I’m a freelance music journalist, mainly. I’d been affiliated with Billboard in one role or another for 25 years or so, and now write extensively for examiner.com (several pages there) and mmusicmag.com (the “Being Bessman” column). I’ve written for scores of other publications local, national and global.  Some 80 CD liner notes, two books (Ramones–An American Band, John Mellencamp–The Concert at Walter Reed).

This site gives me a place to write about things I care about that I can’t or won’t publish elsewhere.

I’m extremely active on Twitter (@JimBessman), somewhat active on Facebook, totally useless on Linked-In.

I’m older than Methusaleh.

20 thoughts on “About

  • October 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Hey Jim! Didn’t know how else to track you down. A very talented friend of mine is playing The Bitter End this Sat. at 9pm. Her name is Danni Rosner from D.C. area. Has a voice like Natalie Merchant. She’s been all over YouTube and news programs. She just played with Marc Cohn. Thought perhaps you could come see her Saturday. Me an Di will be there and drinks on me. Hope you can make it or Google her to see her work in progress. Thanks!
    NEW YORK- Singer/Songwriter and TV Show Host Danni Rosner garners national attention with a song placement on A&E’s latest series “Teach” starring Tony Danza. Rosner’s song, “In the City,” from her critically acclaimed 2009 full-length album Piano Actress, will be featured on the October 22, episode 104, of “Teach” at 10/9 C on A&E.

    “Her music is an amalgam of soul, pop and real emotions that has gained wide popularity in the indie music scene.

    “In The City” is her ‘New York song.’ It is a charming number, rich with musical ideas without foregoing the pop element of a hearty chorus– the trademark of a crafty composer.”
    -Ted Reyes, Examiner NYC

    “I listen to it when I get up, before I go to bed…it’s really great- I mean, I am a ‘Piano Actress’ stalker!”

    -Paul Wharton, host/personality: BET, E!, Elle, The CW, MTV, TV One; founder Evolution Look Agency

  • February 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Hi Jim,
    I’d like to invite you out to see TYNTED’s show this Monday, Feb 7 at
    Sullivan Hall. TYNTED is an alternative metal band from Houston who has a
    powerful female-fronted lead vocalist, Kamalicca, from East India. Think Janis
    Joplin meets metal.

    You are doing an amazing job covering the NYC metal scene at Examiner.
    I have enjoyed reading your stuff. I’d like to talk with you about the
    possibility of you reviewing the show and how we could promote the
    band on your website. I’m open to your ideas.

    Speak with you soon,

    Praise for TYNTED:
    “The songs are perfect!”
    – From Eric Beasley, Director of A & R at Asylum Records

    “I think you guys are a great band, and whoever’s on guitar is dope.”
    – Conrad Dimanche, Sr. Director of A & R at Bad Boy Entertainment

    Below are TYNTED’s tracks “Broken” and “The Answer” from their
    upcoming CD. I’d love to get your reaction.
    – Hide quoted text –

    Upcoming NYC area shows.

    Date & Time: Thursday night, Feb. 3, 2011, at 8:30 pm
    Address: 101 Avenue A
    New York, NY
    This Thursday’s show will be followed by a weekly 80s Party Dance party.

    Date & Time: Monday night, Feb. 7, 2011, at 8 pm
    Check venue for show times
    Address: 214 Sullivan St.

    Date & Time: Thursday night, Feb. 10, 2011, at 9:50 pm
    Address: 703-5 16TH Ave.
    Lake Como, NJ

    Adam Kluger PR

    Krista Rupe

  • February 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Sorry Krista, didn’t see this till now.

