Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kenny Poo's 2012 Top 10 Albums

I am fully aware that the entire interweblogosphere has been waiting with bated garlic and onion breath for me to post my highly acclaimed, world famous, much anticipated Kenny Poo 2012 Top 10 Favorite Albums. Well, my faithful admirers, you can now finally brush your teeth and gargle Listerine, beacuse the moment you've all been self-medicating yourself in anticipation for is finally here!

Thank you! Thank you! Please, you're all too kind. Stop, you're embarrassing me. Thank you! Thank you!

Now, many of you reading this may be curious as to how I'm defining the year in music. Excellent question, and the answer is I will be posting my Top 10 albums from the past calendar year, subjectively, without regard to how well they sold, what genre they may be in, or what my own fans think I should select.

In other words, it's all about what I like. ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, MEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Thus, without further ado, allow me to present to you the official, 1st annual, never to be duplicated though certain to be imitated, 2012 Kenny Poo Top 10 Favorite Albums Of The Year!

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10. The Lumineers - The Lumineers (album)

The Lumineers are one of the emerging leaders of the new folk rock movement, and their debut album is a very catchy, straightforward LP that really gets the feet stomping. Lots of Irish singalong influences with a hint of Dylan's vocal stylings, they are kind of a hybrid between Civil Wars and Mumford & Sons. Organic, raw, ear-wormy simplicity, but still room to grow for this talented young group.

9. Kelly Clarkson - iTunes Session

Kelly has one of the best sets of pipes in the biz, and they are beautifully highlighted on this acoustic album she recorded for iTunes. She sings a nice mix from her new album (Stronger), as well as some of her classics from the past. I'm not a big pop music fan, so hearing her perform it straight and true without any the synthed production bullshit was very refreshing. Girl's got soul!

8. Esperanza Spalding - Radio Music Society

I'm a big jazz fan, and Esperanza is among my top modern favorites. As was the case with her two previous albums, Esperanza shows off a healthy display of pristine vocals and skillful upright bass stylings. Radio got a bit too slick on the production at times for my tastes, but I loved the wonderful hints of funk and soulful blues she added to accent her traditional jazz sound. Overall, it's a gorgeous LP that's a must for any jazz enthusiast.

7. Casey Abrams - Casey Abrams (album)

This underrated gem from former American Idol finalist Casey Abrams kinda flew under the radar, but it's very much on my radar. The album features a very interesting variety of instrumentation, with the talented Abrams performing much of them himself. A unique fusion of pop, folk-rock, jazz and soul, Casey gave us an album that is fun to listen to from start to finish.

6. John Mayer - Born and Raised

If you're a fan of vintage, Gold Rush era Neil Young music you'll love this album. Old-school Americana featuring Mayer on acoustic guitar and harmonica, this record has no extraneous bullshit. Sadly, Mayer contracted a debilitating throat ailment shortly after recording this album and couldn't tour to support it. Great travel music, I must have looped this 20 times on my family truckster drive to Buffalo back in August.

5. Crystal Bowersox - Once Upon A Time

I couldn't decide if I should put this record on my list because it's just a tiny, five track EP rather than a full album. I decided it belonged because I frankly cannot stop listening to it. Mama has without a doubt the most pristine voice I've ever heard, and when she sings soft, pretty folk music her pitch-perfect vocals bloom like a beautiful sunflower. Just Crystal on acoustic guitar with Frankie May's bass accompaniment, it's a great teaser for the full album set to be released sometime in February/March. If this album had a few more songs I'd have made it Top 3.

4. Seth Walker - Time Can Change

A very unique, eclectic blend of sophisticated blues fused with jazz and soul, Walker's a smooth guitar man with vocal stylings equal parts Sinatra and Clapton. Sound interesting? It is. Walker's album is very strong top to bottom, and I rank Time Can Change among my favorites for good reason. Nobody I would compare him to, really. Do yourself a favor and check this LP out.

3. Haley Reinhart - Listen Up!

Haley has to be among the most versatile, talented and drop-dead gorgeous singers I've ever heard or seen, and on Listen Up! she shows all of it off and then some. Featuring her smokey, silky vocals on a wide mix of music styles ranging from pop, to Motown, to disco, to soul, to reggae, to rock, there is truly something for everyone to love on this album. I think it sucks that her major label debut didn't get heard as much as much as it deserved, because it was truly one of the very best of 2012. Seems her label (Interscope) just didn't know how to market her music, and therefore withheld the money train for her promo. As fantastic as this LP was, however, a more jazz/blues centric future is where I hope Haley's plans lie, because in that genre she's a vocal prodigy second to none.

2. Joss Stone - Soul Sessions 2

I was a fan of her first Soul Session several years back, but this album was even better. A top-to-bottom KILLER! Joss put her own individual spin on covers of lesser known classic soul songs from the 70's, and she just pours her heart and soul into the soul. That's a lot of fucking soul, and my soul loved every inch of her soul on Soul Sessions 2. If you like soul, you gotta get this album, my brothas and sistas.

1. Phillip Phillips - The World From The Side Of The Moon

I have been completely blown away by Phillip's debut album. It's acoustic based folk rock with some dark, hard rock edge and accents of smokey jazz. The album is really strong instrumentally, deep lyrically, and without any filler songs to round out the album. His smash hit single Home is only one small reason to buy this album, because it's chock filled with great tracks. The first word that comes to my mind for World From The Side Of the Moon is artistic. To go further with descriptions, it's poetic, it's singsong, it's heavy, it's light, it's dark, it's sentimental, it's rugged, it's fun and it's introspective. The full gambit, and at the same time completely organic, which is unusual to say the least for a major label production for an American Idol winner. It's simply an awesome record, and is the Kenny Poo choice for Album Of The Year.

~Kenny Poo

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Music: LeAnn Rimes - Borrowed

"Borrowed" is a true gift.

The measure of a great song, at least to me, is how deeply it grabs onto your soul and emotionally connects you with the artist. Authenticity is the highest compliment I can pay a singer, and when they can succeed at deeply moving me through their song, make me feel what they're feeling, then they've accomplished elevating music to the transcendental.

So, by that standard, let me just say that Borrowed by LeAnn Rimes is one great fucking song.

I watched LeAnn perform Borrowed live on Jay Leno Tuesday night, and was completely blindsided by both its tender beauty and raw honesty. She leaves every ounce of her soul fearlessly exposed and vulnerable, for everyone to see and hear, for better and for worse, and quite frankly I couldn't respect her more for it. Other than Crystal Bowersox, I can't think of another female artist who has both the courage to sing such mature, complex and deeply personal subject matter, and also have the incredible vocal gifts to deliver it with such tender beauty.

Stylistically, it's a folk-country ballad, and would fit nicely in both adult contemporary and country formats. Of course, whether or not country music radio is mature enough to embrace Borrowed remains to be seen, but shame on them if they don't.

There are those who will hate LeAnn for being the "home-wrecker" who broke up two marriages with an illicit affair.. In fact, you get the sense through Borrowed that LeAnn is herself still dealing with a lot of self hate from what happened and how it happened.

