Nordost Playlist – August 2020

Over the past few months, Nordost  has been happy that we can continue to make our time spent at home a little more bearable with the gift of great music. Our products aim to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. Like you, we here at Nordost are music lovers. Each one of us has our own style… we listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone. 

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this August.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ

  1. Short And Sweet — Brittany Howard — Jamie 
  2. MS — Alt-J — An Awesome Wave 
  3. Down in Mexico — The Coasters — The Best of the Best (Remastered) 
  4. Save Me — Aimee Mann — Magnolia 
  5. Walking On The Moon (Walking on the Dub) — DubXanne — The Police In Dub
  6. Strawberry Letter 23 — The Brothers Johnson — Right On Time 
  7. The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove — Dead Can Dance — Into The Labyrinth 
  8. Brown Eyed Lover — Allen Stone — Building Balance 
  9. Just Don’t Talk About It — Rosanne Cash — 10 Song Demo
  10. Lucy — Jay Som — Soccer Mommy & Friends Single Series, Vol. 1: Jay Som

Nordost Playlist – July 2020

Over the past few months, Nordost  has been happy that we can continue to make our time spent at home a little more bearable with the gift of great music. Our products aim to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. Like you, we here at Nordost are music lovers. Each one of us has our own style… we listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone. 

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this July.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ

  1. Lazarus—Porcupine Tree—Deadwing
  2. I’m Still Here – From “Pose”—Pose Cast, Patti LuPone—I’m Still Here
  3. Darkest Hour of the Night—Ash—Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash
  4. No Glory in the West—Orville Peck—No Glory in the West
  5. Everybody’s Gotta Live—Love—Reel to Real
  6. Gymnopédie No. 1—Erik Satie, Philippe Entremont—Erik Satie & Friends
  7. The World of Tomorrow—Komputer—The World of Tomorrow
  8. Don’t Let the Old Man In—Willie Nelson—First Rose of Spring
  9. RADIO—Rammstein—Radio
  10. Djougou Toro—Volta Jazz—Bobo Yéyé: Belle Époque in Upper Volta

Nordost Playlist – May 2020

It seems like ages ago that we were traveling around the world, visiting our friends and business partners, and educating end users about the effects that our products have on sound systems. In order to demonstrate these products, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort systems and accessories. While we might not be able to use our music for demos at the moment, we find that music means more to us than ever. We wanted to share some of the tracks that we have been playing to get us through these wild times, and hope that they bring you enjoyment and help you pass the time. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but we hope that there’s something for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this May.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ

  1. Clint Eastwood—Freedom Fry—Rio Grande
  2. Sharing The Night Together—Dr. Hook—Pleasure & Pain
  3. This Town—Jack Broadbent—Moonshine Blue
  4. Invincible—TOOL—Fear Inoculum
  5. The Wind That Shakes the Barley—Dead Can Dance—Into The Labyrinth
  6. Hopopono—GoGo Penguin—v2.0
  7. Everyday I write The Book—Elvis Costello & The Attractions—Punch The Clock
  8. Are U gonna tell her? (feat. Mc Zaac)—Tove Lo, Mc Zaac—Sunshine Kitty
  9. Mr. Harris—Aimee Mann—Whatever
  10. Your Hand In Mine—Explosions In The Sky—The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place

Nelson Brill Supports Musicians from Home

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Nelson looks at different ways that music lovers can support artists during this difficult time, from virtual concerts, to support funds, to listening at home.


By Nelson Brill         March 26, 2020 

Best wishes to all friends and musical companions around the world (wherever bostonconcertreviews reaches!) for good health, strength and restorative power in these challenging times with the coronavirus. The support of the Arts will go on and people are finding creative ways to make that happen. I encourage checking in with your favorite artists’ websites about their online concerts. For instance, jazz pianist Fred Hersch will be offering a daily dose of joyful music from his piano in his online mini-concert series (see his Facebook site) and the rocking Tedeschi Trucks Band will be offering broadcasts of their recent live performances (see their Twitter feed). Just announced is an online festival of 28 performances by artists including Chick Corea, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell, Becca Stevens and many more. The official website for the online festival is:

Many online concerts will have virtual “tip jars” (through Paypal and other services) to support the performers. Here in Boston, music schools like New England Conservatory ( and Berklee College of Music ( are establishing online funds to support their students and local music venues, such as the legendary Club Passim in Cambridge, MA. ( have established funds to support local musicians in need. If you are able to give, I urge you to support these funds and online concerts to support the music and the artists in these tough times.

The current listening room at Bostonconcertreviews with new components (from Goldmund and Ensemble Audio) and loudspeaker system (Seidenton) all from AudioArts of NYC ( for future review!

Listening at home to recordings on a quality audio system is another great way to support the artists (and your independent audio dealers!) and get lost in the positive vibes of music. With this in mind, I’ll offer reviews of some new audiophile quality recordings that have been in heavy rotation here in the listening room for your exploration and pleasure. We start with a roundup of new women jazz vocalists whose music is sure to bring spiritual uplift!

At a concert held in Boston on March 6th at the Berklee Performance Center (“BPC”), presented by treasured local non-profit arts organization, GlobalArtsLive (support at:, I heard an astonishing young Cuban vocalist, Yilian Canizares, in her first American concert tour. Canizares performed alongside her two stellar countrymen: the sparkling pianist, Omar Sosa, and the feisty percussionist, Gustavo Ovalles.

Their spectacular GlobalArtsLive concert teemed with boundless playfulness and spirit. Canizares presided over the band’s enveloping musical drama with her joyful dancing presence and her stunning vocals elegant and lithe as a warm breeze. Her voice was a rich vessel of expression that leapt from her soft pitter-patter of percussive scat (in dashing duet with Sosa’s piano banter) and her easy-flowing soars, supple and air-born. Her dramatic violin was a perfect foil for her vocal splendor. She produced delectable airy plucks on her instrument (to accompany her light scatting) or deeply bowed her strings to propel the regal glow of her lowest vocals, poignant and powerful. Her moving tribute to the Yoruba goddess, Oshun, (protector of women and water) was an inspired example of how she completely inhabited the world of her songs. This particular tribute ended dramatically with Canizares sitting on the floor of the stage, with head bowed, in a meditative moment that combined her whispered vocals with the lightest of violin quivers – culminating in a wisp of gentle sounds into silence.

