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By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor

This is a love letter to Love 'Forever Changes'

Some albums are hits right out of the gate, others take a while to build an audience before breaking big. Then, there are those albums that linger for decades, every once in a while, new ears discover it, and it sinks in so profoundly, the new converts spread the word. The cycle repeats and continues. That was the case for the album 'Forever Changes’ by the group Love.

Formed in 1965 by Arthur Lee, Love were a fixture on the Los Angeles club scene, playing alongside other like-minded combos such as The Doors, The Byrds, The Turtles, and so on. Each had their own take on rock and roll music, though probably the least well known of that list, something about Love had them standing as tall, if not taller than the others. Something about Arthur Lee's vision of the music was a cut above. Love's music was folk, rock, R&B, and jazz, all rolled together. Sometimes gentle and beautiful, other times savage and aggressive. They were also one of the first multi-racial bands on the scene.

Released in early 1966, their debut, simply titled 'Love,' was a gritty yet pretty take on folk rock. With a dash of Rolling Stones swagger, and a bit of Dylan coolness, Love reshaped to mold of 'folk rock.' The second album, ‘De Capo,’ was released in November of the same year, and by then their style had expanded to include more varied influences and experimentation, including the19 minute side long raver, 'Revelation.'

Their ultimate masterpiece would arrive one year later in the fall of 1967. 'Forever Changes' is, in many ways, the perfect ending to the wild ride that was 1967. The music, the culture and everything else moved so quickly back then, that year in particular. The rise and death of the hippie, the Monterey Pop Festival, ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ swiftly changing fashions, and a pop culture that embraced it all, so much so, that is would seep into everyday culture in a flash. Suddenly Campbell's Soup and cola advertising turned psychedelic overnight, shows like ‘Laugh-In’ hit the airwaves with an anything goes mindset. The world truly did turn Technicolor, seemingly overnight. Interesting footnote, the original plan for the album was to be produced by Elektra head Bruce Botnik (also Doors’ producer), along with Neil Young who, at the time, was having issues with Buffalo Springfield, and Botnik thought this would be a good distraction for Young.

With the glow from the embers of the Summer Of Love still burning, 'Forever Changes’ arrived. Informed by the psychedelic flash, but not drowned in it, Love took their own path through that era, and ended up with a much more solid, less cliche offering, and a stronger musical statement than most of the others who were somewhat smothered by the acidic glow.

'Forever Changes' begins with one of the most beautiful 'pop' songs of all time. 'Alone Again, Or' was written by band member Bryan MacLean, whose contributions to the writing were few, but very potent. Covered by everyone from UFO to the Damned, 'Alone Again Or' is a perfect opener for the album with its lush strings, horns, and beautiful acoustic guitar driving the song. With vocal harmonies to the fore, it sets the mood, and we are suddenly in another world.

'A House Is Not a Motel,' 'Andmoreagain,' and 'The Daily Planet' follow, each bringing something new to the table, yet fitting like pieces in this most perfect puzzle. 'Old Man'(another MacLean song) is a beautiful ballad, while 'The Red Telephone' is baroque pop at its finest, as the harpsichord and strings shine. And, it's not just the music here, the lyrics are a thing all their own. It is poetic word painting, telling a tale of the times in a way that really had no peer. Lee was never a Dylan rip-off or obscure storyteller, but the way he uses language was a triumph of thought provoking beauty.

Tijuana Brass style horns color 'Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale' as it clips along at a brisk pace. 'Live And Let Live' features one of the more aggressive guitar solos on the album while 'The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This' brings a jazz influenced vocal over brass and strings. 'Bummer In The Summer', the penultimate track here, fits in as almost an introduction to the finale. Not that it is by any means a 'concept' album, but there is something special about the pacing and order of the songs, that makes it feel like a whole piece, to be listened to in one sitting, as opposed to just a batch of songs.

The final track, 'You Set The Scene,' is one of the true grand statements of 'pop' music. With few peers, it is simply a masterpiece.

"This is the time and life that I am living
And I'll face each day with a smile
For the time that I've been given's such a little while
And the things that I must do consist of more than style
There are places that I am going.
This is the only thing that I am sure of
And that's all that lives is gonna die
And there'll always be some people here to wonder why
And for every happy hello, there will be goodbye
There'll be time for you to put yourself on"

Lyrical beauty like this simply can't help but bring a tear of joy and or sadness.

The band are joined, on certain tracks, by Wrecking Crew mainstays like Carol Kaye, Don Randi, Hal Blaine, and Billy Strange, which only adds to the total L.A. vibe of the LP. It is all played out with such conviction and beauty, and makes you realize again, this was an era of experimentation; anything was possible when it came to music and art. It's an era long gone, yet it lives on every time I listen to this album. Arthur Lee was only 22 years old when he wrote and recorded the album.

