Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sights and Sounds: Coldplay, The Secret Sisters, AXS TV to broadcast Coachella

As I get set to hit Coachella Weekend 2 tomorrow, this will likely be my last roundup until next week, but it is a good one! Hope to see many of you in Indio this weekend!

Coldplay shows announced; six international dates to mark the release of the band's 'Ghost Stories' LP

Coldplay have announced that they will mark the release of their new album, Ghost Stories, by playing six intimate shows in six cities around the world. The dates are as follows:

25 April - E-Werk, Cologne, Germany 

5 May - Beacon Theatre, New York, USA 

19 May - Royce Hall, Los Angeles, USA 

28 May - Casino de Paris, Paris, France  
12 June - Dome City Hall, Tokyo, Japan

1 July - Royal Albert Hall, London, UK

Tickets for the Cologne show will go on sale at 9 a.m. CET on Saturday, 19 April from

Ticket information for the remaining five shows will be emailed exclusively to subscribers to the Coldplay mailing list (which can be joined at

Ghost Stories is Coldplay's sixth album. It will be released worldwide on Monday, 19 May. 


Critically Acclaimed Duo's First Album In Three Years
Produced By T Bone Burnett

Album Features New Original Songs Including First Single,
"Rattle My Bones," And "Dirty Lie" Co-Written by Bob Dylan

The Secret Sisters currently supporting country trio Nickel Creek
on its entire US reunion tour in April and May

The Secret Sisters' long-awaited second album, Put Your Needle Down is available now via Republic Records. The Alabama duo's sophomore set was produced by the iconic T Bone Burnett, and marks a giant creative step forward for siblings Laura and Lydia RogersPut Your Needle Down is currently available at iTunesAmazon and other select retailers.

Recently featured on NPR WEEKEND EDITION, they say"The Secret Sisters' music is a nostalgic blend of country, folk, blues and rockabilly," and USA TODAYwhich gave the album 4 out of 4 stars, says of Put Your Needle Down, "While still steeped in exquisite sibling harmonies, this albumcontemporizes them." ROLLING STONE says of the album, "Ethereal harmonies once again take center stage on the Secret Sisters' sophomore album [that] takes the listener back to a time when vocalists valued purity over production. But this time around, they manage to marry their signature throwback sound with a lot more energy."  

The album's 12 songs - primarily written or co-written by Laura and Lydia - seamlessly blend an exciting and decidedly Southern patchwork of country, blues, Americana, folk, rock and gospel. The album is preceded by the new single "Rattle My Bones," hopping from a guitar gallop into sweet, soaring harmonies from Laura and Lydia, it taps into a delightfully entrancing energy that's both enigmatic and endearing. The new album also features the he-said-she-said accusations of "Dirty Lie,"co-written with Bob Dylan. An unfinished song they brought to life, Dylan started writing "Dirty Lie" back in the '80s and when he heard that The Secret Sisters were recording a new album, he sent several demos to them for their consideration and gave the Sisters the nod to finish the song and record it.

Put Your Needle Down illuminates the many facets of this diverse, dynamic, and darling twosome and sways from the soulful mourning of "Let There Be Lonely" to the coy "murder ballad" "Iuka", and the uplifting musical baptism of "River Jordan".

In support of the album's release, The Secret Sisters are currently supporting country trio Nickel Creek on its entire US reunion tour in April and May.

