Saturday, July 04, 2015

Essential new releases: Kacey Musgraves, Neil Young + Promise of the Real, Joy Williams, Muddy Waters tribute, The Dream Syndicate

Music lovers have to be pleased with the parade of stellar releases that are being released in the first few weeks of summer.

Artist: Kacey Musgraves
Title: Pageant Material (Mercury Nashville)
You might like if you enjoy: Kacey Musgraves' debut Same Trailer Different Park
Tell me more: One of the only artists among the current crop of young country singers who connect with the genre's richest traditions free of cliche, Kacey Musgraves' outstanding sophomore effort Pageant Material is at once contemporary and classic. From the tuneful high-kicking "High Time" and "Late to the Party" to the likes of the infectious banjo- and fiddle-adorned "Biscuits," the two-time Grammy winner's album is fortified by her role co-writing all 13 tracks on the disc. The Texas native playfully revisits her meteoric rise on "Dimestore Cowboy" (name dropping 'Austin City Limits,' Willie Nelson and the ghost of Gram Parsons along the way) while Musgraves skillfully tackles life's big questions effortlessly in the contemplative "Somebody to Love" and poignant "Die Fun." Information:
Buy 'Pageant Material' here

Artist: Neil Young + Promise of the RealTitle: The Monsanto Years (Reprisel)
You might like if you enjoy: Neil Young's Living With War and Psychedelic Pill albums
Tell me more: Leave it to Neil Young to continue to rattle the world's chain. Although he will celebrate his 70th birthday later this year, Young continues to champion his strong views on big business and corporate greed, destruction of the environment, threats to small-time American farmers and the world at large on his latest album The Monsanto Years. Backed by Promise of the Real (featuring Willie Nelson's sons Micah and Lucas Nelson),  Young has crafted yet another masterwork. Young's epic 2006 album Living With War is recalled via the grunge anthem "New Day For Love" while the tuneful Americana rocker "People Want to Hear About Love" would have been home on 1977's American Stars 'n Bars. Elsewhere the sparse "Wolf Moon" (with little more than minimal acoustic guitar, gentle percussion and some signature Young harmonica play) conjures up the beauty of our nation's disappearing wilderness. My favorite song is "Big Box," a lyrical diatribe against everything from corporate greed to political finance laws that blends heavy rock courtesy of Young's fiery lead guitar work with ethereal vocals that soars across an eight minute-plus ride. Information:
Get 'The Monsanto Years (CD/DVD)' here

Artist: Joy Williams
Title: Venus (Sensibility)
You might like if you enjoy: The Civil Wars, Johnnyswim, Kate Bush
Tell me more: Life's challenges often spur artists to create great music. Such is the case on Joy Williams' Venus. One-half of the multi-Grammy winning Americana duo The Civil Wars, Williams first full-length outing since that duo broke up in August 2014 will please fans of her previous work courtesy of folk-minded nuggets such as "Woman (Oh Mama)" and the gorgeous "One Day I Will." But there is also material that expands her reach into art rock territory with the same gifted touch; the confessional "Before I Sleep," riveting "Sweet Love of Mine" and introspective "Not Good Enough" exhibit the songstress' expanded reach. While the events that gave life to the songs on "Venus" may have tested Williams (just listen closely to "You Loved Me," "The Dying Kind" and "Till Forever"), the album itself is a joyous and life-affirming listen. Information:
Purchase 'VENUS' here

Title: Muddy Waters 100 (Raisin' Music Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Muddy Waters, John Primer, Gary Clark Jr., Shemekia Copeland, Johnny Winter
Tell me more: The line-up of modern-day blues icons who join singer-guitarist John Primer to celebrate the 100th birthday of Muddy Waters (the legendary bluesman died in April 1983) on Muddy Waters 100 is almost as impressive as the 15-track collection itself. Things kick off with the blues staple "Got My Mojo Working," with Primer sharing lead vocals with Shemekia Copeland. Elsewhere Derek Trucks' amazing slide guitar impresses on "Still a Fool," and James Cotton blows his blues harp with the mighty firepower he displayed on the original 1957 recording. Texas blues champion Gary Clark Jr. conjures up some magic in his expressive electric guitar work on "Forty Days and Forty Nights." Especially bittersweet is the uptempo Chicago blues gem "I'm Ready," a cover of the title track off Waters' 1978 album that was produced by Johnny Winter; on the new version Winter played slide guitar on the track a mere five weeks before his death in July 2014. Information:
Buy 'Muddy Waters 100' today

