January 2011 Archives

Blues Radio Report: Gregg Allman & Buddy Guy Have #1 Albums

They've been doing it longer than most and they're only getting better...
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It's no surprise to see Gregg Allman's fantastic Low Country Blues at #1 with RMR and #2 at Blues Mobile. I've been listening to it since it's release earlier this month and it's a wonderful record and I'll be sharing more of my thoughts on it in the coming days. It's not a surprise blues fans around the US are digging this one at all. The Roots Music Report has Allman followed by Eden Brent, Buddy Guy, Roomful of Blues, and Ronnie Earl. I just picked up the recently released Roomful of Blues album and hope to be getting to

Review: Cold War Kids - Mine is Yours

What's mine is yours, but what's theirs is glossy arena rock.
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I last experienced Cold War Kids on 2008's Loyalty to Loyalty, a recording that dazzled with its "big-tent revival showmanship." With their new disc, Mine is Yours, there's a shift in tone that proves surprising. The shift is immediately recognizable and the use of producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, Modest Mouse) has something to do with it. The album is very nearly a complete about-face from their past catalogue. Many indie critics went rightly apeshit over the California rockers' debut, Robbers & Cowards, but this one is proving a tougher sell. Perhaps it's the instant presence of

Listening Room: Norah Jones - Not Too Late

After being buried under piles and piles of new music I remember just how remarkable Norah Jones really is.
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A friend of mine recently sent me about a dozen Norah Jones shows. I say he's a friend but really he's just somebody who reads my bootleg blog and wanted to share. Which makes him awesome, but not necessarily someone I'd say was close to me. Let's pause a moment and think about that. Somebody I do not know, whom I have never spoken with or chatted with or met, who lives on the other side of the equator just sent me several bootlegs (some of which he recorded himself) of Norah Jones playing live. This he did with
Supported by an impressive nine-piece band, led on guitar by Jack White, the producer of her new album The Party Ain't Over, and two back-up singers known as her "Cupcakes", Wanda Jackson delighted the sold-out crowd at the El Rey for a little over an hour with a set that revealed the breadth of her career: country, gospel, and of course rockabilly, of which she is considered the Queen.  The set list featured eight songs off the new album and a mix of classic hits.  Although the band slightly overpowered her vocals in the mix on a few occasions, she

Review: Rich Del Grosso & Jonn Del Toro Richardson - Time Slips On By

Two heads are better than one...
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Time Slips On By teams Texas blues veterans Rich Del Grosso and Jonn Del Toro Richardson and it is in every sense a collaboration as both men sing lead, take center stage for solos with their instruments (mandolin and guitar, respectively), and share a near-equal split of the songwriting duties. Democracy can sometimes make for messy, disjointed albums but a real generosity of spirit and shared sense of their roots make this a winning team. I don't make statements like this lightly – particularly in January – but the title track is a Song Of The Year candidate. Richardson's vocal

An Evening With... George Harrison

An informal jam with George Harrison and a few of his Sun Records' heroes...
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Just as everyone in any civilized country, I found December 8, 2010 a somber reminder of a loss not just to music but also to the world. Every newscast, even al Jazeera, made note of the three decades that have passed without John Lennon. I was sitting in a car outside a friend’s house and we were discussing the strengths and weaknesses of John & Yoko’s Double Fantasy LP when his mother walked out of the house to let us know John had been shot. We were almost too stunned to turn on the radio to hear the news. The

Judging American Idol: What A Stripper Wears To Prom in Nashville

Season 10, Episode 4 auditions American Idol contestants in Nashville...
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Last night’s installment of American Idol auditions lands us in Music City: Nashville, TN at the legendary Ryman Auditorium. The night begins with a hopeful contestant showcasing the longest high note I think I’ve ever heard. Was it good? No. Was it necessary? Probably not. Was it entertaining? Yes! And that, my friends, is the magic of American Idol. Ryan Seacrest tells us that a staggering 17,000 people are waiting for their chance to make their dreams come true. They later tout Nashville as “the most talented city of auditions so far." First audition of the night is Christine McCaffrey.