Look, I think what she did was dead wrong myself. A tremendous trail of hurt was created from her and Eddie Cibrian acting on their impulses. However, doesn't the fact that she has a tortured conscience only make her more human? How else should she be dealing with it?  After the divorces, they married. LeAnn's ex-husband remarried, too. Despite this, I don't think she has any easy answers on how to cleanse her soul, but she needs to move on, heal her wounds and try to live a happy and meaningful life.

My parents had infidelity issues and divorced when I was 14, and I bet nearly everyone who reads this post has either experienced infidelity personally or has had loved ones who have gone through it. While we rightly condemn the behavior, let's not be hypocrites with LeAnn and act like this doesn't happen. She deserved the subsequent feelings of guilt and conflict, but she didn't beak into an elementary school and shoot up a classroom of children, so let's keep perspective.

Anyway, in our plastic music world of formula dance pop and cartoonishly stereotypical country, it's so refreshing to get a strong dose of unfiltered truth from a truly adult perspective. LeAnn wrote and performs Borrowed without any thought of catering to commercialism, and because of that it just might become a big commercial success.

So, LeAnn, thank you for giving us the gift of your heart and soul with this song.. I hope you find peace moving forward, but maybe keep a tiny little pang of hurt in your gut that reminds you of how important it is to make the right decisions.

~Kenny Poo

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sandy Hook Aftermath: It's The Ammo, Stupid!

The Sandy Hook massacre, coming just 6 months after the Aurora massacre, has left this country deeply shaken. Being a conservative (or, if you happen to be liberal, a radical right wing extremist who encourages hate against minorities, increasing income disparity between rich and poor, choking the planet with carbon dioxide gas, and torturing cute, furry animals for sadistic pleasure), I am reluctant to embrace knee-jerk reactions to revoke individual freedoms, including the right to bear arms - even though I have no intentions of ever personally owning a gun.

Nonetheless, I happen to have a soft spot for trying to prevent massacres, particularly of children who are the exact same age as my own. After thinking long and hard about what happened, and what could be done in the future to prevent it, I have come to a conclusion: the problem is not so much with our gun control laws (though they should be stiffened and include banning gun shows that allow unmonitored gun trafficking), it's that we need more armed security in this country, and, most importantly, we need much, much stricter ammunition control  laws.

As it stands, you could go online right now and literally order thousands of rounds of ammunition sight unseen. This is fucking insane. How can we require guns to be registered, but not require ammunition to be   to be matched with a legally registered weapon before it can be purchased? Also, how can we not have quantity limits?

Look, no matter how hard we try, a fucking sociopath can always acquire a firearm unlawfully. Hell, look how easy it is to get weed illegally? A prostitute? Face it, there is always gonna be illegal access even if we regulate as much as reasonably possible. No matter how tight we try and limit it to responsible people, we will still have scumbags getting their murderous mitts on guns illegally if they are so inclined.

The problem is, the killer can then LEGALLY purchase a virtually unlimited amount of ammo for that weapon without any questions. No need to justify why you may need enough firepower to take out a movie theater or a school, just give us a credit card and the ammo is all yours. Thank you, and have a great day.


How can we be so stupid and reckless?  Ummmm...let's wake the hell up, America. Stop solely focusing on preventing the reckless distribution of guns, and start paying attention to the ammo elephant in the room. A single piece can always be easy to acquire illegally, but acquiring 6,000 rounds of deadly, automatic magazines might be a little tougher to come by on the street if we had regulation.

Anyway, in addition to that, we need to have better security. In Israel, they have checkpoints and armed guards everywhere, and the Islamic terrorist filth never are able to get their hands on the children in the schools as a result. It's critical we do the same here. We must have armed guards in all schools, especially at the entrance to the building, and without authorization nobody gets through the door.

Oh, and money is not an argument. We have a government that shits out money like they've got dysentery, so assign enough to secure our children's schools as priority number one.

In fact, assign them to malls and other public places where people congregate. Knowing trained officers are on site with deadly force certainly discourages any sociopathic ideas from sexual predators and violent criminals.

Anyway, sorry I ranted, but I was really stricken hard by the massacre in Newtown and this is how Kenny Poo see's it. What say you?

~Kenny Poo

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: 12/12/12 Concert For Sandy Relief

Billy Joel: The heart and soul of the 12/12/12 Sandy Relief Concert

First of all, let me just say that I enjoyed the shit out of the 12/12/12 Hurricane Sandy Relief Concert. I love classic rock, loved seeing the remnants of the old British Invasion bands still alive and kicking on stage, and I think the cause itself is very worthwhile and needed. That being said, it wouldn't be a Kenny Poo blog entry without including the good, the bad and the ugly, would it?

So, without further adieu, here is the Kenny Poo Review.

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The Good

There was an overflowing abundance of great music nostalgia on display at this affair, but without question the highlight of the night was Billy Joel. After all, Hurricane Sandy was a NY/NJ disaster, and the benefit was held in Madison Square Garden, so who better to represent the heart and soul of those affected than New York's own legendary living music legend?

Looking so at home with his grand piano on the MSG stage, Joel picked all the right songs and sounded fantastic. The highlights were Anthony's Song and, of course, New York State Of Mind. Billy is so real, so dripping with NY life and authenticity, you never got the feeling he was there as a mercenary trying to promote his career. He shoulda been the one to close out the show instead of Paul McCartney, who was trying way too hard to be epic with the Nirvana "reunion", but came across as awkward and forced instead.

Also impressive last night was Roger Waters, who showed he's still got it (including the self-indulgence) after all these years. Performing a series of classic Pink Floyd songs, Waters voice was healthy and strong, and the band sounded outstanding. Still, without Gilmour there's always that something missing. Too bad they can't stand each other, because as a team they're always better than as independent parts. Yes, Vedder did an admirable pinch hit, but it's still not the same.

The Who damn near gave a full concert, performing six songs that seemed to stretch for almost an hour. Gotta love how they gave it everything they had, and all things considered they still sound pretty damn good. Haven't lost their rock edge. Unfortunately, though, not everything was so beautiful in their performance. I'll be commenting on Roger Daltry's most unfortunate torso decision in "The Ugly" segment of this post.

Coldplay's Chris Martin, looking classy for the occasion wearing tux with black tie, opened his set with a nice solo performance of Viva La Vida. He then brought out REM's Michael Stipe (who suddenly got very old, making me feel very old) for a heartfelt reprisal of Losing My Religion. I really wished Martin had also called on native New Yorker Pia Toscano to sing Fix You with him, but it wasn't to be. Pia did a beautiful and moving cover of it to raise money for Sandy victims last month, so it would have been very fitting.

Also deserving of props for great/brief  performances: Eric Clapton showing that he's still got guitar god swag, the Rolling Stones for a rocking an energized two song set, and Bruce Springsteen for his vintage rock grit.

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The Bad

I thought the worst was behind me after seeing Adam Sandler's predictably tasteless fail at comedically singing Leonard Cohen's anthem, Hallelujah.  I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Kanye West's absolutely disgraceful rap performance, replete with lyrics about slapping bitches and trashing cops, was by far the lowest point of the night.

Wearing a black pleated skirt with black leather tights and a black t-shirt, Kanye looked as inapporpriate as he sounded. With that, allow me to give a brief message to anyone who happened to like this performance:


Thank you. I feel better for having said that.