Put Your Needle Down 
Track Listing:1. Rattle My Bones
2. Iuka
3. Dirty Lie
4. The Pocket Knife
5. Let There Be Lonely
6. Black And Blue
7. Lonely Island
8. I Cannot Find A Way
9. If I Don't
10. Good Luck Good Night Goodbye
11. Bad Habit
12. River Jordan

The tour itinerary is as follows:

4/16      Alabama Theater                       Birmingham, AL
4/17      Thomas Wolfe Auditorium          Ashville, NC
4/18      Ryman Auditorium                     Nashville, TN
4/19      Ryman Auditorium                     Nashville, TN
4/21      Track 29                                    Chattanooga, TN
4/22      Johnny Mercer Theater               Savannah, GA
4/24      NC Performing Arts Center        North Charleston, SC
4/25      Tabernacle                                Atlanta, GA
4/26      nTelos Wireless Pavilion            Charlottesville, VA
4/27      Tennessee Theatre                     Knoxville, TN
4/29      Beacon Theatre                         New York, NY
5/01      House of Blues                         Boston, MA
5/02      Keswick Theatre                        Glenside, PA
5/03      9:30 Club                                  Washington, DC
5/04      9:30 Club                                  Washington, DC
5/06      Taft Theatre                               Cincinnati, OH
5/08      Egyptian Room                         Indianapolis, IN
5/09      Riviera Theater                          Chicago, IL
5/10      Pabst Theater                            Milwaukee, WI
5/11      State Theatre                             Minneapolis, MN
5/13      Ogden Theatre                          Denver, CO
5/14      Kingsbury Hall                           Salt Lake City, UT
5/16      Crystal Ballroom                        Portland, OR
5/17      Moore Theatre                           Seattle, WA
5/19      Fox Theater                               Oakland, CA
5/20      Balboa Theatre                          San Diego, CA
5/21      The Wiltern                                Los Angeles, CA


Weekend-Long Broadcast Features Over 20 Hours of Live Coverage,
Spanning 5 Stages, Airing Nightly at 9pE/6pP

For the first time ever, the second weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will be broadcast live, as AXS TV–the premier destination for live music events—gives viewers a front row seat to one of the most popular music festivals in the United States. AXS TV will offer incomparable access while broadcasting over 20 hours of live coverage, from Friday, April 18 through Sunday, April 20, airing each evening at 9pE/6pP.

Held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA, the three-day cultural phenomenon boasts an eclectic blend of mainstream acts, underground favorites, up-and-comers and icons, spanning a wide array of genres from indie and rap, to metal and punk, and everything in between.

Featured in Friday’s live coverage is an explosive lineup that includes Ellie Goulding, Grouplove, Bastille, AFI, Neko Case, Broken Bells, Chromeo, Kate Nash, HAIM, ZZ Ward and Bryan Ferry. Friday’s coverage re-airs on Sat., April 19 at 2pE/11aP.

Saturday, April 19, features Lorde, Cage the Elephant, CHVRCHES, The Head and the Heart, Capital Cities, Future Islands, Fatboy Slim, MGMT, The Pixies, Queens of the Stone Age, and Foster the People. Saturday’s coverage re-airs on Sun., April 20 at 2pE/11aP.

The weekend comes to a close on Sunday, April 20, with Arcade Fire, Beck, Skrillex, Pet Shop Boys, Big Gigantic, Daughter, NAS, Fishbone, Frank Turner, and Calvin Harris. Sunday’s coverage re-airs on Mon., April 21 at 2pE/11aP.
Hosting the broadcast is KCRW’s Music Director and “Morning Becomes Eclectic” DJ, Jason Bentley. Bentley will conduct artist interviews and co-produce exclusive editorial segments.

Summary of AXS TV’s 2014 Coachella Lineup* (Does Not Represent Broadcast Order)
*Lineup Subject To Change

 Friday, April 18, 2014
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Cage the Elephant
Arcade Fire
Capital Cities
Broken Bells
Big Gigantic
Bryan Ferry
Fatboy Slim
Calvin Harris
Foster the People
Ellie Goulding
Future Islands
Frank Turner
Kate Nash
Queens of the Stone Age
Pet Shop Boys
Neko Case
The Head and the Heart
ZZ Ward
The Pixies

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

David Crosby back on track with five-night run

My review was originally posted on The Orange County Register site on Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

Delayed because of surgery, his Troubadour stand finds the legend rebounding beautifully, revisiting history while showcasing his first solo album in two decades.

