Artist Profile: Nico Vega

June 30, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

I discovered Nico Vega earlier this year (hat tip Jacob Nicolas) and upon first listen, and was immediately enchanted by the rockin’ infections rhythms and the soulful throaty voice of band vocalist Aja Volkman. With only one EP and a few singles to their name (and a full LP due in the fall), Nico Vega are the underground band to watch for 2008.

The trio – vocalist Aja, guitarist Rich and drummer Dan – draws inspiration from a lost friend for whom the band is named, using a fusion of rock, folk and soul music as a medium to deliver a message of love and brotherhood.

Nico Vega represents a modern day saint. A warrior that has led us to a more fulfilling, lighter way of being. She represents people and unity. She fights for all of us and teaches us to fight for each other. She is an idea that has evolved into a message and she fuels us in our bellies. She is the person we are all capable of being, but she holds the bar high above our head so that we must reach to be better human beings. We all have honesty inside of us, we all know how to love, we are all made of the same flesh, and we are all stuck here together. Nico Vega reminds us that we can learn to fuse these ideas together and grow more solid as a unit of man. Alone we are lost, we fail, we grieve, we search, we struggle, we feel small. Together we are solid, found, loved, and powerful. We are our own greatest natural resource. [source]

What I really like about this band is that their recorded music sounds great, but to see them live is an experience. Aja, Rich and Dan are truly three friends making music together; doing it first for the love of music, then each other and if it comes, fame is nice. In music videos (check out “Wooden Dolls”), you can sort of get a taste of the deeply growling voice projected by Volkman, however, you get a true sense of her personality, the camaraderie she shares with her band mates and the full glory of her magnificent voice in intimate settings such as their recent show at the Viper Room in Hollywood last week.

It may be true that bands are made up of more than just a singer, but Aja Volkman demonstrates the allure of a strong, sexy and charismatic person to front any band.

Photo by: Alex Pranger

A New Author for ShePlaysMusic: An Introduction

June 30, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

Hello ShePlaysMusic readers. My name is Kimberlee Morrison; author, editor, journalist, and culture critic. I started writing about music eight years ago, always gravitating to freelance and self-initiated opportunities. One of my first, favorite and most frequently covered events is the Ragga Muffins Festival in Long Beach.

In addition to recording music, performing as a vocalist at local venues and various other capacities, I have always listened to music with a critical ear. I have also developed a very eclectic taste in music ranging from Jazz and Neo-Soul, to Electronica and Dance, to Rock and Hip Hop. My love for music borders on fanaticism, not for the artists per se but the feeling that great music can create, for the poetry in the lyrics, the composition in the songwriting. I have spent a good part of my freelance writing years covering music, arts and entertainment.

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Who Wrote “Ring of Fire?”

June 4, 2008 by Sarah  

I just finished reading Vivian Cash’s “I Walked the Line”, a memoir telling her story with ex-husband Johnny Cash. Indeed Vivian and Johnny were in love and indeed there were two things that tore apart the marriage, drugs and June Carter.

Now, clearly Vivian, who has since passed away, did continue to have feelings for Johnny. And clearly there was no love lost for June. The problem is, there were so many allegations made against June you don’t know what is bitterness and what is the truth.

To me the most interesting item in the book, besides all of Johnny’s love letters, was the revelation that June Carter Cash may not have written Johnny’s megahit “Ring of Fire.”

The original story is that June co-wrote “Ring of Fire” with country song writer Merle Kilgore. She claims the song came to her while she was driving aimlessly around one night wondering what she’s going to do about Johnny.

Vivian claims “June wrote ‘Ring of Fire’ no more than I did.” She said Johnny wrote it with Merle Kilgore and it was about a certain part of a woman’s anatomy. Musician Curly Lewis who toured with Johnny backs up this claim and says the pair wrote it on a fishing trip, and he was present.

“Johnny and Merle Kilgore and I were fishing in Casitas, Calif., and that’s when ‘Ring of Fire’ was created.