Listening Room: "Naked" by Goo Goo Dolls

John Rzeznik's weary refrain is an open, honest look at the struggles of addiction.
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"Naked" from trash punk turned Top 40 alt-rockers Goo Goo Dolls is one of the best songs about addiction I've ever heard. By the time Goo Goo Dolls got around to recording the album Boy Named Goo, the band was at odds with their drummer and record label which more than likely fueled this emotionally charged set list. Many of you know the Goos for the smash hit "Name" and for "Iris" (which came a few years later) and pretty much every other ballad-type song they've laid on the public in recent years. There are several great spots on the

Judging American Idol: Randy Jackson Punches A Contestant in Milwaukee

Season 10, Episode 3 auditions American Idol contestants in Milwaukee...
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Week Two of American Idol auditions brings us to Milwaukee, Wisconsin… home of obnoxious Packers fans, cows, and cheese curds- and apparently home of some pretty talented folks. Well, even if it’s not their home, it’s the place they traveled to for a chance to sing in front of Steven Tyler, JLo, and Randy Jackson. I had no idea what to expect tonight. I intentionally stay away from AI previews and anything relating to it during the week leading up to the new show because I don’t want to ruin it for myself. I also don’t want to be

Review: Dudley Taft - Left For Dead

'Left For Dead' is a hard-hitting, nitro-fueled collection of Texas blues...
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Dear Blues Purists, Please stop reading this review and rejoin us when conversation turns to a discussion of the great Blind Lemon Jefferson or Son House. Sincerely, Blinded By Sound Mgmt.   Dudley Taft will be unfamiliar to most of the blues cognoscenti. The path that brought Left For Dead to listeners doesn't include stints playing second guitar for Pinetop Perkins or B.B. King. Taft cut his musical teeth in the Pacific Northwest in bands like Sweetwater and Second Coming, the latter having direct ties to the amazing Alice in Chains, whose members he counts as friends and with whom

iTunes Chart Watch: The Decemberists Reign Supreme

iTunes' top 10 selling singles and albums of the week ending Jan. 17, 2011.
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I'm one of the most blessed people I know but I've never thought of myself as particularly lucky until Twitter made me a big, fat winner- well, they made me a winner; I blame the fat on Ben & Jerry. I won a free download of The Decemberists' The King Is Dead this week and lo and behold it's the #1 album at iTunes and on Billboard's Hot 200. I listened to it this morning all the way through and it was my first experience with the band. It was a pleasant listen but I'll need to hear it

CD Review: Chris James & Patrick Rynn - Gonna Boogie Anyway

Life might be good, life might be tough, I'm gonna boogie anyway.
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Chris James & Patrick Rynn‘s second CD, Gonna Boogie Anyway, is here and it has swept me off my feet. It’s solid, bold, and sexy. Its swagger is confident, not cocky, and that self-assuredness is what clinches the deal. The sexiness is surprising, too, because you don’t necessarily expect their steady and solid approach to carry that much sex appeal. Yet it does. James and Rynn? They’re powerful and mesmerizing. "Money Don’t Like Me” starts the party and it’s a strong, yet playful tune. James’ assertive vocals and clever lyrics tell a story to which we can all relate —

Review: Kettleblack - Kettleblack Live

If the pot's calling the kettle black, it better do so loudly
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If you're gonna be a rock band or a blues rock band, you pretty much have only a few seconds to establish yourself as such from the moment the listener pops a CD into the stereo. Kettleblack answers any questions one might have about their intent very quickly. They tell you within a few notes that they're here to rock you and they do. Before I get into the meat of the Kettleblack Live CD -- their original songs -- I'm going to address the cover tunes they've included because covers can be rather tricky. "Hard to Handle" is a

Blues at the Crossroads Tour Kicks Off in San Francisco January 28

Centennial celebration of the musical legacy of Robert Johnson
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Robert Johnson was born on May 8, 1911. No one could have predicted the indelible mark he would leave on this world at the time. Sure, he wasn't the first man to sing the blues, nor would he be the greatest, but during his brief 27 years on earth, Johnson's story began and it would seem that not even death would keep him from becoming one of the most influential artists the world has ever known. How much of his legend is fact we'll likely never know. Does it really matter? What we have now are 29 songs, stories of deals with the devil, and only

Listening Room: "Crazy About You" Whiskeytown

"Crazy About You" is the perfect love song for the men of Generation X. as it captures the reversed-gender politics, disillusionment, and yet earthy soul of the times.
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"Crazy About You" is the perfect love song for the men of Generation X. Perhaps there are other notable entries in the category but few capture the reversed-gender politics, disillusionment, yet earthy soul like this tune from the pen of Ryan Adams. Most of you know of Adams’ early work with the group Whiskeytown. By the time the Pneumonia record came around, Whiskeytown was largely done with changing line ups and record company upheaval. However, buried on that brilliant (though uneven) album is "Crazy About You." "Crazy" displays much of what makes later Ryan Adams albums Gold and Love Is

