Savior Soul

Susan Tedeschi's true blues fly in the face of commercialism

Dear Mainstream Music Machine,

When I'm forced to consider all the Britneys and Jessicas you've manufactured, I thank the Lord you've overlooked Susan Tedeschi.In your world of oversexed teenaged hacks, shiny hair extensions, and even shinier new breasts, you seem to drive talent out beyond the city limits, throw it clear of the vehicle, and leave it for dead. Susan isn't flashy, isn't trashy, and doesn't need to push her cleavage into anyone's camera lens to get noticed. All she has to do is open her mouth and let the blues take their course and all nonbelievers fall into line.

You've let a good one slip by, and I for one am glad. Susan's a real-deal singer, songwriter, and guitarist who, despite being nominated for two Grammys in the past five years, hasn't found her way onto your airwaves. But even without your help, more than half a million record buyers have caught on to this one truth: Susan Tedeschi is music, teetering between traditional blues, soul, gospel, R&B, rock, and folk. Her songs are drenched with love, longing, pain, and hope. She leaves you high but not dry, smiling with tears, comfortably full, and still hungering for more.

Songs like "Hurt So Bad" and "Just Won't Burn" (from her 1998 debut of the same name) are universally gripping to anyone with ears and a soul. Susan's newest album, Hope and Desire, is filled from top to bottom with obscure soul songs by artists who aren't so obscure, like Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones. Songs like Ray Charles' "Tired of My Tears" aren't reinterpreted as much as they are reborn to a life they could have never dreamed existed. Her rendition of the Rolling Stones' "You Got the Silver" makes you wonder if the song was actually written specifically for her, despite the fact that it was written before she was born. It doesn't matter what your musical kink is — these ultrafine sandpapery lullabies will turn you on, tune you in, and make you remember what music is all about. Yes, even you.

Sorry, Machine, but you don't know the first thing about showcasing a woman who is an artist, a wife, a mother, a universal sister, and a musical savior. But worry not, old enemy. Susan doesn't need to kick down any of your doors — she has classier places to spend the night.

Sincerely,

Maggie-Margret

P.S. I will never forgive you for Ashlee Simpson.

Susan Tedeschi plays at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 21, at the Palm Beach Convention Center Ballroom, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $32. Call 561-966-3309.Sonic Surgery

If there's one thing that really dulls my scalpel, it's when the government tries to tell us medical professionals what drugs are safe to prescribe. What do politicians know about medicine, other than how to cash a campaign check from Pfizer? I've got an elderly arthritic patient, Ethel, who can't take acetaminophen without projectile puking. That means no Vicodin, Percoset, or even Tylenol. But because she isn't cancer-ridden, she's ineligible for any of that government grass.

I admit, I'm in no hurry to hook up a 92-year-old with a dime sack, but it sure beats cleaning tossed cookies off my lab coat. However, while I believe a fat joint is a good alternative to pill-popping, there's a lesser-known alternative to medical marijuana: musical marijuana. Or, in other words, music as marijuana.

Now, before you think I'm prescribing some kind of new-age music program, let me assure you that no John Tesh CDs are involved. See, music works as an analgesic on many different levels, and there are three "alternative" methods I employ — exorcism, hallucination, and masochism. And for each, there's a style of rock that fits like a latex glove.

To exorcise pain, I prescribe various punk, hardcore, and metal albums, based on level of severity. Mild cases get the Ramones; extreme cases get Slayer. The hallucinatory method entails music that's so weird, it's like having Timothy Leary administer anesthesia. Ween works really well for this. Finally, there's the masochistic method, in which hearing about someone else's pain makes the patient feel much better about himself. Any emo band will suffice.

Who knows? The day still may come when I'm handing out sample packs of CIA-supplied Super Skunk. But until then, it's just a pipe dream. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to write a few 'scripts for "Blitzkrieg Bop."

Findings:Too many musicians getting stuck in the pokey 'cause of a little tokey. Diagnosis: Reefer madness... still. Treatment:Make an appointment for Saturday's medical marijuana benefit show at the Hideout, 7200 N. Dixie Hwy., Boca Raton. Performing are the Heavy Pets, Tin Soldier Empire, Red State Riot, and more. Show starts at noon. Admission is a $5 donation to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Call 561-994-9494. — Doc Le Roc

Let Love in an Elevator Rule

This weekend's matchup of Aerosmithand Lenny Kravitz (Kravitsmith?) brings together two of rock's most flamboyant frontmen. Kravitz and Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler possess all the basic precepts that ensure rock star immortality — the moves, the chops, the charisma, and, just as essentially, the wardrobes — all the elements needed to make them appear as if they're larger than life. Despite the fact that they hail from different eras — Aerosmith scored its first successes in the early '70s, while Kravitz came on the scene in the late '80s — each have certain similarities:

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