February 2011 Archives

Review: Ron Sexsmith - Long Player Late Bloomer

A pensive, intelligent recording - as expected.
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Unassuming songsmith Ron Sexsmith may be one of the last people in the world you'd expect to work with super-producer Bob Rock, but with Long Player Late Bloomer it all magically comes together. The record is Sexsmith's 12th and "song" is, without question, this Canadian singer's "saviour." Sexsmith is a traditionalist in every sense of the word. He's been admired by the likes of Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and friend Elvis Costello, but he's always struggled to maintain much by way of chart presence. It really doesn't matter at this point, as Sexsmith's niche is that of integrity

Allman, Roomful of Blues, Buddy Guy, Damon Fowler Among Week's Hottest At Blues Radio

Blues Radio Report for week of Feb. 25, 2011
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We return to our usual format this week, looking at the biggest records at Blues Radio by examining both the Roots Music Report chart as well as Blues Mobile. It can't be a surprise to see Gregg Allman's outstanding Low Country Blues still firmly locked in at #1. Allman has great name recognition and his record is one of the biggest, most distinguished blues releases of the year to date. Veteran band Roomful of Blues' Hook, Line & Sinker has also been a major chart force since its release earlier this year. We're entering the final days of voting for

Steve Dawson To Release 'Nightshade' April 19

Award-winning Canadian artist Steve Dawson's fifth album will be out this spring...
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Canadian blues-roots veteran Steve Dawson has wrapped work on his fifth solo album Nightshade, due out April 19 through Black Hen. No Depression magazine referred to Dawson as Canada's T Bone Burnett, in part because of the number of musical hats he wears so well. Dawson is a noted singer,songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. He is joined on Nightshade by frequent collaborators Geoff Hicks on drums, Keith Lowe on bass, and Chris Gestrin on keyboards. These musicians have helped him on the numerous projects he has produced for other Black Hen releases including albums by Jim Byrnes, The Sojourners, and the

Al Basile To Release 'The Goods' March 15

Eighth studio set from former Roomful of Blues cornetist...
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Al Basile, founding member of Roomful of Blues and Blues Music Award nominee, will release his new solo album The Goods March 15 through Sweetspot Records. The 13-track set is Basile's eigth solo album and was produced by fellow Roomful founder Duke Robillard, who also brings his inimitable guitar prowess to the recording. In addition to Robillard, saxman Doug James plays on the set. The Grammy Award-winning Blind Boys of Alabama also make a cameo on The Goods. The horn-infused blues style of Basile recalls the soul music of Memphis and Muscle Shoals as well as the dark, noirish, jazzy

Judging American Idol: The FInal Judgment

We have our Season 10 Top 24...
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Last night’s episode of American Idol started with Ryan Seacrest asking America- ”Is Jennifer strong enough to go on?” after saying goodbye to Chris Medina, she broke down and questioned how she told him he wasn’t making Top 24. Then Ryan answers his own question by reminding us that JLo knows “the show must go on.” On that note, let’s review who got their yes on Wednesday and I’ll give you the rundown on the contestants who comprise the rest of the Top 24 for Season 10 of AI. We learned on Wednesday that Naima Adedapo , Clint Jun

Judging American Idol: From Liverpool To Las Vegas

American Idol Season 10 continues with a tribute to and assault on The Fab 4...
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And away we go! Contestants traveled to Las Vegas for last night’s show to select, learn, and sing a song from the Beatles’ catalog as either a duo or trio. The mini-groups were picked without any drama or fanfare (now, what fun is that? We don’t watch American Idol for manners and normalcy!). Starting last night we began to learn who our Top 24 will be... they gave us a teaser of several who made it and a few worth mentioning who did not. But, slow down kids, let’s talk about the performances of duos and trios first, shall we?
The Dave Rawlings MachineTwisted Branch Tea BazaarCharlottesville, VAAugust 30, 2006 Disc 1 (MP3 encoded at 320kps) 1 Diamond Joe2 I hear them all3 Elvis Presley Blues4 The Wicked Messenger5 The way it will be6 The monkey & the engineer7 Copper Kettle8 To Be Young9 Knuckleball catcher10 Key to the kingdom Disc 2 (MP3 encoded at 320kps) 1 Big Rock Candy Mountain2 I'll be your baby tonight3 Luminous Rose4 Queen Jane Approximately5 I'll fly away6 Long Black Veil David Rawlings is the longtime companion of Gillian Welch.  They've been writing and performing together for so long it is really rather difficult to seperate the two. 

Review: Radiohead - The King Of Limbs

The best Radiohead albums are dense, self-referential works and 'The King Of Limbs' is among their best.
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Ahh, Radiohead, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Like most white guys, I discovered Radiohead in my college years. Radiohead versus Dave Matthews Band, it's the modern day college equivalent of the Beatles-Stones conundrum of the '60s. Or not. My college infatuation with Radiohead goes back to the days of The Bends and OK Computer. I had to be turned on to them by friends but I went all-in when I got there. I eagerly downloaded leaked versions of Kid A and Amnesiac prior to their official release back in the glorious days of Napster and

Review: Kenny Wayne Shepherd - 'LIVE! In Chicago'

May not rise to the level of the music that inspired it but it's a fine listen...
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Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band's LIVE! In Chicago is a live album that serves multiple masters. It documents guitarist Shepherd, vocalist Noah Hunt, former Double Trouble drummer Chris "Whipper" Layton, and the rest of KWS Band performing songs from throughout their career, including cuts that became staples on rock and classic rock radio like "Blue On Black" and "Deja Voodoo." It also gives Shepherd and Co. a chance to bring heroes, influences, and friends to the stage to perform alongside them. Among those joining the band are Chicago legends Hubert Sumlin and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, two performers who made their

Review: Twisted Sister — 'Club Daze Volume 1: The Studio Sessions'

