Concert Review: Boz Scaggs, Robert Cray Band, Jeff Leblanc


  • Kauffman Center – Kansas City, Missouri
  • August 19, 2022


What an amazing weekend of music I just concluded.  Keep an eye out for my piece on the HAPPY TOGETHER show – this one is all about the night I got to listen to one of my all-time favorites and discovered a new one.


I had certainly heard of the Robert Cray Band, and was familiar with their biggest song, “Smoking Gun,” and I had known for years that Mr. Cray was the guitarist for Otis Day and the Knights in “Animal House.”  But I’d had no idea that he was a master of the guitar, with an amazing band to match him lick for lick.  I will mention here that my wife is a big fan and has told me for years that I didn’t know what I was missing.  She was right.  With Mr. Cray changing guitars for almost every song played, the music lept from his fingers and filled the sold-out Kauffman Center.  His band kept pace, with bass player Richard Cousins supplying the beat while changing instruments almost as much as Mr. Cray did.  The set ended with a bluesy rendition of Chuck Berry’s (You Never Can Tell) C’est La Vie.


After a short break it was time for headliner Boz Scaggs and his band to take the stage.  I’m old enough to remember when hits like “Ledo Shuffle,” “Lowdown” and “Look What You’ve Done to Me” – a great song to have on the turntable when you were “entertaining” a lady friend – were first released.  I played Mr. Scaggs’ “Silk Degrees” album constantly as a teenager and it was quite a joy to hear those songs – and others – performed live.   I just realized I may have confused our younger readers by using both words “turntable” and “album.”  Still the best way to listen to music.  Don’t believe me?  Ask your parents.


Besides the hits, Mr. Scaggs also played a selection of songs from his latest album, “Let it Roll.”  The mixture of old and new was well received by the audience, as was the rousing “Ledo Shuffle” sing-along.


The evening began with a short set from singer/songwriter Jeff Leblanc, who easily engaged the audience with his stories, including a folksy rendition of Al Green’s (or, if you’re my son’s age – Tina Tuner’s) “Let’s Stay Together,” which he introduced as a song he had to learn for a wedding.  A budding talent who I’m sure we will all hear more about sooner than later.


For upcoming shows, please click HERE.  

98° Jeff Timmons Talks About The Groups 2018 Holiday Tour

Jeff Timmons is a founding member of the pop group 98°. Together with Justin Jeffre and brother’s Nick and Drew Lachey the group has sold over 10 million albums worldwide since their debut release in 1997. The group is currently out on a Holiday Tour which runs through December 22nd and Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Jeff about the tour, the possibility of new music, and what’s at the top of his wish list this year.

Adam Lawton: Tell us about the decision to bring back the holiday tour for a second year?

Jeff Timmons: It gives us a chance to get back out there and perform. Prior to the last holiday run we had done some summer touring and it was a pretty grueling schedule. Three of us have families so to be away from them is hard. This tour allows us to go out and perform while our kids are still in school and then when we are done be home with them for the holidays. This is really something different because there are not a lot of pop groups doing holiday tours. We have a real blast doing this and helping get everyone in the holiday spirit. Last year’s response was great and this year has been even better. This is something I see us doing for as long as we can.

AL: Was there anything you guys wanted to change from last year’s performance to help bring something different to the show?

JT: I think you always want to tweak things in an effort to make the show better for the fans and for things to move smoother. The overall format from last year is basically what we are going with. We have two albums worth of Christmas material that we do and of course we have to throw in our hits or it wouldn’t be fair to the fans. We don’t take each other too seriously so there is quite a bit of comedy going on. We are playing in smaller venues which allows for a more intimate setting and it gives us a chance to be a bit more theatrical with our performances. These shows are much different than a typical concert and that was really our plan.

AL: How much pre-production and planning go in to a tour like this?

