Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #257

04-06-17 Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #257 was taped at Singing Brook Studio on a wintry day before a large snowstorm in mid-March 2017 and features the Gaea Star Band with Mariam Massaro on vocals, harmonica, native flute and six- and 12-string acoustic guitars. Today’s first piece is the jazzy, harmonically diverse “March, Mistress Of Change”, a meditation on a winter visit to a greenhouse set to a groove that quotes the bebop jazz of John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk. “I’m Just Fine” is a gracious, gentle folk song about a 93-year-old woman and her pride in her independence, and examines the chance of human life and longevity to a swirling backing built on Mariam’s chiming 12-string guitar. “In Celebration Of Life” begins with a native backdrop to express a dream of medicine women that Mariam had during a trying Vision Quest in the forest. This reappearance of previously dreamed grandmothers inspires the lovely native chant “White Buffalo Calf Woman” which Bob invites into a form of native opera with western classical piano figures. Craig gradually brings intensity to the piece with insistent conga grooves until the climax is reached with lush native flute and an invitation to freedom. Today’s final piece is an expansion of Mariam’s song “Have You Heard the Faeries”, an expositive chapter from her “Rainbow Crystals of The Earth” story driven by her solid acoustic guitar work, gospel piano from Bob and gently propelling congas from Craig.

Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #256

03-30-17   Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #256 was taped live at Singing Brook Studio in Worthington, Massachusetts and features evocative, visionary improvisations and songs from the Gaea Star Band- Mariam Massaro on vocals, native flute, baritone ukulele, acoustic guitar, Craig Harris on congas and balaphone and Bob Sherwood on piano.  Today’s first piece is Mariam’s galloping “Ponies Running Free” a dream of ponies set free from a rolling train corral to run through the fields and hills.  Driven by fierce congas from Craig and Mariam’s racing ukulele, the piece sets us free into a dream vista painted with lightning piano runs and a breathless narrative.  “Tambakiya” is a slower, more mystical dream of a black panther laying on a puffy cloud.  Abstract and floating, “Tambakiya” lulls like a gentle eastern wind presaging a distant storm.  “Just Like That” flows seamlessly out of Mariam’s concluding flute lines and invites us to focus on creating change from within.  This gently epic song moves to lush, repetitive piano figures and clever stop-and-start congas from Craig, supporting a particularly lovely vocal and lyric from Mariam.  A gently melancholic key change from Bob sets the stage for a gorgeous flute solo in Mariam’s most generous key, the harmonic minor, the sound of Mediterranean Europe.  An epic chorus brings the piece to its climax and gently deflates into a elegiac, gospel coda with exquisite vocal touches from Mariam.  “We See Right Through You” visits blues, jazz and latin as Mariam exposes the hypocrisy of the would-be destroyers of our environment, inviting them to confront the simple truth of the Earth.  “Shamai Kayheyo” visits the same harmonic and rhythmic territory of “Tambakiya”, a lush, pentatonic mode that evokes the islands of Japan and plays to Mariam’s sparse, haiku-like meditation on hummingbirds.

Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #255

03-23-17   Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #255 we feature songs and compelling improvisations from the Gaea Star Band with Mariam Massaro on vocals, celtic harp, native flute, acoustic 6- and 12-string guitars and baritone ukulele, Craig Harris on congas and balaphone and Bob Sherwood on piano.  Recorded live at Singing Brook Studio in Worthington, Massachusetts, we begin with the gently swirling and mystical “Oh The Glory Of The Morning” featuring beautiful vocals and harp from Mariam.  “They’re Holding Strong” goes out to the water protectors of North Dakota and is led by Mariam’s powerful ukulele and Craig’s driving congas.  This piece segues neatly into the rocking “Victory”, a visionary, psychedelic extension of the theme of devotion and support to the water protectors.  “Grandmother Regina” praises the grandmother who refused to leave Standing Rock, and is a lovely, gentle, powerful folk meditation led by Mariam on acoustic guitar and effortless, narrative vocal as she tells this story of female grace and courage.  Next up is an imaginative reading of Mariam’s pretty “Burning Ember” from her 2012 cd “Smooth Sailin’ Love Songs” featuring cascading, rain-like piano runs from Bob under Mariam’s yearning vocal.  We then segue into today’s final piece, the psychedelic, electronically enhanced “Can I Be Your Friend Today”, built on a series of chords initiated by Mariam on ukulele and adopted into low, forceful piano figures from Bob.

Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #254

03-16-17   Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #254 features the Gaea Star Band as well as very special guests Amanda Potluck on vocals and Justus Conant on 6- and 12- string acoustic guitars and vocals.  Recorded live at Singing Brook Studio in Worthington, Massachusetts, today’s set begins with an unbroken 40-minute suite of three pieces beginning with the gently elegiac “Right Before My Eyes”, an ode to opening flowers from Mariam with gorgeous flowing melodies from both Mariam and Amanda.  A climactic countermelody section segues into the mystical “Windows Of Air”, a mid-tempo minor meditation with more effective and affecting braiding, circling vocals from Mariam and Amanda, imaginative piano from Bob and lyrical native flute work from Mariam.  The third piece in today’s extended tryptich is the earthy, powerful “It’s Coming Down To How We Walk On This Holy Ground”, a song of admiration and support for the water protectors of North Dakota, featuring especially potent, bluesy vocals and lyrics from Amanda who stood with the protectors at the beginning of the winter.  A powerful spoken section from Mariam brings the piece to its conclusion.  Next up we feature three songs by Justus from his Bleu Collar Pirates project, the sardonic folk-rock of “Saint Arne’s Day” and the pro-immigration anthem “Night In The Mojave”, punctuated by tart flamenco guitar runs from Bob Sherwood on acoustic guitar.  The third and final song from this set from Justus is the wrenching, beautiful “Goodbye”.  We close today with Bob leading the group through an intense reading of Roxy Music’s deeply romantic 1980 classic “My Only Love”.