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Concert Reviews

Now playing "Maggie May"
by The Quarrymen from the "Songs We Remember" CD.

The Quarrymen -

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What we liked about the concert:

The Quarrymen
and the screening of the new John Lennon biopic
"Nowhere Boy"
at The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood
September 30, 2010
The new John Lennon biopic "Nowhere Boy" covers John Lennon's life from birth, until he leaves for Hamburg, Germany.  It was a very moving film...and I learned a lot about John Lennon that I hadn't known previously.  This film will be loved by anyone who is a Beatles' fan, and particularly the serious John Lennon fans.  John Lennon is played by Aaron Johnson, and the role of Mimi is played by Kristin Scott Thomas.  The role of John's mother, Julia, is played by Anne-Marie Duff.
Director: Sam Taylor-Wood
Writers: Julia Baird (memoir), Matt Greenhalgh (screenplay)
Following the screening, the audience had a rare treat to see and hear The Quarrymen (Colin Hanton, Rod Davis, and Len Garry) during their second Southern California tour...the band where John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison originally met.  Their music and stories are priceless.
Their "Happy Birthday, John" Tour continues across the U.S. culminating in a very special concert/screening in New York City, on what would have been John Lennon's 70th Birthday.  For more details click on the links below:

The Quarrymen

Nowhere Boy

Keith England
Rockin' The Foundation


Sunday, Sept 12th, 2010 ˇ
 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Location House of Blues Sunset Strip Foundation Room
8430 West Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA

Created By

More Info

Keith England - Voice & Occasional Guitars
Paul Ill - Bass & Picolo Slide Bass
Randy Ray Mitchell - Guitars
Mark Knight - Guitars
Herman L. Matthews - Drums & Concussion
VERY Special Surprises

When Keith England was a guest on our show, he was successfully showcasing jazz standards "New & Used."  He's since successfully returned to his Rocker roots, and on Sunday night, he lit The House up (The House of Blues), in The Foundation Room.  Keith has some great new, original rock songs...and his enthusiastic stage presence is contagious.  Don't miss his next Southern California appearance!

Michael Sunday (Host) with Keith England (Guest).

Keith England at The House of Blues
Keith England's first show with The Allman Brothers.

Oak & Gorski 
played Downtown Disney on Saturday, Sept 11th
from 12-5pm...and we were there. 
Oak & Gorski are one of the most technically-accurate duos I've seen in a long time...and their music style has a broad appeal ranging from the college-age kids to any person who likes good singer/songwriter acoustic music.  I've recommended them to several venues, and known artists, whom I believe they could share a line-up with, or be part of a collaborative effort with.
These guys ARE a must-see!  We've imbedded the track "Pretty Far Gone" from their latest CD "Good Advice, Bad Advice" into this page...because words just can't describe their style adequately.
You can get a good feel for their tracks now at
The summer of 2010 is upon us and Oak and Gorski are about to embark on their tenth national tour of colleges and venues.  Described by Billboard Magazine as “soulful” and “calming”, Oak and Gorski have sold over 30,000 albums independently.  Together they have had a song placed in the Dreamworks film “She’s the Man” along with many notable television performances and song placements.  In July, Oak and Gorski traveled to Nashville, TN to record their newest EP entitled “Love Destroyer”, which will be released in December 2010.
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Week 1 of our Kickstarter fundraising campaign is over and we are overwhelmed with your support!  We are 36% to our goal at $3,570.  If you haven't checked out the video and site yet please take a moment and click the widget below!  If you pre-order the album at Kickstarter it will be autographed and arrive at your door 2 weeks before the official street release date.  We have to keep this pace in order to achieve our goal in 3 weeks so please keep spreading the word!

"Love Destroyer" will be officially released on December 14, 2010! Here is the track listing for the EP:

1. If I Could Tell You
2. Mountains
3. New York
4. Love Destroyer
5. Burn the Bridge

Thank you so much for your continued support! Please keeping spreading the word!!!

Ken & Ed

Oak & Gorski
Cello Rock Records

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Special thanks to all our Kickstarter supporters so far!!!