JT: We do a lot of stuff via email. We know basically what songs we are going to pull from each album but then we also throw ideas back and forth of personal favorites that we might want to add to the list as well. From there we can figure out how long the show is going to be and we can start rehearsals. Being that we are all super busy we don’t have as much time as we would like to rehearse together. We generally have about seven to ten days to get everything together before that first show so each of us has to come in ready to go. Fortunately we have been together so long that we know each other very well and that defiantly helps.

AL: You have added a few more stop to this year’s run. How do you guys select which stops you want to add?

JT: A lot of it has to do with routing. We work with an agency that looks at all the logistics which go in to a tour and then things go from there. It never is really up to us. We always want to include each of our home towns and we really campaigned to include the Mid-West and a few other areas this time out. We missed some fans last year and we got a lot of responses about that so we are trying to make sure we hit those spots. We certainly are covering more area this year and we feel very positive about all the stops.

AL: Has there been any talks of new material and possibly more touring in the coming year?

JT: There have been some talks about recording some new songs. We are not sure if it’s going to be an album or an EP. With today’s technology you can be more single driven and stream it all over so we will have to see. As far as more touring goes with everything each of us has going on we have to see how we can balance all of that while being on the road. When we first started dipping our toes in the water to see if people still wanted to see us we weren’t sure what we were going to be able to do. With the reception having been and continues to be so great that presents a lot more possibilities so we just have to see what we can make work. What I can tell you is that we enjoy doing music together and there are going to be some new things on the horizon.

AL: Being the holidays are right around the corner is there anything special you have at the top of your wish list?

JT: This is going to sound corny but I just want to be able to home for Christmas. It’s a grind out here on the road and we miss our families. Fortunately we are able to build in some off days so we do get to see them but when you’re out there getting everyone excited for the season it makes you miss them more. The tour wraps up on December 22nd so we will get to be home and just enjoy our time with one another. I think that will be the best gift.

For up to date info on 98° you can check out their Instagram at @98degrees

Jeff Caudill talks about his new EP “Reset the Sun”.

Former Gameface front man Jeff Caudill is back with a new EP titled “Reset the Sun”. The six track EP is a bit of a departure from Caudills emo/rock sound and Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Jeff recently about the new sound, the special Record Store Day release of the EP and his summer tour plans.

Adam Lawton: Tell us about the new EP set to release on Record Store Day?

Jeff Caudill: It’s a concept record, an alt-country road record. The story is about about guy who made some questionable life decisions and is struggling with forgiveness and starting over – and the idea that no matter how far away you go, you can always come back.

AL: Was this release originally designed to be for RSD?

JC: No, but I’m really happy that it worked out this way. I’m a total vinyl nerd and I love Record Store Day so this is kind of the best thing ever. I’m releasing this EP on my own label, Fortunate Son, but my friends at Revelation Records are helping with distribution. They submitted it for RSD and it seemed that the stars aligned.

AL: Being this project is quite different from your work with Gameface were you nervous about exploring new genres?

JC: Well, I’ve always loved this kind of music. Even in Gameface I kind of leaned into the ‘twang’. I put out a couple solo records before this that have a more singer-songwriter vibe so I’ve been working towards this. But yeah, if people are expecting Gameface, they might be wondering what’s going on.

AL: What was it that appealed to you to go the way of the singer/songwriter as opposed to starting a new band?

JC: I’m always writing songs. It’s what I do. I just don’t get paid to do it. The way my life is these days, it makes more sense to just keep going and let the band members come and go as they may. Keeping a band together is tough. I’m enjoying playing with new people, and I enjoy playing solo. I think the solo artist thing allows for more versatility and freedom.

AL: Are there plans to tour behind release?

JC: I hope so. I have some tentative summer plans for some solo acoustic shows on both coasts. I’m also getting a backing band up to speed now too so who knows? As long as I’m playing music in some capacity, I’m happy.