Artist: The Dream Syndicate
Title: The Days of Wine and Roses (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Rain Parade, Three O'Clock
Tell me more: Blending the melodic instincts of the '60s with the punk-energy of the late '70s, the so-called "Paisley Underground" exploded in Los Angeles at the dawn of the 1980s bringing with it the music of The Bangles, Rain Parade, Three O'Clock, Green on Red and others. Among the most notable of the scene's champions was The Dream Syndicate thanks to the band's seminal 1982 debut The Days of Wine and Roses. Now Omnivore Recordings has reissued a deluxe edition of the album that celebrates the original indie release and piles on a slew of previously-unissued bonus material that casts additional light on the sterling lineup of Steve Wynn, Karl Precoda, Kendra Smith and Dennis Duck. Highlights on the collection include the hypnotic rhythms embedded in "That's What You Always Say," driving "Then She Remembers" and wistful "Too Little, Too Late." The bonus material is enthralling too, including the rehearsal jam "Is It Rolling, Bob?" and infectious rocker "Still Holding On To You." Information:
Buy 'The Days Of Wine And Roses' here

Monday, June 29, 2015

Jeff Lynne's ELO 'Live In Hyde Park' coming to DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Formats on September 11, 2015

How cool is this everybody? Time to get excited...

New York, NY (June 29, 2015)--On September 11, 2015, Eagle Rock Entertainment, in association with the BBC, will release Live In Hyde Park by Jeff Lynne’s ELO on DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats [MSRP TBA].  This release offers fantastic value with a full-length concert and feature-length documentary on the same disc.  The show from Hyde Park includes ELO’s hits “Mr Blue Sky,” “Sweet Talkin’ Woman,” “Livin’ Thing,” “Evil Woman,” “Telephone Line,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Showdown,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “10358 Overture,” “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head,” “Strange Magic,” and many more!
The Electric Light Orchestra, led by one of rock’s most iconic songwriters and producers Jeff Lynne, is one of the most successful bands of all time with global sales of over 50 million albums. In September 2014, Jeff Lynne’s ELO headlined BBC Radio 2’s “Festival In A Day” in London’s famous Hyde Park. It was the first time in almost 30 years that the band had performed on a festival stage. Jeff Lynne said, “It seemed like the entire 50,000 were singing and clapping along, which carried on for the whole night. The Hyde Park concert turned out to be one of the most memorable shows ever for me”.
The critics agreed, with The Times (UK) saying it was “near perfect” in their 5-star review and the Evening Standard (London) marveling that “ELO still have the power to flick switches” in their 4-star review. Neil McCormick of the Telegraph (UK) noted how “fifty thousand grown men and women sang along in joyous rapture to some of the greatest pop music ever heard.”
As well as the full Live In Hyde Park show, the Bonus Features offer the feature length documentary Mr Blue Sky – The Story Of Jeff Lynne and ELO and also new interviews filmed at Hyde Park. Jeff Lynne has been involved every step of the way with every aspect of this production, especially the audio delivery, saying: “It’s important to me that viewers experience the Hyde Park show exactly as it was performed on the night….in stereo.”
This show was a truly special moment that will live on in fans’ memories forever - the 50,000 tickets for the event had sold out in a matter of minutes and the fans sang along to hit after hit performed by Jeff Lynne and the band accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra.  Live In Hyde Park by Jeff Lynne’s ELO will be cherished by all who love this truly important band.
Eagle Rock Entertainment is the largest producer and distributor of music programming for DVD, Blu-Ray, TV and Digital Media in the world.  Eagle works directly alongside talent to produce top quality, High Definition programs, both concerts and documentaries, including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Who, Queen, The Doors, Jeff Beck, Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Genesis, Alice Cooper, Eric Clapton and Aerosmith. Eagle is a Grammy Award winning company and has received over 40 multi-platinum, over 80 platinum and over 144 gold discs, worldwide.  Eagle Rock Entertainment has offices in London, New York, Paris and Hamburg.
Follow Eagle Rock Entertainment at:

