SPECIAL: Billy Corgan w/ Nancy Pelosi

Okay, just came across this via Smashing Pumpkins on twitter. Had to post it. For those of you who don't know who that is with my handsome, Billy... that's Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during his visit to Congress earlier this year.

By the way, he's officially on twitter now! Follow SP and Billy at the following links:


LISTEN: Tatiana Kochkareva - Dreamers (EP)

That voice. OMG. That voice. So distinct and extoardinary. Keep an ear out for this one, peeps. Tatiana Kochkareva is her name. Delivering incredible music is her game.

Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, she currently resides in NYC.

Dreamers (2009) is Tatiana's recent EP release. Here, you can experience the range of Tatiana's talent in only 6 songs.

Best tracks

  • Dreamers
  • Social Standing
  • What Is It?
First, the title track starts you off on a melodic laid back journey.

Then into songs that are reminiscent of dramatic theatrical performances. Her meaninful lyrics are enhanced by the bluesy melodies of the piano, and the deal sealed by that voice! My God! That voice!

By the time you get half way through the album, to the song, What Is It? you are lost in a world of mad crazy talent. That one is my favorite track, by the way. Her voice, backed by the piano and a bit of distortion, makes for an eerily haunting yet captivating performance.

Two songs left and  Tatiana Kochkareva has got you under your spell.

This album is not yet available on iTunes, but her previous album, Moments, can be purchased there. Click HERE to get it.

In the meantime, check out her website for more about this talented artist. Sign up on her email list and get one of the MP3s from the Dreamers EP before it's released!

GOODIES: Free MP3s of Antje Duvekot, NIN, on THE BIGGEST LABEL EVER.

INVISIBLE CHILDREN is a cause to rescue the 3,000 child soldiers in Uganda. Yes. You read that correctly. CHILD soldiers. Doesn't sound right, does it? That's because it isn't.

Thanks to the socially-conscious music website, THE BIGGEST LABEL EVER (BLE), visitors can learn about INVISIBLE CHILDREN and several other various causes.

In addition, registered users get free exclusive content from hundreds of artists who are showing their support by giving away free downloads. Some have single songs available, while others, such as NIN, have full albums up for download.


I encourage you to please visit the site and learn more about what is happening in the world we are living in. Take a moment to register, and get great music while contributing support to important causes. It's FREE! Can't pass that up, can you? Especially in this economy!

Socially networking, savvy? You can also check out their pages profile pages

I'd like to give special thanks to one of my favorite artists, Antje Duvekot, for sharing this site in her newsletter. She has a beautiful song "Merry Go Round" you simply must take a listen to.


LISTEN: Chrissy Coughlin - Look Ahead (2008) / You Never Know (2002)

"I love what you do to me...and I love how you make me feel"
(from the song "Back To You")

I woke up this morning and that song was in my head. One of my favorites from her album Look Ahead, it's hard to get out once it's in there. And I love what her music does for me. Yeah... I love how it makes me feel. :)

I've been listening to her albums for a few weeks now, and this is an artist that's definitely going places. I usually don't like to compare artists with other artists, but her music does call to mind a little bit of Sheryl Crow, Beth Orton, and Lisa Loeb. And those aren't bad comparisons!

You can find both of her albums on iTunes. (Click on titles to listen.)

Look Ahead (2008) is a wonderful mix of the upbeat and the soothing. A blend that's great for long drives or finding a quiet spot to get self-reflective.

Best tracks
You Never Know (2002) is a little more on the mellow side. But nevertheless, just as stellar as her newer album, and definitely full of her soul.

Best tracks
Chrissy's melodic guitar playing, illustrative lyrics and sweet voice are a perfect combination. Her music can't really be defined by one genre alone. She's rock, soul, jazz, folk... all in one. Yet, she's not so all over the place that you're left befuddled. Rather, she makes all of her talents come together, creating one standout artist!

Listen for yourself... I promise, you won't be disappointed.