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The Ugly

Well, as I said above, we have to congratulate Daltry and Townsend for showing us that The Who can still rock it out. Unlike Bon Jovi, who now looks and sounds like an adult contemporary pretty boy, Roger and Pete blasted out the most classic of their classic rock tunes.

That being said, when Daltry felt compelled to unbutton his shirt and jacket so we could admire his sweaty, scarred, shaved, sagging 68 year-old flesh I was reaching for the barf bag. For the love of GOD, why does he think anyone would want to see that? Roger this Roger: Keep your fucking shirt on from now on.

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Final Thoughts

I've grown so accustomed to seeing Phillip Phillips performing Home as an inspirational song that it seemed weird he wasn't there. He did such a great show after the storm with the kids of PS22, so I'd have really loved seeing him perform with them again at MSG. Below is a video from that day, his performance of Gone, Gone, Gone, and with that I'm gone, gone gone myself.

~Kenny Poo

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Profiles in Jazz: John Coltrane - Lush Life

The title track of "Lush Life" begins at the 16:30 mark, but listen to the whole thing. So worth it.

The jazz album that I find myself listening to more than any other is Lush Life by John Coltrane. The record was actually an assembly of studio sessions not intended for release, but when Prestige Records saw how big Coltrane was getting in the early '60s (after he had left their label) they released it to try and take advantage of his popularity.

Thank GOD they did, because it's a masterpiece. The smokey, melodic sax of Coltrane is hypnotic... almost dream-like. The more experimental, avant-garde jazz stylings that defined his later years I find hard to listen to, but early in his career he was so sultry and smooth it was like listening to butter melt.

Just a 5 track EP, the first three songs were without pianist Red Garland (who was allegedly so hung over he couldn't make the session on time), and are beautiful works featuring Coltrane on his signature tenor sax with Early May on bass and Art Taylor on drums. If you think music needs a lot of production bells and whistles in the studio to be brilliant, well, take a listen and see what great sounds are possible with total simplicity.

That said, the last two tracks, particularly the title track "Lush Life", is when the album soars from brilliant simplicity to orgasmic heights.

"Lush Life" (song) is a 14 minute instrumental that to me is the most perfectly named and composed song you'll ever hear. Lush, luscious, velvety jazz with 'Trane on the sax, Garland on piano and Donald Byrd on the trumpet, the song takes you on a hypnotic journey through a smokey jazz club with a drop-dead gorgeous woman, dressed to the nines, after a deliciously romantic dinner. You have a glass of top shelf scotch in your hand, an arm around your woman, and both of you are swaying with closed eyes just breathing in the music like it's oxygen.

In 1963, Coltrane released the version of Lush Life (song) that most people are familiar with featuring Johnny Hartman on vocals. Much as I appreciate that version, I feel adding vocals actually detracts from the song's beauty. The instrumental version is the definitive masterpiece in my opinion.

Take a listen to the album for yourself. Below is the track listing:
  1. "Like Someone in Love" (Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke) — 5:00
  2. "I Love You" (Cole Porter) — 5:33
  3. "Trane's Slo Blues" (John Coltrane) — 6:05
  4. "Lush Life" (Billy Strayhorn) — 14:00
  5. "I Hear a Rhapsody" (Jack Baker, George Fragos, Dick Gasparre) — 6:01

~ Kenny Poo

Friday, December 7, 2012

Haley Reinhart Answers Her Jazz Calling

Haley, Keith and Courtney slaying some bossa-nova jazz

After her uneasy ride with Interscope Records mercifully ended two weeks ago, Kenny Poo has been hoping Haley would now turn her focus to the one true calling as an artist for which she's gifted above all others: Jazz singing.

Looks like my dream is now becoming a reality.

Last night at the Chandelier lounge in the swank new Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas, Haley and her band mates Keith Phelps (keys) and Courtney Leonard (bass) began their three night residency gig. A super-fan by the internet username "Tusk" has become Haley's unofficial videographer, and is comprehensively recording the first two nights in HD quality. Thus far, he has uploaded two songs to YouTube, with many more to follow.

Fan reports on social media are indicating Haley heavily incorporated jazz into her show, and even included a full 25 minute jazz standard set in which she just brought the house down. One of the very best songs from that set is Song For My Father (see above). There ain't nobody more perfectly suited to sing sultry, sexy, silky bossa-nova jazz than Haley Reinhart, and as you can see she absolutely killed it.

The phrasing, the restraint, the instinctive finesse to know when to dial it up and tone it back down, the natural, seamless scatting and general "feel" for the flow of the song, and guiding it with deft aplomb... it's sheer poetry in motion to behold.

So, Haley, if you're reading this, Kenny Poo would like to request Girl From Ipanema by Astrud Gilberto. It's a must cover for you.

Not to be outdone, her pianist extraordinaire, Mr. Keith Phelps, demonstrated his incredible jazz chops with a magnificent solo that Haley herself can be seen getting lost in the trance of. Like Haley, Keith is versatile and can play a variety of music, but when it comes to jazz piano a very special light goes on that separates him from the field. In fact, Haley and Keith make such a perfect jazz team, I'd love to see them build a long term chemistry both live and in the recording studio.

Also noteworthy from the Vegas show is Haley's single Free, but it's nothing like the version she recorded on the album. Though I liked the original, this was far superior as Haley flipped the mid-tempo pop song with the tinny piano intro into a bluesy-jazz number with artistry. She also performed it like she really felt the conflicting emotions of a difficult, roller coaster relationship coming to an end rather than being forced to portray the vampy, campy temptress like Interscope prescribed. For the first time I truly believed Free was HER song, not the label force feeding her a hand-picked track. It was authentic, and I loved it.

Free from Interscope, Haley makes Free her own

So, let's raise our glasses of scotch (or Jack and Coke if you're Haley) and toast cheers to Haley as she begins her jazz journey. We've all seen how brilliant she's been when taking on jazz during her run on Idol, and after the show with Irvin Mayfield Jr, and now we can excitedly watch the little jazz prodigy actualize her destiny. I see nothing but sweet jazz labels and Grammys awaiting on the horizon.

~Kenny Poo

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mamasox Getting Down to Bidness!

Go Mama! Go Mama!

Freshly signed to Shanachie Records,  Crystal "Mamasox" Bowersox, one of my all time favorite ladies of music, recently completed the live recording portion of her new album that's scheduled for release sometime in March.

She's been regularly giving updates on twitter, telling us how psyched she is with the production of the album, how she absolutely loves the way it's progressed, and says it's somewhat different in style from her debut album, Farmer's Daughter.

Now, in some ways Crystal was the original Phillip Phillips (who I absolutely love), only the timing was a little off for her. Like Phillips, she's acoustic guitar driven, her music roots lean folk/indie rock, she writes deep lyrics that are fearlessly autobiographical (and sometimes dark), she sings from the depth of her soul, and she isn't one to bow down to the powers-that-be to fit an image or style that's not her own.

Looking back at Farmer's Daughter, it actually was an outstanding debut album, filled with a nice blend of  acoustic folk and foot-stomping blues rockabilly, with a hint of gospel and soul. No, not every track was pure Crystal (Lonely Won't Come Around being the most egregious violation), but most was and it sold pretty well (220k copies) considering it was really not supported or promoted by Jive Records (her now-defunct former label).

