Hellbound Glory New Year 2014 (Updated)

City Winery, January 2014, photo by Grayson Dantzic

City Winery, January 2014, photo by Grayson Dantzic

In the best beginning of a year I could hope for, I got to watch the artists’ process for a week. Hellbound Glory played a bunch of shows booked near here, and I was happy to host them. I attended two performances and heard Leroy singing this and that off and on. Heaven. More

2013 in Music

In tune with the weather, we saw a super storm of fantastic music in 2013. We’re going to be listening to these albums for years to come. I can’t bring myself to put these in order because they mean so many things; they’re not meant to be ranked.

Here are my crème de la crème of 2013:


Ok… there is one in another stratosphere: Possessed by Paul James. This entire album is a journey from the moment you hit play:
Hurricane (track 1) by Possessed by Paul James More

Hellbound Glory Owns NYC 2013

HBGA mere week after the magic of Muddy Roots 2013 (I’m still processing), Hellbound Glory full band plays one of my favorite venues, The Bell House (also home to my Secret Science Club) and he sang my favorite song, Showing Off Sure is Fun, that he was creating last time they played here. From him snapping his fingers in my kitchen, to a full band with a stadium riff sent me sailing. I wish I could have experienced it large scale. Seeing it at Muddy Roots is a close second. More

JAY Z’s Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film

I love hip-hop in the summer. It’s hard not to break out into a groove to Blurred Lines. (Yes, I’m aware it’s pop, but it’s a who-cares-cause-it’s-GOOD song.) I’m reading ?uestlove’s book, “Mo Meta Blues” and it’s a joy to watch the trajectory of The Roots of music from his point-of-view. I’m finally beginning to understand Kanye’s new album, Yeezus, and it’s worth it. Plus, Jay-Z is knocking one out of the stratosphere once again with “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film” It pretty much sums up why I’m an art nerd. Early in hip-hop art, music, and dance were the trifecta that formed the lifestyle. Jay-Z was there for that and our tastes in art grew parallel. People say that art and hip-hop grew apart when art went all shi shi poo poo money and shut the door in hip-hop’s face. I disagree. Hip-hop grew just as greedy and bling hungry and closed the door on art’s face. As in most in-genre drama, both parties have egg on their face.

Jay-Z is king of the world right now and in the Biggie style of doing things, he brought Brooklyn with him. So if this new video that’s labeled a performance piece (which you would have had to be in that room for) educates the who’s who of whoville in creativity, I’m happy. Picasso Baby

Update: Hellbound Glory

HBG2013Fresh on their tour with Kid Rock, our very own Blake got to see Hellbound Glory play and got a backstage interview with Leroy. How cool is that? Better still? He asked all the questions we want answered: More

Rachel Brook(lyn)

RB BK 2013Not only did Rachel Brooke come to NYC to sing with a full band, we got to spend time together. Rachel with a full band is the bee’s knees. On bass is Brooks Robbins and he is just the coolest cat. We sang Rocky Horror Picture Show songs in the van on the way to the gig. Her brother Andy is on drums and he is so good, and is a fellow sound aficionado. On guitar is Nick who gave me my perfect show moment when I heard him start up Serpentine Blues. During the show, Rachel sang a few songs with just her guitar, and there wasn’t a dry eye in Public Assembly during Life Sentence Blues. More

Hurricane Sandy 2012

I’ve tried to write about it, but I can’t. Suffice to say I dodged a bullet.

If you have the comforts of heat and Google, I ask you to please find a way to donate, help, or pray.

Here are images I’ve collected from the internets (and a few of my own): 

Jay-Z Opens Brooklyn

The first song I liked by Jay-Z was “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” in 1998. As an urchin who grew up with the Broadway soundtrack to Annie on cassette tape, it immediately became my personal theme song. I also remember when Hot 97 was playing The Takeover like a broken record to hype the Nas beef. There is no arguing with me over poorly sampling Jim Morrison.

