Sep 17

Never Say Die

I had really forgotten just how good this album was.  Officially Black Sabbath's last album with the original lineup, "Never Say Die" is a venture into Sabbath Jazz.  Now of course your highbrow jazz fan will dismiss this as rock and roll fodder, however this is truly a step in a few different directions for the down tuned masters of reality.  The result is fantastic for the listener.  You get to hear and feel a different and lighter side of the band without missing the heavy grooves Sabbath is known for on their earlier works.  Enjoy now what I call Sabbath conjuring the progressive realm. with Johnny Blade.

I think they also deserve credit for while glimpsing into the eighties, they keep their roots planted firmly in the seventies avoiding many of the eighties generic writing pitfalls.  Do not overlook this album.


Aug 17


These guys are the real deal.  Touring the States now.  Check them out live.  I already have my tickets.

Also, after a brief stint in my time machine, I realized that it was in fact broken and the sounds I was listening to was actually Horisant from their 2015 release "Odyssey".  Fantastic throwback band leading us into the future.

Check them out.....


Jun 17

New and Refreshing

Let me say that there is a ton of new great music out there today.  As you become an avid reader of Third Orb you will know that I am an early 70's rock junkie.  My ass is firmly planted in the hazy basement of yesteryear and that will never fucking change.  Some of the best music ever created came out then and it is just fact. With that being said,  I must say that for those who are longing for the bong gripping face melting rock of old, fear not my friend, there is a shitload of great bands, tunes and albums to be heard.  First up....Wolf People.

Wolf People continue the tradition of amazing music coming from across the pond. They manage to channel rock titans like Jethro Tull and King Crimson while forging their own musical path through the kingdom and beyond. There are a few videos that also showcase their fantastic live performances.  My suggestion is to look at their tour schedule and check them out.

Label mates Black Mountain are my second recommendation for a newer band that can flat out lay it down.  Encompassing two great vocalists that play very well off each other, Black Mountain crafts songs that can stand up on their own against those great rock songs of old.  Here is a taste............

What a cool vibe they infect us with.  Fantastic.  I will be writing more about both of these bands in future pages of Third Orb.

Jun 17

Getting to the Root of the Music

Many times I will feed my music addition in different ways.  Say for example I will take a word.  A simple word that comes from nowhere in particular, it is just floating around in space until it somehow connects to your brain and therefore gets added to your conveyor belt of thoughts.  For today let's use the word "root".  The word has many meanings as many words do, especially in the often confusing English language.  I will take that word and then think of any song or band or album that includes the word.  So my first thought comes from back in 1968 and a great Deep Purple track off of their debut album " Shades of Deep Purple".  It is certainly some fantastic psychedelic progressive hard rock from back in the day.  You can nearly travel back in time and picture the people dancing madly in the hedonistic London clubs to this one.




The next root word that comes to mind is a band that I loved back in the 90's, Rusted Root.  I was lucky enough to catch one of their shows back then, I believe 1995 or 96, and it was wonderful.  A very talented group of musicians from Pennsylvania, they truly captivated everyone in attendance that night including yours truly.  They blend folk rock with a mix of celtic and middle eastern influences with just the right dose of bluegrass.  Here is  a little taste:

I also begin to think about the roots of all of my favorite bands.  Who they listened to and who they were influenced by.  I will have an entire blog or two, (maybe seven), devoted to exploring and discovering that.  Finishing out my thoughts on the word "root", I have to include a great band from Sweden, Siena Root.

The music of Siena Root will instantly take you back in time to the early days of Hard Rock.  Formed in the late 90's it may be hard to convince some of you fully grey haired readers that you didn't see them opening for Budgie back in 1970.  They lay down a groove that will make your head and soul start moving the way it was meant too. They are a fucking fantastic band that I swear to God you all will love. Especially if you  are very, very tired of the "new" rock music out there. (Please understand I use the term "rock" very fucking loosely).  They may restore your soul that there is in fact great newer music out there to be played over and over.  Siena Root is easily one of those bands.  Check 'em out:


May 17

With Restraint and Caution

I must say something about that recent passing of Chris Cornell. At third orb I always like to stay positive, however when the music world loses such a talent at a relatively young age and especially unexpected, I am compelled to write.  Instead of the last few days and his recent passing, I am going to tell you about his music and help you to understand why this is such a gut punch.