Canizares and her sparkling partners focused their performance on songs taken from their new recording, Aguas [OTA Records], a beautiful recording that captures the tensile strength and playful spirit of these consummate musicians in flight. Joining Canizares’ irresistible vocal and string inventions on Aguas is Sosa’s ever-adventurous spirit on his piano and electric keyboard.

Sosa has this magnetic gift where he can combine effortless dance and swing on his keyboards and electronics in astonishing variety (global rhythms just seem to flow through his blood!) with the ability to interweave those rich rhythms and patterns into buoyant melodies that he unspools within his dramatic flourishes and velvety runs. He can pounce on a Cuban danzon with a blast of gleeful chords (rising from his piano chair in delight) or he can transfix with a quiet unfurl of twinkling high piano notes that arch upwards in glittering, animated spirit.

Ovalles’ tangy inventiveness on his drum kit (including his thunderous Bata drums) is also a beauty to behold, both on Aguas as well as in live performance. Towards the end of their GlobalArtsLive concert at the BPC, Ovalles launched into an extended musical dialogue with Sosa. He first played a kinetic maracas solo (in which he shook every limb to wring out his bursts of crackling sounds) and then sat down on the stage floor to play a group of large wooden pipes, coaxing the most unusual resonant sounds and thrums in his call-and-response with Sosa’s light bursts of piano notes (with Sosa grinning in delight). Canizares’ regal voice floated effortlessly above all this delectable musical action. She channeled the fresh sounds of her partners into her dancing violin and sweet vocal frolic –all with effortless grace, freedom and open-mindedness.

Another luminous singer is Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza, who appeared in a rare recital on November 7th at New England Conservatory (“NEC”), joined by students in the NEC Jazz Studies and Jazz Orchestra programs. Standing in front of her microphone in intimate Brown Hall (with a capacity audience leaning- in to catch every vocal caress), Souza sang with sparkling brio. Her dulcet vocals cascaded with creative runs and fluid soars. Guitarist Andres Orco-Zerpa, pianist Moshe Elmakias and bassist Andrew Schiller were her perfect partners as they nestled Souza’s vocals in a quiet swirl of bright colors and punctual rhythms. On Maria Schneider’s fanciful creation “Choro Dancado” (taken from Schneider’s Grammy awarded 2004 album, Concert In The Garden [Artistshare], (an album also recently inducted into the National Recording Registry with Schneider now the first female jazz composer to have a record in the Registry), Souza and the NEC Jazz Orchestra delivered all the buoyant dance of Schneider’s sunny piece with Souza soaring in light word-play above the Orchestra’s tight grooves and bright solos.

Another highlight from this recital was Souza’s elegant duet with guitarist Orco-Zerpa on Marco Pereira’s “Dona Lu”. Pereira is an esteemed Brazilian guitarist and composer who also appears on Souza’s recording, Brazilian Duos [Sunnyside Records]. On this gem, Pereira, along with two other gifted guitarists – Romero Lubamba and Walter Santos (Souza’s father) – take turns in joining Souza in duets of zestful concoctions. The superb recording captures Souza’s vocal beauty in crisp and tactile presence lighting up a warm, airy acoustic. Her great feel for rhythm and swing (finding those interstitial pauses at just the right moments in her songs) is jubilant as her voice dances in and around the nimble strings of her three spirited partners. For instance, on her duet with Lubambo on their sassy version of “Pra Que Discutir Con Madame”, Souza’s swooping vocals nestle perfectly within the embrace of Lubambo’s warm, playful strings.

Also, do try and catch Souza’e ethereal vocals on another audiophile gem, the magnetic recording by saxophonist Tim Reis and his marvelous cast of performers on his The Rolling Stones Project [Concord Records]. Souza joins in a Latin-tinged version of the Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” that is as fresh as it is boldly adventurous. The dynamic presence of this entire recording is not to be missed.

Another vocalist who effortlessly combines vocal beauty, power and sass into an irresistible toe-tapping stew is vocalist Catherine Russell. On her new recording, Alone Together [Dot Time Records], she and her tight band romp through an inspired set of early twentieth century classic tunes with panache and impeccable chops.

Russell’s voice is a splendid instrument of soulful invention. She moves elegantly from deep burnished tones (on her slow-brewing, grooving blues) to sassy raw vitality on her up-tempo, big band thrillers. She forms her words with gracious warmth and flow and always looks to capture the radiance or untapped kernel of emotion in every song. Take a listen to the opening title track (with its carousing vocals, brass and piano soloing) or Russell’s take on Louis Jordan’s classic tune, “Early In The Morning”, a greasy slow turn of blues heaven in her assured vocal grasp. The recording quality is superb with Russell and her band’s images natural and crisply defined in a layered soundstage (with only a touch of artificiality to their compartmentalized spacing). The music breathes carefree and flowing as Russell commands the stage with her striking vocal charisma partnered with her band’s glittering swagger and swing.