Angela, Victoria, Pk, Leigh, Emily, Louise, Amanda, Robert, Kye, Melissa, Linda, Tajita, Peter, Amanda, Rosalee, Shawna, Daniel, Coby, Chrysanthy, David, Melissa, Elaine, Kris, Ted, Eddie, Dennis, Kevin, Anita, Tyler, Amanda, Osvaldo, Jade, Laurel, Jose, Yuka, Ryan, Andria, Andy, Andy, Keats, Siming, Gregory, Chris, Roberta, Laren, Joanne, Jennifer, Stephen, Chrissy, Bob, Jimmy, Trina, Mina, Hatty, Tracy, Brenda, Jessica, Christina, Leslie, Sarah, Michael, Christy, Douglas, and Anne!

You guys are incredible and we appreciate your support so much!
To learn more about Oak & Gorski,
click on the images below!

Photo by Melissa Castro.
Oak & Gorski
Photo by Melissa Castro.
Oak & Gorski
Photo by Melissa Castro.
Oak & Gorski

Nathan McEuen with Scott Gates

Now that Nathan McEuen's CD "Scrapbook Sessions 2010" is officially released, he's excited to share the new songs with all of you!  We caught him at one of his last Southern California concerts, at The Coffee Gallery, on September 4th.  Nathan has headed out to tour the country...and won't be back in Southern California until December.  It was a great show, as usual.  Nathan McEuen and Scott Gates did a few of the new songs from The Scrapbook Sessions CD...and some of the favorites such as "Grand Design," "Friend or Foe," "Upside Down & Backwards," "Beautiful Night," and "Good Time"...along with some more blue-grass based songs.  Their harmonies just keep getting better. 

Even though Nathan is going out on the road, Scott Gates will still be making appearances around Southern California.

To listen/purchase the latest CD / MP3s
(Scrapbook Sessions 2010) please visit:

Scott Gates, John McEuen, & Nathan McEuen at The Coffee Gallery Backstage.
Elaine Gregston (left), Nathan McEuen (center) with Scott Gates (right).
Nathan McEuen & Scott Gates at The Huck Finn Festival.
Michael Sunday (Host), Scott Gates & Mike Nadolson (Guests) on the set of BackStage:Los Angeles.
One the set of BackStage:Los Angeles.
Nathan McEuen (Guest), Sandy Jacobson (Guest-Host), Elaine Gregston, & Chuck Hailes (Guests).
Elaine Gregston, Nathan McEuen, and Chuck Hailes (Guests) on the set of BackStage:Los Angeles.

The Wrecking Crew Documentary Benefit Concert
 Saturday, August 14th, 2010...and it was an awesome evening !
If you missed this event, you missed a GREAT night of entertainment and community!  There will be future events, including future screenings of the documentary,
but in the meantime, PLEASE check out these wonderfully talented artists who gave their time for this amazing evening!

On Saturday, August 14th, Russ & Julie's House Concerts presented an "ALL-STAR" Benefit Concert in support of The Wrecking Crew Film. The Wrecking Crew was a loose knit group of world-class studio musicians who played on some of the most popular music from the late 50s to the early 70s. Songs by 5th Dimension, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, The Association, The Beach Boys, The Bryds, The Carpenters, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, Cher, Jan & Dean, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, The Mamas & The Papas, The Monkees, Ricky Nelson, The Righteous Brothers, Johnny Rivers, Frank & Nancy Sinatra, and many many others. The Wrecking Crew were Phil Spector's Wall of Sound.

A documentary about The Wrecking Crew has been produced by Denny Tedesco (son of Tommy Tedesco of The Wrecking Crew). We believe this documentary is one of the best music related films we have seen. It documents this important and vital part of our musical history and should be seen by as many people as possible. We want to help see that it gets a DVD release.

You can see the film trailer at:

Performing at this benefit was the "2010 Russ & Julie's House Concerts All-Star Band":

STEVE POSTELL (guitar) - Steve is one of the finest guitarists around. He's currently Jennifer Warnes' musical director. He's performed with Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Jennifer Warnes, John Oates, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson, Paul Barerre, Dave Koz, Pure Prairie League and many others. He has also performed live on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show with Katie Couric, The Regis and Kelly and The Regis and Kathie Lee shows.

