“All I need is music; I’m gonna make it through,” Jonny “Mojo” Flores sings on “Live on Wesley’s Road,” a massive, new live-performance project by northern California’s renowned song-and-jam-makers, Achilles Wheel. The three-CD package, which fiercely delivers the jamming juke-joint dance party vibe that the band gives off on the concert circuit, is a collective humdinger.

I am far from an “Ordinary Soul.” Life experiences have tainted me, quirky, dark humored, jaded and at times sassy verging on salty. (I’m proud of these characteristics. Who wants to be run of the mill?) After listening to Stephen “Mojo” Mougin’s 12-track album I can confidentiality state there is nothing ‘ordinary’ about his music. Its ‘soul’ is Americana at its finest with solid storytelling, clear vocals and instrumentals that range from rousing to consoling.

Live music continued on Saturday, August 29th, in Ventura, California, at the Concerts In Your Car, drive-in concert series. CBF Productions brought Fitz and the Tantrums with opening act ZZ Ward to the outdoor venue for a nearly sold out performance. Drive-in concerts have become one of the only ways for a band to perform live in front of an audience since COVID-19 changed life as we all knew it before. Locally, Concerts In Your Car has been producing shows at the Ventura Fairgrounds since June.

Magnolia Boulevard’s debut album, “New Illusion” is contagious with its bluesy, soulful flavor and grooves that jam effortlessly. I listened to the Kentucky quintet’s last track, “Sister” first. Maggie Noelle, lead vocalist, wrote the song in honor of her best friend. It’s the record’s standout. The gentle picking guitar and rumbling bass, that is almost meditative, initiates its heartfelt sentiments. The tribute is captivating both in its lyrics and accompanying instrumentals.

The Georgia Thunderbolts just released their debut, self-titled record. It’s pure rock and roll, mirroring sounds of bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and ZZ Top. Rock and roll plays an important function within society, influencing attitudes and developments. It’s also an art form that celebrates as well as encourages self-expression, diversity and individuality.

The term ‘reckoning’ is defined in multiple ways. It is the process of calculating something. It refers to a judgement, opinion, bill or settlement. Front Country wrote “The Reckoning” a year prior to the pandemic, social injustice movement and pre-election, Post Office debacle. Nonetheless, the song impeccably defines this bizarre moment in history, providing confidence there will be a final reckoning.  

I had originally started this review with a cute anecdote. It’s kind of my thing, and everybody else’s. But I’m going to cut straight to it. This was fucking insane. Oh. Was my use of fuck in the fourth sentence a bit too much for you? Then why in a flying fuck would you be reading a review of Andy Frasco and The U.N.? I ask again, why in a flying fuck? Keeping you from feeling comfortable comes as easy to Andy and his band as it does to a leather couch on a humid day. So, don’t come to me looking for a run of the mill review of a run of the mill show. Andy Frasco and The U.N.

It was sooooo good to hear live music again! Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brought their dance-inducing swing revival sound to Ventura's hometown audience for three nights, August 17-19th. The shows were part of the Rubicon Goes Retro drive-in concert series. The summer concerts, which continue through September, feature the latest fad in live music, concerts in your car.

Russia and China are interfering with our election. The GOP campaign is engaging in frivolous lawsuits to stifle negative ads and there is now proof they are responsible for rallying support around a deranged, (as if the current one wasn’t damaged enough) third-party candidate. I’m enraged by all this revolting behavior. Yet, what makes me the most irate is the mucking about in the mechanism needed for us to vote safely since the pandemic is out of freaking, control. (I whole-heartily acknowledge The United States Post Office isn’t a sexy nor exciting topic.

Corey Harper is more than just a pretty face. His music is endearing, authentic and touches on difficult but far too familiar emotions. At just 25 I’m impressed with his depth. (I am also saddened he has already had to endure so much heartache. Although, ultimately it makes him a great artist.) Harper’s album, “Overcast” has an ethereal feel not just in sound but also in look which complements its overall intensity.

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