I started Lions With Wings while I was in the bubble, trying to avoid getting a deathly virus. So far, so good. I am healthy. Even better, I am back in the concert biz, with 3 shows on sale, for events starting July 31, which is 11 days from now.
Lions With Wings added two tracks by Erik Lawrence/Akira Tana duo. Erik and I have never met but threw friends like Mike Remlinger and Jeff Tesreau….screech…. through friends like Allison Miller and Steven Bernstein we’ve had a long-distance rap going for a while now. Akira Tana went to my high school, meanwhile, or the same school 12 years before, and played in my most recent live music event, which was his Otonowa sound circle on March 13, 2020 at the Mitch, the day before Covid-19 shut us all down.
Erik and Akira have never met but took my suggestion to try to jam together and months later I am posting two tracks from their result. Which has influences like Sonny Rollins, baseball and Japan.
Meanwhile here is my top ten list for Lions with Wings. There are now 33 tracks streaming for free on Bandcamp or you can pay what you want or nothing to download.
Barbara Manning ‘Cantor’s Mind Was Rocking’ 149 plays
This is an original rock song based on something I mentioned to Barbara about my friend Paul J. Cohen, the Fields Prize winner in math, whose twin sons Steve and Eric Cohen have appeared in my music series as The Flying Cohen Brothers. It has been spun a couple times on college radio, reviewed in indie press and liked by Barbara’s friend the indie label guru Gerard Cosloy. I hope to book Barbara live here in Palo Alto as soon as October, and for the first time since May, 1995.
Carmen Rothwell: Dwellings 1 – Explainer 125
Carmen is a jazz bassist but here adds some vocalizing — I met her thru Dave Douglas, who recorded some tracks for Lions With Wings which got immediately upstreamed to Greenleaf Records/Red Eye Distribution. Uniquely, all three of her tracks are charting right now, which makes her the Olivia Rodrigo of Lions With Wings.
Mike Park: Steppin’ Stone 106
This is Mike’s version of a classic rock song by the Monkees and also by Fugazi or maybe Minor Threat, which cannot be a coincidence because Mike opened for Ian MacKaye when his other band the Evens played Terman Junior High — where Ian and I both attended, although three years apart. I actually want him to record “Sugar Sugar” but emphasizing the line “honey honey” as a nod to Santa Clara Valley’s bucolic past. Also this must be the place to say that the retired San Jose State art professor David Middlebrook lives very near Mike Park, off Highway 17, and has a sculpture in Palo Alto called “Steps in Stone”.
Carmen Rothwell: Dwellings 3 – The Window 106
Carmen Rothwell: Dwellings 2 – Bed Song 87
Barbara Manning “Dying to Live” 82
I had never heard this Edgar Winter song until Barbara taught it to me.
MC Lars: In the Land of the Grasshopper Song 69
Lars and I met because Matt the Electrician told a story about their overlapping salad days down in Pacific Grove, California, when Matt played the Cubberley H-1 in fall, 2019. Then Lars opened for Charlie Musselwhite at the JCC, in December, 2019. Then we got talking about our mutual interest in indigenous cultures and history and I recommended a book by my Dartmouth classmate Andre Cramblit and Lars turned part of it into this song.
Barbara Manning “Twilight” 58
By Elliot Smith.
There is Something On Your Mind 38
There are two versions of this song on my Bandcamp page, under this title and under the title “Nancy Wright/Bob Margolin/Mitch Woods’ ‘There is Something On Your Mind”. There’s also a nifty video by Kid Andersen of Greaseland studios of San Jose that has been viewed more than 3,000 times. Actually, the total is 55 and Dayna Stephens “Nomad” is 20 but as a suite might make the list, honorable mention — thanks, Dayna.
Wayne Horvitz Ha-Yang Kim Ayesha Brooks Trio “Trouble In Mind” 30
Wayne was scheduled to appear at The Mitch in April, 2020 and to make good recorded with Ha-Yang Kim on cello and Ayesha Brooks on vocals a four-song suite including this blues chestnut.
There are a couple other straggler songs that may turn up on this label. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Stay tuned.
Note: those are total plays, all time, not thousands of plays this week. In comparison, according to Billboard, which I just subscribed to for the first time since 1999, Lil Nas X “Montero” got 65.6 million total impressions just this week. Something like 46.9 m U.S. streams, 21,000 downloads sold and 1.1 million radio airplay audience impressions (in a previous week, in April. Which reminds me there is something in a local paper about David Gans making the Pollstar charts with his daily live feed. Stay tuned-tuned.
If you are stalking me: Stern Grove to see X, Avengers; Frost to see Gregory Porter with Marcus Shelby; maybe Lavay Smith at Frost; maybe Mads Tolling at a vineyard in Portola Valley. Maybe Los Lobos in LA Aug. 21. And1: spellchecking the name of the studio I learn that Charlie Hunter is playing San Jose Jazz Festival Sunday, August 15.
edit to ad:
Wow. I just noticed that Dayna Stephens played “Nomad” live with a band in a studio for NPR or someone with a following (relatively speaking, this is jazz). “Nomad” — in my universe or in Plasty – -is part of a four-song suite he wrote during the lockdown, for Lions With Wings, and indirectly based on a book by a Cubberley High of Palo Alto High grad Neil Howe about archetypes and history and the future. Dayna asked me once to repeat what my concept for Lions With Wings was, so that he could explain it to the press and I said what could only possibly matter was what he thought it meant last year when you wrote the songs.