Listening Room: "Crazy About You" by Whiskeytown

“Crazy About You” is the perfect love song for the men of Generation X as it captures the reversed-gender politics, disillusionment, and yet earthy soul of the times.
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“Crazy About You” is the perfect love song for the men of Generation X. Perhaps there are other notable entries in the category but few capture the reversed-gender politics, disillusionment, and yet earthy soul like this tune from the pen of Ryan Adams. Most of you know of Adams’ early work with the group Whiskeytown. By the time the Pnemonia record came around, Whiskeytown was largely done with changing line ups and record company upheaval. However, buried on that brilliant (though uneven) album is “Crazy About You”. “Crazy” displays much of what makes a later Ryan Adams albums Gold and

Music Review: Kirsten Thien - Delicious

Golden, sweet, and thoroughly delicious
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I love music that gets me up and dancing from the first note. I love music that keeps me dancing the whole album through. That’s exactly what you get with Kirsten Thien’s Delicious. From the moment I put it on the stereo the day I got it, I was dancing. I danced my way through the dishes. I danced my way through the laundry. And I danced my way through my shower. By the time I was done, I was in a great mood and off to pick up someone special from the airport. The entirety of Delicious was floating through

Review: Jinx Jones - Rip and Run

A chugging, thundering bit of rockabilly that rolls like an illegal street race.
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I first came in contact with Jinx Jones without knowing it, I'm sure. He played guitar with En Vogue and I'm pretty sure that's him cutting a big swath across "Free Your Mind." I'm positive that's him backing up Solomon Burke and I know that's him playing with Chuck Berry "on and off" for nearly a decade form the late 1970s through the 1980s. I also know that's him strapping in with Roy Buchanan in 1984. So with a streak slashed through R&B, rock, soul, and damn near everything else, where does a cat like Jinx Jones go next? With

CD Review: Kirsten Thien - Delicious

'Delicious' succeeds as much on charisma as it does songs...
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Kirsten Thien's infectious third album Delicious is the first of what I'm sure will be several 2010 records I somehow missed upon their initial arrival. I've spent the last couple weeks making up for lost time, filing this away in the "better late than never" folder. Delicious is a beguiling record because of the contradictions in Thien's presentation. Her voice conveys so much with so little effort at its best. She mixes equal parts charm, sweetness, and sensuality while exuding charm, charisma, and kindness. It takes an elastic mind to fit some of these songs beneath the contemporary blues umbrella

New Music Tuesday: Iron & Wine, Corinne Bailey Rae, John Vanderslice

New music releases for January 25, 2011.
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I try to be positive with New Music Tuesday but I'm having a lot of trouble finding releases to get excited about, especially compared to the bounty of last week's list. There are some familiar names and some of these will fit nicely on your CD shelf or iPod but it looks like this will be a week for me to recover from the excess of last week for me. Indie favorites John Vanderslice and Iron & Wine both have new albums out this week. I've listened to a little Iron & Wine and I like it well enough-

Bootleg Nation: Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Rolling Zuma Review

While bootlegging may live in a legal gray area, this Neil Young performance might just blow you away.
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  Download MP3@320kps:  Part I, Part IINEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSERolling Zuma RevueFestival Hall, Osaka, Japan, March 5, 1976 +Chicago Auditorium, Chicago, IL, November 15, 1976Liberated Lone Wolf bootlegSoundboard RecordingCD 1:1. Heart Of Gold2. The Old Laughing Lady3. Journey Through The Past4. Too Far Gone5. Give Me Strength6. The Needle And The Damage Done7. A Man Needs A Maid8. Tell Me Why9. Sugar Mountain10. Mellow My Mind11. Only Love Can Break Your Heart12. No One Seems To Know13. Country Home14. Don't Cry No Tears15. Lotta Love16. Like A Hurricane CD 2:1. Country Home2. Don't Cry No Tears3. Peace Of

Blues Radio Report: Eden Brent & Buddy Guy Top Charts; Gregg Allman's Latest Makes Splash

Blues Radio Report for January 21, 2011...
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It's time once again for the weekly blues radio rundown but this week we are adding to our numbers. The blues is a niche market these days and as a result it's tougher (though not impossible) to get a clear picture of what's really making waves with the blues-buying public. For the past year, I've relied heavily on the weekly chart provided by our friends at Roots Music Report. I've now found a couple other sources and we'll be folding them in as well. Let's begin with a look at the biggest blues albums according to RMR, where Eden Brent

