Heart To Heart Top 10 Video Playlist

Heart To Heart Top 10 Video Playlist

Heart To Heart Top 10 Video Playlist

Heart To Heart Top 10 Video Playlist

Like the Top 10 Audio list, this video list offers the top songs from the Heart To Heart Official Playlist, the sixty songs I played religiously over the roughly year and a half that it took to write and edit (and edit, and edit) Heart To Heart. There are also a few other songs from the official list that are thrown in here, just for fun.

Unfortunately, not every song has an official video, some are simply fan-made such as the Dark Shadows tune, “Go All The Way,” which was never officially released.

Artists on this video list include Lorde, Ellie Goulding, Santigold, Icona Pop, Florence + the Machine, and more.

Also check out the Official Blood To Blood Playlist so see what I listened to while writing the first book in the Angelica Brown Series, Blood To Blood.

Heart To Heart Top Ten Audio Playlist

Heart To Heart Top Ten Audio Playlist

If you read my last post, you’ll know I had sixty songs on constant rotation while writing Heart To Heart. Like Blood To Blood‘s playlist, the compilation of songs reflect my obsession with always playing music while writing or doing anything in general.

Some of the songs were played more than others, and I always like to check out the “Number of Plays” column in iTunes to get a glance at which tunes I played more than others. Most of this list features female artists that I pretty much wrote to non-stop. The wildcard in the bunch is a song from the Johnny Depp starrer Dark Shadows that was never even released (don’t ask me how it got it in my playlist, I’ll plead the fifth if you do). The only other soundtrack song comes from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; Santigold’s goose pimple-inducing “Shooting Arrows At The Sky.”

This audio playlist features the Top 10 of the list in order of plays, starting with the most played. For the entire official list check here. Enjoy the tunes!

Heart To Heart Top Ten Audio Playlist

Heart To Heart Official Playlist

Blood To Blood Official Playlist

List of Artists – “Sun City” Video – Artists United Against Apartheid

List of Artists – “Sun City” Video – Artists United Against Apartheid

List of Artists - "Sun City" Video - Artists United Against Apartheid

List of Artists – “Sun City” Video – Artists United Against Apartheid – Bruce Springsteen, David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks                 Photo: 30daysout



It’s a day after the passing of the great Nelson Mandela and my mind is going back in time to when apartheid was brought to the attention of the world, and most importantly, youth such as myself, through music.

One thing that came to mind was this 80’s video. I’d seen it many times as a kid growing up in Boston on the awesome V66; a progressive, local music video channel that made MTV look like the joke we all learned it to be later.

While MTV balked at playing videos featuring black artists (Michael Jackson was the first in heavy rotation), V66 routinely played this political video which featured a new music called rap as well as legends of the industry such as Miles Davis. The video featured an exciting cross-section of genres, nationalities and generations; everyone from Ringo Star to Jimmy Cliff to a young-ish Bruce Springsteen to what was left of the original Temptations (David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks).

Below is a list of all the music artists, personalities and celebrities that appeared in the video. If I have missed anybody, please leave a comment and I’ll add after verification.

RIP Nelson Mandela!

Afrika Bambaataa
Big Youth
Bob Dylan
Bob Geldof
Bobby Womack
Bonnie Raitt
Bruce Springsteen
Charlie Wilson
Clarence Clemons
Darlene Love
Daryl Hall
Daryl Hannah
David Ruffin
Duke Bootee
Dumisani Kumalo
Eddie Kendricks
George Clinton
Gil Scott-Heron
Hart Perry
Herbie Hancock
Iqbal Akhund
Jackson Browne
Jennifer Davis
Jesse Jackson
Jimmy Cliff
Joey Ramone
John Oates
Jonathan Demme
Keith Richards
Kurtis Blow
Linton Kwesi Johnson
Lotti Golden
Lou Reed
Mark Morales
Melle Mel
Michael Monroe
Miles Davis
Nona Hendryx
Pat Benatar
Pete Townshend
Peter Gabriel
Peter Garrett
Peter Wolf
Ray Barretto
Rene Gezan
Ringo Starr
Ron Carter
Ron Wood
Rubén Blades
Sonny Okosuns
Stanley Jordan
Steven Van Zandt
Stiv Bators
Tina B.
Tony Williams
Via Afrika
Will Downing
Winnie Mandela
Zak Starkey


Also see: Artists United Against Apartheid

Source: IMDB.com, Wikipedia

List of Artists – “Sun City” Video – Artists United Against Apartheid

Muse 2013 – Boston

Muse 2013 – Boston

Last night, I took some time away from tapping on the computer to see my favorite band Muse. This time around they’re touring North America in support of their latest album The 2nd Law, and, as always, they were EPIC. If you have never seen them live, go now.

