Sunday, March 28, 2010

Equalizer settings for the 2010 Subaru Outback

This article is in response to a question on the forum. I recently got a 2010 Subaru Outback, and its Harman-Kardon sound system includes an equalizer controllable from the multifunction display. The manual says very little about how it works, and Subaru was not much help. It includes the cryptic comment "The larger the value of Q Factor (degree of acumination) is, the more the gain of the center frequency is enhance.” (P.G. 197, 2010 Legacy/outback Navigation System, book.)". Here's what I've learned and how I've set it.

Band & Frequency: The EQ has four bands, each with a setting for Frequency, Q, and Gain. This is known as a Param
etric Equalizer, which is different from the Graphic Equalizer that many of us are more familiar with. On a Graphic EQ, there may be many more bands, but the central frequency for each band is fixed. On this Para EQ, the central frequency can be selected for each band, but there are only four of them.

In Hz, the frequency choices
Band 1: 60, 80, 100, 120, 160, 200
Band 2: 250, 315, 400, 500, 630, 800, 1k
Band 3: 1.25k, 1.6k, 2k, 2.5k, 3.15k, 4k
Band 4: 5k, 6.3k, 8k, 10k, 12.5k, 16k

Gain: This is the 'boost' or 'cut' that will be applied to frequencies in the selected range.

Q: What is this mysterious setting? It determines the width of the range of frequencies to which the Gain setting will be applied. As in a Graphic EQ, a bell-shaped range of frequencies, centered on the Freq setting, will be boosted or cut. Q is inversely related to the number of octaves affected, surrounding the center frequency. Here's the relationship:

Q Octaves
0.25 4.1
0.5 2.5

1.0 1.4

2.0 0.

An octave is defined as the distance from a frequency to double that frequency (or downward to half of it). Look back at the Freq choices, and you'll see that it takes three steps up or down to go an octave. Since the range is centered on the Freq selected, you can think of it this way: if Q=1, the frequencies affected will be about one and a half steps on either side, both up and down. If Q=2, barely one step each way will be affected. if Q=0.5, about three steps either way. If Q=0.25, about 5 steps either way. A good depiction of this can be found here.

So back to the question: how do I get rid of that excessive booming bass? Which frequencies should I cut? By how much? And what Q should I use? This is actually a fairly tricky question. It's hard to tell frequencies by listening unless your ear is well trained. If the spans affected by multiple bands overlap, then the effects are additive (boost+boost, or boost-cut, or cut+cut). One ends up boosting or cutting the ranges that are the most out of whack, then boosting and cutting adjacent ranges to try to mitigate the side effects and get a smoothly improved frequency curve. It's very tricky, and hard to do with music alone.

I happen to have a Graphic Equalizer with a frequency spectrum analyzer and a sound generator (I used to have it installed in my home stereo system.) One can use such a device to send a "known" sound (consisting of equal amounts of all frequencies, called pink noise) through the car's sound system and see what comes out the speakers. Fortunately the Outback has an AUX input, so this is pretty easy to do. This is much more precise than fiddling blindly with EQ settings. Here's how the sound input looks before the car sound system messes with it (note that my EQ's ranges differ from the car's):
Then I pumped the pink noise through the Subaru's sound system, plugged a microphone (held at the driver's head height) into the analyzer, cranked up the volume, and here's how it looked with no correction.
You can see that there's a peak at 125 Hz and one at 4 KHz. Actually in some samples the valley between them looked much worse. The 125 Hz peak is responsible for the booming bass that the other poster and I dislike. The 4 KHz peak and the dropoff of the higher frequencies contribute to a lack of clarity of some instruments and words. (The rolloff at the top and bottom may not really be as bad as they look - I could not find my good microphone and used a cheap one that was handy, and it may not be sensitive enough for the extreme ends.)

So what to do about it? We now know which ranges the Subaru H-K sound system overemphasizes, but futzing with the screen to set them is tedious at best. As mentioned above, tweaking a Freq actually tweaks its neighbors, so choosing a good set of settings r
equires solving several equations with many unknowns. I wrote a spreadsheet many years ago to do that math, but I can't find it now, so I hand-equalized it using the 10 ranges on my external EQ. Here are the settings I chose.

This may look kind of "all over the map", but if you draw a bell curve around each setting, and add them up, it becomes a smooth correction curve.

