Saturday, December 13, 2008

An Acoustic Storm Christmas


The Acoustic Storm brings Christmas cheer to the airwaves next weekend (12/20-12/21) with acoustic rock for the holidays. An Acoustic Storm Christmas will feature a double bill in the Eye of The Storm with Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, featuring Christmas music and memories from Jon Anderson of Yes and Greg Lake of ELP.

You'll also hear traditional Christmas songs from Bruce Springsteen,
David Bowie (with Bing Crosby), Marshall Tucker and Jeff Beck; plus
acoustic-rock holiday classics from John Lennon, Elton John, the
Eagles and Jethro Tull.

As an added treat, we'll head to the archives for those vintage Christmas messages from the Beatles to their fan club, which date back to the early '60s.

One of the songs we'll play is "Same Old Lang Syne" by the late Dan Fogelberg. Larry Coffman wrote the following article exclusively for the Acoustic Storm Web site:

There have been many songs recorded in the rock era that tell a story. But the crème de la crème of these is "Same Old Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg. It is a masterful retelling of an experience he had in 1975, and it became his signature song.

We remember the song this month because of its strong connection to the holiday season – and because of the first anniversary of Fogelberg’s death.

The song tells a compelling tale of two former lovers who have a chance meeting in a grocery store on Christmas Eve. They had dated in high school and are now adults who have not seen one another in a few years. Their efforts to take their conversation from the market to a bar are foiled when they find that all the taverns are closed. So they stop at a neighborhood liquor store, buy some beer and sip while they chat in the woman’s car.

After Fogelberg died of cancer on December 16, 2007, Jill Greulich stepped forward to reveal she is the woman whom he encountered on that snowy night in Peoria, Illinois. Greulich, now living with her second husband in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, grew up in Peoria and attended Woodruff High School with Fogelberg from 1965 to ’69. Her account of the Christmas Eve event first appeared in the Peoria Journal-Star. Attempts to reach her for additional comments were unsuccessful.

Fogelberg and Greulich, who was Jill Anderson back then, dated intermittently during their high school years. After he departed for the University of Illinois and she for Western Illinois University, they kept in touch and even dated occasionally. But the romance was finished when he left the state to pursue his music career. Dan was playing coffeehouses in Champaign, Ill., when he was discovered by schoolmate and fledgling agent Irving Azoff, who sent the budding star to Los Angeles and then Nashville to sharpen his skills.

Jill, meanwhile, relocated to the Chicago area to work as an elementary school teacher and flight attendant. A man she met there became her first husband.

In December 1975, Jill and her husband were in Peoria for a visit. During a family gathering on the night of the 24th, her mother asked Jill to get some eggnog from a nearby store. She ended up at the Convenient Food Market, where Dan, also home for the holidays, had gone to purchase whipped cream to make Irish coffees.

As they sat in Jill’s car with beer in hand, they caught up on the years that had passed since their last meeting. There were some bittersweet moments, as told by Dan’s skillful lyrical crafting. The two finally ran out of things to talk about and went back to their respective families.

The song ends on a melancholy note, with Dan reliving the high school days he spent as Jill’s lover and feeling the pain of their break-ups. As they part, an idyllic winter night is soured when falling snow "turned into rain."

Five years later the song, which would appear on the album "The Innocent Age," was released. Jill heard it on the radio one morning as she was driving to work and thought it sounded like Dan’s singing. Then she absorbed the lyrics and thought, "Oh my gosh! That really happened!"

The song is factual – to a point. The words say that Dan told Jill, "…her eyes were still as blue." But in reality her eyes are green. Chalk that up to poetic license. They also say that Jill told Dan she had married an architect, when her then-husband actually was a physical education teacher. It’s unlikely that Dan knew what Jill’s husband did for a living and just thought "architect" sounded good, she said.

The memory of the event is one that Jill treasures. She explained that she sat on the secret for so long because "it wasn’t about me, it was about Dan. It was Dan’s song."

The melody at the beginning of each verse comes from Tchaikovsky’s "1812 Overture."

