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kings, queens & troubadours.

Last night’s show at West Hollywood’s famed TROUBADOUR concert venue was blast, thanks to a soulful, lovely and lively show by NYC’s EMILY KING! She’s on tour promoting her new album The Switch. You’ll be completely enamored by the songs, the album, and by Emily’s voice, probably finding yourself listening over and over, memorizing and soon singing every lyric, every verse, every melody. Much respect as well to acoustic soul king DAVID RYAN HARRIS, who opened the show and held court with his singalong-worthy tunes (even though we arrived only in time to catch his last number). Of course, much love to the beautiful queens, ALMA, AMANDA and DORENYSE, with whom I had the honor of dining prior and attending the show. Just another royally fantastic evening enjoying Los Angeles and her vibrant culture.

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Above: Emily King’s guitar tech tunes up the axe minutes before the band hits the stage.

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mad love.

Back in February of 2014, our young little LA JUNTA family, fresh off our first summer season and a pretty successful, more recent December one-off event, rolled northward on California Interstate Highway 5 to Fresno with our new friends, the band SALT PETAL. We were invited by the DULCE UPFRONT crew to be the headliners at their monthly PINCHE music event. We enjoyed a wonderful time together, getting to know the band and seeing them perform their music for the first time. Since, we’ve worked with them on a few occasions and they’ve toured the up and down the coast and have recorded a brand new album. TONIGHT, they’re back at DTLA’s beloved LA CITA BAR! La Junta’s DJ degruvme and yours truly will be showing the dance floor a little love between sets, via the turntables.

I’m also looking forward to seeing East LA rockeros ¡APARATO! live for the first time. The band is fronted by our good amigo, the jarana-wielding, sometimes maniacal metalhead, ALEXANDRO D. HERNÁNDEZ GUTIÉRREZ. He and degruvme recently collaborated on the tune “Crooked Smile” for degruvme’s new Echoes of a Dream EP, a synth-pop banger that might’ve been an 80s classic had it been released in that era. However, the song holds its own now, and I can’t wait to see degruvme, Alex and Aparato perform it live tonight!

For event details, please click on the image below.

Crazy Loco Love

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a quiet continuum.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I found this copy of Thoreau’s Walden at a used bookstore, one of those tied to a good works project for the incarcerated. There’s something kinda magical about used books (and used records, of course!). I like to think that they have an unknown history that may run as deep as the stories inside them. And that your experience with the work extends the continuum, as the insight you hopefully gain from it diffuses into the universe through you. This particular copy has an inscription on the front leaf that reads “Dean Neufeld / Jan 11, 1976”. That was just over 40 years ago!

I read excepts from Walden back in junior year high school English class, then again in full as a college literature major. I’m looking forward to finding out if all these years of living since then will have enriched my understanding of this classic from the Romantic period of American thought. I definitely feel that with the current state of our world and our society, more and more people can relate to Thoreau’s deliberate self sequestration.

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forget it.

It’s Wednesday, that time of the week to share some wise words. Today, I’ve got a couple from Walden Pond’s most famous resident, HENRY DAVID THOREAU. I found a used copy of Walden last weekend that I’m preparing to re-read (first time was in college for an American Romatic Literature course), so these are timely ;)

“It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.”

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

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elemental hero.

It’s been a heavy posting day for me, with this being my fifth of the afternoon. However, I can’t sign off today without paying respects to one of my early musical heroes, MAURICE WHITE, of EARTH WIND & FIRE. Their music, with his voice in the lead position for much of it, was seminal in my musical education with its soulfulness, funkiness, and its well-informed incorporation of rhythms from around the world, especially those of Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean. I suppose that my affinity for international sounds began with the music of EWF, having been exposed to their music at a young age via older cousins who had their album covers pinned to their bedroom walls and the vinyl on their old turntable platters whenever I’d visit.  Since then, my musical journey has just been a trip back to where those sounds originated.

With that, back in February 2010, I was invited to play a live set at DJ PHATRICK’s “DEVIL’S PIE” event, which at the time was held in the northeast Los Angeles community of Glassell Park at the Verdugo Bar. They asked their visiting deejays to play a mix of songs that paid tribute to the work of a favorite musical artist. I chose EWF. Inspired by the collection of songs I chose for that night, I would later record a mix that would commemorate EWF’s 40th anniversary as a band in 2011-2012. It’s been posted here in the sidebar of this blogsite since…please scroll down and click the green ‘MIXCRATE’ widget and you’ll be taken straight to it. You’ll be able to stream or download the mix from the Devil’s Pie Soul Mixcrate page, where a complete track list is also posted. Hope you enjoy it!

I’m not sure who took this photo of Maurice white heading toward the Pyramids at Giza, but it’s a perfect way to remember him in his element. Rest in Peace.

Maurice White

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sergi-Oh!

While Blue Note Records’ legendary artistic director Reid Miles is a design hero and huge inspiration to me, and likely many others, for his work creating a distinctive and long-lasting aesthetic that conveyed everything the record label its music were about, the design of these three albums below by A&M Records’ Brazilian recording legend Sergio Mendes are equally iconic. They convey the tropical flavor, Brazilian-ness, and overall ‘cool’ of the music on those LPs. I’m absolutely enamored by these album covers.

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Sergio Mendes 1

Sergio Mendes 2

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‘beau’dacious art.

When Billy Joel’s song “It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me” turned out to be a hit in 1980 around my eleventh birthday, I remember wanting to figure out the lyrics because they seemed to describe a sort of half-condemnation, half-praise love of all things rock & roll, no matter the form. There was a four-line stanza in particular that I didn’t really understand at the time:

“How about a pair of pink sidewinders
And a bright orange pair of pants?
You could really be a Beau Brummell baby
If you just give it half a chance.”

It turns out that George Bryan ‘Beau’ Brummell was a mid-19th century English clothier who helped modernize men’s fashion from the overly ornate look that we think of from that era, to the more streamlined look that heralded the modern suit. Through my vinyl collecting over the years, however, I ran across the San Francisco band ‘The Beau Brummels’ from that 1960s mod-inspired era with their sleek, trendy attire who seemed to have loads of fun wherever they went. I figure Joel had directly alluded to the guys who created these albums below (and others!). I love the design aesthetic, as I seem to with a lot of the art that graced the covers of music from that the 60s and 70s (as you’ll see this post as well as the one before and after). Hoping to do some photo shoots with my La Junta crew and emulate the vibes here!

Beau Brummels 2

Beau Brummels 1

Beau Brummels 4

Beau Brummels 3

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