“After it got pretty well settled, Johnny told Merle Kilgore that this is gonna be one big song. He said, ‘I’m going to be going through a divorce, and I don’t want it tied up in my divorce, so put June’s name down as the writer.’”

What’s even more shocking are Curly’s claims that the devout Cash used “ring of fire” as a double meaning for June’s genitalia. “Well, use your imagination,” Curly testified on tape. “We got a female part involved. [The] vagina is the ring of fire.”


Vivian contends Johnny told her one day he was giving June half the song writing credit because she needed the money and he felt bad for her. Of course at this point everyone’s dead and we may not ever know the truth.

Another interesting note is that none of Johnny’s four daughters from his marriage to Vivian (including Roseanne Cash) are receiving a percentage of the royalties to this and many other Johnny Cash songs now that he’s gone. Half son with June Carter Cash, John Carter, receives a large majority of the royalties for most Johnny Cash hits. And of course, a battle ensues.

A lawyer for the Cash estate told, “We find it noteworthy that their authorship has been unchallenged for over 40 years, and was only questioned after the deaths of Kilgore and the Cashes.”


So tell me what you think? Who really wrote “Ring of Fire?”

Image: Newscom

I Walked the Line

Highlights from the MTV Movie Awards

June 2, 2008 by Sarah  

Ok. So I’m a dope sometimes. I totally forgot last night was the MTV movie awards - didn’t watch - but I did manage to check out some red carpet pics.

Here are some highlights:

Vanessa Hudgens is looking absolutely adorable - and age appropriate, I might add. I hate when young, cute stars try to dress so grown up. This look works well for her.

Jennifer Hudson is looking summery in this semi-casual strappy dress. Jennifer always dresses in a manner flattering to her body type - this is one of my favorite of her oufits.

Katharine McPhee is looking gorgeous, as usual.

To be honest, I’m not totally feeling Rhianna’s look here.


All images via newscom.

Ashlee Simpson Scraps 2008 Tour

June 2, 2008 by Sarah  

Ashlee Simpson Wentz’ dog ate her tour. No. Really. In a post at her MySpace page, Ashlee wrote:

The Dog Ate My Tour

Dear friends, fans, lurkers, stalkers and sh**talkers!
I’m really sorry to announce that I’m going to postpone my tour this summer.
My team gave me a few reasons I could use:
1. jury duty (but you can get out of jury duty once)
2. creative differences (but I’m a solo artist so that didn’t make sense)
3. not in the mood/have a headache (wait, that was an excuse for Pete! and it didn’t work. See next reason)
4. the baby
…and that’s where I drew the line.
The truth is I want to put on an amazing show for you the next time I come to your town. I promise I will be back, better than ever and ready to rock out. Until then,

She’s kind of funny, that Ashlee. Who knew?

I don’t blame her. Touring might not be the best thing for her baby. Her fans will wait, I’m sure. And in the meantime, we have Jessica Simpson’s country album to keep us busy.

Image: Newscom

Kurt Cobain’s Ashes Stolen from Courtney Love

June 2, 2008 by Sarah  

Kurt Cobain’s ashes have been stolen from his widow Courtney Love.

Courtney kept Kurt’s ashes in a pink teddy bear bag, along with a lock of his hair. Apparently, someone robbed her home, took clothes, jewelry and Kurt’s ashes.

“I can’t believe anyone would take Kurt’s ashes from me.” Courtney said. “I find it disgusting and right now I’m suicidal. If I don’t get them back I don’t know what I’ll do.”

“They were all I had left of my husband,” Courtney added. “I used to take them everywhere with me just so I could feel Kurt was still with me.

“Now it feels like I have lost him all over again.”

It’s no secret I’m not a big Courtney Love fan, but this is a terrible thing to do to anyone. Kurt’s ashes belong with his family. Let’s hope they’re returned.


Image: Newscom

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