I know this station is, in large part, about current music, and that is wonderful. I am always looking for new artists, songs, and albums, but in all honesty, an album like this couldn't, and never will, happen again. It was so much of its time, and in its own way transcends all those decades since its release. The world no longer has time for art. Technology, cheap entertainment, and wading in shallow pools is the order of these times. Hopefully that will change at some point, I mean, one can still dream!

It is with utmost sincerity, that I will say this truly is a masterpiece and one of the greatest albums ever made. Essential doesn't even begin to describe it.

By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor

It’s hard to believe that 45 years have passed since The Knack first blasted out of radios everywhere with their solid gold hit, ‘My  Sharona.’ Released June 18, 1979, the authoritative drum beat, and magically simple guitar riff, was an instant fixture on both FM and AM radio. As the '70s drew to a close, The Knack was simply unavoidable. Eventually that over-saturation would drown them, but for a brief shining moment, they were on top. Contrary to legend, however, they were no overnight-success story.

Loathed by critics, and written off as a novelty act, The Knack was a genuine rock 'n' roll band. The Los Angeles music scene of the late '70s was overflowing with energy, attitude, and great bands. Things were moving fast, and by 1978, the landscape of punk outfits like the Germs, The Bags, and The Weirdos was starting to give way to the likes of The Plimsouls, The Beat, and The Knack.

In the early part of the decade, guitarist and singer Doug Fieger fronted a band called Sky, that recorded two albums for RCA. Those albums went nowhere, and by 1974, the group had fallen apart. While his former bandmates moved back home to Detroit, Fieger decided to stay in Los Angeles. Over the next few years, he would meet like-minded, musicians, all seasoned players, who would become The Knack. Riding alongside Fieger were drummer Bruce Gary, bassist Prescott Niles, and guitarist Berton Averre. In 1977, Fieger was inspired by the new music scene, and ready to record his new songs. He shopped the demos around to no takers, but The Knack was born!

Throughout 1978, The Knack endlessly played the L.A. club scene, including triumphant residences at the Whisky and the Troubadour. Eventually, record companies came calling. "I was aware of them, as everybody else in L.A. was," said producer Mike Chapman, in the documentary ‘Getting the Knack,’ "because there was lines of kids around the block to go see them at their shows." The large fan base they had built up happened to include people like Tom Petty, Stephen Stills, and Bruce Springsteen, all of whom would jam with The Knack, at the Troubadour. "Bruce Springsteen gets up onstage with us on a Friday night, and on Monday, we have 14 record offers," Fieger memorably quipped.

With the offers rolling in, the band signed to Capitol Records. "I was sold the first time I saw them," said Bruce Ravid, the man who signed them. Capitol was the home of The Beatles, and comparisons would dog The Knack from there forward. (Coincidentally, Capitol had previously signed another band called the Knack in 1967. That group released a couple singles, but had nothing to do with Fieger and company.)

In early 1979, the band entered the studio with producer Mike Chapman, a well-respected figure who, along with writing partner Nicky Chinn, penned countless hits for the likes of Sweet, Suzi Quatro, and others. Recently on top, after producing Blondie’s breakthrough, ‘Parallel Lines,’ Chapman proved the perfect choice for The Knack. A mere two weeks in the studio, and their debut was wrapped up! "I don't think we did two takes on any song," Fieger said. "What we had to do was make the record quickly," added Chapman, "because to labor over it would have taken that spontaneity out of it."

Once ‘Get the Knack’ arrived on June 11, 1979, it didn't take long for radio stations to zero in on ‘My Sharona.’ The insistent drum beat alone was one big hook, but once the guitar riff moves in, the track evolves into a massive ear worm. Soon, ‘My Sharona’ was emanating from nearly every radio across America. It hit the top of the Billboard chart in the summer of 1979, and stayed there six straight weeks, going gold in just thirteen days. The album followed suit, holding Billboard's top spot for five weeks until Led Zeppelin's ‘In Through the Out Door’ finally knocked it off.

Familiarity, as it will, bred contempt. ‘My Sharona’ came to be seen as a novelty tune of sorts. Given another listen, however, it emerges as one of the sharpest rock 'n' roll records ever – from the riff to the lyric to the production. Averre is certainly one of the most underrated lead guitarists of the era, and his solo is nothing short of stunning. (Sharona, by the way, was indeed an actual person, Sharona Alperin, and the object of Fieger's very real desires. To this day, she remains one of the top realtors in Southern California)

Elsewhere, ‘Get the Knack’ is full of top shelf, hook-laden rockers. "Let Me Out" remains one of the most powerful album openers ever, while "Your Number or Your Name" and "Oh Tara" are pure pop gold, recalling mid-'60s Hollies and Kinks. "She's So Selfish" and "Good Girls Don't," the album's second single, were both full of words that wouldn't fly past radio censors. After reworking a line, The Knack saw "Good Girls Don't" land just shy of the Top 10.