For more joyful vocals brimming with tight band marvels, look no further than the new audiophile gem from ebullient vocalist, Lyn Stanley, and her band, the Jazz Mavericks, on their direct-to-disc London With A Twist – Live At Bernie’s []. This tribute to the legendary singer Julie London is a gem of musical inventiveness and recording prowess. It is one of the best recordings of a jazz group that you can hear: a group of stellar musicians communing on great material and channeling their keen synergy into a live session recorded without any edits or electronic alterations. The session, (done without any pre-conceived arrangements, just chord charts to guide the band in their creative adventures) is available on a hybrid SACD (containing DSD layers from a “needle drop” of the direct-to-disc test; a DSD layer from the reel-to-reel of the live recording and a standard CD layer) and on a gorgeously presented LP. The live recording was made at legendary Bernie Grundman’s studio with engineer Allen Sides and his expert team at the controls (with Grundman doing the disc mastering). A music lover’s dream, the recording (in each of its formats) delivers a reach-out-and-touch tactile presence that is astounding. Here also is the airy presence of the recording space, the natural images of the band and a dynamic aliveness that is captivating in such details as the resonant punch of congas; the metallic shimmer of light cymbals; the full harmonic body of a piano and those lingering smokey last whispers of “Bye-Bye!” to end Stanley’s grooving version of “Bye Bye Blackbird”.

Each tune on this remarkable album is mined by the spontaneous energy and vocal caresses of Stanley. Her vocal styling embraces a natural pacing and unforced swing that warmly invites a listen into every creative swoop and turn of her creative phrasing. Stanley completely inhabits a slow rumba with her breathy fluidity (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”); takes a wistful ballad into her supple meanders (“Body and Soul”) or ratchets-up the groove on her sassy frolics (“Route 66” and “Goody Goody”). Her tight band is always in stride with her sense of adventure. Guitarist John Chiodini’s golden hues (firing away on up-tempo arrangements like “In The Still Of The Night” or softly caressing on “Blue Moon”) are beautiful to follow while pianists Otmaro Ruiz and Mike Lang’s soft twinkles of chords are perfect colors for Stanley’s vocals to linger in. The rhythm section of bassist Chuck Berghofer, drummer Aaron Serfaty and percussionist Luis Conte stay solidly in the pocket all session long. Check out their zestful flow on “Let There Be You”- a toe-tapping joy ride pungently rendered on this stunningly present recording completed in one delectable take.

And speaking of zest and creative flights of fancy, I leave this installment of women jazz vocalist recordings with mention of a brilliant musical partnership now revealed for the first time on disc: the legendary pianist Ran Blake and his phenomenal vocal partner Jeanne Lee [1939-2000] on their duet recordings from 1966 and 1967 now released on The Newest Sound You Never Heard [A-Side Records;;].

This beautiful recording documents this special moment in music history when the inventive Blake, (prickly and penetrating on his keys), found a partner of similar venturesome spirit in Lee whose voice is a vehicle of luminous beauty and questing spirit. It is a joy to sit down and listen to this disc (delivering a front row seat to this intimate, airy session) and be invited into the fresh musical world of these two eloquent artists. They take inspiration from an eclectic source of songs from Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, amongst many others. Their inventions are whimsical creations: tart and sweet or gospel rich or soulfully tender. Lee’s vocal quality is poignant and playful. Her tone flutters in light, dewy beauty or in deep bluesy purples. Their magical synergy and music-making is just what we need in these times: restoration of our spirit through the glory of free-flowing musical dialogue that is energizing, boundless and healing.

Jeanne Lee – Elaine Mitchener photo

You can read more of Nelson’s concert reviews at

Time to enjoy our music! – Home systems from the Nordost team

The past few weeks seem both simultaneously a whirlwind and frozen in time. While the situation outside is changing by the day, if not by the hour, those of us who are stuck inside have no choice but to deal with the monotony that comes with isolation. Practicing social distancing is nothing if not tedious. To cope with the new normal, some people try to maintain a regimented routine, others binge a show, play games with family, arrange virtual meet-ups with friends, take daily walks—all in the pursuance of normalcy, entertainment, comfort. 

As self-proclaimed audiophiles and music-lovers, we are luckier than most. We know what makes us happy and what calms our nerves. Not only that, but our hobby seems to have been designed specifically for the situation we now find ourselves in. We have been “stockpiling” gear, and curating our perfect systems for years, and now (albeit under terrible circumstances) we have all the time in the world to enjoy what we have made. Now is the time to sit back, relax, and listen to our music. 

Nordost is a company made up of music lovers, and we are all excited to put some good hours in on our systems. We thought it would be fun to show you how we’re listening while cooped up at home, and we would love to see where you are enjoying your music too. Feel free to share pictures of your system in action!

I think we can all agree, there are worse places to be forced to spend time than in front of a sound system. Today, let’s all be thankful for the music, and the systems that allow us to enjoy it so beautifully!

Nelson Brill takes us to the blues club

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Nelson takes us to three spectacular blues concerts around the Boston area, featuring artists Buddy Guy, Kingfish, and Peter Parcek.


By Nelson Brill         December 22, 2019  

CHICAGO – JUNE 10: Christone Kingfish Ingram performs on stage at The Chicago Blues Festival on June 10, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. (Photo by James Fraher/Redferns)

The blues continue to shake, rattle and roll in the hands of old masters and young seismic players. It is always a joy to get out to hear live blues and support a local blues club or theatre. I had the great fortune, on October 17th, to catch the electrifying master of Chicago blues, Buddy Guy (82 years young!), and his band perform at the beautiful Cabot Theatre in Beverly, MA., (the “Cabot”; The newly-restored Cabot is one of those music venue gems in our region that offers a beautiful historic space, an inviting community feel and a staff that clearly cares about Good Sound (as exemplified at this concert where the music, no matter how loud and blustery, was heard crisp and coherent).

Buddy Guy, always the consummate showman, partnered with his tight- knit band to put on a memorable show at the Cabot. On his opening “Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues!” Guy bounded onto the stage with great flourish and excitement, his voice ageless and strong: full of baritone heat and his soulful treble yelps that flutter with expressive yearning or comic relief. His electric guitar strutted in common vehicle with his voice: a searing, dancing vehicle of groove.

Guy strikes his guitar strings with stinging perfection, each note isolated and crisp, sent on its way by the dramatic flick of his wrist outwards (like sparks sent into a night sky). He can also create big resonant heat by playfully gyrating his hips or belly against his guitar body in his prance of shimmer and shake. At one point in this concert, during Guy’s radiant extended version of his soulful ballad, “It Feels Like Rain,” Guy swiped a towel against his hotly amplified guitar strings and danced to its whoosh of colors – all the while smiling broadly (with his mischievous, playful grin).