STEVIE GURR (guitar) - Another highly respected studio guitarist who has performed with Dr. John, Elvin Bishop, Otis Clay, and Don Henley among others. Stevie is currently part of the duo "emith".

FREEB0 (bass) - FREEBO is an award-winning singer/songwriter (2008 Posi Award... "Best Song", '07 L.A. Music Awards "Best Folk Artist", Winner '07 South Florida Songwriting Contest, finalist '09 The Great American Songwriting Contest, Finalist in 5 different categories of JPF Awards), but he's best known as a Folk-Rock-Blues Icon. For 30 years, Freebo played bass & tuba on recordings and toured with some of the great artists of our time-- Bonnie Raitt (10 years), John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, CSN, Maria Muldaur, Ringo Starr, Michelle Shocked, Neil Young, Loudon Wainwright III, Dr. John, and many others. He has also appeared on Saturday Night Live, Midnight Special, Muppets Tonight, and in concert with the legendary Spinal Tap.

DALE LaDUKE (accordion/piano) - Award winning singer/songwriter and former member of Five Wheel Drive. Originally from the Detroit area, he has for many years made his living writing, teaching and playing music in Los Angeles. Dale regularly adds his accordion parts to many local artists here in the L.A. area.

RICHARD MARTINEZ (percussion) - Richard is a local musician whose stage credits include The All Night Strut, Cabaret Verboten, Five Guys Named Mo and Ain't Misbehavin'. His television credits include The Dolly Parton Show, Baywatch Nights and Sienfield. He has performed with Sam Harris, Jason Alexander, Bebe Neuwirth and many others. He has also recorded with Julian Lennon, Dan Hill, John Jones, Rick Nowels and others.

The concert will also feature special GUEST PERFORMANCES by:

MARI WILSON: Mari is an British singer based in London. She is best known for her sometimes quirky, early 1960s-influenced pop music songs and her (former) trademark beehive hairdo. Recording on the Compact label she scored six UK hit singles in the early 1980s, including her biggest hit, "Just What I Always Wanted" (UK #8) in 1982. The following year she scored a top 30 hit with a cover of "Cry Me a River" and released her debut album Showpeople, also a top 30 hit. Wilson's fourth studio album Emotional Glamour was released on her Beehive label in October 2008. She has also performed in musicals, and has been a feature on a BBC TV series about celebrities and their health.

JOHN BATDORF: Best known as one-half of the '70s band Batdorf & Rodney, which was signed at different times by Ahmet Ertegun to Atlantic Records, by David Geffen to Asylum Records and by Clive Davis to Arista Records. They headlined many shows, and were an opening act for America, Seals & Crofts, Dan Fogelberg, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, Bread, The Youngbloods, Hall & Oates, Harry Chapin and many others. In the '80s, John was a staff songwriter, writing songs for America, England Dan, The Curry Sisters and Kim Carnes, and as studio singer singing on hundreds of jingles, movies, and TV shows. He also sang background vocals on recordings by Rod Stewart, Motley Crue, Dave Mason, The Jefferson Starship, Berlin, Donna Summer, and David Lee Roth to name just a few.

AMY RAASCH: Winner of the 3rd Annual GINA/LAWIM Singer/Songwriter Contest. Named one of Music Connection’s "HOT 100 Unsigned Artists" for the third year running. Don Was says about Amy: "She's got her own inner groove; nothing tentative about it. A force to be reckoned with."

A tax deductible check payable to "International Documentary Association" (write "Wrecking Crew Documentary" in the memo line). All of the money raised this night will go towards expenses (such as licensing fees) to get The Wrecking Crew film released on DVD.

If you didn't make the event and still would like to contribute, send your check payable to "International Documentary Association" to:
Russ & Julie Paris
638 Lindero Canyon Rd, #142
Oak Park, CA 91377

All of the evening's artists are donating their time. We will also have our usual "potluck" style coffee and dessert buffet. The show is called for 8:00 P.M. Doors open at 7:30 P.M.
RSVP today to Russ & Julie at -- We look forward to seeing you then!