Maybe Tonight’ steps away from the hard-edged template, arriving as a beautiful ballad, with slightly psychedelic ornamentation. A revved-up take on the Buddy Holly classic ‘Heartbeat’ was a perfect fit here alongside something like ‘That’s What the Little Girls Do.’ ‘Frustrated’ ends the album on another lusty note, powered by another massive guitar riff and the powerhouse drums of Bruce Gary.

Still, The Knack's seemingly instant rise to the top led some critics to question their authenticity, sincerity, and motives. The assumption was that they were some sort of manufactured group, meant to echo The Beatles, and nothing more. Fieger later admitted to the Fab Four's influence on The Knack, but said the overt musical references were "tongue in cheek. It wasn't meant to be taken seriously." Few knew how long The Knack had paid its dues, or just how little promotion was behind their huge debut. "It's funny, people have accused The Knack of being this big hype and that the record company hyped the band," Fieger once said. "I was told at the time by Capitol Records that they spent $50,000 promoting ‘Get the Knack’ – total."

Meanwhile, even as radio overkill led to general listener fatigue with The Knack, other labels were hoping to leverage their success. "The Knack didn't capitalize on a movement, they created a movement," rock critic Ethan Barborka said. "The whole record industry descended on L.A. after they released ‘Get the Knack’ to find other bands that would be 'the next Knack.'"

Hoping to take back a lost sense of mystique, management decided The Knack shouldn't give interviews – a move that backfired. "The manager at the time, I'll excuse him for his innocence, his non-expertise and his being in way over his head," Niles said. "However, his decisions killed us, and as a result, it pissed a lot of people off."

A ‘Knuke the Knack’ campaign was started by San Francisco artist Hugh Brown. "They were so over-hyped, I thought I'll do something that's kind of obnoxious and kind of funny," Brown said, in the ‘Getting the Knack’ documentary. "Then it just snowballed."

Soon, people were accusing The Knack of being arrogant, while others criticized them as misogynistic because of an abundance of lust-filled lyrics in its songs. And for others, ‘Get the Knack’ was seen as the watered-down conclusion of the fading punk movement from a few years earlier, a safe and sanitized version of something that had recently revitalized rock.

But there was more to The Knack than that, and even Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones was a genuine fan. "I've literally played that album a million times, but I couldn't really tell people – 'cause it was kind of uncool, being from the Sex Pistols, and that whole era," Jones said in ‘Getting the Knack’. "I loved that album. I still have a copy of it!"

Despite its’ standing as 1979's biggest single, it also inspired a couple classic parodies – ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's debut single was ‘My Bologna’ and in the film ‘Next Movie,’ Cheech and Chong paid tribute via ‘My Scrotum.’ ‘My Sharona’ got a brief second life, of sorts, when it was used in the 1994 film ‘Reality Bites.’

The Knack, however, never fully recovered from the backlash. "How could it have changed so much that we were 'the glorious, the wonderful Knack' one minute, and we were this horrible, sell-out, commercial bullshit hype the next minute?" Fieger later mused. "It made me angry."

Their second album, ‘... But the Little Girls Understand’, released in 1980, struggled to hit No. 15, and the third album, the wildly varied ‘Round Trip,’ barely breezed by the charts in 1981.The Knack regrouped a decade later with ‘Serious Fun,’ a sort of no frills rock album, then again in 1998 for the classic return to form, ‘Zoom’ and ‘Normal As The Next Guy’ in 2001, another winner. As great as those last couple albums were, only the diehard fans were paying attention.

A case could easily be made for ‘Get The Knack’ being one of the definitive ‘power pop’ albums. It was everything great about that often misunderstood genre. Fieger died in 2010, at age 57, after a battle with brain and lung cancer, original drummer Bruce Gary passed in 2006, also from cancer.

By Sarah Swirsky - Summit FM Wellness Coordinator

What Can We Learn from Noah Kahan’s Mental Health Journey?

Don't let this darkness fool you
All lights turned off can be turned on

'Call Your Mom' - Noah Kahan

Noah Kahan's lyrics in "Call Your Mom" serve as a poignant reminder that even when life feels bleak, and the lights seem to have gone out, there is always a glimmer of hope waiting to be ignited.

Kahan recently sold-out a show at Blossom Music Center, in Ohio, where over 20,000 fans attended, showcasing the profound impact of music in creating unforgettable moments. Brad Savage, Program Director and On-Air Host at The Summit FM, was also in attendance, sharing that “The Summit was an early champion of Noah's music, going back to his early years on the road as a touring troubadour. We were definitely the first radio outlet in Ohio to support his records. I think his music has really struck a chord with so many listeners because of the raw emotion and feeling of the songs and lyric.