I think every genre has its masters. Jay-Z came from one of the country’s most dangerous neighborhoods; grew from artist to executive, and still does his art. He’s married to Beyoncé, and is a father for the first time. He is such a great success story. More

2012 Summer Concerts

It’s barely May and I already have a beefy list going. I’ll update it as I find out more.

Saturday, May 12th = ChristyFest, Shippensburg, PA
Friday, May 18th
= Husky Burnette: Rodeo Bar, NYC
Tuesday, June 5th
= Jimmy Cliff: Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park
Friday, June 8th
= The Goddamn Gallows: The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY
Friday, June 15th
= Esperanza Spalding: Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park
Saturday, June 16th
= Ice T’s rockdoc “The Art of Rap
Sunday, July 1st
= Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: Brooklyn Bowl
Wednesday, July 11th = Buddy Guy at World Financial Center Plaza
Wednesday, July 11th = Tchaikovsky NY Philharmonic at Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Saturday, July
21st = Arturo Sandoval: Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park
Friday, July 27th – Sunday, July 29th
= Farmageddon Fest in West Yellowstone, Montana (I’ll be there in spirit!)
Monday, July 30th =
Public Enemy and Salt N Pepa: MLK Concert Series at Wingate Field, Brooklyn
Friday, August 31st – Sunday, September 2nd
= Muddy Roots in Cookeville, TN

Hellbound Glory Gig in NYC

You know that band your friends worship, and for some reason or another, you missed the fan wagon? Hellbound Glory is mine. Trigger Man’s been writing about them forever on his Saving Country Music site. Buddies of mine planned their elopement around them (see video below). I even poo-poo’d their song in my review of the greatest compilation CD ever made! I finally caught the fever when Leroy went live on Outlaw Radio Chicago and was blown away.

They played two shows here in NYC last week (Hank’s Saloon and Rodeo Bar) and I’m fully converted to their awesomeness. Leroy Virgil is the epitome of what a front man should be; talented, street smart, and oh so charming. His raspy voice and gritty writing are the perfect combination that wrap you right in. Eric “Rico” Peterson on Lap Steel is a hundred shades of gorgeous. What girl can resist a man’s instrument that moans and cries out his country songs? Frank Medina on Bass is the music encyclopedia of the band. I wish I had more time to get to know his likes and theories about music. He plays like a philosopher, all in his notes. The three of them combined onstage is fantastic energy. They sing, play, banter, and wholeheartedly kick a world of ass. Each show they pleased the old fans, and made a bunch of new ones.

I had the honor of them crashing at my apartment but, alas, I didn’t think to video a song of them playing in my kitchen for YouTube. Next time. More


Of all the horrors and nightmares my life has served up, one of the things I’m luckiest for is where I live now. The story of how I got here is  a gem in itself: After being evicted out of Harlem in the early-90s, I landed a roommate share near Gramercy Park in Manhattan in a pre-war 5th floor walk-up for $250/month which I barely afforded on my security guard minimum wage pay. The apartment gave a new meaning to tiny. It was built before indoor plumbing so the new amenities meant the toilet was outside the apartment in a tiny room in the hallway. The shower was in the kitchen and ran off the sink. My bedroom (later converted into an actual bathroom) was 7′x7′ and the walls were lined with clothing racks from my roommates pimp period style of dress. There was no room for a bed. I slept on a stained futon chair and watched a mini television the year OJ Simpson was chased by the police in his white SUV. More

Rachel Brooke and James Hunnicut stayed at MY house!

Last weekend James Hunnicutt and Rachel Brooke came into the city to sing at Otto’s Shrunken Head. The gig was fantastic. Their voices are so pure and perfect, their souls pour out in each note.
Before the gig I got a chance to walk them around a bit to get pizza near Irving Plaza then to Union Square and back. Hopefully, on their next visit to the city we’ll have more time to see Times Square and Rockefeller Center and Central Park and Brooklyn and everywhere!
After the gig (at dawn) we headed to my place to crash for a few hours before they had to hit the road again. In a moment of awesomeness, they sang a song for me in my kitchen and I YouTube’d it:

The experience was fantastic as I’ve been such a fan this is a little dream come true.

