Musical Multiple Personalities

Musical Multiple Personalities

Let me start out by wishing you the very best this holiday season, however you celebrate. We do a traditional Christmas at our home. Festivities generally begin with getting the tree. This normally involves at least 3 family feuds, one on which tree, another on securing/removing it from the vehicle, and a third on installation.

This year, it was an honest to God Christmas miracle. Tree selection was unanimous and took about ten minutes, vehicle loading and unloading happened without a hitch, and the tree was installed in the house with nary a cross word. Then, my husband broke out the Christmas music, and all hell broke loose.



You have to understand, I have teens, and as you read this, bear in mind that they are a subset of humanity. People assure me they will emerge from their hormone fug in a few more years and will once more take their place amongst the rest of us.

Back to Christmas music and tree decorating. Bing Crosby was banned as ‘not this stupid thing again.’ ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’, was disclaimed as that ‘date rape’ song. Frank Sinatra was greeted with growls, and the St. Martins-in-the-Field choir ended in a charge for the sound system.

Husband was gutted. Being husband, he entrenched himself in the “It’s bloody Christmas!” argument, which lit a fuse under teens, and our happy, family gathering evening teetered on the edge of disaster.

Mum to the rescue. COMPROMISE!!!

So, this year, we decorated the tree to “White Christmas” giving way to “Hit the Quan”, followed by Ed Sheeran, who relinquished the mic to Louis Armstrong (who was the only Christmas crooner to escape scorn). Louis was followed by that other Christmas classic by Dillon Francis, and DJ Shake “Get Low”.

Hey! We all mark the occasion differently. And in case you want to Hit the Quan – here we go. Just spreading the love this Christmas.

Creating a soundtrack…for a book?

Creating a soundtrack…for a book?

by Xio Axelrod

Forget Tomorrow features an embedded soundtrackA soundtrack for a book? It’s not really a new thing, but it isn’t done often. It seems like we may be seeing it more and more, though. Pintip Dunn’s debut release Forget Tomorrow was released with embedded audio. (Gorgeous stuff!) And Stephen King has been known to add music to his books from time to time. [Read more…]

Spooky Tunes for Halloween

Spooky Tunes for Halloween

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 16.23.49I love Halloween! Love spooky ghost stories and things that go bump in the night, love watching Jack Nicholson go bonkers in the Shining. I couldn’t wait to go to the supermarket (weren’t many pumpkin patches in West Philly) and pick out a pumpkin so I could make a jack o’ lantern. And I’d make Halloween decorations to hang in the windows and on the front door. I think my parents were amused by my Frankenstein and Dracula ornaments. They’d usually leave them up until it was time to start decorating for Christmas. I would tell my little brother scary stories or try to convince him that Michael Meyers from the Halloween films lived in the boiler room in our basement–I think he actually believed me one year. He certainly avoided going downstairs for a few weeks.

In the days leading up to Halloween were when I’d buy crazy tapes with spooky sounds and Halloween-themed songs. Kitschy, I know…but I was a kid and this sort of thing was allowed. 🙂 I still get a kick out of some of those goofy songs like “Monster Mash”.

Nowadays, my Halloween music taste runs more toward Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” or “Burning from the Inside”.

I also like singing along to the Ramones’ “Pet Semetary”, Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves in London” or the Specials’ “Ghost Town”.


I’m looking forward to Halloween this year. I think I’ll have a binge-watch of the Walking Dead. And there will definitely be a ton of Bauhaus playing as I hand out candy to the neighborhood kids.

What will you be listening to for Halloween?

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What Goes Around, Comes Around

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Ah. The sweet smell of nostalgia is in the air.

I mean on Youtube.

Let me start this love fest from the beginning.

Last Thanksgiving, we adopted a Labrador puppy.  We named him Jack.  And every time I leave him to drop the girls somewhere, or run an errand, or get to a meeting, I tell him, I’ll be right back, Jack.  Which I always, without fail, follow up in my head with, “and don’t ya come back no more no more no more no more”. Even though the song doesn’t really go that way, that’s how my mind works.

One morning recently, like a few others, I sang it, outloud.  My youngest daughter gave me the funniest looking scrunched up face and asked me, what was that?  So I told her, it’s a song my mom used to love.

She’s a bit of a music lover herself, Little Who, so she immediately wanted to hear this song of which I spoke. So I took a few minutes to sit down with her and go to Youtube to show her.  She got the biggest kick out of the song.

In case you’re completely lost and have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about here, the name is Hit the Road, Jack, by Ray Charles.

Hashtag CLASSIC.

I freaking have loved that song since I was a kid and danced around the kitchen of my mother’s old house with her every time it came on our AM/FM radio that sat near the phone. So of course, as the memories started flooding back (again), the next song I had to search for?

Remember this one?

My mom would crack me up, dancing and singing to that one. I still smile so big when I think about it.


elf pic –

So . . . Why am I making you listen to these oldies but goodies today? Because some things are timeless. And they don’t call them “goodies” for nothing. As old as some music gets, there’s always going to be someone to come along to love them like they’re brand spanking new.

This time, it’s my daughter.

Hope you enjoyed them too!

‘Til next time, big love,

Jo xoxo 6

Summer moved on…or how a-ha pretty much summed up Swedish summer

After two weeks of sticky summer heat in New York and Philadelphia, I’m back in Stockholm–where it’s already beginning to look and feel like autumn. Yes, you heard me correctly–it’s beginning to look and feel like autumn…and it’s only the first week of August. The sunlight is already paler than it was a few weeks ago (when we had it, since it was raining nearly every day). The air is noticeably cooler. The foliage on some of the trees dotting the hillside behind my apartment building is already beginning to turn from green to red. Summer just feels like it eluded Sweden. And now it’s already moving on.