Indeed, Kahan's raw emotions and heartfelt lyrics resonate deeply with listeners, reflecting his authentic and vulnerable approach to songwriting. Kahan has been candid about his struggles with mental health, openly discussing his battles with anxiety, depression, and the challenges of finding the right mental health care. On Instagram and other platforms, Noah shares details about his mental health journey, aiming to destigmatize these issues and offer support to others facing similar challenges.

 “I can’t remember when it started, but I’ve been dealing with anxiety, depression, and mental health issues my entire life. I’ve been on medication since I was 13 or 14, on and off. I’ve been going to therapy since I was eight years old.

In an interview with ‘Sounds of Saving,’ Kahan talked about how hard it was to find the right therapist. “It wasn’t until I actually had [deeper] conversations with therapists that I realized that I hadn't really ever had a real conversation with a therapist before”, adding that “A therapist is great, but they are only human, and they can only really do as much as you are willing to do yourself. It's a symbiotic relationship, you must be willing to be vulnerable for them to help you navigate those insecurities."

Writing for Time Magazine, he shared how making music he loved again, returning to therapy, and resuming medication helped him regain control over his mental health. Yet, achieving balance remains an ongoing journey for Kahan. As an artist, he grapples with an "inner rhythm" that associates creativity with a certain level of sadness.  Before antidepressants, he feared losing the "sadness that creates the music,” asking himself “What do I value most? Writing a song or living in a sustainable way?”

Today, Kahan prioritizes harmony between his mental health and creative pursuits. The launch of The Busyhead Project, in May 2023, shows his commitment to supporting others facing similar challenges and combating the stigma surrounding mental illness.

 “When I had the opportunity to become a musician and for my music to be heard by many people, I made it my goal to do that for others if I can. To write lyrics that are honest about my challenges and hopefully help someone be honest about their own. Because I know I desperately needed that when I was a kid.

Reflection from mental health therapist and Summit Wellness Coordinator Sarah Swirsky, MSW, LSW

Noah Kahan's career and story offer a realistic yet hopeful narrative of resilience and artistry in the face of mental health challenges. By showcasing bravery and vulnerability through openly sharing his personal struggles, Kahan helps de-stigmatize mental health care, embrace vulnerability, and find our own inner balance. 

In the interviews discussed above, Kahan highlights a common struggle among creatives: finding equilibrium between well-being and artistic drive. In a world where artistry is often equated with suffering, Kahan's reflections encourage us to see that true artistry can also thrive when the artist is whole and healthy.

Kahan’s journey also sheds light on another important aspect of mental health care: the common struggles of finding and engaging in accessible and suitable therapy. While the stigmatization of mental health treatment has decreased over the decades, labor shortages in the mental health workforce, and increased demand, have left many Americans struggling to find affordable therapists who possess the necessary expertise, and with whom they feel a personal connection.

While research shows that certain methods (what we call “evidence-based practices”) are crucial for treating specific mental health disorders such as OCD, PTSD, and mood disorders, the primary determinant is the quality of the relationship between client and therapist. A strong connection with a therapist can inspire the vulnerability needed for deeper conversations, but this connection does not always develop with every individual.


 In my work as a therapist, I frequently reassure my clients that it is perfectly normal if they do not immediately feel a strong connection with me—forming therapeutic relationships is much like forming friendships. We simply will not connect with every person, so finding the right therapist often involves a challenging process of trial and error. Kahan's insights also emphasize that therapy requires collaboration, with both the therapist and the client actively participating. Success in therapy hinges on honesty and a commitment to "do the work" outside of sessions.

As a therapist myself, I also find it important to recognize that talk-therapy may not be suitable for everyone at all times. We all experience different phases and readiness for change in life. Thankfully, emotional expression can be found in many different forms other than talk-therapy. Art forms such as writing, journaling, drawing, painting, and music, are all wonderful forms to release and express emotions. As Kahan titles his Time Magazine article, “Putting Words to My Mental Health Struggles Saved Me.”

Ultimately, Kahan's story highlights the importance of prioritizing mental health and the benefits of vulnerability and creative expression. Each person may discover solace and healing through various paths, whether it involves artistic outlets, talk therapy for emotional processing, or seeking medical support when needed. Perhaps music can serve as a source of inspiration and courage for us all to embrace vulnerability, and explore our emotional depths.

Sources:

https://www.soundsofsaving.org/news/noah-kahan-interview

https://time.com/collection/time100-voices/6322240/noah-kahan-depersonalization-mental-health/

By Matt Anthony - Summit FM Digital Media Specialist

Hey, angel, come and play
And fly me away
A stroll along the beach
Until you're out of time

  • “Sugar Kane” – Sonic Youth

We pulled. We tugged. We rocked the posts back and forth. It was miserably difficult, back-breaking work. Especially for two guys well into ‘AARP-stuff-in-the-mail’ status, but the goal was simple and direct: this fence, comprised of almost a dozen six-foot sections of white plastic-composite, was scheduled to come out of the ground, one way or the other.

