Category Archives: Americana

No Lyme Disease or Blood Sucking Here: Deer Tick Just Wants You to Get Lucky with the New Song, “Dance of Love”

Deer ticks are nasty little arachnids whose mission is to suck the blood out of living creatures, all the while transmitting the horrible Lyme disease.

Well, in the summer of 2005, singer/songwriter John McCauley found one of the little buggers on his scalp on a camping trip and inspiration hit. His band would be “Deer Tick.”

(L to R, Deer Tick is John McCauley, Dennis Ryan, Chris Ryan and Andrew Tobiassen)

But don’t worry, this group is all about rocking your party – no blood sucking involved. (As far as I know, they can’t spread Lyme disease either.)

On the new song, “Dance of Love,” released Jan. 1, 2010, as part of the EP, “More Fuel for the Fire,” on Partisan Records, Deer Tick shares a road map for guys to get lucky…the old fashioned way.

Listen to Dance of Love Here

Here’s an excerpt from the lyrics:

“Well if I pull that chair out
Or maybe if I hold that door for you
If I do it cause my mother always told me to do
If I make a point to complement you
I’ll be feeling those legs already on mine

“Oh the dance of love
Well the dance of love
Is a wonderful dance”

Musically, “Dance of Love” is no lambada (the Brazilian dance of love). The song is wrapped in a Johnny Cash “Folsom Prison Blues” guitar groove, bolstered by some attitude from The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and uplifted by the spirit of the great Cajun bar bands such as the Pine Leaf Boys.

I love drummer Dennis Ryan’s driving beat on this tune. It’s busy, but in all the right places. On this track, Andrew Tobiassen’s lead vocals are a lot of fun. He’s no trained opera singer. This dude is just blurting out how guys feel about courting women, with all the raspy, hootin’ and hollerin’ that goes along with that.

So check out “Dance of Love” by Deer Tick. These guys will have you laughing, dancing and who knows what.

Deer Tick Extra: Here’s probably something you never imagined. Deer ticks singing soulful acapella.

Deer Tick is on Twitter (@deertickmusic) and the group’s Web sites include , and

American Lyme Disease Foundation
Deer Tick Biography on the Band’s Site

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A Review of the Song, “The Diplomat,” Performed by Maria Muldaur: Dancing Like a Diplomat

(If you listen to this song, let me know in the comments if you like it or not.)

Here’s a test. Try not to dance around the room waving your hands in the air when you listen to the song, “The Diplomat,“ sung by Maria Muldaur. It’s impossible.

Listen to the song here

[picapp src=”9/0/1/c/16.JPG?adImageId=6110565&imageId=3341326″ width=”234″ height=”422″ /] (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton – dancing like diplomats.)

How does Muldaur push your dance buttons? She has three things going for her.

1.  Jug Music – This song, from Muldaur’s new album “Garden of Joy,” is played in the style of jug music, a fun, old-timey style that became popular in the 1920s and re-emerged in the 1960s. Jug band musicians use instruments such as jugs, washboards, guitars, banjos, etc., to create a sound with a nice bluesy bounce.

2. Personality – On “The Diplomat,” Muldaur walks us through the average person’s bad day. She sounds world-weary like the rest of us, but with a mischievous sense of humor – kind of like crying with a wink. Muldaur’s vocal approach is the blues, and during the really good parts she gets all raspy.

Muldaur has some great lyrics to work with, compliments of singer/songwriter Dan Hicks. Here’s a sample:

“An acorn fell from a tree and tried to bop me in the head
I say to the acorn, is it something that I said
I’m just practicing my diplomacy
Everything is everything and it’s alright with me”

“…Won’t somebody just throw me a bone
So I can chew the thing alone
Won’t somebody allow me to roam
So I can get on safely home”

3. Roots Music Know-How – Muldaur has some serious roots music credentials. Born in Greenwich Village in New York, she was part of the ‘60s folk revival that included Bob Dylan.

Over the years, she has hung out, sang or played with a who’s who of roots music legends, including Doc Watson, Bukka White, Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, Son House, Jim Kweskin, John Sebastian, David Grisman, Geoff Muldaur (her ex-husband), Jerry Garcia, Joan Baez, Allen Toussaint and Bonnie Raitt.

Muldaur has recorded over 35 albums since her first solo album in 1973 that included her biggest hit, “Midnight at the Oasis.”

So if you’re ready to take “The Diplomat” dance test. Check the song out on the album, “Garden of Joy” by Maria Muldaur, released Oct. 6, 2009, Stony Plain Recording Co. Her Web sites include and She has a fan page on Facebook.

Also, if you’d like to hear another version of the song, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks perform the tune on the album, “Tangled Tales,” released March 24, 2009, Surfdog, Inc.

Sources: (bio page), (“Meet her at the Oasis: Maria Muldaur, Matriarch of Rock and Roll,” Al Carlos Hernandez, Oct. 4, 2009) and (Music Review: “Maria Muldaur – Maria Muldaur & Her Garden Of Joy,” David Bowling, Oct. 5, 2009)

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A Review of the Song “High, Wide and Handsome” by Loudon Wainwright III: Hard Livin’ Never Sounded So Good

The song, “High, Wide and Handsome,” which nobly celebrates the raw pleasures of life, was written by the guy who played Captain Calvin Spaulding, the singing surgeon on the TV show M.A.S.H. It was also penned by a guy who went to school with Liza Minnelli in the third grade and by a former boatyard barnacle scraper.

The guy is Loudon Wainwright III, a veteran singer/songwriter/actor. For the movie “Knocked Up,” he co-wrote the music and played the role of Dr. Howard. Johnny Cash recorded one of Wainwright’s songs, and he has a couple Grammy nominations. Loudon is a badass.

[picapp src=”c/4/4/9/Arrivals_At_The_4af7.jpg?adImageId=4613237&imageId=1260811″ width=”380″ height=”250″ /]

L to R: Rufus Wainwright (son) and Loudon Wainwright (father)

In “High, Wide and Handsome,” Wainwright sings about Charlie Poole, a real-life, hard-drinking country artist who was popular in the 1920s and self-destructed young.

Link to an excerpt of the song on iTunes

National Public Radio interviewed Wainwright on Aug. 19, 2009, and he talked about growing up hearing the old expression, “high, wide and handsome,” which means “prosperous and wealthy and good looking and doing well.”

In the Americana-style song, Wainwright plays banjo and tells how Poole may have related to the colloquialism:

“High, wide and handsome – that’s how I like livin’.
High, wide and handsome – that’s how life should be.
Low, skinny and ugly – that’s for other people.
High, wide and handsome – suits me to a tee.

“Song, wine and women – they’re my three favorites.
Beer, gin and whiskey – that’s five, six and four.
Saturday night, I like eatin’ and dancin’.
And I sleep all day Sunday, so’s I’m ready for more.“

If there’s a better ode to lust, I haven’t heard it, and the conviction in Wainwright’s voice sounds like he’s been down this road a few times himself.

So the next time you feel like bustin’ loose, listen to Wainwright on the song “High, Wide and Handsome” on the album, “High, Wide and Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project,” released Aug. 18, 2009, Second Story Sound Records. His Web sites include, and Wainwright has a fan page on Facebook.

(Author’s note: Wainwright and I both have a Liza Minnelli connection. In the early 90s, I played a wedding reception in Houston, as the drummer for a jazz trio. A lady who looked a lot like Liza asked me if I knew where she could plug in a rechargeable battery for her camera. Turns out the bride and groom were Minnelli’s friends. With the crowd’s urging, Liza sang a song with the band. Yep, me and Loudon – Liza BFFs.)

Sources:, and