Story By: G.H. Harding

 Boz Scaggs

OF MONSTERS AND MEN --- Back in 2001, the music industry’s Steve Leeds (then at Universal, now at Sirius/XM) turned me onto a band called The Soundtrack of Our Lives … from Sweden, whose first stateside release, Behind The Music, was just great; especially the tracks “Sister Surround” and “Nevermore.” I still play it now. Besides being just great, great music (very 60’s/70’s-ish and very much influence by punk and rock, The Stones and Iggy Pop); it was just such a welcomed sound to hear back on the radio and in the clubs. The last few weeks I've become thoroughly entranced by a song called “Little Talks” by a band called Of Monsters and Men … from Iceland. Soundtrack broke up several years back, but OMAM draws heavily on their sound and influences, as well as Florence Welch (Florence And The Machine.) It’s equally funny as the OMAM is on Universal; the label that had released Soundtrack. I just received the CD yesterday and there are two more dynamite tracks on there; “King And Lionheart” and “From Finner.” I'm still deciphering the lyrics, but the music, is just superbly produced. “Talks” has in fact a terrific video, that although sheds no new light on what the song is about, will knock your socks off. It continues to amaze me what people out of the U.S. glean from our music; hey, let’s face it: music is one of our biggest exports …. always was, always will be. I know the year is just barely-a-third over, but “Little Talks” in unquestionably the record of the year so far.

BOZ SCAGGS’ MEMPHIS --- The other big music news this week was the release of Memphis by legendary-song man Boz Scaggs. The album was produced by Steve Jordan (John Mayer) and was recorded at the famous Willie Mitchell studio in Memphis, called Royal; where the late Mitchell recorded his classic work with Al Green; as well as with other artists for his Hi Records imprint. Scaggs began his storied career in 1965 with the release of his first album, Boz. He cut his teeth playing with another legendary music man, Steve Miller, and hit it big commercially in 1976 with the release of the album Silk Degrees. As I put the CD on, I hoped it was going to be genuine representation of where the artist was now; rather than a re-hash of his past performances and suggest. I am happy to report is it an absolutely stunningly work; totally honest, compelling and full of terrific song choices; none more so than the Steely Dan classic “Pearl Of The Quarter,” and, certainly the song “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl.” His interpretations of “Rainy Night In Georgia” and “Love On A Two Way Street” are total successes. Yes, it was like re-visiting Silk Degrees all over again … but, better … much better. If you were a fan, or a fan of great, great music and of a consummate professional … this CD is for you.