Guy’s grooving band kept pace with him all night, barreling through such locomotive Chicago blues classics as Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man” and Muddy Water’s “She’s 19 Years Old”. Guitarist Ric Hall ignited “Hoochie Coochie Man” with a dynamic solo shimmering with quick trills contrasted with a sliding flurry of colors up and down his guitar. Keyboardist Marty Sammon complimented all of Guy’s greasy, flowing action with his own keyboard prances, highlighted on a classic Bobby Rush song where he twinkled light bluesy chords contrasted with his rustling runs.

All this drama was tethered down by punctual bass and drum, highlighted by drummer Tom Hambridge’s delivery of precise thunder to stoke the band. Hambridge, (who has produced many a great blues album, including several of Guy’s) opened the concert with his own set, accompanied by keyboardist Sammon. Singing next to a small drum kit, Hambridge delivered a garland of bluesy tunes, including his smart and comic tune, “Upside of Lonely”, with Sammon’s barrelhouse runs rippling creatively under the current of Hambridge’s tight cymbal and snare.


Guy was also joined on stage by one of his young protégés: guitarist and singer Quinn Sullivan of New Bedford, MA., who joined Guy in a closing rollicking jam. The two guitarists leapt in glowing rapport to B.B. King’s “Five Long Years” with Sullivan delivering a gust of blistering runs and searing high holds while Guy focused on a bright parade of stinging notes, prickly and animated. Smiling and joking as they played, the two guitarists stood shoulder to shoulder to nestle in their colorful rumbles while the capacity audience hollered and swayed along to the blistering grooves.

Guy has mentored and inspired countless young guitar slingers, like Boston-based Sullivan ( and another young standout blues guitarist from Boston, Tyler Morris ( Another of Guy’s notable young protégés is Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, hailing from Clarksdale, Mississippi.

A few years ago, I took a trip with a buddy to the Delta to travel the historic Blues Trail (a highly recommended trip for any blues fan – see, and one of the stops along the Blues Trail is the historic town of Clarksdale. There we met a local blues harp legend, Deak Harp (; who owns a small music store in town) and Deak told us to stay around to attend a concert by Kingfish at the legendary Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale, one of the few remaining juke joints in the Delta. We returned that night to hear Kingfish in the intimate and welcoming Red’s, surrounded by members of his family, friends and other blues fans (who had traveled around the globe to experience the Red’s Lounge magic). I still recall how Kingfish took over the small stage at Red’s, leading a tight band in blistering How’lin Wolf and Willie Dixon tunes, spiced with his own fresh funk and soul.

Buddy Guy has now taken the young Kingfish out on national tour and set him up with Tom Hambridge to produce Kingfish’s new self-titled debut record on Alligator Records (

The CD is an excellent introduction to this young Delta blues artist and highlights include Kingfish’s funky duet with Guy on their rocking “Fresh Out”; his knotted chords and leaps on the steamy “Before I’am Old” and his flowing acoustic guitar rambles and vocals on the dreamy, “Been There Before.” Some other cuts on the recording show less originality, but Kingfish imbues even these more predictable outings with his soulful vocals and dynamic guitar. The recording’s sonic quality is not audiophile quality, unfortunately, as it suffers (like many a modern blues recording) from a hyped-up “pop” treble energy that lends excess sibilance to Kingfish’s normally buff baritone and adds thinness and glare to his naturally fluid guitar churn.

Touring in support of his debut record, Kingfish recently performed in Boston on the intimate stage of The Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint in Malden, MA. ( Accompanied by his tight band, Kingfish took the stage with all the confidence of a veteran bluesman churning power chords and adroit runs with effortless precision. He shifted seamlessly from the boogie commotion of “It Ain’t Right” (creating breakneck runs to the pulsing groove laid down by drummer Chris Black and bassist Paul Rodgers) to a beautiful quiet acoustic version of “Listen,” a soft-spinning ballad that utilized Kingfish’s crisp guitar strums along with earthy deep vocals.


Kingfish also graciously invited local blues guitarist and songwriter Tyler Morris to the stage to join him in a blistering youthful exchange. The two guitar slingers joyfully conversed on BB King’s “The Thrill Is Gone” with Kingfish rendering spinning, stinging notes in colorful boogie while Morris contributing beefy amplified holds and frisky, sparkling flourishes on his scorching guitar. Here were two young protégés of Buddy Guy dipping their buckets into the rich well of the blues tradition to inspire their own fresh takes: deep toe-tapping blues, heart-felt and soulful.

And speaking of heart-felt and soulful, there was another recent Boston blues-love fest that must be mentioned, as it too shook the rafters of a local club and made for another memorable evening of rollicking blues. This was the concert held on December 19th presented by Boston radio station WUMB ( on the intimate stage of the inviting Burren, located in Somerville, MA. ( The concert was a special gathering of local blues musicians led by virtuoso guitarist, singer and songwriter, Peter Parcek (, who brings a gale-force presence and creativity to everything his blistering electric blues (and roving curiosity) seeks.

Parcek was joined by a host of sterling local musicians, including Marco Gilvino on drums (a creative presence on his drumkit and a great producer in his own right – see Strange Angels: In Flight With Elmore James [Sylvan Songs Records] – my pick for best Blues record of 2018); Joe Klompus on bass; Tom West on keyboards; Jonathan LaMaster on violin and Danielle Miraglia on guitar and vocals.

