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

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mama's got a label, her Village now can sleep at night

 Crystal Bowersox 2012 L

I'm absolutely THRILLED to report the news that Crystal "Mamasox" Bowersox has been signed to a new record label! Shanachie Entertainment is her music home now, and being a medium-sized, Indie-esque label it's a perfect fit for Mama's folksy, rootsy, soulful, singer/songwriter style.

Mama reportedly has no less than 18 new songs penned and ready to be recorded, and no telling how many more yet to be written floating in her mind. First step, though, will be choosing a producer to work with, and after that pounding the studio with a vengeance. Target date for album release is the beginning of 2013, with hopefully a new single to be released sometime prior.

That means new music from Mama as soon as the next 90 days!

Anyway, I'm so happy things turned out the way they did for her. Mama got to make a great album (Farmer's Daughter) with Jive Records after Idol, but was being pushed to either go more pop-rock or country, neither of which is really her natural fit, in order to fit in with today's pop culture.

As we all know by now, Mama is not that kinda gal. Oh, she can pull elements from other genres and incorporate them into her own music, but, ultimately, for the fit to be right this indie-girl at heart needs to make her own music, with emphasis on acoustic guitar, bass and her sublimely pristine voice singing her heartfelt stories from the soul, sounding the way they were meant to sound, and feeling the way they were meant to feel.

Congrats, Mama. You've chosen the road less traveled, because you really had no choice, because it's who you are inside and one way or the other you were gonna find your way back onto that path again.

Welcome home.

~Kenny Poo