2011 NYC Summer Concerts

It’s summertime summertime sum-sum-summertime! Time for music awesomeness! Here’s my list SO FAR…

Friday, June 10th = Dale Watson at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ
Saturday, June 11th = Bang Sway at Private Rooftop Partay (email me for deets)
Saturday, June 25th = Rachel Brooke and James Hunnicutt at Otto’s Shrunken Head
Thursday, June 30th = Justin Townes Earle at Prospect Park Bandshell
Saturday, July 2nd = Possessed by Paul James at Valentine’s in Albany
Monday, July 4th = Bob Wayne at the Outlaw BBQ
Friday, July 8th = Beats, Rhymes and Life an ATCQ documentary film opens
Saturday, July 16th = Q-Tip at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival
Saturday, August 20th = Caitlin Rose at the Mercury Lounge
Saturday & Sunday August 27-28th = Afro-Punk Festival in Brooklyn, NY
Saturday & Sunday September 3.4th = Muddy Roots Festival in Cookeville, TN
Saturday, October 22nd = Ruby Jane in Titusville, NJ

Just Say No to ZipCar

I don’t have a car, I don’t need a car, I don’t want a car. Parking in my neighborhood is an exercise in futility, gas prices are ridiculous, and insuring even a shitbox is astronomical. Renting an economy class car in the city is $150/day plus gas & tolls. So basically, I never drive. I’ve heard good things about ZipCar as they’re less than rentals and you can choose a snazzy car super close, and gas is included. More

The New York Times Discovers Brooklyn


Lil’ Kim “Black Friday Mixtape”

When Grammy Award Winning Lil’ Kim released her response, Black Friday, to Nikki Minaj’s dis on YouTube I got all kinds of Christmas excited for a new joint. Notorious K.I.M., La Bella Mafia, and Naked Truth albums still spin in my collection. She was Biggie’s girl (no disrespect to Faith Hill) and I respect her as the Queen Bee of hip-hop. This woman was there when it started and wrote the blueprint. What happened?  More

Decoded by Jay-Z

It took hip-hop an entire year to draw breath and now I’m being blinded by the lights of Jay-Z, Beyonce & Kanye. Looking through my music collection, I realize I didn’t buy much hip-hop this year. Then in a bolt of press releases, Kanye and Jay-Z are dropping records and Beyonce has a huge TV special Thanksgiving night. Jay-Z is doing a re-release with a few new tunes and Rolling Stone gave Kanye’s new one five stars. If I still respected RS, I would be impressed. And there’s a Jay-Z book.

Jay-Z’s last album, The Blueprint III, blew my doors off. I hadn’t been the level of a fan with him where I had opinions about entire albums. I liked songs here and there. At work, we tried to focus on a favorite and would just keep bringing up lyrics or hooks or concepts. I heard it everywhere. A party didn’t happen without a spin of Empire State of Mind and when he sang it at the opening Yankee game of the World Series, everyone knew the lyrics. Now that he’s on my radar, I’m finding out all sorts of great info. The guy is a media genius. He’s worth gazillions of dollars and he did it DIY. This book is a glimpse into all that. More

My Neighbor… The Rocket Scientist

A father-son team from Park Slope decided NASA wasn’t doing enough to document the stratosphere, and decided to take matters into their own hands. After testing their “19-inch helium filled weather balloon” in Brooklyn, Luke Geissbuhler and his son Max headed upstate and launched the device, complete with a camera, into space…

I Love My Hood

My neighbor, Erica, turned me on to this slice of awesomeness. It’s my new fave song & video. And it was filmed in my neighborhood!

Hank III Live! Again!