David Crosby scored all kinds of high points just for walking on stage Sunday night (April 13, 2014) at the Troubadour.
Back in February, he postponed a five-night solo run at the West Hollywood landmark to undergo emergency heart surgery. Yet here he was, a mere two months, later performing a full-length concert that didn't cut any corners.
Indeed, the 72-year-old folk and rock legend has had a number of well-publicized health issues in the past, including, most famously, a liver transplant in 1994. While he looked thin and at times tired over the course of his 150-minute concert, the multiple standing ovations that followed the rousing one that erupted when he stepped into view a couple minutes after 8 p.m. were soundly earned.
At this kickoff show, Crosby still proved capable of delivering new and classic material with emotional power and grace. The first of two sets found him and an amazing five-man band performing his latest album, Croz, from start to finish. Released in January, it's not only the Los Angeles native's first solo work in 20 years but boasts some of the most powerful songs he has recorded. (Its Top 40 debut on Billboard's albums chart also marks the first time he's been ranked on that list as a solo artist since his 1971 cult classic If I Could Only Remember My Name.)
After opening with "What's Broken," a piece built on the Laurel Canyon folk-rock feel so associated with Crosby's legacy, subsequent material expanded on that soundscape with jazz, heavier rock and psychedelic elements. His excellent players – notably guitarists Shane Fontayne and Marcus Eaton as well as the star's son, keyboardist James Raymond – all added magical textures and dynamics throughout.
Crosby also was in a particularly wry mood Sunday evening. "I had a body shaped like an avocado and I was really comfortable with it," he mentioned with regard to his thinner appearance. "I got sick and stopped eating," he explained, but quipped that he can tuck in his shirt now.
The focus of the night, however, was justifiably on his music. The hard acoustic rocker "The Clearing" featured an especially stirring bridge with peaks and valleys of music magic bookending confessional lyrics: "This kind of love don't need a home / This kind of heart beats all alone / This kind of world, gonna let it go / Lay down the things that came before." The audience (including Jackson Browne, spotted in the balcony) was enthusiastic but collectively reverent while he was performing.
As he promised at the outset, the second set included songs the audience knew. "Eight Miles High" started that off, with Crosby summoning strength on electric guitar as Fontayne worked his 12-string Rickenbacker with cascading and shimmering lines that brought that classic's distinctive sound back to life.
"This is where we met and put together the Byrds," Crosby pointed out, noting the importance of the Troubadour after the song. He then mentioned that another member of that seminal band was in the house – and out came Chris Hillman, who added: "I don't think I've been on this stage for 40 years."
The old friends then led the ensemble through an evocative version of "Turn! Turn! Turn!," another enduring Byrds staple that Crosby pointedly dedicated to its originator, folk icon Pete Seeger, who died in January. After the song was luxuriously performed, with lush vocal harmonies, Crosby and Hillman hugged as the audience applauded.
The headliner then proceeded to highlight material from both Crosby, Stills & Nash and his oft-overlooked '90s project CPR (including Raymond and guitarist Jeff Pevar). Highlights came one after another, from little-heard gems like the jazz-rock tune "That House" to heavyweights from his glory days, notably "Guinnevere" and a hard-rocking "Long Time Gone."
The good news for fans is that after his Tuesday replay there are still two more chances to see him, April 17-18, although prices on secondhand site StubHub are roughly $80 a pop. Wait until the day of the show and they likely will drop.
Photo: Buzz Person

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sights and Sounds: Steely Dan, Eric Johnson

Here is a roundup of the latest notable releases to land in my inbox. I've reviewed and been blown away by both Steely Dan and Eric Johnson at concert settings, so it makes lots of sense to feature their latest updates here...

Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, left and Walter Becker.
Photo: Danny Clinch
* * * * *
“Jamalot Ever After” Set to Begin on July 2  
Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Walter Becker and Donald Fagen have announced that Steely Dan will hit the road again in 2014, taking their “Jamalot Ever After” Tour across the U.S. and Canada.  Opening at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon on July 2, the tour is set to make stops in 47 cities before concluding at Baltimore, Maryland’s Pier Six Pavilion on September 17.