Derek & The Dominos' 'Layla' Turns 40, Anniversary Reissues Due March 29

A blues-rock masterpiece gets massive reissue campaign...
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Derek & The Dominos' Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs turns 40 this year and Eric Clapton is overseeing a 40th Anniversary Edition of this vital classic. As has become the way of things in the recording industry it will be offered to fans in multiple packages, and yes, I'll be going all in on one of these when they are released March 29. The first package for the 40th Anniversary is the single-disc, 14-track album itself which has been newly remastered. Let's pause here for a moment. The Layla record has been issued multiple times in the CD era

Listening Room: John Gorka's "Good Noise"

"Good Noise" is the embodiment realistic optimism...
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I doubt many of you have heard of folk singer-songwriter John Gorka and those who have probably despise anything from the Out of the Valley record because it was a marked departure from Gorka's earlier (and more prevalent) oeuvre. Be that as it may, Valley's lead track still rings of lifted spirits and rounded optimism sixteen years after its release.  "Good Noise"  has a clear, simple theme: it’s better to focus on what you have, what you are thankful for and espouse that than to use your words to talk "down your fellow man" as Gorka wrote it. For Gorka,

Canada Strikes Back! Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" To Get A Reprieve?

Canadian broadcast authorities ask CBSC to reconsider earlier ruling on "Money For Nothing."
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We discussed the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council's decree that the nation's broadcasters should no longer play the uncut version of Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" because one listener complained about the use of the word "faggot" in the lyrics. Writing that first article and the discussion I had with friends after publishing it taught me many things, among them that Rolling Stone shouldn't be trusted to get a story right and I really don't know shit about Canadian governance. Shocking, I know. It's acceptable to demean one another because of our differences but this ruling is absurd. I know it.

Judging American Idol: New Orleans

Season 10, Episode 2 auditions American Idol contestants in New Orleans...
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It's Day Two of American Idol auditions, in one of the best cities in the world: New Orleans, Louisiana. You know just from the location we are in for a treat and N’awlins does not let us down. We see costumes, crying, weird gibberish singing, cross-eyed boy holding the longest out-of-tune note ever, and some pretty impressive talent.  Right out of the gate, we get Sarah Sellers. She’s got that “Sexy Librarian” thing going on, and it does not go unnoticed by Steven Tyler who compliments her from head to toe, starting with her big lips. That got a little

Judging American Idol: Begin The Begin

Season 10, Episode 1
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Hi, my name is Heather, and I am addicted to American idol. There, I said it. I have spent the majority of the last 10 years feigning interest and pretending I could barely name the show’s main judges, let alone every single guest judge and mentor that has ever appeared. Why? Because I love music. I am obsessed with it, it’s a part of everything I do. Everyone knows you cannot be a "serious" music-lover and watch American Idol, right? Wrong! Anyone who claims to be a music snob, music-phile, etc. should watch AI. And vote. Like it or

Review: Damon Fowler - Devil Got His Way

Fowler's latest is smart, well crafted, and superbly executed...
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Damon Fowler caught my attention with just the title of his latest record, Devil Got His Way, before I heard a note. This isn't filled with social commentary or political examinations but if ever there was a phrase that seemed appropriate for the times we're living in, this might be it. Devil Got His Way is Fowler's follow up to his Blind Pig debut Sugar Shack and he's re-teamed with producer Scott Cable for a 12-song set that begins with a solid blues base and sprinkles it with Southern roots-rock charm and a hint of country tonk twang. He approaches

The Grateful Dead to Release Massive Box Set of Their 1972 European Tour

The Grateful Dead officially release their entire Europe '72 tour in a limited release box set.
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The Grateful Dead's European tour in 1972 is much beloved by Deadheads and music lovers alike. It is probably cause for celebration then that the band has just announced the entire tour, consisting of 22 shows in 16 cities, will be released in one giant limited edition 60 disk box set in September. 1972 saw the Grateful Dead in transition. With the release of Workingman's Dead and American Beauty the band found themselves moving away from the primal psychedelia of their early days and finding their songwriting roots in country rock. The hard-drinking bluesman Ron "Pigpen" McKernan was suffering

The Listening Room: They Might Be Giants - "New York City"