Twisted Sister hones their sound in the New York Club scene.
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"Rock will live tomorrow, but disco dies today," a defiant Dee Snider sang on "Rock N Roll Saviors," a call to arms for the forces of rock and a standout track on Twisted Sister — Club Daze Volume 1: The Studio Sessions. Originally released in 1999 by Spitfire, The Studio Sessions captures Twisted Sister when they were a hungry New York club band. While known now for their iconic '80s metal years, the band cut their teeth as glam-influenced '70s hard rockers as evidenced by the groove-laden "Pay the Price" and the rock and roll boogie of "High Steppin'." Snider's

The Grammys Bounce: Arcade Fire, Lady Antebellum Get Boost at iTunes Music Store

Even Justin Bieber wasn't diminished in defeat...
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Lady Antebellum won just about all the big Grammy awards except Album Of The Year and their Need You Now album has vaulted back onto the charts. Arcade Fire surprised most viewers by winning that Album Of The Year Grammy and they are also back in the Top 10. Justin Bieber got shut out at the Grammys but his sales figures haven't been adversely affected. He was all over the charts before the trophies were handed out and he's still selling a metric buttload of downloads at iTunes. Mumford & Sons has been doing well on the Albums chart for

Two-fer Tuesday: Tower of Power

Following the long-awaited Tower of Power concert, I was reduced to giddy fan girl and met almost the whole band. Here are a few of my favorite songs...
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Larry Braggs has an amazing voice and he leads Tower of Power ably to the edge, dangles them before us, and then returns us all to safety. Emilio Castillo, the actual leader of the band, is just as impressive vocally, and he's a dangerous man. Yes, indeed, he is. He riles the crowd up, gets us dancing, dancing along with us, and then tears it all away like a man possessed! Just like that, we have nothing. Except that we do. We have more music! And we have memories. Ha! Tower of Power took the stage at South Point Resort

New Music Tuesday: Adele, Aretha, Copeland/Collins/Cray, Cash, Twisted Sister, Jeff Beck, & More

The singles from Adele's anticipated follow-up are already dominating the UK...
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This is one of those weeks where the "big name" album is one that doesn't much matter to me yet I feel compelled to discuss it. I have friends who think Adele is brilliant. I don't. Her album 19 took certain segments of the music-listening public by storm but when that bus pulled away from the station, I was not on it. That said, there weren't many empty seats. It may be my loss. Whatever it is, she has a new album out and it's called 21 and the first single is already #1 in the UK. Maybe I'll

Review: Mannish Boys - Shake For Me

Too many cooks in the kitchen?
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The Mannish Boys put the cliché that too many cooks can spoil the soup to the test on Shake For Me. There are seven different vocalists, three guest harp players, an army of guest guitarists, and a horn section. The album is surprisingly cohesive in light of the army that created it; the downside to all those cooks in this one kitchen isn't bad soup as much as there's a little too much of it. As for the recipe, Shake For Me sprinkles a few originals among a slew of well-chosen covers by luminaries like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Ray

Rory Block Releases McDowell Tribute 'Shake 'Em On Down' March 29

The third installment in Block's 'Mentor Series' pays homage to "Mississippi" Fred McDowell
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Veteran blues artist Rory Block is releasing Shake 'Em On Down, an album heavily comprised of "Mississsippi" Fred McDowell tunes, on March 29 through Stony Plain Records. Shake 'Em On Down is Block's tribute to McDowell, who she met and comes as part of her 'Mentor Series.' I met Fred McDowell at a time in my life when I was most impressionable," she wrote in the liner notes. "That experience – along with meeting other surviving country blues masters such as Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Bukka White, and Reverend Gary Davis – would become a lifelong influence."

Review: Wayne Wallace Jazz Quintet - To Hear from There

Sitting in on this jazz conversation is a spicy affair. Bring water.
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The Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet sizzles all over their spicy new record To Hear from There, engaging with grooves from the soul and rhythm from the hip. The trombonist and composer from San Francisco follows up his Grammy-nominated ¡Bien Bien! with this corker and he leaves nothing out of the arrangements. Along with Murray Low (piano), Michael Spiro (Latin percussion), David Belove (bass), and Paul van Wageningen (trap drums), Wallace blasts through this collection of standards and originals with a style and precision most only dream of. There's a straightforwardness to Wallace's presentation that sucks all of the nonsensical

Review: Twisted Sister — 'Love Is For Suckers'

Once intended as a Dee Snider solo effort, 'Love Is For Suckers' marked the end of the road for Twisted Sister.
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No album divides Twisted Sister's fan base (or even the band itself) more than its final album of all-new material Love Is For Suckers. First released in 1987, the album was intended to be a Dee Snider solo project. The record label refused to release it unless it was branded as a Twisted Sister release though and the album and tour were a failure, with Snider leaving the band shortly after the tour's completion. It's certainly the most pop of Twisted Sister's albums and owes more to Winger — seemingly once the antithesis of the band — than to past

Review: Twisted Sister — 'Come Out And Play'

Twisted Sister ponders its next step after MTV Success.
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After the success of its breakthrough LP, Stay Hungry, Twisted Sister found itself at a crossroads with its follow-up LP, Come Out And Play — placate the mainstream fans that got into the band with "We're Not Gonna Take It" or stand by the longtime fans that got into Twisted Sister the metal band. The band chose to do both with (mostly) good results. Produced by Dieter Dierks of Scorpions fame, Come Out And Play is a little slicker than previous releases, yet opens with Dee Snider's demented voice chanting "Twisted Sister, come out and play" in a nod to

Review: Twisted Sister — 'You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll'

Twisted Sister's major label debut delivers fist-pumping anthems.
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After years toiling away in the New York club scene and the word-of-mouth success of their debut LP, Under The Blade, Twisted Sister was rewarded with a contract from Atlantic Records. The band's first major-label LP, You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll, was a bold first step toward superstardom. The band wastes no time announcing their presence from the driving riffs and powerhouse vocals of "The Kids are Back" to the undeniable groove of "Like a Knife in the Back." This is the sound of a band that, finally getting their chance, intends to prove its worth. Twisted Sister is

