lyrical directness and honest delivery reliably elevate his art with a stripped-down blend of wisdom, realism, empathy and hope. It flows effortlessly throughout Thirteen Stories High, recorded in Austin, Texas and released in 2008 on Inside Recordings, an independent label founded by Jackson Browne and his management team. As prominent music writer Dave Marsh once said, "the stories Joel Rafael tells, and the emotional spells his music weaves, have depth and beauty because they come from so deep in his heart, and pierce so deep into ours he says his music is a 'streak' in his soul, but while you're listening, it seems more like the whole damn thing."

Of the new album's thirteen tracks, eleven are original compositions, many written over the last year or two. Among them are a paean to water ("Rivers And Rain"), a love song about checking your baggage, whatever the nature of the relationship ("Ball & Chain), and "Promised Land," which Rafael says is, "one of those travel to hell and back songs. This one came out of a dream, with images of crossing a river with angels of mercy guiding the way."


Thanks to Peter Holmstedt - Hemifran

Kelly Dalton "Home"


Kelly Dalton was raised in a house of music. His mother and father, both singer/songwriters, met in a club in New York and together joined the renownedfolk group "The Back Porch Majority" in the 60's.

From the beginning it was clear Kelly was fascinated by the simple, yet beautiful chord changes and melodies from the likes of Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel and James Taylor. He began learning these songs on the house piano and guitar soon followed. Starting in his early teens he performed with various bands, until he began working on his own songs and honing his own musicianship. Small impromptu coffee house gigs and relentless west coast performances drew increasingly larger audiences..loyal crowds soon followed.

Recently he recorded a 6 song EP titled “Home” with Producer Thom Flowers up in Santa Barbara, Ca. Some of his live band buddies Cisco Deluna (Dobro, Accordion) & Ben Pringle (Organs, Harmonies) came in and added their magic. Also, his friend and fellow singer/songwriter Holly Brook completed it by adding her beautiful voice on a few tracks.

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt - Hemifran

Nathalie Nahai "Fortune teller"


Nathalie Nahai releases her much-anticipated second album, Fortune Teller on 25th August 2008 via Fuzzy Muskrat Records. Recorded in the Southern State of Georgia, USA, the influence of folk and bluegrass music is clear and her collaboration with other blues musicians lends this album a depth and variety enriched further by the simple production style. Early press reviews for the album have raved about ‘the raw acoustics, delicate melodies and beautiful structures’ (Maverick), and the ‘pure quality’ (Acoustic) of the record.

Born in London to her half Iranian/half French mother, and Gibraltarian father of Scottish descent, Nathalie has been developing her musical talent all her life. Having been classically trained in violin and self-taught on guitar (which leads to a rather unique plucking style), she writes her own music and has been performing in the UK and US for the past three years, both solo and with her band. Whilst studying at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (London), she travelled to the States to record her debut album with multi-platinum Grammy award winning producer Don McCollister. It was released in 2006 on her label, Fuzzy Muskrat Records (FMR), and received critical acclaim.


NATHALIE NAHAI: Fortune Teller

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt - Hemifran

Rachael Sage "Chandelier"


Multi award-winning New York songwriter Rachael Sage has penned quirky, melodic pop songs since she was old enough to reach the piano keys. Over the course of her career, she has steadily built a loyal grassroots fanbase with a rigorous international tour schedule, performing in inventive configurations featuring Wurlitzer, drums, trumpet and string quartet. Like her musical idol Elvis Costello, she's endlessly fascinated with the crafts of songwriting and arrangement, and counts Buddy Holly, The Beatles, David Bowie and perhaps most surprisingly, John Lee Hooker among her biggest inspirations.

Her latest self-produced disc, CHANDELIER, was recorded by longtime collaborator John Shyloski, mixed by Grammy® Winner Kevin Killen (Elvis Costello, U2), and contains 13 tracks of what Performing Songwriter calls "engaging pop arrangements and gripping melodies." A musically eclectic affair, the album covers a myriad of emotions, but always comes back to one central theme: fragility


Thanks to Peter Holmstedt -Hemifran

Buy the CD

Artie Traum passed away. RIP


Artie Traum was an award-winning guitarist and songwriter featured on over 20 albums for Capitol, Sony, Shanachie, Slice of Life and Narada Records. A pioneer of the 1970’s acoustic music scene, Traum been described as a musician "whose work defines the vitality and sophistication of American acoustic music." (Acoustic Guitar Magazine 2002). During his career he has produced or recorded with with John Sebastian, The Band, Bela Fleck, Tony Levin, Richie Havens, Pete Seeger, Abby Newton, David Grisman, Livingston Taylor, Patty Larkin, Michael Franks, Jesse Winchester and dozens of top artists.