I stumble upon an old tune my wife gave me and remember why I love her, (and They Might Be Giants) so much.
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"New York City"They Might Be GiantsFrom the album Factory Showroom I first heard They Might Be Giants through their album Flood in high school.  I loved that album -- still do -- it is so silly, fun, and hilarious and yet it's driven by really great melodies and song structures that rise above the Al Yankovich style of comedy music. I never did move beyond those Flood waters and essentially ignored all of their other output- until I got married, anyway.  The wife loves They Might Be Giants and so I was able to listen to many of their other

iTunes Top 10 Singles/Albums: Britney Spears, Country Strong, Cage The Elephant, Bruno Mars, & Cake

iTunes' top 10 selling singles and albums of the week ending Jan. 17, 2011
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The Return Of The Brit! How excited are we about Britney Spears returning with a brand new single and seeing it vault all the way to #1? I know what you're thinking, and you're wrong. I'm not about to take my whacks at The Brit. I don't like her music and she can't sing for shit but for some reasons eluding me, I root for this trainwreck to not completely self-destruct. Of course it's bad music! I even listened to a clip in a rare masochistic moment. It's reasonably insipid but we should all be able to agree she's

Coachella 2011 Line-Up Announced

The music festival season cranks back up in the California desert.
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All right, kids.  Stop the guessing and the Smith-reunion rumors!  The Coachella website is now adorned with this year's poster and the bookers have once again presented a intriguing group of acts that will take place April 15-17 at the Empire Pologrounds. Friday's headliner is Kings of Leon, Saturday's headliner is Arcade Fire, and Sunday lists both The Strokes and Kanye West, who will hopefully go on at the designated time and not have a meltdown like he did at Bonnaroo 2008. Other acts listed on the bill so far include: Friday: The Chemical Brothers, Lauryn Hill, The Black Keys,

Gina Sicilia New Album March 1

'Can't Control Myself' is third CD for BMA-nominee...
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Blues Music Award-nominee Gina Sicilia 's Can't Control Myself is set for release March 1 through VizzTone Records. Can't Control Myself is her third album and was recorded and produced by multi-instrumentalist Dave Gross. On this third effort, Sicilia continues not only to mine the blues but is also exploring soul and Americana. She wrote seven of the album's songs. The three covers come from Bobby Bland, Stevie Wonder, and Ike & Tina Turner. The Philly native's debut Allow Me To Confess was nominated for Best New Artist debut and was followed up by Hey Sugar in 2008. US tour
I hear you, 2011. Thanks for being here. What a HUGE week of killer new releases. I'm so thankful to all the people who got me Amazon gift cards for Christmas because this slate is going to clean me out. Gregg AllmanLow Country Blues Allman is going back to his roots on his first solo album in 14 years and he's teamed with super producer T Bone Burnett to create it. I've been hearing amazing buzz it. I've preordered my copy and can't wait for it to arrive sometime later today. Allman is one of the most authentic blues

Soundgarden To Release Live Album In March

Vintage recordings from '96 North American tour comprise most of the 17-song set...
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I expected Soundgarden would release a live album before they got around to making a new studio record and I was right, except that I wasn't. The Seattle quartet will release Live on l5 March 21 but instead of being taken from shows on their recent reunion trek, these 17 tracks were recorded in the US and Canada in 1996. My first reaction to this news was, "Wow, those reunion dates must have really sucked if they're going back to the Down On The Upside tour to get a live album." I decided, on second thought, not to be so

Howling Bells To Record 3rd LP in Las Vegas

Follow up to 'Radio Wars' to be produced by Killers' bassist Mark Stoermer...
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Howling Bells are getting set to record their third album in Las Vegas with help from The Killers' bassist Mark Stoermer, with plans to release the record sometime later this year. Howling Bells were one of my happy discoveries in 2009 when they opened for Coldplay on the Viva La Vida tour. I quickly imported their self-titled debut and Radio Wars prior to them getting US distribution and quickly fell in love with both. Their early efforts were overseen by former Coldplay producer Ken Nelson. I get that the band feels it's time to shake things up with the as-yet

Bootleg Nation: Jerry Garcia Band - Berekely, CA (07/23/77)

Jerry Garcia sans the Grateful Dead still jams like nobody's business.
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Jerry Garcia Band 07/23/77 Keystone Berkeley, CA Download MP3@320kps:  Part I, Part II Audience Source Set I Tuning Sugaree Stop That Train Mystery Train Simple Twist Of Fate The Way You Do The Things You Do Set II Tuning They Love Each Other Sitting In Limbo Tore Up Over You My Sisters And Brothers Stir It Up Tangled Up In Blue One of the great things about the Jerry Garcia Band was that it allowed Garcia to play songs that just weren't suited for the Grateful Dead. The Dead played all sorts of genres themselves, but solo Garcia could