1) All Over The World  
2) Evil Woman  
3) Ma-Ma-Ma Belle  
4) Showdown  
5) Livin’ Thing  
6) Strange Magic  
7) 10538 Overture  
8) Can’t Get It Out Of My Head  
9) Sweet Talkin’ Woman  
10) Turn To Stone  
11) Steppin’ Out  
12) Handle With Care  
13) Don’t Bring Me Down  
14) Rock ‘n’ Roll Is King  
15) Telephone Line  
16) Mr Blue Sky  
17) Roll Over Beethoven


Friday, June 26, 2015

'Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me' coming to CNN, DVD and VOD this summer

Glen Campbell performing in Anaheim
in 2009. Photo: Kelly A. Swift
It has been nearly five years since I caught Glen Campbell at a stirring concert in Anaheim (you can read my Orange County Register review here), but I still count it among my favorite concerts. Today comes news that the highly-anticipated documentary Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me is coming to CNN later this month, and then to DVD/VOD.

Here is the official media release that landed in my inbox this morning...

Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me

Available on EST Digital Platforms on August 18th
and on DVD and VOD on September 1, 2015 via Virgil Films
Virgil Films announces the VOD and DVD release of Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me, a new documentary film about the country/pop superstar produced and directed by filmmaker James Keach (Walk the Line). The film, which will air on CNN on June 28, will be available on digital platforms (EST) on August 18th followed by a DVD and VOD release on September 1, 2015.

Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me was directed by James Keach (producer of Walk the Line) and produced by Trevor Albert(producer of Groundhog Day) and KeachKeach and Albert also collaborated on the award winning film, Waiting for Forever.

"The making of this film has been an exhilarating, joyous and inspiring ride. I attribute that entirely to the heroic spirit of Glen Campbell and his extraordinary family," said producer Trevor Albert.

In 2011, music legend Glen Campbell set out on an unprecedented tour across America. They thought it would last 5 weeks, instead it went for 151 spectacular sold out shows over a triumphant year and a half across America.

What made this tour extraordinary was that Glen had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He was told to hang up his guitar and prepare for the inevitable. Instead, Glen and his wife went public with his diagnosis and announced that he and his family would set out on a "Goodbye Tour."

The film documents this amazing journey as he and his family attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of Glen's progressing disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice. Special appearances include Bruce Springsteen, The Edge, Paul McCartney, Blake Shelton, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Steve Martin, Chad Smith and Bill Clinton among many others.

"We are honored to bring this portrait of Glen Campbell to American audiences," said said Joe Amodei of Virgil Films. "This great entertainer and his indelible music have been a part of so many lives for decades, we look forward to reminding everyone of what's so special about him."

Keach added "the legacy Glen Campbell and his incredibly courageous family share in this film is one of the most important movies I have been blessed to have worked on. Glen Campbell.. I'll Be Me will forever inspire me as a filmmaker and a man. Glen is a real life hero on and off the stage."