Special thanks to Russ & Julie of
Russ & Julie's House Concerts for sponsoring this event!

John McEuen, Jonathan McEuen, The Nathan McEuen Band, (Nathan McEuen, Chuck Hailes, Elaine Gregston, & Scott Gates), Phil Salazar, & Tall Paul (from Nashville) -
January 17, 2009
It is a VERY rare treat for all three of the McEuens' independent touring schedules' to converge in the same city,  on the same night, affording the opportunity for them to perform together on the same stage, and Saturday night was no exception!  John McEuen, one of the founding members of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (now in it's 42nd year!) is the father of Jonathan and Nathan McEuen who are each accomplished musicians in their own right.  Each of the artists showcased some of their own work, and finished off the evening on-stage together for the hand-clapping-foot-stomping finale!  Nathan McEuen's band is made up of Chuck Hailes (stand-up Bass), Elaine Gregston (Accordian) and Scott Gates, at age sixteen, on Mandolin.  Phil Salazar also accompanied throughout the evening.  The music spectrum ranged from some of our country's original folk songs to 60's folk songs, to country, and to contemporary original singer-songwriter songs.
This was truly a great family concert....for those performing,
and for those in attendance !
Playing on this page, is "Friend or Foe" by the Nathan McEuen Band, and is just a sample of what the evening was like.

John Batdorf @ Kulak's Woodshed, August 16th, 2008
This concert was a unique opportunity to see John Batdorf perform solo, and we got to "see him shine!" that night!  John performed songs from his recent CD, "Home Again" that features some of the early "Batdorf & Rodney" tunes.  He also performed some of his own songs, and some written by the writing team of Batdorf & McLean,
in addition to a few songs from the "All Wood & Stones" CD, that is a "must have" CD of new all-acoustic arrangements of Rolling Stones standards.  Andrew Jackson opened for John that night.
Among, being a musician, Andrew also produces and promotes fingerstyle guitar concerts, "Santa Barbara Acoustic Concert Series', and local singer / song writer concerts, "Circle of Friends".  Andrew says "I hope that this journey of exploring the boundaries of acoustic guitar expression never ends for me, as this is my life!"
It was a great evening of music and comraderie!
It was a special surprise to have John close out the show with his song, "One Night Stands" which he wrote and has graciously give us permission to use for the show's theme song!  He also gave our show a mention during the webcast, which was greatly appreciated!
John Batdorf:  
Andrew Jackson:

Laurence Juber @ Boulevard Music, June 14, 2008
I've been attending acoustic guitar concerts for seven years, and have heard and seen Laurence Juber's name consistently during that time, and heard from many people "how good" he is.  One reviewer stated that "it was hard to believe he only had ten fingers..." 
I assumed the reviewer had to be over-enthusiastic...but after seeing his concert on Saturday night, I AM a believer.  Laurence Juber delivers flawless instrumental acoustic guitar with a fluid touch that I have yet to see accomplished by any other guitarist.  Laurence began his professional music career with "Paul McCartney & Wings" and has produced several Grammy-Award solo CD's.  On Saturday night, he performed some familiar tunes, along with some new songs, including the title track from his new CD "PCH."
Laurence Juber also wrote the music, for the recently opened
"A Very Brady Musical" at Theatre West.

James Lee Stanley @ Kulak's Woodshed - May 24th 2008


Bob Stane, owner of The Coffee Gallery Backstage,

and founder of The Ice House,

in a recent interview, said that when musicians are booked,

“the musicians shouldn’t just play music…they should ENTERTAIN.” 


Last night, James Lee Stanley performed at Kulak’s Woodshed…and “entertained” to a standing-room-only audience.  Some of the special guests in the audience were Jim Golden- the past president of Wooden Nickel Records, Wil Osborn-who has “indefinitely loaned” James a Brazilian Rosewood Collings Herringbone Dreadnaught guitar, Bob Lefsetz -(celebrated columnist) Russ (Russ & Julie's House Concerts), Paris, and Sandy Jacobson, Creator & Producer of BackStage:Los Angeles “L.A.’s REAL Music-Interview T.V. Show!” 