Review: Cake - Showroom of Compassion

Cake's latest takes some doing, but when it sinks in it really sinks in.
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My experience with Cake's Showroom of Compassion began with a lot of shifty looks. Truth be told, I didn't really dig the band's sixth record on its initial listen. I can't cop to being much of a fan of these Sacramento cats either, so that may have had something to do with my reluctance. Nevertheless, I continued to give Showroom of Compassion its opportunity to dig its way into my head and it eventually did. This is Cake's first album since 2004's Pressure Chief, representing the longest gap in the band's catalogue thus far. What captivates, sooner or later, about

Blues Radio Report: Buddy Guy #1; Gregg Allman, Damon Fowler Debut

Blues Radio Report for January 14, 2011...
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The legendary Buddy Guy is back on top this week with his Blues Music Award-nominated album Living Proof, followed by Eden Brent, James Cotton, Dave Specter, and Robin Rogers. Note to self: pick up a copy of the Dave Specter album. I've seen it on the charts for a bit and haven't grabbed a copy. The two big entries to me this week are albums that actually hit stores on Tuesday: Gregg Allman's Low Country Blues and Damon Fowler's Devil Got His Way. I got an advance of Damon's CD and my review will be up this week if things

Review: James Cotton - Giant

Once a sideman, always a sideman...
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James Cotton wasn't the first great harp player to blow for Muddy Waters' band and many prefer Little Walter Jacobs, but Mr. Superharp weaved many signature lines into the famous songs of one of the blues' all icons.  Those songs and the harp work of Cotton have been listened to, danced to, studied, and copied by legions of blues harp players who followed. There is a reason to invoke the name of Waters and his career as a sideman when discussing Giant as three of the album's 12 songs are Waters covers and a fourth song – "That's All Right"

Blame Canada? CBSC Deems Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" Offensive

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled the '80s hit unfit for the nation's airwaves...
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The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has declared the album version of Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" offensive and discourages it from being played on radio stations due to its use of a derogatory term for homosexuals in the song. First off, nice timing, dear Canadian friends.  That song came out in 1986.  Just wait until they get to so-called gangsta rap from the early '90s.  Second, isn't the more offensive part of this song that anyone would want their MTV? All kidding aside, it seems to me once again good intentions have clouded our better judgment. There is no denying

Review: Pearl Jam - Live on Ten Legs

It's their anniversary yet the gift is for you.
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Pearl Jam begins the celebration of their 20th anniversary with the compilation album Live on Ten Legs, the title playing off 1998's Live on Two Legs, a previous "official" live album.  The tracks were recorded during world tours occurring between 2003 and 2010 and have been remixed.  Unfortunately for those obsessed with details, they don't identify when and where the songs were performed.  Normally, my preference for a live album is an audio document of a single performance rather than a best-of that allows a band to hide its mistakes, but considering Pearl Jam has improved upon the Grateful Dead

iTunes Top 10 Singles/Albums: The Black Keys, TRON:Legacy, Country Strong

iTunes' top 10 selling singles and albums of the week ending Jan. 3, 2011...
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The Black Keys' media blitz is paying off in a big, noticeable way. The Akron, Ohio duo recently scored six Grammy nominations and now their album has been certified Gold (sales of more than 500,000 copies) and they jolt to #2 at the iTunes Music Store. I haven't been on the Keys' bandwagon since the beginning but I go back a few years to the Rubber Factory and Magic Potion days. I love these guys and I'm thrilled to see their music reaching a wider audience as they experiment and expand their sound. I still love the early, lo-fi

The Listening Room: Bruce Hornsby - "Stranded on Easy Street"

Hornsby takes a mediocre song and turns it into gold in concert.
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"Funiculi/Funicula>Stranded on Easy Street" Bruce Hornsby From the live bootleg dated 08/04/99 Download the track here, or get the whole show here.   I am a collector.  Not of rare, historical, or even valuable things, but a collector nonetheless.  You might say the things I collect generally fall under the entertainment (or the more snobby of you might call them artistic) category: books, movies, music; these are the things I obsessively obtain. I cannot walk past a used book store (or a library sale, or a Goodwill book section) without coming home with a sack of books.  I cannot

News: Green Day To Release Live CD/DVD 'Awesome As F***'

Green Day gets their ya-yas out...
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Green Day is about to release its second live album in as many tour cycles and they're naming it Awesome As Fuck, putting them firmly on the well-trodden path established by the Rolling Stones, all of this according to a video the band released this week. The connections are, to me, obvious.  Every album needs a corresponding live album and live albums should get an eye-raising title.  For The Stones it was Get Yer Ya-Yas Out.  That might have been racy then – or not, I wasn't born when the set was initially released – but you certainly have to