About Virgil Films

Virgil Films & Entertainment was founded in 2003 by Joe Amodei to acquire, market and distribute DVD, TV and Digital product in the theatrical feature film, documentaries, special interest and sports categories. The company has built partnerships with OWN, Sundance Channel Home Entertainment, National Geographic Cinema Ventures, Pureflix Entertainment, MLB Productions, Morgan Spurlock's Warrior Poets and other high-profile entertainment brands since their inception. Releases from Virgil Films & Entertainment include the much anticipated documentary I Am Chris Farley; the award-winning documentary Miss Representation; the critically acclaimed, timeless, best-selling Forks Over Knives; and the Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo and its sequel Korengal. They have also released the compelling The House I Live In, A Brony Tale, Legends of the Knight and others. Follow them on twitter: @virgilfilms |

About PCH Films

PCH Films, based in Los Angeles, California, is a multimedia company founded by James Keach, Jane Seymour and Trevor Albert in 2007. The company develops, produces, and finances feature film, TV, documentaries, animation and music. The partners extensive credits include Walk The Line, Groundhog Day, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Because Of Winn Dixie, National Lampoons Vacation, Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, award winning documentary Disease Of the Wind and many others.

PCH most recently released the documentary film Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me, award winning feature film Waiting For Forever directed by James Keach starring Rachel Bilson, Tom Sturridge, Richard Jenkins and Blythe Danner.

PCH has numerous projects in development ranging from series to features and documentaries. The company's goal is to continue to create intelligent and humanistic entertainment across multiple platforms that appeals to a broad audience.. The film, which will air on CNN on June 28, will be available on digital platforms (EST) on August 18th followed by a DVD and VOD release on September 1, 2015.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Buddy Guy to release 'Born to Play Guitar' on July 31, 2015

Couldn't be more excited to read news that Buddy Guy is set to release a new studio album where he is joining forces with a wide-ranging array of guests. Here is the media release from RCA Records...

Buddy Guy reveals 'Born to Play Guitar' album cover and track listing

New studio album features guest appearances by Van Morrison, Joss Stone, Kim Wilson and more; plus songs dedicated to B.B. King and Muddy Waters

Grammy Award winning blues icon Buddy Guy has revealed the album cover and track listing for his brand new studio album Born To Play Guitar.  Set for release July 31, 2015 on Silvertone/RCA RecordsBorn to Play Guitar features guest appearances by Van MorrisonJoss StoneKim Wilson and Billy Gibbons.  Morrison joins Buddy on the heartfelt “Flesh & Bone,” a song dedicated to the late great B.B. King.  On “Come Back Muddy” Guy reminisces about the good ole days with his friend Muddy Waters.  The album is produced by Grammy Award winning producer/songwriter Tom Hambridge.
The album’s title track will debut on Sirius XM Bluesville on June 29.
Born To Play Guitar will be available for pre-order on June 29 at iTunes and Amazon.
Born To Play Guitar track listing:
01 Born To Play Guitar                                                                      
02 Wear You Out feat. Billy Gibbons                                     
03 Back Up Mama                                                                             
04 Too Late feat. Kim Wilson                                                
05 What’s Whiskey, Beer & Wine                                                     
06 Kiss Me Quick feat. Kim Wilson                                                    
07 Crying Out Of One Eye                                                                 
08 (Baby) You Got What It Takes feat. Joss Stone                             
09 Turn Me Wild                                                                                
10 Drug In My Drink                                                                          
11 Flesh & Bone feat. Van Morrison                                                 
12 Smarter Than I Was                                                                      
13 Thick Like Mississippi Mud                                                           
14 Come Back Muddy

Stay connected with Buddy Guy:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Legacies of The Rolling Stones, Carole King, Asia celebrated on new multi-format releases

Fans of The Rolling Stones, Carole King and Asia have to celebrate the release of highly-anticipated multi-format titles that have all found their release on June 23.