The Grammys, Part One

We Lost, But I Got To See George Clinton As A Christmas Tree
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I made it all the way up until Lady Gaga came out of that fucking egg before I fell asleep on the couch. I am sorry that I missed the look on Justin Beiber’s face when he lost the best new artist award to some woman no one had ever heard of…it must have been a classic moment. I don’t know about you but his latest record just doesn’t have the depth of his first. As for Lady Gaga, can anyone really be considered a serious artist when they come out of a plastic egg looking like Madonna twenty years

DVD Review: Jeff Beck – Rock 'n' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul

One guitar great honors another as Jeff beck pays tribute to the late Les Paul...
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The legendary Les Paul spent the last 14 years of his life playing every Monday at New York City's famed Iridium Jazz Club. What better place for fellow legend Jeff Beck to honor one of his heroes on what would have been Paul's 95th birthday? Beck enlisted the aid of several guests, including Imelda May, Darrel Higham, Brian Setzer, Gary U.S. Bonds and Trombone Shorty for a tribute concert, the results of which make up the DVD Jeff Beck — Rock 'n' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul. The concert features a number of Paul's hits as well as several rockabilly

Allman Holds at #1; Del Grosso/Richardson Surges Towards The Top at Blues Radio

Blues Radio Report for February 18, 2011...
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Man I was mean but I'm changing my scene and I'm doing the best that I can… This week we give the Blues Radio Report a little different spin. Rather than showing you the tops of a couple charts, I'm giving you the Top 50 according to Roots Music Report. The reason? There are some really good albums we haven't talked about in awhile and in some cases some we've yet to discuss that fall below my usual cutoff point. We'll start at the top where Gregg Allman's Low Country Blues continues its reign but then we're looking at some

Bob Dylan - Brandies Univ. '63 Performance To Be Released April 12

Another "lost" Dylan live performance gets international distribution...
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What was once a limited edition offering is now getting widespread release as Bob Dylan's 1963 performance at Brandeis University makes its way to stores and digital music retailers April 12. Bob Dylan in Concert - Brandeis University 1963 is a seven-song performance the young singer/songwriter gave as part of the Brandeis First Annual Folk Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts on May 10, 1963. None of the songs he performed during the set were available on LP at the time. Only his self-titled debut had been released at that point and its follow-up The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan would not hit store

Robert Johnson's Catalog To Be Reissued For Centennial Celebration

The music icon would have turned 100 this year...
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The legendary aspects of the life of Robert Johnson are so pervasive that it's easy to lose sight of the truth of the life of the man and even his music. The blues icon would have turned 100 this year and Sony Legacy is re-issuing Johnson's scant-yet-indispensable recorded legacy to commemorate his birth. Robert Johnson: The Complete Original Masters - Centennial Edition is nearly identical to the Complete Recordings box set that has sold over one million copies. One additional alternate version not originally included with that set has been added. Unless the legend is true and Johnson really did

Johnny Rawls To Release 'Memphis Still Got Soul' April 5

Rawls follows up his BMA-winning record...
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Columbia, Mississippi-native Johnny Rawls has announced the tracklisting for his new album Memphis Still Got Soul, which will be released April 5. Memphis Still Got Soul is the follow-up to Rawls Blues Music Award-winning Ace of Spades and features 10 originals and one cover ("Blind, Crippled And Crazy). Many of the musicians who backed Rawls on Ace return for Memphis, which was recorded in Texas and Montana. "Blind, Crippled And Crazy" was a staple in the set list of one of Rawls' mentors, O.V. Wright, with whom he toured and performed. “When I was O.V.’s band leader, that’s the song

Review: Ted Gioia - Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music

Gioria's work is impeccably researched and indispensable...
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"Whether your tastes gravitate toward country and western, or pop standards, or doo-wop, or heavy metal, or hip hop or jazz... the whole spectrum of popular music betrays the fingerprints of the blues. The lonesomest cowboys and the most impassioned Christian vocalists; neatly coiffured boy bands and pierced, tattooed renegade rockers; faceless commercial jingle singers and American Idol wannabes: all share the vocal inflections, the scalar ambiguity, the grit-in-the-throat silt accumulated at the intersection of the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers." And with that, Ted Gioia demonstrates why this and other books devoted to the Mississippi Delta blues matter not only

Judging American Idol: Hollywood Week Ends

The field is nearly set...
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We’re almost there, kids! We’re oh so very close to our final 24 contestants, and what a long, hilarious, heartbreaking, moving, trainwreck of a journey it has been. We began Hollywood Week with 327 hopefuls; tonight we begin with 100 and by the end will be left with the 50 who get to go to Las Vegas and perform Beatles songs (which I’m guessing will be at the Mirage where the “LOVE” Cirque du Soleil tribute to the Beatles plays. This is the contestants' final chance to impress the judges, and they get their choice of singing a capella or

Judging American Idol: Hollywood Hell Week Turns To Group Performances

The pressure is on as contestants must assemble groups and wow the judges on short notice...
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Oh, Star Boobs, how far and quickly you have fallen. Last week Tiffany Rios (Star Boobs to those who witnessed her New Jersey audition) declared to the judges, contestants and all of the world that she’s “tired of all these people trying to do what I know I can.” She then belted out a crappy version of whatever song she decided to butcher. She was sent through, mostly I think because JLo was just entertained by her and felt she had spunk. That ill-advised comment couldn’t have come at a worse time and definitely haunted Tiffany as she was looking

Listening Room: The Indigo Girls - "Shame On You"

"Shame On You" and Shame On Us
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I just read an article about the state of Arizona to start requiring hospitals to check the immigration status of patients before admitting them for treatment. I was immediately drawn back ten years when I had recently been diagnosed with a potentially terminal disease with no health insurance. Lucky for me, better yet blessed, I had three decades of work in the music and film business and qualified for healthcare through MusicCares and The Actor’s Fund. Dr. Christopher Wang, an Asian-American, was my primary care physician for five years and I credit him with saving my life. He was the