The recording features Fogelberg on acoustic piano, bass and electric piano, and he overdubbed his backing vocals. Russ Kunkel played drums, and the late Michael Brecker played the closing solo snippet of "Auld Lang Syne" on soprano saxophone.

"Auld Lang Syne" is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. Translated, the title means "old long since," "long long ago" or "days gone by."

Band leader Guy Lombardo often is credited with popularizing the use of the song on New Year’s Eve through his annual broadcasts on radio and TV dating back to 1929. He also recorded it in 1939 and ’47.

"Same Old Lang Syne" was not the only song Dan wrote from his personal life. "Leader Of The Band" was about his father, Lawrence Fogelberg, who was an educator and band leader at Woodruff and Pekin high schools. He began an eight-year stint as band director at Bradley University in 1951, the year Dan was born. On his website, Dan wrote, "I was so gratified that I gave him that song before he passed on."

Dan’s mother, Margaret, emigrated from Scotland as a child and was classically trained as a pianist while attending Bradley in the 1940s.

The liner notes from "The Innocent Age" include a thank you from Dan to "my father for his gift of music and my mother for her gift of words."

Paul Evans succinctly summed up the impact of "Same Old Lang Syne" in his liner notes of one of Dan’s last CDs when he wrote, "A Dan Fogelberg song haunts you. It lingers."

That haunting masterpiece will be lingering for many years to come.

Happy Holidays from The Acoustic Storm!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Acoustic Storm Over the Holidays

It's Thanksgiving Day 2008, so I just want to express my gratitude for your support of The Acoustic Storm. I realize how fortunate I am each week to produce something I'm passionate about, and to present music that is loved by so many of us.

Also, thanks to Karen, Jeff, and Ed for their comments on my previous blog post. It's great to expand the Storm community of listeners and to find out where you're listening. Please feel free to add comments on this blog as there's no shortage of acoustic-rock to talk about.

This holiday weekend, The Acoustic Storm will weave in some sets based on the theme of "home." After all, like they say in the "Wizard of Oz"....there's no place like home. A sample of what we'll hear includes Lynyrd Skynyrd's acoustic version of "Sweet Home Alabama," Simon & Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound," and a couple of Beatles' tunes, "She's Leaving Home" and "Two of Us (On Our Way Back Home)." Plus, Pink Floyd gets the spotlight in the Eye of The Storm with music that spans the career of the band that was named after two bluesmen from the Deep South.

Then it's on to December, and here's what the program line-up looks like for featured artists in the Eye of The Storm:

12/6-12/7: JAMES TAYLOR
12/20-12/21: YES and ELP (An Acoustic Storm Christmas)
12/27-12/28: ROLLING STONES

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Check out archived Acoustic Storm listener posts on The Acoustic Storm Web site.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A November to Remember

November has arrived, bringing with it a highly-anticipated Presidential Election, Thanksgiving and five Acoustic Storms (come to think of it, a five-weekend month sounds pretty good).

By the way, thank you for the positive feedback on last weekend's 10th anniversary show. The Acoustic Storm has always been a labor of love for me, so your support is truly gratifying. Also, thanks to dan and rushman for their comments on October's A.S. blog.

Here's the schedule for November's featured artists in the Eye of The Storm....

11/1-11/2: JETHRO TULL
11/8-11/9: EAGLES
11/15-11/16: STEVIE NICKS
11/22-11/29: KINKS
(including our annual airing of "Alice's Restaurant" by Arlo Guthrie)
11/29-11/30: PINK FLOYD
(Thanksgiving Weekend: Some Songs About Home)

Of course, this Tuesday is Election get out and vote!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Acoustic Storm 10th Anniversary

On October 25, The Acoustic Storm will celebrate 10 years on the air. So we'll commemorate that milestone with a special theme show of "storm-related" songs the weekend of Oct. 25-26. Plus, Bob Dylan will be the featured artist in the Eye of The Storm.

Here's the October schedule for Eye of The Storm artists:

Acoustic Storm #519: JOHN LENNON (10/4-5)
Show #520: JACKSON BROWNE Solo & Acoustic (10/11-12)
Show #521: LED ZEPPELIN (10/18-19) Some Halloween Treats
Show #522: BOB DYLAN (10/25-26) Acoustic Storm 10th Anniversary

By the way, you can check out archived Acoustic Storm listener posts on The Acoustic Storm Web site.