Enter to Win a Blu-ray of “The Giver” with Jeff Bridges & Meryl Streep [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of “The Giver” starring Jeff Bridges & Meryl Streep,  we are happy to be giving a Blu-ray from the film. If you want to win this great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Jeff Brides film. This giveaway will remain open until December 5th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

The Giver centers on Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment.  Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), who is the sole keeper of all the community’s memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community’s secret past. With this newfound power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined – a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most.  At extreme odds, Jonas knows that he must escape their world to protect them all – a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before. The Giver is based on Lois Lowry’s beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal.

CD Review “Jeff Bridges & The Abiders: Live”

Jeff Bridges & The Abiders
Label: Mailboat Records
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Produced/Mixed by: Chris Pelonis
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

When I saw Jeff Bridges rock out in “Crazy Heart”, I feel in love with his voice and his style of folk music. When he released his self titled album back in 2011, I couldn’t stop listening and honestly, still haven’t today. When I saw that Jeff and his band was touring. The live album was record this past summer at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas, NV. I was hoping this album was going to be as great as Jeff’s self-titled album but I was left wanting more.

This album includes live recordings of songs from Bridges’ debut album “Be Here Soon” and self-titled album on Blue Note Records, as well as original music from the film “Crazy Heart”. There are also his take on classics like The Byrds’ “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star”, Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is to Fly,” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.” Also included is a new track by songwriter friend, John Goodwin, called “Exception to the Rule.”

The band, Jeff Bridges & The Abiders, consists of Jeff Bridges on vocals, guitar, keyboards, Chris Pelonis on guitar, keyboards, vocals, Bill Flores on pedal steel, guitar, Randy Tico on upright, electric bass, and Tom Lackner on drums, percussion. I heard that Jeff’s daughter Jessie Bridges, who has an amazing voice as well, and that was recorded on the album as well.

The album it is called “Live” and I was hoping for a live recording of a concert but instead we get here a collection of live songs instead. I thought that the transition between the tracks felt really choppy and didn’t flow well. Plus I do love the song “Blue Car” but it is not really a great kick off track. “What a Little Bit of Love Can Do” is easily the most energy on the album with “Fallin’ & Flyin'” is a close second.

I have never seen him and his band live but I heard great things. I hope that he eventually makes it over to the Florida area…if anyone is reading this, PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN! Even though, I wasn’t a huge fan of these live tracks, I am sure that the vibe and live performance of a complete show is much better than this, so if you can get a chance see him live, I would recommend it.

Track Listing:
1. Blue Car
2. I Don’t Know
3. What a Little Bit of Love Can Do
4. Maybe I Missed the Point
5. Exception to the Rule
6. She Lay Her Whip Down
7. Lookin’ Out My Back Door
8. What a Little Bit of Love Can Do
9. Van Gogh In Hollywood
10. To Live Is to Fly
11. Fallin’ & Flyin’
12. Never Let Go
13. So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star
14. Somebody Else


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Jeff Lowe talks about the world’s first digital capture board, SMART kapp

Jeff Lowe is the VP Enterprise Sales & Marketing, SMART Technologies. SMART Technologies Inc., a leading collaboration company and global provider of visual collaboration solutions, recently announced a new product called, SMART kapp, which is the world’s first digital capture board. SMART kapp capitalizes on the company’s 20 year history as the inventor of the SMART Board® interactive whiteboard, their collaboration technologies and their patents. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jeff about this amazing new product and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got started with at SMART Technologies and your role with the company?
Jeff Lowe: I have been at SMART for a little over two years now, after a career in large technology organizations like IBM and TELUS. SMART has two distinct business units, one is the K-12 and the other is corporate or what we call Enterprise market. I am head of sales and marketing for the Enterprise market. We help companies to collaborate better with their workers whether they are in the same office, same city or across the world.

MG: Give us the lowdown on creating the world’s first digital capture board, SMART kapp?
JL: When you look at what collaboration tools companies are using, almost every company uses dry erase boards and flip charts. They have been around for decades and haven’t changed much, if at all, while other tools have adapted greatly to how far we have come in technology. That is one side and the other is informal collaboration, which is really growing. It is the preverbal water cooler conversations and the meetings that happen in between meetings, this is where a lot of work is being done these days in corporation around the world. So we feel that due to these things there are new tools required to grow and advance.