  • May 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Elvis Costello’s show at the Beacon on Monday night was a let-down. I saw the Spinning Songbook show back in the 1980s (before I worked at Padell). Elvis relied more on what he had pre-arranged, and only invited maybe 6 people up on stage to spin. The Napoleon Dynamite character was basically retired early in the show. He brought his brother and the brother’s Irish band to perform 2 songs, including “American without Tears”. Then late in the show, he brought up 3 girls, one of which just happened (duh) to be the drummer’s daughter Tennessee, who also played drums. She performed with the band, and later came back out during the encores. I had told my wife what a great show this would be, and I was disappointed. She loved it, since she likes his old stuff and the hits, and hated the recent albums. I can really do without “alison” and “detectives” for the rest of my life, having heard them all the dozen or more times I have seen Elvis in concert.

  • July 3, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Jim – Nice review of the nrbq Irridium show! I have a new lp just out with Terry & Tom on Clang – I didn’t know whether to mail it c/o Billboard – or to another address, Thanks – your blog is great! best regards, Pat O’Connell

  • July 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Jim. Saw your comment on your facebook, concerning our version of the National Anthem. Just wanted to say”Thank you”. Lily

  • September 12, 2011 at 1:27 am

    JB: You’ve been rediscovered. Shoot me an email or Facebook Message. There’s a lot to catch up with since we last talked on the front porch balcony of my old two-flat in MadTown.


    ps. Your published writings would bring tears of joy to your K-12 English teachers. And I’m just talking about the perfect spelling and grammar. Also, I met with Aunt Betty last week who I’d not seen in 50 years. She shared the dirty little family secret that, in retrospect, explains much: My real father was Jerry Lee Lewis.

  • September 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Thanks Pat!

  • September 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Just saw this. I was at the first show. But Tennessee is really wonderful and was in a great girl group, The Like.

  • September 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Sorry only now saw this.

  • September 29, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Sorry just saw this now. Diane always knows how to reach me!

  • January 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Dear Jim,
    I’m sorry to bother you but I’m trying to research some famous autographs I have of some singers of the 1950’s. I have a program of the production of “the Shine of Stars” put on by the VFW in San Antonio, Texas. I attended this event as a young girl and got all the autographs of the proformers except the conductor. I am interested in the posiblity of selling the complete program. If you could help me at all I will furnish you with the full list of autograhps. Thank you, Melba

  • January 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Wish I could help, but no idea how.

  • July 2, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Hey Jim:

    Would love to reconnect. NOLA’s music scene is jumping. One factor: if you’re going to be a starving musician, why not live in NOLA? The music, food and cultures are more real here than anywhere else in the country (and most of the world). Check out the band website and music, this will be our 3rd year of spending the 1st week of August at Dockside Studios with engineer David Farrell. Send me an email with more contact info when you can. Much love from NOLA!
    Steve Picou & Grasshopper

  • January 26, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Hey Jim!

    I hope you are doing great! I wanted to send you one of personal favorite artists I have ever worked with. She blends Americana, rock and folk and is set to be featured on NPR and CBS next month. Below find her new video, music and bio for your consideration for a post on your awesome blog!

    Thanks so much,

    New videos:





    Laura Jean Anderson – A Righteous Girl

    As young as she may look, Laura Jean Anderson is filled with the spirit of wisdom, amassed through years of traveling, busking, hitchhiking, touring and old time religion–just the kind of learning a prolific songwriter would need.

    You can hear it in her voice and lyrics on her latest EP, Righteous Girl in which she evokes the ghosts of Janis Joplin and modern influences of Lucius, St. Vincent and Alabama Shakes, “I feel like these songs reflect that feeling you get when you get one glimmer of hope, of sunshine in the midst of a deep depression. I would go on long walks barefoot with my guitar in the neighborhoods of LA–I felt super out of place doing that but for some reason, it put things into perspective,” Anderson says wistful.

    “Take Me In” opens up the EP and Anderson gently pulls the listener into her world, her soothing voice (reminiscent of June Carter) ebbs and flows along with the electric piano rolls. However, the title track “Righteous Girl,” is a whole ‘nother beast. Crashing distorted drums clue us to a shift in tone but Anderson’s voice and guitar are there to ground the whole affair: Her haunting voice swells then dips back into a lullaby then before we know it, she belts out another howl–she’s always in control, it seems to say.