Thanks for your support over the past decade in helping to make acoustic-rock on the radio possible!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

September Featured Artists

The Acoustic Storm kicks off September with a tribute to the heroes and victims of 9/11, featuring extended music theme sets in the second half of each hour. We'll hear Springsteen & the E Street Band from "The Rising," Bruce's musical response to the tragic events of that day, along with John Lennon's original demo for "Imagine," and "Blowin' in the Wind" from Bob Dylan.

Plus, the Police go into the Eye of The Storm with acoustic versions from Sting, including a live performance of "Don't Stand So Close to Me," recorded the evening of 9/11/01.

Here's the entire September schedule for the Eye of The Acoustic Storm:

Acoustic Storm #515: POLICE/STING (9/6-7)
Show #516: DOORS (9/13-14)
Show #517: BILLY JOEL (9/20-21)
Show #518: WHO (9/27-28)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Summer Storm

August has arrived, bringing with it the dog days of summer, but also the latest list of artists in the Eye of The Acoustic Storm...stay cool!

#510 (8/2-8/3) Simon & Garfunkel
#511 (8/9-8/10) Double Feature: Jimi Hendrix / Janis Joplin (Woodstock theme)
#512 (8/16-8/17) Lindsey Buckingham & Fleetwood Mac
#513 (8/23-8/24) Allman Brothers
#514 (8/30-8/31) Moody Blues (Labor Day weekend)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

All-American Acoustic Storm

With the 4th of July this week, The Acoustic Storm will celebrate the holiday weekend with All-American acoustic rock. You'll hear U.S. artists like the Eagles, Tom Petty, Doors, Dylan, Stevie Nicks, John Mellencamp, the Allman Brothers and many more.

The American theme will kick off with Bruce Springsteen's acoustic demo for "Born in the USA," and continues with Don McLean's "American Pie" and "America" from Simon & Garfunkel. Plus, we'll spotlight one of Michigan's favorite sons, as Bob Seger goes into the Eye of The Storm.

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend, and celebrate with us on the All-American Acoustic Storm!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Upcoming Artists in the Eye of The Storm

The Beatles will kick off the Summer of '08 on The Acoustic Storm, as we'll take a closer listen to two of their most brilliant albums, "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" June 21-22.

Within the span of just eight months, The Fab Four expanded their creative vision with the release of two records that incorporated everything from folk-rock to orchestral arrangements, to Indian music. We'll hear acoustic demos for "Norwegian Wood" and "Got to Get You into My Life," as well as the studio versions of "Eleanor Rigby" and "In My Life."

A couple of weeks later, we'll celebrate the Fourth of July Weekend with our annual All-American Acoustic Storm, featuring Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band in the Eye of The Storm.

Here's the schedule of featured artists on The Acoustic Storm through July...

#504 (6/21-22): Beatles "Rubber Soul" & "Revolver"
#505 (6/28-29): Jethro Tull
#506 (7/5-7/6): Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
#507 (7/12-13): Donovan
#508 (7/19-20): Rolling Stones
#509 (7/26-27): Traveling Wilburys

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Acoustic Storm 500

May is here and that means the 500th Acoustic Storm is right around the corner. Not that it was a race to get there, but the landmark program just happens to arrive on the same date as the Indianapolis 500, on May 25.

On the 500th show, Bruce Springsteen goes into the Eye of The Storm, and we'll remember E Street Band keyboardist Danny Federici with an acoustic version of "Thunder Road" from the legendary 1975 Hammersmith Odeon concert in London. You'll also hear an acoustic demo of "Born in the U.S.A." from Springsteen's home-recording sessions for the "Nebraska" album, a live take on "Born to Run" and something from the latest album, "Magic."

Since The A.S. 500 falls on Memorial Day weekend, we'll play some songs for the occasion, including David Bowie's unplugged performance of "Heroes" and a beautiful rendition of "My County 'Tis of Thee" from David Crosby and Graham Nash, featuring guitar from the late Michael Hedges.

