She Rocks Awards Show 2017

The 20th of January 2017, a few hours prior to the nationwide Women’s March was a perfect date for the fifth year of the She Rocks Awards Show to pay homage to women in the music industry. Started by Laura Whitmore, founder of the Women’s International Music Network, this years award show, held during the NAMM show weekend at the Anaheim Convention center in the Hilton Pacific Ballroom, was a sold out event.

Co-hosted by Christine Devine (Fox 11 news anchor) and Tish Ciravolo (founder of Daisy Rock Guitars), the show honored female role models in the music industry such as Ronnie Spector, Lita Ford, Shirley Manson, Karrie Keyes – founder of Soundgirls and sound engineer for Pearl Jam, Lisa Foxx – radio personality, and Esperanza Spalding, to name a few.

The opening act, Brandy Robinson won her well-deserved spot in the #SaveAGuitar Contest, and set an energetic, polished tone for the evening. Holding down the fort for the night was the kick-ass house band, Rock Sugah led by bassist Divinity Roxx, with Kat Dyson on guitar, Benita Lewis on drums and Lynette Williams on keys.

Shirley Manson (front woman for Garbage) identified that usually she avoids female-only events because she wants everyone to play together and doesn’t like segregation of any kind. “But these are funny times and we’ve been sent some really unpleasant messages, so this year I want to stand up and say that these messages will not be tolerated.”

And Karrie Keyes, being the only female on crew with Pearl Jam, related how the rest of the (male) crew immediately assumed that she’d cause drama. “I was probably one of the few that didn’t cause drama” she quipped.

Amongst the presenters were Steve Vai and Lisa Loeb, while performances included a line-up of guest guitarists including Nili Brosh, Nita Strauss (guitarist for Alice Cooper), Gretchen Menn and of course the legendary, Lita Ford, who won the She Rocks Icon Award. Ford dedicated her award to her first band, The Runaways, and ended the evening with a rocking performance. Rock on ladies, rock on!

Photos by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM

L.A. Choral Lab

L.A. Choral Lab

lachoral1The LA Choral Lab performs twice a year, and when they do, it is rather glorious. For their latest performance, entitled SACRED SONGS, 350+ concertgoers showed up to the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles in DTLA, to hear choral pieces that ranged from Gregorian chants and 1000-year-old music, to brand new works by local composers being heard for the first time. Intricate, layered harmonies resonated throughout the resplendent setting as the choir sang hymns together, and in quartets stationed around different areas of the church. There were also several songs performed by the 60+ member volunteer choir. Some of the musical pieces sounded almost like a vocalizer had been added, (like Imogen Heap) which speaks volumes to the spot on harmonics of the singers. When a full choir sings melodic, multi-part harmonies in the sanctuary of a beautifully lit church, you cannot help but want to weep. The Artistic Director of the LA Choral Lab, Michael Alfera, answered a few question for SoCal magazine about the Sacred Songs performance.

1. How often does the choir rehearse for a performance?lachoral4

The L.A. Choral Lab holds six to eight rehearsals leading up to a performance, depending on how involved the repertoire is. We rehearse once or twice a week in the several weeks leading up to a performance. At this point, we’re doing two performances per year. As we grow, we look forward to being able to perform more often than that, and in new and unexpected venues around Los Angeles.

2. Does the L.A. Choral Lab perform contemporary music?

We almost always perform contemporary music and almost every piece on our Sacred Songs program was written in the past ten to fifteen years.  We focus on recently-written pieces that have an emotional/spiritual dimension in addition to an intellectual dimension.

3. The third movement of Vidi Aquam by Greg Brown had such discordant notes. Was that a hard one for the singers to learn?              

The third movement of Vidi Aquam by Greg Brown, is a beautiful soundscape-type piece that I learned about when Mr. Brown sent me the piece as part of a call for scores that we did. To me, the piece is reminiscent of the sounds of the far East — crotales, meditation bells, ancient stringed instruments. To achieve this, each part had to be intricately crafted. The singers worked hard to nail that one down. Each piece has its own challenges. I try not to think of one piece as more difficult than another because we ultimately want to have the same sort of easy mastery over every piece by the time the performance comes. If a piece is difficult, that simply means that we have to spend more time on it.


Photo Credit: John Allen

4. And which piece was it that sounded like Paul Simon’s American Tune?

Oh! You’re talking about ‘O Sacred Head Now Wounded‘. — the melody and chorale were originally written by Hans Leo Hassler around the year 1600. And Paul Simon’s song is a direct adaptation of that chorale for solo voice and guitar. The tune is based on a melody line on the chorale from Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion, itself a reworking of the earlier secular song,  ‘O Sacred Head Now Wounded‘. or “Mein G’müt ist mir verwirret,” composed by Hans Leo Hassler.

For upcoming shows and current info on the L.A. Choral Lab click here




“Fly South” with Allen Hinds

 L.A.based, Alabama native, Allen Hinds, is well known in the guitar world, having played with numerous stars, including Randy Crawford, Bobby Caldwell, Patti Austin, Roberta Flack,and Gino Vannelli. Over the years, Allen has forged his own unique guitar sound and developed a large fan base. He has just finished a solo tour of Japan (he’s big in Japan), and recently released his long awaited 5th solo CD, “Fly South”.