I took some video; unfortunately the sound is terrible, but you can get a great feeling for the light show. A friend who works at the Boston (TD for the corporate purists) Garden hooked me up with the playlist before the show. I was very excited to see they’d be playing a good mix of the new stuff, not so new stuff (from the previous album Resistance), older stuff (as in Starlight from Black Holes and Revelations) and classics (“Time Is Running Out” and one of my all-time faves “Stockholm Syndrome” from waaaay back in the day). What I didn’t know was they’d nix one of the new songs (“Animals”) for one of my top 3 Muse songs, (“Map of the Problematique”), or that they’d do a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s version of the “Star Spangled Banner” or a great partial cover of “House of The Rising Sun” complete with the audience singing the lyrics. Need I say I was amped?

So now, more than 24 hours later I’m still high on Muse adrenaline. I’m no groupie but I would definitely travel to another city, or country to see this band. Believe me, there is no other band in the world I can say that about. Below you can get an idea as to why their’s is referred to as one of, and sometimes THE, best live rock show on the planet. Their laser shows gets sicker every year.

Muse Apr. 12 – Boston “Follow Me”

Muse Apr. 12 – Boston “Supermassive Blackhole”

Muse Apr. 12, Boston – Uprising

Muse 2013 – Boston

O Come All Ye Faithful – RIP Sandy Hook Angels

O Come All Ye Faithful – RIP Sandy Hook Angels

On this weekend when so many Americans need emotional support and a sense of stability in the wake of the unspeakable incidents that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I rediscovered a video which has repeatedly brought comfort to my soul. When I write about “The Note For Which There Is No Name” (Blood To Blood) I think of Mariah Carey and the angelic beauty she communicates in this version of “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

At 2:40, there is an indescribable look on Patricia Carey’s face as she gazes at her daughter. That gaze speaks of years of struggle, love, sacrifice and reward. It is a look that revels in the honor of knowing that your “mom work” paid off.This look of pure love and joy almost always brings a smile to my face.

Nevertheless, today my heart breaks when I see the parents of the angels who were taken from us at Sandy Hook; angels whose parents will never have the opportunity to gaze lovingly at them as they live out their dreams. Angels who will never see their children again in this life.

God bless the parents and children of the angels of Sandy Hook. God bless our country and show us the Light.

“O Come All Ye Faithful”

O Come All Ye Faithful – RIP Sandy Hook Angels

In Loving Memory

In loving memory of my dad…

My father passed away a few days ago. His health had been declining for a long time, so it was not an unexpected event. Nonetheless, the melancholy felt while viewing old family photos runs deep.

Some of my happiest memories of my dad are from when I was a small child. There is a particular soundtrack to these memories: music that evokes the golden glow that covered the world as seen by my young eyes and processed by my yet-to-be-jaded mind. My dad had very interesting tastes in music; he was old school and conservative, a lover of classic country, 70s soul, vintage reggae and classical music. When I was little, the radio played almost 24-7, and my adult need for having constant music playing is due, in part, to the fact that my dad *always* had the radio on in the house and in the car.

As my father lay in an irreversible coma during the last days of his life, his body was unable to do much, but the nurse informed me the hearing is the last thing to go. I immediately went out and purchased a little cd player/boombox and a few CDs on my way to the hospital. Unable to find any Charlie Pride, or Tom Jones (two of his favorite artists) I grabbed Mozart, Puccini and Chopin compilations. As the family surrounded dad in love, prayer, laughs and memories, the music played in the background.

That is until the daft thing thing stopped working. “Daft,” as well as “what the sam hill,” is the type of polite expletive my father, a consummate gentleman, would use during stressful times, usually behind the wheel while driving through Assachusetts traffic. Unlike me, his artsy, outspoken daughter, he never swore.

Frustrated, I took the malfunctioning boombox back to the store. Fortunately, it was discovered that my son’s little boom box/radio actually did the trick, after having been written off last year as a lost cause when his scratched Sesame Street CDs refused to play. Rejoicing, I grabbed it on my way back to the hospital. The last thing dad heard in this existence was Mozart’s “Serenade in G” and “Piano Sonata No. 15 in C” playing on continual loop in the background, right by his pillow.

After dad’s soul left this plane of existence, the lyrics of a song started to play in my mind. The song’s melody was clear, but the words, heard when I couldn’t have been older than 4, were a mystery; I could only recall a few:

Baby I know. I know I could be so in love with you.

The melody evoked warm feelings of childhood joy, innocence and head-to-toe happiness, the emotions I basked in at the time of my life when those emotions ruled all.