It is with profound sorrow that we announce the untimely passing of Artie Traum. Artie was diagnosed with a rare ocular melanoma, and he had been undergoing regular treatments for it. In May, however, it was discovered that the cancer had spread to his liver, and it was incurable. He died peacefully, at home on Sunday, July 20.

His family has begun a page for remembrances. If you would like to add your thoughts to that page, please e-mail to [email protected]

More about Artie Traum

ARTIE TRAUM: Thief of Time

"Mo Hippa Live" by Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen


In the hallowed ranks of New Orleans “piano professors,” Jon Cleary is on the tenure track. With his new release MO HIPPA (FHQ Records), Cleary finally puts the sizzling energy of his live shows on wax.

“The fact is that the magic that happens in a live performance is unique and will only happen once,” Cleary says. On MO HIPPA, that magic is captured. The Absolute Monster Gentlemen are Cleary on piano; New Orleans natives Derwin “Big D” Perkins on guitar and Cornell C. Williams on bass, both ten-year vets of the band; and new face Eddie Christmas on drums. While Cornell’s deep grooves and Eddie’s hard, funky beat anchor the grooves, Big D and Jon soar, with R&B licks that take the best from island rhythms, jazz, funk and traditional New Orleans soul.

Cleary, born in England, is an adopted son of the Crescent City, who’s made good his citizenship with five soul-soaked R&B funk albums with the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. As a session man, he’s played with Taj Mahal, B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt, to name a few, and is a longstanding member of Raitt’s touring band. Musically, though, his heart and soul reside on the banks of the Mississippi.

Recorded at the Vanguard club in Sydney, Australia, MO HIPPA shows Cleary and his ace band stamping their signature, groove-laden style on New Orleans classics like Professor Longhair’s iconic “Tipitina” and the Meters’ funk masterpiece “People Say.” Originals like “C’mon Second Line,” and “Port Street Blues” show the British-born Cleary’s fluency in his adopted hometown’s idiom – as he slides from street-parade swagger into soulful blues, he funks it up like a native. The smoking original track “When U Get Back” is a singular example of Cleary’s eclectic style: killer R&B infused with Caribbean funk, Cajun sizzle and a catchy pop sensibility that infects the dance floor.

The closing track, the shack-shaking funk blues original “Mo Hippa,” is a celebration of everything New Orleans, playfully challenging the rest of the world to step to the Crescent City’s legendary and effortless groove. The infectious energy in the Vanguard that night as the song took over the room is audibly apparent on the recording. The audience was “seated, and like many jazz club audiences they were a little polite and almost seemed to be waiting for permission to move all the chairs and tables out of the way,” Cleary remembers. “When it came time, we gave them a gentle nudge and the next minute they were all getting down and shaking it New Orleans style.”

Ex-Foreigner Frontman Readies Christian Rock Set

Regarding Gary Graff's article at, former Foreigner frontman Lou Gramm has finished recording his first Christian rock album, which he hopes to release this fall.

Gramm, who has been a Born Again Christian since the early '90s, tells that the as-yet-untitled album "rocks from one end to the next -- that kind of attitude but with a different subject matter." He recorded it in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y., with his band, which includes brothers Ben and Richard and Don Mancuso from his pre-Foreigner band, Black Sheep. The album will be released by Spectra Records.

Gramm, who left Foreigner for a second time in 2003, says that his recovery from a benign brain tumor in the late '90s gave him the impetus for many of the album's faith-based songs. "It's about how you can be so out of line with the way God would have you be and maybe have a major incident in your life kind of wake you up," he explains. "I had my priorities not in order and I just think I'm looking at life in general a little bit differently."

Reaction to this direction from fans of Foreigner and his previous solo work has been "mixed," Gramm acknowledges. "I'm not sure what people think -- that by doing a Christian rock album you suddenly become a completely different person or your creative self changes? It really just means that a lot of the subject matter changes; a lot more thought goes into the lyrics and not a ton of songs about popping that girl after the show.

He continues, "But that doesn't mean I am a person who has no fun and no life; I definitely like to have fun. I just think I know quite a bit better where to draw the line now."

Gramm and his band will be touring this summer but don't plan on playing any of the new material until the album is released. So many of the Foreigner hits, he says, "don't work for me, but I will perform any and all of them for the time being.

"I can look back on (his previous music) with a lot of pride, and I can see how my path has led me to where I am now. But I am much more in charge of where this band goes and what the music is than I ever had a chance to be in Foreigner. So for better or for worse, it's my direction."