In fact, taking it a step further, I'm convinced that if her Jive had been willing to make the investment necessary to promote her album and a single, Mama had a huge hit waiting with the killer rock anthem Speak Now, which I think had a shot to be like Home is for Phillip. [NOTE: Sound similar to a previous rant of mine about Spiderweb by my beloved Haley Reinhart? Don't even get me started!] 

Then again, the music world may not have been quite ready for Crystal in 2010 like it will be in 2013. At that time, her indie folk-rock style had not quite yet made the mainstream breakthrough it has today. In the current market, with bands like Mumford, & Sons, The Lumineers and Civil Wars experiencing tremendous popularity, the singer/songwriter folk-rock genre has made a big comeback and Crystal's now in prime position to capitalize.

Of course, another key for her was hooking up with Shanachie, one of the top Indie record labels. With that support behind her, and Phillips having melted away the negative stereotypes in a genre that previously shunned anything Idol, my confidence level is very high that this will not only be her best work to date, but that she'll also reach an audience and radio market that'll be accepting and welcoming of her music.

Timing is everything, and striking when that iron is hot is critical.

With that in mind, Mama is also doubling down on her music with acting to maximize the opportunity at hand. Some of you may recall a couple years ago that Mama showed she can be a hell of an actress with a substantive guest starring role in an episode of the drama Body Of Proof.  Well, this week, right after finishing up recording her LP, Mama tweeted she was in Hollywood filming for an upcoming acting gig that can only help to further increase her visibility.

Looks like it's all coming together for Crystal, and I personally can't wait to see and hear what she has to offer!

- Kenny Poo

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Phillips Punks Haters, Debuts #4 on Billboard

Gee, guess Phillip's haters feel kinda stupid now

So, how do they like him now?

Remember a few short months ago when Phillip Phillips won American Idol, and his haters went apoplectic all over the internet about how this "low-talent white guy with guitar" had just destroyed the credibility of the show?

No? Yes? Maybe?

Well, I sure as hell do, and now it's time to call them out. You see, World Form The Side Of The Moon just debuted #4 on Billboard selling almost 170k copies, and his winning single, Home, is about to go triple platinum. Guess P2 is hardly the train wreck those so-called "experts" predicted he'd be, eh?

Anyway, because Phil is far too classy, humble and smart to return the smack with fistfuls of "I told you so", Kenny Poo will be only too happy do the dirty work. With that said, here's a rundown of some of  the most outspoken "geniuses" who ripped Mr. Phillips.

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Stefano Langone

Former Idol finalist Stefano Langone is simply the douche who can't stop douching. After his wretchedly cheesy run to a 7th place finish in Season 10, "Fano" just hasn't been able to resist publicly bragging about himself or talking shit about others.

A few months ago, Fano talked all kinds of shit about "being with" the beautiful and talented Pia Toscano during their run on the show. Of course, she is WAY too classy to air private dirt, but to her credit she did fire off a nice subtweet putting "Fano" in his place without ever mentioning his name.

BTW, Pia, for the love of GOD, repeat after me in your best Mommy Dearest/Joan Crawford imitation: "No more narcissistic douchebag players... EVER!"

Backdating to Season 10 of Idol, after Pia dumped the douche for Mark Ballas "Fano" somehow then douched his way in with the luscious and gifted Haley Reinhart, and they remained an item after relocating to LA when the Idol tour ended.

Now, fast forward a few months to when Haley got savaged by TMZ for not knowing the lyrics while doing an improv MJ song as a favor to a jazz club. Since she was on a date with "Fano" that night he could have easily defended her on twitter or elsewhere when the story exploded, but amazingly he went silent and never stood up for his girl against the attacks.

Classy, huh?

Now, I tweeted him on this when it got out of control... gave him the easy opportunity to defend her and clear her name. He responded with some nasty snark, essentially telling me to STFU and stay out of it.

So, is it any big surprise that this is what "Fano" had to say after Phillip won American Idol?

For the integrity of the show, to me this is a travesty. The result this year solidifies the reality of idol no longer being a talent show … But a popularity contest. Unfortunately I’m not the first to have noticed.

Nicely played, Mr. Langone. BTW, how many copies has your album sold again?

* * * *

Elliot Yamin

I didn't watch the season he was a finalist on Idol, and I've never bought any of his music. After reading this quote, I'm glad I didn't bother.

Missed the Idol finale tonite #AI …..but it sounds like I didn’t miss much by the sounds of who “won” #justsayin Jessica Sanchez is a REAL singer!.. I thought this was a singin competition??.. what a shame. American Idol has become MUCH like politics, in the sense that – we, as a people get mad at who’s in office, when WE are the people who put them there…or, are we?

So, uh... Ellie...kinda wish ya had that one back now? Maybe next time you'll be a little more careful before tearing into actual winners.
* * * *

Laura Prudom

Writing for Huffington Post entertainement, Laura just couldn't stop herself from jumping on the bash Phillip bandwagon. In a column entitled, 'American Idol': Why Phillip Phillips And The White Guy With Guitar Trend Are Bad For Business, here's one of her precious gems as she rants that no-talent white guys with guitar like Phillip are ruining civilization as we know it by winning American Idol.

Why is this an issue, you may ask? Why not let the excitable teenage girls (and the older women who should probably know better) have their fun and flood the phone lines with votes for these attractive, guitar-plucking fellas? Simply put, because those attractive, guitar-plucking fellas don't actually do that well once they've ventured out of "Idol's" protective embrace and are expected to sell albums under their own steam -- and that's a problem for "Idol" as much as for the winners themselves.

Guess he isn't so bad for business after all, eh, Laura?  I tweeted Laura about this, asking her if she wanted this one back, and she of course stands by her idiocy and insists this is all "very dangerous".  Then again, what else should we expect form a radical "female empowerment activist" living in an insulated political bubble?

* * * *

Michael Slezak

Love Michael too much to drill him for this miss, but he also piled on the "WGWG who will be bad for Idol and won't sell shit" storyline. All I'll say is I'm given Mikey a mulligan on this one, whether he cares to take it or not is his business.

* * * *

OK, so maybe I was a little too harsh. I suppose Stefano is kind to his family and doesn't torture puppies. I'm also pretty sure the rest of the folks I nailed today are in many respects quality people who can't just be lampooned as one dimensional dolts. But let this be a lesson to all of you with a voice in the media. Kenny Poo is watching, and if you talk shit and are proven wrong about someone I like, well, you can expect to see my guns blazing while I show your ass.

Peace out, and congrats Phillip on a fantastic start to an incredibly promising career.

~Kenny Poo

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Interscope chapter closes for Haley Reinhart

"I'm hot enough, talented enough, and doggone it a new label will sign me."

Well, the handwriting's been on the wall for awhile now. With mediocre sales numbers, minimal airplay for her single (Free), no 2nd single, and no tour, even a simpleton internet blogger could sense that things weren't all that rosy in Label Land.

Still, that doesn't make the news that Interscope chose to release my Haley feel any better. Bottom line is they just didn't believe the prospects were good of her hitting it big, thought new talent coming in had a better shot, and cut her loose. It's a cold blooded industry, and the sting of rejection hurts.

Which begs the question: What went wrong??