MG: What are some of the features that you are most excited about?
JL: I would have to mention three. The first is the ability to capture what is written on the board in real-time. Often times what happens in a meeting is that people are jotting down their ideas and then that information then needs to be captured. This can happen via one of two ways, either someone has to come and write it up or people take a photo with their phones. It is often not an ideal way to capture that information. On the kapp board you can literally just hit a button and capture what is on the board in a high quality digital image like a JPG or PDF. The next one is to be able to share that with remote workers. How often during meetings do we have remote people on the phone, who are trying to follow a meeting but cannot see what is being written on the board, so they become disengaged. Sometime people will take a photo of the board and email it to the remote workers. What we are able to do with the kapp board is you can scan a QR code, which launches your email on your mobile phone that is paired with the board and you send an email which invites them to the kapp meeting. There is nothing that the remote worker even has to have installed. They open a browser and can watch in real time the annotations taking place on the board.

MG: Since it is glass; how resistance are we talking to scratches and other wear and tear?
JL: We have thought of that. It made with tempered glass. It is pretty heavy duty glass. One of the great things about glass is how easy it is to write on. It is very smooth and elegant. It also is easy to erase it. We all know how dry erase board have issues with old things left on there that can’t be erased. That all goes away with the glass surface.

MG: Are they any features that are going to be added in at a later time?
JL: Yes, that is a fantastic question Mike! This is version 1 and we are looking to launch the next version already with the next few months with shipping to begin start of the next year. Some of the features you will see is size. The current size is similar to a typical dry erase board or flip chart. We are looking to introduce one in the 80+ inch range. The second is colors. Right now, the color of the ink is only black. In the future we are planning on including other colors. We are also looking to expand features with the software application itself, for example things like print to text conversion and expanding on the number of concurrent users that can connect to a meeting, which is right now five.

Sarah Dawson talks about competing on "Survivor: Philippines" and kissing Jeff Probst

Sarah Dawson was a contestant on the recent “Survivor: Philippines” and was voted off the island on day 13 of the show.  She was also the first contestant in the show’s 25 seasons to have ever kissed the host Jeff Probst.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Sarah about her time on the show and, of course, the kiss.

Adam Lawton: What was it that interested you in trying out for the show?
Sarah Dawson: I have always been inspired by the show. Growing up in a conservative household as a vegetarian who spent most of her time camping, living outside and procuring degrees in a BA in Strategic Public Relations and a BS in Psychology really reflected to me the passion that I have for everything “Survivor” is about. I love it all, the scheming, the travel, the excitement of having all of my worldly possessions stripped away from me. I wanted to see how I could perform once all of the social constructs I have in my life were taken away

AL: Can you tell us about your audition process?
SD: I have been a HUGE fan of “Survivor” for years. I spent about 5 years trying to get some of my friends cast on the show and despite getting close, it didn’t work. In January of 2012 I decided that if I couldn’t get myself on “Survivor” I had no business giving anyone else advice on how to get on the show. That Sunday I recorded a one minute video and submitted it online within 10 hours, casting was on the phone with me and I was in LA meeting with producers just days later. During the final casting process I completely went “all in” and showed my genuine energy and passion for the show. Like every other aspect of my life, I took advantage of the situation as much as I could. I freaked out and got so excited when I met Jeff Probst and even petted his hair while saying the Lords Prayer. It was such a fun moment that I will never forget. I may have also grabbed Mark Burnett’s ass while he was walking by me into the casting room. Some chances in life only come once and I lived every second of my casting process so I would not miss one second or opportunity and have no regrets.