Tickets for the show in San Diego, CA at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay on July 13 and for Oklahoma City, OK on July 21 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena are on sale now. Fans should check local listings and for updated tour and additional ticketing information. Ticket purchase links for the tour can be found below.  
At “Jamalot Ever After,” concertgoers can expect an evening of the same high-level of musical excellence which, on recent tours, garnered raves from fans and critics alike:

"Everyone gathered Friday evening was a believer — and they were treated to something close to rapture." -The Los Angeles Times

Onstage, Donald and Walter will be joined by those same eight “brilliant” supporting musicians: Keith Carlock on drums, Freddie Washington on bass, Jim Beard on keyboards, Jon Herington on guitar, Michael Leonhart on trumpet and keys, Jim Pugh on trombone, Roger Rosenberg on baritone saxophone and Walt Weiskopf on saxophone, along with three “superb,” soulful songbirds: La Tanya Hall, Carolyn Leonhart-Escoffery and Cindy Mizelle. Together, they will treat audiences to selections from The Dan's extraordinary four-decade catalog, rich with infectious tunes, bodacious harmonies, irresistible grooves, and sleek, subversive lyrics, punctuated by blazing solo work and rich ensembles.

Steely Dan has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and helped define the soundtrack of the '70s with hits such as “Reelin’ in the Years,” “Rikki Don't Lose That Number,” “F.M.,” “Peg,” “Hey Nineteen,” “Deacon Blues,” and “Babylon Sisters,” culled from their seven platinum albums issued between 1972 and 1980 (including 1977's groundbreaking Aja). They reunited in the early '90s, launching a string of sold-out tours. In 2000 they released multi-Grammy winner (including “Album Of The Year”) Two Against Nature, and released its acclaimed follow-up Everything Must Go in 2003. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Visit and for updated tour news and information.

Eric Johnson / Photo: Max Crace
New York, NY --- Mascot Label Group's Provogue Records and Eric Johnson announce a June 24 release date for Europe Live.  Guitar Player Magazine cited Johnson as “one of the most respected guitarists on the planet,” and the reasons why are many. Such primary ones as the lyrical beauty of his playing and compositions, his rich and colorfully broad palette of tones, his awesome instrumental agility, breadth and command, and the mesmerizing spell he summons up in concert.  All of these qualities can be heard on his new album, Europe Live.
The in-concert collection's 14 tracks draw from throughout Johnson's career and include two new compositions: The mesmeric "Intro" that opens the set, and the rollicking rocker "Evinrude Fever" (that alludes to his love for water skiing and boating). His Grammy-winning instrumental "Cliffs of Dover" and Grammy nominated "Zap" are performed with fresh and vigorous energy, and he shows his ever-deepening skills as a singer on such numbers as his soaring, blues-tinged salute to his hometown, "Austin," and the airy and glistening "40 Mile Town." Johnson's lifelong love of jazz and more recent forays into playing it emerges on his stunning nine-and-a-half minute interpretation of John Coltrane's "Mr. P.C." on which bassist Chris Maresh and drummer Wayne Salzmann also step out with power. The song selection ranges from an acoustic guitar rendition of "A Song For Life" which he initially cut on his debut studio album to the ferociously funky "Fatdaddy" from his most recent release, Up Close.  Johnson celebrates his side-project Alien Love Child with the hard-driving rock workout "Zenland," and the eleven-and-a-half minute multimodal suite "Last House On The Block." Originally released in 1996, the fan favorite "Manhattan" shines, while a gloriously cinematic rearrangement of "When the Sun Meets the Sky," titled "Sun Reprise" closes the set.