From classics to Parcek originals, the band strode forth on the locomotive thunder of Parcek’s electric guitar. Parcek covers all styles of the blues with aplomb. He loves to grease his guitar neck with quick runs and splintered ends of notes, (like little barbs of sharp glow), and also loves to let his tumultuous slides wring out all their amplified heat and fuzz into the surrounding air. Parcek’s earthy vocals, with their touch of light grit and grain, make for an expressive vehicle with his guitar: surging and soulful or fire-alarm audacious. At the Burren, Parcek attacked the classic boogie of “Kokomo Blues” with an inventive slip and slides of notes, sputtering in short trills or letting his unspooled long slides luxuriate in their falling heat. He took up his slide guitar to ignite the fuzz-ladened storm of his new original, “World Upside Down,” erupting in a swath of harmonics and big holds that billowed outwards in resonant, vibrating thunder.

Parcek’s All-Star band followed Parcek’s every creative flight, reveling in their collective synergy and zest. Gilvino employed a number of creative additions to his drum kit (a tambourine attached to the top of his hi-hat; shakers attached to his drum sticks) to spice his deep, steady pulse and his propulsive low thrums. Klompus teased with isolated bass notes and fleshy pulls, especially loving his interplay with West, whose gliding keyboard notes always hit the grooving target with their melodic flow and velvety pulse. The combination of the band’s electric blues with LaMaster’s fiddle was another cool twist, animated with new colors and LaMaster’s swooping phrasing and deft plucks.

When the silken-voiced Miraglia took to the stage, the band fell in with her dulcet spirit on a smartly grooving Dylan tune, rolling along on Miraglia’s silvery lithe phrasing, (adding earthy husk to her most fervent high reaches). The band played a final holiday salute, Chuck Berry’s “Run, Rudolph, Run”, busting out of the gate with Parcek and Miraglia exchanging frenetic guitar quips joined by West’s barrage of barrelhouse runs. Parcek, (always the intrepid, open-hearted bluesman), was all smiles in hurling forth his final, tumultuous guitar hold to cap this merry night of blues at the Burren.


You can read more of Nelson’s concert reviews at




Nordost Playlist – October 2019

Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this October.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY

  1. Stay High—Brittany Howard—Jaime
  2. Lean On Me—José James—Lean On Me
  3. Nameless—Dominique Fils-Aimé—Nameless
  4. I Used to Be Somebody—June Carter Cash—Press On
  5. Holy Terrain—FKA twigs, Future—Holy Terrain
  6. Walking in Memphis—Marc Cohn—Marc Cohn
  7. New Favorite—Alison Krauss & Union Station—New Favorite
  8. Honey and Smoke—Neko Case, k.d. lang, Laura Veirs—case/lang/veirs
  9. Crazy—Bill Frisell—East/West
  10. The Pure and the Damned—Oneohtrix Point Never, Iggy Pop—Good Time

Nelson Brill Spends The Day At Tanglewood

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Nelson brings us to The Berkshires to see what Tanglewood had in store for their audiences this summer. 


By Nelson Brill         July 23, 2019  

On entering Tanglewood, the idyllic summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (“BSO”;, there is always a distinctive welcoming call that you will hear. It is the sound of songbirds that might mix on the summer air with the clarion call from a lone trumpet or a rising note from a soprano’s aria (all coming from Tanglewood’s practice sheds that dot its majestic grounds).

On the early morning of July 13th, I heard this same welcoming call as I entered the Bernstein Gate at Tanglewood to walk to the famed Koussevitsky Shed (the “Shed”) where a morning rehearsal (led by BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons) was taking place. As I sat down at the Shed, I heard several audience members buzzing about the BSO’s performance the previous evening when the young Canadian pianist, Jan Lisiecki, made his Tanglewood debut in performance of Edward Grieg’s Piano Concerto. (“Did you hear that young man at the piano – astounding!”). I happen to also take a seat next to HK Gruber, the composer of Aerial, Concerto For Trumpet and Orchestra, (“Aerial”) one of the pieces that the BSO was rehearsing that morning. Interacting with composers and musicians informally is one of the many special treats at Tanglewood. This summer has brought the opening of Tanglewood’s new education and concert facility, the Linde Center, along with the activities of its Tanglewood Learning Center ( making Tanglewood’s music education programs and community activities even more accessible.

It was a special musical treat to eavesdrop on the BSO’s rehearsal of Aerial, which featured the gifted trumpeter Hakan Hardenberger as its soloist. Aerial turned out to be a fascinating journey in which Gruber has the soloist perform on an assortment of trumpets and mutes to create a swirling pallet of horn colors. Hardenberger moved effortlessly between his tiny piccolo trumpet (sounding brazen and sharp, but when muted, producing soft, piercing bursts); a small polished shofar (producing different breathy sounds as Hardenberger cupped his fingers around its opening) and a silver trumpet ( with a sound that could be crisp or clarion but also vaporous and gauzy when played through a stand-mounted mute).

photo by Hilary Scott

Hardenberger’s metallic frolic was the perfect vehicle to explore Gruber’s colorist inventions in his Aerial. These included Hardenberger’s jazzy bursts and riffs on piccolo trumpet (in duet with a strutting tuba or a racing bass string) or his vaporous trumpet growls (which combined with quiet string holds and the resonant flutter of a marimba run to create a meditative soundscape). Aerial also contained a startling march where Hardenberger’s trumpet joined in an off-kilter jam session with the orchestra, brazen and dancing forth. The conclusion of Aerial was another surprising bolt of color: Hardenberger held a single lingering note on his piccolo trumpet and walked to the side of the stage where a piano sat. He then held this note, blowing softly into the strings of the piano, to create a solitary whisper that slowly evaporated into the stillness of Tanglewood’s morning air.

After this first rehearsal of the piece, Gruber approached the stage to consult with Nelsons and Hardenberger and then several passages were rehearsed again. In one section, Nelsons instructed the brass section to play softer so that a saxophone run could be heard more distinctly. In another section, he and Hardenberger requested that the woodwinds create a more dynamic wave action to a colorful run, working on accenting certain beats so that they created an undulating wave of sound (demonstrated by Nelsons as he gestured his baton up and down, waving his arms in a wavelike motion).

photo by Hilary Scott

In addition to the unique opportunity to catch an early morning BSO rehearsal at Tanglewood, there is also the opportunity to catch a great student performance of a work you may not have heard. On this afternoon, there was a concert given by students of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (“BUTI”;, led by their conductor, Bruce Riesling, in performance of Desert Transport, an exciting work by composer (and BUTI alumnus) Mason Bates.