James is consistently professional in the quality of music he delivers to an audience…yet unpredictably funny in the dialogue he delivers between songs.  James Lee Stanley is a musician, who carries the torch of the American 60’s Folk music sound, while lyrically delivering a profoundly sophisticated, yet precisely simply contemporary message.  Some of my personal favorites off of his most recent CD “Eternal Contradiction” are “Let The Tree Fall” and “This Fleeting Moment.”  James Lee Stanley’s music can be previewed at


Put seeing James Lee Stanley at least ONCE in your life, on YOUR “Bucket List.”

John Batdorf & Michael McLean
at Kulak's Woodshed - May 10, 2008
Saturday night, we went out to Kulak's Woodshed to see our recent studio guests John Batdorf & Michael McLean.
John & Michael are a phenomenal songwriting team, and that combined with their personable and professional stage presence
makes for a really good show!  Michael performed one of his songs, that brought many in the audience to tears.  John performed "Summer of Love" from his new CD "Still Burnin' ", along with some other songs from his "Home Again" CD, and John & Michael joined together to do a series of songs from the "Batdorf & McLean Songbook" including "It's Not Love" and "See Us Shine." 
Saturday night, everyone in the audience got to see THEM shine!
"Give Me Shelter" Benefit for The Teen Project -
March 14th, 2008
at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood -
Packed with talent!
The Teen Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a variety of transitional assistance including housing, and college application to teens in a substance-free environment, who have been emancipated out of the Foster Care program at age 18.  Most teens who have grown up in the Foster Care system are emancipated at 18, with no housing, no job skills, no family...and within a year are homeless and living on the streets.
On Friday, March 14th at 8:00 PM, there was a Benefit Concert at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood, to raise awareness for the non-profit, and help raise funds.  There was also a silent auction, in addition to a great line-up of talent and surprise guests.  Lauri Burns, founder of The Teen Project, was our in-studio guest to promote this event and her non-profit.
Scheduled guests were:
Camp Freddy (starring Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins, Billy Morrison, and Chris Chaney) with special guests Linda Perry & The Section Quartet.  Surprise guest was Mark McGrath, among others.  The musical talent in the room that night was unbelievable...and if you missed the Benefit Concert, don't fret! Camp Freddy will soon be appearing at The Roxy!
For more information on The Teen Project:

Keith England at The Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood...
Jan. 29th, 2008
Last night I went to see Keith England perform his new CD, "Standards, Old & New" at the Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood... and had the privilege of hearing him be accompanied by Michael Melvoin on piano, Tony Dumas on Bass, and Ralph Penland on drums.  Michael Melvoin and Keith England collaborated on the CD that includes new arrangements of old standards, and some really great new songs...several penned by Michael Melvoin & Arthur Hamilton, who was also in the audience last night.  It was a delightful evening, and a pleasure to see live music so effortlessly, energetically, and flawlessley delivered.  If you're looking for an enjoyable evening out...don't miss Keith's next live appearance. 