Donna’s mother had it installed at some point in the 80’s. But nature had exacted its toll. Two of the sections were almost on the ground after wind-storms, and longevity had detracted from its overall appearance, probably years ago.

It was time.

But this unattractive barrier wasn’t going without a fight. Which is why my brother-in-law (and Rush devotee), Michael, decided to go into the deep recesses of his Subaru and drag out the saw. I stood back and watched the master at work, applying Neil Peart-like precision on every angle of post that dared show its face. Soon after, what was once in existence was now just a pile of debris waiting to be hauled away. And after that? A memory.

The impermanence of this life can be beautiful and unforgiving. It can also induce suffering. We take it for granted that everything will last forever. We want it to last forever. We need it to last forever. And when we are forced to come to the realization that things have a shelf-life…our cars, our fences, ourselves…we invariably veer into panic-mode, trying to find, in some cases, the most elaborate way to keep the ‘present’ humming along, to keep the ‘current’ in its pristine state. But as John Houseman so eloquently put it in the 1973 film ‘The Paper Chase:’ “This is a total delusion on your part.”

All things must pass
None of life's strings can last
So I must be on my way
And face another day.

  • “All Things Must Pass” – George Harrison

No, I will not weep over an ugly fence. However, I have wept at the impermanence of this existence, and will probably continue to do so.  And while I have no enlightened answer for any of it, I do find myself in the throes of grasping, clutching briefly at threads of gratitude for the things that were.

A little over two years ago, Donna’s beloved West Highland Terrier, Izzy, arrived at the same spot as this fence: weathered, dishevelled, and leaning in another direction. In a similar fashion, decisions had to be made. Since then, we have grasped on to the memory of Izzy in the form of stories, keeping his favorite cushion nudged up against the wall in the living room where he liked to sit, and occasionally dropping a Tostito on to it, since his passion was following me around with a bag of them.

Earlier in the year, I even bought Donna a small stuffed-animal replica that could sit next to her in the evening. While it helps stir up both memories, and my gratitude-level, I’m struck, also, by the stark slap in the noggin: nothing can stop this transient nature of the present moment. Being thankful for it, in real time, without illusion, is as hard as, well, as hard as a Neil Peart drum solo. Or as difficult as pulling posts out of the ground that have been there since the 1980’s.

I’m now waiting for someone to come by to haul this debris away. I’m also spending the time focusing on how to better come to grips with the perishable nature of this magical, mystical, and sometimes maniacal thing we call ‘life.’ And, as challenging as it is sometimes, I’m doing my best to try to realize my gratefulness for it.

By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor

Formed in the late 1990s, Coldplay rapidly ascended the rails of pop music success. Over their first two albums, 'Parachutes,' in 2000, and 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head,' in 2002, they were winning fans all over the globe. Songs like 'Yellow,' 'Sparks,' and 'Clocks' all scored big at radio, and sold well as singles, especially in their native England. Meanwhile, both of those albums continued to sell, building up their fan base with 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head' hitting the number one spot in the UK, and Top 10 U.S.

So when it came time for album three, they went ahead and started recording, business as usual, but soon realized they weren't where they were supposed to be. "We realized that we'd been working quite disparately," singer Chris Martin said in an interview to promote the album. "So we went to a small rehearsal space in North London, and we all got a great buzz off playing together, and we realized that it seemed like we'd gone wrong as it didn't feel as exciting as this, so we went back into another studio and started over."

This led the band to the decision that they wanted to shake things up a bit with their sound. Like the first two albums, the band worked with producer Ken Nelson, but this time also brought in Danton Supple, who had previously lent a hand to mixing their second LP. Supple was a very hip and respected producer in the UK, having worked with a wide variety of acts ranging from Pet Shop Boys and Morrissey to Suede and U2, so it seemed a natural and wise move to bring him in deeper.

On 'X & Y' they brought in more electronic influences, evident on songs like 'Speed Of Sound,' but left plenty of room for a more signature sound like the ballad ‘The Hardest Part.' The band continued to take inspiration from the likes of U2, The Smiths, and mid-period Echo & the Bunnymen, which along with a soft spot for soft pop, basically makes up the Coldplay sound.

The band's idea to shake things up a bit proved a good move, as the album topped the American charts, their first to do so. As the band soon moves in on the 25th anniversary of their debut, 'X & Y' remains a key moment in their evolution.

By Marc Lee Shannon - Summit FM Feel Better-ER Host

Since I was a 14-year-old skinny, lonely kid, who dreamed of being a basketball player for the Lakers or Celtics, but unfortunately lacked the talent to back it up, I have had one steady, unwavering friend.

The Guitar.

It took me to high school dances, with my shag haircut and bell-bottom jeans that covered my silver spray-painted platform shoes completely. It stood by, plugged in, and tuned up, as I played for the first time in front of friends, and new hopeful fans, of my rock and roll dream. It comforted me with an unfamiliar confidence that a kid from a divorced Catholic family had never known before.