This year’s Hank III shows were EPIC. We saw him play for 3 hours on Tuesday night at Northern Lights in Clifton Park, NY and then another 3 hours the next at Williamsburg Music Hall. I’m spent. I’ve sported a goofy grin all day. What a great tour to end what will be known as “The Curb Years”. More


5:24 PM: I was on the Upper East Side tweeting about the can lady yapping on her Blackberry when the first raindrops hit. I went underground into the subway and got out at my Brooklyn stop around a half hour later. The first thing I noticed was the gigantic tree limbs all over the sidewalk where the fruit guy’s cart should be. Then I saw the corner building scaffolding collapsed in a gigantic heap. I assumed a ginormo lightening bolt or a series of them (is that possible?) hit the corner. Then I saw the fruit stand guy looking shaken and my neighbors around him offering comfort. As I walked down the street, the tree carnage did not end. Leaves and branches were everywhere and cars were trashed. My mind went into detective mode trying to figure out what possibly could have caused such widespread chaos all the way to my apartment.

I have since taken a walk around and everything will be OK. Some of my neighbors have whopping insurance claims to be filed and argued.


Can time move backward? Has the future already happened? Are meetings of the Secret Science Club forbidden in a parallel universe? Uh-oh . . .

Tuesday, August 24, 8 PM @ the Bell House, Free: The Secret Science Club presents a mind-blowing screening of “Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives,” with commentary by our in-house scientists

Singer-songwriter Mark Everett of the band Eels grew up not knowing that his father, Hugh Everett, was a genius—to him, his dad was the chain-smoking guy who didn’t say much at the dinner table. The fact that Hugh Everett was one of the world’s pre-eminent quantum mechanics, the physicist who came up with the Theory of Parallel Universes was just one more thing they didn’t discuss. Sadly, Hugh Everett’s theory was so revolutionary and so trippy that its elegance and importance were not recognized until well after his death. (Mark Everett was just 18 when he found his father lying dead at age of 51 on the family’s couch.) “Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives” chronicles the journey of the musical-but-math-challenged son to learn more about his father’s profound contributions to science and the “Many Worlds” in which we all—for better or worse—may play out different versions of ourselves. More

Hank III News Update

A flood of awesomeness is coming from the Hank III camp. First and foremost, he will be gigging with Asskjack here next month. Because he keeps the ticket prices so low ($23), we get to see him twice. (You can find the tour schedule here.) This is the last tour he’ll do with Curb Records and everything will change on December 31st. It sure has been an great ride so far. He hasn’t had the easiest of lives and it’s all laid out in front of us through his lyrics and interviews. He’s followed in the artistic footsteps of his lineage and masters like Henry Rollins and all the other great performers that do it 110% from their soul, regardless of what industry had to say.

Because of life-happens circumstances, he’s been bound in a tough record contract for the past decade+. Fighting tooth and nail, he’s had to carve out his own way and bring up his friends with him. I wonder if he’ll take off the dog chain around his neck on New Year’s Eve. More

Don’t Frack Up My Bagels!

I normally shy away from posting political stuff but this has to do with bagels, and the only thing I love more than Brooklyn is that I live 121 feet away from Le Bagel Delight. According to FIPS, Governor Patterson is fracking with our water (Fracking entails pouring gazillions of gallons of chemically-treated water deep underground, in order to break into a shale-protected motherlode of natural gas deposits [think lots of dinero for somebody]. All cocktail ingredients exempted from Clean Water Act disclosure rules). Not cool. So sign the petition to SAVE NEW YORK BAGELS!! (and the water supply for the the rest of non-bagel entities like us and our wildlife, eco system, pets and power)

Louis over at Terrace Bagels has gone the extra mile and posted this on YouTube:

Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours

Last night, we were graced with the presence of Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours. I expected the show to be sold out and Public Assembly packed to the gills, but the Northside Music Festival seemed to trump all in Williamsburg.  Us devotees did get a great show :)

I got a chance to hang out with Lucky a bit and he was his usual easy going gentleman self. We talked about his new cd, Hillbilly Fever, and how the hidden track (which is my favorite) “Looks Like Rain” was done on the fly at the end of recording. They had a few minutes to fill and Lucky pretty much improvised it. It’s Tom Waits esqe and hauntingly beautiful. This man is no one trick pony. He’s coming back to Brooklyn in November and I’ll keep you posted on dates and venues.