                                                       Photo credit: Peter Hastings

On “Fly South” Hinds has once again created cinematic, soulful palettes of music. This time driven by acoustic guitar, and then as a bonus to us all, adds his creative “vocal like” solos on top. The multi layers of slide, acoustic, and ambient guitars support thoughtful, expressive melodies throughout all 10 songs.
Outstanding performances by Vinnie Coaliuta, Jimmy Johnson, Abe Laboriel and others compliment Hinds’ sophisticated unique phrasing and heart felt compositions. You can truly hear Hinds’ southern roots, on this CD. As if Daniel Lanois meets Lowell George, meets Jeff Beck, meets Robben Ford, meets Alan Holdsworth, all these influences are called forth in Allen Hinds unique style. Fly South
The interplay between Coaliuta and Hinds, in particular, is spectacular. Magical moments sprinkled all throughuot this CD.
If you like lush guitar tone, expressive unexpected phrases, dynamic performances, interesting chord changes with memorable melodies, all with absolutely no trace of “smooth jazz”, ….then you will love “Fly South”
Click here for more info on Allen Hinds
Click here to listen to Allen Hinds

Bryan Adams – “Get Up” Tour

Bryan Adams “Get Up” and go see Bryan Adams!

For those in the SoCal area, Bryan Adams will be at The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles on July 6th, at Harrah’s Resort Socal, Valley Center on July 7th, and Irvine Meadows on July 8th.

For the rest of his tour dates click here

Bryan Adams




SoCal magazine hopes to catch up with Bryan Adams for an interview and more – stay tuned!


The Who – 50 Years Later

The WhoLast night (May 25th), the Who played the Staples Center in DTLA. I was given a ticket, and I’m embarrassed to admit, I wasn’t sure whether or not I actually wanted to go. Since I’ve never paid much attention to this band, I thought I wouldn’t know many of their songs. Luckily, I decided to go and…what a blast! Turns out, I know a lot more Who songs than I ever realized. In fact, I knew almost every song they played – and I loved them. It was a fabulous trip down memory lane. Who knew I knew the Who!


Starting off with “Who are you?” (who/who/who/who), the band immediately brought the packed stadium to its feet. And the hits kept coming as the Who played their biggest songs of the past 50 years, treating the crowd to tunes from Quadrophenia and Tommy – with the major crowd pleaser being Pinball Wizard.

Behind the Who on a large screen, a stunning graphic display gave the band a “larger than life” feeling and kept the show flowing. Synced up to the music, the imagery created a psychedelic experience that at times was heart wrenching as it flashed images of the Vietnam war, Princess Diana, Keith Moon, Nixon, and the Who in younger years, performing their hearts out.

The WhoDuring last night’s performance, front man Roger Daltrey announced that he might have an asthma attack if the folks in front didn’t stop smoking marijuana. “I’m allergic,” he admonished the crowd “can you guys eat that shit instead of smoking it?” Pete Townshend quickly chipped in with “why don’t you guys shove it up your arses! That’s the quickest way to get high!” This, of course, brought a happy roar from the crowd.

Roger Daltrey hit a few flat notes, but all in all, his voice is still powerful, boasting an impressive vocal range, and come on – the man is 72! The Who’s lead guitarist and main songwriter, Pete Townshend (who turned 71 this month) kept up a funny repartee between songs, and absolutely won me over with his guitar showmanship of windmilling guitar strokes. Apparently, once in 1989, Townshend was windmilling so aggressively that he pierced his hand with the guitar’s whammy bar! I love you for it, Pete!

Adding to the Who experience, was the pounding out of steady, rhythmic energy by touring drummer, Zak Starkey – son of Ringo Starr (plus Ringo was in the audience).

Obviously the Who doesn’t have the same dynamite energy they had in their twenties, but they still put on a damn fine show.


The Beauty of the NAMM Show

The Beauty of NAMM

Namm1The 2017 NAMM Show is about to start, which means oodles of super-talented musicians and every musical accoutrement ever heard of, are headed to the Anaheim Convention Center. Having been a musician myself for many years and now currently the managing editor of a lifestyle/fashion magazine, I love NAMM, because it is a smorgasbord of outrageous fashion, mind-bending music of every genre possible – and of course, enormous fun.

Here are my top reasons as to why NAMM is awesome! Namm2

1. People Watching – the outfits are fantastic eye-popping ensembles worthy of any fashion show.

2. The instruments are incredible. As you walk the aisles you can bang, slap, pluck, bow, shake, blow, strum – basically make lovely sounds on endless options of instruments. My favorite was a hand painted glass flute– so beautiful.


namm43. The Gibson Show Room – here you could sit on the “Throne of Gibsons” and grab a photo op – as just about everybody did (myself included). Or you could be filmed on a “stage” complete with Gibson guitar slung over your shoulder and crowd cheering for you. Plus, there was a VIP area, where the guitars cost up to $35,000.00 – pricey but beautiful.



Gibson throne


Namm54. The sound – it’s a weirdly harmonious cacophony of sound. I’m sure after a few hours, it loses its appeal but it adds to the excitement of the show. This thoughtful mom protected her baby’s ears.

5. The look on peoples faces when they play on an instrument they have just discovered, or have long since mastered, either way, the facial expressions were priceless.

6. I was lucky enough to “hang” with guitarist extraordinaire, Allen Hinds – which surprisingly was like being with the king of a small country. Everybody stopped to pay their respects to Allen; to snap photos with him, to ask for his signature, and to fawn over him. I’ve known Allen for many years, but have never witnessed him in a sea of musicians. As a longstanding guitar teacher at MI, Allen is well loved by his students, and it was truly heartwarming to see my old friend get so much love and respect from all the young musicians and wannabes.

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