Robert Cray, John Hammond, J.B. Lenoir Among 2011 Blues Hall Of Fame Inductees

Great artists, signature songs and albums, and more shape this year's group of inductees...
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The Blues Hall of Fame Class of 2011 was announced today with Robert Cray, John Hammond, and J.B. Lenoir topping the list of performers being inducted along with other performers, singles, albums, researchers, and other important figures in the development and history of the blues. The performers being inducted include Cray, Hammond, Lenoir, Denise LaSalle, Big Maybelle, and Alberta Hunter. Individuals being inducted include Vivian Carter and Jimmy Bracken, Sam Charters, Bruce Bromberg, and field researcher John W. Work III Among the works being enshrined in the Blues Hall of Fame this year are singles by Jimmy Weatherspoon, Eddie Boyd,

iTunes Chart Watch: Lady GaGa #1 Single, Mumford & Sons #1 Album

The Super Bowl halftime performance didn't even kill the Black Eyed Peas, whose single is #4...
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This week's iTunes Chart Watch actually covers the week prior to the Grammys but it doesn't come as a surprise to see many of the artists who walked away with golden trophies in this list, particularly where the pop and R&B statues are concerned. Lady GaGa is going to sell a metric buttload of CDs and digital downloads this year with her new album and even though the world seems to have suddenly woken up and noticed the blatant Madonna aping, "Born This Way" is the #1 single this week. Black Eyed Peas weren't hurt too bad by the

Ronnie Lane’s Passing Show and The Badfinger Connection

A Small Face, A Badfinger, and a Damned Fine Time
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“Can you show me a dream, Can you show me one that’s better than mine?” “Itchycoo Park” is a song that means pure happiness, no drug references to an 11 year-old music lover in 1967. “It’s all too beautiful!” shimmered on the airwaves and record players all over the states. It was also the last Small Faces tune to be heard on American radio for a long time. But I kept up. I couldn’t understand why there was no follow-up. “Little Tin Soldier” and “Lazy Sunday” were nearly as perfect as “Itchycoo Park” but it was obvious the band just

Listening Room: Drive-By Truckers - "Hell No, I Ain't Happy"

Drive-By Truckers and Stanley Kubrick's The Shining...who would have ever put that together?
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"Hell No, I Ain't Happy" from 2003's Decoration Day feels as raw as your hands after a day of pulling weeds from around the oak trees in the middle of June when it's usually 95 degrees or hotter.   The tune hooks you in immediately with a sound drenched in sweaty, gritty set guitar chords that rumble underneath Hood's vocals which go from desperate to piercing in fast succession. On a side note, this is one of the best elements of Drive-By Truckers - the ability to mix three guitar parts which aren't necessarily playing things differently but not have

Listening Room: "Hell No, I Ain't Happy" by Drive-By Truckers

DBT and Stanley Kubrick...who would have ever put that together?
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"Hell No, I Ain't Happy" from 2003's Decoration Day feels as raw as your hands after a day of pulling weeds from around the oak trees in the middle of June when it's usually 95 degrees or hotter.   The tune hooks you in immediately with a sound drenched in sweaty, gritty set guitar chords that rumble underneath Hood's vocals which go from desperate to piercing in fast succession. On a side note, this is one of the best elements of Drive-By Truckers - the ability to mix three guitar parts which aren't necessarily playing things differently but not have

Conan O'Brien Unveils Bonnaroo 2011 Lineup: Eminem, Arcade Fire, Black Keys, Decemberists, Buffalo Springfield & More

It's another huge, eclectic lineup for this year's festival in Manchester, TN
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Conan O'Brien, a past Bonnaroo performer, helped make the announcement for this year's festival in Manchester, TN and there are as expected some huge names. The lineup is typically eclectic and features superstars, indie favorites, and bands of a more obscure nature. The schedule hasn't been unveiled but it's pretty safe to say that fresh off their Album of The Year Grammy, Arcade Fire will be playing a headline slot. It's also a safe bet that Eminem, who appeared less than thrilled to lose that award to Arcade Fire, will not be collaborating with AF and may well be headlining

Radiohead 'The King Of Limbs' To Be Released CD/Vinyl March 28

More details emerge about Radiohead's new album release plan...
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A Radiohead spokesman has confirmed the band will release physical copies of The King Of Limbs next month, this in conjunction with previously announced plans for a digital release of the album on Saturday and special "Newspaper" editions of the record. There will be standard releases of TKOL on both CD and vinyl and those will be available next month on March 28. The album can be pre-ordered and downloaded digitally Saturday. The Newspaper Editions will ship in May. It's understandable if you're a little confused but all of this is good news and it's becoming clearer. Let's review: Preorder

New Music Tuesday: Drive-By Truckers, PJ Harvey, Bright Eyes, Paul Pigat, Radiohead & More!

There is something for everyone this week!
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Get comfortable, we're going to be here awhile! The February release slate has been uninspiring but it's back on with a vengeance this week! There really is something for everyone this week. Let's begin with Radiohead's The King Of Limbs. It actually won't be out until Saturday but it's out new this week, can be preordered now, and a lot of folks are still finding out about it because the band has once again stealthed us all. As for albums out today… the hardest working band in showbiz, Drive-By Truckers, have Go-Go Boots, the mighty force that is PJ

Two-fer Tuesday: Getting Lost With Zucchero

Some songs transport you to a time and place deep within your memory bank. Other songs just take you on an out of body experience, returning you to the now only when you're fully cleansed.
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My fellow BBS writer, Josh, shared his "let me lose myself" song the other day and it was a wonderful choice for many reasons. I love Shelby Lynne. Always have. But when I want to get lost, when I need to escape, when I need to cleanse my soul of all the travails of this world, I need to look no further than one beautiful and heartwrenching song from the one man I would likely stalk if given the chance (also if I weren't lazy about such things) and if I were in Italy: Adelmo Fornaciari, henceforth known by his sweeter

Don't Forget The Raveonettes Release Raven In The Grave on April 5th

"The perfect winter soundtrack just in time for spring".
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The Raveonettes, Danish alt-rock duo Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo, are releasing Raven in The Grave on April 5th.  It's the band's fifth full-length album and the third on Vice Records. Wagner revealed in the album's press release that "this is the first Raveonettes album we've done which doesn't feature the signature Raveonettes' surf drumbeat. None of the tunes have any real sunshine to them. It's all very un-Rave." "It has a mood of ethereal defiance," Foo adds. "It's dark but not bleak, like the single-minded determination caused by crisis that is not quite hope but just as powerful.