When I turn on the pink noise, apply the external EQ settings, and capture the sound with the mic, the results are not half bad. There's still a dropoff at the top and bottom, but that might be the mic. This sample still shows some peaks, and loss of the 63 Hz range, but some samples were quite a bit flatter, and it sounds less boomy already.

Now we need to translate this to the H-K EQ settings, with only four Freq bands available but a variable band width (the Q). My strategy is to use as narrow a range as possible for the problem bands , so I started with a Q of 2. For the peaks we need to seriously cut, I chose:

Band 1: Freq=125, Gain=-5
Band 3: Freq=4k, Gain=-5

To offset the side affects and level out the middle, I chose Band 2: Freq=500, Gain=2.
I'm not sure what's happening with the top end (music sounded OK to the ear), so I chose Band 4: Freq=12.5K, Gain=0, in effect doing nothing at the moment.

When I turn on the pink noise, apply the para EQ settings, and capture the sound with the mic, the results are pretty flat - which is what we want!

Now I switched to music instead of pink noise to see how it sounded. The first thing up on my iPod was "Listen to the Music" by the Doobie Brothers, which sounded like excellent advice! Never having worked with a Parametric EQ before, I played around with getting the low end flatter. I switched Band 1 from 125 down to 80 and even 60, and spread the range out by using a Q of .25. I had to cut the Gain as far down as -9 to get rid of the booming bass and make it sound like a real drum. I didn't write down any more results from the analyzer (music is much more dynamic than pink noise), but I could tell from the display that it was much more balanced.

The H-K sound system has different EQ settings for each audio source, so I had to go enter the settings into each one. I began to notice differences right away:
  • FM radio didn't sound as clear. Well, radio transmission does not have the same fidelity as a digital source, so that made sense. I had to boost the top end quite a lot to get clarity. (Remember I said the top end sounded OK to the ear? That was probably with digital sources.) Settings:
    Band 1: Freq=80, Q=.25, Gain=-9
    Band 2: Freq=500, Q=2, Gain=3
    Band 3: Freq=4k, Q=2, Gain=-3
    Band 4: Freq=125, Q=2, Gain=7

  • iPod, XM Satellite Radio, and CD were pretty similar to each other, being all digital sources, except the top end.
Now, this was all done in my driveway, with no road noise, so it was time to hit the freeway. You can't adjust the EQ settings when the car is in Drive, you can only switch between Default and Presets. So I stopped a few times to make adjustments. The bass was much improved. But the high end was very harsh with digital sources, almost painful. By experimenting, I settled on Band 4: Freq=16k, Q=.25, Gain=-3. In other words, lower a broad range of the top end, but only by -3. I think this confirms my suspicion about the quality of the mic I used for the measurements: it had poor high-frequency response, misleading me to think I needed to boost the top end, when really I needed to cut it a bit. (The mic was from a home karaoke machine, so since it is for picking up human voice, it doesn't need to be good in the upper ranges.) To summarize the settings for digital sources:

Band 1: Freq=80, Q=.25, Gain=-9
Band 2: Freq=500, Q=2, Gain=3
Band 3: Freq=4k, Q=2, Gain=-3

Band 4: Freq=16k, Q=.25, Gain=-3

So I cut the top end for all the digital sources, and now it sounds pretty darn good! I played several songs from my iPod that I know very well, and found some familiar tunes on the XM, so I'm pretty happy. I won't be able to listen in detail for a while - my wife is taking the car on a weeklong trip - but I look forward to hearing the results in the future, and will probably do some more tweaking. Maybe I can record pink noise onto my iPod and a CD, so I can analyze them in more detail. And I need to find my good mic!

This is quite a long post, probably much more than the forum posters were looking for. But I wanted to show the process one goes through to actually analyze the system and what I learned about choosing the parameters for a Parametric Equalizer. It's not a simple process without a frequency analyzer!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

No, I Never by Ndidi Onukwulu

I heard a song by the Texas Sheiks on XM the other day, and it featured a singer named Ndidi Onukwulu. (Thank goodness the XM player showed the name so I would know how to spell it.) Impressive, bluesy voice from this woman. So I looked her up on iTunes. She has two CD's out, and I have so far purchased her first one, from 2006. I also watched a concert video on her web site.