We've been to more concerts in the past eight weeks, than we've had time to write about...The Nathan McEuen Trio (with Guest John McEuen), Peter Tork & Shoe Suede Blues, Batdorf & Rodney, James Lee Stanley, Fertitta & McClintock, The Holics, Scott Gates & Chelsea Williams (with guest Evan Marshall), Ted & Pablo, and a few addition to producing one show a week.  Each of these acts is MORE than worth the price of admission. 
By genre...
if you like the Blues...then you'll want to catch Peter Tork and Shoe Suede Blues.  Peter says they're not pure blues, but very close.  They do some Blues standards, along with some of their own orginal work, and a always a couple of cover tunes from the "band of which Peter was formerly a member."
If you like'll want to catch Scott Gates (and Evan Marshall).  Scott just turned 15, but plays the mandolin like he's been at it for longer than he's been alive.  His band Pacific Ocean Bluegrass recently won First Place in the Topanga Canyon Banjo Fiddle Contest.
If you like Acoustic Folk...there's a wide selection here...and each artist has their own sound.  Chelsea Williams, a young new artist, has been described as having the sophistication of lyrics like that of a young Joni Mitchell.  Batdorf & Rodney have a hint of jazz influence from Mark Rodney's background, that's a beautiful complement to John Batdorf's folk/rock background.  James Lee Stanley, is truly one of the great singer/songwriters of this time.  James' songs are beautifully thought-provoking and poignant. Fertitta & McClintock, have their own acoustic style...also with some incredibly-crafted songs.
Nathan McEuen, another young artist, has a distinct syle all his own.  His Bluegrass and Acoustic Folk roots have been uniquely and beautifully blended with an influence by his generation's rock sound.  Nathan also has a gift for sophisticated lyrics.
If you like Brazilian Chorro music, you won't want to miss Ted & Pablo.  Ted Falcon is an American, who first spent time learning Portugese, before traveling to Brazil to learn the 12-string Mandolin.  Pablo Fagundes, is a Brazilian harmonica player, with a love for American Folk/Blues/Jazz.  Ted & Pablo met on one of Ted's trips to Brazil, and they recently recorded a CD together, and toured it throughout Southern CA.  They are currently touring in Brazil, but will be back in the U.S., touring here again in the Spring.
The Holics are a contemporary Rock band in every sense of the word...and they DO Rock!  You can catch them around town at various clubs.  We recently saw them at The Knitting Factory.

June 9th, 2007 "All Wood & Stones"
Concert by James Lee Stanley & John Batdorf
This article is posted with the permission and courtesy of
Bob Lefsetz @ The Lefsetz Letter website:

I won’t go see the Stones anymore.  I don’t want to hang with those people, calcified, trying to relive a youth that in most cases they never had, being too scared of the English band in its prime, all the while being hawked overpriced merchandise as Jagger shouts the lyrics and the band plays and those of who were there the first time around puke.

But to hear John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley reinterpret their classics…  For that I’ll drive deep into the heart of suburban California, to a location I never even knew EXISTED!

A couple of years back, I got e-mail from James Lee Stanley asking me if I’d take a listen to his new album with John Batdorf, "All Wood And Stones", an acoustic reworking of Stones songs.

Remember when the Beatles hit and everybody took up the guitar?  And you’d go to parties and sing the hits of the day?  That’s what this album sounded like, if you took the best two guys you ever heard in high school and they rearranged the tracks, making something new out of what was in your DNA, that you’d heard a zillion times before.  The music was satisfying.  It was old, but new.  I felt it was a natural.

Alas, "All Wood And Stones" never broke through.  It didn’t get the exposure it deserved.  Because rock radio is dead.  Because the purveyors think the audience is dead, and can’t listen to anything new.  Mike Marrone played the album on XM’s Loft, but one station on a service with a hundred odd channels that reaches far from everybody…  I tried to get Sirius on the bandwagon, I felt it was a one listen record, but I never got a response to my entreaty, even though I was doing it out of passion, with no pay involved.  The album languished.

But when Russ Paris e-mailed to tell me that Batdorf & Stanley were going to appear in his living room on Saturday night, I said I was IN!  Actually, it was Felice who implored me, I’d put the album on her hard drive.

So we go over Malibu Canyon, drive further out than I ever do unless I’m going to Santa Barbara, and exit the 101 in Westlake Village.  Who moves to Westlake Village?  Why?  I have no idea, but there are a ton of similar houses out there, don’t drive home drunk, you’ll never find your house!

And after missing the turn-off, we finally made it to Russ Paris’ house.

It’s hard for me to reach out and engage.  But I didn’t want to go to this gig and not introduce myself.  And figuring the dude at the door with the shirt with the musical notes on it must be Russ, I hovered until he finished detailing the agenda to a patron, and introduced myself.

And that’s when I got Russ’ story.

He went to college back east, at Brandeis.  But he missed California people.  Funny, I’ve heard of missing EAST COAST people, then again maybe what he was saying was he was sick of the stuffy underpinnings of the east.