Summer Shows 2010

Summer Show list 2010 is coming together! All shows are free or cheap and if you know anything that I don’t please email me at  Gillian dot Grey at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Sunday, May 23rd 10 PM = Wayne the Train Hancock @ Public Assembly

Saturday, June 5th 4 PM = Ebony Bones @ Central Park Summer Stage
Sunday, June 6th 8 PM = Ebony Bones @ Southpaw
Friday, June 18th 7 AM = Carole King and James Taylor @ The Today Show
Friday, June 25th 8 PM = Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours @ Public Assembly

Friday, July 2nd 7 AM = Mary J. Blige @ GMA Rumsey Playfield, Central Park
Saturday, July 10th 12 PM = Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival @ Tobacco Warehouse (BK Bridge)
Saturday, July 10th 8 PM = The Goddamn Gallows @ The Bell House’s Annual Psychobilly Luau
Sunday, July 11th 3 PM = The Roots with Talib Kweli @ The Prospect Park Bandshell
Monday, July 12th 7:30 PM = George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic @ Wingate Field
Friday, July 23rd 8 PM = Viva le Vox @ Southpaw

Saturday, August 7th 6 PM = Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings @ Prospect Park Bandshell
Sunday, August 22nd 4 PM = Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears @ Central Park Summer Stage

The Goddamn Gallows!

Whadda Show! They SOLD OUT the place on a snowy crappy Sunday night! Such fun! They have energy to spare and showmanship in spades! I’ve never seen such dexterity and everyone knows how to play everything! When these guys blow through town, you really must catch the show!

The lead singer is a master showman and the band follows his zany antics wtih glee! I’ll get everyone’s name and update this as soon as I can. (I’m updating from work…shhhhh….)

And yes, Jayke Orvis is as talented and fun as ever. I am enjoying checking his gigs and following his path.

UPDATE: You wanna know what the show was like? Buy the cd!! :)

Goddamn Gallows Coming to Brooklyn!

02/28/1o at 8 PM at Public Assembly in Williamsburg

Goddamn Gallows

’nuff said


I love the first snowfall!

Family Feud at Café Regular

Aaasss usual, FIPS keeps me in the know.

A Grub Street tipster sent an e-mail over the weekend about unwelcome changes to Park Slope’s Café Regular. “Martin O’Connell, the legendarily sarcastic wizard of the espresso machine, was ousted by his sister Anne this week,” the tipster wrote. A source close to Martin confirmed the family breach to Grub Street today. The siblings had been squabbling since the opening of Café Regular du Nord back in July, but it was some promotional postcards that finalized the breach. Designed by an employee, Richard (who managed du Nord) and Martin were distributing these postcards to customers. Anne didn’t like them and told the brothers to stop giving them out. Richard quit over the micromanagement, and Martin sided with his brother. Martin declined to comment to Grub Street, Richard did not return calls or texts, and several calls to Anne at Café Regular went to message saying the voice-mail system had not been connected. “It’s really a Royal Tenenbaums level of dysfunction,” said the source. More

Coney Island 1905

Scott H. Biram plays Brooklyn

We got to see Scott H. Biram play Union Hall August 6th and it was a fantastic show. The video of my favorite song by him (this week) is Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue is here:

Hank III Live!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT &
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NYC

WHADDA SHOW! The energy was off the charts! Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours were fantastic! It’s a testament of how talented all of these musicians are to be so good so often. Every show since my first Hank III experience at the Knitting Factory in 2005 I say it’s the best show I’ve ever seen. Last tour I got to meet and hang with him, Joe Coleman and Bob Tyrrell on the tour bus. I can’t really see it getting any better than that. This tour brought the heat. More