I had been looking for a chance to hear a live performance of Desert Transport ever since I heard the fantastic recording of it by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (“BMOP”), led by their intrepid conductor, Gil Rose, on their superb CD/SACD Mothership [BMOP Sound;]. This earlier performance, (recorded in the airy confines of New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall), is full of sonic treats and stellar musicianship. The music on this recording is bracing and lustrous, riding on prodigious brass flourishes, creative electronic effects, layered string sections (providing a juicy thrum) and a soundstage that is deep and wide.

The BUTI Young Artists performance of Desert Transport at Ozawa Hall was likewise potent and full of collective verve. Bates’ journey moved from sprawling canyon lands (represented with airy string holds and sweeping waves of woodwind colors) to meditative Native American chants (whose recordings are layered over the soft swells of strings) to a helicopter ride over the desert landscape where the sound of its rotating blades are heard in the strings’ quick pounces on their bows and in a crackling of percussion. The BUTI Young Artists dug deep to deliver all of these colorful details of Bates’ music, working as a coherent unit- even on Bates’ most demanding surges. The finale, with its huge bass drum whips and swirling string and brass choruses, sounded like a vast, cataclysmic roar in the crisp acoustic of Ozawa Hall.

As twilight descended on Tanglewood, the Prelude Concert, (usually presented by Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center before the evening concert) was a more intimate gathering focused on chamber music. This evening, there was a shimmering performance of Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio in G minor (1846), by pianist Mathilde Handelsman, violinist Wei Lu and cellist Jonah Krolik.. Schumann’s piece is filled with dreamy light melodies, delivered with sweet and lilting touches in the hands of these three alert partners. Handelsman was particularly fine at her piano, lacing her notes with soft pedal touches that allowed each note to flow graciously into her partner’s embraces. The vivid acoustics of Ozawa Hall allowed for every cello plunge, violin soar and piano glow to be heard crisp and clear into the lingering shadows of the lawn.

This graceful performance of Clara Schumann reminded me of a new favorite recording involving another piano Trio, The Hermitage Piano Trio, (“Hermitage”) performing chamber works by Sergei Rachmaninoff. This recording was made in the airy confines of another treasured Hall of our region, Mechanics Hall, (located in Worcester, MA.) and produced by the esteemed audiophile team at Reference Recordings (“RR”)(

In contrast to Clara Schumann’s lilting melodies, here we have the deep, soulful meditations of Rachmaninoff played with elemental and unflinching power by the Hermitage. For instance, the final movement to Rachmaninoff’s Trio Elegiaque no. 2 is a searing example of how violinist Misha Keylin, cellist Sergey Antonov and pianist Ilya Kazantsev combine into one intense vehicle to reveal all the drama, virtuosity and controlled combustion of this finale. Kazantsev’s piano is thunderous, his poignant held chords reveling in their sustained attack and airy decay. His touch on piano is both cataclysmic and enveloping. Antonov’s cello and Keylin’s violin surge in and around Kazantsev’s thunderclaps, all beautifully captured on this recording in their earthy tones; their spare runs and their entwining, soulful holds.

The RR team is unrivaled when it comes to capturing the ambience of a given recording space; the natural image dimensionality of players on a stage and the tactile aliveness of an acoustic performance. This new Hermitage recording joins another earlier RR gem, (another of my favorites) also recorded at Mechanics Hall.

This is a recording of the Concord Chamber Music Society (“Concord”; comprised of members of the BSO) in performance of music from contemporary composers Chris Brubeck, Michael Gandolfi and Lukas Foss. Here is a journey filled with sparkling acoustic instruments delivering all the spunk, creativity and motion of this music that defies characterization, moving as it does from classical, jazz, bluegrass and beyond. The recording is superb in its presence and its tactile life. For instance, there is nothing more delectable than hearing the rotund, woody sound of Thomas Martin’s sinuous clarinet play in duet with Wendy Putnam’s off-stage lithe violin, and listen as Putnam moves gradually onstage to join her partners in Brubeck’s shimmering Danza Del Soul. This is the stuff of music-lovers’ dreams and audiophile pleasures.

Back at Tanglewood, the gala evening concert on July 13th involved a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s dynamic and sumptuous Requiem, under the direction of Andris Nelsons, with the full Tanglewood Festival Chorus and four stellar opera singers adding their vocal glories to Verdi’s soaring drama.

photo by Hilary Scott

This concert brought out the best in Tanglewood’s communal and musical spirit. A capacity and diverse crowd of young and old gathered on Tanglewood’s grand lawn before the Shed, dining on picnic blankets and strolling the grounds. As the performance began, the large crowd hushed to a whisper (the only noise being the singing of crickets) as a full moon rose over the Berkshires.

Hilary Scott

There were many highlights to this starry performance. The duets performed by soprano Kristine Opolais and mezzo-soprano Oksana Volkova were spectacular vocal creations; their sweet and powerful voices entwining beautifully. Opolais’ dulcet soprano was tender, fluid and when called upon, intensely passionate in her highest soars. Volkova possessed a full bodied and glowing voice, perfectly suited to bring passion and warm phrasing to Verdi’s dramatic score. Tenor Jonathan Tetelman was a sparkling vocal presence with his own vocal passion and fluid athleticism. At one point, he held a fiery high note with bravado and then effortlessly descended with a song filled with rapid pitch changes, (all unwavering in their expressive intensity). Bass Baritone Ryan Speedo Green was also indefatigable. His blasts of deepest swagger echoed into the night. He also possessed a beautiful way with soft lyrics and harmonies, caressing his deep phrases with tenderness, cushioned in quiet orchestral and choral passages. The Tanglewood Festival Chorus rang out with their own sumptuous vocal energy, spreading their radiant voices over the lawn (into the Berkshire Hills beyond) on their most regal crescendos. When Nelsons held his hands high to signal one of Verdi’s dramatic moments, the earth around Tanglewood felt like it was shifting under the thunder of human voices and instruments in full regalia, proclaiming their leaping unity in musical purpose.

Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood; Boston Globe

Tanglewood’s glorious season continues…See for all upcoming concerts and programs this summer.


You can read more of Nelson’s concert reviews at





Nordost Playlist – July 2019

Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this July.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY

  1. Faithful—Ibeyi—Ibeyi
  2. Dark Cloud—Wyvern Lingo—Wyvern Lingo
  3. Blue Moon (Studio Jam)—The Beatles—The Beatles (White Album / Super Deluxe)
  4. Boundless Love—John Prine—The Tree of Forgiveness
  5. U (Man Like)—Bon Iver—U (Man Like)
  6. Soon It Will Be Cold Enough to Build Fires—Emancipator—Soon It Will Be Cold Enough
  7. Los Ageless—St. Vincent—MASSEDUCATION
  8. Good Kisser—Lake Street Dive—Free Yourself Up
  9. Let You Know—Flume, London Grammar—Let You Know
  10. Seventeen—Sharon Van Etten—Remind Me Tomorrow

Nelson Brill Reviews Blues Music—In Dance, Recorded, And Performed Live

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Nelson takes a closer listen to blues music as it inspires choreography, plays in our home systems, and is performed in concert.


By Nelson Brill    May 21, 2019

The blues continue to inhabit our musical lives, enriching and uplifting our spirits and keeping us in stride in these difficult political times. One enduring example of how the blues are a spiritual balm (and continue to move people forward) is found in the radiant choreography and dances performed by one of the world’s treasured dance companies, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, (“Alvin Ailey”; Alvin Ailey celebrated their 60th anniversary with a series of performances held at the Boch Center Wang Theatre on May 2nd through May 5th, presented by Celebrity Series of Boston (

Paul Kolnik

Since its world premier in 1960, Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece, Revelations, (choreographed when their founder was only 29 years old) has been performed around the globe. To commemorate its 60th year, Alvin Ailey performed Revelations to conclude each of its Boston programs. Revelations is an intimate reflection upon Ailey’s childhood growing up in Texas, deeply influenced by his church, its music and the writings of Langston Hughes and James Baldwin. The first scene, (which Ailey described as “getting up out of the ground”) finds a group of dancers dressed in earthen tones aligned in a tight circle. The group raises and lowers its arms and limbs to create a slow-motion wave of rising and falling bodies, like a flock of birds gathering into the sky from some low point in the earth. This evolving action is propelled by music from Ailey’s childhood: church spirituals deep in their majestic pulse and brewing fervor.

In later scenes, male dancers stalk the stage in long, leaping bounds to the striding spiritual, “Sinner Man,” or flow in swirling, entwined pairs to the uplifting pulse of the spiritual, “Wade In The Water” (dipping their toes in flowing blue fabric as it is stretched across the stage). Kolnik

The final scene of Revelations is a dazzling frolic where dancers twirl, swirl and partner in high-stepping glee in celebration of life, love and joy– all to the booming sounds of the spiritual, “Rocka My Soul In The Bosom of Abraham”. The capacity audience at the Boch Center leapt to their feet at the conclusion of Revelations (clapping and singing along to “Rocka My Soul”) clearly moved by the brilliance of the dancers and Ailey’s vision: from sorrow to spiritual uplift in the comforting embrace of the blues.

Seeing Revelations performed after so many years inspired me to listen to one of my favorite audiophile recordings of powerful traditional spirituals re-arranged in brilliant fashion by singer Mavis Staples, herself a veteran of the civil rights struggles and a treasured voice today in the fight against racism and inequality.

On her incendiary recording from 2007, We’ll Never Turn Back [Anti Records CD] Staples and her kinetic band, (which includes producer Ry Cooder on guitars and mandolin) pounce on such traditional songs as “Eyes On The Prize”; “This Little Light Of Mine” and “Turn Me Round” and ignite them into molten-hot music, demanding to be heard. Her original, “My Own Eyes” is another stunner: her own musical version of Revelations as she marches through her own civil rights movement history with her father, Pops Staples, as her inspiration. Her band is a churning boogie of blues and toe-tapping power. Mavis’ guttural growls; her deep gospel vocal plunges and her soaring chants are captured radiant, harmonically rich and kinetic on this great recording, ensnared in an airy soundstage swept by the layered, resonant sounds from her tightly grooving band. This is how a blues album should to be recorded, without the hyped-up treble and thinness of so many marred blues recordings I have heard.

There’s no stopping the 79-year old Mavis and her fiery blues: she has come out with a new album, Live In London [Anti Records] and is set to release another new recording soon.

Her Live In London is another shot of gospel and blues messages (straight to the political heart) with her band captured up-close in searing flow at London’s Union Chapel. Mavis’ voice is still a gale force, (captured a bit thinner here than on We’ll Never Turn Back) with guitarist Rick Holmstrom fierce on his unleashed guitar solos – boisterous and brightly lit – as the charismatic Mavis shouts out: “We’ve got work to do!”

The Tennessean

The elemental force of the blues also took center stage in several Boston area concerts, where volcanic electric guitars and harmonicas served to deliver spiritual uplift to capacity crowds.

James Cotton-

The first of these concerts was a magnetic gathering of blues musicians to honor the legacy of brilliant bluesman James “SuperHarp” Cotton (1935-2017). This tribute concert was held at the Narrows Center For The Arts in Fall River, MA. (, a venue for live music that is always reliable for its good sound and its welcoming community feel. The show was hosted by Boston rocker and harpist, James Montgomery, and Holly Harris, host of Boston radio station WUMB’s blues show ( Fittingly, an empty chair was kept onstage for Cotton (in case his spirit come by for a listen, as Montgomery urged).