AL: Did you do anything to prepare yourself prior to filming? (watch past episodes etc.)
SD: As such a fan of the show, I think for about 2 years I watch previous “Survivor” episodes EXCLUSIVELY. I knew I would be involved n the show at some point and I prepared for years. Once I knew I was cast, I stepped my training into high gear. I gained 12 pounds by eating amazing burritos and doing weight training. I purchased and read 6 books in detail about the game and the psychology behind it. To prepare for “Survivor” I even ate all the ants off my kitchen table to test my commitment to the game! Before eating the ants I did discuss it with them, either they would be removed by my exterminator or they could make themselves part of “Survivor” history. They were thrilled with the opportunity and I came out ready for the game!!!

AL: Can you give us the low down on the Jeff Probst kiss?
SD: There is nothing more I would like to give you the low down on! Man were those kisses heated! When I was voted out of “Survivor”: Philippines it was time for me to have my torch snuffed by Jeff and just like every other moment of my life, I did not want to walk away from that second with any regrets. I stood in front of him for what seemed like hours, the people around me and tribal counsel disappeared from view and I the only thing I could see was the two of us, standing so close with so much energy between us. After a few seconds of me staring at him and trying to build up my courage, I could see the fear in his eyes and the anxiety of him wondering what I was about about to do to him because I obviously would not be one of those contestants that silently left tribal counsel without capturing one last second of such a rare opportunity. I chickened out on kissing him on the lips and hit him somewhere between his mouth and his cheek. It felt so empowering to have that hug back from him on my way out of the show. It was exhilarating.

AL: How about during the live reunion show?
SD: Now, the kiss during the live reunion show in Los Angeles was quite different. HA! I watched my entire season of “Survivor” at home thinking about kissing him during the live show and just like they read my mind, every day my Twitter followers would tweet me that I should kiss him during the live show so I built up my courage for 13 weeks and then finally the night came when I would once again be standing in front of my darling Dimples. I know the live shows happen very quickly because there is so much material to cover and once I had my window of opportunity, it would close in a flash. I was sitting about 6 feet off the stage with two rows of people in front of me between Jeff and I. I navigated in my head the quickest route to his lips and at the beginning of the show I took off my high heels and hid them behind another cast mate because I knew there was no way I could make the jump to the ground with them on. The show seemed to last forever but I knew he would speak to me at some point and that would be my moment. At the very end of the show he looked directly in my eyes and said my name and started asking me a question about the kiss at tribal council. Once he said my name I was in a daze and lost a few seconds just because he was speaking to me. I quickly snapped out of it and thought “MOVE! THIS IS YOUR LAST SHOT!!! MOVE NOW!!!!! It wasn’t shown on the show but I pushed Carter to the left, Put my right hand on Penners shoulder and launched myself over Denise and hit the ground barefoot splitting my shin open. In a flash with one move I lept from that spot to right in front of Jeff simultaneously wrapping my hands around the nape of his neck for the kiss I will always remember. Once I felt his hair in my hands and his skin against mine I put my lips to his and experienced a dream that is held by millions of women all over the world. We kissed for about 25 minutes, my shin was bleeding from my fall, the audience was rolling with laughter and his lips were there with mine, pressed against mine and as he held my arms in his hands, he kissed me back on live television! After the kiss I did a little touchdown dance and told myself I would never allow any opportunity no matter how small its window, to go by me without jumping over people, injuring myself, and risking poor manners to achieve my dreams.

AL: What was the hardest part for you about being on the show?
SD: Playing “Survivor” was a dream of mine. I wasn’t even hungry on the show since I was able to put on so many extra pounds. I was thrilled to be out there. The most difficult thing for me was watching other people complain about being hungry, about being dirty, about missing their iPods… As others would complain I could do nothing but think to myself how grateful I was for the opportunity to leave my television at home, for the opportunity to get filthy, the chance to live outside during 13 days of straight rain. The hardest part of being on the show for me was watching other people be miserable and not recognizing the gift and once in a lifetime opportunity they were given. Man, that grinded my gears!