SPECIAL: How Music Sustains Me

I know... it's been awhile hasn't it?

I promise I haven't forgotten. Just been overwhelmed. I've been running on autopilot for the most part, trying to make sense of all the chaos that has flooded my days lately. I had to take a break from the pieces I was working on, but hope to get them up soon. So, apologies for not having anything new in awhile.

In the past couple of weeks, there have been 3 losses in my life. One relative in TX and two people I know here in GA.

Among all the other chaos, these recent losses have made it particularly rough and emotionally draining.

So, yeah... I could really use a good punk or rock show to go to tonight. *sigh* God, how I love to jump around and scream with a bunch of sweaty people without a care in the world. Seriously. There's nothing better for some major stress relieving, I tell ya.

Well, I thought it would be therapeutic to write a bit about how music has helped me during these difficult times. Especially since the chances of me jumping around a mosh pit anytime soon are pretty unlikely.

Anyways... Music is life. I know, that totally sounds like some bumper sticker on the back of a band's van. But seriously... it is. It can evoke emotion and get your blood pumping. The feel of it coursing through my veins is so much that I sometimes take the experience for granted. Lately, my loaded ipod, with it's diverse playlist, have helped to sustain and give me much needed strength.

Sometimes the music comforts me, reminds me I'm not alone. Sometimes, it's my sidekick screaming with me out loud, the tension that needs to cut loose. And then there's the music that takes me places where I can escape from the daunting challenges of some harsh realities, and go to worlds of magic and inspiration. Whatever I'm feeling, there's music there to keep me company.

My current playlist is incredibly long. So, I'll just list the artists who have been in heavy rotation for the past 2 weeks. Their music, their voices, in their own way keeping me going. Thank you. All of you for the breath of life you give. Now, and always...

(Listed in no particular order, click on name to visit their websites.)
Remember to LIVE your life. You can stop on occasion to enjoy your surroundings, but don't stand still too long and let it pass you by. When I forget this, my music is there reminding me... inspiring me... and nudging me to get back on track. So here I am, coming out of autopilot and taking control again.


A CONVERSATION WITH: Val Emmich Before the Show

Took a 45 min. drive, headed east to Athens, on an overcast, grey, mucky kind of day. Rain pouring, patches of fog on Highway 129. Front window defroster acting up... it was not a drive I would usually want to make under those conditions.

Then again... this wasn't just another rainy day in Georgia. Nope.

I was on my way to see Val Emmich, whose performance that night was the midpoint of his East Coast tour. Athens was show #2 for GA, playing Atlanta a couple nights before. From his twitterz and his manager, I learned he wasn't feeling too good. But as they say... the show must go on. And Val most certainly did.

We ran into each other, just after I arrived at the Melting Point. Expecting me, we kindly made introductions. I then waited inside to do the interview, while he went to get something for sound check.

Mind you, I was already excited to do the interview and see the show. Getting to experience sound check for almost an hour was like a little bonus. I'm a big fan of 'behind-the-scenes' type of stuff. This article, hopefully will give you a 'behind-the-scenes' look into this incredibly talented artist.

Now, without further delay...

On being a creative multi-talent.

Val, if you didn't already know, also writes and acts. He explained that when he was younger, everything was all about the music and only the music. As he got older, he didn't want to limit himself to just one creative area.

I'm attracted to new challenges. I feel alive when I can test myself and any limitations.
Going with what he feels at the moment, Val explores his talents in creative ways. Right now, he's touring and promoting his latest album, Little Daggers. He's been seen in such shows as "30 Rock" and "Ugly Betty" (which also featured his song "Snowy Day"). To top it off, he's also completed his first novel!

According to Val, sometimes it can be hard to juggle many areas at once, each one demanding it's own focus from him. Fortunately, his album was already complete by the time he was filming "Ugly Betty" so in the end, it worked itself out.

