Our pals Dawes played David Letterman's Late Show last week and we have the video to prove it! They gave an excellent performance of "Most People," one of my favorite songs from their latest album Stories Don't End. It was also one of the highlights of their set when I saw them last month at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. It's a great, great song and I feel like I know the woman whose story Taylor Goldsmith is telling. There is something very familiar about her and Goldsmith captures this person brilliantly. You get all that and cool, chimey guitars. Seriously,
June 2013 Archives
Lurrie Bell remains a National Treasure on latest release...
National Treasure Lurrie Bell has endured and overcome more heartache and pain than most of us will ever know and has spent a lifetime learning how to channel those experiences into his music. The name on the front and the title of the record tell you everything you need to know before you hear a note: Lurrie Bell and Blues In My Soul. It's actually redundant because he wouldn't do it any other way. He's incapable of playing a false note and wouldn't if he could. All the ingredients are here for a great Lurrie Bell record and once again,
Maxwell's is intimately connected with my memories of living in Hoboken, NJ in the 1980s, because it was the focal point for the artistic activity of so many people I knew or was getting to know. It was the home base for a thriving local scene and at the same time connected to what was happening in New York and nationally. It felt like a great party there, because you'd always run into friends there, meet their friends and share the joy of being in the middle of something wonderfully fresh and new. I first noticed Maxwell's when visiting my
Buddy Guy To Release Double Album 'Rhythm & Blues' July 30, Featuring Guests Gary Clark Jr., Aerosmith, Keith Urban
Buddy's new double album hits stores at the end of July...
Hall of Famer Buddy Guy will release a new studio album -- a double album -- titled Rhythm & Blues on July 30 and like many of the legend's recent records he is joined by some high profile guests. Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge returns for another tour of duty with the 76-year old Guy, helming an album featuring a guest list that includes Kid Rock, Keith Urban, Gary Clark, Jr., Beth Hart and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford. That's a lot of bodies for one record but fortunately this is a double album with 21 songs, meaning
The Rockbeat record label have been responsible for some of the coolest reissues I have seen lately. A few recent must-haves from them include Magic Sam's Raw Blues Live, Dickie Goodman's Long Live The King, Jack Kerouac's Blues and Haikus, and the fabulous four-disc Surf-Age Nuggets. The Surf-Age set contains 104 tracks, mostly songs, but also period-perfect bits such as a "Surfing Soft Drink Commercial," and the trailer for the Horror of Beach Party movie. Awesome stuff to be sure, but I think they may have topped it with their new Pulp and Pop Culture Box. The Pulp and Pop
Howard Kaylan, a.k.a. Eddie of Flo & Eddie, has been in the rock and roll game for just about 50 years now. Considering some of the amazing backstage tales in his new autobiography Shell Shocked: My Life with The Turtles, Flo & Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc...he is doing very indeed. In fact, he even remembers most of what happened during those crazy days. With his legendary sense of humor still intact, Kaylan and co-writer Jeff Tamarkin have come up with one hell of a rock memoir. Despite all of the great music Kaylan has made over the years, his
The singer's mixture of classic soul with hip hop is a hidden gem in contemporary R&B.
Musiq Soulchild is one of those artists who should be bigger than he is. A talented singer/songwriter, he entered the neo-soul scene with his 2000 debut Aijuswanaseing. Its lead single "Just Friends (Sunny)" gained urban radio airplay and exposure via BET and VH1, but Musiq never quite crossed over to achieve mainstream success. Audiences are all the worse for it, as his clear voice graces some first-class retro soul that features modern touches such as hip hop beats. A perfect example is "Betterman," a stellar track from his underrated 2007 album Luvanmusiq. This should-have-been-hit combines heavy beats with mature lyricism
A decade of hard-charging rockers from Queen V
Through the past 10 years, Queen V has demonstrated one thing consistently -- she rocks. In the male-dominated world of guitar-driven rock, Queen V has more than held her own, winning over tough audiences opening for the likes of Twisted Sister and Billy Idol. The best of her recorded work from the past decade makes up the new CD, Queen V -- The Decade of Queen V. The CD opens with 2009's "Revolution Baby," which starts with a military march and showcases Queen V's gritty voice, which is not unlike Joan Jett's or her former Runaways band mate, Lita Ford's.
Garbage caps their reunion with an excellent live DVD...