Europe Live was recorded in venues across Johnson's tour of the continent, with the majority of the album capturing his appearance at Amsterdam's Melkweg along with selections from  two dates in Germany at Die Kantine in Köln  and Bochum Zeche and the Paris show at New Morning.  Each appearance featured a unique set list, offering Johnson the opportunity to cull this track listing from a wealth of repertoire captured. 
Although he may be best known as the masterful studio craftsman behind his acclaimed million-plus selling breakout 1990 album Ah Via Musicom and its Top 10 hit "Cliffs of Dover," Johnson first made his musical bones and sparked a potent buzz in live performance from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s long before he ever issued an album and was heard on radio. As guitar legend Johnny Winter recalls of seeing Johnson perform back then, "When I first heard Eric, he was only 16, and I remember wishing that I could have played like that at that age."                                                                                               
Over his seven studio albums, Johnson has delivered three Top 10 hits ("Cliffs of Dover," "Trademark" and "Righteous") and two Top 40 singles ("Pavilion" and "High Landrons").  N.A.R.A.S. has celebrated his career with six Grammy nominations, while periodicals in the music space have honored with him for decades.  He is enshrined in Guitar Player magazine’s "Gallery of Greats," while Musician Magazine named him one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century.  He continues to refine and expand his musical brilliance in his own electric and acoustic tours (playing both guitar and piano), and his recent live collaborations on both electric guitar with jazz player Mike Stern and slide master Sonny Landreth.  Johnson is a frequent featured artist on the Experience Hendrix tours, as well as acoustic excursions with  the likes of Andy McKee and Peppino D’Agostino.
Johnson offers, "Working on this live record was kind of an epiphany for me because I realized that this is where it's at, no matter where you're playing, it should be a performance.  The more I do that the more I realize, wow, there's something special there. I'm enjoying playing more now because I am so committed to making sure that facet is really up front, one of the number one things. And I've been doing it in the studio when people send me tracks to play on, and I say, okay, hit record, and let's just do this all the way through. And I listen back and go, wow, that's just more interesting and enjoyable to listen to."
Avidly collaborative, Johnson first started recording with others in the 1980s on sessions for Cat Stevens, Christopher Cross and Carole King, and has since recorded and/or performed with Rodney Crowell, Richard Marx, Jennifer Warnes, Carla Olson, Chet Atkins, B.B. King,  James Burton, Steve Miller, Jerry Reed, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani (on the original G3 tour), John McLaughlin, Jimmie Vaughan, Sonny Landreth, Dweezil Zappa and Adrian Legg, and many more. He has paid homage in song to such players as Jerry Reed (“Tribute to Jerry Reed” on Bloom), fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan (the Grammy-nominated track “SRV”) and Wes Montgomery (who Johnson saluted in his Ah Via Musicomcomposition “East Wes”). 
Throughout his career he has consistently won and placed high in numerous readers and critic polls conducted by guitar publications, most recently in 2010 when he was named Guitarist of the Year by Guitar International. Eric has also won more Austin Music Awards (33) than anyone else since they began in 1981, including Musician of the Year and Best Electric & Acoustic Guitarist plus Best Instrumental & Video, and was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in its first year in 1983.
He follows Europe Live with an album with his friend and fellow guitarist Mike Stern and is composing and recording tracks for both a new electric album as well as his first acoustic guitar release. Additionally, Johnson has embraced the digital age, releasing tracks via his site  Currently, songs that include "To Whom It May Concern," "Imagination Of You - A Tribute To George Harrison" (featuring Christopher Cross) and his rendition of "The Wind Cries Mary" are available.  Johnson offers, "The Internet is a creative vehicle to get artist's music heard and level the playing field.  There is no barrier between the creative process and those compositions created reaching the fan."   Johnson continues to reach further and higher as a player, songwriter and singer, and considers being rated one of the greatest at his talents as simply a springboard to new levels of artistry and listener appeal.

You can read my feature story that featured an interview with Johnson that ran in The Orange County Register back in 2009 here.

