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Back to the Blues!

After a long and fulfilling experience playing fingerstyle Jazz chord harmonies on my Jazz guitars for the past few years, I have slowly been weaning my way back to the fingerstyle Blues that started me on this new musical journey in the first place.

I’m sure the Clapton Martin acoustic and Martin D-42 had something to do with this slow circling back to the center — but I do think it’s more than just that.

There’s a whole rush of intensity and emotion for me when I play the Blues.  I immediately feel connected back to a time of suffering and empathy that I do not always have while playing Rock or Jazz or Country music.

There is a deep and longing sadness in the Blues and it is in those marks of human sacrifice and resurrection that we learn to become kinder and more prescient human beings — at least during the melancholy life of a finger plucked Mississippi Delta Blues song.

So, I’m “Back to the Blues” — but not the “Boles Blues” started in 2009 — that great blog title and content will stay embedded here forever in Boles Blogs.

Continue reading → Back to the Blues!

Keep a Song in Your Heart: Remembering Lawrence Welk

Every time I visited my grandfather in North Loup, Nebraska — there was one unspoken, but wholly enforced rule — on Sunday nights at 7:00pm, you sat down with him and watched the Lawrence Welk Show on ABC television.

It was an hour of a painful persuasion for a young lad to bear — second only to the never-ending reruns of Hee Haw that aired every single weeknight that I was also forced to watch during each visit.

I never learned to like, or even tolerate, the Welk show.  The show was a matter of saccharine moments topped with thick frosting of faux frivolity and façade.  All show and no substance.  Complete spectacle and no plot.

Continue reading → Keep a Song in Your Heart: Remembering Lawrence Welk

JJ Cale Melodiously Rises from the Grave

JJ Cale was one of the greatest session players, performers and songwriters in the history of American music — and yet few people know the full stretch and depth of his influence on the songs we love and adore.

JJ Cale died unexpectedly this Summer at the age of 74.  Here’s how his website told the world the news of his passing:

JJ Cale Has Passed Away

JJ Cale passed away at 8:00 pm on Friday July 26
at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, CA.

The legendary singer / songwriter had suffered a heart attack.
There are no immediate plans for services.
His history is well documented at,
and in the documentary, To Tulsa And Back.

Donations are not needed but he was a great lover of animals so, if you like,
you can remember him with a donation to your favorite local animal shelter.

Continue reading → JJ Cale Melodiously Rises from the Grave

Robin Thicke and the Greatest Crevasse in the Modern World of Crass

Why does it seem the longer we live, the crasser the world around us becomes?  Language degrades into cursing every other word and sportsmanship on the basketball court, gridiron and baseball diamond become all about who can be the loudest, and not who is really the best team player.

The greatest crevasse in the modern world of crass is found in the entertainment business.  Decades ago, we had quieter movies and songs and other Art that challenged our thinking and emotion; while today, we are “bonked” over the head with obviousness and bad taste and the resurrection of outright misogyny masquerading as a music video.  Nothing is left to imagination.  It’s all obvious, bad taste.

Continue reading → Robin Thicke and the Greatest Crevasse in the Modern World of Crass

Music as it Should Be: Depeche Mode at Optimus Alive 2013 in Lisbon

I have posted before about one of my reasons for loving Portugal — access to music of all kinds and genres, classical, traditional fado, international superstars, innovative festivals, bands large and small, old and new, intimate venues, outdoor venues — the range is incredible from Rock in Rio every two years in Lisbon to the classy Music of the World every summer in Sines.

In the summer months, the large beer and mobile phone companies ply for our trade, and the kudos of hosting international pop and rock acts over the long weekends in June, July and August.

Continue reading → Music as it Should Be: Depeche Mode at Optimus Alive 2013 in Lisbon

Jersey City Heights Riverview Jazz Festival, Year One

It was over 90 degrees in the shade yesterday, but that didn’t stop Janna and me from walking up to Riverview Park in Jersey City to spend a day listening to some great live music during the very first Jersey City Heights Jazz Festival.

The show started off a bit slow with a confused, and noisy, performance that had big problems with the microphones and speakers — everything was painfully distorted and muddled and just plain too loud — and so we decided to take a little walk around the neighborhood and try again in an hour.

Continue reading → Jersey City Heights Riverview Jazz Festival, Year One

Sing for Hope with 88 Pianos in New York City

Street theatrics are the ultimate form of an Urban Semiotic, and this Summer, in the five boroughs of New York City, you can place your hands on 88 pianos dotting the city core and open your throat in song to light up the neighborhood with your shared joy:  Sing for Hope!

Continue reading → Sing for Hope with 88 Pianos in New York City