It looked like the end of the road for Garbage when they nearly broke up during the making of Bleed Like Me and things looked even more bleak at the end of their tour in support of that record. What looked like the end turned out to be a seven-year hiatus that ended with the release of their fantastic fifth album Not Your Kind Of People. Their triumphant return now has a victory lap in the form of their first live DVD, One Mile High Live. I know I have an obsession with setlists, maybe an unhealthy one, but the
it simply doesn't get much better...
As a teenage runaway in New York's Greenwich Village, an impressionable Rory Block had the rather exceptional good fortune of meeting a number of blues giants in the process of being 'rediscovered' during the so-called blues revival of the 60's. Block has never forgotten the lessons she learned, and she's subsequently carved out respectable career as an acoustic blues artist, with some twenty-nine recordings to her credit. Avalon is the fourth in her 'mentor' series, tributes to the masters she met as a youngster. The focus this time out is on Mississippi John Hurt, and as with all of her
Can the blues be 'romantic'???
There's a widespread misperception that the blues are all about heartbreak and misery. The truth is that blues can be as celebratory and joyous as any other form of music. The blues can be raw and visceral, sure, but there's also room for jump and swing. Rarely, however, would one describe the blues as 'romantic.' Enter Gina Sicilia and her latest, It Wasn't Real. While by no means a pure blues recording, it all seems firmly rooted in that most fertile of soil. Sicila's songs - she wrote all but one here - straddle the line between blues and pop
The rock vocalist was also an overlooked yet first class blue-eyed soul singer.
People may not immediately consider Robert Palmer an R&B artist--after all, he made a larger mark as a rock singer who is also remembered for an iconic video. As he performed "Addicted to Love" in front of blank-faced models, Palmer's buttoned-up style seemed at odds with his growling voice. What few may not realize is that he was a blue-eyed soul singer as well; his covers of early 1980s soul tracks often surpassed the originals. One such song, "You Are in My System," took the System's 1982 track and made it just a bit rougher. Palmer's roots remained firmly in
The good kind of bad fun...
You've really done things right when a bonus track on your album becomes one of your most popular, recognized, and requested songs and a staple of your live show. That's what happened to our friends Vintage Trouble and their song "Pelvis Pusher." This sweat-soaked, "good kind of bad fun" groove was a bonus track on their acclained debut The Bomb Shelter Sessions and has become a fan favorite on the stage at nearly every show they play. The song is so popular they performed it live on The Tonight Show and have filmed an official video for it. They're even
Vintage Beach Boys TV special gets a DVD release
In 1976, The Beach Boys were riding a wave of nostalgia thanks, in large part, to the "Brian's Back!" campaign. The Beach Boys' principal songwriter had spent the better part of three years in bed -- eating, drinking and abusing drugs -- and disengaged himself from not only the band, but also the world. After hiring the controversial therapist, Eugene Landy, Wilson was deemed ready for action once more. The results were the first Wilson-produced Beach Boys album in a decade, 15 Big Ones, and his return to the live stage to coincide with the band's 15th anniversary. To capitalize
So, in tribute to a great singer and a great song, let's all take moment to touch ourselves, both for our health and a little bit of cheeky self-entertainment.
While there's nothing like immersing yourself in an album full of fantastic tracks by a much-loved artist or band, there's also nothing like the giddy thrill of hearing that one-hit wonder from years ago as you're flipping around the dial. The sad news of the recent death of Chrissy Amphlett brought back memories of one of the most remarkable of the latter. The year was 1990 and the song was 'I Touch Myself' by The Divinyls. While Madonna was touring the world on her Blonde Ambition tour, singing about being spanked ("Hanky Panky") and flaunting her wizard's-sleeve-vagina at every opportunity,
Just know the lyrics are horrendous and this song is terrible.
I should, in theory, write about Robin Thicke. After all, his song "Blurred Lines" has wrested the number one song title from not one hit wonders Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. I didn't know much about him heading into listening to this song. I hadn't heard any of his work. I listen to MaxFun's International Waters podcast, for I am an erudite gentleman, and in doing so I heard tell of a music video of his that leads me to feel that he is, in the parlance of our times, a total douchebag. I also knew he is the son of
Laura Mvula distills multiple genres into greatness on her debut.