Ndidi seems to be a 20-something Canadian of Nigerian and German descent. The overall impression I get from her voice and songs is kind of urban without being hip-hop, sassy, bluesy. A very strong and sophisticated voice, with an occasional Canadian accent. Not having liner notes to go by, my impression is that she wrote the songs but does not play any of the instruments. Her music covers a lot of genres: blues, a capella Gospel, and a creepy lullaby. And her voice reminds me of several different artists. Lots of her songs have lyrics about getting away from pain. This CD is captivating - I keep going back to it because the music and her voice are so interesting.

Horn Blower is a funky, rock-y song about a musician. She's pretty loose with the melody, with a kind of reggae pronunciation.

Water is a straight-ahead blues number with a nice, deep groove and fuzzy rhythm guitar.

Then it gets heavier with Wicked Lady, with some vicious lyrics with a kind of Creole slant. In this one, her voice reminds me very much of Alison Kraus on some of the songs from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? The accompaniment is reminiscent of some of the guitar work on Natalie Merchant's Tiger Lily.

Hey There has some cool wah-wah guitar and a driving bass beat. I like how she mixes up the arrangements to feature different instruments on different songs. But the music and her accent get in the way, so I can't quite tell what this song is about.

Hush is a creepy lullaby with a simple accompaniment. One hopes that she would only sing it to a child who has already fallen asleep, since it's full of references to bombs and poverty and danger at school.

Weight is funky, the beat reminds me of Bill Withers' "Use Me", but the music sounds a lot like Cream with a competition between bass, cymbals, and guitar. Not sure what it's about... references to thin walls, a being given a gun, survival, carrying the weight on one's shoulders... maybe about PTSD?

May be the Last Time, I Don't Know is one of my favorites on this album. It's a simple nearly a capella Gospel song with plug-in lines, a great beat, and some vocal backing. May be the last time we walk together, sing together, bow together. She really gets to show off her voice control on this one.

Seen You Before is a catchy tune about being smitten and shy.

Old Heart is another song that lets Ndidi show off her smooth, expressive voice. The plaintive parts remind me very much of Sinead O'Connor.

Home is another "old music" kind of song that could have been in Brother, Where Art Thou? A capella, and very much like Joni Mitchell (except perfectly on pitch).

Long Way Home is my least favorite... kind of shapeless, with just a single strummed guitar with all down-strokes. Eh.

All in all, a very interesting and impressive album.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Music has taken me some very interesting places... let's follow some connections:

It started with Eric Clapton, who I just knew as a pop singer from "I Shot the Sheriff", "Layla" etc. from when as a kid I listened to my older brother's pop/rock music. I bought some of his records used and was very impressed by the History of Eric Clapton LP. That's when I first was exposed to any blues, or at least recognized it. One of his signature songs, of course, was "Crossroads" with Cream, but it was just another hard-rock song to me.

When I started learning to play guitar, one of the books I bought was by Arlen Roth. It mentioned that he had played in a movie called "Crossroads". Hmm. There's that name again. Some music books and LP liner notes alluded to a mysterious legend behind the song. So I rented the movie. The original "Crossroads" By Robert Johnson was very different from E.C.'s rock version.

The movie credited Ry Cooder as arranger and musician for the guitar work. I don't remember if I sought out his music, or just spotted it as I was shopping, but I picked up his CD Borderline. Wow, what an awesome CD (well, most of it anyway) and an impressive guitarist. Ry seemed to have a kind of quirky taste in music, kind of from the fringes of American pop/folk/blues. Very clean sound, very distinctive slide style. I played around with his tunes and eventually could play a pretty decent version of the title cut.

So then one day at Costco I found this CD called Talking Timbuktu by Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure, an African guitarist. I knew I liked Ry, so I bought it. Again, wow! Ry's distinctive sound meshed so nicely and unobtrusively with Farka's style which has been described as "bubbling". I think Ry produced the album, but he stepped back and let Farka shine. This album is really a treat on the headphones - a very clean sound, very melodic. It's sung in various North African languages (Farka was from Mali), some of which sound derived from French. Although the lyrics are not provided, a synopsis of each song is. Most of the tracks are either love songs or inspirational, community-oriented songs. (The themes remind me of songs by Jim Strathdee, a little-known Methodist singer who does some uplifting social-justice and community songs.) But you don't need to understand a word of it to enjoy the singing. It's melodic, peaceful, hypnotic, emotional... absolutely wonderful music. Much later I heard it won the Grammy for "world music" that year. Farka's voice is sometimes kind of nasal, and some people I've played him to have said the music sounds Japanese... so I guess he's an acquired taste for Americans.