Inbox Update: premieres performance clip from the Milk Carton Kids' forthcoming DVD



THE MILK CARTON KIDS premiere a performance clip from their upcoming live concert DVD Live from Lincoln Theatre today on  The band performs the song “New York,” a live favorite and a showcase for their timeless harmonies and rousing guitar interplay.  On April 29thTHE MILK CARTON KIDS release the deluxe version of their acclaimed ANTI- debut, The Ash & Clay, featuring the full DVD of the Live from Lincoln Theatre concert.  The concert captures the band’s powerful musical performances as well as their lauded on-stage repartee, which has entranced fans of their appearances on NPR’s Prairie Home Companion,Austin City Limits, and Showtime’s Another Day/Another Time: Celebrating The Music Of "Inside Llewyn Davis" special.  The full concert will also be available digitally through all outlets.

Watch the clip here:

4/14 - Nashville, TN - Belcourt Theater - SOLD OUT
4/15 - St. Louis, MO - Sheldon Concert Hall - SOLD OUT
4/16 - Memphis, TN - Buckman Performing Arts Center - SOLD OUT
4/17 - Birmingham, AL – Workplay - SOLD OUT
4/18 - Atlanta, GA - The Buckhead Theatre  - SOLD OUT
4/19 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle - SOLD OUT
4/21 - Vienna, VA - The Barns at Wolf Trap - SOLD OUT
4/22 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live
4/23 - New York, NY - New York Society for Ethical Culture - SOLD OUT
4/29 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere - SOLD OUT
4/30 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall  - SOLD OUT
5/1 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
5/2 - Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre
5/3 - Toronto, ON - The Great Hall - SOLD OUT
5/5 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
5/6 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark - SOLD OUT
5/7 - Grand Rapids, MI - Ladies Literary Club
5/8 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk - SOLD OUT
5/9 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk - SOLD OUT
5/10 - Stoughton, WI - Stoughton Opera House - SOLD OUT
5/11 - Minneapolis, MN - Dakota Jazz Club (early show) - SOLD OUT
5/11 - Minneapolis, MN - Dakota Jazz Club (late show) - SOLD OUT
5/12 - Winnipeg, MB - TBD - SOLD OUT
5/14 - Calgary, AB - Festival Hall - SOLD OUT
5/15 - Edmonton, AB - McDougall United Church
5/28 - Austin, TX - Stateside Theatre - SOLD OUT
5/29 - Houston, TX - Mucky Duck (early show) - SOLD OUT
5/29 - Houston, TX - Mucky Duck (late show) - SOLD OUT
5/30 - Austin, TX - Stateside Theater - SOLD OUT
5/31 - Dallas, TX - Poor David's Pub - SOLD OUT
6/1 - Oklahoma City, OK - Blue Door - SOLD OUT
6/3 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
6/5 - Salt Lake City, UT - The State Room
6/6 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
6/11 - Seattle, WA - Neptune Theatre
6/12 - Vancouver, BC - St. James Hall - SOLD OUT
6/13 – Vancouver, BC – St. James Hall
6/14 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
6/16 - Napa, CA - City Winery - SOLD OUT
6/17 - Santa Cruz, CA - Kuumbwa Jazz - SOLD OUT
6/18 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
6/19 - Santa Barbara, CA - TBD
6/21 - Los Angeles, CA - Japan America Theater
6/22 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up - SOLD OUT
6/23 - Phoenix, AZ - Musical Instrument Museum  - SOLD OUT
6/24 - Phoenix, AZ - Musical Instrument Museum - SOLD OUT
7/17 - Durham, NC - Carolina Theatre
7/19 - Charlottesville, VA - Jefferson Theater
7/20 - Rocky Mount, VA - Harvester Performance Center
7/21 - Knoxville, TN - Bijou Theatre
7/22 - Columbus, OH - Lincoln Theater
7/24 - Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall
7/26 - Newport, RI - Newport Folk Festival