I first came to hear Soundgarden with their Louder Than Love album.  I freaking loved that album and especially  Cornell's voice.  You could hear the Robert Plant influence but it was something more than just that. It was also his ability to craft songs with guitar, voice, and melody.  Their next release Badmotorfinger has not left my musical ears for more than a month at a time since it was released.  That album was just that fucking amazing. Songs like "Outshined", "Rusty Cage" and "Searching with My Good Eye Closed" will forever be listed on my list of some of the best rock music to be ever made.  Plain and Simple.

And on subsequent Soundgarden releases the quality and quantity of the depth of Chris Cornell's abilities were spectacular.  Try for instance "Burden in my Hand".

No matter who he played with his talent overshadowed everyone else.  It wasn't forced however, it was organic and natural. It just was what it was.  I remember joking to a music buddy of mine that while I like Zach De La Rocha and what Rage Against the Machine has done, I would like to hear the band playing with someone who is a more natural singer, like Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. I had to chuckle to myself when I first heard Audioslave as it was incredible music as well.  I chuckled because I guess I wasn't alone.

My point is that we lost a terrific musician and why it is such a gut punch for many of us is that from that entire "Grunge" era.  ( I always hated that fucking term for some reason) The reason why is because for many of us Chris was the pinnacle of that time.  He was the dude.  He was "that" guy.  He was the coolest.  The best voice, the best songs.  And after learning many of his songs over the years he was also a mentor.  A teacher.  One of the guys who just "get's it".

It will take some time to wrap my head around the fact that one of my biggest musical influences of that time period or even any time period is gone.  So I will leave you today with an intimate video of Chris Cornell doing what he did best.  Transporting us away to another place with brilliant music.


May 17

Caught in the devil's bargain

I was listening to the classic album "Deja Vu" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young this morning. It is a fantastic listen and I have always loved "Woodstock" in particular. Quite different in style from Joni Mitchell's original version, it rocks with near perfect precision while edging close in style to reckless abandon.  If you have not heard it in a while or ever, feel the power below.


As a guitarist of now over 30 years I must admit that I sing incorrect lyrics all the time.  Who the hell am I kidding.  I sing the wrong lyrics daily.  This song is no exception.  We will get to Joni's original song in a few but I must say that I was never exactly sure of the lyrics until recently.  On the sometimes derivative path of music discovery, it all becomes worthwhile when you stumble upon god given talent.  Or talent influenced from below. Hell, I don't know.  Talent that will literally cause one to pause in their fast paced existence and take a deep breath. It is the kind of talent that makes you instantly play the song or video again. This time it was a female duo from Sweden called Good Harvest.  This completely blew me away and I swear I just closed my eyes and played this over and over at least a dozen times in a row. It is the intimacy of the performance that draws you in.  The balance of vocals and guitars is near perfection.  Take a listen for yourself:

Their performance really showcases how great this song is in not only structure but especially lyrically.  Yes, the first time I actually understood the lyrics.  It was the first time I realized just how brilliant the lyrics are.  It made me instantly want to revisit the original Mitchell version.  This video with the priceless introduction by Joni herself with a little background of the song is special.  Joni's talent and emotions pour out of her.  This is raw and fragile at the same time. A magical moment in time and fans of all sorts of music can appreciate a great song not long after it was created. Enjoy.

May 17

Love The One Your With

If you become an avid reader of this music blog, you will learn that I am a music schizophrenic.  Currently I am on another Bob Seger fix.  That voice and the vibe he puts out whether it's with the fantastic Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section or the Silver Bullet Band, it just grooves.  I fucking love Stephen Stills' "Love the one your with".  It is a true timeless classic song.  But when I play Seger's version I have to stand up and shake it.  I am powerless against it. Just like Linda Blair against Beezlebub, (piss off spell check),  it takes over and not even a well dressed old catholic priest can save me.  Save the holy water father and let's just enjoy.


It makes me start to think about all of the other great music from Detroit.  Like all of the Motown artists, The Amboy Dukes and Ted Nugent, Kiss....  For crying out loud I could probably write for a month on Kiss alone.  The White Stripes, MC5.....The list goes on and on and on.  The one band in the rock realm that does not get nearly enough credit for being a true, gritty, dirty, loud, nasty, and downright killer band is the one and only....................