I've bought or received as gifts quite a number of Farka's CDs. Most of them are more "raw" than the well-produced Talking Timbuktu. That's a credit to Ry for the wonderful production of TT. But some of the songs from The River and The Source are also very powerful.

So listening to Farka sparked in me an interest in African music. Where to start? There are quite a few African artists available in the "world music" category. I found a collection published by Putamayo called Mali to Memphis. It's a mix of North African pop music and American blues. Many writers have talked about how blues came from Africa originally, but this CD really shows how the two have influenced each other. Listening to these alternating Malian and American selections, the styles are amazingly parallel. Good stuff!

My next stop in exploring African music happened to be the Broadway soundtrack of Disney's The Lion King. Now, don't discount this. Most of it is Elton John/Time Rice show tunes. But there is some authentic South African music in there too, produced by Lebo M. Although it's quite different from the Malian music, some of it is tremendous. My God, crank up "One by One" (read the lyrics!) and just try not to be affected by it. Go to the play and hear it sung a capella by dozens of singers throughout the theater!

The South African connection took me to Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Good stuff, and I respect it, but I actually find it harder to listen to the songs in English with the thick South African accent than to a completely foreign language.

OK, back to Ry and Farka: A viola solo on Talking Timbuku introduced me to Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. Kind of odd, a viola mixed in with electric guitar and all those African instruments. But Gatemouth could really make it expressive. It was in an emotional song, "Ai Du", and he really made it cry. So when I spotted his Okie Dokie Stomp in a bin in a New Orleans flea market, I snapped it up. Gatemouth's style has been called "Texas swing", and it blends blues with Zydeco and some quite original small-orchestra arrangements. Very cool! I like Kenny Wayne Shepherd, so when I spotted a track with Gatemouth on KWS's outstanding road CD/DVD Ten Days Out I picked it up.

Also on that CD was a very nice version of "The Thrill is Gone" with B.B. King. I had only heard a little from B.B. before that and didn't know much about him. This cut sparked my interest and so I looked for B.B. on some blues compilations I had, and I one or two of his albums. Although he's not my favorite blues artist, some of his songs just give me chills. What a career he's had! Still performing at - what - 83? And what an influence on younger artists such as KWS. Now I realize he's one of those artists that's kind of a "national treasure". So when he booked a show at the Orange County Fair last summer, I made sure to go see him!

One of the opening acts for B.B. was Mavis Staples, whom I'd never heard of before. But I found out she was from the Staples Singers, who I vaguely remembered from the 1960's. Wow, what a show she put on! A terrific mix of Gospel, bluesy stuff, religious songs a little different from Gospel. Another performer who has had a great career, though not very well known to white audiences. She performed things like "Wade in the Water", which I know from church... either we sang it or our choir did at some point. GOOD stuff!

So a few months later I was on an airplane, and the inflight entertainment system had CDs you could pick from. One of them was Mavis Staples' We'll Never Turn Back. I only had time to listen to maybe four or five songs before the flight was over, but I was hooked. Powerful music! And in the very first song I recognized the lead guitarist - it was the distinctive sound of Ry Cooder. He doesn't sing a word, but his sound was all over that CD. I had to get that CD ASAP!

Actually, I think that was the first album I downloaded from iTunes instead of purchasing in CD form. As it turns out, Ry produced the album. I bet he was the only white guy involved... this is clearly black music, so I think it's quite a compliment to let Ry help interpret it. One reviewer described his slide playing on "Down in Mississippi" as scary. It really is... it paints the perfect threatening backdrop for that song. Nearly every one of the songs on We'll Never Turn Back is a powerful Gospel or protest song. Some of them are pretty confrontational, bringing out the point that for black Americans, the struggle is not yet over. But still uplifting - the message is that hope is never overshadowed by the struggle. (Not necessarily comfortable lyrics for white folks...)