For the first time, I had a warm sense that I could be somebody in a nobody town; I could find a way up and out into the world, where, for once, I could gain positive attention and maybe, just maybe, finally learn to like myself a little.

Later, that friend took me to school, a music school I barely qualified for in LA, and in the years to follow, watched as I became a 2nd string Hollywood session musician. He was there with me as I played in bands with major label record deals, and along the way, also developed a substance use problem that, together with some mental health issues, just kept growing past my 20s, 30s, and beyond.

Even after I came back to Ohio, and found my way to the corporate world, with the success symbols of the big house, fine foreign cars, and the ease of never having to worry about the right side of the menu at a restaurant, that friend watched as I could not fix my addiction stumbles on my own. Finally, in my mid-50s, that faithful pal was there when I hit the bricks at the bottom of the well of lost hope, and entered a detox facility.

I was going to be okay, but it was treatment, and a community of believers that tossed me the lifesaver, put me in the boat, and rescued me from the sea of despair.

That was ten years ago, on June 2, 2014.

It was to be some time before I would begin a string of continuous recovery, but that old friend was constantly there with me as a sidecar of support, urging me to play on.

The Guitar.

It was never in the plan to use that friend for anything but musical ambitions, but it turned out that the universe, higher power, fate, or whatever you want to name that magic wand of complete restorative transformation, was using that friend to put me back in the game like a Texas Leaguer hit in the 9th inning: an unlikely curveball, and a complete surprise.

You see, these days, I am certified as an OhioMAS Peer supporter and a recovery coach. That friend, the guitar, now goes with me when I visit the detox wards, the behavior health treatment centers, the presentation halls, and the banquet centers, where people gather to hear my story of a path to discovery along the road to recovery. It is the songs, and the readings, from my book Sober Chronicles, that help me help others who are saying for the first time, “Please. Help. Me,” in those notes played on the fingerboard, that are shaped by a voice of experience that I share and pay back to those that came before and so willingly and gracefully helped me stand up after so many falls. It is that guitar that lifts the head, and maybe the spirit of the soul, that has tried everything, and lost faith in a future life different than they were certain to occupy.

That gracious friend who has helped me through so many days of despair and desperation, has now turned into the facilitator of a life only dreamed of, but always desired, by that 14-year-old kid from West Akron, who had a tough start, but now is redeemed in the songs of hope, played on a six-string miracle worker that rarely fails to turn a head and lift a heart.

The end of the story may still be out there. But I have a feeling it will be told...Guitar in Hand.

By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor

"I was so proud of it," Pete Yorn told Spin about his debut album,'Musicforthemorningafter.' "I remember when I was making it, I felt like I didn’t compromise anything." Yorn released his debut album back in 2001, and the album has not only aged gracefully over the past twenty plus years, but sounds fresher than ever.

The singer/songwriter path may not have been the flavor of the day when first released, but that has added to the lasting strength here. Yorn not only wrote the songs and co-produced, but played all the instruments as well…a sometimes tricky path, but if navigated properly is perfect for the artists vision. Everyone from Paul McCartney to Todd Rundgren, Prince to Emitt Rhodes are proof of that. The trick, so often, is to make it sound like a band. Yorn succeeds, and then some.

Yorn had signed with Columbia Records and got to work with producer friend Walt Vincent, but the label wanted some outside hands in the mix, and producer Brad Wood, a well-respected man behind the board for a laundry list of indie rockers. Wood just kind of lent his hand to the proceeding already rolling, and the input of all three did the trick.

The album kicks off with the complete conviction of 'Life on a Chain,' which sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the album. Songs like 'Black,' 'Strange Condition,' and 'For Nancy ('Cos It Already Is)' all have a thick 'alternative' vibe running, from the school of Britpop back through to early R.E.M., with a nod to 60s folk rock and brought up to 2001 reality, which Yorn confirmed.

"I love Britpop so much, like the Smiths, Oasis, the Cure, Stone Roses, Ride, Blur all that stuff,” he said. "I was also, at the time, a huge fan of roots-rock Americana, the Band, Neil Young, Beach Boys, Bruce [Springsteen] of course." All these influences gave the album the edge it needed. Call it what you want, but it's a rock and roll record!

Quieter moments like 'June' and 'EZ' sit next to the kinetic indie pop of 'Closet,' and the moody, semi psychedelia of 'Simonize,' adding to the album's variety which, of course, adds to the lasting appeal of the album, which is, perhaps, why it was certified Gold. Yorn created something special here without question.

By Chad Miller - Summit FM Music Director

What's everyone been listening to out there? There's been an AVALANCHE of great new songs coming at us to start the new year, as per usual, with STILL more to come! Easily the most exciting time of the year in our world of music, that I get to sort through and play them for you on the radio. So much new music coming at us, so little time...however, these songs that might fly under the radar to most are what I've been diggin' most especially these past few weeks!