Bad ass guitar riffs, a legendary rhythm section, and a truly underrated and fucking amazing vocalist.

I am talking about Jim McCarty, Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice, and Rusty Day.

These guys only released three studio albums if my hazy memory serves me well.  They are all must have classic albums.  They will not only kick your ass but they will fill your soul with enough or the right kind of rock music to last a lifetime.  If you like hard rock, especially early seventies hard rock, I promise you will fucking love these guys.  Here is just a taste.

Unfortunately we have to put this particular lineup in the Ghost Category as Rusty Day was shot and killed at his home in 1982.  What we are left with is three incredible musical statements from four guys who got together for a short time and made some timeless music.  Enjoy.

May 17

If your going to do it.

"If your going to do it, do it live on stage, or don't do it at all." - Neil Fallon

There is nothing quite like the experience of live music.  No matter what genre or even sometimes the caliber of the players, live music can truly fill the soul.  I can remember my first live show.  Now I will let you in on a little secret.  As a teenage rocker learning guitar in the 1980's, I always boasted to my buddies that my first concert was Judas Priest at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio.  That was "almost" the truth. Now my first club concert was Joe Satriani at Bogart's in Cincinnati on the Surfing with the Alien tour.  Judas Priest was actually my second arena concert.  My first arena concert was years earlier and it was Porter Wagoner.  Now listen, as I got older I certainly can appreciate the talent and abilities of Mr. Wagoner.  However, to keep my standing as a card carrying heavy metal rocker in the mid -late 1980's, I stuck with Priest.

I certainly can remember from that Porter Wagoner show that it was very entertaining. Even though I was there as a punishment if I recall, I can remember that I had a good time and something about his red boots?  I certainly grew up a heavy metal kid, however as time passed I grew to love and I mean love some good ol' country music.  As the depth of my abilities grew on guitar, I started to fear country and bluegrass guitar players.  So many of those guys and gals can pick.  And while I still will always prefer the ambiguous and mysterious lyrics of my dear old rock and roll, sometimes in life a straight forward lyric song by a country legend is all you need.

I grew up venturing into the heart of bluegrass country several times a year as we went to visit family in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.  I still have a ton of family there and over the years I have been exposed to a lot of talented musicians.  I will be forever grateful for that exposure.  The honesty of that type of music can be very moving.

No matter what type of music you may be into I urge everyone to get out and enjoy every bit of every genre.  Live music is a point in time that can speak directly to you on a very personal level.  It takes your mind and lets you travel without ever moving your feet.  There are very few things in life that can do that.  Enjoy.

May 17

And then there was one

So I have been a daily music listener for several decades now.  As I sift through my albums and cd's  or search on the internet for something to get my fix for the day, there is always my standard go to bands.  You know the band or artist who whether you realize it or not is always lurking in the back of your mind.  Or maybe the front of your mind. The music that has truly spoken to you for whatever reason.  It could be the beat, the sound, the vibe, the lyrics, the backstory.  Who the hell knows why.  It is beyond understanding. It just is what it is. (Yes I hate that phrase as well but sometimes it fits, so fuck it.)  My question to you is who is that go to band ?  For me the choice is simple.  Deep Purple.  Back in 1973 K-Tel released a compilation album called "Superstars of the Seventies". It was a phenomenal album set with a who's who of artists and bands.  When I first heard Deep Purple's "Hush" I was hooked.  I think initially it was the melody and rhythm that got me. I mentioned to my Uncle Marty that I liked the song. Now what happened just a few days later is one of those moments in time that you never forget.  Those moments that are so important whether you realize it at the time or not.  I went to visit my uncle who lived about 20 minutes away. He was and still is one of those "cool" uncles who is always glad to teach and share is vast knowledge and experiences. He drove a sweet Mustang and in the corner of his apartment sat a cool older electric organ with a Deep Purple songbook on top. Fuck yes! So during this particular visit, as he was trying to explain to me about Quadraphonic sound, which was very fucking confusing to me at the time, he handed me a copy of Deep Purple's "Machine Head". He kept talking as he put on the album.  Now he could have chosen the rock anthem "Smoke on the Water", or maybe even the 70's rock radio staple "Highway Star".  Now keep in mind this is all new music to me.  Instead he went for the jugular.  He chose "Lazy".  He had those speakers cranked.  The kind of level where it almost sounds like the speakers cannot handle the power from the receiver.  Now I am of course preaching to the choir for all Purple fans out there, but for those who have never heard "Lazy",  holy shit.  The intro when played at it's proper required volume of fucking loud, literally sounds like the speaker will in fact explode. So I was instantly stunned and blown away. Now I fucking love "Hush" but this was different.  Later on of course I realized that those were two different singers and essentially two completely different bands of the same name.  I had to have that album and to be honest it has not strayed too far from my turntable ever since.  I am now wondering what is the longest number of days I have gone without listening to them?  I can honestly say I doubt it has been longer than a week.  Now keep in mind that I listen to a shit ton of music.  I will be the first to admit that it goes well beyond passion and into the addiction stage.  I love it.  I can't help it. I don't want help for it.  If you have never heard Machine Head, or it has been along time, let me say either buy it or dust it off and put it on and turn it up.  Every song is incredible. It is easily one of the most important and influential rock and roll records ever made.  And it's not even my favorite by them! Enjoy.


