Cassi-DJ: The Sequel (Pt. 2)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Happy Saturday, everyone. Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

As promised earlier this week, here are the remaining songs I played while sitting in on my friend Sue's radio show on WMFO-FM here in Boston. Enjoy. :c)

This is a great song from Amy LaVere's new album, Painting Blue, titled "No Battle Hymn." Can't get enough of this song and album. Incidentally, that's her husband, Will Sexton, on guitar.

Another new one, "Something to Believe In," from Madison Cunningham's debut album, Who Are You Now. This song is a grower, as is the album. She is also a remarkable guitarist - and did I mention she's 21 years old? Yikes...

Next is "Pontchatrain," from Vienna Teng's 2006 album Dreaming Through the Noise, a somber, haunting song she wrote in the wake of the devastation wrought on New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. 

The studio version of "Pontchatrain" is equally powerful, and features a striking string arrangement that deepens the song's hushed melancholy.

And finally, to end the post on a lighter note, here's "Airplane," from the Indigo Girls' 1992 album Rites of Passage. Emily Saliers (on the left in the photo below) is afraid of flying - hence the title - but this is utterly charming. Listen to this one for the amazing - and I do mean amazing - backing vocals provided by The Roches. They must be heard to be believed. :c)

Well, that will do it for this one. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Musings: It Takes Two

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Hi all - this is a brief mid-week post commemorating the anniversary of the most important day of my life.

Two years ago today I had my GCS (Gender Confirmation Surgery), performed by Dr. Brassard at GRS Montreal. It's hard to believe, even as I type these words. It simultaneously feels as if it just happened yesterday... and a million years ago.

I was chatting online with my Montreal roommate (hello Miss A!!!) today - she confessed she had no idea it was today! I was aware it was approaching, but not until last week. As I told A today, I think that's a healthy thing for both of us. 

The fact that it could sneak up on us in that way doesn't mean its importance is diminished in any way; rather, it shows how effective - and necessary - it was. We no longer have to dream about living the life we should be leading; now we are leading them. All of the hard work and sacrifice was totally worth it.

I can't tell anyone else what the right choice is for them; our journey is our own, and only we know what's right for us. But this was both the hardest thing I've ever done and the best thing I've ever done.

My life isn't perfect; I still have issues I have to deal with, and there are things I want to change, and to do, and to achieve.

And I know I will. Because I was able to go from this:

To this:

I know that if I can do that, then I can do anything - and do it as myself. At long last.

And that makes all the difference.

Here's wishing you all the best on your journey, wherever it may lead you.


A few road/journey songs for your listening pleasure. :c)

You can never go wrong with The Beatles, of course, so we'll start with them. Here's the lovely, stripped down version of "The Long and Winding Road." I very much prefer this to the somewhat overwrought studio version (and I say that will all due respect for the genius of Phil Spector).

Next up is Jackson Browne's gorgeous "The Road," from his 1978 masterpiece Running on Empty. What a great album this is:

Speaking of Journey, here's my favorite song of theirs - "Still They Ride," from 1981's Escape album. Steve Perry's vocals are so moving; I still get goosebumps every time I listen to this:

And finally, a much-beloved (by me) song from one of the first albums I bought - "Take The Long Way Home," from Supertramp's Breakfast in America (1979):

Cassi-DJ: The Sequel (Pt. 1)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Hello all. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend.

So, apparently my appearance on WMFO-FM at Tufts University last week wasn't enough to dissuade them from having me on the air again, because I was back at it yesterday - this time on the Something About the Women program, which airs every Saturday from 11:00 AM-1:00 PM.

As the program title indicates, SATW plays music exclusively from female artists (although, like everything else on WMFO, it's free-form; DJs can play whatever they want). SATW has been on the air continuously since 1973, making it one of the longest-running (if not the longest-running) women's radio show in the United States.