The annual Mother's Day Acoustic Storm is coming up this weekend (5/10-5/11). Jefferson Airplane-Starship's extended music family will go into the Eye of The Storm, with a taste of Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassidy's Hot Tuna. Plus, we've got music from moms like Joni Mitchell, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, and Nancy Wilson of Heart. The theme of maternal acoustic-rock will continue with a trio of tunes from The Beatles, along with Pink Floyd's "Mother," and Randy Newman's original recording of "Mama Told Me Not to Come."

On a personal note, the 5/11 Acoustic Storm is dedicated to Lynne T. Parets. My mother passed away last year and May 11th is her birthday. A lot of my musical inspiration comes from Mom as well as my maternal grandparents. Nana was an accomplished concert pianist and violinist, while Papa was a gifted opera singer.

By the way, if you have any suggestions for the Mother's Day Acoustic Storm or the Father's Day show coming up 6/14-6/15, feel free to drop me a line at .

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers get the Storm profile treatment 5/17-5/18, as they're scheduled to return to the road May 30 (Steve Winwood is the opening act for several dates). Petty has also been busy reviving his old band Mudcrutch with an album and tour.

Here's the upcoming line-up for The Acoustic Storm:

5/10-5/11: Jefferson Airplane/Starship music family (Mother's Day show)
5/17-5/18: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
5/24-5/25: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (Acoustic Storm 500th show)
5/31-6/1: Steely Dan
6/7-6/8: Neil Young
6/14-6/15: Eric Clapton - including bands he helped father (Father's Day show)

Thanks for your support in making 500 Acoustic Storms possible!

You can view archived listener posts at The Acoutic Storm Forum .

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Earth Day Acoustic Storm

This weekend, the Storm will revolve around the Earth with an environment of acoustic-rock, including "eco-tracks" from Paul McCartney ("Mother Nature's Son), Neil Young ("After the Goldrush"), Joni Mitchell ("Big Yellow Taxi") and even Marvin Gaye ("Mercy Mercy Me, The Ecology"). Of course, there will also be some sub-themes, like songs about the rain and songs about the wind. So help us think about Ma Nature this weekend on the Earth Day edition of The Acoustic Storm.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Storm Springs Forward

The vernal equinox has arrived...basically spring has sprung. So we'll celebrate with some springtime acoustic rock on the 3/29-3/30 Acoustic Storm, including a song to start baseball season and some cameo (audio) appearances from MLB'ers past and present. Since it's almost April Fool's Day, "The Joker" goes into the Eye of The Acoustic Storm with Steve Miller in words and music.

As long as we're looking ahead, here are some other upcoming artists in the Eye of The Storm:

4/5-4/6: John Fogerty & CCR
4/12-4/13: Billy Joel
4/19-4/20: Bob Dylan (Earth Day theme)
4/26-4/27: Stephen Stills & CSN

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Donovan Comes to Town

Donovan made a rare concert appearance in Phoenix Feb. 6 with a solo, acoustic performance at the historic Orpheum Theatre.

With just his shiny green acoustic guitar and trademark vibrato vocal, the Scottish troubadour put on a highly entertaining show by revisiting much of his rich catalogue of songs. He played the hits, but also performed several deeper tracks, often tapping his Celtic ancestry.

Launching into some of his earliest compositions without fanfare, Donovan rendered faithful renditions of "Catch the Wind" and "To Try for the Sun" (which, by the way, was recently recorded by Lindsey Buckingham).

He warmed up the humorous side of his storytelling with an introduction to a Scottish pirate song called "Henry Martin," noting the similarities between Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean" and the Stones' Keith Richards.

On a more serious note, Donovan memorialized the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, his long-time spiritual advisor, who had passed away the day before at the age of 91 in the Netherlands. 40 years ago this month, Donovan ventured to the Maharishi's Meditation Academy in India with The Beatles, the Beach Boys' Mike Love and jazz musician Paul Horn to study transcendental meditation.

Before performing "Hurdy Gurdy Man" as a musical tribute, Donovan told the audience, "a dear friend, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has dropped his body to move on, but has left a great legacy, a wonderful meditation program. This song is dedicated to all the students of the teachings of this Yogi."