Working on other things allows me to appreciate the music more, every time I come back to it. It creates balance. As with any area of life, balance is important to have.
On staying connected and keeping grounded.

I got the original go ahead to do this interview from Val himself. After exchanging a few emails via mysapce, I decided to ask him and he agreed. YAY! And yes, it's really him responding back to your messages and comments. :)

I was delighted to learn that he's just as easy to talk with in person. It was very comfortable... like good friends sharing a conversation on common interests. I mention this because it is a huge part of why I enjoy his music. I love when there is a connection made between the artist and the listener. It's key and Val agrees.

I have this sense of responsibility to be in touch with the people who are helping and supporting me.
If you only look at the glitz and glamour, there is plenty of excitement in the fame and recognition that comes with this career path. That's not always the case, and it can be unhealthy to only have that perception. Whether entertaining the masses, or just one individual, it's essential to not let it go to one's head.

It's important for me to say 'normal'. Work life can be weird sometimes. It helps to remember where you come from.

On inspiration and the nature of his music.

Val Emmich has stories to tell. His music and lyrics bring keen understanding of those stories. They can be drawn from his personal experience, or from others. Regardless of their origin, when he shares these stories he makes them his own.
I always write in first person. Even if the song is telling someone else's story, I need to own the emotions involved.
Empathy, by definition, denotes a deep emotional understanding of another's feelings or problems. Val has this trait and utilizes it well in his music.
I'm very sensitive. I'm the guy that if someone feels weird or awkward, I want to go help them out.

There's a freedom that comes with getting through struggles and things that are broken. It helps create a good connection with the audience.

On how music affects him.

I love the music that just 'hits you'. I look at the music that I fell in love with, and what it did to me. I want to do that for others as well.
And that he does. One of his songs hits a very personal note with me. The first time I heard it, I cried. The song moved me so much and helped bring a clearer understanding of someone close to my heart. It felt good to be able to share that with him. Appreciative that his music makes a difference, Val shared a few final thoughts with me.

No matter how much I'm told people are connecting with my music, I still feel as if inside me, there is a neverending hole to fill. I still feel the need to connect even more. Is it just drive? A flaw? I'm not sure what you'd call it. But as long as I keep feeling it, I will keep doing what I do.

On being sick.

That last show, in Atlanta, I really wasn't feeling well. I felt bad that I couldn't give the show I wanted to give. Hopefully tonight's is better.
Well, Val. It was great. For someone feeling under the weather, you impressively held it together.

Sound check.
All awesome. And you still took the time after the show to meet & greet the fans.

If that is how you are on a sick day, can one imagine a show at your full best?!

Tour ends tonight, at the M Room in Philadelphia. I suggest you go if you can make it. Bad weather didn't stop me, and I'm thankful for that. And if you can't go, well... check out the following links for more about Val Emmich and the many talents he shares with the world.

GOODIES: Travis - Free MP3 "One Night" (Live)

From the bulletin I received on myspace...
Download One Night (Live from Monterrey) at Travisonline.com

Hello all,

We are on the road again. The other night we played our first show with Peter Gabriel in Mexico City. Is really nice to be a support band again, if only for 3 shows.

Peter is a darling and has made us feel right at home. His wardrobe assistant even washed my shirt when i got sloppy with a sandwich.

Anyways, a few days ago, before we left, I found a live recording from Monterrey of our song One Night. We have only played this song twice and so it's lucky to have recorded it... on multitrack. Anyways we thought it'd be a cool giveaway to celebrate this leg of the tour.

Be good

If you are a member of www.travisonline.com, login and access the Members page to download this track.

To become a member of this site and access the track, click the register link at Travisonline and fill out the form provided.

Follow the instructions in the confirmation email we'll send to you, then return and log in to the site again and access the member's section.

In addition to exclusives from the download club, members get their very own profile page and access to post messages to our messageboard and photos and reviews in our Tour Archive section.
I love this band. Yay for free music from Travis!