Listening Room: Etta James - "I'd Rather Go Blind"

Etta James cuts right through to the marrow and leaves me blind, and speechless.
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There is this great scene in the tragicaly underseen movie Ghost World where Steve Buscemi's akward, socially inept character goes out with the cute, but completely bland Dana.  They go to a bar where a revered, old bluesman is playing.  Buscemi is there for the music, but Dana is there to party and have a good time.  When Dana starts screaming and dancing to the loud, blues-rock of the opening act the look on Buscemi's face is priceless.  He's lonely, and certainly physically attracted to the woman, but her taste in music is so obviously out of whack to

Radiohead To Release 'The King Of Limbs' Feb. 19

Radiohead's latest comes in four packages and pre-orders started today...
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Radiohead have stealthed the internet world and announced their new album will be available on Saturday, February 19. The King Of Limbs will be available digitally first, followed by an(other) unconventional physical release next month. This all comes on the heels of the band's "pay-what-you-want" scheme for In Rainbows. Artwork appears on the band's site that is presumably the cover for the album but no official tracklist has been revealed. Radiohead fans have four purchasing options: Newspaper Album + MP3: $48 Newspaper Album + WAV: $53 MP3: $9 WAV: $14 What is the deal with this "Newspaper Album?" Here is

Review: Brooke White - High Hopes & Heartbreak

A look at Brooke White's post-Idle debut High Hopes & Heartbreak. Should you give it a chance or leave it alone?
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In 2008, America fell in love with Brooke White. She was a shy, humble girl from Arizona who came in with a soft sweet voice that made you melt every time she took the stage. Brooke finished sixth in Season 7 of American Idol after Neil Diamond week, and it took over a year before she finally released her debut album High Hopes & Heartbreak. The album sold 10,000 copies in it's first week of release and made it to #50 on the Billboard Top 200 list but to date she has only sold a small number of albums (by

Grammy 2011 Highlights: Black Keys, Them Crooked Vultures, Buddy Guy, Switchfoot

You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows...
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I have a lot of ambivalence for the Grammys so I consciously made other plans last night and skipped the telecast. The Grammys aren't irrelevant but they are hopelessly flawed and fall embarrassingly short of representing the best in music. I pay attention to what happens but I can't bring myself to care. We could make fun of Justin Beiber but that's too easy. Speaking of easy, there's Lady Gaga-in-an-egg. Those jokes tell themselves and that's why I didn't watch in the first place. I spent the morning scouring the web and found a list of the winners and you

Blues Radio Report: Gregg Allman #1; Roomful of Blues and Damon Fowler Make Gains

It's out with the old and in with the new this week at blues radio...
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Gregg Allman's Low Country Blues has tightened its grip on the #1 ranking in the world of blues radio, topping both the Roots Music Report and BluesMobile chart. It's an impressive feat and the album deserves the attention. Other 2011 releases have started to creep their way, pushing aside some of the big albums from last year. Damon Fowler's Devil Got His Way and Roomful of Blues' Hook, Line & Sinker were both released this year and both are in RMR's Top 5 and the Top 15 for BluesMobile. Big Shanty's 2-disc Collection was just released this week and it

Review: JJ Grey & Mofro - Georgia Warhorse

A consistent sound with some inconsistent songs still add up to a whole lot to love...
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In a time of chimpanzees, JJ Grey & Mofro are a monkey and Georgia Warhorse just wasn't made for these times. This is an AM record in an FM -- now XM -- era. The only nod to modernity to be found on the album shines through in the debt it owes to a multitude of AM radio stations rather than mining the solid gold of only one. Georgia Warhorse is a dirty Southern soul record with deep roots in blues and R&B and some gentle nods in the direction of Southern rock and gospel. The JJ Grey & Mofro

Test

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Review: Jessica Lea Mayfield - Tell Me

Celebrate the sad.
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Jessica Lea Mayfield's Tell Me is a pensive, nearly mournful record that reminds me of shuffling slowly through the rain without paying mind to how soaked the situation becomes. Mayfield seems to revel in the drops of cold, soaking up the moment with beautifully simple lyrics and touches of nervousness. Mayfield's first release, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, was released in September of 2008 and featured The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach as its producer. Later, Mayfield held the honour of being the first guest vocalist to appear on a record by The Black Keys when she supplied backing vocals to "Things

Listening Room: Shelby Lynne - "Loser Dreamer"

Let Shelby Lynne and the Flux Capacitor take you away...
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My wife and I are big fans of the show N.C.I.S. and one of the things we like best about it is main character Gibbs' list of 51 rules. They aren't exactly written down in one place where you can learn them all. Gibbs teaches, you learn; that's how it works. I have a list of my own where music is concerned. There are rules, important concepts, and universal truths of music and one of these is what we'll call the Flux Capacitor property of music; the power of music to transport listeners to places real or imagined, anywhere

Review: Crystal Bowersox - Farmer's Daughter

Taking a look at the American Idol Season Nine runner-up's debut album.
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She wowed us with her vocals, made us fall in love with her spirit, and was supposed to win it all. Crystal Bowersox was the front runner to win American Idol season nine from the start of the show, but she fell just a handful of votes short. A year after America fell in love with this single mom from Ohio, Crystal's debut album hit store shelves. Farmer's Daughter was released on December 14, 2010 by Jive Records.Bowersox was the diamond in a pile of coal from season nine. Every time she let loose those gritty vocals and hammered on