A peace warrior since the early '60s, Donovan updated a couple of anti-war songs with references to the Iraqi conflict; Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier" and his own composition from the Vietnam era, "To Susan on the West Coast Waiting."

Other song highlights included "Sunny Goodge Street;" "Jennifer Juniper;" "Wear Your Love Like Heaven;" "Lalena;" "Eldorado;" "Season of the Witch" and "Atlantis."

He saved his biggest hits for the end of the show with inspired versions of "Sunshine Superman" and "Mellow Yellow," while wrapping up the night with his encore, the jaunty "There is a Mountain."

The following morning, I had the opportunity to interview Donovan at his hotel in downtown Phoenix. Not surprisingly, I discovered that not only is he a great artist, but a terrific person as well.

You can hear Donovan's tribute to the Maharishi leading into an unplugged version of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" on next weekend's Acoustic Storm (2/23-2/24).

That same weekend, we'll be featuring our annual "Silver Screen Acoustic Storm" with acoustic rock from the movies. Since The Beatles had their fair share of cinematic experience, we'll profile the Fab Four in the Eye of The Storm. I hope you can join me then...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Kicking Off February

It's always a lot of fun to find acoustic versions of songs you've never heard before. A couple of weeks ago, my old radio friend Lee Powell sent me the CD-single of "On the Way Home," a live, acoustic version of the Buffalo Springfield classic from Neil Young's forthcoming "NYA Performance Series Vol. 1: The Riverboat." You may have heard me play that track on last week's show when Neil was the featured artist in the Eye of The Acoustic Storm. The latest volume of Neil Young's archival series captures some of his earliest live recordings at the Toronto coffeehouse, The Riverboat.

I'm also looking forward to spinning tunes from a soon-to-be released acoustic album by Pat Benatar, plus previously-undiscovered acoustic versions from The Fixx, as well as Little Feat, courtesy of the band's Paul Barrere & Fred Tackett.

The Acoustic Storm will be "kicking off" February with a couple of songs for this Sunday's Super Bowl teams. The NFL's ultimate game is being played in The Acoustic Storm's backyard in Glendale, Arizona. So we'll play Jackson Browne with "I Am a Patriot" for New England and Billy Joel's 2006 live performance of "New York State of Mind" for the Giants.

Also on this weekend's Pink Floyd, The Beatles with a vocal demo from "Abbey Road," Ray Davies of the Kinks with an acoustic take on a British Invasion classic, and some nifty acoustic work from 6 & 12 string guitar wizard Leo Kottke. Plus, Elton John goes into the Eye of The Storm.

On a sad note, the music world lost a fine singer-songwriter January 19th with the passing of John Stewart. John's career got underway in 1961 when he replaced Dave Guard in the Kingston Trio. As the folk scene gave way to rock in the late '60s, Stewart continued to write songs. In fact, he penned "Daydream Believer," which hit the top of the charts for the Monkees.

John Stewart really came into his own as a solo artist. After meeting and marrying fellow folk singer Buffy Ford, he released his solo debut, 1969's "California Bloodlines." He recorded it live in the studio in Nashville, while across the hall Dylan was recording "Nashville Skyline." Other critically-acclaimed John Stewart albums include "Willard," "Cannons in the Rain," and "Wingless Angels."

He often performed in Phoenix, Arizona and became one of the Valley's most popular artists in the mid 1970's. In fact, John Stewart recorded "The Phoenix Concerts" at Symphony Hall in 1974.

Teaming up with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, Stewart released the album "Bombs Away Dream Babies" in 1979, featuring "Gold," which reached #5 on the singles chart. Two other tracks from that album, "Midnight Wind" and "Lost Her in the Sun," would also hit the top 40. It was around that time that I interviewed John Stewart live on K-104 (KIOG-FM/KQXE-AM) in Phoenix.

Stewart's later success mostly came as a songwriter. Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Joan Baez are among the artists that have recorded his material in recent years.

The Acoustic Storm will remember John Stewart on this weekend's show, with one of his best-loved songs, "July, You're a Woman."