Another connection: On that Mali to Memphis CD I mentioned, there was a song called "Don't Ever Net Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down" performed by Eric Bibb. A good message, with a fairly simple guitar and (I think) harmonica accompaniment. It sounded like the kind of "church camp song" our kids would learn. (I sometimes think that's one of the highest honors that a song can win - that people want to sing it with their friends because they love it.) Anyway, I was impressed by Eric's straightforward singing and playing style.

Well, I encountered Eric Bibb in a couple of other places, and there are at least two songs that he did that Mavis Staples also recorded on We'll Never Turn Back. They go by slightly different titles but are the same songs.
  • I think the first one is called "99 1/2 Won't Do" by both. The message is that one isn't free unless one is 100% free. Powerful stuff. Both arrangements are wonderful in their own ways: Eric's with just a couple guitars and two voices. Mavis and Ry punch it up with percussion, a bigger band, and Gospel choir backing.
  • Another is called "Keep Your Hand on that Plow" by Eric and "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize" by Mavis. Again, a simple and intimate arrangement by Eric, a faster-moving and funky version by Mavis with outstanding slide by Ry. By choosing a slightly different version of the lyrics and singing it upbeat, I think Mavis again brings out the hope in the song.
If I tried to follow all the branches of these trees, we'd never finish. Musicians play on each others' albums all the time and back each other up in concerts. Allow me to point out just one more connection to wrap this up. Another song I just found on an Eric Bibb album is called "Stayed on Freedom". I have to point out that I first learned that song in person about twenty years ago from the aforementioned Jim Strathdee. Hearing it on Eric's album was like reconnecting with an old friend.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Brian Setzer Orchestra's latest CD

I just got BSO's "Songs from Lonely Avenue" and have listened to most of it twice. I would say it is BSO's weakest effort to date. There's just nothing that jumps out as a remarkable song. "Gimme Some Rhythm Daddy" is about the best, with a pretty catchy beat and a good female singer, but the lyrics seem a little stilted. Many of the songs just kind of sound the same as each other.

Most of the album is dark, with a gangster theme. Much of it reminds me of Royal Crown Revue's "Mugzy's Move" CD. That's a little odd... while BSO's themes have always been about the wild side of life, they've never overtly glorified crime as such. And the lyrics are a little more sophisticated than one would expect about gangster subjects, so they seem out of place.

Two inverse instrumentals have the potential to be interesting: "Mr. Jazzer Goes Surfin'" and "Mr. Surfer Goes Jazzin'". But I'll have to listen to them a few more times to be able to tell them apart.

The final track, "Elena", is a fine Spanish-style instrumental. I've heard Brian play "Malaguena" solo a few times in concert, and this sounds much like it. Brian is every bit as good an acoustic fingerpicker as he is an electric flatpicker - I'd like to hear more of this style from him.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Doobie Brothers and Julie Andrews?!?!

Listen to the Music

This afternoon I watched the last hour of a Doobie Brothers concert on the DVR. I love watching concerts in High Def - you can see so much more of the details of the performers and their instruments. It being the last hour of the concert, they played some of their greatest hits to wrap up the show. I had seen them in concert a few years ago - probably right about the time this one was taped. They really know how to make their music sound great. My 5-year-old granddaughter sat down to watch it with me.

One of the songs, "Long Train Running", took me back to my teenage years because the house band at our church youth group used to play it all the time. Others such as "China Grove" (one of my top 5 favorite songs) and "Black Water" are just superb songs of their genre. I explained that most of these guys had been playing together for many years, and these were their favorite songs, and these 11 musicians were just having a great time. Although the "show" aspects of lighting etc. were pretty simple, that's OK. It's not about how they look. It's about how the music makes you feel. "Listen to the Music" is a great way to end a show.

The Sound of Music

Then we (5yogd and I) watched the last hour of "The Sound of Music". She's going to be in a local production of it, so she's watching it to learn the songs (cool that they have "sing-along" lyrics on the screen). Although it's probably not one I would just sit down to watch, I love this movie. Why? Well, partly because it's just so well done. (Yes, I know it's not a 100% true story.) Partly because this too takes me back. This was probably the first "grown up" movie I ever saw in a theater, and the first professional musical I saw as a teenager. But also, because so much of the music is about music and how it can make you feel: "My Favorite Things", "Edelweiss", "TSOM". Just a great movie - and a great job by Julie Andrews.