Artist: The Rolling Stones
Title: From The Vault: The Marquee  Live in 1971 (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: The Rolling Stones' 1970s recordings
Tell me more: What's not to love about a highly sought-after club performance that caught The Rolling Stones at the height of their creative powers? Such is the case with the fantastic From The Vault: The Marquee  Live in 1971 issued by Eagle Rock Entertainment on June 23 and available on a number of formats (DVD/SD Blu-ray/audio CD) and iTunes. Featuring the line-up of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman, the British band tore through an eight-song set list that including burning rockers ("Let It Rock," "Bitch," "Brown Sugar"), rock 'n' blues ("I Got The Blues," "Midnight Ramble"), as well as a tender version of "Dead Flowers." The performances (I'm reviewing the 2-disc DVD/CD version) here are scorching; "Midnight Rambler" scorches with Jagger's blues harp work and the one-two guitar attack of Richards and Taylor, while "Bitch" flat out rocks. The DVD features a number of outstanding bonus features including several takes of the rarely-heard "I Got The Blues" and a performance of "Brown Sugar" the band performed on the TV program "Top Of The Pops." With the footage completely restored, and sound mixed by the legendary Bob Clearmountain, The Marquee  Live in 1971 is a must-have release for Stones fans. Information:

Purchase 'From the Vault: The Marquee Club Live in 1971 [DVD/CD]' here

Title: A MusiCares Tribute to Carole King (Shout! Factory)
You might like if you enjoy: Carole King, Kacey Musgraves, Alicia Keys, James Taylor
Tell me more: One of the most influential and successful women in music, it's no wonder a once-in-a-lifetime of artists gathered to celebrate singer-songwriter-keyboardist Carole King when she was honored as MusiCares Person of the Year in Los Angeles on Jan. 24, 2014. Now A MusiCares Tribute to Carole King is available on Blu-ray and DVD, with the original event fully delivering on the promise of its parade of artists. There is a wide-range of performances that play out during the special event, with the teaming of Miguel and Kacey Musgraves on "Crying in the Rain" (a King-penned hit for the Everly Brothers) and a five-song finale set featuring King (including "Up On The Roof" with James Taylor) among the most memorable moments.  Information:

Buy 'A MusiCares Tribute To Carol King [Blu-ray]' here

Artist: Asia
Title: Axis XXX – Live in San Francisco (Frontiers Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Asia, Yes, John Wetton
Tell me more: When singer-bassist John Wetton rejoined Asia in 2006 it marked a remarkable renaissance for the legendary quartet with the original line-up of Wetton, guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Geoff Downes and drummer Carl Palmer re-teaming to release a trio of truly outstanding studio discs (2008's Phoenix, 2010's Omega and 2012's XXX). Now the band's second golden age is fully captured via Axis XXX – Live in San Francisco. Recorded at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on Nov. 7, 2012, the 18-track set caught Asia performing one of its final concerts before the departure of Howe in January 2013. Throughout the career-spanning Axis XXX, Asia was on the top of its game and unleashed a wonderful mix of '80s classics ("Only Time Will Tell," "Sole Survivor," "Heat Of The Moment"), prog-rock firepower ("Wildest Dreams," "Holy War"), several classical-styled guitar instrumentals featuring Howe ("Pyramidology," "Golden Mean") and affecting new songs (the propulsive "Tomorrow The World," uplifting rocker "Face on the Bridge" and anthemic "An Extraordinary Life" are standouts). Information:

Purchase 'AXIS XXX - Live In San Francisco [2 CD/DVD Combo][Deluxe Edition]' here

Robert Kinsler

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jack's 10th Show gives fans plenty to love

My review originally ran on The Orange County Register's Web site on Sunday, June 21. You can find the review in today's Life section of the print edition of the newspaper. A special "thank you" to Kelly A. Swift for permission to run her photos with my review.

Roland Orzabal, left, and Curt Smith of Tears for Fears on June 20, 2015. Photo: Kelly A. Swift

Jack's 10th Show

Who: Tears for Fears, Bush, Cake, Everclear, Lit, Richard Blade
Where: Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
When: June 20