    Anderson’s unique sound is a direct creation of the combination of growing up in a conservative environment with years of church singing and roots music education contradicting the grunge and punk elements of growing up in liberal Washington. You can hear this in her music, soulful vocals and well crafted storylines with elements of chaotic rock n’ roll and garage rock at its best.

    Anderson’s credits her time at Calarts as a major influence on her music. It was two years of wild art school experiences, meeting amazing people, and being a barefoot hippie in the mountains writing songs, she recalls.

    Then a stint in the mountain town of Huaraz, Peru where, with all her money stolen, she spent hours a day busking in the plaza until she made enough money to get a ticket home. “It was then and there that I realized I was put on this earth to make music,” Anderson says. “Alone in Peru, I was able to make it out just through music . . . I knew I had to come back to the States and pursue music full-heartedly.”

    So she did. She went back to LA to finish school and record “Righteous Girl.” The EP was produced by Anderson and Theo Karon and recorded mostly at Kingsize Soundlabs in Eagle Rock. (Karon has recently worked with Mavis Staples, Angel Olsen, Foxygen, and Pillars & Tongues.)

    “(The EP) directly reflects things I have experienced and feel,” she reflects. “Freedom and honesty is so important but I feel like too many things are written where the writer doesn’t REALLY mean them. I mean everything I write, and If I can’t look at myself in the mirror and speak those words, I will scrap the lyric.” As Anderson further explains, it’s a record about hardship, heartbreak and religion.

    Righteous Girl will come out on March 4.

  • July 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Istanbul-based music collective Country for Syria has just released the title track of its new album, Brave as a Pigeon.

    Last summer, we opened our Indiegogo campaign hoping to record our first album. Nearly a year later, after touring the US and Turkey, after helping over 60 families with the money we collected, after standing up against Trump’s muslim ban after many hours of rehearsal and late nights, we have finally recorded the album and are on our way to releasing it one song at a time through crowdsourced donations. We’ve released two songs, making the title track the third song to be released. We’re also announcing the album cover featuring original artwork by the Syrian artist and LGBT activist Asmar Tiba.

    “Brave as a Pigeon” is a track that encapsulates everything the band represents: the refugee experience, the human side of the Syrian conflict, and the themes that exist in both Arab and American country music, like migration, loneliness, family, and longing for home. This song was written after the band toured southeastern Turkey along with Clowns Without Borders performing music alongside circus performers for children. They visited a Yazidi refugee camp, groups of Kurdish schoolchildren in Diyarbakir, and children in the village of Dargeçit which had been the scene of fighting between PKK and the Turkish army, and was still under military occupation. Each group of children reacted differently to their music; the schoolchildren were orderly and behaved, the children in the refugee camp were shy and timid, while the children that had been living under siege were jubilant; dancing and singing despite the presence of Turkish tanks and soldiers.

    With members hailing from the US, Syria, Turkey, Czech Republic, and France, Country for Syria is considered an integral part of Istanbul’s burgeoning Syrian Refugee Arts Scene. The band blends traditional Middle Eastern music with American Country music. While in today’s climate, Middle Eastern and American cultures are often seen to as polar opposites, Country for Syria seeks to break down those stereotypes through their music, indicating just how much in common we really have. The band’s earnings contribute aid to refugees and those affected by conflict around the world by providing money directly to refugees and by playing shows whose proceeds go to organizations whose mission is to help those affected by the conflict. The band’s work and music has been covered in outlets like The Huffington Post, NPR, Daily Sabah, and CNN Türk.

    Please let me know if you’d like to speak to any of the band members about the album. You can contact me via email, countryforsyria@gmail.com, or via my phone number below.

    Thanks very much,

    Kat Thornton
    Co-manager, Country for Syria
    +90 546.816.7963

  • August 24, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Sorry I missed this until now, Kat. Hope things have gone well….

  • January 15, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    You’ll always be younger than I, Bessman! xoxxo

  • January 15, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    Don’t look back! I’m only catching up….

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