May 17

Why Third Orb Exists

I would like to introduce myself and my blog. My name is Jon and this is Third Orb.  For decades I have been fascinated with music.  My earliest recollection comes from the 1970's and riding in the back of my parents white Chevy van.  There was a bed in the back and bright blue carpet hanging from the walls and ceiling.  I swear to God that carpet had to have been at least 3-4 inches long.  I am not sure what the hell they were thinking, but it was probably in style. Seat belts were not really a huge thing back then either, not like it is now anyway.  I would just lay back there on long trips and listen to the music my parents were playing on the 8 track in the van.  It was  where I first heard the music of Bob Seger and The Eagles.  They would play them over and over.  I suppose looking back now that Seger and The Eagles were both rock and roll enough for my Dad and just slightly country enough for my Mom. The years passed and I went a long time without listening much to Seger.  About 15 years or so ago I put  Night Moves on my turntable again.  Arguably his best work, ("Mongrel" fans have a valid point as well. Much more on that in later posts) listening to that album was like being transported back in time to that Chevy van with the bright blue carpet.  Holy shit what a fantastic piece of music it is. Of course the title track has coursed through the veins of most of us who have been within earshot of classic rock radio over the past few decades. Not to mention "Mainstreet" and "Rock and Roll Never Forgets".   But I believe the track that speaks most to me today is "Sunburst".  A perfect song to end side one.  Or any side for that matter.  Maybe I am just a sucker for any rock song that knows exactly how and where to throw in the flute.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that in my humble opinion, music is the answer.  It can move you.  It can change you.  It will make you laugh and also make you cry. It has the power to influence the world. It is in nearly all aspects of our lives.  In movies, on television, on our phones and ipads and ipods, if those still exist.  It is played at weddings, at sporting events, at funerals, and birthdays.  Needless to say it is an extremely influential  and important force in my life.  With the technology boom we are continuing to experience, music has never been more available to everyone, everywhere and with each passing day more and more music is available for us to hear.  While all of that is amazing and great, there is a huge downside.  A gigantic black hole sized downside.  This is where Third Orb comes in.

There is a fine line between being passionate about a subject and becoming obsessed. I crossed that line a very, very long time ago. I have been searching for the best music ever made for most of my life.  From listening to as many different radio stations as I could, reading anything and everything I could about music, whether it was books, magazines, or newspapers.  I was hooked.  When I became a teenager my love for music led to me learning how to play guitar.  That lead me to one of the best ways to discover new music.  Other musicians and music lovers.  Still to this day I learn from as much as I can from others.  I also love to share what I have learned as well.  Third Orb is the perfect vehicle for my music obsessed soul. With all of the music available to us today it can take a lot of time to filter through the masses to find the best.  While a lot of folks like to discover music themselves which is fantastic, many just don't have the time or desire.  Third Orb will constantly recommend and discuss decades of great, timeless music.  Nearly all genres will be discussed and many topics will be covered.  Including albums, bands, composers, instruments, reviews, oddities, ghosts, venues, etc.  I hope to find those like minded, music lovin' souls so we can all appreciate, preserve, educate, and discover the best music from our little planet that I like to call, the Third Orb.