My friend Sue has been a DJ on SATW for a number of years, and very kindly invited me to sit in during her shift yesterday. It had been several years since I had been on SATW, but it was every bit as enjoyable as I remembered. We had a lot of fun chatting about our respective set lists; Sue is extremely knowledgable about jazz, among other genres, and I drove home after the show with a list of artists to either discover or re-acquaint myself with. (I foresee my Ella Fitzgerald and Cassandra Wilson albums getting a workout this week.) :c)

I'll be off the WMFO airwaves the next few weekends, but will be on my friend Mike's program again the first weekend in October, and hopefully on SATW as well. I'm looking forward to it already!

I played a number of songs on the show, so I broke them out into two posts. Here's the first batch - enjoy!

Cassi-DJ - The Songs (9.07.19)

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Hello folks! Just got home from sitting in with my friend Mike on his radio show, as mentioned in yesterday's post. For anyone who missed it and would like to hear it, I have an MP3 copy of the show; drop me a line and I can share it. (It's two hours, with all of the songs included.)

If anyone is interested, here are the songs I played during my set:

Dire Straits: "Wild West End," from their 1978 self-titled debut album. This is a lovely live version from the same year:

Blue Rodeo: "Hasn't Hit Me Yet," from 1993's Five Days in July; this is a live version from their appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien:

The Tragically Hip: "Bobcaygeon," which will likely prove to be their most enduring song, from 1998's Phantom Power:

Sarah Harmer: "Greeting Card Aisle," from her 2004 album All Of Our Names:

Bruce Cockburn: "Night Train," from his 1997 album The Charity of Night (play this one loud, especially the guitar solo at the end!):

And finally Jonatha Brooke: "Ten Cent Wings," from her 1997 album of the same name:

Hope you like the songs and/or the show. I'll be sitting in again with Mike the first weekend in October, so mark your calendars now! :c)

Cassi-DJ (a/k/a Listen To The Radio)

Friday, September 6, 2019

Hey folks, just a heads-up: I'll be sitting in with my friend Mike on his weekly radio show ("Mike on the Mike" - great name, eh?) tomorrow morning. So, if you ever thought to yourself "Gee, I wonder what a sleep- and caffeine-deprived Cassidy sounds like?", well, here's your chance to find out! :c)

Mike's show airs on WMFO-FM (91.5 in Boston MA) tomorrow morning, Saturday, Sept. 7th, from 9:00 to 11:00 AM (EDT). Since pretty much anyone reading this lives outside their broadcast area, you can stream it live from one of the following:

If anyone would like to hear it afterwards, this article provides a succinct overview on how to do so (just substitute "Mike on the Mike"on Saturday from 9:00-11:00 AM for the author's show, of course):

I'll also have an MP3 copy afterwards as well for those who want to listen to Mike and I trade terrible puns back and forth for two hours. :c)

A few interesting facts about WMFO:

WMFO-FM is licensed to Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. It's staffed and run by both Tufts students and community residents (such as my friends Mike and Vince, who has his own terrific show on Saturday afternoons from 2:00-4:00 PM).

It's freeform, which means there are no commercials and that they can, and do, play anything - within Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines (no profanity, etc.).

WMFO's predecessor, WTUR, was a close-circuit station that started in 1967. One of its founders was the late J.J. Jackson, one of the original MTV VJs. (I never knew this!)

The station at one point had what was considered one of the most extensive collections of rock vinyl in the Greater Boston area, second only to WBCN-FM, rightly considered one of the very best FM and most influential radio stations in the United States.

Most of the collection was destroyed in a major fire in April 1977; much of it was replaced by donations from listeners and other radio stations (including WBCN). Of course now its music library is mostly digital, but they still have a huge vinyl library, as you can see in this photo from their website:

Pretty cool, huh? :c)

Anyway, hope you get a chance to give the show a listen. As CBS News's Charles Osgood would say, I'll see you on the radio!


A great radio-related song from Nanci Griffith's 1988 album Storms - "Listen To The Radio":

And here's a smoking hot live version of "Wavelength" from Van Morrison's 1978 album of the same name. The amazing guitar work is courtesy of Bobby Tench (he plays on the studio version as well):

Such a great song!

Vignettes: Can't You See? a/k/a The Glory of... Me(?)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Had to share this. :c)

So, I went into my local Starbucks on Tuesday evening.