AL: What are you currently working on?
SD: I moved to Los Angeles! Three weeks ago I packed my clothes one night and relocated myself and my python, Squeeze, to the city of the stars to pursue my dream of being an actress. Since that move I have not stopped chasing this dream. I have already done a considerable amount of hosting, photo shoots, and am working on a new television show! The world has not seen the last of me. Starting with Los Angeles, I am diving into every opportunity lips first! To keep up follow me on twitter @survivordawson!

CD Review: Jeff Loomis “Plains of Oblivion”

Jeff Loomis
“Plains of Oblivion”
Century Media Records
Producer: Aaron Smith
Tracks: 10

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Plains of Oblivion” is the second solo release from Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis. The album hosts a variety of musicians such as former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman. The album is being released via Century Media Records and features 10 original tracks that were produced by Aaron Smith.

The new album by Jeff Loomis is more than just another progressive metal album. “Plains of Oblivion” Is an album packed full of songs that will make your head spin and your ears bleed from the sheer sonic goodness. Each of the 10 songs on the album feature creative structures that even fair-weather fans of    progressive metal music will enjoy. Tracks such as “Escape Velocity” and “Requiem for the Living” were strong personal favorites as I really loved the thunderous background of each track. Couple that with Loomis’s over the top solos and you can’t go wrong. Fans of Jeff’s other work will surely want to check this album out as it really showcases his playing on a whole new level. Guest appearances by Chris Poland on the track “Continuum Drift” and Tony MacAlpine on “The Ultimatum” were also highlights of “Plains of Oblivion”.

Though the album took a few listens through before I could fully appreciate it I found it to be a pretty good album. I would have liked a couple of the songs to be trimmed down a bit more but lengthy songs come with the territory. If you are looking for an album with some really great playing then do yourself and pick up the latest album from Jeff Loomis.

Track Listing:
1.)    Mercurial
2.)    The Ultimatum
3.)    Escape Velocity
4.)    Tragedy and Harmony
5.)    Requiem for the Living
6.)    Continuum Drift
7.)    Surrender
8.)    Chosen Time
9.)    Rapture
10.)  Sibylline Origin

Film Review “Jeff Who Lives At Home”

Starring: Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon
Directed by: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 1 hour 23 mins
Paramount Vantage

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Meet Jeff (Segel). Like the title of the movie says, he lives at home. In his mother’s basement. He spends his days smoking pot and discussing the many interesting facets of the movie “Signs.” He also gets the occasional wrong number calling him. Today someone was looking for “Kevin.” Hmmmmmm.

Featuring a strong performance by Segel, “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” is a story that tries to convince us that everything happens for a reason. Good or bad, hot or cold, fast or slow…one action leads directly to another…even if there are many detours along the way.

When asked by his mother (Sarandon) to fix a simple closet door Jeff instead finds himself following a young man (Evan Ross) he spies on the bus simply because he has the name KEVIN on the back of his basketball jersey. Across town, his brother Frank (Helms) is rewarding himself for having a good week at work. Unfortunately, his wife (Judy Greer) is not too happy with the reward system Frank has come up with. She’s also tired of the lack of communication between them and may or may not be looking to reward herself with a little male company. Meanwhile, mother is dealing with a possible secret admirer at work. And what was that about KEVIN?

Bravely played by Segel, whose fondest act here is playing the part sans makeup, his constant five o-clock shadow a reminder of his life, “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” is a true family comedy with a truly dysfunctional family. Whereby Jeff can get along without all of the trimmings of life (car, house…even a girlfriend), Frank considers these things the most important symbols that he is indeed living a life. Coming across almost as cocky as Danny McBride’s Kenny Powers, Helms does his best to make the audience feel for a character who really doesn’t deserve sympathy. Frank is pretty much one dimensional so credit to Helms for trying. Sarandon gives a strong performance as a woman who doesn’t realize she misses the life she once had. Kudos as well to supporting work by Greer and Rae Dawn Chong, who plays a co-worker of Sarandon’s. But the film breathes through Segel, who says more here with his eyes then some actors say in a two page monologue. If not for a telegraphed, treacle-filled ending, “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” could have been practically perfect. But at least it’s better then “Signs.”


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