Judging American Idol: The Journey Begins (And Ends) in Hollywood

Auditions are over for Season 10; the competition is just beginning...
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At long last! American Idol’s Hollywood Week AKA Hell Week is here. This is where contestants cash in their golden tickets for one chance at advancing in the competition. The show is handling this the same as in years past: contestants come out in lines of 10 and each one gets one shot to impress the judges. Ryan Seacrest called it Sudden Death, you’re in or out and get no feedback from judges. After all 10 hopefuls have gone and judges deliberate, they ask contestants to step forward or not, then dismiss the front or back row. I cannot

Judging American Idol - San Francisco Outshines LA

Season 10, Episode 7 auditions American Idol contestants in SF...
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San Francisco…City by the Bay! Well kids, we’ve made it; final audition night before we begin Hollywood Week. We learned a few things from this episode; Adam Lambert came from the San Francisco auditions (insert collective, “of course” here), there is a LOT of talent waiting to be discovered, and “just because somebody farts, let them finish singin’!” And with that, I bring you the highlights from the American Idol San Francisco auditions. This first contestant was more a lowlight but such an entertaining one, I could not leave her out. Her name is Inessa and she’s from the Ukraine

The Strokes Return... Free, For A Limited Time

The Strokes Make Their Comeback Single Free For A Limited Time
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It's been five long years since The Strokes dropped our jaws with their modern retro ways but they are returning. The new album Angels is out March 22 and you can download the first single "Under Cover Of Darkness" free, but only for a limited time. We've even made it easy for you, then, by embedding all you need right here. Delay not, my friends. Get your download, do it damn damn quickly, and return to BlindedBySound to rejoice, revel, and discuss. Do it NOW!

Listening Room: Griffin House - "Live To Be Free"

Sometimes the easiest answer is the best one - just climb in and let's go.
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Sometimes the easiest answer is the best one - just climb in and let's go. That's the best way to sum up this 2006 tune from singer-songwriter Griffin House. It is as simple and beautiful as it is sentimental and earnest. With a sound that comes from a mix of Ryan Adams, John Mellencamp, and a little Radney Foster "Live To Be Free," the seventh track on his Homecoming CD, sounds like a note left on someone's windshield or tacked on their apartment door. And in that note is the invitation to let go of your fears and just

Review: Stoney Curtis Band - Cosmic Conn3ction

With or without a mouthful of honey, I'd do it all again for the love of blues and rock & roll! Especially with Stoney Curtis at the helm.
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Blues rock, rockin' blues...call it what you will, I love it, but I'm also really picky about how it's done. The good news for me is that one of the best blues rockers to be released in a long time is from none other than the Stoney Curtis Band. Cosmic Conn3ction is that perfect blend of anthem rock and gritty blues. With a release date of March 8, 2011, from Shrapnel Records' Blues Bureau division, Cosmic Conn3ction does not disappoint. As a Stoney Curtis Band fan for a number of years, I've come to know and love his work and

Review: Sugaray - Blind Alley

Ain't blues for those with weak hearts
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Sugaray Rayford doesn’t believe in takin’ it easy on himself or the audience. He throws himself into every performance and gives it all he has. That same approach applies to his first solo release, Blind Alley. From energetic romps to gut wrenching moans, from soulful to shouter, jazzy crooner to preacher, the man gives you a physical and an emotional workout. It’s a damn fine debut! Beginning with a spirited version of Al Kooper’s “Nuthin’ I Wouldn’t Do For A Woman Like You," Sugaray gets you on your feet for some fine booty shakin’. Then he turns around and breaks
The Seventies Are Dead I just read the New York Times obit of J Paul Getty III. Like most people, I had no idea that he had a stroke and was incapacitated for the last twenty or so years. Like most people, I had forgotten about him but at one time I kept up with his every move. I knew when he was kidnapped – I knew when his ear was cut off and I knew when he returned to his, obviously, uncaring family. It was difficult for me to understand then when I read that his billionaire grandfather refused

My New Musical Discovery: Canada's Sweet Moans

It's never too late to get it back!
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It sounds too much like a cliché but my life has really been defined by music since I can first remember. As a child of the sixties and seventies, my tastes run the gamut from the usual, Beatles, Stones, The Who to Jackson Browne (my favorite artist and one of my favorite people), Roseanne Cash and Billy Bragg. I have been fortunate enough to get to know and work with, in different capacities, practically every artist I admired in my formative years and found all of them to be great people as well as great artists. Not an asshole in

New Music Tuesday: Lemmy, Yanni, & Big Shanty...

One of these releases is perfect for your Valentine's Day celebrations...
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Blame it on the cold meds I'm hopped up on but I actually thought it would be funny to do a Letterman parody of the Uma/Oprah bit, substituting Lemmy/Yanni. Blame the cold meds and the recording industry for a second week of titles that are lacking in interest for me. Yes, there are new sets from Yanni and Motorhead. I'd go with Lemmy. There's also a Miles Davis Bitches Brew Live set on the roster this week, which offers three previously unreleased tracks from one of his Newport preformances as well as the 37th installment of Now That's What I

Review: Car Bomb - Centralia

You won't be able to focus after listening to this blistering cut-and-paste debut.
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While living in Nashville a few years ago, I was approached by a clean-cut, unassuming man who appeared to be in his early forties.  He walked over to the grocery deli counter where I was ordering cold cuts and said, “Do you really like that, or are you wearing the shirt because you think it looks cool?”  I glanced down to see what shirt I actually had on and replied, “No, I really listen to Dillinger Escape Plan.”  His reply?  “I don’t see how anybody can listen to that stuff, but O.K.”  That guy would wither under the blast of

