Country singer/songwriter A.C. Jones, a native of Canfield, Ohio, began making a name for herself fronting Amanda Jones and the Family Band. The hard-working Youngstown-area band has performed live consistently throughout NE Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia for several years and has opened for acts including Kentucky Headhunters, Branch and Dean, Marty Stuart, and The Oak Ridge Boys. In May 2017, Jones, a classically-trained vocalist, signed a record deal with SSM Nashville. Her new single “Mr. Moon” was released last month and has been receiving increased radio airplay across the country — appearing on the COUNTRY BREAKOUT “Most Added” chart in MusicRow, Nashville’s leading music industry trade publication. Check her out . . .

When The Kinks front-man Ray Davies turned 13, his oldest sister Rene, who was 31 at the time, bought him his very first guitar as a birthday gift. That same night, while visiting from her home in Canada, she went dancing at the Lyceum Ballroom in London. Due to a weak heart from childhood rheumatic fever, Rene suffered a fatal heart attack and died at the ballroom. Twenty-five years later, Davies wrote “Come Dancing” filled with memories of his sister and her love of dancing. The song, recorded for their STATE OF CONFUSION (1983) album, reached #6 on Billboard and became one of the band’s highest charting singles.

Long-time radio programmer John Gorman was responsible for making Cleveland’s WMMS one of the country’s best stations back in its heyday. Gorman eventually grew critical of traditional radio and in 2015 created oWOW Radio, a Cleveland internet station that is locally owned, operated, and programmed. The format is a diverse blend of both new and timeless rock. The coolest part is 20% of oWOW’s playlist features local indie bands/artists – something virtually unheard of on commercial radio in this town. Found a new favorite by Cleveland-based Falling Stars – a great track produced by Mitch Easter & Don Dixon (early R.E.M production team.) Honestly though, just the fact the band was formed as result of rock-vets Tim Parnin (Cobra Verde, Sweet Apple) and Chris Allen (Rosavelt) jamming Replacements covers at a local tribute show was good enough reason for me to get onboard.

After the initial success of Cake’s 1996 hit “The Distance,” the release of their follow up album PROLONGING THE MAGIC (1998) generated some negative reviews. A writer for The Times in London predicted Cake would go down as ‘one-hit wonders’ and were little more than an above average bar-room act. Wrong. “Never There” went to the top of Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks. Cake has shared the secret to their unique sound: cheap guitars. Guitarist Xan McCurdy states “Front man/guitarist John McCrea’s guitar is a shitty old starter guitar from the ’60s. They probably made a million of them off an assembly line. We never get the exact same tone twice.” Maybe he’ll have it with him when Cake performs in downtown Cleveland this weekend at the InCuya Music Festival.

Yesterday marked 17 years since my life ‘turned on a dime’, getting diagnosed with cancer. As time rolls on, the less and less I hang onto that day; but the gratitude for recovery never leaves. So on occasion, I try to share a little piece of my story with the humble hope that, even in the smallest way, it helps someone, somewhere, going through their own tough battles. Aside from faith and family, songs are my refuge. It has always been my place to celebrate all I love in this world and my escape and defense mechanism against everything I find wrong with it.

About 8 months into my unexpected journey –- immediate surgery, weeks of radiation, losing 50 pounds, constant pain & nausea, lack of sleep and a tremendous amount of anxiety — a disciplined nightly exercise routine, set to a continuous soundtrack of music (“The List”), had finally started to have positive effects for me physically. But mentally and emotionally I was still struggling and needed some confidence against the uncertainties life now presented. That is when God’s grace again pointed me to a music piece critical in my recovery – Paul Westerberg’s Stereo/Mono. Westerberg (aka Grandpaboy) and The Replacements had always been my ‘go-to’ rock-n-roll inspiration representing the beautiful-struggle that comes with doing things your own way. The Good Lord apparently must have nudged the former ‘Mats front-man to release not only a new record, but a double-record at that – perfect timing and exactly what I needed for a little ‘attitude’ as I adjusted back into the world.

I know as an adult the term ‘attitude’ can seem sophomoric. But believe me, the first time life awakens you from the carefree invincibility of youth and you realize life truly has a beginning and an end, no exceptions, including for yourself, you are exposed to an unsettling new vulnerability that never leaves. Acceptance was absolutely necessary for coming to terms with this fact, but adopting a slightly defiant mindset helped me more convincingly begin to work through the onslaught of fears and doubts that came with everything I experienced, and spurred me to continue to move forward. Stereo/Mono contains 25 songs and I could post any one of them because they are all important to me, but this reflective track pretty much summarizes it best . . .