Well, to be honest, there's certainly plenty of blame to go around. Some of it's management, some the label, and, yes, some has to go on Haley, too.

Not striking when The Iron Was Hot

Haley's run on American Idol ended in May, 2011. She was riding a ton of critical acclaim from her amazing performances on the show, had a lot of industry and media credibility building, and a huge legion of passionate fans of all ages that were in a frenzy for all things Haley.

So, how did they maximize this incredible window of opportunity? Well, Haley foolishly and shockingly turned her back on twitter and social media for almost 3 months, alienating all but her most devoted fans at the most critical time, and effectively vanished from public consciousness while the other Idol finalists were cranking out music and staying in the spotlight.

Then, either Haley or her team, or both, decided to wait until after the tour was over to even begin the process of creating her album. According to Haley, she completed work on it sometime in January 2012, released her single in March 2012, and her album Listen Up! in May 2012.

Now, May 2012 is one full calendar year from her Idol run when she was the talk of the town. Her album release coincided with Phillip winning Idol and releasing his MONSTER hit Home, which dominated the news cycle and relegated Haley to back page blurbs. By now she was no longer the hot item people were buzzing about, just last year's Idol finalist that some crazy devoted fans still obsessed over. For the rest of the world she was, "Oh yeah, that girl I liked from last season. What's her name again?"

Miss the window, miss a lot. I hope Haley learned from this experience the importance of timing and maximizing life's moments of opportunity.

Free not radio friendly

So, after all that delay, the greedy, shortsighted suits at Interscope decided, "Hey, let's release the one song on the album Haley gets no writing credits on so we can keep all the money ourselves. So what if it's not radio friendly."

Shockingly enough, this "Mature breakup song" never resonated on radio, didn't sell very well, and peaked in the middle of the Hot AC radio chart. It was a tough sell to release a 4 minute, mid-tempo breakup song without a catchy hook or beat, and sure enough it just didn't get it done.

The promotion of it was also disjointed. Instead of emphasizing the song's sadness and frustration with a roller coaster relationship, Team Haley tried to sell it as a "mature breakup inspiration song", and vamped her up as a seductive temptress on her Idol performance and music video.


Nobody wants to buy a song inspiring people to improve their breakup skills, and the vamping routine just made Haley appear the least sympathetic part of the breakup. What a strange, shallow and uninspiring message, and no surprise it failed to resonate emotionally. Now, ironically enough, Free is actually a fitting song for the end of the passionless, inherently flawed Interscope/Haley relationship.

Not enough gigging

Once her radio promo tour of Free was done, that was it. Barely any gigs, and the few she had were almost never with her full band. It showed, too, as all too often Haley struggled in her rare live shows with remembering lyrics, loosening up, and being in synch with the band.  It takes repetition, lots of time rehearsing and gigging, to come together as a cohesive unit.

This is such a tragic shame, because Haley is so good when she's relaxed and feeling confident. Her shows sitting on a stool in small clubs with guitarist John Notto are among her very best performances, because she was able to be relaxed and completely herself with his familiar accompaniment. The charming, funny, warm and personable Haley came out rather than the stiff, tentative and awkward Haley we saw in some of the bigger shows.

Now, who is responsible for the lack of gigs? Well, I have no idea if her manager failed to line up gigs, or Haley was too picky about gigs, or not enough work was done on all sides to get it done, but no excuses. She needs to play live more, period, end of story. It's the only way she'll become a success in this business.

* * *

So, now that we've done the WTF happened here, the next question is WTF needs to happen from here?

Well, there's no question Haley has the goods. She's beyond gorgeous, has one of the most distinctive, addictive and beautiful voices anyone will ever hear, and has fantastic vocal instincts. She also likes to write, and hopefully that will pay off, too.

That all said, what I really hope she does is learn from her mistakes, move forward with real determination, find a smaller, jazz-friendly label that has a clue what to do with her talents, and will mentor, guide and inspire her to take her career to the next level and not waste the once-in-a-lifetime gifts she's blessed with.

Today is a new dawn, it's a new day, and I'm feeling goooood that Haley will now find the right home to become the respected artist she wants to be, and we want her to be. Cheers to Haley finding her path to a long and successful career!

~Kenny Poo

Monday, November 19, 2012

Phillips Goes Deep With "Side Of The Moon"

First off, let me just take a moment to console all those teenage "Beliebers", "Twilighters" and "Directioners" who still held out hope they'd get to be squealing away to some cheesy, auto-tuned, formula dance-pop from this year's American Idol winner.

Not happening here, kiddies.

Same goes for all you douchebag posers, with your spiky hair, waxed-abtastic gym-bods, spray tans, faux-diamond studs and thick gold chains.  Better look to score some synthed club-beats someplace else, "bro", because, uh, yeah, Phillip Phillips ain't for you, either.

However, for those of you (like me) who dig a substantive yet catchy rock album laden with musical and lyrical depth, well, Phillip Phillips' debut LP "The World From The Side Of The Moon" kicks some serious fucking ass.

Phillips melded a unique combination of diverse styles to somehow form a very cohesive and original album with a sound all his own. Imagine a mix of Dave Mathews' alt-rock with Mumford & Sons neo-folk, plus the gospel blues-rock of Johnny Lang, some rhythms and phrasing of Oasis, and a sprinkle of Jim Morrison's hauntingly poetic classic rock and you get this eclectic combination that forms one hell of a powerful album.

In short, it's authentic, it works, and it will probably become a GIGANTIC seller that successfully carries the momentum from his double-platinum hit coronation song "Home". It's a very precocious, serious effort by Phillip, and I suspect will be even more popular outside the Idol bubble than within it.

With that, here's my track-by-track review of the iTunes Deluxe version.

1. Man On The Moon:  Think Oasis' Wonderwall with a bit of Mumford banjo, Mathews snarl and a whiff of sweet sax. Very skillful acoustic guitar work by Phillip (a theme that runs throughout the album), and the catchy chorus nicely brings together the song's complex lyrics and instrumentation. Definitely one of my my faves.

2. Home (Studio): Home is Phillip's monster hit coronation song, and if you haven't heard it yet you've been living under a rock. It's simply EVERYWHERE. With an irresistible rockabilly jamboree beat and very inspirational lyrics, Home has gone double platinum for good reason.

3. Gone Gone Gone: Like Home, this has a rockabilly vibe, inspirational lyrics and a catchy hook. Also like Home, it's the only other song on the album not written by Phillip. Thoroughly enjoyable to listen to over-and-over, Gone Gone Gone is bound to be a very popular track.

4. Hold On: A bit of Irish folk beat and instrumentation, Hold On is a sweet, sensitive song that's very uplifting. Not really a ballad, but with the strings it's definitely a softer and gentler track.

5. Tell Me A Story: Much like Hold On, Tell Me a Story is a tender, dreamy, slightly haunting folk "ballad" with inspirational messaging.

6. Get Up Get Down: A funky, swampy rock'n roll song that'll get you up on your feet dancing. Get Up Get Down is pure fun, and bound to be a hit in his live shows.

7. Where We Came From: The artsy guitar and lyrics of the opening melody are followed by a catchy pop chorus replete with "whoa-whoa-whoas". You can feel the tug of war in this song between the label wanting a commercial hit and the artist wanting to stay true. Kinda wish the artist won out more on this one.