But what the sam hill was that song?

Immediately I typed the remembered words into Google search and found the song: “Oh, Babe What Would You Say” by Hurricane Smith. Listening caused me to relive those ebullient feelings of a simpler time when a smiling, kind man with a big heart would play hide and seek with me in the living room and reward me with a Hershey bar, when he would smile at me with loving eyes and my world felt safe and warm. I wept with tears of wonder while downloading the song from iTunes. It’s been playing on continuous loop ever since.

In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory

Thank you daddy for sharing your love of music. Thank you for the wonderful memories. Thank you for being my father. It is my prayer that you enjoy the music of the One Soul forever.

In loving memory

“Oh, Babe What Would You Say” – Hurricane Smith

“Oh, Babe What Would You Say” – Hurricane Smith

This song started playing in my head almost immediately after my dad passed away a few days ago. I have been constantly playing it on continuous loop ever since.

The version I downloaded from iTunes is just as my subconscious remembered it; featuring a lush background of big band strings and horns with a glorious saxophone solo.

I love this song. Joy ensues every time I hear it. Memories of my loving dad as the center of my world flood my senses with every note. Reading the comments from others around the ‘net shows that I’m not alone. There is an intrinsically nostalgic vibe to this song which has withstood the test of time.

I also uncovered a performance from the Johnny Carson show.

Hurricane Smith, a studio engineer, worked extensively with the Beatles which may or may not explain the upbeat quirkiness. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Rest in glorious peace, daddy. Thanks for the memories.

Hurricane Smith on YouTube

“Oh, Babe What Would You Say” – Hurricane Smith

Current Playlist

My current playlist

To answer the question of what’s on my current playlist, I’m listing the most prominent artists on my daily rotation. This list changes as my mood changes and I think you might be surprised at what’s on it today.

These tunes are getting ridiculous play regardless of whether they’re connected to a scene, or character, or not. Many of these songs have a direct relationship to what I’m writing, some of them have no connection whatsoever–at least none that I can see right now. Sometimes, I’ll have music on rotation for no apparent reason until one day it either hits me as to why it’s on the list, or it just starts making sense. Sometimes the characters choose the song(s) and I have little to do with it.

For the record I’m currently writing two pieces: a short story and the follow-up to Blood To Blood.

Current playlist: Santigold

Current playlist: Santigold

Current playlist: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Current playlist: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Current playlist: Green Day

Current playlist: Green Day

Artists in current rotation

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Green Day

Andy Gibb
Muse (of course)

Cee-lo Green
Kylie Minogue
Arcade Fire

Alabama Shakes
Class Actress

My Muses – Van Hunt

One of my favorite all-time muses is Van Hunt. I interviewed him back in the mid 2000s, but had fallen in love with his eclectic style of music way before then.

Van Hunt

Van Hunt

When it comes to categorizing his style, it’s impossible to squeeze his discography into one genre; he covers everything from soul, to rock, to funk, to pop.

While his music is unpredictable he’s always superior when it comes to creating a specific atmosphere and evoking a mood. “At the End of a Slow Dance” is one of my favorite Van Hunt songs, and continually haunts me years after first hearing it.



Van Hunt – “At the End of a Slow Dance”



Van Hunt’s recent album is more rock oriented and has one or two tunes that’s found their way onto my current playlist for the Blood To Blood sequel.

My Muses: Top 3 Muse Songs

Out of all the thousands of songs that inspire my writing, the ones that repeatedly rise to the top come from one band. As a result, several have consistently been the top 3 Muse songs that influenced my work.



Over ten years ago when I lived in Los Angeles, the local radio station WKROQ was one of the few that gave this band any love. Since hearing them, I’ve not only been a fan of Muse, I’ve also rabidly consumed every lyric their lead vocalist, and resident mad man/genius, pens.

I could rant about Matthew Bellamy’s brilliance, the band’s amazing live performances, etc. etc. but that’s another post. Right now I’d like to talk about their impact on my writing and share with you the the top 3 Muse songs that helped shape my book.

Top 3 Muse Songs

– This song is the biggest musical thread in the fabric of Blood To Blood. It is a rally cry disguised as a love song. Absolutely brilliant. “Whatever they say, your soul’s unbreakable.”


-This love song is one of their most haunting songs. It is the inspiration for a couple of romantic scenes in the book.

Map of The Problematique

– This song changed my writing. Seriously. In part, it was responsible for  introducing a level of darkness into the lives of my characters, particularly Justin McCarthy.

There are many more Muse songs that inspired the tone of Blood To Blood. An honorable mention goes to “Bliss” “Cave” and of course “Time Is Running Out.”