So... an odd combination of music to take in back-to-back. You can't get much more different. But I like many styles and genres of music, if they're well done. (Well, I'm not a big fan of classical.) It doesn't get much better than the Doobie Brothers and The Sound of Music.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

OK, that was just weird!

I have an iPod Nano and mostly get to listen to it on long drives in the car. I usually leave it on "shuffle", and my playlist that fits on the Nano is mostly my 5-star and 4-star picks. So it's no surprise that most of the songs are my favorites.

I've noticed that the shuffle feature isn't all that random. It seems to go in spells picking several songs from the same album, then I won't hear from that album for quite a while. Having done a lot of programming, I know it's fairly hard to get a really random shuffle. Since I loaded most of my songs from CDs, all the songs from each CD are close to each other in the iTunes database. So it's not surprising that a not-so-random pick might pick something from the same artist, same album. But it should not pick a song from the same artist from a different album... a mathematical algorithm doesn't know Ali from Aerosmith.

So... today it picked a nice song from Ali Farka Toure called Goye Kur from The Source. Some of the recordings from Toure's older albums are kind of noisy (as far as instruments' parts being somewhat indistinct), and the voices sometimes kind of whiny. But the later ones are very clean and easy to listen to, and I like this one pretty well. Listening to Goye Kur, I thought "That reminds me of that one from The River that I like so much. It would be nice to hear that one." (I don't always remember the names... they're in various African languages.) And when driving, I don't mess with the iPod much - the Nano is way too small for me to read safely when driving. So I just let it pick for me. Well, it picked Ai Bine, the song I was thinking of!

Ai Bine is the first song on The River. It starts off with Ali's electric guitar all alone with some echo, as if it's in a big hall. Then in comes a saxophone, buzzy and low but somehow very pure, also with a little echo. It's not often that another instrument takes the lead in Ali's recordings. I think in this recording there's just Ali's guitar, the sax, a very little bass and drum, and a calabash. The guitar and sax play basically the same melody, much of the time, sometimes taking turns, sometimes in unison. Turn it up on headphones in a quiet room, and it's pure magic - what a way to introduce an album. Toward the end the sax really takes off in some wild solos. This is one of Ali's finest recordings. Really made my day.

What are the odds? Actually, the odds are 816 to 1, because that's how many songs fit on my iPod Nano. That was just weird!


I've been thinking about blogging on music for some time. I think because musical tastes differ so widely, people (at least most of my friends) don't discuss music very deeply. (Or maybe they just think MY taste in music is weird...) Anyway, I'm hoping people from all over will chime in and chat about the music and artists that I mention here.

If you found this blog, it's probably because your Internet search for some artist or song pointed you here. Browse around the posts and maybe you'll find something similar to what you were looking for, and find something intriguing to search out and try.

I'm not an expert on music or its history, though there are a few areas I've researched a bit. So what's here is mostly my impressions to what I have listened to over the years, and what I've learned about the artists by reading liner notes, listening to interviews, etc. If you have better information about something I write about, please feel free to share it here!

And I'm not much of a musician. I played guitar quite a long time ago, but not much for other people - mostly for my own enjoyment and curiosity. I heard great guitarists and I wanted to do that! After playing Rock Band a few times with my kids, I'm thinking maybe I'll pick it up again... and maybe someday I'll learn to play the piano that we own.

So what kinds of music will I talk about? Well, I grew up listening to 60's and 70's rock and roll, so that's what I like most. But looking deeper into rock takes one to the blues, and many years ago I fell in love with blues, and learned to play some on the guitar. So we'll talk about that... though a white computer guy from California doesn't bring much cred to the discussion.

Looking into old blues inevitably led me to Robert Johnson. The movie "Crossroads" about Johnson led me to Ry Cooder, who played guitar on the soundtrack. And a "world music" album by Ry introduced me to the fantastic Malian artist Ali Farka Toure. So I have also developed an interest in east African music. Funny where music takes us... one of the things I want to explore in future posts is these connections between artists and genres.

The best rock and roll is fast and hard. I got interested in the Brian Setzer Orchestra pretty early in its life, and BSO has remained a favorite, though I haven't really gotten into the whole rockabilly thing. I'm more interested in how Brian backs up rock with the orchestra... and punches up Big Band music with his electric guitar.