Sweet Moans

Canada Strikes Again!
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It sounds too much like a cliché but my life has really been defined by music since I can first remember. As a child of the sixties and seventies, my tastes run the gamut from the usual, Beatles, Stones, The Who to Neil Young, Jackson Browne (my favorite artist and one of my favorite people), Roseanne Cash and Billy Bragg. I have been fortunate enough to get to know and work with, in different capacities, practically ever artist I admired in my formative years and found them to be great people as well as great artists. Over the last decade

Review: Glenn Patrik - Original Blues

If you're gonna sing the blues, you better sing Original Blues and you'll want to do at least half as good a job as Glenn Patrik does, otherwise you're just screwed.
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One of my favorite bluesmen, Glenn Patrik, happens to reside not far from me here in Las Vegas. I'm pretty lucky that way. Seems no matter where I move, I find the artists who provide me with the kind of music that sings to my soul. But if truth must be told, I was aware of Mr. Patrik prior to my relocation to the City of Sin and Neon and LED. I'd had his previous album, Nuthin' But A Thang, and was deeply in lust with it, just as I have been recently lusting over his latest and greatest Original

Two-fer Tuesday: Addressing the Addrisi Issue

Since the day that Nanny came to stay with us, we've wondered who wrote the theme song and what else they might have been responsible for.
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For those of you unfamiliar with my quaint little "Two-fer Tuesday" series on previous blogs, let me assure you I will never write extensively on the music, instead preferring to let the music speak for itself. Except sometimes. Sometimes there is a story, or ten, to tell. Sometimes the story holds the presented clips together. Other times it's simply my way of explaining why it matters to me. But mostly, I will try not to write endless paragraphs and I will try more to present you with two, three, four, five, or even eight videos that appeal to me come

Review: Daft Punk - Tron Legacy Original Soundtrack

The duo mixes the orchestral and electronic for the score to the Disney blockbuster.
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The best thing about the film Tron Legacy wasn't the storyline or the visual effects (though they were stunning). What stood out the most was the music, particularly the original score. It was the driving force of the movie and there are few scenes where it doesn't appear. Daft Punk provided that music and it's collected on the Tron Legacy Original Soundtrack. The duo's first original musical work since 2005's Human After All, this is a true score as opposed to a Daft Punk album masquerading as one. While Oscar may have snubbed it, this is a wonderful album and

Review: Lee DeWyze - Live It Up

Debut from 'American Idol' Season 9 winner suffers from identity crisis...
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With American Idol set to go live in a couple of weeks, it seems like a good time to talk about the debut albums of last year's winner and runner up. Both the winner, Lee DeWyze, and the runner up, Crystal Bowersox, released their debut albums at the end of 2010. As of the end of January 2011, Bowersox has the edge on album sales but both albums are selling poorly. So, let's examine each album and see who comes out on top in terms of music and enjoyability. Since Lee DeWyze was the winner, it only makes sense that

A Winter Playlist: Little Feat, Steve Miller Band, Neil Young & More...

10 songs about the cold to keep you warm on a winter's night...
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New Yorkers can be such wusses. They act like there has never been snow like this  and get pissed off with the mayor because the streets are not clean. I think they should spend a Winter in Albany. They also freak out when they finally have to move three feet of snow off their car – after three freaking weeks! Granted, I have seen some cars that will possibly be in the same spot until June. I don’t even know where the cops will stick the ticket on several cars. In honor of winter and staying inside, I have put

Gary Moore, 1952-2011

Remembering a blues-rock guitar great...
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Gary Moore is known to most US music fans for his three short periods as part of Thin Lizzy. In Gary’s career, as well as Thin Lizzy, that was just a small part of their history. His biting white boy blues came from the second wave of Belfast rock musicians that started with Van Morrison and his band Them. Euro and US guitarists with an interest in rock and blues technique know Gary well. My personal dealing with Mr. Moore was when Gibson Musical Instruments decided to open their UK office with a party to launch the opening of a

Gary Moore

1952-2011 RIP
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Gary Moore April 4, 1952-February 6, 2011 Gary Moore was known to most US music fans for his short period as part of Thin Lizzy. In Gary’s career, as well as Thin Lizzy, that was just a small part of their history. His biting white boy blues came from the second wave of Belfast rock musicians that started with Van Morrison and his band Them. My personal dealing with Mr. Moore was when Gibson Musical Instruments decided to open their UK office with a party to launch the opening plus the addition of a limited run of a “Scotty Moore”

Judging American Idol - Train Wreck, Los Angeles

Season 10, Episode 6 auditions American Idol contestants in Los Angeles...
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I wish you could see the look on my face right now. I think it’s a cross between the look of someone who just saw their grandmother naked while smelling what I imagine Joan Rivers’ feet smell like. I think for all of us that witnessed, no- ENDURED tonight’s American Idol should either get a refund or at least an explanation. I don’t even know where to start! Do I highlight the three decent, barely average auditions or spend all our time on the insane and delusional, not to mention highly underwhelming potential contestants? A little of both you say?

Searching For Alex Chilton, Part 2

“I want to stay where I feel safe.”
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Editor's Note: Part 1 of 'Searching For Alex Chilton' was previously published on Blinded By Sound and can be read here. I was stunned that such a talented and influential artist, seemingly from a great family, would be living in such squalor. I surmised he must have chosen that anonymous life over the inane world of rock music. He had sold millions of records as a teen in The Boxtops and never made a dime, then, after a few months hanging out with Dennis Wilson and Charles Manson, retreated to Memphis to make three of the most amazing American records

Judging American Idol: Everything's Bigger in (Austin), TX

Season 10, Episode 5 auditions American Idol contestants in Austin, TX...
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As last night's show started I was excited wondering what I'd see, what our favorite dirty old man Steven Tyler would say, and what talent has been hiding down in Austin, TX. Instead, I got a fake apology from American Idol. They're so very sorry about Steven Tyler, his swearing and off-the-wall behavior, they hope no has has been offended and it will never, ever, cross-their-hearts happen again. Well, then what are we watching for?! Oh right, for the auditons! First up is Corey Levoy, who is 21 and brought his sister in to sing to. His song choice? Bonnie