The .357 String Band Minus Jayke

.357 String Band BKNYDude what the hell? I just read on Jayke’s blog that The .357 String Band gave him the boot. “for the record, the discussion of dropping me like a groupie was done behind close doors and absolutely behind my back. the conversation was 2 minutes long, and one minute of that was me thinking they were joking.”
We were lucky enough to catch their set when they opened for Joe Buck and they wound up crashing at my place after the gig. (Band photo in front of my apartment with Jayke far right) It was a joy to be cool enough to host musicians and Jayke and I got a chance to get to know each other on the supermarket breakfast run. He’s a hell of a nice guy who is devoted to his band, art and music. I have both their cds and they are absolutely worth the purchase.
I hope nothing but the best for the band and I look forward to following Jayke’s musical career as this is in no way the end of opportunities that await him. He’s immensely talented and gorgeous and sweet. I wish him success and happiness.


COME ON METAL HEADS! This is the only METAL bar in Brooklyn! They even got an autographed Hank III poster!
This place is cool! We can’t let it die. WE JUST CAN’T! I’m just gonna bring my change bucket and drink ’til it’s empty.

Save Lucky 13

Job Fairs Suck My Soul Dry

Job FairLook. I try to be positive. I do. But the longer I’m unemployed, the harder it is. And I know it’s the economy and I know this is a monumentally BAD time in the job market, but that doesn’t make me feel less of a loser and bump on the log of society. I’ve sent out zillions of resumes into the ether and it’s so bad that I actually get psyched when I get a rejection letter because that at least means someone looked at my application before rejecting me.

I try new ideas. I’ll try anything at this point. I NEED A JOB. More

Summer Shows 2009

GuitaristThurs. June 4th = 6 Day Bender @ Hank’s Saloon here in Brooklyn (FREE)
Sat. June 20th = Dead Prez @ Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival ($10)
Tue. June 23rd = Hank III & Assjack w/Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours @ Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT ($20)
Wed. June 24th = Hank III & Assjack w/Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours @ Music Hall of Williamsburg here in Brooklyn ($20)
Sat. June 27th &
Sun. June 28th = Dave Brubeck Quartet, Saratoga Jazz Festival @ SPAC in Saratoga Springs, NY ($40 each day)
Thu. August 6th = Scott H Biram @ Union Hall here in Brooklyn

Fri. October 23 – Sunday Oct. 25th = WFMU Record Fair (dude, it’s Christmas in October!)

* Every Sunday is the African Drumming Circle at Drummer’s Grove in Prospect Park, Brooklyn (FREE)

*** If there are any shows that you know of that I’ll like and that are free or cheap, lemmie know by shooting me an email at gillian dot grey at yahoo dot com

Wayne “The Train” Hancock plays Brooklyn

Wayne The Train HancockLast night at Jalopy in Red Hook, Wayne Hancock and his band played one hellofa gig. We sang and danced in the isles! He did new songs and old songs and fun songs and sad songs. The place was full which is always good to see since I don’t much associate juke joint swing with Brooklyn.

The band was tight had fun with the gig. Bob Hoffnar on steel guitar was the obvious yankee and so talented. James Hunnicutt has stepped in just fine on one of the most beautiful guitars I’ve ever seen. And I can’t for the life of me remember the stand up bass player (Huck?!), that was the hugest bass I’ve ever seen in my life!

Wayne was in a goofy mood and pretty much played whatever the crowd asked him to. I’m glad I’ve been introduced to his music since two of my favorite Hank III songs are written by him.

I’ll absolutely be there next time he comes to town and the times after that.

Puppy in tha hood

My neighbor, Eric Rochow, is a cook, gardener, handyman, host of Real World Green & Gardenfork TV. He’s an interesting guy to follow on Twitter and he’s part of the Ford Fiesta Movement. (I don’t think there’s much he doesn’t do.)  My favorite reason for him being our neighbor are his beautiful Labradors. There’s now a new puppy in the hood and we’re all falling over ourselves with cuteness updates:


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