Laura Mvula distills soul, jazz, pop, and choral music into a fresh, original sound on her debut Sing To The Moon. The 26-year-old singer/songwriter from the UK packs this album full of empowering lyrics, timeless sounds, and wonderful vocal arrangements. It is one of the year's best. Laura Mvula has experience as a choir director and it informs her music. She arranges and layers her vocals in ways that would normally be used with a choir. The first 30 seconds of "Like The Morning Dew" is the audio equivalent of a sunrise waking you up. While the main vocal takes
The multitalented vocalist easily navigates jazz and R&B with this danceable track.
He's the only vocalist in history to win Grammys in three categories: jazz, pop, and R&B. Indeed, Al Jarreau has successfully blended these three genres since the 1970s, never forgoing his sophisticated scatting skills for commercial gain. He can perform straight-ahead jazz like a vocal version of "Take Five," yet score mainstream hits such as "We're in This Love Together" or the Moonlighting TV theme. This multitalented artist first came to my attention in the early 80s with 1983's Jarreau, a superbly crafted soul album that allowed his talents to shine through accessible tracks. One such song, "Boogie Down," became
A vital, demanding, fascinating record...
Geography, maps, legends, and time are the fabric and seams of jazz great Pat Metheny's exhilarating new album. The songs from this album are the work of renown composer John Zorn, who began work on a vast collection of songs inspired by Jewish music, tradition, and history known as the Masada Songbook. Numerous songs from that collection -- there are well over 300 of them -- have been recorded by dozens of artists and now Metheny has harnessed his daring, virtuosity, and imagination to tackle six previously unattempted titles for Tap: John Zorn's Book Of Angels Vol. 20 When we
Dawes brought their tour to Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium and Taylor Goldsmith & Co. gave a pleasing performance drawing heavily from their latest album Stories Don't End and mixing in favorites from their prior two records. The audience was receptive to the new songs dominating the early going but remained reserved, Goldsmith remarking it took a quiet crowd to be able to play a song like the infrequently performed "Moon In The Water" from Nothing Is Wrong. I'm not sure if he was praising or chiding the assembled but the evening turned immediately following "Moon" when he told the crowd,
A tour premiere in Pittsburgh...
We continue to track The National across the US on this first leg of their Trouble Will Find Me world tour and we have a tour premiere to report. I spoke of songs I suspect most National fans like more than I do and how I wish they'd get retired in favor of different songs, preferably ones I prefer. "Green Gloves" fits in that category although it's not at the top of my "I wish they'd play this more" list. I am glad they played it when I saw them in Atlanta. "Anyone's Ghost" was played for just the second
The National resume their tour after a one-night break...
The National resumed their tour after a day off and again made a couple minor setlist mods. "Secret Meeting" has been a regular on recent tours but hasn't been played most nights at this early stage on the Trouble Will Fine Me tour. It was sandwiched between "Bloodbuzz Ohio" and "Sea Of Love" last night in Raleigh. Another song that has been an every nighter for quite some time, "Slow Show," also came out last night. "All The Wine" stayed in the set for the second consecutive show, which is a bit of a surprise. "Slow Show" and "All The
"All The Wine" gets its tour premiere...
The National capped a five-night run of shows in Richmond last night and there were a few shifts to the setlist, mainly in the sequencing department. It was a source of perverse delight that they opened so many shows on the High Violet tour with "Runaway" and tonight they did the near equivalent with "I Should Live In Salt" as the set opener. There are two other items that set last night's show apart from others at this early stage in the tour. The first is the premiere of "All The Wine," an infrequently played track from Alligator. I actually
A couple changes in last night's set...
The National played Philadelphia last night, their fourth show in as many nights and we saw two minor adjustments to the setlist compared to what we've seen from the prior three. The first thing of note is the show was cut back to 22 songs following a pair of 24-song sets in Brooklyn and Columbia, MD. The second is the appearance of "Daughters Of The Soho Riots." It was played last month at the Ithaca show and is known to surface now and again and is thus not a rarity nor an every nighter. It seems to have taken the
Rockshow, the legendary Wings concert from 1976, finally gets the Blu-ray treatment
In 1976, Paul McCartney and Wings mounted their only U.S. tour, the aptly nicknamed Wings Over America. The tour was a massive success and spawned a live album of the same name. It had been 10 years since McCartney had toured the U.S. on the Beatles' final outing and, with Wings at the height of their popularity, the time was right to return to the States. Sensing the enormity of the tour, McCartney had shows in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle filmed with the hopes of putting together a concert film. The film was titled Rockshow, after the song
The National played their 3rd show in three nights, part of a 5-night grind...