Longtime Boston blues legends Annie Raines and Paul Rishell opened the show with their sparkling presence, plying their harp, guitar and vocals in delicate sprays of notes on their sparkling “Got To Fly!”. Harpist extraordinaire Jerry Portnoy moved to a different groove with a silken fluid softness to his harp, pushing it to a regal bluster when fully launched. Harpist Rick Estrin, adorned in a silver suit, took off like a rocket on his harp: snarling, blurting down deep and at one point, holding his harp in his mouth lengthwise (without any use of his hands!) to shimmy and shake his body to his cascade rockous of sounds.

Rick Estrin -Daily Republic

Young California harpist Kyle Rowland was another stunning Cotton protégé with a gale force of sounds to accompany his expressive vocals- sensual and dynamic (coupled with Bob Margolin’s bracing slide guitar) on Muddy Water’s classic, “Mannish Boy”. Another master harp player, Cheryl Arena, (originally from Boston), delivering down-home grit and silvery soars (and the lightest of breathy throbs) on Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me.”

James Montgomery-The Valley Advocate

The bands that accompanied these gifted harp players were also on fire (inspired by Cotton’s spirit) led by James Montgomery’s charismatic and muscular presence on his harp (leading his own boisterous band) and with guitar greats Kenny Neal and Darrell Nulisch adding their own urgency and funk. Another highlight was the reunion of Cotton’s touring band who delivered a slinky-tight rocking focus to the celebration. The finale was a roaring version of Cotton’s classic, “The Creeper”, where everyone gleefully piled in. On this last tune, Cotton’s guitarist, Rico McFarland, jammed with several harpists, including the roguish Mark Hummel, who unleashed a torrent of sounds from his harp (piercing high and mercurial), next to McFarland’s tightly churning guitar.

Tinsley Ellis-In My Time Photography

James Cotton’s spirit also infused another Boston concert of feisty Chicago and jump blues glory. On March 28th, guitar legends Tinsley Ellis, Coco Montoya and their stellar bands played a fabulous double bill at The Center For The Arts In Natick, MA. (“TCAN”; TCAN is another stellar venue in the Boston area for getting up close and personal with live blues because the venue is intimate, welcoming and reliable for providing excellent sound.

Tinsley Ellis and his power trio (bassist Devin McCann and drummer Eric Dravinsky) opened the show with their spirited combination from Ellis’ southern rocking roots to his smoldering Chicago style blues. Ellis is the total blues delivery system. He possesses a big, expressive voice that invites you into the drama of every song. On his opening “Sound of a Broken Man” taken from his new album, Winning Hand [Alligator Records;], his rounded baritone was full of bold expression as his guitar leaped and stung in short bursts around it. Hearing this tune live was much more satisfying than on his CD because, for whatever reason, the blues hero label, Alligator Records, continues to produce magnificent artists with sound that is frequently pop- thin on vocal richness and instrumental tones, along with, at higher volume, treble glare. (Their LP editions tend to be slightly better in this regard). Winning Hand suffers from this same fate, particularly on Ellis’ high guitar notes, recorded thin and unnaturally wiry, instead of tonally substantial and glowing.


Back at the concert, on his sterling “Gambling Man,” (also from Winning Hand), Ellis sang high and fervent with a great feel for the slow brewing nature of this gem as he let it evolve from a pulsating surge to a rumbling furnace of guitar soars and bass drum heat. Ellis’ guitar styling was a perfect foil for his expressive vocals. For instance, he held onto low guitar notes seemingly forever, (like relishing the burnt ends of barbecue) then slid up his neck to scorch high notes and bends. He also loved to let his fingers fall precipitously to create a swift “zing” of metallic sounds. These were all showcased on his fantastic slow cooker, “Saving Grace,” (also from his new album) and on the rocker, “Cut You Loose”. On this last leaping number, Dravinsky’s closed hi-hat and McCann’s bopping bass propelled Ellis into a dancing ride, (hitting sly string bends and quick twisting holds up top), as his expressive vocals ran perfectly in their stride.

The Morning Call

With his own bolt of lightning, guitar legend Coco Montoya swept onto the TCAN stage with his band (Eric Robert on keyboards, Nate Brown on bass and Rene Beavers on drums) and took off with their own stew of Chicago blues funk and swing. Their version of a Sly Johnson song was all slinky funk with rolling bass lines, Montoya’s stinging guitar and Robert’s juicy keyboard romps. Robert was a showstopper all night on his electric keys. He provided rolling and glittering piano grooves to shake the walls of “Love Jail” (written by Montoya for his mentor, Albert Collins). On Montoya’s rolling and grooving “Tumbleweed”, he washed the length of his keyboard with dashing flourishes and tight barrelhouse runs.


With his guitar nestled against his large frame, Montoya moved effortlessly from jazzy rifts to stinging holds, always on the lookout for another creative riff or bright-hued line. Like a kid, he sometimes gleefully discovered a simple combination of notes or chords which he decided to churn, over and over, to create this rush of crashing sounds and a crescendo of colors. His vocals were a bit thin and less expressive in character than Ellis’, but there was no stopping his enthusiasm for the sharp concise whip of his guitar solos or his elemental back-beat.

Tinsley and Montoya-Baltimore Beacon

The concert’s finale, where both bands took the stage, was an electrifying moment. Ellis and Montoya dueled side by side; each taking a turn. They started deliberately and slowly, feeding slow funky patterns (with Ellis slurring notes and Montoya stinging isolated notes). They then took off on a collective soar, (with their bandmates riding the groove effortlessly), into a gallop of jazz rifts, furious blues swing and cataclysmic high holds that had the capacity crowd on their feet roaring their approval.

If you would like to read Part II of The Balm Of The Blues, or more of Nelson’s blog reviews, visit