Like what you hear? Please email me at chad@thesummit.fm and let me know what you think!

Aaron Frazer "Payback"

As we turn to the warm weather months of comfort and heat, we as music fans are always seeming to look to what might become an anthem for the summertime season. At the very least, a super fun upbeat song that's just impossible NOT to move to. I don't know if this one will officially reach "true #1 summer jam" status, but still this one is absolutely irresistible, and way too much fun! Aaron Frazer is set to return with his second solo album "Into the Blue,which is out June 28th, via Dead Oceans Records, and this new song is a welcome reminder of why this musician is so talented. Already the drummer of the terrific soul revival band Durand Jones & the Indications, Frazer really steps out on this propulsive dance floor heater, which includes so many intricacies within the song only adding to its tempo and feel. An album that followed the end of a long relationship, seeing Frazer move cross country from Brooklyn to Los Angeles for a change of scenery, he's described this song as being all about karma, and how it all manifests itself. Heartbreak never sounded so good in this case.

Fontaines D.C. "Starburster"

Undoubtedly one of the best post-punk acts to come out of Ireland in decades, Fontaines D.C. are back with another banger, to further solidify their ascent into the rock band stratosphere. Newly signed to XL Recordings, the band will be releasing their highly anticipated fourth album "Romance," on August 23rd, and what a way to announce a return with this killer new track. Building off each successive album with a slightly different approach each time, this song was inspired by a panic attack suffered by lead singer Grian Chatten, while at a train station in London, and literally shows in the delivery as punctuated by the deeply inhaled breaths throughout the song, to sort of replicate that moment. Chatten also said regarding the forthcoming album, "We say things on this record we've wanted to say for a long time. I never feel like it's over, but it's nice to feel lighter." That sort of forthright transparency makes this an album I'm excited to dig into once its finally released later this summer! P.S. the music video for this song is a cinematic stunner, and captures the band's signature intensity perfectly!

Glass Beams "Mahal"

While some may it find it cynical, with hot bands and musical acts of the moment inspiring legions of copycat followers in their wake, I've always found it rather fascinating to see what exactly comes out of different waves of popularity from varying subgenres that gain new attention. This is certainly the case with young instrumental groove band Glass Beams, out of Melbourne, Australia, and the title track to their new EP, available now on Ninja Tune Records. Similar to the wave of global chill sounding grooves from bands led by the likes of Khruangbin, who are now selling out entire tours these days, Glass Beams, and their sounds, stem from founding band member Rajan Silva, and his childhood memories relating to his father who emigrated to Melbourne from India. This is very much reflected in the music as it timelessly fuses together cultures and sounds, filtered through a mesmerizing lens of flawless musicianship and blending styles from both Eastern cultures and Western musical traditions all the same. This song is the absolute coolest!

Maggie Rose "Fake Flowers"

Listeners of The Summit FM got to know this extremely talented young artist with her song "For Your Consideration," which was a big hit during the summer of 2021, and also saw her perform a phenomenal Studio C session, on the road, at the Knight Stage, at the Akron Civic Theater, that following summer. Maggie Rose is now back in a big way with this new song showcasing her powerful vocals, bringing to mind the gentle strength of Carole King, combined with the subtlety of a legend like Joni Mitchell all at the same time. It's that Laurel Canyon vibe that really infuses an organic sense of authenticity on these piano and guitar driven rootsy pop songs from her upcoming album titled "No One Gets Out Alive," which is available now, and definitely worth a listen. See her performing live May 30th, at the Beachland Ballroom, in Cleveland!

Yannis & the Yaw "Walk Through Fire"

Oh man...this song comes out swingin' with so much emotion! An intriguing and creative new side project from Yannis Philippakis, lead singer of British band Foals, along with the late great Tony Allen, long time drummer best known for working with the legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, this song is sharply focused and plays to both their strengths, in ways that are impossible not to notice. The signature howl of Philippakis, which is especially let loose on the vocals of this song, paired with the unmistakable funk driven, yet muscular, grooves and rhythms laid down by Allen's drumming, all blends together in one of the more exhilarating shared collaborations our world of music has seen, or heard, in quite some time. The intensity contained within this song is quite striking, but of course bittersweet now, with the passing of Allen four years ago inspiring Philippakis with an added sense of urgency, and a responsibility, to finish these recordings in order to get them released out to the world. That will happen August 30th, as part of the "Lagos Paris London" EP, via Transgressive Records.

By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor

After a few early singles, U2 made themselves known on a larger scale with their incredible debut album, 'Boy,’ in the fall of 1980. From the first shimmering notes of 'I Will Follow,' it was clear there was more going on here than your average 'rock' band. Despite using the same tools: guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, these four young Irishmen had rapidly developed a sound of their own. Taking inspiration from various 'post punk' bands, as well as more traditional classic rock, U2 set their sights on the world.