And that reminds me of two songs by a-ha. Yes, those cute Norwegian guys who brought us everyone’s favourite 80s song, “Take on Me”. They made a lot of other really great songs too, but the only one most Americans remember is “Take on Me” — probably because of its catchy tune and iconic video.

But right now, there are two songs by A-ha that pretty much sum up what this summer has been like in Sweden: “The Sun Always Shines on TV” and “Summer Moved On”.  Admittedly, we’ve had a few good days of sunshine but they were few and far between. Here’s to hoping that next summer is better.




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Mood Music for a Heavy Soul

Mood Music for a Heavy Soul

There’s been a few posts about how music inspires us.  I love that I’m part of a group that shares that inspiration with me. I can be stuck on a chapter for days (sometimes weeks, okay?). Frustration builds while I struggle for time or ideas and then, unexpectedly, I’ll hear a song that fits my scene perfectly, and I’m back in the game immediately.

The Black Keys have been there through some tough times, to give me some much needed boosts in times of need – and this song is no exception.


This is The Black Keys: “Heavy Soul”

Short but sweet this week. I bid you happy music searching!

Jo xoxo 6

Screaming the stress away

I love music–of all kinds. I’m a very moody music lover, but there are a few I listen to religiously.
Lately, the need to vent out the stress and tension requires the louder and growlier the better. My favorite time of day is getting in my truck after work, plugging in and turning up.
Punk rock has gotten me through some of the best times and most of the worst. Growing up, I was lucky to live in a melting pot of bad ass punk–the real stuff, not the pop they crank out now. Yes, that makes me sound like a snob, but I think it’s the same for most genres. Nicki Minaj is no Aretha Franklin, and Carrie Underwood is no Tammy Wynette. And Green Day is NOT punk rock.
I need it to rage with social and political uproar, fuck the world. All of it.
It’s like a warm spiky blanket that I understand, relate to and feel deep in my heart.
It also fuels my writing. The raw energy and pure feelings give me that “go for it” attitude. To some, it may be too much, but to me, give it all to me now!
I’m also a huge vinyl lover. At this very moment, I’m spinning TSOL. This is my original album I bought in a garage at a show in a backyard back in 1986. Best five bucks I ever paid.
So, here I will introduce you to a little bit of my magic music. I chose a tame one… this time!

Headbanger’s Ball

Headbanger’s Ball

So, there used to be a show on MTV that showcased metal and rock bands. And it was cool. Today, I’m doing my version. 🙂
I love music. It’s usually playing at home, it’s always playing in the car. I even married a musician. My tastes run from Celtic bagpipes to Metal. You’ll find everything from Broadway show tunes to Avenged Sevenfold in my music library, but my preferences usually tend toward hard rock. Give me a great vocals, loud guitars, banging drums, and I’m a happy girl.
Let’s start things off with some Volbeat: A Warrior’s Call. (LOVE these guys!) This song is PERFECT for kickboxing.
Next up, Foo Fighters, one of my favorites. I’ve followed them from the beginning.
I’m super excited to be going to their concert in July. Here’s No Way Back:
And now, for something different, here’s Something Different, by one of my other all-time faves, Godsmack.
Leather jacket, motorcycle… yeah, Sully Erna rocks. I’ve seen them live twice. AWESOME. SHOW.
And finally to send you off, here’s Stone Sour (I LOVE Corey Taylor’s voice), doing a cover of Judas Priest’s
Heading Out to the Highway. I think this works well as a road trip song. 🙂
I wish life came with a soundtrack. Since it didn’t, you have to create your own. The above songs are a small part of my list. What’s on yours?
Amazingly Acapella

Amazingly Acapella


I have always been impressed by what some talented artists can do with just their voices. Can you really make music without musical instruments? Oh yes!

And today, for your listening pleasure, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite romantic acapella tunes.


We’re starting out with a team-up featuring two of my favorites. The amazing Peter Hollens ( and Sam Tsui (

And you won’t believe those aren’t real drums (but they aren’t) when listening to Home Free (

And even a bad romance is good when it’s On The Rocks. (Don’t have their own channel but search ‘On The Rocks’ for tons of great performances)

And yes, please bring back The Sing Off!

To round out this all voice version of Dinner Music, let me present the wonderful Mike Tompkins: (

So what are some of your favorite acapella tunes? Let me know in the comments below.


Does Music Inspire Your Writing or Take You Away From It

Does Music Inspire Your Writing or Take You Away From It

by Veronica Forand

I love listening to music. Everything. Classical, classic rock, pop, country, rhythm and blues. When I write, however, silence is a must. Music pumps out emotions and each one, whether love, regret, anger, or contentment affects me and my writing even when I don’t want those emotions in the scene I’m writing.

On the other hand, I’ve been known to take music breaks and listen to a few songs to put the emotion into my soul and let it seep onto the pages.

Here are a few go to songs:


The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling

LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem ft. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock

Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy


Luke Bryan – Drink A Beer

Johnny Cash – Hurt HD 720p

Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah (Official Video)

Music is powerful. The best music can take an entire stadium of cheering fans into silence. Use it to make you feel better when you’re down, or to just chill out and think about those who have touched our lives in some special way.

Rock on!