8. Drive Me: Another funky rock song with lots of horns and growl. Absolutely love it. Catchy, authentic and fun to rock out to. Like Get Up Get Down, this one is gonna be A LOT of fun live.

9. Wanted Is Love: Can definitely hear the Dave Mathews influences on this one. Haunting, dark, growling with a hint of grunge, Wanted Is Love is definitely one of my favorites on the album.

10. Can't go Wrong: Wonderful guitar work by Phillip at the beginning, followed by a very catchy melody, beat and lyrics. Can't Go Wrong is a MEGA hit waiting to happen a la Home. Absolutely loved it from the first listen. So earwormy. Interscope: This song absolutely NEEDS to be the next single. Can't Go Wrong with Can't Go Wrong.

11. A Fool's Dance: Fool's Dance is a dark, anxty, soul searching song that questions what's the purpose of it all.

12. So Easy: A real sweet folk song about love. So Easy is the joyous counter to the despair of Fool's Dance. Perfect album placement for this track.

13. Hazel: This is all about the long, painful road to recovery from heartbreak. Very emotional song with just Phillip on guitar sharing his struggles to overcome heartache.

14. Wicked Game: Haunting cover of the haunting original. Like Hazel, this is all about heartache. A little echo added to give an even deeper sense of suffering and despair.

15. Home (LIVE): Live version of his original, this is the perfect song to end the album. Uplifting, jamming anthem that when delivered live is an even bigger warm hug than the studio version.

Kenny Poo Rating of "The World From The Side Of The Moon": A FIVE STAR DOUBLE-FUCK YEAH!!

~Kenny Poo

Monday, November 12, 2012

Jermaine Paul: "I Believe In This Life"

The Voice Season 2 champion Jermaine Paul has released his debut single, "I Believe In This Life".  On the show, I thought he was a weak vocalist who won based on popularity/image rather than talent.  He warbled thru tired ballads, showed no originality, and had no musical identity to make me think he had a chance to outperform the dreadful post-Voice sales of Season 1 champ Javier Colon.

Well, Jermaine's embarrassingly cheesy, auto-tuned, generic House Music single only further reinforced my opinion.

While Colon may have delivered an uninspiring collection of bland, mid-tempo singer-songwriter tunes on his debut, Paul managed to go a step further and release what can only be considered an unintentionally funny joke of a single, and the video is even worse. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure laughing at an artist who's trying to be portrayed as cool and relevant on his first major label release probably isn't the reaction Paul had in mind.

Consider this dreck sunk before it even sets sail. I give Jermaine 0.5 of 5 Stars. Check it below if you want, but if you happen to be lactose intolerant you'll probably get a bad reaction from the stinky cheese.

~Kenny Poo

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Closest To The Presidential Pin

Let's have a little fun on election night! Tell me who you think will win the presidential election, and with how many electoral votes, and you could win the honor of being praised in a featured post by Kenny Poo!

So you know, I'm a Republican and am voting for Romney, but I have as many liberal friends as conservative and am not interested in fighting a political war. This is strictly for enjoyment to see who can give the best prediction.

The winner will be announced the morning after the election. To participate, please give your prediction in the comment section, and make sure to include your username. No anonymous picks will be accepted.

Now, allow me to go first. 

Kenny Poo: Romney 305 - 233

Summary: I believe Romney's advantage with independents and economy-first voters, plus a substantial receding of Obama's 2008 turnout tsunami, will be enough to send Mr. Romney to a close but decisive victory. I see PA very vulnerable to tilt Romney due to Obama's environmentalist policies threatening the coal industry. WI is almost always a very competitive state, and I see enough boost from Ryan being on the ticket to push it over the top for Romney.

Click here to see my full electoral map prediction. Share with me yours!

 ~Kenny Poo

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Phillip Phillips New Album Snippets

Phillip Phillips, P2, PP, Phil-Phil, or whatever you like to call the American Idol champion who's hit single "Home" is absolutely destroying the Billboard sales and airplay charts (last I checked he'd sold just over 12 billion copies and was #1 on 19 different radio charts), has now released snippet previews of his upcoming, debut album World From The Side Of The Moon (see above).

Now, snippets can often be liars, so it pays to reserve judgment when giving these tracks a listen. That said, my preliminary take is that there's reason to be very optimistic his debut album will be a damn good one. Yes, it's a bit popped up for commercial appeal, and, sadly, his darker, jazzier, more haunting side seems minimized so as not to scare off the ignoramus masses, but that doesn't mean it's fluff by any stretch. To my completely amateurish (yet brilliant) ear, I'd say it's sound is a combo of Mathews, Matchbox and Mumford in style and feel.

That said, they are only snippets and I could be completely changing my tune about his tunes when the album drops for real on November 19th. My very early faves are Man On The Moon, Where We Came From, Drive Me and Wanted Is Love, but, again, snippets can be misleading so we'll wait for the album to do a full review.

Bottom line: Sounds great so far!

~Kenny Poo

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Album Review: Time Can Change by Seth Walker


Last week I decided to peruse iTunes for some new blues music to see if something would strike me as interesting or unique. After previewing samples from several different albums, one LP in particular really caught my attention and that's Seth Walker's Time Can Change.

From beginning to end, Time Can Change is a wonderfully organic yet graceful blues album, nuanced throughout with vocal and instrumental finesse rather than the typical explosion of electric power-shredding so commonplace in blues music today. Walker instead blends sophisticated jazz and R&B undertones that beautifully accent his gentle, clean vocal timbre that is very reminiscent of Eric Clapton.

On the guitar, Walker is also nuanced and effective throughout. He never overpowers, yet is a presence seamlessly weaving in and out of the melodies like velvety smoke through a fine single malt scotch. It's music for an adult palate, and will be very satisfying to those with discerning taste. That said, it's not pretentious at all, has a nice mid-tempo groove, and goes as well with beer and pizza as it does with fine wine and camembert.

In summary, Walker's album is a top quality compilation, and would fit beautifully in your playlist of jazz, blues, R&B or folk rock. Kenny Poo highly recommends adding this to your music collection, and rates Time Can Change as a 4-star Fuck Yeah. Check out a little appetizer sampling below.

~Kenny Poo

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Profiles in Jazz: Hananeel

One of the niceties I've enjoyed as a result of being a super fan of the lush voiced/legged Haley Reinhart is becoming twitter friends with some of her incredibly talented band mates. The subject of today's Profile in Jazz happens to be one of those mates, and it's pianist Keith Phelps Jr. and his jazz fusion band Hananeel

After chatting on twitter with Keith for awhile about our mutual love of jazz, he sent me a link to a video of him tearing up the ivories like a baby Thelonious Monk in his Grammy School audition. Take a look below for yourself how impressive his jazz chops are.

Soon after, Keith asked me if I also liked jazz fusion and had me check out the album from his band, Hananeel, that also features his father, Keith Phelps Sr., on bass. Now, to be honest I'm a much bigger fan of more traditional jazz, but I told him I was open minded. I do enjoy the classic fusion sounds of Spyro Gyra, and also have some of George Benson's fusion leaning work in my collection, but sappy smooth jazz like Kenny G gives me acute nausea, and I really don't care for synth.