Jack's 10th Show gives fans plenty to love

A. Jay and Jeremy Popoff of Lit
at Jack's 10th Show on June 20.
Photo: Kelly A. Swift
Five artists performing over the course of five hours – Lit kicked things off at 5:50 p.m. and Tears for Fears finished its set at about 10:45 p.m. – produced a fast-paced and eclectic mix of ’80s and ’90s hits at Jack’s 10th Show at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre on Saturday night (June 20, 2015).
Like many of Jack FM’s previous multi-artist mini festivals, this was a party-minded affair that allowed fans to make the day their own. Many of the seats around me were empty until evening, with many fans opting to eat, drink, check out merchandise and entertain themselves in the expansive grassy area outside. There was a long line of people trying to win prizes at the Totally ’80s Bar booth (who wouldn’t want their own Rubik’s Cube?), and many concertgoers were busy checking out the drums and guitars at the Yamaha Music Experience booth.
After radio personality Richard Blade kicked things off on the main stage, taking requests and hosting a kind of name-that-tune game, it was time for the real action. Orange County’s Lit played 40 minutes of rock that included its best-known hits and enticing new material. A new reggae-tinged melodic rocker likely titled “Make Love Easy” that is part of a new crop of songs the band has been working on in Nashville was particularly effective, while fans got to their feet and sang along to the group’s biggest hit, “My Own Worst Enemy.”
Everclear was a good choice to include in the day’s lineup, but lead singer Art Alexakis’ hoarse vocals detracted from the power of “Heroin Girl,” “Santa Monica” and “Father of Mine.” An acoustic-style version of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” also failed to excite.
Cake performing at Jack's 10th Show in Irvine on
June 20, 2015. Photo: Kelly A. Swift
Cake’s 40-minute outing was a bona fide joy, highlighted by singer-guitarist John McCrea’s offbeat personality, consistently impressive harmonies and trumpeter Vince DiFiore’s stellar work. The keyboard-anchored “Long Time” and psychobilly burner “Stick Shifts and Safety Belts” were early highlights, while the cool rocker “Sick of You” and a reworked version of Black Sabbath’s 1970 classic “War Pigs” delighted fans later. When the band realized it only had a few minutes left, Cake quickly kicked it up with a buoyant version of “The Distance.”
Gavin Rossdale of Bush performing at Jack's 10th Show.
Photo: Kelly A. Swift
British rockers Bush had the prime slot, performing as the night grew dark and temps had dropped dramatically. The Gavin Rossdale and his group’s post-grunge sound had the near-capacity audience on its feet for more than an hour. Hits aplenty were unleashed with power, including “Machinehead,” “Everything Zen,” “Glycerine” and others, allowing the band to rock relentlessly. Toward the end of the set, Rossdale left the stage and ventured far into the audience, providing a dramatic element to the band’s set.
Tears for Fears’ intoxicating and nuanced rock was the perfect follow-up to the hard edge of Bush. More than 30 years after the release of seminal studio discs “The Hurting” (1983) and “Songs From the Big Chair” (1985), the duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith continue to champion songcraft like few others. Tears for Fear’s 70-minute set was heavy on hits, but thankfully, that wasn’t a bad thing.

Curt Smith of Tears for Fears on June 20, 2015.
Photo: Kelly A. Swift
The dramatic opener “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” the Beatle-esque “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” the haunting “Pale Shelter” and the swirling “Head Over Heels” have lost none of their luster over the years and were performed with perfection. Lesser-known songs (“Secret World” and “Closest Thing to Heaven” from the band’s outstanding 2004 release Everybody Loves a Happy Ending) were equally stirring. An interactive six-minute version of “Shout” closed out the night, the crowd on its feet and happily singing along.
Review: Robert Kinsler

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Vintage Trouble 'Live at 35' exclusive concert documentary

Back in May 2013, I was invited by Taylor Guitars and Southwest Airlines to travel with the rock 'n' soul band Vintage Trouble as they performed an inflight concert for passengers on a flight from Los Angeles to Denver. Earlier today re-posted the video documentary online in high definition on our Music Worth Buying channel and you can watch it by clicking on the embedded video link below. Make sure to catch Vintage Trouble when they celebrate the release of their new album 1 Hopeful Rd. with a performance at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles on August 12, 2015. And of course you can catch the band at any of their upcoming dates opening for AC/DC.
Robert Kinsler