New Music Tuesday: Edie Brickell, Cake, Cage The Elephant, N.E.R.D., & British Sea Power

New CDs for January 11, 2011...
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It's time to get back into the swing with the weekly list of new releases finding their way to music store shelves, online retailers, and soulless big box dens of suck.  I've weighed in with my picks for the best 2010 had to offer and now it's time to roll with the new.  To quote Mr. Bono: I'm ready for what's next. This isn't the first New Music Tuesday of 2011 but it's the first one to have titles worth noting, even if they aren't titles that are going to entice me.   Let's take a look at just a

David Bowie: When I'm 64

A tribute to the man of 1,000 (musical) faces on his 64th birthday...
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Happy 64th Birthday, David Bowie! There's not much to say about Bowie that hasn't already been said.  He's an icon and just about everything you've ever heard about him is probably true.  Even the stuff that isn't has become so intertwined in the legend it almost doesn't mater any more. The highest praise I can pay the man is that he never once bored me.  He dabbled in everything.  He explored concepts and sounds I loved.  Sometimes he'd leave those behind to pursue things that weren't as appealing as the place he left but he remained interesting and that's no

Blues Radio Report: Robin Rogers Begins 2011 At #1

The brave spirit of Robin Rogers lives on...
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The first report from blues radio for 2011 is out and Robin Rogers begins the year at #1.  Rogers' Back In The Fire was a top seller and smash at radio, buoyed by support from friends and fans rallying to her side after she was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer.  She passed away in December, days after learning she and her album were among the nominees for the 32nd Blues Music Awards. Eden Brent's Ain't Got No Troubles was a no-show on the charts last fall after its release but made a huge winter surge and that late-year momentum continues. 

Review: James Kinds - Love You From The Top

A 67-year old rookie, of sorts...
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There is a fear and intimidation factor I have whenever I stumble upon a CD from a seemingly veteran blues artist and can't immediately place the name.  I always feel an imaginary set of disapproving eyes from somewhere on high because it's impossible to experience a century of blues overnight.  It takes time to work your way through it but I always feel like I should have heard this all before now. I felt a bit of relief for not knowing James Kinds when his Love You From The Top arrived in my mailbox.  Blues historian Bill Dahl tells us

Bootleg Nation: Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - Milwaukee, WI (05/22/10)

You should probably rethink your career as a living, breathing human being if this show doesn't get you shaking what God gave you...
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For my money there is nothing like a live concert.  Standing in front of a band with hundreds of like-minded fans hearing great music quite literally being created before your eyes is nothing short of magic.  The energy, the power, the vibrations that pound right through you is something you just can't get anywhere else.  Watching (and listening) to musicians connect with themselves, the audience, and their muse in a real time setting blows my mind every freaking time. I love everything about a concert -- being able to physically see the band on the stage, the music, standing

Best of 2010: The National, The Black Keys, Nick Moss, Ronnie Earl, Guster & More...

The National, The Black Keys top list of 2010's best albums...
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2010 is now in the rearview mirror and the time is now for me to unveil my Top Albums of 2010.  I find this a fun and difficult task most years unlike some writers and critics and this year was no exception.  There are a lot of great albums from last year that aren't on this list (hell, I did a list of great blues records from the past year and I had to leave titles off it, too!).  This doesn't represent all that I am as a music fan, writer, and listener but it's a damn good look at

Review: Tanya Davis - Clocks and Hearts Keep Going

Disarmingly affecting. Stunningly tender. Real.
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Tanya Davis' third record, Clocks and Hearts Keep Going, opens with a beautiful piece of work entitled "Please Bless." Gauzy guitar, handclaps and tenderness over "prayers of righteousness" glide through, touching things like a spirit slipping around in the dark looking for the lightswitch. She operates in what seems like a contradiction, but there's quiet confidence to her fumbling that charms from the outset. Davis debuted in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with 2006's Make a List. Also a poet, she won the CBC National Poetry Face-off twice. Along the way, Davis found time to collaborate with indie filmmaker Andrea Dorfman to

Review: Blood Warrior - S/T

Bleaker places haven't been thought of yet.
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I've been listening to the worn, rugged, bleak sounds of Blood Warrior for some while now. It's been spinning through my mind, cascading around my head like a glass full of cigarette butts soaking in somebody else's bourbon. It's been making its way through my consciousness, drilling in like old boots scraping across wood with rats exploring the world 'neath the floorboards. It's been calling to me like the bearded old stranger down by the diner on the corner who strangely knows my name and never lets me forget my sins. Blood Warrior is "the culmination of a life long