Anyway, he returned to L.A. and went to law school.  He passed the Bar, but never practiced.  He went into commercial real estate.  But then gave that up to start a graphics business with his ninth grade sweetheart, now his wife, out of his home.  This same home containing not only Russ & Julie, but their three children.

Yes, Julie showed me the room of Macs, but that graphics business was secondary to Russ’ love for music.  He’d been surfing the Web and had made contact with Severin Browne, Jackson’s brother, and after convincing Severin that he truly DID have his two Motown albums, Severin invited him to a friend’s backyard, for an album release party, eleven years ago.  And experiencing this magical evening, Russ asked Severin, would he like to do a show at HIS house?

And thus began Russ & Julie’s House Concerts.

Better yet, go to the MySpace page. Wherein you can see the news video.  Better yet, scroll down and watch Andrew Gold’s live performance.  THAT’S a house concert.  The folksiness.  The intimacy.

And then, as Donna Summer once sang, it was time to dim all the lights.

We sat down in folding chairs, Russ fired up the JBL sound system he’d purchased, and John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley started to PLAY!

I think "Ruby Tuesday" was the opening number.

I’m listening to it on my computer right now.

She would never say where she came from

Where did YOU come from?  I came from the suburbs, half a century ago.  My parents had hopes and dreams.  They tried to give us a better life.  And it wasn’t about possessions, but experiences.  Oftentimes MUSICAL experiences.  My mother bought us our first records.  She took us to the symphony, to the musicals, she got us HOOKED!

How many times have I heard "Ruby Tuesday"?  Not enough to burn out on it!  And Batdorf and Stanley’s take has stripped the patina and left only the essence, the wistfulness, the story.

I was right back in the sixties.

They played "The Last Time".

I bought every Beatle album, but not each Stones one.  It wasn’t like today, music wasn’t free.  But when their first greatest hits album, "Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass)", was released, I immediately purchased it, the record was such a good VALUE!  And my absolute favorite track, the one I played over and over again, was " Last Time".

Well I told you once and I told you twice
But you never listen to my advice

The ATTITUDE!  They were conveying it ACOUSTICALLY!

The MUSIC, the ERA, it was coming alive.

I was elbowing Felice, she had a smile on her face, I only regretted that the music wasn’t LOUDER, so I could sing along in anonymity!

That’s what we do at the show, sing along with songs we know so well.

Not that I knew Batdorf and Stanley’s original material so well.

All I knew was that John Batdorf was in a band with Mark Rodney that I never ever heard on the radio.  But I was aware of them, I saw their albums in the store.

Batdorf played this one number, "Let Me Go", with James helping him out…  John waxed rhapsodic about Stephen Stills’ guitar-playing abilities, he was influenced by him.  It was AMAZING to see John work out.  And his VOICE!  He hit every note, it was so sweet, I was TRANSPORTED!  And I was only TEN FEET AWAY!

There’s a power in music.  And we baby boomers know it.  It’s part of our history, it’s deep inside us.  We don’t understand the hip-hop and pop sold by the big time media, but we’re open to new stuff, we’re open to being entertained if you hit our soft spot, which has got to do with a certain mellifluousness.

You can’t buy the original Batdorf & Rodney "Let Me Go" on iTunes, but I fired up my P2P app and THERE IT WAS!  The band LIVES ON!  So funny YEARS later to still have a presence in people’s minds!

And James Lee Stanley’s music was almost overshadowed by his stories, he’s a naturally born comedian.  He told us about escaping his father’s house to go swimming and then building a fire to dry his bathing suit, having it burn up and then riding his bike home naked, FOR MILES!

That’s the honesty lacking in so much of today’s mainstream art/media.  It rolls off our backs because it isn’t made for us.  It’s made for non-thinking robots with no soul.

But the people at Russ & Julie’s house had soul.  They’d seen ups and downs.  That’s what life is about.  Even losers get lucky sometimes.  And the winners are not always on a high.  But what gets us through is the music, it allows us to leave our bodies, leave our troubles behind, enter a sphere where we can’t be touched.

Batdorf & Stanley finished the evening off with four more Stones songs.  God, I could have listened to them play all night.

