Rant ‘N’ Roll: You Never Know Who You’re Sitting Next To On The Bus

Whenever The Coloursound puts out new music, I listen. The Pennsylvania alterna-pop sophisticates—for 11 years running—boast a singer in Doug Batt whose voice rivals early Nilsson and Garfunkel in how it takes flight. Plus, the dude’s a high school teacher…and that makes him a hero in my book. Speaking of heroes, guitarist Sean Hieter plays the kind of psychedelic guitar that Noel Gallagher was refining before Oasis imploded. He’s also a role model. A father, husband and cancer survivor, he recently raised over $92,000 in 10 weeks for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So he puts his energy where his mouth is. Plus, he’s the kind of guy you want to sit next to on a crowded bus going from the Poconos to Manhattan and back every day, and that just may be the most supreme compliment of all.

“Ollie” and “Return To Normalcy” are the two new songs and they’re as dreamy and as filled with Colour as such previous originals like “Slowdown,” “Guilty For The First Time” and “Hold On.” Live gigs have them covering Bowie, U2, Carly Simon, Leonard Cohen and a slew of ‘90s British bands so under the radar, you’d think they were originals too. And there always seems to be beautiful women at any Coloursound gig. Maybe that’s because Hieter also works for fashion designer Robert Graham.

I told singer Batt I loved “Ollie” despite not understanding its lyrics. He tells “Rant’n’Roll,” “It’s been a while since I thought about it, but to me `Ollie’ is about overcoming the fear of trying to grow—the big fish moving to a bigger pond—taking a chance to accomplish something greater. When I was a kid, we’d play games ‘Kick The Can’ or ‘Man Hunt.’ When the game was over, and it was safe to come out of your hiding spot, we would yell at the top of our lungs ‘ollie ollie oxen free.’ So I guess it’s about overcoming the fear of a greater success rather than being content with what you’ve done.”

Go see The Coloursound. One should support local music just like one should buy-fresh buy-local when it comes to food.



Now let’s make a dent in an ever-increasing CD pile. Here’s the good ones. (No use to tell you about the bad ones!)

Hot Tone Music is an artist-run label founded by bassist/composer Mimi Jones, 46, whose Feet In The Mud CD (her third) is a total delight. Jazz quartets led by bassists aren’t exactly prevalent. Her chops are exquisite, her presentation totally captivating. Her delicious “Mr. Poo Poo” is a fun way to open and her cover of “Fall” by Newark’s own Wayne Shorter is irresistible. The label also recently released Luis Perdomo’s Montage of solo piano. In losing myself within his 88s, I couldn’t help but think how Billy Joel once wrote how “the piano sounds like a carnival and the microphone smells like a beer.” Perdomo is, indeed, carnivalesque.

Get down with the New York City-based Hitman Blues Band’s The World Moves On, complete with horn section and a blistering finale of Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man.” These pros have all paid their dues working their way up the ladder, especially keyboardist Kevin Bents (Spin Doctors) and drummer Richard Crooks (Paul Simon). It’s a rockin’ little record you’ll want your DJ to play. And they even have the legendary Bernard “Pretty” Purdie drumming on “Moving On.”

Dallas guitarist/composer/wordless vocalist Horace Bray, 24, is going to be around for a while if the grooves on his new self-released Dreamstate debut are any indication. Surrounded by bass, keybs and drums, his 10 originals reek of exploding creativity, especially “Dirge For Mary Mallon” where he uses a string quartet to eulogize the infamous Typhoid Mary.

Rise Above by sax man Bill Evans is only the latest in an incredible career of working with Mick Jagger, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Willie Nelson and Bruce Hornsby. He’s called some of his famous friends in on this project including Gregg Allman and Warren Haynes. The result is a freewheeling rocking bluesy jazzy no-holds-barred genre-defying party.

Paul Reddick’s Ride The One (Stony Plain) uses the blues to rock out. I’ve been listening to it while dancing around the house. Would love to see this guy live. Highly recommended.

Make sure you hear the insane Frank Zappa cover (“Charva”) on the self-titled debut by The Benedict Dollyrockers.

There’s a poet in our midst: Clarence Bucaro’s gorgeous folk melodicism on Pendulum, co-produced by Tom Schick (Wilco/Ryan Adams) shows off the lyrical strengths of this Brooklyn singer/songwriter and includes a duet (“Strangers”) with the divine Allison Moorer.

Finally, check out the futuristic Avant Funk of Justin Piper who, with only a drummer, has concocted a fine mess of loud sound on his instrumental originals. He’s like a mad scientist with his guitar, bass, Rhodes and programming skills.