Open All Night With Mark Lanegan

Insomina: not just bad for your health, it's bad for your wallet...
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It's 3 AM and I should have been in bed hours ago.  I was in bed hours ago.  I could not sleep.  This is rare for me.  I prize my sleep.  I cherish it.  I revel in my slumber.  I've always been able to sleep easily and deeply.  Tonight?  Not so much.  I tossed.  I turned.  I counted sheep.  Okay, not really.  That always kind of creeped me out and made me feel uncomfortable.  I finally reached for my iPad and started surfing the 'net and that's when I stumbled onto the recently revamped MarkLanegan.com. There's not much in the

Copeland - A Day Late & A Dollar Short

I'm always late to the party...
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I got turned on to Copeland after hearing Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman pledge his love for the band.  I started listening to their Eat, Sleep, Repeat CD and fell in love with them myself.  I started digging around the 'net looking for more information about this new musical BFF and the first thing I learn is that they are no longer.  Brilliant.  I fall for them just as they head off into the sunset. I had two ideas for articles today.  The first was Springsteen's debut Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ turning 38 and I posted it this morning.  I

Def Leppard Preps First Official Live Album

No release date yet but the band is prepping their first live set...
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Def Leppard is set to release their first ever live album*, some 33 years into their career.  Lead singer Joe Elliott says the band recorded every night of their most recent tour."We've got the entire tour backed up onto three or four hard drives," he said. "So we have the unenviable task of listening to probably 50 versions of every song we've ever played."Unfortunately it sounds as if they won't be doing this live album right, which would be giving fans a complete, single show."You've got to listen to them (the songs) two or three times to make sure nothing

Springsteen's Debut Debuted 38 Years Ago Today

Happy Birthday, 'Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ...'
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Bruce Springsteen released his debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ on this day in 1973.  Thirty-eight years later, I think we can say the Springsteen kid might turn out all right. It's amazing listening to Greetings now and hearing the aspects of Springsteen's musical personality that were evident from the beginning as well as those that disappeared.  The drama and cinematic scope of "Lost In The Flood" would become an integral part of Born To Run and would have fit beautifully.   I don't know if I can as easily place "Spirit In The Night" on a later album but

Happy Birthday, Michael Stipe

In honor of R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe's 51st birthday, BBS is previewing two tracks from their March 8 album 'Collapse Into Now...'
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Today is R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe's 51st birthday and in honor of the occasion, I'm previewing two tracks from the band's forthcoming album Collapse Into Now. The first track on the album is called "Discoverer" and it was made available as a free download through the band's fan club and web site. "Discoverer" feels like a step forward from the songs from Acclerate, which means is a strange prism through which to hear this song.  Accelerate was in many ways a throwback album for R.E.M., meaning this is a song that looks forward, back.  Peter Buck's guitar has that familiar

iTunes Top 10 Singles/Albums: Bruno Mars and TRON: Legacy

iTunes' top 10 selling singles and albums of the week ending Dec. 27, 2010...
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The final iTunes Chart of 2010 serves up a heaping helping of beat-driven pop titles as well as hip hop favorites. I'm more familiar with some of these names and songs than I wish I was because I spent an entire day helping my nieces buy songs from iTunes for their new iPod shuffles. Pieces of my soul were burnt and the smoldering embers flaked off and blew away into the eternal abyss. I've heard very good things about the Tron Legacy soundtrack- in fact, I've heard more praise for Daft Punk than I have anyone else associated with

Best Blues Albums of 2010

It was a fantastic year for the blues. Here is the cream of the bumper crop...
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I listened to more than 50 blues records released in 2010 and found time to write reviews of 27 of them.  It was all time well spent and now that the year has finished and the 32nd Blues Music Award nominees have been announced, it's time to take a peek back at the year that was in the blues. I used to order my lists when I first started doing these but that became an impossible task that took a lot of the fun out of this so I threw that rule out a couple years ago.  I also abandoned

2011: The Story Begins...

Welcome to Blinded By Sound...
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Happy New Year, music lovers! Welcome to BlindedBySound.com, the newest outpost for music lovers on the internet.  Faces will be melted.  Minds will be blown.  We will laugh, learn, and most importantly we will listen.  Be a part of it all.  Bookmark us.  Read us.  Join us! Stay tuned.  This is only the beginning.