We interrupt this week's regularly scheduled program of local music news for the following brief but timely rant.
It's a well-kept secret among DJs and their corporate overlords, but the songs radio stations play actually do have titles. And the artists who record them actually do have names. And if DJs bothered to announce what they're playing, listeners might even throw a few dollars in those artists' direction.
Hey, it could happen. Last week, a top radio mogul shocked the industry by instructing on-air talent at his 130 stations to actually say what they play. CBS Radio president/CEO Dan Mason described his move as more of a "no-brainer" than an "epiphany."
Well, yeah. But try telling that to Clear Channel. Or, for that matter, Pikes Peak Community College's KEPC-FM 89.7, which hasn't announced a song it's played since the late 13th century.
Unlike KRCC-FM 91.5, where DJs like Vicky Gregor are conscientious about letting listeners know what they're listening to, KEPC has an all-music format with virtually no DJs. Instead, it has incessant reminders that you're listening to "Maximum Variety Radio," followed by really annoying radio promos for the college's communications program, which instructs students on how to make really annoying radio promos.
Given that the broadcast industry is fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent passage of a Performance Rights Act that would require them to actually pay musicians in order to play their music, would an occasional shout-out to the artists they're exploiting really be too much to ask?
Speaking of which, we have a few shout-outs of our own to do around here. Like to the musicians who will play a Stargazers Theatre benefit this Sunday, June 5, to help defray medical expenses incurred by Sue Reese, who passed away last month. Sue's brother, Michael Reese, is a phenomenal guitarist who's played with Keith Emerson and Mitch Mitchell, and is currently in A New Brain for Arnie. He'll be joined by Jake Loggins, Firefall's Jock Bartley, Fairlight 7 Jruhmz of Radio London, and plenty more. Great music, great cause.
We also got late word that hip-hop talent Caliba was doing a listening party for his sophomore album, THA NEXT-PERIENCE. Thing is, it was last night at Union Station, so can't help you there. But you can still check out Caliba at wordonthablocc.blogspot.com. An L.A. transplant who recorded his first album with the group 719, he spent some time down in Miami, and is now back in the Springs. You can go to YouTube to hear his early single "Mr. Satisfaction," a smooth retro-soul number that also features Angel Blacc & Mellow Dee.
Meanwhile, BJ Estares has released his own debut album, Full Time Student of the Blues. For fans of Fleetwood Mac — not the coked-out, gossamer Stevie Nicks version, but the early blues-rock stuff with Peter Green — Estares' music could be just the thing. He and his band Route 61 are hosting a free CD party at the Secret Garden (420 S. 19th St., ckretgarden.com) on Friday, June 10.
And finally, if you like Band of Horses, and the Band, and a bunch of bands in between, South Carolina's James Justin & Co. are playing Tuesday, June 7 at the Triple Nickel Tavern. Their sophomore album's standout track, "The Rescue," includes guest vocals from Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell (a drinking buddy) as well as the refrain: "Winds are getting strong / It's OK, hurricanes never last too long." A metaphor, James assures me, "but I do feel that in the aftermath of devastation, if you don't have hope, what do you have?"