Anyway, I gave it a listen and I'm happy to say it has more classic jazz leanings than most fusion, and while not every song on the album is my style, it's very well produced and deserves some radio attention. My favorite track is Untold Stories, and that's probably because it's the most traditional jazz song on the album. Fantastic sax work by Hamilton Hardin is reminiscent of Dexter Gordan with a hint of Coltrane. Delicate, balanced, and expressive, I loved it from the opening bar.  Adding to it is the beautiful piano work by Keith Jr. that acts as the perfect compliment.

Other notable tracks are Good Morning, which is a vibrant breath of fresh air, and the refreshing Intro Jazz.

Overall, if you are into jazz fusion you'll love it. I found the overall mood of the album to be happy, pleasing, contented and enjoyable. Of course, if I had my druthers I'd drag Keith deeper into the traditional jazz world alongside my girl Haley, and don't think I'm not gonna do everything in my Kenny Poo powers to make that happen!

~Kenny Poo

Monday, October 22, 2012

UPDATE: New Pia Toscano Tunes

Love my Pia-Poo, and it finally looks like her long, arduous road to releasing an album is about to come to fruition. Recently signed to Underdogs Records, Pia has been hard at work recording music for her soon to be released LP.

Yesterday, in all her yummy, short-shorts hotness, Pia gave us some samples of what's to come at the Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times 20th Annual Halloween Carnival. Performing 3 songs, two were brand new and the third a reprise of her lovely "Time After Time" duet with Jared Lee (that went YouTube viral last month).

The two new songs are called "Indestructible" and "Crash and Burn", and of the two I'm especially loving "Indestructible". Powerhouse vocals and very catchy, it has a sound reminiscent of Kelly Clarkson's smash hit "Because Of You".

Lyrically, the message is one of determination not to allow life's obstacles get the best of you. It's a message that fits Pia's own journey perfectly, and will be especially appreciated by her female audience looking for some "girl power". I smell HIT for this sucker.

"Crash and Burn" is nice, too, but kinda meanders a bit for me. Might be different in full production, but didn't knock my socks off.

Check out "Indestructible" below, and let me know what you think!

UPDATE! Pia was featured as guest host this week on Michael Slezak's TVline Reality Check. She describes her move from Interscope to Underdog, the upcoming album and this week's Voice spisode. All-in-all, she comes across very professional, well spoken and sweet. She also looks especially fine with the hair to the side. Check it:

 ~Kenny Poo

Friday, October 19, 2012

On My Mind Friday

Random contemplation, observation, rumination and whatever the hell else you wanna call the thoughts that clutter my easily distracted mind...


With a nonstop bombardment of round-the-clock political news coverage, advertising, telemarketing, debates, discussions, blogs, tweets, polls and speeches, the fact that our presidential election somehow hinges on the 1%. scares the hell out of me.

No, by 1% I'm not talking about a particular economic class, special interest group, religion, age demographic, race or ethnicity, but the confoundedly brain dead dolts who somehow still remain undecided. Who are these people? I've never in my life met an undecided, and really don't want to. How oblivious/mentally ill do you have to be not to know who you'll vote for by now, and what could possibly help these dysfunctional people make up their mind at this point?


Haley Reinhart's delicious thighs...


I've never seen a team go from riding such a high to brutally shitting the bed as dramatically as the Yankees did in the American League Championship series vs the Tigers. After decisively knocking off Baltimore in the divisional round, the Yanks were on a roll and looking like the team to beat - especially since the Tigers barely got by Oakland and had to use super ace Verlander to clinch their Game 5 victory.

Down goes Jeter, to the bench goes A-Rod, and in the tank go the Yankees in four straight after the most anemic batting performance in MLB playoff history.


Pia Toscano's rockin' bod...


My Florida Gators vs Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks tomorrow night in a critical matchup. Winner has the inside track to the SEC championship game. Will I be watching? Does the pope shit in the woods? Is the bear Catholic? Hoping to hear a snippet of Haley Reinhart's "Hit The Ground Running" on the highlights after Florida spanks those Cocks. GO GATORS!


My little girl is on her first trip away this weekend. Up in NY doing The City with my inlaws. Yeah, I miss her...


Just downloaded Hananeel from iTunes. It's a Jazz fusion band featuring Keith Phelps (Haley Reinhart's piano man) on keys. Their sound reminds me a bit of Spyro Gyra. I'm normally more into the traditional jazz styles, especially smokey/bluesy jazz, than jazz fusion, but my early impressions are very positive. I'll give a full review sometime next week after I've had a chance to give this LP a good long spin. 


Our Rabbi at my synagogue just had a baby boy!  First one after starting with 5 straight girls. Think he's a little happy right now? Big celebration tonight (called a Shalom Zachar), and a lot of good scotch will be flowing. Bris is on Monday morning, and lots of good lox will be flowing.


Please extend your thoughts and prayers to Pia Toscano's father. He's apparently very ill right now, and God-willing should enjoy a speedy recovery so that he can celebrate all the wonderful things that lie ahead for him and his family.


OK, folks, that's enough rambling for today.  TGIF!

~Kenny Poo

Thursday, October 18, 2012

At Last For Kenny Poo

At 5:10 Haley begins the Kenny Poo dedication

After thinking long and hard about how to start this post, I keep coming back to this...

Holy crap! I mean, holy shit! I mean, holy fuck! I mean...well, you get the idea. I'm blown away, people!  BLOWN AWAY!  


OK, now that I've got that out of my system, let me try and explain what the hell is going on here.

You see, last night on Stageit (a pay-per-view, home-concert streaming site), Haley Reinhart performed songs from her living room for just under an hour to her most loyal fans (Haliens). She sings, we comment on the chat, tip her via Pay Pal or credit card, and enjoy the show on our computer.

So, I'm enjoying the show like everyone else, tipping as she goes, making my supremely clever quips on the chat, and just chilling as Haley delivers gorgeous vocals while accompanied by her talented guitar man, John Notto.

Well, about 3/4 of the way through the show Haley finished singing Let's Run Away, which happens to be one of  my favorite songs from Listen Up! (and if you haven't bought this album yet you clearly have some serious issues and shouldn't be permitted to interact with society).  What happens next would change the fate of the world, nay, the galaxy, nay the entire universe as we know it!

Yes, Haley dedicated her next song, "At Last" by Etta James, to me, Kenny Poo, the same Kenny Poo you've come to know and love!! (OK, tolerate).

Now, if you know anything about me by now you know that I absolutely love Haley's luscious voice, scrumptious gorgeousness, and fun personality. Within the music realm, I love most her jazz, and within that most love her doing smokey, sultry, torchy, sexy-siren jazz.

JACKPOT! This is the moment clocks stopped, time stood still, and dreams came true! Haley sang a song in my favorite Haley genre and dedicated it to me, which I believe is known in many parts of the world as a Holy Fucking Shit!!!

Oh, and then she absolutely, positively slayed it.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you.  The entire show was fantastic. Her voice pitch perfect, she was also fun, loose and playful with John and the audience,. She gave everyone their money's worth and then some, but nobody more than ol' Kenny Poo.

What I love most is knowing that she reads my blog, my tweets, and obviously enjoys what I have to say. I'm not a bot Halien who praises her perfection every 3 minutes, and sometimes my opinions are even, gasp, critical on occasion. That said, I always deliver what I have to say in the context of love and being real.