A sophomore effort, 'October,' saw the light of day a year later, in late 1981. It followed much the same path as the debut but to slightly lesser return. In between 'October' and the next effort, they released a key non-LP single, 'A Celebration.' The single, though not radically different, did provide a slightly modified take on the U2 sound. Production once again came from Steve Lillywhite, who had handled the first two albums, and would continue, on some level, to be involved with the band for years to come. 'A Celebration' had a more brash, less ethereal style overall, a bit more ragged and raw. They would take this approach with them as they worked on 'War.'

One noticeable change right off was in the sound of the Edge's guitar. On 'War' it became a bit harsher, more forceful and less involved with effects. "I'm bringing what I did on the album ‘War’ to its ultimate conclusion," guitarist the Edge said in a 1983 interview, "trying really, really clean sounds. I think it should be interesting." Vocalist Bono was quick to state the band's approach on the new album. "We made a very conscious decision not to mellow out our sound," he said. "We didn't say this is a punk rock group, but we said this is an aggressive rock and roll group, and we're sick and tired of all the sideshows where people talk about everything but the music, they see us in some social context, but I'd like them to just listen to the music for a while because that's why we're here."

The albums opens with the defiant battle sounds of 'Sunday Bloody Sunday,' which sets the tone for what is to follow. With its marching rhythm, it is as if they are off into battle. A brief pivot with 'Seconds,' before they kick into the album's first single, 'New Year's Day,' one of a couple songs that retain some of the, as the band called it, "cinematic sound" of the first two albums. Elsewhere 'Like A Song,' and 'Two Hearts Beat As One,' present variations on this new U2 approach. They bring to the table, not only a harder edge, but a bit of soul inflection and commanding rhythmic foundation, as found on 'Red Light' and 'The Refugee.' This was a refreshing and forward looking U2. "We wanted to make that clear with this LP," adds Bono. "We wanted to make a loud LP!"

The critics were torn. The NME calling much of 'War' "hapless, dated Clash style agit-pop" and declaring it "hog tied and ham-fisted," while Rolling Stone made the Clash comparison with a positive spin, saying. "the songs here stand up against anything on the Clash's 'London Calling' in terms of sheer impact" and praising the band for its "passion and commitment." Critic’s observations aside, the public loved the album, scoring a number one in the UK, and sending it to No. 12 in America, easily making it their highest charting LP to that point, ultimately selling multi-platinum.

The years have been kind to 'War.' It has remained a cornerstone of the U2 catalog since its release back in 1983. For many, it was the first time they heard the band and thus holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many fans. It is not only an essential U2 LP, but an essential LP of the 1980s and alt rock in general.

By Matt Anthony - Summit FM Digital Media Specialist

All the small things
True care, truth brings.

  • “All The Small Things” – blink-182

What do you do once the big event is over? Your daughter is finally married. You eventually received the promotion that you deserve. (‘overdue’, as it is!) You’re back from that amazing 10-day vacation. The Black Keys show is over and you’re driving home. Or…that offer you put in on eBay actually did make you the highest bidder!

Now what?

If Facebook has taught us anything, it’s that we have full, unadulterated license to share THE most captivating, joyous events that our lives can muster. In fact, there is tacit approval from the online community to boast until our heart’s content. To spend any time scrolling through your feed is to flex the tendons in your mouse-hand as you click ‘like’ and heart emojis until fatigue makes you shut the screen on your laptop.

But what happens next?

Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?

Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.

Master Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?

Young Caine: No.

Master Po: Do you hear the grasshopper that is at your feet?

Young Caine [looking down and seeing the insect] Old man, how is it that you hear these things?

Master Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?

  • Kung Fu (TV series)/“The Way of the Tiger, The Sign of the Dragon” - 1972

Donna and I were walking on the Freedom Trail last week in Tallmadge. It was a beautiful day, and it was a busy day. The trail was packed with runners, walkers, recumbent bicyclists, skateboarders, and lots of dogs. Somehow, though, amongst the cacophony, a gentle breeze accelerated briefly and rattled the tops of the trees. They nudged up against each other like wind-chimes, a chorused brushing-together of swishes and swooshes. I stopped and closed my eyes.

What’s wrong?” Donna asked.

I could feel myself smiling. “Nothing at all,” I replied.

It was the antidote to the tumult of the daily grind. A miniscule, miracle. Like hearing a train whistle as you are about to fall asleep. Like gawking at the way the sunset sneaks through a bedroom window at the Golden Hour, and you fumble with your camera trying to capture it. Or, for me, walking up the steps from the garage after a long day of work and smelling those simple peanut-butter cookies that Donna still makes for me.

On the gratitude-spectrum, these microscopic events flutter in, do their mystical work, and evaporate. And these are only the ones that we notice! While it’s very challenging, I’m doing my level-best to be open to the presence of the ones that, sadly, I miss.

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