Review: Gregg Allman - Low Country Blues

Cover albums are tricky and rarely successful but this one of the most satisfying records of Allman's illustrious career.
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My voyage through the history of the blues has been quite an education. Part of that discovery led me to original and/or classic versions of many songs that later became famously associated with rock and roll artists. It surprised me, but I found myself falling a little out of love with some of those rockers when I went to the source. There were exceptions. Some bands did wonderful versions of those songs to the point it didn't matter who got their first or even who did them best. One of the bands that rose in stature with me is the

Exile On Main Street Blues

Vinyl Lust In the Digital Age
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With nothing to do on a Sunday in the New York snow, I usually find myself at Barnes and Nobles on 86th and Lex, just to browse. Every time I go into the music department there is a big box that keeps calling my name – the Deluxe Edition of The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street. I can’t recall how many times I have looked at the big, heavy box with the cover I have known for nearly 40 years but now holds many goodies for a rabid baby-boomer who used the record as the soundtrack for a life.

Searching For Alex Chilton, Part 1

A Big Star In My Life
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It was around 1980-81, I read in Trouser Press, (the go-to rag for “underground,” FM ,and college radio bands), that one of my childhood heroes, Alex Chilton, vocalist for The Boxtops, later in Big Star, had quit trying to make it on his own in NYC and had moved back home to Memphis. It just happened that my last week with my last band was playing in the not too distant Corinth, MS.  I let my fingers do the walking and called every Chilton in the Memphis phone directory and, lo and behold, had great conversations with Alex’s mom and

Bruce Hornsby Creates Website to Release Concert Recordings

Bruce Hornsby gets it, the major music labels don't.
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In conjunction with Nugs.net Bruce Hornsby has created a new website, brucehornsbylive.com which is offering recordings of concerts from Hornsby throughout his storied career.  The shows will be available in both MP3 and FLAC formats and can be downloaded either as individual tracks or complete shows. Each download also comes with cover art in PDF format that one could easily print off.  Though the site requests you not to share the downloads with anybody else, there is no included DRM which allows you to move the music onto any device you like as ofen as you like, which is

Bootleg Nation: Mark Knopfler - Rare Sessions

Mark Knopfler fans put together a five disked set of alt-tracks, live cuts and rarities to mixed results.
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Download MP3@320kps:  Part 1, Part II, Part III, Part IV Thus far in the Bootleg Nation I have presented complete recordings of single concerts.  These type shows make up the vast majority of my bootleg collection, and in fact of all the bootlegs that exist in the world. But today I want to talk a bit about another type of bootleg, what you can loosely categorize as demos, alternate tracks, and rarities.  Musicians often go into the recording studio with only loose ideas on the songs they want to record for an album.  They will generally record everything they

iTunes Chart Watch: Amos Lee's 'Mission Bell' is #1 Album

iTunes' top 10 selling singles and albums of the week ending Jan. 31, 2011.
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Time once again for my cynical, condescending look at the biggest songs and albums at the iTunes Music Store. In what has to be considered a mild upset, I have nice things to say about some of this material for a second week in a row. It will always be easy and enjoyable for me to praise The Black Keys' Brothers. The Keys were interviewed this week by Terri Gross for her Fresh Air program on NPR. I didn't get to hear it but it can still be accessed online. We discussed The Decemberists' The King Is Dead last

An Evening With... George Harrison, Part 2

The conclusion to a once in a lifetime meeting...
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Editor's Note: The first part of this incredible evening spent with George Harrison, Scotty Moore, and D.J.Fontana was previously published on Blinded By Sound and can be read here. Can anyone fathom being invited into George Harrison’s music room and being given permission to pick any guitar from the entire Beatles history and beyond and sit down and play? It came naturally to Scotty, as he was never star struck by anyone and seemed fully at ease around George, Alvin and Joe. After everyone, including me, had picked an instrument (mine was “Rocky” the Magical Mystery Tour Stratocaster), George asks

Neil Young In Reverse

Facing His Ghosts On the Road and In the Studio
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If you happen to find yourself waking up at 3:00 AM and have nothing else to do, I have a suggestion: listen to a couple of Neil Young records. Most Neil die-hards have the CD of On the Beach but it is not the same without the clicks, pops and lack of sonic clarity. Time Fades Away is not on CD or digital download and possibly never will be since it is reported that Neil has an anxiety attack every time he tries to listen to the tapes. It was recorded during his first arena tour when people who bought

Listening Room: "Human Touch" - Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen’s “Human Touch” is a sincere reflection on life, love, loss, and moving forward.
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Springsteen’s '90s work often gets mixed reviews from his fanbase but this tune is the crown jewel of that period and stands up with his best work. From the opening G-Chord through the gospel-choir tinged builds, ripping guitar solos, and soulful verses, “Human Touch” is a ride on Springsteen’s train through a tapestry of life, love, loss, and moving forward. The song’s story is about a man laying it all on the table without pretentions because there’s no point in them. It’s not about sex; that’s the easy road interpretation and in fact, I think it’s refuted in the song’s

Review: Todd Sharpville - Porchlight

A portrait of a charismatic talent...
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I can't remember many times in my life when something came easily to me. I'm not suggesting I've had to work hard for what I've gotten because I have a lot of quit in me-- perhaps exceeded only by laziness. What I'm trying to say is I spend a lot of time stuck at Square One, frustrated as hell. Sometimes I cross that magical finish line and other times I order pizza and queue something up on Netflix. This review has been on my "to do" list since late last year when British bluesman Todd Sharpville released his double album
The total number of titles this week is down – a lot -- but there are interesting titles among them so let's take a look: North Mississippi AllstarsKeys To The Kingdom It's been awhile since we've heard from the 'stars, what with Luther Dickinson spending the last few years working with The Black Crowes. Since they convened, their father Jim passed away. Jim Dickinson was a heavyweight in the music world and crossed paths with other heavyweights and legends. That sense of loss reportedly makes its presence felt on this collection of new music. Bob Marley & The WailersLive