Of course, most often I'm doing my very best to crack her up, and my humor can, as you all know, be pretty adult and suggestive at times. Clearly she gets that, appreciates it, and hopefully every once in awhile cracks a smile and has a chuckle when running across something I've written.

Bottom line, I really believe in her and care for her, and appreciate that she in some small way has had a positive experience in her Kenny Poo encounters, be they virtual or in person (she got a kick out of signing my flask after a show in Florida - check it here).

Cheers to you Haley, and thank you again for making me smile and feel appreciated. Meant a lot to me.

~Kenny Poo

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oh Darlin', Haley's Stylin'

I've sure been in a Haley state of mind, lately. Probably because she's had some damn strong vocal styling performances as of late that have really gotten my juices flowing (pardon the double entendre). One such performance that especially got my attention was the Oh Darlin' she sang this past Friday night at Room 5 in LA.

Now, I've heard Haley sing Oh Darlin' many, many times. It's a classic Beatles song that, in original form, follows a pattern of soft melody building to rocking crescendo, and back, and forward, until finishing with a powerful, belting jam.  No doubt, Haley has shown can do a great job of stepping on the gas and powering through the song in its straight forward format.

However, this time Haley did what Haley does better than anyone else. She brilliantly styled and interpreted the vocal, seamlessly adding tugs of playful, sexy, buttery, sultry, raspy, tender tones with some good rocking and fun bantering. Best of all, she did this without ever losing the original melody or chorus in the process. It's brilliant, it's organic, it's artistic, it's instinctual, it's innate, it's mad talent, it's Haley Fucking Reinhart at her highest level, and it's why I can't bear the thought of her getting wasted in the confines of contemporary pop music.

Watch the video, and you'll find yourself alternately smiling, jamming, getting turned on, laughing, singing and, finally, just admiring this playful vixen's God-given gifts on display. The awkwardness that sometimes accompanies her when forced to follow formula is gone, as it always is when she's able to color outside the lines and FEEL the music in her. This is why she's a born jazz singer; the open format allows her instincts and talent to flow rather than be confined by pop formulas and patterns.

Also, take a moment to appreciate her guitarist, John Notto. He beautifully finessed his playing to follow and guide Haley's musical interpretation.

Alright, alright...enough blather from me. Just check it out, people. It's great shit!

~Kenny Poo

Monday, October 15, 2012

Phillip Phillips: The World From The Side Of The Moon

Very excited to learn that reigning American Idol champ Phillip Phillips will be releasing his debut album, The World From The Side Of The Moon, on November 19th! Even more excited to find out he'll be coming to my "Home" (pun intended) of Boca Raton on December 1st so I can see him perform his new tunes live! 


Ahem...sorry for the outburst. Let me put it more professionally. 


Originally, Phillip said he wanted to take more time, maybe release his album in the January/February time frame, but I think that would've been a mistake because "striking while the iron is hot" is critical to producing a hit record after Idol. Apparently, Interscope thought so, too, and thus the pre-Black Friday release date. With the incredible popularity of "Home", and the fresh memory of his Idol win, I think P2 has all the mojo rising right now, and if the album is as strong as I suspect it will be I think he'll sell a TON of copies.

Phil has said his album will have a jazz/acoustic/alternative rock sound, and he wrote most of the songs himself.  If this is indeed the case, I'm thrilled, as it means a very adult themed record with some real depth and heft. More Crystal Bowersox's powerful LP, Farmer's Daughter, than the cutesy, lightweight pop of Lee Dewyze's Live It Up.

Also, hopefully, Interscope and 19 Management will be smart enough NOT to promote him as a teen pop-idol, but as a new ADULT artist. Being half-ninety, I can't tell you how much it creeped me out watching and reading Haley Reinhart's mind-numbing interviews with Tiger Beat, 17 and other teen magazines as her management team badly botched the promotion of her wonderfully sassy, sexy, retro-variety album, Listen Up! 

Lesson to labels: Never market old souls with and edge to twendy, tweenage Beiber/1D fans, damn it! It's an adult thang! Can't have it both ways!

Anyway, you can now pre-order Phillip's new album at Target and Amazon. Hopefully, it will soon be available on iTunes soon, as well.

 ~Kenny Poo

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Haley Reinhart Shines at Carnegie

"The beautiful, talented, amazing Miss Haley Reinhart!" - Irvin Mayfield Jr.

This past Monday night at Carnegie Hall, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Irvin Mayfield Jr's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, my musical fantasy came to fruition. Haley Reinhart (you know, that gorgeous bombshell with the luscious voice who I'm completely hooked on) gave a stellar performance at the prestigious event I believe will launch her jazz singing career on a one-way path to stardom.

Kenny Poo readers will remember that just last month I wrote an open letter to Haley imploring her to dedicate herself to a career in jazz.  She's so naturally gifted in this genre she would become one of the true legends of jazz by dedicating herself to the craft, and I believe could carry the torch of elevating jazz popularity to a whole new generation of listeners.

Listening to the stream of the concert, Mayfield did a sensational job infusing this star-studded, Grammy-laden affair with the warmth, humor, charm and style of New Orleans. The man is not only a great musician, conductor, band leader, humanitarian and music professor, he's also a great entertainer and showman with a wonderful sense of humor.

So, how did Haley find him, and why was she performing at this Carnegie Hall extravaganza in the first place? Interestingly, Mayfield invited Haley to perform last year after she blew him away with a stunning, impromptu performance of "God Bless The Child" at his club in The French Quarter on a night out with her good friend Casey Abrams.

Casey filmed the footage of Haley's unbelievable performance and uploaded it to YouTube (where it's received well over 100k views), and also was invited to the Carnegie gig, where he sang a verse of "Hit The Road Jack" along with Haley and others, and got to play bass on another song, too.

But the star of the night (besides Irvin Mayfield Jr) was Haley. She sang two solos, including a reprise of "God Bless The Child" and a fantastic blues number called "Blues In The Night" (posted above).  Appearing stunningly gorgeous and refined in her shimmering gold gown, she looked and sounded like she was born to be a world class jazz singer.

One of the more touching moments came when Mayfield could not contain his love for Haley while introducing her to the Carnegie audience, describing her as "The beautiful, talented, amazing Miss Haley Reinhart!" Haley was clearly moved and flattered, holding her heart when he was finished.

In fact, it was obvious Haley was overwhelmed with joy and deeply honored to be performing with such a brilliant cast of legends at this legendary venue, and understandably seemed a bit nervous at first, but as she began to sing her incredible voice just melted the audience's hearts and ears alike. The tone and phrasings coming so natural and buttery smooth.

May this be the first of many such performances for Haley, with several jazz albums and Grammy awards to follow. I truly believe Haley's destined to become one of jazz music's all time greats, and this grand night at Carnegie may very well be looked back upon as the gala that helped launch it all.

Thank you Irvin Mayfield for recognizing Haley's unique vocal gifts and treating her with such respect and class. Thank you Casey Abrams for being such a good friend and helping facilitate this by filming that magical night in New Orleans. And, most of all, congratulations Haley on making it all possible with your incredible voice and talent. You've made me very proud to be a fan.

~Kenny Poo