The National's performance in Columbia, MD was the third in three nights, part of a five-consecutive show run before they get their first break. There aren't many departures from what we've seen in Providence or Brooklyn (or Ithaca last month, for that matter), the most notable change being that "About Today" was dropped from the set. That's not much of a surprise. It is frequently played and you have a good chance of hearing it any given night but it hasn't been an "every nighter" for some time. Now those of you who pay attention know I watch setlists like
Moss gearing up for 8th studio record...
Nick Moss and his band have been hard at work touring the west coast and recording material for a brand new studio album. The details of the forthcoming record haven't been finalized but they've been playing the new songs on the road and are giving fans a chance to download "Was I Ever Heard" for free. You can stream it and access the download below. The new album will be Moss' eighth studio record (along with Live At Chan's and Live At Chan's Vol 2, the second volume featuring National Treasure Lurrie Bell) and will follow his most successful albums
The National headlined Barclays Center on June 5, 2013
The National played a headlining arena show at Barclays Center in Brooklyn last night and played a 24-song set that again draws heavily on songs from their brand new album Trouble Will Find Me. The setlist doesn't differ much from what was played in Providence, RI the previous evening but added a few songs to make for a longer show. "Heavenfaced" from TWFM and the High Violet standout "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" were the additional songs, the latter closing the encore as it did so often during the High Violet tour. "Fireproof" was dropped and "Humiliation" was added, marking the other
The band kick off their tour in earnest...
The National kicked their world tour in support of Trouble Will Find Me in full gear at the Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence Ri. They've played a few shows leading up to the release -- including one in Ithaca, NY last month -- but last night, it could be argued, was the official kickoff of and they put the new album front and center. Nine of TWFM 13 tracks were performed last night. The new songs: "Don't Swallow The Cap," "Demons," "Sea Of Love," "This Is The Last Time," "I Need My Girl," "Pink Rabbits," "Graceless," and "I Should Live
Lead singer Marvin Junior proved crucial to the doo wop group's influential sound.
Soul fans revere Teddy Pendergrass as owning of the best raspy baritones in R&B music. However, he did not pioneer that gritty "lover man" style--that honor belongs to Marvin Junior, lead singer of the 1960s group The Dells. A founding member of the Chicago-based doo wop group, Junior recently passed away at age 77 in his Harvey, Illinois home. His death closes the book on one of the most influential and long-lasting singing groups of the 1960s. For over 50 years, the group not only charted numerous soul hits, but remained remarkably intact with few personnel changes. While difficult to
Kilborn Alley Blues Band is in the midst of the East Coast leg of their summer tour and among their stops was a trip to Don Odell's Legends studio where they recorded a blistering 9-song set of songs drawing from throughout their career. Now that I have mastered the art of creating YouTube playlists, I've assembled their entire appearance and placed it below where you can, should, and must watch it. KABB is still touring in support of their album Four (one of BBS' Albums Of The Year in 2011) and we can't wait for new music from them but
Block in top form as she continues her Mentors series...
Rory Block continues her series devoted to the founding legends of the blues, this time turning her attention to the vastly influential work of the great Mississippi John Hurt on her new album Avalon. Block has been on this road for quite some time having done records dedicated to the work of Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Rev. Gary Davis. She has devoted her life and work to the pursuit of the blues and recorded numerous albums of her own work but has found a special kind of enlightenment walking the paths and recording the music of, and inspired by, these
With Shaking the Habitual, The Knife have created some of the most sinuous noise I have ever heard. The songs are long, of 13 on this double-disc set, only four clock in under the six-minute mark. The longest, "Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized" is 19:02, which puts them right up there with Yes' Tales From Topographic Oceans. The Knife's agenda is a far cry from Yes' oceanic musings however. The Swedish brother and sister duo of Olof Dreijer and Karin Dreijer Andersson have titled their album Shaking the Habitual as a reference to a quote from Michael Foucalt: "The
Top 10 Albums at Blues Radio for week of May 31
Roots-rockers JJ Grey & Mofro hit the #1 at blues radio this week, knocking a fellow Alligator Records artist from the top perch. This River is the sixth release from Grey and his band and has been a hit at radio since its release and can now add this to its list of accolades and accomplishments. Last week's #1 was Hall of Famer James Cotton's latest record, a star-studded affair pairing the legendary harp master with some of the biggest names in music: Gregg Allman, Joe Bonamassa, Warren Haynes, Keb' Mo', and Delbert McClinton among them. Ronnie Earl's live album