And when it was done, I spoke with John about having his first album produced by Ahmet Ertegun.  And then switching over to David Geffen’s Asylum.  James Lee Stanley told me he’d gotten "All Wood And Stones" back from the distributor, he still had hope…

I said he was RIGHT!  That they just needed the right exposure.  Not once in some TV show, but as a theme on ESPN, something continuous.  Because if people HEARD this music, they’d WANT IT!

But it’s hard to get the message out these days.  Amidst all the clutter.  When it’s thought anybody born in the fifties just wants to rest on his laurels, wants no new peak experiences.  So Batdorf & Stanley fly under the radar, working in their own cottage industry.  Makes me feel sorry for them.  They record all this great music, but most people don’t hear it.  Still, they soldier on, because they have to!

I can tell you about the great shows I saw at the Fillmore East.  I’ve seen my share of stadium shows, and enjoyed them.  But it’s those club shows that touched me most.  Like seeing Bruce Springsteen at the Bottom Line, back in ‘74, the year BEFORE "Born To Run".

There were seats in clubs back in those days.  But now music is something you’ve got to stand to listen to.  It’s about the shared experience more than what you hear in your head.

But the old experience lives on.  Along with the old performers.  In houses across this great country of ours.  The gigs might not be reported to Pollstar, the CDs sold for fifteen bucks might never show up in SoundScan, but what’s going down in these suburban neighborhoods is every bit as valid as what happens at those massive gigs with ducats sold by TicketMaster.

Deep in the show, Batdorf and Stanley played "Backstreet Girl".

For Chanukah one year, I got the Stones album "Flowers".  It was not one of their best, it contained "Ruby Tuesday", but it was a slapdash collection.  But it had this one song sans attitude that sank in.  Hearing "Backstreet Girl" Saturday night, I was reminded of walking around the Bromley base lodge on a cold December day, singing the song in my head.  That’s what a great gig does, bring you back.  Saturday night, I was brought back.

All Wood and Stones — a unique sounding album of classic Rolling Stones songs

April 30, 2007 -
Amber Rubarth, Alexa Wilkinson, Ashleigh Haney, and Josh Kelley
Last Monday night, April 30th, 2007 I traveled down to The Coach House, in San Juan Capistrano to support a young singer/songwriter, Amber Rubarth, whom I’d seen at The Coffee Gallery about a year ago.  The first time I saw Amber, I knew she was talented…but in the year since I’ve seen her, she has matured and grown as a musician and a performer…and has blossomed and come into her own.  Her lyrics hit home, with a fresh and honest, new twist.  Amber is busy touring all over the country…and makes Southern California appearances part of her tour.  Amber will be back in Los Angeles on June 12th, 2007 at HOTEL CAFÉ, 1623 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90028  (

There were four young artists on the line-up last night…Amber Rubarth, Alexa Wilkinson, Ashleigh Haney, and Josh Kelley and his band.


“My plan” had been to see Amber, and then make the long drive back to Los Angeles.  Amber had previously raved to me about Josh Kelley, and encouraged me to “at least” stay for the first part of his act, and I agreed to do so.  While I “waited” for Josh’s act, I got to hear Alexa Wilkinson and Ashleigh Haney…two more talented, young artists.  While Ashleigh’s sound and style are nothing like Karen  Carpenter’s (Ashleigh has her own signature sound)…Ashleigh commands  the keyboards with the same mastery and precision, and exudes the same kind of rapport with the audience reminiscent of Karen Carpenter, in the way she draws you into her world.  I have no doubt that we will see more of Ashleigh in the upcoming months.  I’m glad that I had the opportunity to catch her act. 


As promised to Amber, I waited to hear a couple of Josh’s songs…and then head home.  BUT, with his first song, I knew I was staying until his set was over.  His band is comprised of four incredibly talented, professional musicians with a Southern rock sound on the same par as “Alabama”  with a VERY fun stage-presence.


All of these artists have MySpace pages…so you know how to find them.  You can also click on their CD’s on the “New Releases Page” or “Links” page of this site.


-Sandy Jacobson-



"L.A.'s REAL Music Interview Show!"