M, the barista behind the register, spotted me as I walked in and said "Look! It's Cass, our COTW!"

Now, I work in high-tech, which is acronym-happy, but this was a new one, even for me.

"COTW?" I asked.

I must have looked even more befuddled than I normally do, because she laughed, pointed to a sign next to the cash register, and said, "I thought you writer types read everything?!?"

Well, I had noticed the sign - but had not looked at it recently.

So I put on my specs and took a closer look.

This is what I saw:

Isn't that sweet?!?

I had no idea they had done this! (Although I joked that they needed to update the sign by adding "and near-sighted" to the end of it. :D)

Anyway, it made my week, needless to say. :c) Thanks again, kids!


While I ponder whether my six-month-old eyeglass prescription needs updating, given that I somehow missed this sign staring me in the face, I thought I'd post a few vision-themed tunes. First up, a great song from The Marshall Tucker Band - "Can't You See," from 1973:

That's the late, great Toy Caldwell, who wrote "Can't You See," tearing it up on vocals and lead guitar.

Another great classic rock tune: 1967's "I Can See For Miles," from The Who:

Every time I listen to this (especially on headphones) I marvel at how incredible it sounds, particularly given the relatively primitive recording techniques available in late 1966/early 1967, when they recorded this.

Finally, an early tune from one of my favorite bands. Here's Wilco performing "Outtasite (Outta Mind") from their classic 1996 album Being There:

And as a bonus, here's it's twin - "Outta Mind (Outtasite)" - also from Being There:

That one never fails to make me smile. :c) I would say Mr. Tweedy and co. were clearly indulging a serious jones for Pet Sounds/Smile-era Beach Boys during the sessions for Being There. :c)

Ciao for now - and Happy Friday everyone...

Cass's Glasses Redux (a/k/a The Vision Thing, Plus Songs for a Summer Weekend)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Happy Friday everyone. Just a brief post to share a few things while I work on several longer posts (honest!). 

First, I thought I'd share a pic of me wearing my new glasses. Well, relatively new; I got them in late March (yes, I need to post way more often): 

This is my day-to-day business look, for better or worse ;c) - other than when I remember to a) bring my contacts and b) actually put them in (spoiler alert: not very often - ditziness still reigns, alas). Anyway, I like the new spectacles quite a bit. 

This is also how I usually wear my hair (also for better or worse). :c) For some reason most of my pictures show me with it down; in reality, though, I typically wear it up, simply because I don't want to get up at the crack of dawn and spend an hour-plus trying to tame it. (First world problems, I know... :c))

I also thought I'd share a few songs from two albums I've really been enjoying this year. Both of these albums have one thing in common: Jason Isbell, who both produced both records and played on them with his band, the 400 Unit (which features his wife Amanda Shires, moonlighting from her solo career).

First up is Strand of Oaks, who released several terrific albums the past 5-6 years that I somehow missed out on completely. Fortunately I'm making up for lost time, starting with with this year's Eraserland album. Here's a clip of his performance of "Ruby" on Stephen Colbert's show. In addition to Mr. Isbell (lead guitar) and Miss Shires (fiddle), his band features several members of My Morning Jacket, and, on drums, Will Johnson, of Centro-Matic/South San Gabriel. Great stuff:

The second album is one of my two favorite albums of 2019 so far (along with Bruce Springsteen's remarkable Western Stars), Josh Ritter's Fever Breaks. I rarely comment on politics online, but "All Some Kind of Dream" captures how I feel about America the past three years under the Orange Sh*tgibbon - albeit with far more eloquence (and much, much less profanity) than I am capable of. I think in years to come - assuming we still have a functioning democracy, that is - this will be remembered as one of the songs that sum up the horror/sh*t show. Be sure to listen to the lyrics on this one:

I'll end with another song from Fever Breaks, "Old Black Magic." I usually post live performances of songs in my posts, but Jason Isbell uncorks a tremendous, blistering, minute-plus guitar solo at the end of the studio version that is so smoking-hot I just had to share it. Play this one LOUD:

That will do it for now. Look for several longer posts in the near future (again, honest!). Have a good weekend, everyone...


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